Video Game Offers Opportunity for WV Forward Initiative

Ready to become a ‘Vault Dweller?’ Well, ready-or-not, here it comes; Fallout 76 — the newest video game in the Fallout series — releases in less than a month.

This might not seem particularly interesting to those uninterested in video games, however, students at West Virginia University should check it out to catch a glimpse at Woodburn Hall.

Thats right; Woodburn Hall.

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Woodburn Hall as featured on the Official Fallout 76 Trailer.

Fallout 76 features landmarks from across the wild and wonderful state of W. Va. including the state capital, New River Gorge, and the Moundsville Penitentiary.

In an earlier blog post, President Gordon E. Gee was quoted saying ‘Much work will need to be done to make West Virginia attractive’ and this seems like a golden opportunity; especially when 70% of college students play video games.

Could this video game be a helpful (albeit unexpected) piece to the West Virginia Forward initiative?

Let’s take a look at how Fallout 26 could be helping with the University’s initiative and getting students interested in staying in state after graduation.

Business

One of the three main focuses for the initiative is bringing more business opportunities to the state, and what better more lucrative business opportunity to engage youth than video games?

The Fallout franchise is worth 45M, and could have the state, as well as WVU, cashing in on the profits. This has potential to bring in tourists to visit the sites shown within the game and sell merchandise that both capitalizes on the game and the history of the state.

WVU is blue and gold….the characters ‘vault jumpsuit’ is blue and gold…..there’s definite possibility here.

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Look at that lovely Vault-Tech jumpsuit….gotta love that blue and gold.

Education

Woodburn Hall is front and center in the Official Fallout 76 Trailer; not only is that awesome, that’s free advertisement. 91% of children ages 2-to-17 play video games, and with over 32M views, I assume most of them saw the trailer.

Decisions about higher education are always difficult, but for a high school senior who happens to be an avid video game player, maybe they will think to stop by WVU for a tour. Bethesda, the company behind the franchise, also offers scholarship money, and revenue for technical degree programs, offering another opportunity for state benefits.

Human Capital

WVU seeks to ‘develop innovative ways to showcase W. Va.’s greatest assets’ and ‘inspire engagement in communities’ and can capitalize on the franchise to help the initiative.

We use the words ‘wild and wonderful’ all the time when describing our state, so having landmarks and the Appalachian Mountains shown within the graphics of the game could make people want to travel here and see it for themselves.

Depending on the depictions within the game, it could potentially raise awareness for the problems we face like drug use and poverty. It could provide a more conductive means for those in and out of state to gain the initiative to help make some changes.

Whether you are familiar with the Fallout franchise or not, it remains an untapped opportunity for the W. Va. Forward initiative.

Fallout 76 comes out on November 14, so we will see how the game impacts the state soon enough. Hope to see all you Vault Dwellers out there moving W. Va. forward!

 

 

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Students Vote, But Not in Elections

West Virginia University hosted their homecoming game last Saturday against Kansas State, crowing Kendra Lobban and Douglas Ernest Jr. as King and Queen. For two weeks, there was no escape from the barrage of candidates at the Crossing or Woodburn Cirle. The endless ‘Vote for so-and-so’ and ‘here have a cupcake, and by the way remember to go vote!’ has come to an end.

However, the focus isn’t on the candidates…it’s on the students. Voting for Homecoming King and Queen is one thing, but when it comes time to vote on important issues, students are lacking the enthusiasm and drive to go out and vote.

There are many efforts to try and get students to vote, such as the Campus Vote Project, and reminders on when to request an absentee ballot for both W Va., and the surrounding states , but it still seems like most students aren’t as interested in voting as they should be.

During the 2016 Presidential Election, over 24 million people between the ages of 18-29 voted; a large percentage of whom were college students. West Virginia typically has higher than average voter turnout, but a lot of our college students aren’t voting, and here’s why.

Students Think They Can’t Vote on Campus

For many students, W. Va., isn’t their place of residence, and they don’t want to jeopardize any possible tuition stipends and monetary help from FAFSA. If you register to vote at WVU, that just means you can vote on campus, not that anything bad will happen because of it; it affects nothing.

Students Think Their Votes Don’t Matter

Twenty-one percent of the U.S population falls under the college voting age; that’s enough to make a difference. Students are worried that their votes don’t matter and you constantly hear ‘it’s just one vote, it doesn’t matter,’ but if more than one student is having that thought, then it becomes thousands, and MILLIONS of votes that could have been cast.

Your vote counts just as it did with Homecoming Court, only this way it holds much, much more significance.

