Navigating Scholarships

ACCENT reporters Nicholas Brown and Nathan Lu met with three ACC students to hear their experiences applying for scholarships.

Written by Nicholas Brown

Video by Nathan Lu

Graphic by Kate Korepova

Whether it’s paying for tuition, fees, books or other educational expenses, it is no secret that college is expensive. So, when means fall short, how can college students fill in the gaps? Scholarships are part of the answer.

Three students, each a member of Austin Community College’s Alpha Gamma Pi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, shared how scholarships have contributed to their success as students.

Jennifer Ebert is an education major and attends ACC completely online.

Ebert is the recipient of five scholarships this year alone. These include one scholarship that she was awarded from ACC’s general scholarship application, and four others that she was able to access through PTK. Of the four scholarships from PTK includes the Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship, in which Ebert was one of only eight students internationally to be recognized.

“Having these scholarships…having the additional funds for anything that I need…has been able to alleviate that financial burden that I normally feel in a typical semester,” Ebert says. 

Paralegal major, Brandy Lewis, is a non-traditional student who has also received four scholarships from the ACC general application and two from PTK.

“Essentially I have paid for no school and it has actually allowed me to stop working my part-time job. I was working full-time and part-time,” Lewis says. “It relieved a lot of things for me…to be able to get these scholarships and just know that I could fully focus on my studies.”

However, ACC and PTK scholarships are not the only form of additional aid that students can receive. Communications major, Saliyah Parker, has earned non-ACC affiliated scholarships which helped cover multiple semesters worth of tuition.

Parker was awarded her first scholarship from her apartment complex, which offered residents to apply for a scholarship made for adult learners, Parker decided to apply “on a whim.” To her surprise, she was selected.

Parker has also been awarded a scholarship through ACC’s general application. 

“I remember just feeling wowed. You know…overwhelmed in a really good way,” Parker says. 

For some students, applying for scholarships may feel like quite a daunting task. Searching through available scholarship options and crafting the perfect essay can be a timely process. ACC’s general scholarship application can make this procedure feel a little less intimidating. All it takes is a single application and short essay to be considered for hundreds of scholarships. 

“Anyone who is intimidated by filling out an application…break it down into pieces. I didn’t fill any of this stuff out in one day,” Lewis says.

Scholarships can be beneficial in addition to being a form of financial aid. Parker shares how applying for scholarships can form a sense of ambition. 

 “It definitely calls to the forefront a drive to want to apply yourself once you’re selected for that first one,” Parker says.

Not only that, but scholarships also look great on resumes if you plan on applying to transfer or for future employers. 

With the many opportunities that scholarships offer, Ebert insists that students have nothing to lose by putting themselves out there.

“Never be afraid to apply. Don’t be afraid of getting told ‘no’,” Ebert says. “You won’t know unless you apply.”

For information on applying for scholarships for the Spring semester, visit https://www.austincc.edu/students/scholarships.

For students who are interested in joining Phi Theta Kappa, visit https://sites.austincc.edu/ptk/.

Election Day Updates

At this time Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has 227 votes and President Donald J. Trump has 213 votes. Both candidates need at least 270 votes to win. We are still waiting to see the results from the following states:

By Marissa Greene

10:22 a.m. CDT — At this time Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has 227 votes and President Donald J. Trump has 213 votes. Both candidates need at least 270 votes to win. We are still waiting to see the results from the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Mail-in ballots and absentee ballots may affect the results of these states and the overall election results. 

Election results by county: 

In Travis County, Joseph R. Biden Jr. received 432, 062 votes. Donald. J. Trump received 159,907 votes, according to the New York Times. 

In Williamson County, Joseph R. Biden Jr. received 142, 457 votes. Donald. J. Trump received 138,649 votes, according to the New York Times. 

In Hays County, Joseph R. Biden Jr. received 59,213 votes. Donald. J. Trump received 47,427 votes, according to the New York Times. 

In Bastrop County,  Donald. J. Trump received 20, 486 votes. Joseph R. Biden Jr. received 15,452 votes, according to the New York Times. 

2:14 a.m. CDT — Tony Gonzales, Republican, wins Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. 

02:06 a.m. CDT — Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Maine.

1:12 a.m. CDT — José Garza has become the next Travis County District Attorney.  

1:03 a.m. CDT — Republican Chip Roy wins re-election in Texas’ 21st Congressional District against Democratic former state Sen. Wendy Davis. 

