Social media outlets a source of news in an age of entertainment

By Jamie Dye With Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr, students’ free time has been steadily evaporating since the rise of social media, but these sites are also helping relay important events to a generation that does not watch the news or read a paper. Many students spend upwards of three hours daily on social media sites liking their friends’ statuses, reposting pictures of cats and pinning ambitious craft projects. What they may not realize is how many current events are reaching them through social media. Senior psychology and sociology major Christen Barnum admits that she uses the Internet for her entertainment, not for news sites. “I get on to keep up with my friends, get neat craft ideas and watch all the viral videos everyone is talking about,” she said. Although Barnum and other students may not be conscious of it, they are hearing about news events that friends or fan pages are posting or reposting. Senior English and history major Maria Martin admits that she gets news from Facebook that she would not have heard otherwise. “My whole feed was in an uproar about the Disney/Star Wars thing, and before that, my friends were posting articles about Hurricane Sandy. The only reason I remembered to watch the last presidential debate was because someone was tweeting about it,” she said. Social media sites are not only guilty of spreading news, they are invading the mindless diversions of the Internet with awareness. “I don’t have to pay attention to it at all. It’s just absent -minded entertainment,” Barnum said of Facebook. Even as senseless surfing, social media expose people to pressing issues that they may not have otherwise heard about. Currently, the news stations do not have much to say that interests the average college student, especially not when television is full of hyper-violent, less realistic and uninteresting programming. Nevertheless, social media have empowered people, letting them use the portals as means to reach people unwilling, or without the time, to keep up with the world. “I heard about the attacks in Libya on Twitter. It was right next to my friend’s tweet about her breakfast,” Martin said. The popularity and ease of social media have made the Internet everybody’s soapbox. Politically conscious and up-to-date friends are keeping people in the loop, but even those posting their own opinions are still bringing attention to current events. Social movements such as Kony 2012 and breast cancer awareness month depend partly on social media for disseminating information Senior English major Amanda Pate realizes the impact of such media on her understanding and awareness of events. She said “I love the idea of...

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Business students sew hope and seam memories in Peru
Nov16

Business students sew hope and seam memories in Peru

By Brittany Pumphrey It’s not every day that an opportunity arises to change someone’s life, but for the College of Business, the chance presented itself. Two professors and five graduate students recently visited two towns in Peru to oversee a company entitled Threads of Hope. The organization is a group of about 20 women who hand sew patterns into usable items such as oven mitts and Bible cases. Once they are completed, the items are sent to a distribution center in Plano, Texas, to be sold. The graduate students’ responsibility on the trip was to collect research and provide feedback for the business. Associate Professor and Director of the MBA program Dr. Terry Fox was one of the professors who went on the trip. Fox enjoyed his time in Peru and called it an incredible experience. He described the two villages, Lima and Ayacucho, in which the students spent their time. “Belton is a world away from Lima, and Lima is a world away from Ayacucho,” Fox said. Lima is the city where the women worked and sewed the items together. There, the team took time with the women, learning how the business works and taking notes. They also interviewed some of the workers during the process. Fox said, “It was a fact- finding type of trip and … just meeting everyone was amazing. They were so open and welcoming.” He described his trip as being more beneficial to him and the students than it was for the women in Lima. Business management graduate student Michael Kattan also accompanied Fox on the trip. He describes his favorite part about his journey. “The three-hour bike tour was really fun … some accidents happened, but it was fun.” It was Kattan’s first time being introduced to a different environment other than the United States and his home country of Lebanon. He found it interesting to learn about the different cultures and the way they do things in Lima. However, he did find some similarities of his own culture. “It reminds me of being back in my village by the way they dress,” Kattan said. He also believes that they got more out of the experience than the natives just by learning how they ran their business. “It was a great experience I will remember for a long time,” Kattan said. Business administration graduate student Mary Beth Kelton was interested in going on the trip to help with the non-profit side; she was moved in more than one way. “I enjoyed experiencing the differences in culture and working with the women directly. It was humbling to see poverty in real life. They...

