Hunger Games series sets mood for Central Texas Book Club

A new book this semester will be introduced during the 2012 UMHB Central Texas Book Club meeting. The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins will be discussed by Professor of  English Dr. Brent Gibson and Associate Professor in the College of Christian Studies Dr. Mike Robinson. Sigma Tau Delta is hosting the gathering, March 20, and refreshments will also be provided. All of the campus is invited to attend the event from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Lord Conference Center. For those who do not have the book already, a paperback edition is for sale at the campus bookstore. Gibson gave a few details about what people can expect while in attendance at the discussions. He said, “Dr. Robinson and I will each give a talk about the book. After that will be a question-and-answer discussion about either what I noticed about the book or what someone else has noticed. I am going to start off by talking about some general things about the book, like its genesis and the way it was conceived….We will focus on the main character and what she is like.” Since department chair of English Dr. Jacky Dumas has taken over the book club, he has decided to choose readings for the students that have deep meanings. He said, “I have really been working on enticing the students to look at books that have a multi-disciplinary     focus.” Dumas explains how the new books for the book club are chosen each semester. “We take recommendations from faculty, generally the (English) department and students. We cut it down to a list of books that the students are interested in, and that’s usually our strong constituency of the students, so we want to pick things that will apply to them,” he said. Around the university, The Hunger Games is a favorite among many and is rapidly increasing in popularity through word of mouth. Junior Christian ministry major Kaitlin Burks is a big fan of the book. She is interested in attending the event if her schedule permits. She said, “I wanted to read the (books) when suddenly everyone started talking about them and getting excited about the movie. My best friends could not stop talking about how amazing they were and how I really needed to read them. It took me what felt like forever to actually get my hands on it.” Burks also said the book is very alluring and even tempts those who are not regular readers. “What really surprised me was that my friends who absolutely hate reading loved reading this book,” she said. “The author wrote them so well that it’s easy...

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ROTC program seeks to fulfill military goals, wishes for students

The Reserve Officers Training Corps also simply known as ROTC, has its own course of study at the university. Check it out here. The program began a few years ago after Assistant Professor of Military Science and army mayor Chris Jay met with school officials and decided that bringing the academic specialty to the school would be beneficial to the students who were interested in learning about the military. Since the program has started, the number of students joining has grown. Jay said, “We started out with, I think, three, and then it went to six, and now we have almost 25 students in that three-year turnover.” Senior political science major Paul Beachum, who is in his fourth year of the program, remembers when he started ROTC. Only two people were being commissioned as officers at the time. For those who are familiar with ROTC from high school, the college program differs tremendously. Jay said, “Basically the Jr. ROTC program is what is called an associateship-based program. They join a club and do an extracurricular activity, whereas here our main goal is to get people commissioned and so on.” Jay explains what happens to upper level students who want to join the program “Sometimes we accept graduate students too, but when they finish their degree on a certain level, they are commission as a second lieutenant, and they serve either National Guard Reserves or active duty,” he said. When it comes to instructing the students, there are different gradations that each group will go through. “Freshman and sophomore levels are just intro to the military for those who are not familiar with it. We talk about rank structure and things we do in formation. They get a lot of classes in time management,” Jay said. The last two years are used to prepare the cadets to go out into the military world as lieutenants or join the Army. Sophomore marketing major Garret Barber said that as a freshman he learned a lot from the upperclassmen. “When a student gets to the junior year in the program,  they will be evaluated. They begin to prepare for an assessment in which they will be sent to Washington for about 28 days,” he said. Students do not have to have knowledge about the military prior to joining the ROTC program, but if they have completed the Jr. ROTC program or prior military service, they can be exempt from the first two years in the       program. “Everybody that’s going to commission through ROTC has to serve the last two years,” Jay said. Barber heard about the program from a mutual friend. “I came...

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Redbox vs. Netflix: Battle to be the best
Feb21

