Media Writing Stories

Beat Story:

Students all over Elon have received their housing assignment for the next academic year.  Some are satisfied, others are thrilled, and yet some are disappointed, scrambling to find an alternate living arrangement.

Currently, students in a particular group are assigned a housing priority number that tells them when they can apply.  This number is determined by a combination of how many semesters the student has lived on campus and GPA.  This process, however, has left many first year students frustrated.

Walker Howlett, first year student, was one such student struggling to find his desired place of residence for his sophomore year.

“I originally wanted to live off campus in an apartment somewhere, but financial reasons and logistics of the paper work were too much so our group decided to go for either the Oaks or Danieley,” Howlett said.

The housing selection process has been a highly contested topic as many students feel the system is flawed.

Howlett said, “[the housing selection process] was very frustrating.  It was very confusing when everything was and even though someone in our group had an early selection time slot, we still didn’t get what we wanted.”

Howlett and his group were placed in the Danieley apartments and most of his group were hoping, and expecting, the Oaks.

“Thankfully, we were presented with a situation where we were able to switch into the Oaks and take over one of our friend’s apartments.  In the end, it really worked out well for us, however the process was very frustrating and the limited amount of sophomore space was also frustrating,” Howlett said.

First year students Tracy McBride and Kara Frasca were also presented with a situation they were not happy about due to the limited amount of sophomore options available.

“We wanted the Oaks, but they were full by the time of our registration, and Danieley was just too far away,” McBride said.

This lack of options led them to vie for Hook, Brannock, or Barney, however to be in these dorms the group must contain eight people.

“We just don’t have that many friends,” McBride said.

As a result, they were left with their least appealing option and chose to live in the Sloan dorms again for a second year.  They wish that Elon offered more places available to sophomores or waived the two-year live on campus requirement so as to free up more on campus space.  After experiencing their first housing selection process, many first year students are upset with the results and the frustrating selection process.

Second Life:

Second Life is a virtual world in which users can interact with each other via avatars that the user creates. One of the most important features in Second Life is what you look like.  There are as many different options as to what one can do in Second Life, as it is literally a chance for users to have a second life.

It becomes clear that everyone has some sort of crazy experience in Second Life.  It is not socially acceptable to stay with the preset avatar so the next step is to alter the avatar’s appearance to give it a unique twist.  One’s personal appearance is an essential aspect of Second Life.

To start editing the avatar’s appearance, simply right click on the avatar and then hit appearance.  A pop up menu will appear with various options for changing the skin tone, hair, clothes, and other various facets of the avatar’s appearance.

One should create shirts and pants and different outfits for the avatar to wear.  An avatar can add many things to their inventory, and the possible combinations are endless. There are different scales so one can make pants longer or shorter or make shoes wider or thinner.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to making a creative appearance.

There are many different clothing articles to wear which can certainly add a creative spin to the avatar.  Furthermore, you can edit specific parts of the avatar as well.  For instance, if you want your avatar to have a strand of hair in a different color you can edit the attachment and select specific areas you want to edit and then change the color.

It is truly up to the user to decide how creative they want to be with their avatar.  There are certainly some original designs out there, such as a ferret dressed in a chicken costume.  An avatar is a form of self expression so it is entirely dependent on the user’s creativity and desire to express their originality.

Fellows Weekend:

Elon University’s annual Fellows Weekend occurred this past weekend in which prospective Fellows come to Elon to compete for various programs including Communications, Business, Teaching, Leadership, Honors and Elon College Fellows.  High School Seniors participated in Language Placement tests, interviews, a mock class and a mixer with current Fellows on Friday and Saturday.

“Welcoming everyone when they arrive and a warm student presence are more important than the building appearance.”  Dr. Kenn Gaither, Communications Fellows Director, said.

“The students of Elon were very accommodating over the weekend, they made me feel very wanted and at home, and I could tell how much the students loved the school and the Fellows Program.” Matt Gentile, a High School Senior competing to be a Communications Fellow, said.

The opinion of the current fellows is very important to the Communications Department as the current fellows can recommend certain candidates they feel are worthy of being a Fellow.

The hard working grounds crew doubled up efforts in preparation for Fellows Weekend.  Gaither has observed extra efforts for orientation and events involving parents.  Elon is a botanical garden and grounds’ keeping never goes amiss.

“The appearance of Elon was one of my favorite things about the school.  All the other schools I’ve visited, especially the public ones, would have one or two buildings as nice as any of Elon’s.  I love how it has a modern, technological campus while still maintaining its southern culture.  It was by far my favorite campus I’ve visited in my college search, and I could definitely see myself living here.”  Gentile said.

Gaither has been the Director of the Communications Fellows Program for four years and hopes to only improve the weekend’s activities.

“We want to have a dinner but there is little time and limited funds,” Gaither said.  “The format has been consistent over the years but we are open to change.”

Overall, the Communications Department does the best job at making everyone feel welcome.  There is always high student energy and impressive turnout of current Fellows ready to assist.  Ironically, the Communications Department is the best at communicating with students to acquire as many volunteers as possible.

The layout of the mixer on Friday night was very beneficial to the overall perception of the Communications Department and the Communications Fellows Program.  The current Fellows are staged in various rooms according to their major concentration, Journalism, Strategic Communications, Media Arts and Entertainment, and Communication Science.

“Room designation is helpful for faculty to identify potential students and their interests within Communications.”  Gaither said.

The Fellows Weekend successfully targets motivated students and productively promotes what Elon can contribute to a student’s academic life.  Potential Fellows are required to submit an essay based upon a given topic related to their study of interest, and are then invited back to participate in Fellows Weekend.

“I’m really looking forward to how much Elon has to offer academically, and how it can prepare me after school for a career.”  Gentile said.

Zoo Story:

After purchasing a 6,000 pound female African elephant named Baby and a yet to be named burro, the animals will be put on exhibit at the Freeport’s Newman Memorial Zoo.  The burro will be added to the Children’s Zoo and will be named by the children who visit the zoo.  Possible names will be put on the zoo’s website ( and children can vote on the website’s poll.  Zoo workers have suggested names such as Pancho, Eeyore, Captain B., Secretariat, Cyrus, Mr. Cronkite, and Cyrano.

The director of the zoo, Cyrus Tucek, is considering using birth control on the zoo’s tigers in order to keep the tiger population from rising too high.  The female tigers have been over producing litters of three to five cubs every 10 months, he says, and the zoo has no room for them.  “[Other zoos are] full up, too, and using a time-release contraceptive implanted under the skin for females and vasectomies for males,” Tucek says.


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