Sydney Wright

Hello! My name is Sydney Wright and I am majoring in Communications with a minor in Journalism. I am an intern with Niner Media. I participate in other various clubs such as Wallis Hall Council and being a tour guide (Niner Guide) here on campus.

UNC Charlotte’s Zero Waste Program wins Wells Fargo Green Award

Each year, the Charlotte Chamber Green Works program rewards both a small and a large business the Wells Fargo Green Award.

It is given to businesses that have successfully innovated new products and have sustained their businesses culture. This year, the University of North Carolina Zero Waste Program is a part of the chamber and won the large business award.

The program was nominated to the Charlotte Chamber by Lou Ann Lamb from Auxiliary Services.

Zero Waste Football at UNC Charlotte was initiated by the Charlotte Green Initiative and the Recycling Department to minimize the amount of waste sent to landfills as a result of football games.  The planning stages of the program started with the initiation of the football program at UNC Charlotte.

Charlotte Green Initiative took the idea to student government and they voted to support a zero waste program inside of Jerry Richardson Stadium.  In order to operate the Zero Waste Program and be successful, it requires a commitment from the University, athletics, volunteers, managing departments, food service, students, stadium management and Charlotte fans.

Their first trial run for the Zero Waste Program was during the Spring football game

Devin Hatley, Environmental Educator with the Facilities Management said, “creating the Zero Waste football program has been a big accomplishment.  It has required many people from many different areas working together to achieve that success.”

Most of the material collected during football games was able to be recycled or sent to Earth Farms for composting.  The program does not currently have official numbers for the year, but between 85 and 90 percent of the waste generated was able to be recycled or composted

The goal of the program is to minimize the amount of waste going to the landfill and to create a positive example for the surrounding Charlotte community and other stadiums throughout the country.  The program’s goals are similar to a mission held at UNC Charlotte, which is to be a good steward of the environment.

“We wouldn’t be able to operate the program without volunteers. ” said Hatley. “It’s important that we have them stationed at the bins to educate and assist fans about the program and help them get their waste in the correct bin.  I especially want to thank UNC Charlotte ROTC for their service and committing to volunteer for every game.”

Hillel holds UNC Charlotte’s second Statewide Shabbat in school history

On Friday UNC Charlotte Hillel, a Jewish organization on campus will host a Statewide Shabbat.

Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath. It starts at sundown on Friday and goes until sundown on Saturday. In the Jewish community, the day starts at sundown.

Jewish people believe that Shabbat is a precious gift from God. In their culture, it symbolizes a day of great joy when Jewish people can set aside all of the weekday concerns and devote themselves to higher pursuits.

The very first Statewide Shabbat was during the 2004-2005 academic year by UNC Charlotte Hillel for a Purim Shabbat event. This is the first time since then that UNC Charlotte Hillel has had the honor of having another Statewide Shabbat here.

The Shabbat service will start at 6:30 pm.

To start the Sabbath, women light Shabbat candles. The custom is for women to light two candles. After the candles are lit, there is then a Shabbat service.

The length of the service usually varies by the type of Judaism practiced. A few examples are practices such as Chabad, Modern Orthodox, Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed.

Afterwards, there is a Kiddush. A Kiddush is the saying of a prayer over wine/grape juice which sanctifies the Sabbath, washing of the hands and a prayer over the Challah.

Last, the meal is served. They eat three times on Shabbat – dinner, lunch and a light snack before Shabbat is over on Saturday night. After eating, a blessing is said and conversation and games are played afterwards.

Neili Eggert, secretary of Hillel said, “I, along with the rest of the UNCC Hillel Executive Board and members, are looking forward to hosting this Statewide Shabbat event. We encourage Jewish students to please join UNCC Hillel and fellow Jewish students from across the state at this amazing event. It is a great way to get to know fellow Jewish students. The last Statewide Shabbat I attended helped me gain some valuable insight into my Jewish identity and I hope this event does the same for other Jewish students.​”

UNC Charlotte Hillel and North Carolina Hillel staff members have been planning this event since the end of the spring 2014 semester. They’ve held several meetings to discuss logistics, food, services and games for attendees.

