Group Blog Planning Assignment #1: Pitching Your Ideas

For the final third of the semester (weeks 11-15), you will be creating, promoting and maintaining focused group blogs. In preparation, and to identify similar interests, each of you will propose a group blog concept and a list of potential stories. I’ll use these to determine group assignments, which we’ll finalize in class. Use the group blogs you reviewed in this week’s read & respond to identify ideas you think will work (and those you think NEED work).

First: Concepts!

Post a comment (to this post) with a pitch for a group blog concept by 4p Friday, February 15. This must contain the following:

  • A one-paragraph description of a group blog concept of clear relevance to Morgantown and/or WVU (no activities calendar or recommendation blogs!). Other regions (e.g., West Virginia; other cities) can also be your focus as long as you’re able to cover them.
  • A tentative title for this blog concept
  • At least FIVE story ideas. Use complete sentences and address why this story matters. For example: “A few years back, downtown Morgantown saw an explosion of eCigarette shops, but today many of these have closed. Is vaping on its way out?” Include at least two potential sources for each!

Next: Comments!

Once our pitches are all made, you’re going to see what interests you. After Friday, I want you to read through the pitches that have been made and identify which ones you might want to work on. You’ll need to post comments to TWO concepts that you’d be interested in contributing to (more than two is fine), and let the creator know what you’d bring to the table. Make these comments by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 17. This will determine who you’ll be working with for the last five weeks of the semester, so make your best case!

55 Responses to Group Blog Planning Assignment #1: Pitching Your Ideas

  1. The title of my blog idea is “Wild and Wonderful, Above and Beyond”. The blog would be about how the university (and students within the university) use resources to enhance knowledge and provide people with life-changing experiences. From study abroad experiences to cutting edge research, West Virginia University has so many unique opportunities worth exploring—and a lot of students have no idea how to gain access to them. I know this blog may come off as a “Here’s this” type of blog, but I feel that there are so many ways this blog could be expanded to explore the purposes of advanced research and career-building opportunities.

    Example Posts
    1. Why is the Honors EXCEL Program is Being Implemented?
    2. We’ll examine different study abroad opportunities within all of the different colleges, and profile students who’ve taken part in these experiences to learn more about their field of study.
    3. We’ll look into all of the success and awards won by the WVU Statler College of Engineering, and see what it takes for the school to be so successful.
    4. We’ll explore how WVU Medicine is branching out across West Virginia.
    5. We’ll highlight students who’ve found internships through WVU that take them to exciting places around the nation (and world). We’ll also research how students look for internships.
    6. We’ll look into how the ASPIRE Office helps WVU students achieve their dreams, as well as profile students who’ve found opportunities through the ASPIRE Office.

  2. Blue Gold and Green!
    My idea for a group blog is Morgantown going green. It is important to start going green because we need to create a cleaner future on our planet. Morgantown locals have taken some initiatives to create a greener environment but there are still some areas we can improve upon. In this blog I would love to discuss what the town is doing, more steps we need to take and what our impact is on the world!

    Example Posts
    1. Local restaurants have started to get rid of plastic products we use every day like lids and straws. How has this small change made a big impact? Sources for this could include local restaurants and locals who are effected
    2. Reusable water bottles are a trend on campus. 2 years ago people were using “swell” water bottles, now many have switched to “Hydro flask.” How have these trends cut our plastic foot print with people thinking they’re just being trendy? Sources for this could include students/locals that use these water bottles and a geography student who knows about the effects of using a reusable water bottle
    3. Recycling at WVU is well advertised. In many of the halls and classrooms you can find a recycling bin next to a trash can. However, it’s hard to find a recycling bin in the streets of Morgantown. Why is the city not trying as hard as the university? Sources could include Morgantown and WVU officials.
    4. Coal in WV is a main resource but the state is running out of it. What kind of backup plan does the state have for when we do run out of coal? Will it be better for our environment? Sources for this could include geology students/ professors.
    Morgantown can be frustrating to drive in but the city and university have several options of transportation for students and locals. Are the options reliable for locals and are they helping reduce our carbon footprint? Sources could be a local that relies on transportation and transportation officials.

    • Cody Nespor says:

      I think this could be especially interesting for a place like Morgantown where it’s kind of in between a city and a town size-wise. And given the area’s past with coal it would be interesting to see how we’re moving forward from that. A city like Pittsburgh used to be covered in smog because of the steel mills and now it’s like one of the most advanced cities in the country, it would be interesting to compare what’s going on in Morgantown to stuff like that.

    • I think this is a great idea for a blog! I especially like the idea of covering how eco-friendly and efficient the transportation opportunities around town really are. This is definitely a subject I feel that should be brought to the attention of WVU students, if not the entirety of Appalachia.

