Learning Not to Stereotype: Haysi, Virginia Alternative Spring Break Experience

Written By: Kadedra Davis


Kadedra Davis

I participated in the ABE to Haysi, Virginia and I can honestly say I was not disappointed. Before the trip I took the liberty to look up Haysi, Virginia just to see where I was going, and the views that popped up were amazing. When I found out it was near the mountains I expected that was the main reason Haysi was one of my top choices. I began to read more and was shocked by how small the town was. I thought my hometown, Grifton, NC, was small, but Haysi was even smaller and unfortunately that’s when I began to stereotype in my mind. I began to think things like “What’s the culture going to be like? Will anyone be offended by my industrial ear piercing? How often do they have visitors?” One of my bigger thoughts was “How many African Americans are in this area, or how often do they have African American visitors?” I was afraid of the things I didn’t know.

12803022_10207971834910338_135968919882223061_nI always told myself that I was not going to be one of those people who put labels on others or one who stereotyped, but there I was before I had even gotten there. I decided to make sure I went in with an open mindset and to be open to what the experience had to offer and I’m glad I did. I learned a lot of things from the trip and I’m hoping to keep them with me for the length of eternity. I learned that just because you may not have financial resources doesn’t mean you’re not rich in others areas. The people of Haysi were a very close community and because of that they were like a family. When someone needed help they were all there to show their support.

I had the opportunity to talk and to listen in on a conversation that was held between an ECU student and one of the locals. The question was asked “What do you like most about living in Haysi, VA?” She responded that she liked that it’s a small community and that she didn’t have to worry about her daughters when they’re out around town. She said she like how safe it was. I never realized how many perks and great things there were about living in a small town until I saw this community for myself. They were proud, rich in love and a held sense of community which I’m glad I got to experience this for myself.

10415672_1167294953310711_1060545438817788352_nI hope to be able to do this again and to make sure I continue to pass on the things that I’ve learned with others. Even though it’s cheesy and everyone knows it, you really shouldn’t stereotype anyone because you always learn more than you plan.

Baltimore Alternative Break Experience : Homelessness & Poverty

Written By: Walter Wright; International Business Major, Spanish

IMG_5439Over spring break I participated in the Baltimore ABE : Homelessness & Poverty trip. We stayed in a Catholic Parish in the Edmondson Township. During the trip we went to a few different places owned and operated by the Catholic Charities. These places included: Christopher Place; previously Incarcerated Men Employment Academy; Our Daily Bread; a Food Bank, where we served Lunch and ate Dinner, and talked to some of the residents in the programs there; St. Vincent’s Villas; Mental Health Facility for Children; Sarah’s House; Homeless Shelter for Families; HeadStart Preschool Program; and  A Homeless Health Center for a Homeless Awareness Walk through Baltimore.


While on this trip, I learned so much more about what it’s like to be homeless. One of the biggest reasons people find themselves homeless is due to mental health. Seeing people suffer and so needy is heartbreaking. I never see much of homelessness in Charlotte, where I am from, the majority of what I see is poverty, if anything. After this experience I will definitely be moving forward with trying to help out with this issue more.


Leadership, Networking, and Guaranteed MBA Entry: Business Scholars

Kaleigh Launsby

Kaleigh Launsby, Business Scholar and Honors College Freshman

By: Kaleigh Launsby, Business Scholar and Honors College Freshman

We live in a world of constant economic, social, and political change. As a Business Administration major, I am able to learn about each of these sectors in a single discipline of study. A business degree is an extremely practical area of study, as the curriculum provides students with a plethora of real-world experience. I had heard about the Leadership and Professional Development Program as part of the College of Business before applying to East Carolina University. This program is in place to allow students to improve upon the essential skills for success in the workplace, including leadership, communication, and professionalism.

As a Business Scholar, I have the opportunity to build long lasting relationships with the College of Business faculty and staff. Before my freshman year began, I had the opportunity to attend a luncheon where I met with professors and other students. As an incoming student, this provided me with the confidence that I needed going into the first day of classes. I have also had the opportunity to meet with College of Business Dean, Mr. Stanley Eakins on several occasions. In the fall, all business scholarship recipients were invited to a networking event and reception at Dean Eakins home. Networking events like these help business students meet current students and faculty, alumni, as well as local business owners.

