Beat Bama Food Drive in Annual Competition

Since 1994, the Beat Bama Food Drive and the Food Bank of East Alabama have competed with the University of Alabama and the Food Bank of West Alabama to see who can collect the most non-perishable food for those in need.
The competition has made an impact beyond the campuses by uniting students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community.
In the last 23 years, 5.5 million pounds of food have been collected to feed families around the state.
Nearly one in five Alabama residents, or 18.6 percent of the state, are considered food insecure.
The Food Bank of East Alabama serves seven counties in east central Alabama. The average food insecurity rate in this area is approximately 70,210 people with 20,080 of those being children.
The food drive’s committee ranges from freshmen to seniors at Auburn and includes different branches of leadership in order to serve all members.
Hallie Young, the director of logistics of the Beat Bama Food Drive, said her experience has allowed her to become closer with the Auburn community as well as fellow Auburn students.
“Being a part of this organization has been one of the highlights of my time in college,” Young said. “I have been able to make new friends while helping the Auburn community and feeling like I made an impact.”
Being a member of the food drive’s committee means setting a personal goal of money you will raise on your own.
This year Young had a goal to raise $250 but ended up raising over $1,000.
“Thanks to the help of friends and family, I was able to easily reach my goal,” Young said. “We take personal fundraising goals very seriously and encourage all members to reach their goal.”
Last year, Auburn claimed bragging rights for winning the food drive by collecting over 245,722 pounds.
This year’s drive will conclude on Nov. 15, and a winner will be announced during the Iron Bowl on Nov. 25.
“Winning again this year would be great, but if we don’t its still nice to know that we did will help a lot of people,” Young said. “The food drive is a humbling experience that allows students to give directly back to a community that does so much for us.”
Non-perishable food items may be donated at any of the collection barrels on campus or throughout the Auburn community. Monetary donations can be given at the Beat Bama Food Drive website.

Hint of Auburn at March for Life

On Friday, January 19, 2018, Auburn sophomore Agnes Armstrong will play an integral role in the rally before the 45th March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Armstrong will be featured as the “Young Adult” speaker and will give a speech to more than 600,000 people before the group marches to the Capitol Building.

“My role is to be someone that’s relatable to the crowd. I’m the one that’s supposed to motivate the young people to continue to march,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong got involved with March for Life when her Catholic high school took a religious pilgrimage each year to the march.

On her first trip to D.C. for the rally Armstrong thought she would just be going on a fun field trip, but she was shocked when she realized the intensity she had for this movement.

“This was really the first time I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself. I felt like I was making a difference that impacted the world,” Armstrong said.

After hearing the president of March for Life, Jeanne Mancini, speak last year, Armstrong knew she wanted to get involved.

“I listened to her speak, and I admired her morals and values so much. I realized that I wanted to be in a position like hers one day,” Armstrong said.

Flash forward a few months later and Armstrong still could not get over the feeling she had listening to Mancini speak. She wanted Mancini to know the impact she had made on her life and her desire to have an encounter with her.

During a sleepless night, Armstrong could not stop thinking about March for Life and decided she would write a mock-up speech of what she would say at the rally. On a whim, she decided that she would send the speech to Mancini.

“I couldn’t fall asleep and knew I should try and contact her. I figured the worse that could happen was that she would know she’s making an impact from miles away,” Armstrong said.

After a few months of no response, Armstrong was contacted by her youth minister regarding her message to Mancini. Mancini had read her speech and wanted to meet her and possibly have her speak at the rally.

“I was in shock about the whole thing. I couldn’t believe there was a possibility of me speaking at the rally,” Armstrong said.

When Armstrong got the confirmation that she would be speaking at the rally, the March for Life staff sent her speech back with revisions that wanted her to make.

Armstrong will meet with her teacher from high school, youth minister and priest to adequately prepare for her speech that she hopes will make an impact.

“All we need to do is talk. Matters like this have a ripple effect so as long as someone takes away something from this speech, it could impact a lot,” Armstrong said

Volunteer with Project Uplift

Joining an organization is something students either choose to do as freshmen or as upperclassmen. For senior Elliott Darnall, being apart of an organization was not apart of her “to-do list” as a freshman but now is a member of Project Uplift, which has become part of her.

