Soup and more at the Wesley Center

By Kelly Barker

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) –The Wesley Center provided free lunch to UTC students every Thursday during the semester.

Besides weekly worship services, bible studies and mission trips the Wesley Center, 607 Douglas St, offers food for the soul every Thursday.

The center doesn’t stop with soup on “Souper Thursday”.  On Wednesday they offer lunch at 11:30 a.m.  for $2.00.

“We understand money is tight for college students and this is our way of serving the community through campus involvement,” Rev. Keith Moore, director of the Wesley Center, said. “Jesus served the least, the lost and the poor.”

John Crabtree, UTC Junior from Murfreesboro said. “I think it is nice that they do this for students. I don’t know of any other campus ministries that offer free bowl of soup.”

The center is sponsored by the United Methodist Campus Ministries of Chattanooga, which also hosts a campus worship service at 8 p.m. each Thursday.

Dr. Dwight Kilbourne, senior pastor of First Centenary United Methodist Church, 419 McCallie Ave, said,  “As agents of Christ we work to bring about the Kingdom of God among the collegiate and young adult community of Chattanooga while searching out those who have heard the call of God in their lives.”

Other church sponsored organizations such as the Christian Student Center also offer lunch during the fall and spring semesters.  The student center provides a meal every Monday and Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to UTC students for $2.

Jerry Cox, Director of the Christian Student Center said, “The Christian Student Center is committed to providing the best in Spiritual gain and provide a fun and friendly atmosphere to hang out with friends and strengthen your faith.”

“The really cool thing about having a fireplace in the Wesley Center is the fact that you can roast hotdogs and marshmallows in it,” Moore said. “Everyone is invited to join us at the Wesley Center.”

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Gifts That Keep On Giving

‘Tis the season to be… generous? Explore your options to buy gifts that give back this holiday season.

By: Mary Smith

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) –With holiday shopping having already begun, it’s not too late to become more enlightened to buying gifts that benefit others in need.

Most college-aged students are pretty broke and are on an all too familiar diet of Ramen Noodles. How can college-aged students make a difference in the world on such a tight budget? Many organizations are benefiting others in need from their sales. TOMS, STOP THE NAKEDNESS, and other organizations offer fair priced gifts that appeal to trendy people.

Toms Shoes

UTC student, Aimee Irwin's pair of TOMS.

Several companies have flourished using the principal of giving back to underprivileged people. TOMS shoes created a one-for-one movement in the United States in 2006 when Blake Mycoskie founded his revolutionary company. When you purchase a pair of TOMS shoes, a pair of shoes are sent to a child in need. The traditional style shoe starts at $44. Gift cards, shirts, hoodies and other accessories are also available online. Since 2006, TOMS shoes has grown in popularity as well as product variety and will not be going out of style anytime soon.

Nashville business, the Mocha Club, also has it’s own line of scarves that profit women in Ethiopia. The line is called fashionABLE. Scarves are appropriately priced at $22 per scarf. FashionABLE hopes to produce jobs for women in impoverished nations. When women cannot find jobs to support their families, many are led to a life of prostitution. FashionABLE hopes to prevent this from happening by providing jobs to the women in Ethiopia. Check out the informational video from livefashionABLE.

STOP THE NAKEDNESS is a non-profit company that has the same motivation as TOMS shoes. STOP THE NAKEDNESS is a company directed at showing the world love by donating clothing to children in need. For every shirt that is purchased, they will send a shirt to a child in need; but it doesn’t stop there. They send the consumer (you) a shirt to give to a friend to help raise awareness. The graphic tee shirts start at $20. Find out more about STOP THE NAKEDNESS in this promotional video:

Looking for a great pair of pajama pants? Try Punjammies. Punjammies are pants that are made by women in India who have been rescued, released, or escaped from forced prostitution. The Punjammie Project hopes to empower women by giving them a marketable job skill, therapy, medical care, and an education. Every purchase goes to establishing a fair trade wage, financial savings, and medical treatment. Punjammie pants start at $30 each.

Seasons Greetings!

A very popular seller for UNICEF: greeting cards.

