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The Need to Serve, Never Drives Away

The Need to Serve, Never Drives Away

        Without the support and protection of the military our government provides out country would be in shambles. Elon University might not be a safe place for college, or you might not have a choice to attend college.

            Just as the military has served our country, the Elon Bio Bus drives serve Elon’s students. They work 12 hours a day in order to make sure students get to class and campus on time. They will never leave you in the cold. 

             Bill Crayton, 73 and native to Greensboro N.C, drives the outer loop Elon Bio bus. Bill served in the Korean War in the army, and has served Elon students every day for the past 11 years. After riding the bus, I have had the pleasure of talking with Bill one morning and hear about his life and services to others.

            Bill spent seven years serving our country including three in the army, four in the Coast Guard and two weeks apart of the Korean War. Bill is quick to assert that he is not the only one in his family that has had the privilege to serve in the military.

            “ My two brothers served 20 years in the Navy and my son served 20 years in the Navy” he says. “They did a lot more then I ever was able to do.”

            The Korean War is where his driving experience first started. After he was in battle for two weeks, he was stationed in Japan where he was an ambulance driver.

            When retelling his stories about the war, Bill smiled and laughed at the idea that he has been driving for that many years.

            “I guess there is just something about me and automobiles,” he says. “They wont ever leave me be, not that I’m complaining much.”

            Bill does have a passion with automobiles that has driven him in all of his career choices. At any opening he will talk about driving, or his side job of re-upholstering classic cars.               

             After his services in the military, he drove an 18-wheeler and after retiring from that, he saw an ad in the newspaper for the new Elon Bio Buses. He is one of the four original drivers that started the Bio Buses and has loved every second of his job.

            “ I have a lot of good kids here, I’m, um, happy I am able to serve them. It does get dead boring driving in circles for six hours. It’s why I got on with the football team,” he said. 

            As Bill stops to fill up the Bio Bus with fuel, he gets sidetrack from talking about the football team to give me an in-depth description of how the bus runs. His knowledge of vehicles is impressive and he is very passionate, “my son is a biological engineer in Ariz., he could gives us some better fuel then this!”

Bill then gets back on track saynig his work with the football team as their driver as a privilege. He says getting to watch the games for free doesn’t hurt, while he artfully gives me a wink. Bill serves the community of Elon in any way he can. 

Bill’s kindness is apart of what people love about him. Every student that gets on the bus gets a smile and a good morning from Bill and when he or she leave Bill wishes them a good day. Not only that but he remembers which stop all of his regulars live at.

 Caroline Klara, a sophomore at Elon,  said, “He makes my day! And never leaves me sitting in the cold!”

Bill will even skip his break on a cold day to drive a student home.

            Not many people know about his true passion. Bill spends all of his nights fixing classic cars upholstering to show car standards. He has his own shop behind his house, and is able to walk back and worth with his miniature poodle always following.

            “My wife hates it, but, well, she just doesn’t get it. My dog does.”

            Bill is currently working on 1957 Chevy post car for a show car with all pure leather interior. This is not just a simple hobby for Bill; it is a passion that takes around seven months to finish just one car.

            “If I could do anything I would keep on doin what I’m doin. Cars are my passion, and I am happy with this.”

            As we turn the corner to my stop, Bill thanks me for my interest in him. “It’s been awhile since anyone has asked.” Bill passes the stop to the back of my building, by passing the stop because it is cold and closer to my apartment. “I don’t want to make you walk in the cold if I can help it.” It is obvious that Bill’s kindness has served or country in more ways then one.

 

 

Effective Advertising

On magazine that took me by surprise with effective advertising, was Rolling Stone Magazine. They are very specific with their advertising to target the audience they are receiving. All of the ads are witty, funny, and target music advocates that love they lifestyle that goes along with music. From the multitude of alcohol ads to the ads just about upcoming movies and shows, Rolling Stone targets their audience.

Sisters Share More Than Identical DNA

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She’s more than my sister. She’s my best friend; my support system.”

Whitney Chambers is an identical twin. Faltering at times when describing the bond she shares with her sister, she lights up when she talks about her sister, Britney.

Both girls are seniors at Elon University and are best friends, but this was not always the case. Britney spent her first two years at Campbell University. Whitney said the distance was hard because they had always been close. But, Whitney enjoyed the freedom of being herself for the first time– she was happy with her own identity. Britney transferred to Elon her junior year and it was difficult at first.

Change is always hard, but the initial awkwardness faded quickly. Whitney realizes that she grew apart from her sister in the two years.

“I’m so glad she transferred,” Chambers said. “She is my best friend, the person I can always go to. We have separate lives, but we do a lot of social activities together.”