Elliott Darnall with her Project Uplift mentee

During her junior year, a representative of Project Uplift approached Darnall on the concourse encouraging her to consider being a mentor for their program.
Project Uplift is a unit of the Lee County Youth Development Center, Inc. that provides mentors to children in the Auburn areas. The goal of the program is to reduce and prevent juvenile delinquency in Lee County.
Since the opening of Project Uplift in 1973, almost 9,300 volunteers have participated in the program. Only a small percentage of the children have entered the juvenile court system during the time that they were involved with the program.
“I had an idea of what Project Uplift was from friends who did it, but I didn’t know what all it entailed,” Darnall said.
Students who wish to become a mentor for the program must attend a training session and pass a series of background checks in order to be approved as a potential mentor.
“Once I went to the training session, I knew that I wanted to become a mentor,” Darnall said. “One of my friends and I decided we both had enough time to be mentors so we’ve done it together.”
After attending the training session, Darnall and her partner for the program were able to decide how many kids they would like to mentor to as well as the age and gender of the child.
Darnall is a mentor to a third grader and spends several hours with her each week. Project Uplift requires mentors spend at least three hours a week with their mentee.
The pumpkin patch, trampoline park and the carnival are a few of the places they go when they spend time together.
“We try to do something different each week when we hang out, but sometimes we end up doing puzzles at my house while we make pizzas,” Darnall said.
Despite the program’s goal being for the mentors to teach the mentees, the mentors end up learning from the mentees.
“As cheesy as it sounds, I think I have learned more from my mentee than she has learned from me,” Darnall said. “For a third grader, she has been able to change my outlook on a lot of things.”

Darnall with her Project Uplift partner and mentor

Austin City Limits 2017

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The two-weekend music festival, Austin City Limits, is set to happen at Austin’s Zilliker Park on October 6-7 and October 13-15, 2017. Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chance the Rapper are just some of the notable performers who will be performing both weekends at the festival.

This long-running concert series features artists from every musical genre in a live-music setting. The ACL Festival features a diverse lineup of of acts every year with eight stages and more than 140 bands over two weekends.

-General Admission Pass: $399
-General Admission Pass +Shuttle Pass: $474
-VIP Pass: $899
-Festival passes must be worn at all times
-Food available from over 35 award-winning chefs and restaurant including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options
-Children 10 and under allowed in free with access to Austin Kiddie Limits

-“I’m very excited about playing ACL this year. I’ve always heard great things about this festival and am ready to see it for my self,” Chance the Rapper said.
-“We’re really hoping this year goes as smoothly and guests follow the rules,” said Peter Gates, head of ACL’s security.






Graphic: Austin City Limits Festival





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Video credit: Austin City Limits


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Six Benefits of Studying Abroad

Leah Cook Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is a possibility that many students look forward to when coming to college. Students at Auburn have immense opportunities to travel out of the country in order to pursue their education.

Leah Cook, a senior in the College of Human Sciences, spent last semester in Italy allowing her to gain a minor in international hospitality.

“My trip to Italy was one of the best experiences of my life,” Cook said. “I learned so much about the Italian culture while making friends from Auburn I had never met.”

Learning a new culture and studying in a foreign country is just a couple of the reasons why studying abroad is beneficial. Here are six reasons why students should study abroad.

  1. Education- By studying abroad, you have the opportunity to possibly view your major in a different light. Because each country approaches education in a different way, it is important to keep in mind that it is important to be open to different customs in order to be immersed in the culture.
  2. Learning a new language- Being in a foreign country for an extended amount of time forces you to learn how to communicate with the native people. Whether your classes are taught in English or another language, immersing yourself in their language is the best way to learn.
  3. New friends- A benefit people who study abroad come back being the most grateful for is making new friends. Studying abroad allows you to make connections with people of all different backgrounds. Many friendships made during studying abroad last far longer than the trip.
  4. Taking in a new culture- When studying in a new country, you will learn that you might be out of your comfort zone. You will encounter new foods, customs and traditions.  Not only will you gain a multi-national perspective, you could even learn new things about your own country and culture.
  5. Resume builder- Studying abroad says a lot about a person’s character and looks great on paper. Employers love knowing that you were able to be in a foreign environment and adjust to the culture while studying or working. The perspectives you gain while studying abroad are a guarantee to make you look appealing.
  6. Life experience- For most students, studying abroad might be the only time they are able to live abroad. Students who choose to study abroad will make experiences to last a lifetime and might even learn more about themselves

