I was co-managing editor of this edition of UTK CCI’s SCOOP Magazine Spring 2017. I also have a couple stories featured in the publication.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Santos was chosen to to receive the award for his efforts to end the civil war going on in his country for over 50 years.
According to Nobelprize.org, it has been a war that has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to six-million people.
Santos has wanted to move toward peace in his country. The Colombian people voted on a referendum and the result was much different than what Santos wanted.
The fact that a majority of the voters said no to the peace accord does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead. The referendum was not a vote for or against peace, according to the nobelprize.org.
The people voting against the referendum just had a problem with the specific way of getting peace.
President Santos has taken the job of gaining peace in his country very seriously. He said that he will work at it until the day that he dies.
The committee hopes that awarding Santos the prize will show everyone that striving for peace is at utmost importance. They hope that it will give him strength to complete his tasks and move forward.
According to the committee, his endeavors to promote peace thus fulfil the criteria and spirit of Alfred Nobel’s will.
For many, the early 20s are when you graduate from college. That is not the case with 23-year-old Navy veteran Allen Hooper.
Hooper is from Redford, Mich., and after graduating from Winston Churchill High School, he enlisted in the United States Navy on June 12, 2012.
“I’ve always wanted to see what being in the military was like [and] I think being in Boy Scouts played a big role; the structure is pretty much the same,” said Hooper, “Also [I] didn’t want to waste a bunch of money going to college not knowing what I wanted to do. Being stuck in Redford my whole life didn’t sound like the best plan for me.
Hooper explained that the process of enlisting in the military is extremely long because of all the background checks, paperwork and drug tests that are required. After swearing in, he went to bootcamp in Chicago, Ill., for eight weeks.
“The last week before I left I was so nervous!” explained Hooper, “I barely ate [because] I always felt so sick to my stomach.”
Hooper said that as soon as everyone got off the bus, they were being yelled at for everything.
“Then they make you pull out a phone if you had it with you and call your parents or whomever to say you made it and you love them. You only had like 20 seconds.”
Bootcamp was brutal but some of the best times he has had, according to Hooper.
“Yeah it sucked, but it sucked with everyone…you become a family,” he said.
Hooper said that the worst day in boot camp was when they were getting beat by their Recruit Division Commander instructors, a.k.a doing workouts.
“They made everyone chug their water and then workout and repeat,” said Hooper, “I watched this girl throw up right back into her bottle.”
Hooper explained that the bathrooms were blocked with their bunks so that no one could use them. That led to people peeing their pants.
“Then they made us sit straight up on our knees and hold our water bottle out in front of us as we watched this video of this little girl talking about how her dad was killed in 9/11.”
Watching that video made Hooper realize what he was meant to do; he said that it made him stronger.
After graduating, he was sent to the Naval Station in Norfolk, VA., and became a boatswain’s mate and was assigned to the USS Kearsarge LHD3.
“It’s an amphibious ship, so it’s about 200 feet shorter than an aircraft carrier,” explained Hooper. “Our main mission is to taxi marines to certain areas of the world.”
A boatswain’s mate is mostly all about the evolutions: such as anchoring, small boat operations, launching LCACs (a.k.a hover crafts) into the ocean for marine debarkation and cargo replenishment, according to Hooper.
“Those evolutions didn’t happen everyday, so we had to fill in the blank with extra ship maintenance.”
Hooper had a strict schedule everyday. He would skip breakfast to sleep longer, clean the ship, go to work, get lunch, back to work and then five hours of standing watch.
“So, my routine was work, watch, gym, email, Sons of Anarchy, then sleep and repeat everyday,” said Hooper.
Hooper was deployed twice during his four years of service. The first time for 10 months and the second for seven months.
“The first time I was deployed was in 2013, and I went to the Mediterranean Sea. I got to see Spain, Israel, Jordan, Dubai and Cyprus. Then I was deployed again in 2015 and went to Spain, Jordan, Oman, Dubai and Bahrain.”
The first deployment was uneventful, according to Hooper.
“The second deployment we were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve,” said Hooper, “While we were still stateside, we did a short search and rescue mission for two boys that were lost off the coast of Florida. We searched until we needed to go across the Atlantic.”
