Eagle Eye studio named in honor of former student and CNN reporter Chloe Melas Mazza

From Eagle Eye TV to CNN, Chloe Melas Mazza ’08 returned to the Plains on Friday, Oct. 8 for the naming of the Chloe Melas Mazza Eagle Eye Studio.

Raised in Dallas, Mazza knew no one when she walked onto Auburn’s campus. Although she met friends through her sorority, Mazza still felt something was missing. During her sophomore year, Mazza joined Eagle Eye TV, Auburn’s student-run television station.

“Once I joined Eagle Eye, I found my niche and a group of like-minded people,” Mazza said. “I felt at home and that I had truly discovered part of who I was and who I was going to become.”

Today, Mazza is an entertainment reporter for CNN based in New York. Her days consists of writing articles for cnn.com, interviewing various celebrities or researching for an investigation.

Mazza credits Eagle Eye TV with her decision to become a journalist, and she generously gave back to the program that changed her future and Auburn experience.

Half of Mazza’s gift went toward purchasing the first year of CNN Newsource for Eagle Eye TV, and the remainder will benefit the Student Affairs Gift Fund, which is used for Student Affairs areas of greatest need.

Billy Ferris, assistant director of student media, and Mazza overlapped during their time as students in Eagle Eye TV. Ferris recalls Mazza as someone who worked hard, consistently improved and reported a variety of stories.

“Chloe made it possible for Eagle Eye TV to become a CNN Newsource affiliate which has allowed current students to expand their coverage to national events impacting the Auburn community,” Ferris said. “This sets up our current and future students to have every opportunity to succeed and reach their potential.”

Eagle Eye TV was Mazza’s first opportunity to use online editing software, and the studio where she learned how to pitch stories, read a teleprompter and become more comfortable in front of and behind a camera. She remained part of the student-run organization until she graduated.

The lessons Mazza learned from her tenure at Eagle Eye TV had a significant impact on her career.

“It was such an invaluable experience and I look back on that time as one of the best parts of my Auburn experience,” Mazza said. “My time at Eagle Eye brought me a lot of joy.”

With the Eagle Eye studio now holding Mazza’s name, she hopes it reminds students that anything is possible.

For more information about Eagle Eye TV, click here.

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Student Affairs honors legacy of Gloria Finley

Gloria Finley, affectionately known as “Ms. G” by students and colleagues, began working for Auburn University in 1985 as an administrative associate. For most of those years, she dedicated her career to the department of Student Affairs as a business coordinator, specifically within Student Involvement.

Finley brought knowledge and stability to student organization business operations, and her kind and generous spirit made her special and widely known by students and colleagues. She worked closely with members of Auburn’s Student Government Association, or SGA, and the Aubie program on budgeting, purchasing and financial decision-making.

Although Finley lost her fearless fight against cancer in February, she will forever be remembered through a gift made in her name by former SGA President Jonathan McConnell ’03. To celebrate Finley’s life and her dedication to Auburn, the front desk in the Office of Student Involvement was named The Gloria Finley Front Desk, or The Ms. G Front Desk, on Friday, Sept. 24.

Bobby R. Woodard, senior vice president for Student Affairs, spoke at the ceremony and remembered Finley as a testament to what the Auburn Family looks like.

Corey Edwards, assistant to the senior vice president of Student Affairs, shared memories about his special relationship with Finley, which began when he was a student and continued as they later became colleagues.

Edwards reminded Finley’s family, current and past colleagues, and students in attendance, that her spirit continues to live throughout the office of Student Involvement. He praised Finley for building a close-knit Student Involvement office, with staff who are willing to step up at any time for one another. Finley’s legacy, according to Edwards, will forever be part of the department.

While Finley loved all her students, McConnell was easily one of her favorites. While their relationship grew during his time at Auburn, their bond strengthened long past his time as a student.

“She was one of the closest people to me,” McConnell said. “I would call her from the middle of the night in Iraq from a satellite phone just to hear her voice and have a few minutes to catch up.”

