Friday, March 13, 2015

American Horror Story's Jamie Brewer Visits CofC to Campaign Against the "R" Word

Jamie Brewer Advocates for Ending the "R" Word

Jamie Brewer, a rising star in Hollywood, graced the CofC community with her presence Wednesday evening as she talked about overcoming the adversity of Down syndrome and ending the “R” word. Brewer is most known in her roles on Ryan Murphy's popular television horror anthology American Horror Story. Her most recent role was in AHS's third season Coven, in which she played the role of a young witch named Nan with the ability to hear the thoughts of people nearby.

Brewer (right) as Nan on AHS: Coven

Brewer instantly put a smile on everyone’s face as she made her grand entrance onto the stage in the Stern Center ballroom. Her beaming personality filled the room with as much joy as she portrays on film. The message she delivered was short but powerful: End the “R” word. She is one of many advocates for the end the word campaign that has gained a strong foothold over the past seven years. Brewer stressed the point that the word is both offensive and derogatory, and that we should replace it with a new “R” word - Respect.

Make "Respect" the New "R" Word

But her message didn’t stop there. Brewer continued on to say that everyone, including those with disabilities, can make their mark on the world simply by following their heart and following the talents that make them unique. “If I can do it, anyone can,” Brewer said.

Some of the most eager attendees of this event were the members of CofC's Best Buddies program. Best Buddies is a volunteer run program with the purpose of providing opportunities to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One of the most important things Jamie did Wednesday night was to provide the "buddies" with a powerful role model that they can relate to. "Just like individuals without an IDD, our buddies are often influenced by the commercial industry and think they have to be perfect," said Bailie Sparks, a CofC student volunteer for Best Buddies. "Hearing Jamie speak did nothing but encourage everyone, especially our buddies!"

Not only does Brewer act, but she also is pursuing a college degree, studying subjects that include French and calligraphy. Even in her academic studies she finds artistic outlets! Brewer did note that she has been taking a break from school while shooting AHS.

When Brewer isn't acting alongside the magnificent Jessica Lange, she's busy being an inspiration in almost everything else she does. She most recently made history as the first model with Down Syndrome at New York Fashion Week. She appeared in Carrie Hammer’s line “Role Models Not Runway Models,” sporting a black AHS inspired outfit.

Brewer and I pose for a photo

Despite who you are, there are many lessons that can be learned from this amazing actress. She proves to the world that anything is possible even when faced with adversity. Now that she has risen into the public spotlight, she is using her fame to make things easier on those with similar challenges. Everyone who attended her talk at CofC was rewarded with a hug and picture with Brewer, and a chance to sign the pledge against the “R” word. If you would like to follow in her footsteps and join the cause, you can sign the pledge and view the campaign here.

Brewer may not have become the Supreme in Coven, but she is definitely supreme in real life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Addlestone's Renovations Provide Boundless Opportunities

Interior of the Addlestone Library

Progress- it’s what allows us to move forward as a society. Education is certainly no exemption to this idea, requiring establishments of learning to constantly update their curriculum, methods of teaching, and facilities. To keep up with the standard, College of Charleston made significant renovations to the Nathan and Marlene Addlestone Library over this past summer, providing great new opportunities for student achievement.

Beginning in March, the renovations lasted until the start of fall semester. One of these improvements was the addition of over 200 seats to allow for more students to use the library at once. This is especially beneficial for high traffic times such as finals week, when finding a place to sit in the library is as hard to find as a parking spot downtown. Along with this, many new power outlets and ethernet ports were placed throughout the facility so that students never have to worry about going off the grid.

The "Flex Room"
Three new study rooms were added as well, along with the new “flex room.” This room is located on the third floor (room 360) and provides a wide range of uses for students and faculty. It holds 50 seats and can be used for classes, lectures, group projects, and as a study space.

Another big change was the movement of the book collection to the second floor. Students looking for a book should direct their search to this area, where the material is neatly compacted onto the moving book shelves. Maps are located throughout the library to help in finding the location of a book.

Maybe the most obvious change is the instillation of the new Starbucks, in place of the Java City on the first floor. Now students are able to get their favorite Starbucks beverages without having to leave the library, with the option to pay with dining dollars or even their own Starbucks card. The only trade off with this change is that the prices at Starbucks will be more expensive than they were at Java City.

Boxes of books took up the entire center of the first floor
during renovations
While the renovations made are a definite improvement and add to the list of great resources offered,there are still areas in which Addlestone is lacking. The most notorious might be the nearly ten-year-old computers located on the first floor. These outdated machines are known for their infuriating slowness and proneness to crashing. “The library needs to invest in new computers,” said CofC Junior Lauren Holton. “The current ones are
very out of date and have the speed to match that. I’ve been late to classes before because it takes 30 minutes just to print out one document.”

