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Best of Boone 2024: Best of Campus

Ashton Woodruff
Thunder Hill stands on the west side of campus on March 14, since the Fall of 2021, and has been used as an on campus dorm building.

Best Side of Campus: West

By Sam Deibler

The courtyard on the West Campus provides excellent acoustics for students wanting to show off their musical talents on March 3. (Devon Richter)

Whenever the temperature climbs above 50 degrees, Lydia Sillies and her friends leave their dorms, lay down blankets on the quad and spend time together while finishing homework. If openings appear, they’ll set up hammocks on the green metal posts by the grass’s edge as others kick soccer balls and throw frisbees. 

“We’ll do our homework in the hammocks and it’s the most fun thing to do if it’s nice out,” said Sillies, a freshman cellular/molecular biology major who lives in Laurel Creek Residence Hall, one of West Campus’s eight residence halls.

For the third year in a row, Best of Boone voters selected West Side as the best side of campus. From stadiums to dorms to gyms, the west side of campus provides its residents with everything necessary for a functional and fulfilling campus experience. 

Since 2020, App State has added four new dorms to West Campus, including the two-year-old flagship New River Residence Hall, which houses 737 of around 4,000 residents on West Campus.

For gameday enthusiasts, West Campus is ripe with App State Athletics. Home for basketball and volleyball, Holmes Convocation Center is a jaunt away down Rivers Street. Baseball fans can hike up the trails through the forest to Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.

The courtyard nestled between Raven Rocks, Thunder Hill and Laurel Creek Residence Halls is a popular hangout spot on bright sunny days. Students sit back in hammocks on March 3. (Devon Richter)

On six Saturdays through the fall semester, West Campus residents can walk out of their dorms, weed through tailgates and fans decked in App State gear to Kidd Brewer Stadium and scream “APP! STATE!” as the Mountaineers’ football team sprints onto the field.

With the Quinn and Student Recreation Centers, the west side of campus has ample opportunity for exercise. Quinn, which includes weight-lifting, basketball courts and a cycle studio, is just beyond New River Residence Hall up Stadium Drive. The SRC, which includes the same plus a climbing wall and an Olympic-size swimming pool, is a short trip away by walking west on Rivers Street. 

After a long day of classes, studying and enjoying nature, famished West Side residents can satiate their appetites at Trivette Dining Hall for breakfast, lunch and dinner while simultaneously feasting upon panoramic views of the Duck Pond.

Best Residence Hall: New River and Thunder Hill 

By Abigail Eggers

Living in a dorm room is a quintessential part of the freshman year experience; navigating living with a roommate, maximizing your space, and getting to know the people in your hall. App State is home to many residence halls, and for the first time ever, there has been a tie for best residence hall.

New River

Ascending the steps into New River Residence Hall, the first thing that is likely to draw attention is the size of the lobby. Walking in the front entrance, immediately on the left there is a black desk, a multipurpose room to the right and an overall spacious area furnished for students and their guests.

New River is the newest on-campus dorm and is in its second year of use since the 2022 Fall semester. (Ashton Woodruff)

The resident assistant desk is backdropped with a simple mural: yellow lines creating the outlines of mountains with the App State logo painted over a portion of the mountains. The ceiling contains a design made with panels of wood, and hanging down is a short but wide cylindrical light. The building, across from the duck pond, is able to house 737 students, making it the largest on campus. New River is one of two winners for Best Residence Hall. 

The multipurpose room contains couches and tables, similar to many of the spaces in New River, as well as a projector. 

Connor Suggs, a freshman biology major, was enjoying the large lobby space on one of the many pieces of furniture as other students walked in and out of the dorm at a steady pace. Suggs said his favorite thing about New River is it’s one of the newer buildings and very clean. He also likes the kitchens.

“They’re accessible, they’re clean, and they’re nice,” Suggs said.

Each floor of New River has a fairly spacious kitchen. The kitchens contain a television, a sink, a stove and an oven. There are two tables and an island for people to sit at. Residents are met with the kitchen as soon as they get off elevator one. The building, which was built in 2022 and is located directly next to Garwood Hall, contains two elevators. 

“I have people over sometimes and we cook,” Suggs said. 

