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  •   Bethel’s College of Arts and Sciences recently elected its Student Government Association (SGA) officers for the 2016-17 school year.      Elected as President was Elizabeth Starnes of Munford. Starnes is a senior music business major. Elected as Vice President was Christopher Kelley of Savannah. Kelley is a sophomore history major. Junior Adam Douglas of McKenzie was elected as Greek Council President. Douglas is a music education major. Elected as Secretary of Communications was Shelby Hennis of Gallatin. Hennis is a sophomore music business major. Elected as Secretary of Affairs was Shelby Bowles of Huron. Bowles is a freshman chemistry major. Jake Riggins, a freshman music production major from Williamsport, was elected Secretary of Denominational Affairs. Rounding out the list of new officers was Jessica Russell of Vanleer, a freshman math major elected to serve as Secretary of Finances.      Participation in SGA at Bethel University provides an opportunity for students to influence student life. SGA represents the student body on important matters through its elected representatives. Students' needs and opinions are expressed to the administration and faculty by its elected officers who are also involved in campus projects that help promote the university.      Bethel University will soon celebrate its 175th Anniversary in 2017. It offers bachelor’s, master’s and associate degrees through a variety of learning platforms. For more information about Bethel University, go to www.bethelu.edu.
  •   The Bethel Wildcats Football Purple and Gold Game will be Saturday, April 30, 2016 at Wildcat Stadium on Bethel’s McKenzie campus. Fun begins at 2 p.m. with activities leading up to the kick-off at 5 p.m. Tailgater territory opens at 2 p.m. for individuals wishing to tailgate before the game. Tailgate opens at 3:30 p.m. with BBQ Pitmaster Chris Chadwick of Hawg County Cookers BBQ Competition Team in the Bethel University tent.  All activities are free and open to the public.      There will be prizes for Best Display of Wildcat Pride and Tailgate and Individual Spirit Awards. Bring your young children to dance with the Bethel dance team and to cheer with the Bethel cheerleaders. This is for elementary students, and it begins at 2:30 p.m. Bring your young musicians and their instruments as they get the chance to play with the Wildcat Band in the stands! And for all those little football players, there is a football skills competition beginning at 3:30 p.m. There will also be Knocker Ball, Kiddle Pool Kick Ball live music, and a huge sale in the Bethel Bookstore! There is even a chance for a high schooler to win a Bethel scholarship.  
  •   Seven Bethel University students, their instructor, and a photojournalist traveled March 5 to 10 in Cuba as some of the first Americans to make their way to the communist country since relations have warmed between the two countries. Cuba is a country steeped in history, known for its classic American cars, tobacco, sugar, beautiful vistas, and as a cold war enemy of the United States. After diplomatic relations were restored and the American Embassy reopened in Havana, Stacie Freeman, associate professor of sociology at Bethel University, saw an opportunity for the university’s Global Service Learning Program to travel to Cuba. Bright Light Volunteers, led by Catherine Greenberg, the founder of the Dallas-based organization, played an integral role in bringing the trip to fruition. Andrew Jennings of Bright Light and Yaniel Alvarez, from Viñales, Cuba served as Bright Light guides on the ground. Bright Light worked closely with Ms. Freeman to plan all the in-country travel, stays in casas, transportation, cultural excursions, and entertainment, which included salsa dancers and Cuban music groups. Traveling from Bethel were: Stacie Freeman, Associate Professor of Sociology; Lauren Lay, a senior Theater major from Henderson; Anne Kimbrell, a freshman Sociology/Psychology major from Dresden; Patience Ellington, a sophomore Nursing major from Palmersville; Dylan Nash, a sophomore History major from Gallatin; Jeff Johnson, a junior Human Services major from Union City; Joshua Shaw, a Sociology major from Maury City; and Ryan McCrory, a junior Theatre major from Bartlett. Joel Washburn, publisher of The McKenzie Banner and adjunct professor, traveled with the group. The participants lodged in casas particulares, people’s homes or apartments, under a special licensing provision by Raul Castro’s administration. They lived as Cubans, ate as Cubans, and traveled as Cubans, whether by car, ox-drawn cart, horseback or on foot. In the city of Havana or the rural village of Viñales (population 7,000), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the students woke to the crowing of roosters. The students were definitely pushed beyond their normal comfort zone by being placed in a position of service to others in a foreign land, where there were language barriers, and the daily trappings of technology were not available. They not only survived, but excelled. They hauled dirt in bags, carried rocks by hand, and built beds for vegetable gardens and worked harder than their Cuban hosts had estimated. The American volunteers knew they were some of the first to arrive in this time of renewed relations with the country. They were excellent ambassadors for their fellow Americans. In all, they served a total of 126 hours in Cuba. Students saw Cuba as it was in the 1950s and farming as it was performed in the 1800s. They witnessed the fact the communist government has locked its people into an unchanged past, with few modern conveniences