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Jonesboro increases student appeal with new businesses

Published August 29, 2013

The city of Jonesboro is growing with new businesses and hot spots for college students. Some of the new businesses include Starbucks, Jimmy John’s and The Urban Owl. Several of these companies are reaching out to make ASU part of their success.

“We’re supportive of the Red Wolves,” Laura Crabtree, manager of Starbucks, said.

Crabtree said the coffee shop has ASU posters to root for the college and welcomes students to come in and just hang out.

“We have a couple people do their homework regularly,” she said.

Starbucks opened this summer and Crabtree said there had been talk about adding a second location.

Jay Park, a manager at Jimmy John’s, said their business has seen great support from ASU.

“I will definitely say that our target audience was ASU coming in to this,” he said.

Park said Jimmy John’s is rather unique with their 13 subs under $5, delivery service that extends to campus and apps to use if a student is ever in class and hungry. The sub shop also sells day-old bread for 50 cents.

“We have a good product and affordable pricing,” Park said.

Jimmy John’s opened July 16 and is already looking at a second location on Southwest Drive and a third location near the new NEA Baptist hospital. Park explained that Jimmy John’s is very successful as a company.

To market more towards ASU and the Jonesboro area, Jimmy John’s started a sampling program Tuesday. They cut the sandwiches into thirds and then go hand out the samples. This program will eventually reach out to the ASU campus and include party cups and menus.

Josilen Fearson, a senior accounting major of Little Rock and delivery driver for Jimmy John’s, has been with the company since it opened in the summer. She said the business has started picking up now that school is in session.

Fearson also said it is a great opportunity for college students needing a job.

“It’s really close to campus, and they’re really flexible,” she said. She added that the managers are young, and create a fun work environment.

Melissa Burnett and Paula Raffo, co-owners of the The Urban Owl, are putting their focus on what other stores don’t have.

The Urban Owl, formerly The Sassy Zebra, opened in June and is now a mixture of consignment and new products. The shop also stocks Greek apparel, monogrammed items, home décor and consigned furniture.

The consignment process is a 50/50 split, and items are priced between 25-50 percent of their regular price. Raffo and Burnett place the items on the floor for 90 days.

“If you need to clean out your closet it’s a great way to get some extra money,” Raffo said.

The Urban Owl will be participating in Paint the Town Red and will have ASU geared items on display.

“Since we are in Jonesboro we really feel the need to support our university,” Raffo added.

The boutique has extended hours once a month from 6-8 p.m. for people who can’t come during regular store hours, with a 10 percent off storewide sale. Beginning Sep. 6 the co-owners will be accepting homecoming dresses for consignment. Sellers can price their own dresses and will get 70 percent of the profit.

More information on The Urban Owl can be found at their Facebook page:

Student Activities Center to begin construction in 2014

Published November 15, 2012

A new student activities center planned for construction in 2014 will be shared between several different groups across campus, including the football team, cheerleaders, band and intramural sports.

The center was granted $11 million after a $27.7 million bond issue was approved by the A-State Board of Trustees on Sept. 20.

The building will be a 78,000-square-foot, 100 yard indoor football field/space.

It will be constructed where the current soccer field is, and the soccer field will be moved to the inside of the intercollegiate competition track facility.

Russ Hannah, associate vice chancellor for finance, said the bond approved by the board was a student fee revenue bond, which is backed by tuition and fees.

“There’s not a specific fee for this particular project,” Hannah said, but added the $3 per credit hour facility fee, although not specific to the center, will be put toward the project.

In an email interview, Jeff Hankins, vice president for strategic communications and economic development, said the Student Activities Center is different from the athletic facility that was proposed last year, which would have included a strength and conditioning  center and sports medicine center.

“We pursued a different approach after seeing examples at the University of Oregon, the University of Nebraska, the University of Wyoming and Boise State University,” Hankins said.

Hankins said the facility will serve not only the Athletics Department, but also intramurals, club sports, the band, dance team, cheerleaders and other student activities.

He said the facility will differ from the Red W.O.L.F. Center with its wide-open indoor space that can accommodate field sports teams and the band, as opposed to a fitness facility with basketball courts and exercise equipment.

“We’ll do social events in there as well,” Terry Mohajir, athletic director, said.

Mohajir said the building will be a large, open space to do different activities.

“We’re one of the only schools in the nation who will be sharing access (with the student body),” he added.

