Feature: A boy and his pack-- a 2,600 mile adventure

Andrew Glenn waved goodbye and thanked his new friend Ben for the ride into Sonora, Calif.

Bloody, bruised, and dirty, Glenn then walked into a Starbucks across the parking lot, ordered a venti vanilla latte, called his family using the coffee shop’s phone, sat down at a table by himself, and began to write about his worst day on the trail yet.

Glenn, a 24-year-old from Little Rock, Ark., by way of Austin, Texas, had set out on a thru-hike of the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail six weeks earlier on April 25, 2017. Friends and family often ask Glenn what his motivation for hiking this trail was, expecting some deep, spiritual life goal or identity crisis. For him, however, the decision was much simpler than that. “The west has always captured my heart, so I trusted my gut that it would be a life changing experience, and I’m so glad I did,” Glenn said.

Although his decision was easy, finishing the hike was not. According to Glenn, there is really no way to be prepared for the PCT, you just have to do it.

To continue reading, download and view the paper HERE.

 

Senior Thesis: Social Media in American Politics

 

Social media plays a massive part in the daily routines of most Americans, and people are engaging in social media now more than ever. Numbers of users are continually on the rise, and Facebook has become the most frequently used social media site on the internet, with 79% of Americans engaging on a daily basis (Greenwood, Perrin, & Duggan, 2016).  With the rise of a society reliant on technology, government and politics are more influenced by social media than ever before. 

The creation of Facebook and Twitter in 2006 led many Americans to turn to both sites as their main sources of news. During the past three presidential elections, Americans have been more likely to get their news from a social media site than other media outlets. Traditional print media is on the decline, and the rise in technology is peaking the interests of various age groups. About 26% of all American Adults get their news information from two or more social media outlets (Grieco, 2017). 

The 2008 presidential election was the first in which social media was relevant and played a significant role in campaign success. In previous elections, there were not sites that allowed for users to generate and interact with content online. Social media quickly became a key factor in the election process as a whole, as social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Twitter were introduced in the campaign process, and the candidates were able to post their messaging directly to these platforms. This was a vital advancement in political campaigning and allowed for presidential candidates to use social media as a supplemental platform to spread their messaging and engage with the public. The public, in turn, responded with higher engagement rates with the campaign messaging. Seeing the success that social media had in the 2008 election, the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns continued to place a heavy focus use of social media and push the envelope on what else could be done. 

            This paper will focus on the social media trends in the past three presidential elections and possible influence on elections to come by analyzing the increasing number of social media users in America, the rise in social media from the 2008 to 2016 elections, and the amount of internet users that get their news information from social media sites (such as Facebook and Twitter). For a conclusion to be made, there are various questions that have to be answered. First, how has the rise in social media usage influenced awareness of social and political events? Second, how have changes in social media platforms since the 2008 presidential election affected the way candidates campaign and interact with the public? Third, how has social media led to an increase in false reporting or “fake news?” After answering these questions, it will be determined that the influence of social media has changed the way Americans get their political news. It will also be determined that Americans are heavily influenced by content they interact with on social media platforms. Finally, we will determine that in the future social media will be a very important factor in determining the outcome of elections and play a major role in the campaign process. 

To continue reading, download the paper here.

Feature: The Cost of living in Fayetteville, AR is too High

Melody Hunt is a senior at the University of Arkansas looking forward to graduation in May. Like most college students preparing to graduate, Hunt spends most of her time writing papers, working at Glo Tanning, building her resume, and applying for full-time jobs. What Hunt did not expect is how often she would have to worry about if she would be able to afford the house she lives in.

Hunt, like many UA students, is having trouble enjoying her last few months in Fayetteville because she is stressed about making enough money to pay rent every month. Hunt is a theater major at UA.

“I think the cost of living for students compared to the wage rate employers are paying students is unmanageable,” Hunt said. “Living on your own while being a student just isn’t realistic anymore, especially on a part-time income.”

Demand for rental properties is rising alongside the enrollment and population growth at UA and in Fayetteville, and developers are trying to figure out how to best meet this demand.

According to the UA website, non-freshman enrollment at UA increased 27.9 percent between fall 2010 and fall 2017. A non-freshman is any student who enrolls with more than 24 credit hours. This increase in mostly off-campus students living in Fayetteville has resulted in more demand for available rental properties.

To continue reading, view and download the paper HERE.

 

Feature Profile: Raven Cook- Building a foundation for Black History Education

 

27-year-old Raven Cook spoke at the Fayetteville Women’s March on Jan. 18, 2018. Cook captured the crowd’s attention and provoked an excited applause with a speech highlighting a few of the most influential people in modern black history and civil rights movements and challenging everyone in attendance to “see and acknowledge the realities of all women.”

Cook wore long braids and traditional African head scarf along with her sorority letter jacket.

“You can no longer say ‘I did not know’ or ‘I was unaware of the burden’ because today you have committed yourself to being aware of oppression and standing up,” Cook said in her speech.

Raven Cook remembers watching the 2012 funeral of Michael Brown – a young man shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri – from the hotel room in Texas where she and her mother were living after being kicked out of their home just days before.

She was shaken up by the images she saw, but felt there was little she could do to get involved. She was dealing with the trauma of Ferguson at the same time as

With no job, no car, and now no permanent place of residence, Cook held tight to one of the only possessions she had brought to the hotel with her: a stack of African American history books.

To continue reading, view and download HERE.