12:30 a.m. CDT — Venessa Fuentes has been elected to serve in the Austin City Council District 2. 

12:20 a.m. CDT — Donald J. Trump wins Texas. 

12:02 a.m. CDT — Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Minnesota.

11:38 p.m. CDT — Donald J. Trump wins Florida.

11:25 p.m. CDT — Donald J. Trump wins Iowa.

11:22 p.m. CDT — Donald J. Trump wins Montana. 

11:16 p.m. CDT — Trya Nehls, Republican, wins Texas’ 22nd Congressional District.  

11:07 p.m. CDT — Donald J. Trump wins Ohio 

11:07 p.m. CDT — Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Hawaii. 

11 p.m. CDT — Incumbent Leslie Pool claims victory in Austin City Council race for District 7. 

10:09 p.m. CDT —  Donald J. Trump wins Utah.

10:06 p.m. CDT — Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins New Hampshire.

10: 05 p.m. CDT — According to Travis County elections coordinator Christopher Baldenhofter, Travis county had 50,558 votes on Election Day. 

10:01 p.m. CDT — Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Washington State. 

10:01 p.m. CDT — Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Oregon. 

10:01 p.m. CDT — Donald J. Trump wins Idaho. 

10:01 p.m. CDT — Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins California. 

9:50 p.m. Republican incumbent U.S. Representative John Carter wins Texas’ 31st Congressional District. 

9:33 p.m. CDT — Donald J. Trump wins Missouri. 

9:12 p.m. CDT — The City of Austin claims victory over Proposition A, also known as Project Connect. 

9:07 p.m. CDT — John Cornyn, Republican, wins re-election to the U.S. Senate in Texas with 4,709,257 votes. 

9:01 p.m. CDT — Donald J. Trump wins Kansas.

8:44 p.m. CDT — Greg Caesar has claimed victory for re-election as District 4’s Austin City Council member.

8:38 p.m. CDT — Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Colorado. 

8:27 p.m. CDT—   Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins the District of Columbia.

8:25 p.m. CDT — Republican Micheal Cloud will be keeping his seat in the U.S House of Representatives for District 27. 

8:10 p.m. CDT — Democrat Lloyd Doggett will be serving another term as a member of the U.S House of Representatives in Texas’ 35th Congressional District. 

8:01 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins Nebraska.

8 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins Wyoming.

8 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins South Dakota. 

8 p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins New York. 

8 p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins New Mexico. 

8 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins North Dakota. 

8 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins Louisiana. 

7:53 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins Indiana.

7:31 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins Arkansas. 

7:25 p.m. CDT — Prop. A and Prob. B favorable votes are showing high numbers with 58 percent and 67 percent of votes, according to KVUE. In an interview with KVUE and Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Adler stated that “It would be near impossible for the vote to flip at this point. I am so incredibly excited and proud to be part of a community that so strongly tonight said that it wanted to walk into our future,”. 

7:01  p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Rode Island.

7:01  p.m. CDT — Donald J. Trump wins Oklahoma.

7:01  p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins  New Jersey. 

7:01  p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins  Massachusetts.

7:01  p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Maryland.

7 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump  wins Tennessee.

7 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins Mississippi.

7 p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins  Illinois. 

7 p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Connecticut. 

7 p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Delaware.

7 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins Alabama. 

7 p.m. CDT — Election Day polls have now closed. 

6:57 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins South Carolina. 

6:37 p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Virginia. 

6:30 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins West Virginia. 

6:01 p.m. CDT—  Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins Vermont. 

6 p.m. CDT—  Donald J. Trump wins Kentucky. 

Five Virtual Ways to Celebrate Halloween This Year

SL Netflix Halloween Movie Marathon
Would you consider yourself to be a film fanatic? If so, this event is right up your alley. On Friday, Oct. 30 Student Life will be hosting a seven and a half hour movie marathon that includes films such as

