Taylor Koziarz

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Niner nation takes on Gold Rush 5K

On Feb. 2, UNC Charlotte University Recreation hosted the 17th annual Gold Rush 5K Run/Walk. Almost 400 students, faculty and people in the Charlotte community gathered and participated in this event.

The race had participants of all ages. The race results/award groups were broken up into groups by gender and also student, faculty and community members. Of the 400 runners, 146 of them were UNC Charlotte students.

Some of these students participating were members of the 49er Running Club. The 49er Running Club provides an opportunity for all who are interested in running with a friendly and fun organization, whether it be to get into better physical shape, to relieve stress or to compete. David Conlin, a member of the running club, placed first in the male student age group. He had a time of 20:30. David says, “Being a part of the UNC Charlotte running club has been a tremendous experience, it’s a great feeling having such a connected group of people to run with after class.” David, who is an experienced runner, said the running club definitely helped him prepare and perform so well in the race. He is hoping for more competition to come out next year.

If you are interested in joining the running club, you can check them out on Niner Engage. Practices are held Monday through Friday at 5:30 p.m. They are located at the Hauser Alumni Pavilion near the corner of Phillips Road and Cameron Boulevard.

The Gold Rush 5k brought the community together and was a fun way for students to spend their Saturday morning. Ally Doyle, a freshman at UNCC, said she was glad she participated in this event because she “had a fun time running with my friends for part of the race.” Her friend Andy Surla said, “I ran cross country in high school and love to compete. The 5k gave me an opportunity to do that. I will definitely be participating again next year.”

The Gold Rush 5k is a part of a race series called Healthy UCity. The Healthy UCity Race Series was designed to encourage health and wellness by providing opportunities for physical activity for all ages and fitness levels. They feature events from a one mile fun-run to a marathon. If you missed out on the Gold Rush 5k, they have many events coming up in the University Area. The next one is the Craft Beer Half Marathon on March 30, 2019. If interested, check out: https://www.healthyucity.org/.

Professor from Penn State speaks to UNC Charlotte students on justice and immigration

On Jan. 24, a professor from the Penn State University Department of Philosophy delivered a lecture on migration and memory, titled “Memento Vivere.” Memento vivere can be translated to “live in the moment.” In her speech, Ortega touched on issues of immigration and justice for undocumented immigrants.

The introduction was provided by Andrea Pitts, a UNC Charlotte assistant professor of philosophy who has known Ortega for ten years. Ortega is a mentor for Pitts and was one of the first Central American professors Pitts ever had.

“Mariana Ortega’s work is timely work that pushes boundaries,” Pitts said. “I have learned from her detail and I am inspired by her passion.” Pitts now teaches her own students about Ortega’s work.

Among the many students attending the event was Ana Valdez Curiel, president of We Come in Peace. We Come in Peace is a student organization that exists to support and advocate on behalf of undocumented people and immigrants in the UNC Charlotte and Charlotte community. Their mission is to educate about the misconceptions of immigrants and those that are undocumented by providing real-life accounts, public forums and various workshops on these issues. Ortega’s lecture resonated with the mission of the group.

We Come in Peace President Ana Valdez Curiel

To illustrate her lecture, Ortega used the work of Verónica Cárdenas, an artist from the bordertown of McAllen, Texas. Ortega showcased her series “Traveling Soles,” photographs about detained undocumented immigrants, including many Central American children. These images of shoes that undocumented immigrants left behind on their journey across the U.S. Border are displayed on the first floor of the Atkins Library. “These photos represent justice for the missing and for those crossing,” Ortega said. She encourages the audience to imagine the particular life that wore those shoes. These photos will be on display until Feb. 25.

Ortega is from Nicaragua and remembers her own challenges of immigrating into the United States. “I cannot imagine what these people and children went through and are still going through,” she said.

Ortega first grew interested in justice for the undocumented when she was teaching English as a second language in Los Angeles. She often taught undocumented immigrants who shared with her “the horrors of crossing the border.” She wanted to connect her work to this issue and continues to use her academic skill to bring light to these issues.

Memento Vivere is now part of Ortega’s book project. She hopes to use this project to honor the immigrants who are both invisible as people and hypervisible as criminals.

Another UNC Charlotte Dance Marathon

Since 1991, the Miracle Dance Movement has raised money for Children’s Miracle Network. It all began with students from Indiana University who wanted to do something in memory of a fellow student who passed away from HIV/AIDS. Today, there are over 400 Dance Marathon groups working to raising money so miracles can happen for local kids. The movement is happening in universities all across the country. This year, ECU and UNC Wilmington are having their first marathon ever. On April 7, UNC Charlotte will host its own Dance Marathon. Students will be standing and dancing for 12-hours straight for the kids who can’t. All proceeds will go to the Levine Children’s Hospital, located in Uptown Charlotte.

This year marks UNC Charlotte’s sixth year of participation in the Dance Marathon. It started as a Levine Scholars project and has now branched out as a student organization for anyone to join. There are 15 members on the executive board and 35 committee members.

Nathan Silvestri, a junior, is an involved organizer of the event. He works with companies in his fundraising efforts for the event. He first got involved with the Dance Marathon his freshman year and now serves as fundraising chair. Fundraising is a key part in the success of Dance Marathon. Last year, UNC Charlotte raised over $100,000 with 300 participants.

Nathan has a personal connection to the cause; when he was younger, his sister was hospitalized. Now, he “likes giving back to something which helped his own family.” There are countless stories like Nathan’s from people who have been impacted by the Levine’s Children Hospital. Participating in this event is a way to be a part of someone’s miracle.

