“Rise Against Hunger” with the School of Business Service Club/by Kyle Hamrick

820 million, 21% of Africa, and 10% of the world. These three figures, according to statistics reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, represent the number of people facing hunger in the world today. It’s hard to imagine that somewhere someone, in the 21st century, doesn’t know where they will get their next meal – or if they’ll even have one at all. It’s even harder to imagine that there are 819 million others wondering the same thing. 

Enter Rise Against Hunger, an organization dedicated to wiping out hunger around the world by 2030. According to their website, the organization plans to achieve this ambitious goal, “by providing food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable and creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources.” 

And, by the looks of the numbers on their website, they are well on their way. In 2018, Rise Against Hunger served 794,700 individuals. In late January, Rise Against Hunger has already packaged 909,360 meals in this week alone. The organization has achieved these numbers by engaging corporate partners and individuals alike with massive meal packaging events for volunteers to package meals purchased with donations. 

And now, Mississippi College has joined the effort.

John Will Graham is a senior majoring in accounting who serves as president of the School of Business Service Club. “Our goal,” said Graham, “is to glorify God by uniting the business school around service.” Eager to put that goal into practice, Graham and faculty sponsor Dr. Sara Kimmel searched for a spring event that would bring the School of Business and the campus together in service to a higher calling. They found it in Rise Against Hunger. 

The club’s goal is to raise $3,451.68 to purchase over 10,000 meals, and provide 60 volunteers for a campus-wide event in Anderson Hall on Monday, March 2, from 1-4 p.m. If Rise Against Hunger can plan to end world hunger in a decade, Graham believes raising the money and providing the volunteers is “a real and tangible way to serve other people.” 

“People together can do a lot,” he said. 

Kimmel, whose church hosted a Rise Against Hunger event a few years ago, was amazed by the work her Sunday School accomplished in one class period. “The cause of Rise Against Hunger is noble,” she said, “This idea of eradicating worldwide hunger by 2030 is a real deal. There’s been so much progress already. It’s inspiring!”

820 million, 21% of Africa, and 10% of the world. That’s the number of people affected by hunger. Now consider 10,000, $3,451.68, and 60. That’s the amount of meals needed, the amount of money needed, and the amount of volunteers needed to achieve the goal set by Graham and the members of the School of Business Service Club. Growing up, my mother told me that many hands make light work. Mississippi College, the School of Business Service Club needs many hands to achieve their goal and help this noble cause.

For more information, scan the QR code with this article.

Where Are You Studying Now?/by Marquisha Mathis

Everyone was so excited last summer when we got the best news; Chick-fil-A would soon hit the campus of Mississippi College. Now we are just patiently waiting for fall of 2020.

But, before we can even get to God’s chicken, we have to talk about The Commons. We all were so eager to get home for Christmas break. We were over classes by the middle of the semester, and we couldn’t drive away fast enough.

Flash forward to a new year. Jan. 13, 2020, we come back to campus, and one of our study areas had been destroyed. I don’t think I even noticed it until a couple of days later. I was walking to 1826 to have lunch with my friends, and The Commons was being torn down.

I must have misheard or just forgot that Chick-fil-A was coming this summer. However, my first thoughts were, “Why are they starting so early when it’s not coming until the fall?” Then I wondered, “Where are MC students studying now?” 

Although many people study in Jennings Courtyard, MCC, Hederman, the Quad, and the Piazza, The Leland Speed Library and The Commons were the number one places where students would study from dawn to dusk. But The Commons was the place that had everything, including Starbucks. This Starbucks has now been moved to 1826.

I know for me, I only studied in The Commons if I was with friends. I regularly studied and did homework in my room, sometimes going off campus to Starbucks. The Commons wasn’t a place where I could really study, especially in the study rooms because they were below Alumni, and the people playing basketball upstairs were really distracting. 

However, studying in a dorm room doesn’t work for everyone. People need to be able to study in the library and The Commons. The Commons was the place that stayed open late on the weekends because the library started closing early on Fridays at 4:30 p.m.

