Head football coach Pete Lembo announced his resignation on Sunday, December 19. He is leaving Elon because he accepted a head coaching position at Ball State University in Indiana.
Lembo was Elon’s head football coach for five seasons. During those five seasons, his teams had 35 wins and 22 losses. With a winning 2010 season, Lembo coached four consecutive winning seasons. He lead the team to their first-ever FCS Playoffs during the 2009 season.
Athletic Director Dave Blank announced on January 10, 2011 that Jason Swepson is the new Head Coach for the Elon football team. Swepson previously coached at N.C. State.
Bells ring in the holiday season and the biggest fundraiser for the Salvation Army. But the bells don’t ring themselves. They rely on volunteers like Calvin Hester Junior.
“I just feel like it’s a good thing to do,” Hester said.
This is Hester’s first year as a bell ringer. He enjoys volunteering because he likes seeing the good in people.
“Meeting people and just seeing how generous… you know we live in a society that everybody is really full of themselves and its just good to know that there are people that really do want to help other people and they don’t mind reaching out,” he said.
Hester is volunteering to help raise money because he knows where the money goes.
“Well because I’ve been helped by the Salvation Army before,” Hester explained.
Hester was out of work and couldn’t afford basic necessities.
“They helped me through with food assistance and clothing.”
And they gave him help that money can’t buy.
“There have been other ways and there are just so many ways that they can help you. Just through encouragement, just knowing that there is somebody that I could turn to,” Hester said.
Hester rings the bell because he wants to help people who fall into tough times. And if you listen closely, you’ll find another volunteer who raises money by tooting his own horn.
Jonathan Hamlett grew up in the Salvation Army church and has made the Salvation Army an important part of his life. He volunteers with the Red Kettle campaign… but set down the bell and picked up a trumpet.
“The Salvation Army besides the bell ringers has a tradition of the main music in their church is brass bands and so they would actually send out their brass bands to the different kettles on the certain days to play. And so I’m just playing a brass instrument instead of a bell,” Hamlett said.
Hamlett has been involved in the Salvation Army for a long time… and he enjoys every moment of it.
“Watching the kids try to put money in the bucket, its so interesting to see. Especially the really short ones, cause they can’t see that there is a small whole in the top of the bucket. So they just throw the money on top,” he said.
But you won’t hear any coins dropping into these kettles… the kettles are full of money so the coins fall onto dollar bills. People walk by with full carts and drop a couple cents… and dollars… into the almost-full kettle.
They also enjoy hearing the music. Hamlett likes playing trumpet because he sees the effect his music has on people.
“Joy. Seeing people smile as they walk by,” Hamlett said.
The trumpets and the bells are working to attract donations. Last year the Alamance County Salvation Army raised more than $100,000 with their Red Kettle Campaign. The money buys Christmas presents for kids and provides Christmas dinners for families. You can find the Red Kettles throughout Burlington. Or you can just listen for the trumpets and bells.
When it snows at Elon, the walkways seem to be cleared instantly as if by magic. The process of clearing the snow and ice around campus is actually well planned and thought out.
The plan includes the combined efforts of many campus workers and officials.
“I’m going to get up, I’m going to set my alarm for about 5:20 and I’m going to get out of bed and put on my jeans and my boots and walk out on the street in front of me and sort of slush around and see if it’s slippery,” said Elon provost Steven House. “If it’s not bad I’m just going to call Smith Jackson and say there’s nothing for us to do.”
House makes the final decision as to whether school is cancelled. He takes advice from other campus officials such as Chuck Gantos, the Director of Campus Safety and Police. Once House makes the decision, a message is sent on the E-Alert service, which notifies students and members of the community that school will not be taking place that day.
Before the call is even made, the workers at the physical plant are preparing for the snowfall.
“Long before the provost wakes up in the morning, long before he makes the call to Dr. Jackson, my crew has been on the scene dealing with the problems and trying to see if we can’t get hold of the situation and the snow fight in order to make sure the school doesn’t get cancelled,” explained Tom Flood, the Assistant Director of the Physical Plant.
The workers of Physical Plant prepare the night before an expected storm to be called in and to work extra hours. Flood said that the workers have mixed emotions about snow. Some workers don’t like dealing with the storm while others enjoy the overtime wages during severe weather.
The maintenance crews put in longer days during winter storms, but much of the work comes before snow even falls. House meets with other campus officials to discuss the possibility of school closings, and the maintenance crews prepare to salt and sweep snow from walkways late at night before storms. A lot of planning goes into the preparation for snow at Elon. It’s thanks to this work from campus workers and officials that Elon is able to carry on with daily business even during days of severe winter weather.
It’s lunchtime at the Allied Churches kitchen and there’s a line out the door into a chilly autumn breeze. Many of the people waiting in line have nowhere else to go for this meal. All of these people are homeless.
Inside the kitchen volunteers are scrambling over pots and pans, and more are in the dining room trying to serve everyone a meal.
Allied Churches is less than six miles off campus, but not one of today’s volunteers is an Elon student. And students are ready with excuses such as laziness, inconvenience, lack of time and homework.
But some people manage to balance the student life with service.
Business major Erik Zelenkofske, would know; he’s a Leader in Collaborative Service (LINCS). Zelenkofske serves as the liaison between Allied Churches and the university.
“I know that everyone’s busy. But I think that it’s really important to get out of Elon,” Zelenkofske said.
Leaving Elon’s manicured lawns to drive down the depressed streets of downtown Burlington might sound depressing. But Rebekkah Williams in the Kernodle Center for Service Learning says that the numbers show how much Elon students still care.
“97,977 hours were the total we had last year,” she said.
According to Williams, about half of the student body validated service hours last year. This number does not reflect restitution hours, but it does include hours required by Greek organizations, and hours that students need for service learning classes.
