Dracula Relates to Grad Life, I Swear

And before you say it, I’m not calling graduate students at Emory blood-sucking vampires (though it’s a little debatable sometimes). I just decide to take a unique spin on our Grad Life beat. Often times, we focus on graduate program themselves or graduate student organizations. I feel that we lost the meaning of the beat being the Grad Life, and believe it or not, grad students have lives outside of the academic programs and extracurriculars. (I think).

Working at the Arts at Emory Box Office, I noticed that we get a lot of graduate students coming to see shows. At first, I was a little confused and would think “Don’t they have a dissertation or thesis to defend?” But then I realized that there’s a multitude of reasons that graduate students attend Emory arts events: friends in the show, musicians or composers they’re really fond of, or even just looking for a way to unwind on a Friday night.

Regardless of the reasons, Arts at Emory gives a lot of incentives for graduate students to attend concerts and productions. The first thing is grad students receive the Emory student rate for tickets. Of course, they are Emory students, but grad students pay the same price for tickets undergrads. Sometimes this is surprising to grad students because they aren’t sure if they qualify for the student discount. For example, a ticket for Dracula cost $22 for a full price ticket. With the Emory student discount, a ticket for Dracula is only $6, saving Emory students $16. Since we’re freshman we received an Arts passport at the beginning of the year, so we don’t really think about the prices of tickets. But did you know that any Emory student, include grad students, can buy a passport for $12? You might ask why anyone would buy a passport, but if we go back to the Dracula example, by using a passport students can get a ticket for “free.” Another incentive that grad students get that undergrads don’t is that grad students can buy two tickets at the Emory Student price and can use a passport for two tickets to each show/show run. Undergraduates only get one ticket at the Emory Student price and can only use a passport for one ticket to each show/show run. This means by using a passport to get two tickets for Dracula grad students already get their money back, and they still have all school year to get more tickets with the passport.

As I mentioned before, grad students do have lives outside of their programs. They like to see shows with friends and enjoy hearing concerts. And a lot of times they are some of the nicest customers and it’s easier to deal with grad students that somewhat know what their doing in terms of buying tickets than the confused freshman that love to come in the day of a show right before it starts with a passport to a sold-out or almost sold-out show so they can get a PACE requirement done.

The Arts at Emory Box Office is open Monday-Friday from noon-6:00pm. We also open up the box office an hour before any ticketed event (location depends on event). For more information, you can visit the Box Office at 1700 N Decatur Rd #251, Atlanta, GA 30322 or call (404) 727-5050. Click here for a calendar of upcoming events.

A Dream Parents Weekend

This past week was crazy for me. Being that it was Homecoming Week and I’m in Student Programming Council, the student organization that runs Homecoming, I was so relieved that I got Saturday off because my family was coming for Parents Weekend. I thought that this would be a perfect time to go out on the town and give my family a taste of Atlanta by going to the historic site of The King Center.

King Center Sign

The King Center was established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King to continue Dr. King’s Dream and preserve his legacy. This living monument educates patrons about non-violence and civil rights in an effort to inspire future generations to carry out Dr. King’s legacy. The King Center does more than memorializing Dr. and Mrs. King. It also features many other important champions of civil rights, past and present. The first place I stopped on my self-guided tour of The King

The tile of Rosa Park in the Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

Center was the Civil Rights Walk of Fame. The Civil Rights Walk of Fame was established to honor people with significant contributions to equality. Some of those featured include Rosa Parks, Magic Johnson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Bill Clinton, NeYo, and Dr. Maya Angelou just to name a few. The Walk of Fame is updated each year with new inductees. The Walk of Fame ended with a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, who inspired Dr. King’s non-violent philosophy. It’s hard to explain, but the whole area exuded an air of enlightenment and reflection. All around there were plaques with passages and quotes from Dr. King with one-word titles like “Mandate” and “Motivation.” Thos definitely added to the aforementioned feel.

