Shattered West Picks Up Pieces
Oct22

Shattered West Picks Up Pieces

The spring explosion at the West, Texas, fertilizer plant left the surrounding area in ruins. Structural carnage was the only description for the condition of all homes and schools in the near vicinity following the tragedy that fell on the small town. Since then, demolition crews have removed the shattered shells that were once homes. Where the plant stood, there is now nothing but  bare, broken ground. Across the road from West’s ground zero, a small American flag waves from a white cross, bearing silent testimony to the destructive event. “It doesn’t take but a millisecond to destroy a home, but it’s going to take five to six months to rebuild these things,” West Mayor Tommy Muska said. The rebuilding stage is definitely in progress. The remains of 110 homes have been demolished in zone three, and more than 150 building permits were issued for either repair or new construction. “We’ve got a lot of construction going on here,” Muska said. “People are moving forward. They are very resilient people. Citizens have brushed themselves off, have faced adversity head on and are moving forward.” However, houses were not the only loss in the disaster. Three out of four school campuses were either destroyed or rendered useless by the explosion. Temporary portable buildings have been brought in for classes. “The school board has worked diligently, and they should be applauded for the work that they did in getting those temporary buildings up and running on the middle school campus. They’re on a campus inside the city limits of West, and that makes a big difference,” he said. “It comes down to the classrooms don’t teach. Teachers and parents teach.” The devastating event was not enough to keep the schools from functioning immediately following the explosion. With the help of nearby school districts, West students and teachers were back in class the week following the Wednesday night explosion. “On Monday morning, our kids and teachers reported to Connally ISD,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jan Hungate said. “They had an intermediate school and a junior high that were completely empty because they had just built brand new buildings. So over the weekend, they painted the whole place, waxed all the floors. Every district in our region did something.” Connally and West are long-time rivals when in athletics, making the aid Connally offered all the more appreciated. When the West school busses exited off Interstate 35 to go to Connally they were greeted with a surprise. “What those kids from Connally did I can’t even begin to tell you,” Hungate said. “They put these signs up… all the way down that exit. So when...

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Marketing Group Gets Chartered
Oct22

Marketing Group Gets Chartered

New student organizations are always popping up on campus. However, hardly any of those groups have helping other student organizations listed as one of their goals. But that is exactly one of the things that the newly chartered UMHB chapter of the American Marketing Association is planning to accomplish. “I’m excited about it,” Professor of marketing Dr. Mindy Welch said. “I think it’s going to open a ton of possibilities for the university… as a whole, not just the business school, not just the marketing majors. It’s going to be a big thing for the entire university.” Senior marketing major Alfred Rojas is the president of the new AMA chapter. Rojas took on the task of handling paperwork and really got the group up and running. “Honestly, it wasn’t too much of a rough process,” he said. “I picked a lot of good members around me as a board to start with. That helped me a lot. The great thing about it was that the business school has prepared me to be able to do these things. It was a process to get it done, but I don’t regret it, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” Rojas and his team hope they can be benefit other organizations in a positive way by helping them advertise and get their respective names out to as many ears as possible. “We want to go ahead and connect more organizations with students.… We’re going to advertise for them essentially,” he said. “By us helping them out, they potentially will get more people off the Quad and into their group. We want to impact the school as a whole.” With 20 members, the AMA chapter hopes to grow steadily. For now, the goal is to reach as many students as possible. The group will hold its first meeting Oct. 29 in Lord Conference Center at 6 p.m. “Hopefully, we can get a lot of people there,” Rojas said. “We’re trying to expand beyond the business school.… We want everyone to come in and figure out what marketing is and how they can use that to an advantage in their life.” Welch and Rojas and the other members are planning to take a trip to a large AMA conference in New Orleans next semester. Welch said it will be a great networking device for any interested in the marketing field. The organization is already involved in an advertising project for the event, A Night at the Museum. They are still looking for volunteers for the event, which takes place Oct. 24, at the Bell County Museum 6-9 p.m. For more info email arojas@mail.umhb.edu...

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Mascot: Stand up and get Crunk
Oct09

Mascot: Stand up and get Crunk

Students sway back and forth in rhythm to the music before the spectators rear back and collectively tomahawk their right arms forward yelling “Cru!” Joining the cheerleaders to head up the Cru Spirit Dance is one sporting the mask of a Crusader, the iconic Crunk. The word “crunk” may be a little ’90s, but the mascot is still alive and kicking. The student behind the mask has changed as a new era kicks off at the university, but Crunk’s idea and goal remain the same: to get fans pumped and to provide a little fun entertainment as well. “Yes we’re going to get people psyched about the game, but Crunk also serves as something to make people laugh while they’re watching the game,” Crunk said. “It’s the combination of getting people excited about the game and making people laugh….” Although the role of Crunk is new to this student, who must remain anonymous, he has experience in the trade. He said, “I kind of have a history of it. I did two and a half years of mascot in high school and then coming into college it was something I wanted to do and was just given the opportunity this past year.” He trained with the previous Crunk last year, who gave his heir some good advice about taking on the role of being the university’s face of school spirit. “(He) told me, hey man, don’t let that be a pressure, that you need to be like me. Don’t be like me. Don’t try to be like me because you can’t be me. I won’t try to be like you because I can’t be you,” said the new Crunk. The student is adding his own personality to the fan favorite antics of Crunk. “It’s not going to be the same mascot every single time. You’re going to have some of the same particular characteristics, but each mascot’s going to have their own identity,” he said. Director of Campus Recreation Sue Weaver was in charge of picking the heir to Crunk. She wanted the present Crunk to train with his predecessor. The task of prancing around in a heavy uniform is a difficult task and requires training and determination. “It takes an amazing amount of stamina and energy to do what the mascot does,” she said. “It’s hard to breathe in there (the costume). That’s another thing we needed, someone that’s really...