This event is opened to all Jewish students at UNC Charlotte and North Carolina Hillel schools. North Carolina Hillel consists of UNC Charlotte, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Greensboro, NC State, Appalachian State University, Davidson College, East Carolina University, Elon University, UNC Asheville, UNC Wilmington, Guilford College, Wake Forest University and Warren Wilson College.

Tau Sigma starts the seasons off with a can food drive

On November 4, Tau Sigma Honor Society started their annual Second Harvest Can Food Drive.

Tau Sigma is an academic honor society that specifically recognizes and promotes academic excellence and involvement of transfer students. In order to be invited, transfer students must earn a 3.5 GPA or higher their first semester. Through the honor society, transfer students can gain many social and service opportunities.

For their food drive, they are currently collecting canned foods that are most needed by the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Second Harvest currently needs canned meats (chicken, turkey, ham, beef stew), canned vegetables (beans, corn, potatoes), canned fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon), canned fruits (pears, apples, peaches) and canned soup.

The organization chose to work with Second Harvest Food Bank because they believe it is a great organization which donates to people in various countries.

Jessie Craig, president of Tau Sigma says, “I am very excited about this year’s can food drive. Knowing that the canned goods we collect will be going to hungry families and individuals is very heartwarming.”

Also, Tau Sigma works closely and volunteers with the food bank often to do their part in ending hunger.

In order to encourage members of Tau Sigma to donate, the organization is offering a $15 gift card to the member who donates the most cans, although anyone can donate into the various red boxes around campus. Those boxes are located in EPIC, the Student Union, COED, Friday and Fretwell.

Last year, Sigma Tau collected 102 cans of food, and hopes to surpass that number this year.

For more information about the drive, visit:

2014-15 UNC Charlotte royal court takes their crowns

This year, instead of having a Mr. and Miss UNC Charlotte and a Prince and Princess, the committee chose to have a Mr. and Miss UNC Charlotte and a Mr. and Miss for the sophomore and junior classes.

The crowing of Mr. and Miss UNC Charlotte took place at the homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 25 during halftime. The crowing for each class took place prior to the football game at the pep rally on Friday night.

The 2014-2015 title of Mr. and Miss UNC Charlotte went to Ryan Lucks and Raven Johnson.

Lucks, a senior majoring in English with a minor in American studies believes that his passion and love for UNC Charlotte qualified him for his title.

He is proud to be able to represent the university that he loves and he plans to get his peers more involved in homecoming activities in the future.

“The greatest tragedy is to have the experience but miss the meaning,” said Lucks. Mr. UNC Charlotte is involved in the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, Leadership Fellows and SOAR.

Johnson, the newly crowned Miss UNC Charlotte, is a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in women and gender studies.

“The experience has been eye-opening and solidifying for why I came to UNC Charlotte. I am extremely excited for the opportunity to impact my university,” Johnson said.

The enthusiasm for her university, becoming a leader through the organizations that she’s apart of and the support from her line sisters and friends is what Johnson believes helped her win.

Johnson believes that a title without action is dead so she plans to bridge the gap between nontraditional students and students on campus and also reach out to high school students to let them know the importance of going to college.

Johnson is heavily involved in organizations on campus such as the Iota Rho chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., Campus Activities Board (CAB), Student Union Advisory Board, Student Alumni Ambassadors and the Tuition and Fees Committee.

Tre’Sean Cooks and Alexis Brown won the title for Mr. and Miss Junior. Cooks is double majoring in Spanish and psychology, while Brown is majoring in chemistry with a minor in secondary education.

Cooks participates in Collegiate 100, the B.E.S.T Program, NAACP, B3 and Merge.

He plans to celebrate by talking to students to see what type of program they want to participate in to become more aware with social issues and have a celebration within the program in order to mix academics and social relief. Also, Cooks believes that perseverance, determination, ambition and an outgoing personality helped him become Mr. Junior.

Brown plans to encourage all high school students to go to college and encourage more people to explore STEM majors. She is a resident advisor in Hunt Hall, the president of Wellness Ambassadors, a member of M.A.S.S.I.V.E and participates in cancer research.

“When you put God first and go after what you want, anything can happen,” said Brown. Brown plans to celebrate her victory with her family and friends.

