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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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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Three Inexpensive Nights Out In Birmingham

You deserve a night out. If you are a college student like me, you are probably juggling six or more classes, an internship for academic credit and a paid full-time job just to pay your rent. Because of all these things, you have the right to treat yourself every once and a while. The issue often tends to be that, though you may want a night out, you cannot afford to spend a lot of money. That is where I come in. Having lived in the city of Birmingham my whole life, I knew quite a few spots that can help you save a few bucks while enjoying what the city has to offer. Here is a short list of three different locations in Birmingham on the cheap. You can find directions to each location by clicking on the venue name in the list.

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Einstein Bros Bagels opens in Samford Library


A new Einstein Bros Bagels, along with a renovated seating area, opened last Friday in the Samford University library.

“This was part of our original plan with Samford, and the library location fits nicely with the population on that part of campus,” says Brent Bolton, general manager of Sodexo Campus Services at Samford. “We knew coming into our first year that Samford needed more retail, and the look and feel of Einstein’s was a great match.”

The newest food offering on campus presents a tasty array of breakfast and lunch foods to the campus body. A lengthy list of bagels and schmears ranging from apple cinnamon to spinach florentine, egg sandwiches and “darn good” coffee are the breakfast staples. Sandwiches, soups, salads and bagel dogs are available for lunch, and there are plenty of sweets for dessert as well.

Samford students will be able to use their Dining Dollars credited on their student ID cards at Einstein Bros.

Einstein Bros’ only other Birmingham location is inside the Learning Resource Center at UAB. The Colorado-based company has approximately 800 locations nationwide.


“My first Tasty Turkey bagel was delicious, but it contained no Tasty Turkey,” Philip Copeland, associate professor and director of choral activities at Samford, recalls of his first Einstein Bros experience. “The staff was beautifully contrite, and my second Tasty Turkey was even more delicious and full of very Tasty Turkey. I loved hanging out in the library with a good meal in a cool place.”

It seems more dining expansions may be in store for the Samford community. “At this time, we are looking at possible options over in the Southern Progress Corporation area, since a portion of the Samford campus will be relocating to this area in the coming months,” Bolton says. “We are evaluating the needs of the campus and how best to accommodate those needs.”

For more information about Einstein Bros, including nutrition data, visit http://www.einsteinbros.com/.

Hours of operation:

  • Monday – Thursday – 7:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
  • Friday – 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Saturday – Closed
  • Sunday – 1 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Samford Students Raising Awareness Through National Competition

Through a national competition, a group of Samford University students are raising awareness for a local organization, Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham. NHSB is the local chapter of the national organization Home Matters. Home Matters’ mission is to build awareness and raise funds for more affordable homes and better communities across the nation.

As part of their capstone public relations class, Cameron Cross, Bailey Fuqua, Corry Mulligan, Taylor Pigman and Cassady Weldon had to choose a client and develop a public relations campaign for them.

The team decided to accept the Public Relations Student Society of America’s challenge to colleges and universities nationwide and develop a campaign for Home Matters as part of the 2015 Bateman Case Study Competition. Contestants were given the choice to partner with Home Matters nationally or with a local chapter. Samford’s team chose to partner with Birmingham’s local chapter, NHSB.

Through the Competition, the students developed the Unlock Birmingham campaign. The Unlock Birmingham campaign, which runs during the month of February, will raise awareness of market-rate housing opportunities in Birmingham provided by Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham.

“We were able to get community involvement with our Unlock Birmingham campaign and having the opportunity to watch the community come together in support of Unlock Birmingham and Neighborhood Housing Services has been great,” Pigman said.

As part of Unlock Birmingham, the team handed out silver keys to raise awareness for NHSB and used #KeysToTheSteelCity on social media. During February, they facilitated an art exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art. A portion of the paintings displayed were created by students at Phillip’s Academy. In addition, NHSB was featured at a Samford baseball game where Phillip’s Academy students were invited to attend.

The Bateman competition began in the fall semester, and research and planning were completed in November through January. Implementation of the campaign occurs in February and final campaigns – including research, planning, implementation and evaluation – are to be submitted to PRSSA Headquarters in New York City by the end of March.

The top three finalists will travel to New York in May to present their campaigns. The first place team will receive $2,500 and a trophy. The second place team will receive $1,500 and a plaque, and the third place team will receive $1,000 and a plaque. All teams will be recognized at the PRSSA National Conference.

For more information, follow @unlockbham on Twitter.

Step Sing by the directors

Step Sing 2015 premieres Thursday, February 12. Here’s what some of the directors have to say about their shows:


Alpha Delta PiMorgan Thomson and Ellen Williams

Alpha Delta Pi, Ellen Williams:
“Our show is a little bit of rock and roll, a little bit of sass, and a whole lot of fun. There’s something new and exciting to expect at every turn.”

Alpha Omicron PiKatherine Cloninger and Elise Leveille 

Alpha Omicron Pi

Alpha Tau OmegaEvan Gunter and Patrick O’Connor

Alpha Tau Omega, Evan Gunter:
“The men of Alpha Tau Omega are ready to bring a new type of show to Step Sing 2015. Expect laughs and a gnarly time but do not forget the sunscreen!”

Chi OmegaLaura Valby and Emmy Carswell

Chi Omega, Laura Valby:
“Everyone can relate to being a kid, who couldn’t wait to get out of class and finally be free from all of the rules, thought control, and boredom of school. We want to leave the audience remembering the feelings that came with the ringing of the school bell that signified those 30 minutes of freedom that every kid anxiously awaited!”

