Art department to turn overpass into canvas
Nov16

Art department to turn overpass into canvas

What began as a small design drawn with pencil on newsprint will soon decorate a much larger canvas adjacent to campus. The art department has undertaken the task of painting a mural on the empty, gray, concrete wall beside University Drive at the rear entrance to campus. The wall is part of Loop 121, and it stands on the side of the road directly beneath the overpass. Overseeing the project will be Hershall Seals, chair of the art department, a man who has experience with paintings of this magnitude. He oversaw the creation of the enormous fish mural painted by UMHB art students on the side of Belton Dam in 2000. “The mural will be like a ‘Hi, how are you’ when you drive onto campus,” Seals said. The main entrance to campus is decorated with signs, emblems and purple and gold flowers in full bloom, but the Sports Plex is all that occupies the back entrance. The mural will add a big splash of color to beautify that side to the university. Seals accepted the task from senior Vice President for Administration Dr. Steve Theodore, who originally proposed the idea. The overpass has become a white board for eager vandals who have placed their stamps, some very off-color, on the cold concrete. “I drive to work that way, and I see the graffiti on the wall sometimes,” he said. “I thought it would be a great idea if we had something that represented our university there.” Theodore approached Seals with the idea, which he accepted without hesitation. Because Loop 121 is a state road, Theodore needed to obtain permission from the state before doing anything to alter it. He presented the idea to officials from the City of Belton as well, even though their approval was not required. The officials in Belton loved the idea, and they immediately helped receive the required permission from the state. All the legalities have been met, but before paint touches the wall, Seals and his students must first decide what they want the finished product to look like. Junior art major Joanne Cervantes painted a watercolor design for the mural. “Hershall drew up a sketch in class of what he had envisioned, and I took it home and painted the design with the letters, flowers and arches,” she said. The design is full of bright colors, but besides adding cheer, the mural could be a way to reduce the graffiti, that often appears on the wall. Drafting on the concrete is slated to begin this semester and painting could start as early as January. [poll...

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Roommates bake up business plan: Viva La Cupcake
Nov16

Roommates bake up business plan: Viva La Cupcake

Traveling on the road of success and failure is considered a risk for many, but a pair of UMHB students push forward with the challenge. Senior business administration major Ricardo Santos and his roommate, senior visual communication major Casey Gaffney, recently started a baking service called Viva La Cupcake. The two combined talents for the business. “I’ve always been more of a cook,” he said. Santos prefers to be in the kitchen than at a desk. His desire for baking started in his own apartment, but school remains a top priority. “It’s kind of at a standstill right now just cause I’m really worried about graduating more than starting my business,” he said. About four months ago while Santos was baking, Viva La Cupcake brewed in the minds of him and his roommate. Gaffney described what it was like to taste Santos’ cupcakes for the first time. “I took a bite of it (and) I was like, ‘Dude we can do something with this. Why don’t we start our own cupcake business?’” he said. Gaffney came up with the name of the business, which started out as a joke. “We were just trying to think of something catchy and something kind of manly,” he said. Other than creating the company name, Gaffney suggests flavors to Santos and acts as “taste man.” He will be printing shirts with the business logo on them and selling them soon. Viva La Cupcake offers various flavors of cupcakes, such as chocolate, dark chocolate, piña colada, pineapple and strawberry. The entrepreneurs aim to create diverse flavors. “We just try to stay away from the normal cupcake,” Gaffney said. “So (we) try to mix it up a bit (and) give the customers something they haven’t tasted before.” Santos desires to make cupcakes to his customers’ liking, which is the idea he wants to promote for his business. A single cupcake of standard size costs $1.50, and a dozen are about $18, but Santos says prices vary depending on size and quantity. He tries to make the prices reasonable, but he also does not want to lose money. Senior nursing major Carly Meraviglia bought a cupcake from Santos once and believes his little cakes are “top notch” and reasonably priced. “I think it is great that a student is stepping out and using his talents to start a creative business,” she said. Meraviglia encourages other students to try the cupcakes. “I hope people get the word out,” she said. Meraviglia found out about the business through Santos’ girlfriend, Lindsay Adam, who helps by decorating cupcakes and suggesting ideas. Santos continues working on designs and flavors. He...

