My Experience at the God? Forum

Written by Grace Ryan, Contributor

On Wed., October 23, Furman hosted its annual God? Forum. Many students were drawn to the cultural life program (CLP) for its intriguing title, some hoping to finally find an answer to the persistent question of the existence of a heavenly power. The CLP, however, offered little in terms of answers, but rather brought together non-believers and staunch believers alike, allowing all parties the chance to articulate and reconcile their own ideas on religion. 

Although sponsored by Campus Catholic Ministry (CCM), the God? Forum is open to all. Maddie Tedrick, one of CCM’s student leaders, said that, like the event, CCM “provides Catholic students on campus with community, fellowship, and a place to worship,” but the organization is not exclusive; all events, from Sunday 9pm Mass to weekly Wednesday fellowship nights, are open to everyone.

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Furman Celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week

Written by Evan Myers, News Editor

On the first floor in Hipp Hall, Furman University’s business majors work on state-of-the-art computers equipped with Bloomberg terminal technology, mastering the basics of accounting, finance, marketing and operations. An inviting space across the hall—equipped with white boards and dry erase markers—is now offering all Furman students the opportunity to explore another side of business: innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Although Furman’s efforts to improve innovation and entrepreneurship began in the fall of 2018—when the University hired Anthony Herrera to develop talent, create and grow the Furman Entrepreneurial Ecosystem—the recently renovated space in Hipp Hall marks a significant increase in visibility for Herrera’s growing team, which now includes Derek Pedersen as Entrepreneur in Residence, Matt Reeve as the manager of campus programs and Katherine Boda as marketing manager.

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Furman and United Way Expose Gentrification in Greenville

Written by Haley Horn, Assistant News Editor

Recently, Furman University students and faculty teamed up with United Way of Greenville County to produce the “Neighborhood Change in Greenville” study. As stated in the project’s executive summary, researchers “present a mixed-methods project to better understand gentrification and displacement in Greenville County areas.” The project utilized qualitative and quantitative data from members of the community as well as data available to the public.

This is not the first time Furman has teamed up with United Way of Greenville County. According to Mike Winiski, Executive Director for Community-Engaged Learning, the pair decided to continue this partnership because, “the questions that were being asked aligned really well with faculty expertise, which in turn offered a great opportunity for students to be deeply involved in all aspects of the study.” 

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Students Hope for Return of Black Greek Organizations

Written by Sabria Bowman, Contributor

This September, the Center for Inclusive Communities hosted a meet and greet with local National Pan Hellenic Council graduate charters. This event was held as a part of the efforts to increase the presence of historically Black Greek letter organizations on campus. In the weeks leading up to the event, prospective students were reminded and encouraged to attend as it was important to showcase our community and demonstrate to representatives that Furman is a place where NPHC organizations can thrive. At the event, students were given the opportunity to approach each chapter in attendance, ask questions, and receive information about each chapter. 

The event created increased interest among students and a desire to have more of Black Greek letter organizations on Furman’s campus. However, the event also begged the question of why Furman only has one active chapter on campus and what can be done to get other chapters started. Deborah Allen, Director of the Center for Inclusive Communities, provided insight into this important question, suggesting that “there’s always been an interest in NPHC organizations on campus. Allen also noted that “Alpha Kappa Alpha is currently active on campus, and the University is in discussion with Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, and Kappa Alpha Psi.”. 

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Furman Author says Dragons Suck, but Millennials Might Not

Written by Grace Ryan, Contributor

Dragons Suck, by Ben Gamble, has gained a reputation as a “witty,” “satirical,” and “laugh out loud” adventure tale,  according to reviews on Amazon. Gamble graduated from Furman in 2019; during his time at the University he double-majored in History and Spanish, forged deep connections in the Improv Club, became editor of the Echo and even participated in the Furman Futures Program. On (date you talked to Ben), I called Gamble to discuss his new novel.. As Gamble recounted the backstory of Dragons Suck—which he started as a senior in high schoolhis enticing storytelling abilities and wisecrack humor revealed the novel is more than an adventure story. Though certainly a good-natured jab at the modern teenager, Gamble believes the book can also be interpreted as a sort of redemptive story for millennials, one that defendssome of the “less-desirable” aspects of their reputation.

In other words, Gamble believes that today the term “millennial” has become synonymous with lazy, narcissistic, greedy and perpetually unsatisfied. Instead of dodging the negative labels being pelted at his own generation, however, Gamble embraces them. In both recognizing and accepting this criticism, Gamble creates a duality: an anti-fairytale fairytale.