An undergraduate degree in Business will allow for a smooth transition into the MBA program at East Carolina. The Business Scholars program has granted me guaranteed entry into the nationally ranked MBA program upon completion of my undergraduate degree. This will allow me to bypass the GMAT examination as an undergraduate senior. I plan to complete my MBA on the one-year fast track that East Carolina offers. The skills that I have gained so far and that I will gain in the future at East Carolina will allow me to become a desirable candidate to potential employers.

Business Scholars

Haysi, Virginia – Alternative Spring Break Experience

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Rachel Potter

Written By: Rachel Potter

Over spring break I participated in an Alternative Spring Break Experience in Haysi, Virginia. Haysi was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, but the greatest thing about Haysi are the people that live there.

The people of Haysi were so kind and welcoming, and they really wanted to make sure we felt comfortable. Talking with some of the people in town made me understand what life in Haysi was like. Fresh fruits and vegetables were hard to come by, and because of that the town applied to be classified as a food desert. The shutting down of local coal mines put a lot of people out of their jobs, and even though those people had skills that could be transferable, there was no way for them to get any kind of training. In addition, another problem Haysi is facing is the lack of youth involvement in the community. From what I heard, many people leave Haysi after they graduate high school and never look back. These three issues combined is what poverty looks like for the people of Haysi.

While in Haysi our group completed a community service project. Our project was to build a retaining wall that people could sit on when there were festivals and gatherings downtown. The original plan was for the wall to be a retaining wall only, but we built it far enough into the ground so people could sit on it. In addition, we built a place for a flower bed on the end of the wall. The wall turned out beautiful and the people of Haysi really seemed to like it. Working extremely hard on this wall made me so proud of the outcome and the joy it brought to the people of Haysi.

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Another way we got immersed in the community was attending a square dancing class put on by the “Virginia Squares” at the Kiwanis Club. We attended the class on Monday night after a long day of building. I met many people there that had lived in Haysi their whole lives, and had worked in the coal mines before they were shut down. While these people had many reasons to give up, they never did and continued dancing and having a good time living their lives.

The people of Haysi have taught me that no matter what kind of biases you have about a certain group of people, you never know that person until you listen to their story. Poverty for Haysi is lack of access, specifically access to jobs, fresh foods, and youth engagement. I will never forget this trip, and hope that I will be able to go back to Haysi this summer to do more community service, because the people there deserve more opportunities. This trip has changed the way I look at poverty, and I hope I can live the rest of my life reflecting what I learned about poverty and overcoming biases.

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Participants in the Haysi, Virginia Alternative Spring Break Trip

AMA Headed to National Conference!

With the help of generous funding from the Student Government Association and the College of Business, fourteen members of the ECU’s chapter of the American Marketing Association will be attending the 38th Annual International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 17-19, 2016.

Undergraduate and graduate ECU students will have the opportunity to learn from prominent industry professionals about careers and cutting edge marketing practices. The AMA International Collegiate Conference inspires and provides AMA members the tools they need to start their career as young business professionals.

ECU’s chapter will be participating in multiple competitions over the course of the weekend including: T-Shirt Design competition, Pitch Perfect competition, Marketing Strategy competition, AMA Sales competition, and a Relationship Selling Certificate program.

AMA students will also have the opportunity to hear from and network with Peter Horst, the Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer of The Hershey Company, and Monica Skipper, the Vice President/Brand Experience Marketing Executive of FedEx Services. There will also be a Special Speaking Session with Google Analytics Program Manager, Deepak Aujla.

A few of the noted sponsors of this year’s conference are eBay, Hershey, Northwestern Mutual, ABC Suppy Co. Inc., Aerotek, and TEKsystems.

