The Results Are In: Runners Up in the Biscuitville Brand Your Biscuit Competition!

Photo by Rachel Southmayd

My roommates and I, as mentioned in my last post, formed a team called G.R.I.T.S. (Girl Roommates in the South) to create our very own biscuit, The Southern Sunrise. It was a part of the extremely fun Brand Your Biscuit competition held by Biscuitville.

As finalists in the competition, we were invited to attend this past Monday’s Business and Biscuits Breakfast in a penthouse ballroom in the Center Pointe building in Greensboro. It was STUNNING. Golden walls, gorgeous city views and trays of fresh biscuits awaited us as we anticipated the results of the competition. We also got to speak with local entrepreneurs and business professionals in our fields of interest, which was such a treat and a nice bonus of the breakfast.

When it came time to announce the winners, we were announced as the runners up and winners of Best Video! We attribute the video’s success to the catchy jingle we created on our couch back in March. We had a lot of fun making up the rhymes to that one and putting together the final product.

Along with our runner up status, we received $500 toward Elon. We were pleasantly surprised and can’t wait to donate the money to our wonderful college (and our home for just one more month)!


Fun with G.R.I.T.S. (Girl Roommates in the South) – The Biscuitville Brand Your Biscuit competition

Biscuitville is a North Carolina-based breakfast chain that serves up delicious, homemade Southern classics including many types of scratch-made biscuits, hashbrowns, grits, pancakes, muffins and more. Their coffee is also wonderful.

I got an e-mail from a professor earlier this year about the Biscuitville Brand Your Biscuit competition, a contest open to North Carolina college students to submit a new product for their menu – specifically a product that could appeal to a younger demographic. I immediately sent a mass text to my three other roomies asking if they’d like to form a team. Everyone got on board! Our team name was our favorite part – G.R.I.T.S. (Girl Roommates in the South).

The contest was also appealing to us because it went along with our respective majors. Two of us are studying journalism, and two are studying marketing, and we all love Biscuitville. It seemed like a great fit!

The product we came up with was the Southern Sunrise biscuit, a biscuit with a fried grits patty, bacon and cheese. We did a small-scale Facebook poll to help decide which meat to use, and not surprisingly, bacon came out with a win (quite typical for us college folk)!


We also looked at their current menu and pricing to make sure we weren’t straying too far from the down-home, Southern Biscuitville line-up.

We submitted an online form for the first portion of the contest, and soon came an e-mail that we’d advanced to the semi-finals. We then made a video for round two. We had a BLAST making it, and we even wrote a cheesy yet memorable jingle.

And recently, folks, we were named finalists! We were thrilled and honored to be able to give a presentation at the corporate offices of Biscuitville, and now we await the final decision (to be announced on Monday April 8)! In the mean time, enjoy our video above and our presentation (link below).

Prezi presentation


Go Local! { The North Carolina 10% Campaign }

nc 10 percent

The NC 10% Campaign is an initiative started at North Carolina State University to encourage businesses and residents to buy more locally produced foods.

People can take the pledge on their website to buy roughly 10% of their food locally, and in doing so they join the movement to stimulate their city’s economy and help the hardworking food producers who live a stone’s throw away from them.

Not to mention, local foods are fresher, healthier and haven’t traveled hundreds of miles to get to you. It’s not that much more expensive to buy, and the products are more diverse and in season. What’s not to love?

As a part of our Environmental Communications course, we made a video promoting the NC 10% Campaign’s efforts. It was recently featured on Planet Forward’s website – enjoy!

Movie Review: ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’

A recent movie review for The Pendulum‘s Style Blog, élan:

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Quvenzhane Wallis stars as Hushpuppy in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” The film is nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

Captivating. Moving. Poignant. Emotional.

Beasts of the Southern Wild,” directed by Benh Zeitlin, is a movie infused with passion, both from the actors and the brains behind the film’s production. It debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and it’s gained a spirited and growing fanbase ever since. Its vibrant child star, Quvenzhane Wallis, was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award, and the film itself was recently nominated for an Academy Award in three other categories: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It’s easy to see why.

The movie is set in a makeshift community in the bayou of Louisiana. It’s called the “Bathtub”, and it’s faced with a constant threat of flooding. This tight-knit cast of characters is mostly neglected by the “civilized” folk who live on the other side of the levee, but they don’t see that as an obstacle to their well-being. What other people call poverty they call everyday life, and they embrace it.

Wallis, who plays Hushpuppy, lives in the Bathtub with her father Wink, played by newcomer Dwight Henry. She’s motherless, her father’s health is declining and he verges on being abusive. But Hushpuppy has a brilliantly curious and strong mind, and she’s determined to make sense of her seemingly small life and find where she connects to the big world outside.