    • I like the going green idea. It would be interesting to really dig into this topic to come up with several story ideas. My dad works at Longview Power Plant here in Morgantown, and they are one of the cleanest power plants. They are coal-fired, so we could get some stories from them and work with them on what they plan to do. I know they are trying to go completely solar powered by 2022, so that could be a topic of a story idea. Also, we could compare Morgantown waste to other waste from different surrounding cities to see how far behind or ahead Morgantown compares when it comes to going green.

    • shananelson says:

      As someone who has a passion for the environment, I really love this concept for a group blog! I also think the name you’ve picked is really cute and clever! Your post ideas are awesome as well! As someone who is from Southern WV, I hear conversations from all sides of the spectrum about the coal crisis in our state, and I feel as if I could provide valuable insight on the post about how coal is our main resource, as well as how it is disrupting the environment. I also really like your idea about the “swell” water bottle trend that happened a few years back, and the “Hydro flask” trend that has appeared now. It’s awesome that using these sort of products is becoming the new norm for WVU students, but it’s interesting to ask ourselves why. Is it just a matter of using certain products for the sake of fitting in? Or do the students here genuinely want to take a stand in helping the planet by reducing plastic waste? I’m hoping that it’s the latter! Either way, it’d be really neat to investigate more on, and a great way to help us better understand the certain solutions to climate change/global warming that our peers are willing to partake in.

    • Brianna Herscher says:

      I definitely think the going green idea is really relevant and Itd be cool to incorporate some wildlife posts since going green ultimately helps wildlife and the animals in it!

    • I enjoy this topic and the different stories that are involved. When we proposed this topic in class, I felt that we had a ton of different ideas of what we could write about. With all that is going on in the world, going green is often overlooked and it will be great to discuss this in our blog to educate more people.

  3. Cody Nespor says:

    My idea for a blog is to what effects the area’s reputation, both the university’s and the state’s, have on WVU. WVU is known as a fairly notorious party school and we could look at how that reputation and people’s preconceptions about WV, in general, affect the university and the town. The title I came up with was ” ’bout my reputation” (like the Joan Jett song, it’s a bad title, I know, but I couldn’t think of anything better). I think this is an interesting topic, but I’m not sure how willing people, especially people who work for the university, would be willing to talk about it.

    1. I’ve often wondered if the university’s reputation carries over into the academic world as well. I’m sure a lot of people who don’t go here just assume that all students do no work and just party all the time, so I would be interested if that carried over into the academic realm as well. We could talk to people that have either submitted papers for journals or gone to conferences and ask about their experience and we could also talk to someone in the ASPIRE office and get their perspective.

    2. Another thing I’m curious about is if the university’s reputation has any effect on admissions. I wonder how often admissions councilors are asked by either prospective students or their parents about WVU’s reputation as a party school. It would also be interesting to talk to actual prospective students and/or their parents about it, although I’m not sure how feasible that is.

    3. Greek life is scrutinized at pretty much every university, but I wonder if the greeks here feel like they’re subject to even more scrutiny because of the university’s reputation. I also wonder if greeks here take pride in the university’s reputation as a party school or if they feel more pressure to live up to that reputation by throwing crazy parties or whatever. Mathew Richarson is in charge of Fraternity and Sorority Life at WVU and I’m sure he could talk about the perception of greek life at WVU.

    4. With all the bars and places around Morgantown that specifically cater to students, I wonder if there are any that cater to non-students and don’t like it when students come.

    5. I wonder if university or town police ever take extra precautions for gamedays or anything when they think students might be a problem. Like with what happened on Spruce Street, how prepared are the police for something like that to happen on a day-to-day basis.

    • I like this idea, I think it’s definitely a relevant topic and it’s a blog I would probably read. It would easily attract any WVU student or faculty along with people who are alum or just live in the area. I liked your post ideas as well, there are a lot of topics that could tie into the theme, I think it would be pretty easy to write about.

    • Patrick Downey says:

      I think the message that your blog idea gives out is really interesting. I like the that is overall surrounds the reputation of WVU and it seems like you have some good post ideas already. I would love to contribute to this blog

    • deanmarrazzo says:

      I really like the topic of this blog. As a WVU student I, of course, have heard and experienced some of the stereotypes. I feel I could help with this blog because some of these stories may be a bit out there and I feel I am good at navigating such topics.

    • sadiejanes says:

      This is a really cool idea for a blog. I suggested a blog about Morgantown nightlife, but when I was coming up with story ideas, I found myself skewing negative. I think it’s because WVU’s reputation as a “party hard” school has been part of how I perceived it my entire life. Even as a student, knowing what I know about how much more there is to WVU and all the ways in which it benefits not only students but the state as a whole, I still sometimes see the university that way. I think I’d be a good addition to this blog because I do have a real interest in the subject matter. I’d love to learn more about our school’s reputation – why we have it, whether it’s valid, and how that impacts us as students.