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Students Talk About Politics, Yet Fail to Talk About Voting

It’s easy to go on Twitter and find students talking about politics (or talking about how sick they are of politics), but when it comes to voting, the ones most talking about it typically tend to be older. I searched and I searched, but the only students talking about voting were talking about Homecoming.

The student body is definitely complaining, and they’re aware, for the most part, of what and who they could be voting for, yet they seemingly choose not to do it. Politics are talked about everyday, and it’s hard not to get caught up in the midst of a political debate…but why are no students talking about voting?

It’s scary to think that people would be ok with not voting and allowing other generations to make decisions that will impact our future. Whatever reason is holding back students from voting, I hope that more of them get involved. If you can vote for Homecoming King and Queen, you can vote for someone who’s going to represent you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WVU Stops Child Care Assistance for Students; Here’s Why Students Should Be Worried About It

Over 4.8M college students are also parents; thats over 26% of the total undergraduate student population. For the average college student, it’s hard enough to get by on your own paying for tuition, apartments, food, and other necessities, add a child (or two) to the equation and it becomes significantly harder if not impossible for some.

Up until June, WVU had taken care of it’s student’s with children but with the lack of monetary assistance from a federal grant, the University had to scrap its Student Child Care Assistance Program (SCCAP). Monday, WVU received a grant worth almost a million dollars; which will once again aid students with child care and other relief,

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WVU doesn’t have enough funding for parents, but 100M for athletic facilities.

WVU cut the program after having fully funded it for the last year, claiming they couldn’t afford it on their own…while putting over 100M dollars toward athletic facilities and student athletes.

As part of the “Climbing Higher” campaign, WVU seeks to renovate more athletic facilities. There are hundreds of student athletes, but only about 30 students who received aid via SCCAP each year, so why is the University unwilling to pay to have students secure the ability to go to class while parenting their children?

There are some ways in which the University helps students (and faculty) care for their children such as the Mountaineer Kids Zone at the Student Rec Center, but it isn’t enough for students with early and rigorous class schedules. Financial aid and assistance are necessary for the success of students with children.

Since it looks like SCCAP will be back in action sometime soon, and more students than ever will benefit from financial and child care aid, hopefully the University will come up with better ways to prepare in the future and set aside money for parents as well as athletics.

Even students without children should be worried; if WVU is comfortable cutting funding for one group of individuals, what makes you think they wouldn’t cut funding for others if they so choose?

To the single mom with two kids trying to attend early morning classes with no aid, I hope you enjoy the new football and basketball stadiums.

 

WVU Banned 5 Fraternities, But Students Remain Concerned About Mass Shootings

West Virginia University cracked the whip down on Greek Life yesterday as five dissenting fraternities were banned from the University for a minimum of 10 years. As WVU sent out an email early yesterday outlining the problems the ways in which they will move forward from the incident, students seemed to be talking about something else.

What students are talking about is the lack of concern from the University on part of the two mass shooting threats this month. To recap, WVU has neglected to send out any emails or WVUAlerts to inform the student body about the incidents; most had to find out through the local news.

So, with the University sending out several emails about how it’s dealing about safety and security of it’s student body on campus, many are wondering why they continue to avoid talking about the mass shooting threats. Here’s what some students had to say about it.

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Nowhere are students saying that information about the fraternities isn’t important; it’s just not as important as a mass shooting threat, and for good reason.

Seeing as there are over 30K students on campus, and less than 15% of them are in Greek Life, learning about a potential shooter is significantly more important. Not all students interact with or are a part of Greek Life, but everyone is concerned with their safety and well-being.

The more emails WVU sends about Fraternities and other matters and the less they recognize the student bodies concern with mass shooting threats, then the more enraged the student body will be at their negligence.

 

New Downtown Parking Concerns for Students Will Force WVU to Think More About Parking Needs

Morgantown Parking Authority: public enemy number one to the student body at West Virginia University. Parking tickets seem inevitable in this town; name one person who hasn’t gotten a ticket, maybe even someone who hasn’t got towed.

With the PRT being unreliable even with the recent ‘upgrades’,  the buses being overcrowded, and the parking being severely limited, the MPA has decided to more strictly enforce the two-hour limits on parking downtown in short-term lots. The new parking restrictions would only allow for people to park downtown for two hours each day…no more.

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Short Term Lots are a saving grace for students…..but for how much longer?

The Morgantown City Council based these decisions off of the average person being ‘out on the town’ in ATLANTA… a city with a completely different dynamic. With the City cracking down on parking, and the University remaining in the pursuit of building everything but what the student body needs, who can we rely on for our parking? And more importantly, if we can’t park, how do we get to class?

In the four years I’ve been here, we haven’t added a single new parking lot…but we’re renovating buildings and charged an arm and a leg for parking permits. Now that the City Council is wanting to limit parking downtown, spots in the University owned lots are going to be more coveted than ever before.

