Best of Boone 2022: Best of App State Campus Life

Best Residence Hall: Thunder Hill

By Will Hofmann | Incoming Enterprise Editor

Opened in 2020 and named after a popular overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Thunder Hill Residence Hall is home to 587 students. Its large study spaces, open hallways and the option of suite or apartment-style housing make it a popular residence hall for both returning residents and those fortunate enough to live in it their first year.

Maria Smith

The apartment-style dorms have two bedrooms with private bathrooms, full kitchens and built-in closets for each bedroom, while the suite-style rooms have two built-in closets, a shared bathroom and a desk for each bed.

Located directly next to Trivette Dining Hall, where McAlister’s and a campus market are just a short walk away, residents of Thunder Hill are at the center of West Campus. Residents can easily attend football games at the stadium across the street or listen outside their window.

“I would say Thunder Hill has given residents a place to thrive as students in their home away from home,” said Katrina Nilles, a Thunder Hill resident assistant. “With a more modern environment with proper resources to live comfortably, residents can make the space their own while being able to study and relax.”

Best On-Campus Living: West Side

By Emily Broyles | Outgoing Editor-in-Chief

Students have thrown former winner East Side to the corner: the West Side is where it’s at.

Maggie Busch

Filled with projects new and old, the west side of App State’s campus offers Mountaineers a mix of innovation and tradition. Home to campus’ recently built and upcoming residence halls, West Side living has upped its game the last four years. It might be a trek from Sanford Mall, but West Side residents relax in hammock stands and lavish green patches, making for a sunbathing experience without the Sanford Mall preacher.

West Side residents can wake up to a front lawn of football tailgating, as Kidd Brewer Stadium is only a couple steps away. West Side also features iconic spots like “Touchdown Yosef,” the Schaefer Center and the many art installations around Wey Hall and Walker Hall. Don’t forget Yosef’s very own footsteps leading up Stadium Drive.

West Side might be a hike from the beloved Plemmons Student Union and Roess Dining Hall, but it truly is its own quiet paradise filled with past and present Mountaineer favorites. Goodbye to Bowie and Eggers residence halls, we’ll miss you. Students this year live another day to say, “WEST SIDE, BEST SIDE.”

Best Place to Study: Summit Trail Solarium

By Megan Pettey

Travis Holshouser

Bringing the tranquil serenity of nature indoors, the Summit Trail Solarium is the perfect place to hit the books while taking in a breath of fresh air. Located in Plemmons Student Union, students and faculty can use the solarium’s tables and chairs to sip coffee and brush up on material before class. Those looking for a break can sink into a plush armchair, pop in some headphones and scroll through TikTok while basking in the natural sunlight streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows. A multi-purpose stage houses a piano inviting virtuosos to play their latest melody. When the keys are at rest, one can enjoy the trickling waterfalls regulating the temperature of the room, creating a spa-like ambiance. With flora in bloom all year, the solarium provides the perfect dose of greenery for those looking for a retreat from Boone’s temperamental weather.

Best On-Campus Coffee Shop: Crossroads Coffee House

By Georgia Dixon

Just a few steps from the Summit Trail Solarium and located on the first floor of Plemmons Student Union, the community voted Crossroads Coffee House as campus’s best coffee shop. Crossroads has provided App State students and the Boone community with a unique and comfortable study spot since the 1990s, featuring a diverse menu of caffeinated beverages, Stick Boy Bread Company pastries and other tasteful bites. No matter your reason for entering the shop’s doors, whether it be dedicated work or a little respite, Crossroads molds itself to the occasion.

Taylor Ward

Settle down into one of the shop’s oversized chairs and crank out that essay, get lost venturing into a book surrounded by soft chatter or meet up with good friends to discuss the goings-on of campus and college life. If you find yourself making the coffee shop your home from sun-up to sun-down, order a drip coffee sourced from Hatchet Coffee or snag a fresh pastry or a campus-menu item. Crossroads is there for you during those rough class days that call for a double shot espresso and those slow, misty mornings, which lend themselves to deep conversations. Crossroads stands ready at the intersection between college life and community cultivation. Crossroads is open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, is closed Saturday and open Sunday from 4-9 p.m.