Jordon Gray, a senior commuter at MC said, “Now that The Commons is closed, I study at home.” J’Mya Wells said that she studies in the New Women’s Lobby.

The Commons was the area for many MC students, including transfers who needed somewhere to study or just hang out until classes were over.

Transfer student Megan Hendrick, said, “I’m studying at home now because The Commons gave me that comfort feeling.”

Don’t get me wrong, MC. We’re so happy about Chick-fil-A coming, we can hardly even contain it; however, we miss The Commons. Sure, we have 1826 where we can eat and then sit down and hang out with friends, but after a while we feel the need to leave for the sake of other people coming in and needing somewhere to sit.

We didn’t have to worry about that with The Commons. Everyone had a place where they could sit, study, and even watch television. Will it come back? Or, will it be reconstructed for food to bring the feeling of home back?

Make-A-Wish Upon a Choctaw: Kaleb’s Wish Comes True

Every 34 minutes, a wish is granted to a child by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. In Mississippi alone, 165 children are diagnosed with a new terminal illness each year. Make-A-Wish is a nonprofit organization with a mission to grant a wish to every eligible child. 

On Jan. 16, 2020, MC students and faculty gathered together in the A.E. Wood Coliseum to spectate a Choctaw men’s basketball game against the Christian Brothers Buccaneers. A surprise awaited a special member of the crowd. 

Kaleb is ten years old and has Pulmonary Disease. He attended the game with his family as a representative of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Mississippi. He was excited to watch the game after traveling from his hometown of Coffeeville, Miss., but little did he know the surprise that was in store for him later on. Kaleb was named honorary team captain of the night as he excitedly ran through the alley of basketball players to give the captain a high five. The game got started as more students flooded into the building, and the energy in the building rose. 

After an intense first half between MC and Christian Brothers, the halftime festivities began. Excited cheers rose from the large crowd of MC students as Kaleb walked to the center of the court with his mom and dad joining him on either side. The announcer introduced Kaleb as he faced the scorer’s table. He turned around to face the crowd and his face lit up. Mississippi College students came together standing and cheering, scattering the stands with signs showing their support for the little guy. His name was written across the Coliseum as a colorful splash on white posters. A truly unforgettable moment ensued as Kaleb watched in wonder. The MC men’s basketball team came on the large screen. 

The video showed number 21, Jon Harding, surrounded by the rest of the basketball team sharing their support of Make-A-Wish and Kaleb. Harding excitedly stated that they have a surprise for Kaleb as he held up a secret envelope holding his wish reveal. The coliseum was silent as everyone waited for the grand reveal of Kaleb’s wish. Harding pulled out the piece of paper and the entire team started jumping with excitement. They turned the paper around, and the gym erupted with cheers as Steph Curry’s name was written across the paper in bold lettering. Steph Curry is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association.

The floor flooded with students to celebrate this wish come true. The crowd gathered around Kaleb and his father placed him on his shoulders. Shining a big smile, Kaleb gave students high fives. Kaleb’s name rang in a chant through the building. After a few group photos, the crowd wound down and made their way back to the stands. Kaleb went back to the sidelines still on his father’s shoulders and holding his mother’s hand. Once on the sidelines with his feet on the ground, he took a few more photos with some students and cheerleaders. Dr. Thompson came over to congratulate Kaleb and take an iconic Dr. Thompson selfie. The little basketball fan threw in a dab and another big smile. Mississippi College came together to create an unforgettable night. The second half was filled with adrenaline as the Choctaws played hard for a win. The Choctaws closed the game by capturing winning points in the last thirty seconds of the game ending with 78-73 win. 

“Kaleb hopes to be a basketball star when he grows up, just like his favorite player Steph Curry,” says Make-A-Wish Media Relations Intern Kathryn Gandy.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, Kaleb’s wish was granted as he flew with his family to Los Angeles and met his hero Steph Curry.


Tempest Rehearsals in Full Swing/by Kyle Hamrick

“Where’s our fourth goddess?” called Dr. Phyllis Seawright as she assembled a scene from words on a page to the living stage. The actors on stage assemble on an invisible ship, and await the order to conjure up a storm, wreck the ship, and begin the show. 