UNICEF, or the United Nations Children’s Fund, is an organization that has been aiding children since it’s beginning in 1946. UNICEF claims to be a “global humanitarian relief organization providing children with healthcare, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.” It is funded by contributions from individuals, groups, corporations, and several governments. Some of their financial support and awareness comes from their gift store. There is a wide range of gifts on the site for parents, siblings, friends and co-workers. Holiday cars, children’s toys, home decorations and jewelry are just a few things that UNICEF offers. UNICEF also says that, “…every UNICEF card and gift you buy helps children around the world.”

GreenShops is an eco-friendly organization that benefits people and animals in third world countries from their sales. The Green Shop website contains a multitude of enjoyable nick knacks as well as more sophisticated gifts. One of the items for sale is a bag that says, “Feed the children of the world.” When a person buys this bag, one child in Africa will be fed lunch everyday for a year.

Online shopping is an annoyance to some. It’s understandable. Luckily, Calvary Chapel, 3415 S. Broad Street, is hosting a fair trade market on Sunday December 5th. Fair trade coffee from Honduras, jewelry, bags, and more will be for sale. Holiday shopping before the dreaded finals will be a nice calm before the storm.

A lot of gifts that keep on giving can be very expensive. For instance, sponsoring a child through Compassion, Invisible Children or joining the Mocha Club can get expensive. College students don’t always have the money to commit to a monthly pledge. But, with gifts that keep on giving, it is a one time financial commitment to help people who need help.

Another way college students can give gifts that keep on giving is to serve in community kitchens over the holidays. The winter season is especially hard on families and volunteers are needed at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen in various areas. Helping out the staff and aiding people is a great way to give to the people Chattanooga who are in need.

Another college friendly approach to beneficial gifts is to participate in the Angel Tree Program through the Salvation Army. Angel Tree is a program where people buy a child gifts for during the Christmas season. They choose the child by picking their Angel off the Salvation Army Christmas tree. Volunteers are also needed to work the tree stations.

The last suggestion for buying gifts that benefit others is to ask people to donate to a certain cause for your holiday gift.

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Not Your Ordinary Business Conference

Who said you couldn’t mix business with pleasure as Association of Tennessee Alphamen host the district convention in Chattanooga.

By Bryson Simpson

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.(UTC/TheLoop)–The 2010 District Convention took place November 18 – 21 at the Sheraton Read House hotel. The District Convention had several events such as, business meetings, Ms. Black and Gold pageant, step show, oratorical, as well as others. Check online here for an overview of the hotel.

The Association of Tennessee Alphamen consists of 21 graduate and undergraduate chapters that are all over the state of Tennessee. 18 of the 21 chapters attended the District Convention this year. to learn more about ATA

The first day of District Convention was a meet and greet for all of the members of Association of Tennessee Alphamen. During the meet and greet the fraternity members did several teamwork building exercises with other chapters then their own. Also, the fraternity members performed strolls with different chapters.

After the meet and greet, the fraternity members from each chapter began to register delegates for the District Convention. The chosen delegates received gifts and free entrances to all the events during District Convention weekend. The last event of the day was brotherhood fellowship, where the undergraduate and graduate members congregate with each other.


The next day of the District Convention started with a business meeting about the importance of Health care for African Americans and getting routine checkups. They also, stated how some of the older fraternity members should be more open about routine checkups and encourage other people to get checkups as well.

After the Health care meeting, the voting for Assistant Area Director started. Brandon Batts from MTSU and Daniel Ashley from ETSU were the candidates up for election. Daniel Ashley was elected the new Assistant Area Director after all the votes were casted. To find out more about the Health care achievement

The Scholars Bowl was the next event that took place. The Scholars bowl is when all of the undergraduate fraternity members compete in a Jeopardy style trivia game. The Scholars Bowl consists of two rounds. After the first round the two chapters with the highest score will compete in the final round. UT Martin and ETSU were the two chapters that made it to the final round, with ETSU pulling out the victory in sudden death.