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Furman Professor Resigns Chairmanship of ETV Commission

Written by Evan Myers, News Editor

On Sept. 24, 2019, Dr. Brent Nelsen, a professor of Politics and International Affairs at Furman University, resigned his chairmanship of South Carolina’s Educational Television Commission (ETV), which oversees the state’s public television and radio. According to an article in The Post and Courier—written by Nelsen and two other frustrated, resigning members of ETV’s state commission, Karen Martin and Jill Holtt—“ETV is now controlled by moneyed outside interests.” In particular, the resigning members of the Commission took aim at the ETV Endowment, a separate, nonprofit entity whose website solicits donations that “go directly toward supporting the great programs you and your family love.”

Nelsen and the other resigning members of the Commission, who believe that “money raised in ETV’s name should be available to the network and the people of South Carolina with as few strings attached as legally possible,” insist that donations do not “go directly” to public programming as the Endowment’s website indicates. “Donors believe their money is going to ETV,” Nelsen, Martin and Holt explained, but “in fact, it goes to the endowment and ETV must petition to receive it.” 

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FUSCAN Advocates for Children on Campus

Written by Eleanor Liu, Contributor

With the recent rise in disasters around the world, there has been an increase in efforts to raise awareness about children suffering from abuse, disaster, and poverty. FUSCAN (Furman University Save the Children Action Network), Furman’s branch of Save the Children Action Network, a non-governmental organization, has formed a part of this larger effort and held a number of events to raise awareness for the cause. 

In order to properly address the issues that children are facing and their lack of protection from traumatic events such as bombings, shootings, and sexual abuse, Emma Bondy, treasurer of FUSCAN, states that FUSCAN spends a majority of its time “building bipartisan support to make sure that every child has a strong start to life.” Although they primarily promote on campus, FUSCAN also offers opportunities to connect with SCAN community members around Greenville and throughout the country, such as participating in advocacy summits to DC and hosting SCAN booths at the Children’s Museum in Downtown Greenville. Additionally, they have worked with Headstart, For the Safety of Children at the Southern US Border, and other related organizations located in the various conflict zones around the world.

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From Seed to Table: Oak Hill Cafe and Community

Written by Grace Ryan, Contributor

A small white farmhouse perched off Poinsett Highway, the exterior of the Oak Hill Café appears unassuming; however, the culinary experience harbored on the inside is anything but. Light pine floors and an open-concept dining area are a pleasant background for the true star of the show — the unconventional dishes the café serves. Yet Oak Hill, the brainchild of David Porras and Lori Nelsen, is much more than a restaurant. The building is a vessel, a tool to display their unique process of sourcing, preparing and delivering food to the diners of Greenville; a process not only delicious, but also sustainable. 

Nelsen and Porras met almost serendipitously three years ago at a Furman faculty party. Nelsen was the manager of the chemistry lab, a position she had held for 20 years, and Porras’s wife had recently secured a job at the university. For some time, Nelsen had been contemplating a transition into the culinary industry and a single conversation with Porras convinced her to take the leap. Nelsen and her husband, Dr. Brent Nelsen (a current professor at Furman), swiftly purchased the 2.4 acres on which the restaurant and farm now reside, and Oak Hill began its transition from idea to reality. 

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President Davis Pushes for Mental Health Policy Reform

Written by Haley Horn, Contributor

On October 10th, individuals all around the world celebrated World Mental Health Day. According to the World Health Organization’s website, “the overall objective” of the holiday is to “raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.” Many individuals took to social media to share their journeys with mental health and show support for those individuals who are currently suffering, encouraging them to reach out and seek help from available resources. 

As society increasingly focuses on the importance of mental health, the government has also started to make it a priority. On June 25th of this year, Furman  alumnus and contributor David Trone ‘77, Representative of Maryland’s 6th congressional district, introduced the Higher Education Mental Health Act of 2019 (H.R. 3489) which “seeks to address the growing number of students in higher education with mental health concerns,” according to an official press release by Congressman Trone’s office. In practice, the bill requires the commencement of a national study on the “mental health concerns of students at institutions of higher education”  to examine the quality and quantity of resources available to students during their time in higher education. 

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Supply and Demand: Accessing Study Away

Written by Eleanor Liu, Contributor

For fifty years now, ever since Furman students left Greenville to study in the British Isles in 1969, study abroad has been largely regarded as one of the most engaging ways to learn at Furman. According to Nancy Georgiev, Director of the Rinker Center for Study Away and International Education, the number of people applying to study away has increased dramatically over the last decade, especially for May-X programs. However, with 18 May-X programs per year, and with two faculty members per program, Georgiev said that Furman is “sort of maxed out” concerning its study away offerings.

With increased demand and limited supply, Georgiev indicated that “we really have to start thinking about what should our criteria be, who should get to go.” In other words, to make the limited number of study away programs open and accessible to all, the Rinker Center is fighting an uphill battle. 

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