  4. Appalachian Arts Culture
    We are surrounded by art everyday, whether we recognize it or not. Specifically, this blog would focus on the struggles, the controversy, the evolution/history, and the stereotypes of Appalachian art. Appalachian Art is defined as the traditional arts and crafts of the southern mountain region that not only include photography, paintings, theater, dance, but also the traditional works of weaving/spinning, carving, pottery, and blacksmithing known throughout this area. I feel this blog will dive into the issues and topics of Appalachian art culture to educate people on the art scene and environment in their own backyard as well as bring a fresh perspective to these timeless traditions and cultures that are still seen today.

    1. Praise or Poverty: Photographer, Shelby Lee Adams has been photographing the Appalachian region for more than 30 years with the desire to bring realism and attention to the area. However, while his work has been praised by many other accuse him of perpetuating stereotypes and exploiting his Appalachian subjects.
    2. Folk Music in 2019: This post would focus on how this traditional sound of the region and how it is being incorporated into society today. How does this music survive in a time of rap and pop taking the charts? What local bands and artists are doing to keep it alive?
    3. Pottery as a function: For years, pottery creation was used as purposeful works of art for everyday life. Appalachian kitchenware today not only allows many people to feel connected to their heritage and keep this skill alive, but it’s a way to start a conversation about the process and the intention one has behind each piece. This post would dive into how Appalachian pottery got its start and how it’s still thriving today. (Also discuss how this pottery stands out from other cultures?)
    4. Green Art: Recently an art form that is emerging in the Appalachia region and across the globe is art used from found objects and recycled goods. The idea of using what you find or see (even if that means using what people see as garbage) is a way of “greener” art. Various Appalachian artists are using to this concept to their benefit. (Ex: Lowell Hayes does 3-D relief construction paintings of Appalachia using only material that are natural gathered from his wooded backyard)
    5. Dance is an Appalachian Communication Method: This blog post would discuss the different “mountain dancing” of the Appalachian region and the history and meaning behind these dances. Appalachian dancing is a form of folk dancing that was a mix between Europe settlers traditional dance steps and music blended with rhythms of both the Native Indians and even African slaves. Why are these dances important to understanding Appalachian art culture?

    • I would love to be a part of this blog because my passion for the arts is something I’ve always wished to connect with my journalistic abilities. I feel that this would be a great opportunity for me to enhance my skills in covering the arts.

    • Holly Fry says:

      I think a really cool way to make this blog idea timely would be to state some of the histories behind the art forms and see how they are being translated into current traditions. I’ve had some classes with some Appalachian featured professors and students who would know how growing up in West Virginia has focused their views of the traditional arts. I believe that by bringing to light the culture of these arts and the many types that some people don’t see as an art form will really be a way to excel past art blogs from the past.

  5. sadiejanes says:

    My group came up with an idea for a blog about Morgantown nightlife. A group blog simply titled “Morgantown Nightlife” already exists, so I’d go with something like “Morgantown Nights” or “Morgantown After Hours.” However, I’m definitely open to blog title suggestions. The blog would steer clear of things like recommendations and reviews and instead focus on the issues that those pursuing nightlife in Morgantown have to navigate. Some ideas for possible blog posts include:

    1. Does the Culture in Morgantown Exacerbate Underage Drinking?

    I wouldn’t make this my headline, but it would be the central question of the post. Basically, WVU has a long-held reputation as a party school and I want to dive into whether or not underage drinking is worse here than other college towns. I’d also like to look at possible explanations if it is true – our abundance of under-21 nightclubs, emphasis on alcohol-related social activities like tailgating and “FallFest”, and Greek life culture are all issues I’d talk about.

    Sources: I’d mainly want to interview students, especially those who may have underages, or those who may’ve transferred from a school with less of a party-focus. I could also talk to Morgantown or WVU Police about what they think the key issues are that contribute to underage drinking in Morgantown.

    2. The Costs of “Going Greek”

    Some studies show that women in sororities are more likely to experience sexual assault during their college years. Do women know these stats? How do they keep themselves and their friends safe? Do women in sororities see a problem with frat culture?

    Sources: Women in sororities would be my main source here. I’d also want to get an opinion from someone at the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life about Greek culture. This could be the Director – Dr. Matthew Richardson – or one of the many student and graduate assistants who are possibly involved in Greek life themselves.

    3. Beloved Restaurants of the After-Hours Crowd

    A lot of restaurants in Morgantown seem to only be busy between the hours of 11pm and 3 o’clock in the morning. There are costs (like drunken brawling and students throwing up in your establishment) and benefits (like being one of few sit-down options open past midnight, which drives up business.) For this story, I’d want to look at local news stories about incidents that have happened at late-night eateries.