and few computers. In Cuba, cell phones are relatively new and with spotty service, and internet is generally only available on government-owned hotspots, with connectivity sold by the hour. They saw people who depend on each other for daily survival. Despite the step back in time, the Bethel students loved their tour of historic Havana and to the rural community of Viñales – three hours from Havana, where the students volunteered to work on organic vegetable and tobacco farms. They visited an elementary school, an art museum, and walked the streets of Havana and Viñales, with little concern for their personal safety. They especially appreciated the warm, friendly, and hospitable people, who loved their new-found friends as their own family. Viñales is surrounded by limestone cliffs, which provide a bird’s eye view of the tobacco farms below. From the lofty position, one can see riders on horseback moving about the countryside or beasts of burden pulling a plow to create deep furrows in some of the richest dirt found anywhere. As the group hiked a trail on the warm afternoon, they came upon a small farm, where the workers lay asleep in the barn and on the porch of a small farmhouse for a siesta. Bethel students offered their perspective of the trip. “Cuba is absolutely breathtaking and like a step back in time. After going on the trip, it has definitely given me a new outlook about life, people, and traveling. This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has forever changed my life. Who knew that a volunteer project could bring such a diverse group of students together. Some barely knew each other, but now we are all friends. Just an example of how wonderful God is: bringing the universe together for the good of humanity,” said Patience Ellington. “After only a week of serving the communities of Havana and Viñales, my life has been forever blessed! I encourage anyone who gets the opportunity to go! Thank you, Bright Light Volunteers and Bethel University for allowing us to serve as ambassadors for our wonderful school and great nation in an amazing and beautiful country that is filled with love, hope, and awesome salsa dancers,” said Josh Shaw. Ann Kimbrell said, “You really don’t know how much help others need until you live among them.” Lauren Lay said, “I told a friend I want to take every person I love back to Cuba with me; everyone deserves to experience that kind of bliss. A group of Bethel University students who went to serve the Cuban people ended up receiving more than we gave. The Cuban people are the most hospitable, gracious, and friendliest people I have ever encountered. I cannot put into words the joy in my heart or my love for this place and its people.”  Ryan McCrory said the adventure changed his life. Two other students are now considering careers serving in foreign destinations.  
  •   USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode presented awards recently to Bethel University President Walter Butler and National Campus and Community Development Corporation Chairman Greg Eden to commemorate their partnership that will benefit Bethel students. A Community Facilities Direct Loan used to purchase five campus facilities will separate real estate functions from the educational and operational functions of the University. Carroll County, where Bethel University is headquartered, is one of 53 counties in Tennessee designated for support under USDA's StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative. Strikeforce aims to increase investments in rural communities through intensive outreach and strong partnerships with community leaders, businesses, foundations and other groups that are working to combat persistent poverty. USDA Rural Development is moving investments to rural America with housing, business and infrastructure loans and grants to create jobs and strengthen rural economies with an emphasis to assist areas of persistent poverty. Since 2009, the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 230 communities in all 95 counties of Tennessee investing more than $6.6 billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants. For more information on USDA Rural Development programs available in Northwest Tennessee contact the Union City Area Office at 731-885-6480 x 4. Visit USDA Rural Development online at www.rd.usda.gov/TN.
  •   Bethel University will hold an Internship and Career Fair for its students and alumni this Thursday, March 31 in the Student Activities Room of the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment on Bethel’s McKenzie campus. The fair will be from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Companies in attendance at the Career Fair include: A Place Called Home, Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC, Asera Care Hospice, Becker Professional Education, Carey Counseling Center, Inc., Centennial Bank (formerly Farmers & Merchants Bank), CCA-Whiteville Correctional Facility, Dot Foods, Edward Jones, Enterprise Holdings, Fastenal, Generations Mental Health; Gaither’s Inc., Green Dot Public Schools, Jackson Police Department, Magnolia Regional Health Center, Memphis Theological Seminary, Northwestern Mutual, Pepsi Mid America, R.E.A.L Hope Youth Center, Regions Financial, Sherwin- Williams, Stanley Black & Decker, Tennessee Dept. of Revenue Audit Division, Transamerica Agency, Union University Master of Social Work Program, United States Probation Office, Women’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program (WRAP), and Youth Villages. Those attending are asked to dress in professional attire and to bring resumes. For more information, contact Heather Stone at stoneh@bethelu.edu.     
