Windhover Writers’ Festival to feature best-selling author
Jan29

Windhover Writers’ Festival to feature best-selling author

THE BELLS — The campus will host the Windhover Writers’ Festival this year in early February. English professor Dr. Nathaniel Hansen is the director of the event this year, despite this being only his second year teaching at the university. “I was already serving as the editor of Windhover, and one of the traditions is that people who get work published in the journal are invited to come read at the festival .… We needed someone to direct the festival, so I volunteered to do that.” Hansen has managed to snag a few prestigious authors to speak at the festival and lead workshops. Bestselling author of 14 books, Bret Lott, is the keynote speaker for this year’s event. Aside from being a writer, Lott is a professor at the College of Charleston where he teaches creative writing. He also edits for the nonfiction literary journal Crazyhorse. Lott said he was “delighted and honored” when Hansen asked him to be the main speaker for the festival. “Chances are I’ll be wearing a tie at the event, which is always a big deal for me, and a sport coat, too,” he said. Lott will lead a creative nonfiction workshop for a number of students who registered, and a larger group of people will be able to attend a speech on precision in writing. Lott likes to keep busy when he’s not playing the baritone saxophone for his church orchestra. He loves golf, even though he isn’t very good at it, and enjoys spending time with his grandchildren. Gina Ochsner, an author of short stories, will be another speaker students can look forward to hearing. Ochsner has taught at universities in Russia and has held workshops in Ireland, Lativa, Moldova, Canada and other places in the United States. “I will be talking about tips and tricks writers can use to help themselves out if they ever find themselves ‘stuck’ with a story idea or novel. I’ll share ideas about how to start stories and what to do to keep them rolling,” Ochsner said about her upcoming visit to Belton. She hopes that her presentation will bring students encouragement and a “renewed desire to recreate.” Author Benjamin Myers, a poet, is another one of the speakers at the festival. He is a professor at Oklahoma Baptist University. Myers will read excerpts of his poetry at one of the events. He will also lead a workshop on the craft of writing. “In reading my poems, I hope to move and entertain the audience. I don’t think I could ask for any more than that,” Myers said. Along with the workshops and presentation, Myers will...

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New Miss MHB crowned
Nov20

New Miss MHB crowned

Pageant. “You hear that word, and it’s kind of a negative connotation of like a Toddlers & Tiaras type thing,” junior public relations major and contestant Andrea Hale said. “But the Miss MHB pageant is so different because the focus isn’t on outer beauty. It’s more focused on personal growth.” When the crown was placed on the head of the 2014 Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor, senior music major Linny Mitchell, everyone in attendance learned how important and inspiring personal growth really is. Her talent was singing a mix-up of the songs “Titanium” and “Stay” while playing the piano. She is now focusing on enacting her platform of strengthening faith in family crisis. “I’ve learned so much through my own personal struggle that I’ve gained a serious desire to help others going through similar suffering,” she said. “I’m going to expose my own self. I’ve learned if you share, you can move on. If you hold it in, you can’t.” Using the analogy of a seed to represent how difficult situations can lead to positive outcomes, Mitchell has plans to reach all age groups as she implements her platform and tries to make a lasting impact on the community. “I’m trying to cover the whole spectrum because family crisis affects everyone,” she said. “There’s a huge majority of people who’ve suffered … but no one’s open to talk about it because they feel embarrassed. I want to just be open.” Miss Freedom Movement Lauren Ribera won first runner-up. Miss Junior Class Kayla Upshaw took second runner-up, followed by Miss Senior Class Alyssa Martinez and Miss Cru for Life Kelsey Kunk. Audience members were captivated each night by the 24 young women who competed in the pageant Nov. 8-9. Inspired by the encouragement from Matthew 5:16 to “let your light shine before men,” this year’s theme was Lumiere, meaning light. “It was an opportunity to embrace shining,” Hale said. “We may all be shining our lights in different ways, but we were all coming together for one purpose, which was through the weekend we wanted to glorify God.” Pageant is a seven-week commitment in which contestants represent a campus group or organization. Participants compete in four categories: evening gown, talent, platform speech and interview. “It will test you in the way you think about yourself and the way you present yourself to others,” senior Christian studies/art major Naomi Flores said. “Also, it’s the struggle of submitting yourself to Christ and saying ‘Lord at the end of the day, no matter where I rank, will I trust you in this.’” The first night audience members and judges heard the participants’ platforms and saw...