By Marissa Greene

  1.  SL Netflix Halloween Movie Marathon 
    • Would you consider yourself to be a film fanatic? If so, this event is right up your alley. On Friday, Oct. 30 Student Life will be hosting a seven and a half hour movie marathon that includes films such as Insidious, The Witches, Sleepy Hollow, and Anaconda. Starting at noon, students will be able to get into this spooky season in the comfort of their own home. In order to join students will need to download the Netflix Party Extension and attend the event via Google Meet. For more information and to RSVP visit the event page. 
  2.  Trick or Treat Delivered to You
    • If the inability to trick or treat this year has you down, this event will sure lift your spooky spirits. This year, the Ghisallo Cycling Initiative team and a group of volunteer couriers will be delivering candy to the doorsteps of any resident within the 78702 area. These contactless drop offs will occur on Halloween day from 4-6 p.m in the Holly, Oak Springs, Rosewood, and other surrounding neighborhoods. Availability will be limited based on supply and household demand. To sign-up for your party pack visit the event link. 
  3. 37th Annual Viva la Vida Fest Goes Virtual
    • Are you curious about learning more about  the history and culture of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)? If so,the Mexic-Arte Museum, The Official Mexican and Mexican American Fine Art Museum of Texas, will be hosting their 37th annual Viva la Vida Festival online this year. Attendees will have the ability to participate in artist led activities, listen to music by local bands in Austin and view the performances of Facebook Live, recreate sugar skulls or Pan De Muerto, and view the Day of the Dead exhibition virtually. More information is located on the Mexic-Arte Museum website.
  4. Powell & Tiller’s Trick Or Treat Benefit
    • Do you have a furry friend at home and just can’t wait to dress them up for Halloween? This year, Powell & Tiller’s Dental Care will be hosting a virtual Trick or Treat Benefit Event. From Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 participants can tag @PowellTiller and @AustinPetsAlive in a picture of their festive furry friend and in return Powell & Tiller will donate to Austin Pets Alive! 
  5. The Living Room Dance Party with DJ Mel — Halloween Edition
    • Are you ready to monster mash without feeling like a zombie a few days after? Or perhaps you hate to dance in public? Try breaking out those moves in your own living room with this free event. DJ Mel is a high-profiled DJs in Austin who has played in events such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Bonnaroo, Voodoo Festival, and much more. Get ready to dance the night away on Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

What Riverbats Need to Know About the 2020 Election

By Marissa Greene

During this time of year not only will you see Halloween decorations, pumpkin carvings, and perhaps the Sunday football game; but also lines of people outside of polling locations six feet apart, with a face mask, and a ballot card. This election year, registered voters across the country are picking candidates they wish to represent the United States and the citizens within it.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin-Travis County has already surpassed the 477,588 votes cast early and on election day for the 2016 election. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvior said. 

As of Thursday 521,002, Austin voters have already cast their ballot. This is more than half of the percentage of registered voters in the county. That number is continuing to rise as we get closer to Election Day. 

“It gives citizens a voice to elect people who represent their values and their goals for their community,” Alicia Del Rio, Elections and Government Relations Manager of Austin Community College said.

In light of the recent presidential debates and the candidate’s websites, U.S. citizens have been able to view President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden’s stances on topics such as COVID-19, affordable healthcare, immigration, climate change, racial injustice, and much more.

With only a few days remaining for eligible voters to head to the polls or vote by mail, it is important for both new and returning voters to know how this election might be different to protect the health and safety of citizens. 

Those who are 65 years or older, sick or disabled, will be absent from the county during early voting and Election Day, are confined in jail, but otherwise eligible to vote can submit a mail-in ballot and avoid large crowds. For voters who don’t qualify for mail-in ballots, polling locations have gotten creative this year to follow social distancing protocols.

  “In Harris County, they are doing drive-in voting so you can vote in your vehicle and more people are taking advantage of curbside voting…the main thing is that we got to keep our people safe,” Del Rio said.

In addition to these preventative measures, both Williamson and Travis counties are utilizing a new voting system called an ExpressVote Ballot Marketing Device (BMD) that has touchscreen technology that allows voters to verify their selections before it prints out the paper ballot. People are also able to use websites that show how busy each polling station is and their wait times. 

Although the U.S Presidential election may be the most talked-about, citizens are also voting for the U.S. Senator, House of Representatives, Texas Supreme Court, State Senators, State Representatives, and other figures that affect our local government. 

Federal elections occur every two years and every member of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are up for reelection in any given election year, according to whitehouse.gov.

During local elections, Austin citizens are able to vote for propositions, city council members, and even representatives for their school districts. 

“To me, the local politicians, local elections, the council members, county officials, and independent school districts, touch our lives more than the federal [government],” Del Rio said. 

For those who have yet to vote, Del Rio mentions utilizing non-partisan sources to avoid misinformation and understand ones right before heading to the polling stations. 

