EXAM DAZE: Top 5 study spots at Wingate

Brianna Weston
Staff Writer

One of the main struggles at exam time is figuring out the best spot to study. Luckily, there are a handful of good locations on the Wingate University campus to do that…

According to ezlivinginteriors.com, a designated study space can help sharpen the mind and improve concentration. The first step is exploring new locations on campus or asking other students where they like to study. Then figure out your study style. Do you like complete quietness or do you prefer chatter in the background? Here are the top five places to study at Wingate.

5. McGee Center Lobby

Studying in a gym isn’t the first place many students think of, but the lobby is quieter than most spaces on campus. There are comfortable couches near charging ports and the lighting is not overly bright, creating a great ambiance. The only downside is the foot traffic coming in and out of the building, which could be distracting for some.

The large window showcasing the weight room is odd but the atmosphere of the building is a nice change. “In between classes, I like to hang out in the lobby to finish last-minute assignments,” said Jaylen Garner, a Wingate junior.

McGee is a great spot for people who don’t care much about noise or what’s happening around them.

4. Burris Student Lounge

            On the main floor of the Burris Building, there is a small student lounge near the elevator that is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Many students are not aware of this lounge since it is not advertised much. It’s usually vacant throughout the day and it’s a great spot to do some studying without social interaction.

However, the elevator is extremely loud and makes an unpleasant noise every time someone presses the button. Invest in some noise-canceling headphones to drown out the elevator and you’re good to go. If you need a quick place to eat your lunch and review notes, this lounge is the perfect spot.

3. Ethel K. Smith Library

As you would expect, the library is the most common spot students come to study at Wingate. It’s a place where you can check out study rooms, dry-erase markers and boards and even headphones. The historic building has armchairs in every corner on the first and second floors and in the main stacks. However, the library can get rowdy in the Flag Room, where most students decide to eat lunch and chit-chat with friends before class.

If you need a space with no interruptions, it’s highly recommended to check out one of the  quiet study rooms from the circulation desk. In these rooms, there is a table and chair with a mini-whiteboard students can utilize to work out equations and ideas.

“One of my favorite areas is the desk inside the main stacks,” said senior Garrett Elder.  “I like to look out the window every so often when studying.”

2. Crowder Welcome Center

This recently renovated space brings a peace and serenity that envelops a state of relaxation. The center has many support services for students as well such as the Career Center if you need help designing a resume or cover letter. This is a good place to go if you commute to campus and need a place to escape between classes.

“The space is cozy and comfortable with the eggshell chairs and the cool temperature,“ Garner said. “It’s usually quiet depending on the time of day you go there.”

The one downside of this spot is that the campus tours begin here and there can be some unwelcome noise that comes with that.

1. Starbucks

            The seating area of Starbucks is at the top of the list for the best place to study on campus. The sweet aroma of coffee beans and distinct chatter are quite comforting when doing schoolwork here. There is easy access to coffee drinks and snacks to eat at the various tables sprawled across the room. All of it makes for the best spot to study at Wingate.

            During the morning, Starbucks is filled with students sipping coffee and studying with friends or by themselves. “I like sitting in the Starbucks area as the smell of coffee beans helps me concentrate on the work ahead,” said senior Henning Kunze.

If you like coffee and soft music, this is the place for you.

Finding the right study place that fits you as a student is a trial-and-error process, so it’s best to explore and find your own perfect spot–even if it’s not on this list.

All-SAC Receiver Trevor Grant Returning to Pursue Master’s and National Title at Wingate

Sports Editor: Michael O’Neill

WINGATE – Wingate University football senior Trevor Grant has been a jack of all trades as long as he can remember. The former Cuthbertson High football standout is about to embark on a new journey in Wingate’s Masters of Accounting program when he graduates with his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance.

Grant learned to juggle many things as a student-athlete and chase the things that gave him passion and purpose. He did that with “patience and investment day in and day out.”

