Category Archives: Events

An Epic ECU Lip-Sync Battle: This Girl is on Fire!

By: Jackie Curtis, EC Scholar and Honors College Sophomore

Convo_45“My advice for incoming freshmen: don’t be afraid to try new things!  Step out of your comfort zone a little bit – you’ll be amazed how much you can learn about yourself!”  So I wrote as I sat in my room thinking about the millions of things I could say to the incoming freshmen at Convocation.  Out of all the ideas I had come up with, this one seemed, rather ironically, very fitting for the occasion.

A week before, I had received an email asking for volunteers to compete in a lip-sync battle at ECU’s Convocation.  The email was from an Honors College faculty member, so instead of doing my homework and confirming the details, I assumed that the email was referring to the Honors College Convocation.  I responded to the email saying that I would like to participate, thinking that a solo performance in front of a relatively small group of my Honors College peers would be a beneficial transition from my past experience with choirs and musical theater chorus ensembles.

At some point, as I was reading through the long stream of emails that ensued regarding the lip-sync battle, I came to the startling realization that it was not, in fact, the Honors College Convocation at which I had volunteered to lip-sync.  It was the general college Convocation – the one that close to five thousand freshmen would be attending.

To give some personal background, just about anyone who knows me would say that I am shy, quiet and reserved.  I am an introvert.  I like listening more than talking.  I don’t want to be the center of attention.  My agreeing to take center stage in front of what I thought would be around two hundred people was a pretty big deal.  Needless to say, I was slightly unnerved when I realized my misunderstanding.  The idea of performing in front of thousands of people was not especially appealing.

Fast-forward to the day of Convocation: I showed up at Minges a few hours before convocation began to run through my routine.  I had a great time watching my fellow competitors rehearse, watched as thousands of freshmen poured into the arena, took a few deep breaths before I went onstage in front of everyone, and then proceeded to have the time of my life.  I absolutely loved every second I was performing.  I never could have imagined that I would have so much fun doing something so far outside my comfort zone.

I will never forget the feeling I had while I was onstage performing.  I will also never forget the lessons I learned through this experience.  Number one: read emails thoroughly before agreeing to do things.  Number two: “step out of your comfort zone a little bit – you’ll be amazed how much you can learn about yourself!”

A Simply Delicious Living-Learning Experience

By: Matthew Chilton, Honors College Freshman 

Matt 1On October 25th,  I traveled with members of the Honors College on a Living-Learning Experience (LLE) called Simply Delicious. These LLEs are opportunities for students to explore outside the University and are a chance to build relationships with donors, business leaders, and fellow students. This trip was focused on agricultural business in Greenville and the surrounding cities.

Students eagerly loaded onto the bus at 2:30 p.m. at Minges Coliseum. The first half took place at the Starlight Farm on the outskirts of Greenville. The farm, owned by the Boutilier family, is used to supply their restaurant Starlight Café here in Greenville. The Boutiliers pride themselves in their all organic, low-impact farming. Mr. and Mrs. Boutilier guided us through planted mounds and pecan trees. The field was a little less than a quarter acre, which was a surprise to me to see that only a small plot of land is needed to stock a restaurant. (They do, however, use products from other local farms for their restaurant as well.) The Boutiliers explained various farming techniques that they employ in order to produce a high yield.

The modern farming industry, they pointed out, has an array of technologies that allow a single individual to operate a vast amount of land while using less labor. Tractors allow for plowing, combines are great for harvesting, and pesticides ensure that plants are bug free; however, the Boutiliers have adopted farming techniques that have been around since the Middle Ages. The goal of this is to grow crops for quality rather than quantity, which saves the owners money on supplies and land. Tactics like drip irrigation waters plants directly at the basal root and saves an exponential amount of water compared to a sprinkler. Also, caring for plants by hand allows them to inspect the crops for disease, something that mega farms can rarely do.

The Starlight farm grows an array of crops: beats, turnips, artichokes, tomatoes; and an array of herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary, to name a few. They also have a number of animals on their land, such as cows, sheep, chickens, apiaries filled with bees, and some friendly farm cats. They explained how to care for each animal and their significance to the farm; for instance, the sheep that they care for are an endangered breed that the major farming industry has discarded because of its wool properties. It seems that everything on the farm is carefully thought out in order to have a positive ecological impact. The Boutiliers recognize that it is a lot of work for two people, but they take immense pride in their work because they can produce something that can be shared with the community of Greenville.


After saying our goodbyes, we loaded back into the bus to go to Ayden where the Simply Natural Creamery is located. We were greeted with the smell that let us know we were certainly in the right place. Simply Natural Creamery is a brand new creamery owned by the Moye family. The creamery utilizes the family-owned dairy farm comprised totally of Jersey Cows, a fact they proudly display on their products.

The tour started with a video presentation of the milking process. The creamery has state-of-the-art technology that ensures that the milk is pasteurized and filtered properly, then separated to make certain dairy products. We then proceeded on a tractor ride throughout the facility and were shown the various feed types that the cows eat depending on the stage of the cow’s development. All of the feed is grown and separated on site, lending to the “Simply Natural” name.