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Sigma Pi and volunteering: perfect chemistry
Nov20

Sigma Pi and volunteering: perfect chemistry

It was 9 a.m. on a weekend. Why would a bunch of kids and Crusaders wake up so early on their day off? Sigma Pi Chemistry Club says it’s because science is fun. The campus organization hosted an informational event for children in Wells Science Hall Saturday, Nov. 16. As youngsters from the community arrived on campus, they received a pair of goggles and a brochure of all the activities for the day. One demonstration featured a giant bubble, where children were engulfed in a huge soapy ring. Another option was the slime  section, a chemical concoction to get the kids excited.  What child doesn’t love to play with green goop? The favorite of the day was the liquid nitrogen juice and ice cream. Chemistry Club members poured nitrogen into tubs of orange or apple juice, freezing the drinks to create tasty treats. The children enjoyed watching the colorless, odorless smoke crystallize their favorite breakfast drinks. Associate professor Dr. Linda Gao teaches in the College of Sciences and advises Sigma Pi. She helped oversee the planning of Science Saturday. “I hope the kids get a positive message about chemistry from today. It’s a cool way to make people excited about the small things, like the uses of household chemicals you see in daily life,” Gao said. Sigma Pi is made up of chemistry majors and minors but welcomes anyone with a knack for experimenting. The group puts on a variety of events every semester, but Science Saturday is a favorite for members. Senior cell biology major and environmental officer Codi Hammons co-directed the event. She hopes the youngsters left with a better attitude toward science. When Hammons joined the organization her freshman year, she appreciated the work Sigma Pi does for the community, like highway cleanup and educational events like Saturday’s. She encourages students to join their group. She said, “I’ve made a lot of friends through this. Science Saturday is definitely my favorite thing we do.” When Sigma Pi members aren’t volunteering, they have monthly meetings, which include safety lessons, event briefings and, of course, pie. Senior cell biology/bio chemistry major and vice president of the club, Lindsay Leissner, loves seeing what the members bring to meetings. She said, “Last time we met, we had pizza. It  was a pizza pie because we always have to have pie at meetings. It’s so much...

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Chapel speaker shares inspiring story of past struggles
Nov20

Chapel speaker shares inspiring story of past struggles

Sarah Thebarge has a unique story. The soft-spoken cancer survivor, Yale graduate and author made her first trip to Texas from Portland, Ore.,  Nov. 6 to share it with students during chapel. She said, “I missed the day God gave out voices in Heaven.” The distinguishable characteristic had the audience members sitting at the edge of their seats, hanging onto every word that came from the petite woman’s mouth. Thebarge grew up in an Amish community in Pennsylvania where she constantly struggled to overcome social  expectations that limited her as a woman. She attended Yale University and graduated with a master’s degree in medicine. Her next stop was Columbia University to pursue a master’s degree in journalism. While in New York, Thebarge was diagnosed with breast cancer and became very ill. Her lifelong dream of traveling to Africa crumbled apart just as her life seemed to be doing. In the parking lot of Starbucks, her boyfriend of three years broke up with her. Thebarge said, “I wish I could’ve driven cancer to Starbucks and told it ‘we’ve had a good run, but this isn’t working out for me anymore.’” With a broken soul and empty heart, Thebarge thought she was worthless. She bought a one way ticket to Portland, Ore., and landed there with just a suitcase of clothes. On a train, a Somali girl curled up in Thebarge’s lap. She made eye contact with the mother of five girls who turned out to be refugees. Thebarge got their address and visited a few days later. She found the family enduring horrible living conditions. The mother dumpster-dived for food. Many meals consisted of moldy bread and ketchup. They had one blanket to share and inadequate clothing for the winter. Thebarge created a relationship with the Somali family. With the help of her church, she gave them food, clothes and heat. She showed the girls Disney movies. What Thebarge really wanted to give the girls was an opportunity to go to college. Unable to write a check that large, she began turning the blog she had been keeping about the family’s story into a book called Invisible Children. The proceeds would benefit the girls’ college funds. Junior marketing major Joy Watson attended chapel and the question-and-answer session with Thebarge. Watson was most inspired to hear “how Sarah learned to use her past to inspire people.” She said, “It’s a reminder to not let the past get in the way of the future. God uses the broken.” Thebarge is passionate about emphasizing the importance of inner beauty in women. She said, “In fairy tales, women are always waiting to be saved....