“Coming into Wingate as a freshman, I only had two years of football experience under my belt,” he said, “Coach Reich and my offensive coordinator, Coach Long, consistently pushed me to sharpen my understanding of the game and our offense every day.”

When he came in as a freshman, Grant also had the opportunity to play two sports at Wingate: football and baseball. It also allowed him to understand both games at a high level. Grant recalled using his body in several different ways and improving his overall athleticism when he played football, baseball, and track at Cuthbertson.

His former head football coach David Johnson, and track coach Dustin Allen bugged him to try out football. After Grant stepped on the practice field during his junior season, he knew he had the potential. Johnson saw him become all-in with everything he did in the first ten minutes of his first football practice.

It led him to be an all-conference wide receiver and a noticeable college football
prospect. “Everyone that has come in contact with Trevor immediately feels a connection,” he said, “He is an awesome human being, so to see him continue to overcome and achieve year after year has been tremendous. I had no doubt that he would be great, and it was an honor to be a small part of
his journey.”

After recovering from a major injury, Grant saw action by the second game and took hold of every opportunity he had to earn his position back. He said being able to travel with the Bulldogs and score touchdowns in the postseason made the recovery worth it.

Academically, Grant took hold of what was available to him in business. Those include identifying and preventing fraudulent financial reporting, conducting statistical analysis for business operations and productions, and the nature of investments, trading, and fluctuations in the bond and stock markets.

Grant has one year of eligibility left and plans to use his versatility and guide the Bulldogs to another postseason run in 2023. Had he not had an open mind to anything he tried, he would not have the fulfilled experience he had at Wingate.
“If I did not challenge myself in different sports, I would have never been a college athlete,” he said.

“With the help of my many high school coaches, learning new things and pushing myself in different ways created my opportunity at Wingate, and I am forever grateful.”

P.A. department’s URiM Mentorship Program gaining momentum

Brianna Weston
Staff Writer

Ethnic minorities in this country have historically had a hard time accessing quality healthcare and receiving good patient-provider communication. According to americanbar.com, racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care than white Americans. Unfortunately, little headway has been made on this issue despite the need.

Dr. Lavette Shirley Elee, a board-certified physician assistant and an assistant professor of physician assistant studies at Wingate, came from a military background. Growing up, she was exposed to all ethnicities on a regular basis.

She vividly recalls a time when her older sister was extremely ill and the doctor treating her barely paid attention and very quickly dismissed her case.

\“My sister was slurring over her words,” Elee recalled, with frustration in her voice. “If I didn’t have my medical knowledge, I don’t think he was going to admit her [to the hospital].” Thanks to her background, the disconnect was very noticeable.

In a 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research study, researchers sought an answer to this question: Does diversity matter for health?

To find the answer, they coordinated an experiment and randomly assigned patients (black males) to doctors (black or non-black males) to determine if race concordance affected patients’ decisions about preventive care.

Researchers concluded that patients in the concordant group agreed to more invasive, preventive services than those seen by non-black doctors. It was theorized that this effect seemed to be driven by better communication, comfortability and trust.

Everyone knows the benefit of increased diversity in American healthcare, but medical programs like Wingate’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies continue to graduate mostly white females. According to a 2019 statistical report from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, African Americans account for only 3.6 percent of physician assistants practicing nationwide, despite making up approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population.

That study indicated that mentorships were helpful in not only recruiting but retaining medical students who are considered underrepresented in medicine (URiM). It was shown that mentorship programs are closely linked to increased career satisfaction, the likelihood to participate in research and overall career advancement.

“When my son had surgery, the doctor stood across the room and gave little detail on the procedure; then I watch him cross the hall to a white [couple] and shake both of their hands with a comforting smile,” Elee said with a long face as she fiddled with her ring.

Such actions can make minority patients distrust doctors, according to Elee, who was inspired to make an impact on the problem after her negative experiences.

URiM students often struggle to find mentoring opportunities, which led the Wingate P.A. school  to establish a program aimed at supporting them. “One of my biggest goals since becoming a teacher at Wingate University is to make a difference one student at a time,” Elee said.

