Category Archives: Profiles

“Ghoulie and ghosties” Found at Historic Mill Converted to Apartments

Photo by Mackenzie Ryan
Olympia Mills stands on the corner of Olympia Ave. & Heyward St.

By MacKenzie Ryan

“Olympia was where everyone wanted to live but after three years in that building, I can’t wait to get out. No place has ever given me the creeps more,” said current resident Rylee Merger,

“The worst was the feeling of always being watched, no matter what room in the apartment you were in it was always like someone or something was there with you.”

Olympia Mills luxury student apartments are a staple of South Carolina’s capital city. Located just south of downtown Columbia in the historic Olympia Mills Village, Olympia Mills exterior remains as it was over 110 years ago when the building was first constructed. Instead of running looms and the hustle and bustle of an operating mill, the building is now home to a new kind of noise. Roughly 1,100 University of South Carolina students now call it home, after renovations turned the old vacant textile mill into upscale college style apartments in 2007.

According to the South Carolina Historic and Architectural Inventory, Olympia Mills finished construction in 1899 shortly after her sister mill Granby Mills in 1897. Both mills are located close relation to the Congaree River. These textile mills were the creations of architect and engineer William Burroughs Smith Whaley in an attempt to move South Carolina toward a New South economy following the collapse of the state’s agriculturally dominated infrastructure by the end of the Civil War.

Olympia Mills was Whaley’s masterpiece. The most technologically advanced of all of Whaley’s owned and operated mills, Olympia was at one point the largest textile mill under one roof in the world, housing over 2,400 looms, 104,000 spindles and employing hundreds in the Columbia area.

Whaley hoped Olympia would help establish Columbia as the cotton manufacturing powerhouse of the South. Olympia along with four other South Carolina Mills owned and operated by W.B. Smith Whaley and Company brought prosperity to the capital city as well as the poverty that accompanied the surrounding mill villages.

Following the collapse of the South’s predominantly agriculture-based economy, Southern families would often migrate from the rural countryside’s to cities in search of a better life.  Along with better jobs with better pay than on the farm, mill employment meant free housing. A select few were even provided some form of education in exchange for labor.

However, Olympia Mills, like many other textile mills during that era exploited its workers with long hours and low wages. On average, Olympia Mill employees earned 60 percent less than that earned by mill hands in other parts of the country.

Another dangerous practice also took place.  Used for their small size, children often were used to keep mills running. Children sometimes as young as 7, from sun up to sun down, would work in extremely unhealthy conditions alongside their parents for wages equaling less than $1 a week.

The hardship and neglect in the mills didn’t just pertain to dangerous working conditions. Many mills weren’t above corporal punishment and the belittlement of their employees, Whaley included. And during a organized mill workers strike in the early 20th century, Olympia Mills let many workers go,  evicting them from their homes when they refused to show up for their shifts in protest of  unfair working conditions.

The dangers of working near machinery were an ever-present threat. Children, commonly used to go into the looms to make adjustments or replace a bobbin, often ended up dead or  maimed.

Some 110 years after Olympia Mills opened for business as a leading innovator in textile mill design and production, the building is  home to a different generation of children. But many of the college students who live at Olympia today nsist the mill’s child employees never clocked out — even though Olympia closed textile production permanently in 1996. Paranormal occurrences have been reported by students since the mill was turned into apartments.

Current resident Rylee Merger has lived in Olympia Mills since the start of her sophomore year. Now a senior, she couldn’t be more excited to graduate and leave the mill behind.

“It’s such a fun place to live and just about everyone tries to get a place here but, just like with everything it has its cons,” said Merger, “I just wish I knew before signing my lease I was signing on for more than two other roommates.”

Merger and her sophomore year roommates, Alex Ravins and Emily Williams, lived in Olympia for different periods of time, in multiple apartments. Still, all three women said they experienced supernatural phenomena and unexplained occurrences.

“Being (in) the South I knew just about every building had a history, I just didn’t think one of those places would be my apartment,” said Ravins, who after her sophomore year requested a new apartment following a frightening experience.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. It was just too weird. There was no other explanation other than ghosts,” said Ravins.

Awake well into the early morning hours Ravins was preparing to leave for the weekend on an early flight when she decided it was time to shut down the television and head to her second-floor bedroom.

“I vividly remember turning the TV off with the volume very low because everyone else in the apartment was asleep. Not even 5 minutes after my head hit the pillow, our TV turned on with the volume full blast and the channel had switched to Ghost Hunters or something spooky like that,” said Ravins.

Williams remembers the night just as vividly. “I was asleep in my room and all of a sudden I woke up to our television blaring so loud out of nowhere I was frozen in my bed,” said Williams. “It felt like an eternity until our other roommate Rylee’s boyfriend finally gained enough courage to shut it off.”

This was hardly the last time the ladies of apartment 332 experienced a ghostly encounter. Ravins and Williams recalled another chance encounter with the supernatural that drove home their reasons to switch apartments come the end of the semester.

“I’ve never been more genuinely terrified in my entire life.  We weren’t remotely close to the kitchen or even using anything in there but, somehow one of the top cabinets came flying open and immediately shut again scaring Emily and I half to death,” said Ravins.

“We couldn’t believe what was going on right in front of us. I didn’t think it was really happening but, I’ll never think twice about the existence of ghosts again,” Williams said.

“We just grabbed each other in shock as two more cabinets swung open, after that I couldn’t really sleep right in the apartment. Too many weird things were happening that had no explanation.”

Reports of the paranormal at Olympia continue. Leasing office manager Zach Kiritsy never leased an apartment in  complex while he was USC student. But that didn’t protect him from experiencing some ghostly encounters while working within the building.

“It’s not something we publicize within our leasing office but ghosts and things that go bump in the night defiantly come along with living in such an old historic place. I don’t think many college kids realize that when coming down to school in an area so heavily affected by slavery and the Civil War,” said Kiritsy.

Olympia Mills remains standing today as a member of the National Register of Historic Buildings, known for bringing prosperity and a working population to the city. Today the building represents a new wave of the Columbia community, housing college students during their four-year journey through university.

 

Social Media Empress Connects USC Students

By Emily Rhodes
 
Throughout the Columbia community, Gamecock fans gather in dorms, houses and bars. Students have spent the day eating, drinking, putting on their jerseys and chanting “U-S-C-Goooo Cocks” all day. When 6 p.m. hits the clock screen, everything goes silent. One girl refreshes her twitter feed and with the sound of a bubbly ping, her phone screen reads “It’s game time.”
 
