Articles by Bethany Aspey

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Today, we’re introducing to you a new weekly “How to” series. Each Friday, we’ll be sharing some practical and hopefully helpful tips on a variety of topics, starting with how to never stop learning.


 

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Nerd alert: I love to learn. I think that’s why I enjoy working with technology so much — it changes constantly and forces its users to continue learning and innovating.

As it’s currently the second session of Summer Stampede, looking at all these incoming freshmen makes me a little envious of their next four years. They have so much to learn and so many amazing opportunities to do so! But then I remember something I once heard upon entering college: You go to college for one main reason — to learn how to really learn.

So what are we, as postgraduates, learning now? Going back to school for a graduate or professional degree is valuable if you are able to make that commitment, but it is by no means the only avenue to make learning a priority in your life.

What if we were to view our diplomas as a license for a lifetime of learning instead of a certificate of achievement? Here are just a few methods in which I like to keep learning at the top of my to-do list:

1. Read. It’s not always easy to carve out time to read, but I recommend making it a priority. There is value in fiction and nonfiction, so try to include a little of both. If your attention span is as short as mine, try getting the more in-depth reads in audio book format to listen to while you run errands, do dishes, etc.

2. Subscribe to newsletters or news networks. You can’t be effective in a world you know nothing about. Keeping informed is what empowers us to instigate change. Most online news outlets offer an option for email subscriptions, so sign up and start your day in the know.

3. Listen to a podcast. When I feel like every song on the radio has been played 8,000 times, it’s nice to switch things up with a podcast. There’s a podcast for practically every topic you can think of, so download one to your phone and play it during your work commute in the mornings.

4. Attend local lectures or readings. If the idea of sitting in a lecture after work makes you want to take a nap, fear not. Local lectures are a unique opportunity to hear from real people making a real difference. Harding’s American Studies Institute Distinguished Lecture Series is a great example. You can’t just listen to Condoleezza Rice for 45 minutes and go back to life as a couch potato.

5. Take a weekly class. Classes offered in your community are the perfect place to meet new people, discover a new favorite hobby, or even simplify your daily routine. Organizations that commonly offer weekly classes are schools, hospitals, gyms, libraries and others. Take a cooking class. Pick up photography. The options are endless.

6. Join a club or professional organization. If you’re not sure what’s available in your area, websites like MeetUp and GroupSpaces allow you to find others with similar interests or hobbies for group events in your area. Join a group that meets weekly, find a professional conference, or even host your own event.

7. Discover webinars and blogs. Webinars and blogs have made all the difference for me professionally. There are endless resources and topics to learn from experts, and the best part is most are free. Bloggers are also generally pretty good about responding to messages — so why not gain a professional contact and mentor? Which brings me to my next point:

8. Find a mentor. Find people who are already where you want to be in the future. If hindsight vision is 20/20, shouldn’t we be seeking advice from those who have already been where we are and have a better perspective?

9. Travel — or at least be a tourist. How sad it would be to only know about one piece of the world. One of my favorite parts about being in the Harding community is how much travel is encouraged. If time or finances restrict your travel opportunities, find ways to be a tourist in your hometown. Seek new places and experiences simply for the sake of adventure.

10. Be a project person. There’s something to be said for those who take pride in their work — which is often the result of a pet project. We all have unique skills and talents and, therefore, an obligation to use them and contribute. Find time in your day for something made entirely on your own. Whether it’s starting a garden or your own business, take risks, practice perseverance and make it yours.

Bethany Aspey, web content manager

Famous for FifteenThis morning on the way to work, “The Final Countdown” started playing on the radio. How appropriate. While our alma mater is typically the anthem associated with Harding, this next week is a different story — next week is “The Final Countdown.”

It’s crunch time for many on campus involved in Spring Sing to get the final details of choreography cleaned up, to finish the final touches on props and costumes, and make sure lighting, sound and graphics are perfected.

On another side of campus is another final countdown: the new Harding website. While the countdown to the website involves more coding than excess glitter, Spring Sing and the website both bring visitors to our campus, so I’d make the claim that they both serve an important purpose.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 11.53.06 AMBut through my time on The Bison newspaper staff, in my internships and now in the Office of Public Relations, I’ve learned that strenuous deadlines are when people amaze you the most. It could be a project that has moved along like molasses until that deadline sneaks up on you, and then magically all the brilliant ideas you’ve been waiting for come out of the woodwork. It’s then when you see that every person involved has enough motivation and determination to run a marathon while playing the guitar and conducting an orchestra.