At Wingate, Elee has provided faculty-development exercises and information sessions on diversity and implicit bias. In her implicit bias course, she explains how even good people can unintentionally make judgments without being aware of it. “I knew my first step in making progress in my goal was to start thinking about mentorship programs,” she said.

The requirement to be considered for the mentorship program is that undergrad students from Wingate, UNC Charlotte and the University of Georgia should be strongly considering the P.A. profession. The focus is mainly on URiM students, but Elee will not exclude those who are not. “We would love to catch people their freshman year, male and female,” Elee said.

The mentorship program, which has enrolled 69 mentors and 76 mentees,  is for pre-P.A. students, current Wingate P.A. candidates and WU graduates. The mentees attended a lecture and luncheon on campus March 24, when “we wanted to allow prospective students to come to campus and attend a real class,” said Elee. Eighteen mentees showed up and had the opportunity to hear Elee deliver a lecture on thyroids.

Elee matches up mentees with mentors who have similar preferences, likes and dislikes after they fill out a survey. To establish ground rules and get direction on how to proceed, mentors must complete training before meeting their mentees for the first time.

Ultimately, Elee’s goal is to spread awareness about implicit bias and the ways that Americans can diversify their thinking about healthcare. “I know I am one person, but if I can increase diversity here, then one day I can increase the awareness to surrounding states and so on,” she said.

For more information about the P.A. mentorship program, contact Elee via email at l.shirleyelee@wingate.edu.

Pann Honoring Late Professor’s Legacy in Theatre’s Return to Austin Auditorium with ‘Junie B. Jones’

Features Editor: Savannah Phillips

Professor Barbara Pann, interim chair of Wingate University’s Department
of Communication, reminds one of the quirky and beloved children’s book
series “Junie B. Jones.” Entering her office, you find Pann in her rolly chair,
bare feet arched like a child’s when they lean over a desk at school.

She ushers a visitor to sit in her flowered, lumpy chair that makes you
bounce a little on impact. Looking around, as if for the first time, one
realizes that her office is like a madhouse of sweet reminders and “feel-
good” colors that make you feel warm inside.

You may not be surprised to find that of all the plays she could have chosen,
Pann decided on Allison Gregory’s “Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook” for this
year’s theatre production at Wingate. “It sort of fell into my lap,” said Pann,
“and I’m very grateful to have the opportunity.”

Horror and excitement, as Pann explained, accompanied the news. This is
only her second time directing a play at Wingate, with the first being last
year’s “Murder is a Fine Art.” Though it had all the elements of a play
(memorized lines, dedicated cast, no improv), it was performed in the
rotunda of the Batte Center.

This year, however, the April 21-22 production will move to the stage in
Austin Auditorium. The last full stage production at Wingate by the
Department of Communication took place in 2007 when the late Dr. Larry
Coleman, the “one-man band” of WU theatre who passed away at age 69 in
2018, was the director.

Dr. Larry Coleman

The mention of his name seems to rub on an old, tender wound in Pann.
When asked what the longtime Wingate educator meant to her, Pann rose
from her chair and walked over to a dusty bookshelf in her office. There, on
the very top, she pulled down a pair of furry, wolf feet bedroom slippers.
“These were Larry’s,” she said, smiling with glossy eyes. “What did he mean to me? He means everything to me,” she concluded, holding the oversized

Pann seems to embody Coleman’s spirit, fun-loving personality and passion
for theatre.

“She is a perfect example of what it is like to be passionate about
something, and acting on it,” said Darius Johnson, the student assistant
director for Junie B. Jones. “She saw things in me that it took me a minute
to understand. Without people such as herself, success remains only a
dream due to the fear of inadequacy.”

While theatre is a work-in-progress at Wingate and will take time to
establish, she refuses to give up. Her perseverance and determination to
give students this creative outlet is inspiring.

