Your Host Cole Maita and his guest Noni Alexander, who chairs programming for the Appalachian Popular Programming Society (APPS) discuss the things every App student must experience before they graduate.
Cole Maita: This is Cole Maita and you’re listening to AppX. Today I have Noni Alexander with me and we’re talking about things you have to do before you leave Appalachian. It’s the App State Bucket List. Noni, do you want to introduce yourself?
Noni Alexander: Hi. (laughter) What would you like me to say?
CM: Just say anything about yourself like you know what year you are and what your involved with. You could say anything like that. Got anything?
NA: Yeah. I’m Noni. I’m a senior here at Appalachian State University. My major is Communication Studies with a minor in Health Promotion. I am graduating in December and I am pumped! (laughter)
CM: You should be. That’s exciting stuff. Well, today I think it’s important to start out with something on the bucket list that you’re involved with right? You are the Chairman of Programming for Apps. They put on events on campus. So, I think the first thing that has to be on the bucket list is to go to a Legend’s show.
CM: Do you have any shows specifically that you like?
NA: There are a lot of different types of shows. Recently we even added some more rap and hip hop shows but then we have things like contra, which is a more Appalachian thing. We also have little alternative bands and even some EDM. I think the best thing to do is to go to one of the shows that definitely sell out every year. Cherub is really big here.
NA: I don’t know if you’ve ever been but…
CM: Yeah. I heard it sold out in like a day or something like that. It was crazy.
NA: Yes. So you should always go to something that’s going to be really big just to get that whole full concert experience.
CM: Definitely yeah. Legend is the venue right here on campus so its not far away. It’s readily available for all students. It’s really cool. The next thing I put on my list is the expression tunnel. Have you ever spray-painted anything on the expression tunnels here on campus?
NA: Yeah so there are two of them on campus and I don’t go in one of them like ever. I don’t know why it’s over there. The other one I’ve tried but I don’t have artistic talent so mine never comes out as good but I know people have been using stencils. I don’t know where you buy an art stencil. Michael’s maybe? I don’t know.
CM: Yeah they could do that. I did one once for a charity where you cut it out and just spray over it. That’s what we did. Those are really cool. It helps promote whatever you’re involved with on campus and do a little bit of graffiti art that is allowed here which is cool. What’s something that you have to have on your bucket list?
NA: Yeah. Actually, I just did it this past week. I think everyone should pull at least one all nighter. Whether that’s just because you stayed up procrastinating or you actually have things to get done. I was up for a long time this week and truthfully looing back I didn’t need to be up. I could have started things ahead of time but you just gotta do it for college.
CM: You do! Yeah! Absolutely. There was this one time when I was about thirty minutes away from pulling a complete all-nighter from like six to my nest class…an entire 24-hour period. I remember I had thirty minutes before my class and I just ran back to my dorm as fast as I could and took a nap for like 10 minutes. You gotta pull that all nighter. It’s something you have to do. You don’t live the college experience unless you do that. What else you got on your list?
NA: I think another great one is camping pout for something free. So whether that’s something on campus that’s going on with a club or something in town. Krispy Kreme just opened up here and I camped out all night for some doughnuts. That’s probably the one time Ill do something like that but again, you are in college. When are you going o in your adult life camp out at a restaurant just to get something free?
CM: Did you ever camp out for something here on campus?
NA: I didn’t but there was something on Sanford Mall and it was like a poverty experience. People camped put just to see what it would be like to have no heat for the night. That would have been cool to participate in.
CM: Yeah. I know some groups also go together to see meteor showers and that’s really cool. That kind of leads into Outdoor Programs. Appalachian is known for all of its outdoor programs. We have some that are fantastic including caving and incredible hikes. Have you don’t anything like that or do you know anyone who has done something like that?
NA: Yeah. Originally I was going to do one of their hiking trips over spring break but I got sick. But, you’re still able to use the money if you already paid, as a credit with Outdoor Programs. It’s really cool that you don’t just waste it. So I did go on a caving trip in Tennessee. It was only a few hours away. You pack into a van with all of these people you don’t know. It’s kind of cool that you’re just signing up for something random. It was on a weekend no specific time and it was pretty awesome. I had never been in a dark place with no light. There are no lights. There was water. It was colder than outside and there were bats. It was really awesome if you have the chance.
CM: Now is the time to do it right? I mean, you’re in college. Do something crazy and fun that you wouldn’t’ do anywhere else. That’s awesome!