Life as a Gamecock in the month of March was one of the most exciting times in student history. Not only did both basketball teams qualify for the tournament, but the men’s team beat Duke and made it to the Final Four. The women’s team won the entire tournament to become national champions. After these recent victories, the University of South Carolina has been booming with a sense of school spirit like never before.
 
Facebook videos and tweets showed students running through Five Points or celebrating in the Thomas Cooper Library fountain.
 
“Social media has helped pull in many people to root for us, especially since we were viewed as the underdog in every game during the tournament,” says Jay Hill, a senior sports management major at USC.
 
C.J. Lake, the university’s first social media strategist, contributed significantly to the success of the social media campaign during March Madness. Luke has real talent and knowledge in her field. She’s a graduate of the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications and now has a year’s experience in the university’s social media department under her belt.
 
At only 25, Lake has already set the stage for a USC social media makeover and newfound online voice. Much of her success on social media was on Twitter, where Lake possessed a humorous online voice she dubs “trolling,” or cleverly provoking people on the internet.
 
“Lake has brought our platform from a typical boring university account and made it shine- to where people look at our pages more than they ever had before. Our channels are transformed into a haven for prospective students, current students, alumni, and anyone else that wants to know where our university is headed,” says Lauren Crank, a senior social media intern at USC.
 
“People” magazine took note of Lake’s social media success, in a tweet posted after USC defeated Duke. The tweet was in response to USA Today’s prediction of an easy path for Duke to win the winning the whole tournament. When South Carolina defeated Duke, Lake posted on the University of South Carolina account, “Oops” with an upside down emoji and a link to the USA Today post. This post generated over 2,000,000 organic impressions, 10,000 likes and 22,000 retweets.
 
When Lil Wayne, a rapper with almost 30 million followers, tweeted at USC to congratulate South Carolina on the win, Lake zapped him back with one of his own song lyrics expressing gratitude and appreciation of his support. 
 
Last August, USC made a video on millennial slang words, featuring teachers giving their interpretation on what they think certain words mean. The video received tons of success, generating reposts, likes and comments as USC students noticed a friendly, familiar voice from the social media account. Since then, social media engagement with the university has nearly quadrupled, according to Lake.
 
Lake has worked hard to keep this brand voice active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Her main strategy is to keep up with current student lingo, and focus on feeding the “appetite for humor” she sees in her audience.
 
Words like “lit” or “mood,” complete with an emoji, illustrate a brand that goes far beyond the literal meaning of the words. Lake has learned to brand University of South Carolina students as a community that welcomes celebration, confidence and humor.
 
“It’s been really cool seeing our fans gather around and voice support for a team that wasn’t supposed to make it this far, and the women that were supposed to make it this far. A lot of times where people go to do that is social media, so helping mitigate and talk back to people has been a lot of fun,” Lake says in a video interview with The State.
 
Lake’s biggest success has come from using that exact method of conversing. By behaving mostly like a friendly fan, she attracts student, making it more likely that they will repost and interact with the university on social media. Even students who couldn’t be there for the tournament were made to feel like they were right there in the basketball arena.
 
With strategists like C.J. Lake and USC’s school spirit, social media is influencing students. Especially in retaining and reaching new students, it’s important to show off the school in the best light. Combining the athletic prowess USC showed in March with Lake’s 200,000 impressions on Twitter suggests there’s a strong possibility at an influx of excited prospective students.
 
Lake’s social media campaign during the tournament has given the university a new brand for itself. As shown in the last few twitter posts, it’s a school that laughs along with the super fan dressed in a chicken costume on Greene Street, runs along with the students sprinting straight to Five Points after a victory, and trolls Duke fans on Twitter.
 
Brooke Tatore, an advertising and visual communications student at the University of South Carolina, spends a lot of time working on building graphics for brands and raves about the university’s recent success online.
 
“Lake makes it look effortless on social media. Her strategy is incredible, but not too advertise-y. She informs us on what we need to know, but grows hype and excitement for the school at the same time. When reaching university students, that’s the end goal,” says Tatore.
 
The mixed use of media has contributed to Lake’s social media success. Whether on Facebook or Twitter, the posts are a mixed use of text, images, gifs, stats, videos and quotes. There’s always an emoji and hashtag to keep it modern, lighthearted and all connected.
 
“USC did a really great job sharing pictures, videos, and articles about both teams on Facebook. I constantly saw people sharing the school’s posts and even shared a few myself, which I rarely used to do,” says Sarah Casasnovas, a public relations student at the University of South Carolina.
 
Students who rarely post online, and especially rarely repost information from the school, were posting during the tournament. Pride from tournament victories led students to a newfound sense of school spirit online.
 
“Social media has become an inescapable driving force in today’s society. It gives users the power to communicate past the boundaries of reality and share unlimited amounts information,” says Casasnovas. “Lake has created that online relationship with students that combine the flow of information and the sass of a successful athletic program.”
 
As we can see from Lake’s success, followers want to feel connected, and want larger than life programs to still remain transparent and humane.

“Shameless” Star Strives to Lead Normal Life

Picture taken by Shanola Hampton
Shanola Hampton smiles for her favorite guilty pleasure, a selfie.

By Anya Middleton

Shanola Hampton, a Summerville, South Carolina native, can be seen as a popular character on Showtime’s “Shameless.” Her character Veronica is vibrant, wild, and very sexually expressive. Veronica, along with the show’s lead Fionna, find themselves in a lot of interesting situations to say the least. Although Veronica is known for her wild and edgy character, Hampton is almost a completely different person.

“First of all, I don’t do mean,” Hampton said, which is a motto she carries throughout her life. Hampton is a true Southern girl, the daughter of a pastor, a wife and mother of two.

So what does “Pastor Dad” Gralin Hampton have to say about his daughter’s role on screen? He is extremely supportive as any father would be. “Shanola has always been over the top– or for lack of a better word, wild. Although her show may be a bit much for many Christian households, we know she is just acting and we know her heart and mind are still with the Lord,” Gralin Hampton said.

Keeping good values and being a good person remain important to Shanola Hampton, who still attends church every Sunday. Hampton has not adopted a crazy Hollywood lifestyle. She says her faith and the support of friends has helped her remain level headed

“The key is education,” Hampton said when asked how a small town girl has made it this far. “Unlike many of the cliché Hollywood stories you may hear about people in the business, I didn’t just up and move to California with a dollar and a dream. I studied and perfected my craft and I obtained two degrees before moving to Los Angeles.”

