Date Ideas in Light of Valentine’s Day / Chloe Newton

Photo: Chloe Newton Tori Hendren and Zack Myers enjoy anytime they can get with each other, including studying at Cups. They reminisce about their favorite dates and first date.

The winter haze has set in for many students on the campus of Mississippi College. Homework has picked up; tests have begun. Students burrow into the library and the Commons to stay warm and to study. However, motivation slows as students realize their next break isn’t until mid-March. 

Yet Valentine Day stands as a beacon of light to college students. It’s an excuse to stop studying and celebrate relationships, two things which students love to do. Couples either have been planning since last February or they are scrambling to find a restaurant that’s not Olive Garden. 

Among those students making their plans are Tori Hendren (a junior English Lit. major from Millington, Tenn.) and Zack Myers (a junior electrical engineering student from Dothan, Ala.). While the two students seem paradoxical because of their majors, their personalities compliment each other quite well. They finish each other’s sentences and laugh while reminiscing about the past three and a half months of dating.

“One of my favorite [dates] is when we walked around the Brick Streets and played Cornhole. Then we went and just got food afterwards,” said Hendren.

“No,” said Myers laughing at his partner’s harmless mistake,” We went to Salsa’s first. Then, we went to Dollar General and got stuff to paint. We went to a little courtyard area on the Brick Streets, and we followed Bob Ross.”

“It went terrible,” Hendren jokingly said. To clarify, Hendren was referring to their painting skills not the date.

Like many couples on the Mississippi College campus, Hendren and Myers have dug deep into their innovative sides to create fun yet affordable dates. While the Clinton area doesn’t supply the most fun activities for dates (yet), several places outside of the city possess the perfect atmospheres for couples and friends to enjoy.

First up, the Fat Cat Art Cafe in Flowood creates opportunities to get one’s hands dirty and to tap into one’s creative side. Anyone can throw a pot or paint a canvas. Painting pre-made pottery can cost as low as $1 and painting on a canvas costs $20. In order to throw or sculpt pottery, appointments are recommended. Each costs $25 per person. It is an additional $5 to paint thrown pottery. While a couple tries to master their inner Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in the iconic pottery scene from Ghost, the Fat Cat Art Cafe is littered with actual cats for the enjoyment of all. 

For the more active couple, Dance Applause Factory (DAF) and The Hangout might be a better fit (no pun intended) option. Old-souled couples and friends will enjoy DAF’s variety of dance classes. For the month of February, foxtrot (Mondays from 7-8pm), rumba (Thursdays from 7-8pm, and samba (Friday from 7-8pm) classes will be taught for couples to join. In addition, weekly dance parties, held on Friday nights from 8-10pm, are thrown. Each dancer must pay $10. These dance parties include ballroom, Latin, and swing dancing.

In contrast, for the couples and friend groups who love a good sweat, the rock walls at the Hangout are a great choice. Rather than traveling almost two hours to Red Bluff, the Hangout is conveniently located in Ridgeland. For $10, climbers get access to shoes, chalk, and the walls. However, the hours are limited from 6 to 8pm on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. 

Valentine’s Day is notorious for being a holiday of last-minute gifts, and flowers are arguably the classiest gift to show love and appreciation. Greenbrook Flowers, a Jackson based florist, has operated since 1917. From daisies to chrysanthemums to violets and sunflowers (perfectly gifts for die hard Harry Styles fans), this florist will provide the perfect bouquet for any occasion. 

Among the top Valentine gifts are chocolates. Food is a love language to many college students.

“The smell of chocolate is something that’s really sensual and nostalgic. All of these things come to play in our memory and emotions and our mind. For me, chocolate equates something to joy,” said Emmie King, owner and operator of Nandy’s Candy in Jackson.

King’s mother, Nancy, opened the candy store in 1980 with the intention of spreading joy and love to the Jackson area through everyone’s favorite candies. The business is stocked with chocolate strawberries, candy apples, chocolate-filled heart boxes, jelly bellies, and gummy bears. There is something that fits everyone’s budget.

Though it is the shortest month in days, February is the longest month for a college student. February stands as the only month in the entire school year that does not have a break. Valentine’s Day supplements the long, dark days of studying with a bit of cheer. It takes focus off of homework and studying and replaces it with showing love and appreciation for others.

King said, “We all know that Valentine’s Day is the day of love. Winter is long and dark, and [Valentine’s Day] is a light.”

New Coffee Shop in Clinton set to Open Soon / Chloe Newton

            

Photo: The newest location of Cafezinho Coffee Company is located in the parking lot of Indian Lanes off Northside Drive.  The bright blue shipping container will house the new coffee shop.

