Best Residence Hall: Thunder Hill
By Abi Pepin
Named after a popular scenic overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Thunder Hill is one of the newest residence halls on campus. Even though this is the first year Thunder Hill has housed students, residents love the new housing option.
This apartment and suite style residence hall can house more students than any other dorm at App State. The 587 residents have views of the football stadium, study lounges on each floor and air conditioning. Located in front of Trivette Dining Hall, Thunder Hill residents can enjoy meals from McAlister’s and the Market at Trivette while overlooking Duck Pond.
The apartment-style dorms have two bedrooms with private bathrooms, a full kitchen with a microwave, two built-in closets for each bedroom and a furnished living room. Students living in the suite-style dorms have two built-in closets, a desk under each bed and vinyl flooring.
Best On-Campus Living: East Side
By Jake Markland
The East Side of App State’s campus, in all of its glory, gives students a near limitless amount of opportunities and possibilities. A sunny day on East Side could call for Sanford Mall sunbathing, where you’ll find friends frisbee-ing, bikers biking, students spikeball-ing, and preachers preaching.
When you inevitably remember you have a paper due at 11:59 p.m. (don’t worry, it happens to everyone) study spaces like Belk Library and the Solarium are only a short walk away; you’ll probably be asked to register to vote or sign a petition on the way. Looking for a pick-me up after those Sanford Mall festivities? Lucky enough, East Side is home to Crossroads and Wired Scholar coffee shops.
If you’re feeling adventurous, grab a Chick-fil-A sandwich and a Pepsico beverage from Roess to enjoy next to the babbling brook through Durham Park; set up a hammock if you are feeling especially wild. From there, jump over to Legends and enjoy performances from the likes of Torey Lanez, Moon Taxi, Doja Cat and Jimmy Fallon.
When the day comes to an end, students across East Side settle into one of the eight residence halls sprawled out across its half of campus, resting up for another day to say “East Side, beast side.”
Best Sorority: Chi Omega
By Ethan Hunt
The Pi Kappa chapter of the Chi Omega sorority was founded at App State in 1974 and today it has 135 active sisters. Chi Omega’s mission is to empower women and ensure equity for all by creating strong friendships, holding sisters to high standards, dedicating time to learning and scholarship, and engaging in community service.
Chi Omega’s national philanthropy is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Pi Kappa chapter raises money for Women of Watuaga, Children of Watuaga and the Boone Hospitality House. So far in the 2020-21 academic year, Chi Omega has raised $2,483 to spread between each of those organizations.
Despite the pandemic, sisters have found creative ways to stay connected. The chapter hosts Zoom Netflix parties and regular socially distanced hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pi Kappa president, Chloe Wilson, said after the pandemic, the chapter hopes to host more in-person philanthropy events and get back to spending time with each other face to face.
“We for sure miss how it used to be, but we are doing our part to keep our community safe so that we can soon return to normal,” Wilson said.
Best Fraternity: Kappa Sigma
By Xanayra Marin-Lopez
Chartered on App State’s campus in 1974, just two years after Greek life started, is the Lambda Mu chapter of Kappa Sigma. According to its website, the organization is the largest college social fraternity in the world with more than 200,000 living members.
The fraternity’s brothers “#TaKΣpride” in their organization with their principles of fellowship, leadership, scholarship and service. The chapter’s brothers held a street clean-up on April 9 with 30 members participating. On April 15 they also held a trail clean up at the Mountains-To-Sea Trail.
The organization’s national philanthropy is the Military Heroes Campaign, which provides support to veterans and their families. Every year during Halloween they host a “Carve with Kappa Sigma” event in which the brothers set up on Sanford Mall with pumpkins and carving tools. People pay $5 to carve their pumpkin and take it home
The Lambda Mu chapter of 38 is led by president and App State junior Reece Kennedy. Eight new members joined in the spring semester.