NA: It’s pretty cheap. They have discounted prices because it’s for students.
CM: Another thing that I have on my list is $2.00 movie night on Friday nights. See a movie here on campus in the I.G. Greer building for $2.00. Did you ever go?
NA: Actually I work there for Films Council. That’s another great thing. There are so many job options. The best thing about that job is that, yes, it’s a job, but at the same time if you want to watch the movie, if we have enough people, you are allowed to watch the movie during your shift. Because the movies are so new, it’s something free-ish to do anytime.
CM: Yeah and $2.00 does not hurt at all.
NA: Even the concessions are cheap. I think at a regular movie it’s probably about $10.00 when you get your popcorn, drink and candy. Here you should be able to get everything for under $6.00.
CM: That’s awesome! What else you got on your list?
NA: You said doing outdoor activities and I think everyone should go camping at least once. Even if you don’t know how to camp you can go to Outdoor Programs and they have supplies you can rent. Otherwise, just get in your car. Get a sleeping bag and a friend and park somewhere. The stars are really cool because there aren’t a lot of lights here in Boone.
CM: Definitely. Also going off that you can take P.E. classes to go outdoors too. I’m super excited about taking a skiing class next semester at Appalachian Ski Mountain. App State partners with Appalachian Ski Mountain and you get to actually take a P.E. class there. It’s super exciting. It’s something you don’t hear a lot of other schools doing. You could take skiing or snowboarding. I haven’t taken it yet. Fingers crossed I don’t break any limbs or anything like that. I know there are a lot of cool opportunities to go outside and do something you’ve never done before. I think that idea is deeply embedded in the Appalachian culture. You’re a senior so you obviously have made your way around the outdoors I’m sure.
NA: Yeah. I think another big thing that sets App apart from other places is students and the community and how closely they are linked. I encourage everyone to volunteer and find a way to give back. I have volunteered at a lot of different places around town. A lot of those places had to deal with food. Whether you’re making meals or serving meals or even just collecting donations, I think App students should find a way to find their niche and then help somebody out.
CM: Absolutely. I think that’s also really important with the culture at Appalachian. They go hand in hand. That’s really something cool to do. Going beyond the community and also within the community as well, there is the Alternative Service Experience trips. You’ve gone on one of those, correct?
NA: yes. You can choose to go on a domestic one anywhere in the continental U.S. or you can go on an international trip. It was a spring break that I chose to do it. I went to the Dominican Republic and the school helps you. For one thing, it’s a discounted rate to go somewhere. It’s still going to cost you a little bit of money but I think at the end it’s definitely worth it. You’re volunteering. You’re making new friends and you’re going somewhere you’ve probably not been. I feel that most people don’t go place they’ve been before.
CM: yeah. It’s something that you do on a spring break or fall break right?
NA: Right! Any kind of break.
CM: You go out and still stay with Appalachin students to go and do something completely new and exciting globally or within the nation. Really cool! I also have “Get involved.” It sounds like you’re pretty involved as well.
CM: We have over 300 clubs here. There are so many options to choose from to find what you’re passionate about. What clubs are you involved with?
NA: Well that’s quite the question. I’ll just say it this way, over the years I have joined a lot of clubs. I think people need to be willing to try things and if it doesn’t work you’re not tied down to something. For the most part you don’t pay for most of the clubs so you can leave at any point. I’m currently involved in Appalachian Popular Programming Society. It’s the one that works with Legends and the concert. Another thing I am not currently involved in but was involved with, and it was very cool, is I was a part of the fencing club for a year. Just because I had never really heard of it and my high school didn’t offer a program, and I was thinking that’s the weirdest club I could have picked, but I’m gonna do it.
CM: Absolutely. You have to do something new and exciting right?
NA: Right! I mean fencing was not an interest of mine. I am in a health club because my minor is Health Promotions, but whether it’s something you want to do or maybe you just heard about it and it sounded cool. Or maybe they just had free pizza or something like that, you should definitely just go.
CM: Yeah. Absolutely!
NA: Another thing that’s on my list is getting involved with athletics here at Appalachian. So whether that be you’re actually an athlete, which is not my kind of thing, or you just go to support people who are working really hard here. So that means things like basketball games, and going to a football game and tailgating with your friends, or checking out soccer games. Those are big around here too. Whatever your sport is, just go find that.