MC students can never have enough coffee. Coffee is a life force for so many on Mississippi College’s campus. It fuels and motivates them to push through those tough days. Cups, the on-campus Starbucks, and the off-campus Starbucks have served the students well through the years. But students will never turn away a new coffee shop, which is why MC students will be excited to discover that a new coffee provider will be returning to Clinton.

            Cafezinho Coffee Company will be opening by the end of January or early February after the city of Clinton makes the final approvals. 

Daniel Lang, Clinton’s director of economic developments, said, “We’ve done a market study recently on what’s needed in Clinton. One of those things is a coffee shop.”

Two years ago, the first Cafezinho in Clinton closed, but the new and more modern location can be found next to Indian Lanes, the bowling alley on Northside Drive. 

            “There are pockets of Clinton where it’s a thoroughfare for people if they are not going all the way out to the interstate,” Lang said.

            But don’t make the mistake of looking for the typical building. The new Cafezinho takes the shape of a blue shipping container. While a shipping container may not sound very permanent, the coffee shop is here to stay. 

It is a drive-in and walk-up style business with outside seating available. Cafezinho is creating a whole new purpose for the area. Surrounding the adequately lighted seating area will be a rotation of food trucks to spice up the life of the locals.

 In addition, attached to Cafezinho will be the snow cone business, Sno Biz, for those who are not coffee buffs. Ultimately, this space will create a welcoming atmosphere for students and locals to enjoy during the warmer months.

“Cafezinho” is the Portuguese word for “small cup of coffee.” In Portuguese-speaking countries, it is common and hospitable to offer a small cup of coffee to family and friends when they enter one’s home. Thus, guests feel welcomed by the gesture. This description fits the already loyal customer base Cafezinho has created with not only the old location in Clinton but also the one in Flowood, Miss.

Cafezinho has already begun to hire employees, and this location is prone to hire MC students. For many students, off-campus jobs are a little worrisome. But believe it or not, they have just as many (or maybe more) benefits to them. 

Nathanael Smith, a junior psychology major, was recently hired by Cafezinho and has worked his fair share of off-campus jobs. “Working off-campus forces you to work with people maybe you don’t like too much or work in a different setting that is going to bring different challenges that you would not have faced if you were just working on campus,” said Smith.

Besides the character-building challenges off-campus jobs might bring, the starting pay will most likely be above the minimum wage line. Off-campus jobs present opportunities for raises whereas most on-campus jobs have a set hourly pay. 

These jobs benefit students whose hometowns are close to campus because holiday breaks, like Christmas and spring break, don’t keep the businesses from shutting down. Students can have a consistent inflow of income without having to look for different jobs in the summer or over breaks. 

Smith said, “It also makes you more responsible … I’m forced to be able to organize my time well.”

This quality is commendable on resumes. Employers love to see students who managed their time well and who maintained a good GPA and a job in college.

Cafezinho will provide excellent opportunities for students to work and an exciting atmosphere for students to enjoy. Cafezinho’s vibrant blends will satisfy and welcome every Choctaw and Clintonian that travels to its window. 

MC finally gets its Arby’s / Chloe Newton

            For many generations, fast food has been an integral part of the college experience. Universities are beginning to include fast-food chains on and around their campuses as a portion of their pitch to draw in potential students. Incoming freshmen want to know what options, other than a cafeteria, will be available to them. While having a variety of on-campus food makes college life a little more exciting, off-campus restaurants create equally exciting experiences for students. 

            Clinton has been home to several staple fast-food restaurants. Half-priced shakes after eight from Sonic, French fries from McDonalds for those carb cravings, and the iconic Jesus chicken from Chick-Fil-A are among those staples. Other, less popular, fast-food chains include Taco Bell, Dairy Queen, and Wendy’s.

             But a new neighbor is moving into this community of food establishments. So make room, restaurants, because everyone’s favorite curly fries are on their way to Clinton. Very soon, Arby’s will be officially added to the list of fast-food restaurants in the area.

Arby’s, in cooperation with the city of Clinton, are searching for a contractor to start on construction. Ground is expected to be broken within the next few weeks; an official opening is hoped for within the next few months. Currently, the space is a useless concrete slab, where the old Bumper’s restaurant existed (318 US-80, Clinton, Miss, 39056). The location is three minutes away from campus, which is closer by 10 minutes than the current nearest Arby’s in Jackson.

            Daniel Lang, Clinton’s director of economic developments, is excited for this new development and for its potential to help the city as well as MC students. 

            “We always need a little bit more, and this provides diversity,” said Lang. “Ultimately, it will help Clinton.”

            Arby’s will generate sales tax revenue, provide meals, and most importantly, open job opportunities for students. The current average salary for an Arby’s worker is 11 dollars per hour.