Best NPHC Organization: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
By Emily Broyles
Chartered on App State’s campus in 1987, the Omicron Kappa Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. holds the title of the first Black sorority at the university. Omicron Kappa celebrates 33 years of sisterhood on the mountain, and 113 years of sisterhood around the world.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. has 1,007 chapters in 42 states and the District of Columbia, Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Germany, Liberia, Japa, South Korea, South Africa and the Middle East, according to its website. Since its founding nine members, the organization holds more than 290,000 college members and alumnae today.
The Omicron Kappa Chapter is led by President Ayah Hatcher. Members include Susann Rivera, Tierra Wilson, La’Bria King, Samara Gibson, Karolyn Martin and Kenedy Singletary. This year, Omicron Kappa’s “Oh’So Klassy ladies” have advocated for the Black Lives Matter movement, registered students to vote, advertised Black-owned businesses, and hosted events educating the university community on topics like mental health and the importance of historically Black colleges and universities.
App State’s first Black sorority also received Organization of the Year and the Impact Service Award at this year’s Fraternity and Sorority Life awards. The Omicron Kappa Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. also acknowledged fellow sister Kamala Harris, who was elected vice president of the United States in the 2020 presidential election.
Best MGC Organization: Lambda Sigma Upsilon
By Olivia Jones
The Sacbe chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon, commonly known as LSU, was founded at App State in April 2019 as one of the two organizations that make up the university’s Multicultural Greek Council. LSU is a Latino-based fraternity whose philanthropy is raising money to benefit HIV/AIDS Research and Awareness, along with additional service-work geared towards giving back to their communities.
The Sacbe chapter is one of 79 undergraduate chapters nationwide. According to their website, LSU’s goals include promoting cultural awareness, academic excellence and brotherhood among their members. Their greek letters, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, also stand for their main motto “Latinos Siempre Unidos,” which translates to “Latinos Always United.”
Best Place to Study on Campus: The Solarium
By Emily Broyles
Known for the sound of its glittering waterfalls and pops of greenery, the Summit Trail Solarium is just the right place to ease that “grind” and breathe a little in between discussion posts. Designed to create a casual environment for students, faculty and staff, the Solarium can house anything from a study date with your long-time roommate to a meeting with a new professor.
Located in the Plemmons Student Union, students in the Solarium can grab a coffee and get to work at the basic table and chair setup, or curl up with a book (or Netflix show) in a deep armchair. A multi-purpose stage is home to the quirky study spot, where a piano pleads with students to play the score from “La La Land” or a classic Billy Joel anthem.
The Solarium offers not only a casual place for students, but a somewhat tropical one, 3,333 feet up in snow, staying green all year long with the rushing sounds of water. The temperature in the Solarium is regulated by the waterfalls that line the room, showcasing App State’s passion for the outdoors and sustainability.
Best Professor: Jeff Goodman
By Gianna Holiday
Jeff Goodman has won students’ hearts as best professor. Working for the university since 1993, Goodman is a senior lecturer in the media studies and science education programs.
His research and interests focus on the intersection of arts and sciences. Goodman takes the time to lead workshops through Appalachian’s Math Science Education Center and other organizations.
“I’m proud of my students,” Goodman said. “It’s not just about the amazing things they do or make, but it’s about the community of curiosity we build together. I see my job as a teacher as being an enthusiasm engineer, facilitating interactions through which people can become more enthusiastic about the world and each other.”
Goodman said that after this year of distance, he is looking forward to being back in close proximity to colleagues and students. He hopes they are all able to talk, laugh and share meals.
One of Goodman’s happiest memories at App State is hanging out with students in Joe Murphy Park next to Edwin Duncan Hall.
“I have taught nearly 4,000 students during my years at ASU, so my brain has been, quite literally, wired by my students,” Goodman said. “Their decency, curiosity and creativity have made me kinder, more open-minded and more hopeful about the future.”
