Surviving the holidays with stressful family members

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells For many of us, Belton has become home. From Frosti Cones to Arusha’s to the creek that runs through campus, we can say we’ve built memories here that will last a lifetime. But despite making Belton home, many of us have aching hearts for those we left behind in our hometowns. As a San Antonio native, I miss good Mexican food and my church the most (along with my family). However, some of us at UMHB don’t have the privilege of a heart that beats for two places at once. For some, Belton is our one and only home. But what happens when winter break comes and we have to go home to people that don’t feel like family? There are a couple of options for those who are unwilling to go home, and the first of which is to stay in Belton. If you live off campus or in the apartments, this isn’t a problem. Apartments on campus stay open throughout all breaks and holidays, so no alternative housing is needed. If you live in the dorms, however, staying on campus is a little harder. The Residence Life office does have an option for those wanting to stay on campus, but the process is selective and requires a need. Those who want to apply can email residencelife@umhb.edu to receive the form that will allow requesting students the chance to choose specific dates to be on campus and why they’re requesting housing. If you must go home, there are some things to remember when your family gets you down over the holidays: your worth is not determined by what they think of you or your decisions. Your worth is given to you by the everlasting God, who sent His son to be tortured and killed so that you can sit at the right hand of God. If your earthly father isn’t ideal, you have a heavenly father that provides you with the desires of your heart. If your home is for some reason unsafe, please see if there are friends and family who will take you in for the holidays.  You don’t have to tell on your family to receive the help you need. In addition, free longterm counseling is offered by the university who can help prepare you for the long winter break. Appointments can be made in the counseling office (Mabee 3rd floor) or at (254) 295-4696. Often, others act out because they never resolved issues that haunt their past. This could be anything from school bullies to abusive parents. But whatever they have to say, it’s...

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Standing for Christ: New film depicts life of Columbine victim
Oct26

Standing for Christ: New film depicts life of Columbine victim

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells I’m Not Ashamed, a Christian movie based on the events of the Columbine shooting on April 20, 1999, came out in theaters this Friday, October 21. The movie is an uplifting flick that encourages teenagers in the struggles that many young Christians face, like loneliness, the desire to fit in, and resisting temptation from other students. Reviews however, have blasted Pure Flix, the producers of I’m Not Ashamed, for misrepresenting the actual historical account of the event portrayed in the movie. The reviews on this movie are mixed, so what’s important is to research and compare what happened in the movie to what happened in real life. The Columbine shooting is the name given to the mass murder at Columbine High school in Littleton, Colorado. The two perpetrators, 17-year-old Dylan Klebold and 18-year-old Eric Harris, opened fire on their classmates and teachers when their homemade bomb failed to detonate. The movie implies that the two students targeted Christians, such as protagonist Rachel Joy Scott, who was historically the first victim in the shooting. However, these accusations were proven false, and the murderers had no specific group of people in mind. Klebold and Harris ended up killing 12 students and one teacher, and injuring 20 more people. Although the movie was uplifting as well as tragic, it may have misrepresented the events of Columbine. Theguardian.com writes a scathing review on the Pure Flix film, who also created God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2. They call I’m Not Ashamed “a false narrative of Christian martyrdom.” Other reviewers, such as the Hollywood Reporter, criticize the movie for being poorly written and disrespectful to the victims of Columbine. The movie is touching and sweet, and Masey Mclaine’s performance as Rachel Joy Scott goes beyond the somewhat cheesy and predictable script. The upset that I’m Not Ashamed has caused is not only due to the historical discrepancies between the movie and the shooting, but also when it comes to the motive behind the entire shooting as something more “martyr-like” than it is. Additionally, the depictions of the shooters are shamelessly flat and give little to no consideration of their motives and lives outside of the crime. There are plenty of rioters that would rally to stamp out the humanization of criminals like these, but the movie medium has a bit more leniency and opportunity to portray all sides, which needless to say, I’m Not Ashamed did not take advantage of. The film is the epitome of a feel-good, Chrsitian motivational flick, with a dark overtone that led to more controversy and resistance...

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Servant Artist: Local photographer captures faith in photos, inspires students

