CSU Contestants Grace Center Stage for Miss Georgia Pageant

Two Columbus State University students and a recent graduate are competing in the 73rd annual Miss Georgia Pageant this week. Click through the photos below to learn more about each CSU contestant.

The 2017 Miss Georgia Pageant will be held in the Bill Heard Theatre at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts beginning Tuesday, June 13. A new Miss Georgia will be crowned on Saturday, June 17.

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CSU Students Return to Campus, Cougar Kickoff

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University students returned to campus Monday, August 15. In addition to a new student housing complex and renovated classroom building, a full slate of activities and events designed to celebrate the start of the new academic year awaited their return.

“Cougar Kickoff events make the campus feel alive,” said Bailey Woodward, student co-chair for Cougar Kickoff. “There’s a community feel that reminds me why I fell in love with the students, faculty and campus.”

Events planned as part of the Cougar Kickoff series include:

Monday, August 15

— Interfaith Fair, community faith organizations, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., clock tower
— Big Kid for a Day, inflatables and popsicles for students, 5 – 7 p.m., intramural field

Tuesday, August 16

— Volunteer Fair, a showcase of volunteer opportunities for students, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., clock tower
— Chill with the President, frozen yogurt with CSU President Chris Markwood, 2 – 3 p.m., clock tower

Wednesday, August 17

— Main Campus Picnic and Registered Student Organization Fair, CSU’s largest Cougar Kickoff event, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., clock tower

Thursday, August 18

— CSU Bike Ride, campus-wide ride from main campus to downtown Columbus, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., meet at Lumpkin Center
— Color Party and RiverPark Picnic, a colorful cookout on CSU’s RiverPark campus, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Woodruff Park

Friday, August 19

— Taste of Columbus, a sampling of local cuisine and Columbus attractions, 4 – 7 p.m., Lumpkin Center
— Meet the Greeks, all about Greek Life at CSU, 7 – 10 p.m., Lumpkin Center

Saturday, August 20

— CSU Day of Service, service projects across the Chattahoochee Valley, starting at 8 a.m.


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Local Fraternity Shaves Heads to Support Breast Cancer Research

Caption: CSU President Chris Markwood helps shave a student’s head during Kappa Sigma’s Shave to Save event Thursday, Oct. 22 at the Clock Tower on CSU’s main campus. Markwood’s mother is a 47-year survivor of breast cancer.

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Xi Iota Chapter of Kappa Sigma is raising money for breast cancer research by shaving the heads of their brothers during the annual “Shave to Save” event Thursday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. around the Clock Tower on CSU’s main campus.

“In addition to raising money for a good cause, shaving heads symbolizes our support for patients who might lose their hair after undergoing intense cancer treatments like chemotherapy,” said Grant Carter, president of Kappa Sigma at CSU.

Kappa Sigma hopes to raise $13,000 this year to support the American Cancer Society.

“Last year we raised more than $12,500,” Carter said. “We donated all of it to the American Cancer Society, and we asked that half go towards breast cancer research and the other half towards neuroblastoma research. The son of a Kappa Sigma alumnus passed away last year from neuroblastoma cancer, and we wanted to give back and show our support.”

The fraternity encourages others to join the movement by volunteering to have his or her head shaved or to make a donation. Donations can be made at www.xi-iota.com or through an active chapter member. All donations will go directly to the American Cancer Society.

The Boyz Barbershop and Salon is donating shaving supplies.

For more information, email Carter at Carter_Grant@ColumbussState.edu.


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Activities, Renovations Welcome Back CSU Students on Monday

COLUMBUS, Ga — Columbus State University’s fall 2015 semester starts Monday with more than 8,000 students again beginning classes on the university’s main and RiverPark campuses.

By the end of the weekend, about 1,300 students will have moved into on-campus housing, and several major projects will have been completed for their use.

CSU students will find a brand-new cafeteria in the Davidson Student Center. CSU’s dining partner, Aramark, funded a $2.7 million renovation to provide not only updated features and increased capacity, but new dining options, including enclosed patio seating, all-new kitchen equipment, a smoker, double-decker pizza oven and a Mongolian grill.

One of the oldest classroom buildings on campus, Howard Hall, opens again after a yearlong $4 million renovation while neighboring Arnold Hall closes in preparation for a similar makeover. State appropriations funded both projects.

Work will continue throughout fall semester on a new 539-bed first-year housing complex on main campus and a new downtown home for the College of Education and Health Professions. Each project is estimated to cost about $25 million.

In addition to the various renovations taking place across campus, the university has a series of events planned to welcome back students, orient them with campus life and help them connect with each other, the community and CSU faculty and staff.