Please note: If you actually know someone who can do these three things at once, please send their information. I’d like to interview them.

Regardless — it’s go time, and exciting things are happening on Harding’s campus.

Stay tuned for the website redesign launch coming March 31, and join us for Spring Sing “Famous for Fifteen” April 2-4.

Bethany Aspey, web content manager

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Say Thanks Day is an event that gives students the opportunity to acknowledge and say thank you to donors who have given to Harding. Say Thanks Day began in 2012 and has grown with each passing year. The event was created to bring awareness to students of how much donors contribute to their Harding experience.

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This year on Say Thanks Day, we encouraged the student body to say thanks via social media. The theme was “Tag Your Thanks.” Many students took to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so that all donors could see the impact their donations have had on the students’ lives.

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There were a number of activities for students to be involved in on Say Thanks Day, including writing thank you notes to donors, calling donors to thank them personally, and tagging their thanks through social media. Through a generous donor, students had three opportunities to win a $300 scholarship this year by participating in each of these opportunities. By going to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and looking up #SayThanks, you can see the posts students and alumni made thanking donors for their investments in the students’ lives. By the end of the day, there were more than 2,000 thank you cards written, and many students made calls to donors. Scholarship winners will be announced next week.

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Senior Tin Nguyen was one of many students who expressed why he is thankful for his Harding experience. Donor support has given him the chance to grow as a person and experience everything that Harding has to offer. You can watch his video here.

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There is a lot of planning that goes into making Say Thanks Day successful, and it could not have been done without the help of the University’s advancement office. With the help of approximately 130 student volunteers and cooperation from President McLarty and several departments on campus, we had a successful Say Thanks Day full of gratitude and appreciation for our donors. I would like to personally thank all who generously give to Harding and who have an impact on each and every student. I was changed by my Harding experience and am extremely grateful for the chance to work with donors who make it possible for others.

Sarah Bobo, Young Alumni Associate

 

 

 

campusStudents were able to get a few extra hours of sleep on Monday and Tuesday as the University was closed for two consecutive snow days. While campus became a place of sledding and makeshift ice hockey, the Higher Learning Commission assessment, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, went forward as faculty and staff braved the cold to attend this important occasion.

The HLC team, described as “fact finders,” met with faculty, staff and students through several joint meetings to gain a clear understanding of the inner workings of Harding. Though the team was unable to assess students in a classroom setting due to the snow days, the meetings and tours proved to be helpful and informative.

Grateful that so many were able to attend the meetings despite the weather, University Provost Dr. Larry Long sent out a thank you email to all faculty and staff.

“I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for each of you who braved the icy conditions to be on campus and attend the meetings on Monday and Tuesday with the members of the HLC visiting team,” Long wrote. “Your extra efforts to attend and make meaningful comments in those meetings made a great impression on the team and demonstrated the quality and dedication of the Harding University faculty and staff. It is easy for me to say nice things about you all and about how you represent Harding and support its mission because it is all true. I thought about calling you all great troopers, but this week I believe it would be more appropriate to say that you are all great storm troopers.”

The HLC team finished their report today at noon, and results will be sent to the Higher Learning Commission for consideration.

Bethany Aspey, web content manager

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HU_CORE.jpgSunday afternoon, more than 75 new students, transfer students and parents attended the first CORE (campus orientation and registration essentials) event hosted by the University’s first year experience office. Incoming students were invited to finalize enrollment tasks, get to know one another, and become acquainted with various areas on campus.

The event provided students with the opportunity to collect their student IDs, complete essential business tasks, and receive academic advising for class registration. Students also were invited to participate in a panel discussion with faculty and staff, followed by a Q&A session.

The day ended with a meal and devotional led by Student Association ambassadors and a final campus tour. The tour was led by the FYE office peer guides — students chosen by the FYE office to help guide new students into an easy transition into college life.

“It’s always exciting to welcome new students to campus,” said Kevin Kehl, director of academic resources and the first year experience office. “Registering for classes, getting oriented to the campus environment, and making new friends prior to the start of classes are all important aspects of beginning a successful college experience. We are honored that they have chosen to join our community of mission.”