ECU Insurance Student Earns National Scholarship, Attends Conference

Kylia Hodge

Kylia Hodge; Risk Management and Insurance

ECU Risk Management and Insurance student Kylia Hodge recently earned a national scholarship from the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD), a nonprofit organization serving the insurance industry.

More than 90 students and young professionals applied for the ACORD2015 Student and Young Professionals’ Scholarships, and winners  will attend the organization’s flagship conference in Boca Raton, Fla. in early November. The students represent 13 universities including Florida State University, University of Georgia, University of Alabama, and St. John’s University.

“We have plenty of great things planned for the students this year, like our Student’s Night Out and more,” said Malou August, ACORD Director of Conference Programs and Virtual Events. “This is a great group of young people with a deep pool of talent that we will foster and develop at ACORD2015.”

“I’m so excited to attend ACORD2015 as one of the ACORD scholars. I can’t wait for this opportunity and will represent ECU proudly,” Hodge said.

Hodge, originally from Charlotte, plans to graduate in May 2016.  After graduation, she hopes to work in entry-level underwriting for an insurance company and complete her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.

The Textchange App Created by ECU Student Sara Dover

thetextchangeThe Textchange is an app that provides a marketplace for ECU students to buy, sell and trade textbooks among their peers. The business was founded in August of 2013 and launched in April of 2015. Sara Dover, the founder, recruited a marketing team of 11 ECU undergraduate students from the College of Business during the fall semester of 2014. Together, the team was able to successfully execute several marketing efforts throughout the course of the spring semester. These included hosting events at student apartment complexes, working closely with established small businesses within the community, and sponsoring Relay for Life. The Textchange also participated in the pitch competition at Spazz Fest in March of 2015, and worked closely with the American Marketing Association of ECU throughout the start up process.


The Textchange is currently undergoing some changes to promote future growth. Dover has taken on a partner, Ferdinand Rouse, an MBA student at ECU. Rouse is in the process of pursuing new directions to help students have access to more affordable textbooks in the future.

The Textchange recently participated in the Emerging Issues, BB&T, and ECU Small Business Institute for the Discovery Forum on October 1, 2015. Here The Textchange pitched their idea to a group of judges. The Textchange team, consisting of Sarah Dover and Ferdinand Rouse, placed third in this competition and will be moving forward in the competition for a chance to win $10,000 to help their idea become a reality.

The resources at ECU have been essential in the beginning successes of The Textchange. The support of the faculty along with the focus on entrepreneurship makes the environment at ECU an excellent place from small business to thrive.

College of Business Student Named NAPSLO Scholar

IMG_0080The National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO) recently named ECU senior Houston Pittman of Greenville as its Bermuda Scholar for 2015.

Pittman completed a competitive 10-week NAPSLO summer internship program in August, selected as one of 16 interns nationwide – out of a pool of nearly 100 applicants. Those interns attended NAPSLO’s Annual Conference in September and competed for three scholarships to study the London and Bermuda markets. Pittman is the first student from ECU to be admitted to the NAPSLO internship and scholar programs.

While in Bermuda for three weeks, Pittman will learn the particulars of that marketplace and how it interacts with the U.S. and U.K. industries more broadly. There will be an emphasis on reinsurance, as well as an examination of how the industry interacts with the local economy.  He will spend time with a home office in Bermuda, but he will also visit its regulatory authorities and the Chamber of Commerce to get a comprehensive view.

Dr. Brenda Wells, director of ECU’s Risk Management and Insurance program, said, “I couldn’t be more proud of Houston. He put forth an amazing effort to earn a position in this prestigious group of students, and not only was he selected for the program, he earned one of its two highest honors. He is a pleasure to have in class and a wonderful ambassador for ECU’s College of Business.”

Pittman plans to graduate this December with a concentration in Risk Management and Insurance. During the school year, he has worked 30 to 40 hours each week as an ECU Transit supervisor, along with his work as a full-time student. He currently serves as president of ECU’s Gamma Iota Sigma chapter, the international risk management, insurance, and actuarial science collegiate fraternity. Pittman has earned three scholarships for academic achievement during his time at ECU.