Best On-Campus Food: McAlister’s Deli

By Andrew Rice

Haley Smart

Creamy macaroni and cheese, hand crafted sandwiches, enticing spuds and sweet lemonade combine to make for an appetizing aroma bringing students, staff and faculty into McAlister’s Deli each day.

Deli favorites like the King Club or loaded spuds ensure McAlister’s provides a good meal after a long day of classes. The location in Trivette Dining Hall is open from 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. McAlister’s provides options for a quick bite to eat throughout the day.

McAlister’s not only has a wide variety of meat and bread options, but they offer a multitude of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free choices so all campus members can enjoy a meal. Although McAlister’s operates nationally, the location on campus has proven to be favorites of students, staff and faculty alike, especially after the Plemmons Student Union location closed indefinitely during the COVID-19 pandemic. After winning Best of Boone for the second year in a row, McAlister’s in Trivette Dining Hall has proven itself to be a student sandwich staple.

Best Student-Owned Business: C6 Appalachian

By Jenna Guzman | Incoming News Editor

C6 Appalachian is a student-led business and project created in 2020 dedicated to reducing Boone’s plastic waste and transforming it into “functional and beautiful products,” according to a post on its Instagram account.

Jordan Young

Members of C6 collect plastics such as bottle caps from local businesses and participate in community cleanups, utilizing the plastics found by melting them and putting them into molds for future products at its location in Peacock Hall. Some of the products it creates include whistles to be used as a preventative measure against sexual assault, coasters and more. Its goals as a business and project are to “dream creatively, design sensibly and manufacture sustainably,” according to a post on its Instagram account. Enactus Appalachian members make up the C6 business.

According to its website, C6 won the early stage Enactus competition two years in a row. The projects did not have to be fully operational to compete, and the business’ project was showcased at this year’s Enactus World Cup.

According to its Instagram account, products are not yet available for purchase. However, it’s in the process of making products available for purchase soon. The products made and bought will allow both the business and customers to unlock “the potential in plastic waste.”

Best Student Organization: Enactus Appalachian

By Kayla Slade

The Enactus chapter at App State, established in 2019, is an organization dedicated to designing “community development projects that put people’s own ingenuity and talents at the center of improving their livelihoods,” according to the chapter’s website.

Courtesy of Enactus Appalachian

Enactus is a global nonprofit organization founded with entrepreneurial action and community principles in mind. It allows students to imagine, construct and produce strategies to achieve the United Nations 17 Sustainability and Development Goals, such as quality education and gender equality.  

Enactus Appalachian is responsible for C6 Appalachian in collaboration with the university’s Sustainable Energy Society, a project aiming to address single-use plastics waste by making practical products for everyday use.  

Isabella Riley, president of Enactus Appalachian, considers the organization a second home.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet lifelong friends and learn valuable skills and lessons that I will carry with me through my future,” Riley said. “Being president of this organization has been an amazing honor and will always be held close to my heart.”

Best Elective: Snowboarding & Skiing

By Emily Milano

Snowboarding and skiing is the perfect class for students looking for a lively spring semester elective. Boone’s famous snow makes snowboarding and skiing the obvious choice for students who voted it their favorite elective for the second year in a row.  

Evan Bates

Both activities are a physical education elective offered during the spring semester. Classes meet once a week at Appalachian Ski Mountain from 6.-10 p.m. Appalachian Ski Mountain is a popular place for students to ski or snowboard outside of class as it is a 15-minute drive from campus. 

Snowboarding and skiing is an elective for students of all abilities since they are placed into three categories: beginner, intermediate and advanced. It makes snowboarding accessible for all skill levels. There is instruction for the first hour of the class and students have the rest of the time to explore their creativity, with the sport, making this the perfect class to learn how to snowboard.

