‘Ladies Love Country Boys’

April 23, 2008

by Rebekah Ray

It seems certain majors on a college campus are bound to receive more recognition than others. The theater department is going to receive coverage for their most recent fabulous performance, and the same goes for students in the music department. The engineering students are always involved in a competition, doing well for themselves, and the list goes on.

However, South Campus is often overlooked. What I found last year, as the reporter assigned to South Campus departments and events, is that those of us over here on the main campus should take a look over there every once in a while to see what’s going on.

For instance, did you know that the dean of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, one of only 20 veterinary schools in the country, has commended our pre-vet students (animal science majors) stating in a letter last year that Tech animal science majors stand out as some of the best prepared among all other applicants?

South Campus students and faculty host FFA competitions for hundreds of competing high school students to encourage those who will be the future caretakers of America’s natural resources and leaders in our agricultural industry to receive their training at Tech.

Applied and Natural Sciences 489, spearheaded by Gordon Holley, an assistant professor of forestry, is a class which takes students on an international journey to gain firsthand experience within the country and culture of Honduras, showing students the linkages between man and natural resources in a developing country. This is the kind of thing that inspires students to combat the social issues and agricultural problems our world is facing today.

Let’s not overlook another significant contribution of South Campus – the preservation of a form of American culture. And though I’ll be bragging on the guys for the rest of these lines, let me state right here that you’ll find some of the most impressive women in the world right on South Campus.

But it’s the guys wearing the boots and hats I’m really talking about. You know, the ones driving the pickup trucks, drawling out the backwoods accents and cranking up the country music.

Many of my friends don’t appreciate this rich culture. I don’t get it. To me, South Campus students are a symbol of traditional Americanism.

Nothing was more characteristically “American” to me, as a kid growing up overseas, than the boot-clad, hat-wearing “yes-ma’am”ing “good ol’ boys.” Big-city American culture doesn’t vary too drastically from international city culture. Our country-boy culture is one thing that is readily identifiable as distinctly American.

The accents don’t indicate a lower level of intelligence, something South Campus students are a testament to. These men represent a way of life that puts values of taking time with friends and family above scrapping for the all-important dollar.

Many of them choose to put church attendance on Sundays ahead of extra weekend work hours. They choose downtime spent in nature rather than in front of a movie screen. Patriotism is lived out through a life of hard work, provision for their families and consistently upholding a set of values. If that’s “hick,” give me “hick” over a trend-setting city boy any day. As Trace Adkins’ song says, “Ladies Love Country Boys.”

Rebekah Ray is a senior journalism major from Martin, Tenn., who serves as associate managing editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to rlr017@latech.edu