McConnell felt led to honor Finley because of how she poured her life into Auburn, her family and the many others around her.

Finley became a mother figure to many Auburn students, including McConnell, Edwards and Brad Smith, director of Student Involvement.

“She’d unapologetically let you know your hair or outfit wasn’t your best or she’d offer you unconditional love and support with a smile,” Smith said. “Years after graduation when I returned to work for Auburn, Ms. G became more than an Auburn mom or colleague. She was a best friend.”

Whether Ms. G was managing budgets, helping others or cheering for Aubie at the UCA Mascot National Championship competition, she did it with enthusiasm and care.

Amy Shugart, communications and marketing specialist for Student Involvement, recalled meeting Finley for the first time during her junior year of high school at the Mascot National Championship competition. Shugart was at the event to support her brother, who was a friend of Aubie.

Shugart described feeling instantly like one of Finley’s own and shared that Finley encouraged her to apply at Auburn. When Shugart came to Auburn, she was able to maintain and build her relationship with Finley, especially while serving as director of Aubie from 2011-2012.

“Ms. G was the glue that held the Aubie program together,” Shugart said. “She was our confidante, encourager and biggest cheerleader. She provided words of wisdom and witty one-liners, sometimes all in the same sentence. She kept us humble.”

Shugart credits Finley’s constant support and hard work for the success of the Aubie program today.

Melissa Irvin Howell, director of the Melton Student Center, worked with Finley for over 25 years. The two met when Finley joined the Student Affairs team, and their offices were in the James E. Foy Student Union.

“I remember the first day she started with us,” Irvin Howell said. “It was like a breath of fresh air had walked in with a beautiful smile.”

At the conclusion of the naming ceremony, Peyton Alsobrook, Student Affairs development officer, announced the Gloria Finley Endowed Scholarship, created to honor Finley’s legacy at Auburn. The scholarship will be awarded to an Auburn student serving in a leadership position who is in need of financial assistance. To date, $60,000 has been raised to support the fund.

To give to the Gloria Finley Endowed Scholarship, contact Alsobrook at pda0001@auburn.edu.

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Watch the Sept. 22 Town Hall on Sexual Assault Reporting and Prevention

Watch the Sept. 22 Town Hall on Sexual Assault Reporting and Prevention

On Sept. 22, representatives from campus and the community gathered to address student concerns and share information about reporting and preventing sexual assault. Watch a recording of the Town Hall here.

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Campus Recreation outdoor facilities upgrades increase space for fall intramural and club sports

Auburn students have experienced the first major upgrades to Campus Recreation’s outdoor facilities in over 40 years. In spring 2020, the SportsPlex was completed and just in time for the fall 2021 semester, 11 tennis courts and eight pickleball courts were installed.

Since the 1980s, the intramural fields, located next to the Jane B. Moore Softball Complex, have been the only ones on campus, but with the addition of the SportsPlex, Campus Recreation offers more capacity for intramural and club outdoor sports.

“The SportsPlex provides a place for Auburn Club Sports teams to practice without interrupting intramural sports, and the synthetic turf fields reduce the number of weather disruptions for club sports,” Scott Harper, director of facilities and operations for Campus Recreation, said.

Fall intramural and club sports include Ultimate Frisbee, rugby, lacrosse, baseball, softball, field hockey, soccer, flag football, kickball and sand volleyball, and the SportsPlex is home to softball and multi-use lacrosse, rugby and soccer fields.

The addition of the SportsPlex provides Auburn students increased options for recreation, Harper said.

When the fields and sand volleyball courts are not reserved for club practices, intramural games or special events, the SportsPlex is available for informal use. There is also a one-mile trail around the SportsPlex for individuals to use during hours of operation.

During hours of operation, the SportsPlex is open to currently enrolled students, plus faculty and staff who are members of Auburn University’s Recreation and Wellness Center.

