Dorm fire simulated
Oct19

Dorm fire simulated

The first instinct is to run when a fire breaks out, but some people consider busting into their Superman gear. Firefighters would advise students to leave their capes in their closet and let them handle the flames. Belton Fire Department gave a presentation on fire safety Wednesday in the grass strip beside the railroad tracks. The department set aflame a small building made to resemble a dorm to demonstrate how quickly a room can erupt in flames. Captain of the Belton Fire Department Keith Randolph explained the purpose of the event. “We wanted students to see exactly what a fire does,” he said.“It wasn’t made up to burn faster.  That’s exactly how fast a fire would burn.” According to the U.S. Fire Administration website, 3,010 civilians lost their lives due to fire and 90 firefighters were killed while on duty in 2009. Many students were present at the faux fire. Some came merely because they heard the alarm sound while others came just to see the dorm set ablaze.  Freshman vocal performance major Shannon Garr was one of those people. “Basically (I wanted to see) the big box go up in flames,” she said. Residence staff also attended the demonstration and found the event helpful for students. Senior psychology major Erica Jenkins, a residence assistant in Beall, expressed how she believes this event will be useful for Crusaders. “We actually saw a video of a dorm catching on fire just like this during RA training, and they wanted us to be aware of how quickly a fire can grow that way people don’t try and be a hero and save other people,”she said. The mock dorm had everything an average room in a residence hall would have, such as papers, posters, clothes, a bed and other accessories. When the science lab in York caught on fire, the department was there to put it out. According to the city of Belton website, the fire department responds to more than 2,000 emergency medical service calls and 1,500 fires each year. This was the first time the department ever gave a fire demonstration at UMHB. Paramedic firefighter and training officer Jeff Booker believes this will be an annual demonstration at UMHB. He was the speaker of the event and provided students with several facts about fire safety. Booker began by going over prohibited items on campus such as hot plates and candles. “Candles are one of the leading causes of fires,” he said. Booker advised students not to connect an electrical cord to another electrical cord and not to run them under carpets they walk on. Additionally, Booker described a fire’s speed and ability...

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Keeping the faith in times of trouble

The beating of my heart increased as I fumbled to find my mother’s telephone number in my contact list. After two rings she answered. “What happened?” I asked. “He found something,” my mother said. Those words held my breath while my insides seeped into my stomach. In my world, those words did not exist. According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 19,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with primary brain cancers each year. My mother could have been one of them. During my lifetime, I’ve only attended two family funerals, but the possibility of losing a close relative poked my mind. The telephone call I made that day proved I am subject to losing someone I love just like everyone else. For the rest of the day, I wondered what my life would be like if my mother did not overcome this tumor. I resisted the tears ready to drip down my face at any moment. That night, I crawled into bed and prayed for her. The next day, I woke up feeling peace about the tumor in her brain. In my heart, I knew everything was going to be OK. However, people looked at me strangely because I remained upbeat. To them, I was not assessing the illness. I was underestimating the tumor. Consequently, I began to question if I was wrong for being calm. One day I told my fiancé I was scared. “Fear and faith cannot exist together,” he said. After analyzing my family’s obstacle, I knew the peace I felt about my mother’s upcoming operation was not a mistake. God meant to give me serenity. When it came time for surgery, I sat beside my mother in the hospital room watching the doctor explain the operation. Even though the doctor lingered when completing his sentences and seemed more interested in the show that was playing on the TV in the hospital room, I kept the faith. I kissed my mother, said, “I love you,” and watched the nurses roll her away. Sadness grasped my sister and aunt as I tried to console them. I already knew the outcome. My mother was going to be OK. About three hours later, my belief was confirmed. She defeated a quarter of an inch non-cancerous tumor. The National Cancer Institute predicted that 22,020 men and women will be diagnosed with cancer of the brain while 13,140 of them will die from it and other nervous system disorders in 2010. Receiving the worst news is inevitable for many people. At the moment it comes, uncertainty and doubt become overwhelming, but it does not have to be that way. People should...

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Internationals embrace new country; resist homesickness with familiar food, traditions
Oct05

Internationals embrace new country; resist homesickness with familiar food, traditions

Swarming crowds of students disperse, drifting to their nests. Parking lots become vacant and the quad rests from scurrying feet. It’s Friday afternoon, indicating time to travel home for the weekend — a luxury international students lack. They simply learn to cope. Senior management major Will Wang is not troubled by the distance between him and his home in China. “Actually, I don’t miss my parents very much. I can skype. I can call them. But my mom — she (misses) me,” he said. Wang went to the University of China and lived in a dorm for four years before coming to UMHB. He said he’s used to being away from home.  Occasionally, Wang misses his family and when he does it’s usually during the weekend or holidays. “Sometimes I imagine … my community so I just feel the environment — the trees, the road, the beauty,” he said. Among the things Wang longs for is the food distinct to his culture. Freshman management major Cynthia Huang can attest to that. “My country’s food has a different kind of style,” she said. Huang is from Taiwan and continues to cook meals customary to her country. Another distinction that Huang noticed when she came to UMHB was Belton’s location. “It’s countryside. Before, I lived in the city. It’s totally different,” she said. Though Belton is not the community Huang is accustomed to, she and her parents view it as an opportunity to discover more in life. “I can learn how to be independent here because I have to make everything for myself,” she said. Sometimes Huang gets homesick but consoles herself by speaking words of encouragement. “I will tell myself here is a new experience,” she said. Huang wants to embrace the environment she has now by getting to know other students who do not speak her language. “I try to tell myself don’t be shy and speak with American people and make friends,” she said. Because English is not Huang’s first language, she said she is uncertain of how to make friends here. She is not sure about topics that amuse Americans when trying to spark up conversations. Not all international students are seeking degrees at UMHB. Gabriel Duran is from Columbia and taking English as a second language classes. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering but came to America specifically to learn English. “This has been a great opportunity for me,” he said. Duran arrived in January and will return home in December. He has a wife and an 8-year-old waiting for him in Columbia. “It’s hard because it’s one year without them,” he said. He...