Upcoming highlights:

— Monday, Aug. 17 (First Day of Classes) –  RiverPark Picnic @ Woodruff Park, 5- 10 p.m.;
— Wednesday, Aug. 19 – Main Campus Picnic and Student Organizations Fair. Clock tower, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.;
— Thursday, Aug. 20 – Freshman Convocation, the formal, ceremonial welcome-back ceremony featuring CSU President Chris Markwood. University Hall Auditorium, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.;
— Thursday, Aug. 20 – Campus Bike Ride and Color Party downtown at Woodruff Park. (Riders meet on the Lumpkin Center lawn), 4:30- 8:30 p.m.; and
— Saturday, Aug. 22 – CSU Day of Service where students and employees fan out through the community to help on various projects. Volunteers meet at the Mock Pavilion (Intramural Field), 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Visit https://students.columbusstate.edu/cougarkickoff/index.php for a full list of student welcome-back activities.

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CSU’s Kappa Sigma Fraternity Garners 15 National Awards

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Kappa Sigma fraternity chapter hauled in a load of national awards during its chapter’s annual leadership conference in Nevada last month.

The Xi-Iota Chapter competed against 318 Kappa Sigma chapters throughout the United States and Canada. For the fifth year in a row, Columbus State University’s chapter won the Founders Award for Chapter Excellence, given this year to only 36 chapters at the conference.

The 15 total recognitions have been noticed on campus and at the fraternity’s national headquarters.

“The Xi-Iota Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity has been synonymous with excellence across the international order,” said Dan Murdzia, deputy commissioner for awards at Kappa Sigma’s national office. “These men are leaders in the fraternity and one of the brightest jewels in Kappa Sigma.”

Britney Kelley, CSU’s student development specialist for Greek life and student leadership was also impressed. “I am always so proud when any of the chapters of the CSU Greek community receive national recognition,” she said. “Each of our 18 chapters devote so much time to living their organizations’ missions and values, and that definitely deserves recognition. The Xi-Iota Chapter of Kappa Sigma continues to set a tremendous example of what it means to be a CSU Greek.”

Other awards the fraternity earned:

The Silver Bowl – for maintaining a GPA above the all-male GPA at their school for three consecutive years (only 18 were presented)
2013 Outstanding President – Kyle Williams (43 plaques were presented)
2013 Outstanding Vice President – Chris Grier (30 certificates were presented)
2013 Outstanding Ritualist – Garrett Hill (35 certificates were presented)
2013 Outstanding Treasurer – Frank Valdera (25 certificates were presented)
2013 Outstanding Secretary – Kendall Talley (24 certificates were presented)
Outstanding Communications Program Award – for excellence in communication with the university and community (only 18 plaques presented)
Greater Cause Award – for excellence in philanthropy work throughout campus and the community (only 10 plaques were presented)
Outstanding Single Community Service Award – “Shave to Save” Event. Xi Iota has raised a total of $61,000 toward breast cancer awareness over the past eight years. (only 18 certificates were presented)
Outstanding Intramural Achievement Award – for excelling in sports on campus (5 certificates were presented)
10% Ritual Proficient Chapter Award – Xi-Iota has won this award 9 years in a row. (46 certificates were presented)
Outstanding Alumnus Advisor Award – Torrey Wiley

“I’m so proud of this group of men and our chapter,” said Wiley, a 1997 CSU graduate. “We almost had to pay an extra $25 on our luggage on the way back from Las Vegas, because we won so much hardware from the conference!”

(L-R) CSU’s Kappa Sigma Fraternity members Andrew Kessler, Garrett Hill and Grant Carter display their certificates and plaques from Kappa Sigma’s annual leadership conference in Nevada last month. The Xi-Iota Chapter took home 15 national awards, including the Founders Award for Chapter Excellence.

(L-R) CSU’s Kappa Sigma Fraternity members Andrew Kessler, Garrett Hill and Grant Carter display their certificates and plaques from Kappa Sigma’s annual leadership conference in Nevada last month. The Xi-Iota Chapter took home 15 national awards, including the Founders Award for Chapter Excellence.


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High School Visitors Star in Video Sent to the White House [VIDEO]

More than seventy students from area high schools visited Columbus State University on Thursday, Feb. 26 to participate in the African American Male Initiative’s “College Student for a Day” experience.

CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services captured the day’s events and submitted a video to the White House on Friday, Feb. 27 in response to Michelle Obama’s “Near-Peer Mentoring College Challenge.” The challenge, a Reach Higher initiative, asks institutions to share how they are making attending and completing college a reality for students.

Video finalists might earn a visit from the First Lady during spring 2015 commencement ceremonies.

“We believe this event, along with our continuous outreach, will perpetuate the cycle of recruitment, retention, and most importantly graduation for high school and college males,” said Johniqua Williams, student development specialist for CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services.

