Category Archives: Writer: Grace Elkus

Learning to report on a controversial topic: Covering the GST proposal vote

by Grace Elkus
Senior reporter

Writing the article regarding the GST proposal vote required more reporting than I had originally thought it would, but I subsequently learned a significant amount about how decisions like these are made at Elon and why some people are more willing to talk about them than others.  It wasn’t until I learned how many years of work were put into the proposal that I realized how big of a vote this was, and the fact that it was put to a full faculty vote meant it was of extreme importance.

Although I was hoping to attend the meeting during which the votes were cast, I was informed that the presence of a reporter might affect faculty participation in the discussion.  It would have been helpful to see the specifics as to how the meeting was run, who participated in the discussion, etc.  Instead, I knew that I would have to talk to faculty the following Monday.

I wanted to get a range of faculty opinions on how they felt about the proposal being voted down, but getting clear answers from some faculty proved difficult.   I was constantly re-directed to different people to talk to, and some simply said they didn’t want to comment.  Although the majority of the faculty who participated in the vote voted the proposal down, no one I talked to would explicitly say they voted no.

When it came to writing the story, it proved challenging to not have the story seem biased or one-sided because of the lack of sources I had that were against the proposal.  No further discussion was held immediately after the vote, so my first follow-up story consisted of two students’ opinions on the result of the vote.  I thought it was interesting that one of the students mentioned an over-arching concern regarding a lack of communication between faculty and students concerning these types of proposals/votes.  I think it is true that many students did not know about the GST proposal, which is one of the reasons why I was happy I got to write about it for The Pendulum.  I will be doing a second follow up for this weeks paper, which will include the specifics of what was discussed at various meetings following the vote.

For more on this subject, check out this week’s issue of The Pendulum.

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Update on potential internship stipends

by Grace Elkus
Senior Reporter

After writing my article about the stipends Elon University’s School of Law provides for students doing summer internships, I learned more from law student Jason Senges about how the program works and am excited to share this information on The Pendulum blog.  The Public Interest Law Society (PILS) stipend only goes to a student that is doing public interest work.  Last year’s recipients worked in a public defender’s office and with Guardian and Litern.  The stipends for the Leadership Fellows benefit non-profit and public interest practices by enabling them to have interns work for them because the interns can work for free.  As Senges explained, had it not been for the stipend, he would not have been able to work for the entirety of the summer.  The stipends are a way the law students can give back to the communities, according to Senges. If Elon wanted to give similar stipends to undergraduates, they would be for students working over the summer in programs that benefit the community and potentially change lives.  Senges suggested the undergraduate Leadership Fellows would be a good organization to start fundraising for student stipends.

Although I do think the School of Communications or the Love School of Business could benefit from a stipend program, which I mentioned in the article, I now understand the nature of the internships the law students were participating in.  I think a stipend that not only helps a student but also the organization for which they are interning is a very intriguing and worthy concept.

Want to know more? Check out Grace’s original article. 

 

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Learning a new beat

By Grace Elkus
Senior Reporter

This week, I had the opportunity to talk with someone from Elon’s Law School.  This was exciting for me because I know very little about the Law School and was interested to learn specifically about the stipends they provide for students doing unpaid internships over the summer.   I wanted to know more about how the stipends are funded because I think that Elon’s undergraduate programs could potentially provide the same type of thing.

I talked with Jason Senges, president of Elon Law School’s Public Interest Law Society and a Leadership Fellow at the law school.  He explained to me that last year, the money provided to students was raised at a tennis tournament.  This year, the fundraiser will be a basketball tournament held in February.  The goal is to be able to give $500 to multiple students.  A committee of professors determines which students will receive the scholarships.  The criteria is being modified this year, but it will most likely be an overall look at the students’ resume, application and the merit of what they will be doing over the summer.

The stipend program was developed in order to encourage students to seek out summer opportunities where they can work without pay, Senges explained.  For this reason, I think that the same type of program would be beneficial in undergraduate programs as well.  For many students, internship credit is mandatory for their major and often times, it is hard to find an internship that will pay.

Pam Brumbaugh, the director of experiential education at Elon, told me that the career center has been talking about providing some sort of stipend or scholarship to undergraduates for a couple years now.  Hopefully, we can see those ideas come to life in the near future.

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An Inspirational Interview

Grace Elkus
Senior Reporter 

I am so glad I had the chance to interview Stacey Crutchfield, an Elon sophomore who is also an Elon Academy scholar.   Stacey has lived in Burlington her whole life, and both sets of her grandparents are from Alamance County.  None of Stacey’s grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles or older cousins attended college, so she never seriously considered applying.

Stacey told me she wasn’t motivated to try very hard in her classes her freshman year of high school.  But when she heard about Elon Academy, she decided to fill out the application. She was one of 26 students accepted into the program.   It was there she realized that college was more than just some “far off idea.”  She began doing better in class and challenging herself in harder courses.  She was also happy that the Academy included her family in some of the meetings, so they could understand how the program could help her apply to college and for grants and scholarships.

Stacey had never been interested in attending Elon because it was so close to her home.  But when she was offered the Odyssey scholarship, which provided her with generous academic and social support, she knew she could not pass up the opportunity. Now that she’s a student at Elon, Stacey works with the Academy to coordinate the summer program and works with the younger scholars.

I was truly inspired by Stacey.  She is extremely self-motivated and made me realize that so many of us take going to college for granted – an obvious next step after high school.  I look forward to writing more articles for the Pendulum that allow me interview such motivated and passionate people.

Look for Grace’s story about the Elon Academy in this week’s issue of The Pendulum.

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Elon Academy Mentorship Program

by Grace Elkus
Senior Reporter

This week, I spoke with Nathan Thomas, a senior at Elon and the lead male mentor for Elon Academy’s summer program.  The Elon Academy is a program for high school students from the Alamance-Burlington School System who will be first-generation college students.  Participants attend a four week summer session at Elon, where they work with Elon student mentors who help them strengthen their academic skills as well as assist them in college application process.

Although the summer portion is the biggest part of Elon Academy, students also come to campus on various Saturday’s during the year, Thomas said. Furthermore, representatives from the Academy visit the students at their respective colleges after they graduate from the program.  This ensures they still feel connected to the Academy and the relationship stays strong.

Thomas explained the role of the mentor as a cross between a camp counselor and a TA.  The mentors get to know the students on a personal level but also know their goal is to fulfill the academic mission of the Academy. Elon students who are interested in becoming mentors can attend the program’s information sessions, which will provide more information about what it’s really like to be a mentor, the types of students they will be working with and the ins and outs of the job.
For more information about Elon Academy and the role of mentors, look for Grace’s story in an upcoming issue of The Pendulum. 

 

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