By: Iva Dimitrova| Illustration: Orlando Pimentel
Photography: Iva Dimitrova
Summer descends over Athens like delicious possibility, offering the chance for some homegrown adventure and exploration. If you’ve ever been curious about the dance groups that rent out space in the bars and studios downtown, then the summer months are the time to see what they’re all about. Every week, the dance groups Athens Swung and SALSAthens host events for social dancing.
Swung hosts Athens swing night every Tuesday at DanceFX downtown. Beginner lessons start at 8 p.m., followed by social dancing from 9 p.m. - 11 p.m. The entrance cost is $3 for students and $5 for non-students. You get a free class on your first visit and every time you invite someone new. SALSAthens meets on Wednesday nights at Little Kings Shuffle Club downtown. The advanced lesson starts at 6:30 p.m., and mixed level lessons start at 7:30 p.m. The entrance cost is $10, which includes a free drink.
Passersby at Little Kings Shuffle Club may note the lively salsa music spilling out from the side doors, as it intermingles with the sounds of voices and moving feet. Inside, the space is low-lit and warm-toned.
“It’s very warm and welcoming,” says Sarah Harrison, a freshman marine science graduate student from Fort Pierce, FL. “No one’s judging you or watching you.” It was Harrison’s first time at SALSAthens.
But building up the courage to go is the first step. “Don’t feel like you have to take lessons outside of the group before you come for the first time,” says Melissa Gogo, president of Swung.
How the dancers got their starts varies. Gogo tried swing dancing after recovering from a major health problem.
“Maybe it was the exercise endorphins I hadn’t felt in a year, but I was hooked on swing before the first lesson was even over,” Gogo says. “And in the 5-plus years since, I’ve only missed out on Tuesday’s Swing Night a handful of times.”
Though you don’t need a partner in order to go dancing, visiting Swung can be a great way to meet new people.
“A question or a complement is an easy way to start a conversation,” says Justyna Szymonik, a junior biology major from Buford.
Beyond meeting new people, learning new steps is also a challenge. But the willingness to try is key.
“I think we get stuck with telling ourselves we’re not a person who does something. Like ‘I’m not good at math’ or ‘I can’t cook,’” says Bradley Walker, a senior information systems major from Blue Ridge. “I think you should never go around saying you’re one certain type of person. You should go around saying, I can do anything, and with anything, dance is definitely one of those things.”
In the case of twin sisters Justyna Szymonik and Joanna Szymonik, neither had a dance background before going to college. Yet, they both joined the Ballroom Performance Group and now participate in a variety of dance events on campus and in Athens.
“The more you dance, the more rewarding it becomes,” says Joanna Szymonik, a junior exercise and sport science major from Buford.
It’s a self-reinforcing practice. By going every week, beginners can improve and enjoy dancing more. “From a beginner’s perspective, I was admiring everyone else,” Harrison says. “But I knew I’d get there one day.”
Dancing is a creative outlet but leading, initiating and guiding a partner through different dance steps is an even greater creative challenge. “As a lead, it is very intimidating because you’re limited to what you know,” Walker says. “It forces you to be creative and be persistent and humble.”
But beyond these things, people come back for the sense of community. “It’s interesting to see such a diverse group coming together and having common ground,” Walker says. “But there’s a connection still, beyond the dance portion. You really get to know people lives more and more through it.”
Gogo can attest to that. “I have met almost all of my closest friends in Athens through social dancing,” Gogo says. “It wasn’t until I began dancing that I felt I had really found my place in Athens.”
From a hobby to a passion to a way of life, dancing is something that everyone can take part in. The statement, “I don’t dance,” simply doesn’t apply. Once you dare to embrace the unknown, you’ll find that you’ll grow in unimaginable ways.
By: Kate Foster | Photos Contributed by: Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
At the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, students are reminded that outside learning experiences are often more essential than course work. Even the college’s dean, Charles Davis, agrees that there is nothing quite like real-world journalism experience to encourage a student’s talent. “[Internships] are at least as important as class, maybe more important than class, frankly,” he says. “I’ve always looked at class as the gateway to the experiential stuff.” Perhaps the two most respected and immersive ways to gain that “experiential stuff” are studying abroad and completing internships, through which thousands of students over the years have reaped numerous journalistic career benefits.