After passing the World Peace Rose Garden, I went to the Historic Ebenezer

The Sanctuary of Ebenezer Baptist Church

Baptist Church. Ebenezer Baptist Church is the pastoral home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sr. The church was restored in 2011 to its 1960s state. Being in the church was really nostalgic. Going to church was a big part of my life when I was younger.  My family is pretty religious, so being in the traditional style church made me feel like I’ve been there before. Whether it’s was the beautiful kaleidoscopic stained-glass windows, the wooden pews, or the red carpet, I was just so fascinated by the place. Even my dad felt that there was just something about being in there that interested him and it was his favorite spot of the tour.

Stained Glass Windows

After leaving the sanctuary, I went downstairs into the fellowship room. It was a small room with tile floors. There

The Fellowship room

were rows of chairs that people could sit and watch a video about the church.  Different fact boards line the walls and there were two glass cases with artifacts such as photographs, Bibles, and shards of glass from the original Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The final part of the tour ended at Freedom Hall. I didn’t have much time to explore because I had to go to work, but this area didn’t have too much to explore because of construction. In preparation of the 50th anniversary of Dr.  King’s assassination and the establishment of The King Center, there are renovations going on in Freedom Hall, the Crypt, and Reflecting Pool. Even with the renovation, I still enjoyed my experience. Going to the King Center made me really reflect and think about

Freedom Hall

how much of an impact Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement had on my life. Without going through the obvious historic and political route, references to civil rights are all around me.  I was always very involved with Black History Month in school and for a while, I’ve been that person to always talk about black issues and address civil rights in general. Weirdly, Dr. King has had an impact on my poetry because of his performativity when giving speeches. Going back to the Civil Rights Walk of Fame, one of the people I didn’t mention was Roberto Goizueta, who’s the namesake of the b-school. I’m also a Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar and my sponsor is Hank and Billye Aaron, Hank Aaron is also featured on the Walk of Fame. My dorm is decorated with MLK and Malcolm X posters and other nods to black culture.  And overall I want to work in a career dealing with civil rights, education inequality, etc. I’m not saying this to say to have some theory of fate. I think the bigger picture is that a lot of times we don’t notice how the things around us shape our futures. Being that we’re college students, it’s nice to just think about how different experiences guide our decisions. It’s great to do this now because soon we’ll be able to declare our majors and a little later down the road, we’re going to be choosing career paths. These are very big decisions, but I think that reflection is a good way of preparing for a big decision.

The King Center is open seven days a week from 9am-5pm. If you want to learn more or plan a visit, you can check out their website by clicking on this link

Westboro Baptist TRIED It Yet Again

Over 20 years ago, October was named as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) History Month by the National Education Association.  October is also known for National Coming Out Day which is held on October 11th. Every year since its conception in 1971, Atlanta Pride, one of the oldest pride parades in the US, was held around this time every year. This year the Atlanta Pride Parade was held on October 15th. Pride, in general, is a sea of bright colors and rainbow flags, but the parade took this to a whole new level. The parade had a record-breaking turnout with over 250,00 people in attendance.

For some background information, the LGBTQ+ community is a minority group of different sexualities and gender identities.  Pride parades started after the Stonewall riots in 1969. The Stonewall Inn was a club that was very accepting of LGBTQ+ patrons; many other clubs prohibited gay people from having liquor, people dancing with the same sex, men in feminine clothes as well as women with less than 3 articles of feminine clothing. The Stonewall Inn even took in homeless LGBTQ+ youth and let them stay there. However, on June 28, 1969, the police raided Stonewall and roughly hauled off employees and patrons which destroyed the sense of the place being a place of refuge. For six days afterward, there were demonstrations and clashes between law enforcement. Fast-forward a few years and Pride was established to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and pride and serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage.