For more information about Michelle Obama’s commencement challenge, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/30/first-lady-michelle-obama-announces-reach-higher-commencement-challenges. To learn more about CSU’s African American Male Initiative, visit https://diversity.columbusstate.edu/AAMI.php or contact Williams at 706-507-8594 or williams_johniqua@columbusstate.edu.


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Students Learn from iLead at Columbus State University

COLUMBUS, Ga – Columbus State University students studied strategies for financial success, leading through change and fostering organizational diversity at the “iLead” Cougar Leadership Conference on Friday, Feb. 27 in CSU’s Davidson Student Center.

Conference sessions, led by campus and community volunteers, began around 1 p.m. and concluded with a keynote address from Kristen Hadeed, a young entrepreneur and the founder of Student Maid, one of Florida’s largest independently owned cleaning services.

“The conference was filled with networking opportunities, chances to develop leadership skills and new perspectives on leadership,” said Britney Kelley, adviser for Greek Life & Leadership. “We hope CSU students can apply today’s lessons for a better future as managers, officers and entrepreneurs.”


iLead Conference

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Self Crowned Miss CSU 2015

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Morgan Self, a sophomore communications major from Georgetown, Georgia, was crowned the new Miss CSU on Sunday, Jan. 25 after a scholarship competition among seven total contestants.

Morgan, also crowned Miss Congeniality and awarded the Lifestyle & Fitness Award and the Hayley Henderson Service Award, is a leader of Columbus State University’s ROAR Orientation Team and a member of CSU’s Servant Leadership Program.

“It was such an honor to receive these awards,” said Self. “My goal for this year is to promote community service around campus and help others to fulfill their personal dreams of service.”

For more information about the Miss CSU Scholarship Pageant, please contact Britney Kelley Executive Director for the Miss CSU Scholarship Pageant, at 706-507-8013 or kelley_britney@columbusstate.edu.


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Cougar Kickoff Returns for First-Ever Spring Celebration

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Cougar Kickoff, a weeklong series of recreational and informational programs designed to welcome new students and reacquaint returnees with campus, will commence for the first time at the beginning of a spring semester at Columbus State University.

Traditionally a fall-only event, Cougar Kickoff incorporates activities and representatives from across CSU’s two campuses, including the Student Activities Council, the Office of Diversity Programs and Services, Residence Life, Greek Life, the Office of Community Outreach, and CSU Athletics.

“Student demand for more spring activities and falling school spirit in the spring convinced us of the need to offer a second Cougar Kickoff,” said Britney Kelley, advisor for Greek Life & Leadership in the Office of Student Life and Development. “We want to afford spring students with the same opportunities that fall students are provided.”

Cougar Kickoff begins on Jan. 12 with the Welcome Back Event and Student Organization Fair and continues throughout the week until Sunday’s “Downtown Dub” Step Party, featuring DJ Nuk from Atlanta, Georgia.

Students will be privy to a special musical performance at “The Skin I’m In” event on Thursday, Jan. 15, featuring CSU’s Interim President Tom Hackett on lead guitar, VP for University Advancement Alan Medders on bass, and several other university administrators and faculty members with musical prowess. Student performers and artists will also be at the event to showcase their backgrounds, culture, heritage, and identities that, together, make Columbus State University a unique place to live, work, and learn.

The Spring 2015 Cougar Kickoff agenda includes: (NOTE: Unless denoted with an asterisk, these events are NOT open to the public, but media coverage is welcome.)

  • Monday, Jan. 12: Welcome Back Event and Student Organization Fair, 11 a.m-1 p.m., Student Recreation Center Multipurpose Room
  • Monday, Jan. 12: Movie Night, 7-10 p.m., University Hall
  • Tuesday, Jan. 13: COUGARTHON Teaser, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Davidson Student Center Lounge
  • Tuesday, Jan. 13: “Leader-Ship in a Bottle”: A Student Leadership Workshop, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Columbus Room
  • Tuesday, Jan. 13: Cougar Night, 7-9 p.m., Hollywood Connection
  • Wednesday, Jan. 14: Cougar Kickoff Gives Back, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Davidson Student Center Lounge
  • Wednesday, Jan. 14: CSU Basketball doubleheader*, 5:30 p.m., Lumpkin Center
  • Thursday, Jan. 15: “The Skin I’m In,” 7:30-10 p.m., Davidson Student Center Lounge
  • Friday, Jan. 16: Meet the Greeks, 7-10 p.m., Student Recreation Center Multipurpose Room
  • Sunday, Jan. 18: Downtown Dub, 6-9 p.m., Black Box Theatre in the Riverside Theatre Complex

For more information about Cougar Kickoff, call 706-507-8590 or visit http://students.columbusstate.edu/cougarkickoff/index.php.


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CSU Police Provides Area Agency Leaders With Training on Officer-Worn Camera Systems

BodyCam03Columbus, Ga. — For years, police officers have had cameras inside their patrol cars. But for agencies such as CSU Police – whose officers spend a lot of time outside a car – officer-worn cameras are becoming part of the modern uniform.