And boy, does she face some obstacles. There are situations I could never imagine being put in — mega storms, accidental house fires, a constantly shifting home life — but Hushpuppy’s resilience is always there as a cornerstone of the movie. She finds connections between people and the universe that most kids would overlook, and it’s truly inspiring. The movie even toys with the idea of mythical creatures that seem to be created straight from Hushpuppy’s 5-year-old mind. This was one portion of the movie that wasn’t as clear to me, but maybe that means it deserves a second look.

Wallis and Henry do a phenomenal job in their roles. They were both newcomers from Louisiana before being cast in the film. Henry, specifically, was recruited while he still worked in a mom-and-pop restaurant near New Orleans. He had a spark the director was looking for, and he brought a certain rawness to every scene he was in. It’s quite impressive. His acting undoubtedly drew on his own experience in Hurricane Katrina — he was there in neck-high waters, and he felt the emotional toll of that disaster. And Wallis is spunky and fearless. She is someone you can’t help but root for.

The film is also shot beautifully, with energy and whimsical imagery packed into each sequence. It’s certainly not a comedy, and it’s not a feel-good flick, but it has elements of both woven into the plot. You feel like you’re dipping your toes in something a little deeper, like you’re in Hushpuppy’s young but wise shoes trying to figure out the world. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is refreshing, daring, heartbreaking and magnificent.

The Pendulum‘s rating: 4/5 stars

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College Voters 2012 – A Multimedia Journalism Project

A glimpse at our College Voters 2012 project site.
A glimpse of our College Voters 2012 project site.

For our final project of the semester in Multimedia Journalism, our group of five seniors created a webpage centered on the 2012 Presidential Elections. We focused on college student sentiment of the candidates and outcome, especially college seniors.

We each enjoyed contributing our own multimedia elements to the page and loved showcasing the final product.

My specific contributions were the rotating header images on the home page, the Storify piece, and two graphics about student debt on the “Facts & Figures” page.

Take a look at our project for yourself!


Linking Generations bridges gap between students and seniors

Elon sophomore Kendall Quinn gives a glimpse into her time volunteering at Blakey Hall, an assisted living community in Elon, North Carolina:

“There’s a misconception that older people are past their prime,” said Elon junior Caroline McSwain. “But the Blakey Hall residents are on their game.”

Blakey Hall is an assisted living community less than three miles from Elon University’s campus. Linking Generations, the student-run organization formerly known as Adopt-a-Grandparent, is made up of students from all four years who visit Blakey Hall at least once a month to mingle and build relationships with residents.

McSwain understands some students’ hesitation to visit Blakey Hall but assures her peers it’s more than worth it.

“It’s scarier to volunteer with older people,” she said. “But it’s enriching. It’s easier to do in a group setting.”

The organization, which currently has more than 25 members, facilitates activities like craft nights and coordinates holiday-themed parties and weekly visits to simply chat with the residents.

McSwain, now a co-president of the organization, got involved as a freshman. She volunteered for one of her human services classes but loved it so much she continued volunteering throughout the year, eventually earning 50 service hours at Blakey.

McSwain said it’s especially rewarding to visit the second floor of the main building, which houses residents primarily diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“It’s hard, especially with those patients,” she said. “But they are still carefree and full of life. Helping them be joyful and happy is really important.”

One of her Blakey Hall friends is Hazel, a woman with a sense of humor and an affinity for flashy necklaces, some of which McSwain helped her make during an afternoon of crafting.

Both McSwain and fellow Linking Generations member Kendall Quinn describe Hazel as a “low-key” person who enjoys the simple things, especially sing-a-longs.

Quinn, a sophomore at Elon, finds the residents charming and loves their passion for singing.

“They are all really talented at remembering lyrics,” she said. “It’s amazing to watch. They love singing the classic songs.”

Blakey Hall activities director Judy Simpson said both residents and staff appreciate students’ frequent visits.

“People don’t realize how much a conversation means to them,” she said. “We love having people come, especially when it’s consistent. These folks like to get to know you.”

Simpson said they especially love having students visit during holiday seasons, because residents’ families often can’t make it for every holiday, mainly Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Often, students serve as a sort of extended family for the residents. During McSwain’s sophomore year, she was close with a woman named Bea who lived on the second floor of Blakey.

“She was wild and young at heart,” she said. “ She always looked her best and wore jewelry, and one time she even carried a diaper of jewelry around because she knew people wouldn’t want to touch it and steal her stuff.”

But when McSwain returned to Elon for her junior year, she learned Bea had died in her sleep. She remembered the feeling as bittersweet.

“I was sad, but all my visits with her felt worth it,” she said. “I had had an impact during the last year of her life.”

She said her time at Blakey with Linking Generations has helped her understand her own grandparents more. She sends them frequent e-mails just to say hello, and she said her grandparents appreciate the fact that she cares about elderly people even with a busy college schedule. She said she genuinely loves the organization and visiting her friends at Blakey, and she loves the meaningful, two-way relationships she has formed there.

“It means a lot to them that somebody is there,” she said. “It’s similar to a relationship with peers. They’re friends, and the experiences they share are amazing.”