    Sources: My main source would be local news stories and local business owners who are open late.

    4. How WV’s Lax Gun Laws Affect Nightlife

    Everyone’s gotten that horrible WVUAlert: Shots fired downtown. When WVU students hear ideas for legislation like “campus carry,” does that make them feel unsafe? I’d want to dive into what the law is currently, how students feel about it, and what law enforcement in Morgantown think about our gun laws and gun culture. Maybe I’d even talk to bouncers about whether security has been ramped up in recent years and what protocol is when they come across someone carrying.

    Sources: Law enforcement, bouncers, students involved in nightlife

    5. What Happens to High Street When the Students Go Home?

    I’d want to time a story like this for near the end of the semester, but I’d be interested to know which businesses thrive and which struggle during the summer months. I’d also like to talk to students who live in Morgantown year-round and see if the businesses they patronize change during the summer. For instance, they might know a certain club will be dead in July, so they go to a different bar or just stay home instead.

    Sources: Owners of High Street businesses, Students who live in Morgantown year-round

    • haileyspicer says:

      I really like your ideas for nightlife and I think there would be a lot to write about! People would be interested in these topics! I would really like to be apart of this blog and I am excited for the topics we will come up with!

    • I think this would be an exciting topic to blog about and there are a lot of angles you can take. Night life is Morgantown is interesting and there is always something new taking place. I would enjoy working on this blog.

    • I think I would really enjoy writing for this theme. Not only myself but i think others would be curious to read about these topics. I think i would be able to contribute good ideas for this and would like to be apart of this group.

  6. Holly Fry says:

    Arts in Appalachia
    This blog would be about the many types of art that are considered traditional to the culture and how it is progressing in the future. By finding new ways to highlight what the region is like without taking advantage of the poverty-stricken and making the stereotypes worse, this blog would analyze what makes the art what it is and the politics or social issues of the culture. With plenty of Morgantown natives who have been surrounded by the culture and stereotypes for all of their life, I believe this blog would be able to connect current events to a type of art and how art, in general, can help bring people together, if even for a moment.
    a. Among Appalachian artists, there is discourse over what constitutes a “real” Appalachian piece of work. Is it something made in Appalachia, about Appalachia, by someone from Appalachia or a mix of the three? Anna Elfenbein is a professor who teaches Appalachian fiction and could give great information about how she defines these pieces of art. Other sources could be websites who feature Appalachian art and see how different ones differ and define them.
    b. How do the more traditional artists see younger creators changing the course of Appalachian arts? Will these new perspectives be able to convey true Appalachian experiences without actually experiencing the “olden days” of West Virginia? Some people to talk to would be younger creators and older creators to see how they view each other, as mentors, as people who can’t keep up or followers in their footsteps.
    c. What are the stereotypes of West Virginia and how are they highlighted in modern day movies and shows versus older entertainment? Some sources we could use are the actual movie themselves and hopefully some movie reviewers to compare and contrast how over time the use of the “hillbilly” has changed.
    d. How well do high schools and colleges in the Appalachian region try to keep the traditions alive? There are plenty of festival and events celebrating the past but are they more intent on preserving the old work, or motivating the younger students to grow up and pursue the arts? We could talk to members of the college art program and hopefully people from Morgantown high school or see other schools in the regions websites to find information.
    e. In many Appalachian areas, there is too much poverty, illiteracy or opioid problems to create new art, as many people are focusing on how to pay the bills and put dinner on the table. How do they celebrate their culture if they do at all? I believe I have seen some articles where a man visits some of the worse off areas in West Virginia to see what their daily life is so reading what he found could help us write about if they are influenced by new art or not.

    • This subject is very close to the one I presented myself. I feel art is something that connects people in a way that is different than anything else. I currently minor in anthropology (focused in cultural anthropology) and the ideas of looking at art from a traditional cultural stand point and seeing how it progresses is something I am not only interested in due to my studies, but believe I could use these skills to create effective posts about the topic as well.

  7. adamjpayne says:

    Mountainartists (Arts in Appalachia)

    This blog would focus on artists and art culture of Appalachia, and explore the problems and stereotypes that come out of the mountains. The blog would discuss how people embrace their heritage as a muse in creating works. But also, I would really like the blog to expand and talk about how art and artists are breaking out of the mold of traditional Appalachian ideology to create progressive and impressive art. Diversity, representation, gender, race, the political climate, and more all could be taken into account when discussing their art.

