Why did you choose to attend Columbus State University?
Primarily to stay close to family, but the low student-to-teacher ratio and the great study abroad opportunities were a draw as well. I was able to travel to New York City and Oxford, England, on CSU trips, and they were both great experiences.
You're editor in chief of the Saber, the university's newspaper. What's the most newsworthy thing that's happened at CSU during your involvement with the paper?
I interviewed former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just after the fall of Tripoli and the ousting of Moammar Gadhafi from power in Libya, so that was a very timely experience given her extensive knowledge and diplomatic relations with him. The annual Blanchard Leadership Forum has also allowed our staff to interview other high-level political figures, including former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former first lady Laura Bush and Gen. Colin Powell. The most dramatic event was a bomb threat in 2007 that led to the arrest of a man with guns, ammunition, an axe and a crossbow in his truck on campus. For various reasons, including both luck and the diligence of our university police, we have not had any major incidents of violence.
Has Columbus established itself as a college town?
Not yet, though it is moving in that direction, especially with CSU's shuttle service running between the two primary campuses and the new bike trail running the length of the city. The downtown campus is farther along, with a variety of nightlife and a well-connected campus community. However, as a result of the automobile-intensive design of midtown, main campus' relative isolation and the lack of consistent sidewalks and nearby off-campus venues, it will be some time before it can really claim that title.
As a post-baccalaureate student at CSU, which issues are you most concerned about in the upcoming presidential election?
Regardless of the complex politics on all sides, I think college students in general are worried about stagnant or flooded job markets, high student loan interest rates and access to affordable health care.
What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
Many people wonder why the Columbus State newspaper is called the Saber when our mascot is the cougar. The origin of our name goes back to the university's founding as Columbus College in the 1950s, when the mascot was the Confederate Rebel. The newspaper is one of the oldest institutions on our campus and was named the Saber after the mascot's raised sword, during that first decade. Later, in the 1970s, an election was held in which cougars beat out titans to become the new mascot. Although there have been almost yearly discussions about changing it to something generic, for over 50 years my predecessors have kept the name Saber. I think it is a unique identifier for our diverse publication, and that it stands as a testament to how far we have come and how much further there is to go.