Sigma Pi and volunteering: perfect chemistry
Nov20

Sigma Pi and volunteering: perfect chemistry

It was 9 a.m. on a weekend. Why would a bunch of kids and Crusaders wake up so early on their day off? Sigma Pi Chemistry Club says it’s because science is fun. The campus organization hosted an informational event for children in Wells Science Hall Saturday, Nov. 16. As youngsters from the community arrived on campus, they received a pair of goggles and a brochure of all the activities for the day. One demonstration featured a giant bubble, where children were engulfed in a huge soapy ring. Another option was the slime  section, a chemical concoction to get the kids excited.  What child doesn’t love to play with green goop? The favorite of the day was the liquid nitrogen juice and ice cream. Chemistry Club members poured nitrogen into tubs of orange or apple juice, freezing the drinks to create tasty treats. The children enjoyed watching the colorless, odorless smoke crystallize their favorite breakfast drinks. Associate professor Dr. Linda Gao teaches in the College of Sciences and advises Sigma Pi. She helped oversee the planning of Science Saturday. “I hope the kids get a positive message about chemistry from today. It’s a cool way to make people excited about the small things, like the uses of household chemicals you see in daily life,” Gao said. Sigma Pi is made up of chemistry majors and minors but welcomes anyone with a knack for experimenting. The group puts on a variety of events every semester, but Science Saturday is a favorite for members. Senior cell biology major and environmental officer Codi Hammons co-directed the event. She hopes the youngsters left with a better attitude toward science. When Hammons joined the organization her freshman year, she appreciated the work Sigma Pi does for the community, like highway cleanup and educational events like Saturday’s. She encourages students to join their group. She said, “I’ve made a lot of friends through this. Science Saturday is definitely my favorite thing we do.” When Sigma Pi members aren’t volunteering, they have monthly meetings, which include safety lessons, event briefings and, of course, pie. Senior cell biology/bio chemistry major and vice president of the club, Lindsay Leissner, loves seeing what the members bring to meetings. She said, “Last time we met, we had pizza. It  was a pizza pie because we always have to have pie at meetings. It’s so much...

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Cru Culture
Nov20

Cru Culture

People say if he puts down his Xbox controller to text you back, it’s love. But at UMHB, don’t be so sure. When he pauses Call of Duty or puts down his book on statistics to pick up your phone call, you probably shouldn’t call a wedding planner. While it could be a simple matter, it’s just not. If only there was an EASY button for real life. With sound effects. That would be amazing. Instead, Crusaders have a difficult time navigating the signs and obstacles of relationships. He likes her. She likes him. In a normal world, this would mean they start dating or pursuing each other in some way. But on this campus, the “couple” mutually hangs out and talks constantly, yet never classifies the relationship. Do relationships scare Crusaders? What about the ring by spring? It starts with a “d” and rhymes with hate. The unmentionable word usually gets replaced with “hanging out,” because that sounds like less of a commitment. UMHB probs. So many students spend months together, not defining the relationship or even questioning it. Are those two going out? Who knows? They could just be best friends…. Right. Does Thor’s hair look luscious? Of course it does— he should be in a shampoo commercial. Knowing whether or not a couple is dating should be that simple, too. It’s not rocket science, folks. UMHB doesn’t have that major anyway. Don’t be fooled by your significant other’s Crusader “dating lingo,” either. Some phrases might need some translation. “Let’s go for a walk around the quad tonight,” usually means he likes you. Friends don’t walk with friends on the same sidewalks over and over again at midnight. “I heard you can drown in Burt Pond. We should go check it out.” As lame as this statement is, it also means he likes you. Burt Pond itself screams “Ring by Spring,” and should be avoided at all costs unless you want to get hitched. “You should come to Own the Night,” always means he wants to dance with you. While friends can, indeed, dance with each other, if he invites you and takes your hand on the concrete dance floor, consider that a step closer to the unspoken word. The only foolproof plan for decoding confusing relationships, though, is to ask. Ask him or her what exactly is going on because that’s the only way to stop this mutually confused Crusader epidemic. After all, you can always go to Hardy and soothe your disappointment with a pizza cookie or two. Or...

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West family experiences blessing, tells of hope
Nov06