Students looking to both broaden their journalistic horizons and explore the world for a much cheaper rate than usual should consider studying abroad. Grady offers a number of study abroad experiences for those interested. On an international level, one can visit China, Prague, Cannes, Costa Rica or London, but there are a number of domestic options as well: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington D.C. “I think it is so important for us to remove ourselves from the local, to understand people, religion, culture, politics in a global context,” says Kelly Meyer, Grady’s Study Abroad and Distance Learning Program Coordinator.
Cody Schmelter, a spring 2013 Grady graduate who completed the Grady @ Oxford program, is a big proponent of the study abroad experience. “To take a kid from South Georgia – letting me go to Oxford for six weeks – was just an incredible experience,” he says. “The biggest takeaway for me was being able to tour some of the ad agencies, the BBC and keeping an eye out for how different cultures approach advertising.” Clearly, Schmelter’s experience was both enlightening and worthwhile: he is now a staff photographer at the Marietta Daily Journal.
A number of Grady students have found internship experiences equally eye-opening, the ideal way to gain first-hand knowledge about the industry from real-life editors and writers at some of the world’s most prestigious publications. Ryan Carty, the university’s Director of Experiential Programs and a Grady alumnus, stands behind the internship experience. “It’s one thing to learn about the industry and different methods and theories,” he says. “But [internships] are a way of adding experiential learning so that you can be prepared for challenges in the real world that you couldn’t necessarily learn in a classroom.”
Meredith Dean, a spring 2014 graduate now living in New York City, is one of Grady’s best internship success stories. As a result of internships at media outlets such as CNN International, she scored a job at Inside Edition after graduation. Now that she’s on the other side, she fully understands the value of internships. “I would say [having at least one internship] is mandatory,” she says. “I personally wouldn’t want to hire anyone that had never had an internship, had never had to report to a boss, didn’t have the initiative or motivation to want to be in the working world after four years in college. To me, that shows something about the student.”
Other students value internships as a means of figuring out what they don’t want to do after graduation. Allison Morrow, a senior graduating in May, was thrilled when she was offered an internship at the Today Show last summer. Ever since she was little, she had watched the program, dreaming of one day becoming Katie Couric. And while the internship was certainly an exciting experience, it ultimately wasn’t the right work environment for her. “I decided morning television just wasn’t the place for me,” she says. “I realized I’m more of a hard news girl.”
Whether students choose to study abroad or complete an internship – or, if they’re really lucky, both – one thing is for certain: getting out of the classroom and into a working journalistic environment is an essential part of the Grady experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s a study abroad advertising experience in Hong Kong or an internship at Vogue in New York City. It doesn’t even really matter if the student enjoyed the experience or not. At the end of the day, it’s about receiving a global education and figuring out what kind of career trajectory will fully satisfy the student later in life. “I learned so much more about myself as a journalist,” says Morrow. “Now, I just need to start blazing a trail and let the pieces fall as they may.”
By: Molly Pease | Photos Contributed by: Sina Iranikhah
Like most college students, I have attempted to read Jack Kerouac's “On the Road.” The process is a lot like eating a package of marshmallow Peeps. At first you get the sugar rush, speeding through the unbroken stream of words, no paragraph indentation in sight. Then the excitement of unbound freedom swells in your brain and sinks to your throat. Eventually, you have ingested too much and have to put the book down, hoping to try again next Easter.
I do hope to read most of Kerouac's work at some point, if only to understand what all the “free-spirited” college freshmen are talking about. In the mean time, I found an easier way to educate myself on themes of freedom, America, travel and art: a shortcut through others' experiences. I got the CliffsNotes on travel from students who are country-crossers and art-makers. First I sat down with spoken word poet Maddie Huffman and then-photographer Sina Iranikhah.
I had the pleasure of talking with Huffman, a junior English major from Marietta, on the morning of a mutual hangover. When she is not reading books that are twice the size of the first Harry Potter, Maddie writes and performs poetry around town. Before entering college, she traveled around the country for three months by living out of her car. She says that her experience instilled her need to write.
