Taste The Feeling

Storytime! A couple weeks ago I was hired to work with Coca-Cola as a Campus Ambassador intern for Radford University. Basically, I promote and hold sampling events and try and advertise Coke products and cool campaigns they’re doing, and talk to students about stuff they don’t already know about Coca-Cola. Last week I spent three days at Coke Headquarters and the World of Coca-Cola, learning about the company and how to effectively hold events on campus that I know students and faculty will enjoy (and actually show up to).

It was a long journey getting to Atlanta, however. My 6:10 a.m. flight ended up being canceled and I couldn’t get another flight on the same airline until that following afternoon (thanks, SouthWest). Shoutout to my new friend Ruby, one of the Campus Ambassadors for Virginia Tech, who I ended up meeting at the exact time we found out our flight was delayed and helped me stay sane while we found a flight on a different airline and waited for our next flight, eight hours later.

Once we finally got to Coke Headquarters in “Hotlanta”, I was mesmerized with all of the Coca-Cola products I saw before me. The place was amazing, with Coca-Cola advertisements everywhere you looked, and the workers there were so friendly. I was also very surprised at how welcoming the other 80 Campus Ambassadors around the country were when we arrived. I’ve had experience going to a new place for a certain program with 80+ people my age I’ve never met before (Shoutout to my NSLC friends who I still talk to on occasion), so I knew that all I had to do was engage in friendly conversations with people I was near and worked my way through, and I ended up meeting and getting to know some pretty awesome people.

I just want to take a moment and say how thankful I am to Coca-Cola for giving me the opportunity to represent my school and to meet 81 other college/university representative’s who were given the same honor as I. I’m sure I can speak for all of the ambassadors in that we’re very grateful for kind doings Coca-Cola gave us: the free goodies, the fact that they gave us each our own hotel rooms (which they didn’t have to do), and they booked a box office for us all at Turner Field to see the Atlanta Braves play. We all spent 20+ hours listening to presentations on all aspects of Coke, Coca-Cola commercials (and a scoop into commercials they haven’t even started filming!), and how to handle the FAQ’s Coke Ambassadors get when discussing their products.

For those who aren’t aware, Coca-Cola actually owns tons of beverages (SmartWater, Dasani, MinuteMaid, Fanta, Sprite, HonestTea, etc) and are passionate about making awesome products that don’t destroy our world in the process. For example, part of Coca-Cola’s mission when creating the drinks we all love, is to be water neutral. Water neutral means to return 100% of the water used in beverages and their production back to nature. Coca-Cola also is big on recycling and introduced PlantBottle packaging, which is the first completely recyclable PET plastic bottle made up to 30% plant-based materials (http://www.coca-colacompany.com/). Pretty awesome, right?

Something that Coca-Cola has recently introduced and will start advertising beginning as soon as next month (for select states in the U.S.), is a new variant of Coca-Cola called: “Coke Life”. If you’ve never heard of it before (which I’m assuming you haven’t. It hasn’t been released to many markets as of right now), this product has fewer calories than the original and is made with cane sugar and Stevia, instead of the artificial sweeteners but tastes the exact same as the original. Check out this commercial below which gives a brief summary of the product.

**For more information about Coca-Cola Life, check out this link http://www.coca-colacompany.com/brands/product-description#Coca-Cola Life.**

I am honestly so excited for this upcoming school year and can’t wait to bring more awareness of how cool The Coca-Cola Company is in the most creative and engaging ways possible and use the other clubs I’m involved with to help #OpenHappiness.



Trump Rally at Radford University

On Monday, Feb. 29, republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came to Radford University to have one last rally in Virginia a day before the first Super Tuesday.

The announcement was made public on Feb. 25 and tickets were available online to the public for free. People could register for up to two tickets in total, and some took that to their advantage; some got two tickets and decided to protest by not going in the hopes that there’d be empty seats in the Dedmon Center arena. Others decided to politely protest by going to the rally, but rather sit and read a book by a woman of color, instead of paying attention to Trump.