Now let’s get to my Atlanta Pride experience. I asked my best friend from back home if he wanted to come to Pride and he was like “that’s not a question because you already know we’re going.” Fast-forward a few days and my friend’s 4-hour bus ride to Atlanta and we arrive at my first Pride. The air was electric from all of the excitement and energy. We saw floats from businesses, radio stations, and even some churches. As we got lost trying to find Emory’s space in the parade lineup, we kept saying how different this was from Pride back home and it’s to be expected since Atlanta was once ranked as the most LGBT friendly city by the magazine The Advocate. Atlanta Pride blocked off a whole chunk of Downtown Atlanta from the MARTA Civic Center Station to Piedmont Park while South Carolina Pride is just about one street of Downtown Columbia. Atlanta Pride had floats as far as the eye can see and it was amazing to see so many people coming out for an event like this. As we talked about these differences, we passed by vendors selling all types of LGBTQ+ flags and memorabilia. We also noticed peoples’ style choices from drag to very liberal showings of skin. Eventually, we found the Emory van. At first, there wasn’t a lot of people with Emory, but that was probably because the van was so hard to find. After a while, the Emory area was a sea of students and faculty from Emory’s numerous schools: Emory College, Oxford, Rollins, etc. It was so much fun just hanging out with so many LGBTQ+ people and allies. We painted each others’ faces, sang together, and there was a ton of discussion of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

As the parade got started, I was reminded of my old days in marching band. There’s just something about the environment of a parade that increases your own performativity. It’s natural to me to give a performance and have the crowd respond, but during Pride, the crowd was the ones giving the energy and excitement. The air was electrifying and there was not one sad face in sight… well except for the Westboro Baptist Church who comes to Pride every year to preach their anti-gay agenda, but there a special case. Originally, I thought that would have more of an impact, but honestly, their bullhorns were nothing compared to our music and loud cheering. The organizers of Pride specifically put people in front of them with big flowers to try to block their hateful signs and stuff which they did a really good job of. Even with the ones left, we just waved rainbow flags in front of and laughed like “Y’all thought. You tried it, but we’re still gonna have a good gay old time. You can have several seats.” As we passed the corner of haters, we had the final stretch of the parade all the way to Piedmont Park. There was a ton of different vendor and they were setting up the stage for a performance, but my group of friends and I didn’t stay for too long because we were so tired. We didn’t realize it during the parade because of the amount of energy, but once we stopped and sat down it hit us like a truck.

Overall my Pride experience was great. I can definitely say that it was one of the highlights of my freshman year so far and I’ll definitely be back next year. It’s great to see that Emory really supports the LGBTQ+ community and the fact that Emory has “the 10th oldest LGBT campus office in the nation.” LGBTQ+ youth are at a significantly higher risk for depression, suicide, and substance abuse compared to heterosexual counterparts, according to the CDC. The CDC also has studies that find that LGBTQ+ students are “140% more likely to not go to school at least one day during the past 30 days because of safety concerns” and also ” nearly one-third of LGBTQ+ youth had attempted suicide at least once in the prior year compared to 6% of heterosexual youth.” It’s important that LGBTQ+ youth have places where they can feel accepted and supported; this is why I highly encourage going to Pride. If you’re a part of the LGBTQ+ community, go to Pride. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll be surrounded by people who love you and support you without even knowing you. If you have a friend that’s LGBTQ+, go to Pride with them. Be one of the people to love and support them. One of the reasons I chose Emory and really wanted to go out of state for college was I knew that I would have much more of a support system here and I could be very open and authentic. Emory’s Office of LGBT Life is very active. There are different weekly queer discussion groups such as Queer Men of Color, Aces & Aros, etc. There’s also Emory Pride, a student organization that has weekly GBMs discussing different LGBTQ+ topics. Also, all students can schedule appointments with Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) which a certain number of is covered by tuition. With all these resources and such a vibrant city, I truly feel like I’m in a place where I can thrive.