Redbox vs. Netflix: Battle to be the best

The popular DVD and Blu-ray kiosk company Redbox, Verizon Communications Inc. and Coinstar have decided to come together for a joint venture, which remains unnamed, and will launch later this year. There are no details yet concerning how much money it will cost or what type of movies or TV shows they will have. Members of the companies have been  tight-lipped about the information for the project. Parties involved are pleased with the business decisions and excited about expanding boundaries further than just the little red machine that sits outside of a local Wal-Mart or a CVS Pharmacy. Officials from the companies are sure they will be able to provide people with convenience and more possibilities when it comes to choosing which way they want to watch a movie. They are also confident that streaming videos will give Redbox a much needed platform to reach consumers all around the world. The partnership will combine the easy rental of movies from Redbox, along with streaming the movies online, and on -demand services from Verizon as well. Customers will have to pay a somewhat affordable price for a monthly subscription, but it will still be cheaper than its rival company, Netflix. Although there has been a slight increase in price at the kiosks, it has not slowed down consumers’ desires to continue doing business with the company.  Redbox offers a selection of newer DVDs versus Netflix, which, due to regulations, has a larger selection of older movies. In the future, Redbox will also have a larger selection of older movies which will have streaming capabilities. Netflix, once the leading place for renting movies has now begun to struggle, especially in 2011. Many consumers are getting turned off by the fact that after they finish one movie and then return it, they have to wait an additional two days to receive another movie from their list. The company has split its streaming and mailing DVD services, which resulted in hiking customers’ bills. Since Netflix has agreed to extend its 28-day wait for new releases to a 56-day wait for Warner Bros., the anticipation for others has  driven them to visit the nearest Redbox. Considering the convenience that both companies offer, their decision to combine their effort may be a success. With all the rumors and speculation, only time will tell if this joint venture will prove to be better than Netflix....

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Students mentor children in new program

For a few years, the university has incorporated a new way to serve the community in the form of mentoring. The program with Tyler Elementary gives the opportunity for the mentor and student to build long-lasting relationships with one another. Professor in the Exercise and Sport Science Department Dr. Mickey Kerr said there is no formal name for the mentor program, which began in September 2010. Chelsie Kelley is the community and school site director. Kerr said, “Chelsie at Tyler Elementary called and wanted to know if we had any students that would like to come over and mentor a child. The students go over to the school in Belton, and they will meet during the child’s lunch. This is just once a week.” He described the daily routine. “They just go over there and talk with them and visit with them and just kind of are an older brother or sister to serve as a role model or mentor,” Kerr said. This semester, 12 students are mentoring and must meet stipulations in order to participate. “I get the names to Chelsie Kelley, and they, of course, have to go through background checks, and then once that is complete, she gives me the names and times of students available, and I help to match up our students with their students,” he said. Although Kerr has never officially been a mentor to someone, he has offered free batting and pitching lessons. He thinks it is important for others to volunteer whether  they play sports or not. “I have always encouraged our students to volunteer. We volunteer at track meets and for Special Olympics and things like that. This is just another aspect of it,” he said. His desire is for the teens to become engaged in extracurricular activities in their local area. “I want them to get into the habit of wanting to get involved in the community wherever they go to school or work,” Kerr said. He believes helping adolescents is important. “I think this is a great opportunity to serve as a role model. Our youth really need role models, particularly with a lot of the scandals going on today. I think it is really important for students of college age to realize how valuable volunteering is.” One of the students participating  this year is senior sport management major Javicz Jones. He hopes that by mentoring the children, they will learn to choose the right paths in life. “Dr. Kerr mentioned that we have a volunteer program,  and as soon as he said that I jumped right on it. I have been a mentor for about a year...

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Remembering the best times of Total Request Live
Feb07

Remembering the best times of Total Request Live

With many technological advancements happening over the last decade, long gone are  days of waiting in anticipation to watch favorite artists premier their newest video, or waiting in long lines to buy their latest CD, thanks to file sharing and YouTube. In 1998 one show came to MTV and for a decade defined a generation. VH1 aired a documentary last week about Total Request Live also known as TRL. It began as a music video shown on MTV in the late `90s. The show has helped to launch the careers of some of today’s biggest pop stars, such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Taking a look back into the `90s is quite amusing. It is interesting to see how the fashions have changed as well as the music, and how many of the artists have matured. Before iPods or Zunes, the top ten videos, which were being introduced by host Carson Daly, were the playlists of many teenagers. Over a short period of time, the crowds grew bigger, as well as fan feedback from the Internet. Viewers were able to call in by phone and had the opportunity to chat with various celebrities. Sophomore nursing major Shelby Ashley remembers rushing home from school so she could catch the show in time. “I wanted to marry Carson Daly. My favorite debut video was ‘Bye Bye Bye’ from *NSYNC and ‘Oops I did it Again’ from Britney Spears,” she said. Not only was TRL just an outlet for music, but the show covered many big events over the years, such as tragedies  and the deaths of celebrities. Sophomore nursing major Linda Rubio said, “The biggest TRL moment for me was when 9/11 happened. I just remember how quiet and how somber the audience was. I  remember being so surprised that it was even going to air and to see the debris from the window; I was just in awe. It seemed like even Carson was speechless.” Ashley said, “I was very young when the Columbine shooting happened, but I do remember coming home from school one day and seeing them cover this on TRL. It was weird because TRL was a feelgood kind of show. It was very happy. I never expected a show like that to cover real life news.” Unfortunately, with the popularity of illegal downloads of music, and with the generation who made TRL what it was turning into young adults,  fans and ratings for the show started to diminish in 2007, and by 2008 the show finally ended with a celebrity filled goodbye party on the air. This was the decade when MTV would play music...

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