    1. How the puppetry program at WVU is so unique to other college majors and the state as a whole, and why here hosts the only puppetry masters program around. Sources: professor Mary McClung and current students.
    2. A profile on using Appalachian pottery (or another art form) as a full-time job, and the struggle of sustaining art as your only income inside a limited market. Source: My best friend Joana’s dad Lambros Tsuhlares- a full time potter and other artisans he collars with.
    3. I would love to talk to the acting professors here to talk about how theatre has to change to fit the surroundings of where we are. Then expand to talk about the struggles of having to adapt to a less diverse population, and Appalachian culture as a whole. Sources: Dr. Rhadica Ganapathy and Cornel Gabara
    4. Discuss how capturing Appalachia through art can fall into stereotype, especially through photography and paintings. Then talk about if this is valid, if the stereotypes are truly just real people, etc. Sources: Lois Raimondo & her contacts.
    5. Describe the struggle of accessibility of the arts for young children in Appalachia and how people are battling this issue by traveling around West Virginia and more. Source: someone that works with the “puppet-mobile” and Sarah Beth Ealey, a member of a traveling Shakespeare company.

    • I would really like to be a part of this blog because the arts are something that I feel are underrepresented in the state of West Virginia. Just as the fifth post idea of this describes, sometimes finding a place to pursue certain arts can be difficult in this state, and I would love to explore that and other topics like it.

    • Arts in Appalachia is such an interesting topic and the culture itself lends to so much history and timelines leading into todays world. I really like the different post ideas that Adam suggested from the accessibility of the arts and how it relates to the area to the post about the change of theater and actually talking to professor at WVU about it. Everyone has a culture and discovering and learning about people and their choices and lives is something that I believe I can write about with a true passion behind it.

    • Holly Fry says:

      I think from the couple of us that have pitched an Appalachian art blog, we have so many different ideas with a coherent focus, that we would be able to have plenty of posts that don’t overlap or become boring because of a lack of ideas. This art blog will also allow us to use visuals in a way to showcase what this great region is producing and how we interact with it. While these ideas are more centered around the university, some of the ideas I had were more about the broadened demographics from high schoolers to some of the older people keeping the arts alive.

    • deanmarrazzo says:

      I think that this would be a good blog to work on because there are so many different art forms that can be covered. I am not from the Appalachia are so I feel I could bring an outside perspective to the blog.

  8. haileyspicer says:

    My group came up with the idea of “Morgantown Nightlife”. Im still trying to figure out a new and creative name for it. Maybe something like “ Morgantown After Dark”. This blog would not be promoting clubs or bars.

    Bent Gets A New Name For the Third Time?

    We all know and love Bent Willys, but its name has just changed for a third time in the past 2 years. Why is this? Why do clubs constantly change in morgantown and what causes this. Are they constantly having trouble with the law because of drunken students ?

    Why Are Clubs Still Letting 18 Year Olds In?

    Most of the clubs in Morgantown are 18 and up, but why? The owners and workers understand that these students cannot buy drinks so what is the point of letting them in. Is there a special logic behind it? Are letting these 18 years olds in causing more or less trouble for themselves and club owners?

    Going Downtown As A College Girl

    What is it actually like to be a young woman at a bar and club? What challenges do we face when were out. Is sexual harassment a big issue in morgantown nightlife or do we just ignore it?

    Food Favorites After The Night Is Over

    What restaurants are favored by students at WVU and who’s business is booming? There are certain hours that these restaurants get extremely busy. Do the workers hate these hours and dealing with drunk students? How do they deal with fights breaking out or students being disrespectful? I would talk to local business owners to get their take on it.

    Does Morgantown Promote Underage Drinking?

    WVU has had the reputation of being a party school for years, but I want to know how intense our drinking is compared to other schools. Do WVU students feel the pressure to go out every night and drink? Do students pick this college just because of our party reputation, and what do other schools think of us?

  9. My groups idea for our blog was about WV stereotyping. Our blog would focus on stories and examples of common stereotypes in entertainment and locally involving the WV area.

    – Describe what type of fashion stereotypes there are, relate it to WVU’s campus and how what students wear effects the culture.
    – A post providing evidence of WV stereotyping in popular entertainment like movies, TV, or music
    – A post focusing on the truths behind WV stereotypes
    – An interview post where we interview students about their WV stereotype experience
    – Describe a specific stereotype and analyze how it started and its validity

    • lyndseymoran says:

      I really like the topic of your group blog. As a WV native, the issue of stereotyping is extremely prevalent. This is also a topic that hasn’t been tapped into and has potential for a lot of great posts.

  10. Patrick Downey says:

    The title of my group blog would be “Insert Title here” and it would be about how West Virginia University has been trying to steer away from its reputation as a party school. WVU has been making numerous changes and have implemented new laws and regulations to try and control the party scene. Students may not like what WVU officials are doing, but these rules could be good for students and the university in the long run.