Picture Gallery

Below are some LGBTQ+ resources:

  • The Trevor Project: www.thetrevorproject.org | 24/7 Helpline 866-488-7386
  • Emory CAPS: For appointments 404-727-6111 | Crisis 404-727-7450
  • Emory Office of LGBT Life: 1st floor of AMUC | www.lgbt.emory.edu





Emory Can We Get Some Freshman Friendly Lectures?

For some time, I’ve been dreading the Lecture Spotlight section. Most of the time the lectures seem kind of boring or confusing and they just don’t appeal to me. However, this changed when I decided to attend a lecture on James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man. For once, I thought that the title of the lecture was interesting and felt like the subject would be interesting as well since I’m planning on studying African-American Studies, so this had to be a win-win right? No, I was dead wrong. In fact, I was so wrong that it made me question why is there a lecture spotlight section when obviously Emory’s lectures aren’t for freshman nor are an exciting part of the freshman experience. I’ll get to that later though.

Before diving into the flaws of the lecture, it’s important to give a little background. This lecture was held by the James Weldon Johnson Institute (JWJI) here at Emory. JWJI was founded in 2007 and is the first institute at Emory established to honor the achievements of an African-American. The mission of JWJI is to “support research, teaching, and public dialogue that examine race and intersecting dimensions of human difference including, but not limited to class, gender, religion, and sexuality.” Every Monday during the Fall 2017 semester, JWJI hosts a Race & Difference Colloquium Series at 12pm in the Jones Room of Woodruff Library.  The particular talk I attended was hosted by Noelle Morrisette who is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Morrisette’s introduction made me excited because it is “rare to have JWJI talks regarding James Weldon Johnson because not many scholars study him,” so I thought I would be in for a fascinating and highly coveted lecture…and then the lecture actually started. Essentially, Morrisette’s lecture could be split into 7 sections: the background of James Weldon Johnson, a paraphrasing of The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man, the contextual impact and interpretation of the book, more information about Johnson’s other works and history, contemporary use of Johnson’s ideas, modern interpretations of the book, and finally and question and answer session. The lecture itself seemed to go over well with the majority of the audience which was filled with faculty, staff, and other adults. During the Q&A session, a few people were really engaged with the lecture and had a few burning questions. I don’t remember the exact questions, but somehow the topic of Donald Trump and Puerto Rico was brought up.

However, I think it’s important to emphasize that the lecture was well received by the adults in the audience. There were very few people in my age range or below and those that were there seemed to be very distracted and disengaged. I genuinely found the topic and points that Morrisette raised very interesting, but towards the end of the lecture, I was using every ounce of will in my body to stay off Snapchat. I think that this is a testament of most lectures here at Emory are not “freshman-friendly” in a sense that we are not the target audience and lectures aren’t set up in a way to engage us. I set-up this blog post purposefully to present this. Throughout this blog, I had two pictures which represent the two different slides that Morisette had in her presentation. This blog was very few, if any, relevant pictures, with a lot of text. Similarly, Morisette’s lecture was very few, if any, relevant pictures with a lot of text read aloud. This lack of visual multimedia would turn away many freshmen because of the era in which we live. In the age of social media, young people are becoming somewhat dependent on visual and tactile stimulation. Whether it be scrolling through your Instagram feed or tapping through a Snapchat stories, we’re more engaged when we can see and do something. I would have liked this lecture much better if it wasn’t just talking, and this is coming from someone who listens/watches TedTalks in their spare time. This is not to say that Morisette’s presentation was bad, it definitely wasn’t, this is just to show the importance of having a multimodal presentation when dealing with a specific audience. Morisette had some really engaging asides and incorporated some humor into her lecture, but having some sort of visual aid could have made the lecture go from decent to great.

