The Claytor Nature Center and Weekend Programming at the University of Lynchburg are excited to host a drive-in movie night on April 17, complete with concessions and stargazing.
Disney’s animated movie “Soul” will be playing, and the event is going to be held at the Belk Observatory at the Claytor Nature Center.
Trish Cerulli, the outreach coordinator for the Claytor Nature Center, explained how the night will run. She said, “Students will arrive at the Southern entrance to the Claytor Nature Center off of Rte. 43, via Cloverlea Lane, and drive to the fields adjacent to the Belk Observatory. They will park oriented facing the screen, and get ready for a drive-in movie experience under the stars and dark Bedford, Va., sky. The NOMAD Coffee Co. truck will be there and available for their normal drink menu as well as other concessions like popcorn, kettle corn, candy and soda. Each student will receive a voucher for concessions at the Coffee truck. Also, students will sign up for a viewing session wave at the Belk Observatory, to be able to learn and view through various astronomical equipment and telescopes!”
The University of Lynchburg began offering an anxiety group that started last week which will be meeting for five sessions in order to help students address stress, depression, and anxiety that they may have.
Marisa Jones is the leader of the anxiety group. Referring to the pandemic, she said, “There are so many ramifications of this collective trauma that we have been through and we need more consoles than ever.”
Jones explained that having a full understanding of what the pandemic has done to people’s mental health is very difficult.
The University of Lynchburg Women’s Soccer Team lost to Virginia Wesleyan University in the quarterfinal round of the ODAC tournament on April 6.
Despite ending the season on a three-game losing streak, Head Coach Todd Olsen and Alyssa Damato, a forward, expressed optimism for next season.
Coach Olsen believes his team will win an ODAC championship soon, stating, “I think we are really close to winning another ODAC championship. We talk a lot with our team about how soccer is a game of inches. Defensively, these inches include the inches required to make a necessary late game stop. Offensively, these inches include the inches required to ensure the ball lands in the back of the net. I do not think we have a monumental mountain to climb. I think we are ready to compete for national championships for a long time.”
On April 11, 2021, the University of Lynchburg Men’s Soccer Team claimed the ODAC championship by beating Guilford 5-1.
Throughout the tournament, Kyle Gallagher, a senior goalkeeper, played at a high level. Gallagher acknowledged the challenges he would face as a goalkeeper entering the matchup against top seeded Hampden-Sydney, stating, “There is a good amount of pressure placed on goalkeepers throughout the ODAC. Depending how well or poorly everyone on my team is playing, I may have to touch the ball anywhere from 0-20 times per game.”
Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Sigma Alpha hosted an Easter egg hunt at the University of Lynchburg this past weekend with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
“We are lucky enough to be able to give children lifetime opportunities that they may not have been able to experience if it was not for an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Tyler Pritchard, a sophomore and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Sigma Phi Epsilon, or Sig Ep, has been associated with Big Brothers Big Sisters for many years and continues to host collaborative events. This has been an opportunity for the fraternity to give back to the community and to stay active.
The University of Lynchburg officially announced that for commencement, graduation will be held in person, and each person is allowed a maximum of two guests.
Dr. Christine Terry, a professor at the University of Lynchburg, is fully vaccinated and plans on attending graduation. “I am excited that we will have in person graduation (for the classes of 2020 and 2021). I love our traditional graduation with faculty lining the Dell to wish the graduates good luck. I know that this graduation will be different, but I still look forward to having an in person send-off for our graduates.”
Dr. Terry shared her hopes that most adult guests, if eligible, will have gotten a vaccine by the time they travel to campus, or not come at all if they are sick. She said, “I think that requiring proof of either of these would be a logistical nightmare. All of the students and faculty have done an amazing job keeping our campus safe by wearing masks, and I hope that our graduates’ friends and family will do the same.”
The coronavirus pandemic has been taxing on communities across the country and many college students have reported increased stress and anxiety levels.