The doors of the Dedmon Center opened to the public at 10 a.m. and Trump was set to start at around noon. However, people started walking down to the center at as early as 8:30 a.m., and some students even skipped some of their classes to attend the rally.IMG_1360

Radford students, faculty, community and guests filled up the streets from 10 a.m. until around 2 p.m. Sophomore Hannah Rudman talked about how she felt waiting to get inside while in a big crowd outside of the entrance. “When we would move, we would only move a few steps at a time and that was frustrating. I was back to back with complete strangers. It was so disorganized,” said Rudman.

The Trump campaign stopped letting the public into the stadium at around 11:50 a.m., leaving approximately 11,000 people stuck outside in a huge crowd, where you could barely move. “I felt cheated,” said sophomore Jessica Wilson. “So many people got in just because they bypassed the whole line, people without tickets were allowed in, and they didn’t even fill the whole arena.”

IMG_1368After realizing they weren’t going to get inside, the crowd migrated to the big television screen just outside of the front entrance of the center to try and get a good view of the rally. Some people went on the roof of the arena, some went on hills, and some climbed trees in order to be able to see the screen, along with the 11,000 others trying to accomplish the same task.

Inside the arena, things got pretty heated in regards to how the audience was responding to what Trump was saying. “Trump said some pretty outrageous things and instead of recognizing these negative comments they [the crowd] were completely enthralled by it. The students were proactive and stood up for themselves, despite being kicked out,” said sophomore Sonya Fessehaye.

A female student held a sign up in the arena, showing her opposition of Trump’s views, and after seeing her, he asked if she was a Mexican just because she doesn’t agree with his political views. Even though RU allowed him to rally on campus because saying “he has the right to free speech”, Trump wouldn’t let his audience have that same right, unless you had the same political views as himself. Some students protested in the stands, and after being discovered by Trump, were forced to leave by Trump’s security, even though they were protesting in a well-mannered fashion by holding hands and doing chants together.

The rally was a very hectic experience for those who attended both outside and inside of the Dedmon Center. Whether or not anyone agreed or disagreed with Trump’s political stance, it was a popular event for Radford that we will all remember.

The Radford Pitches

We all know that we have to put our hearts and efforts into things in order to complete things to our fullest capabilities, and that is especially true for the Radford Pitches, RU’s a cappella club. They put their heart into their music and each other, and it shows.

“It’s awesome to work with a group of people that share the same passion as you! My favorite part of being in the pitches is when we randomly create mash-ups of songs. We just make it up as we go, and experiencing that creative energy is so much fun,” said sophomore Sanou Diallo.

Some of the Radford Pitches are voice majors, who help those who aren’t voice majors and give good tips on how to improve. Whenever someone in the group has a recital, you’ll be sure to see a few of the Pitches in the audience cheering them on.

“They [The Radford Pitches] are very supportive. There are times that someone needs help with school, or needs a ride or setting like that, and we are all there to help,’ said Vice President, junior Ben Sherman.

The Pitches was founded during the 2013 school year and has been becoming more and more popular amongst the students and faculty at Radford University. The A Cappella group practices every Tuesday and Thursday in the Covington Center for two hours and are run by music director Jonathan Stoots. However, it doesn’t always feel like practice. It gets really fun and entertaining for the Pitches when they start adding choreography to the music and vocals, which gives all of the members of the Radford Pitches the opportunity to get even more creative with the songs they learn each semester.

“Part of the practice is meant to have more of a relaxed, hangout feel. Other parts are more for getting down to business so we are prepared for performances,” said Sherman.

Working hard does pay off for members of the group, as Diallo recalls her most favorite experience as a member of the Pitches from their concert last year, when they sang “Run to You” by the a cappella group, Pentatonix. “The acoustics in the hall were great, and the song just built and sounded so beautiful,” said Diallo.

