Your voice counts: Why everyone should vote
Aug24

Your voice counts: Why everyone should vote

Published in the Aug. 24, 2016 of The Bells Two candidates have officially been chosen to run for the office of the presidency-Republican nominee billionaire Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Senator Hillary Clinton. But despite having devout followers, these candidates might not see very many people come to the voting booths this November. Due to Hillary’s email scandal and Trump’s notorious outspoken attitude, it seems like many Americans are contemplating whether or not they should vote at all. According to www.americancla.org, 40 to 50 percent of Americans are projected to skip the voting booths in November. Many of these apathetic voters are millennials But despite the statistics, it is important to vote, whether you’re a Hillary or Trump supporter. For this election you are not only electing the next president, you’re also deciding the fate of the Supreme Court. Half of the Supreme Court officials are expected to retire in the next four years. Currently, there is an even number of conservatives and liberals. But this could change once the new president chooses the new judges. And once the judges have been chosen they are in office for life. You may think your vote doesn’t count, but it does. It’s anybody’s race. According to the New York Times, as of this printing, Hillary leads Trump 43 percent to 38 percent. Those who don’t vote will determine the outcome of the election more than those who do vote. And if you are thinking of foregoing your right to vote, think about the generations before us who didn’t even have the chance to cast their ballot. Before 1920, more than half the population of America couldn’t vote simply because they were women. This means that the great or great-great grandmothers of today’s millennials (the same millennials who aren’t voting) weren’t allowed to vote for part of their lifetime. Today anyone can vote no matter their race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. But even though we all have the opportunity to vote doesn’t mean we should do so blindly. It’s equally important to do your research and find out where each candidate stands. Don’t just vote the same way as your parents or friends. because it’s not their vote, it’s yours Even if you’re not too crazy for either candidate, one of them is going to be elected to be the next President of the United States for the next four years, so make your vote count. Whether it’s Trump, Hillary, or another candidate, it’s up to the American people to make the...

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FYC turns freshmen into leaders on and off campus
Apr20

FYC turns freshmen into leaders on and off campus

First Year Council is an organization exclusively for freshmen leaders. In FYC, students develop leadership skills, help other organizations on campus, and plan two major campus events. “FYC gives first year students on campus the opportunity to develop Christian leadership skills with a bunch of Christian backgrounds and Christian ethics behind it,” junior cell biology major, and FYC leader Thomas Middleton, said. “FYC has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve had. Being in it as a freshman as a member, and now being the head leader, I’ve gotten to see both sides of it. It’s opened up my eyes as to what it means to be a leader.” FYC meets every Monday at 9 p.m. to play games, discuss techniques to become better leaders, have devotional time, and build relationships. There are 45 total members in FYC. Every year the organization holds two main events: Date Auction and Spring Formal. These events take many hours to plan and execute, and helps these students put their leadership skills to the test. Date auction is held in the fall semester to raise money for the Spring Formal. Last semester, FYC raised $1500 to go towards formal. Date auction is an annual tradition that allows female students to bid on dates that male students have created. The highest bidder wins the date. This year’s auction included a day hammocking in the quad, dinner at The Gin, a trip to SpareTime, and various others. “[Date Auction] was a really fun experience for all of us. It was our first big event to work together on, and it was crazy to see the whole event come together,” freshman communication public relations major, Jenna Forrester said. While Date Auction is a fun event to plan, the Spring formal is the big event students look forward to all year. This year’s Spring Formal was held at Tenroc Ranch in Salado on Saturday, April 9. “[Spring Formal] is a time to come together, dance, have fun, eat a little food, and just be silly with our friends,” Middleton said. The theme was “Fly Me to the Moon,” and students had the option to pose with a moon at a photo booth. FYC hired DJ Jeremy for the entertainment, and students munched on sliders, pizza slices, and other various food items. If students didn’t want to dance, they could join in on a spirited game of giant Jenga or walk along the trails by the facility. FYC is devoted to serving the university and community in any way they can. Along with planning some of the university’s biggest events, FYC has also helped with football games and...

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‘God’s Not Dead 2,’ A sequel for the books
Apr20

‘God’s Not Dead 2,’ A sequel for the books

Christians are slowly becoming a minority in the world, and the debate over “separation of church and state” has gained momentum in recent years. The God’s Not Dead movies, produced by Pure Flix Productions, are based on real court cases that deal with this issue. The first God’s Not Dead film follows Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) as he debates his college philosophy professor (Kevin Sorbo) after refusing to sign a piece of paper with the words, “God is dead.” Harper’s evidence wins his class over, and the movie ends with Sorbo reconciling with God before tragically passing away, while the rest of the city is enjoying a Newsboys concert. In God’s Not Dead 2, we are taken back to high school. Devout Christian and AP History teacher Grace Wesley (Melissa Hart) must face the repercussions of answering a student’s (Haley Orrantia) question in class relating the teachings of Jesus to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. Throughout the film, you’ll root for Hart as everything around her crumbles. Her fellow co-workers, as well as the media, turn against her, while she faces the possibility of losing her teaching certification. Things do not look good for Wesley as incriminating evidence builds around her. It’s not until her handsome, non-believer lawyer, Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe), decides to fight the case with a new perspective, that things start looking up. Returning from God’s Not Dead is Pastor Dave (David A.R. White), who provides comic relief in the film, while still adding to the storyline. Reporter Amy Ryan (Trisha LaFache), who is now in remission from her life-threatening cancer in the first film, struggles with finding her faith. And Martin (Paul Kwo), the Chinese foreign-exchange student who converted to Christianity at the end of GND, returns with many (147 to be exact) questions about the Bible for Pastor Dave. Other appearances in the film include Sadie Robertson from the popular A&E TV show, Duck Dynasty, and the Christian rock group, Newsboys. Over half of the movie takes place in a courtroom. And although this may sound a bit tedious, the filmmakers do a good job of keeping the audience interested and unsure of the final verdict, while transitioning effectively between the main storyline and the various subplots. The filmmakers chose actors and actresses that fit the part of their respective characters perfectly. However, I felt like some of the characters could have been more dynamic such as Orrantia’s onscreen parents (Maria Canals-Barrera and Carey Scott). I also felt like there were a few stereotypes in the film that weren’t necessary, such as picking (or not picking) the jury...