A proud graduate of Winthrop University, Hampton earned her masters at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  While studying in Illinois, she also gained some of her most meaningful experiences as an actress.  She  lessons she learned made a huge impact in her career. “Just after my mother passed, I landed the role of Charlotte in ‘Charlotte’s Web.’ It was one of the most influential parts of my career because it was my first time playing and learning how to be a lead. It also came at a pivotal moment in my life. This would be the first work I was in that my mother wouldn’t see in person,” Hampton said.

Hampton leads a normal life. She says her life revolves around her daughter, Cai, aged 3, and her son, Doc, aged 1. She wakes up before sunrise, goes to the gym and  then comes home to cook breakfast for her children. During her work week she takes her children to different extracurricular and cultural activities, meets with friends and business partners, and spends  quality time with her husband.

“Veronica and I are alike in the way that we are both free spirited and adventurous,” said Daren Dukes, her husband.  “Shanola, like her character Veronica, has a vibrant personality and a smile that lights up the room. Although Veronica’s adventures are more on the risqué side, Hampton’s adventures include her love of travelling the world and trying new crazy things.

“I’m not against trying everything once,” Hampton said.  She and her husband travel internationally once a year and make it a point to try something new and exciting with every trip.  “We actually just got back from a trip around Canada! It was so serene,” Hampton said, “My favorite part was the food of course. My friend’s family made us a seafood feast of lobster and scallops that was to die for. The meal is still heavy on my mind even days later.”

Hampton and Dukes, are celebrating 17 years of marriage this year.  They are a college love story; they met on the campus of Winthrop University. Hearing Dukes talk about his wife is truly special.  One can see the love he has for her on his face.

Duke’s main focus right now is to support his wife.. “Shanola and I have always made a great team. This time in our lives it is extremely important for me to support her as career continues to flourish. We have reversed the ‘norm’ gender roles, I stay home with our children when she shoots, which in 2017 we don’t see a problem with and don’t know why others would,” Dukes said.

He said that he never wants his wife to feel held back or overwhelmed and he goes the extra mile to be help her.

Outside of her family life, Hampton loves to give back to the community. One of the main foundations she supports is the Art of Elysium, which empowers communities to join together and emotionally triumph over circumstances through art,  She will be recognized for her work for the foundation next year.

She is  passionate motivating others, “It took over a thousand ‘no’s’ before I got that one ‘yes’ that changed my life. It is so extremely important to me to encourage others to follow their dreams and achieve their goals.”

Shanola’s sister Andrea Hampton, who is a South Carolina school principal can attest to this. “Shanola has been to my school several times to speak to the students. I work in a very rural area with less than 500 students and Shanola’s visit is something that the children don’t ever stop talking about. Former students who are on their way to college still rush up to me with memories of the times she came to visit them. It means a lot to me because all students don’t come from . . . encouraging households however she provided them with encouragement to last them a life time,” Andrea Hampton said.

“Acting has been my passion since I was a very little girl, I just hope that I can inspire others to achieve their dreams and wishes as well,” Shanola Hampton said.  She said  she is fortunate to have the support of wonderful fans. She feels that “Shameless” is just the beginning of her career and is excited for the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Shopping is a Pleasure

Photo by Rashaan Anderson
Photo of the newly built Publix in Chapin, South Carolina before the grand opening.

By Rashaan Anderson

When pulling up to the parking lot of my local Publix supermarket, the first thing I notice is how employees are taking customers’ groceries out to their cars. I have never seen any store carry out groceries before. I could tell, just from the outside, that Publix is different from other stores. Once inside, you are immediately greeted with a “Hello, welcome to Publix.”

But it doesn’t stop there. As I was walking through an aisle looking for seasoning, I noticed an employee working. As soon as I walked by he asked, “Are you finding everything O.K?” I had been in the store less than 5 minutes and already I felt more important than any other store I had been too. When it was time to check out, the cashier and bagger both asked how I was, in a manner that seemed like we were all good friends. This kind of “royal treatment” is what store founder, George Jenkins, wants for every single customer since he started Publix in 1930

The first Publix Food Store made its grand appearance on September 6, 1930 in Winter Haven, Florida. In the first four years, Publix Food Store made a profit of $120,000 all off of sales and was able to open a second store in 1935. For most companies, the 1930s was a hellish period due to The Great Depression. A time where businesses were shutting down left and right and unemployment was at an all-time high. But Jenkins was determined not to let Publix become a statistic because of the Depression. Instead, Jenkins wanted to weather the storm and keep his business dreams alive.

Jenkins’ determination paid off in 1940 with the opening of the first Publix Supermarket. The additions of innovations like fluorescent lighting, electric eye doors, terrazzo floors and in-store music made Publix stand out among other supermarkets. Customers were so impressed by the look and feel of being treated like royalty, it was dubbed, “the food palace.”

Fast forward to the 1950s and Publix was becoming the talk of the town, or state in this case. So much so that in 1951, a 125,000 square-foot warehouse and headquarters complex was built in Lakeland, Florida, to keep up with the rapid expansion of the company. In 1969, there were 150 stores in Florida. The more stores that opened, the more profits Publix acquired. By 1969, the stock value of Publix was worth $44. A huge number considering that the first Publix supermarket opened just 20 years earlier.

From then on, Publix continued to grow and get better with time and compete with other major supermarket companies. Between 1951 and 1982, Publix began providing different services to its customers with the additions of a deli, bakery, seafood and floral departments. In 1982, the first Publix opened up outside of Florida in Savannah, Georgia. South Carolina acquired its first Publix in 1993. Another big milestone in the short history of Publix was that in 2009, Publix opened its 1,000th store in St. Augustine, Florida. With this opening, Publix became one of five stores in the United States to reach this milestone

Today, Publix has a total of 1,147 supermarkets and continues to grow. With each Publix, comes an extensive list of awards including being ranked No.3, by Indeed.com, for best job security and being No.1, according to Fortune, as the best company to work for. Jason Vermillion, the current manager of the Publix store on Kennerly Crossing in Irmo, South Carolina, says that all of the awards that Publix has won, have something in common. “Every award is based on George Jenkins’ mission statement.”

The first part of the mission statement focuses passionately on customer values. This is the biggest factor that sets Publix apart from other supermarkets. If you don’t believe me, read the company slogan, “Where shopping is a pleasure.” Publix is dedicated to pleasing all of its customers’ needs whether it is checking prices, special ordering items or just offering a smile. Publix goes above and beyond of its customers.