According to Harper, flag football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, rugby and Ultimate Frisbee will be played across the three multi-purpose fields, and baseball, kickball, and fast- and slow-pitch softball will take place across the two softball fields.

Annually, Campus Recreation sees more than 1,000 intramural and club sports teams, and with the addition of the SportsPlex, more teams and individuals can utilize the new and original fields.

Additional outdoor physical activities have been made available to students with the addition of 11 tennis courts and eight pickleball courts that are located on W. Thach Avenue and Hemlock Drive.

“Pickleball has become a very popular, fast-growing sport,” Harper said. “Providing courts on campus will expose a whole new generation of participants to the game. We believe that students will love this new opportunity.”

Although COVID-19 impacted how the SportsPlex was introduced to students, those who have used the fields have enjoyed the facility.

“We have received so many positive comments from students and we look forward to them utilizing the SportsPlex for years to come,” Harper said.

“There are numerous studies that have linked students’ success in the classroom to their participation in physical activity and recreation,” Harper said. “Our team does everything possible to help Auburn students succeed while encouraging them in the development of lifelong patterns of healthy living along the way.”

All Auburn students are welcome to join intramural or club sports and to utilize the outdoor facilities when available.

To join an intramural or club sport, visit Campus Recreation’s website and register. To view weekly hours of operations, click here.

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In Memoriam: Federico Foster

Auburn University will remember student Federico Foster, beginning Friday, Sept. 17

A memorial flag will fly in front of Samford Hall on Sept. 17. The flag will then be displayed, along with a memorial certificate, in the Melton Student Center beginning Tuesday, Sept. 21.

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Safe Zone empowers and equips faculty, staff and students to provide a safe environment for LGBTQ+ community

Through Safe Zone, Auburn University empowers all students, including LGBTQ+ individuals, the opportunity to succeed academically and socially.

To better support an inclusive campus, Auburn University faculty, staff and students are encouraged to participate in Safe Zone, an interactive professional development training designed to address issues related to working with LGBTQ+ students. Safe Zone also addresses sexual orientation and gender identity topics, including terminology and ways to manage situations that may be encountered.

“Safe Zone can empower and equip participants to become informed allies who are willing to provide a safe environment for all Auburn students,” Brandy Smith, assistant director of clinical training for Student Counseling and Psychological Services, said.

Attendees of the four-hour educational session will participate in open discussions, interact with others through small and large group activities and watch informative videos. Other segments include Smith sharing information on LGBTQ+ topics.

Every person who partakes in Safe Zone will be educated with a mixture of knowledge and skills, Smith said.

“The training provides a combination of what our field refers to as cultural competence and cultural humility,” Smith said. “The latter acknowledges the importance of working to educate ourselves while also acknowledging we can never know it all. It helps us be open and less defensive when we ‘step in it.’”

Smith also correlates Safe Zone with Health Promotion and Wellness Service’s WE.auburn, which is part of a nationwide program called the Green Dot Bystander Intervention Program which focuses on actions of the bystander and equipping them to take action and intervene in a potentially dangerous situation.

This means Safe Zone helps individuals realize when something problematic related to sexual orientation and gender identity is said or done, and Safe Zone participants will know how to create a safer environment for the entire campus community.

Smith began facilitating Safe Zone 10 years ago, and one of the biggest impacts she has seen is how much more people speak up to make a positive difference.

“Because people are able to hear ideas for how to respond in various situations, they are able to carry those out of the training and apply them,” Smith said.

Safe Zone participants have brought positive change to campus by advocating for more inclusive signage for single-stall bathrooms, updating administrative forms and research surveys with more inclusive language, improving faculty syllabi on navigating diversity conversations, among other efforts.

“Safe Zone is a readily visible sign to our LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff, along with allies, that there are people on our campus dedicated to creating a safe environment for LGBTQ+ people,” Smith said.

Those who complete Safe Zone receive a sticker to place on their door, indicating a safe and protective place for any individual who needs someone to talk to.