Dudes-a-PlentyStephen Rice and Jay Morris

Dudes-a-Plenty, Stephen Rice:
“Everyone watching our show this year should expect a very classic Dudes show. In a sense, we believe that this show is a true revitalization of the spirit that DAP was originally founded on. FUN. We want to put on an entertaining show for everyone watching, we want people to laugh, maybe even tear up a little, but most of all we want the guys who participate in DAP to have as much fun possible.”

Fresh MixRachel Williams, Ben Crabtree and Emily Van Dyke

Fresh Mix, Ben Crabtree:
“We promise a thrilling and ‘cutting edge’ experience, unlike any other Freshman show before.”

Freshman LadiesAnn-Houston Campbell, Arden Dortch and Anna Beth Riggs

Freshman Ladies, Anna Riggs:
“The freshmen ladies show is fun and exciting. It’s charming and cute and funny and entertaining. We plan to take you on the trip of a lifetime and promise to leave you wanting more.”

IgniteChristine Carrier and Katie Belcher

IGnite, Katie Belcher:
“This year, we wanted to let our true colors show, so IGnite is rolling out of the box. It may be a little different, but I guess you could say we’ve never been very good at coloring inside the lines.”

Phi MuHaley Thornton, Elizabeth Henard and Kelli Crawford

Phi Mu, Elizabeth Henard:
“​​The audience can expect a fun and whimsical show from the ladies of Phi Mu this year. Look for the sharp execution of some intense dance moves, and mad makeup to fear.”

Pi Kappa Phi, Cameron Gonzalez:
“Our show is the unrealized story of a group of people who are often looked down on and under appreciated. We tell their tale of how much they love their jobs, despite the feeling that the world is against them. In trying to convince their arch-rivals to come to their side, they realize that all is not bad in the world. Will they change? Find out during Pi Kappa Phi’s ‘Trashin’ the Camp.’”

Sigma Chi, Richard Barnes:
“Expect the Sigma Chi Alley Cats to bring some fun into your night by reminding you what is what like to live Life in the Fast Lane!”

SpectrumWilson Brantley and EJ Smith


To live stream Step Sing 2015, click here.

For more information about Step Sing, click here.

Show times:

Thursday, February 12th at 7:00PM
Friday, February 13th at 7:00PM
Saturday, February 14th at 2:00PM (Matinee show)
Saturday, February 14th at 7:00PM

Easter Egg Hunting: You’re Never Too Old


Samford University students participated in the fourth annual, highly-anticipated Easter Egg Hunt. The campus-wide event took place on the picturesque Quad where just over 4,000 plastic Easter eggs were stuffed with candy, gift-cards and other surprises. The Student Activities Council’s Special Events committee was in charge of planning and executing the festive event.


“I loved getting close with the amazing girls on my committee! I couldn’t have done it without all their help and they made the whole process so enjoyable,” Ashley Martin, director of the Special Events committee said.

“We had a blast distributing that many eggs on the Quad and getting to see the event come to life. It was worth every minute when I saw the students diving after those eggs! All of our hard work paid off and I’m so thankful I got to share in this Samford tradition.”


About 400 students met on the Quad just before 6 p.m. As soon as a horn sounded, the eggs were up for grabs. A few students were especially lucky — five won either a $200 gift certificate to The Summit, Beats by Dre or a mini iPad.

“The hunt was a lot more like a race. Think the Hunger Games,” said senior family studies major Caroline Dill, “Still, I loved getting to participate in this Samford tradition for the last time.”

No matter the prizes, all participants gathered together after the race for the eggs for dinner and candy.

Students gathered in front of Hodges Chapel for dinner after the “race.”



Best friends and bandmates

Williams and Lang performed at Samford’s Spring Fling concert last April.

Seniors Makenna Lang and Laura Lynn Williams became friends during their freshman year at Samford. Now the harmonic duo, known as Captain Captain Cutie Pie, is putting out a record.

“We met freshman year, because we lived on the same hall,” Williams said. “We bonded over a shared love of Brandi Carlile and One Tree Hill.”

Like many college roommates, “jam sessions” were an inevitable part of living together. However Lang and Williams soon discovered that they not only loved singing together, but they sounded really good, too.

“In December of sophomore year, we started singing together in our bathroom because the acoustics were really good,” said Lang, “And we just played and sang a lot of Christmas songs.”

In fact, the first song they performed together live was “O Holy Night.”

After spending the season singing Christmas songs together, they moved on to covers and eventually started writing and performing their own songs.

One of the band’s most popular songs and a personal favorite for Lang and Williams is “Birmingham,” which developed out of a personal loss. The song is also a response to the difficult side of growing up in college.

“From a sentimental standpoint, I really like ‘Birmingham’ because it is so definitive of our Samford experience. It came from a really hard experience and has turned into such a good thing,” Williams said.

“A lot of people tell us they like that song because it is so relatable,” Lang said.

Another crowd favorite is their comical hit “Boys.”

“I like ‘Boys’ because I get to make fun of myself,” Williams said.

The song-writing process for the Cutie Pies does not always follow a specific formula, but they are always excited to share their ideas and inspiration with each other.

“Sometimes I’ll just come to Makenna and make her sing,” Williams said.

“It’s just really fun. It’s fun to be in a band,” Lang said.

To find out more about Captain Captain Cutie Pie check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CaptainCaptainCutiePie?ref=br_tf. The duo is currently raising money via kickstarter.com to produce a full length album. Follow their progress or back the project here.

By Rebekah Robinson