The last event of the day was Ms. Black and Gold. Eight chapters had the winner of their chapter Ms. Black and Gold compete in the pageant. The competition consists of swimsuit, talent, formal, and question answer. The pageant was so exciting because the competition was more intense then the chapter pageants. UT Martin queen won first place and will move on to compete at the Regional Convention. Information about the pageant is here

Winner of District Ms. Black and Gold Ashley White

Third day of District Convention started with a college brother luncheon. The luncheon was for undergraduate fraternity members; also the luncheon had guest speakers talking about the importance of implementing our national programs, which are Project Alpha, Voteless People is a Hopeless People, and Go to High School Go to College.

The college brother luncheon then leads into the Oratorical Contest. The Oratorical Contest consists of one member of each chapter giving a fifteen minute speech about a specific topic. Lane College, TSU, and Vanderbilt competed in the contest and the topic was Internet homeland security. Channing Bailey from TSU won the oratorical contest with his entertaining rap which tied into the topic.

College brother luncheon

Then came the highly anticipated step show where 18 chapters competed for who would win, and move on to step at the Regional Convention. Also, the district step show brings out the friendly rivalry because the winner also gets bragging rights. TSU received first place, MTSU received second, and UTC received fourth. Information on the step show can be found here

After the District Convention there was a ceremony for Fraternity member Arlyce Garth that recently had his 60th anniversary in the fraternity. The ceremony had several skits in that were entertaining. The fraternity members that were hosting the District Convention presented him with a life membership card.

There were parties for the undergraduate fraternity members both Friday and Saturday. Information about each party can be found here As District Convention ends, Regional Convention are right around the corner in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Dirty Dancing at Bonnaroo

It’s three in the morning and you’re standing outside a venue watching your favorite band perform while everyone around you is dancing with nothing on their mind but the music.

By: Elizabeth Patterson

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (AP/The Loop)-This crazy  four day music festival started in 2002 created by Superfly Productions and AC Entertainment. Every walk of life enters the park, guaranteeing a new and unique friend and seeing sights that shouldn’t be seen while jamming out to your favorite band.  The festival has various musical artists performing and tons of activities for the whole family.  Although I wouldn’t recommend bringing your children, everyone is welcomed. Every summer thousands of people gather on a 700- acre piece of land in Manchester, Tennessee.

View of the park

Bonnaroo attracts so many people even celebrities attend the festival.  Drew Barrymore has been spotted in the crowd dancing to one of her favorite bands.  Ryan Brown who has attended the festival four times in a row says, ” I look forward to going to see the music but I’m always looking around to see if my celebrity crush or idol is out in the audience.”

The festival is also sponsored by many businesses across the United States such as:

  • Budweiser
  • Garnier Fructis
  • Cannon
  • Wheat Thins
  • Rolling Stone

To attend Bonnaroo, you must first purchase your tickets online. Tickets run about $250 at the cheapest. You can bring your RV or car but it will cost an additional  $175.  Instead of the general admission, you can get the VIP package .  However if you are resident in the Manchester area or  have volunteered to work at one of the tents, you can receive your ticket for free.

To volunteer at Bonnaroo you can get on the main website and wait until they post the volunteer application.  You must pay a fee of $25 to fill out the application and be at least the age of 18.  They offer the volunteers the opportunity to see their favorite bands and you have to complete three shifts.


Once you have arrived you can park your car and set up your tents and any other equipment you need. Camping is what the majority of attendees do to get the full affect of the festival. You can locate your campground anywhere around the Centeroo Venue.  You will become really close to your neighbors since you’re sharing the campground with about 98% of the population that has come to the festival.

Since Bonnaroo is known for its rainy days and nights,  you can get really dirty and muddy so there are plenty of facilities on site.  You will have showers, bathrooms, medical stations, food and shopping, telephones, hand washing stations, art installations, pods and a general store. You will experience the true outdoors during this four- day festival. ATMs are available for emergency cash and there is a security detail around the festival as well as emergency services.

Muddy Bonnaroo

After putting out your camping gear, it’s time to switch into party mode and watch some of your favorite bands.  The most permanent venues are as followed; Centeroo where all the activity is held.  What Stage is the main stage of the festival that can hold 100,000 people. Which stage, is the second largest stage holding about 30,000 people at the most.  Finally, the Comedy Tent, which is restricted only for comedians such as stand up.