Dr. Barbara Pann

But sometimes, what matters the most is the changes we make in the lives
of others. Though Pann may not be the “one-man band” that Coleman was,
she has her own unique team of dedicated crew members. Nearly 20
Wingate students, with the great possibility of more, are involved in the
production. There are eight actors/actresses, some of whom, including
Johnson, play multiple roles. Pann chose this play not just for sentimental
reasons, but for the minimal set and flexible casting options.

She and Johnson have been faced with losing many cast members due to
their prior obligations. “They can’t be all things to all people,” Pann said,
remembering what it was like to be in college.

The Department of Communication has been supportive in her endeavors
and is helping her any way they can, from technical theatre to publicity to
the filming of the shows. Along with the showtimes set for the public to
watch the play for free—April 21 at 7 p.m. and April 22 at 2 p.m. Pann
decided to add additional performances for elementary schools in the area.
The response from the area schools has been overwhelming, she said, as
more than 1,300 Union County children are expected to see 10 a.m. shows
on April 20 and April 21.

“I can’t wait to hear the giggles of those children,” Pann said.

Though the play is nearly three weeks out from the production and not
where Pann wants it to be, she has full faith that her cast and crew will get

“It’s not time to be ready,” Pann said, half joking. “I hope that what we do
will honor him [Coleman] and his legacy.”

You get chills, because she makes that declaration sitting in same office that
used to be Coleman’s.

Troublesome North Main Train Crossing Expected to be Fixed in Next 12-18 Months

Staff Writer: Maleah Funderburk

The low-clearance train crossing at North Main Street that has produced
two major accidents and significant power outages at Wingate University
this semester will be fixed within the next 12-18 months after a recent
special meeting of the Wingate Board of Commissioners produced an
agreement between the town and the North Carolina Department of

NCDOT officials Brett Canipe (roads) and Jahmal Pullen (rails) brokered
the deal at the March 8 meeting with Mayor Gary Hamill, Town Manager
Brad Sellers and commissioners John Magnum and Peggy Taylor.

They agreed on a $1.1 million project that will elevate and smooth out the
crossing and alleviate the recurring issues tractor-trailer drivers are
experiencing by getting stuck on the “hump” there while making their way
over the rails.

The resolution was officially approved at the Board of Commissioners’
regular meeting on March 21. A public hearing has been set for 6 p.m. on
April 18 at the Wingate Government Center for town residents to express
any concerns regarding a recommended road closure for North Stewart
Street from U.S. Highway 74 to West Wilson Street while the improvements
are being made.

After the required public hearing, a decision can be made by the board to
close a crossing, which will release federal monies and matching funds from
CSX Railroad to pay for the project. CSX typically supports the
consolidation of problem crossings by offering incentives under its Hazard
Safety Program.

Canipe and Pullen explained at the meeting that the NCDOT attributes the
recent problems to elevation changes at the crossing caused by
maintenance work coupled with an increase in commercial truck traffic
through town via Wingate’s exit off the five-year-old Monroe Expressway

Pullen indicated that to make the necessary improvements, North Main
Street on either side of the tracks will need to be raised along with replacing
the the rail-signal equipment there. Pullen said the goal is to flatten and
smooth out the crossings so trucks will no longer get stuck there, adding
that Wingate could also benefit aesthetically by the addition of more
lighting and sidewalks to connecting roads.

“When we remove a crossing, it eliminates an accident ever being there ever
again,” Pullen said. “But it also allows us to do work on the sites where
we’re pushing that traffic to.”

Wingate University students may have noticed a significant increase in the
last few weeks of “Low Clearance Ahead” traffic signs all along North Main
Street once you get off the bypass exit for Austin Chaney Road. The NCDOT
also brought in a large mobile digital warning sign that has been placed at
the East Elm Street intersection across from the Neu Building. Hamill said
during the special meeting that it was important to implement those short-
term solutions with the NCDOT as quickly as possible “while we work our
way through this.”

“It may not stop [commercial trucks] from coming down Main Street but at
least it’s a conscience effort to stop them,” Hamill said.