However, there is good news for frustrated students! Brandon Lewter, who served on the committee responsible for the library renovations, hints at some possible improvements. “There will be upgrades to the computers in the lab in the very foreseeable future, that’s all I can say,” Lewter said.

Students currently do classwork on computers that
date back to 2005
The College of Charleston is always open to listening to recommendations for improvement. Students who have concerns should contact the person or office in charge of the part of the college of which the concern is held. For library recommendations, Lewter advises that you contact either James Williams or Claire Fund.

The new renovations to the Addlestone Library have great implementations for education. Even more additions will be arriving in the next few months. The S.C. Historical Society will begin to
move its collection into the facilities starting in January 2015, adding its repertoire of rare materials to the library’s vast assortment of resources (speaking of history, check out what the CofC libraries have looked like in the past).

So whether you are a student, faculty, associate, or member of the public, the library provides an amazing educational resource for all. Remember, no one is ever too old to learn, and what a better place to do so than the Addlestone Library!

Q&A with Brandon Lewter
Libraries History
Library FAQ
Library Resources Slideshow

Q&A with Brandon Lewter on Addlestone Renovations

Brandon Lewter, CofC Interlibrary Loan Coordinator

Now that the Addlestone Library renovations have been mostly completed, it is easy to observe the hard work that went into the process. Who do we have to thank for all the new upgrades? Meet Brandon Lewter, a library faculty member who played a key role in the library renovations. Lewter, a coordinator for CofC’s Interlibrary Loan, served on the committee responsible for making decisions concerning the changes that were made to the library over the summer. I had the chance to speak with Lewter about how the whole process worked.

Q: What was the official name of the renovation committee?
A: Oh you started with a hard one. The name changed a few times. It was called The Addlestone Improvement Communications Committee, I believe.

Q: What was your role on it and what were your key responsibilities?
A: I worked on some of the new signage we are putting up, as well as the new floor plans, the designs, and getting input from other faculty about room numbers, what should be labeled. I was part of the discussion of how the stacks are arranged.

Q: How often did the committee meet?
A: We would meet usually once or twice a month. The meetings started a few months before the renovations started, in July.

Q: When did the process for making the renovations start? Including planning?
A: The process for the renovations started years ago. They first introduced the possibility of library renovations the summer before; that was before they got funding for it.

Q: Which changes are you most proud of and which changes benefit the library and students best in your opinion?
A: The extra study space, more seating. The flex room is definitely a cool space. That’s room 360. The implementation of power and ethernet ports on the tables.

Q: Are there any plans for future changes or renovations?
A: The S.C. Historical Society is going to start moving in their collection in December.

Q: Will Addlestone update its lab computers in the foreseeable future? When?
A: Yes, the very foreseeable future. That's all I can say.

Q: If students wanted to suggest changes be made to the library, or anything else at CofC, which would be the best office or person to contact?
A: I would contact either James Williams or Claire Fund.

One only has to walk into the Addlestone library to witness how much care and enthusiasm went into the new renovations. With this in mind, the college community can only look forward to the best; especially with Lewter’s hint at the lab computer upgrades. We are very fortunate here at CofC to have a diligent worker such as Lewter leading the way to improving one of our most valued educational facilities.

A Brief History of the CofC Libraries

The Towell Library, as seen in modern day

A library is one of the most essential institutions to a university. It is the storehouse of knowledge, where scholars go to seek out information for their studies. Without a library, there would simply be no college. The College of Charleston is rich in history, and therefore, so are its libraries.

There are three buildings that have served as libraries for CofC, all of which can be found still standing on campus today. The first of which is the Towell (pronounced “toll”) Library, the construction of which was completed in 1856. Located adjacent to Randolph Hall and next to the Cistern, this original library housed the college’s first print collection, which consisted of approximately 25,000 volumes.

The interior of Towell Library, circa 1927
An interesting myth is associated with the Towell library. As you will notice if you ever visit, the front doors to the library are surprisingly narrow. Supposedly, the doors were made that way to keep women out of the building back when it was an all-male college. The women would have had a
difficult time walking through the doors in the big hoop skirts of the period. There is no confirmation of this theory however.

The Towell Library served as the college’s library for over a century. In 1970 College of Charleston became a State institution, qualifying it for a legislative appropriation for a new library. This library was constructed on the Cougar Mall in 1972, and was named the Robert Scott Small Library. Around the same time, the school’s student body drastically increased. To meet the demands of the influx of scholars, Robert Scott Small’s collection grew to around 450,000 books.