Along with the kitchens, each floor contains a place to sit and look out a window at the end of the hall. There are floor lounges and study rooms, some even containing pingpong tables. Places to socialize and do work are endless in New River. 

Thunder Hill

Thunder Hill Residence Hall is located right next to Raven Rocks Residence Hall and across from Laurel Creek Residence Hall, creating a quad, which tends to fill with the sounds of students laughing and socializing as Boone approaches warmer weather. On this quad students can hammock, be active, do homework and engage in many other types of socializing while enjoying the outdoors. 

Thunder Hill’s design to encourage students to socialize and be outdoors becomes more apparent the closer one approaches the back entrance, filled with a generous amount of benches and picnic tables on the brick sidewalk. 

The lobby, much smaller than others on campus, is cozy and well-furnished. Taking a seat on a couch or chair, one can see out the large windows to view the picnic tables and the quad area, as well as the Blue Ridge Parking Lot and the woods behind it. Many of the pieces of furniture are up against a wall containing a mural of abstract yellow lines with the App State logo in the center of the wall.

The backside of Thunder Hill opens up to the west side courtyard on March 14, where in warmer months students enjoy hanging out and playing games. (Ashton Woodruff)

The dorm, newer than many others on campus, was built for phase one of a residence hall construction project. Thunder Hill is named after an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The building has won Best Residence Hall for the fourth year in a row. The ribbon for the building was cut along with Raven Rocks in September 2020 on Founder’s Day. The two buildings can house 905 students combined.

Cameron King, a freshman accounting major, said one of her favorite things about the dorm is the amount of space there is and having a suite-style bathroom as opposed to a communal bathroom for the entire floor. 

“There’s more closet space than some of the older dorms,” she said. 

The building has study rooms on each of its five floors, with the east study rooms on each floor providing a view of Rivers Street. The first floor contains a kitchen and laundry room. 

The building is located right next to Trivette Dining Hall. 

“Thunder Hill is really close to everywhere I need to be,” said Augustine Iglesias, a junior management major.

He said the building is an overall nice environment to be in.

This residence hall offers both suite and apartment style rooms. The apartment-style rooms are 1,040 square feet and contain two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The suite-style rooms are smaller, containing one bathroom that is shared amongst four students. 

Best Outdoor Hangout Spot: Sanford Mall

By Anna Adams

On soft hills covered in lush green grass, the sun warms students’ faces as they gather to chat with friends, play music together or toss a ball back and forth. Come lunchtime, food trucks park most days on the sidewalk spanning the face of the commons, serving hot meals and scents that ride the breeze straight to passing noses. 

Students enjoy the warm weather by playing spikeball and corn hole on Sanford Mall on April 20, 2023. (Ashton Woodruff)

On the sprawling lawns of Sanford Mall, there’s room to hang out with friends or find a quiet spot to read a book away from all the commotion. Some students even take to the trees, preferring to do their studying up high in a hammock where all the social activity fades into the background. 

Sanford Mall doesn’t wait until the warmer months to come to life. Life on the commons captures the changing seasons. From making snowmen in the winter to slacklining in the summer, there is always someone to be found enjoying the outdoors on Sanford Mall, leading to the mall being voted this year’s winner for Best Outdoor Hangout Spot.

In early March, folks gathered to attend the Sanford Vintage Market, where independent vendors from around the community came to peddle their vintage wares. Events like this happen on the mall throughout the year, hosted by any of App State’s variety of on-campus clubs and organizations. Most of these events can be found on the school’s Engage site. The Office of Sustainability is hosting an Earth Day celebration April 19 and the Watauga Humane Society is offering students the chance to de-stress from finals week with dogs on May 1. 

The mall does not sleep when the sun goes down. After dark, students can still be found hanging out or attending events. In the past, many on-campus clubs and organizations have held events using the fire pit to make s’mores. For example, The Office of Transfer Admissions and Engagement asked students to come enjoy music and make s’mores in the mall’s own fire pit on the night of March 21.

Seeing someone leaning back on the grass with their face to the sun on one of the first warm days of the year is not uncommon on Sanford Mall. All around sidewalks bustle with students heading from class to class, but Sanford Mall seems to remain sealed in its own bubble of serenity.