    1. WVU getting rid of many Fraternities
    Over the past year or so, many fraternities at wvu have been either suspended or been kicked off the school’s IFC (inter-fraternity council). Sure many of these fraternities deserve to be kicked off based on their actions but the newly implemented fraternity regulations have been destroying the “frat house party reputation”

    2. Moving Fall Fest to Evansdale
    WVU chose to move Fall Fest to the Evansdale campus a few years ago and many students did not have good things to say about the decision. The school decided to move the concert to a more secluded location on evandale rather than the mountainlair green which is surrounded by fraternity houses and close to high street.

    3. Cracking down on fake ID use
    Morgantown has been cracking down on the use of fake ids for the past year now. A couple years ago, a lot of clubs/bars and stores that sell alcohol wouldn’t think twice if they were handed a fake ID. Authorities have increased fake ID penalties and have instructed these places to not accept fake IDs or they too will be in trouble.

    4. Changing bars last call time in Morgantown.
    The Morgantown city council has been discussing the idea of making the closing times for bars early in the night in an effort to keep kids safe. A new law has not yet been announced, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a change in the next couple of years.

    5. What happened to Sunnyside
    This one is a little bit older of a story but is still worth mentioning. Sunnyside used to be the spot for house parties up until the early 2000’s when WVU decided to replace most of the houses with university owned apartment complexes. Was this just the start of the effort to diminish the party scene?

  11. shananelson says:

    “Green Appalachia”
    “Almost Green, Almost Heaven”

    With the topic of climate change on the forefront of national politics, we are in a perfect position to have conversations about the environment, it’s current state, and what we can do to help it on a more local level. For West Virginia to be a gorgeous state and for Appalachia to be a region with beautiful natural landscapes, it’s important to research and engage in meaningful conversations about issues such as climate change, depletion of natural resources, harm to the animals living in the region, public health concerns, political decisions that deal with the environment, and much more. Most importantly, however, it’s important to highlight how we can help, and how some people in this region are already making moves to change.

    1. When it comes to making small changes that will help our environment long-term, some WVU restaurants are already taking a stand and making a change. Multiple on-campus restaurants such as Hugh Baby’s and Taziki’s are ditching plastic straws, lids, and other common plastic items that contribute to harming the environment. What made these particular restaurants do this? Are others planning to do the same?
    Interview sources: Employees at these restaurants, students
    Online sources:

    2. On the same foot, one national, non-profit organization is in the works of partnering with students in Dr. Jasper Fessman’s STCM 459 capstone course. Project Drawdown, a coalition of researchers, scientists, doctors, and many more, have come up with 100 sustainable solutions to climate change that we can all participate in. In order to actually get these solutions implemented and to bridge the gap between urgency and agency, the organization is teaming up with students in the class who will organize green, environmentally friendly campaigns and events on campus to generate awareness to their solutions. Since a lot of WVU students seem to buy into other environmentally friendly trends such as reusable water bottles and metal straws, will this have an impact? What are the plans to help WVU students take small steps to implement Drawdown’s solutions?
    Interview sources: Dr. Jasper Fessman, Kit Seeborg (Project Drawdown Communications Director), STCM459 students.
    Online sources:,

    3. Beginning earlier in the month, geographers here at WVU have started to research climate shifts and the effects on our forests. Geography professor Amy Hessl has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to reconstruct a wind belt circling Antarctica that has a direct influence on climate change, carbon uptake, and ice melting. What are the plans for the geography department upon completion of the study? Are there plans in place to show these results to students so that they can better understand these environmental effects? What made the NSF choose WVU to partner with?
    Interview sources: Professor Amy Hessl, Professor Brandon McNeil, WVU geography students participating in the program.
    Online sources:,

    4. The Green New Deal is a hot topic in politics right now, and it has enormous potential to affect Appalachia. Do students and Appalachian natives fully understand the plans of this deal? What are the intended outcomes for our region? Why do some locals not support the Green New Deal?
    Interview sources: WVU political science professors who can explain the workings of the deal, WVU students
    Online sources:,

    5. Considering the fact that coal mining has been Appalachia’s primary economic staple, people who live in the rural, coalfield communities of the area are being affected by the current cultural, economic, and environmental shift away from this depleting resource. How much of a shift is this causing for the population? Are more people leaving the state/region because of this? What are the plans for these coalfield communities now? How are current policies affecting the way that Appalachia will adapt to future environmental and economic shifts?
    Interview sources: WVU wildlife/environment students and professors
    Online sources:,

    • I really love this topic and would love to write about going green in our state. This topic is widely talked about not only in our nation, but all over the world. I think the steps that we are taking in the appalachian region are important and should be talked about! I also really like the pitch about the coal and how it is effect our state. Could it be pushing people out of WV? This is something I believe needs to be talked about.

    • I love love love the last idea you had for the blog name, as well the whole concept for the blog itself. And the fact that you have such a close connection with a green organization that wants to partner with WVU is amazing!