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The Cru Eat Everything
Oct09

The Cru Eat Everything

From the minute students arrive at college, they are bombarded with a variety of worries that include classes, grades and food. In fact, food is one of the things that students worry about the most.  But they have plenty of options that won’t leave their bank accounts empty. The large assortment of food on campus will only grow once the new Student Union Building is complete and a Chick-fil-A is added as well. Hardy Hall and the SUB already offer everything from pizza to sub sandwiches to hamburgers to Wednesday’s chicken fried steak. Freshman Christian ministry major Hector Martinez appreciates the diversity of options available on campus. “The variety is pretty good….” he said. “I like the fact that we have the different cultures represented at the exhibition area.” He added that while he starts off every morning with chimichangas for breakfast, his favorite food served in Hardy Hall is the meatloaf. However, once students move from the dorms into apartments or off-campus housing, being on the meal plan may not be the most convenient option. At this point, students often begin exploring different avenues to whet their appetites. “I think the struggle is the age-old issue of ‘the poor college student budget,’” senior church music major Cameron Roucloux said. “When we’re paying … for our education, there’s not always much left afterward. I think that’s why a lot of students opt to go to Taco Bell, McDonalds, or Jack in the Box, because they’ve got a dollar menu. Lots of food for a little price.” Throughout his years in Belton, Roucloux has found a variety of non-chain restaurants. He suggests  students broaden their horizon when it comes to finding places that satisfy ever-insatiable appetites. He said, “Going on my fifth year of living in the BTX area, I would encourage underclassmen to get away from the chains and find some local places to eat at,” he said. “There are numerous burger places that are going to give you a … quality burger…. There are tons of Mexican places around here, and several Italian places as well.” Some of his favorite local eateries are Crow’s Hamburgers, Backyard BBQ, Black Meg’s and Italianos. “I’ve developed relationships with people who work at local places over my time at UMHB, and there’s a different level of a dining experience when you’re sitting down at a place where the staff knows you and what you usually get,” Roucloux said. “And I’m all about supporting local business, so I think it’s a great way to eat better food.” The list of restaurants that offer student discounts continues to grow. Students frequent Chick-fil-A, Schlotzsky’s and...

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Roommates: Through Thick and Thin
Sep24

Roommates: Through Thick and Thin

One of the most terrifying parts of first arriving at college is meeting your first roommate. You have probably never met before and yet  have been paired to live together for at least a semester. Images from the horror movie, The Roommate, surely creep into the minds of students as they drive to Belton for move-in day. While their own first roommate stories don’t unfold as violently, some can be horrific in their own way. However, on rare occasions, roommates hit it off, and they become best friends. Senior education major Chad Manns wasn’t sure what to think about his roommate, senior mathematics major Ryan Frusha, when they first moved into McLane Hall their freshman year. “For the first two or three weeks, it was pretty awkward. We talked about school, and that was it,” Manns said. “I think the thing that brought us together was our music. I was listening to Usher, and he was like ‘you like this music?’” Once they discovered their similar taste in tunes, the duo decided to make some music videos.    Frusha said that was when he started to get to know his roommate better. “The first time we met, he was real quiet, and I was more upbeat. And then he came out of his shell a little bit when we did those videos,” he said. Whether or not they would be roommates past their freshman year was never mentioned between Frusha and Manns. It was an unnecessary conversation. “If anything, it was when the housing process came, we expected to stay roommates. The conversation was more of who’s going to be our third roommate,” Frusha said. Usually differences and disagreements are reasons why freshman roommates don’t stay together. Frusha and Manns are exceptions to the rules. “We’ve only had probably two arguments. But they’ve all been about sports,” Manns said, laughing. They both enjoy playing and watching basketball. However, Manns is an avid Dallas Mavericks fan while Frusha chooses to root for the Miami Heat. For many this could be an obstacle to friendship given the hot rivalry that has developed between the two teams over the past several years. “We weren’t at each other’s throats about it,” Frusha said. “When the Mavs won, he was pretty cool about it. Whenever they were beating the Heat, he wouldn’t bring it up. Then the next year when the Heat crushed them, I never said anything about it.” Their friendship doesn’t end once they leave Belton. This past summer, Frusha and Manns went to Hawaii to do mission work. They said the experience helped them grow closer spiritually. Another duo that has withstood...

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