Tag: Eric Taunton

UN Day Tea celebrates cultural diversity at JSU

Eric Taunton, News Correspondent

The International House hosted its 73rd annual UN Tea Day, an event that celebrates the respective countries of the residents living in the International House. Residents of the House performed native dances, songs and even a fashion show that represents their cultures.

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Calhoun Steakhouse makes debut in Jacksonville

Eric Taunton, News Correspondent

After a year of waiting, the highly-anticipated Calhoun Steakhouse had its big opening on October 9 with great success. Steakhouse serves a variety of food including chicken, pasta, seafood,  and of course, steak.

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International program hosts open house

Eric Taunton, News Correspondent

The JSU International House welcomed visiting students at their open house this past Saturday, Sept. 7. As a part of Jacksonville State’s Preview Day, residents and faculty of the House welcomed visitors with refreshments and tours of the building.

“Our goal is to make sure we have 40 students each year,” said Jason Mallet, the coordinator of the International House and study abroad. 

Mallet said that the International House recruits students from all over the world, including India, Nepal and Vietnam. 

The International House program was created in 1946, but the International House itself wasn’t built until 1964, which is when it became the version of the program that it is today. 

Some students live in the International House through scholarships, and others as exchange students. Both international and America students have to apply for residency at the International House.

American students and international students share rooms, each room having one international student and one American student, which Mallet appreciates. 

“I love seeing American students getting to interact with international students,” said Mallet. “So many [American students] have never been on a plane, or out of the tri-state area or the country.”

Residents of the International House are required to do one presentation about their countries to the other residents. 

“We’re trying to do something different than just doing a presentation,” said Mallet. “We’re thinking about having students performing dances or bringing food from their countries.” 

Students are able to build personal and professional relationships not just with each other but with other alumni.

Victor Chukwuma, a resident of the International House, said that he has learned so much since being in the program. 

“There’s so much you learn that you think you know but it hits you when you don’t,” said Chukwuma. 

The International House is officially open to everyone on Mondays from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. but Mallet encourages anyone to come anytime before 10 p.m. 

“Anyone is welcome here,” said Mallet.

Photo courtesy of Grace Cockrell/JSU

Calhoun County art show begins at JSU

Eric Taunton, A&E Correspondent

A first-of-its-kind arts show painted its way to Jacksonville State University this past Tuesday. The JSU Art Department and the Jacksonville Arts Council opened the Calhoun County Community Arts Show this past Tuesday, Aug. 27, in Hammond Hall, the first ever art gallery to be held in Jacksonville.

The exhibit showed works from artists across Jacksonville and Calhoun County including pieces from Jake Wolven, JSU student and President of Kappa Pi Arts Honor Society at JSU, and local artistic legend Rita Springer, a 91 year old artist who has been a painter since she was a child and still paints to this day.

“We wanted to up our game of shows here in Hammond Hall,” said Mary Springer, an Arts History professor at JSU and board member of the Jacksonville Arts Council.

Springer, with the help of Morgan Worsham, Arts Gallery Coordinator for JSU, planned and curated the event with the goal of recognizing and appreciating the artistic talent of Jacksonville’s local artists that are underrepresented.

“There wasn’t space in Jacksonville for artists to be heard and seen,” said Springer.

Art styles of all kinds were put on display in Hammond Hall including paintings, glass art, jewelry and photography. One of Rita Springer’s pieces “Hidden Dancer,” is an abstract oil painting that shows a captivating dancer. Her face hidden, barely seen through a hue of dark blue. Her hand and her stomach pink, with a palm tree-like skirt.

“As I started to paint it, I saw a face and when I painted it more I saw a patch of pin that looked like her stomach and then I saw a little blip that looked like her belly button,” said Springer. “And then I saw a patch of pink on the side that looked like it could be her hand.”

TJ Campbell, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in Film and Video, used his love for film and technology to create two unique pieces.