Over the past three years, there have been at least 20 incidents of trucks
getting stuck on the crossing, according to Wingate town leaders. Bivens
Street, Main Street and Stewart Road are most prone to these accidents.
The current plan discussed would repave and widen the crossings at Bivens
and Main, rerouting trucks to avoid the construction.

According to Town Manager Brad Sellers, the recent Ohio train derailments
were a catalyst that prompted leaders to quickly implement a plan.

“I’ve been watching that East Palestine over and over, and I can just
envision that happening in Wingate,” Sellers said. “This is my home. This is
where we work and play. We can’t take that risk; we won’t take that risk.”

Wingate Model United Nations Club Fares Well at Southern Regional Conference

Staff Writer: Laura Navarrete

Wingate’s Model United Nations team represented the university at the
Southern Regional Model United Nations (SRMUN) Conference at the
Hilton University Place Hotel in Charlotte March 23-25. Students
representing Argentina, Ethiopia and Pakistan participated in multiple
categories in their committees.

The theme for the conference was “Reimagining Peace, Reclaiming Human
Rights and Restoring International Law.” Wingate was among 36 schools
from within the region to participate and competed against bigger
universities like Wake Forest, Auburn, Kentucky and Clemson.

Sophomore James Click, president of the Wingate Model U.N. Club, said “a
huge part of Model U.N. is coming together and putting aside ideological
differences for the greater good. Russia and the U.S. are often at odds and
yet still work together in the [Model] U.N. all the time. Seeing everyone
come together is always enjoyable.”

SRMUN prides itself on being one of the country’s most prominent
intercollegiate Model United Nations organizations. For the last 33 years,
SRMUN has continued to be the cornerstone of growth in undergraduate
students’ lives as they become young professionals and, ultimately, future
leaders. The conference was planned and staffed by members of the
SRMUN team and allowed delegates to participate in large panels.

Despite not winning any awards, the experience was a rewarding one for
the Wingate team, which took pride in getting a resolution passed.
“It’s amazing to meet new people and see old friends,” said Wingate senior
Eli Ward, the club’s treasurer. “The memories made at these conferences
will last a lifetime, and I could not be happier to have had these

“I’m most proud of two things. First, getting a resolution passed is always
an amazing feeling. There is always anticipation as the votes are counted. Hearing the words ‘has been accepted as resolution 2-8’ is a fantastic
feeling. The second thing has to be the club’s performance as a whole. I
can’t express how proud it made me to see everyone going around and
getting compliments and shaking hands. It was really like a proud-parent
moment. Seeing that made all the prep, all the lost sleep, all the stress,
worth it.”

SRMUN Secretary-General Makayla McDermott was impressed by what
she saw over the three days.

“From working with and observing the student delegates at our last
conference, I was heartened to see the advanced level of debate, academic
rigor and diplomatic spirit brought to each committee session,” McDermott
said. “I continue to glean inspiration from the work accomplished by our
student delegates and from the fresh ideas and innovative solutions they
bring to address the world’s most pressing issues.”

Offensive Turnaround of 2022 Team Another in Long List of Accomplishments for Wingate Football OC Mike Long

Staff Writer: Samuel Rodriguez

After the Wingate football team’s 17-10 upset loss at home to Emory &
Henry in the fourth week of the 2022 season, the lack of execution on
offense was troubling the Bulldogs’ longtime offensive coordinator, Mike
Long. There were too many three-and-outs for a team with a highly
experienced starting quarterback and as many weapons as that fourth-year
starter, Shaw Crocker, possessed.

Long and his offense went to work the next week at practice and emerged as
a unit that would begin realizing its potential, outscoring its next two
opponents—Erskine and Catawba, both on the road—59-7. The Bulldogs
would go on to win all but one of their remaining regular-season games and
add two more postseason victories before losing in the NCAA quarterfinals
at West Florida, the school’s best-ever NCAA finish. Wingate completed the
season 11-3 and, perhaps most impressively, won eight of nine games
played away from home.

