Mother Neff State Park
Jan24

Mother Neff State Park

By Elissa Thompson With miles of hiking trails, a cave, and an old water tower, Mother Neff State Park offers something for the avid campers or a college student just needing a break from studies. The park is located about 35 minutes north of UMHB, outside of Moody.  It offers campsites with water and electricity, as well as primitive campsites for those who are feeling more adventurous.  There are also miles of hiking trails, some in the woods and some out on the prairie. The park features an intriguing cave and an old water tower, where one can see for miles. Every Saturday afternoon from 2 to 3, park rangers give a talk on the local flora and fauna.  Mother Neff is a great place to take a group of friends for an overnight trip or just a day of hiking and fun. In 2007, the park was under 18 feet of water due to flooding of the Leon River. Water sat on the park for three months, and the park staff could do nothing.  After the water started to recede, the park staff began to inventory the damage. There were more than 100 hundred trees down as well as large deposits of sand and mud from the nearby Leon. “It was a slow process,” park ranger Leah Huth said.  “We plan to build a new headquarters and camping facility up on the prairie, which is at the north end of the park.  If the lower portion floods, we can still provide campers a place to stay when the other side of the park is closed.” Several of the buildings and structures were underwater. “We can also use this part (the lower portion) as well as the buildings as a learning tool to show people what floods can do and the aftereffects of it,” Huth said. Plans for reconstruction on the new section of the park will begin in fall 2012. The park is open seven days a week, and the daily entry fee is $2 per person. More information can be found on the web site:...

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Greetings from the university president
Aug27

Greetings from the university president

Article by Dr. Randy O’Rear Welcome back to campus! (Or if you are new to UMHB, welcome to campus!) I hope that each of you had a great summer. I have had a chance to visit with many of your professors and members of the campus staff as they have been preparing for your return. I know that they are as excited as I am about welcoming you back to our learning community. Compared to the buzz of activity in the fall and spring, it was quiet here this summer (and very hot). But we took advantage of the down time to carry out several projects. In addition to the usual paint and repairs in the dormitories, we added new sand to the volleyball courts, created a new pizza/pasta station and an international foods station in the dining hall and remodeled the Crusader Café on the first floor of the Mabee Student Center. We hope you will enjoy these efforts to make your life on campus just a little bit better. As we start the new semester, I would like to encourage each of you to get involved this fall in the many activities available to you on our campus. Resolve to try something new—go yell with the Couch Cru at a football game, take in a musical production, attend a lecture on a topic outside your usual field of interest. There is no better time than now to expand your horizons and no better place to do it than the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. I feel certain that this is going to be a great year at UMHB, and I’m glad that each of you is here to share it with us. Welcome...

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Leader calls campus to embrace change
Aug27

Leader calls campus to embrace change

Article by Tommy Wilson Welcome to the 2009 fall semester at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. For those of you who are entering your first semester, we are pumped that you chose to be with us this year. For everyone else on your third, sixth or even tenth semester, we are glad to have you back as well. It is going to be a great year of adventure and new opportunities for all of us. As you walk around, you will notice several changes around campus. From a revamped SUB to a new sound system in the chapel, UMHB has upgraded some key features. We also have new administrators—Dr. Randy O’Rear as president, and Dr. Byron Weathersbee as vice president for Student Life. All these little changes are not so vast and radical that you say, “What happened to UMHB?” but they do bring a new feel and look to the life and appearance of our university. They will help bring out the best in our school and allow us to grow into what God is calling us to be. There were two things from my campaign last year that I still hold to. One is building community on campus. The second is striving to impact the world we live in. A motto that does justice to both ideas is “Building community inwardly to affect our community outwardly.” We will make every effort to unify the different cultures represented on campus, while still respecting their individual qualities. The community that I hope to affect is not just UMHB or Belton, but the world. We have a great chance to be a part of and make a difference in our global community, which starts here at home with us and spreads out all over the world. This is not an effort for just one person, but for our campus as a whole—stepping outside of who we are normally in order to meet new people, try new things and make new friends. It takes a willing attitude to sit with different people in Hardy, meet new people around campus and interact with new people in the classroom. This vision is not just something I have come up with, but something I believe God is calling our school to do as a whole. I am excited about our upcoming year and to looking back one year from now to see the changes that will have taken place. I hope you will share this passion with me to see this come about, knowing that together we can change our campus and the...