The A Cappella group has one concert a year, but also sings at Radford University events such as basketball games, baseball games, and at the Veteran’s Day ceremony. When they perform at those types of events, they usually sing the national anthem in front of at least 500 people. While the group is still fairly new to the Radford campus, they hope to have more performance opportunities within the next year.

If you ever get the opportunity to see them perform, whether it is a sporting event, concert, or holiday affair, you can tell that the Pitches are really passionate about the group and put a lot of time and energy into their overall sound, and try to constantly improve their overall sound and chemistry, on and off stage.

The Radford Rowdies

A brand new student organization, the Radford Rowdies, began during the fall semester of 2014 at Radford University as a student-run hype squad in support of Radford’s athletic teams.

The Radford Rowdies was founded by junior Mahdi Torabinejad in the hopes of persuading students to be more school-spirited and support our athletic teams in fun and creative ways. There will be tons of opportunities for Radford students and the community to show off their spirit this upcoming season. “Banners, flags, organized choreographies are all in the works, we’re just now getting started with all that,” Torabinejad said.

Since the Radford Rowdies are a student organization, Radford University students are given the option to run for leadership positions, and can put this organization on a college resume. Freshman Stephanie Seitz decided to join the organization because she enjoys cheering on her school teams. “I have so much school spirit since my high school was really big into sports. It’s awesome that the Radford Rowdies allows me to continue rooting for RU with people who are school spirited too!” Seitz said. The group is currently run by President Torabinejad along with seniors Morgan Sumner and Brad Korer, junior Matt Tabor, and sophomores Dylan Price and Isaiah Trundy.

Joining the club is quick and easy; all RU students have to do is pay a one-time $10 fee and student’s get: free t-shirts, scarves, noisemakers, fan wigs, flags, posters, and so much more. Being a club member also gets your invitations to tailgates for RU Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Baseball and Softball games and first call priority seating in the Rowdies section of the stands. Members also have the ability to take part in pre-game and mid-game fan activities and organized choreographies, as well as the option to be in promotional videos and photos.

The purpose behind why the Radford Rowdies began is to get students excited about our school teams and be there for them while having fun with friends. Radford Rowdies’ Student Board is in charge of what the group does, what games they go to, and when to get rowdy. “We’ll be leading chants, leading the atmosphere, getting under the skin of the opposing team’s players, creating an identity of a Radford sports fan in general, something to join and get behind together,” Torabinejad said.

During the spring semester, the Radford Rowdies had a total of 285 active members on the Radford Rowdies group page on Facebook. The Rowdies are trying to spread the word about this organization to as many students as possible and use social media outlets to their advantage. “Not that many people are aware that we do have a Twitter, and we’re really trying to get more people to know about us and make us well known around campus,” Torabinejad said.

The Rowdies have been advertising and promoting the organization on campus, through RUInvolved, and online. Different types of information graphics are being created and distributed on boards across campus, on Radford’s TV Channel, and on each classes Facebook page. They’re still developing ways that can persuade RU students to join and have fun with others while cheering on our fellow Highlanders.

Lauren Miller Profile (from Spring 2015)

As one walks around Radford University’s campus there are many sites they can see. Several buildings, lots of beautiful land, tons of students and faculty enjoying their day, and a bunch of signs all over campus that all seem to have the same phrase, “R-SPaCE presents!” But who’s the brains behind R-SPaCE? Who is in charge of such a big student organization?

Making the trip to R-SPaCE’s office on the second floor of the Hurlburt Student Center, or the “Bonnie”, is quick and easy. You enter the second floor and see students working at computers, and multiple offices where clubs and organizations are located. When you enter R-SPaCE’s office you are greeted by Lauren Miller, President of the Radford Student Programming and Campus Events, commonly known as R-SPaCE.

Raised in Warrenton, Virginia, Miler is a senior at Radford University majoring in business management. She has a cat named Princess, who she adores, and a younger sister named Katie, who is a freshman at James Madison University.