WVU relies on downtown parking to hold most of it’s commuting students, so will they step in and say something to dissuade the Council? Or will we be left with even less parking than before?

 

 

 

WVU Does Have a Plan for Active Shooters

 

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Two mass shooting threats in one month, one uninformed student body, and zero statements made by the school in regards to dealing with these threats. West Virginia University issued a statement yesterday saying there was “no imminent threat” failing to give students any warning.

In my earlier post, I theorized that maybe WVU wasn’t equipped and/or prepared to deal with a threat of that magnitude. Turns out, I was wrong.

The WVU Police Department have a Quick Reference Guide to prepare students for an emergency situation, such as an active shooter. Since the University still isn’t really talking about the incident, I thought I would share with you a basic outline of what you should do in case of a mass shooter on campus.

You’ve Got Three Solid Options:

You Can Run

It’s good to have an escape route and a plan in mind. Take a look around campus and plan out where you would go in case of an active shooter.

Leave your belongings where they are, your life is more important than anything in your backpack or purse. Evacuate even if everyone else doesn’t want to.

Always remember to call the University Police Department when you’re in a safe location and keep your hands visible!!!

You Can Hide

If you’re going to take this option, you need a room with a door that will lock and places to hide; something to think about is that all bathroom doors have a lock, and unless there is a professor with you, it might be hard to lock a classroom down.

If you can get to an apartment building, University Place, UClub or University Park might be good options due to their increased security systems. It takes a keycard to swipe into the building, a keycard to get on the elevators, a keycard for…well everything.

Turn your phone off and please, be smart about where you’re choosing to hide.

You Can Fight

If you choose to fight, you need to commit to your actions; there’s no backing down once you initiate with a mass shooter. This should be a last resort and only used if your life is in danger.

Attempt to incapacitate the shooter; use improvised weapons and use as much physical force as you can muster. Solicit help if you must; the more of you that rush the shooter the more likely they are to be overwhelmed.

So there you have it, that’s a general overview of what you should do in case one of those active shooter threats become a reality. I wonder if the University will ever send out this information, or if you’ll have to search for it yourself, like me.

 

 

Second Mass Shooting Threat in a Month and WVU’s Still Not Talking About It

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Official West Virginia University statement…why did I have to dig through tons of sites to find this?

According to the National Council for Home Safety and Security, West Virginia University is the 34th safest school in the nation, but I find that hard to believe.  As the University faces its second mass shooting threat in a month, many still haven’t even heard of the first threat.

Why is the University not telling us anything? I mentioned in my earlier post that they are not issuing any statements regarding the threats exclusively, but they did Tweet about safety tips and apps to help around campus. This time around, however, they decided the threat wasn’t imminent, and did not warrant a WVU Alert .

Granted, it was made by Clarence Wright, 50, who is not a student, but why does the University not step-up and talk about these events and the safety issues they present?

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It’s obvious that news outlets are talking about this…so why isn’t WVU?

Here are some things to think about.

Is it all about the numbers?

WVU had record enrollment this year as 6,224 students made their way onto all campuses for the first time, boasting higher test scores and an increase in international students. This could be a factor in why no one is really talking about these threats (and/or trying to downplay them).

So far, the only people who know are the ones checking out the local news, but if the University were to comment on it, then it would become more widespread. In a time where enrollment is up and there’s talk of further expansion within the school, why acknowledge something that could damage the reputation of us being a ‘safe school?’

Why not prep students in case this does happen?

Mass shootings can happen anywhere. So far, the nation has experienced 155 mass shootings so far this year; with over nine-thousand deaths related to gun violence.

Knowing that there is no way to completely keep campus safe, and neglecting to tell the student body at least something helpful in case of emergency is the approach the school is taking at the moment; even with the current threats, the University still hasn’t issued anything helpful about the situation.

Personally, I have no idea what to do in case of an active mass shooter on campus, so I can only imagine that others are in the same boat.

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Statistics from College Factual.com regarding crime categories at WVU.

Could the word ‘terrorist’ be playing a role in the University’s silence?

It’s a pretty loaded word to be throwing around, but that’s not stopping law enforcement from doing it. Both months active shooter threats have charges of terrorism against them  and have been labeled as ‘terrorists.’

That might be a bit extreme, but a mass shooting (even the threat of one) is no joke. Giving the University the benefit of the doubt, maybe they just aren’t equipped to handle a threat of that magnitude.

Hopefully, WVU won’t face mass shooting threats again anything soon. Hopefully, the University takes more actions to inform their students. Hopefully, these threats don’t become any more than that.