Mentor program provides inside edge for young workforce

By Katie Maze The Belton Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the university’s Career Services and Student Life departments to create Belton Apprentice, a unique program created to give students real-life training for the area they wish to major in.  Originally Austin Apprentice, the chamber of commerce caught wind of this new idea and brought it home to Belton. More than just job shadowing, Apprentice Belton is a structured mentorship that will team students with local businesses related to their field of study, allowing them to learn firsthand about the job world and build connections that will be valuable after graduation. Career Services Director Don Owens says he couldn’t be more excited about the program.  “Our desire is to align students with a professional that has either had the same major … or in a profession that a student would like to consider for their life’s work.” Apprentice Belton is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors of all majors and involves a simple application process that requires a professional letter of reference explaining why the student would be a solid candidate for Apprentice Belton.  The deadline for applications is Oct. 4th, but Owens is positive about accepting late forms. Students can pick up forms in the Career Services office, located in Mabee 230. Once accepted into the program, students will be assigned a mentor who will walk with them through a four-month period beginning in January 2012. Facilitators hope that the mentors will offer valuable information about their own professional journeys that the students can use when deciding which field they want to dedicate their lives to before finishing their majors. “The numbers are incredibly high of people who don’t have a job or a plan to go to graduate school after graduation….We’ve got to do a better job of helping students find their calling, and I get excited about that,” said Vice President for Student Life Dr. Byron Weathersbee. He expressed concern for students who don’t know which step to take next as the real world of the workforce approaches. However, he feels confident that the implementation of Apprentice Belton will not only provide a sense of security and knowledge for students, but also help them determine their skills and find their calling through this hands-on experience. Out of the university’s 3,100 students, ten will be selected to participate in the first cohort this spring. The exclusivity of the program is important in insuring that the mentors selected will be the cream of Belton’s crop and that the students chosen can be matched appropriately and receive the personal attention needed for success. Programs Director for the Belton Chamber...

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Culture emphasizes fashion

Picture yourself sitting in class wearing your favorite pair of TOMs, dressed in freshly-washed skinny jeans and an awesome new shirt found on sale at Target. Suddenly you look up to see the student who sits next to you walk into class. You are caught off guard and feel a twinge of desire creep up inside your gut when you notice that she is wearing a trendy new blouse. You want one. You need one. Or do you? Everyone has experienced a variation of this scenario. American culture tries to teach that outward appearance is everything. Sure, personality does come into play when getting to know someone, but what a person is wearing inevitably attracts others to them or pushes them away. Society tells this generation they can always use more stylish outfits. Instead of garments being for protection or for basic human needs, they have become about fitting in. This is not to say that dressing nicely is wrong or that people cannot use clothes as a way to express themselves. Rather, this should not become the main focus. There is nothing inappropriate about having plenty of nice clothing in the closet. The dilemma is that through the media and advertising, people are told they need more. The yearning to have the newest trends filling their closets eats at Americans. Eventually we find ourselves in a vicious cycle of never being content with what we have and constantly wanting more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women spend an hour a day shopping, seven hours a week 365 hours a year. This adds up to an average of three years of a woman’s life spent on shopping. Imagine how much money is squandered within this period on things that will be outdated in just a few months. Imagine the other ways women could be investing their time and money. Would the world not be a better place if three years’ worth of time, energy and money went toward an organization that helped others? Outward appearances are not everything. People must choose to be satisfied with what they have. We have to decide not to judge others based on attire and stop using it as a way to define ourselves. Seeking a way to refocus energy and resources toward others not only helps those in need, but it causes people to stop spotlighting themselves. Next time you hear that nagging voice in your head saying, “You need that new dress,” think about whether you actually do before you become just another shocking...

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Corruption grips Indian officials

By Natasha Christian The time of rejoicing has come, and Indians celebrated the long-awaited era of new change thanks to former military member and social rights activist, Anna Hazare, who actively seeks to end government corruption. Hazare voiced his concern about corrupted politicians through a grueling 12-day hunger strike in India’s capital city, New Delhi. He started his fast on Aug. 16, the day after India’s Independence Day and ended it Aug. 27. Though his goal was aimed at the Parliament, it quickly sparked interest all over the nation and ignited a flame in middle class Indians. As a result, mass protests began in a country of over a billion people in support of Hazare’s     mission.  Nearly two months later, Hazare and his team continue their quest to transition from a crime-ridden bureaucracy to an honorable democratic system. As elections are around the corner, Hazare’s team demanded written evidence from political candidates that they will support the Jan Lokpal Bill. The document states that anyone entering the assembly must first be legitimately inspected for any possible fraudulent activities in the past. Major political parties are opposing it because the group itself consists of shady members.   Hazare discontinued his first fast because India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, vowed to activate the bill. However, the leader’s dubious promise is slowly fading. Therefore, Hazare now threatens to reinstate a huger strike once again on a larger scale if the bill is not issued by Parliament’s winter session. David Gangarapu, UMHB graduate student studying information systems, hopes the struggles and government oppositions Hazare is facing are worth it. He said, “I wish this will continue. This should straighten things out for coming generations. I hope this will lead to something permanent.” Indian citizens have had enough of the scandals and crimes that are overtaking their legislature. They refuse to pay bribes any longer to local officials in order to have their voices heard and for jobs to be done. Allegedly some politicians give hush money to keep illegal acts of the past hidden. It is also apparent that the political ruling class is wealthier than accounted for with unrecorded amounts of money in Swiss bank accounts. Transparency International, a global coalition fighting corruption, conducted a corruption perception survey in 2010. India’s parliament ranked 3.3 out of 10. Other low scoring countries include China, Egypt and Mexico. Gangarapu said a government inspection organization is actively in place, but the members themselves are tainted.  “There is the A.C.B. – Anti Corruption Bureau, but they themselves are corrupt.”  He also said the vast majority of Indian government personnel are unethical and explains why some areas have...