Both girls are resident advisers and live on different parts of the Elon campus. Whitney is a human service major while Britney is an education major.

The bond between them is an unseen but powerful presence; it is blowing in the wind. It is clear that they have been able to find the balance between having a close connection and being themselves. They have a relationship that only twins can share and understand. A support system that they can always depend on.

One of Chambers’s student residents has cousins who are twins. Sarah Diedrick’s cousins are at different colleges in New York, but she says they are very close. A sophomore at Elon, Diedrick has known fraternal twins for most of her life, but not identical twins.

Identical twins are a mystery. People are fascinated by them. Two people who  look the same and have the same DNA are captivating to people. This may be because the seemingly unexplainable bond that twins share.

Identical twins make up a little more than 3 percent of the population; a lot less than most people think. Only 133,122 identical twins were born in 2005. Being a twin is unusual, but to be an identical twin is rare.

The connection that Whitney and Britney share is something that many would envy. Like a soul mate, but found at birth.

Lauryn Thomas, a sophomore at Elon says she is at times blown away by the impossibly close relationship Whitney and Britney share. Thomas is also one of Whitney’s residents and says she loves seeing the two girls together; watching how they interact.

“I am sure that I see Britney sometimes and think she is Whitney, but she waves right back at me and is so nice about it,” Thomas says. “I have always wondered what it would be like to have an identical twin; it would be so cool to have someone who I can always depend on.”

The mystery surrounding twins will never dissipate. The fascination with the unknown entices people to be curious about twins.

As for the future, Whitney is unsure of her plans.

“My sister wants us to live together next year,” Chambers says. “I’m not sure what I want to do yet; I have so many different plans. It will work out.”

The sisters will never be far apart. Whitney becomes completely alive and animated when she talks about her sister. 

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Profile Story

A Little Italy at Elondscf2457

As she finally reaches home after a long day of teaching classes, surviving through faculty meetings and fulfilling routine office hours, Mena Marino pushes open the door of her small apartment at the Acorn Inn. She shuffles over to her couch and flips on one of her favorite TV shows, Friends.

As Marino watches, she pulls out a notebook and tries to copy new words and phrases she hears. She pays attention to what each character is saying and observes their lifestyle on the show. Rather than watch the show for entertainment, Marino tries to learn as much as she can about the English language and American culture from this simple sitcom.

Every day, Marino repeats this attentiveness with everything she encounters in the unfamiliar world that surrounds her.

Marino, 31, teaches Italian language classes at Elon University. Originally from Florence, she has lived in America for 18 years, but still struggles with the language to gain her own independence in foreign territory. Because she lived with Italian relatives, she never experienced American culture until she became independent at Elon. She says she loves being around students and she admires her co-workers. She believes that living in America and experiencing another culture is one of the most important journeys of her life, a journey that twists and turns in different directions with each day she lives.

Marino came to the United States when she turned 13 and stayed with relatives who lived in New York. A year and a half ago in May, Marino began teaching at Elon. The first time she made the journey back home to Florence was last year.

“I wanted to experience America because I think it is important to know another lifestyle,” says Marino. She relies on her students and colleagues to teach her the ropes of the American way of life. Samuele Pardini, another visiting Italian professor and one of Marino’s friends, advises her to experience America for herself and to not be distracted by the media.

Thus far, one of the greatest lessons Marino has taken away from her time at Elon is the importance of independence and newfound responsibility. She says that she has gained the utmost respect for her students. “They help me learn as much as I teach them,” says Marino. Especially because Marino is younger than most professors at Elon, she thinks that she can relate better to her students.

As for independence, Marino has spent her whole life with her family. They’re one of the most important things to her. So when she began living on her own, she encountered some hard times. “It’s scary,” she says about being independent in an unknown country.

Marino has learned to rely on her co-workers for physical help such as transportation because she doesn’t own a car. She also depends on them for emotional and mental support.

She believes international relationships are extremely important—especially for students. She is glad that there are a good number of international professors. “It opens windows to the world when there is a fusion of cultures,” said Marino.

When she’s not explaining the rules of Italian grammar and reviewing vocabulary with students, Marino enjoys spending a lot of her time at the gym. She says that fitness is a big part of the culture in Italy. They even hold fitness festivals. She also likes to read. Her favorite author is Italian novelist Italo Svevo. She is interested in photography and creates mini movies on her computer using the photos she’s collected. She even likes to document her classes and send the movies home to her family so they can share in her teaching experience.

Flipping off her television, Marino begins reviewing what she’s learned from Friends that night. She goes over her lesson plans for the next day and checks her schedule to make sure she doesn’t miss the faculty meeting in the afternoon. These simple tasks are just some of the ways Marino helps herself adjust to her new American lifestyle that she finds intimidating, but exhilarating and fulfilling just the same.