The title of Mr. and Miss Sophomore went to Mitch Daratony and Kayla Kinard. Daratony is a marketing major and Kinard majors in biology.

Daratony is the secretary for Athletic Affairs for the Student Government Association, vice president of the Skydiving Club, and a brother of Sigma Tau Gamma.

He plans to use his title to help him gain credibility, make him accountable as a leader and use it as an enforcement in the community.

Daratony said, “I truly love this school. The way Niner Nation comes together will truly warm anyone’s heart.” Daratony plans to celebrate by going to dinner with his family.

Just like Daratony, Kinard plans to spend time with her family to celebrate her victory.

Kinard thinks that the best thing about becoming Miss Sophomore is being able to represent herself in a positive way, in turn showing that popularity is not everything. Kinard is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and is event staff for CAB.

“Always chase your after dreams no matter the circumstance and despite whomever tries to put you down,” said Kinard.

Office of Academic Affairs implements Graduation Initiative

UNC Charlotte’s Office of Academic Affair’s newest program, Graduation Initiative, aims to help Undergraduate students’ graduate on time.

Graduation Initiative focuses on advising with a longer horizon than semester by semester and better tools for advisors and faculty to provide guidance to students.

At UNC Charlotte, many students change their majors, or start without an understanding of what their majors have to offer. Graduation Initiative aims to help students graduate in a timely manner and helps them get to the right major as efficiently as possible.

Graduation Initiative believes that after four semesters, students need to have a plan for completion.

Joan Lorden, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs says “As UNC Charlotte has grown, adding students, faculty and programs, the complexity of the institution has made tracking student progress and curricular change more challenging. We need to take advantage of new tools that can provide students, faculty and advisors accurate and timely information. The longer students spend in college, the more it costs and the less likely it is that they will complete degrees. We want to help students complete their degrees by providing the right support and by reducing internal barriers.”

This initiative will help students reduce their ‘attempted earned hours’ ratio and help increase the rate of four and six year graduation for students.

Along with helping students graduate, the initiative also provides additional tools.

Some of the additional tools include a new tool for creating the catalog and tracking changes to curriculum and a tool that will track benchmarks for progression and show students changing majors what new majors may require of them in terms of additional coursework.

The initiative will also be providing a new tool that creates an early alert to help connect faculty and advisors to support students who may be having difficulty in specific courses.

Graduation Initiative is provided for all students at UNC Charlotte. The Office of Academic Affairs encourages students to add input and comments about the new program.

‘Student Painters’ offers guidance for students interested in entrepreneurship

There are countless opportunities available for students while in college however a unique organization by the name of Student Painters has decided to take this “opportunity” to another level.

Student Painters originated in Michigan 25 years ago since then, has expanded to over 25 states. They have been at UNC Charlotte for six years and have partnered with Sherwin-Williams.

The organization teaches students how to run their own painting business and hire prospective students.

“This program puts students to the test. You find out if you really have what it takes to run a business,” said Branch Manager Wes Billings.

The program is for, but not limited to, business, economics, operations management, finance and business management majors. In order to participate, you have to be at least a sophomore.

Every fall, Student Painters recruits new members who go through a three-round interview process.

Each year, hundreds of students apply but due to limited space, a limited number of prestigious students are accepted into the program. That said, there is no quota of accepted students for each recruitment process.

When the organization receives new members, they hire branch managers. Branch managers are students who have their own painting company as a subset of the organization Student Painters.

Branch managers paint mainly in Charlotte but if managers go home, they can run their business at home.

Their primary job is to manage marketers, talk to customers briefly as well as train and manage marketers and painters.

Painters have a variety of jobs such as exterior house painting, deck staining and pressure washing.

Both painters and branch managers are required to go through intensive training beforehand.

Student painters go through leadership training over a weekend to learn how to lead a team of marketers and painters. They also learn how to market effectively, go through payroll, enhance their painting and sales.

“Through proven systems of field training, we develop exceptional young people into successful entrepreneurs and business leaders,” says Vice President Joel Puthoff.

Student Painters are currently hiring painters for the summer. Experience is not required; students will go through training to learn everything they need to know.