Best Place to Study on Campus: Belk Library and Information Commons 

By Leah Boone

Freshmen Josh Pollard (left) and Morgan Viscuse (right) study hard in Belk Library on March 6. Pollard and Viscuse are regulars at the library, which is a favorite study spot for students. (Taylor Ward)

The smell of books drifts through the air as a student sits down at a private desk, ready to lock in. Around her, hundreds are doing the same, filling Belk Library and Information Commons with students hard at work. 

Belk Library, located next to Plemmons Student Union, is the hot spot for students studying, and was voted the best place to do so for the second year in a row. With five floors and a multitude of resources, hundreds of students can utilize the space at once for anything they may need.

Daniel Huggins, a junior psychology major, prefers to study in the library over other locations on campus. 

“I would say, like, certain spots in the library are definitely quieter,” Huggins said. “Keeping myself in the same environment, you know, every time I decide to study is going to make me more efficient while I’m studying.”

With its numerous desktop computers, printing services and designated silent floors, Belk Library has it all.  

The variety the library offers is the largest reason it is so popular amongst students. There is a place for everyone, regardless of your study and work methods. 

Junior Chase Viscuse focuses on an assignment on March 6, seated on the first floor of Belk Library. (Taylor Ward)

The lower level and first floors offer desktop computers, printers and a place for collaboration. The second floor has more private study locations while still allowing students to talk quietly, the third floor is designated as a strictly silent floor, and the fourth floor houses the Special Collections Research Center. Students have their pick of the litter, and can completely change their environment by simply taking a flight of stairs. 

“If I’m like really locked into studying, it would probably be the second floor or third floor, just because, like, they’re quieter,” Huggins said. “But if I’m here, and I’m kind of doing work, kind of not, I just sit on the first floor with some other people I know.”

The library is open 24 hours Monday through Thursday, with adjusted schedules Friday through Sunday. With it closing at 9 p.m. on Friday, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and reopening for the next 24 hour period at 10 a.m. on Sunday, the library is open almost anytime you need it. 

No other location on campus has the versatility that Belk Library offers. Whether you are an education, art or physics major or anything in between, there is a place for you.

Best Fitness Class: Yoga 

By Mia Seligman

Before beginning his class, junior exercise science major James Gatlin invites his students to set an intention to focus on while practicing yoga. Whether students choose to focus on releasing stress from classes or gaining a new sense of self, Gatlin hopes each student leaves their yoga mat feeling refreshed and lighter than when they began the class.

University Recreation offers a large variety of physical education classes for students to participate in, from caving to the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira to yoga. Many students choose to take yoga classes to stay active and relieve stress during the academic year, and voted yoga as this year’s Best Fitness Class.

Gatlin has been taking yoga classes since he was in high school and chose to begin teaching in the second semester of his freshman year.

Yoga instructor Morgan Smith stretches into a downward dog position to prepare for her afternoon class in the Student Recreation Center on March 6. (Hayden Wittenborn)

“I started practicing yoga my freshman year of high school, and just instantly fell in love with it,” Gatlin said. 

He completed his yoga teaching certification in the spring of his freshman year and has been teaching classes each semester. He aims to allow for a refreshing class and said he witnessed a student using yoga to help relieve stress about graduating. 

“One of my students, who’s been coming to classes since I started teaching, came in and was super stressed with graduation and postgraduate stuff,” he said. “We were doing a hip opening backbend, and she started crying. It was the physical practice that brought that out of her, and it was very cool and interesting to see and hold space for that.” 

Gatlin said that as a student, yoga classes are his stress reliever, and hopes to allow students to have the same rewarding experience he gains from teaching.

“It’s a fine way to just feel connected,” he said. “It gives me a break from all my school stuff, especially because I teach at App State Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. It’s a fun excuse to stop doing homework.”

Gatlin currently teaches yoga at Mt. Mitchell Fitness Center in the student union on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. He also teaches at High Country Yoga on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Best Elective Class: Skiing

By Andrew Rice

Some may not know that for more than 60 years, App State has offered students the chance to shred the slopes while earning class credit. Skiing has been offered as an elective at App State since 1963, operating out of Appalachian Ski Mountain. 

 With three prominent ski resorts located within 25 miles of App State’s campus, ski class created a culture of skiing at App State which is often cited as a reason for incoming students attending the university. 