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Seniors continue yearly traditions as spring graduation approaches
Apr21

Seniors continue yearly traditions as spring graduation approaches

As seniors prepare to enter a struggling economy, worries of buying a house, attending grad school and paying  off their  student loans are temporarily suppressed by traditions like the senior etiquette dinner, Robing Ceremony and Midnight March. These events give seniors a chance to reflect on their years at the university and symbolically pass on their student leadership to the juniors. Seniors start the festivities off with the etiquette dinner. The meal is intended to prepare graduating students for the business world and refresh manners that are sometimes forgotten in the years spent as a college student. Director of UMHB Career Services, Don Owens, takes an active part in planning the affair. “The purpose of the president’s senior etiquette dinner program is a fun evening for graduating seniors to have exposure and refresh basic dinner etiquette skills with traditional business manners,” he said. In a competitive job market, such skills could make a difference in a potential employer’s first impression. “We only get one opportunity to make a good first impression, or so called grand introduction, and serious candidates must stand out as the best talent for the position from all standpoints,” Owens said. The dinner is free to students  because of sponsorship by Dr. & Mrs. Jerry Bawcom, the Students Affairs Di-vision, Career Services and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The event has been held 10 times since 2001, with only one fall semester occurrence last Oct. This year a record 110 seniors attended the dinner. Days afterward, graduating students participate in the Robing Ceremony and Midnight March, long-held traditions at UMHB. The Robing Ceremony is a symbolic departure of seniors from the campus and the passing on of leadership to the junior class. The graduating class passes regalia to the soon-to-be seniors. After the ceremony, seniors march around the senior plaza with lit candles, singing the senior/alumni song, “Up with the Purple.” Those close to the graduating students also stand in the quad with unlit candles, waiting for seniors to pass the flame to them. Director of Alumni Relations, Rebecca O’Banion, noted the significance of these traditions to everyone on campus. “The Robing Ceremony, which began in as early as 1902, is held each spring,” she said, “During the service, seniors place their academic regalia on juniors, symbolizing the passing of student leadership. After a junior has been robed, they are officially allowed for the first time to sing the alumni/senior song, ‘Up with the Purple.’ Initially, this event was held as a part of graduation weekend.” Midnight March is important to the loved ones of graduating seniors. “Seniors give candles to special friends throughout the week and invite them...

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Sole 2 Soul: no shoes for just one day
Apr21

Sole 2 Soul: no shoes for just one day

A group of shoeless children in Haiti play together in the streets, accepting it as their way of life. However, non-profit organizations are trying to do all they can to help  the barefoot children’s cause. To spread awareness, UMHB’s athletic department,  the Student Government Association, Hope for the Hungry and Wal-Mart all partnered to raise money for children in Haiti in an event called Sole 2 Soul. Students, faculty and staff were challenged to go without footwear on April 15, to experience what life is like for orphans with no shoes. They also had the chance to donate shoes, buy new shoes or contribute money during the one-day event. Student body president, Tatenda Tavaziva, and sophomore offensive lineman, Max Taylor, helped organize the shoe campaign. He approached Tavaziva one day in the SUB, saying he thought it would be a great idea if some time this semester the university could be challenged for everyone to walk around barefoot to bring more awareness to the cause. Tavaziva said, “I was in line waiting for a Chick-fil-A sandwich, and this random comment was said. In my head, I’m like great idea, love your heart, but there is no way this is happening: OSHA, health code risk, liability insurance. All of those factors are the first things that stick out to me. I will look into it, but just don’t think it’s going to happen.” What started out with just a conversation in the SUB, with little hope due to university health codes, four months later resulted in raising $2,600 to help the children of Haiti. For Tavaziva, the most shocking thing about the process of the event was that  little planning was involved. “No committee meetings, no fancy paperwork or looking at different health codes. Door after door was being opened,” he said. Tavaziva was invited to speak about his recent trip to Haiti by a professor in the economic department and left with a possibility of Wal-mart jumping on board. “I told them about my trip to Haiti and what Sole 2 Soul now means. And one of the coolest things was that the son of the manager of the Belton Wal-Mart tells me he would go talk to his dad to see what they could arrange.” The challenge was to step outside of yourself for just one day. Tavaziva knew it would not be an easy day for most, but his hope was, “maybe for one day we can get a taste of what these kids go through every day of their lives. And that is what this day is about. It’s not for show, not for my last...

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