Q&A with Sarah McFarland, Alpha Omicron Pi’s President

Samford University is home to six panhellenic sororities, one of which is Alpha Omicron Pi. The sorority is lead by an executive council that strives to make the chapter the absolute best it can be. Sarah McFarland, a junior accounting major from St. Louis, Missouri, has been the chapter president of Samford’s AOII for the past few months. Although McFarland enjoys binging shows on Netflix, hanging out with friends and eating far too many scoops of Edgewood Creamery icecream most of her time is spent serving with and for her fellow sisters. I got the chance to sit down her McFarland and ask her about her experience serving in such a crucial role and being a full time student.

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5 Ethnic Restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama has a wide variety of different cultures especially when it comes to food. Below are five ethnic restaurants to enjoy with your family and friends!

1. Grab some delicious bbq at Saw’s

It’s only in the Southern US states where the word barbecue is not an adjective. It’s a noun, and for some, it’s a world all its own. Walking into a true hole-in-the-wall barbecue such as SAW’s BBQ is more than just a place to get some really good food to go, or to sit and enjoy a leisurely meal. It’s an experience.

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Q&A with Emma Percy: Young female pilot defies status quo in aviation

Pilot Emma Percy, 18, poses by her 1973 Bonanza V35, the plane she trains in.

Q: Where did your interest in aviation come from?

A: My dad does fly and I think that’s really what got me started with flying, you know just kind of being interested in that part of his life. So, he got me my first lesson (at Shelby County Airport). And after I took that first lesson, I was kind of hooked on it. It took me about a year of training to get my private pilot’s license which is the first license.

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Must-see vintage Birmingham bookstore

Reed Books is a bookstore in downtown Birmingham. With a residency of several decades, it has become a staple of the community. While people come from all over the world to view the thousands of books that line the shelves and the floors, there is much more to this bookstore than just the books. While Mr. Jim Reed, owner of Reed Books, will want to greet you with a smile, there are more faces that will welcome you into the store. Reed books is more than a store with faces. It is a a chance to find something new from the old. Take a look…

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Earth Day Purpose and Celebrations

Earth Day comes around every year on April 22 but the history and idea behind the day is not commonly discussed. The concept for Earth Day was for the nation to focus on the environment for one day. Founder Gaylord Nelson was a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. After seeing the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara and being ruled by the student anti-war movement, he related the public needed to be aware of the air and water pollution they were contributing.  Nelson worked until the next year

Earth Day Network states that “on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.” Learn more about Earth Day.

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Q&A about “Cultural Shock.”

Q & A with Ruth Blackburn

  1. Can you introduce yourself? What’s your name? Hometown? Major?

My name is Ruth Blackburn. I am a junior from Birmingham, Alabama. My major is Foods and Nutrition with an Art minor.

  1. When people mention Asia or Asian, what is your first thought?

I think of the cultural differences between Asia and America. My best friend went to China for 6 weeks and I think of the stories of squatty potties and riding bikes all around the cities. I once read that middle-aged men in Asia are at a very high risk of suicide because of pressure to succeed and do well in the workplace.

  1. What makes you most proud to be an American?

The kindness that people show to each other even when they are strangers and do not know each other.

  1. What do you think about “Culture Shock”?

I have never been affected by culture shock very much when I go to different countries. I think I am very easy going so the differences between countries do not shock me or bother me that much and it takes a lot of effort for me to pick out the differences and things that bother me or that I like better about one country.

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Colorful Seasons of Kelly Ingram Park

May 1963, Kelly Ingram Park held organized protests and boycotts as a part of the Children’s Crusade of Birmingham. In response to these protests, law enforcement officers used fire hoses and dogs to stop the protesters. This event in history was broadcasted internationally, turning people’s attention to the endless fight for racial equality. Kelly Ingram Park holds the hearts, blood and lives of many who took a stand for justice everywhere that day. The park historically stands across the street from the Civil Rights Institute with statues and memorials decorating the acre. It’s spring colors are as vibrant today as they were then in a field of black, white, and red.


String Theory—Birmingham Local Music

Is a string quartet the new rock and roll?

A musician guides his bow across the strings of a cello. He is tucked away behind a conductor stand, embracing the cello as if it is a beloved friend. Just a few measures into the song, he thrusts the bow with vigor. The instrument delivers a melody reminiscent of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen’s chart-topping, pop-rock anthem. Have your ears deceived you, or is a conservatoire-trained musician performing rock ‘n’ roll hits on a cello?

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“Coffee-coffee-coffee, is a saying. It’s a funny, desperate cry for caffeine.”

Here in Birmingham, coffee seems to run through the city’s veins like it runs through the fictional veins of Lorelai Gilmore. If you’re looking for a place to study, catch up with a friend, or fuel your day, we’ve got you covered. Here are five unique coffee shops in Birmingham, AL.

1. seeds coffee company, 174 Oxmoor Rd, Birmingham, AL 35209

Seeds is has an industrial-rustic chic and laid-back atmosphere that’s always buzzing with studious college students and twenty-somethings.

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The Birmingham Crisis Center: talking does help

Crises Center

Talking does help.

The Birmingham Crisis Center’s simple motto seeks to very simply convey its mission to Central Alabama, to serve the unmet needs of people experiencing personal crisis or mental health issues and respond with services that promote coping, emotional health and well being.

“We are a safe place,” said Valerie Shayman, the Crisis and Suicide Line Program Coordinator at the Crisis Center. “Our staff and volunteers pride themselves in making sure this is a non-judgmental, safe, and comfortable atmosphere so all of our clients can receive the support they need and deserve.”

And its clients are indeed the Crisis Center’s first priority. As the Center provides support services over the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and has been in operation since 1970, it is clear that the Center is committed to maintaining a safe environment for their clients.

The Crisis Center offers several different specialized programs with which it serves its clients. They include the Crisis and Suicide Line (with recently added texting and instant messaging), age-specific lines including Teen Link, Kids’ Help Line and the Senior Talk Line, a Rape Response line (along with other services for victims including exams, legal advocacy and counseling), a Payee Program and the Piper Place Day Program, which offers mental health services.

With so many areas of service, the Crisis Center is always in need of volunteers.

“We’re looking for you!” Shayman said. “We are interested in a wide variety of volunteers! Key traits that work best in our programs are open-minds, nonjudgmental attitudes, patience and a willingness to help others.”

Samford Seniors Emily Bruchas and Ali Rames have been volunteering at the Crisis Center this semester as part of their Family Studies curriculum at Samford University.

“Volunteering at the Crisis Center has given me first hand experience in counseling,” Rames said. “I love being able to make a difference in someone’s life, whether that means helping them through a situation, or simply listening to them talk.”

Bruchas further explained the importance of a listening ear. “I’ve realized that even as a student I can help individuals deal with the current problem in their life. However, I’ve also realized many people just need someone to talk to, especially the elderly. It makes me re-evaluate what we need to do in society to give everyone a full and healthy life,” she said.

After the prospective volunteer completes an application on the Crisis Center’s website, an interview is scheduled with the appropriate coordinator. Volunteers then complete extensive training, which is designed to help the new volunteer be prepared for a variety of circumstances.

“We include group discussion, role-play, and multimedia in our training,” Shayman said. “All volunteers complete ‘shadow shifts’ as well. During a shadow shift, the new volunteer has the opportunity to observe calls or Rape Response cases as they occur to help them feel more prepared for when they begin working cases or taking calls on their own.”

For more information about the Crisis Center or to find out how you can get involved as a volunteer, visit http://www.crisiscenterbham.com/index.php.