“The whole world is watching.”
That’s the statement echoing from a megaphone strapped to the side of David Starnes, director of athletic bands at Western Carolina University. On a recent crisp late fall afternoon, 505 college students march up and down a large intramural field in Cullowhee. The instrumental sounds of Journey’s seminal 80s classic “Don’t Stop Believin’” ricochets around the campus, ultimately radiating into the Southern Appalachian mountain range cradling the school.
The key to economic and community development in Western North Carolina is for leaders of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to reach beyond town limits and county lines to embrace a more regional approach, steeped in a spirit of cooperation and partnership.
That was the message heard again and again Wednesday, Nov. 12, from speakers and participants at LEAD:WNC, a one-day summit convened by WCU to discuss solutions leading to sustainable economic and community development.
Brian Railsback learned a valuable lesson when he missed a September meeting of the Western Carolina University Honors College Student Board of Directors: skip a meeting, and you just might wind up volunteered to do a century bike ride through the mountains. As Railsback, Honors College dean and English professor, found out later, the meeting concluded with a decision that he should pedal 118 miles to the top of Mount Mitchell to raise scholarship money for the college.
“What happened was I missed that meeting, and they voted unanimously to move forward with it,” Railsback said.
By Anna Fariello • Guest Editorial
In writing the text for an exhibition on Cherokee culture a few years ago, I began with this opening line, “Chances are, where you are standing is part of the Cherokee’s ancestral lands.” While, perhaps, I should have hesitated to make such a bold claim of an exhibit that was traveling throughout Western North Carolina, that statement was far from rash. Today, many think of Cherokee as a town at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while in fact, Cherokee lands once extended to portions of eight modern states.
When The Smoky Mountain News asked me to write this guest editorial, I was in the midst of putting the finishing touches on a talk for Western Carolina University’s annual Native Expo (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 12). The expo takes place every November to celebrate and share native cultures with students and the community. Events include talks, film, language, music, and art that celebrate indigenous culture as the university’s contribution to Native American Heritage Month. This year, among other events, the Hunter Library mounted a tribute to the late Robert J. Conley, a prolific and talented writer who served for three years as the university’s Distinguished Sequoya Professor.
It’s official. Starting with the 2016-17 academic year, sophomores attending Western Carolina University will be required to live on campus.
“We have a philosophy of students learning better by growing into their responsibilities. First-year students need that residence hall experience,” said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Sam Miller. “It’s often their first time living away from home.”
The beauty of literature is its solely unique power of transportation.
That beauty lies in the meticulous arrangement of words, phrases and sentences on a simple black and white page, where upon decoding the message you conjure endless colors, scents and landscapes. You find yourself walking the streets of far away places in forgotten eras, faces and voices long since put six feet under, all covered up in dust under the bed of a modern world.
The key to opening the portals to these places lies in the fingertips of the writer. Sitting down and letting the images in your mind pour out onto the blank page is a sacred act, one where you let the story unfold in front of you rather than racing to find a conclusion. Crafting a story is a delicate and often misunderstood process. To find the perfect word, one must travel to the deepest, darkest corners of their soul, in search of the ideal conflict that is located at the foundation of every great story.
A panel of Western Carolina University faculty members, including an environmental health professor who has studied the spread and control of infectious agents such as Ebola for more than two decades, will take part in a discussion about the virus on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Part of WCU’s Global Spotlight Series, the event will be held in the auditorium of the Forsyth Building from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
Dillsboro’s relationship with Western Carolina University began in 2009, after the economic downturn and as the town struggled to regroup.
1889 — Cullowhee Academy opens with 18 students and 1 teacher
Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten arrived at Western Carolina University as a freshman in 1969. He remembers his college days fondly.
“My classmates and fraternity brothers all had such a great time in Cullowhee,” Wooten said. “I remember as a freshman, wearing beanies — we got to burn’em at Homecoming.”