Herd Media
  • From the rock climbing club to a spot in Nationals
    When most people think of rock climbing, not many imagine a sport. And not many imagine that sport to be as organized and tiered as other college and professional level sports. But it is, and Lipscomb junior Kalissa Finn is not only excelling in the sport, but climbing through those tiers. Finn, who started climbing seriously when she was 18, recently reached another level in the climbing world. Placing fifth in the Regional competition in Kennesaw, Georgia, Finn earned a spot to compete in Nationals. A fashion major at Lipscomb University, Finn spends her days in the fashion labs piecing together unique designs, and her nights in a very unique kind of gym. Called The Crag, Finn spends hours there throughout the week. “[I go] climbing three times a week, and I’m training outside of those climbing times four to five times a week,” Finn said. “I did the math, [and] it’s almost a thousand minutes a week.” That’s a lot of time for anyone to devote to something, especially when there’s also the balance of hours designing and sewing in the fashion lab, doing other homework, and maintaining a job and a social life. But Finn spends almost seventeen hours a week training and climbing, because the sport is a lot more than just playing around on rocks. “Rock climbing has a competitive factor,” Finn said. “It’s usually indoor, [and] there’s three different disciplines in it.” There’s Lead Climbing, which is perhaps what most people think of when they envision rock climbing; speed climbing, where the goal is in the name; and bouldering. “Bouldering is my discipline. You’re not roped in [and] it gets only a few meters off the ground maximum because it’s slightly more dangerous,” Finn explained. “Boulder routes tend to be slightly more powerful, shorter. You have to think about it a little bit more. Not that you don’t for others, but like, because it’s more compacted into a small area it tends to be more challenging.” She laughed. “You kind of get addicted to it.” Just like with any other sport, rock climbing has its’ own challenges, and Finn has had to overcome some unique ones. “I’ve kind of been on this journey by myself,” Finn admitted. “I don’t have a coach. I don’t have somebody to tell me this is what to expect… This is my first time so I don’t know what anything will look like.” Another problem facing Finn is that she is not recognized by Lipscomb as an “actual” athlete. “It’s not just some piddly side-hobby – it’s a full-time thing,” Finn said. “But I think a lot of my teachers right now just think it’s a hobby or something. They don’t really understand how much work I put into this and how much work it entails to get to the point that I’ve gotten to.” Finn, who not only devotes hours to training and climbing, drives across the country to compete, which has nearly caused problems in the past. Many teachers who will grant athletes absences for their away games will not be as flexible with Finn’s schedule. “Right now, because I’m a highly organized person, I can juggle it and I can incorporate [everything] into my schedule without having really detrimental effects, but it would be nice to be able to have that kind of recognition. [Especially] next year, when I’ll be juggling 18 hour semesters too. It’s already a lot with 16 hours.” Nationals may help with that recognition, however. “I’m hoping that [if I win], Lipscomb will recognize me as an athlete.” Currently competing in the intermediate women’s tier, Finn also hopes to move up a level. “Hopefully it’ll open up opportunities for me to move up into advanced women’s competing, but also maybe international. It also definitely opens the opportunity for scholarships, outside of Lipscomb. But the biggest thing I’m hoping [for] is [recognition from] Lipscomb.” The competition at Nationals also presents its’ own challenges. Not only will the climbs be harder, but the competition will be formatted in what’s called a Rotational Red-point Format. Most competitions are in what’s known as the Traditional Red-point Format. In the Traditional format, climbers have three hours to get as close to the finish as possible on six different routes, with ten attempts allowed per route. The Rotational format is much harder. Finn explained the format – which happens to be one she’s never competed in before. “I’ll go in – I haven’t really gotten to go look around or scout the boulders out – [they’ll] be new for me. I’m going to go and look at the route and I get four minutes on the clock to try to figure out this boulder. I have to keep going at it without rest for four minutes to try to get to either the top or the zones on that boulder. And once that timer goes off, [I’ll] get moved. I get four minutes off [to rest] and then [I’ll] get moved to another boulder. It’s very intensive… and I’m not sure [if you get to come back to a route]. I really hope that I get to come back around to it.” “I’ve been starting to train in this way,” Finn added. “I’ll go and I’ll set a timer, I’ll look at a route for the first time. Usually right now, unless it’s fairly within my range, I’ll get it in the second four minute segment, but not the first. So, I’m just hoping to be able to do a challenging boulder within the four minutes. Not one that I feel like was a gimme.” “I just like climbing rocks,” Finn closed the interview with a smile. Not only does Finn love what she does, she’s good at it too. This is her first year officially competing, and she’s made it through multiple rounds of qualifying competitions, Regionals and is on her way to Nationals. Finn will compete at Nationals in Gilbert, Arizona, from May 24-26. She plans to compete in a way that will make herself proud, her friends in the New Heights Climbing Club, and hopefully her school. All photos courtesy of Kalissa Finn.


