Student serves with man’s best friend
Nov15

Student serves with man’s best friend

By Nicole Johnson Thousands of Pentagon employees returned to work on Sept. 13, 2001, with the horrific events of 9/11 still haunting their minds. The day began with a bomb threat that prompted an emergency evacuation of the building. Worried and nervous personnel feared another terrorist attack and quickly vacated the premises, but former Army staff sergeant and current UMHB history education major Martin Lowrey did the opposite. He and his K-9 comrade, Kiko, fearlessly headed toward the hallway of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s office, which was the suspected location of the bomb. “You (could) just smell the pungency of the burnt building,” he said. “Because where the plane went in, it wasn’t far from that area. I went over, search the hallway with Kiko, didn’t get a response from Kiko. EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) came through, did their clearance thing, and the Pentagon was cleared.” Lowrey was a military police dog handler and Kiko was his 6-year-old, highly trained German shepherd partner. On that particular day, their assignment was to report to the Pentagon to search for explosive devices in the already heavily damaged complex. Through the years, this dynamic duo of man and dog often found themselves in or around historical events. As a lover of history, Lowrey jokes about their experiences. “Sometimes I feel like the Forrest Gump of the Military Police Corps. Just like the scenes in Forrest Gump, he was always at those spots in history.” Two months after the Pentagon assignment, Lowrey and Kiko were assigned to the security team for the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Tensions rose as another plane crashed near the location of where the General Assembly convened. It was suggested that this was another act of terrorism targeting the U.N. “Everybody was on pins and needles because they weren’t sure if it was another attack,” he said. “Everybody, from Secret Service, Department of State and me included.” Sophomore history major Erin Goolsby, an aspiring historian, was impressed with Lowrey’s accomplishments. She said, “I think it’s a really cool that he’s been involved in so many things because you don’t meet a lot of people that have been all over the place like that.” Senior communication major Chris Collins recalls an experience working with him while the two were assigned on Fort Hood. “As an investigator and having to follow up on possible drug cases, I frequently coordinated with military working dogs and their handlers,” he said. “We had (Lowrey’s) dog search a home for illegal substances on post because the residents lived in filth, and neighbors suspected they might be doing drugs.” To become a handler,...

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Master plan calls for changes in parking
Nov15

Master plan calls for changes in parking

A convenient parking space is not something easy to come by on most college campuses. Now, with the university’s master plan first stages beginning construction, a parking place might be a little harder for UMHB students to find, as well. “During this first phase of construction that’s going to impact parking this fall, we’re going to lose about 110 parking spaces,” Chief of Police Gary Sargent said. “We’re encouraging individuals to park over by Presser Hall, and there’s an abundance of parking that was more than adequate to replace that number of spaces.” Sargent realizes losing the parking places is going to affect students getting to class but suggests they be aware of the extra time it might take them to get to class and prepare for that in advance. He said, “If you schedule your classes from 9 a.m. till about 12 or 1 p.m., parking on campus is going to be at or near capacity during those hours. The later you get into the day, especially those mid- morning hours, it becomes more congested.” Though parking lots are being closed to prepare for construction, plans for new parking lots have been in place from the beginning of the master plan. “We’ve done a good job of making it a needs-based plan. We can’t design a parking facility where everyone parks at the front door, but we can hopefully get you close to the building you are going to be in. We’re really trying to factor in student desires,” Sargent said. The plans for parking lots are already set, including building new lots along University Drive between Burt and McLane halls, and eventually along Crusader Way, but the university would appreciate feedback from students. Sargent said, “I would encourage students to make their voices heard as far as what their expectations are and their view of transportation on campus. You have to understand where the university is going, but with that in mind, what is it we can do collectively to make this an ideal situation for folks across campus?” Junior psychology major Hailey Loftis understands the university is in a period of transition and is keeping an open mind about the changes coming to campus. She said, “I think it could probably affect us in the long run because they will be gone so students will have to do more walking. It’s not really a big deal, but it’s probably less convenient.” Loftis recognizes the importance of the nursing program at the university and the need for new facilities to support the growing department. “There are so many people here who do nursing. I think it will...

