SGA elections bring on presidential debate

Election season is back. Candidates are campaigning and social media is buzzing. Why again so soon? Because UMHB is about to elect a new student body president. The current one, Kassidy Harris, will graduate this spring after a two-year administration, leaving a void that needs to be filled. Tiffany Wurdemann, who has been the student organizations director and adviser to the Student Government Association for the past year and half looks forward to working through this transition for the first time. Wurdemann takes the work the organization does seriously and believes its members are influential on campus. She said, “In my opinion, they are like the leaders of the leaders. They’re supposed to represent the school …, We have an eclectic group of students and they come, and they feel the weight of the responsibility they have, and so when they come in, they’re voicing what they’ve heard on the street….” Wurdemann has high hopes for SGA’s future and is encouraged by the progress the organization has made in recent months. She said, “Last year SGA had about one bill go through..This year in the beginning we had like 15 we were working on … and then three ended up being retired because the administration just took them on, so we didn’t have to make it into a proper bill.” Wurdemann wishes both candidates the best. She is also felt sympathy for the tensions they felt during the debate. She said, “I think with any debate, there’s that pressure. You’re being watched. One question can stir people’s opinions. I feel for those candidates. I would not want to be up there.”   A look at Each Candidate Collin Davies Collin Davies is a senior business and Spanish major who has been in SGA for a total of three semesters. He has served as a senator and a treasurer. Some of his accomplishments include helping make Veterans Day a campus holiday and procuring more bike racks for the apartment buildings in Independence Village. After receiving inspiration from conversations with previous SGA presidents and candidates, he decided to pursue a campaign even though he had originally intended to graduate at the end of the coming fall semester. If he is elected, he will stay and graduate in spring of 2014 to fulfill the two-semester term requirement. Regarding his reasons for running, Davies said, “I’m rather relational … so my platform would hinge off of my connectedness. I think success in being student body president is not found in my ability to accomplish things as an individual, but rather my ability to give the power to the student body….” Among the aspects...

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Student turns professional contest winner
Feb15

Student turns professional contest winner

After sitting in her car for more than nine hours, Jessica Pitcaithly waited not so patiently for “You and Tequila” by Kenny Chesney to play over the airwaves, cueing the beginning of a radio competition. Her call into the station that day began a winning streak that sparked a contest addiction. The freshman marketing major has entered hundreds of radio contests since she began in May 2012. In only 10 months, she has won eight major contests to a variety of well-known country concerts. Pitcaithly has seen Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and more than 10 other musicians, all completely free. “We listened to the radio a lot. After many times of trying, my sister and I were calling in… and the prize was ZiegenBock music festival. I got through, and we won…. When we heard our voices on air, we wanted to keep doing it,” Jessica said. The competitive spirit runs in the family. Jessica’s mom, Jennifer Pitcaithly, also entered similar contests when she was 16, though she never won. Now, it’s something the family discusses frequently. Jessica said, “My mom is supportive of it. She doesn’t have to buy me tickets anymore. One time, I got my whole family to play…. I’ve basically won every contest I wanted by doing the same things.” This success comes with a strategy. Jessica has developed a method for each challenge, depending on whether callers or texters receive the prize. First, she recommends doing research on the radio station before attempting to enter any sweepstakes. “By knowing what times to play, what song is the cue, what word you need to text or how often you can enter, you can be prepared and have the best chances,” she said. Secondly, she recommends using different phones, depending on the radio’s guidelines. “iPhones and smartphones are best for texting. You can copy and paste the winning word more quickly for a greater probability of winning… but don’t use more than one device. When you do that, you are basically playing against yourself.” When the lines are busy, Jessica encourages people to keep trying. “The more simple your phone is for calling, the better chances you have. You can just call and redial multiple times. If you don’t get through the first time, it doesn’t mean they have chosen someone already. For the most part, there are just a lot of callers, and no one has gotten through yet,” she said. On one occasion, she received a special surprise. “On Waco100, they were doing a $50,000 giveaway with a Ford F-150 truck…. It was sort of like...