“Look at it with a grain of salt. If it’s pretty far-fetched you might do further research,” Del Rio said. 

For more information about this year’s candidates, voters’ rights, and more, resources are listed below. 

What College Students Need to Know about Managing Credit Cards

By Alexa Smith

From getting an apartment to buying a car – credit is an important part of your financial history. Once students get to college, it could be the right time to start building your own credit history. But with so many different credit cards and options available – how do you know where to start? How do you know how to stay out of debt? How do you know how to get out of debt? 

ACCENT sat down with Ayeesha Green, a financial coach from the Student Money Management Office to get you started on your financial journey. 

Students might wonder why they should care about credit. They may have their parents helping them out right now or just feel no need to get a credit card.

“Students should care about their credit because it can be the difference between having an affordable lifestyle and a super expensive lifestyle,” said Green.

Without a credit history, you may find you have to put down a higher deposit on an apartment or have a higher monthly payment for your car. Your credit history will also affect your auto-insurance rates. One thing many students do not know, is that employers can pull your credit history as well.

Green noted that ⅓ of employers will pull a modified credit report meaning they cannot see your credit score but they will be looking to see if you have late payments and if you’re financially consistent.

Green said students should start to establish credit as soon as they are ready which is usually when they are in college. However, there is a specific way Green suggests going about building credit. You don’t want to jump in too fast and get a credit card with a ridiculous interest rate and yearly fee.

Instead, Green suggests getting a secured credit card from your bank or credit union. She suggests using it for a monthly payment you are already making, such as Netflix or Spotify. Then set up an automatic payment to that credit card in the exact amount of that subscription. Put the card away and don’t use it for anything else. This will set you up to build your credit score without running the risk of credit card debt.

However, many students have already fallen into the trap of credit card debt and have found themselves with the pressure of paying off loans before even graduating college. For this, Green recommends creating a budget and looking for a place where you can cut back. Whether that’s less Starbucks a month or pausing a Hulu subscription. Take that extra cash and put it towards your credit card debt every month to start paying it off. 

Green also recommends students set up an appointment with a financial coach at the Student Money Management office before opening a credit card. This can help students understand the different types of credit cards better and how to manage their budgets.


To schedule an appointment with the Student Money Management Office, head to their website and click “Schedule Your Appointment”. For more tips, follow them on Instagram @accmoney, on Twitter @ACCMoney512, and on Facebook

Essential Workers Share Their Experience Working During COVID-19

By Angela Murillo Martinez

Essential workers have been the backbone of our country during the pandemic. They have put themselves on the front lines to continue to work in order to provide for themselves and others in their community.

Unlike some of us, many of them have had to continue to go to a physical location to work instead of working remotely. Not only are they having to continue to go to work, but many of them are also having to be around people each day essentially putting themselves at risk. It’s important that we recognize these modern-day heroes that are continuing to work so that we can continue on with our lives.

Whether it is being able to buy groceries at a store that is constantly being cleaned for us, or going to the doctor’s office for a checkup where they are protecting each patient, or even attending class in person or online. There are many people behind the scenes working to allow you to remain healthy and safe during this time.

Many of these essential workers are our own classmates and even the teachers who are having to learn how to continue to teach online or even in person. This also includes custodians cleaning our schools in order to avoid the spread of COVID-19. They allow us to continue to live our lives safely, go to class in a clean school, and even continue to learn despite the pandemic that has changed the way we all live.

A fellow riverbat student, Manuel Murillo, who works at FedEx underground has not stopped working since the beginning of the pandemic. In a warehouse where they come in contact with boxes from all over the world, they haven’t experienced one single case amongst their staff. 

“We were told that once one case came up in our warehouse, we would close down, but so far, it hasn’t happened, and hopefully it doesn’t happen ever,” he said.

People who worked at companies such as these have seen an increase in packages that they are having to work with as many more people are spending time at home and ordering a lot more than usual. They have found themselves with an increased workload and are having to push through this in order to deliver packages in time.

For students like Murillo, more challenges arise as they continue to work in this environment. Murillo states that he finds himself having to take extra precautions as a result of his asthma. From constantly washing his hands and using hand sanitizer after touching packages, to wearing masks while working in a warehouse.

“Sometimes you just want to take it off, it’s so hot, and you’re having to carry all these packages, and so you’re all sweaty,” he continues, “but we can’t, it isn’t really an option,” said Murillo.