Skiing won Best Elective for the third year in a row. Skiing is offered through the department of recreation management and physical education in the spring semester.

A skier takes a jump off of the top of the Big Appal black diamond route on Jan. 10. Skiing is a unique class offering for any university where students of all abilities can enroll, whether it’s your first day on the mountain or you’ve been on snow your whole life. (Evan Bates)

Any student can sign up for class, regardless of credit standings, and equipment rentals are $75 for the duration of the class. Classes typically go for eight weeks starting in the beginning of the spring semester. 

Drew Stanley, the marketing director at App Ski Mountain, said he has seen many students come to App State because of the opportunity to take a skiing class. 

“You would not believe the amount of students who come and are really excited and surprised,” Stanley said. 

Jim Cottrell founded the French-Swiss ski college in 1969 after a trial period in coordination with Central Piedmont Community College. The school integrated with the already existing App State ski elective program in the early 1970s, Cottrell said. 

The school was purchased by Appalachian Ski Mountain in the 2021-22 ski season after Cottrell retired. 

According to class registration data, 319 students at App State registered for ski class in the Spring 2024 semester. The university offered 15 class sections to accommodate the interest. 

 As ski class grows in popularity, App Ski Mountain continues to make adjustments to its ski class program. For the 2023-24 season, the ski mountain hired more instructors to create a smaller student-to-instructor ratio, Stanley said.

Ski class offers a unique opportunity for App State students other universities can’t offer, Stanley said.

“It brings out, you know, this like childish energy,” Stanley said. “It just kind of makes everybody a kid again.”

Best On Campus Coffee: Crossroads

By Bella Lantz

It is a busy day and there are many people sitting at the tables chatting away, losing track of time. Professors discuss upcoming meetings, students debate over the latest homework or trends, App State alumni reminisce and family members stop by for a drink or snack during campus tours.

Espresso shots being prepared for an iced caramel latte in Crossroads Coffee House on March 4. Located inside Plemmons Student Union, Crossroads is a go-to place for students and staff to work and relax. (Emily Simpson)

Most are smiling, smelling coffee being made and waving to friends across the way. Many people are chatting, while others are sitting at a table with their homework sprawled out, attempting to study. The music playing overhead creates a lively atmosphere for those within. This is the environment of Crossroads Coffeehouse, this year’s Best of Boone winner for Best On-Campus Coffee. 

Crossroads is known for its delicious seasonal or fun drink listings. If you go in, these drinks are listed right at the front when ordering, a place where everyone is able to see. Crossroads does not just offer delicious coffee, but also delicious food. It is common to find Stick Boy Bakery pastries constantly being stocked or the campus sushi that is always running out. The coffee and food is not the only thing that makes this place stand out.

“I love it. I love how chill it is and the music,” said Peyton Baker, a sophomore communication studies major. 

However, students are not the only ones who like the atmosphere of the small coffee house.

“It is really chill. Students are usually our customers and they can be really understanding if we mess up an order,” said student manager Avery Lacroix, a senior majoring in digital marketing and professional selling. 

Crossroads is also well known for having student employment opportunities. With the chill environment and low-stress customers, it has become an ideal place to work on campus for many students. 

“It is a really good place to work. I just send my availability and my manager works with it and when you are an employee you just sign up for times,” Lacroix said.

With a bulletin board towards the front listing all of the ongoing opportunities on campus, the shop can also be a hub for student engagement. With the addition of bluegrass jam every Thursday night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Crossroads is branching out and creating more of a nightlife, accommodating those who are night owls and not early risers. 

As the winner of Best On-Campus Coffee for four years in a row it is evident how Crossroads continues to hold this title. 

Crossroads is located in the Plemmons Student Union and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.

Best On Campus Food: Cascades

By Macy Grymes

Walking into Cascades Cafe, a customer is greeted by smiling employees and a vast array of options. The customer struggles with the choice between a smoothie and a sandwich, before ultimately deciding on both. She goes up the stairs of Plemmons Student Union to do her homework whilst enjoying a grilled cheese sandwich with a mango smoothie.

When students and faculty aren’t able to decide what their craving is, Cascades Cafe is the place for them to be as it was voted Best On-Campus Food. They have options such as sandwiches, coffees, soups, cookies, yogurt, smoothies and muffins. 