Published in the October 12, 2016 issue of The Bells Nan Dickson is a photojournalist who volunteers her time instructing aspiring photographers and artists with the art department. Now she is hosting several exhibits of her work at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple and on campus. Despite her success outside of UMHB, Dickson would most succinctly describe her role as a servant of the art department. “To me, a servant is a person who sees what needs to be done before anyone tells them to do it and knows it needs to be done and just does it,” she said. “I’m there to serve the professors, students, and really whoever comes by. ” And when she’s not serving the university, Dickson is using her gifts to bring light and awareness to important issues. “Free Behind Fences” is a photo series Dickson completed that centers around a women’s prison ministry called Discipleship Unlimited. The ministry minsters to women behind bars by creating a Christ-centered atmosphere for them even when the women of the ministry cannot be there. The artist thought these women, who are trying to strengthen their relationships with God even in prison, would be a compelling series. Dickson said she was brought to this minstry by God. He gave her a specific vision for her series while she was praying. “He said, ‘he next exhibit you shoot, love will be shooting the pictures through you,’” Dickson said. Through a series of events, Dickson met Linda Strom, the president and one of the founders of Discipleship Unlimited, and was invited to photograph the women of their ministry. That opportunity morphed into an exhibit. The namesake of the exhibit is a reference to the large and imposing razor wire fences that surround these women. “The women in prison who come to Christ are free even though they’re behind those fences.” Dickson accredits her work solely to the Lord, but in part to an intercessor with whom she lived for 16 years, Lily O. Rogers. Rogers was a prayer minister and small group leader with Discipleship Unlimited, and prayed without ceasing for Dickson’s work. She developed alzheimer’s disease later in life, and Dickson cared for her along with Dickson’s mother, who also had Alzheimer’s at the time. Although she was more or less confined to the house due to her caretaking responsibilities, she found that she could take pictures in tune with her photographer’s spirit, and began to catalogue the disease. That body of work, called “Shadows Dancing at Twilight,” generated interest that eventually led to Dickson focusing on early-onset alzheimer’s for an exhibit. She believes most people do not...

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Self-defense class teaches students awareness on-campus
Sep28

Self-defense class teaches students awareness on-campus

Published in the Sept. 28, 2016 issue of The Bells With the number of mass shootings growing by the day, “campus safety” is a popular news topic. However, as a private university with just under 4,000 students in attendance (that’s just under 7% of the population of Texas A&M), campus safety looks a little different to UMHB. So what does it look like to be safe on campus? What are the biggest threats on campus? What are the most common crimes committed here at UMHB? How do we defend ourselves when preventative measures have failed? These are some of the questions that officers Steve Carter and Kevin Mertz answered during their self-defense class, last Thursday evening in the Lord Conference Center. “The main goal of this class is to make students safe on campus,” said Carter. The officer said the biggest danger to students on campus is self-inflicted danger, or students putting themselves in harm’s way. Carter suggests avoiding potentially harmful or illegal situations like not bringing alcohol or drugs on campus. He also suggests that students take their things with them when they leave their vehicles and dorm rooms. “The most common crimes on campus are thefts,” the officer said. “We have thefts that happen from people coming from off campus to on campus, but we also have thefts that are student-to-student.” On-campus thefts are more than likely crimes of opportunity,” Carter said. That’s why the officer stressed so heavily the point of being aware of one’s surroundings and not being an easy target. Carter also cleared up for his self-defense class that any time you enter a vehicle when you’re not supposed to, it’s considered a break-in. After the informational portion of the class, the officers gave the students a tutorial on how to defend themselves against a physical assault. Carter believes that the best defense is being self-aware and being aware of your surroundings. He uses the verse, 1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” to emphasize his points. “Your best weapon is your mind,” he said. “Your best defense is to be someplace else.” Carter also spoke about listening to “that little voice” that alerts us to when something is wrong. “Listen to that voice,” Carter said. “Don’t ignore it. At the police department, every one of us believes in that little voice; that it is more in tune with your surroundings than you are.” As a precursor to learning basic attack moves from Mertz, he told the attendees that the class was not meant to teach you...

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UMHB launches all online program

Published in the September 14, 2016 issue of The Bells This fall, the university launched a new degree program called MyWay. This all-online program is geared toward adult learners who are looking to finish their degrees through Competency-Based Education (CBE). MyWay is set up so that a student pays $3,000 for a six-month subscription to MyWay. The subscription gives them access to “all you can complete” modules and assessments, which are equivalent to lectures and tests. Students are expected to finish at least 12 hours in the allotted six-month period, but are encouraged to do more. Dr. ChrissAnn Merriman, Interim Director for Distance Education at UMHB, worked closely with a team of seven to create MyWay. “This is a 20-month plus initiative that over 100 faculty and staff have helped design and develop.” The preparation of MyWay also included research of what employers were looking for in an employee. This helped the team to structure their degree plans to fit the students’work needs. The degree, labelled Applied Studies and Organizational Leadership, is a comprehensive plan that combines the greatest needs of both the students and the employers. This includes: communication, teamwork, and ability to develop their coworkers. Merriman also mentioned that MyWay is mainly geared towards adult learners who are coming back to get their degree. “There are a lot of students across the country who have credit, but never were able to finish their degree,” she said. “We’ve found that we could help the degree-completers who may have had things happen in their lives that caused them to complete their degree. So, we’re able to help.” Merriman and her team have prepared for the struggles of an online degree program, especially considering that some students haven’t studied in many years. “We’ve really set up some good tutorials for students like how to write an essay. Some of these students have not written an essay in years, so it’s important to help them identify what an essay looks like and what to think about when you’re writing them.” Instead of tests, the MyWay program assesses students’ skills by having them do projects at the end of every module. This reinforces the information the students have learned. “There are not multiple choice or short essay. These are projects they apply potentially to their business or something in their lives or something that’s happening.” The students’ progress is monitered weekly by MyWay Success Coach, Teesha Goosh. “I’m here to encourage, to support, and to interact with students, to let them know that I’m here to serve them,” Goosh said. The success coach said she lives by the model of “serve with...

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