University of Lynchburg students are not immune to the uptick in mental health issues either. The Counseling Center is almost completely booked up and students are finding it difficult to keep up with responsibilities.
Senior Mandy Linehan, who has struggled with mental health issues during the pandemic, said, “I find it harder to do easier tasks. I find it really hard sometimes to get out of bed and even just log onto an online class. Before I could go all day everyday…and be fine. I now really struggle to get up for a 10 a.m.”
The University of Lynchburg Women’s Volleyball Team has been enjoying a winning season thus far in the spring semester of 2021, but these hornets are looking to avenge previous losses to Randolph Macon.
Natalie Lavelle, a senior middle blocker, said, “While we consider all ODAC games during the regular season to be important, I consider Randolph-Macon to be the most significant game going into the ODAC tournament. They have always been a tough competitor. In the four years I have been in this program, we have never beaten Randolph-Macon. Beating this team would send a powerful statement throughout the ODAC. We will be letting people know that we are here to win.”
Located in Bedford, Va., the Claytor Nature Center remains a treasured component of the University of Lynchburg.
A. Boyd Claytor III donated the property and his farmhouse, Cloverlea, in 1998. He did so for the purpose of allowing students and the community to learn about and connect with nature. Today, the Claytor Nature Center takes up 491 acres, and is home to an array of opportunities and experiences.
Trish Cerulli, the Outreach Coordinator for the Claytor Nature Center, specified how the University of Lynchburg utilizes the property. She said, “As a part of the University, the Claytor Nature Center offers outreach and educational programming to the University and wider community, use of the land and facilities for academic and laboratory coursework and research purposes, and holds special programs for student recreation and campus organization events or retreats.”
Eating healthy as a college student has never been an easy task, but with COVID-19 making it more difficult to be in large gatherings, eating healthy has become even more challenging for many students.
The pandemic has encouraged many students to utilize Domino’s Pizza and other delivery options before considering the on-campus dining options. Though it is often more convenient and perhaps safer to order delivery, it is definitely not always the healthiest.
“We offer so many healthy options, from the salad bar to the deli bar. But ultimately, it is the student’s choice what to eat and what not to eat,” said dining hall supervisor, Lori Elholm.
The University of Lynchburg announced this week that the 2021 graduation ceremony will be held in-person on Thursday, May 20.
It was also announced that all graduates will be allowed to invite up to two guests. All final plans will be released by Lynchburg on April 1. The governor of Virginia is planning to ease restrictions as far as limits on groups, which will impact the university’s final decisions.
On May 21, the class of 2021 graduate students will attend their commencement, and on May 22, the class of 2020 undergraduates and graduates will attend their commencement.
If you walked by Shellenberger Field lately, you might have noticed the construction at the scoreboard. The University of Lynchburg has come up with a plan called “Five for the Hive” to help renovate the athletic facilities on campus.
“The scoreboard project is one of the Five of the Hive projects. We are making a commitment to upgrading the athlete and student experiences at each of home athletic venues. The scoreboard represents the beginning of this project and there is something for Turner Gym, baseball, softball, and tennis. Those five represent the five on campus competition venues,” said John Waters, director of Athletics.
The hope is that updating the facilities on campus comes with its perks of an increase in fan engagement and an increase in recruitment for the athletic department.
Questions continue to loom about graduation day 2021 at the University of Lynchburg.
Should graduation be in person? Should guests be allowed? What about the Class of 2020’s graduation? Graduating seniors, Caelan Samson, Hannah Pine, and Caitlyn Roderick weighed in with their opinions.
Samson believes that graduation should be in person. He explained, “Having a graduation online would be a waste of time and not many people would want to attend, [and] if we have graduation in person, we should be allowed to have at least one guest. Graduation is for our families as much as it is for [students].”
Continuing, Samson said, “With vaccinations still rolling out, I do not believe that they should be required because not everyone will be able to get them in time.”