After his four-year term was up, he declined the offer to re-enlist for another term.
“The navy changed a lot, even in the few years I was in. I loved it at first! It was amazing and so much fun, but then I got new bosses and you can only put up with so much.”
Hooper said that if he could do it all again, he would not change anything. The activities he has done, places he has seen and people he has met have forever changed his life.
“It’s an experience that only few will understand, and many will wonder what it’s like. When you are in the military, you grow a bond with people that you’ve never had before.”
After retiring from the Navy, Hooper is now working in Washington as a groundsman for fiber optic cables.
University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek had lunch with about a dozen students on Friday at the Student Union.
He decided to treat 10 students at random to meals from Chick-fil-A, and they sat together at a big table.
The students were grateful for the opportunity from the chancellor.
“That was kind of him,” said Jan Smith from Asheville, N.C., “I ended up ordering the 12-piece nuggets instead of the four-piece I normally do. Now I won’t be starving for a few hours.”
Chancellor Cheek feels that it is a great way to get to know students and get their feelings about what is going on around campus.
“We try to do this about once or twice a quarter to try to talk to the students on their level,” said the chancellor, who added that he ordered a fried chicken sandwich and a sweet tea with lemon. “We want to work towards better communication. Discussing topics farther and in more detail gives us in administration more insight.”
The students that participate in the event say that it’s nice to be able to have their voices heard from the administration of the university.
“I thought it was good,” said Mark Macon, a senior in Political Science from Cookeville, Tenn. “It lets us see that the Chancellor is easy to talk to and interested in the students.”
The topics differed from student to student but all events are open for discussion.
“We talked about some of the issues that have been in the news lately, like the Pride Center,” added Smith. “But overall, it was fun. I was going to get a Bar-B-Que sandwich until I found out about the lunch.”
This week is Diversity and Inclusion Week in the College of Communication and Information at UT.
Students can take part in a variety of events throughout the week that are meant to bring students together and teach them about diversity.
Ashley Butler, Events Coordinator of the Diversity Student Leaders Society, said that she feels this week of events is crucial to UT because there is a problem with diversity on campus.
“There is a problem because a lot of students come to the university with previous prejudices and don’t necessarily know how to handle differences,” said Butler, “The reason we have these events is to bring students together to talk about how to handle the differences and understand their fellow peers.”
Butler said that the recent Pride center vandalism really shows that there problems at the university with diversity and inclusion.
Along with Butler, senior Katelyn Houston also feels that there is a diversity problem on campus.
“It’s not just on campus, but the entire country is having a problem with diversity and inclusion,” said Houston.
Houston said that she supports the Diversity and Inclusion week of event because people need be more accepting of everyone.
The weeks events end with a big festival on Thursday. The festival will include more interaction with people and different activities. It is meant to bring people together.
The first presidential debate aired Monday night. Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton battled verbally against each other for the entirety of the debate.
UT Senior Alexis Fitzgerald watched the whole debate, and said that Clinton dominated it in her opinion.
“I thought that Hillary won the debate. She was very composed and prepared” said Fitzgerald. “She [blew] Trump away and really got under his skin.”
Fitzgerald said that when he [Trump] attacked her [Hillary], she held it together.
Senior Katelyn Houston watched part of the debate and said that both candidates were childish.
“I only watched an hour and fifteen minutes of the debate before turning it off because of how immature the candidates were being,” said Houston.
Houston and Fitzgerald both can agree that Clinton was more composed than Trump.
“She is used to being on screen, and her answers were more mature than his. Her body language was handled well,” said Fitzgerald.
The debate consisted of multiple questions about different issues that both candidates had to address.
“I feel like most presidential candidates usually go around the question and answer a completely different one,” said Houston.
Fitzgerald agreed with Houston and said that Trump’s diversion of questions just further shows Clinton’s winning of the debate.
“She answered the questions that were asked and Trump would divert away from actual questions,” said Fitzgerald.
Both Houston and Fitzgerald agreed that Hillary won the debate, and that Trump was very immature during the whole process.
Against the odds, the Tennessee Vols ended Florida’s 11-game winning streak on Saturday. The won over Florida, 38-28.