    • I like the idea of a blog about going green in WV. Other states have started to go green, so comparing Morgantown to surrounding areas would be neat. Also, getting the idea WV running out of coal is a topic that I believe needs to be aware of. Are there more efficient ways to get energy from reusable resources. Also, if we could tie the opioid epidemic into the state being dirty, and find out if it has any effect on WV struggling to go green. There’s a lot that can be brought into going green.

    • briannaherscher says:

      I like this idea because I feel I could incorporate how wildlife in West Virginia is effected by environmental changes!

  12. dmconwell says:

    My idea for the blog post is on marijuana becoming legalized in West Virginia. I think this is a good idea because a lot of people think if weed is legalized in West Virginia it’ll help combat the drug epidemic. CBD is already being sold in WV, but the next step is marijuana being legalized. A title for this blog post could be Wild, Wonderful Weed.
    1. A story idea could be how weed could potentially help people who are addicted to drugs.
    2. Weed can help the people who are sick.
    3. Legalizing weed could help bring money into the state.
    4. Could legalizing weed help the new E-Cigarette epidemic.
    5. What are the benefits of smoking weed?

  13. Brianna Herscher says:

    My group blog title could be “Mo Animals Less Problems” and would be about animals in Morgantown ranging from pets to rescue shelters to wildlife animals. West Virginia University offers animal specific programs with service dog training for students and many college have their own therapy dog such as the Reed College of Media which I feel shows a clear interest in animals by a wide audience. I also feel that since Morgantown is a college town covering an animal blog would be relevant since many college students look to get one now that they are away from home or would at least like to stay updated about animals in the area if they are unable to do so.

    Blog posts could potentially be:

    1. The WVU hearts of gold service dog program partners with the school of animal and veterinary sciences to train services dogs at the university. I could post about how students can get enrolled in this class, what the class consists of, and include an interview from someone involved in the program.

    2. Animal House on High Street sells baby ducks every year around springtime near Easter. Often times students buy these for their dorms as they don’t make much noise. I can interview a student for this who has one, a worker, or focus the post on the annual duck sale as a whole.

    3. I could cover the changing in seasons and how this is impacting Morgantown’s wildlife or West Virginia’s wildlife as a whole. I could talk to a professor in wildlife resources here at the university to get a more detailed post about that.

    4. I could cover the apartments in the Morgantown areas policies on pets and do a post about student living and pets and why or why aren’t they allowed to have them.

    5. I could cover a post on the laws regarding pets in West Virginia more so about the ones people may not be aware of such as walking pets without a leash or the dogs chasing deer law that’s West Virginia has.

    • I think this is a very neat concept. Many students on campus are passionate about animals and I think this a great way to discuss their thoughts. I also believe this would be a great tie- in with a going green blog!

    • Cody Nespor says:

      I think this is an interesting topic that could really interest people. It would be interesting to really look at what it’s like trying to own a pet while living at school and the problems that come along with it. There’s also an issue with people claiming their pets as service animals when they really aren’t to get around certain policies.

    • adamjpayne says:

      This is a really unique idea that I would enjoy being able to expand onto because it is really never talked about. I think that being a vegetarian, animal rights are something I care about a lot, and I have heard lots of messy things about some of the pet store in Morgantown so it would be cool to investigate that claim.

  14. lyndseymoran says:

    Topic: The negative stigma that is attached to West Virginia University, along with its party school reputation has been a lot work for university officials, staff, and lawmakers. The bad press, popular party social media accounts and the attempt to rebrand the WVU image, papers must be flying in the University Relations offices. The title of the blog could be WVU: SpinU.

    1. Snow day or Playday?

    While impending weather may cause WVU to consider closing campus, officials may worry about opening up a time frame for students to take advantage of the snow day. This can be shown from Winter Storm Jonas and the cancelations from a few weeks ago and the events that followed.

    2. WVU vs Greeklife

    From changing formal recruitment from the fall semester to spring, Reaching The Summit, and the development of the IIFC, WVU and the Office of Greek Life has been trying to “fix” potential problems in the Greek System.

    3. The Board of Governors

    The WVU BoG decides on different policy and changes that happen at WVU. Some examples of recent topics are the new tobacco/vaping regulations and continually increasing the tuition at WVU. It would be interesting to gather opinions from students and staff regarding the topics.

    4. Party Social Media Accounts

    There are many popular social media that focus on the party culture at WVU that have a significant following. There are ways WVU either addresses or reverts attention elsewhere through different PR methods.

    5. What the university isn’t telling you

    WVU has made significant changes at the university and some of their motives are still unclear. Some examples are the closure of Arnold Hall, opening of Seneca Hall, and abolishing the Academic Common Market.

