East Campus breaks ground on new buildings

By Natalie Villarreal, Ranger Reporter

Amarillo College’s East Campus is growing thanks to donations from the Amarillo Area Foundation and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. The construction on the East Campus began July 11, 2016, said Megan Eikner, dean of technical education. The new additions will include a new diesel bay for the Automotive Building as well as an airplane hangar. “One of the biggest things for us is that we will have additional space for the diesel program that will allow us to apply for our National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation Certification,” Eikner said. This addition will greatly improve the East Campus, according to Eikner. “It will also open doors to more students, since we currently do not have enough room.” They are also planning to build a concrete taxi way and a helicopter pad.

Terry Smith, aviation maintenance program coordinator and instructor, said the new additions will provide a safer learning area for students. “This will offer us a greater opportunity for safety, and provide a more conducive facility for our students.” With the new additions and increased room, Smith said he hopes to enroll veterans who can build upon their military pilot experience. “This will provide them with training for the things that they may or may not have done in the military,” said Smith, adding he is optimistic for the future of the Technical Education Program. “Some of our politicians are starting to see how important the vocational and technical education program is. They are starting to push Technical Education and it’s a great place to start.”

Claudia Arnold, program adviser for East Campus said she is excited about the expansion. “We hope to see more aviation students and more diesel students to grow East Campus for the technical education we want to give to our community,” said Arnold. AC officials say they expect the construction to be completed by the fall of 2017.


Common reader unites campus: Award winning novel focuses on romance and racism

Ranger Reporter

An era of hatred and war; a love story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet; a conflict about race and cultural identity … the 2016 Common Reader plunges students into the story of Chinese and Japanese immigrants living in Seattle in the 1940s. Common Reader Coordinator Courtney Milleson encourages students to explore the best-selling novel “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.
Reading the book will help students realize the importance of discussing difficult topics, such as racism and family arguments, said Milleson. “I want them to engage with conversations and understand that sometimes those conversations aren’t fun to have and are uncomfortable, but they have a voice, and their voice needs to be heard.”
The college uses the Common Reader to bridge the gap between students and faculty members, said Milleson. It is aimed especially toward incoming freshman, but also brings together the entire AC community.
Several faculty members will incorporate the book into their classes. From analyzing the characters’ relationships to listening to the Seattle jazz music featured in the novel, professors will be using the book to engage students in critical thinking, said Milleson.
“When cracking open your copy of the book, don’t be surprised if you find a few notes written inside,” she said. As the first effort to making students feel a personal connection to the AC family, faculty members have signed various pages, many with encouraging notes.
Incoming freshman should receive a copy of the book at Badger Bootcamp and New Student Orientation. Other students will be able to pick up Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet at the Ask AC counter on the Washington Street campus or from their instructors.
Several Common Reader events will be held throughout the year, including a visual arts competition and an appearance by the author. Ford will be speaking about the novel at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in the Ordway Hall Auditorium.

After 87 years, AC goes smoke-free

Ranger Reporter

Put down those vape pens, cigarettes and tobacco, Amarillo College is now smoke-free. As of Monday, Aug. 1, smoking is no longer permitted on Amarillo College campuses.The AC Board of Regents passed this ban Jan. 26 after a proposal initiated by the Student Government Association (SGA). All AC campuses are entirely smoke-free, both indoors and out. This prohibits the use of all cigarettes, vapes and tobacco products on AC grounds, and smoking is banned within 20 feet of any building entrance.
According to the Board of Regents the policy states, “Smoking of any tobacco products and the use of electronic or vapor smoking devices are prohibited on all Amarillo College property and in buildings and facilities on all campuses and locations, including parking areas, green spaces and walkways. The use of tobacco products which are smokeless and vaporless is prohibited inside any College building. This policy does not apply to East Campus Housing.”
Students and faculty have kept quiet about their thoughts on the ban so far, though that may change come the beginning of fall semester. Bob Austin, vice president of student affairs, said he thinks it will take a while to communicate the smoking policy to everyone; however, he does not expect to see any protesters. “I suspect that I will be required to address a few smoking issues in the upcoming semester but it definitely won’t be the most significant work that I do,” Austin said. “Frankly, I think that most faculty and students have forgotten about the change. Signs regarding the new policy are posted, so I expect that there will be renewed interest in this topic. That being said, I fully expect smokers to find the most convenient locations where they are allowed to smoke and that, in some cases, they will stand directly on the line,” he added.
David Lovejoy, a mass media major, said he has heard little from people about the ban. “Vaping is more of an issue than tobacco users on campus. I have been in classes where they assume it is OK to use these devices. Of course there will be people who get upset about the ban. In today’s world everyone takes every rule as a personnel affront that we all must wail and moan about. It comes down to the simple fact that it is a privilege to be here on campus,” Lovejoy said, adding he is interested to see how the ban will be enforced and hopes the AC Police department does not get “tied up” with it. “I do smoke cigarettes and cigars and I have no problem with the ban. My bad habits should not be the health burden of others. I do believe that the campus should be tobacco free and not just smoke free. I am far more put off by a cup full of dip spit left lying about than a cigarette butt,” Lovejoy said. “I see how the ban will limit my chances to smoke and in turn will reduce how much I smoke and maybe help me in quitting,” he added.
Joseph Wyatt, AC web content producer said, “Some people will be stunned to learn that a no-smoking policy is now in effect at AC, while others, even among the smokers, will simply take the news in stride.” “I do smoke,” Wyatt said. “I do not like it when my smoke annoys others. I smoke where I believe others will be least or at least marginally affected, but I understand also that the world is changing and it’s time that we do even more to respect the airspace of others; I’m OK with it….I’ll also quit hiking to the park the minute the policy is rescinded,” he added. Wyatt said he expects smokers will continue to find places where smoking is permissible, which is off AC property, adding, “Each campus has its own geography. In my case, should I choose to smoke — and I probably will — there is a city park just a stone’s throw to the south of my office, so I predict that you will find me there every so often. I do not expect to be alone because other smokers no doubt will find the park to be equally convenient.”
Free smoking cessation classes with free nicotine replacement products (patches, gum, lozenges) will be available monthly.