If you are interested or would like more information, contact Wes Billings at 704-286-6636.

Possible Olympics to be held in Charlotte for Summer 2024

In recent weeks, eight architecture students, under the advisement of UNC Charlotte Professor Jose Gamez, have planned out a detailed preparation for the Olympics.

The students include Stefan Pinheiro, Lindsey Mayes, Christine Chlebda, Adam Caruthers, Nicole Brown, Ryan Barkes, McKenzie Canaday and Patrick Gaither.

The plan was created with hopes to have the city of Charlotte host the Olympics in Summer 2024. The main events would be hosted uptown.

Primary goals that the group hopes to accomplish are create both a financial and historical legacy for Charlotte, create housing and infrastructure, and shine light upon Niner Nation.

“Of all the design drivers for the Olympic and legacy plans, walk-ability, connectivity and access to green space were always the main focus,” said Gaither.

For the events, the students hope to use the Bank of America Stadium, Memorial Stadium and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Additionally, they want to create three major venues for the games: a new Carolina Panthers stadium (which will replace the current Bank of America Stadium), an aquatics center and a park in a loop surrounding Highway 272.

The new park would connect the Center City and surrounding neighborhoods.

The new Panthers stadium would serve as an extension to what the Bank of America Stadium is currently being used for.

The plan describes the new stadium as being utilized for sports in addition to football.

During the Olympics, the Bank of America Stadium would be used for field sports and torn down after events are over.

Another area the students plan to utilize are UNC Charlotte’s recreational fields.

The plan creates additional green space within the city to go along with the hybrid scheme.

For transportation, the plan implements a transit called the LOOP, which will be used alongside the upcoming light rail system.

As far as housing goes, the plan creates living space within Center City.

So that the creation of housing in Center City does not stop after the Olympics, the students have created a 2030 plan.

“In 2030, the post-Olympics strategy is to increase the density of housing within and around the loop, providing a creative and sustainable urban environment and making Charlotte a viable city for future generations,” said Stefan Pinheiro.

49ers prepare for summer school

As the end of the spring semester approaches, summer school classes are opening up for UNC Charlotte students.

Summer school is a way for students to catch up on their credits or retake classes they did not pass the first time.

Many of the courses offered in the summer are similar to the classes offered during the spring and fall semester.

In addition to summer classes offered in the classroom, there are a large number of online courses.

“With two five-week sessions and one ten-week session and hundreds of courses, many of which are completely online, summer school at UNC Charlotte provides excellent opportunities for our undergraduates and graduate students to reduce their time to graduation and get a head-start on their career,” said Director of Credit Programs, Dr. Dennis L. McElhoe.

Registration for summer school starts March 24 and students are advised to meet with their advisors for advice. There will also be staff setting up signs and tables to answer questions regarding summer school.

Summer School is divided into two five week sessions or one 10 week session. The first session is from May 19 to June 24 and the second session falls shortly after starting July 1, ending August 7. If students elect to do the 10 week session, it is from May 19 to August 7.

Housing is not provided through the summer school department, rather through Housing and Residence Life. The application for summer housing opens up on Monday, March 17th.

Classes tend to go very quickly, so prompt registration is key.

“As someone who works to make summer school “happen” at UNC Charlotte, I find it very gratifying to know that students are benefiting from summer classes the same way that I did when I was an undergrad and graduate student. I always looked at summer as the perfect time to balance classes with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in my field; it was a win-win,” said Shanna Coles, senior program manager of credit programs

To find out more information about 2014 summer school, visit:

Health Communications teacher and students take a walk down hunger lane

Dr. Jillian Tullis, professor of Comm 3051 Health Communication, Film and Technology, recently created what she calls the “SNAP Challenge,” inspired after watching the documentary, “Food Inc.”

“Food Inc.” discusses corporate farming and the food system in the United States. From watching the film, she learned that the average food stamp recipient in North Carolina receives $4.15 a day or $29.05 a week per person.

“Food is important for our physical and mental well being,” said Tullis. “It’s not just necessary to live but it is also one important part of our social lives that can bring joy and happiness. We assume that poor people don’t need joy through food.”