The Poets of Emory: Past, Present, and Future

To skip to a particular interview you can use these links

Dr. Marberry  | Dr. Warren | Jericho Brown | Emily Gardin | Christian Blount

A little over a week ago one of my poems, State of Emergency, was published in The Best Teen Writing 2017 by the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards. Every year, they hold a contest, open now, for 7th-12th grade students to showcase their work on a grand stage. Those who earn awards on the national level are eligible to be published in the yearly publication of The Best Teen Writing. Poetry has had a big impact on my life and, in my opinion, helped me to get into Emory. Poetry has also been a great asset to my transition to life here at Emory, so I wanted to explore and bring awareness to the poetry scene around Continue reading “The Poets of Emory: Past, Present, and Future”

I Still Don’t Understand Volleyball

You can find Emory’s Women’s Volleyball Schedule by clicking on the picture

This past Saturday, the Emory Women’s Volleyball team had an explosive 3-0 victory over Juniata at the Women’s Volleyball East/West Challenge. Set one was a hard fought and could have been anyone’s game, but the Emory Eagles came out on top in a close 27-25 victory. Emory had strong starts in both sets two and three and they had strong wins being 25-20 and 25-18 respectively. This blow-out brought Emory, which is ranked Number 4 in the NCAA Division III category, to an 8-1 win/loss record.

With all that being said, I know nothing about volleyball and a lot of other sports. During the game, and the writing of this blog post, I was constantly looking up rules and terminology because this was probably the first ever volleyball game I went to. As someone not familiar with the sport, it was a little

Emory Women’s Volleyball Team tries to save the ball

off-putting being surrounded by what seems to be mostly family and friends of the players. I had to look around to figure out when to clap and what was going on. In terms of the audience, it’s definitely a different vibe at a regular volleyball game compared to one that can be used for PACE requirements. The crowd was relatively small and was formed of mostly older people. Either way, Emory’s volleyball team loved every minute of it: doing different dances and cheers every time they scored, getting into huddles after every point for advice and support, and overall showing good sportsmanship.

Both teams huddling up after a point was scored


I will say that I most likely won’t be attending many more volleyball games in the future because I still don’t fully understand the game and it’s not that interesting to me. However, I highly encourage everyone to go to at least one sporting event over their undergraduate career. If, like me, you’re not a sports person, then it won’t be a highlight of your weekend or college experience but it’s still something to do and it feels nice to show that, despite popular belief, Emory does have some school spirit.

Both teams congratulating each other on their hard work

The Black Studies Collective Experience/My Message to Emory University

The Black Studies Collective meets on select Fridays in Candler Library Room 120. More information can be found on their OrgSync Page

After getting off work late, I rushed over Candler Library expecting to be that one person who awkwardly walks in ten minutes late. To my surprise, I walked into a warm environment discussing SZA and Bryson Tiller. I’m greeted by the 2017-2018 President of the Black Studies Collective (BSC), Taryn Jordan, and encouraged to grab a plate. Settling down while we watched music videos for Rake it Up and Bodak Yellow, I knew that this wouldn’t be a traditional general body meeting. The official meeting started with introductions, a brief history of the BSCand an overview of the BSC.

The Black Studies Collective originally was formed as the African-American

The logo of the Black Studies Collective

Studies Collective (AASC). The AASC was defunded a few years ago, but later revived and transformed into the BSC. Now, the BSC serves a place for many graduate students interested meet, discuss blackness and current events regarding blackness, read works of black theory, and even go out and watch films/tv about blackness. Despite the informality of meetings, the BSC thinks critically about blackness and questions the parameters around blackness. An example of this comes from one of their inside jokes “I don’t know, Paris Jackson.” This arose from their conversation on Paris Jackson considering herself black despite her skin color and other physical features. This brings up the idea that there’s more to blackness that skin tone, but also experiences and other factors.  The informality of the meetings allows for members to share their experience and create a dynamic dialogue. It also allows members to discuss their own work and provide assistance to each other. Many members of the Black Studies Collective are graduate students with work surrounding black issues and African diaspora despite Emory not having a graduate African-American Studies program. The BSC allows grad students to have a space to continue their interest in black studies. Currently, the BSC is also looking to expand their outreach by getting undergraduate involvement through Saturday Readings/Teachings.