21882878073_5b8699a7a0_oThe next stop was my favorite: “Calftown USA” is what the Moyes call it. Since the type of milk can be affected by the cow’s health, the Moyes ensure the health of all their cows by raising them from birth on site. Calftown is a plot of land that is sectioned off in order to provide a safe place for the calves to develop in their first few weeks. Each calf is placed in a dog house and given a square meter of outside space fenced off. We were allowed to go up to the calves and pet them. They were very docile and loved to be rubbed on their heads and necks. They acted like dogs in that they licked anyone nearby. The guide explained to us how they assist the mother cows giving birth. We then proceeded to the birth pen, where a one-hour-old calf was standing and gathering its bearings.

After leaving Calftown, we went to the holding and milking parlor and watched the milking process in-person. The parlor smelled sweet with the aroma of milk. The cows appeared calm and looked like they were enjoying the process. We learned that a single cow can deliver over five gallons of milk a session and that they have two milking sessions a day. Given that they have over 180 cows milked a day, the average day can yield anywhere from 1,800 to 2,000 gallons of milk, which can be sold the same day in a carton on the shelf of their store.

The final task on our agenda was to enjoy some complementary ice cream. Simply Natural Creamery has an assortment of flavors from Reese’s Peanut Butter to cherry vanilla. I enjoyed their cupcake-flavored ice cream, which was noticeably sweeter and lighter than store brand. It was the perfect end to an afternoon on the farms.

I am certainly thankful to have the opportunity to go on Living-Learning Experiences like this one. It is not possible to have such a great time off-campus without the support of the donors of the Honors College. I would like to express my gratitude toward those who put forth the time and effort in order for these programs to exist. Without their support, a unique educational experience such as this and countless others would not be possible. I am excited to hear about the next Honors College outing and will be sure to reserve a spot!

Showcasing Our Artists: Honors College Fine Arts Gala

By: McKenzie Shelton, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

mckenzieThis September marked an important event for the Honors College of East Carolina University.  Amidst the whirlwind of scientific research and technical training that swirls around us, the Honors College celebrated our inaugural Honors Fine Arts Gala.  This event was incredibly well-attended and proclaimed the growing support for the arts in the Honors family.  The Gala was a result of one of the Honors colloquia, the invention of an Honors arts student who realized that our fine arts students needed a time dedicated to showcasing their work and talents. The idea was wholeheartedly supported by the Alumni Association.

As a Film/Video Production student in the art department at ECU, I am grateful and fervently excited about this new happening.  There is a dichotomy between the sciences and arts that I believe is beginning to fade with the integration of interdisciplinary studies and open-mindedness.  Each year I recognize more of my fellow artists as academics and my scientifically-minded peers as creators.  There is an extreme attention to detail, planning, execution of ideas, and personal creativity in every vocation.  Upon googling ‘art,’ I found the definition to be illuminating of the interconnectedness between all people. The definition read, “The expression of human creative skill and imagination.”  We are all moving the human race forward through our innovation and use of resources.  Is a surgeon not like a painter, wielding the scalpel with the finesse of a medical Picasso?  Or a filmmaker similar to a psychologist, listening to people’s stories and relating human experience?  I hope greatly that this year’s Honors Fine Arts Gala increased awareness of the value of the arts, which I believe exists to communicate stories and process emotion.

In regards to the show itself, there were excellent presentations of musical theatre, including renditions from Titanic, Funny Girl, a wildly moving dance piece, a classical trio, film art, poetry, metal works, and ensemble theatre performances.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was so honored to see the faces of so many friends and family in the crowd, but mostly, I was proud to stand with so many other Honors arts students in front of our university. We stood declaring that we are here, we are important, and we appreciate this beautiful opportunity to share that which moves, challenges, and fulfills us.  Thank you ECU Honors College!

Through the Ages Performers 2015 (1)

Daring, Dancing, Dreaming: Honors College Fine Arts Gala

By: Kristalyn Gill, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

kg 1What is art without a little heart?

What is movement without initiation?

What is creativity without curiosity?

As an artist, I am fascinated with thinking not only outside of the box, but also outside of the thrift store where the box is stored on the second bookshelf to the right.

Like I said, I enjoy thinking differently. A junior dance performance major in the School of Theatre and Dance, I am constantly being exposed to new methods of creative thought and technical knowledge regarding dance training. My peers and my teachers challenge me to explore ideas, emotions, and inquiries through my craft and my passion of dance. Dance studios may not have desks and tables, but as dancers, we submit to our professors our undivided attention and dedication to constantly better ourselves as professionals and as individuals. We feed off energy, excitement, adrenaline, fear, and the weight of hundreds of eyes upon our skin rather than a numerical figure on the top on an exam. It is a different environment than what is occurring within other classrooms on campus; however, neither environment is superior to the other.

Academia and the fine arts go hand in hand. I am inspired to create dance pieces because of research. The information I glean from textbooks and essays ignite in me a curious desire to move and portray images in the form of dance. Being a member of both the Honors College and the School of Theatre and Dance is a huge blessing, one that has enabled me to expand in movement creativity and in educational discovery.

