Category Archives: The Ides of March 2013

Hiking In Harrisonburg

By Taylor Hudson

Ignore the fact that there was snowstorm on Sunday night—I promise; warm weather is on its way! We have one month left before finals week. And, if you are an outdoors junkie like I am, that means only four more weeks available for sunbathing on the Quad, and most importantly, hiking.

As a Delaware native, mountains are nonexistent; therefore hiking was never a regular pastime of mine. But, when I came to JMU, I was bitten by the hiking-bug and fell in love with spending hours on a trial. So, I like to take advantage of all the hiking options the Shenandoah Valley has to offer as often as I can.

White Oak Canyon is a personal favorite of mine. Even though it is located in the Shenandoah National Park about forty minutes down 81, it is well worth the drive. This hike is about eight miles and takes about four to five hours to complete. Plus, it has a waterfall. Fair warning: the waterfall might not always be in its full glory. Try this trail after a good rainstorm, and the waterfall is guaranteed to be stunning, but if you catch it during a dry spell, I’ll admit that it can look a little weak.

Another favorite is Reddish Knob. This trail is an even further drive from campus, taking about an hour. This trail has a gorgeous view at the peak, so I suggest going during sunset or during the fall to take in the sight of the leaves changing colors from different heights.

If you are one of those people that loves the outdoors but don’t have time to devote an entire Saturday to a hike, don’t fret. Go to Blue Hole. Sure, it isn’t a hike, nor does it offer much in the realm of awesome views. But, this swimming hole is a popular spot for JMU students. It’s about 40 minutes away from campus and offers just enough outdoor experience to quench your craving. As it gets warmer, however, Blue Hole gets pretty popular, so it may be crowded, especially on the weekends.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a newbie to hiking, the Harrisonburg area has plenty of awesome trails. For a small fee, UREC even offers excursions through out the semester.

Click here to visit their website to learn more information about how to sign up!

JMU Has a Planetarium!?

What has stadium seating, purple movie theater chairs, and a movie-screen laden dome ceiling? The John C. Wells Planetarium, that’s what. If you’ve had a class in Miller Hall or took GHTH 100 and completed your passport events—you might have noticed it. But, unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that a majority of JMU students don’t even know it exists.

Photo of people seated in a dark planetarium.
JMU Planetarium

Having been renovated in 2007, this planetarium is on a whole new level—a level only three other planetariums in the world can claim. The university spent $1.5million on this renovation in updates like the digital movie capability, a massive stellar projector with more than a hundred lenses, and the GOTO Cronus star ball that makes it possible to achieve an authentic view of what the night sky would look like at any location on earth, at any given time.

The majority of shows that the planetarium presents feature the universe, space, and stars, but on occasion they cater to the younger generations of the JMU and Harrisonburg community. For example, the show “One World, One Sky” is Sesame Street themed and takes the audience on a trip accompanied by Big Bird and friends from their street to the moon.

This Saturday they’ll be presenting the “Seven Wonders” show. After seeing it last week, I guarantee that going is well worth it! The moment the light drops you are propelled into complete darkness—it’s like entering into another world. Then the show begins and the audience is taken back thousands of years to travel through Egypt, Persia, and Rhodes, exploring the ancient wonders of the world as they appeared then. Through the film, you’ll also be theorizing about how these wonders were built.

For the busy college student, a plus about these shows are that most last only 20-30 minutes. So check out their website for upcoming shows! Also, if you need a credit or haven’t taken the lab requirement for your General Education, consider taking GSCI 104: Exploring the Night Sky. The course is taught by Shanil Virani— the planetariums director!

Beating the Highs and Lows of The Last Eight Weeks

by Molly Robinson

Come on, we all know that ya didn’t do ANY work over spring break and this week is kicking you in the you-know-what. The remaining portion of the semester left after spring break flies by but also comes with a lot of stress, procrastination, and tests/projects. There are several ways to beat these lows and turn the rest of your semester into a bliss-filled sprint.

  • St. Patty’s Day/ St. Maddy’s Day. Make this holiday weekend fun for you—whether it’s putting on that green shirt and heading over to your buddy’s place or making shamrock cupcakes. Enjoy the fact that the miserable week after break is over and you get to do you. Do exactly what you want to do for a full twenty-four hours. When you hit the books next week, at least you can say you that your weekend was baller.
  • Madipalooza— April 13th fun. Free food, free concerts, free stuff, free happy you. We all know those people who made a profile picture of their human Velcro experience last year. That could be you! … .Just kidding, but really. It’s an excuse to get out of the dorm or the apartment and forget all about reality and enter what is basically the college equivalent of a field day.
  • Breath. Take the time to relax and refocus on your goals for the end of the semester and as an individual do some yoga, play some football, do whatever you need to do to loosen up. Finals are horrible, but giving yourself a break can boost your mood and make studying more manageable.
  • Make your own freaking formal. A lot of people are in fraternities and sororities or other organizations that host formals in the spring. Who cares? There is nothing that formals have to offer that a normal weekend at JMU can’t offer you. Celebrating and making a night special is possible for any one, no matter the organization your in. Find people you care about and find an excuse to dress up, go out to eat, or plan something special. Don’t let formals season get the best of you. And if you are going to a formal, good for you—make it everything you want it to be with the right people and the right attitude.
  • Splurge. Treat yourself to things that make you happy. Find something each day that makes you laugh, you’ll feel better no matter what you’re going through.

Remember the saying, “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day” when you are in embarking on these last few weeks of the semester.

Starbucks vs. Java City in Rose Library

By Lauren Privette

I know you Startbuck’s lovers out there are happy that the long awaited debut of the Rose Library Starbucks has finally materialized! Upon returning from winter break, students walking into Rose library felt their eyes quickly drawn to the rearranged café space brandishing the “Starbucks” logo along with a modern look and park mural ornamenting the new coffee shop. But was this a good change?

Determining who has the better coffee is a relative question, depending on the individual’s tastes and preferences making it consequently different for everyone. I, personally, prefer drinks a lot stronger than the coffee/espresso drinks I’ve received from Java City. However, there are people who prefer less of a coffee taste and more the opportunity to make it their own with flavors, creamers, and sweeteners. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard friends remark on the loss of their favorite White Chocolate Mocha from Java City. So have we gained or loss by the switch? Or perhaps found a nice compromise?

One major con to the switch is that you cannot buy notecards, bluebooks, writing utensils, etc from Starbucks. These last minute supplies shouldn’t be underrated— I’ve had to return home after just settling in at the library because I left blank notecards there when I usually just bought them from Java City. Hopefully, following Carriers example, Rose will put student supplies in the vending machines.

Food wise, Java City is superior in practically all aspects. Unlike Starbucks, they have options ranging from veggie snacks, to bagels (Mr.J’s bagels), to breads, to sweets. While this Starbucks has sweets and sandwiches, it does not have much variety. Ain’t nobody got money for a $4.00 sandwich!

Despite the cons in the food department, it is a plus to have a Starbucks and Java City on both sides of campus. With the Top Dog Starbucks being replaced with Red Mango, the redundancy of having two less than a football field away from each other is no more, and our favorite coffee shops are more evenly distributed across campus.

Overall, it’s a nice switch. The food and snacks are definitely something my friends and I find ourselves missing, but the arguably higher grade and stronger coffee has become a huge relief when studying in the library for seemingly endless hours. For those of you still missing Java City in Rose, take comfort in the fact that there is one only a short distance away in Festival.