Many offices have remained closed and continue to work remotely, but that isn’t the case Arielle Alston, a legal assistant, and ACC alumni. Alston has had to return to the office during the summer, in a time where COVID-19 cases only continued to rise. Although in her office they only recently increased the in-office capacity to 50%, and in the beginning allowed them to work one week in the office, and the other two at home. She still had to learn how to stay safe in a small office since she had not only her health to worry about, but also her families who she would go home to.

Alston, along with her co-workers has had to follow the same guidelines as everyone else in order to remain healthy while at work.

“There are several precautions being taken in my office to protect everyone’s health. Everyone in the office is required to wear a mask if they leave their own office. If they are entering into another person’s office – they are required to wear their masks,” she said.

Each day, anyone going into Alston’s workplace has to get their temperature checked before going into the building, anyone who’s temperature is high isn’t allowed to go in.

Alston shares the challenges she has faced trying to learn a new job during these challenging times.

“At first it was difficult – being out of our usual environment required new procedures, and there was definitely a learning curve,” she said.

Now, Alston states that she has definitely become more familiar with working remotely and also working at the office every now and then. And now with more people in the office, she is having to remind herself, even more, to wear her mask when she is not in her office, and constantly wash her hands.

Students such as Joshua Solis, who works at Patient Care Technician (PCT) at Ascension Seton Hays in Kyle have also continued working since the start of pandemic. Solis states that he has found this stressful because they never know if someone around them has the virus and there still is little information about COVID-19 that we know of.

“Working during the pandemic has also been scary because you see your coworkers get the virus, then get nervous thinking that you might have it,” he said.

Solis’ workplace has adapted a universal masking policy that requires everyone to wear a mask if they are going to be within six feet of one another. But besides the masks, staff members are having to wear face shields to reduce the chances of spreading the virus and also have reduced the amount of time spent in the patient’s room for the same reason. Some precautions that he is following to protect himself and others are staying home as much as possible, checking his temperature daily, and wearing a mask wherever he goes.

“Because I am in the nursing program, we have to go to clinical’s, so I definitely do not want to get sick because I do not want to miss out on the learning experience,” he shared.

When Solis isn’t working or learning, he emphasizes the importance of taking care of his mental health by watching movies on Netflix and catch up on his sleep.

For faculty in ACC, it’s taken time to adjust to these new changes that even now continue to change as time goes on. John Lancaster, a full time faculty member and assistant DC for building construction, has had to learn how to adjust to teaching online classes.

“I’ve been an educator for 47 years in all the different levels. I must say that I have a lot of experience, but no experience in teaching an online class,” he said.

Having many students who are already in the workforce, he had to not only learn how to teach classes online, but also learn how to make online learning easy for his students who are used to having face to face classes. He found himself teaching students how to log into Blackboard to even teach them how to submit assignments. Many of his students who are in the workforce already, struggled with this switch since everything now relied heavily on writing and reading, a skill that may not be everyone’s strong suits.

Despite this, he continued to support his students as they adapted to these new changes that none of them had signed up for. Lancaster states that he has made it a point to reach out to his students before class to see how they were doing and even shared his phone number with them so that they could be in contact with him if they ever needed to talk.

Like many students all throughout the country, he found that his students had found themselves overwhelmed with everything going on and that many were struggling to adjust to online classes and were even struggling with depression. This only encouraged him more to reach out to and check in with them consistently.

Although he has tried his best to be flexible and adaptable, Lancaster said that he has found that many students have struggled with online classes. As much as he tries to reach out to many and provide support, many of them don’t reply and end up struggling in class and not performing well.

“Soon, maybe spring semester, that we can go to more hybrid classes and connect more students,” he said.

Lancaster shares how he has gone way to make sure his students are able to understand the content in the best way possible since they are having to learn content through online classes which have many limitations unlike face to face classes.

“We have to be aware of our audience at all times, we are teaching an audience that once again, didn’t bargain for this, so we have to be sensitive to their needs and make sure we are available to meet their needs,” he said.

He makes sure to provide them with necessary tools to make sure they understand the content and provide enough tools for them to study and review, and prepare for tests and quizzes.

Lancaster also shares that he has worked hard to check in not only on his students but other faculty members, and even is hoping to be able to celebrate upcoming graduates instead of just an online graduation that recognizes their hard work and accomplishments.