Because CSU police officers have been using officer-worn cameras for about five years, a group of chiefs, sheriffs and marshals met at Columbus State University Tuesday to learn more about these cameras at a Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police district meeting. CSU training division staff was on hand to discuss some key considerations for the successful implementation of this technology at their agency. The training session discussed privacy issues, policy considerations, integrity of multimedia evidence, budget planning and technical requirements for an officer-worn camera program.

“As an agency, our officers spend a lot of time outside of their vehicles and we realized several years ago that we needed to develop a plan to address the contacts and situations that the officers encountered,” said Columbus State University Police Chief Rus Drew. “We have seen this across the United States as a rapidly evolving trend over the last few years.”

BodyCam02Lt. Jeremy Reddish led much of the discussion, talking about the evolution of these devices and of how the officer-worn camera market now has a selection of products geared toward the needs of law enforcement officers. “We wanted to share some of our lessons learned with other agencies in hopes that the information would aid in equipping more officers with this technology,” Reddish said. “When we started our program, most products were sports-style cameras that were adapted for police use, now products are being developed specifically for our job.”

Implementing an officer-worn camera program comes with a myriad of challenges. An agency must select a product that meets the needs of their officers. Products come with different features and can be worn in different manners, including clipped to an officer’s uniform shirt or worn like eyeglasses to record the officers’ perspective, Reddish said. Depending on the length of an officer’s shift, battery life and storage capacity are also critical things to consider.

“Since the cameras record incidents and criminal investigations, the footage has to be treated like any other form of evidence,” Drew added. Agencies must determine secure locations for data storage and must also develop practices to maintain the electronic chain of custody and integrity of files. Some products even allow agencies to purchase secure cloud storage and maintenance of their files.

BodyCam01CSU Police are currently upgrading their officer-worn camera program. They are transitioning to a more advanced camera platform, which is more durable, is equipped with low-light infrared settings to better record at night, and allows officers to take video and still images from the same device.  In addition, they are installing a secure in-house server for the storage of multimedia evidence, utilizing a software package that aids officers in uploading their multimedia files and revamping a policy for the use of their cameras. The upgrades should be completed in December 2014.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATON, PLEASE CONTACT: Lieutenant Jeremy Reddish, Phone: (706) 507-8911


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Cougarthon 2014 Raises $2,500 for American Cancer Society

On hand for Friday’s check presentation were, from left, Gina Sheeks, CSU vice president for student affairs; Mitchi Wade, chair of the American Cancer Society’s 2014 Crystal Ball; cancer survivor Rex Whiddon, director of development at CSU’s College of the Arts; Cougarthon staff adviser Anne Brown; student committee members Ansley Phillips and Amber Lanier; and Kimberly McElveen, CSU’s senior director for student engagement.

On hand for Friday’s check presentation were, from left, Gina Sheeks, CSU vice president for student affairs; Mitchi Wade, chair of the American Cancer Society’s 2014 Crystal Ball; cancer survivor Rex Whiddon, director of development at CSU’s College of the Arts; Cougarthon staff adviser Anne Brown; student committee members Ansley Phillips and Amber Lanier; and Kimberly McElveen, CSU’s senior director for student engagement.

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Organizers of Columbus State University’s Cougarthon 2014, a campus-wide dance-oriented fundraising effort to benefit the American Cancer Society, presented a check for $2,500 to the society on Friday.

“It was an honor for the American Cancer Society to have Columbus State University’s participation,” said Denise Dowdy, a local American Cancer Society representative. ”We are so excited and look forward to continuing to grow our relationship with the university and the students.”

About 250 students danced for six hours at CSU’s Student Recreation Center on April 9 as part of the university’s inaugural Cougarthon, which aimed to raise funds and awareness for the cancer society. Food and a wide range of other activities were also part of the evening.

The informal event served as a student-oriented alternative to the black-tie Crystal Ball that the local American Cancer Society held about a month earlier. Both events honored cancer survivors Rex and Lynn Whiddon, who have deep roots at Columbus State.

Plans are already underway for Cougarthon 2015, with organizers advising students to save April 11-12 for the expanded 12-hour event.

Anne Vogler Brown, volunteer programs coordinator at CSU’s Center for Career Development, served as staff adviser for Cougarthon 2014. Students leading the committee organizing the event were Ravhen Maddox, Akilah Anderson and Kameron Griffin.

Other student committee members were Grant Carter, Telea Davis, Lazavia Grier, Jordan Huggins, Aina Kumar, Amber Lanier, Robert Monfort, Katelyn Pawlowski, Ansley Phillips, Andrew Pollock, Kelsey Ray, Cylina Velazquez, Michael Ward and Kaitlyn Woodall.

