Welcome Week changes for Cru leaders

With midterms over, it’s time to start thinking about next semester. Before the fall semester starts each year, an annual event takes place: Welcome Week. This five-day experience allows new students to arrive early and become more acquainted with the              university. There are different events to participate in throughout the week, including a dance, concert, community service projects, recreation, Quad Party and more. This year some changes are happening. The biggest is concerning the Cru Leaders. They are students assigned to be peer mentors throughout the first semester with the group of students they are assigned during Welcome Week. Last year, the CLs attended the freshman seminar class and went to their own Cru Leader class to learn how to be peer mentors. This year, the chosen CLs will move in Aug. 8 and have their class             front-loaded. “During this time, they will be trained on how to be a CL, instead of them taking a class throughout the semester. Our hope is that each CL will be better equipped to lead their students during the fall semester, and even after,” junior co-director and nursing major Ashleigh Holden said. The interview process for choosing CLs happened Feb. 26 and was different from anything the steering committee had done before. This year they completed the process in one day instead of spreading it out over weeks. “Many people on steering committee said they better enjoyed the process lasting one day for three hours, as opposed to the three-week-long interviews that took place last year,” Holden said. “Plus, the steering committee was able to witness how each applicant works with other students. The applicants seemed to enjoy meeting new people and thinking on a critical level.” Junior steering committee member and social work major Anna Payne saw how much the applicants enjoyed the new process of choosing Cru   Leaders. “It was much less nerve racking for the applicants to come in for their interview because it didn’t even feel like an interview,” she said. “It was fun to have hands-on activities that they could work on together, and it took off the pressure of the interviews because we had already spent time together with the other activities.” Although Welcome Week is still more than five months away, those involved are eager for the event. “I’m excited about the changes we are making to Welcome Week this year. It’s going to be really great to see how not only freshmen take in Welcome Week, but also the CLs, too,” junior steering committee member and education major Meredith Davis said. Davis also set some positive expectations for the next Welcome Week. “I think...

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Crusader Knights become Heartthrobs
Feb21

Crusader Knights become Heartthrobs

Since the first week of the spring semester, 21 men have been working hard for the weekend of Feb. 17 and 18. It marked the Crusader Knights show, which is a parody of the Miss MHB Pageant that happens annually each fall. The time and effort  the contestants put in have been considerable and was clear to see on both Friday and Saturday nights. “We have been practicing ever since the very first day of this semester and have practiced every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, totaling nine hours a week, plus any outside practice the guys did on their own,” junior Christian missions major and director of Crusader Knights Ryan Murphy said. “However, my assistant directors and I have been working on and planning this show since last April. There is definitely a lot of time and effort that has gone into this show.” Contestants represent different organizations, classifications and places on campus. All 21  men were required to create a short video, learn two group dances, create a small group dance, strut on stage, and, as a new addition this year, have personal interviews with the three judges. Last year, Murphy was a contestant. His previous participation helped him to know how to be the best director he could this year. “My experience being in Cru Knights definitely helped me when it came to planning this event. As a contestant, you get a pretty good handle on the whole process, so with my knowledge and first hand experience as a contestant last year, it  has helped tremendously with directing this event,” Murphy said. The adviser is Director of Student Organizations Tiffany Wurdemann. She has enjoyed working with Murphy and knows he was a good fit for the position. “Ryan has been phenomenal as a director. I can’t tell him enough how well he has done at orchestrating everything,” she said. The theme for the 2012 contest was Heartthrobs. Each contestant chose his  own Heartthrob and then portrayed that person in his video. Along with the top five contestants being named, specialty awards were also given out. Best Strut was awarded to sophomore mass communication/journalism major Christian Hernandez. Best interview went to junior criminal justice major Taylor Holleyman. Junior Christian studies major Jon Michael Toler won the Judge’s choice video. Last year’s winner of Cru Knights, senior mass communication/public relations major Brett Land, gave his crown to Mr. Junior Class and Christian ministries major Ryan Klopack, who also won the campus choice video award. Klopack was estatic about winning and being able to set a great example like previous winners. “It’s an absolute honor and privilege to win...

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New Bears player raises awareness for disabled children

