Legacies at Appalachian

Students in a First Year Seminar course at Appalachian State University focused on leadership and legacy this fall. The freshmen explored examples of people who took the initiative to leave a place better than they found it. They also considered what legacy they could leave behind at Appalachian.

One class activity was to identify someone from the Appalachian community, past or present, who has left his or her own legacy on campus. These legacies include organizations, relationships created with other places and important pieces of Appalachian history, among others.

"The legacy assignment reminds students not to take their education for granted," said Dr. Jim Street, associate director of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, and instructor for the Leadership and Legacy FYS course. "What if everyone thought, 'How can I leave this place better than I found it?' This would truly be an amazing university. That's why students need to understand that they are Appalachian's legacy and Appalachian is their legacy," he said.

"Students need to be involved and leave their own legacy to better themselves and the surroundings for everyone in the future. Leaving a legacy is a point of pride and accomplishment," said freshman Alanna Barbee. "By learning from past legacies, one can learn how to be a positive role model and leave their own lasting legacy behind," said freshman Vince Gobble.

Some examples of people, programs and activities considered "legacies" by the First Year Seminar students include:


by Krystal Weiss

International Appalachian, or INTAPP, was formed at Appalachian in 2005 by April Kappler '05. The organization recruits international students to come to Appalachian and helps them adjust to a new campus and culture. INTAPP also prepares Appalachian students to study abroad. Kappler founded the organization after her study abroad experience in China, during which she found it difficult to adjust to a new culture. One way INTAPP helps incoming international students adjust is to pair them with domestic partner students who act as a guide mentor. "Most of the organizations, structures and entities on this campus were created for a purpose. The legacy of April Kappler and her friends isn't an organization, it's a mission," wrote Weiss. "They left behind their drive to be involved in something bigger and the duty to help others."

Former Chancellor John E. Thomas

by Christin Ball

Appalachian was one of the first universities in the United States to develop educational exchanges in China following that country's Open Door Policy of the mid-1980s. Thanks to the work of Dr. John E. Thomas, Appalachian's chancellor from 1979-1993, students can now develop relationships with their counterparts in China. The international partnership began in May 1980, when Thomas received a telegram outlining an opportunity for Appalachian to "interact with a university or universities" in Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China. He asked fellow faculty to donate textbooks to China's Northeast Institute of Technology (NEIT) in Shenyang. Faculty members donated more than 300 textbooks plus computer parts. Thomas and a delegation from Appalachian traveled to Shenyang in fall 1981. Following successful negations, faculty exchanges from each institution quickly followed, with two professors from Appalachian spending a year at NEIT and two professors from NEIT spending a year at Appalachian. Thomas's successors, Dr. Francis T. Borkowski and Dr. Kenneth E. Peacock, have continued Appalachian's relationship with China. The original "China Project" expanded with an exchange program with Fudan University in Shanghai as well as with the Walker College of Business' Holland Fellows for Business Study in Asia program. "Dr. Thomas left a legacy that is still growing and being expanded," wrote Ball. "It is people like Dr. Thomas who take a leap of faith and create opportunities."

Green landmarks

by Joe Beard and Christian Shelton

Two great legacies of Appalachian's focus on sustainability are the Biodiesel Collaborative project and the wind turbine located behind the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center. The Biodiesel Collaborative began when a group of Appalachian students won an EPA P3 Award in the Design Competition for Sustainability in 2006. The students submitted a project in which they would build a sustainable community-scale biodiesel facility. They received $75,000 in grant money to continue the project. The facility is entirely self-sufficient and provides educational experiences for the public. "Learning about the Biodiesel Collaborative was an intriguing experience," wrote Beard. "I've always been interested in finding ways to help technology coexist with our environment, and the collaborative is something that is certainly striving toward that end." The wind turbine is a project that was funded in part by the Renewable Energy Initiative (REI) at Appalachian. The turbine produces 145,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity every year and is operated by New River Light and Power. "Today the wind turbine stands tall as a testament to both of Appalachian's commitments to staying eco-friendly as well as technologically advanced," wrote Shelton.

The birth of a mascot

by Kristen Childers and Abbey Gentry

Appalachian's mascot and identity were born out of a rush for students to meet a deadline. Rhododendron associate editor Elizabeth South, freshman editor Lloyd Isaacs and Observer Printing House representative Bill Mitchell were looking for a way to fill a blank page in the 1942 annual and time was running out. They sketched out pictures of a mountain man and tried to think of a name that would allow students to identify with their mascot. They decided to identify him as "Yourself." Due to a lack of space, they were required to shorten the name to "Yo'Self," which was then printed as "Yoseff" due to the printer's mistake. But the name stuck. "[Yosef] is set apart from other schools' mascots I know because we can view him as a friend and an ally," wrote Childers. "Appalachian would not be the unique school or family it is without our very important Mountaineer family member Yosef." Gentry wrote, "This accidental mascot became one of the driving forces behind the spirit and enthusiasm throughout the area."

Appalachian Student Ambassadors

by Lea Ramsey

1966 graduate Fred Robinette started the Appalachian Student Ambassador program in 1977, after attending a conference session in New York City titled "Involving Your Students." It was from this session that Robinette, director of Alumni Affairs at the time, got the idea for a program in which students past and present could interact with and engage prospective students. He used the model of larger universities, including Vanderbilt and University of Georgia, which already had student/alumni programs, to create the Appalachian Student Ambassadors. Ambassadors lead campus tours and assist with Open House weekends for prospective students, organize service activities such as Adopt-A-Street and serve as greeters at alumni and chancellor events, among other activities. "The Appalachian Ambassadors have left more than a footprint on this campus—they are the ones who paint Yosef's boot prints up Stadium Drive—they have left an entire legacy," wrote Ramsey. "They have left the idea of an Appalachian Family. Never will the work of ambassadors be forgotten, for they serve past, present and future students."

Student Government Association

by Michael Roden

The Student Government Association, or SGA, is composed of student senators and cabinet members responsible for being the voice of the Appalachian student community. The SGA originated in 1939 and included an executive board and senate for the Men's and Women's House Councils. A new constitution was established in 1967, creating the SGA we know today. The SGA was established to provide rights and power to Appalachian students. It is responsible for the creation of visitation policies in dorms, Greek systems and Safe Ride, among many other policies and programs for students. "I myself am a senator on SGA. As I continue to develop various pieces of legislation, I will keep one idea in mind: this entire organization is bigger than I will ever be," wrote Roden. "[SGA] has the footprint of every student body from previous years imprinted on its history and will eventually have the footprint of every future student body. Now that's what I call a legacy!"

Appalachian Popular Programming Society

by Heather Horn

Dave Robertson, director of Student Programs, created Appalachian Popular Programming Society in 1985. Robertson created the society to enhance the college experience at Appalachian, as there was no real "night life" in Boone at the time. APPS provides entertainment for students and has brought to campus acts such as Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett and Black Eyed Peas. Its members select, plan and promote its many concerts, movies and other activities. One of the most popular programs APPS has hosted was the Anberlin, All-American Rejects and Taking Back Sunday concert last year. "Dave Robertson has left his legacy by creating one of the most popular organizations on Appalachian's campus," wrote Horn. "APPS has had a great impact on Appalachian for the past 25 years. Having great leaders has made the organization what it is today."