Winter on the Parkway

Generally, winter is my least favorite season.  I prefer the hot days of summer and the striking foliage of autumn to the bitter cold and the short days that winter brings.  However, my anti-winter feelings tend to melt a bit when the snow begins to fall.  Snow makes beautiful the starkness of the winter months, and, perhaps more importantly, gives us an excuse to drink hot chocolate in excess.  Recently, we've gotten a lot of snow here in Western North Carolina; at my house in Weaverville (just fifteen minutes north of Asheville), we have around a foot of snow.  Today, my family decided to enjoy that snow from the Blue Ridge Parkway, a beautiful senic road that winds through North Carolina and Virginia, and offers some of the best views and hiking in the area.  It was an awesome day. 

Read more »

Art in the Library

One thing that I love about the library is that it there is so much great art to distract us from studying!  On the first floor, there is a small art gallery that displays art created by UNC Asheville students or community members.  I wanted to write a post about the most recent exhibition, "Transformatin through Displacement," becuase the paintings, by Emily O'Brien, are beautiful.  Here is a short video I made from photos I took of the exhibition.   

Emily O'Brien: Biography
Emily is a UNC Asheville graduating senior, who will receive her Bachelor's Degree in art and French this December.  A native of Silver Spring, MD, Emily transferred to UNC Asheville in January of 2008 after taking a year off to help out in post-Katrina New Orleans.  She first heard of the university from a group of UNC Asheville students who had come down to volunteer during their spring break. 
Earlier this year, Emily was thrilled to learn that she had won the Joseph W. Yedlicka Award from the National French Honors Society.  This award permitted her to study French and Art History at the American University of Paris for several months over the summer.  Her entire senior series, Transformation through Displacement, is a product of this wonderful opportunity to be submerged in the French-speaking world for the first time.
Although her future plans are uncertain, Emily will move to Europe after graduation in order to master her fluency in French.  Pursuing her career as an artist is part of her plan as she embarks on this adventure.

Read more »

Campus Study Spots

With exams winding down, I thought it would be approrpiate  to share the best study spots on campus.  Now, there are some places to study that are more suited for group studying (socializing areas, if you will).  These places are generally comfortable and easygoing, and lend themselves naturally to minimal work and maximum discussion.  Other areas are more austere, and are best for individual research and serious, quiet concentration.

Here we have the library, first floor.  While this may seem like one of those serious study areas, don't be decieved.  Becuase it is on the first floor near the circulation desk and writing center, talking is permitted, and becuase talking is permitted, this becomes a more social area.
 On the third floor of Highsmith Student Union, couches and tables make it possible to share a snack (from home or purchased from the "food court" on the first floor of HSU) and work on projects simultaneousely.
Couches in the Commuter Student Lounge (again, on third HSU) provide comfortable seating for group discussions, reading, or movie-watching for those so inclined.  
 In the main area of this study lounge are couches and tables which are great places for club meetings, group work, etc. 
Another view of the 3rd HSU study lounge.
On the second floor of HSU, there is a small study area that is better suited for individual work.  However, becuase it is in Highsmith, there is a lot of "traffic," which can be distracting.  Be sure to bring headphones!
This is one of the coolest, or should I say warmest, places to study on campus.  Attached to Cafe Ramsey on the first floor of the library is a little greenhouse full of tropical foliage and tables.  When I am in here, I generally see people working alone or in pairs and  working on a cup of coffee or a smoothie from the cafe.  This is a great place to warm up when it's cold outside and to study in a more "exotic" environment.
As you enter the basement of the library, the studying gets more serious.  Although there are larger tables here, group work is conducted relatively quietly.  (Coincidentally, this is also what the third floor looks like)

For those interested in more strictly individual studying, there are lots of these desks available in the basement and on the third floor.

A closer view of the study cubicles.   
On nice days, the quad is an awesome place to study and relax.  Unfortunately, today the quad looked like this:

On another note, I also saw these snowmen today: 

This little guy is adorable--classicly UNC Asheville

This one, on the other hand, is probably the scariest snowman ever.

Read more »

Let it Snow!