Mauri Winters, ACC’s HR Wellness Benefits Coordinator, talked to us about what is being done to protect the health of our faculty and staff during these times.

“It’s important that we focus on employee’s health in all aspects of their life,” she said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, mental health has become a huge concern, as depression increase amongst people in our country. They’ve made sure that employees are taking time for themselves and their mental health. Employees are being offered different programs to help them during these weird and difficult times. For example, the employee’s assistance program, where full-time employees can get short term counseling for free. They have also offered free online exercise classes for all employees to work out from Monday to Saturday that is made to fit into their busy schedules.

It’s important that we continue to support and thank our essential workers in our community, especially those who work at ACC, or even students who attend classes with us. The saying, “not all heroes wear capes,” has never meant more than it does now. Essential workers throughout the country, and especially those in our ACC community, have worked hard and have even put themselves at risk to continue to work. We often forget to appreciate those around us who are working hard to allow us to go buy groceries, or get that new package delivered to us, or even go to class. But now, more than ever, it is important to thank essential workers for everything they have done and continue to do. It hasn’t been easy, but many of us have had the privilege of staying home for work and even school, while others have had to go to work despite the pandemic. It only takes a second to thank them, so next time you come across an essential worker, don’t forget to do so. These are difficult times and it takes a hero to be able to do what they do.

Local Coffee Shop Bennu Opens Third Location

By Alexa Smith

An Austin Staple, Bennu Coffee, has recently opened their third location on Jacob Fontaine Lane right next to Austin Community College’s Highland campus.

Bennu’s first location opened on East Martin Luther King Blvd. in 2009. The coffee houses’ second location was opened in 2017 after Bennu owners Stephanie and Steve Williams bought the location formerly home to Domincan Joe’s.

Bennu has long been a staple for college students around Austin, as they used to offer 24 hour service. This was a hit for students to stay up late studying for exams and getting homework done. While their hours have been reduced due to COVID-19, students still flock to all three locations to get a dose of caffeine and productivity. 

The new location on Jacob Fontaine Lane is part of the overall development of the area around Highland. If you haven’t made it to campus in a few months, you’d be surprised to see there are apartments and a small shopping center quickly growing. This will offer ACC students more food and drink options within walking distance of The Highland Campus, something that was missing before these developments.

 While Kick Butt coffee and 89 Degrees are nearby, they can take a while to walk to and aren’t the best option for grabbing a bite in between classes without driving. 

The new Bennu location and other restaurants nearby, such as The Pho and iBubbleTea offer easily walkable options right next to the Highland campus. 

The hours of operation for this new location are from 6 am to 7 pm. Bennu coffee also offers take out as well as socially distanced seating inside and outside. Although there is limited seating outside the indoor area is spacious and makes for a great study spot while keeping your distance.

If you’re not sure what to order, I recommend the cold brew and an almond croissant. Steve has been perfecting the cold brew for years and it’s brewed for over 16 hours with organic South American beans.  

Bennu’s other locations are also open from 6 am to 7pm. To connect with the business virtually, visit their instagram page @bennucoffee. 

ACC Student Life Hosts Virtual Enneagram Workshop Series for Students

Written By: Marissa Greene

How familiar does this scenario sound to you? One day while bored on the internet you decide to do what most people do when bored on the internet — you take a personality quiz. Whether it be just for the fun of it or for personal development, after a quick google search, you have thousands upon thousands of options to choose from. Whether that be the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire, or perhaps you simply want to find out if you would be a Hufflepuff or Gryffindor while as student at Hogwarts, a personality test might have shaped you in one way or another.

Despite whatever preconceptions you may have about personality tests, there may be one that you might want to know more about, and that is the Enneagram of Types. 

“The Enneagram of Personality Types is a modern synthesis of a number of ancient wisdom traditions, but the person who originally put the system together was Oscar Ichazo.” According to The Enneagram Institute. 

Ichazo was searching for a systematic approach to applying all of his teachings on “psychology, cosmology, metaphysics, spirituality, and so forth, combined with various practices to bring about transformations of human consciousness,” (The Enneagram Institute). He, and a group of psychologists and writers, Claudio Naranjo and John Lilly, visited Arica, Chile in the late 1960s and early 70s to study Ichazo’s findings and most notably, the Enneagram symbol. 