Best Fitness Class: Yoga

By Cameron Stuart | Outgoing Associate News Editor

App State students are getting their zen on with yoga voted as this year’s best fitness class. With a wide range of yoga classes offered by University Recreation every week from sunrise yoga to power yoga to intro to yoga flow, there is an option for everyone, regardless of athletic ability or experience. University Recreation also offers stand-up paddleboard yoga for anyone who wants to spice up their practice and work on their balancing skills. Most classes are held in Mount Mitchell on the third floor of Plemmons Student Union, but stand up paddleboard yoga is held in the Student Recreation Center.

Yoga has existed as a practice for thousands of years within many cultures as a way of connecting the breath, body and self, according to the government of India’s Ministry of External Affairs. Though the physical practice of yoga poses, called asanas, is the main form practiced in the U.S. and other western countries and is a great way to practice breathwork and mindfulness techniques while improving flexibility and stamina.

If your priority is improving focus and stretching tight muscles, yoga for athletes is the class for you. If you prefer a more relaxed and slow practice, try out restorative yoga. The student yoga instructors this semester are Mackenzie Bianco, Stephanie Brummond, Isabella Dobbs, Hope Frohock, James Gatlin, Madison Goodwin, Ritesh Sheth, Madeline Tice and Michele Viola.

Best Academic Department: Communication

By Cameron Marshall

Evan Bates

The Department of Communication, located in Walker Hall, won best academic department for the second consecutive year. The communication department has a variety of majors for students to choose from. From electronic media/broadcasting to public relations to advertising and journalism, the department offers more than one might imagine. No matter what major a student decides on, a communication degree can be a useful tool when seeking a potential career. A minor in communication is also an option that can prove advantageous when seeking a degree at App State. You can take a class with Volha Kananovich to learn more about journalism or a communication ethics class with Best of Boone favorite Chris Patti, but these are just a few of the several options you have. Along with these great professors, you can find much more within this department.

Best Place to Eno: Sanford Mall

By Hollie Moore | Incoming Associate News Editor

With the breeze of a summer morning, the sunshine of a spring day and the company of friends, ENO-ing at Sanford Mall seems to make the world go-round.

Taylor Ward

Greek life fundraisers, university organization advertisement stands, live bands, voting registration, movie nights and endless food trucks fill Sanford during good weather. Students engage in their own activities like Spikeball, Frisbee and slacklining. With all this going on in the area, some chose to kick back and relax in an ENO hammock with a book, do homework or just sit in the comfort of their thoughts and nature. 

Sanford Mall tends to be the first place on and off-campus students gather to soak up the warmer days in the spring and the cooler days in the summer. ENO-ing isn’t new but has become more popular in recent years. In Boone, Sanford Mall serves as a vital spot to take your next ENO adventure.

Best Professor: Chris Patti

By Cameron Stuart | Outgoing Associate News Editor

Courtesy of Chris Patti

Chris Patti, associate professor in the Department of Communication, was voted App State’s best professor for the second year in a row.

The Southern California native has taught at the university since 2013 and teaches a wide variety of communication classes, including thinking through communication, communication ethics and ethnographic storytelling and inquiry.

Patti said he views himself as a non-traditional professor because he was a bad student and didn’t enjoy reading until he took a rhetoric class his junior year of undergrad, which he said “opened up Pandora’s box” in his brain.

Originally a rock, funk and pop musician, Patti began his teaching career in 2005. He still plays music in his free time but said he felt that while being in the classroom, “I got that feeling of sort of being on stage but for a greater purpose.”

Patti said one of his favorite memories of being a professor involves a football player in his introductory communication course a few years ago. The student did not enjoy the difficult course readings at first, but at the end of the semester, he told Patti he could now read his Bible and make meaning from it. While Patti is not a Christian, he said that was a “cool testament to sort of what’s, for me, at the heart of that class.”

Patti is an agnostic Buddhist and has practiced meditation since the age of 19, something he works into all of his classes. Until the pandemic began in spring 2020, he had a meditation club that met once a week to do guided meditations together.

“It’s something that humans have been doing across cultures for four of 5,000 years,” Patti said. “But in an era of endless distractions where our attention is being manipulated and addicted and marketed away from us, I find it’s ever more important in this digital Zoom age to be able to practice that stuff.”