Seawright’s production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest is in the tempestuous swing of rehearsals. Junior Katherine Parker returns as assistant director, bringing with her experience directing The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Much Ado About Nothing, another Shakespeare classic.

Shakespeare’s final play is a love story set on a tropical island following a disastrous shipwreck, and explores the depths of betrayal and the power of redemption.

“This is Shakespeare’s most mature play,” said Parker, “It’s intelligent, it pulls together all of his themes, and it culminates all of his previous plays.”

Among this production’s reiterations of family and romance, betrayal and revenge, are perspectives into colonial and feminist subtexts. When Seawright read the play as an undergraduate, she said it “didn’t quite click.” The idea of Prospero enslaving the native Caliban and suppressing his daughter, Miranda, whom Seawright calls, “one of Shakespeare’s strongest female characters,” was unheard of at the time. But after a recent trip to Roanoke, North Carolina, Seawright realized Shakespeare penned the play at the dawn of European exploration into the western hemisphere. This production of The Tempest hopes to take those previously unheard of themes into account. 

The ensemble cast of students showcases various degrees of theatrical experience. For some this show is the latest addition to a resume packed with credits, while for others it is their first step into the limelight. Regardless, Seawright will forge them together, blending all their unique abilities into a contemporary rendition of a classic play.

Cole Benoit, freshman, plays Caliban, the savage man-beast with magical powers. While he’s got three years’ worth of show choir under his belt, this is his first play. “I’ve never done anything like this before!” he laughed. 

The Tempest is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays,” said sophomore Cami Phillips, who plays the Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. “The comedy of it, the mixing up of who’s who. Even the romance of it is funny!” While learning the verbatim of the lines is challenging even for this veteran, who brings with her credits for 12 other productions since she was a child, Phillips notes there is a rhythm to the lines that is easy to follow. She said Seawright’s vision for the show is interesting, “It’s very classical Shakespeare with breaking out into music.”

Featuring original music composed and performed by singer-songwriter Claire Holley with original choreography by Sarah Thames, The Tempest is presented by the Communication Department, the English Department, and the George & Alicia Pittman Shakespeare Festival Fund. Performances will be held in Swor Auditorium Feb. 27 through Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. (with a 10 a.m. matinee on Feb. 28) and on March 1 at 2:30 p.m. Student tickets will be sold for $7 and adult tickets for $10.

Continuing the Legacy/by Austin LaBrot

Dr. Blake Thompson has some big plans up his sleeve for the Blue and Gold family. Many students see, hear, and imagine these plans daily – yes, this is referencing the Chick-fil-A taking over The Commons in August 2020. 

But there is more to the university’s future than chicken. In the last few weeks, Laura Jackson became the newest member to MC’s administrative team as chief financial officer. Jackson takes over for Donna Lewis who retired after 13 years of splendid service. 

Country superstar and cultural icon Reba McEntire will grace the very ground MC is built upon on April 21 for the annual Scholarship Dinner hosted by the university in Anderson Hall. Announced recently, the scholarship dinner has garnered tons of buzz – especially from this Collegian reporter. 

Another outlook for the coming year is Ratliff. Closed to students for the 2019-2020 school year – except as a haunted house – Ratliff has been undergoing some infrastructural changes. President Blake Thompson appreciates all the work by the wonderful Physical Plant staff. “We don’t know what enrollment will look like [for Fall 2020],” Thompson said. The fate of Ratliff will be decided by, or during, the summer. 

Summer does not seem too far ahead, but one obstacle must be conquered before summer break: graduation. The MC family will see new and exciting changes to spring graduation. The Collegian will report on graduation updates in March. 

Looking deep ahead into the future, and well past MC’s 200th anniversary in 2026, Thompson has great plans to improve infrastructure, teaching, fundraising, and research. “We started thinking about a strategic plan,” he said. “It’s a continual work.” 