– Bethany Aspey, web content manager

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Thinking of what do to with friends or for a date in Searcy during the weekend can get frustrating. After a while it starts to feel like you’ve been to all the restaurants, and if there isn’t a good movie playing, it feels like your option is to seek an activity in another town or just stay in. But this is not the weekend to go out of town or stay in — here are just a few reasons why attending a Harding play makes the best date:

No car? No problem. I myself didn’t have a car for my freshman year, which can make it difficult to pick someone up for a date, but the Ulrey is conveniently in walking distance from campus for you and your date.

You “have” to go see it. You may know a friend who is in the cast or crew, and you are just trying to be a supportive friend. Maybe you’re getting extra credit for a theatre appreciation class — either way, ask your date to help you out with your play-attending obligations.

Intermission is your friend. I’ve heard several complaints from guy friends that though movies are stereotypically thought of as a good date idea, it’s difficult to talk to your date and actually use that time to get to know them. This is where the intermission can help you out — several minutes to discuss what’s been happening during the play and ask some typical get-to-know-you questions.

There’s still time for sonic.  As a student, I remember living the fear and the drama of rushing back to campus from a late movie to make it back in time for curfew. (As if I wasn’t going to see the Hunger Games opening night.) Going to a play is close enough to the dorms and ends early enough you don’t have to worry about getting back to campus late and even have time to stop for ice cream.

If the date goes poorly, at least you saw an awesome play. If we’re going to be honest here, some dates just are not as fun as you hoped they might be. So, in this case, since I have never seen a Harding play I didn’t like, you aren’t risking a weekend on a bad date, because you most likely just saw a great play.

So if you find yourself wondering where to take your date this weekend, or even a group of friends, go to a Harding play — a hilarious performance of Charley’s Aunt — showing tonight and tomorrow at 7 p.m in the Ulrey Performing Arts Center.

 

– Bethany Aspey, web content manager

Last night concluded Harding’s 91st annual Lectureship with keynote speaker B. Chris Simpson on the topic “Return to Joy.” As a student, I had the opportunity to hear Simpson speak in chapel, and it was great to hear him speak again, as well as share in the enthusiasm he always brings to the Benson. It was a profound message and challenge to end this year’s theme of “Return.”

Lectureship meant a lot to me as a student, and maybe in part because we were occasionally excused from class to attend, but also because of the opportunity for growth the week always held. I was able to listen to those with more experience and knowledge than me, as well as see some of my fellow classmates and friends discuss their own experiences.

As I’m no longer an undergraduate student, Lectureship no longer means an excuse from class and a break in the routine, but it still means looking forward to a week of spiritual growth and encouragement. After looking through shared content on #HULectureship, it’s great to see that so many others who come to Lectureship feel the same way I do.

Presented through a week of speakers, discussions, concerts and performances, spiritual growth happens at Lectureship.

To sum it up, Lectureship means:

  • A family reunion on a whole new level.
  • Renewing my purpose as a Christian.
  • An encouraging time to worship with others. 
  • Acknowledging that this path won’t always be easy, but that’s OK.

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CampusI recently attended a meeting with iFactory (the creative team we’re working with to build the new website) and was able to see some first snapshots of the art direction for the site.

This is an exciting part of the redesign because we all want to see what the final product will actually look like. The team presented 10 examples that we were able to review to determine pieces that best fit the “look and feel” of Harding and really capture the mood, tone, etc. that we want to convey.

You may be thinking, “Okay, I can see how that’s important,” or you may be thinking, “So? It’s just a website. Pick a font, and a color, and let’s get this thing rolling.” In some ways, I was more in tune with the latter mostly because I’m excited for the end result and sometimes get impatient. But after all the meetings I’ve had with iFactory, IS&T, and departments around campus, I’m realizing the importance of getting the “look and feel” of Harding and other details on the website just right.

Some have said that it only takes a student stepping foot on campus for the first time for them to fall in love with Harding. This statement sounds pretty bold, but I know from personal experience it can be true. I was a first-generation Harding student, meaning I didn’t have a long legacy of family who came to Harding before me; I was the first to attend.

I, like so many others, originally had no interest in Harding — it was far from home and I knew nothing about the school and especially Searcy. But fortunately, a friend was planning to visit campus for Summer Experience (now called Summer Stampede), and I was able to hitch a ride and come see what this place is really all about.