            Ellie Acton, a freshman from Heidelberg, Miss. and graphic design major, was thrilled at the announcement of a new fast-food restaurant. Acton said, “It’ll be nice when parents come to visit, and I’ll definitely be going quite a bit.”

            The arrival of Arby’s sparks interest in what other new places might be coming to Clinton in the future. Currently, Sonny’s BBQ is in the process of training workers, so it can officially open. Cafezinho is on the verge of opening its drive-up coffee shop.

            MC students can get excited for the plans developing for the small and usually quiet city. Lang expressed that new concepts are in the works, but not much information can be disclosed at the moment. Clinton seeks to draw in visitors to spend weekends away or evenings out here in the city and to invest in the presence of the University.

            “We are working on new concept plans that will be geared towards college students and that will be closer to campus,” Lang said. 

            The city desires these new establishments to be trendy. The goal is to keep students on campus during the weekends. Clinton wants to create a more exciting community, so that students don’t have to drive to other surrounding cities in order to participate in fun activities. 

            Clinton officials are realizing the importance of the students in the city of Clinton. They want students to feel Clinton is their home just as much as Mississippi College is. MC is clearly an important aspect of the city. By integrating MC students more into the community, the hope is that other students from other universities will want to join the Choctaws in Clinton for weekend experiences.

            The Clinton Arby’s is not just a new fast-food option but a beacon of light to the possibilities of growth in this community of residents and students.

            The only thing left to do is to make Instagram’s @mc.needs.arbys aware that his hopes and dreams are coming true.

Speed Library’s Open Hours Extend until Midnight / Gracie Lee

         MC students often fall into two categories: the ones who study in the Commons and the ones who study in the library. For those who frequent Leland Speed Library, a welcome change has occurred. In contrast to its usual closing time of 9:30 p.m., students can now access the building between 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. on Sundays. In addition to this, the library’s Starbucks has switched their closing hours from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. These changes became effective at the start of the spring semester on Jan. 10. 

In the last few years, the library has withstood societal changes like the transition from printed to digital written works. In a world of online databases and SparkNotes, students weren’t utilizing the library’s checkout systems or stacks. It was simply a quiet, common place to eliminate homework from their to-do lists. 

Although the students who did study at the library wanted longer hours, the library didn’t bring in enough traffic during the day to allow them to stay open longer. In 2018-2019, records showed that attendance greatly dropped off after 9:00 p.m. When COVID-19 hindered in-person operations, even fewer students attended because of the indoor mask mandate–which stayed in operation on MC’s campus until October of 2021. 

When faculty lost the night supervisor at the end of the fall semester, the rest of the staff pitched in and rotated until midnight during finals week. The library did continue to open promptly at 7:30 a.m. every morning. “Many students need to print papers and make last minute edits to assignments before 8:00 a.m. using the library’s computers,” Claudia Conklin, library director, said. “Early morning classes that meet in our two e-classrooms need access to the building as well.”

 SGA Senator Mason Fahy was tired of hearing complaints about the library’s limited availability. “I just kind of spearheaded this,” Fahy said. “I had enough complaints from a variety of different people. So many people just talk about a problem. But SGA is about seeing a problem and finding a solution.” He began by drafting a Senate bill and bringing it to the attention of administration and library staff in late October of 2021. His peers in SGA are also among those who brought about the upstairs study rooms, a favorite amongst bio pre-med majors–one of MC’s most prominent fields of study. 

“Most students don’t start studying until–let’s be honest–10:00 p.m. We’re a retirement town, but we’re not a retirement college,” Fahy joked. “It was a partnership between SGA and the administration and the library staff. [We asked] ‘What can we do to best meet the students’ needs?’”As part of the Auxiliary Services Committee, Fahy petitioned for later coffee shop hours as a bonus. 

When he talked with the library staff, he found out that a main hindrance was the lack of student workers available to cover night shifts.  “[I said] ‘Let’s talk to the university to get the funding,’ and they did and were able to hire somebody,” Fahy said. “We saw a need and tried to meet a need. There was a disconnect, but all it took was going through the right channels.” 

This process required approval from the assistant provost and additional supervisors who could train the additional student workers. “At the end of each term, the library staff make improvements to our services or spaces based on usage statistics, observations and suggestions,” Conklin said. “Budgeting is always important, but COVID-19 guidelines, statistics, and a staff shortage were major reasons [for the shortage of student workers].”

Although student traffic fluctuates between semesters, Conklin noted that their unique opportunities seek to engage and encourage students. The librarians and staff seek to provide students with help in their research questions or on how to use the library’s resources. Besides academic assistance, it hosts activities like movies in the lobby or contests. “Our goal is to provide as much service and support as we can, in a variety of ways,” Conklin said. 