Visitors stopping by Cascades Cafe to order cravings from smoothies to top sandwiches on March 1. Cascades Cafe was crowned the Best Food on Campus at App State. (Paulina Levi)

Conveniently located in the student union, Cascades is open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, ensuring students with 8 a.m. classes still get a chance to grab something to eat.

One thing that draws students to Cascades is its many inclusive options, with choices for vegan and vegetarian diets. Cascades also offers a dining option for people who want to eat on campus but do not want to go to the dining halls. 

Even the options have options. At the sandwich station, customers can choose between different breads, meats, cheeses and toppings.

“I think their sandwiches are really good, especially the vegan one,” said Lucy Hermann, a sophomore public relations major. “It was like my staple as a freshman.”

The smoothies are also a favorite among customers. Jessica Brewer, a freshman biology major, said she loves the Mountaineer Mango.

From a post on Reddit three years ago, one user wrote, “It’s been a year since I graduated but can’t get those Cascades smoothies out of my mind.”

A comment left on the post said, “I’m sort of old and didn’t realize how deeply buried my memories of Cascade smoothies were. I think I drank one almost every day at one point.”

The fun music chosen by employees and the brightly-lit cafe ensures an uplifting eating experience.

Whether they’re getting a grab-and-go item and going on their way, sipping on a smoothie while doing homework in the student union or getting a sandwich to munch on with some friends, Cascades seems to have something for everyone.

Best Club: ASU Cycling

By Madalyn Edwards

The whir of tires glide across a mountainous path overlooking the scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains as a tight-knit group of riders ascend the trail.

App State boasts a wide variety of clubs and organizations, and one of these clubs is ASU Cycling, this year’s Best of Boone winner for Best Club.

Jacob Jarvis, a senior marketing major, is president of the ASU Cycling Club. He said the club participates in road biking, mountain biking and cyclocross, which he said is like road biking, but with knobbier tires “in the mud and cold.”

Jarvis said the club is a part of the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference and USA Cycling. Through the organizations, the club travels to various universities and locations throughout the year to compete in racing competitions. A recent event the club attended was the Tidewater Classic hosted in Williamsburg, Virginia. 

The club president said students do not have to be experienced racers or interested in racing to join the club.

“Honestly, most of the meetings are just talking about bikes and having fun,” he said.

Jarvis started mountain biking in middle school but didn’t begin competing in official competitions until college. He joined the club during his sophomore year and was inspired to take a leadership position after meeting the club’s previous president, who he said was a great influence to him.

“Being competitive in bikes is definitely something that can be scary,” he said. “My first race was in college, so I’m not like a lifelong racer or anything.”

Jarvis said the club has around 20-25 active members. The club holds a roster of group road and mountain biking events for new members to participate in. He said some of these group rides are held on “world-class” trails that are difficult to access unless riders know the exact location, allowing for the more experienced members to show new riders the ropes.

For road cycling, the club partnered with the Boone Area Cyclists to organize group rides.

The club meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays in the Student Recreation Center.

“A lot of people think we are super competitive and if you don’t love racing bikes and you don’t have a $20,000 mountain bike or whatever, you can’t join, but we’re not like that at all,” Jarvis said. “Whatever bike you have, whatever attitude you want to bring, there’s always someone in the club for you to have fun with.”

Best Student-Run Business: Student-Made

By Samantha Salvador

During a Handmade Market event on March 22, the first floor of the Plemmons Student Union was lined with tables consisting of painted vinyls, handmade jewelry and stickers. There are quiet conversations between vendors and their peers as they work on an amigurumi octopus or a new sticker design for future events.

Sophomore elementary education major Isley Logan shows off her handcrafted earrings from her small business ‘Orange and Sage’ on March 22. (Courtesy of Student-Made)

“Student-Made is not only an on-campus club, but a network of entrepreneurial students dedicated to supporting each other in their journey to becoming a successful business,” said Jenny Fuentes Cruz, the community engagement manager for Student-Made.

App State is one of 13 college campuses in the country to have a Student-Made store.

Student-Made is a student-run business established to give student creators a place to start up their own businesses and have support from peers along the way and is this year’s Best Student-Run Business winner. 