Student leaders reach new heights

Ranger Reporter

Amarillo College Student Government Association officers say this school year will be “super.”
Following tradition, the SGA executive board members have chosen a theme symbolizing their plans for the year. This year SGA officers have chosen theme of “super heroes” with a quote “not just a team, but a family.”
“Our super hero theme came up last minute,” said David Robles, SGA vice president. The E-board members were joking about a “Justice League” theme and wondered if there were any good quotes from the show. After a quick Google search, Robles found the quote, “That’s what we are, not a team, but a family” and adapted it to meet their needs.
Robles said the theme relates to the students because, “SGA wants them to feel that they have a family outside of their family at home, and there are people here who want them to succeed.” He added, “We want everyone we encounter to succeed and be the best that they can, regardless if we know who you are.”
Payton Nelson, an SGA officer, said the theme appeals to her because, “We need to become more of a family around the college, not just in SGA but between all clubs and students.” She said the SGA plans to work to unite the clubs and organizations, noting, “I think we all need to be more involved, even at Badger Boot Camp. It needs to be all of our faces not just SGA.” Nelson went on to say that the clubs need to be better recognized so students may be more involved. “Just show up and get involved,” she said.
SGA President Logan Nelson said the Student Government exists to boost involvement. “It’s to help students to get connected before moving on to something else. It’s there to find a support system and to have that support while here at AC.”
“Like our slogan says, ‘not just a team, but a family,’ SGA is my family, we know each other, we talk about everything,” Nelson said.
She encourages students to get involved in any club to “find your group, find where you fit in,” and noted that the SGA will sponsor fall semester events, including a “movie night” Aug. 25 by the Experimental Theater.
Nelson said the SGA is ready to take off with a fresh team of officers who are excited about bringing together a super family that supports all students.

Pokemon Go to college

Ranger Reporter

Pokémon Go has taken over parks, churches, malls… and Amarillo College. Every day, groups of students and nonstudents of all ages meet at the Washington Street Campus to achieve the goal people have chased for thousands of years—to catch a Pokémon.
Pokémon Go rolled out July 6, 2016, as an app for iPhone and Android devices. It gives users the opportunity to play the popular Nintendo franchise in the real world and it has been a hit since the first day. The app has enjoyed record popularity and Apple recently revealed that the game has been the most downloaded app on the App Store–beating Twitter and Tinder on the first week released.
Many AC students are regular Pokémon Go players. Maggie Tinoco, a mass media major, said she plays the game every two or three days. “I’ve caught around 35 Pokémon by now and I am really excited about the new updates,” Tinoco said. “I really like how this new game encourages people to go out and interact with other people while doing something funny.”
Mimi Tayong is not an AC student but she comes to the Washington Street Campus every day hunting for Pokémon. “My husband and I come to AC since we found out there are more than 10 pokestops around campus. We used them to increase our level in the game, I am level 20 by now and he is level 25,” Tayong said.
Aaron Hernandez, Tayong’s husband, said that they have made new friends since they started playing. “A lot of people come to AC around the same time every day. You can see the same guys and families walking around every day. They are like neighbors to me.”
The Washington Street Campus pokestops are located around the main buildings including the Amarillo Museum of Art, the Experimental Theatre and the Engineering Building.
Players can battle users from different teams at gyms. One such gym is located in the center of campus, at the clock tower.
Many students who have enjoyed the game over the summer say they won’t give up the pastime when fall classes start. Ashley Lucero, a nursing major who plays the game on a regular basis at AC, said “I like it. It gives me a place to go and hang out with my friends.” Lucero said she is not worried that Pokémon hunting will interfere with her school work. “Honestly, the pokestops around AC shouldn’t be considered a distraction. If you are there to learn, you are going to learn,” Lucero said.
Pokémon fever should continue thanks to future updates already planned for the game. According to Pokémon Go developer, Niantic, players can look forward to the release of multiplayer mode and Pokémon trade on the next updates.This map shows where all of the PokeStops are on campus.