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Missions Emphasis Week
Nov06

Missions Emphasis Week

At this point in the semester, students hit a wall as advising, housing and midterms flood the minds of the young scholars, while others work diligently behind the scenes to prepare for them a small breather —Missions Emphasis Week. While planning this annual event, which took place Oct. 21-25, the directors and committee continually strive to stir the hearts of students in more than one way: share Christianity with students and ignite a call to action in believers. “Everyone is called to live like a missionary, even if it’s not overseas,” junior English major and steering committee member Bethany Pittman said. “We wanted to get people involved, (especially) those who did not have a mindset of missions.” The committee’s goal was to expose students on both ends of the spectrum. They did this by urging professors to give missionaries their class period.  As a result, mission workers were scheduled for more than 110 classes before the week began, breaking the campus record, while more were scheduled throughout the week. “We want (students) to connect with missionaries, so this year we really wanted to see the campus get more involved,” junior nursing major and Missions Emphasis Week codirector Joseph Salley said. In addition to in-class discussion, the 40 plus missionaries who strolled the campus last week made their way into several university-wide seminars and various meet-and-greet events. Couples and individuals from every facet of nonprofit mission-based organizations came to tell their story and encourage students to discover their calling. “We share things, but we don’t know what people are going to do,” missionary and co-founder of Volunteer for China, David Wilson, said. “It would be a mistake for me to talk you into going anywhere. You’re just as much a missionary as I am.” Wilson discussed his call for missions with listeners. Both he and his wife, Ann Wilson, worked in professional math and science fields for more than 30 years. Upon retirement, the couple volunteered with various organizations until they founded one of their own. Given their educational background and their retired life status, Wilson described their situation as “ironic.” “I never thought I’d be doing this. I never dreamed that I would be visiting another country or teaching English in China,” he said. Others like Butch and Nell Green, who serve with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as strategic catalyst for Muslim Internationals, found their calling at their university during their college days. Nell praises the work of the Baptist Student Ministry on her campus and understands the importance of it in the lives of UMHB students. “We were grown, nurtured and called through the BSM,” Nell said. “We just...

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Kickball players don crazy costumes for festive game
Nov06

Kickball players don crazy costumes for festive game

The Avengers, Napoleon Dynamite, Crunk and a Whoopee Cushion were all present at the second annual Costume Kickball. Or at least good representations of these iconic characters all came out to the rec fields to compete for the second annual kickball championship. Campus Recreation hosted the event Oct. 31 to help celebrate the Halloween holiday. The event took the popular activity of kickball and combined it with traditional costumes to create an atmosphere of comedy and good sport. “This type of event targets all students, but specifically students who just want to have fun,” Director of Campus Recreation Sue Weaver said. “Students who might not be quite as competitive or athletic might also be attracted to this type of event, so we like to find events that might be attractive to this type student.” Weaver and the campus rec staff have started holding more of these stand-alone events lately in addition to the typical intramural activities. “A lot of students also don’t have the amount of time an intramural league sometimes requires,” she said. “One-night events are also great for them.” Four teams signed up for the kickball tournament: Trans-Am, Suns out Guns out, Here Come the Runs and last but not least SGA, a group comprised of the university’s politicians. Play commenced at 5:30 p.m. and from the outset it was apparent that the teams’ focus was on a good time, not necessarily a flawless kickball performance. The good nature shared between the competitors became obvious at one point when a first baseman toppled over into the mud in a tangle of ostrich and human legs; the victim along with everyone else shared a good laugh. Junior marketing and economics double major Ryan Sewell was dressed as a whoopee cushion when he showed up to play for team SGA. He enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere but was also trying to make some noise in the championship run. “I like that people have some ridiculous costumes and it’s just really laid back and people are having fun,” Sewell said. “I mean I’m trying to get an intramural championship shirt, so once I found out I get a shirt for winning, no holdbacks.” Luckily for Sewell and company they won their first game in dominating fashion, getting their chance to play for a kickball title. In the championship game, SGA got off to a quick 8-0 lead. For a while it looked like SGA would run away with the game, but Suns Out Guns Out wasn’t going to go away without a fight. In the bottom of the seventh inning Suns Out Guns Out finally got their offense going kicking off...

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