Even though a lot of hours were logged, there are still a lot of people, like Loneka Graves, who need help. Graves stays at the shelter.
“It’s helping because we have no other place to go,” she said. “We don’t have anywhere to go with the children and it’s cold outside.”
Graves and her daughter rely on the free lunches, and are just two out of around 140 people who line up for lunch every day. There is one man who is in charge of getting food ready for all of those people, and that man is Ted Kellam. Kellam has never run out of food, but he’s not satisfied either.
“We can always use help. Always,” he said.
And once a week before his classes, Zelenkofske does just that.
“ So from 9:00 to 11:30 I help prep the food, clean the kitchen, I’ve become a pretty good dishwasher not going to lie,” he said.
Zelenkofske knows he’s making a difference with just a few hours and lots of soapy water.
“You get to sort of see that what you’re doing has some value. You’re feeding people who are hungry. So I think that’s pretty powerful,” he said.
And feeding people is important to people like Graves.
“There’s always enough food for the people who come from the outside also,” she said.
Everyone might get fed today, but people will be hungry again tomorrow.
And those in need are asking for volunteers.
“Please help, we need help,” asked Graves of the community.
The risks of smoking marijuana are high but that doesn’t stop Elon students from smoking weed. In the state of North Carolina, marijuana is a decriminalization drug. This means that the possession of less than one ounce of weed is treated as a civil offense rather than criminal. For some students, getting caught handling weed is a big risk but for others, economical risks are bigger.
The students interviewed will be anonymous to protect their identites. One Elon student said why they stopped buying weed.
“I’m pretty broke right now…but I’ll take it from high school, back at home I’d spend like sixty bucks a week.”
Another student said, “Right now, I say for me about thirty bucks a week.”
These two students typically used their money from their job to help buy weed. Their friends also use Alamance County as an outlet for possessing weed.
“From what I’ve heard about Alamance County, I mean you can probably throw a rock in some direction and hit a guy who grows it.”
Director and Chief of Campus Safety and Police, Officer Charles Gantos, knows how popular Alamance Country can be with drug trafficking.
“Alamance County is right on interstate 40 and 85 and so there’s no question there’s a lot of drug trafficking that goes up and down the interstate,” Gantos said.
In 2009, police made eight arrests relating to drugs on campus. This number decreased from the pervious year when 21 drug arrests were made. If Elon police catch students with weed, students make a court appearance and go through the North Carolina judicial process. If campus security catches students, students are charged with an honor code violation and go through the campus judicial process.
The effects of buying weed are costly but the effects of getting caught seem more severe.
Despite competitive prices and variety of large chain stores, small local shops have had increased business during the holiday season.
Beth Kelley, the store manager of All that Jas, a local boutique on West Williamson Ave, said that more people were coming into the store to shop for holiday presents, even though Target and Wal-Mart are located less than ten minutes away.
“We have people coming in from High Point and Chapel Hill daily, even Charlotte and NC state…if they are less than an hour away, they will drive to come here and get the merchandise”.
One reason local shops can stay in business, Kelley said, is because All that Jas and many other local boutiques and shops sell personalized or specialized merchandise that cannot be bought at national chains like Target.
Larger chain stores are appealing because they sell popular holiday gift items at competitive prices. Tonya Currie, a store cashier at Target for five years, said the most popular gifts were electronic, among them iPods, cameras and televisions.
According to Thomson Reuters, a company that measures same-store sales for 27 companies, including Target, sales in November were up six percent, much higher than their initial estimate of 3.6 percent.
But these numbers do not worry Kelley.
“As long as kids are joining sororities and fraternities, we will be in business,” she said.
The rate of student prescription drug abuse with stimulants, such as Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin, on college campuses tend to increase during finals, and it could be happening at Elon.
In a survey taken in fall 2009, SPARKS, Elon’s substance education department, found that six to seven percent of students have used a prescription drug in a non-medical way in the past month. The medical journal Addiction found that in high stress colleges, the percent of students using prescriptions for non-medical purposes jumps to rates as high as 25 percent.
Lauren Martin, the coordinator for substance education at Elon, commented that students tend to be more comfortable abusing prescription drugs because they come directly from a doctor.
There is a misconception that smarter students are using these drugs to succeed, when in reality, “most students that abuse prescription drugs actually have lower GPAs,” Martin said.
Elon first year Sydney Briley takes Concerta, a stimulant similar to Adderall every day for ADHD.
“It basically just keeps me focused for 8 hours so I can do work,” Briley said.
What many students do not know, is that using stimulants such as Adderall when they are not prescribed to you is considered a felony on Elon’s campus, and those caught will most likely be removed.
Although it may help people with ADHD focus, it is dangerous for people to use them without a prescription. Side effects of using non prescription drugs such as Adderall may include unusual or disturbing thoughts, hallucinations, seizures and other allergic reactions.
President Barack Obama made his first presidential visit to the Triad Monday. He toured Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem.
The president spoke on job creation and the postive impact places like FTCC are making to the economic recovery.
“We know what the future could look like for the United States,” the President said. “We can see it here at Forsyth, in your labratories, in your research facilities and over at the bio technology firms that are churning out jobs and businesses.”
The President toured biotech classrooms and spoke with some students. His remarks on the importance of education resonated with one student.
“I’m going to go study, I really want to do well and aim higher,” first-year student Clifton Giles said.
The staff at FTCC was honored with the President’s decision to visit their school.
“This is what we want to hear that we’re training people for the future,” Director of Admissions Jean Groome said.
Elon Local News is Elon University’s student news organization part of Elon Student Television.
If you live on campus, watch the live show every Monday at 6:00 p.m. on Channel 5.