Beth Owen, a senior nursing major, is grateful for the new changes. “I remember the time when we could study every night until 1:00 a.m. and I miss those days,” she said. “It has really good resources that are sometimes necessary for doing homework and assignments. It allowed us to have more unbroken school time, because when you’re forced to leave a place in the middle of an assignment, it really messes up the flow of your work.” 

Caroline McGuffee, president of SAPA (Sexual Assault Prevention Ambassadors), and her cohorts recognized the need for a safe space to study in their November safety concerns report. “By closing the library, a safe and well-lit place to study, this forces students off-campus or maybe even to academic buildings with notorious lighting issues,” she said. “As a student concerned about the community, I am glad the library is offering a safe option for students to study.”

The library’s new implementations allow students of all majors to have a common place to socialize, study, and read without interruption. “The fact that they’re open until midnight is a step in the right direction,” Owen said. 

Art Moves East / Evan Espinoza

Photo: Auditorium at East Campus as of 1/24/2022. The renovations will see the auditorium and surrounding former junior high buildings become the re-imagined Gore Arts Complex.

Mississippi College’s East Campus, home to the old Clinton Junior High building and Gore Arts Complex, is well underway of being remodeled. Since the spring of 2021, the art department at MC has planned to expand to that side of campus to maximize efficiency of operations and services to students once the renovations are complete. The move means most of the studio art programs in Aven will be moving over to the Gore Arts Complex at East Campus. This move will make more space available in Aven for graphic design programs, as well as the communication and music departments. The art department’s utilization of East Campus will bring new programs and opportunities for students involved in the art department and anyone with an interest in the classes they offer. Graduate students will be able to make use of offices and personal work spaces at East Campus.

The art department’s administrative assistant, Nathan Jarnagin, as well as Department Chair Randolph Miley, discussed some of the plans the department has for its future at East Campus. Dr. Miley described the new facilities as a “studio environment for all of the hands-on art courses at MC.” The art department will be able to have more and bigger classes with the expanded facilities and will have opportunities to create brand new classes to compliment additional art majors and minors at MC. “The move will triple the size of our program and allow a great deal of growth between studio art as well as graphic design,” said Miley. The growth will see the addition of things like a legitimate dark room in Aven for a digital photography program and studios at East Campus for new woodworking and sculpting programs. The auditorium at East Campus will also provide theatre programs at MC a place for practicing and performing in a spot built for the sole purpose of those programs. 

The art department at MC has quickly been outgrowing its home in Aven. Over the past few years, it has only been harder for the department to use Aven as a place to comfortably execute all of the art programs and make use of new equipment that can make those programs so much greater. “We’ve been in a critical space issue for many years,” explained Jarnagin. “We have made do with the space assigned to us 50 years ago, but we have a much bigger program now. We have no space for studio art or graphic design to grow.” With the art department utilizing studio art to create more classes for non-majors, demand has skyrocketed for more space and a re-evaluation of the studio art program’s facilities. Ceramics is another program that has seen some of the major growth in the art department. The addition of new kilns over at East Campus will be huge for the ceramics program and allow for more classes and more participation.

The Gore Arts Complex at East Campus is also getting special treatment from a former Choctaw. Katie Jo Chane, a former interior design student at MC, is the interior designer for the remodeling proceedings. Chane is on staff as an interior designer with CDFL, a Jackson-based architecture and engineering team. “It was a really cool thing to see an MC graduate given the responsibility of the interior design on this project,” said Miley. “She’s got some really great ideas and we’re very excited.” Chane’s talent will offer the art department a fresh look at what their studios can achieve. Her plans are allowing the department to make the expansions they want and need for all the students within the studio art and graphic art programs at MC.

Wrapping Up the Semester with Campus Ministries / Rachel Faulk

Campus ministries are an important part of life at MC, providing opportunities for students to find Christian community and grow in their relationships with Christ. This article will spotlight three of the most well-known ministries on campus—RUF, BSU, and FCA—and how they have served the campus community this semester. All three of these ministries welcome any and all MC students to attend their events and get involved.  

The Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America which meets weekly on MC’s campus. According to MC’s Campus Ministries webpage, they “strive to provide an in-depth ministry to college students based upon the authority of the Word of God in every area of life.” 

Stephen Griffin, an MC senior and member of the RUF ministry team, has been involved in RUF since his freshman year. He explained that RUF serves campus through a variety of “avenues of ministry.” One of these is RUF’s weekly large group, which meets in Provine Chapel and includes worship and teaching by minister Jeff Jordan. Other avenues of ministry, according to Griffin, include “guys and girls small groups, one-on-ones, and fun events like our semester swing dance, movie nights, and more.”

