Record number of students marks spring semester

Sophomore public relations major Leah Bunker came all the way from Iowa to attend college at UMHB. One visit to campus convinced her it was the right place to finish her college education. Bunker enrolled in the spring, becoming part of a record spring enrollment of 3,049 for the university. “I decided to come to UMHB because I really connected with the Christian atmosphere,” she said. “I’m from a small town, so I’m more comfortable with a small school. I didn’t want to go to a university where I would be one of hundreds in my classes.” Although the college has been consistently growing, the administration wants to ensure that it does not grow too fast too soon. Monitoring development and expansion helps keep student-to-teacher ratios low, which is a selling point. “UMHB is a place where students can come and grow spiritually while receiving a great education,” Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Dr. Gary Lamm said. “UMHB is no longer the best kept-secret in Texas.  The word is out about the personal attention we provide, the beautiful campus and new facilities being built….” The small community feel is one thing that was so attractive to Bunker. A campus tour quickly showed her the college she wanted to be a part of. “I actually visited campus this past summer in August, and right away I knew that this is where I wanted to go to finish college,” Bunker said. “Honestly, UMHB is a much nicer environment than where I was previously, so I decided to transfer as soon as I could.” Administration keeps a strong focus on making the campus look appealing to prospective students as well as current Crusaders. “I can’t tell you how many people drive on our campus and they come to our recruiting office, and the first thing they say to the recruiting people (is), ‘wow when I walked on campus, I just felt a peace here. This place is beautiful,’” Senior Vice President for Administration and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Steve Theodore said. “It’s an attractive place to be, so when people visit the campus and then compare us to other places, I think we fare pretty well.” This semester marks the first time spring enrollment has exceeded 3,000. The campus master plan is another object contributing to the growth taking place. “When they see that we’re building a football stadium and a new student center and a new art building and a new nursing building, those things drive excitement and make people want to be a part of it,” Theodore said. Bunker is excited to be a part of a changing and...

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Crusaders display ‘Passion’ for Christ
Jan29

Crusaders display ‘Passion’ for Christ

More than 25 Crusaders joined 60,000 other college students and gathered at the Dome in Atlanta, Ga.. to worship a sovereign God with one voice. Louie Giglio started Choice Ministries in 1985, designed for students at Baylor University. After serving there for several years, he and his wife relocated to Atlanta, where the Passion Conference was born with the goal of awakening people in the nation “to the reality of a glorious God,” as Giglio described it. Now this humble effort has spread across the globe and climaxed with a world tour. Crusaders traveled from Belton to the peach state to attend Passion 2013 this year Jan. 1-4. Sophomore education major Sarah Payne has been to Passion three times, but continues to learn new lessons from each experience. “God teaches me something different every year.… That’s why I go. The last two years, the conference has been about human trafficking,” she said. Along with Giglio, other speakers included John Piper, Francis Chan and Judah Smith. Christian rapper, Lecrae; singer, Beth Moore; and band, Jesus Culture provided worship for the huge crowd. Together, these influential people spoke out against sexual slavery and inspired audiences to join the movement. Sophomore nursing major Ali Dennis found one girl’s story especially impacting. “On the second night, they showed a video about a girl who had been sold into the sex trade in her early teens and told the story of her rescue and recovery,” she said. Little did they know, the same young woman was in the Dome that night. “The interviewer made a comment about how big and beautiful the girl’s smile was, and the girl told him it hasn’t always been that way. That was such a breathtaking moment. I looked around and saw people in tears…. It makes the goal of Passion beautiful and real.” Each day, students attended three large group sessions with worship, two small group collaborations and one break for lunch. Sophomore psychology major Andrew Alvarez felt the strain of the rigorous schedule but was spiritually renewed by the end of the week. “My favorite part was when Louie Giglio talked about how God can do immeasurably more through us. That really hit home for me because I sometimes doubt what I can do, and what God’s purpose is for me,” he said. Alvarez also discovered the reality of a sovereign God. “I feel like I’m not gifted to do it. But it’s a reminder to me that God put me here to do immeasurably more. When I doubt myself, God doesn’t doubt me.” Payne enjoyed the worship that preceded the sermons. “Jesus Culture was definitely my...