Goodbye Australia

June 21, 2015

Chris Banks

Chris Banks; Management; Senior; Washington, NC

Unfortunately the time has come to leave Australia and head home to the states.  That day started off extremely early with the sound of my phone alarm chiming at 2:45 am.  I opted to pack in the morning because I was exhausted that night and knew I had time to rest on the many plane rides we were scheduled to take that day.  Heading over to Australia was not that bad because everybody was fueled with excitement.  On the way back to the states however, the plane rides were not as exciting as I came to the realization that it was time to head back home.

The trip home required a total of 4 flights, going to Australia we lost a day, but coming home we all gained a day.  We arrived at Cairns Airport at 4:30 am and departed at approximately 6:00 am en-route to Brisbane Airport.  After the 2.5 hour flight we arrived in Brisbane and gathered our bags and headed through customs.  After everyone made it through customs we boarded the plane and began the 12 hour flight over the Pacific Ocean to Los Angeles, CA.

After watching way too many movies and being way too stiff and sore we finally arrived in LAX at 6:25am.  I was kind of nervous as to whether everyone would make it through Customs and Border Protection in time to board our next flight.  This nervousness was amplified by the lack of sleep too.  Luckily, the staff at the airport greeted us with passes to by-pass the long lines because we had about 2 hours until our flight left for Dallas, Texas.  After successfully getting through Customs and Border Protection, I decided to get some Bugles and a Coke to prepare for the next flight. Two down and 2 to go, we finally departed from LAX at 8:35 am and arrived in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas at 1:45pm.  Of all the flights that we took over the 2 week period this, for me, was the worst one; I was exhausted but could not get comfortable enough to fall asleep.


We are so close to being home, well sort of.  In Dallas Fort Worth, Texas we had about 5 hours until our next flight.  I was excited about finally getting some rest.  I was able to find a TV to plug my headphones and nodded in and out for about 30 minutes.  Realizing that I wasn’t able to sleep I got an energy drink and drank as I wandered around the airport.  That is what I needed, as we were waiting for our next flight. I’m not sure if everyone was delusional due to the lack of sleep but time flew by because we all were laughing at everything and having a good time.  Finally, we boarded our final flight at 5:50 pm en-route to our 2.5 hour flight to Raleigh Durham, NC.  Fortunately, I was able to have the whole row to myself and was finally able to get some rest.  I awoke to the sounds of the flight attendants preparing the cabin for landing.  Then I realized we had finally made it back home safely.

Great Barrier Reef

Sam Dugdale

Sam Dugdale

Today we visited the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia. We sailed out to the reef in a huge catamaran that had a big deck in the front so we could lie out and get the best experience as possible. The ride out was about an hour and a half and by the time we got there I was already sunburnt, so I needed to keep the lotion on. Australia is known for bad cases of skin cancer, so I didn’t want to risk that! As we sailed closer to the island, the crew fed the fish on the left side of the boat and we got to see the most colorful and fluorescent fishes. The water was crystal clear and I was eager to jump in right away. A beach buggy pulled up next to the boat and we all got on and were ready for snorkeling.

Swimming in the Great Barrier Reef was one of the coolest things that I have ever done. An experience I will never forget. With my GoPro in hand, I was kicking my fins and snapping pictures of the most beautiful marine life in the world.

Sam Dugdale -Great Barrier Reef

Fish, sea turtles, and giant clams filled up my view of what was truly amazing. The reefs were bigger than I had expected them to be, and the floor of the ocean sometimes reached more than twenty-five feet. We snorkeled for about 2 hours but time stood still and it felt like a lifetime that we were out there. When we got back on the catamaran we were served a nice buffet style lunch which consisted of rice, chicken, beans, salad and beverages. The sunset on the ride back to shore was breathtaking and pictures did it absolutely no justice. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most amazing places in the world and I advise everyone to visit if they can!

Great Barrier Reef

This trip to Australia was life changing and I encourage everyone to take this opportunity if it is given to them. Australia is a beautiful country that is filled with some of the nicest people that I have ever met. I will never forget the experiences in Australia for the two weeks I studied.