“That summer is when I started journaling. I was writing almost every single day, which I miss dearly. It gave me stuff to write about, so the people I met became the characters in my stories. I'm not much of a picture taker, so I tend to just write and describe things,” Huffman says.
Huffman described her adventures with stories rich in detail and character: a patchwork of people who stitched together a better understanding of this country. Before she even left for the trip, waiting at the bus stop, Huffman ended up giving all her money to a woman whose leg had been burnt by her husband. The woman desperately needed to escape, so without hesitation, Huffman handed her half of her savings. As the trip became more frugal, the help of strangers became more important.
“I was freezing on the bus, and this little old African-American lady came over with a blanket. We shared it for a few hours, talking. And then she left,” Huffman says.
“Short-term interactions help you be more compassionate. If you're able to lend yourself to a stranger and give them what they need in that moment – whether it's a blanket or someone to listen – than you've made a connection,” Huffman says.
In some ways, this can be the hardest part of traveling: learning to let go. Each step of the traveling process is moving further into the unknown. First, you must let go of everything that is holding you back from leaving. In the act of traveling, you must let go of plans, of expectations, of partners, of love affairs, of instantaneous friendships, of places... and money. There is a lot of letting go of money.
“I've always had a harder time leaving places and then leaving people. Like it'd be hard for me to leave my campsite cause I'd felt like I made such a home for myself there,” Huffman says.
Iranikhah is a junior marketing major from Johnson Ferry and an ingenious photographer. Iranikhah and two friends spent 95 hours in the car over spring break driving from Athens to California, passing through sixteen states. Iranikhah says he cannot quite remember how the idea originated, but he knew that spring breaks are finite and so he rented a car and left. As a photographer, traveling through the most gorgeous, diverse landscapes of this state irrevocably altered his view of a camera's ability to capture a moment.
“I have been looking at this desert for 50 miles now, how can I take a different perspective? To me, photography is a way to convey a message and evoke emotion in the viewer. It allowed me to add depth to the landscape,” Iranikhah says.
Iranikhah not only documented his trip but also better understood it through the lens of his camera. The photos he took were beautiful and deliberate. They captured both a focused physical aspect and the emotional energy of the moment. You could feel the energy of each movement that led to the actual shot: the fear and palpable awe of a photo taken two feet away from a Roosevelt elk after a morning of searching for them or the magnitude of the Redwood forest evoking the reality of our own smallness in this world.
“The first time we walked into the Redwood Forest and saw some of the bigger trees, it felt like we were on another planet. They've been there for four to five hundred years. If a tree can get through the bad times so can you if you dig really deep. If something can stay upright for that long, so can you,” Iranikhah says.
“Driving these 95 hours, I thought of our ancestors who made this same trek on horseback. The sheer determination that must have taken is nuts. If you truly believe in something and think it's worth it, you can move mountains,” Iranikhah says.
Both Huffman and Iranikhah’s experiences show that going across the country inherently imbues you with a sense of connection to this country and its past. Iranikhah admitted that it is easy to get caught up in the negative of this country with the overwhelming heartbreak broadcasted on the news each day. He says that this is why traveling is so therapeutic. It reminds you that there is a unique beauty to this country.
“Traveling made me love the country a lot more. My dad emigrated here from Iran and worked his way up. I appreciate living here. Seeing the West Coast makes you feel lucky to be living in the country with so many things to see, so many different cultures. It's an incredibly diverse country. We were built upon a culture of acceptance and love. You hear the different accents and slang but at the end of the day if you're from the states, you're from the states,” Iranikhah says.
It seems important to artists to find both that diverse sameness. Artists have the urge to explore their art through different landscapes and to use art as a record of their surroundings and feelings within a finite time and space. Once they have captured it, they move on.
When asked for any advice to give to others interested in traveling, Iranikhah gave a solid piece of advice: “Just do it, you only get one shot, you gain an appreciation for who you are and where you come from. It's easy to [get] clouded by the negativity coming from news about this state and country, but when you go out and see the beauty and scenery, you remember the good in the country.”