CM: You even have some unique sports. Quidditch is one of those. There is definitely something on campus that you can go do. Whatever kind of athletics you’re into, just go out and support your fellow Mountaineers and have a good time. I think that’s important.
NA: If you have the opportunity, the Alternative Service Experience is a great option, but also studying abroad is something to consider. Appalachian tries to make it easy by partnering with other institutions, so whether that be in your department or by going to the study abroad office, it’s great tot experience another culture and to try new foods and things like that. I went to Poland just because, “Why not?” The Communications Department was offering it. It was an intercultural experience. We just stayed over there for a month, and I made a whole bunch of new friends and it was awesome.
CM: No way! That’s so exciting. Did you do any studying while you were over there as well? How did that end up working?
NA: It really depends on the program. In mine, we were only in class for 5 days over the whole month. A lot of it was touring museums and historical sites. We went to Auschwitz. They are going to find way to put tourist thing with educational things. That’s probably the coolest way you can do it.
CM: I’m going to study abroad in Milan, Italy in the summer. I’m super excited. I don’t know what to expect yet though, so it’s good to hear that. Everything I’ve heard about studying abroad is that it’s absolutely an incredible experience. I think that it’s definitely something everyone should do. There are even exchange programs here as well right? You can pay the same amount you pay here and exchange with another student from a different university in the world. That’s another cool thing to do.
Another thing I think is definitely on the bucket list is to stay in Boone over the summertime. I have never stayed for the full summer. I have had some adventures over the summer here though. For example, one time we went out to go to Compression Falls, and I ended up getting lost for four hours because I didn’t realize that the GPS signal drops out there. It ended up being a great time. I just think that the weather over the summer and the atmosphere here in Boone is a little bit different from the regular school year.
NA: Yeah, because a lot less students are here. It’s more just tourists and locals.
CM: Yeah, and you’ve spent the summer here as well?
NA: Yeah. Because of orientation I’ve been here a lot, but I have also done some things like you. I’ve been to Compression Falls and on night hikes…just anything that you feel like you couldn’t do during the school year because of time and commitments. I think the summer is the perfect time to really experience Boone.
CM: Definitely. On that topic, for sure, the most generic thing you can do here at Appalachian is to take the photo on rough Ridge off the Blue ridge Parkway, right?
NA: Everyone does it.
CM: You have to go. If you see that photo on your Facebook feed that looks like someone hanging off a rock that looks like Pride Rock from The Lion King, that’s what that is. Go to Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Any other outdoorsy things you could suggest?
NA: One thing that people should do to get out of their comfort zones, and I say you do this the sooner in the semester the better just to get it out of the way, is to try slack lining. It’s something I feel that is local-ish. Basically it’s a tight rope that is tied between two trees, and you walk across it. It might sound really easy, but think like the circus. All the stuff might look easy but it’s actually really difficult.
CM: Absolutely. I’ve literally gone on the slack line and have fallen right off. It’s something you have to try.
NA: Even if you don’t have one…I mean, I would never buy that thing, but there are plenty of people on campus who just put it out and they’re just bouncing around and doing flips and stuff and just go up to them and ask. People here are so personable that you should just be able to ask. No one is going to say, “No,” or “I don’t know you.”
CM: Yeah. For sure. Another thing I just thought about because you said slack lining between two trees is ENOing or hammocking. You gotta go out on Sanford Mall, put up your hammock and do a little bit of studying.
NA: Have you heard of ENO colonies?
CM: No. I haven’t.
NA: It’s when people take their hammocks and, let’s say, there is one tree and they just stack them up. So there might be like five hammocks in one tree.
CM: yeah! I didn’t know that was the term, but I’ve seen that.
Both: The colony. (laughter)
NA: The most important thing on my bucket list is definitely graduating. In two weeks I am ready to leave here but I am thankful for everything that Appalachian has given me. It means a lot.
CM: Yeah, I mean, why are you going to college if you’re not going to end up graduating, right? That’s the last item on the bucket list? Gotta graduate, right? I mean, what’s all this for?
NA: …tears…add tears to the end.
CM: Yeah, if you could do a sad emoji and put that on the AppX thing, that would be good. Well Noni, we are going to miss you so much. Thank you so much for being on this show and talking aout the bucket list.
NA: Yeah. No problem.
CM: And thank y’all for listening into the podcast. Hopefully we brought some insight to things you have to do here at Appalachian and why this school is so unique. I’m Cole. This has been AppX, and we’ll talk to you next time.
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.