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Gun control, Second Amendment turn into national, local debate

In the wake of the recent wave of mass shootings, heated arguments and new proposed firearms legislation are breeding controversy that has Americans fired up. This time of grief conjures up memories of a horrific scene that unfolded more than two decades ago only a few miles from UMHB’s campus. For many people outside of Texas, the event that turned a Luby’s Cafeteria into a war zone put Killeen on the national map and was a catalyst for allowing concealed carry of firearms in Texas and other states. On Oct. 16, 1991, George Hennard of Belton drove his truck through a window of the restaurant, exited the vehicle and began shooting with a Glock 17 pistol. When the gunfire ceased, 23 people were dead and 27 injured. He apparently turned his gun on himself in the restaurant’s bathroom. Pastor Jimmy Towers of Killeen’s Lifeway Fellowship Church was nearby. “I was actually in the parking lot when people were breaking out of the back window of Luby’s to escape. I’d been speaking at a hotel next door. I was on my way to conduct a funeral, so I didn’t even realize what all had happened,” The attack was distinguished as the most deadly of its kind in U.S. history until the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007. Much like the recent shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., the infamous cafeteria mass murder caused Americans to unite and rethink firearm policies. Although the Central Texas community was dealt a tough blow, from the tragedy arose an effective gun rights advocate. Towers said, “Some of the people became very proactive after the event like Suzanna Gratia Hupp from Cove, the chiropractor who was one of the primary people for passing legislation for concealed handguns in Texas.” Hupp was dining with her mother and father when shots rang out in 1991. She had left her pistol in her vehicle, not wanting to lose her chiropractor’s license for carrying a gun into a weapon-free zone. Surviving the rampage, she was able to crawl through a shattered window, and ran to retrieve her gun. She returned to find both of her parents among the fatally wounded. Hupp embarked on a mission to reform gun laws in the Texas legislature, where she served from 1996 to 2002. Even though Hupp is no longer in the legislature, she remains politically active and is scheduled to testify on gun control today in Washington. Hupp shares an opinion with many others who believe new proposed government regulations will infringe on their Second Amendment rights. “I think it’s incredibly hypocritical of Biden and Obama, when you see them and their...

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New logo generates much anticipation

By Leif Johnston University athletics will have a different look starting Thursday, Feb. 14. A logo will be ushered in at the basketball games, and the updated image will sweep through the campus throughout the rest of the year. The plan is simple…unity. Vice President for Athletics Randy Mann said, “We had different programs using different logos, so we ended up having three or four different logos being used athletically. So we decided we really needed to settle on one logo that everybody liked.” Creating a new image to represent the school was a long project that took many different things into account. “The idea of a new logo was brought up about five years ago when Coach Shipp was the athletic director, due to the fact that it was just hard to duplicate on apparel and also a little expensive when you had to reproduce it,” Mann said. The project got pushed to the side after the initial talk of change because it was hard to find something that everyone agreed upon. The revamping and expanding of the campus was a catalyst. Considering the number of new facilities being built, the committee that worked with the logo figured there was no better time than now to unify the campus. “They revisited the idea with the start of the new stadium and all the other things that are going on and thought if we are going to do a new logo, let’s look at it again. After it resurfaced again, the committee went through the process and came up with a design that I think everybody will like,” Mann said. A rebranding for the athletic department isn’t something that happens very often, but when it does, it brings excitement. Many students, and not only student athletes, have grown accustomed to the logo in place, but the idea of a different one bringing more variety to the bookstore and other places is creating a buzz around campus. “It’s an interesting time in the history of the university when you choose to re-brand the athletic department and come out with something that everybody can be excited about,” Head Men’s Golf Coach Aaron Rodeffer said. Not only are the coaches eager to have something new that they are all able to work into their programs, but the student athletes see the change as a good thing. “What I look forward to most is that, overall, it is just different. It will be cool to experience change and just start something new,” junior exercise and sport science major Jake Sims said. The transition of all the programs using the new logo may seem...