By: Camren Skelton | Photography: Lauren Leising
Athens: a college town unlike any other. Where on football Saturdays, everyone’s blood bleeds red and black. Where Monday through Friday, campus is buzzing with students learning in the classroom, and Thursday through Saturday, the streets of downtown come alive with students looking for a night out on the town. Athens has something for every taste whether you’re a music junkie, a foodie or engrossed in the art scene, it is guaranteed you will find something to fit your needs.
But with all that Athens has to offer, it can be difficult to get a taste of everything. If you’ve been around Athens long enough then you’ve probably seen a show at the Georgia Theatre, had a crêpe at Pauley’s and had a breakfast or two at Mama’s Boy. But there is so much more to Athens than the typical bucket list spots. If you’re looking for an adventure, then check out the coolest hidden spots that Athens has to offer.
1. The Tree Room
This is a building with a live tree growing inside of it. Different, right? The Tree Room is part of the Chase Park Warehouses on Tracy Street. In the 1900s, a fire burned the roof of the building and years later, a tree started growing inside of it. The once-abandoned building is now rented out for events, parties and weddings and is a frequent stop for students looking for a new adventure.
2. 1000 Faces Coffee
This is a coffee shop founded in 2006 by former Peace Corps volunteer Benjamin Myers. The name for the shop comes from a quote by Joseph Campbell in the book, “The Hero With A Thousand Faces”: “Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence - for he has the perfected eye to see. There is no separateness.” The coffee shop on Barber Street features blends from around the world, offering a new variety to the coffee connoisseur.
3. Ike & Jane
Located on Prince Avenue, Ike & Jane is a locally owned and operated café and bakery. Their specialty? Doughnuts made from scratch. “It’s definitely a mom-and-pop kind of restaurant. It’s very quaint. And they have the best chicken salad ever,” says Alexandra Falcucci, a sophomore fashion merchandising major from New Jersey. Named after the owner’s family, a bite to eat at Ike & Jane will make you feel like you’re right back in grandma’s kitchen.
4. Iron Works Coffee
Want a cool place to study but tired of the usual spots like Starbucks and Jittery Joe's? Check out Iron Works Coffee, located in the lobby of the Graduate Hotel. The rustic brick and eclectic local artwork will make you feel like you’re more than just a few steps away from downtown. If you’re always on the lookout for new places to study or grab a delicious hot drink, then add Iron Works to the top of your list.
On top of the UGA physics building sits the observatory. It’s open to the public once a month. If the skies are clear, you can look into the night sky through the department’s telescope. If it’s on the cloudy side, then there is a lecture held in the auditorium by one of the physics professors.
6. The Hill
No, it’s not the residence hall. The Hill is a collection of historic homes on the outskirts of Athens that date back as early as the antebellum period. All of the homes on the Hill are numbered by their address according to the year they were built, and they are available to rent for events and weekends. If you crave a little hands-on history outside of your classes, then make your next adventure to the Hill. It’s history in your backyard.
7. Independent Baking Company
A small bakery located in Five Points, Independent Baking Co. is noteworthy because their bread is served at many local Athens restaurants including Ted’s Most Best, SeaBear Oyster Bar and the National. In addition to these locations, Independent Baking Co. also has indoor and outdoor seating, so you can enjoy a pastry or croissant on warm spring days.
8. Caledonia Lounge
If you’re heavily into the music scene in Athens, then the Caledonia might be familiar. “Performing at the Caledonia is a rite of passage for artists starting out,” says Lauren Cerny, a senior mass media arts major from Roswell. “And it’s the perfect place for them to create a name for themselves in Athens.” If you’re looking to discover new music, the Caledonia is a place to check out. You never know when you could stumble upon the next big thing.
9. Heirloom Café
Heirloom Café on Chase Street specializes in serving ingredients from local farmers, producers and artisans. Their mission is “to celebrate local farmers and our community by crafting a fresh take on heritage dishes.” “It’s healthy and away from downtown so parking is easy,” says Savannah Young, a senior health promotions major from Atlanta. Restaurants like these make Athens a unique place to live.
