Students earn class credit, life experience in trip to Europe
Apr02

Students earn class credit, life experience in trip to Europe

THE BELLS — Pure adrenaline is the only way to explain the overwhelming excitement felt as the surging engines of a Boeing airplane lift the monstrous machine off the ground and into the air, sending a group of 16 Crusaders on their way to Europe. It isn’t every day that students get the opportunity to study abroad in Belgium and Germany, but 14 students had their chance to go overseas during spring break. Those who went on the trip were enrolled in either international economics or international finance. Senior international business major Daniela Loera is no greenhorn when it comes to traveling. She’s been on three trips with the McLane College of Business. “Study abroad is a chance to not only learn about stuff from professors but see it happen and play right out in front of you,” she said. “It’s important for Americans to understand other cultures instead of staying in their own little bubble.” The group of students, led by international business professor Dr. Michelle Reina and economics professor Danny Taylor, hit the ground running after a seven-hour flight from Chicago to Brussels, Belgium, where much of the European Union work occurs. The group spent three days in Belgium. They visited the Parlamentarium, where they learned about the European Union’s parliament. They also met with senior trade adviser Ira Bel and economic officer Marco Sotelino at the U.S. Embassy Annex. These men explained the economic state of Belgium and how Belgians do business much differently from Americans. Sophomore finance major James Ewing had gone on a trip to Europe before but never to study abroad. Before college, Ewing visited Italy, but he found Belgium and Germany to be quite different. “It really showed me that just because you’ve gone out of the country once, you’re not even near to seeing the whole world yet,” he said. “Every single place is totally different. The way of life is different, and to really understand that, you have to go experience it for yourself.” After their time in Belgium, the students traveled by train to Frankfurt, Germany, a large European banking center and home to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. At the stock exchange, they had a VIP tour and learned about how differently Americans and Europeans look at the stock market. The group also visited the Deutsche Bank headquarters where they listened to a presentation about the international vision of the German bank. Their last banking visit was to the German Central Bank. The students heard a lecture on European economics and the European banking system and then explored the Money Museum at the German Central Bank. With the Transatlantic...

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University growth turns mail service into Wild West
Feb25

University growth turns mail service into Wild West

THE BELLS — The United States Postal Service has come a long way since the days of the Pony Express. Unfortunately, it’s still struggling, especially on campus where many students are having a hard time tracking down their mail. Highwaymen and Comanche warriors no longer threaten the safe delivery of mail, but modern issues create serious complications. Three main issues lead to students not receiving their mail on campus: wrong addresses, failure to receive notification slips and time delayed delivery. Latricia McMillan is the manager of mail services on campus. She and her team are working in a room piled with packages and mail to get every student’s mail delivered. A portion of the problem would be eliminated if students living in the apartments instructed anyone sending them mail to use their specific apartment address. McMillan held up a small envelope that read UMHB 900 College Street and, she said, “This could actually fit in a student’s mailbox, but because they put UMHB 900 College, they’re going to re-route it here.… so guess what. This student probably doesn’t even have a package notification.” This leads to the second problem that occurs when students don’t receive the slip telling them they have mail waiting to be picked up. The office’s first priority is dorm mail; however, any overflow from the apartments goes to the mail office in the SUB. “If for some reason they (the apartments) run out of space to store those packages they’re supposed to leave a note for the student in the mailbox that says to come here to get the package,” she said. When the mail carrier delivers these packages, the carrier leaves a note that tells whether or not a notice was left for the student. Out of all the packages for apartment residents that McMillan’s office had, only about half of them had received notification. Every regular work day, two mail deliveries are made to the university. One carrier goes to the SUB early in the day and the other to the apartments later in the in the afternoon. When a student living in the apartments finds a notification slip, they won’t be able to pick up their package until the next mail delivery day because of the two carrier system. This is the reason for the time delayed delivery. Julie Walker is a resident director in Independence Village and she has witnessed the problem grow with the larger number of students and more online shopping. With more students and more packages coming to campus accommodations have not been made. “With the volume that we have now—and I think that’s the situation, I think...

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Honky-tonk hero
Feb11

Honky-tonk hero

Jesus, honky-tonks and gunfights. How in the world are these three seemingly unrelated topics connected? Billy Joe Shaver. The rough and rugged songwriter is arguably as big a part of the history of outlaw country as names like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. The audience began cheering the minute Shaver’s worn cowboy boots stepped onto the stage of UMHB’s Hughes Hall Jan. 28. He wore Wranglers, a light blue denim shirt and a brown felt hat with a tattered feather on it. He sat down on a stool to talk to associate professor and chairman of the music department, Dr. Mark Aaron Humphrey in the latest installment of the C3 series. Humphrey started the session by acknowledging Shaver’s importance to Texas music. He described the fine arts experience as one with Texas roots. He then asked Shaver about the songwriting process. “I started writing when I was just about 8 years old.… I think it’s a blessing or a curse. Seems like it’s different every time,” Shaver said. “Most of my songs were written trying to stay alive, and the rest were written trying to get back in the house.” The 74-year-old Corsicana native showed his quick wit with numerous jokes but was also ready to impart any wisdom he could. “I think songwriting is the cheapest psychiatrist there is, and I believe everybody ought to write,” he said. “I think everybody is capable of writing. I go through it, and just like I was writing someone I really care about a letter—you know, to make every word count and make sure it all means something.” Shaver has endured his fair share of tough times including several divorces, drug addictions and the loss of his son Eddie to a heroin overdose. Humphrey described Shaver’s story as utterly incredible. “I’ve had a few setbacks here and there, a few bumps in the road,” Shaver said. “Some of them been pretty bad.… Don’t really get to feeling sorry for yourself because everybody gets singled out every now and again…. That’s just the way life goes.” Shaver found himself facing another challenge in 2007. A conflict in a Lorena bar eventually ended with Shaver shooting a man in the face with a .22 caliber pistol. In 2010, Shaver was found innocent of aggravated assault charges. The incident was the inspiration for Shaver’s song, “Wacko from Waco,” that he recorded with Willie Nelson. Shaver told the audience in Hughes that he was innocent and had not returned fire until the other man had shot at him three times. Despite having what some might call a rough demeanor, Shaver claims Jesus Christ...