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Oscar Winner to Speak at CSU Legacy Celebration Banquet


Marlee Matlin

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Marlee Matlin, the youngest  Best Actress Oscar winner for her role in “Children of a Lesser God,” will be the keynote speaker for Columbus State University’s Legacy Celebration Banquet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 26 at CSU’s Cunningham Center.

A 6:30 p.m. reception precedes the sold-out banquet.

In addition to Matlin’s remarks, the event will feature the presentation of awards and scholarships to students, including Women’s Leadership, Servant Leadership, Outstanding Student with Disability, Outstanding Faculty-Staff, Outstanding Ally, Lavender Alliance Community, Faith-based and Humanitarian, John Townsend Achievement Award, Kiongozi Award for Outstanding International Leadership and the CSU Goizueta Foundation Scholarships.

Matlin, who received international critical acclaim for her work in the 1986 film, “Children of a Lesser God,” was 21 when she won the Best Actress Oscar. She is one of just four actresses to receive the honor for her film debut, and she’s the only deaf performer to win an Academy Award. In addition to the Oscar, Matlin won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama. Over her career, Matlin has 51 acting credits on both the big and small screens.

Matlin also starred in her own NBC series, “Reasonable Doubts,” opposite Mark Harmon, and the Emmy Award-winning “Picket Fences” for CBS. Matlin was twice nominated for both a Golden Globe Award as Best Actress in a Drama as well as the People’s Choice Awards and has been nominated for four Emmy awards for her guest appearances on “Seinfeld, “Picket Fences,” “The Practice” and “Law and Order: SVU.” Matlin also starred for seven years on the award-winning drama, “The West Wing,” and has made numerous guest appearances on such shows as  “ER,” “Desperate Housewives,” “CSI: New York,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Nip/Tuck” and “Family Guy.”

In 2007, she joined the cast of the groundbreaking series “The L Word” for three seasons and broke barriers once again, this time in reality TV when she challenged America to “read my hips,” on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” and on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” In 1994, Matlin was appointed by President Clinton to the Corporation for National Service and served as chair for National Volunteer Week. Matlin currently serves as a national celebrity spokesperson for the American Red Cross and was instrumental in getting legislation passed in Congress in support of closed captioning. She also serves on the boards of a number of charitable organizations including Easter Seals and the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation.

Matlin, a mother of four, has also authored three books for younger readers, “Deaf Child Crossing,” “Nobody’s Perfect” (with Doug Cooney) and “Leading Ladies.” In 2009, she published her New York Times best-selling autobiography, “I’ll Scream Later.”

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Scores of Columbus State Students Spending Spring Break as Volunteers

COLUMBUS, Ga.About 80 Columbus State University students have signed up to participate in community service projects March 3-7 as part of an Alternative Spring Break organized by CSU’s Center for Career Development.

Students are participating in these projects during the university’s Spring Break for a number of reasons, an organizer said. Many are part of campus programs and organizations that stress volunteerism, including CSU’s Servant Leadership Program.

“A lot of them just have generous and giving spirits,” said Anne Vogler Brown, coordinator of volunteer programs for CSU’s career center. “We’ve been pleased with the response.”

Up to 30 students will work from about 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, with CSU providing bus transportation to and from the project sites, as well as arranging for lunch.

Projects planned for the week have the students working:

  • For Columbus Botanical Garden: Clearing underbrush, planting trees and other beautification efforts.
  • For Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity: Preparing a lot and foundation for framing of a future Habitat house.
  • For House of Heroes, an organization serving military veterans and others: Pressure washing, painting and yard work.
  • For CSU’s Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center: Clearing underbrush, trail widening, painting and other beautification tasks.

Columbus State first organized an Alternative Spring Break in 2011, with about a dozen students volunteering with the local Habitat affiliate to build several houses, working with other college students from across the nation. This is the first year CSU has organized similar projects at multiple locations, also providing support to student volunteers.

Columbus State has emphasized to students in recent years the value of community service, particularly as a career-development tool. A Day of Service, involving faculty, staff and students, has become a staple of welcome-back events each fall. Since 2008, CSU has made the national President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. In the latest honor roll report available, for 2012, students, faculty and staff documented 316,928 hours of volunteer work.

For more information on CSU’s Center for Career Development, including volunteer opportunities for students, visit http://ColumbusState.edu/volunteeer.