10. Hip Pops
The Popsicle joint’s main location is in the Chase Park Warehouses on Tracy Street. But you might have seen its Popsicle carts around town. There is a cart next to Daily Groceries Co-Op on Prince Avenue Monday through Friday. Hip Pops are handmade frozen popsicles created with simple ingredients and named after popular hip-hop artists and songs. Some titles include “MC Slammer,” “Kanye Zest,” “Fifty Mint” and “Green LaTeaFa.”
By: Jenny Alpaugh | Photography: Alli Binder
Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots. Just the mention of these names can cause the faces of elementary school children to twist into expressions of disgust. However, Sophie Gilberga set out to change that with the Lunchbox Garden Club.
“Our mission from the very beginning has been to teach kids about food and where it comes from and why it’s important,” says Gilberga, a senior economics and political science major from New Orleans, La. “We want kids to appreciate food and know where it’s coming from and know that it doesn’t just appear in the grocery store and actually has to grow from the ground.”
Gilberga participated in freshmen forum in 2012 and was required to complete a service project. She had the idea to work at a school garden, so she contacted Barnett Shoals Elementary School.
“Somehow I knew that they had a school garden, but they didn’t use it. It was there, but it just needed maintenance and needed someone to come work in it,” Gilberga says.
After working with the students for a semester, Gilberga decided she wanted to continue this project in a more permanent form, and thus the Lunchbox Garden project was created.
“My main goal even from the beginning was I wanted this to outlast me,” Gilberga says. “It doesn’t mean anything if it only lasts when I’m here, and it doesn’t do anything after that.”
Twice a week at Barnett Shoals Elementary School, and beginning this semester, once a week at the Rock Springs Community Center, UGA student-volunteers garden with elementary-aged students and teach them about different aspects of a healthy lifestyle and about sustainability.
The students are able to plant their own vegetables at the beginning of the semester, water, weed them throughout the semester and harvest them at the end.
“I think gardening is a good avenue for kids to learn about just living a healthy lifestyle in general,” says Clayton Wing, master gardener and senior biological sciences major from Bogart. “It’s just a fun way to get kids outside doing something that they might not normally do.”
As master gardener, Wing has built all of the garden beds that are being used at the elementary school and community center and helps to decide which seeds and seedlings will be best to plant. At each meeting of the Lunchbox Garden Club, the elementary school students are taught how to take care of these plants.
“We take out all of the watering cans, and the kids know to come grab one out of the bin and go line up at the water spout, and they each fill up their own watering spout,” says Kirstie Hosetter, executive director of the Lunchbox Garden Club and a junior environmental economics and management major from Memphis, Tenn. “One interesting thing is that sometimes the sprouting vegetables can look like weeds. So we have to be really careful to tell the kids, ‘No that’s not [a weed], that needs to stay there,’ so that’s been funny.”
Through interactive lessons, such as making butter, learning about alternative forms of energy by making paper pinwheels and tasting days, students are exposed to different types of foods and the idea of sustainability.The Lunchbox Garden Club also incorporates lessons that explore more imaginative ways to prepare vegetables and fruits with the elementary school students. Wing hopes that these lessons can impact families as well.
“Studies have shown that kids actually change their habits of their households on what they eat. So if a child can learn something that’s beneficial for them and bring it home to their parents and maybe their parents will start doing it,” Wing says.
Hosetter has participated in the Lunchbox Garden Club since her freshman year and will continue to lead the growing program next year. She looks forward to working with the elementary school students each week.
“It’s just been really great. I really love it. It’s also challenging, especially when the kids don’t want to pay attention,” Hosetter says. “But [the] Lunchbox Garden Club has been that thing I can go back to where even if I’m having a tough day and even if I’m not having a great day with the kids, just being around them is very re-energizing.”
Gilberga’s service project that turned into a club also led to a change in her career trajectory. She says her work has helped her to realize that she wants to do non-profit work, and her ultimate goal is to start her own non-profit.
“It’s really a joy. You get to be around the kids and see them excited about what we’re doing,” Gilberga says. “It makes my day, even a day that’s stressful and I'm stressed about Lunchbox Garden and I’m frustrated about it, it makes it worth it just to be there with them.”
For more information on the Lunchbox Garden Club, visit Facebook.com/TheLunchboxGardenProject.
