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Town and Gown- Zumba? Pilates? Yoga? There’s a Class for That!

01/29/2013

By Heather Greene, a graduate assistant in the Office of Public Relations at JSU

When scrolling through the JSU Catalogue, such class names as Weapons of Mass Destruction for First Responders, Introduction to Cyberterrorism, Role in Hostage Negotiations, Zumba, and Puppetry catch the eye.

Yes, students have the basic core classes such as English, Math, History, and Science at JSU. However, JSU also offers a variety of atypical classes that can be simply fun.

Quite often, students need elective courses to fill up their required hours in the process of pursuing their degree. With the pressure many college students are under, a stress-free and engaging class can help take the edge off.

To find out more about some of these classes, I interviewed various individuals who have taken some of the more unusual classes at JSU.

Angela Mundy, a JSU senior majoring in social work, took a class on swing dancing. She describes the class as “a lot of fun and stress-free.”

Mundy states that from the class, students “can gain dancing skills that can always be used at spontaneous moments in life.”

For students wishing to learn more about the Zumba exercise craze sweeping society, there is a class on that.

A sophomore majoring in biology, Amanda Pitts took Zumba and expressed how much she enjoyed it. Pitts says, “It was a great workout and I made a ton of friends.”

Ariel Hicks, a junior majoring in early childhood education, has enjoyed such elective classes as Judo, Pilates, and Yoga.

Hicks, who actually holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, explained, “Judo is different than your average kick/punch martial arts because it focuses on using leverage to throw your opponent…I would definitely recommend this class as an elective. It is hard work, but especially rewarding when you learn how to utilize leverage to throw people bigger than you.”

Alumna Leigh Wisner, who majored in recreation administration with a concentration in camping and outdoor education at JSU, took a class on fencing.

Reflecting upon the class, Wisner says, “It is great for learning better hand and eye coordination. It tests your reflexes! The class offered competition, which I personally enjoyed due to all the sports I played in high school. It was fun because it had a ballet quality that made it seem as if the class was a series of skillful dance moves.”

Wisner now works as the operations manager for Alabama Outdoors at the Tuscaloosa location.

I graduated from JSU with a degree in English, but also had the opportunity to take a myriad of fun electives.

From personal experience, JSU’s puppetry class, taught by Randall Blades of the JSU Drama Department, is a blast!

Not only did we learn about what goes into making a puppet, the various kinds of puppets around the world, and how truly difficult it can be to manipulate a puppet, we also took a trip to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia to tour the museum and see how professionals put on a puppet show. Needless to say, I definitely have more respect for the art of puppetry now.

Another class I would recommend for anyone is Special Olympics and Athletics, which was taught by Coach Glenn Graham. This course consisted of a few class meetings with the main portion of the class being a trip to Troy University to work at the Alabama Special Olympics competition.

Our class walked away from the Special Olympics with knowledge that cannot be learned in books. We all felt a bit selfish for the many complaints and worries we have on a daily basis, while others deal with various physical and mental disabilities we have not had to overcome, which served as a reminder of how important, or unimportant, some things in life actually are.

In addition to the many engaging classes on campus, JSU offers various study tours to places around the world. Students have visited China, the Galapagos Islands, Italy, England and New York City, to name just a few. This May, Dr. Donald Prudlo and Dr. Paul Beezley will be leading another history class of students to study in Rome for three weeks.

To learn more about the classes offered at JSU, please visit www.jsu.edu/catalogue/.

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