When you visit campus, you really get to experience a snapshot of Harding; you get to experience the “look and feel” of what your life would be like here. While a campus visit for a prospective student is ideal, it’s not always possible. Instead, students occasionally must rely on their interactions with their admissions counselors, what their friends have said about Harding, and, as it is 2014, the University’s website.

So even though I still catch myself getting impatient in the design process and the time it takes to get everything as close to perfection as possible, it helps me to evaluate the “look and feel” of Harding and remember why it matters.

Harding can be a life-changing experience, and it has been for many who have come and gone. When I think about all the work put forth for “just a website” and all the time and effort it takes to get all the details just right, I remember the part that it plays in bringing students to our incredible campus.

So keep an eye on the horizon for the future harding.edu, and please be patient as we work to capture Harding in every detail as best we can. It has been a process and a learning experience for everyone involved in this project, but one of the most important things I’ve come to understand is that it’s not about me, and it’s not about you  — it’s about them. It’s about our students and what we can do as a University to teach, encourage and inspire them, so that they in turn will do that for others. That’s the “look and feel” of Harding — it’s our community of mission. Fortunately I’m not one of the designers, because I have no idea how any of this would translate into a font or a color. I just know I’m excited to be working alongside those who do, and ultimately to be a part of a team working on a new way to tell our story and show our future students why it’s great to be at Harding.

 Bethany Aspey, web content manager

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Little Rock Central High School (photo by junior Brooke Kehl)

Today is the first day of Student Impact on campus, and while incoming freshmen began arriving as early as Tuesday, this year’s resident assistants have been on the scene since Monday, ready to receive three days of RA training.

Training typically includes learning the process of checking students in and out of the dorms, being introduced to the residence life coordinators (more commonly known as “dorm parents”), being introduced to campus resources, learning how to address specific situations that may arise during the year, as well as team-building activities.

This year included a trip to Little Rock Central High School, famously known as the school of the “Little Rock Nine.” The RAs were then led on a guided tour by a Harding alumnus from National Park Services who presented practical applications from the school’s history that the RAs could implement in their residence hall responsibilities.

Junior Jenna Montgomery, an RA for Searcy Hall this year, felt that visiting LRCHS and learning about the Little Rock Nine was a great reminder of the importance of reaching out to students.

“I think I can speak for all of the RAs when I say that their courage and bravery inspired all of us to look for opportunities where we can make a difference in the lives of the students on our halls and around campus.”

RAs were later presented with special demonstrations from public safety, the counseling center, the Searcy Fire Department and other campus resources.

In the afternoons, break-out sessions were led by the residence life coordinators for team-building activities and more specific training.

Wednesday night concluded RA training with a devotional, and RAs are now busily checking in students as they arrive for a new year.

Bethany Aspey, web content manager

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I never really had a dream job in mind. I remember sitting in class listening to Dr. Jim Miller and Dr. Jack Shock “sort” people in their dream jobs and future careers, and I never participated because three other people had already said “SNL writer” and I didn’t know what else to say.

I was aware of some of the more progressive career opportunities out there through my internships and conversations with superiors, but there wasn’t a corporate ladder I felt compelled to climb or an executive position I was aspiring to reach — I just knew what I liked to do. I’ve always known what I like to do. I like to be creative, and I like to tell good stories.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work here in the Public Relations Office and do exactly that — my official title is “web content manager,” but I have my own way of describing what I do. It’s more like an outlet for progressive and imaginative thinking, a medium for endless creativity ­— and of course my favorite part — a venue for producing great stories compiled from the people who are the pillars of this great school. Unfortunately they can’t fit that on my nametag so the former title will have to do.

But I don’t think it’s about “finding your dream job” so much as making it your dream job. There are good days and bad days wherever you work, and I think you have a responsibility to provide your own good days — not only for yourself, but for your colleagues as well.

My dream job isn’t at Google or some other place that probably has a water slide entrance with mandatory nap rooms and espresso machines built into all the office furniture, but to me a dream job is a place where I can openly live out my faith, where I can express new ideas and ways of thinking, and be surrounded by people who challenge me and encourage growth. (But I’m hoping they consider the espresso option ASAP.)

That being said, my name is Bethany Aspey. I graduated this May with a degree in public relations. I’m from Hudson, Colorado, but spent my final semester studying abroad in Greece, where I pretend to be a permanent resident. I love writing, design, coffee, witty Snapchats and anything that’s the color green. Oh, and I work at my dream job.

 Bethany Aspey, web content manager