This brings me to my message to Emory University: create a graduate degree program for African-American Studies. Students from all across different programs are doing research on black issues ranging from Comparative Language to Philosophy and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, to English. Furthermore, Emory has amazing resources for African-American history in the Rose Library that would be instrumental to much research in the field of African-American studies. Also, Emory already has a great undergraduate program in African-American Studies. Emory was the first school in the Southeast to offer an undergraduate degree in black studies. Emory also has award winning research and publications from faculty in the Department of

Benjamin Mays who is is one of the namesakes of the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

African-American Studies, as well as representation in many public news and media forums. Lastly, Emory is a Mellon-Mays Fellow school which helps fund Ph.D. research in fields like African-American Studies. With all this history and excellence, why is it that graduate students seem to be limited to a space like the Black Studies Collective to really immerse themselves in African-American Studies?



If you want to learn more about the Black Studies collective or are an undergrad interested in Saturday Teachings, you can visit their OrgSync website or you can email the president, Taryn Jordan at t [dot] d [dot] jordan [at] emory [dot] edu. You can also find more about the undergraduate Department of African-American Studies here.

By Daquon Wilson

The Black Male Initiative @ Emory University

With the dawn of a new school year, comes the dawn of new changes for Emory University. While some, such as the demolition of the Dobbs University Center, are extremely obvious, there are others that aren’t known to the general public. The Black Male Initiative (BMI) is a pilot program targeted at first-year black males at the University. The purpose of the program is to counteract the disproportionately high dropout rate experienced by black males in comparison to their other peers. To do this, the program is designed to give black, male, first-year students both academic and professional resources as well as develop leadership and comradery between each other through events, workshops, and outing in Atlanta. It great to know the purpose of the program, but it’s much more important to see the impact and effectiveness of said program. How do current students feel about the program? Why or why not students applied to BMI? How well known is the program in the Emory community? To answer these questions, we decided to interview three students, Aaron Campbell, Christopher Benedict, and Alex Koo, in order to provide more perspective.

Harris Hall is a traditionally second-year resident hall where some freshman and the BMI reside.

When speaking with Aaron Campbell, a member of the pilot program we learned more about what the program means to him, the Emory community, and the greater black community. The desire to be surrounded by “an environment where black people did well… were successful… [and] were educated” drove Campbell to initially apply for the program. It was clear that Campbell felt as though this program was important and he wanted to be a part of it, due to its recognition of such a prevalent issue. Regarding the BMI’s relationship with other first-years in Harris Hall, Campbell expressed a generally positive relationship between the two groups but voiced concern that “more awareness” could be drawn to the purpose of the initiative itself.

We found the remarks made by Aaron regarding the BMI to be quite interesting, but we wanted to know how others who were not part of the program saw it; more specifically, a black male who did not participate in it and one of Campbell’s fellow hall mates. Christopher Benedict is another first-year black male at the University, who unlike Aaron, decided not to be part of the BMI. Benedict argued that while the idea of a program such as the BMI was good, he wanted a more “immersive” first-year experience. Another first-year named Alex Koo is a current resident of Harris Hall as well. When asked about the BMI she did not initially know what it was, however, after we explained to Koo the premises behind it, she had a better understanding. Koo described being put in a sophomore dorm as “shocking,” however, much like Campbell, she described the atmosphere as a “friendly community.” Koo recognized Emory University’s proactiveness to take the initiative to set up the program, but she did voice concern that more information regarding its purpose should be advertised to other members of the University.

Overall, it seems like the Black Male Initiative here at Emory is just the first step to a longer process. Being that this is the pilot year and the year just got started, it’s hard to judge whether the program is effective in meeting its goals. However, it can be concluded from speaking to Campbell and Koo that the BMI creates a close community for participants surrounded with like-minded individuals. Moreover, the program is being proactive in trying to solve such a pressing issue, therefore we can see the strides being taken and a possible bright future for the BMI and university.

By Zion Kidd and Daquon Wilson