I’ve recently been granted the opportunity to be a part of We, the Pack, a campus project at NC State that aims to bring a sense of unity to our school through conducting interviews with members of our community! If you’re having a hard time picturing what We, the Pack is all about, imagine Humans of New York but only on NC State’s campus.
These interviews typically consist of questions related to personal goals, interests, and experiences. After the interviews are completed, our team shares them over social media, along with portraits of the interviewee. Our goal with this initiative is to help encourage more empathy and understanding through sharing the diverse experiences that weave together the fabric of our community.
The project originally came into being in the fall of 2019 as an extension of the Caldwell Fellows, a scholarship program at NC State dedicated to service leadership. I’ve have had the privilege of being a member of the Fellows this year, so I was able to continue the project this semester, along with several of my peers.
In 2019, when the project originally started, it looked a lot different than it does now. Before, the team members went up to random people around campus and asked them if they had 15 minutes to spare for an interview. Now, of course, we are unable to do that because of COVID and the limited number of people actually on campus, but the project is still meaningful nonetheless! We are able to conduct both Zoom and socially distanced in-person interviews.
Now, because reaching out to people has been more difficult, the We, the Pack team needs more people to interview! If you’re interested in getting involved and promoting kindness in our campus community, email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that Halloween is over, the holiday season is officially underway. What better way to celebrate than supporting local Raleigh artists, listening to Christmas music, and never leaving the comfort of your car?
This year, the City of Raleigh is teaming up with WRAL and Artsplosure to create a COVID-safe holiday light show at Dorothea Dix Park. Attendees will be able to circle the 1.3-mile-long loop that surrounds the park in their cars to view art installations and light displays created by local artists. The beautiful oak trees that make Dix Park so special will also be adorned with holiday cheer.
Vortex Pro Wash, a local Raleigh business, will be responsible for the majority of the light displays. Their designers, Nick and Melissa Rhodes, will be putting up over 400 light arrangements around the park, totaling over 500 strands of lights!
As apart of the experience, the creators of First Night Raleigh will have a special edition installation available to view on December 30 and 31 to commemorate the beginning of 2021. The iconic Raleigh Acorn statue, which is traditionally dropped on New Year’s Eve, will take on a new role this year as it’s combined with the holiday light displays at Dix Park. Mix 101.5, another local radio station, will be putting together a Christmas-themed set to play at the Nights of Lights as well!
Artsplosure Director, Michael Lowder said about the holiday experience, “The board and staff of Artsplosure are grateful to WRAL and the City of Raleigh for the opportunity to enhance the inaugural Nights of Lights festival with elements of First Night Raleigh. The primary focus of First Night has always been to gather our community together in celebration of the arts and a common purpose. In the age of COVID, this platform gives us a unique setting to continue this tradition.”
If you’re interested in attending, here’s some more information:
Where: Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, NC
When: Wednesday, December 16 – Thursday, December 31
Tickets: $10 per person, online purchases only
For ticket purchases, route maps, and other information, visit this link!
These thoughts reflect my non-partisan coverage of NC State’s SPIA event, “Postelection Analysis: What Happened and Why” with Dr. Andrew Taylor and Dr. Steven Greene of NC State’s Political Science Department.
Polls in North Carolina closed at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, and results began trickling in that night. The election results for North Carolina and for the presidential race are still currently undetermined, but NC State professors Taylor and Greene’s virtual postelection analysis event helped dissect the results so far.
In examining election results, the professors made it clear the election is not a “done deal” for either candidate, though Greene predicts Joe Biden to likely be declared the next president. Votes are still being counted in Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, and it’s likely that most of the outstanding mail-in ballots lean Democrat.
Similarly to 2016, this election has exposed the deficiencies in polling. Pre-election polls again severely underestimated Trump’s success and contrary to their predictions, the election is a close one. Can the polling industry survive these errors, two presidential elections in a row? Greene believes that polling isn’t going anywhere, but in the future political scientists will be more wary of close polling results. Taylor cited the “shy Trump voter” and “Trump effect” which make it more difficult to poll Trump supporters as possible contributions toward the polling discrepancies.