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New campus infrastructure in the works
Jan29

New campus infrastructure in the works

As UMHB and the town it calls home continue to grow, construction projects are under way to facilitate the spike in traffic and population. One place where change is visible is across the train tracks from Crusader Way where the new location of the Center for Physical Plant Operations will be. Senior Vice President for Campus Planning Edd Martin is happy about this move. “As far as the university is concerned, it will allow us to relocate the physical plant from their current location providing them much needed new space,” he said. “It will allow us to aggregate storage from across campus and pull all of Physical Plant personnel into one location.” According to the campus master plan released Feb. 15, 2011, there will be space for more campus improvement. This will allow for new parking lots around the perimeter of the campus and use of current parking areas in the center of campus for more buildings and walkways. The center’s new location will offer nearly 56,000 square feet of room for offices, workspaces and storage. Martin expects the offices to be moved at the end of the semester. “The roadway should be finished in February. We don’t expect to move the physical plant personnel and operations into their new location until May 2013,” he said. The plant’s relocation is possible through the university’s purchase of an industrial complex. The construction that is visible from Crusader Way will allow for easy access to the new office block. Associate Vice President for Campus Planning Bob Pattee is excited to see the progress on the much needed complex. “This project will provide a new private access road to the old Superior Chair Craft manufacturing facility, which will become the new location for the physical plant,’ he said. “The alternate route would be via Main Street, or Loop 121 to the Belton Industrial Park.” Pattee also said it will have a positive effect on Belton at large. “This new route will provide quick and easy access and keep university traffic off Main Street & loop 121,” he said. Development of the roadway has been underway for almost a month, but has experienced some setbacks. Pattee said, “Construction on the road began approximately three weeks ago and has been delayed by weather.” He is hopeful that the project will be complete by early spring. “Once the road is completed, fences and utilities will need to be installed.  Total project should complete by the end of March,” Pattee said. As the physical plant reaps the benefits of the current construction, a project that would benefit Belton at large continues to brew as it has...

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Festival to feature renowned writers
Jan29

Festival to feature renowned writers

The annual Writer’s Festival hosted by the literary journal Windhover is right around the corner. Once again, students, faculty and staff will get the opportunity to participate in workshops, keynote sessions and readings by select artists. The line-up of events begins Feb. 6. Assistant Professor of English Dr. Jessica Hooten made note of the success of last year’s Writer’s Festival and the surprisingly positive student reactions. She hopes for the same outcome again. “I think most students were surprised at how much they enjoyed the festival. Many of them attend for extra credit and then find themselves attending more than one session because they really love the writers,” she said. Some of the guest speakers for this year’s event include Ron Hansen, Leslie Leyland Fields and Andrea Dilley. Hansen is the author of The Assassination of Jesse James, which has a film adaption starring Brad Pitt. In addition to being a fisherwoman, Fields is a Christian writer who has published a total of eight books. Dilley is the author of the memoir Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of  Doubt. She is also a documentary film producer with work airing on American Public Television. Most of the same events, like Open Mic Night, will return this year, but some changes have been made in order to give students a chance to interact with the guest artists. Hooten said, “This year Chapel will co-host one of our writers, so more students will have the opportunity to encounter the great speakers we bring to campus. Also, all of the events will occur during the week, again to give more students more chances to see writers,” A few other surprises will be in store for attendees. “The Sigma Tau Delta society will have a time to lunch with our keynotes, which has never been provided before. Finally, there is a free concert with Lamar Stockton that I think the students will love,” Hooten said. Senior Christian studies and psychology double major and student assistant for the Writer’s Festival, Laura Phipps, attended last year for academic credit. She sat through most of the poetry sessions and found them to be interesting. This time around, she is excited for one special event in particular. “Probably hearing Lamar Stockton play. I really enjoy him. But in regards to literature and the Writer’s Festival, I’m excited to listen to memoirs by Andrea Dilley. She has some interesting pieces that we’ve got to look at, and I’m excited to meet Leslie Fields. She seems really fun, eccentric and outgoing,” she said. Assistant Professor of English and editor of the Windhover Dr....