  •   Bethel University senior nursing students performed their final simulation for critical care on Thursday, March 17. The simulation consisted of a “car crash” that occurred just outside a hospital. The driver was a manikin, and the passenger was a human victim, his girlfriend.      According to Dayna Edwards, Assistant Professor of Nursing, 13 nursing students are scheduled to graduate during May 2016 Commencement ceremonies.      The Bethel nursing program recently received a 10-year reaccreditation with the next visit scheduled for April of 2025. This is the longest accreditation awarded by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and it indicates the highest confidence in the Bethel nursing program.      In January 2015, the Bethel University Nursing Program was also recognized after its most recent graduates had achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) – the test that gauges the readiness of nursing graduates to perform as nurses.       Bethel University offers undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The program prepares its graduates for entry level Registered Nurse positions in primary, secondary, and tertiary health care settings and for entry into graduate studies which lead to advanced degrees in nursing.      Bethel University also offers an online RN-BSN program that accomplishes the same outcomes as the on-site BSN program.      For more information about Bethel University’s Nursing program contact Kim Hammonds at 731-514-1410 or at hammondsk@bethelu.edu.
  •   Bethel University has selected Emily Hunt of Paris as the 2016 Hendrix Scholarship winner. Megan Stevens of Stantonville is the runner-up.      Bethel University’s most prestigious scholarship, the Hendrix Scholarship Competition, is a premier program established in 1988 by Mr. Willard R. Hendrix of Nashville, Tenn. The competition is for traditional undergraduate prospective students.      As the winner of the competition, Hunt has earned a full tuition, room and board scholarship to Bethel University for four years. Stevens, the runner-up, has earned a full tuition scholarship to Bethel for four years.      Hunt is the daughter of D.J. Hunt and Mary Smith. She attends Henry County High School. A member of Paris First United Methodist Church, Hunt plans to major in psychology.      Stevens is the daughter of Jess Stevens and Anita Stevens. She attended McNairy Central High School, and her intended major at Bethel will be business. A member of 4th Street Church of Christ, Stevens is also interested in Bethel’s Renaissance Performing Arts Program.
  • Bethel University invites you to “Easter with Renaissance”, Sunday April 3, at 6 PM. This event will feature all aspects of the Renaissance Program.
  •   On Tuesday, March 22 at 7 pm, the Bethel University Singers, soloists, and chamber orchestra under the direction of Dr. Brian E. Paulis, will present Handel’s Messiah at the Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center in Huntingdon, Tenn. (www.dixiepac.net) This event is free and open to the public, and the audience may participate in singing selected choruses from the work. BYOM: Bring your own Messiah.   What better way to prepare for the celebration of Easter? This is a non-ticketed event, and seating is available on a first-come, first served basis. A freewill offering will be taken at intermission to defray costs for this performance. 
  •   Bethel University was named the top accredited online school in Tennessee for the 2015-2016 school year.                 Accreditedschoolsonline.org recently analyzed data from hundreds of colleges across the nation with online degrees at the bachelor’s level. The goal was to discover which colleges offer the most notable balances of academic rigor, student support, and affordability for online learning – and Bethel University topped the list.                 “We are thrilled with the ranking, which includes vital data that every college student should take into account when choosing a university,” said Kelly Sanders-Kelley, Executive Vice President of Bethel’s College of Professional Studies.  “Moreover, coming on the heels of other recent awards -- to include Best Criminal Justice Program in Tennessee, and 2nd in the nation in BestColleges.com’s list of Best Online Christian Liberal Arts Colleges – the ranking confirms what we have always believed:  Bethel does things right.”                   "To have a nationally known and very respected agency like Accredited Schools Online independently rank our Online Programs as Number 1 in Tennessee is a huge honor for Bethel University,” said the school’s President, Dr. Walter Butler.  “We strive to be the best, and this lets us know that others think we are the best.  I thank our faculty and staff for their hard work in this achievement, and I know it further shows why so many students in our Volunteer State are choosing Bethel University to further their education online.  We are proud to be a part of higher education to our citizens of Tennessee."                  To determine the rankings, data analysts and college experts developed a proprietary scoring system to rank these colleges based on various cost-to-quality criteria and metrics, or the ASO Peer-Based Value. This proprietary metric compares qualitative aspects of colleges with similar costs against the tuition of colleges with similar quality metrics. The general criteria and scoring metrics include the student-faculty ratio; not-for-profit status; the number of online bachelor’s degrees available; the online tuition rate; the loan default rate; the six-year graduation rate; and job placement and career counseling for graduates.  Over 55,000 Tennessee college students are currently taking at least one online course, according to a recent study by the Babson Survey Research Group. “We wanted to recognize schools that are implementing convenient and cutting-edge technological learning opportunities to all students,” said Doug Jones, CEO and Founder of Accredited Schools Online. “These schools are not only offering exceptional programs, but they have expanded their program excellence to the much-desired online environment.”

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