RUF’s main focus is to serve the campus community well by being “consistently available to students,” Griffin said. But they also occasionally partner with local churches for events such as “RUF Sunday,” where members of RUF may help lead worship at the church and have the opportunity to talk to the congregation about the ministry. 

With Christmas approaching, RUF tentatively plans to hold their yearly Christmas party on Sunday night, Dec. 5. “We’ll get together to hang out, eat Christmas snacks and desserts, and sing lots of carols!” Griffin said. Updated information about RUF events can be found on their Instagram, @rufatmc. 

The Baptist Student Union (BSU) is another well-known ministry on MC’s campus. According to the Campus Ministries webpage, BSU’s focus is “to be a student-led, Christ-centered ministry that seeks to provide opportunities for spiritual growth and Christian community.” With a lead team of 28 students overseeing six different branches of ministry, BSU accomplishes this mission through a variety of different forms of outreach. 

BSU’s weekly Vision worship service, which meets at 6:30 p.m. on Monday nights at First Baptist Church Clinton’s Activities Building, is one of their most popular ministries, according to BSU director Mandy Phillips. “That’s kind of our weekly touchpoint where people get to be with a large group and get to know the crowd. But we also consider our small group discipleship groups another place where that depth happens.” Throughout the week, students meet for Bible studies in co-ed or gender-specific small groups. BSU also provides one-on-one discipleship and mentoring opportunities. 

“The goal is that anyone who wants to be a part of BSU feels a part and can find a place to serve and grow and be encouraged that we’re loving them,” said Phillips. She mentioned that the recently acquired BSU house, located next to Cups, has played a big role in this, as a means of “showing hospitality and letting people study here and hang out.” 

BSU’s campus connection team plans a number of events to serve MC’s campus. Some examples of BSU’s outreach on campus this semester included a Trunk or Treat, a giveaway of copies of The Case for Christ, and their annual Friendsgiving dinner. BSU also has an international student ministry called Ethnos, which fosters friendships between international and American students. They often partner with the International Student Association for events such as pumpkin painting and carving in October. 

BSU is also active in serving the community. One of their most popular forms of community outreach is their apartment ministries, where students go out to an apartment complex near Clinton on Wednesday afternoons and put on a backyard Bible club for the local kids. Along with that, BSU offers opportunities to serve with We Will Go ministries in Jackson, partners with local churches in their community outreaches, and seeks out other opportunities to serve the local community. 

Beyond the local community, BSU is known for their missions program, which sends students around the U.S. and worldwide. Although due to COVID restrictions they are unable to do their traditional Christmas in Asia mission trip this year, they are looking forward to their spring break and summer missions opportunities. They also sent students on a disaster relief trip to St. Rose, Louisiana in early November to help provide relief from Hurricane Ida. 

As Christmas approaches, BSU will hold their final Vision service on Dec. 6, which will be a “relaxed Christmas worship service” along with some annual traditions including a gingerbread house contest and an ugly sweater contest, Phillips said. “That’s become kind of a fun last hoorah that doesn’t go super long, and people can come for parts if they want to. It’s got that mixture of keeping the focus on the Christmas story but also just having some fun with other lighthearted traditions.” More information about BSU events can be found on their Instagram, @mc_bsu. 

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) is another prominent ministry on campus. Although the ministry is primarily targeted toward athletes, all students at MC are welcome to get involved. 

Currently in the process of hiring a new full-time staff member, FCA has been almost entirely student-led this semester, and the team has made some changes from previous years. One of the most significant regards FCA’s large group worship services, traditionally held every Monday night at 8:30 p.m. in the Coliseum.

“We came to the conclusion that although our corporate worship is great and it has a place, we felt like we needed more discipleship opportunities and we needed more opportunities to build relationships with people,” said Cooper Gadman, a member of the MC baseball team and head of the FCA executive team. “So one thing that we’re doing differently this year is instead of every Monday night doing worship, we’re doing that every other Monday night. And so on the opposite Mondays we’re doing what we call team huddles, which are just small groups.” 

Huddles are divided by sport, but there are also guys and girls huddles for those not involved on a sports team or whose sports team does not have a representative on the FCA lead team. “By the end of May we want to have a huddle for every team on campus,” said Gadman, “so we still have I think five or six that we need to target for the spring, but that’s the goal I set for myself and for the team, and it’s going really well.”

FCA is working on expanding their community outreach and hope to plan a serve day in the spring, but this semester they have hosted a couple of events seeking to involve the campus community. One of these was Fields of Faith, a campus-wide night of worship, prayer, and teaching held on the baseball fields in October. Gadman was pleased with the turnout at the event: “It was really cool just to see new faces out there that we’d never seen,” he said.