    • sadiejanes says:

      I really like this idea! I think it’s an interesting perspective to try to look at things through the lens of University Relations. A lot of what you mentioned here I didn’t even know about. I actually had to Google the Academic Common Market (and once I did, I was not pleased that WVU is no longer a part of it.) I would love to help dig deeper on a lot of these issues. I also love the title. I think I would be a good addition to this blog because I’m genuinely curious about the subject matter which I think would lead to some pretty in-depth reporting and analysis.

  15. deanmarrazzo says:

    One idea that my group came up to blog about was AppArt. We thought it would be a good idea to take a closer to look into a wide range that has been created in the Morgantown/West Virginia/Appalachian area. This blog would be used as a platform to discuss topics about these arts; such as how they have been impacted over time. By including painting, music, photography, dance etc. and viewing the arts as a whole, and independently, we could be able to make some interesting correlations.

    1. One story idea could be how race has impacted art through Appalachia. I think this could be a good story because although it is believed that Appalachia is strictly white; it has a very long, powerful ethnic past. This link could be good source for this topic.
    2. How Appalachian Art has become global. The art and artists that have come out of Appalachia have reached far and wide. It could be a good story idea to follow the art and see how the different art forms have transformed through their journey. There are constantly different artists that are visiting WVU from the area and much further. Going to their exhibits and speaking to the could be a good source.
    3. The struggle of Appalachian artist. Going around Morgantown and talking to different artists about if there are struggles they feel they face being an artist from this area. This could be interesting because we could potentially see a difference between the art forms.
    4. How art is used politically in Appalachia. Politics are highly talked about these days. Without showing any bias, we could take a look into how people in this area are using art to express themselves.
    5. Another topic that could be done is how the arts differentiate throughout the Appalachia area itself. It is a very culturally rich area and that could provide for a wide range of style.

    • adamjpayne says:

      I love the ideas of talking about race, and seeing how Appalachian art has gone global is a really great idea. As an artist myself, and since coming to WVU, how art is perceived here, and how I have seen the arts flourish here, it is definitely something I want to talk about.

  16. “Going Green in the Blue and Gold”

    This blog would be centered around green initiatives in not just Morgantown and WVU, but the entire Appalachian region. Whether the post is discussing specific issues that target how students at WVU are taking steps to be more eco-conscience, or how our coal-fueled state should start rethinking its main resource, the point of this blog is to draw attention to the fact that we need to start taking better care of our planet—and it starts at home.

    1. Are Student Trends Accidentally Help Save The Earth?

    Swell water bottles took campus by storm just a few semesters ago, helping eliminate the number of plastic water bottles used. This is just one of the many trends that has quickly spread like fire around campus. Will metal straws be the next trend?

    2. How Will The Green New Deal Effect Appalachia Country: A Deep Dive Into This New Legislation

    “The Green New Deal is a set of proposed economic stimulus programs in the United States that aim to address climate change and economic inequality.” As being one of the remaining areas in the country known for its rich landscapes, it’ll be interesting to see how this law could impact the region (especially since many locals work in coal mines).

    3. Trump Promised To Bring Jobs Back To The Coal Industry, But We Really Should Be Moving To Renewable Resources

    During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to revive the coal industry and bring jobs back to WV. However, what we should really be considering is the longterm effects of still using coal. Renewable resources have been found that are better for the earth and more sustainable, so why are we even still using coal?

    4. WVU And Its Affiliates Are Doing Their Part To Reduce Waste

    From water bottle refill stations to WVU food services backing off the use of plastic straws and lids, WVU and its affiliates are trying to be more mindful of their carbon footprint.

    5. Is WVU’s Party Culture Hurting More Than Just Its Academic Reputation?

    Everyone knows that WVU is one of the biggest and best party schools in the nation. While the university’s administration sees this as a threat to the academic reputation, it leaves a problem that’s less talked about: the trash students fill the streets of Morgantown with after parties.

    • shananelson says:

      I absolutely love the concept of this blog, and I love your ideas for posts even more! I especially love your idea about WVU’s party culture affecting the environment. The first thing that people think about is how the partying here hurts our academics and culture, but you rarely hear anyone concerned about what it’s doing to the environment here. It’s something that absolutely needs to be addressed, and it’s a great way to urge students to make better choices for themselves and the world around them. I also really love your post idea about Trump’s promise to revive the coal industry. As a self-proposed “tree hugger” who grew up in Southern WV, questioning the coal industry (and the POTUS), is something completely taboo. I’ve lived through the best parts of living in a coal town (when the industry was booming), and the absolute worst (our town turning ghostly, the local economy crashing), and this is something that I would thoroughly enjoy researching more on and writing about.

  17. […] group blog teams is now complete! I went through your existing blogs and the comments you left on last week’s assignment to sort you by complementary interests, styles, and so on. The more detail you provided, the […]

  18. […] tackles a local and contemporary trend, topic, or theme in a journalistic way. You’ve already started brainstorming, been been assigned a team,  and written your first post, but now it’s time for greater […]

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