Even though UT didn’t seem like it was there to play at all during the first half, they definitely played some football in the second half.
After throwing four consecutive touchdowns, UT pulled off a 10 point win.
My personal experience probably does not reflect any excitement that I have toward the Vols winning. Since I did not attend the game, I was confined to watching it on TV.
I was supposed to work a double on game day but I ended up getting the night off, which only furthered my excitement for UT.
Even though I got off work before the second quarter, I did not start watching the game until about halftime. I was tired of listening to fans everywhere talking about how awful the Vols were playing, so I didn’t really care to watch it just yet.
The University of Michigan was playing Penn State at the same time of the UT game. Being from Michigan, I will always have a special place in my heart for the Wolverines.
Michigan was winning over Penn State by double digits and it was a pretty interesting game to watch. So I flipped between both channels every few moments to keep updated with the scores.
Once I was sure that Michigan was going to win, I started watching the Vols game more. Once I started doing that, Dobbs threw a touchdown pass.
I was home alone on my couch, so I didn’t really yell or shout, but I was still filled with excitement that UT was finally in the game.
I was able to text about the game with friends, and that is where most of my excitement went.
Not to mention that I was sick during the game so I really didn’t do much besides lay on the couch and fight sleep.
There is no better medicine than watching your teams win a huge game. Watching UT pull off such a great win instantly made me feel better.
I hope to go to the game next year and watch the Vols win against the Gators again. I think UT just started a new streak, but it will last even longer than the previous one.
The Tennessee Vols will take on the Florida Gators on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The two teams have one of the longest ongoing rivalries in college football.
UT is 19-26 all-time against Florida Saturday marks the first year since 2012 that both teams enter the game undefeated.
ESPN College GameDay will be at a UT game for the second time this season to broadcast the game. The first time was at Bristol Motor Speedway.
UT students are amped up for the game this weekend, when Neyland Stadium will be checkered white and orange.
“I have never been to a UT-Florida game before because it was in Florida last year” said senior Alexis Fitzgerald, “So I watched it on TV and I was heartbroken when the Vols lost.”
One student has never gone to the Vols versus Gators and did not really care to try to request a ticket because they are based off of a point-based system.
“I don’t even bother requesting a ticket anymore because it goes off of attendance based points, so I know I would never get one,” said senior Kierra Harvey.
UT might be full of the most devoted fans in college football, so be this game has some of the students uncertain.
“I want them to win, but I am not certain because so many key players are out with injuries. We’re not a throwing team, we’re a running team. Florida’s offense is really good and I am extremely concerned for the game…but GO VOLS!” said Fitzgerald.
While some students are not going to the game, most still plan on watching it.
“I plan on going to a sports bar with some friends to enjoy food and watch the game,” said senior Katelyn Houston, “It has air-conditioning, my friends can all sit together, and I don’t have to pay for overpriced stadium food and drinks.”
Students will continue to support the Vols, no matter the outcome of the game, but they all hope to end the 11-year losing streak to the Gators.
Game-day festivities will kickoff at 9 a.m. on ESPN.
Tennessee Smokies owner Randy Boyd proposed last month to relocate the baseball team by 2019.
In the proposal sent to Sevierville and Sevier County, Boyd suggested the Double-A baseball team could remain playing in Sevierville through the 2018 season.
Boyd, the state’s economic and community development commissioner, recently purchased approximately 7 acres in Knoxville’s Old City for $6 million, fueling speculation he might bring baseball back to Knoxville.
A July 19 email from Sevier County Economic Development Executive Director Allen Newton cited information from Boyd and said a stadium in Knoxville would cost in the “$50 to $60 million range.”
Newton’s comments and Boyd’s proposal were in emails obtained by the News Sentinel via a public records request. Knoxville officials and Boyd began discussions on moving the Smokies to downtown Knoxville from Sevierville as early as 2014, emails obtained in a separate public records request show.
In the emails, Newton said he was “shocked” that “Knoxville and Knox County would even make a proposal to Randy Boyd Sports,” knowing significant years remain on the Tennessee Smokies lease in Sevierville. The lease expires in 2025.