Tullis then came up with the idea of having her students do an assignment that had them walk (or eat in this case) in the shoes of a low income family for seven days. She called it the “SNAP Challenge.”

“While doing the Snap Challenge, you eat the same thing and it’s not always nasty,” said Tullis.

The challenge required participants to eat within the allotted dollar amount that the low income family would. There were no stipulations on when and where to spend money.

You were also not allowed use any other food that you had previously other than condiments in your house. Also, you could not eat at any type of receptions such as friends/family cooking their food and inviting you over or going to eat at any event that had free food on campus.

After the week ended, students were required to write a paper that described their experience with buying food, what reactions they received from others and anything they might have learned.

Junior Iman Karnabi is a student in Tullis’s class and participated in the challenge. “Doing the SNAP challenge has definitely helped reinforce the issue of existent health disparities in the United States,” said Karnabi.

The food she was forced to buy with such a miniscule amount of money drastically limited her quality in food.

“I could only afford foods that had low nutritional value and noticed a lack of color and variety in my meals as well. This demonstrates how low-income families do not have access to fresh produce or foods that are essential in maintaining health and preventing disease,” explained Karnabi.

The class used social media websites as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help keep track of their thoughts and experiences with the challenge. The hash tag they used was #SNAPChallenge.

Tullis’s main goal was to help bring awareness to those families and individuals who live off of very low income, and provide a new profound respect for our day-to-day privileges.

100 Red Cross employees, 40 student organizations, 4 stations; University’s fifth annual 49ers For Life Blood Drive

On Jan. 21, the University hosted its fifth annual 49er For Life Blood Drive from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. As students signed in to donate blood, they were asked to give a mini health history and then had to be seated until called to start their process of giving their pint of life.

Before the process began, donors were recommended to have drunk plenty of water beforehand as well as an iron rich meal.

There were four identical stations set up and over 100 Red Cross employees to help the process run smoothly.

“Giving blood is just an awesome opportunity to help the community,” said sophomore Lydia Staub. “It is a selfless action that could one day save your life too.”

By 5:30 p.m., the blood drive had 900 people sign and 647 productive donors.

There were over 40 student organizations that volunteered and helped regulate the event.

This year, 70 faculty and staff members donated blood, which is over triple the amount from last year.

“As a 49er Alumni myself it’s great to see all of the student organizations pull together,  for the great cause of saving lives and maybe I’d love to one day take the state record from Appalachian State,” said Laurie Roper, a donor recruitment representative.

As far as entertainment goes, there were trivia questions about the University, Red Cross and other random things. The winners received prizes such as sunglasses, gym memberships and gift cards.

The Blood Drive was updated with tweets from @49ers4Life, and hash tags that were used were #save3000 and #49ers4life.

After students donated, they were encouraged to eat free food provided in the food canteen. The food was donated from Blue Bell, Wing Zone, Toppers Pizza, Salsaritas, PDQ, Panera Bread, Brueggers Bagels, Johnson and Wales, Coca Cola, University Village Apartments and Arcadia Apartments.

“In helping plan this drive for the past 3 years it still amazes me to watch it all come together knowing all the hard work that students and faculty and staff put into the drive,” said donor recruitment representative Liza Barrett.

Mock Interview Day prepares students for realistic job experiences

UNC Charlotte’s annual Mock Interview Day will be held on Jan. 31 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event provides the opportunity for University students to have face-to-face interaction with potential employers.

During the interview, students gain professional and real life exposure and gain feedback upon their presence.

“If you’re wanting to brush up on your interview skills, Mock Interview Day is a great way to practice before it really matters,” said Megan Corkery, assistant director and career advisor for engineering, architecture and physical science.

Particular companies choose specific majors at the event. There will be companies such as Duke Energy, Kellogg’s, Ross Stores Inc. and Wells Fargo in attendance.

For each employer there are five to six slots for both morning and afternoon sessions. Not every employer will be there for both sessions.

An interview time slot consists of 30 minutes, which is broken down into two parts. The first part is the actual interview for 20 minutes and the second part, which lasts ten minutes, will give students the opportunity to receive constructive feedback from their employer.

The dress code for this program is professional attire.