By: Savanna Sturkie | Photography: Brenna Beech | Illustrations: Orlando Pimentel
No one on Earth is further than two minutes away. Physically, sure – someone can be all the way across the planet from you. However, with the introduction of high-speed information and a new social media site popping up at every turn, no one is far. The Internet has globalized the universe, making anything and everything accessible to those who look for it. This includes people, and more interestingly, relationships.
Online connections have allowed people to maintain old relationships, terminate existing ones, and even form new ones entirely through virtual communication. The 21st century has seen the rise and fall of many a social media platform – the most popular and widely used including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It seems that there is a new platform every day for a specific niche. This is taken as far as résumés being shared with potential employers on LinkedIn and entire wedding ceremonies being planned on Pinterest. It is certainly an understatement that social media has completely changed the way people live, communicate and interact with one another, and it has undoubtedly made life easier. But has it made life healthier?
The generation being introduced during the first years of the new millennium, known as Generation Z, is being raised entirely with knowledge of the Internet, mass media and social interaction in online forms. But one has to wonder – is it healthy to grow up in such a world?
Sadie Helton, a fifth-grade teacher in her eighth year of being a professional educator, has taken notice of a growth in number of her young students who participate in social media: “All of them. Seventy-seven students. There may be a handful that don’t.”
Humans rely on social affirmation to feel good about others and themselves, and this becomes exceedingly important around the age of puberty. However, with the growth of accessible technology, the age of introduction to the world of mass media is being lowered. Now, most school-aged children are equipped with all of the most recently updated Apple products, in addition to social media and a need for virtual affirmation from others at a much younger age. The next generation is growing up with it, being raised by it… and this can be extremely dangerous if they are unaware of how to navigate this vast world of information.
B. Lindsay Brown, a member of the Psychology Graduate Program at the University of Georgia, studies industrial and organizational psychology, including identity, stigma and relational demography and well-being. Brown finds that the younger generation may be placed in a situation where they are yet to handle such mass forms of communication. “People are living their whole lives with the Internet,” Brown says. “School-aged kids aren’t really sure how to navigate all that information, how to use it appropriately.” The younger generation’s experience with an entire life built around the Internet can offer insight into the current college student’s situation: while a young-adult individual may not have been raised using Instagram, he or she is being thrust into a universe where all private information is encouraged to be public. People of this age are more aware of how to navigate the Internet and its contents but are also expected and encouraged to participate in it fully.
The fact is, almost everyone who is an active user of the Internet has a Facebook. According to the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of online adults are users of Facebook as of September 2014. For college-aged people, aged 18-29, the statistics are even more staggering: 90 percent of individuals in this age group use social networking sites – 67 percent of them participating via mobile device, allowing it to be available always. Social media has become a constant part of daily life. The world is increasingly accessible, and this has entirely affected the way people connect with each other both online and face-to-face.
The rise of online dating has, logically, mirrored the rise of social media platforms. Now, there are even apps like Tinder and OKCupid that “Facebook-stalk” for you, taking you through all the mediocre shortcuts and straight to the point: Do you think this person is attractive? Do you think you would have things in common? Would you want to pursue a relationship with them? Click. Done. Making connections has never been easier.
Brown supports the growth of online connections for the use of support groups to help find others like ourselves. “You are more willing to make a connection online than in-person,” Brown says. “It is a way to connect to other people.” It is clear that people are more willing to make a connection online as it offers a safety barrier for the fear of rejection that comes with face-to-face interaction, along with a sense of anonymity. Although the Internet offers a sense of protection, what is the value of the connection made? In order to create a sincere relationship, vulnerability is required on both sides. While this is easier said than done, it makes for a much stronger and more genuine connection. “People’s social networks are going to be expanding, so you’ll know a lot more people,” Brown says, “but the quality, the depth of how much you know them may be less… social media will help people connect with more people, but at what cost?”
Additionally, the speed at which people make connections has been increased tenfold with the introduction of texting, liking and commenting on posts. Joanna Lamkin, a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Georgia, studies personality traits. She comments on the super-speed of interaction that has been introduced with the 21st century: Social media “can create that sense of need to communicate so quickly, and it can create this kind of sense of urgency,” she says. “If you’re only communicating via social media, there might be some pieces missing – like trying to accurately convey how you feel. I feel like a lot of that can get lost. If you have this expectation that that is how communication happens, I can see that causing a lot of problems later down the line, professionally or personally.”