Being the President of R-SPaCE is a lot of responsibility. “I have to run executive board meetings and I’m in charge of all of the directors. I also work on R-SPaCE’s budget and do on end jobs as well,” Miller said. The presidential position is a yearlong job, from Spring to Spring. In order for someone to apply to become president, they would have to already be on the executive board in order to be eligible for the position. Anyone can apply for a job on the executive board as well.

R-SPaCE is in charge of many events and activities that students at Radford can be a part of. Each semester R-SPaCE plans a concert for the students and faculty to see at a very low cost. The organization partakes in surveys that are open to the public and look at the budget that tells them what venues would be possible and fit the budget. They use all of the information at that point to decide which artist to ask to perform at Radford.

Another popular activity that R-SPaCE runs is playing movies in the auditorium in the Bonnie every weekend. Each semester R-SPaCE holds a semester planning party where the Director of Cinema chooses movies he or she believes will be successful. From there the organization conducts surveys and ranks which movies should be played and which ones should not.

Other than being President of R-SPaCE her senior year, Miller has been an active member of R-SPaCE throughout her undergraduate career at Radford University. “I was Vice President my junior year, Director of Performance my sophomore year, and a General Body member my freshmen year,” Miller said.

Besides playing a lively role in R-SPaCE, Miller also enjoys doing other activities. For example, Miller is a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity at RU. She also enjoys exercising and hanging out with friends, because for her, it helps relieve a lot of stress. “I enjoy hanging out with my friends, going on drives with my friends and rolling the windows down. It’s very relaxing and so much fun to do,” Miller said.

Sophomore Ryan Cronin, Assistant Director of Education and Multicultural Events reflects on Miller’s performance at R-SPaCE and how much of an impact she’s made for everyone at R-SPaCE. “She’s an amazing person and I’m so sad she’s leaving. She always brought a smile to all of the events and meetings. R-SPaCE is going to miss her.”

When asked if she has any mentors who influenced who she is, what she believes in, and what she is committed to in her work and life, Miller thought for a second and then said that person would have to be her best friend, Megan. “She goes to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. She works her butt off all the time and she’s gone through everything. She inspires me to be my best self and work hard.”

Miller is scheduled to graduate from Radford University this May, and will be moving back home working at her current job as an usher at Jiffy Lube Live. She hopes to be a successful event planner one day, and her experience at R-SPaCE has definitely helped her develop a lot of knowledge on how to successful plan events.

In five years Miller sees herself, “hopefully in the south where it’s nice and warm, with a nice job and to be in a committed relationship.”

Snow Day at Radford University (FROM SPRING 2015)

RADFORD, Va. – Radford University experienced its first snow day for the 2014-2015 school year on Feb. 16, 2015, with a prediction of up to eight inches of snow lasting until the following night, giving Radford students and staff the day off.

When students are given snow days, there are multiple activities that they can choose to do. Some like to go outside and take pictures or enjoy sledding or having snowball fights.

Many enjoy staying in with a cup of hot chocolate and a good movie or book or rather like to go to a friend’s house and spend the day there and just hang out. However, the most common activity students at RU do on snow days, is celebrating the snowfall with friends.

Freshman Stephanie Seitz was really looking forward to the snow. “Sledding is the best thing to do on snow days because it’s really fun, especially if you down headfirst,” said Seitz.

Seitz is a social science major, currently living in Tyler Hall. This was her first experience with snow at Radford, and the first thing she did when it started snowing hard, walked around campus with her roommate and frolic in the snow.

On average, the city of Radford gets about 16 inches of snow, two inches above the average snowfall for the state of Virginia, according to usa.com.

“The C.O.B.E. [The College of Business and Economics] is the best place to go sledding! It has a lot of hills, which would be fun to go down,” said senior Laura Dannemiller.

The C.O.B.E. building officially opened in the fall of 2012 and is currently one of the biggest buildings on Radford University’s campus, residing on top of a steep hill.

Dannemiller is a public relations major, currently living in an apartment on light side. She has experienced multiple snowstorms while at RU and really loves spending her snow days with her friends at her apartment.