“I always tell my players that patience is key,” said Long, who credits an
improved performance by the offensive line for the turnaround. 
Long said he helped build the execution for the offense with intense two-
minute drills focused on scoring touchdowns—by any means necessary.
“[You have to] trust in each other in order to win games together,” wide
receiver coach Shaedon Meadors said. 

Long, who is in his 20th year as Wingate’s offernsive coordinator, began his
coaching career in 1996 at Severna High School in Severna Park, Md. He
coached as a graduate assistant at Lehigh University from 1999-2000.
“With any sort of profession, you want to move up the ranks,” said Long,
who makes his home in nearby Indian Trail. “When the coordinating job
opened in 2003, I talked to Wingate head coach Joe Reich, and he was
gracious enough to give it to me.”

“The guy is a great leader. I think he sees the big picture as he would make a
great head coach one day,” Reich said. “He does a good job in preparing the
players for each game as a whole. For an offensive coordinator, he will be

Growing up in PeachTree City, Ga., the Atlanta Falcons were Long’s favorite
football team. “My favorite player was a running back named William
Andrews,” Long said. “The Falcons were my hometown team. My father
took me to two live games to witness Andrews on the field.”

Long won a college scholarship and played offensive line at James Madison
University in Harrisonburg, Va. from 1990-95. “It was awesome and a
phenomenal experience playing O-line because I enjoyed playing with my
teammates and working with coaches,” Long said of his JMU playing days.
“There wasn’t anything I did not enjoy.” 

The Dukes went to the FCS playoffs twice in 1991 and 1994 during Long’s
time at JMU. 

Long says Wingate has been the perfect fit for him. 

“The thing I like about Wingate is that it has a growth mindset,” Long said.
“It has a culture of always improving, staying true to who we are, but not
staying the same. Since I have been here, all medical, professional graduate
and pharmacy schools have updated. Facilities such as the McGee Center
have grown and our dorms have increased.

“The campus has radically changed since I’ve been here for the last 20 years
and I’ve always appreciated that about the mindset of the school. I don’t
think all schools have that, especially smaller schools in our conference.” 
Brian Folkerts, the Bulldogs’ tight ends coach, says Long is a players’ coach
who’s always ready with a pep talk to get the troops fired up.

“He’s a loose, fun-loving person, but at the same time, he gets the team
rallied up,” Folkerts said.

As with most offensive coordinators, Long spends a lot of time working
with quarterbacks, especially Crocker over the last five years. 

“Quarterbacks usually get a ton of mental stress, so it is my job to hold
them accountable,” Long said. “At the same time, you don’t want to stress
them and rather show them how to be successful. In a quarterback position,
you have guys trying to tackle you, then you have to process what’s going on
in the blink of an eye. You have to make a great decision with all of that in
three seconds when people try to cause you bodily harm.

“In anything, you want to find out what is the best way your player learns.
You look at what his strengths are and build them. Find any deficiencies
and work on correcting those. It is a big repetition game as a lot of muscle
memory is involved. Cleaning up little things such as footwork and arm
work helps.”

Crocker, who played 52 games under center for Long at Wingate in his
career and threw for 90 touchdowns and more than 9,500 yards, is effusive
in his praise for his longtime mentor.

“I would just say he is a really good guy,” Crocker said. “He loves the sport
of football and wants the best for all of his players. I think he tries to put us
in the best position to win. He loves all of us as players on the offensive

The unexpected loss to Emory & Henry produced its share of skeptics
regarding the potential of Wingate’s offense. 

“I always have a mindset for learning and wanting to improve,” Long said.

“If you get into coaching or really anything, in my opinion, you can’t be
dissuaded by criticism. You have to listen to it and try to grow from it.”
Wingate’s 2022 finish proved the adage that Long has always preached to
his players: patience pays off.

Wingate town manager: Train problem is a ‘ticking time bomb’

By Maleah Funderburk
Staff Writer

In a small college community like Wingate, no one would expect train collisions to be a recurring issue on campus. But this academic year the town has become a magnet for railroad accidents due to the increased traffic coming from the Monroe Expressway bypass and the influx of tractor-trailer trucks making their way through town to U.S. Highway 74.