The name J.T. Thomas may not be familiar, but to some kids, he means the world. Thomas signed with the Chicago Bears in 2011 after playing college football at West Virginia. However, he never played in a game all season, so it didn’t surprise Thomas when all of the kids at the team’s annual holiday party didn’t know who he was, except for one boy, Anthony Grandberry. Grandberry wanted Thomas’ autograph, which made Thomas’ day. His first season in the NFL wasn’t what he thought it was going to be, and this small gesture meant a lot to Thomas. Grandberry has suffered from epilepsy for the past seven years. It is a disease that affects more than 300,000 children under the age of 15. For Christmas, Thomas gave Grandberry some Bears gear, but that wasn’t all. On Feb. 4, Thomas showed up at Grandberry’s church and invited him and his mom to go to Super Bowl XLVI with him. Thomas had driven from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Chicago where Grandberry lives. Along the way, he and his “Ready Ready” crew stopped at epilepsy centers to raise awareness about the condition. Thomas also became a hero in May 2011 for Joslyn Levell, who has spina bifida. He took her to her junior prom because she didn’t have a date. In an interview with ESPN, Thomas said, “I just felt like the people she got turned down by, they weren’t looking at her as a person. They were looking at what she didn’t have instead of what kind of person she was. I told her not to worry about it. Those things would work themselves out.” Volunteering with kids who have special needs is nothing new to Thomas. His younger brother suffers from autism, and Thomas knows they all just wanted to be treated like other kids their age. Seeing how much he could impact children, Thomas started the J.T. Thomas Foundation, created to raise awareness for kids suffering from disabilities. Stories like Thomas’ are not the ones that are typically covered on shows like Sports Center and others like it. Why is it that they focus primarily on the negative things that happen? For example, after the Super Bowl ended, one of the most talked-about stories was about Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen blaming the Patriots’ receivers for the loss. News stories should also include things like Thomas giving back and others like him whose pure motivations are just about the people they can help and not gaining anything else from it. However, with most people being more interested in the scandals and drama-filled stories, there will always be a...

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2012 brings season of firsts for baseball team
Feb07

2012 brings season of firsts for baseball team

Today marks the first game of the 2012 season for Cru baseball team members. Coming off  a 9-12 conference record from last year, the team hopes to improve for this season. “Our big thing this year is defensively making all our routine plays, and if we ever have the situation where we can turn a double play, we need to turn it,” Head Coach Derek Dunaway said. “The pitchers have really been working on attacking the strike zone and cutting down on walks.” Another important ingredient to any successful season is team chemistry. The Cru are working hard to make sure they have it. Senior business administration major and pitcher Trevor Alaniz said, “Teamwork is very important. The closer we are, the better we will be during the season. We are pretty close as a team already; we have been through a lot. Teamwork is very important for us.” With the addition of many new players this season, senior exercise and sport science major and pitcher Sam VanHoozer knows that teamwork will be crucial to having the best season possible. “We had a lot of transfers come in, so we are working on communicating and coming together as a team. We had moments last season where we didn’t connect much, so we are just working to come together as a whole,” he said. In the Preseason Coaches and Media Poll, the Cru was picked to finish fifth in the ASC West Division. This ranking gives the team even more of a reason to prove everyone wrong this season. “It doesn’t matter if you are picked first or fifth or last, but we are practicing like we are going to be first,” VanHoozer said. Although the season is just starting, team members have some ambitions they think are in reach for the season. “Our team goals are pretty high. First, we want to win the conference championship and go to regions. Our ultimate goal is to hopefully win the National Championship,” Alaniz said. These goals could not be met if the team hadn’t started preparing for the season last semester. “Ever since the fall, we have been working hard,” Alaniz said. “We had 6 a.m. workouts, and all of us showed up and worked really hard. We have been working over the break, and as individuals we are all pretty determined.” Dunaway thinks that goals can be met with the group they have this season. “This is the most talented team we’ve ever had since we’ve been in the ASC,” he said. “We are very blessed to have a lot of talent, a lot of great guys who care about...

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Father & son team up to train Crusaders
Feb07

Father & son team up to train Crusaders

With the Cru football offseason in full swing, a  familiar face has returned to Anderson Field. UMHB alumnus Cody Fredenburg was named an offensive assistant in January. He is the son of Cru football Head Coach Pete Fredenburg. While Cody attended UMHB, he was the starting quarterback for four years and set passing records. He also helped the Cru win two ASC titles, and they appeared in two NCAA postseasons while he was on the team. Cody was a four-time ASC All-Conference selection and a three-time Academic All-ASC pick. Since graduating in 2004, Cody has earned a master’s from Southern Mississippi University and coached at Oklahoma State University as a graduate assistant, Southern Mississippi University as a tight ends and receivers coach and Stephen F. Austin as the running backs coach.   All the experiences have helped prepare him for his current coaching position with the Cru and he already knows what he will focus on. “The number one thing on the field will be the passing game. Just being around some of the offenses that I’ve been associated with, we’ve had a lot of exposure to passing and different concepts and things to move the football through the air,” Cody said.  “And then there are certain things as far as the no huddle and up-tempo type of offensive we are looking to run.” One of the many people excited to see him return was his father. “I’ve just had him for a short while, but it’s really been amazing. When we had our recruiting weekend and to see him coach and work and recruit, so it’s really just pretty cool. I’m thrilled that he’s here,” Pete said. This is not the first time Cody has coached with his father. In 2004, he was a student assistant coach at UMHB, which was the start of his coaching career. “For Cody, it’s such an interesting journey because he was here near the very beginning of our team and stayed on and worked as a student assistant,” Vice-President for Athletics Ben Shipp said. “He has seen both sides here, but now he’s done so many neat things out in the football world that his experiences really …  are going to be able to help us in ways that are going to be exciting.” Being an alumnus of the university allows Cody to connect with the team in a different way since he has been in their shoes before. “I understand what these players are going through because I’ve been there,” he said. “I think that the other places I have been have given me the opportunity to gain more knowledge and...

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