“Student-made is a way for college students who craft to collaborate and meet new people who have similar interests,” said Avery Blackwell, a junior psychology major and owner of Crafty Cat Crochet. “It also allows students to learn new ways to improve their own craft and learn a new craft.”

Blackwell sells a variety of crocheted items such as coasters in different shapes like cats or hearts as well as crocheted plants.

“Student-Made selling events are usually pretty chill after you get through the whole setting up frenzy,” said Wren Foreman, a sophomore anthropology major and owner of Chemical Birdie Creations. “There are quiet times and then there are times where your table may be filled to the brim with customers.”

Foreman said interactions with customers can lead to conversations as many are intrigued by the process or have some experience with crocheting themselves and share tips.

“My favorite events are the ones that are on campus,” Blackwell said. “All of the students that stop by are very supportive and I always hear kind words from them.”

Blackwell said the creators of Student-Made are supportive of one another and these events have been a great way to make new friends.

Student-Made hosts a variety of events including pop-ups, art crawls, handmade markets and seasonal events on campus and within the community.

Customers are able to purchase student’s products through Student-Made’s website.

Best Professor: Colby Carr 

By Siri Patterson

Colby Carr was voted Best Professor for Best of Boone and poses outside of his office in Peacock Hall on Feb. 29. Carr is a Lecturer of Finance at App State’s Walker College of Business. (Hayden Wittenborn)

Despite being a lecturer at App State for only three years, Colby Carr has already made a profound impact on students and faculty members, making him the winner of this year’s Best Professor in Best of Boone. 

Carr works in the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance and teaches classes like Introduction to Finance and Survey of Finance. 

Throughout his childhood, Carr said he watched several family members struggle to learn how to effectively manage their finances. 

“Growing up extremely financially disadvantaged made me much more interested in figuring out how I can permanently get out of that position,” Carr said.

As a lecturer, Carr said he works to make his classes as engaging as possible so students will connect with the material and retain it. Because of his passion for learning and teaching financial literacy, Carr said he does not rely solely on the textbook and connects the material with the personal lives of students. 

To foster a personal connection with each student, Carr said his office and classroom are always open to any App State student who needs help with financial information and any student struggling in his class. Additionally, the Survey of Finance course he teaches is open to all students and is not major-specific. 

Sophia Kiser, a senior marketing major, took Carr’s Introduction to Finance class during the Fall 2023 semester. Kiser said she approached Carr about the apprehension she had in taking a class she knew nothing about. 

Kiser said Carr worked with her every step of the way, making sure she and every other student understood the material to the fullest extent. 

Colby Carr sits at his desk discussing his passion for finance at Peacock Hall on Feb. 29. Carr not only teaches Introduction to Finance at App State but he also teaches microeconomics and macroeconomics courses at Caldwell Community College. (Hayden Wittenborn)

I’ve never had a professor before that has been so kind and understanding,” Kiser said. “Even if he repeated an answer three times and I still didn’t understand it he’d be like, ‘OK, what part do you not understand? What can I walk you through to help you gain a better understanding of this?’”

Dinesh Davè, a professor and director of the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, said Carr’s approach to teaching is one that all instructors should adopt.

He enjoys working with students and he’s always available to help students and going out of his way,” Davè said. “And we joke around all the time, you know, so he just is a pleasant personality.” 

Carr graduated from App State in 2017. He said one of his current role models is a professor who taught him when he was an App State student, Associate Professor John Dawson in the Department of Economics. Dawson still teaches at App State. 

Dawson said when Carr was a student, he was a dedicated learner who continuously worked to understand course material in its entirety. 

“I am pleased to hear of this award but not surprised as I believe he approached his teaching preparations in the same way he did his studies,” Dawson said. “My congratulations go out to him for this achievement.”

Best Academic Department: Communication

By Thomas Turner

Upon completing the trek to the southern corner of Bodenheimer Drive and Rivers Street, Walker Hall may not look like much to the untrained eye. Many students know Walker Hall as the hub for many of their math courses. However, Walker Hall’s other departmental resident, the Department of Communication, has connections both big and small that have struck a chord with students who’ve been a part of it for even a single class.

For the fourth year in a row, App State students and Boone residents have voted the Department of Communication as the university’s Best Academic Department.

