Profiles, Uncategorized

Jonah Driggers

Valerie Cook


Standing on the top of the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Jonah Driggers looked around at the incredible glaciers on the mountain side and was distraught to think that he was watching them melt away because of climate change. He realized that his kids might not see the same sights he did, 30 years from now.

This was the moment that inspired Driggers to make a difference in the environment.

Diggers always had some interest in environmental issues. Growing up on Saint Simons Island, he was immersed in an environment that was profoundly affected by climate change. Each year he watched as erosion shifted the landscape of the beaches.

In high school, Driggers was a well-rounded student. He won the superlative “Most involved his senior year.

“He always had a bigger idea of what he wanted to do. I knew that he would do great things, he was highly motivated,” says high school friend, Rachel Kopp.

Now a junior in college, Driggers has continued to keep up the momentum.

Upon graduation, he was awarded the elite Foundation Fellow Scholarship from UGA. Being a fellow has been a gateway to the development of his policy designed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. He participated in the Roosevelt Scholars course, an intensive policy development course designed to help students create policies and analyze policy implementation.

Through the Roosevelt course, Driggers co-authored a policy dealing with mitigating green house gas emissions. Cities typically shy away from mitigating green house gas emissions because it is sometimes controversial and can be complicated.

However, Driggers believes this is a mistake.

“By not acting to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, they make themselves vulnerable to a less competitive work force, higher cost in transition to clean energy, which is going to have to happen inevitably.”

He suggests a revenue neutral carbon tax, designed to reduce demand for a good.

With his policy, gas prices would be more expensive initially, but people would receive a check in the mail at the end of the tax year with the difference. The intention is that people would be more conscious of how much fuel they consume.

“It’s strictly a psychological thing. And you think it wouldn’t work, is the funny thing. You know in the back of your head that you’re getting it back, it doesn’t matter.”

From being published in the Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (JURO) to being featured in TEDxUGA, he has been able to share his ideas for his policy to many.

He was one of nine students chosen to present their ideas during the TEDxUGA event Wednesday. Students are carefully selected for the event based on several qualities.

“We want to know why their idea matters to them and why it should matter to a broader audience. It is important that they are eloquent speakers and can articulate themselves well,” said Grace Ferzely, who helped present TEDxUGA, on some of the reasons they chose Driggers to be featured in the event.

In addition to his work with TEDxUGA, Driggers is heavily involved on campus. He is the center director for energy and the environment at the Roosevelt institute, head gardener for Lunch Box Gardener, and cofounder of the Energy Concept at UGA.

The Energy Concept at UGA is an organization that aims to foster a non-biased discussion of energy issues across campus. Diggers noticed that before this organization, there wasn’t anywhere to engage in energy-related issues on campus.

“We’re trying to build our niche on campus. We want a place where people from various political ideologies can come together to discuss energy issues, it’s very open-minded.”

While the Energy Concept is just now finding its place on campus, Driggers hopes that it continues after his graduation.

After he graduates in May 2017, Driggers plans to attend law school. He is applying to Yale, Harvard, and Columbia. He is most interested in Columbia because they have the only climate law center in the world.

“Everyone tells me to go into corporate law, but I want to do public interest law so that I can really make a difference.”

Broadcast Stories, Graphic Design, Uncategorized

The Growing Market of Electronic Cigarettes Raises Concerns



Electronic cigarettes are often used as a means to quit smoking, although experts question the legitimacy of e-cigs as tools for smoking cessation.


REPORTER’S NARRATION: The vapor industry was introduced to American markets in 2007. Electronic cigarettes are battery operated smoking tools that turn nicotine, flavored liquids, and other chemicals into aerosol that is then inhaled by the user. The liquids used for smoking can have different levels of nicotine laced in. Many people are using e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking.

Vape Dynamiks, an e-cigarette shop in Athens, opened seven months ago, and General Manager Vince Woods says that business is good.

SOUNDBITE 1: Vince Woods, General Manager of Vape Dynamiks: “there’s people that come in and out like all day trying to quit smoking cigarettes, and there’s a huge community around it. And it’s almost like, it’s the alcohol anonymous for smokers, basically.

REPORTER’S NARRATION: Experts question whether this method for quitting is effective and safe. Kay Brooks is the director overseeing smoking cessation classes at UGA and believes that there is more research that needs to be done regarding the safety of electronic cigarettes.

SOUNDBITE 2: Kay Brooks, Smoking Cessation Expert: “I think the real issue behind this is that, its probably worth checking, is that the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes unless they’ve been therapeutically tested and evaluated for specific uses, therapeutic uses.”

REPORTER’S NARRATION: In April 2014, the FDA proposed a rule that would extend their authority to include e-cigarettes. This would require companies that manufacture e-cigarettes and liquids to register their products with the FDA and age restrictions could be put into place. The federal government does not yet regulate electronic cigarettes, therefore there are no FDA studies regarding their potential health risks.



Contact information

Interviewee 1: Vince Woods, General Manager of Vape Dynamiks,, (706) 521-5111, February 16th, 2015 at Vape Dynamiks

Interviewee 2:Kay Brooks, Public Service Assistant,, 706-542-5862,February 17th, 2015 at her office in the R.C. Williams Pharmacy Building



Federal Register: Proposed Rule: Deeming Tobacco Products to be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act



UGA Students and Faculty Push for an On Campus Women’s Center

Valerie Cook

April 13th 2015

With more than half of The University of Georgia’s student body made up of females, many students and faculty believe that the university is lacking in campus resources offered to women.

The purpose of a women’s center is to offer a safe place where women can come to seek counseling, academic help, and get connected with other women on campus. Many colleges across Georgia, including Georgia College in Milledgeville and Georgia Institute of Technology, have on campus women’s centers.

Colleen Riggins, the director of the Women’s Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology feels that on campus centers are more beneficial than other off campus resources.

“I think anytime that you have things that are on campus for college students they’re more prone to coming in and seeking those out, it’s a little less daunting to just walk across campus versus going off campus and things like that.”

Despite its large female population, UGA does not provide a women’s resource center to students. Women’s Studies Program Coordinator Terri Hatfield says that the University offers some resources to female students, but not to the extent that a women’s center could offer.

“It’s just the safe place for people to go for various issues that women face across campus that are not these umbrella issues that universities tend to think that they are already providing services for.”

In 2014 the Student Government Association passed a resolution in favor of a women’s center. SGA Senator Samantha Cleare explains that SGA is the voice of the students, but it is up to the University to put plans into motion.

Cleare believes that with a initiative from the students and constant communication with the university, a women’s center could be made possible.