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Love endures winding road to recovery
Jan29

Love endures winding road to recovery

Less than a month after her boyfriend’s deployment to Afghanistan, a Facebook message brought junior political science major Loren Cowan news she didn’t expect to receive during a day at the mall with her mom. He was wounded. “I literally fell to the ground and was crying,” she said. “That’s all I remember.” Cowan met Spc. Michael Crawford in October 2011 through a friend, sophomore social work major Maelee McCalley. “They just connected,” McCalley said. “There was something about the other that they were drawn to.” In December, just weeks into Crawford’s deployment, a roadside bomb struck the vehicle he was traveling in, killing three, and leaving Crawford with a severe injury to his spinal cord, which threatened his mobility. Though Cowan received word from Crawford’s father, she knew little of his condition or what could be done. “This was all new to me, the whole Army thing.” She said. “I just didn’t know what to do.” And while their relationship was still new, Cowan didn’t considered giving up on it, before or after the injury. “I never knew how close we were going to get. I had barely known this boy, and then I felt like I was in this huge commitment, but never once in the entire thing did I ever feel like I was going to break up with him or leave him,” she said. “People were, like, you could have taken the easy way out and left because you’ve only known him for two months, but that never crossed my mind.” McCalley, whose husband was deployed with Crawford, admired this mindset in her friend. “They didn’t know each other for a terribly long amount of time, and in the Army it is common for a soldier to deploy and their significant other to leave them, but not Loren,” McCalley said. “She is a one of a kind girl.” On New Year’s Day 2012, Crawford returned to Texas to continue the road toward recovery in San Antonio, where Cowan traveled to be by his side nearly every weekend. Doctors had warned of potential paralysis, but even in the early days when little was known, Cowan remained hopeful. “They never said he was going to walk or not going to walk, but I felt like he would,” she said. Today, with the help of braces, Crawford is able to do just that in his therapy sessions. But even with the progress, the journey has been full of many ups and downs. “The recovery process has been just a roller coaster ride to say the very least,” he said. “There are some weeks that I progress very quickly,...

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Fair promotes social work jobs
Jan29

Fair promotes social work jobs

The Social Work Fair this past Friday gave social work majors the opportunity to look for an internship that will be completed during their  senior year. Professor of social work and field director, Susan Hutchinson, is in charge of the annual event. “It is about the opportunity for students to see the selection that we have regarding their year-long field internship. So they’ll be coming into their internships in the fall, and they’ll do two semesters,” she said. Seventeen agencies were present at the fair for prospective interns to see where they might consider working during their year-long study. “The field instructors that will be supervising the students come and have their booths, and the incoming students walk around and that way they are able to learn about the agency as well as meet their prospective field instructors,” Hutchinson said. Junior social work major, Anjail Arthur, was thinking of working with the Bell County Social Work Program for the Mental Health  Indigent Defense. “I am looking at all the agencies to see what’s out there. I want to work in the prison system with the inmates that are getting ready to go back into society and the reintegration process,”                 Arthur said. Prospective interns were not the only ones at the fair. Some students who are currently interns were also present. Senior social work major Chelsea Owens was at the fair representing the agency where she is doing her internship. “I’m interning with the Children’s Advocacy Center in Belton, and I have a CASA case where I advocate for the rights of the child in court,” Owens said. She observes forensic interviews and has also been able to help with group therapy for children who have been sexually abused. “I love it. If I could go every day, I would. I chose where I wanted to do my internship after interviewing at three places,” she said. While this is only an internship, Owens has an idea of what she would like to do with her major after graduation. “I hope to work with abused children whether that is with CPS or being a guardian ad litem for the county,” she said. Owens also gave some good advice for students who are looking for an internship related to social work. She said, “Pray about it and go somewhere you are passionate about. If you’re not passionate about helping the people you’re working with, it won’t be enjoyable going 16 hours a...

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