Ziggy’s Virtual Viewpoint: Youtuber makes his mark

The time has come to spotlight another crazy, unlifelike person in the virtual universe. This week, let’s look at Markiplier, a man who has had a lot happen in his life.
Mark Edward Fischbach, known best by his online personality name, Markiplier, began his YouTube community shortly after his father died from advanced-stage cancer. Markiplier was also diagnosed with an appendicitis and a tumorous growth on his adrenal gland, which impacted his intentions to become a biomedical engineer.
Instead, he picked up a camera and started making videos of himself playing horror video games. He than began to reach out to charities, such as the Children’s Miracle Network and Extra Life, to support children in need.
Markiplier is best known for games such as 5 Nights at Freddy’s, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Happy Wheels and Surgeon Simulator 2013. He has an overactive style–often yelling, screaming curses and even crying during game play. He is also known for his vlogs, which address his supportive community and discuss inspirational topics and provide updates on his trips and conventions. where he interacts with children and fans.
Markiplier is someone who you should watch if you are seeking to figure out who you are or discover your purpose in life. Just watching his videos and learning more about his personal story shows that no matter what happens and no matter how dark it is you can always find the silver lining. So I urge everyone to take a moment and check out this YouTuber. He has many positive things to say that will make you look at your life differently and will bring you happiness.
For more Ziggy’s Virtual Viewpoint, see The Ranger Online at www.acranger.com.

Recording arts class strikes a cord

Ranger Reporter

The arts always have been and will be important at Amarillo College. The fall semester of 2016 brings a new kid to the arts neighborhood: the recording arts certificate. The new certificate falls under the mass media umbrella and covers everything from the fundamentals of cables and connections to acoustics and sound design. The curriculum also features training in the use of Avid Pro Tools, a high-end music composition and editing program.
Scott Beckett is the man behind the new certificate. He is a professor of music and the recording arts and a band director, with extensive experience in sound engineering, mixing and recording. “There are two sides to what we’re doing here,” said Beckett. “There’s a continuing education side of it, which is just Pro Tools. There’s also the academic side where we do not just Pro Tools training, but we do everything from sources, to mics, cabling, connectors, how to set up systems, how to do live sound, how to do recording, how to mix and how to edit. It’s kind of like a practical recording arts program,” he said.
The courses cover many aspects of the recording industry and offers chances to network with others in the industry, Beckett said.
The goal is that when students complete the program they will have the experience in a real world setting that allows them to be prepared for the real world of audio outside of AC’s walls.
“The fabulous thing about this is that they get to do all of that in a confined time period so that when they get out into a studio, they’re ready to go,” Beckett said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program should contact Beckett at rsbeckett@actx.edu or speak to one of the AC counselors.
Beckett said he has high hopes and expectations for the new certificate. With the vast knowledge and tools at hand, the success of the program is simply music in the making.

June Jazz reaches overseas

Ranger Reporter

June Jazz has been making a name for itself for the past 21 years, but it was not until this summer that these free outdoor concerts offered every Tuesday evening in June found new audiences. The performances aired live on AC’s radio station, FM90, 89.9 FM, and at kacvfm.org.
Hundreds of audience members and their pets spread across campus with lawn chairs, picnics and blankets. June Jazz was created in 1995 by music professor, Jim Laughlin.
“It’s a family-dominated crowd, and we see a lot of the same faces,” said Laughlin. “I think it’s safe to say that June Jazz has a loyal following that continues to grow. We find that gratifying, indeed.” Laughlin said the Tuesday-night audiences have increased in recent years to about 700 concert-goers a night.
“June Jazz this year reached a larger audience with the live FM90 broadcast. Beginning in 1996, with a dozen or so in attendance, I never imagined fans would be listening live from London,” Laughlin said. “My cousin and her friends tuned in live from a pub in England, I am so grateful to FM90 and our new School of Creative Arts for making this happen,” he added.
Jill Gibson, associate dean of the School of Creative Arts, said she thinks the popularity and growth of June Jazz is a great example of the benefits the School of Creative Arts offers. The School was established in March to nurture interdisciplinary collaboration among the various arts-related programs at AC.
“FM90 is a great way to share these very talented musicians with a far greater audience than can attend the Tuesday-night performances in person,” Gibson said.
“It is also provides excellent opportunities for our students to help set up and broadcast live events tangible preparation for the jobs they plan to seek. We have a radio station and we have a music department, so it’s a match made in heaven,” she added.
Streaming the concerts online allowed June Jazz to reach an international audience, from Laughlin’s cousin in England to listeners in Germany who shared the link on Twitter, Gibson said.