When Bonnaroo first started, they focused mostly on jam bands as their main source of musical entertainment.  However, over the years Bonnaroo has held many diverse musical talents.  The music ranges from hip hop, indie rock, bluegrass, country music, gospel, reggae, alternative and electronic music.  With this much variety everyone can find their niche. Here are some of the various artists that have performed at Bonnaroo over the years:

  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Phish
  • Disco Biscuits
  • Widespread Panic
  • Kings of Leon
  • Katy Perry
  • Dave Mathews

People at the festival cooling off

You can find music, activities and attractions throughout the park.  When you don’t  want to be around dirty, sweaty bodies you can attend the comedy theatre or the fuse barn where you can charge your phone and stand under the mist to cool down.  There is a freedom lounge where you can hangout and meet new people.  The festival even holds yoga classes and a tent where you can have a hairstylist wash your hair and trim your dead ends for free!

Bonnaroos popularity started when Rolling Stone Magazine named it one of the 50 greatest moments in rock and roll history.  The lead singer of Phish, Trey Antasio, was just one of the first to who took the stage in 2002. “That year helped establish it’s rep as a friendly home for jam bands,” said Rolling Stone.  Other magazines, movies, websites and books have also recognized Bonnaroos popularity.

The atmosphere of the festival is one heck of an experience.  Amazing laser light shows are presented while the performer is on stage.  The crowd is in full force jumping around singing and dancing. Balloons, glow sticks, water and huge beach balls are being thrown at you from one direction to the next.  There are even people crowd surfing and the person next to you might be nude.

light shows while artists perform

You will see a lot of nudity because they feel that the festival brings freedom and a “let go” attitude.  Every walk of life comes to this festival.  There are people who paint their bodies, have dreadlocks, piercings, tattoos, nude people and any other strange thing you can think of.  UTC student Sam Stanley says, “The one thing about this festival that everyone loves is people aren’t there to judge, they are there for the enjoyment of the music and to meet new friends.”  Many students from UTC have attended Bonnaroo since the location is about an hour away.  UTC student Meredith Blanchard says, “I have been to Bonnaroo three times and every time it’s worth the money, I have such a good time!”


Bonnaroo is a great festival to come too during the summer to have fun and meet new people.  You’re there to enjoy the music, volunteer, help and love one another.  It’s sort of a replica of Woodstock which was started in 1969.  Without music our world would be boring, this is just a place to escape from the real world for four days and live out loud!

The next Bonnaroo festival is coming in the year 2011, June 9th-12th.  This will be Bonnaroo’s 10th anniversary, and many people are expecting some of the original bands that first started Bonnarroo to attend. The new lineup will be released in January.  Check this link out to find anymore information on the festival or to find out who is playing this summer.


Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival ©2002-2010

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Elvis fan from Chilean mine gets trip to Graceland

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Chilean miner and Elvis Presley fan Edison Pena was pulled from deep beneath the earth’s surface on Wednesday and promptly received an invitation to visit the King’s home.

Pena, who is 34 and married, emerged from the rescue capsule Wednesday after being trapped underground with 32 other miners for 69 days.

Pena was reportedly among the most depressed of the trapped men and asked rescuers to send down a photo of the sun. He jogged regularly in the adjacent tunnels that weren’t blocked by collapse.

After hearing that Pena was an Elvis fan, Elvis Presley Enterprises sent various gifts to Chile, including a picture, DVDs, CDs, a book and sunglasses. “Viva Las Vegas” and “Jailhouse Rock,” were among the movies.

“It just seemed it was the right thing to do for someone who is an Elvis fan, to send him some things that might keep them entertained,” company spokesman Kevin Kern said.

After his rescue, an invitation was extended for an all-expenses-paid trip to Memphis and a special tour of Graceland, where Elvis lived for 20 years before he died on Aug. 16, 1977.

“We’re going to make him feel like a rock star,” Kern said.

The Graceland site includes his mansion, the graves of Elvis and family members, and various exhibits featuring The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Thousands of fans of his movies and music flock there each year from around the world to commemorate his death with a candlelight vigil.

Kern says he does not expect an answer from Pena to the invitation any time soon, saying there are more important things Pena needs to take care of.