Although the Enneagram Symbol has ancient roots in Greek philosophy, the symbol was “reintroduced to the modern world by George Gurdjieff, the founder of a highly influential inner work school,” according to The Enneagram Institute. Which is what many of us may be familiar with today. 

The Enneagram of Personality Types is a set of nine numbers that represent nine basic personality types. 

  • One: The Reformer
  • Two: The Helper
  • Three: The Achiever
  • Four: The Individualist
  • Five: The Investigator
  • Six: The Loyalist
  • Seven: The Enthusiast
  • Eight: The Challenger
  • Nine: The Peacemaker

Although these numbers give some foundation to the lengthy process of fully understanding the enneagram system, these numbers don’t solely identify the individual. As a matter of fact, everyone will resonate with each of the numbers to a certain degree. 

However, unlike other personality typing systems, The Enneagram of Personality Types functions differently because there is no “official” enneagram test. 

“Technically, we really are not supposed to take a test to identify our number. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t push a test or workshop” said Lauren Christian, a Student Life Coordinator at Austin Community College. 

For the Fall 2020 semester, Christian has been hosting a virtual enneagram workshop series with ACC Student Life that breaks down the nine basic personality types into three triads: the gut, the heart, and the head. These events are dedicated to helping students better understand The Enneagram of Personality Types and discover their conscious or subconscious motivations.

“Two different people can have similar actions for very different reasons and very different thought patterns behind them. So the enneagram is a personality typing system that looks at the motivations that a person has learned through their life,” said Christian. 

Through this enneagram workshop series, students will be able to learn not only more about their motivations but also get a better understanding of those around them and how to communicate with them. Not only that but also how to utilize information from the enneagram workshop to identify better ways to be productive. 

Through Christian’s own personal experience learning about her enneagram number, she shares how she applies this concept to combat situations where she feels the least productive. 

“One of the common things about the nine’s is that momentum is one of the biggest things. So if you slow down, it takes a lot of energy to get back out of it. If you get going, you can keep going,” said Christian.

Christian also states that because she has learned more about the enneagram system, she is able to make personal reminders to keep her momentum going or even communicate her needs to others when in need of help. 

“It can help you better understand ‘Why am I slowing down?” or “Why am I speeding up?” That can be applied to school work, relationships, and things like that,” said Christian. 

There are two workshops left for the remainder of the semester. On Oct.19 the workshop will cover enneagram numbers two, three, and four that make up the heart triad. On Nov. 9 the event will wrap up the series with enneagram numbers five, six, and seven, also known as the head triad. Students are encouraged to participate in all the workshops no matter how much background knowledge one has about this concept. 

“Come with any questions you may have and be ready to look at yourself and your motivations,” said Christian. 

For more information on the Enneagram Workshop Series or to RSVP, visit the MYSL Website.  

ACC Fashion Design makes COVID-19 Masks for Essential Staff

Written By Emily Pesina

Aspiring, stylish, and essential一the fashion departments at Austin Community College have cultivated Austin once again. From bringing awareness to heart health with the Red Dress campaign, to an expected Corset-making for Breast Cancer Awareness, this year’s big project: to create COVID masks for essential employees who continue to work on campus. ACCENT sat down with the working riverbats who were there that day to reminisce over their experience with the face cloth that was to be produced, times a thousand. 

When the ACC district closed its doors due to the pandemic, Victoria Taylor, professor and head chairperson for the fashion and design department at ACC, immediately reached out to campus operations. “When this pandemic started, I was reaching out right away to my dean and my vice president saying ‘we have fabric, I have stitchers [and] students who can make masks. How can we help?”” said Taylor. It turned out that the head of campus operations, Sharrion Jenkins, had the same idea. Both women, having worked together before with their knowledge in the fashion lab and its equipment, were connected in thought when this idea was emerging. Taylor and Jenkins put their resources together. The space and equipment was already there, now all that was needed were working hands for the project. 

Victoria Taylor, one of the working riverbats for the thousand-mask creation.
Victoria Taylor, one of the working riverbats for the thousand-mask creation.

“The way the project came along was, it had to do with the need. We could not find masks when it became apparent that COVID had hit the U.S… being in operations, we were responsible for the COVID response”, said Jenkins. At the start of the project, Taylor juggled the needles of meeting her students’ needs and being available for the mask-making project, and Jenkins faced a shortage of thread. However, supply of thread was found in the most unlikely places, which was necessary in order to produce quality masks. With the fabrics already there, which were provided by donations from the fashion and design department, the mannequins were set aside and social distancing guidelines were put in place to create a safe and working environment. Once the facility support, under Jenkin’s wing, clashed in the working space, then it was time to get started. 