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Christmas: all about the presence
Nov15

Christmas: all about the presence

By Katie Maze As the holidays approach, on-campus organizations aren’t wasting any time preparing a joyful holiday experience for the less fortunate. The Spanish Club held its second annual Salsa Night to collect items and spread awareness for Operation Christmas Child, a project created by Samaritan’s Purse to send shoe boxes filled with toys, school supplies and necessities for children in impoverished countries around the world. “We created this event to share the culture with a salsa class. It ended up being a mixture of cultural awareness, gathering toys and, of course, having fun,” said Director for the Spanish club Dr. Rubi Ugofsky-Mendez as she stood in the middle of the whirling crowd inside Shelton Theater.  “Just to make sure we contribute to somebody’s Christmas is thrilling.” Coincidentally, the same day, Nov. 1, was a prominent Mexican holiday, Dia de Los Muertos, celebrated by remembering deceased loved ones through food, dancing and altars designed to remember them. This year’s patron was Elvis. “We needed someone dead,” said Vice President Mariana Jauregui. “The altar is something that people do to honor the dead. They can put pictures or anything that reminds them of their relatives.  We used Elvis as an example with his pictures because, well, who doesn’t know and love Elvis?” The energy, laughter and mutual embarrassment shared by those who were brave enough to participate in the dance lesson created a friendly atmosphere for the task at hand. Ugofsky-Mendez said this year is her first time to be involved with the operation, although the club has a startling 15-year run with OCC. “We couldn’t do it without the support of the department,” she said. “They are so supportive and busy doing whatever needs to be done. I have a feeling this year will be a great success.” The Spanish Club, however, is not alone in its efforts. For the past three years, the women’s basketball team has packed and distributed boxes to local collection sites in Belton. This year, Head Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thorton said the team wanted to involve the rest of the school. “I love the simplicity of what you can do to provide for and meet the needs for ‘the least of these.’ It’s not just a chance for a community service project for us, but it’s a chance to reach out a little bit beyond the borders we could normally reach.” Kirkpatrick-Thorton explained that this time of year is an important experience and highlight for team members to bond with each other off the basketball court. “It gives them a chance to get to know each other on a personal level and to help those...

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United Way, a different way to serve
Nov15

United Way, a different way to serve

For students interested in cultivating and improving Belton, the campus chapter of United Way of Central Texas may be what they are looking for. Mary Beth Kelton, a graduate student studying for a master’s in business, is Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the organization. “We are a safety net for the local community,” she said. “United Way of Central Texas agencies provide aid in family, crisis, support, youth and specialized services.  Each year it funds 27 local social service agencies that provide over 200,000 services to our family, neighbors and friends.” The agency focuses on long-term results rather than quick fixes. “We work together with the community to find lasting solutions to better people’s lives. We do that through promotion of education and common health,” Kelton said. “Without a good education, you can’t get a good job to help provide for your family. Without a good job, you don’t get good health care.” Freshman psychology and Christian ministry major Krystal Draper is president of the group. Upon arriving on campus, she was overcome by all of the ways to serve, but after searching, United Way seemed to be the perfect fit for her. “When I got here … it was so overwhelming because there were so many different things to get plugged into,” Draper said. What initially attracted her to the United Way group was its openness. “I liked that it is just so up in the air, and we really are trusting God to move forward in it. It’s so new, and we want to do so much and have people that really like being involved. It really gives you a voice about what you want to do and how you want to serve,” she said. Freshman international business major Seth Stephens operates as treasurer for the branch on campus. The opportunity to not only build relationships with the younger children, but to also be a role model to them  appealed to Stephens. “One of the things we are doing, is there is Wildcat mentor program in Temple where you go and be a mentor for a fifth-grade student. That really appealed to me because I have done that before,” he said. A community­-wide coat drive will be held Nov. 18 at Bodega Bean from 7-10 p.m. “Bring coats,” Stephens said. Students interested in joining can contact Kelton at 254-778-8616. Kelton said, “I felt it was very important for students here to get involved because there is already such a base for serving on campus. I wanted them to be involved with United Way. It is a great way to serve. The university already had a serving mentality,...