Customers, like Shannon LaFrance, are willing to drive pass four to five other supermarkets just to come to shop at Publix. “There is just a vibe about Publix that is so unique and welcoming that I much rather prefer to drive 10 minutes to go my local Publix.” LaFrance also added that the quality of food is top notch over other stores.

Part two of the mission statement is being intolerant of waste. In 2016, Publix donated around 29 million pounds of bakery products to local donation places like Harvest Hope and Feeding America. Publix is also very responsible in terms of recycling materials and promoting saying the environment, hence the theme of green that Publix is known for.

Mission statement No.3 deals with the dignity, value and employment security of the associates. No company can survive without the hard work of the employees and Publix is considered the best retaining and gaining associates. One big reason is the benefits that can be acquired for both part-time and full-time employees. Benefits like health insurance, dental care and even start saving for retirement.

Elizabeth Eells, who worked for Publix for 5 years, says that benefits are what sold her. “Where else could I start saving for retirement after just one year of working?” Publix is also a company that is always promoting from within. For example, if a customer service staff member leaves, a cashier who has been with the company for some years could be trained to work the customer service desk.

The fourth mission statement is giving stockholders the highest standards of stewardship. Publix is a privately-owned company, meaning that only active associates and members of the Board of Directors can buy Publix stock. George Jenkins had the belief that if employees owned Publix, they would care about what happens to it.

The final mission statement is being responsible citizens in the communities. At least 5 times a year, Publix gathers donations for charities like Special Olympics, Food for Sharing, Habitat for Humanity and for Harvest Hope Food Bank just to name a few.

While Publix has had its fair share of success, based on its reputation and dedication to the customers, there have been some failures. One of these being PublixDirect.

Launched in September 2001, PublixDirect was once believed to have been the “future of grocery shopping.” The thought of ordering food and it being delivered to the comfort of one’s own home, was thought to have been Publix’s “golden ticket.” Instead, in 2003, it was shut down due to the lack of demand in the area. Both of these failures cost Publix millions of dollars.

Publix has endured a number of complaints, from employees and loyal customers alike, about Publix being too “nice” to customers. Publix has a policy called the “Publix Promise.” It states that if a customer has any complaints about a product or if a price is higher than advertised, then customers can return the product, with their receipt, and they can get their money back in full.

The problem comes when customers intentionally damage products and then return them and are still able to get a refund. Not only does it put in question every customer that returns items, but it also makes people wonder where the line is drawn in terms of what customers can get away with. \

Despite these failures and critical complaints, Publix has been able to maintain and even grow its customer base. With more and more Publix stores continuing to be built every year, not only across the South, but even the southeastern part of the states, it is hard to see Publix dropping off anytime soon. In the end, Publix is one of the fastest growing and most profitable supermarket companies in the United States for a reason. Top-notch customer service, high quality products and a positive staff, truly makes shopping at Publix, a pleasure.

Anderson is a broadcast journalism senior

Why “Blue Lives Matter”

Photo by Nicholas Spano                           Photo taken over spring break of Officer Dan Gilliam’s country side home in Western Maryland.

By Nick Spano

Visiting the nation’s capital on a sunny afternoon in mid- March to soak in history is a great activity. Living in the area for the last 22 years, it is not odd to see rallies and a lot of tourists exploring Washington. This afternoon, American flags waving and signs saying “Blue Lives Matter” caught my attention.

Protesters were stuck like glue outside the White House all day expressing their beliefs. Law enforcement was supported by Washington’s downtown district in the past. But difficult months of violence between citizens and police officers have complicated it all. And there has been backlash against men and women in blue all across the United States. This has left authorities feeling under siege.

Dan Gilliam, is a retired United States Park Police officer in Washington D.C. He spent 17 years working with the park service police in D.C. He views all the controversy over police treatment of citizens as very upsetting. All lives matter in this world. I’ve seen death, destruction of families, and much more,” Gilliam said.

Gilliam wants to better help others understand that officers are people, too. His main focus is: “We put on the uniform to serve and protect the community in any which way possible.

The United States Park Police shares a rich history as the nation’s highest ranked and oldest police agency. While the agency performs routine police work, such as traffic stops, writing tickets, and dealing with emergency calls, it also works closely every day with the United States Secret Service.

Being part of the White House secret service provides you “detail work,” a code they use for escort schedules, training maneuvers, and protocol. Gilliam worked with the motorcycle unit most of his career. That post is considered a very high ranking position in the department. He dealt with escorting the president, vice president, and many dignitaries. Working with Secret Service meant taking risks, but also gaining opportunities.  Gilliam has met the King of Jordan, the Dalai Lama, and many sports stars.

The biggest honor came at roll call one day. He was assigned to lead the motorcade to escort the funeral procession of the 40th President of the United States, President Ronald Reagan. Talking with Gilliam’s coworkers, you see a different side of the department and glean their views on “Blue Lives Matter.” They stress police officers should be protected in any situation they are put in.

A hardworking 27-year veteran for the Washington D.C. Park Police, John Summer deals with a lot of street crime. A street patrol officer,  he see seen firsthand the hatred against the police. Before being assigned to the Park Police unit, he worked four years in undercover work .

Neighborhood watch groups were complaining that there was prostitution taking place in business district parks. Sometimes he ended up locking up runaway girls as young as 16. The tasl was heart breaking since his own daughter about that age.

“Seeing derogatory signs and having rocks thrown at you in your own community you protect every day is extremely hard to deal with,” Summer says. He says the lowest point in his career came in January, when riots escalated as President Trump was sworn into office. “Helping others became harder because you were more worried about your own safety,” he said.

Worrying about your own safety and seeing your fellow officers hurt physically n  these situations becomes no laughing matter. He joined the police department with a thought to save and help people inside their communities.  i

Having a family can be hard at times Gilliam and Summer said. Corruption and a negativity with the police might be overcome if people remembered that “any person who is willing to leave their family to protect yours is a good officer,” according to Gilliam and Summer.Gilliam’s wife feels deep support for the Park Police. “The department is a family in its own, they watch each other’s backs and respect their integrity and reputation they must hold at a high standard,” she said.

Police in Washington and in Columbia say “Blue Lives Matter.”  Richland County Police Officer Jamie Russell, a newer officer, agrees. “All lives matter, especially cops who go above and beyond the call of duty,” he said, taking out his badge after sitting down at his favorite breakfast spot.

