That’s A Wrap!

In now its third full year, the Madison Collaborative Educators program has evolved into a small but mighty group of student facilitators. In the past semester alone, the number of projects and workshops this group has taken on has grown immensely. The hard work put into 2016 has now set a precedent for success and more opportunities to look forward to in 2017.

The MCEs hit the ground running in the late August heat in assisting the presentation of “Contagion,” the new It’s Complicated case created by the Madison Collaborative. This case not only sought the collaboration of the educators, but also from several different departments and staff members at JMU. As bright first-year students arrived to campus for 1787 August Orientation, over 170 facilitators were trained and ready to guide freshmen in their first ethical reasoning discussion on campus. The feedback we received from students and facilitators alike was a thrilling motivator to make next year’s program even better. Continue reading

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Enrollment Hunger Games

Ah, class enrollment –it’s that exciting yet anxious time of the semester once again at JMU. For some it can be as easy as clicking the “enroll” button on your shopping cart, lounging in the comfort of home and seeing a screen full of green check marks. For others, it’s a frantic fight to pull out a laptop in the middle of a current class only to discover that your desired class just closed. This then prompts an anxious hunt to find an open course just minutes before your enrollment appointment starts, all the while trying desperately not to lose hours of planning and a much hoped-for schedule. With blood, sweat, and tears in between, students struggle with the dilemma of how to get the courses that will most benefit them. The methods and attitude while venturing through this crucial decision are what matter.

Bachelder, Jessica. "Class Enrollment" 2016. PNG.

Bachelder, Jessica. “Class Enrollment” 2016. PNG.

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No Clowning Around: Taking Action Into Our Own Hands

In a Madison Alert message (part of the notification system used to share timely safety information with the JMU community during urgent or emergency situations) sent on October 4, 2016, there was an announcement regarding the actions taken by students against a perceived threat, this threat being “creepy clown” sightings. The news of these supposed sightings spread like wildfire across many forms of social media. While there was no evidence to support this rumor, many went beyond just transmitting this news and took action themselves.

Students ran rampant on a dark JMU campus, forming a giant hunting party to search for the clowns and arming themselves with baseball bats, pepper spray, and other objects for “self-defense.” While mob mentality can have a very powerful effect on group behavior, these students still voluntarily responded in this aggressive manner. How does this reflect those students’ character? Does it make them noble and brave…or foolish and impulsive? Rather than behaving like the enlightened citizens JMU encourages all students to be, the actions of these Dukes was irrational and potentially dangerous.
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Is It a Right to Know or Need to Know?

As a teaching assistant and peer advisor, I have seen and heard a wide variety of things during office hours, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened on a seemingly quiet Monday afternoon. As I was studying during advising hours, the sound of loud, frantic running feet rumbled down the hall. While hearing a stampede of footsteps down the hallway isn’t a normal occurrence in a university academic building, my first thought was that it might be a group of students from a local high school going to the planetarium. This assumption was proved wrong shortly thereafter when a campus police officer dashed by and in a whispered tone, ordered us to evacuate the building immediately. Trying to make sense of this, I assumed it must be a drill so I packed up and quickly exited the back entrance of the building. To my surprise, there was a crowd of concerned faces waiting across the street, staring back at me when I opened the door. Waiting and watching attentively, we all were desperate to know what was going on in order to assess the possible danger for ourselves.

Without any explanation, the police officers came out of the building fifteen minutes later and told us we could go back inside. The only answer we received as to why we were evacuated in the first place was, “It was a false alarm, and it could have been anything.”

 

…What could have?!

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Popping the JMU Bubble

As a JMU First Year Orientation Guide, I had the privilege to hear and experience the perspectives of many people during 1787 August Orientation. From the parents, incoming students, Resident Advisors, professional Orientation staff members, returning students, the Harrisonburg community to everyone in between, it was intriguing to observe the mixture of feelings associated with James Madison University and what it means to be a Duke. One idea that was frequently brought up was the idea of there being a “JMU bubble.” While students may visit the downtown and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg to occasionally support our local businesses, there are some who believe there is a disconnect between the ’burg and JMU. Continue reading

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