Construction of Robert Scott Small Library in 1971

A little over three decades later, the Nathan and Marlene Addlestone Library was founded, its doors opening to students for the Spring semester of 2005. This institution filled the ever growing needs of the college, allowing the housing of one million printed volumes with the aid of its new mobile shelving. Addlestone also moved the college into the 21st century, providing students with lab computers, printers, and a wireless network. One of the most revolutionary advances this modern library provides is its access to countless online databases, extending CofC’s knowledgebase far beyond the walls of the school.

The Nathan and Marlene Addlestone library, built in 2005

As the transition to electronic material continues to put all the information we could ever want in the palm of our hand, the question remains as to what the future of libraries will hold. Little by little we lose the need for large collections of physical books. What will the function of the CofC library become if we will no longer actually need to go to it? Regardless of how libraries may evolve, there will always be appreciation for the foundations of the past and the need for a place where scholars can continue their quests for knowledge.

CofC Library History Page

Addlestone Library FAQ

The circulation desk

While the Addlestone Library can be a helpful place for students, it can easily cause confusion for those unfamiliar with it. To give you a better sense of what resources are available, and where to find them, here is a list of frequently asked questions pertaining to the library.

Q: What time is the library open?
A: During the Fall and Spring semesters, the library hours are as follows:
·         Sunday: 10 a.m.-2 a.m.
·         Monday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
·         Friday: 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
·         Saturday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
     A more detailed schedule and holiday hours can be found here.

Q: How can I reserve a study room?
A: Study rooms are for groups of two or more people. You can check their availability and reserve them here. No need to notify the front desk before, simply walk into the room at your reserved time.

Q: How do I print from my laptop?
A: You will need to download the “Campuswide Printing” program, available on the Student Computing Support blog. Ensure the program is running and that you are connected to the “cofc-secure” network and you should be able to send your job to be picked up at any of the student printers in the library.

Q: Oh dear me! The printer in the library is not working and I need a paperclip once I do print my assignment. Who should I contact?
A: You should notify someone sitting at the information desk located on the first floor, or someone at the circulation desk if no one is available. Employees at the information desk are able to fix most problems regarding lab equipment. They also have basic office supplies for you to use, and can answer most questions you have pertaining to the library.           

Q: I have a question about some research I’m doing. Is there someone in the library who can help?
A: There is usually a reference librarian on hand at the information desk that is able to assist you in all of your research needs. If one is not available, or you need in depth assistance, you can request a research consultation here.

Q: I’m having trouble with my laptop. Is there anyone who can help?
A: Student Computing Support is available in the library to help with your technical issues. You can bring your equipment to the information desk where the staff will guide you in resolving your problems.

Q: How can I find/check out a book?
A: You can find books located in the library by searching the catalog. Once you have found a book that is available, you can locate it on the second floor using the book’s call number. Then use your CofC student ID (Cougar Card) to check out the book at the circulation desk or the self check out station. If a book you need is not located in our library, you can request it from another library to be sent to CofC using Interlibrary Loan or PASCAL.

Q: I need a specific item to do my schoolwork with while in the library. Where should I go?
A: The circulation desk offers a plethora of items for students and faculty to check out for use in the library. Such items include: phone chargers, iPads, rolling whiteboards, whiteboard markers, industrial paper cutters, DSL cords, geology rock boxes, and much more.

Q: Can I print in color at the library?
A: Color printing is available from the color printer located on the first floor. You must print from a lab computer and select “color laser” on the printer list. It costs 35 cents per page, using Cougar Cash or regular cash.

Q: Where can I talk out loud in the library?
A: Conversations spoken at a normal level are allowed on the first floor. Whispering is allowed on the second floor. On the third floor you must remain silent, as this is a space allocated for students to work in quiet concentration. 

Library Questions Page

Resources at the CofC Addlestone Library

Students at College of Charleston have access to one of the best libraries in the country, the Nathan and Marlene Addlestone Library. Located at 205 Calhoun St., this institution offers a wide variety of resources to help students in their academic endeavors. Check out the slideshow below to see all that Addlestone has to offer!

To stay up to date on all library events, feel free to check out their blog. Happy studies!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Palmetto Islands County Park

The Charleston area has several places to enjoy the outdoors. One of the best places it has to offer is Palmetto Islands County Park. Only a 20 minute trip over the bridge to Mount Pleasant and costing only a dollar per person, this location provides the perfect opportunity for folks of all ages to have good outdoor fun. There are several attractions within the park itself. It has six nature trails, a playground for the kids, boat rentals, a fishing area, and a water park to name a few. Check out this slideshow I made and see for yourself how great Palmetto Islands County Park is!

So pick a sunny day and head on over to Palmetto Islands! It is one of the most affordable things to do in Charleston. If you are a frequenter of local parks, you might also want to consider purchasing a season membership, which gives you access and parking to all of the Charleston County Parks, including beach parking at Isle of Palms. Don’t be a couch potato, get out to Palmetto Islands County Park and experience all the fun it has to offer!