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Who Needs Paper? Books go digital with new e-readers
Oct05

Who Needs Paper? Books go digital with new e-readers

Students are exchanging flipping pages for scrolling along a six-inch screen of an electronic reading tool called the Amazon Kindle, which may leave hardbacks collecting dust on shelves. According to Amazon, the Kindle has been its number one best-seller for the past two years. The device weighs 8.7 ounces, which is less than a hardback. Its one-third of an inch width makes it thinner than a magazine. With more than 670,000 books to choose from, owners can store up to 3,500 and receive books in 60 seconds. Head of serials librarian Elizabeth Mallory received a Kindle for Christmas in 2009 and uses it regularly. “I certainly appreciate my sister’s surprise gift,” she said. Even though Mallory is using a Kindle, she maintains the reading experience. “I find the Kindle easier to handle. You know how a book feels? The Kindle feels as good,” she said. The Kindle can also be synced, which allows Mallory to put books from her Kindle onto her iPod and iPhone, making the device even more portable. Although the Kindle was released in 2008, it has not received widespread use or ownership among students. Only a few Crusaders knew people who owned a Kindle or a similar device. However, a few institutions have found value in its inventiveness. Some libraries have lending policies for Kindles. However, lending this tool to patrons is not simple. “They’re having a real problem of how to check out and what to download and how to enter it (Kindle) in their system,” Mallory said. It is a device that works best when used individually for personal enjoyment, she said. Educational institutions, including UMHB, recognize the potential the Kindle has in academia. Dean of the College of Education Marlene Zipperlen described how the college believed incorporating the Kindle would make their doctoral program distinct from others. Zipperlen said the nature of Electronic Resource Pilot was to analyze the usage of electronic resources and the Amazon Kindle e-reader, as a viable alternative to print media in terms of functionality and student satisfaction. The project included 16 members of cohort 2 doctorate program and four doctoral professors. It proved to be embraced by students. A survey of these students who used the Kindle was done, and the response was highly favorable. “It was easy and user friendly — even for those who were not technology natives,” Zipperlen said. A rival of the Kindle is the Nook, which is sold through Barnes & Noble. Junior nursing major Sarah Ashley does not know much about the Kindle but thinks her Nook is just as good as or even better than the Kindle. “I looked up...

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New student-led BSM ministry takes on abuse

Mistreatment lurks within homes and becomes visible in the eyes of helpless people. Their pleas for help go unnoticed, but Abuse Victims Ministry comes to their aid and wants others to do the same. Senior Psychology major Lisa Cave’s vision for the ministry arrived from her platform in the Miss UMHB pageant last year.  As soon as applications for Ministry Leadership Council came out, Cave snagged one and talked to director of Baptist Student Ministries Shawn Shannon and co-directors about her idea. “I felt like there are a ton of ministries on campus and that was just kind of a gap we were missing. There was a need for it,” she said. Cave revealed that abuse will affect about 25 percent of undergraduates at some point in their college careers. She wants students to gain awareness about abuse. It’s a prevalent issue and, as a result, Cave knows many people who have experienced it. “I feel like it’s something that’s kept hidden. When it’s kept hidden, it doesn’t get better,” she said. For now, the group meets at 7:30 p.m. at the BSM on Thursdays. Cave wants to do a huge fundraiser each semester.  In the fall, the group plans to produce care packages for a shelter located in Waco.  The kit program will include items families have left behind during their escape from abuse. During the spring, the ministry plans to raise money and serve at Hope Alliance in Round Rock. The facility has a program called Adopt-A-Room, in which people receive utility apartments that volunteers decorate with homey features. Students with a desire to help with Abuse Victims Ministry must attend volunteer training. “The goal of this ministry is to bring people hope and let them know that there is another side at the end of this journey,” Cave said. Over the summer she learned that junior history major Emily Allen would be joining her in pioneering this ministry. “I have a great heart for people who have been abused. Normally, I think that there’s a stigmatism with it and a lot of people … feel  compassion or feel sorry but that’s the extent to what they do,” she said. Allen was in an abusive dating relationship even though she had a great home life growing up. She believes she is blessed to have parents who helped her out of it. “Some people just don’t know how to seek help,” she said. Allen described the challenges of training volunteers to serve in the ministry. Places to help out are in the Belton, Killeen and Waco area but each facility has its own requirements. They usually do not...

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