Students own the night through dancing
Oct02

Students own the night through dancing

Want to go out dancing but don’t want to drive far and pay money? For those who like to dance the night away without worry, the perfect place is a parking lot. Impromptu dancing has brought relief to students who don’t have the money or desire to go to a crowded venue. Every other Thursday night from 10 to midnight, students gather for a dance called Own the Night at the empty parking lot on University Drive. Over the course of just a few weeks, the dance has become increasingly popular among students, bringing in more than 120 Crusaders this past Thursday. Using only a couple of speakers and a dance-worthy playlist, students grooved to the music in one of the most unlikely places. As the night progressed, dancers synchronized their steps to the remake of “Footloose” by Blake Shelton. The scene was an uncanny resemblance to one of the secret dances that take place in the 2011 remake of the film with the same title, and the fact that the event itself felt like a secret made it that much more exciting. While the majority of the music was country at the UMHB event, a few hip-hop songs and dance grooves were thrown into the mix to give the night more variety. Senior sociology major Mary Baucom loves the fact that the dance is so casual. “You don’t have to dress up; you can wear whatever you want like a T-shirt and shorts, and outside you have so much space,” she said. With the low-key atmosphere and familiarity of the crowd, many feel this is a safer and more fun option than some others. Sophomore international business major Jonathan Kendall believes this is a great alternative to the party scene in bigger cities. “We put this on because we just don’t feel like it’s worth the money, time and effort to go other places like Waco and Austin to go dancing,” he said. “Here, there’s no alcohol, no smoke. It’s open air, and all the people here are your friends.” Sophomore Donavan Catron’s first visit to the dance was this past Thursday, and he definitely plans to attend the next one. “There’s a lot of people having a lot of fun, and it’s very enjoyable. Everyone should come out here and have a good time,” he said. Baucom thinks the dance will grow in popularity and become even more successful. “To be able to have a community like this is so exciting,” she said. “This is going to be a new tradition without a doubt in my mind.” If the dance continues to grow in popularity, it could...

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Central Texas Book Club to discuss a must-read biography

The English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, is hosting the UMHB Central Texas Book Club at 7 p.m. Nov. 6.. The selection is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Assistant Professor & English Department Chair Dr. Jacky Dumas said members of Sigma Tau Delta have enjoyed the book. “So far, the club has shown a great deal of interest. This book has been runner-up in our selection voting the two previous semesters. The club likes the book’s potential for interdisciplinary collaboration among students and faculty,” he said. The book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, better known as HeLa by scientists. Lacks was an African-American woman working as a tobacco farmer in the South during the early 20th century. In spite of the fact that many saw her as just a poor slave descendant, Lacks would become responsible for one of the most important medical revolutions: The immortal, or HeLa, cell line. This is the first continuously cultured human malignant line of cells. In short, these were the first human cells to live and reproduce outside the human body. Although many are unaware of the HeLa legacy, it has greatly benefited mankind by being used in cell research, and up until recently Lacks never received credit for her contributions. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks examines the life and times of Lacks, and it ponders perplexities such as why Lacks’ family was unaware of her contributions to science until more than 20 years after her death. Skloot’s book brilliantly exposes the truths that were unknown to many regarding the dark past of African-American experimentation. Following the reading of the book, a discussion will take place Nov. 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Lord Conference Center in Parker. Assistant Professor of Sciences Dr. Joy Ahlgren-Beckendorf and Assistant Professor of Communication Vicky Kendig will lead the discussion. “I read the book two years ago,” Kendig said. “One of my former students gave me the book and said he liked the way Skloot, as a journalist, had put her storytelling skills to work. I’ll re-read it with an eye to the investigative reporting techniques and ethics and talk a bit about that at the discussion.” Dumas was fascinated by the book’s ability to reveal emotions from the reader. “I have been reading the book a little at a time for the past two weeks. I am almost done, and I find it very intriguing. I have experienced sadness and anger while reading this book,” he said. For those interested in reading the book and attending the discussion, copies are available at the UMHB bookstore and bookstores nationwide....