“Thirty minutes out of your day is a priceless way to gain exposure with a real employer and get their valuable feedback on your interview style,” said Corkery.

Students are encouraged to register through NinerJobNet by Jan. 29 because companies and slots fill up quickly.

University Center for Academic Excellence, UCAE, offers aid to students during final exams

UCAE, the University Center for Academic Excellence, is one of the primary resources accessible for students to receive help before exam time.

During the year, the center provides workshops, tutoring, group study sessions and student success. Each one of the sections works to cater to various types of learners, and help increase students’ chances of passing their classes and sharpening particular

Students should note that the last day for tutoring and supplemental instruction is the last day of classes (Wednesday, Dec. 4.)

During exam time, the UCAE will be offering 10 review sessions for classes such as Accounting, Math, Chemistry and Statistics.

“It’s really exciting to see students preparing for the end of the semester and we hope students will check out the many resources during this time and throughout the semester,” said Graduate Assistant Jamie Holloway.

Each session is two hours long and provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and gain clarity on unclear topics.

In the past there were only eight sessions but due to a high demand from students they have decided to add more.

“Finals and exams are a stressful time in the semester. And the UCAE is offering support and opportunities for students to finish strong,” said Assistant Director for Supplemental Instruction Mattie G. Harvey.

In addition, the learning lab which is also in the Fretwell center will be open during exam time for students to study, use the computers and their variety of resources.

If you are interest in visiting the UCAE, their center is located in Fretwell 330.

UNC Charlotte’s first Fall Family Festival

As a token of appreciation, the Office of Parent and Family Services is hosting UNC Charlotte’s first ever Fall Family Festival for students and their families.

The festival will begin with brunch with the chancellor at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. Tailgating will be provided by the UNC Charlotte’s Alumni Association from 9:30 to 11 before the football game at noon.

This on-campus service is hosting the event to say thanks to the university for their constant support as well as to get Niners excited for the upcoming years of football for UNC Charlotte.

“We are definitely excited about providing a new event for Niner Nation families,” said Assistant Director for Parent and Family Services Kesha Williams.

Families were required to pay a small package fee of $39 per person attending. The package includes brunch and the football tickets.

The anticipation for this event and the last home game of the inaugural season seems to be high from Niner Nation.

“We anticipate that it will continue to grow along with the addition of football. But we are the most excited when parents and families have the opportunity to come back and visit UNC Charlotte and their students,” said Williams.

The Office of Parent and Family Services works toward connecting the parents and families of students to the university by sending out emails notifications and letters concerning events as well as daily news.

For more information about the Office of Parent and Family Services, visit

Who run the world? Girls, winners of Gender Wars 2013

The fourth annual Gender Wars program took place in the Student Activities Center in Salons A-E at approximately 6:30 in the evening. This program was sponsored by the United Black Professionals and co-sponsored by the Campus Activities Board (CAB.)

“Gender Wars basically breaks down into a funny debate between the two genders,” said Brandon Robinson, president of the United Black Professionals. “It is a chance for young men and women to get together to clear the air as far as gender is concerned.”

When the program started off, the room was divided by placing the ladies on one side and the gentlemen on the opposite side. For each segment, there was a question asked in which afterward, three ladies and three gentlemen volunteered to go on stage to debate for their gender. Each individual person was provided with 45 seconds to state their opinion in front of everyone.

Once everyone received their 45 seconds to talk, they were then judged by the judges.

The judges consisted of two alumni Spring 2013 graduates of UNC-Charlotte and two local community people.

While the judges were deciding which gender won that particular round, skits were performed by some Greek organizations.

The various skits consisted of comical scenarios that could happen on dates, when someone cheats, the roles of each gender, etc.

Also in between the question segments, music played while the audience was allowed to tweet their opinions by using the hash tag #GenderWars for a chance to see their tweets on the big screen in the room.

After about nine question segments, the judges collectively decided which gender would be the winner for 2013. After a long fought-out battle, it was decided that the ladies won for the fourth year in a row.

CAB Crew Chief for Lectures, Education, and Diversity Committee Elizabeth Curry was pleased with the turnout. “I think Gender Wars was pretty successful. Both sides provided healthy debates about how issues affect [both] men and women.”