While the Age of the Internet has made it far easier to keep up with old friends and establish new connections in places we might not have before, the quality of those relationships must be based in reality. The attention span of the current generation is an incredibly short one, and relationships can be lost as a result. “We have a higher rate of people with ADHD than ever before, and I think it is because we are over-stimulated as a society,” Helton says about society’s need to be constantly preoccupied.
Most college students have multiple social networking accounts, and these accounts greatly aid in the curing of boredom. Walking, riding the bus, waiting in line, during a study break – everyone is plugged in. But if one pauses and looks around, a sea of people is moving with their heads buried into their mobile devices, connected with thousands at a time, but ultimately isolated from one another. Social media had made the importance of affirmation from others increasingly important and easier to achieve, but society has elevated it to the point that it has robbed us of true communication. “I took it off my phone, because I realized every time I was waiting for something I was checking it – not that there’s anything wrong with checking it, I just noticed I was always doing it. It is very addicting,” Brown says.
The health of relationships has always been an important matter, but the way thepopulation forms and maintains them will be a forever-changing topic following the introduction of online interaction. In regards to how social networking can be used in a healthy and positive way (since it is most definitely not going away anytime soon), Lamkin advised setting boundaries for oneself so as not to miss out on the richness of the human experience with real-life interactions: “I think a healthy way to use it is to keep a goal in mind…to make it not the only sphere of our existence so we are not missing out.
As far as health concerns go, there is a saying that everything is okay in moderation. And when it comes to social media, this may be the case. Share a few pictures, text your friends to meet for coffee, share an interesting article on Facebook – these are good things. Social media becomes dangerous when we allow it to substitute for real human experiences. Likes, comments, and other forms of virtual affirmation do not create a good and lovable person, only the representation of one. Real life will always trump the cyber one. The social networking universe will only expand; pools of people will become even more interconnected – we just have to keep the goal of social media in mind: it aids communication – it does not replace it.
By: Brittany Bowes| Illustrations: Orlando Pimentel
For the past decade, the vegetarian lifestyle has been on the rise, especially for Millennials and Generation Y-ers. Veganism and gluten-free diets have crept into the latest trends heavily over the past few years. Not only are these regimes parallel with the “Go Green” movement – involving an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and an endeavor to reduce carbon footprint – and the health-conscious mindset of much of Western society, but being a vegetarian is also a characteristic that many think of as “hipster” and “trendy.”
There are several reasons for excluding meat from one’s diet, ranging from ethics to social status. Regardless of reasoning, going vegetarian has several health benefits for both the body and the environment.
“I chose to do it for ethical reasons,” says Brooke Wallace, a junior mass media arts major from Atlanta. “I eat a lot more vegetables and healthy foods now like salads, eggs, beans, tofu, peanut butter.” Brooke set a meatless diet as a New Year’s resolution and plans on following through for at least a year.
For Rachel Connell, a sophomore animal science major from Savannah, vegetarianism has been routine since March of last year. “My reasons are mainly ethical, but my roommate from freshman year played a big role in influencing my decision by telling me about why she is a vegetarian,” Connell says.
Many people fear that a plant-based diet may result in deficiencies of the necessary nutrients found in meat, but Connell explains that it has benefitted her greatly. “I believe it has contributed to my health because I eat more fruit and vegetables than I used to. I also eat out less because I don't want to have to look for a place with options for me to eat, which has caused me to eat less fried food.”
Although many vegetarian diets sprout from ethical disagreement, typically pertaining to the poor treatment of animals in plants and factories, many claim they partake in the diet because of the personal health that ensues.
“I decided to become a vegetarian because overall, it makes me feel healthier and have more energy,” says Madison Jarvis, a sophomore public relations major from Suwanee. Jarvis has been following a vegetarian diet for about a year and says her mom inspired her to do so.