Another concern brought up in the 2020 election is the Electoral College. As David Frum from The Atlantic said, “it should not take the largest voter turnout in [American] history to guarantee that a president rejected by the majority of the American people actually stops being president.” Greene criticized the Electoral College: “we’re obviously the only country that does it this way,” and asserting that it is clearly too easy for a minority candidate to take the electoral victory. Taylor spoke of potential reform to this system, such as choosing electoral college votes by Congressional Districts like in Maine and Nebraska.
This election has been one of the most interesting presidential races in history. When will we get results? Most news outlets predict election results by the end of this week, but no one knows when final results will be available. My advice: stop doom-scrolling, unclench your jaw, and do whatever it is you do for self-care.
The Women’s Center at NC State is hosting an incredible design project intended to bring healing and empowerment through the arts. Because artistic expression has proven to be a positive recovery strategy for many survivors, the Women’s Center is putting together a coloring book made up of affirmative designs created by survivors at NC State. If you’re a member of the NC State community and have experienced interpersonal violence, you are encouraged to participate. Here is some more information directly from the Women’s Center regarding the initiative:
Many survivors of interpersonal violence find healing and recovery through grounding practices of mindfulness and artistic expression. This opportunity is for any NC State student, faculty or staff who has experienced interpersonal violence to create an original “coloring-book” design. Designs should use words, phrases or imagery that have helped in your individual healing and recovery.
Submissions will be reviewed by Women’s Center staff to be included in the first-ever NC State Women’s Center Coloring book titled, “The Colors of Healing: Designs for Survivors by Survivors”. All submissions are anonymous.
Any member of the NC State Community who has experienced or been impacted by any form of interpersonal violence (including but not limited to sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic or dating violence, childhood sexual abuse, or stalking) are invited to contribute.
You do not have to identify with the label “survivor” to contribute.
Secondary survivors (often friends, family members or close loved ones of a survivor who experience secondary trauma) are welcome to submit designs.
Participants are encouraged to submit designs that represent your experience and/or identity, and designs should affirm and support all survivors inclusive of all gender identities, sexual orientations, racial identities, national origins, and lived experiences.
Submissions should include imagery that represents healing, growth, strength, empowerment.
Designs can include words, phrases, quotes, or affirmations that promote healing, growth, strength, or empowerment (If quotes or poems are used please identify the author).
Quotes or phrases can be submitted in any language (If text is not in English, please provide English translation in submission).
Designs should be black and white line drawings and able to be colored.
Submissions can be created on 8.5×11 paper or using the template at this link.
Designs can be created digitally, or hand-drawn and scanned.
If you need additional support to scan or submit your design, please contact email@example.com
Designs will be printed vertically
Individuals may submit up to 3 designs
Submissions are due by October 31. In November, an entire coloring book will be available for the whole community!
Visit this link for more information and to submit your design.
– DJ Butter
(All information directly from the NC State Women’s Center website)
I hope that if you’re reading this you’ve made it to the polls already, but if not, that’s okay too. There’s still time! With November 3 officially less than two weeks away, it’s absolutely essential that everyone makes a plan to vote if they are able. If you are planning to vote early, keep in mind that October 31 is the last day you can do so in North Carolina. There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion out there, so here are some common questions (and answers!) about voting.
Q: If I want to vote early, where can I do that?
A: You can vote early at any early voting site inside of the county you are registered to vote in. Here is a tool where you can look up your early voting site. Keep in mind that your Election Day polling place is different than an early voting site. You are assigned a place to vote on Election Day, which you can look up using this search tool.
Q: If I’m uncomfortable going to the polls in-person, can I still vote by mail?
A: YES, but not for long. The last day to request your absentee ballot is October 27. You can do this digitally or on paper. Return your request form through the online portal or by sending it to your county Board of Elections office through email, regular mail, fax, or in-person. Once you receive your absentee ballot, fill it out and make sure to have a witness sign it. You have until 5 p.m. on Nov. 3 to return it to your county Board of Elections, either in-person or through the mail. You can also drop it off at any early voting site before early voting ends.
Q: I know who I want the President to be, but where do I find information about the other candidates on the ballot?
A: NC Voter, a nonpartisan voter engagement organization in North Carolina, has some amazing resources to look at for state and local elections. Here is a link to their ballot guides, which are free of political bias.