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Valentine’s Day ideas for the student on a budget
Feb16

Valentine’s Day ideas for the student on a budget

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and we know what that means—heart-shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups, long-stemmed red roses, chocolate-covered strawberries, dates, and sometimes even a marriage proposal. As a college student, funds are limited. So, if you’re looking for a way to treat your Valentine to a romantic night without spending a fortune, here are a few ideas that won’t break your budget. 1. Don’t have money to spend on a fancy restaurant? Either order take-out from a local restaurant or cook for your significant other. Women love when you cook for them, and it’s cheaper than going to a fancy restaurant. Next, go to That Art Place here in Belton, and paint pieces of pottery together. The shop offers mugs, plates, figurines, and more with various designs ranging from $10 to $20. If you call ahead on Saturday night and mention you’re on a date, you will get a 10 percent off discount. Or if you want to pay a little more, the shop is offering couple’s canvas painting or fused glass projects that comes with a complimentary rose and desserts. Finish off the day by watching the stars and drinking hot chocolate in the Quad. 2. Do you and your sweetheart like being outdoors? You can check out a kayak or a canoe for less than $20 at Recreation Equipment Checkout at BLORA and take a romantic kayak or canoe ride down Belton Lake. Bring along a guitar and play a special song for your special someone. After you finish kayaking, explore the trails by the lake together, before enjoying appetizers at Dead Fish Grill, The Gin, or BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. 3. Would you rather see a movie? The Grand Avenue Theater is showing classic romantic comedies Sunday night for $5 a person. You may not be a huge fan of chick flicks, but you will score huge points with your date if you’re willing to sit through one. The theater’s café’ will be offering Valentine’s Day-themed entrees. After the movie, indulge in The Gin’s special red velvet cheesecake with a chocolate-covered strawberry on the side for $5.95 or make your own frozen yogurt concoction at the Weigh Station next to The Gin in downtown Belton. You can mix and match these ideas, check out Pinterest and Groupon.com, or create your own unique idea. No matter what you decide to do for Valentine’s Day, choose something from the heart, and I can guarantee that she’ll like it. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make a memory that your special someone will remember for years to...

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Media to blame for body image issues
Feb16

Media to blame for body image issues

Barbie, known for her blonde hair, blue eyes, thick makeup, and disproportionate body, is debuting a new look in 2016. Due to the growing opinion that Barbie’s unrealistic body has a negative influence on children, Mattel recently announced they are releasing three new body types this year: curvy, tall, and petite. While this is a novel idea, I don’t believe Barbies are behind the ongoing problem of eating disorders and distorted body image for children, teens, and young adults. The root of the problem is the media– not a heel-wearing, able-to-do-every-job-under-the-sun plastic toy. According to nationaleatingdisorders.org, 8 to 18-year-olds spend approximately 7.5 hours on some form of media every day. During this time, individuals are bombarded with ads featuring gorgeous paper-thin, photo-shopped women and handsome, muscular men selling everything from cars to hamburgers, sending a message to impressionable 5 to 25-year-olds that we must go beyond the natural look and strive to be like them. While I don’t think the media should portray women as slobs, I do believe they should show average looking women with wrinkles and cellulite. The average woman weighs about 140 pounds and is 5’4” tall. Most models weigh 23% less than most America women. Other countries are beginning to recognize the problem before the United States. In fact, in Israel, models are required to have a healthy BMI to be featured in magazines and ads. In the United States, the magazines and newspapers slam companies such as Mattel, but yet, they feature a size 0 woman on their next front cover with a feature story about how to lose weight in just 10 days. This is setting a double standard that needs to be addressed. Heavily advertised weight loss programs have become a $33 billion dollar industry, although studies show that half of people dieting don’t need to be dieting. Movies and TV shows are guilty as well. TV shows such as NBC’s The Biggest Loser, ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and many other shows focus on physical appearance. Characters who don’t fit the “ideal” look are generally ridiculed for their appearance while on screen. Dr. Anne Becker, a Harvard alum and professor, conducted a study of Fijian girls and women who had gone their entire life without Western TV until 1995. After just three years with television, 29% of the females were at high risk of eating disorders, compared to the only 13% before the study. Beauty contests such as Miss America and Miss Universe are televised glorifying beauty through evening gown and swim suit competitions. Miss Universe 2016 earned 6.2 million viewers when the show aired in Dec. of 2015. So,...

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