The time frame that students choose to spend playing in the snow or being outside during a snowstorm varies on how much one likes that type of weather. Some students only go outside to get food; others will go outside to just appreciate the weather and play in it as well.

“I probably spend an hour outside during a snow day. Once my clothes start getting wet I quit,” said Seitz. In contrast, Dannemiller said that she spends three or four hours in the snow, and whenever she gets really tired and just want some hot chocolate she goes inside.

When universities close, it causes the issue of whether or not their regular activities and school transportation services will still be available to their student body.

For Radford University, on Monday, their transit buses stopped operating at 5 p.m., and the Radford Men’s Basketball game against Coastal Carolina scheduled for Monday as well was changed to only being open to RU students who are able to walk to the Dedmon Center.

Closing the university also changes the hours of operation for Radford University’s dining halls for students living on campus. The Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center and Dalton Hall remained open for students until 10 p.m on Monday.

In the past years at RU, students usually have snowball fights in front of Heth hall, the center of the university’s campus. “It’s the best place to play in the snow; you can play with more people,” Dannemiller recalls.

For example, last year many students participated in a huge snowball fight on Heth lawn, consisting of about 30-40 students, according to Radford University’s Facebook page.

“The snowball fights are the best. I remember how intense it was last year on the Heth lawn, and it’s safe to say, everyone who walked by was a target,” said Dannemiller.

Monica Levitan

mlevitan@radford.edu cell: (240)-393-2726




Murder Mystery Night at Radford University (FROM SPRING 2015)

RADFORD, Va. – Radford University students walk in Muse Banquet Hall as themselves but enter the “cocktail party” as someone else. Everyone is a suspect for the “murder” of the Radford Highlander, and two detectives are determined to find out who would do such a horrible task.

On Friday, March 27, 2015 from 9 p.m. to midnight, students were given the opportunity to take part in this hilarious impromptu experience that engages and allows them to meet new people and spend time with friends.

Junior Shieh Freeman was really excited to take part in this brand new late night activity. He was seen walking from table to table introducing himself as the name he was given for the show and had a big smile on his face. “It’s a good place to meet new people and be funny and just have fun,” Freeman said.  Untitled

Attendees were given masks, mustaches, gloves, necklaces, and other artifacts that gave their alternate persona a personality.

Murder Mystery Night ended up being a very popular event. Radford Student Programming and Campus Events, R-SPaCE, planned for 150 students to attend, but over 180 students came! They had to lie out chairs on the sides of the banquet hall so everyone had seats.

The two detectives gave the audience instructions throughout the show such as, “Walk around the room. Everyone you meet you is suspicious of…but say so using Gibberish words. Actually, say the word lamp in a suspicious voice towards everyone you see,” one of the detectives said.
But how did R-SPaCE find this comedy duo? “We [R-SPaCE] go to NACA every year and saw the Murder Mystery men perform and we were really interested in them. We asked if they could come to Radford and they said yes, which is awesome!” said sophomore Melissa Brown, who is R-SPaCE’s Director of Late Night.

The Murder Mystery Men did two shows at Radford University that Friday night, each completely different than the other. The detectives do each show in a way where the audience decides who the murderer is and everything that happened in between.

This was the first time that the Murder Mystery Men came to RU, and it was a big success. “It brings students together and entertains them. It’s something different that they can do on a Friday night instead of going out or even staying in to watch Netflix,” Brown said.

After each show, R-SPaCE provided a buffet complete with free dinner and dessert food for the audience to enjoy.

The audience was very engaged and active in how “the murder” was completed. Several students went on stage and acted out dances and impromptu scenarios that the audience believed happened when the murderer “killed” the Highlander.

The people who went on stage were the suspects of the murder case and the audience decided who should stay on stage and whom they don’t believe did the horrible deed.

Once there were three suspects left on the stage, people from the crowd began developing how each suspect supposedly killed the victim. The audience then voted on whom they believed the murderer is, and then acted out the actual killing scene.


Monica Levitan

mlevitan@radford.edu (240)-393-2726