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Students hit the hardwood with hopes of earning intramural glory
Feb11

Students hit the hardwood with hopes of earning intramural glory

BELTON, TX – THE BELLS — Just when intramural sports couldn’t get any more exciting, students come up with  unbelievably creative team name. Hoops! I Did It Again!, Cru Chainz and Yao Know What I Ming just to name a few. This year the number of players who registered for intramural basketball grew significantly from last year’s numbers. “Since I have been working for campus rec (this is my second year), this is definitely the most teams we’ve had,” senior math education major Shangrila Pathak said. “The women’s teams are twice as many as last year, and both men’s leagues reached the maximum amount of teams.” That makes 12 teams in men’s three-on-three league, 14 teams in men’s five-on-five and seven teams in women’s three-on-three. This growing involvement could be attributed to the influx of new students, or perhaps students are beginning to realize that “ball is life” after all. Although the campus recreation staff is glad about the large numbers they had sign up via imleagues.com, Pathak, who is also the intramural coordinator, said it has also posed some new challenges. “The only difficult part with having so many teams is having enough time to allow teams to get plenty of games in,” Pathak said. “I love that we have so many students eager to play and stay active.” Junior music education major Terry Livingston is playing intramural basketball for the first time. So far, he has enjoyed the season and is thankful for the opportunity to play. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know some new people and having opportunities shooting around with some good guys,” he said. “I enjoy the competitiveness, but I also enjoy that we are ultimately out there to have some fun.” Junior nursing major Taylor Frank is a veteran of intramural basketball. She is a returning member of the Chinchillas three-on-three women’s team. Frank said that playing for the same team has its benefits. “It makes the experience better because we get the chance to grow in our friendships as well as our skills in basketball,” she said. “Knowing your teammates well makes a huge difference on the court because you can read them better. It’s definitely more fun that way.” Pathak hopes students and others will stay involved through any of the various campus rec events. “I would encourage, not only students, but even faculty and staff to get involved with intramurals because it’s a great way to stay active and have fun with your peers.  It’s also a great escape from the busyness and stress of school or life in...

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Do you want to build a snowman?
Jan29

Do you want to build a snowman?

THE BELLS — The odds weren’t very favorable. Only a 40 percent chance. But none of that mattered when the first flakes began to fall from the night sky and students filed out of their dorms and apartments, as excited as children, to see that it was, indeed, snowing. The first winter weather advisory was sent out at 9:10 a.m. Thursday by Chief of Campus Police Gary Sargent. He warned students that travel could be dangerous due to winter precipitation between 6 p.m. and noon Friday. Earlier in the day, junior exercise sport science major Daniel Villarreal placed the probability of snow behind one basketball shot on his miniature door goal. He said if he made the shot, it would snow. He made the shot but didn’t really believe. “Honestly, I doubted it was going to snow,” Villarreal said. “Maybe some ice, but I was skeptical of actual snow falling and sticking.” Perhaps he should have had more faith because around 6 p.m. the fluffy flakes were falling, and he was rushing outside like so many of his fellow Crusaders to witness the rare occurrence. Villarreal went to get his girlfriend, sophomore nursing major, Lauren Garcia. Together they walked around the campus. Students were ecstatic about the snow Thursday night, but they were even happier when they received phone calls and texts around 7:30 a.m. Friday informing them that the university would be closed, giving them a snow day. Villarreal shared his thoughts about canceled classes. “I think the best part is… another three-day weekend,” he said. “Getting to hang out with friends and enjoy the snow makes it worthwhile.” With no school and accumulation on the ground, students flocked outside in coats, scarves, ear warmers and boots Friday morning to walk across the ground that was covered with a thin layer of white. Villarreal and Garcia went for a walk across University Drive and down some trails by the creek. “The best part about having this day was… just walking around in it (snow). The sound under my boots (and) it’s just so pretty to see,” Garcia said. Sophomore education major Maegan Loya was another student that was pleasantly surprised when the winter precipitation first began. “My immediate thought was, ‘I can’t believe it happened,’” she said. “There had been other chances of snow earlier in the year but nothing happened, so for it to actually snow was just unbelievable.” Having classes canceled Friday made the event even more special for Loya, who is from Pharr, which is in the valley region of South Texas. “I was also really happy because it was always on my list to...

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