Lastly, new faculty and staff members are looking to be hired. More details to come, but the Physician Assistant program and Engineering program are expanding.

MC is continuing its nationwide search for a new provost. “The search committee has been outstanding,” Thompson said. “They are a diligent and thoughtful group who will deserve tons of credit.” MC’s new provost should be named later this year.

Popping the MC Bubble/by Meredith Stratmann

Alumni, current MC students, faculty and visitors alike are all aware of a phenomenon specific to the main Mississippi College campus in Clinton, Miss. This occurrence is what is commonly referred to as the “MC Bubble.” This bubble encompasses a certain look and persona that many people at MC strive to achieve. This way of life is advertised to potential students in many forms, including brochures, online ads, and visits to campus. Everyone seems to be one big happy family.

But the truth of the matter is that the bubble can be toxic. If you’re not the Chaco-wearing, Hydro Flask-carrying, Cups-drinking type, you may be a little lost. Most people become friends with individuals who are exactly like them. They go to the same church. They’re in the same tribes. They have the same majors. There’s nothing wrong with that. I do that, and you probably do too. But the problem lies in that diversity is not championed and celebrated. People who don’t “fit the mold” end up feeling left out, simply because they’re different. 

The bubble is loved and held onto tightly by many. That’s one of the reasons it’s difficult to form more unconventional relationships. But in the real world after graduation, there will no longer be a protective bubble around you. Not everyone will have the same beliefs and love Chick-fil-A as much as you do, and that’s okay. It’s in these opportunities that we grow and learn more about the world around us.

In the workplace, we’ll be dealing with people who have different backgrounds and cultures. Rather than having everyone smile and say hey when they pass by, there may be people who are rude. We’ll have to deal with that. The bubble does not prepare students to deal with this adversity. 

Another problem with the bubble is that it encourages people to stay so close to campus. The university’s culture thrives on events, hangouts, and “campus life” right here on the main MC campus. The farthest people venture out is to the brick streets for a concert. People stay on campus rather than going somewhere more scenic. They study at the Clinton Cups. I understand that the reason for this is because of the convenience. At the same time, I challenge you to go out and explore. Try a new restaurant, explore Jackson, or find a new study spot. The world is so much bigger than just this campus. Junior Sarah Romines remarks, “Even just driving ten minutes off campus, you can find an explosion of culture and diversity that you wouldn’t find on MC’s campus. That’s something that’s valuable. Some of the best restaurants and museums that the South has to offer are so close, but people are so caught up in campus that they miss out during their four years here.”

My final suggestion is to meet new people–people of different ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, countries. I have friends that are homeless, friends in their 90s, friends in other countries, and friends with different political views. There’s so much that we can learn from people who are different from us. Not only can they add to our lives, but hopefully we can enrich their lives as well.

Do what you can to pop the MC bubble around you. I think you just might be surprised to see the benefits.

Lady Choctaws Chasing a Birth in the GSC Tournament/by Elliot Reeder

The Mississippi College Lady Choctaw basketball team is in a position that they have not been in some time: in the running for a spot in the Gulf South Conference Tournament. The Lady Choctaws are currently tied for eighth in the conference which is the cut off for the final spot in the tournament. MC has not made the GSC Tournament since their return to Division II in 2014.

Senior guard Zariah Matthews, who has been at MC her entire four-year career and is a three-year starter, said, “It makes us realize that we actually have a chance. It’s my fourth year here, and any other time, we hadn’t had a chance. Having a chance just makes you cherish it and makes you want to play harder and get every win that you can.” Matthews is averaging a career high in points per game at 14.7, which ranks near the top of the conference. 