The other major event hosted by FCA this semester was a packing party for Operation Christmas Child. They encouraged sports teams, clubs and tribes, and other groups on campus to purchase items to fill Operation Christmas Child boxes. Then on Nov. 8, they held a packing party in the Coliseum, providing coffee and donuts for students in attendance. Students packed boxes, wrote notes for the children who would receive them, and prayed over the boxes. Over 250 boxes were packed through this event. 

While Operation Christmas Child was FCA’s main event for Christmas, they will also hold a worship night on Dec. 6 which will most likely be Christmas-themed. More information about FCA can be found on their Instagram @mc.fca.

Do Students Feel Safe in Jackson? / Evan Espinoza

Many students at Mississippi College do not confine themselves to the boundaries of Clinton. Many students frequently visit the Jackson area for many reasons ranging from church on Sunday morning to a night out to eat with friends. However, safety can often be a concern when visiting Jackson. As of Nov. 8, there have been 127 homicides in Jackson, which puts the city on track to reach a record high by the end of the year. With the homicide rate so high in a city so close and popular to campus, whether or not students feel safe in that area is in question. 

When junior Brennan Heard reflected on the homicide rate, his heart went out to the many families in Jackson. “There’s families with newborns that probably have to consider living in areas that aren’t safe… It also definitely makes you rethink staying around Jackson after you leave Mississippi College, or at least stay in the safer areas.” 

Heard’s words reflect what many families in Jackson are thinking as many of the recorded homicide victims and suspects are young men and women, as well as children. As students graduate, many do not stray far from campus, seeking job opportunities or even a life of marriage in or near Jackson. The Jackson Police Department and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office provide up-to-date data and maps detailing the year’s homicides for the benefit and safety of the public. 

Although our campus is not in the middle of the city, Clinton is only a short drive away from the outer limits of Jackson and some of the more dangerous areas. Officer Travis of the Mississippi College Office of Public Safety provided further insight into how campus safety protocol keeps students on campus secure. “We always have at least two to five security officers present, as well as Clinton police… We also try to build a rapport with students so they are comfortable reporting anything to us that makes them uncomfortable on campus or the surrounding area.” There are also a number of security cameras in place around campus as well as the “blue poles.” These poles exist for all students to use if they are somewhere on campus where they feel unsafe and need to get ahold of the security office. The campus security office can also be reached at (601) 925-3204. Officer Travis also made note that many of the homicides in the Jackson area can be attributed to gang violence, but some other crimes that can flow into the areas around Jackson are drugs and theft. 

Junior Nathanael Smith has lived in Jackson for most of his life. He discussed some of the dangers he experienced growing up and how best to approach safety in the area. “One thing is just understanding the layout of Jackson. You can be in the niceness of Fondren then the next thing you know you’re in the middle of sketchy industrial areas.” Smith stressed that while the “safer” areas of Jackson are largely sectioned off, it is important to know your surroundings and to travel with a buddy if possible. He also noted that come nightfall, it’s best to just avoid some of the higher risk areas. “We had a lot of car break-ins even though we lived in a nicer neighborhood, so you should always make sure nothing valuable is visible if you leave your car.” While homicide is scary and especially prevalent this year, vehicle theft is another leading crime students should be aware of when in Jackson.

The Return of Visitation / Evan Espinoza

Students at Mississippi College had gone over a year without having any form of visitation. Freshman and sophomores alike had yet to even experience life on campus with dorm visitation. That all changed this semester with the announcement of an updated visitation policy that took effect on Oct. 7. Now that visitation is officially back, students are able to make dorm life a little more enjoyable and feel at home. 

Mississippi College’s new Residence Life Director, Seth Brill, was able to provide some insight into the decisions that involved bringing back visitation. Brill said, “Over the summer, we [MC staff] were thinking, for the most part, it would be back to normal. Then we saw how the delta variant of COVID-19 was taking its toll and spreading so quickly so we decided to cut back on a few things.” 

Now that visitation is back, Brill and other MC staff members do not see it being a setback in keeping COVID-19 numbers low. Brill also mentioned that the decision to bring back visitation was not only a matter of COVID-19 numbers, but a big factor in keeping students socially and mentally healthy, especially in a time when many have struggled in those areas. Brill is also hopeful for his staff of Resident Assistants that having a visitation policy would actually help lower the amount of visitation violations and give them a little more purpose and enjoyability when walking the halls and checking in on students. 