Q: I’m not registered to vote. Can I still do that?
A: The deadline for registering to vote by mail and online has passed, BUT you can still register on-site at early voting locations. If you’re not registered, make sure you vote early, otherwise, you will not be able to participate in the 2020 election. You must have a photo ID or document that shows your full name and address to vote on-site.
Q: Do I need to wear a mask to the polls?
A: Absolutely. Even if there are long lines outside of your polling place and you have to wait outside, make sure to wear a mask at all times to keep yourself and your community safe!
I hope this was helpful. Good luck, don’t lose hope, and vote vote vote!
In honor of National Voter Registration Day and the upcoming 2020 General Election, I wanted to remind all of our readers the importance of voting in this election, and registering to vote on time.
Voter turnout in America is lower than in any other democracy across the world. As American citizens we can ensure our own representation by getting out to vote. Young adults have the lowest voter turnout rate, leaving us and our interests underrepresented. Fight for change by getting out to vote. Voting in the General Election is especially important for North Carolina residents. North Carolina is a swing state. Electoral votes, cast by electors who represent the N.C. popular vote (our citizen votes) have a direct impact on the outcome of the presidential election. As citizens, our vote has the power to determine the next U.S. president. State and local elections are equally important. They give all citizens the chance to impact their local schools, give attention to issues that matter, how North Carolina is represented federally, and more. It’s important that all citizens are aware of the candidates and issues and vote according to their best interest.
In North Carolina, you can update your voter registration or register for the first time in-person during the early voting period only. On voting day, November 3rd, N.C. does not allow individuals to register in-person. Be sure to register to vote prior to November 3rd if you are planning to vote on that day. If you are unsure whether you are registered correctly, check your voter registration card or visit NCSBE.gov to ensure you are ready to go for election day.
Voting in North Carolina
Early voting in North Carolina begins October 15th and ends October 31st. You can find your in-person polling place located on your voter registration card or online at NCSBE.gov. North Carolinians can also request mail-in ballots up until the deadline of October 27th, also on the NCSBE website. North Carolina law gives voters the right to receive assistance in casting their ballots if necessary. If you or a loved one has a disability or otherwise needs assistance, please notify a poll worker. To find out more about North Carolina candidates, check the NCSBE website for a list of them, including local candidates. Websites like ISideWith.com and BallotReady.org list the candidates which will be on your ballot, and the candidates’ positions on important issues. Lastly, if you have trouble with any part of the voting process, check out IWillVote.com. It helps direct you to voting information based on your needs.
November 3rd is right around the corner, so you know what that means: It’s voting season! No matter what your political beliefs are, voting is an incredibly essential part of sustaining our democracy. It is one of the only ways that we can have a direct say in who gets to be our political leaders.
This year, voting may look a bit different because of the current circumstances surrounding the virus. More people than ever are turning to absentee voting to avoid crowds at the polls. There has been a lot of turmoil and misinformation spread around voting by mail, so let’s break down the process and terms:
Absentee Ballot/Voting: This refers to a mail-in ballot that can be requested by an individual who cannot make it to their polling place for whatever reason. To request an absentee ballot in NC, you DO NOT have to be out of your state, county, or polling area. You can request an absentee ballot for any circumstance and you do not have to provide a reason.
Mail-In Ballot/Voting: This is a BROAD TERM that refers to all forms of sending in ballots by mail. In some states (not NC), voters are automatically sent a ballot through mail and they can send this back or drop it off at their local election office. In those states, absentee voting means a person is out of the state or country. However, in most circumstances absentee voting and mail-in voting are interchangeable terms.
How to Vote in NC:
Step 1: Register to Vote (First-Time Voters)
You can register to vote online! There are several ways to do this and many websites that assist with this. You must submit these applications 25 days before an election, or October 9.
1. Method One: Fill out this application and mail it to your local election office. All the addresses are on the last page of the application.
2. Method Two: You may already be registered to vote if you have a NC Driver’s License. You can also fill out an online application through the DMV’s website as well.
3. Method Three: Lots of third-party websites have voter registration tools as well. Vote.org is a great place to register to vote online the same way you would through the NC voting website. Using reliable websites like these creates the same outcome as using the first two methods.