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Facebook users grapple with change

By Terryn Kelly Facebook is an ever-changing social network. The company is constantly updating the site with new features intended to make the experience more enticing. Unfortunately, for some users the regular revisions of the interface appear to be more of a burden than they are a help. Freshman cellular biology major Megan LaLonde said, “I have not used any of the new applications on Facebook, reason being because it changes every time I get on my page. I like the older version.” An expanding number of the Facebook community continues to favor the earlier adaptations of the site. Senior cellular biology major Angel Cook said, “I prefer the older version of Facebook because it was simpler and easier to use. I do not like the idea that Facebook is always making updates and changes without informing its users that they are doing so.” Since the users are the ones who have helped make the website what it is today, Cook thinks that Mark Zuckerberg should get some insight from members on how they feel about the current features on Facebook before making changes.  “I do not like the fact that they do not ask for the users’ input on what changes we would like to see. After they have acquired a substantial amount of suggestions, they should allow us to vote on them and then make the changes that we all agreed upon,” she said. When using group chat, the user can communicate with friends outside of the group and from the usual chat feed. Senior music major Tasha Jefferson has used the feature but has mixed emotions about doing so. “I have used it, but it does get annoying when you do not want or need the feature. It is helpful when you want to group chat or to get group messages across.” Another feature is a tab that allows people to see what they posted on the same day an entire year ago. Jefferson has used this feature before and said she loves it. There is also a smart list which allows the user to determine who will be able to see certain subjects that are posted. Cook finds this feature to be helpful to her. “I have some professors and older people as my friends on Facebook, and some things I post are just for the young people and not for them. Sometimes I post what is on my mind,” she said. LaLonde occasionally uses the feature as needed. She said, “If I am looking for a specific answer that has to do with that general area I can click on it and ‘stock’ to...

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Movie shows young poets’ work
Oct04

Movie shows young poets’ work

By Natasha Christian The annual Writers’ Festival hosted movie night for literature fanatics at Shelton Theater. This year’s showing was Louder Than a Bomb, an award-winning documentary directed and produced by Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs. The film made its debut at the Austin Film Festival and won the award for best documentary feature. Set in the Chicago area, more than 60 schools battle in the world’s biggest youth poetry slam. The movie follows four teams as they transform painful life experiences into writing gold.  Director of the Writers’ Festival, English Assistant Professor Dr. Jessica Hooten, is excited about the documentary and said it gives viewers an enlightening perspective on poetry slam. She said,  “It is such an inspiring film…some of them (performers) are actually from the inner city and have issues with anger and issues with family lives that they need catharsis. They need ways of understanding what is going on in their lives and ways of dealing with that emotionally.”  She further iterates the cycle between pain being an inspiration for words and words becoming a coping mechanism. “Louder Than a Bomb shows how these students’ home lives have affected their poetry and how their poetry has formed their lives, and that reciprocal process between the two,” she said. “It’s a fantastic film.” The Writers’ Festival is roughly 10 years old. Well known published authors come to UMHB to speak to Crusaders and locals. Hooten is preparing for the gala on Feb. 9-11, 2012. Five writers, Susan Isaacs, Daniel Taylor, Susana Childress, Brett Foster and Albert Haley, will discuss a variety of topics, including spiritual themes and Christian identity. All speakers will host workshops for writing enthusiasts who wish to spruce up their skills. Junior English major Jamie Dye is ready to receive some words of wisdom from credible sources. “I’m hoping to gain some knowledge from people who are actually experienced writers and have been published,” she said.  “Their work has merit, and they’re willing to teach you. I hope they can teach me some tricks or tidbits.” Assistant Director of the Writers’ Festival and senior social work major Amberly Clay thinks the workshops at UMHB offer something other universities cannot. “Not a lot of writers’ festivals have one-on-one like ours does. A lot of writers’ festivals that you go to have 30-40 students in a workshop or even 100 students. Here, it is a very personal workshop,” she said. For those who are not interested in literature, Hooten said there is more to the event than meets the eye. She said, “The Writers’ Festival shows living writers who understand the power of literature to transform...

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