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Students dress to impress for Poe
Oct30

Students dress to impress for Poe

By Jasmine Simmons Characters like Princess Leia Organa, Greek mythology’s Medea, and even Mickey and Minnie Mouse could be found in the Moon building Oct. 26 attending the Edgar Allan Poe Festival. The event is an annual party hosted by the university’s chapter of the International English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, and the English Society, an organization that gives students who are not members of the honor society a chance to participate in select activities throughout the year. “This event came from Sigma wanting to get into the spirit of the season while encouraging literacy among the campus community,” Chair of the English department and co-adviser of Sigma Tau Delta Dr. Jacky Dumas said. Named after the dark and eerie 19th century writer, the gathering is a 13-year tradition where Sigma Tau Delta members dress up as interesting characters, eat delectable snacks and participate in fun activities. “The Poe Party is a get-together with my friends in the English department where we honor one of my favorite writers,” junior Kelsey Blecher said. “The party was great this year because everyone put more thought and energy into it.” Many members of Sigma Tau Delta showed up in unique costumes. Senior English/history major Faith Forester came dressed as Zombie Barbie complete with tiara and open wounds. Forester created the Barbie-gone-grotesque image using fake blood, liquid latex and tissues. “I like to watch Michelle Phan make-up tutorial videos, and I actually got the idea from her,” Forester said. “I really like zombie stuff. I took her idea and made it my own.” Not only did members of Sigma dress to impress at the party, there were also a couple of canine companions imitating stars as well. “(My boyfriend and I) brought our two Shih Tzus, Wicket, full name Wicket Chewbacca of Endor, and Eddy, full name Sir Edgar Allan Pup,” Blecher said. “Wicket was dressed up as Chewbacca and Eddy was dressed up as Ewok, both from Return of the Jedi.” There were plenty of festivities at the party, such as the decimation of a pumpkin piñata, the oration of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” and the telling of ghost stories. Also, the honors society presented an award for an original writing piece contest to senior English/history major Maria Martin for a poem she wrote. “My favorite part of the party was without a doubt when we took turns telling ghost stories,” junior English major Sarah Norrell said. “Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it is so much fun listening to other people talk about experiences they’ve had and getting creeped out.” As an English organization, Sigma Tau Delta...

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Letter to the Editor

This is a response to the October 2 Bells writing that referred to Muslims, and ostensibly a film, in a tenor exemplified by such phrases throughout as “no brains, brainless mobs in the Muslim world, turned violent, ridiculous, unruly crowd, irrational, herd mentality, against their better judgment, dangerous, scary, politically profitable to defend the honor of Islam, violent mob, blind obedience,” on par with crass media stereotypes of Muslims, film or no film. No comparison/framework is given characterizing Christians who kill millions throughout history, or even in reference to U.S. un-Christian policies in the Middle East. A film or any one thing (such as the acquittal of police beating a Black) is basically only a precipitating factor as it called in social science, and blowback (as the CIA refers to responses to those policies of ours deemed criminal and immoral) occurs, or as a Congressperson admitted, there was already a “long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012.” Since we are in academics, note that much of Islam and Arabic culture laid the foundation for much of academia. Since we refer to ourselves as being in Christian academia, note that Islamic and Arabic cultural emphasis is on hospitality to others. In fact regarding the latter, a Waco Baptist missionary who has been in the Middle East for 30 years reiterated that here recently as well. Dr. Jose Martinez,...

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‘New Normal’ in families

By Jasmine Simmons From June Cleaver to Snookie, there has been an obvious change in family dynamics over the past half century. As society becomes more tolerant to alternative lifestyles and social practices, family life develops new facets as well. In today’s post-modern society, families are breaking June Cleaver’s utopian picture of happiness in the home all over the country. It is an understatement to say that the standards of the average family have changed from the days of Leave It to Beaver to present day. If a family from the 1950s were to gaze into an American household today, they would be shocked to see single parent homes, households with teen mothers and same-sex parents to list a few deviations from the 1950s American household. Divorce, a concept that was basically taboo in the 1950s, has impacted a large majority of households. Teen pregnancy is on the rise in the States. High schools are now making child care centers in school buildings, so teen mothers can continue their education. Six states have legalized same-sex marriages, and activists in other states are fighting for its legalization. Unconventionality is running rampant in families across the United States. While the reasons behind such families may vary, it is still alarming how far contemporary households have veered from the model of the conventional family in earlier generations. Oddities in families are cinematic gold for media outlets like television and movies. The MTV television program Teen Mom showcases the lives of high school teenagers who have become mothers. The New Normal, an ABC sitcom, tells of a single mother who works on becoming a surrogate for a gay couple. Movies like Baby Momma and The Back-up Plan depict single women who desire to have a baby without a partner whatsoever. These television shows and movies acknowledge the changes in family dynamics and profit greatly from them. Standards are being refined as it pertains to the home and the family dynamic. Still, acceptance is not always the best policy. Within this era, where there is a development of different ways of life, a line must be drawn when deciding between what is permissible and impermissible. Things are not as they once were. People are not as they once were, and as a result a new normal has been set for the U.S. and the families that exist within...

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