“I’m sure they’ve got a lot of reuniting to do,” Kern said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

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UTC Students Find Balance Between School and Marriage

By: Mary Smith

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) –As if life after graduation is not scary enough, several UTC students have decided to tie-the-knot while still in school.

Jonathan Meeks married his bride Lizzy Kiern on August 7th, 2010, in an intimate ceremony in Franklin, Tenn. When asked why they got married while still in school, Kiern replied, “It wasn’t a question of ‘Should we get married after graduation?’ as much as it was a question of  ‘When do we think God is telling us to do this?'”

Photo of Jon and Lizzy taken by Nashville Photographer Evin

Jon getting to kiss his bride for the first time.

Meeks, a college senior, is expected to graduate in December of 2011 with a degree in Secondary English Education. He is currently a full time student and works as a self-employed piano tuner. Kiern, a full time student, will graduate in May of 2012 with a degree in History.

While most students have a hard time balancing schoolwork full-time, many married couples find balancing academics, work, and marriage has been easier than expected. Kiern says, “Balancing everything really isn’t that difficult.” She continues, “I don’t work, and Jon works for himself.” Kiern is focusing on her schoolwork as a full time student. “I feel like my academics have improved,” says Kiern.

Bonnie Reeves, a college senior, was married to Scott Holmes on July 10th, 2010. When asked how school has changed Reeves said, “I feel in a lot of ways I’m more focused actually because I’m not on campus with roommates that you can procrastinate with and get distracted with easily.” Reeves takes Monday, Wednesday, Friday courses, so Tuesdays and Thursdays she is able to do homework before her husband gets home from work as a Physical Therapist. When asked why she wanted to get married before graduation, this is what she had to say:

While most students leave college with thousands of dollars of loans, scholarships and grants make college more affordable. Although UTC doesn’t offer tuition cuts for married college students, financial assistance is available. “I get the Pell Grant, and then my parents pay for the rest,” says Kiern. “It really helps to have refund checks.” It is a need based federal grant issued by the U.S. Department of Education. It does not require repayment. Grants like these help young married couples by limiting their debt and giving them a step forward in their marriage. Cheers to that!

Scott and Bonnie toasting to their marriage!

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Chattanooga Baby Boomers Make Betty White A Role Model

By: Elizabeth Patterson

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/AP) — Comedian Betty White impressed a group of seniors with her well-known wit and vitality at a Chattanooga event over the weekend.

She was the special guest on Sunday for Life: An Expo for Boomers & Seniors, which featured vendors offering goods and services catering to baby boomers and seniors. It was sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Memorial Hospital and WRCB-TV.

White was met with cheers and whistles as she took to a podium where she answered questions from audience members. Attendee Anne Cotheran said she was awed by White’s energy and brass at her age.

White said she “can’t thank everybody enough for an 88-and-a-half-year-old broad to still be doing this.”

White earned an Emmy nomination this spring for her guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” She has won Emmy awards for her work on sitcoms such as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

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Weathering Relationships

By: Olivia Bradley

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/THELOOP)- With the change in seasons and the emergence of the birds and bees, UTC students have the opposite sex on the mind. As clothing becomes more scarce, some believe that the changing seasons effect their relationships .The opinions of select UTC students is that the presence of more skin can create a lack of inhibition.

During the changes in seasons some UTC students believe that more people are together during winter rather than summer. Kenisha Lewis, 22  from Dickson, Tenn., was in a long distance winter relationship this year. According to Lewis, guys get “tempted” by  summer time. Lewis believes guys are more affectionate during winter than summer.

 Denae Sylverston, 22 of Cleveland, Tenn. feels the same way. Sylverston considers herself a “relationship person” who  finds that warm weather makes people less inhibited. Sylverston stated that, “alot of people just don’t want to be held down.”

Senior Austin Emeagwai thinks that lack of clothing in the summer is a strong reason for winter to summer break-ups. According to Emeagwai, “People want to get naked,” leading to break-ups of previous relationships.

Other than animal instincts and the colleges student sex drive, there are different factors that can lead to relationship changes during summer. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, weather can play a major role in  someone’s mood. The study noted, “in spring days when people went a lot of time outside, mood was positively associated with air temperature.”