Operating hours for the facility have not been set yet, but Mohajir said certain groups or sports could have it reserved for certain time slots, and students would have access after those reserved times.

Mohajir added the feedback over the project has been fantastic, yet there have been different views from others across campus.

Gary Albright, retired director of intramurals, said he feels the facility will only be available for the football team.

“They supposedly had the money to build it when Malzahn (was here),” Albright said.

Albright said he didn’t know what the center would be used for during the rest of the day, and he added he supports the student body, whose fees will go toward the building.

“You don’t have an option to say, ‘I don’t want to pay for this,’” he said.

Justin Bowman, a junior agricultural business major of Gosnell, said he has mixed feelings about the new student activities center.

“It may be resourceful for most students, (but) to others it may just be an added cost in tuition,” Bowman said.

“If the students want to get behind something they don’t think is correct, they need to send their concerns to the administration,” Albright said.

Holiday breaks not included in residence fee

Published November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving break is almost here, meaning most students are packing up to head home. Those who can’t make it home for the holidays have to pay a $75 fee-even if they don’t stay the full week.

Patrick Dixon, director of Residence Life, said the fee is actually put in place to keep room and board prices fair among students.

“When we charge students upfront for their rent that fee is not in there,” he said.

Dixon explained that since not every student stays on campus over holiday breaks, Residence Life takes that $75 fee out of room and board and only charges those students that do stay.

The standard rate for a double occupancy room in Kays, University and Arkansas halls is $1,850 per semester. This breaks down to $119 per week. Single occupancy rooms in these dorms have a rate of $2,200 per semester, or $141 per week.

Collegiate Park, Red Wolf Den and NorthPark Quads Building One residents already have the fee incorporated into their rent, but other dorms charge students to stay for the week. Those caught in their rooms without being cleared by Residence Life will be charged and referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

“It’s difficult to justify charging everybody when only about 10 percent of students are staying,” Dixon said.

Sophomore William Kazyak, a musical performance major of Manila, is staying on campus during Thanksgiving break. He said paying the fee isn’t a big deal to him.

“I’m on a full ride so I use some of my refund check,” he said.

On the other hand, he said he understood how the $75 could affect others who don’t have refund checks.

Kazyak prefers to stay on campus to spend time catching up and on work and getting ahead in his classes.

Sophia Huang, a sophomore animal science major of China, had to stay on campus during spring break this year.

“It’s expensive,” Huang said when describing how she already had to pay to live in NorthPark Quads.

Huang struggled to find a place to stay. She said that she had friends she could have roomed with, but their homes were filled with other international students that didn’t have host families.

“If someone doesn’t have friends to stay with they have to stay in NorthPark Quads,” she added.

According to the University of Arkansas Little Rock website, UALR also has a fee, but one cheaper than at ASU. For students living in two dorms (East and West Halls) the cost is $68 to remain on campus. However, UALR gives residents a chance to work the reception desk in the dorm to pay off the fee.

Like ASU, UALR also has two residence halls that already have the fee included in their rent.

University of Arkansas has four residence halls that stay open and are free to students.
ASU students remaining on campus for Thanksgiving will have access to the food court Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for breakfast and lunch. The campus store will be closed the entirety of the break.

Students can contact Residence Life at 972-2042 with any questions regarding housing procedures.

Debate team takes on Kentucky

Published October 4, 2012

It takes motivation and passion to be a member of debate team, and that is exactly what Chris Harper, director of the debate team, has found in his group of students this year.

“We have one of the best teams I’ve ever coached,” Harper said.

He has been the director of the team since 2002 and got his start with debate while attending ASU.

Harper was planning to go to law school but said he “didn’t want a real job.” He realized with debate he could still reach his goals.

He is positive about where his team is going this year. The group recently returned from Bowling Green, Ky. and came away with several team and individual awards. As a team ASU won first place team sweepstakes.

J.J. Thompson won first place parliamentary speaker and second place speaker in the varsity Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate. Clint Simpson and Benton Bajorek won second and third place parliamentary speaker, respectively. Bajorek also placed first in the novice LD debate. Ken Corbit and Micah Christensen placed second in the parliamentary debate, and Simpson and Bajorek were semi-finalists in the parliamentary debate.

LD debates are one-on-one and students are given the topic ahead of time to prepare throughout the year. International Public Debate Association (IPDA) and National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) debates include new topics every round, and participants are given 15 minutes to construct an argument.

Harper looks for specific qualities in his debaters.