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International ministry bridges gap
Feb15

International ministry bridges gap

By Alannah Domangue The area remained quiet while small clusters of people entered. After ten minutes, laughter filled the room as students began mingling with strangers. The occasion Thursday evening was only one of the many events hosted by the International Student Ministry. The event name: Game Night with Internationals. The mission: ministry. Students gathered in the SUB for fellowship, fun and food. The night began with a couple of icebreaker games followed by a meet-and-greet activity. Sophomore nursing major Jessica Walker, who serves on the ministry counsel, said the purpose of the festivities was to create “interactions and connections among the students and internationals.” The International Student Ministry attempts to form friendships and relationships “in a non-awkward way and to show (internationals) the love of Christ,” Walker said. In previous years the ministry hosted game nights, but not twice in one year. Since last semester’s event proved so successful, the ministry opted to host an additional activity-filled evening. This semester the turnout exceeded expectations. Senior Christian ministries major Kristin Mercer said the event was her first game night experience with the internationals. Mercer, who attended the Thanksgiving dinner last fall, said the night had “a lot more interaction. It’s fun to see the way our cultures can interact with one another,” Mercer said. Graduate student Wendy Lui, who attended previous game nights, has always appreciated the experience. Lui said interacting during the games gives her a “very good chance to communicate with the American people… and a good chance to practice   English.” Students do not always understand that the game night is for both Americans and internationals. “It’s both ways,” junior exercise sport science major and ministry leadership counsel member Elizabeth Valcin said. The International Student Ministry aims “to attract as many international students as possible, but at the same time  find Americans (to) interact with the international students,” she said. Although last semester’s outcome surprised ministry leaders, planning this event did not cease their worries. The biggest challenge is “getting the word out,” Walker said. “Advertising and making sure people hear about the event” poses a problem for the group, Valcin said, but their turnout usually surpasses anticipations. “We have plenty of ideas, but it’s hard to schedule around the school’s schedule.” Although publicizing is difficult, the events always have great results. The ministry’s main goal is “getting the (international) students to know who we are,” Valcin said. “After game night, I feel like a lot of them knew who I was and were able to come up to me and say hi.” American students will initiate relationships, which allows the internationals to be more interested in...

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Students explore creative methods to raise funds for going on mission trips
Feb15

Students explore creative methods to raise funds for going on mission trips

Finding the funds to go on a mission trip is the most common obstabcle that students with this goal face. Several at the university have been employing their unique, creative talents to raise money for ministry. “I’ve done a little bit of everything,” junior Christian studies major Mary Parrish said, “from garage sales, to housekeeping for neighbors, to pet sitting, to selling roses made out of duct tape.” Parrish’s most successful fundraising so far has come from selling cake balls and makeup products. As more people find out what she is doing, she is making strides toward earning the money for two mission trips. One trip would be to England with the university and the second to Edinburgh, Texas, with the Antioch Church. “The only trouble I’ve had is getting started. Once the ball starts rolling, though, things go incredibly well,” Parrish said. Sophomore nursing and biology major Kia Torres got the idea to raise money for her mission trip to England this summer when her friends began to notice her jewelry. “I get asked a lot where I get my jewelry. I’m like, ‘Oh, I made it,’” Torres said. She then decided to create jewelry and sell it to friends and family. Over the Christmas break, Torres saw a YouTube video on how to create duct tape purses. She decided it was a neat, simple way to make something to sell. She has already raised half of the funds needed for her trip. Junior Christian ministries Jaclynn Koinm plans to go to England this summer as well. However, her tools to raise money differ from Torres’. Rather than using beads and duct tape, Koinm is working with paint, canvas and buttons. “I’m making personalized canvases for people, and I’m selling them for $15,” she said. Koinm wanted to do something innovative. “I wanted to come up with something original that no one was doing,” she said. “I know some people are making jewelry, and I didn’t want to do the same thing.” Koinm estimates that her works have raised around $300. For her, the canvases are more than just a fundraiser. She enjoys being creative, and encourages others to do something they enjoy when trying to raise money for their own mission endevours. “Definitely do what you like to do,” Koinm said. “I think it’s fun to do stuff you enjoy….People like that.” Torres explained that it is not always easy to raise money in creative ways. “It’s hard to actually put in the effort to do it,” she said. Through all of the work, she feels like God has shown her many things, and it has given...

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