One theory, according to Sigmund Freud, can also play a part in the relationships people had over time. Freud developed a drive theory that describes what motivates individuals to make decisions in their life. These influences include Eros which is described as the libido. According to Wikipedia, libido is, “the desire to create life and favours productivity and construction.”

Besides nature and psychology, one popular woman’s magazine has some insight as to why relationships are so difficult in the winter. Cosmopolitan, along with clinical psychologist Dr. Seth Meyers, looked into why relationships take more effort in the winter. According to the magazine there are three major reasons.


Relationships may be harder to maintain in the winter

Relationships may be harder to maintain in the winter

  • More prone to fighting
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Decrease in sexual libido

The increased chances of altercations is partially due to weather, according to couple therapist Dr. Barton Gold Smith. “The season’s shortage of sunlight lowers our levels of the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin,” says Smith. “this makes you more cranky than in the summer when most people enjoy up to 15 hours of mood-boosting sunlight a day. This is also combined with the long periods of time people spend indoors and decreased activity. “This is contradictory to the outdoor activities of summertime.”

The second reason, according to Cosmopolitan magazine, has to do with our self esteems. During winter (with all the holidays that focus around eating) people tend to put on more weight. This makes it more difficult to be motivated to get up and get out to events with your significant other.

The lack of self-esteem becomes another deterrent that influences the third and final winter relationship killer: lower libido. The extra weight makes partners feel self conscious and therefore less likely to be intimate with on another. Also, during this season with longer nights, the brain produces more melatonin which makes people sleepier.

On top of the vast differences in winter and summer activities, Cosmo explained how each issue of summer dating can be resolved. In order to increase serotonin and vitamin D levels, couples should spend more time outdoors together. These activities can be a bonding experience and can also be increased during the summer time with vacations and picnics. For students in particular, after studying inside they can reward themselves with with some outside activities with their partner.

Summer love may come easier but also may not last as long

Summer love may come easier but also may not last as long

To counteract the lower self-esteem due to increased weight, Cosmo offers some tips for eating. “To break the cycle, make it a point to eat high-protein foods that have serotonin-boosting nutrients.” This will increase energy and ultimately activity which can be shared with the partner.

Author Pat Love suggests ways to boost libido and connectivity between partners. This means getting outdoors and doing more physical activities with one another. This, according to Love, can lead to an endorphin high making you  “alert and ready for action.”

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6 Reasons To Attend a Trade Show, Expo, or Convention

By: Kyra Inglis

CHATTANOOGA – (UTC/THELOOP) Many people do not realize how attending a convention, trade show, or exposition can be to their benefit. What they don’t know is about the wealth of information, not to mention freebies, that are made available .

There is also a chance to meet people who are either semi-famous or  knowledgeable in a particular area. Most events are held by theme, so there’s always something of interest for anyone.

Here are six reasons that you should attend one of these events in your area:

Free Stuff: The swag opportunities are incredible. I attended two trade shows in less than a week, and in that time, I racked up four tote bags, a water bottle, a t-shirt, a tire pressure gauge, coupons for products at a local grocer, sunflower seed packets and samples of three different ice creams.

According to Ardyce Mercier, Co-Founder of Cleaning Green, not only do they want your business, but they also want to show you how to clean green. “We come in and clean every surface of your house.” At the Cleaning Green booth, she gave out cleaning recipe cards that showed you how to clean your home in an eco-friendly way.

What is important to remember is that many businesses are going to be present at these events, and they have promotional materials so that you remember their name, and what service they offer. To them, business cards are not enough, and while you can lose or throw away a business card, a free tote bag is always going to be used. And that is free advertisement for them.

Give-Aways : There are countless give aways involved at these events. Each booth usually has an offer for you to sign up with. At the Eco Expo in Chattanooga on April 13th, the main give away was a scooter, that to register for, you had to take your program for the event and have each booth sign that you had visited that booth. Then when you were leaving, you took your program back to the entrance and entered yourself in the giveaway.

This was the prize available to all at the Chattanooga Eco Expo, Tuesday April 13.

This was the prize available to all at the Chattanooga Eco Expo, Tuesday April 13.

Most of these give-aways are not that complicated. Usually, it involves filling out a form with your contact information, your interests in that booth’s products.