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CSU Homecoming Court Candidates Announced

Due to weather concerns, Student Life has been forced to cance an event tonight when candidates for homecoming king and queen would have been announced.
The candidate names released Wednesday afternoon are:
  • Queen: Shabrika George, Katelyn Pawlowski and Samaria Robertson.
  • King: Chris Grier, Abraham Dixon, and Conner Davis.
The 2014 homecoming court will be presented during the women’s and men’s homecoming basketball games on Saturday, Feb. 22. For more on student-oriented homecoming events, visit http://ColumbusState.edu/students/homecoming/ .
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Concert, Parade, Tailgating, Games on Homecoming 2014 Agenda

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University has scheduled a week of student-focused homecoming activities beginning Sunday, Feb. 16 and running through a weekend of events also catering to alumni and friends on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Homecoming highlights include Friday night’s Downtown Domination, featuring a parade, pep rally and concert featuring Classic Addict on the Uptown Stage. Saturday morning brings the second annual Cougar Madness 5K/1M Walk and the 11 a.m. start of tailgating leading up to men’s and women’s basketball homecoming games vs. Young Harris that afternoon.

In addition to that will be a new alumni event, from 5-6:30 p.m.,called “Friday Night Fun at the Living Room.” The first 100 alumni who come to the Living Room, a rooftop martini bar at 1047 Broadway, will receive a complimentary beverage before the parade on Broadway.

The new Friday night alumni event is part of Downtown Domination, CSU taking over downtown to celebrate homecoming. The annual parade down Broadway begins at 6 p.m., featuring the CSU cheerleaders, dance team, student organizations, homecoming court and more. A pep rally, to be held on the 1300 block of Broadway, follows the parade Friday evening to prepare fans for CSU’s Saturday games against Young Harris at 1:30 p.m. (women) and 3:30 p.m. (men). Following the pep rally, the Columbus-based rock band Classic Addict, featuring lead singer-guitarist Cale Dodds, takes the Uptown stage in the median of Broadway.

Saturday will be packed, starting with the second annual Cougar Madness 5K/1M Walk. The event, co-sponsored by CSU’s ROTC unit and Campus Recreation, begins at 7:30 a.m. in front of the Lumpkin Center. Participants may register at any Big Dog Running Co. store or online at http://estartline.com. The event benefits House of Heroes, the Columbus nonprofit that repairs and renovates homes of military veterans and public safety retirees.

The public is invited to participate in Saturday’s tailgating starting at 11 a.m. in parking lot 14 (beside the parking deck, in front of University Hall). Faculty, staff, alumni, parents and students are welcome to set up a tent, bring a cooler and grill (propane only). 

For more information, consult the student homecoming schedule or the alumni schedule with more on tailgating.

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CSU Students Elected to Leadership Roles in State NAACP Division

COLUMBUS, Ga.Two Columbus State University students were recognized by top Georgia NAACP officials Monday for their election to leadership positions in the Youth and College Division of the statewide organization.

Stephen Cooper, a junior political science major, was elected president of the organization for teens and college students during a Jan. 25 meeting in Statesboro. Ashley Lester, a junior accounting major, was elected secretary. Both are from the Atlanta area.

Edward DuBose, a former Georgia NAACP and Columbus NAACP president who’s now on the national NAACP’s board of directors, told media representatives at a campus news conference Monday that the election of Cooper and Lester is particularly significant because Georgia’s the home of the largest Youth and College Division among 37 such divisions of state NAACP groups.

“It’s having the face of young people like Stephen and Ashley representing the NAACP that challenges other young people,” DuBose said. “The power of the organization in Georgia is standing right here.”

As president of the Youth and College Division of the Georgia NAACP, Cooper will oversee the efforts of younger NAACP members in 27 active local units across the state.

“I look at this as an opportunity to carry on the torch of justice,” Cooper said. “I’m very honored and humbled, yet again very excited.”

Cooper, 20, has been active in several CSU student organizations, including the Student Government Association, Orientation Team and an advisory board of CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services. He’s currently president of CSU’s NAACP chapter, in which he’s been active since he was a freshman. He hopes to attend law school to pursue a career in corporate law after graduation. A child of Liberian immigrants, Cooper was born in the Bora-Bora Liberian Refugee Camp near Accra, the capital of Ghana, another west African nation, as his parents prepared to join relatives in the Atlanta area. He’s a graduate of Shiloh High School in Snellville.

Lester, 21, who transferred to CSU in 2012, is currently second vice president of CSU’s NAACP chapter. She’s also a member of CSU’s Genesis gospel choir, the Accounting Club and CSU’s student chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. A criminal justice minor, she hopes to pursue a career in the FBI after graduation. She’s a graduate of Hiram High School in Paulding County.

Other NAACP officers at Monday’s news conference were State Secretary Tonza S. Thomas, State District Coordinator Rev. Richard Jessie, State Veterans Affairs Chair Derrick White and Columbus NAACP President Abraham Wallace. Now with nearly 10,000 members, Georgia has had a state group of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People since 1917.

Founded in 1909, the national NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights group, with a half million adult and youth members throughout the U.S.

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CSU Adding Men’s Lacrosse as 16th Club Sport in 2015

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University will field a men’s lacrosse team as a club sport starting next fall, playing its first games in spring 2015, Campus Recreation officials have announced.