Many truck drivers mistakenly enter the toll road and retreat from it at the nearest exit, and Wingate is one of the first. Despite the “Low Clearance” signs at the North Camden Road and Main Street crossings, semi-trucks risk getting stuck while driving over the tracks because of the extreme hump in the road at both crossings.

There have been three train accidents since the beginning of this academic year; the first resulted in the tragic death of freshman basketball player Kyle Honore, 19, on Aug. 16, 2022. Two more accidents on the train tracks involving trucks happened within a week of each other near the end of January, neither resulting in any injuries.

On Jan. 19, a crash involving a CSX train and a tractor-trailer carrying food supplements for animals occurred on a Thursday afternoon, when the truck got its landing gear caught on the hump while driving over the rails.

On Jan. 25, a train struck another tractor-trailer when its trailer half got stuck on the tracks and was hit by and then wrapped around the front of an oncoming train.

Both recent accidents took place on weekdays when spring semester classes were in session and disrupted life on campus. On Jan. 19, many dorm residents near the North Camden crossing were asked to move their cars during the clean-up. Six days later, power was out across campus all morning until being restored around 1 p.m., causing some classes to be cancelled and shutting down the W.T. Harris Dining Hall for breakfast and lunch.

With all the rail-crossing upheaval, Wingate University students are becoming increasingly concerned about train safety on campus.

“When I first heard about the train accidents, I was in shock,” Wingate senior Stephen Yang said. “I couldn’t believe something like that had actually happened on our campus.”

The toll-road bypass was opened by the state on Nov. 27, 2018, and town officials say 20 trucks have become stuck on the two Wingate crossings during the last three years.

“Being that the safety of our campus community is a top priority, Wingate University officials look forward to the Town of Wingate, the N.C. Department of Transportation and CSX (Railroad) coming together to find a solution that makes the track adjacent to the university safer for those who live and work nearby,” said Wingate President Rhett Brown.

That’s easier said than done, however. University and town officials have been pushing to get the NCDOT and CSX to come together and reach a solution to the problem, but it will cost an estimated $1 million to level the crossings and make them easier for large commercial trucks to drive over.

According to Wingate Town Manager Brad Sellers, the discussion has been ongoing for three years and is turning into a “political war.”

“NCDOT is willing to fix it to the tune of $1 million,” Sellers said. “However, we would have to close the crossing at North Stewart Street (near Wingate Elementary School). It’s going to create more congestion and more traffic. That’s what’s so frustrating for us.”

NCDOT Rail Director Jason Orthner said the process of raising the road surrounding the tracks could take at least 18 months to accomplish. All parties are working toward an agreement on how to approach the project without disrupting the flow of traffic and the construction of hundreds of new homes near that area.

CSX issued a statement regarding the issue: “CSX oversees the maintenance of railroad crossings on our network. However, state and/or local road authorities, not CSX, maintain roadway approaches and determine the type of crossing that is appropriate at each public crossing location. CSX has always and will continue to maintain open lines of communication and work with public officials to identify crossings that are ideal candidates for safety improvements, consolidation and closure. Closing at-gate crossings will improve public safety by eliminating the risk of crossing collisions. However, the authority to close or improve safety at crossings on public roads rests with state and local municipalities , not the railroads. … ”

CSX added that it often offers incentives for such projects on its rail network—a match of available federal funding, for instance—for the consolidation and repair of crossings. 

For now, Wingate officials urge truckers to make note of the Low Clearance signs and have the proper equipment to cross the tracks safely. The big worry and worst-case scenario for town officials is a potential train derailment, which would be cause for a town and university evacuation. Currently, a disaster plan is being formulated with the Wingate Fire Department in case something that dire happens. “It’s a ticking time bomb,” said Sellers. “Something devastating is going to happen. It can be fixed.”

Is the Legend of the Wingate Seal Really True? 