One of the big results for the Lady Choctaws recently was a 69-66 overtime upset of Union in A. E. Wood Coliseum. Union came into the game tied for first place in the conference. Union jumped out to a 15-7 lead at the end of the first quarter as MC started stagnantly on the offensive end. Union pushed their lead to 22-10 early in the second quarter, but then the Lady Choctaws ended the first half on a 17-16 run to cut the Union halftime lead to just one point. Both teams then got hot from deep as they traded three-point baskets as Union’s lead remained one ahead at the end of the third quarter. Union would open the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to push their lead to 54-44 with seven minutes left in the contest, but the Lady Choctaws roared back from there to tie the game up at 57 with just seconds left on a jumper from Mikeba Jones. That sent the game into OT, where it was MC that started out hot as the Lady Choctaws went on a 7-0 to open up a 64-57 lead. Union fought back to cut the Lady Choctaw lead to 66-64 before sophomore Shanell Kitchens drained the dagger three-pointer with mere seconds left to clinch the massive upset victory for MC.

Kitchens said that there has been a noticeable difference between the team at the beginning of the season and now and that the team has a chip on their shoulder because of low expectations. “Our chemistry has gotten better. We had to come together and get to know each other and make it work,” said Kitchens.

Matthews also added, “As the season has gone on, we have learned how each other plays. We have connected pretty well these last couple of weeks.”

MC’s next home game will be Feb. 13 as they open up a three game homestand with games against Valdosta State (13th), West Florida (15th), and rival Delta State (20th). The GSC tournament begins March 3 if the Lady Choctaws qualify.

1917: Our Generation’s Private Ryan/by Kyle Hamrick

“On or about December 1910,” wrote the famed author Virginia Woolf, “the human character changed.” This line has been used to introduce World War I since time immemorial, and it couldn’t be more true. World War I blended old school military tactics with new and deadly technology. Around 10 million soldiers died, while many high commanders, sequestered well behind the carnage, ruled the conflict in armchairs. It has been called “the war to end all wars,” and yet few movies have dared to cover it.

So when I found out Sam Mendes was producing, writing, and directing a World War I movie, I knew I’d be among the first in line to see it. Forget the rumors the film is one continuous shot. We finally have a good-looking Great War film!

1917 is the story of two British soldiers who are tasked with relaying orders to travel into no man’s land and call off a daring offensive attack into the receding German front line. It is set in northern France and takes place on and around April 6, 1917. 

As the pair travel to fulfill their mission, they encounter a wide array of characters and locales, from a jaded regiment with a fat, arrogant commander barking orders in a tiny coupe, to the graveyard-like ruins of a French town overrun by German soldiers. 

This movie is remarkable for its portrayal of the grand disaster of World War I. It shows French countrysides pock-marked by craters and mazes of trenches, dead and dying men mortally wounded in various ways, all in stunning high definition. As a student of history, I was impressed by the realistic portrayal of the war’s horrors, and the brilliant contrast of the themes glory and reality. “Some men just want the attack,” said an officer to the messengers as a word of caution, fearing their orders to halt the attack might not be heeded. As the academy-trained commanders took the fields of France, some realized the way they learned warfare was obsolete in this new deathscape of gas and grenade, while others marched on regardless in pursuit of post-mortem fame.

Speaking on the movie’s final scene, Ridge Pickering, a sophomore and content creator, said the messenger was “glorified” at the end, “but it showed the war was still going on.” While the film was not shot in one take, a feat Pickering says would be “impossible, unfathomable,” the one shot perspective showed “what happened was what happened. It didn’t leave you guessing.”

Produced by DreamWorks Pictures, the movie was enhanced by the IMAX theater at Malco Grandview in Madison. The new theater is a sprawling coliseum with fourteen rows of seats bathed in sapphire lights. Enormous black speakers were suspended on either side before and behind us. The gray screen spanned the height and width of the wall and loomed like a large window into any number of worlds. The setting of the viewing was so intense and awe-inspiring, my friend Ben Stanzell leaned over to me and said, “I feel like we’re in a ride at Disney World.”

Loosely based on the stories told to him by his veteran grandfather Alfred (who hailed from Trinidad and enlisted at 17), Mendes reveals the terrible scope of trench warfare to a new audience. 1917 weds epic grandeur with the realism of documentary footage. The viewer feels they are traveling alongside the messengers, or crouching next to soldiers waiting to charge the battlefield. It is this generation’s Saving Private Ryan, a story for the ages.