The badge provides a legal authority to its wearers and shows their allegiance to communities they serve, Russell said.  Taking an oath is something every officer must do. It’s explained as not a privilege but an honor to wear the badge in order to protect and serve for the people. Recent killings of police officers worry officers’ families. Russell’s daughter, Blair, fears for her father’s life every day he puts on the uniform and leaves the house.

Police officers can sometimes be taken for granted, “There’s far too many things directed to officers who keep us safe,” said Blair Russell. “I see news articles of fallen officers somewhere in the United States killed in the line of duty and makes me scared.”

“This has to stop, no more violence should be tolerated,” she said.

Spano is a public relations senior

 

 

Life: Decently and in Order

Apostle Daemon Christoper Terry Sr. and wife Tara Terry answering a biblical question asked by 10 year-old Zeal Robinson.
Photo by Aalayah Faulcon-Sanders

By Aalayah Faulcon

A peek into the lives and perspective of Christians who believe self-discipline is the best ingredient to living a purposeful and God driven life.

New fads, music and television shows entice the world every day. Christians are not exempt from falling into the trap of wanting to watch the newest shows or listen to the newest rap songs. This epidemic has become the challenge and opportunity, according to Christian leaders. The Kingdom Learning Center located in Irmo, South Carolina and its members share the same Christian values and drive for holiness without cutting corners. The riddance of secular music, secular television shows, vulgar language, alcohol and other worldly objects may seem like isolation from reality, but to The Kingdom Learning Center’s members, it is the right way to live.

When examining the life of Jesus and his followers before the electronic era we live in today, their lives were a lot more confined than those at The Kingdom Learning Center. Apostle D.C. Terry Sr. and his wife Apostle Tara Terry have lived a life without secular influence since salvation and built the foundation of their ministry based off of str Continue reading Life: Decently and in Order

Standing tall for Seattle’s Invisible Nation

Photo by Sydney Bugg
Chief Seattle’s illustration hangs outside of the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center in west Seattle with the following message: “Chief Seattle is Watching.”

By Sydney Bugg

Chief Si’ahl of the Duwamish Native American people has a name that is known to the world through his namesake that went on to become the largest city in the Pacific Northwest after his death. Si’ahl’s Anglicization is what is commonly known as Seattle. Unlike many other cities in America today, Seattle’s indigenous people are still around in modern times.

They have chosen to live where they have for over 4,000 years, even though doing so meant losing homes that would not be replaced and maintaining an “invisible” status as they co-existed lacking adequate resources while the city around them thrived economically from a booming tech scene. Cecile Hansen, great-great grand-niece of Chief Seattle is one of those people, and she has been fighting for over 40 years to get her home back.

Less than 5-feet tall, Hansen still has taken on giants like the federal government and fellow Native Americans within the Bureau of Indian Affairs fearlessly. Unlike many of today’s Native American tribes, since 1855 Hansen’s tribe has had legal documentation of what her people are owed. 1855 was the year that changed everything for the Duwamish people. In 1855, after years of welcoming and helping settlers, Chief Seattle signed the Point Elliot Treaty, turning over more than 50 acres of land to settlers in exchange for promises to hunting and fishing rights along with other benefits for the Duwamish people. To date, this promise remains unfulfilled.

As a result, today’s descendants of Chief Seattle and the Duwamish people who chose to identify as such are forced to manage without government recognition on a tribal status level, and the benefits that come with such recognition. “I want people to stop saying recognition. We have been recognized and we have a document that proves it! What the Duwamish people need is acknowledgement”, Hansen says.

What comes with federal recognition/acknowledgement? As Hansen says, “Money. We need money. We don’t have a casino like all these other tribes do. We don’t even necessarily want to have a casino. We just want to take care of our people.”

Over time, neighboring tribes in Seattle and Washington began to achieve recognition as soveirgn nations. Hansen believes one of those tribes in particular has played a role in preventing the Duwamish from receiving Federal Recognition through the Indian Bureau of Affairs: The Muckleshoot. The Muckleshoot tribe also has a casino that funds scholarships, benefits for tribal members, and has help build new facilities on their reservation. Unfortunately, outside of these benefits, casinos have highly politicized and economized Native American affairs, birthing what Hansen has nicknamed “SOS,” short for “straight on stupidity.”

Nonetheless, the products of government funding and casino money have been enough to draw many Duwamish people away from invisible coexistent lives in Seattle and on to reservations where they also have a sense of living communicably in addition to quality of live improvements. Hansen’s brother is one of these people. After being cited for fishing in the Duwamish River in the 1970s, he’d decided he’d had enough and moved to a reservation where he would have rights to fish as he originally would have that day in the Duwamish river if the Treaty of Point Elliot had been honored

. When asked about how she feels about the migration of so many Duwamish people over the years who chose to identify with other tribes Hansen says, “I don’t blame them. They’ve got to take care of themselves. Even though there is rivalry between our tribe and others, I still have many family and friends all over the state and country who are a part of other tribes. I’ve got friends everywhere.”

For this reason, there are only 600 or so people who today identify ethnically as being Duwamish as reported to the U.S. Government. Many Duwamish people share ancestry with other tribes and others have chosen to identify with their ancestries that are favored on a federal level. Although as Hansen says, “You can’t go anywhere in this city where [Duwamish people] didn’t live.”

The self-proclaimed Duwamish who stick around in Seattle co-exist in assimilated fashions with no designated land of their own.

In 2009, a small victory in the battle fighting back against broken promises was won. With community help, the Duwamish raised enough money to build the first longhouse in the area since the late 1800s when all of Seattle’s long houses were burnt down by pioneer settlers. Amongst efforts to help build the Longhouse were those from the descendants of pioneer settlers. I think they felt a little guilty,” she says. This symbolic place is the only “home” for today’s Duwamish. The Longhouse welcomes visitors from all around the world to learn about Duwamish culture and history, and the outside of its wooden walls bears the following message in bright orange lettering “Chief Seattle Is Watching.”

This achievement reaffirms the determination of the Duwamish people that has lasted since their first refusal to leave the city and move elsewhere. Working around a need for government recognition, Hansen was able to get 501 (c) (3) non-profit status for Duwamish initiatives. Still, eight years later, there are certain issues only government funding can fix (healthcare being one example). And paradoxically, even with the longhouse, it’s hard to work towards the task of lobbying for government action

. “I don’t have time for pr,” Hansen says, “I don’t have money to pay people to work or even sit at the front desk to answer phones.” At the long house, Hansen points to a young bald white man with a bright red beard and says, “He’s one of our few helpers out here. He’s an anthropology student working here as a volunteer and intern.”