Bangladesh to Auburn: An International Adjustment

Leaving for college is an exciting time but also frightening. Sumaiya Siddique, an international student at Auburn, can testify to that.
With hair darker than night and a pronounced accent, it is evident that Siddique hails from another country. A native of Bangladesh, a country in South Asia, she is over 8,000 miles away from home.
Most people would be too scared to move so far away from their friends and family, but Siddique is not going to let fear keep her from chasing her dreams of having an American education.
“I am the first in my family to come to America and study, the opportunities here are too great to pass up,” Siddique says.
Unlike most international students, Siddique completed her undergraduate degree in Bangladesh and is a graduate student at Auburn in the geosciences department. After deciding to further her education in America despite never visiting before, Siddique did research online to find the best school for her.
“I discovered Auburn when I researched American universities that have my program and decided that Auburn was the best option for me,” Siddique says.
Since moving to America, Siddique was forced to make adjustments to many aspects of life, specifically the academic curriculum. The difference in the curriculum was one of the first challenges she faced and since there are only two other international students in her program, adjusting to the American curriculum was necessary.
Despite the countless challenges she might encounter, she says the hardest is being so far away from home.
“I haven’t seen my family since I moved here last August and it makes me sad especially since my sister has younger children,” Siddique says. “But being at Auburn has allowed me to meet people from all over the world who are pursuing the same opportunities as I am.”
Although she is miles away from home, Siddique has formed meaningful relationships with fellow Auburn classmates who guide her when she needs help with American customs or just needs a companion.
Judith Hornsby, a friend Siddique has made since moving to Auburn, has been an integral part of Siddique’s adjustment to America. Hornsby was even there for what might be Siddique’s most memorable adventure in Auburn thus far, attending her first football game.
“Sumaiya is a wonderful friend I have made at Auburn and I am thankful to have been a witness to the graciousness she greets people with,” Hornsby says. “She is passionate and hardworking in everything she does, she inspires me daily.”
Siddique’s hard work is what has allowed her to come to Auburn and the passion she has for her program continues to bring her immense success. Her commitment to her studies along with the opportunities she will encounter while studying internationally is a guarantee for her to have a prosperous future.
After her graduation in May 2018, Siddique is hoping to further her education even more by staying in America and attaining her doctorate. She will once again research schools across the country to pursue this degree, but she would like to stay at Auburn considering the success she has had here.
“Auburn is offering a great opportunity for the international students, they are helpful in every aspect and I am grateful for that,” says Siddique.

Auburn Student Combines Passions to Work for Teach for America

Branham Crutchfield - Auburn Teach for America AdvocateIf you are involved anywhere on campus, chances are you know Auburn student Branham Crutchfield. And chances are she knows you too. Branham is a champion of Teach for America.

If you have spent any time with her at all, you know that she is a natural leader who leads with grace. Being the oldest of four girls, Crutchfield was forced to become a leader and has held that role her entire life.

One place where she is often found being the leader is the classroom.

“My desire to be in the classroom was established my junior year of high school, when it became apparent to me that not every student received the same kind of educational opportunities as I did growing up,” Crutchfield said.

Studying elementary education with a minor in nonprofit studies, Crutchfield has dreamed to teach at an inner-city elementary school and encourage students each day through their education.

“I hope to encourage and make an impact on young minds by being remembered as a teacher who engaged and empowered each of her students through their education, rather than simply being remembered for a lesson I stood in front of the room and taught,” Crutchfield said.

With her distinct interest in teaching at a low-income school, Crutchfield became interested in Teach for America, a non-profit program that places teachers in schools of need. By working for this program she will be able to pursue her passion of teaching as well as fulfill her desire to serve to children who might not have the same opportunities she had growing up.

Teach for America is not a new thing for Auburn students to pursue after graduation. Crutchfield has several close friends who have chosen to join after graduating and recommended it.

“After talking with friends who have worked for them in the past, I knew that it was the best decision for me to do while I still have the chance,” said Crutchfield.

After graduation, Crutchfield will be working her dream job as she begins working for Teach for America as a teacher at an inner-city school in Nashville. She was so adamant about working for them, she even applied her junior year because she knew that was what she wanted to do.

“I’m really looking forward to moving to Nashville and teaching at an inner-city school,” Crutchfield said. “I feel confident after my time at Auburn that I am ready to make an impact in the classroom.”