One of his pieces “Interactive Portrait” shows pictures of his face with different emotions with white circles next to them which, if the audience puts their Android device on it, will open a video of a past project he’s done based on the emotion he expresses in each picture.

“I’m interested in getting in touch with the logical and creative part of myself,” Campbell said.

The work of Dr. Karen Hendricks, former chairman of the Art Department and photographer who passed away in May, was also on display.

“We felt that part of this was to honor her,” Mary Springer said.

Works from the Arts Show will be on display from August 27 to September 17 in Hammond Hall.

Photo courtesy of Eric Taunton

Homecoming kicks off with Harvest Fest

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A boy gets his face painted at SGA’s 4th annual Harvest Fest on the Quad (Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

Eric TauntonStaff Writer

The Student Government Association at Jacksonville State University hosted its 4th annual Harvest Festival on Tuesday, October 24 on the quad of JSU. Campus organizations set up tables and games while families and children trick-or-treated.

Children play games for candy prizes at the Harvest Fest (Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

“The Harvest Festival is an annual event for the Jacksonville community to participate in our homecoming activities,” said Kasey Gamble, Vice President of SGA. “It’s also a great way for our organizations to get their names out there.”

Organizations such as the American Chemical Society, Delta Sigma Theta, Circle K, Alpha Omicron Pi and more could be seen giving children candy and playing games with them.

Each organization had a theme for its table, and the activity typically corresponded to the theme. Phi Mu, a sorority on campus, played a game called “Jailbreak,” where children hit human-shaped prisoners with pieces of candy attached to a lanyard.


Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority was one of the organizations that participated in this year’s Harvest Fest (Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

Tri Beta, the biology honor society, taught children about different types of fish by encouraging them to capture paper-shaped fish of different colors with fishing hooks out of a mini-pool. When the child reeled a fish in, members of Tri Beta would then tell them about it based on a color-coded system created by the organization.

Circle K, a national community service organization, taught children about water sanitation as well as the water-crisis in Africa.

Children from the local Crazy About Dance studio performed numerous routines during the Harvest Festival to the entertainment of the crowd.

JSU’s Homecoming theme is “Caught Red-Handed,” and kids were able to take pictures with themed photo props at the Harvest Fest (Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)


Gamble encourages any student that is interested to become a part of SGA.

“If anyone would like to get involved, I would tell them that it is super easy to do so,” Gamble said. “Anyone can join the Student Activities Council, which is a volunteer board that helps me run the events that I plan.”

Students are also able to run for Student Senate, a position in which students edit bylaws of the campus Constitution to better circumstances for students on campus.

Gamble believes that SGA is an important organization to have on campus.

“The SGA’s first priority is to serve the students. We do this by advocating for them in faculty committees, discussing matters like tuition and fees, the new Student Fitness and Wellness Center, and the selection of new employees,” said Gamble. “We also plan activities for students, help other organizations publicize their events, grant allocations for organizations, and any other task that is asked of us.”

JSU senior Casey Payne has fun at the 4th annual Harvest Fest with Marleigh Burley, daughter of JSU alumna Katy Burley (Casey Payne/Facebook)

Gamble is excited for other planned events hosted by the SGA.

“We have a ton of events coming up! Homecoming week alone, we have the Harvest Festival on Tuesday, a volleyball game spirit night on Wednesday, J-Day on Thursday, and Bongoball Mania on Friday,” said Gamble. “We have a Native American History Month Celebration at the beginning of November, and we are having a Hollywood Style Gameshow at the end of November.”

SGA will also be hosting Midnight Breakfast, an event that takes place during the week of final exams in which students are invited to eat a late-night breakfast in Hopper Dining Hall.

“I am currently finalizing all events for the spring, and we have a lot of exciting things coming up,” said Gamble.

A full list of Homecoming activities can be found on the JSU website or on the SGA’s Instagram account, @jsu_sga.

For more Halloween activities, look here.