To expand the Safe Zone project, Smith has partnered with the Office of Inclusion and Diversity on a new project, Train the Trainer. Through this project, she hopes more people will be trained across campus to be able to lead their own Safe Zone training.

Anyone who has participated in Safe Zone within the past two years will be eligible to participate. Train the Trainer will provide hands-on experience presenting the course material and ensure individuals have the skills to navigate difficult conversations that may emerge.

According to Smith, increasing the number of Safe Zone trainers on campus will help to significantly advance the program. People interested in becoming a trainer or partaking in Safe Zone can contact Smith at bls0020@auburn.edu.

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Pi Chis contribute to the successful week of Panhellenic recruitment

Pi Chis serving fall Panhellenic recruitment.

The Panhellenic recruitment process may change and adjust each year, but Pi Chis, counselors for potential new members going through Panhellenic recruitment, never waver.

If you are near Sorority Village on campus during recruitment, you will likely hear the cheers and screams of Pi Chis as they encourage and usher potential new members into chapter rooms for parties. You may also see Pi Chis providing a breath mint to potential new members, fanning them to relieve them from the heat, showering them with words of affirmation or giving them unbiased advice.

At the beginning of recruitment, potential new members are separated into groups with a Pi Chi assigned to each one. The groups are made up of 15 to 16 women.

“A Pi Chi provides support, guidance, assistance and encouragement to her group members throughout the week,” Lindsay Holdren, assistant director of Greek Life, said. “She has a wealth of knowledge to share with her group about the Panhellenic recruitment process and is the ultimate cheerleader.”

During spring semester, members of the 18 Panhellenic sororities apply to become a Pi Chi. According to Holdren, around 400 applications are received, with spots for 120 to 125 individuals. This past spring, 124 Pi Chis were selected for the fall Panhellenic recruitment.

Preparation for fall recruitment begins with weekly spring semester training sessions. Pi Chis learn more about topics to help support potential new members, such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and body positivity. The StrengthsQuest assessment, which highlights leadership styles and personality traits, is used to help the Pi Chis better connect with each other and the women going through recruitment. Panhellenic leaders teach Pi Chis the rules of recruitment, university policies and offer advice on how to support and guide potential new members.

“The Pi Chis of this year were amazing in several different ways,” Kate Lightfoot, Panhellenic vice president of recruitment, said. “Each navigated the week with grace, and they were able to adjust smoothly to the changes as the week went on.”

Recruitment is exciting for potential new members, but it can also be an emotional time. Pi Chis are the listening ears and helping hands for these women.

Lightfoot noted that even on difficult days, Pi Chis encourage and support each of their group members, helping recruitment run smoothly.  To make sure each potential new member feels supported throughout the recruitment process, personal opinions or feelings must be put aside.

“To guide potential new members, a Pi Chi must establish trust among her group and show that her primary goal is to make sure each member feels valued,” Lauren Smith, Panhellenic head Pi Chi, said.  “A Pi Chi is selfless and works tirelessly for the safety and wellbeing of all students going through the recruitment process.”

To establish trust and allow personal feelings to be put aside, Pi Chis do not disclose to their group what Panhellenic sorority they are part of. The night before Bid Day, once potential new members have completed recruitment, a Pi Chi will then reveal what sorority they are in.

With Pi Chis’ focus and energy directed at potential news members, it is essential they also take care of themselves and stay motivated.

“Pi Chis stay motivated with the support of fellow Pi Chis, as well as the Panhellenic leadership who trained us all semester,” Morgan Barbay, Panhellenic assistant head Pi Chi, said. “Leaning on each other not only helps us strengthen each other but helps us be motivated to be our best selves for the potential new members.”

Throughout recruitment week, friendships blossom between Pi Chis that may not have happened if they had not been serving with one another.

“Being a Pi Chi allowed me the opportunity to meet so many other Auburn Panhellenic women,” Rachel Simpson, panhellenic assistant head Pi Chi, said. “I loved getting to know the other Pi Chis from other sororities and the potential new members.”