In preparation for the addition of CSU’s 16th club sport, Columbus State is hiring Brendan Bonacum, a former lacrosse standout at Dominican College of Blauvelt, N.Y. After graduating in 2012 with an education degree, Bonacum served briefly as an assistant coach and interim head coach at Dominican. Most recently, he was an assistant coach at Briarcliffe College on Long Island, N.Y.

“This decision reflects the continued commitment to athletics and recreation overall from the university,” said Rick Cravens, assistant director of Campus Recreation. “I believe that it strengthens and builds the university as a whole.”

Officials hope to capitalize on the growing popularity of lacrosse in Georgia and beyond the state’s borders, where CSU is attracting more and more students.

Michael Speight, Campus Recreation’s club sports coordinator, said he anticipates no problem lining up a schedule of opposing teams.

“Lacrosse will not only strengthen our department but will also add more life to our already vibrant campus community,” he said.

Within Georgia alone, 70 high schools field varsity lacrosse teams. At the college level, there are more than 10 lacrosse club programs and five varsity programs in the state. Although club sports aren’t considered varsity teams that adhere to NCAA standards, CSU’s club teams in such sports as football do play club team counterparts from other schools and, occasionally, face “second team” varsity squads.

Lacrosse originated as a team sport played by Native Americans. Today, players score by shooting a small rubber ball into an opponent’s goal on a 110-yard field, using lacrosse sticks to catch, carry and pass the ball en route to the goal. Defensive moves include “stick checking” and can include body contact, or positioning.

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CSU Offers Students More Spring Outdoor Adventures Than Ever

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Campus Recreation organizers at Columbus State University have more “outdoor adventures” planned for students during spring 2014 than ever before, with nearly 20 trips or campus classes on tap.

Most of the opportunities for students to challenge themselves in a more natural setting are covered by student recreation fees, but a handful of the planned events — most notably a Spring Break climbing trip to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky and a chance to try skydiving — will require participants to pay an out-of-pocket fee. (The Kentucky trip costs $200, while the skydiving fee is $110.)

“We’ve been offering experiences like this for years, but 2014 is the first year we’ve been able to organize what I would call a full slate of activities,” said Rick Cravens, CSU’s primary outdoor adventures organizer for Campus Recreation. “The launch of whitewater rafting in the Chattahoochee River in 2014, as well as student interest, got us thinking we needed to expand our offerings in this area.”

As recently as 2010, Campus Recreation had been organizing day trips for students to experience whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. But completion of the world’s longest urban whitewater course on the Chattahoochee last year, adjacent to CSU’s RiverPark campus, made such out-of-state trips obsolete.

“We’ve had a good response from students wanting to try rafting since the whitewater course opened last summer, and we expect that to really take off this spring,” said Koby Garick, CSU’s aquatics and rock wall coordinator for Campus Recreation. “We expect it and kayaking will really take off this spring.”

Several of the events on the outdoor adventures slate for spring are preparatory classes either at the Aquatics Center that Garick oversees within the Student Recreation Center or involving its popular 37-foot climbing wall. At the Aquatics Center this spring, students will have a chance to be introduced to kayaking, perfect the more advanced skill of rolling a kayak and even get an introduction to scuba diving.

The semester’s activities kick off Jan. 16 with an open house especially for CSU students at a new off-campus Columbus facility that offers a greater selection of climbing walls, Treadstone Climbing.

Following is CSU’s full schedule of spring outdoor adventures. For more information, visit http://goo.gl/y3eOGU or contact contact Cravens at cravens_rick@ColumbusState.edu  or 706-507-8652 or Garick at garick_koby@ColumbusState.edu or 706-507-8657. To sign up for an event, visit the front desk of CSU’s Student Recreation Center.

“We encourage students to sign up as soon as possible,” Cravens said. “With virtually all events, we’re forced to limit the number of participants to either keep the activities safe or accommodate what we’re able to provide in terms of transportation.”

Spring 2014 Outdoor Adventures Schedule

  • Jan. 16, Treadstone Climbing  CSU Open House, free
  • Jan. 21, Kayak Demo Class, free
  • Jan. 25, Providence Canyon Day Hike, free
  • Jan. 28, Introduction to Top Rope Rock Wall Climbing, free
  • Jan. 30, Kayak Roll Class, $10
  • Jan. 31, Introduction to Scuba, $5
  • Feb. 6, Belay Competency Class, free
  • Feb. 7, Introduction to Scuba, $5
  • Feb. 15, Pine Mountain Horseback Riding, $50
  • Feb. 20, Introduction to Bouldering, free
  • March 5-8, Red River Gorge, Kentucky Climbing Trip, $200
  • March 15, Ziplining, Banning Mills, Carrollton, Ga., $55
  • March 18, Belay Competency Class, free
  • March 29, Whitewater Rafting, Chattahoochee River, $25
  • April 10, Whitewater Rafting, Chattahoochee River, $25
  • April 19, Flint River Canoe Trip, $5
  • April 22, One CSU Rock Wall Competition, free
  • April 26, Skydiving, $110
  • May 10, Dragon Boat Race, free

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CSU Introduces CougarCam Mobile Application

scary cougarCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University has just released a CougarCam mobile application for free download at the iPhone App Store.