According to Vegetarian Times magazine, there are several health benefits that come from a vegetarian diet, including warding off disease: “Vegetarian diets are more healthful than the average American diet, particularly in preventing, treating or reversing heart disease and reducing the risk of cancer.” It can even help you live longer. “If you switch from the standard American diet to a vegetarian diet, you can add about 13 healthy years to your life,” says Michael F. Roizen, MD. Other benefits include keeping weight down, building stronger bones and increasing energy. Needless to say, these results will likely concur if accompanied by a strict, health-conscious vegetarian diet. In terms of environmental-friendliness, Vegetarian Times proclaims that vegetarianism can “help reduce pollution, avoid toxic chemicals and reduce famine.”
With the vegetarian/vegan population on the rise, it’s essential that grocers, restaurants and other food-based businesses keep up. Brands like Tofurky, Morning Star, Boca and Gardein manufacture meatless products like deli turkey, sausage, meatballs, burgers and even chicken strips that consist of ingredients such as vegetables, soybeans and vegetable protein. These brands can be found in even the most general grocery stores, including Kroger and Walmart. Organic and gluten-free sections commonly found in most grocery stores, as well as the growth of farmer’s markets such as Earth Fare and Sprouts, have made clean-eating and vegetarian diets convenient and easy to sustain. Several restaurants also now provide vegetarian/vegan friendly options to accommodate for the rising numbers of people following the vegetarian lifestyle. Some restaurants, such as the Grit here in Athens, are solely vegetarian. Other vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Athens include Barberitos, which serves tofu, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, which makes their pizza with vegan dough, and Grindhouse Killer Burgers, which serves veggie burgers.
Vegetarianism takes a lot of dedication, but with the convenience, health benefits and environmental sustainability it has to offer, it might be worth a shot.
By: Katherine Story | Photography: Brenna Beech
Going downtown on a Thursday or Friday night seems like a fairly modern practice. The whole atmosphere screams 21st century – texting people to coordinate the location, dodging frustrated cars filled with people, TVs and speakers blaring games and music – but just because the technology has changed does not mean the people who lived before us in the South did not know what it meant to live in a drinking culture.
“The averages in 1820… were 1.5 shots per day for every man, woman and child,” says UGA history professor Stephen Berry. “Some people are doing much more than their fair share. They were just doing a ton of drinking.”
There are certainly many differences in drinking from the early 19th century to today. Most college students and residents of Athens are not drinking to excess as often, which can lead to death.
“If the coroner is standing above your body [in 1820-1880], you died of a combination of alcohol and stupidity if you were a white male,” Berry says.
Being “drunk” now is not necessarily the same thing as being “drunk” during that era, either. Joe Calpin, a junior biology major from Johns Creek, said that when most people start experiencing the bar scene, they tend to order the same thing – usually a drink that is going to be simple, sweet and cheap.
However, there is still variation and external factors that make it hard to pinpoint what the crowd will be favoring. The Athens drinking scene has divisions.
“Some other college towns have nice bars where they share them with people who actually live in the towns, whereas in Athens, it’s very separated,” Calpin says.
In the 1800s, people saw drinking as another facet of life, ubiquitous and omnipresent. According to the Alcoholic Republic, the lifestyle was so pervasive that parents felt the need to acclimate their young children to drinking by encouraging them to take sips from their own glasses. People are certainly more careful not to let their child consistently consume alcohol now.
Arguably, the largest similarity between 1815 and 2015 is the uncertainty of money. At that time, the economy was having major fluctuations, which led to it being called “flush times,” where the market would have frequent booms and busts.
“It’s roughly every 20 years… you’re riding this wave. Some people are getting rich, but then a lot of people are crashing and getting very poor,” Berry says.
The culture that was created left people fearful of their financial state, and this led to significant drinking. Although our booms and busts are less drastic, the recent recession left many people reeling. For once we had federal entities stepping in and trying to control things on a large scale in order to fix the “bust” of 2008. Understandably, people might turn to relaxant activities to ease their mind off their wallet or bank account.
The South had a heavy-handed culture of drinking, which is why the temperance movement found such success. People were aware there was a problem.
“We tend to associate alcohol with conviviality and partying,” Berry says.
Looking back on history, it is sometimes hard to understand where people were coming from and their motivation behind their actions. But, as we all know, alcohol can be a way to bring groups together and have a good time.