After learning that the Honors College was in the process of planning an event to celebrate the fine arts, I was ecstatic. Finally, my two families on campus were conjoining! My decision to participate was an instantaneous “yes.” I desired to share with the Honors College a piece of my training experience and ideas nurtured by my time at ECU through the medium of dance. I wanted to showcase that, because of my professors’ shared insight regarding performing and directing performances, I am able to craft and exhibit my own creative dance works.

When selecting a concept, I decided to generate a dance about the strength of women and their role as ezer kenegdos, or sustainers. I was energized and in awe of the power and bravery of women in the 1940s as they entered the work force. Also, I have multiple women in my life who serve as excellent role models through their optimism, dedication to personal success, and expansive kindness.

I casted Lauren Culver, a sophomore dance performance major that is also in the Honors College, to be my duet partner. She is a beautiful dancer and a wonderful friend who inspires me in her perseverance and her joy. Sharing the stage with her at the Honors College Fine Arts Gala was an experience like none other for me. We were blessed to perform and present alongside a handful of other artists who blew me away with their voices, films, poems, monologues, jewelry, and canvases. It was an honor to see and hear their talents and to share with our friends, families, and faculty mentors our love for the fine arts.

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In its entirety, I would like to say that the gala impacted the Honors College and the ECU community. It revealed that there are students within the Honors College that have academic rigor for a large variety of career fields. Also, the event allowed for a diverse group of fine arts disciplines to be presented during one performance, an interesting and exciting experience for many artists.

I fully enjoyed my experience participating in this wonderful, thrilling event. Thank you to the Honors College and the Alumni Society for assisting in sponsoring this event. Thank you to Dr. Linda Quick and Mr. Hardik Patel for taking initiative in coordinating the gala.

This experience brought me countless amounts of joy. What an incredible feeling it was to feel those stage lights on the night of September 12th, 2015.

I deny failure. To fail means that I have been defeated, kneaded like dough and burnt in the oven, yet I refuse to say that my art can be bludgeoned. I refuse to believe that my work is meaningless.

It is between creativity and ingenuity that I find my purpose.

ECU Alumnus Scott Avett Inspires Honors Students

By: McKenzie Shelton, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

Scott Avett PicSpirited dancing and head-banging, cheering fans, dripping sweat, and subwoofers pulsing with heavy bass–perhaps this is the most familiar audience to North Carolina native Scott Avett of the successful folk-rock band The Avett Brothers. On Sunday, August 23, 2015, Scott addressed a somewhat different crowd at the East Carolina University Convocation ceremony. Nervously giddy freshmen (and certainly many fans) awaited the introduction of the inspiring ECU alum after several amusing hip-hop dance routines from our beloved college athletes. It is hard to say what the new members of Pirate Nation were thinking at this major collegiate event, but I remember distinctly what I was thinking and feeling. As a film major in the art department at ECU, I had been selected by the ECU Honors College to attend convocation as well as an intimate question and answer session with Scott. I was eager to meet someone as renowned and talented as Scott Avett. It was hard to believe that I was going to have the privilege to sit down with a man who had “made it;” a fellow artist who had struggled through the muck of the industry, and was now cruising the seas of accomplishment. Although I had grown up hearing of his band, I was only vaguely familiar with his music. I prepared myself for convocation by listening to The Avett Brothers exclusively and doing a bit of digging on his personal life. From first impressions via internet, the man seemed to be a balanced Southern rockstar.

Perhaps you will notice my casual use of Scott’s name as opposed to the more formal Mr. Avett, Sir, or the equally appropriate Your Esteemed Honor. I take the liberty of familiarity because I can confidently attest that Scott would prefer it that way. After his speech, which was filled with insight, honesty, and advice about artistic and academic diligence, Scott spoke cozily with ten other students and me in the Murphy Center. Aside from his appearance–an expertly fitted suit, rugged facial hair, and scorching blue eyes–it was obvious to everyone in the room that Scott Avett had it. I am not talking about the kind of it with which movie stars command the screen, but the kind of it that commands a room. He was at once friendly, intellectual, and entertaining. He told stories about botched film auditions with Anne Hathaway, moving tales of his father’s love, and spoke to us about the challenges of balancing family and life on the road. He moved us to tears with the sincerity with which he spoke of his love of living, learning, art, and family. We all came away from the experience as if from a baptismal—renewed in the faith of our chosen paths.

Scott’s brilliance lies in his devotion to leading a purpose-driven life. He implores us to believe that he is not on the other side of “making it.” He has not “arrived,” or any other dichotomy of the learner vs. the learned. Scott, with his humility and lust for life, indicates to us that we are always on the journey. We are always looking for the next opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our world while finding a way to serve others. Scott Avett is pleasantly and unexpectedly down-to-earth, honest, composed, and kind. He is a role model to myself and all of those who have the pleasure of his company. From this experience I feel more at peace than ever about pursuing what I love, making a difference in the world around me, and simply being happy. Thank you so much to East Carolina and the Honors College, for making this experience possible for me and my classmates.

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