“If you want to be a great debater, one of the first things you have to have is self confidence,” he said.

He added that someone must be able to invoke trust with debate judges, and that the best debaters he knows are truth-seekers.

When it comes to his team specifically, Harper said he had a talented, motivated, and passionate group.

“I am working with one of the brightest groups of students,” he said.

Cody Anderson, a freshman chemistry major of Allerton, Iowa, is new to debating.

“I just started,” he said. “I got recruited into it and just went with it.”

Lack of experience with debate has not discouraged Anderson, however he competed for the first time in Bowling Green and almost made it to the semi-finals.

Sam Grooms, a sophomore political science major of Springdale, has a bit more involvement with debate team.

Grooms debated throughout high school but is a first-year member of the team at ASU. This year she will be competing in parliamentary and IPDA.

She said that the best thing about debating is “being able to argue without people getting offended.”

“Because there’s a time limit, when you walk out of the room you’re friends with that person again,” she said.
Grooms said that her favorite topic she has debated over was legalizing prostitution, in which she had to construct an argument for legalization.

Grooms plans to attend law school and said that debate team is preparing her for that.

“It’s great training ground for things like law,” Harper said.

Harper said he allows new members to join the debate team throughout the year, even if they have no experience.

To learn more about debating visit  For those interested in joining ASU’s debate team, contact Harper at

Parking still causes problems

 Published September 24, 2012

ASU’s 2012 Master Plan proposes future additions for parking, including new garages and surface lots on the outer edges of campus.

One garage would be placed behind the Carl R. Reng Student Union in place of the International Student Center. The plan proposes different services to be added to the garage such as a parking office and other ground floor uses.

A new lot near the Armory has also been proposed. This addition would bring about the demolition of the Faculty and Academic Circle housing.

According to the plan, ASU wants to “increase walkability of campus and decrease unnecessary automobile trips.”

Al Stoverink was unavailable for further information on the proposed plans, but David Handwork, director of planning, design and construction, said in an email that these ideas are not definite yet.

Other than these future plans, several changes in parking have occurred since the beginning of the semester.

Lot N-5E in NorthPark Quads (NPQ) has undergone such modifications. These spaces were previously designated for students, but Vera Forrest, customer service manager of Parking Services, said that last week these spots were given back to visitors.

The initial transition to student parking came about because of a shortage of resident parking.

“After surveying NPQ and Red Wolf Den parking lots this year, the lot was reassigned back to visitor parking,” Forrest said.

By switching these spots, 25 residence spots were lost to visitors.

Michael Smith, a sophomore graphic design major of Little Rock, said the change to visitor parking hasn’t affected him very much except at night. He said that it is during those hours that he has trouble finding a place to park while the visitor spots remain almost empty.

Students who actually live in building five next to the visitor lot have been hit hardest by the change.

Shawn Moore, a sophomore chemistry major of Paragould, said he now has to park far away from his building.

“It’s mainly just been really inconvenient,” he said. He added that it is now harder to get out of the parking lot with only one exit open.

Moore has noticed that the visitor lot isn’t used very much.

“It’s always empty, except on Fridays and Saturdays when it’s game night,” he said.

Other building five residents have also voiced concerns about having to park far away, especially at night.

The lot in NPQ is not the only one to be reassigned. At the beginning of the semester Caraway Road between Collegiate Park and NPQ was designated for residents of Red Wolf Den and NPQ. These spots are now for commuters.

Forrest said it was determined that enough parking was available for residents that the parking spots could be given to commuters.  Parking in the Armory has also been offered to those living off campus.

Despite an addition to commuter spots, students still feel like parking isn’t sufficient enough.

John Yerger, a graduate student in music of Jonesboro, said that contract parking should be removed to allow everybody to have a chance at spots close to their classes.

“If we do have contract parking, it should be for those students taking classes in that building,” Yerger said.

Yerger gave examples of how art and music students have equipment they have to carry long distances when they can’t find a close parking spot.

Yerger has to park in the parking deck and has raised the issue of parking permits costing $50 in addition to paying the parking deck fee.

Patricia Purvis, a graduate student in math of Cave City, also has problems with parking. She said there isn’t enough parking and when it is available, it is too far from her classes.

Changes in parking are common at the beginning of fall semesters, Forrest said. During the first few weeks of school UPD and Parking Services survey the parking needs of the campus and adjust parking accordingly.

Students can find a list of current changes in the Student Affairs section of the ASU Daily Digest.


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