Several visitors from around the world who come to the long house leave with the intent to do what they can to help advocate for the causes of the Duwamish tribe. Many of these small actions come in various forms, whether a charitable donation or a letter to a congressional leader. “A lot of people who aren’t Duwamish care too. In general, most people in the city have a sense of who we were at least and what we did for the city even if they do not care,” says Hansen.

Aside from the longhouse, newcomers to Seattle can also quickly get a sense that the modern city was built on Indian land, more specifically Duwamish land. Downtown Seattle is home to a giant monument sculpture of Chief Seattle, streets and district names bear tribal names accompanied by Native American designs in street art, and even public transit station stop logos. Upon arrival to the airport foreigners are presented with exhibit-like displays with information on Seattle’s first people. Their tales are presented in almost mythical fashion here, with storied accounts of how the Duwamish arrived to the area traveling by canoes. The Seattle-Tacoma airport went as far as placing speakers near this exhibit with tribal melodies of the Duwamish on repeat.

The homage paid to the Duwamish is more than many other tribes will receive as far as being remembered goes. However, the city’s depiction of the Duwamish almost exclusively as being part of a history instead of depicting the Duwamish as also being living breathing people within the city has aided in fostering their sense of invisibility. This invisibility is why Hansen has repeated and adopted the phrase “we are still here” as almost a slogan for today’s Duwamish.

Although invisible to society, Duwamish elders have worked to ensure children grow up with knowledge of their culture. “We know who we are,” Hansen says. “We have pride in being Duwamish. We teach the kids the songs. People still care about this culture.” And as far as the fight goes for everyone else to know who they are today; Hansen isn’t giving up anytime soon. Another denial bears little effect on Hansen’s tenacity. She remains busy every day, planning trips for grassroots lobbying and events for fundraising and awareness at the longhouse. “It’s not over,” Hansen says, “I’m not giving up. I have hope. If I didn’t have hope what else would I do? Walk around downtown sad and drunk with my Indian basket?”

Bugg is a public relations senior

Student senators impact USC life

Photo courtesy of The University of South Carolina.
The 108th University of South Carolina Student Senate

By Grant Hensley

“When my friends ask why I am dressed up from head to toe in a business suit 2 days out of the week, I always let them know that I am providing them with a better campus, so be happy,” former senator, Kristina Johnson said with a slight laugh. The professional look is one of the many responsibilities one was to hold the title of a University of South Carolina senator.

From the early years of the University of South Carolina, students have been involved in representing the whole student body. It was not until recent years that an organization like the student Senate has been run so clean and orderly. With a total of 50 members delegated from 13 different colleges from the University of South Carolina, the student Senate accurately represents its constituents. After this elite group of students are chosen by the student body, each senator is placed on a committee to cover a range of student concerns. These include committees put in place for safety and transportation, the finance committee, an athletic committee, multi-cultural affairs committee, and many more.

However, what the student senate is capable of is not always known. When fellow student alumni, Sam Ulmer, was asked what this organization does he said, “I really don’t. Personally, I feel like those guys just sit up in that random Russell House room and get free food and drinks all the time.”

When former University of South Carolina Student Body President, Michael Parks, was asked to comment about student senate he said, “This organization is put in charge of so many tasks around campus and even has the power to delegate over $100,000 to students.” Yes, you heard that right. The university gives these 50 students power to give over $100,000 to student organizations and operations around campus.

You wonder what all this money could go to. Maybe a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich day or free t-shirts for a game comes to mind. But the previously mentioned options are only a few of the things that this organization deals with. All types of organizations, like the Comic Book Club, Multi-Cultural Affairs Club, and many more can apply for this money. The Senate has the power to allocate such groups money to send these groups all over the country. Just recently, the Comic Book Club had the chance to travel to Las Vegas to experience the world-famous Comic Con getting a total of $5,206. Although not a huge amount was given to this particular event, the Senate has the power to allocate a total of $200,000, so every little bit counts.

While this sounds easy to allocate money left and right, senators have to do battle once a week in the Senate Chambers. With 50 strong minded students in one room with equal say, these Senate meetings can last over 2 hours each week.

Sitting in on a session was very intriguing to see how orderly the Senate was. To start off, the vice president will preside over the senators and make sure things do not get too out of hand. With each committee leader quickly going over what happened in their respective weekly meetings so everyone is on the same page. “Once the committee meetings give their weekly update, things get interesting. We move on to future bills that will come on the next reading calendar. This means we will just basically go over the bill and ask any questions regarding what the legislation covers,” said Johnson.

Johnson also talked about how things get heated and had this to say, “I was about to get to that. Once we are voting on bills trying to be pushed through this week. Sometimes people will literally walk out they are so mad.” Seeing this in person is truly an interesting to watch. A sponsor for the particular bill will make their way up to the podium at the front of the chambers. From there they will take any and all questions that senators have on the bill. One particular bill was discussed for over 30 minutes and eventually the senator declined to answer any more questions. This bill was over a Greene Street moped sign and voted on shortly after. It passed by unanimous decision, but still served as a strong example of how much each bill means to these students.

The whole process of passing a bill seems like a lot of work, but I wanted to learn more about the everyday routine of a senator. Katherine Farrell is a freshman and first time student senator. When asked if it ever becomes too much work she said, “It is always something you have to plan your schedule around, but it is never too much. I enjoy keeping my mind occupied all the time and that’s exactly what happens. There is always something interesting being a senator.”

As leader of the Safety and Transportation Committee, her job is even more strenuous than most senators. She has to thoroughly go through each bill and outline it for each committee meeting once a week. She has to write new bills that may come from the committee. Once she completed her role as a committee leader, she will get in touch with her delegation committee. This is the group of students representing each of their colleges. These meetings are once every two weeks and each delegation tries to pass a bill every month that will contribute to their college. Last month, Farrell said they made a snapchat geotag for her college.

Farrell shared Johnsons’ same enthusiasm for their commitment to student senate, “Although it is a lot of work, I have learned so much through it all. From the people you meet and the opportunities that are given, I wouldn’t change a thing.” The hard work and leadership that these elite students undergo are a testament to the silent work of the Senate. Not many know the duties of the Senate, but their work will help the University of South Carolina and the whole student body for the future to come.

Hensley is a public relations senior

 

Dr. Ziolkowski meets the Antarctic

Picture by Kylie Sheaffer
Student window display at the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment at the University of South Carolina

“It was just giant in scale and beautiful and humbling.”