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Why I chose to be a vegan

In a country that reveres barbecue, has a fast food chain on every corner and believes bacon should be a form of currency, I am a minority. I am vegan, meaning I do not eat any animal products (meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.), nor do I wear anything that exploits animals (fur, leather, wool, silk, etc.). I eat and wear nothing that comes from a sentient being. In a society that worships meat, I’m considered crazy to most, but there are three truths I have learned. First, did you know that humans are not natural omnivores? Crazy, right? Who would have thought humans, creatures with no claws or sharp teeth, are herbivorous? When was the last time you killed a cow with your bare hands and ate it on the spot? Our digestive system and jaw structure reflect those of herbivores. Just because we are capable of digesting meat does not mean we should eat it. I can also digest cardboard. Does that mean I should eat it? And why is it before we eat meat, we have to cook it then smother it in cheese, butter and ketchup? Also, why are we the only species that drinks milk long after infancy? Shouldn’t we stop drinking milk after being weaned just like other mammals? Second, if humans are natural meat-eaters then we wouldn’t see the difference between eating a pig and a dog. Carnivores in the wild do not discriminate between the “cute” animals; they typically attack the old, young and sick regardless of species. Why is it OK to eat one species of animal but adore the other? Pigs are ranked fourth in intelligence behind elephants, dolphins and chimps. Are they not better than dogs? We are all animals, and we do not have the authority to decide which animals should live and die. Finally, the global impact of veganism is huge. It has been proved if every person in the world went vegan, it would end world hunger. The amount of water and grain needed to feed livestock would feed more people than the meat of the cow. It doesn’t make sense to feed 70 percent of grain grown in the U.S. to cows while there are starving children on the world’s streets. You may be laughing while reading this, but vegans are making a bigger difference than perceived. Just look at the statistics. Not only is my chance of having a heart attack, stroke or cancer greatly reduced, but after being vegan for a year, I will reduce 3,267 pounds of CO2 emissions, save at least 25 animals and prevent five people from starving. Oh, and...

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Landmark in women’s golf

In a move that prompted several eye rolls and a few “well it’s about time” mumbles from women across America, the Augusta National Golf Club has permitted women to join. Its first two female members are former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore. The club, established in 1932, has held a long-standing policy prohibiting female membership. It had withstood as recent as April, when chairman of the club and the Masters Tournament Billy Payne said the issue was a private matter. The issue was addressed during this year’s Masters Tournament when IBM became the sponsor. The tournament had always guaranteed membership to its officers, but IBM’s top executive was a woman. “Well, as has been the case, whenever that question is asked, all issues of membership are now and have historically been subject to the private deliberation of members,” Payne said in an Augusta Chronicle article. “That statement remains accurate; it remains my statement.” However, within a few months, that policy changed to the delight and surprise of women’s rights activists everywhere as Payne welcomed Augusta’s first female members with open arms. “This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club,” Payne said as quoted in a CNN blog. “We are fortunate to consider many qualified candidates for membership at Augusta National. Consideration with regard to any candidate is deliberate, held in strict confidence and always takes place over an extended period of time. The process for Condoleezza and Darla was no different.” Rice was honored to be among the first accepted. “I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf,” Rice said in the same blog. “I also have an immense respect for the Masters Tournament and its commitment to grow the game of golf, particularly with youth, here in the United States and throughout the world.” While the change of policy has thrilled women’s rights activists, most think that the change is overdue. Women’s rights activist Martha Burk tried to change the policy back in 2003 when she showed up at the club’s entrance to lead a series of protests against strictly male membership. In spite of the club’s right to exclude women because it is a private club, Burk thinks Augusta can no longer claim to be private because it hosts a very public event: the prestigious Masters Tournament. “I don’t agree with exclusion of women from golf clubs regardless, but we would not certainly be addressing the issue if they didn’t have the most public golf event on...

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Do you want slime with your order?

The majority of people ordering from a restaurant, believe they are choosing exactly what they want to consume; if they want a cheeseburger, then that’s what goes on their plate. Unfortunately, ordering a cheeseburger could also mean ordering an array of fillers and chemicals that aren’t mentioned on the menu. Say hello to “pink slime,” a term coined by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in reference to a meat filler used in 70 percent of all ground beef sold in America. The filler consists of cuts of beef no one would serve as an entree; rejected fatty, sinewy pieces of beef trim are ground into a mush which is then sprayed with a chemical called ammonium hydroxide (a fancy-shmancy name for watered-down ammonia) in order to kill E. coli and other bacteria. The filler is then added to ground beef that gets shipped to fast food chains, restaurants and even school cafeterias. Strangely enough, the concoction was only used in dog food until 2001; now it’s being served to humans nationwide. Apparently the mixture has been around for a long time; its use dates back to the mid-1970s when beef prices were at an all-time high, and pink slime was used to cut costs. However, its existence seems to have been under the radar until recently. In fact, many who work in the food service industry are unaware of pink slime, but those who are aware seem to believe something’s fishy in the beef industry. Summer Hendricks, the Hardy Hall worker whose friendly face can usually be seen behind the exhibition center, had heard of pink slime but was skeptical of its purpose. “The amount of ammonia that’s in it is supposedly safe for consumption, but in my personal opinion any kind of meat that has chemicals added to make it safe automatically negates the safety of it,” Hendricks said. Mike Bell, retail manager of Sodexo (where Hardy Hall gets its food from), had only heard of pink slime on the news only recently. So what’s the problem with pink slime other than its unappetizing nickname? The problem isn’t the filler; the problem is that pink slime is being used to treat a problem that could be fixed with a simple solution. The cow used to make your hamburger was fed corn. Before World War II, this never would have occurred. Until that time, all cows were fed their natural diet of grass. Corn was used to feed cows when a surplus of corn was grown after the war. Once farmers and ranchers learned that a corn diet would make their cows fatter, more and more were fed corn, and...

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