Well, it's official: we have snow!  On Sunday, the snow was simply blowing around without a thought to sticking to the ground.  However, we were excited to learn on Monday morning that Jack Frost had changed his mind and had sent enough snow to cause a late start on the last day of classes.  When I woke up this morning, I discovered that the snow had decided to stick around for a little while longer.  Luckily, today is Reading Day (tomorrow is the first day of exams-yikes!), so we did not have another delayed start, although Asheville City Schools were actually closed today.
Although it might be inconvenient for commuter students and faculty, I think the snow was an awesome surprise.  Just a few weeks ago, we were wearing light jackets or even shorts around campus; now, people are bundled up against the stinging winds.  This kind of weather really gets me in the mood for Christmas.  Despite the fact that tomorrow at 8 AM I will be sitting my first exam, with the snow, I feel as though I could be at home baking cookies!  Because I would love for the snow to stick around a little longer and make exams more bearable, I checked the forecast, and was disappointed to learn that we are probably not going to have more snowfall in the next few days.  Instead, it looks like the weather will be cold and sunny, but warming up to a whopping high of 52 on Saturday.  Oh well.  We still have a long winter ahead of us!     
Good luck to everyone on exams! 

 The soccer field was covered!
A view of the track from my dorm

Read more »

A Cappella Night

            As promised, on Friday night, my friends and I attended a joint performance by All Girl Staff and The Undertones (UNC Asheville's male a cappella group).  The concert was great!  For being a small school, our student body certainly has a lot of talent.  What I really enjoyed about the performances by The Undertones and All Girl Staff was that they were unpredictable and exciting.  Rather than confining themselves to renditions of oldies or modern pop songs, both groups took risks and presented a diverse range of songs (and stage performances). 

            During The Undertones’ first set, we were all surprised by a performance of “Man of Constant Sorrow” when the singer pulled on a fake beard and began dancing.  They also performed songs by Bon Iver and Iron and Wine, and gave a rendition of “Victoria” by Jukebox the Ghost that I thought was better than the original. 
            All Girl Staff also gave a wonderful performance.  Throughout both of their sets, I got the distinct impression that they were really having fun!  Some highlights of their performances include “Kaleidoscope Heart,” “No Air,” and “Shadowland” from The Lion King.  While AGS girls performed all of their songs very well, I thought “Shadowland” was by far the best performance of the night.  I could feel the passion these girls had for music and the time they’ve spent together. 
            In all, it was a great night.  We all enjoyed ourselves and left with high spirits, ready to tackle our exams head-on!    
"Soggy Bottom Boys"? 
A sweet duet

AGS and Undertones: joint performance

"Shadowland" was awesome

Read more »

On the Brink of Exams

With Monday being the last day of classes, and Wednesday the start of the final exam period, the mood around campus is, in a word, stressed.  Like my fellow students, I have been working on papers and presentations, the last of which is due during my exam period on Thursday.  For me, this weekend promises to be one of work, work, and a little more work. 

However, I won't forget to mention that although the end of the semester means the end of classes, it also means that student activities are winding down before that long period of hibernation that is Winter Break.  So what does this mean for UNC Asheville Students?  For one of my suitemates, Kate, it means a final performance with her a cappella group, All Girl Staff.  AGS will be performing tonight at 8 pm, an event that I will most definitely be attending.  Throughout the semester, I've heard singing coming from Kate's room, and it sounded great.  For those of you who are going to be on campus today, come by the Humanities Lecture Hall at 8 to listen to some sweet music!  Here's a video I found of an AGS performance earlier this year.  Enjoy!  

For students interested in jazz, there will be a jazz concert on Sunday, December 5 that should be fun!  The Studio 18 Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Wind Ensemble will be performing holiday music in Lapinsky Hall Auditorium.  Stop by at 4 pm and be sure to bring $5 for your ticket!  Listening to music is a great way to relax and relieve stress.  Listening to holiday music is an even better way to get in the spirit of the season and take a mental trip (conveniently bypassing exams) to the end of the semester! 

Fun Links
All Girl Staff on Myspace
All Girl Staff on Facebook
Exam Period Library Hours

Read more »

Intramural Soccer 2010

On Monday night, I got the chance to see one of the playoff games for UNC Asheville's intramural soccer program.  My roommate was playing for Kick in the Balls (she scored both goals) and my brother was on Jedi's Storm.  Congratulations to Kick in the Balls for their 2-1 victory!  I've made a short video encapsulating the highlights of the game and its dedicated players and fans.  My apologies to Jedi's Storm; I was unable to capture their brilliant goal, scored by player Chase shortly after half-time.  Enjoy!

Song: "Mister Sister" by Tender Box

Read more »