Staff Writer: Brianna Weston

There’s one rule: NEVER step on the seal at Wingate University, if you plan to graduate on time. But if you do, be prepared to graduate late or don’t graduate at all.

You may wonder, is this superstition real?

In recent years, navigators warn future Wingate students to avoid the seal at all costs or face the consequences. The legend is that if a student steps on the seal they will not graduate within four years. Freshmen take that advice to heart and try to avoid the paved circle at all costs.

“My roommate stepped on the seal as a joke my freshman year and now she’s graduating late; I think the myth is true,” says Jaida Brown, a Wingate senior.

A number of students say they have had friends who did not graduate or no longer attend Wingate after walking on the seal. Does this mean the legend is true or just a

The Wingate shield inside the paved circle was created around 1981-82. In the Weekly Triangle published in September 1993, staff writer Lisa Griffen wrote: “The
class of 1993 raised more than $15,000 for the granite commemorative disk etched with the seal to be placed in front of the Burris Building.”

For raising funds efficiently and organizing the project, the seal was given by the class of 1993 as their senior class gift to the school.

During that time, no evidence of the legend was found in the yearbooks. There were a few speculations that it was created in October 1994 during Homecoming but no one remembers how it started. Current staff members who attended Wingate during the ’90s yielded no new information when asked about the topic.

“During my time as an undergraduate, I just remembered to avoid the seal,” says Cindy Nance, an information technology specialist at Wingate.

Other current staff members who were attending during 1994 and the majority of them could not remember who started it. “The superstition started in the fall semester of my freshman year, but I can’t recall hearing about it until much later on,” Wingate General Counsel and Senior Vice President Ben Sidbury says.

There are several theories about how the legend started. Some say it could have been a superstition created by Student Government or Residence Life. Some say it could have been a rumor spread by a random student. Could the class of 1993 have played a part in the beginning? Who knows? The mystery is still unsolved.

“I stepped on the seal multiple times and I’m still graduating on time,” senior Christyn Nichols says. “I think the story is a mind game to trick you into thinking the superstition is true.”

Others aren’t so sure.

But just to be safe, WU students need to heed this advice: DON’T STEP ON THE

Writing Center Helps Students Develop Their Prose

Staff Writer: Makinna Wolf

Writing can be a real challenge for students as they make their way through college,
whether they’re putting together a term paper or a simple homework assignment in English 101. The Writing Center at Wingate and its staff of eight student consultants can help all comers with these challenges in many ways. Leading this team of writing coaches is Dr. Dustin Morris, the center’s full-time director.

The consultants help students with a variety of all things writing-related: brainstorming ideas, helping with grammar, clarifying assignments, organizing papers and using proper formatting on citations. Students can come to the Writing Center with a rough draft for suggestions or a final draft for proofreading. When it comes to the always-challenging inclusion of citations, all of the consultants are experienced in using APA or MLA style.

Some students end up coming back to the Writing Center many times during their time at Wingate.

The consultants are all upperclassmen who have experience with writing papers for
different classes. All of the consultants have successfully completed English 110 at Wingate and know what it takes to put together a good college paper.

When students are hired, most stay throughout their time at Wingate, so there’s
continuity among the staff.

“I believe [working at] the Writing Center is a good experience for those pursuing
English or other fields that require you to be good at writing,” said Ariel Cornelius, a sophomore writing consultant. “It broadens your perspective on different subjects and while you help other students you might end up learning something that will benefit you in the future.”

The student consultants come from a variety of backgrounds and majors, including
English, communication, psychology and sociology. Not all of them want to be writers after they graduate, but all enjoy helping people.

“Writing is something that I really enjoy, and it comes naturally to me,” said Kylie Smith, a sophomore consultant. “So the fact that I get to help others who struggle with writing is very uplifting and has become something I look forward to.”

The Writing Center is located on the second floor in the ARC at the Ethel K. Smith
Library. If students have questions, they can email Dr. Morris and any of the student consultants at writingcenter@wingate.edu.