By: Kylie Sheaffer

The most prominent feature of Dr. Lori Ziolkowski’s office is her wall of pictures. It’s a sea of ice and blue skies.  The images have been blown up to poster-size, and they’re mesmerizing.  She gestures to a group of smaller pictures and explains that she had taken those during an expedition to Alaska.  She had gone to further her climate change studies back around 2014.  She then casually waves her hand towards the group of stunning, icy photographs closest to her desk, and explains that those were from her trip to Antarctica.

Antarctica is one of the most extreme and isolated regions in the world.  Traveling to and from the continent requires many resources and weeks of preparation.  It’s home to mainly scientific outposts, and tons and tons of ice.  Ziolkowski had the honor to journey there for scientific research.

“The whole thing was just very surreal,” says Ziolkowski.

Ziolkowski works as an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina.  She’s been teaching here since 2013 and works at the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment (SEOE), particularly in the marine science department.  She’s well-liked by students, too.  Most of her reviews on “Rate My Professor” reflect that, and many people are quick to recommend her.

“I loved taking her class.  She was a professor that would go above and beyond for students.  Every time we had a test, she was willing to meet with me to help me plan what to study for,” says Jessica Snyder, a former student of Ziolkowski’s.

Although she loves teaching, and prides herself in her job, Ziolkowski’s passion lies in field work.  Much of her career has been devoted to climate change, but Ziolkowski’s purpose for studying in Antarctica was to research the growth of life and microbiology in barren and remote environments.  It’s difficult for anything to survive through an Antarctic winter.  It was a bit different than what she was used to, but was still an experience she loved.  Ziolkowski intends to study the data she has collected now that she’s back in the states, and wants to use her findings to determine what she should be collecting next January when she returns to Antarctica.

It appears Ziolkowski relates to her students even more than they realize.  She jokes about working best under deadlines, and launches immediately into telling about how she was able to secure the Baillet Latour Fellowship needed for her research in Antarctica.  It was all on a whim, and she just happened to discover it because a friend forwarded an ad to her from Twitter.  Next thing she knew, she was the first female and non-European to be given the fellowship.

To give an idea of how quickly Ziolkowski’s expedition unfolded, she found the ad in late August.  She applied, and learned by October 10th that she had been awarded the International Polar Foundation’s fellowship.  November, she says, was the month for getting medical records ready, and by early January she was on a flight to Cape Town, South Africa.  It was one of her layovers on the way to her icy destination.  Five months and days of travel, was all the preparation she had for the research opportunity of a lifetime.

“This trip was a whole life lesson on learning how to depend on others,” says Ziolkowski.

The time prior to take-off was stressful.  Ziolkowski says, the many uncertainties of the trip, specifically medical ones, made her most nervous.  Once at her destination, Princess Elisabeth Station in East Antarctica, she knew she’d be a week away from any nearby hospital.  The stress was so substantial that Ziolkowski even began clenching her teeth in her sleep.  She had to see an endodontist the day before she left, because she was so nervous that she had convinced herself she needed a root canal.  Luckily, she didn’t.

“It wasn’t as arduous as I thought it would be,” says Ziolkowski, referencing what life was like once she arrived down south.

After her stress tests and blood tests and just a few short months of prep, Ziolkowski found herself landing on a strip of ice in Antarctica.  There aren’t any real runways at the southern-most end of the world, so pilots are trained to land in slippery environments.

The station, which Ziolkowski says didn’t use a generator the entire time she was there, is the first of its kind.  While she was there, it housed 17 people.  There was one computer with limited bandwidth for everyone to use, and a few luxuries, like multiple espresso machines, that surprised Ziolkowski.  She compared it to a mountain chalet, and emphasized its comfort.  Princess Elisabeth station is owned by a Belgian foundation and not by a government.  According to the International Polar Foundation, the station is a zero-emissions station and is about a decade old.  The primary language of the station is French, which Ziolkowski says she knows a bit off, because she’s from Canada, but definitely learned more of while abroad.

A requirement of everyone at Princess Elisabeth was to learn crevasse-rescue training.  All 17 crewmates had to practice climbing in to an icy crevasse, and had to practice pulling someone out.  Ziolkowski had prior ropes-skills and crevasse-rescue training, but was still a bit unnerved climbing into one, knowing a hospital was a week away.

“There’s not really sound in Antarctica.  If you think about outside, you hear city noises, you hear birds, you hear the wind and leaves.  But there you just have ice, and snow, right?  So, you hear the wind on your ears, but there’s not really other sounds.  And so then when you went down into the crevasse, it was just quiet,” she says.  She casually mentions that the ice they were on was approximately 900,000 meters thick, so the crevasse she scaled could’ve been quite deep.

Much of her experience with Antarctica seems as surreal as her crevasse adventure.  Her favorite day was in a Norwegian territory named Vesthugen.  It was essentially an ice-valley, carved out by wind, that took an hour to travel to.  Ziolkowski jokingly refers to snowmobiling, the team’s form of travel, as skadooing while describing this adventure.  It’s the Canadian snow-mobile, she says.

Despite receiving pre-frostbite that day, as she had to change from a snowmobile outfit to more flexible, hiking snow gear in -30 degree wind-chill, she calls it a good day.

“Being in the valley was stunning.  There were cliffs and waves of ice just sort of hanging into the valley.  The whole thing was surreal.  It was just giant in scale and beautiful and humbling,” Ziolkowski says.

She even ventured off alone while in Antarctica.  She could ski away from the Princess Elisabeth, as long as she stayed in view of the station; a bit like a child not being able to venture too far from home while playing.  She was never afraid, because safety was a clear concern and priority for everyone.

Her most shocking find that she’s discovered so far, was an open lake in Antarctica.  The lake wasn’t frozen over, and there wasn’t a clear source of running water that led into the lake.  The temperatures weren’t above freezing, either.  The lake was even home to kelp, despite it being located nearly 200km (nearly 125 miles) from the shore.  Not even the station’s director, a man who has skied the entire length of Antarctica, could find an explanation for the phenomenon.

Although Ziolkowski has had to put teaching on hold for the semester, to have proper time for travel and research, she thinks the time is good for her.  She has been preparing for the upcoming semester and how best to teach students about the work she is doing and about climate change as well, her specialty.

Her Antarctic research has gone over well with her department, too.  She’s gained quite a bit of support regarding her Antarctic expedition, more so than any other field work she’s done before.