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Music department adds classes to the curriculum

Over the course of the past semester, very many changes have occurred within the music department. Associate Professor and music department chair Mark Humphrey came to the university from the West Coast at the beginning of the semester. After living in California for 11 years, Humphrey was ready to come back to his Southern roots and bring his knowledge and expertise to share with the campus. “I had been looking for a position like this where I could guide a department,” Humphrey said. “I really wanted to take us into pop culture and pop music, but also a new direction just in terms of relevance in a lot of different areas.” Students in the department are very excited about the new ideas which are being added to the program. “The changes that have happened in the music department over the last year have been phenomenal,” junior church music and music education major Cameron Roucloux said. A new choral director last year, helped jump-start the many changes that would be taking place. “Dr. Michelle Rouche, breathed life back into the department and the students,” he said. “She brings such a passion and demand of excellence to the department and sets the bar high with all of us.” A few of the new things that have happened this semester are classes have been added to the curriculum for music majors, the addition of a band to One Voice, new iMac lab, new classroom training and experience and more use of social media. Students outside of the music department are happy about the changes and think it will enhance the department. “Even though I’m an education major, I think all the additions to the program are great. They were in need of some updating, and I’m happy they have received them,” junior elementary education major Meredith Davis said. Humphrey is working on instituting more things he is passionate about. “A lot of my work has also been in film, television and Christianity in culture. I’m hoping to help a conversation about … faith and culture, especially the arts, and how those things interact,” he said. Humphrey wanted to bring more of the current culture and time into the education that music majors will now be able to  receive. “Dr. Humphrey is all about no separation between the arts, Christianity and culture and receiving an education that allows you to be well versed in the academic aspects of music,” Roucloux said, “and also being able to relate that to what is current in our culture and our music world is something you can’t put a price on.” One thing that Humphrey wants to...

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SUB now keeps later hours, offers better Wi-Fi access

By Jake Stamps The SUB is now open 24/7 as of Oct. 31. Students will have more reliable Wi-Fi access as well as the option to hang out with friends or study in the early morning hours. With the help of the Student Government Association and Vice President for Student Life Dr. Bryon Weathersbee, a bill was passed to have the SUB open around the clock. “This will allow students to have a place to go, but students still need to be responsible and take care of the area. Be the school’s eyes,” Weathersbee said. As the news hit campus, students were happy with the decision. Sophomore Spanish major Collin Davies is a member of the university’s Student Government Association. “This change is the result of students expressing their desires to SGA and letting us take initiative and explore the routes necessary to accomplish the goal,” he said. This is a great example for students to learn how they can influence decisions on campus.” Sophomore accounting major Katie Fuqua pulled an all-night study session with friends. “We had an exam the following day, and we needed to make sure we would get an A. We all met up and studied till around 5 a.m. We then went to Starbucks right before the test. It was one long night, but we all passed, so it was definitely worth it,” she said. Sophomore education major Jordyn Russell and junior nursing major Whitney Almond agreed that the new hours will help not only them but other students as well. “Since the SUB will now be open at all hours, it will be more convenient for students to have somewhere to go after the library closes. The SUB is also a really good place to go, whether it’s to get together to study or to just hang out. I have hung out at the SUB before and plan to go back more often with these new hours,” Russell said. Almond agrees. “This is great for everyone and will allow people to hang out at all times. This will also allow everyone to have better access to socialize and/or study,” she said. Freshman business management major T.J. Kittrell also likes the new hours and easy Internet accessibility. “I will enjoy having the SUB open 24/7 because it will not only give me a better opportunity but other students a place to talk to friends or study. Having this new schedule will help everybody because it will allow those students who have conflicts with their schedule a chance to go to the SUB,” he said. “The SUB is also a great place for reliable Wi-Fi....

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