SLAM, or Student Liberal Arts Mosaic, began in 2007 on April 18 as a way for students to show their talents and abilities as well as the research they put into their work. Some students present papers, projects and even perform musical numbers as a way to add their unique pieces to the mosaic of Mars Hill College, now Mars Hill University. For students not presenting, it is a way of showing their support to fellow Liberal Arts learners who have aspirations of changing the world or simply making changes right here in Madison County.
This year, SLAM took place on Wednesday, April 9. Beginning at 9 a.m., students traveled between buildings on campus to support their colleagues. Presenting in Belk auditorium in Wren Student Union, Roxanne Paris taught her audience about Miranda rights with her PowerPoint “When Do I Have to be Read my Miranda Warnings?”, which detailed the Supreme Court cases that led up to the Miranda rights ruling in 1966 and when police officers are required to read these rights. Roxanne is a junior criminal justice major from Hendersonville, N.C. who aspires to attend law school after graduation.
During the same presentation block, Melissa Stuckie and Kelly Jones, senior physical education majors with a concentration in health and wellness, presented their research in a PowerPoint titled, “Fit or Fat: How Can You Tell, Where Do You Fall?”, which explained the ways in which an individual can determine whether he/she is overweight and in need of a lifestyle change or fit for his/her body type. During the presentation, Jones explained a new fitness trend called, “the thigh gap,” a physical attribute evidenced when a girl can put her knees together yet still have a gap between her upper thighs. Jones clarified that “the thigh gap” trend is not a realistic goal for most women because it is a physical feature of women who have a wide pelvic arch and wide-set hips. The only way for women who have a narrow pelvic arch to achieve a “thigh gap” would be to malnourish those muscles, which tend to be rather large, “and I don’t recommend that,” Jones says.
Jameson Donnell, a May 2012 alumni of Mars Hill University, told me his favorite parts of SLAM when he was a student. “My favorite thing about SLAM is the fact that it allows students a platform to express and showcase what they have been working so hard on,” Donnell says. “It allows students that have completed extensive research [to] share with the student body. This, I feel, broadens minds and allows students to get informative information from their peers — people they see around campus on a daily basis. This, I think, inspires most to do the same thing and present something they may be passionate about.” Donnell is an admissions counselor at Mars Hill, helping entering students with the transition from high school to college.
Although students are not required to attend SLAM, Dr. Kimberly Reigle, an English professor at the university, told me that she does require her English 112 students to do an assignment on at least one SLAM presentation, “reporting back on the content and delivery of the presentations they attend.” She uses “this as a teaching tool for class presentations,” she says. At the end of every SLAM, students who have a filled out “passport”, a card on which they receive a stamp for each presentation they attend, have the opportunity to attend a final meeting in Moore Auditorium, where their cards go into a drawing for different prizes. In past years, the prizes have ranged from $25 gift cards to flat-screen TVs.