4. Method Four: If you decide to do in-person early voting, you can register on site. You must have an ID or a document that shows your full name and current address to register to vote in person early.
Step 2: Update Your Registration (Experienced Voters)
1. If you are unsure if you are registered to vote or if your address is updated, you can look up your registration using this tool.
2. If you need to update your address, you can use the DMV’s registration tool or the mail-in application tool (both mentioned above).
3. You can also update your address on site if you decide to do early voting in-person.
Step 3: Voting
If you decide to vote IN PERSON, there are two way to do so:
1. Early Voting: Begins 19 days before the election (October 15) and ends 3 days before the election (October 31)
2. Election Day Voting: This is November 3!
(Note that you DO NOT need any sort of ID if you vote in person, unless you are registering to vote on-site. You can only register to vote on site during early voting.)
If you decide to vote ABSENTEE, here is the process for that:
1. This year, you can fill out an absentee ballot request form online here. You can also fill out a paper copy here and return it by mail, email, or fax to your local election office OR drop it off in person. Whichever you choose, they must be received seven days before November 3, or October 27 at 5pm.
2. Starting September 4, absentee ballots will be mailed to voters who requested them. Fill out your ballot.
3. You can return the ballot to your county board of elections office through the mail, in person, or at an early voting site. These must be received by 5pm on November 3.
All information from this blog was found from these sources. For additional information, you can visit these links!
In the face of the continued push toward police reform based on further violence against the Black community by law enforcement officers, it is important we are all continuing to educate ourselves about the issues and how we can advocate for others. In July I published a blog post with a list of podcasts that are great educational resources, and I wanted to create a continuation including more great podcasts I’ve discovered since. I hope you check these out and enjoy them.
This show, hosted by Angela Glover Blackwell, consists of “stories and solutions that are fueling change.” The podcast covers a wide variety of interesting and important topics but especially relating to the movement is episodes like “Police Abolition” and “Reparations” which focus on police misconduct and the possibility of reparations for Black Americans.
Code Switch by NPR
A podcast all about race and racism and how these impact society. It’s also hosted by journalists of color. I recommend “Why Now, White People?” and “Anger: The Black Woman’s ‘Superpower’”, both episodes are really well-done. All in all this is a great podcast to dive into racial issues, politics, and culture.
This podcast focuses on political theory, philosophy, and current events from a typically left perspective, but is well-rounded in terms of its partisanship. I recommend the episodes “Abolish the Police” and “Police Brutality & State Violence.”
Stay In Your Lane: The Podcast
This podcast focuses on a different perspective, giving conversational-style entertainment about news and pop culture from the perspective of Black British women.
These podcasts are available on Spotify and other podcast platforms. Happy listening!
As a frequent traveler, I spend a lot of my time traveling by car or plane, often alone. Traveling is exciting but the journey is not always entertaining – but one of the greatest modern inventions is the podcast, which can keep you company wherever you are. Hopefully this list will help you find your new favorite podcast.
My Favorite Murder
This podcast really introduced me into the world of podcasts and helped me discover other great ones. The show is a national phenomenon covering true crime murder cases. It’s a very casual show and you can definitely jump right in to any episode and find some interesting stories. The hosts are excellent storytellers and are very likable.
This podcast is hosted by Rhett and Link, both former NC State students and creators of the “Good Mythical Morning” YouTube show. Their Ear Biscuits podcasts mainly consists of the pair discussing their interesting lives and past experiences. Lots of great stories and one of the funniest podcasts out there.
Last Podcast On The Left
This series covers “all the horrors our world has to offer.” The episodes are always interesting and cover topics ranging from UFO sightings to true crime to cults. The hosts give informative accounts on a lot of cool topics and it makes for easy listening.
This great podcast compares common ideas about topics against actual data, science, and interviews. Often the actual data conflicts with common thought and the podcast helps bring out direct facts backed by scientists and legitimate experiments. My favorite episodes are the two on immigration and guns, which really challenge American perceptions about the topics.
Hoodrat to Headwrap
This podcast is relaxed and playful but discusses extremely important topics like misogyny, queerness and white supremacy, but also dive deep into pop culture. The podcast is great for deepening your knowledge about social issues while enjoying casual conversation about a wide range of interesting topics.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.