The CougarCam app is a new sharing tool that, among other options, puts a cougar in the photos of fans, alumni, and the community. Users will be able to take photos and augment them in a variety of CSU images and other fun overlays. Hair and goatee and different mustaches are also available with the application.

Editing features available to users include movement, rotation, scaling, erasing (for depth and perspective), brightness, contrast and unlimited undos.

Users will also be able to add captions and share their photos with friends on Facebook, Twitter, email and text messaging.

Cody, President Mescon

CSU will unveil fun contests for user-submitted photos on their Facebook page. Enter photos by emailing them to cougarcam@columbusstate.edu.

Look for the CougarCam app now at the iPhone App Store and, in winter 2013, for Android devices at the Google Play Store.

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CSU Advances Toward Doughboy Bowl with 3-0 Record, National Ranking

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s club sport tackle football team, off to its best start in recent history, is looking forward to its game against Fort Benning Oct. 24 in what is now being promoted as a community event.

As huge as that game has become for both teams, the Cougars, who are 3-0 and ranked No. 4 nationally, have some work to do beginning with their matchup with a South Carolina opponent, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at Columbus’ Britt David Park. CSU students with a valid ID get in free, and general admission is $3. The Cougars also have their final road game of the season, against Middle Georgia State College, currently the top-ranked club team in the nation, at 1 p.m. Oct. 19 in Cochran, Ga. 

CSU won its most recent game, 34-28, against Kennesaw State last Sunday at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium, where the Cougars will host Fort Benning’s Doughboys for its final game of the season, the fourth annual Doughboy Bowl at 7 p.m. 

CSU won its Sept. 28 game, also against KSU, but at Kennesaw’s campus, by a 30-20 margin. The Cougars opened their season in Columbia, S.C., with a 24-14 victory against the University of South Carolina club team.

Columbus State climbed from No. 8 to No. 4 this week in the “power rankings” of the National Club Football Association, an organization which tracks non-varsity tackle football activities of 26 member schools.

As one of 11 club sports, CSU’s football team represents the university in intercollegiate competition, but it’s not an NCAA-regulated varsity sport. Students participating in club sports handle much of their teams’ budgeting, scheduling, fundraising and organization, working closely with university officials.

Despite its winless record against a team of U.S. Army soldiers in the 3-year-old Doughboy Bowl series, CSU comes into this year’s contest with more confidence.

“The guys are really buying into what the coaches are telling them and the leadership is a lot better (compared to the past),” said head coach Michael Speight, also director of intramural and club sports for CSU Campus Recreation. “There is more team camaraderie this year.”

This is the fifth season of club football for CSU, and some of the players on the 37-man roster have been with the team two or three years, said Rick Cravens, also of Campus Recreation. That experience is apparently paying off.

“We have guys who know what it takes to get to that next level in competition,” Cravens said. “They are more dedicated and really want to win.”

Football returned to Fort Benning in 2010 with the first CSU-Army Doughboy Bowl. The Doughboys, initially comprised of soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, hosted CSU at historic Doughboy Stadium on the Army post. The Doughboys came out on top in the inaugural game, 29-13. Since then, Fort Benning has opened up its roster to soldiers from other units on post. Fort Benning won the last two games, with scores of 41-6 in 2011 and 32-16 last year.

Leadership from Fort Benning relishes the opportunity for soldiers to come together as an athletic team, for the change of pace it offers.

“It’s great to see our soldiers on a different kind of battlefield than what they have been used to over the past decade,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Sullivan III. “The chance to represent the Army and Fort Benning in America’s favorite sport is a tremendous opportunity, and I am excited to watch the game.”

Officials from both sides said the opportunity to promote the relationship between the school and military post is one reason the game has been moved to the downtown stadium. There will be a tailgate party at the stadium from 5-7 p.m., with vendors, a cornhole (bean bag toss) competition, inflatables and other attractions. Top tailgate participants from Fort Benning and CSU will each win a grill, Cravens said. The Shaw High School marching band will perform at halftime.

The fourth annual Doughboy Bowl is free and open to the public.

“While you always like to have a home game, moving the game to downtown Columbus for the entire community to see is fitting,” Sullivan said. “We have an outstanding relationship with CSU and why not give everybody a chance to come out, tailgate with their neighbors and get a real sense of the spirit in this community.”

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