Simpson also credits her Pi Chi experience as an opportunity to share her strengths in a teamworking environment.

With a record number of registrants for fall’s Panhellenic recruitment at 1,872, the support of each Pi Chi contributed to a successful week.

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In Memoriam: Jase Alderman

Auburn University will remember student Jase Alderman, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 1

A memorial flag will fly in front of Samford Hall on Sept. 1. The flag will then be displayed, along with a memorial certificate, in the Melton Student Center beginning Friday, Sept. 3.

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Special Spotlight: Campus Food Pantry

Special Spotlight: Campus Food Pantry

Auburn Cares is participating in the SEC Fight, a SEC-wide competition amongst campus food pantries. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate now through Saturday, April 17, as every dollar donated is worth three points and every food item donated is worth two points. 

The Campus Food Pantry provides non-perishable foods and hygiene items to any Auburn University students in need. No financial information verification is required, and students can receive up to one bag of food per week. 

“The Campus Food Pantry directly benefits Auburn students, and as the Auburn Family, it is imperative that we care for one another in times of need,” Sarah Grace Walters, Auburn Cares coordinator, said. Nationally, around 30% of college students are food insecure, and the Campus Food Pantry serves over 100 students each academic year, according to Walters.

Competing schools include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee. 

As of Monday, April 12, Auburn University has raised over $37,000 for the Campus Food Pantry. 

For monetary donations, individuals can give via Venmo (non-tax deductible) at @AuburnFoodFight or here (tax deductible). To donate food items, visit 1115 Melton Student Center.

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Auburn names WEGL 91.1 studio in honor of Bradley Basden

Auburn names WEGL 91.1 studio in honor of Bradley Basden

Auburn’s student-run radio studio, located inside the Melton Student Center, was named the Bradley Basden WEGL Studio on Saturday, March 13. This recognition celebrates Basden’s dedication to Auburn University and WEGL 91.1 FM and honors Dr. Brett Basden ‘89 and Katie Prather Basden’s ‘91 philanthropic support to Student Affairs.

 

As an inaugural member of the EAGLES Program, Basden began working for WEGL in 2019 and created his own show, “EAGLE on WEGL.”

 

Born with a rare genetic defect that impacts Basden’s brain, liver and spleen, he never allowed medical challenges to stop him from chasing his dream which was to attend and leave a legacy at Auburn University.

 

Basden was eager to learn and became an integral part of the WEGL team. Peers quickly noticed the positivity Basden brought daily to the studio.

 

“His work ethic and passion for radio is the reason for his success and the reason he will leave a lasting impact on WEGL,” Student Media Coordinator Brit Bowen said. “Bradley alone has paved the way for students of all abilities to be involved and to leave their mark on Auburn University. His involvement at WEGL is an everyday reminder of why WEGL exists, which is to serve as a learning laboratory for students.”

 

The Basdens made a significant philanthropic pledge to Student Affairs in 2020 with part of the funds going towards new WEGL equipment and the remaining funds going towards the Student Affairs Gift Fund.

 

WEGL’s studio has now been improved with state-of-the-art technology including an Axia IQ 8-Fader Console, a control board, an Axia 8-Fader Expansion Frame, which gives the station 16 channels instead of eight, and an Axia Console DSP Mix Engine.

 

This equipment immediately upgraded WEGL’s infrastructure to operate from the station’s wireless network giving the team the ability to operate remotely. What was once impossible has been made possible through remote capabilities.

 

“The content that students can now make and the ways they can utilize the studio far exceeds anything WEGL has been able to do in its 50 year history,” Bowen said. “The station is now operating in a capacity that mirrors the professional broadcast industry, preparing students for jobs and internships.”

 

The radio station has been student-run since it began 50 years ago and has taught hundreds of students vital technical skills.

 

For more information about WEGL, visit aub.ie/wegl.

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