Bowman Brings Calm to Elon

 

Bowman works at his computer in Belk Library.

Bowman works at his computer in Belk Library.

 

 

Belk Library at finals time is a breeding ground for high stress and extreme exhaustion. Students bustling, typing furiously, arching over their text books in hope of the best possible grade. But in the middle of this contained chaos is a center of calm. Sitting at the library’s front desk, an epicenter of referential knowledge, the eye of the storm, is Randall Bowman, placidly gazing at the computer screen.



“I can feel the stress level around me with the students,” Bowman says as he gestures to the first floor of the library, still swarming on a Friday afternoon. “We’re slammed right now.”

Though his life in the library is a tense environment, he chooses to live his life in the opposite way.

“I live a very quiet life, which I like,” he says.

He reads a lot, though he says he doesn’t think he has one favorite author. He also enjoys watching movies with Jo, his wife whom he recently married just over a year ago.

 “My wife and I are movie buffs,” Bowman said, emphasizing they watch everything from new releases to classics.

In their free time the Bowmans go out to dinner regularly and community events like the on-campus lighting of the Luminaries for the holidays/

An Elon employee for eight years now, Bowman says he loves the sense of community on campus.

“This is a really good place to work,” he said. “An employer that really takes care of its employees.”

Bowman, who seemingly always wanted to be a reference librarian, started in this line of work at Belk Library. An undergrad degree at UNC Chapel Hill and a Masters of Library and Information Studies from UNC-G put Bowman on the right track.

With the official title of Reference/Instruction Librarian at Elon, Randall Bowman works at the library Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and wears both hats of a reference librarian and the instruction coordinator—the person who arranges for and teaches classes to come in to learn about how to use the library.

While working at the reference desk, Bowman usually does some professional reading from trade magazines for librarians, collection development for Belk or checks his email.

It is usually at this time when he gets the most questions from students. Mostly they’re menial: “Where can I print in color?” “How do I retrieve my work from my login?”

Sophomore Anna Simpson said that Bowman had helped her once before.

“He was very helpful,” she said. “He taught me new things I didn’t know I could do through the library.

Though Bowman said “most of the questions [he] gets nowadays are pretty routine,” there are always those stragglers.

“We regularly deal with students who’ve waited for the last minute,” he said.

Bowman said exam time is busiest but the instructional part of the job is hardest.

“The most challenging part of the job is teaching the classes,” Bowman said.

He sees students ranging from their college writing or Elon 101 classes to graduate level courses that need help writing their thesis papers.

“He has a hard job,” says Patrick Rudd the evening reference librarian. “He has to coordinate all the instruction librarians, and that’s not easy.”

Rudd said with so many people to coordinate all with different opinions it’s difficult to organize and satisfy everyone.

“He’s a good consensus builder,” Rudd said.

Rudd said that because of Bowman’s low-key, calm nature, he’s a good leader and administrator.

When the Christmas tree was going up in the library, some technical difficulties occurred with the lights after they had already been redone once already.

“[All the librarians] kinda threw up our hands,” Rudd said.

But Bowman wanted to make it right, so he redid the tree’s lights himself without asking for help or needing instruction.

“He just does those kind of things that other people don’t want to do,” Rudd said.

Still swamped on a Friday afternoon, Bowman keeps the library calm and collected. He stops to talk to a student he knows while she’s firing away on a PC. He coolly leans on the computer partition, they make small talk about those killer exams and he wishes her a happy Christmas break. 

They don’t talk long; he clearly doesn’t want to bother her while she’s working, but it seems as if he’s satisfied, like he made his impact for the day. He’s quelled a storm for a few moments.  

Guitarist Enters the Blogging World

Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante has recently started his own blog. It is geared toward people who listen to his music as a solo artist, and it offers a self-reflective, insightful look at things such as playing the guitar, as well as the concept of his new album, The Empyrean, set to be released in January 2009.  

Frusciante’s writing certainly has a psychedelic element to it, as it makes  the reader think outside the box.  This is most recognized in his first entry which is an exercise for guitarists, but you don’t need to play an instrument to understand it.  

Using his guitar playing as an example, Frusiciante explains that, “our differences as people can be points of connection, and we don’t have to dress like our friend’s, or have the same opinion as them to strengthen that connection.”  

It is this, Frusciante says, that makes beautiful music come together, and this idea becomes his basis for thought throughout the blog. Understanding this is necessary towards making sense of and appreciating Frusicante’s writing.  

This blog is sure to offer more interesting writing in the future, and bloggers everywhere should take advantage of getting into the mind of one of the most talented musicians of our time.

Here is some of Frusciante’s work on the guitar: 


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