Beware though, if it is not something you want to win, don’t enter. Those businesses use that information to do cold calls to sell you their product. They also use any e-mail information to send you information on upcoming product changes. So if you’re not interested in junk e-mail offers, don’t add your e-mail address.

Information: Depending on the theme of the event, there is a wealth of knowledge that is available to the attendants of these events.  At the Southern Women’s Expo in Nashville, travel deals and new cooking products were featured.  The Eco Expo in Chattanooga had eco-friendly products and services that are available in the Chattanooga area.

One of the most interesting exhibitors at the Eco Expo was EVS, or Engineered Verdant Solutions, that offered Green Roofs, Eco-Paving and LIving Wall Systems. The Living Wall System is something that Chad Norman of EVS, said that local restaurants are really getting into. “With a living wall, people are less likely to spray paint or put their cigarette out on your property.”

Knowing what kind of event you are going to, will give you a sense of what do look for and what kind of questions to ask. It will also give you a chance to find the best possible answer from someone who knows about what you are looking for and has probably worked in that field.

Opportunities: There are several types of opportunities available. The opportunity to support local businesses in your area is one.  The opportunity to what services are available to you through companies, such as Earth Fare. Earth Fare offers a pantry makeover program, where you can “trade in your conventional peanut butter, soda, cereal, salad dressing, or jelly and get a free Earth Fare Brand replacement.”

Meeting People: While you can meet people anywhere, it’s a little different at a trade show, expo, and very different at a convention. Depending on what the theme of the event is, there are usually guests that the event holder have arranged to bring in. At the Southern Women’s Expo in Nashville, one of the guests for the weekend was Johnathan Kayne aka Kayne from Project Runway Season Three.


People at the Southern Women's Expo in Nashville, on April 9th.

People at the Southern Women's Expo in Nashville, on April 9th.

At conventions meet and greets are extremely different. Attendants of Dragon Con in Atlanta and the most recent ConNooga can tell you, the emphasis is on Special Guests. It works a little different at these type of events, however. Generally, you have to pay for an autograph, or a photo opportunity. This can get pricey if there are several people you want to meet.

However, if your fandom has no boundaries, it’s a no brainer. According to Rachel Stewart, she met Terry Gilliam at the 2009 Dragon Con, and got to see a special screening of clips from “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.”

“It was really amazing,” said Stewart, “and because I am a Monty Python fan, I got Gilliam to sign some coconuts from ‘Spam-a-lot’ for me.”  Overall Stewart said it was a really great experience, adding that  “it was really epic, because he took five to ten minutes with each person.”

Fun! : So this is an obvious one, but it had to be said. The fun factor is the whole reason that you would go to events like these in the first place. Whether it’s the thrill of getting free stuff, actually winning one of those prizes, or just the road trip involved, for some, it’s a mini adventure. Make sure you do your research before you go, however. You don’t want to spend all your time filling out forms for giveaways, when there’s free ice cream to be had. Here are some tips to make your experiences the best :

Have labels printed out with your contact information. Stick them on the entry forms, for quicker results.

Hit the booths with the bags first. You will be handed a lot of samples and literature, so it’s best to have a bag to put it in.

Remember that if you don’t want your contact information used for junk mail, don’t enter the give-aways.

Do your research in advance. Find out if there is an admission fee at the door. Find out what kind of show it is.

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Video 1: The Secret Life of Boys

By Paige Bowman, Video 1

So, for my original short I decided to give the viewer a look at bathroom etiquette…from inside the guy’s room.

I talked to a few guys and we came up with some unspoken “rules” that should always be followed when using a urinal. As a girl, I had no idea these rules existed and it was pretty hilarious hearing about them. I though I would share the joy and make the video about the secret life of boys that half the population, females, never get to see.

The rules are as follows:

  • Always leave a buffer zone of at least one urinal between you and the confederate peer.
  • Never talk while relieving yourself.
  • Lastly, by no means pull the elementary school trick of going with your pants at your ankles.

The guys were so much fun to work with and I got to use a lot of new editing techniques. I made slides and imported them and worked with video and audio effects. This project was fun to make and definitely made me want to stick with film.

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