Best Elective: Snowboarding
By Cameron Stuart
Being nestled in the mountains it is no surprise that this unique elective was voted a schoolwide favorite. Snowboarding is offered at Appalachian Ski Mountain in the spring semester from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. once a week and counts as a physical education credit.
Students are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced skills levels, so whether you have never put on a pair of snowboarding boots or you want to learn how to do a 360-degree spin off a jump, there is a skill level for you. Students take the class for about an hour, and then have the rest of the night to snowboard on their own. The class is a perfect opportunity to learn about snowboarding while also getting the chance to practice skills independently.
Best Academic Department: Communication
By Hollie Moore
Communication is a key part of being a jack-of-all-trades when students go into the real world and follow their career path. App State is prepared for this demand, offering students a wide range of options to include communication skills into their educational experience.
The Department of Communication takes on more majors than its title may imply, giving those pursuing a communication major the opportunity to specify their degree with advertising, communication studies, electronic media/broadcasting, journalism and public relations. If interested, students are also offered the opportunity to add the extra boost to a different degree with a communication minor. Those involved with App State and their academics acknowledge that of all the departments which run the campus, communication takes the lead for 2021.
Best Student Organization: Reformed University Fellowship
By Hollie Moore
The Reformed University Fellowship is a national Presbyterian ministry made to help students “discover the love of Christ, find their significance in God’s redemptive story and engage in the life of His church,” according to the group’s website. The App State stem of the organization stays active through activities around campus like game and karaoke nights and traveling to conferences outside of Boone such as their Ridge Haven Summer Conference.
RUF welcomes students confident in their Christian belief, students who reject the beliefs, and those who are just not sure. The group isn’t run as you would see a typical club or organization on campus, there is no president but rather a leader, Rob Herron, campus staff member, Carissa Waller, and intern, Sarah Rogers, leading students in a church youth group format.
Best On-Campus Coffee Shop: Crossroads
By Jake Markland
Nestled cozily on the first floor of the Plemmons Student Union, the Crossroads Coffee House has provided the App State community with a quaint, comfortable study space, rejuvenating caffeinated beverages, and nutritious snacks since the 1990s. Whether you’re in need of a relaxing environment to finish that essay about the history of rock music or a place to meet with friends to discuss the most recent TikTok trends – Crossroads has got you covered.
Settle into a chair around a table, the perfect environment for a business meeting, or make yourself at home in one of its cushy armchairs, an ideal spot to lose yourself in a good book. And if thirst or hunger unexpectedly hits – fear not – treat yourself to a drip coffee or an espresso shot, sourced from Hatchet Coffee, or a muffin or bag of chips.
Best On-Campus Food: McAlister’s Deli
By Ethan Hunt
McAlister’s Deli, located in Trivette Dining Hall and Plemmons Student Union, is the sandwich staple at App State. The smells of bacon, turkey, freshly toasted bread and delectable mac and cheese wafting through dining halls entices students, faculty and staff into the deli every day. Although it is a national restaurant, the predominantly student-run App State locations hold a special place in the hearts of the App State community.
Few can resist a grilled chicken club or a signature giant spud after a long day in the library. Of course no McAlister’s meal is complete without a large, cold cup of sweet tea or lemonade. McAlister’s Deli bookends the east and west sides of campus and is a delicious entrance and exit for hungry students.
Best Place to Eno: Sanford Mall
By Cameron Stuart
Eno-ing is a very popular hobby at App State, and Sanford Mall is the ideal place to do so. On a bright and sunny day, you can expect to see Sanford Mall packed with students enjoying a break from Boone’s typical wind, rain and snow.
Located in the center of campus, the quad of grass is a hub for hanging out with friends, reading a book, listening to music or doing homework. And while you’re there, you are guaranteed to see the bright colors of fellow eno-ers hanging in the trees. If you are lucky enough to find an open tree, setting up and laying in your eno is a swingin’ and relaxing experience.