While the department is home to classes of all shapes and sizes, from public speaking to audio/video production, it is also the nexus for several prominent campus organizations, including AppTV, WASU, The Peel, Second Story Media and The Appalachian.

“I think it’s such an honor that students choose us to be the best department on this campus,” said Shanshan Lou, interim chair of the Department of Communication. “Our department is actually in a very unique sort of situation because we have, you know, the TV station, radio, and also The Appalachian, The Peel and we have an in-house communication agency that students run, and it’s really cool.”

The Department of Communication offers five discrete majors: advertising, communication studies, electronic media/broadcasting, journalism and public relations. Students majoring in disciplines outside of those also have the opportunity to interact with the department in several different ways.

Many of the classes the department offers are required for general education credits, such as Thinking Through Communication and Public Speaking, but students are also free to join any and all of the aforementioned student organizations affiliated with the department, even if their major doesn’t align.

“Of course, I think our students are really awesome too. I’ve really really enjoyed our students during my time here,” Lou said. “I’ve been teaching for more than a decade, but here at App State I think our students are very respectful compared to different experiences I’ve had with different institutions. I think the work of our students and staff combined is what really makes this department special.”

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About the Contributors
Sam Deibler
Sam Deibler, Senior Reporter
Sam Deibler (he/him) is a sophomore journalism major from Shelby, NC. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Abigail Eggers
Abigail Eggers, News Reporter
Abigail Eggers (she/her) is a freshman journalism major with a minor in Spanish. This is her first year writing for The Appalachian.
Anna Adams
Anna Adams, News Reporter
Anna Adams (she/her/hers) is an English major with a minor in Sociology. This is her first year writing for The Appalachian.
Leah Boone
Leah Boone, Opinion Editor
Leah Boone (she/her/hers) is a junior chemistry major. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
Mia Seligman
Mia Seligman, Enterprise Editor
Mia Seligman is a sophomore journalism major with a minor in gender, women's, and sexuality studies from Asheville, NC. This is her second year at The Appalachian. (She/her)
Andrew Rice
Andrew Rice, Reporter
Andrew Rice (he/him) is a junior communications studies, journalism major, political science minor from Cary, NC.
Bella Lantz
Bella Lantz, Associate Opinion Editor
Bella Lantz (she/her) is a sophomore secondary education-english major from Denver, NC.
Macy Grymes
Macy Grymes, News Reporter
Macy Grymes (she/her/hers) is a sophomore journalism major with a minor in marketing. This is her first year writing for The Appalachian
Madalyn Edwards
Madalyn Edwards, Associate News Editor
Madalyn Edwards (she/her) is a junior English major from Mount Airy, NC. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
Samantha Salvador
Samantha Salvador, Reporter
Samantha Salvador (she/her) is a freshman Spanish and political science major with a concentration in international and comparative politics from King, NC.
Siri Patterson
Siri Patterson, News Editor
Siri Patterson (she/her/hers) is a junior journalism major with a minor in political science. This is her second year writing for The Appalachian.
Thomas Turner
Thomas Turner, Reporter
Thomas Turner (He/Him/His) is a 19 year old junior at App State, majoring in journalism with a minor in English. This is his second semester working with The Appalachian.
Ashton Woodruff
Ashton Woodruff, Photo Editor
Ashton Woodruff (she/her) is a junior IDS Criminal Justice/Photojournalism major, and a Social Work minor. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
Devon Richter
Devon Richter, Photographer
Devon Richter (he/him) is a junior Fine Art Photography major, from Thomasville, N.C. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
Taylor Ward
Taylor Ward, Photojournalist
Taylor Ward (she/they) is a sophomore undecided major and photography minor from Ocean Isle Beach, NC. This is their second year with The Appalachian.
Hayden Wittenborn
Hayden Wittenborn, Photographer
Hayden Wittenborn (she/her) is a junior Advertising major, Business minor, from Cary, N.C. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
Evan Bates
Evan Bates, Photojournalist
Evan Bates (he/him) is a junior commercial photography major from Durham, NC. This is his second year with The Appalachian.
Emily Simpson
Emily Simpson, Associate Photo Editor
Emily Simpson (she/her) is a junior Commercial Photography major. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
Sam Fleming
Sam Fleming, Photographer
Sam Fleming (he/him) is a freshman Computer Science Major, from Greensboro, NC. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
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