“This is a true asset to teaching: the more an instructor is able to bring their own experience into the classroom and make science and scholarly work come alive, the more students are able to envision themselves in a related situation some day,” says Carol Boggs, director of the School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment at U of SC.

Ziolkowski’s passionate view on life and research are nothing short of inspiring.

Sheaffer is a broadcast major

Making “It’s On Us” a Household Name

Photo courtesy of It’s On Us at the University of South Carolina
Mary Copeland Cain, Michael Parks and Lindsay Bratun at an “Its On Us Week of Action” event

By Alana Bremner

When Michael Parks began campaigning for student body president in the spring of 2016, one of his goals was to make “It’s On Us” a household name at the University of South Carolina. One year later, student government hosted the “It’s On Us Hero Gala,” raising over $12,000 in a single night.

“It’s On Us” was founded, in 2014, as a White House initiative, encouraging men and women across America to be active supporters in ending campus sexual assault. Consent education, increasing bystander intervention and creating an environment that supports survivors are the three core pillars of “It’s On Us.”

“Sexual violence is an issue here and every other college campus in the country,” Parks says of his decision to initially take on the national campaign. “I thought, how can we as students really do something tangible?”

Parks is right about the issue of sexual violence on college campuses in the United States. According to the “It’s On Us Two Year Report,” one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college. The report also states that in 75-80 percent of cases the victim knows the attacker in some way, and 91 percent of rapes are committed by serial offenders.

“The impact of sexual violence on a college campus is tremendous,” says Mary Dell Hayes, executive director of Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. “For our whole nation this is an epidemic, but when you hone in on the statistics related to college students, the rate at which people are impacted by sexual assault is even higher.”

When Parks was elected student body president, he had the power to add positions to his executive cabinet. He created a committee specifically for “It’s On Us.” Parks enlisted Mary Copeland Cane, a marketing major with her own story, and Lindsay Bratun, a public relations major with student government experience, as the committee’s co-directors.

Although Bratun and Cain share a title, their roles are very different. “I had a big learning curve about the message,” Bratun said. “And MC had a big learning curve about how to implement something.”

In the spring of 2016, when Bratun was appointed co-director of “It’s On Us,” she already had an impressive background in student government. She had previously served on freshman council and as secretary of alumni relations.

As a result of these positions, Bratun had an understanding of the logistics of student government, experience in event planning and extensive contacts within the university. She played a key role in creating a website, coordinating meetings and organizing sign-ups for events for “It’s On Us.”

Cain’s contribution as co-director is different. Cain, a sexual assault survivor, has spent the past year sharing her story with student groups at USC. “It’s the most valuable aspect of this whole thing,” Bratun says of Cain’s story.

When I interview Cain, she offers to give me her “spiel.” The “spiel” that she estimates she has shared with 5,300 people since becoming co-director of “It’s On Us” in spring 2016.

Cain is well educated, wealthy and comes from a supportive family. And the spring of her sophomore year of college, she was beaten and raped in her parent’s home.

She didn’t tell her parents until six months later, when she requested they come to Columbia. She asked them to sign a document agreeing they would not act on what she was about to tell them. Her parents stayed in Columbia for a week after she opened up to them about her assault. They helped her find a new therapist, and they attended therapy as well.

What followed was a downward spiral of drugs, alcohol and boys. After a night of partying, she called her mom extremely upset, and her mom insisted she call her dad. Knowing his daughter hadn’t hit rock bottom yet, Cain’s dad had secretly stayed in Columbia.

Her parents moved to Columbia for two and a half months. Anything she needed, they were there for her. They were determined to keep Cain in school, and together, the three of them made the tough decision not to press charges against her attacker for reasons Cain preferred not to discuss.

“I tell my story for three reasons,” Cain says. “Because I am so blessed, because it’s awkward and because there were people who didn’t and still don’t believe me.”

In addition to sharing her story, Cain works closely with Bratun to plan events for the campaign. In the fall, the duo worked with Parks to coordinate the “It’s On Us Week of Action” with a modest $200 budget. Students were encouraged to sign a pledge at welcoming events and activities throughout the week.

The pledge, which is a slightly modified version of the one shown on itsonus.org, reads: “As a Gamecock, I will RECOGNIZE and IDENTIFY when sexual assault is present. I will EDUCATE our peers about the risks and presence of sexual assault at USC. I will SUPPORT affected Gamecocks in this mission to change the culture at our university.”

The “It’s On Us Week of Action” kicked off on a Monday with a kickball tournament. Over 150 students, including athletes, students involved in Greek life and students from student government, signed the pledge that night. On Tuesday, students were invited to discuss sexual assault in the media with the on campus group IRIS, Individuals Respecting Identities and Sexualities.

On Wednesday night, the “Supporting Survivors Candlelight Vigil” was hosted at Rutledge Chapel. Both Parks and Bratun regard this night as the most powerful moment of the “It’s On Us” campaign yet at USC. A variety of speakers read the letter Joe Biden wrote to the “Stanford Survivor.” These speakers included survivors, parents of survivors and powerful leaders in the USC community.

On Thursday, SASS Self-Defense leaders Whitney Pike and Shannon Henry led an empowering afternoon. The week ended on Friday with a University of South Carolina public service announcement.

On March 30, the committee hosted the “It’s On Us Here Gala” at Spirit Communications Stadium. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness about campus sexual assault. Keri Potts, a sexual assault survivor and senior sports PR executive, and Mark Ellis, a leader in scripted sports action for Hollywood productions, were guest speakers.

Tickets to the cocktail attire event included food, a cash bar, live music, a silent auction, a photo booth and an opportunity to interact with the guest speakers. Companies and organizations could choose to sponsor “It’s On Us.” Cantina 76, a local restaurant, and Delta Delta Delta, a sorority on campus, were among the sponsors. The event raised over $12,000 which will allow the campaign to continue at USC.

As Parks and Cain prepare to graduate in May and Bratun takes on a new role in student government, they have high hopes for the future of “It’s On Us.”

Parks is hoping the new student body president, Ross Losordo, will codify the position of “It’s On Us” co-director. Codifying the position will officially add it to the Constitution of Student Government. This would ensure that “It’s On Us” remained a part of student government every term, no matter who the student body president is.

Bratun and Cain hope “It’s On Us” will continue to use its unorthodox tactics, pairing fun events with raw education, to reach every corner of USC. “We’re gonna come together, we’re gonna talk about this, we’re gonna reach a common consensus and we’re gonna move forward,” Bratun says. “Action oriented change.”

Bremner is a public relations seniior