With challenges overcome, the project was on the road in no time.
With challenges overcome, the project was on the road in no time.

“Even though it was stressful because we didn’t really know what was going on with this virus, we felt like we were doing our part”, says Jenkins. Sitting a machine apart and working one person at a table, she noted that her workers kept a positive attitude in this. Jenkins explains that many of the workers knew how to legitimately sew, and everyone was excited about this project because they got to do different things rather than the same procedures everyday, which made the experience not monotonous at all. 

All kinds of fabric flooded the tables. The working riverbats were the hardworking wheels for this project.
All kinds of fabric flooded the tables. The working riverbats were the hardworking wheels for this project.

With the working women sewing inside, other employees, notably the campus managers across the district, wanted to help. Packs to make ten masks were placed inside a plastic bag with all the pieces included, and were safely distributed to helpers who would come pick it up. They would then take it home to sew all the pieces together, and bring it back to campus once all the pieces were joined together. “Everybody was amazed at the end… there was never a time when we said we couldn’t do it”, mentioned Jenkins. Summing up the experience as “fun” and “togetherness”, she mentions that even though nobody knew how the project would end up, the initial goal of one-hundred masks, which then turned into five hundred masks, became a long and hardworking thousand for essential employees who continue to work on campus today. 

An ACC helper picks up a packet of masks to sew at home.
An ACC helper picks up a packet of masks to sew at home.

For Victoria Taylor, she sums up her experience assisting with the masks as “proud”. Taylor pushes her students to not only keep your focus on what’s on your desk, but extend your vision 

into the world to be aware of what’s going on, and how you can give back to the community. That is the oath that student Isabella Collins went through. Collins, a second-year Fashion Design student and employed by the Fashion Incubator, has aspiring ambitions to start her own brand. After being left jobless for several months since she had quit her salesperson job to fulfill an internship that would be interrupted by COVID, Collins was called in for a project that involved lots and lots of facemasks. Having prior experience in crafting and selling masks on the side as a means to make some cash, becoming part of the Fashion Incubator’s thousand-mask creation一a separate project than the Fashion & Design’s department一threw Collins into a cycle of sewing, mistakes, frustration, ripping seams, starting over, sticky needles, and surprises that put her skills, equipment, and patience to the test. Fortunately, her understanding boss allowed her to produce masks on site at the Fashion Incubator, which was a real improvement as far as her progress. 

 Victoria Taylor and Isabella Collins, a second year Fashion Design student.
Victoria Taylor and Isabella Collins, a second year Fashion Design student.

“I’m a very determined person,” says Collins, “but I do get frustrated doing the same thing every day, so it definitely taught me to stick with it and to have self-control… even when you’re good at something, mistakes still happen.” After being able to transition from working at home to on site, her new durable equipment that could produce masks much faster still posed challenges to her and her team. Her mental and physical health, as well as her schedule, were put to the test. Yet she was able to stick to a schedule that allowed her to balance her schoolwork and her job. Keeping herself motivated through exercise and her teammates, the stress that the team felt was worked through to meet their daily goals, which in turn became a three month project with a thousand and one masks produced. 

Collins’ workspace before she transitioned on site. The dresses hanging on the window are her original designs.
Collins’ workspace before she transitioned on site. The dresses hanging on the window are her original designs.

With unique materials to create this two-color sided mask, Collins says that even though it was mentally challenging, the experience in working with the Fashion Incubator to create its own thousand-mask creation definitely toughened her up, which is why she sums up her experience working in the fashion incubator as “perseverance.” After months spent producing the same mask, Collins is grateful to have been part of this project and challenge, as she calls on others to take similar steps. “Take opportunities that may not be what they seem. You can learn so much from jobs that you don’t expect will help you… me getting a window sales job, that does not seem like a job that a designer would want, but I learned so much about the process…” Collins believes that every opportunity and job that you go through can benefit you in some way. “Don’t look down on yourself because you can’t get that high end job, because everything you go through will help you later on.” Life is a teacher and we are its students embarking on our own journey. 

The masks produced at the Fashion Incubator by Isabella Collins and her team.
The masks produced at the Fashion Incubator by Isabella Collins and her team.

Visit the ACC Fashion Design Website for more details about the area of study.