To follow up on Brill’s comments, first-year Resident Assistant Kaleb Jefcoat provided valuable insight on the life of an RA with the reinstated visitation policy. As Jefcoat put it, “Now with visitation back, it opens up a whole new element of really seeing the inside of my residents’ life. I get to have conversations with them and those who they associate with and it just makes the hall feel a little more like home.” Jefcoat acknowledged the challenges that come with being an RA which include the inevitable visitation violations and increased amount of room checks. However, he selflessly remarked that it was worth it for the hall.

Students at Mississippi College are all excited that this semester has seen the return of a comparatively normal time on campus, especially compared to last year’s COVID-19 restrictions. Spencer Hayes, a senior on campus, talked about how regular it was to have visitation for his first two years on campus and how different things felt last year. Hayes said, “I think the biggest thing for me was the school taking away same-gender visitation. I had a lot of friends who lived in different dorms and it was hard not being able to hang out with them late at night if some guys were watching a movie in my room or something.” 

Many students who were on campus last year felt like the rules on visitation concerning COVID-19 may have been a little too strict. Hayes said he understood the school’s position in trying to keep everyone safe, but found some visitation restrictions to be somewhat ineffective. Will Yarbrough, a sophomore on campus, reflected on last year’s lack of visitation compared to this semester and said, “It got annoying having to meet with friends outside or off campus somewhere to hang out later at night. Now we all feel a lot safer and comfortable just going to someone’s room while visitation is open.” 

The sophomores and freshmen on campus who have never had visitation until recently are definitely taking advantage of the new policy, as well as upperclassmen who have had it in the past. Seniors like Hayes who have experienced having and losing visitation encouraged underclassmen to enjoy it as much as they can while they have it. While Residence Life staff such as Brill and Jefcoat take on an increased workload, they too are hopeful and encourage students to make the most of visitation in the dorms.

MC SAPA Communicates for Change / Kienna Van Dellen

Mississippi College Sexual Assault Prevention Ambassadors (MC SAPA) started their organization on campus in fall 2020. Since then they have had an incredible amount of support flooding in from both staff and students. Within the past year, the organization has worked on expanding its reach across campus and getting more students involved, being able to spread information and resources.

Their main goal this past year has been forming relationships on campus in order to lay a strong foundation for their much-needed place on campus.“We had a very good response from faculty and students. We were the Student Organization of Excellence last year, so that was really exciting for us,” said Caroline McGuffee, President of MC SAPA. “This is a very foundational year for SAPA. We’re still building who we are and I believe the core part of that is we’ve got to get our name out there and establish good relationships. Collaboration also is able to give you different viewpoints of things you might not have seen before.”

MC SAPA is under the faculty sponsorship of Associate Professor of English at MC,  

Dr. Kristi Melancon. Dr. Kristena Gaylor, an Associate Professor of Management and Economics in the School of Business, serves as Title IX coordinator for the school and offers support to the group alongside Brent Perkins, the Assistant Director for the Office of Public Safety on campus. 

 After the success of events held last year, such as a self-defense training class as well as spreading information about Title IX and hosting fundraisers, SAPA have been expanding their training. Over the summer the board was able to attend training sessions with the Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assult (MCASA), where they were able to learn about specific details within the law enforcement sector for sexual violence on campus and how they can support survivors and provide proper programming. Through training with MCASA and working with them over the past year, MC SAPA received a generous donation from the coalition to use toward their outreach efforts. 

Something SAPA is working hard to make students aware of is the red zone. The red zone is the first six to nine weeks of college, typically between move-in and Thanksgiving, and is when the vast majority of sexual assaults occur. This is because this timeline is usually when a large number of college parties happen in most schools, and it tends to be a busier point in the year with more events being held. 

MC SAPA recently had an event in partnership with the Student Government Association called Rock Out the Red Zone. Through the generous donation from MCASA, they were able to fund the event for students and staff. This event featured live music performances, rock painting, and information about the red zone and Title IX to raise awareness for the various issues found on college campuses across the country. The goal of Rock Out the Red Zone was to turn the red zone into the green zone. 

The lighting initiative is another campus improvement topic that has recently been brought to SAPA’s attention. Students have mentioned concerns about poorly lit places on campus where there could be more lighting in order to create a safer environment. SAPA took the issue to SGA and they have since started to create a plan of action on how to move forward. “A lot of students have said they felt unsafe and that’s something SAPA cares about. We wanna make campus a safer place and make our students feel safe,” said McGuffee.

Across all different campuses across the country, there are various specific types of sexual assault issues that arise, varying from campus to campus. Stalking has gone up since the pandemic started and dating violence became more prevalent as the pandemic goes on. One of SAPA’s goals is to see what issues they can address on campus and how they can meet those needs and prevent those situations from happening again. 

Multicultural Student Association Thrives in its Third Year / Rachel Faulk

In its third year on campus, the Multicultural Student Association (MSA) has become well-established at MC. As they host more events this year, MSA’s officers hope to see the organization’s influence grow and more students take part. 