West family experiences blessing, tells of hope

Shortly after a fertilizer plant explosion rocked the town of West, Texas, in April, 70-year old Johnny Trlica was wandering the streets when he heard the yells of 14-year-old Chelsea Reed, trapped in the debris of her own home. Despite his frailty, he somehow managed to pull the girl out. “I’ll never forget him saying he couldn’t just ignore her screaming, and he couldn’t believe he picked up 120 pounds,” said Diane Parma, Chelsea’s grandmother. Trlica died shortly after the explosion from causes unrelated to the disaster. But he will forever remain in the hearts of Parma and her family, whose story is one of hope and provision in the face of calamity. Parma owns Al’s Cleaners in downtown West, where homemade T-shirts, flags and banners hang inside, sporting the motto “Rise Up” and other inspirational phrases. Patrons stand in line as Parma pulls laundry from the back of the cleaners and brings it to each customer, whom she knows by name. Because of her smile and encouraging conversation, no one would know that six months ago, she experienced tragedy just like many others in the town when the blast rocked her home and destroyed her daughter’s house. When Parma’s daughter, Stefanie Reed, walks into the store, it is a momentous occasion. Like many residents, her house was destroyed. But she has chosen to stay in West because it is her home. Every day she drives around to view the progress of her community, and today is one without tears, one of hope. “It’s the first time I haven’t cried,” Reed tells her mother of her drive through the town that day. Parma encourages her daughter as she does others who walk through the cleaners’s door. But her smile does fade a little when she recounts the day the explosion shook the town. On April 17, Parma wasn’t feeling well. She and her husband, Gary, just had new windows installed in their home, and she opened them that morning, hoping the fresh air would do her good. Little did she know, her simple act would save her home from being destroyed. From their house, the couple could see dark black clouds of smoke in the distance. “I thought it was the high school, the plant, the something…. I was out in the driveway, looking back … and I saw the smoke,” she said. Parma and her husband moved their cars down the street, thinking an explosion on the train tracks might happen. Then they went inside to call Reed, who lived 10 blocks down the street. While the husband was on the phone with Reed, the plant blew up....

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Cru Culture
Nov05

Cru Culture

What do you get when you combine Chacos and Toms? Tacos. And the best part about tacos is you don’t have to worry about whether or not you have to wear socks with them. With so many different trendy shoe options, how do students decide which ones to sport? Many Crusaders combine their favorite outfits with a pair of Chacos, a Z-strap sandal originally made for whitewater rafting guides because of their durability and waterproof material. Instead of being used for their original purpose, though, people all over the world wear Chacos for all outdoor activities. That’s fine, as long as the strappy shoes never walk indoors. Just as certain breeds of dogs should be kept inside, some recreational wear doesn’t belong in suburban life. Chacos are not the Chihuahuas of the shoe world. Keep those puppies outside, folks. People who choose to wear the outdoorsy sandals call themselves Chaconians, which pretty much speaks for itself. It’s like a professional athlete giving himself his own nickname—kind of lame. Sorry, Ochocinco, but Kobe and Lebron didn’t need to name themselves, and neither should Chaco-wearers. I stumbled upon a blog by a woman from Arkansas. It is dedicated completely to bedazzled Chacos. Let’s just add some toe socks to the unfortunate equation and throw a tacky party, shall we? Another popular pick, Toms, can be a dangerous fashion faux pas as well. Though the company that manufactures the comfy shoes seeks to help the non-profit subsidiary, Friends of Toms, not all the ways Crusaders wear the sneakers are fashion friendly. Socks or no socks? Here lies the problem. Socks ruin the look completely, but no socks ruin any hopes of keeping your footwear fresh. Bare feet inside your Toms creates a situation that everyone around you will resent. It stinks. Literally. So go with some cutoff socks, but please, for the sake of everyone at the university, do not wear long socks. That’s almost as bad as bedazzled sandals, and that’s enough to scare the socks right off of ya. God bless your...

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Behind The Curtain
Oct22

Behind The Curtain

Once upon a time, Stunt Night 2013 captivated the audience with each class’s magical performance. When the junior class took home both Campus Choice and Judges’ Choice, spectators had little idea what happened behind the curtain. Weeks before any class set foot in the paper castle or painted forest, directors and actors spent countless hours creating the historic show. When senior music education major and director of the century-old event, Alyssa Martinez, chose fairy tales as the theme last November, she thought this year would be even better than those past. “Most people think we just start planning when school starts but the truth, planning started last year. So it takes a lot of work, but it definitely paid off,” she said. Martinez chose directors for each class with the help of her steering committee, and these students had the job of selecting a princess story for their classmates. Freshmen chose The Little Mermaid; sophomores decided on Beauty and the Beast; juniors preferred Snow White; and seniors settled on the classic Cinderella. As a member of the steering committee and the design team, senior psychology major Sarah Shoemaker did a lot of the work on the set. After watching performances for three years and helping out some last year, she dedicated a significant amount of time this semester transforming Walton into a fairy tale land. “We tried very hard to make the set as interactive and 3D as possible. We wanted to make it feel like the actors were in their fairy tale,” she said. The design took countless hours to complete, and audiences may not have realized how many people worked to achieve the final product. “Aside from practicing three hours, three times a week, there is the technical side of mixing music, editing video, recording voices, etc. But I think that is the beauty of it. The people that are a part of Stunt Night do realize how much work goes into it, and, therefore, they practice more and perform with pride and confidence,” junior class co- director Lauren Theodore said. Martinez has seen the progress of each class from the first day of awkward introductions and announcing of ideas, to the final product, which occurred on two nights this year. “The first rehearsal, people just weren’t confident in their skits. The night of, it went so smoothly. The classes looked like a whole new set of skits compared to the beginning. I couldn’t be more proud,” she said. The competition between groups heightened the quality of each class production. Freshmen shocked the audiences with their impressive musical numbers. Sophomores had an almost-flawless rendition of Belle’s romance...

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