This year’s goal is to recruit 500 participants and raise $110,000. To reach that goal the Dance Marathon committee is asking students to raise $49 each before the event. There will be free food, games and kids from the Levine Children’s Hospital.

Students can already sign up for the 24-hour event. Ben Shackelford, a first-time participant, signed up because he saw the group tabling. “I believe it serves a good cause in a fun and exciting way,” he said. “I am most excited for the day of the event, meeting new people and seeing the kids who we are helping.”

The Dance Marathon is also hosting Miracle Week during the first week in February, with events such as Defy Gravity Night and a tailgate for a basketball game.

To sign up for the Dance Marathon, go to charlottedm.org, grab a group of friends and start a fundraiser to make an impact on a child’s life.

UNC Charlotte students create new app

On Nov. 5, Alec Stevanovski and Chris Human released Thrive, an app to connect and network with students on campus. Stevanovski and Human are juniors with plans of majoring in management. The app is free; no subscriptions are required and there are no advertisements. Thrive is an app made by UNC Charlotte students for UNC Charlotte students.

How is this app different than other social media?

Stevanovski, app developer, came up with the idea for Thrive two years ago. He was trying to sell Koozies, the foam sleeve that holds cups and cans, but didn’t know how to put a logo on them. He reached out to his friends on Facebook but couldn’t find anyone to help. He knew there were a lot of people at UNC Charlotte who could help him, but he didn’t know how to get in touch with them. Stevanovski realized that social media only connects you with people you are already friends with. Thrive is different because it automatically connects you with everyone in the UNC Charlotte community. Human, app developer, says his favorite part of the app is “there is no need to add friends, just other students helping out other students.”

What does the app do?

Thrive can be utilized to ask for recommendations on classes and professors, safely buy and sell items such as textbook or furniture from other students, promote student organizations, seek academic help, or find a last-minute tutor or someone to sublease your apartment.

The app is simple and easy to use. It works similarly to Facebook; you post and people can like and comment. Stevanovski says his favorite part of the app is the different categories that organize the posts, including general, recommendations, job related, academic and housing.

Students have already posted about recommendations for restaurants in Charlotte, job inquiries and fundraiser promotions. The posts received comments on them from other students. You can also direct message a person if you want to get in touch with them about a post. Thrive is similar to the app Nextdoor; however, it is solely for college students.

You might have seen Human and Stevanovski outside Prospector last week giving out free Chick-fil-A to promote Thrive. Students lined up on the sidewalk to get some food and learn more about the app.

Thrive already has over 1,000 UNC Charlotte students connected. While the app is currently only available to Charlotte students, the developers’ dream is to take it to all universities. Whether you are looking for a roommate for next semester, selling a textbook, or promoting an event, Thrive provides a way to be heard. The app is the realization of the unaddressed demand for the untapped supply of knowledge and experience that fellow students can offer.

10 things to do before leaving for winter break

Thanksgiving is officially over and it is time to start getting festive. The holiday season is here and Charlotte has so many fun things to offer. Take a break from studying and make sure to check out some of these things before going home for winter break!

1. Uptown ice skating

Holiday on Ice is Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink right in the heart of Uptown. It is perfect for a romantic date or a night out with your friends. It is only $16, including skate rentals, for all day skating. Holiday on Ice is located right by the NASCAR Hall of Fame and is only a few minutes walk from the nearest light rail station. Nothing beats ice skating right in the middle of the city!

2. Drive the track at the Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts a drive-through light show featuring more than 3.5 million lights over the remarkable 3.75-mile course for the holiday season. It is $25 to $30 per car, so grab a bunch of your friends and see the light display.

3. Order a Cookout eggnog milkshake

This Cookout holiday specialty is the quickest way to get in the holiday spirit. Try this yummy treat next time you’re at cookout.

4. Go see holiday lights at McAdenville

McAdenville is known as Christmas Town, USA. There is over 160 homes decorated festively and you can walk or drive through the light display. McAdenville is also completely free! Make sure you get there early; lots of people go and it closes at 11 p.m.

5. Carowinds Winterfest

All rides are open during Carowinds Winterfest, but also so much more. There is a light display, street performers and special holiday desserts. You can find tickets for as low as $26 if you purchase online. Go on Saturday when the park is open from 2-10 p.m. so you get a whole night of fun!

6. Gingerbread Lane

The Ballantyne Lane hosts a professional gingerbread competition during the month of December. You can view these amazing, intricate gingerbread designs completely free starting December 6th to the 26th. Maybe after visiting you will be inspired and you can make your own house with friends!

7. Fourth Ward Holiday Tour

Take a trip to Charlotte’s past by taking a self guided tour through some beautiful private homes in the Fourth Ward of Uptown Charlotte. There are houses that have been restored from the Victorian age as well as very modern homes.

8. Go visit Santa

This might seem a little cheesy, but Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills Mall is offering free pictures with Santa. Take a trip to the mall, get some gift shopping done and get a free festive picture with friends.

9. Visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens not only have a beautiful light display and pretty scenery, but they also have live music daily, bonfires for S’mores, a model train display and Santa Claus. Admission is $12.95.

10. Host a gift exchange with friends

Winter Break is quickly approaching and people are going back home. Before everyone leaves, celebrate your favorite traditions with your friends from school! Whether it’s hosting a gift exchange or watching holiday movies, get together with everyone one last time before next semester!