  • Dr. McQueen announces “A Beautiful Day” – The fascinating history of Lipscomb’s “A Beautiful Day”
    Originally Posted Spring 2023 When you hear the phrase “it’s a beautiful day”, there are many different things that come to mind. For some, it may be sunny weather. Perfect conditions, that aren’t too hot and aren’t too cold. Some may think of Mr. Rogers’ famous theme song, “Its A Beautiful Day In This Neighborhood”. For others, it may be just a common expression in passing conversation. For Lipscomb students, however, the phrase “it’s a beautiful day!” takes a much richer meaning. It means a day for students to temporarily forget the pressures of classes and enjoy festivities with their peers. A day for the Lipscomb community to create life-long memories and share a fun impromptu experience. It’s a day in the academic calendar that’s been a staple in Lipscomb’s student-life tradition. The roots of “A Beautiful Day” can be traced back to as early as the 1930s. Before earning its memorable moniker, the event started as a humble, annual school picnic at Percy Warner Park. The first picnic was held in 1935, and according to documents obtained from Lipscomb archives, the first official “A Beautiful Day” event was on Oct. 21, 1937. The event was given its name from the announcement of the year’s picnic, which began with the phrase “It’s a beautiful day”. Despite all of this, it wasn’t always embraced. The impromptu event continued for years after this and became an annual tradition that many students on campus looked forward to. However, in 1965 the sun would set on A Beautiful Day, and it would remain that way for nearly fifty-seven years. But why was this? With ‘A Beautiful Day’ being so popular amongst students, what reason would the school have for discontinuing the event for as long as they did? According to an issue of Lipscomb’s former student newspaper “The Babbler”, it was stated that the event “no longer served the same purpose as it did when Lipscomb was a small junior college,” and that “Once the school had grown so much it was impossible to develop close relationships through such an event. The surprise element lost,” the excerpt said. The school’s growth wasn’t the only reason for A Beautiful Day’s abolishment according to the piece. It was also mentioned that faculty members at the time were not on board with the event, as they felt that A Beautiful Day hurt academics, citing that the students’ anticipation of the event would cause them not to study. Because of these reasons, generations of Lipscomb students were deprived of one of Lipscomb’s most memorable annual events. However, last year on the final day of Lipscomb president Dr. Candice McQueen’s inauguration celebration, students were treated to pleasant surprise. ‘A Beautiful Day’ was back. “After hearing the stories and seeing photos of Beautiful Days of the past, I thought it would be fun, as I officially started my new presidency, to bring that idea back to life and make it part of the inauguration festivities,” said President McQueen. “It was a way to connect the present to the past, and to refresh it in a way that is meaningful today.” The event was filled much excitement amongst students, with multiple activities being held at Percy Warner Park, the same venue that held the so many years ago. There were also food trucks, a carnival with a ferris wheel, and roller skating in Allen Arena. For President McQueen though, the games and activities weren’t even the best part of last year’s excursion. “I have to say my very favorite part was serving alongside our students during the service project,” McQueen said. “Serving others is central to who we are as a university. So, the service project was most meaningful to me and a great reminder that we are a Christ-centered community that seeks to serve others.” “I think any time we can do something specifically for our students, it’s a good thing,” McQueen said. “While I think it is important to work hard to accomplish the goals of a school year, I also believe it is important to take time to stop and just enjoy being in community with one another — to make memories that hopefully will be some of a student’s favorite memories of their time at Lipscomb.” And for President McQueen, it’s more than just a day for students to get away from classes. “I am here because of the students, and to me Beautiful Day is an opportunity to do something fun just for the students. So, to me it means having a day to spend with students, just having fun and enjoying the beauty of a day spent together in community.” A Beautiful Day 2024 will be Tuesday, April 16th.
  • Empowering Student Voices: Lipscomb SGA Elections Highlights Continued Student Leadership 
    The Student Government Association is a key part of the Lipscomb leadership team. SGA provides a voice for students and ensures all voices are heard.   This year’s election brings back familiar faces as well as a lineup of new candidates who are willing to bring new ideas.  Janeyah Anderson, current 23-24 SGA Executive President, is seeking reelection unopposed for the 24-25 school year.   With nearly a full school year at the helm, Anderson talked about how she is going to build on the work that she has already done.   “This year, I feel like I have done a lot of good work. We have made a lot of good relationships with faculty. For example, Sodexo. We are having Sodexo meetings. Just talking about the students’ actual needs. I think there can be a gap between what administration thinks we need and what we actually need. Basically, we are here to make sure that gap is filled and that your opinions are being implemented into administrative conversations at all times.  I think I am just going to keep building upon those faculty relationships,” said Anderson at the SGA Candidate Forum.  As Anderson reflects on this past year, she mentions a quote. “There is no better way to show that you care than putting in the effort to promote action.”  She mentions, “It is one thing to say that you care but it’s another to actually take initiative. When you promote action, you are showing people that you are not just a passive observer but someone who is willing to roll up your sleeves and work towards meaningful change.”  Alongside Anderson, is Kate Muller. Muller is the current 23-24 SGA Executive Vice President and is running for reelection unopposed for the 24-25 academic year. Muller has been involved with student leadership for several years now.  When asked about her plans for next year, Muller mentioned her ideas on how to increase school spirit on campus through events involving Lipscomb sports.  “One thing that Janeyah and I would like to do this next year is we would like to continue to build upon our relationships with athletics. We would like to see more school spirit on campus. This year we got to collaborate with SAB to put on the first “The Tailgate”. We would love to just continue to foster a community of school spirit and being a big sports fan, I believe I am one of the best people if not the best person to foster that,” Muller concluded.   The SGA Elections is for more than just the executive team, it includes class officers, presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, and coordinators.   SGA Elections Ballot  Sophomore Class President Candidates – Ivana Huffines and Taylor Elliot  Sophomore Vice President Candidates – Vina Nguyen  Junior Class President Candidates – Lydia Knobloch  Junior Class Vice President Candidates – Sierra Beck  Senior Class President Candidates – Shythaly Herrera   Senior Class Vice President Candidates – Oliver Orellana  Senior Class Coordinator – Antonious Mikaeel  Executive President – Janeyah Anderson  Executive Vice President – Kate Muller  Executive Secretary – Abbie Collins and Rachael Ferguson  Executive Treasurer – Kasen Holt  Elections begin Tuesday, April 9. Check your inbox to confirm your ballot and cast your vote.