MSA seeks to recognize and promote the cultural diversity that exists among the students of MC. “We’re an organization that promotes multiculturalism, inclusion, diversity, and we recognize different cultures,” said MSA president and founder Camryn Johnson. 

Johnson, a senior Mathematics major from Byram, Mississippi, had the idea to start MSA in her sophomore year. “I’m not in a tribe or anything, and I just wanted to have my own piece of home and piece of community on campus,” she said. She pitched the idea for MSA to some upperclassmen friends and with their support founded the organization in early fall 2019. 

During their first year on campus, MSA participated in the Homecoming tailgate, held a Halloween fundraiser, and put on a number of events as a “culture explosion” during February. Due to COVID-19 restrictions last year, however, MSA did not hold events, although they still had Zoom meetings and community service projects such as a book drive for the children’s hospital. 

This year, MSA returns at full strength. During the month of October, they held a T-shirt fundraiser, a community service drive to benefit Shower Power in Jackson, a Halloween bash, and participated in the Homecoming tailgate. In November, they plan to emphasize mental health, with an event bringing in a speaker from Counseling Services, as well as recognizing Native American Heritage Month. Information about their upcoming events can be found on their Instagram @mcmsa_. 

Johnson encourages anyone interested to come to MSA meetings or events. “We have open meetings, so anyone can come to our meetings, anyone can participate in our community service projects, anyone can come to the tailgate, so it’s pretty open. We do have active members, but it’s open to everybody.”

Students sometimes confuse MSA with the Campus Programming Board’s Cross-Cultural Committee. Johnson, who is on the Cross-Cultural Committee, explained that the committee supports other organizations on campus including MSA. For example, when Johnson had an idea for a Hispanic Heritage Month event but knew MSA did not have as many resources to put on this event, she pitched it to the committee and the two organizations worked together to host the event.

Queen Washington, chair of the Cross-Cultural Committee and an MSA officer, clarified, “The whole purpose of the committee is to help other organizations on campus that are culturally inclusive. So if MSA were to have an event and they need help with certain things, the Cross-Cultural Committee would come and help them either acquire more resources or give them the help that they need.” Emphasizing that the two are not the same, however, she added, “MSA will go more into the community, and I would say [the Cross-Cultural Committee] is more putting events on campus that bring culture to the school.”

Washington, a senior and the SGA representative for MSA this year, has participated in MSA since its inaugural year. “When Cam first started MSA our sophomore year, I originally got interested in it because I knew of Cam and I liked what they had going on. The main concept of MSA was to create an inclusive environment and a safe space for minority students or students of color, so that’s what really attracted me to it.”

As a member of the track team, Washington said her only friend group at the time was within her sport, so she enjoyed getting to meet new friends through MSA, as well as being able to have honest conversations there. This year, she is excited for the events MSA will host and believes that they will be impactful despite the organization’s small size. “Even though numbers are small, the personalities that we do have, you can tell people are eager to be involved.”

MSA design chair Kendriana Addison brings a unique perspective as a graduate student at MC. She first joined MSA last year. “I kept seeing the flyer on the door of the Med Sci building, and it said that they had meetings on Zoom every Tuesday. So on a random Tuesday I just hopped on and I really liked what they were talking about, so I kept logging on.”

As a grad student, Addison expressed that MSA gave her a way to meet friends and get involved on campus. “I really like MSA because it’s a safe space to pretty much talk about anything. We talk about diversity, inclusivity, politics, mental illness, we talk about anything. And whatever goes on in MSA stays in MSA.”

MSA secretary Esther Urbina has been an officer since MSA’s inaugural year. Having transferred from Hinds Community College, Urbina said she felt “out of place” at MC at first since she did not join a tribe and was not involved in any other organizations besides the Board (then CAB). When a friend told her about Johnson’s idea to start MSA, Urbina went to a meeting and decided to join as an officer.

“I just thought that MSA was a great place for me since I didn’t know many people at Mississippi College, I didn’t know much about organizations other than CAB. I guess I was looking for a place where I could feel in place; I knew I was a person of color but I didn’t want that to exclude me from other things. The slogan that we have at MSA is ‘where diversity meets inclusion,’ and I wanted that place where there was diversity but we were inclusive as well.” She hopes MSA will continue to expand to represent even more cultural backgrounds. 

Urbina, who will graduate in December, said MSA has been impactful in her time at MC in giving her a place to get involved and meet so many different people. “I’m going to miss MSA when I graduate, but hopefully in the future there are more people who are as passionate as Cam and other people in the organization that will keep the organization alive and going throughout the years.”