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Chemistry club plays with explosives
Nov02

Chemistry club plays with explosives

The crowd reacted in unison. Gasps filled the air much like the bright light that blasted through the dark amphitheater. Suddenly, the faces of the chemistry students and audience alike were no longer hidden by darkness. Sparks and fire are not cause for alarm, however. These are professionals. Or at least they will be in a few years. Chemistry students wowed the packed outdoor venue again this year with Demos in the Dark Oct. 19 and 20. The dark outdoor setting is perfect to display the drama of chemical reactions. “We were looking for a way to celebrate National Chemistry week,” Dean of the College of Sciences and Humanities Dr. Darrell Watson said. He has overseen the program since it began in 1992. He also is the emcee. “We came up with the idea of doing these demonstrations out in the amphitheater where we could do fires and explosions like we couldn’t do in the building,” Watson said, “Sometimes I think it is just an excuse for me to blow things up.” Sophomore biology and chemistry major Quy Nguyen jumped at the opportunity to help out. “It’s a show we put on for kids and students every year to show how chemistry can be fun,” he said. “We had a lot of reactions to do, so I wanted to help. It was really fun to show off chemistry.” Sponsored by chemistry honor society Sigma Pi, the event showcased experiments with a variety of chemicals. The community was invited for both nights of the performance. Price of admission was a canned good to be donated to Hope for the Hungry. In total, the audience gave 613 pounds of food. The Heart of Texas section of the American Chemical Society, the chemistry department and the Science Education Resource Center also helped sponsor the event. Dr. Watson does demos every week for local schools. Just as in the lab, not everything went as expected. The presenters practiced intensely to perfect their demonstrations, but glitches happened. Nguyen had some issues with his exploding can at Thursday’s performance. “Even though we practiced the experiments, it’s not 100 percent sure it will happen every time,” he said. “On Tuesday it worked perfectly. Thursday something happened, and I had to readjust it. I had to do a speed fix.” The can was just one of many fire-filled experiments. Senior chemistry major Michelle Del’Homme dealt with perhaps the most frightening display. Explosive magnesium turned iron oxide potassium permagangene into pure molten lava in one of her experiments. The flames were so large she leaped away from the blast. The novice smelter enjoyed being a part of the...

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Longboarders carve pavement
Oct19

Longboarders carve pavement

Combine some great friends and one extreme hobby. These ingredients make up the longboarding crew. The group consists of Jeff Mooney, Ryan Ledlow, Chris Whitehead, Pancho Gutierrez, Matt Day, Kevin Ramirez and Ty Humphries and others. The guys can be found riding most often in parking lots at night, where they maneuver their boards with grace and the occasional spill. The longboarders are not in an official club, but they are a group who know how to have fun. They ride all over campus and even at nearby parks. Senior management major Jeff Mooney enjoys longboarding because it replicates surfing. “It’s different from skateboarding because the board is built for higher speeds,” he said. “It’s more about fluid movement, like surfing or wakeboarding, than about kick tricks.” Mooney grew up in Houston but has lived on the beach in Surfside, near Galveston, for much of his life. He started longboarding when he was a freshman in high school. He and his friends liked to surf, but when the waves were flat, they took to longboards. “It’s fun to go down a huge hill and get the rush,” Mooney said. Longboarding can be dangerous, though, because higher velocities mean harder falls. Mooney has broken his wrist and injured his knee. His favorite trick is to “hang ten” on the longboard. To do this, he hangs his toes over the front of the board, as in surfing. Senior marketing and economics major Ryan Ledlow’s favorite trick to do is sliding. “It’s a 180-degree spin where we put our hands on the ground and twist the board around,” he said. Ledlow rides on a trick board that is shorter than most others and made specifically for sliding. After a bad case of road rash, Ledlow advocates wearing protective gear. He has a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and gloves. He also tries to wear long pants and long sleeves to provide extra padding on his extremities. He and other members of the group used super glue to attach cutting boards to their gloves. This helps protect their hands from getting shredded while sliding. Ledlow feels the time is a great opportunity to be around his classmates. “I like being outside and enjoying time with my friends,” Ledlow said. Senior finance major Chris Whitehead has been riding for two years. “Longboarding is like surfing or snowboarding on land,” he said. Whitehead’s favorite thing to do on a longboard is “bombing” hills. “(It’s) where you pick up speed and ride down a really steep hill,” he said. Some of the hills the longboarding group regularly ride are near Parker and Davidson, Whitehead said. He...

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Cru all on board for new sailing club
Oct05

Cru all on board for new sailing club

The commodore begins each session by quizzing his new sailors on the different parts of the boat. Asking questions about the boom vang, the different uses of the term ‘tack’ and which direction the wind is blowing. First time sailors soak in the new vocabulary and eagerly await the opportunity to sail by themselves. The water shimmers under the setting sun. The waves beat gently against the side of the laser and the small fleet of sailboats head out of the marina into the wind. These students call themselves the UMHB CruSailors. They are a new organization on campus who share a common passion for learning the art of sailing. Under the leadership of Lake Belton Yacht Club commodore Charlie Daniel, students are learning the terms and craft of sailing Olympic class one person racing boats (Lasers), Collegiate Performance 420 board-boats and Daniel’s personal Elite 37 racer/cruiser.  He is eager to teach students the fundamentals of sailing in hopes of preparing them for regattas (boat races). “You never know how much fun sailing can be until you’ve tried it a couple times,” Daniel said. “You should complete at least four or five sailing lessons before you decide if you want to invest your time in this sport.” Junior international business major Tobin Davies was given the title UMHB commodore. He founded the CruSailors last semester because he was interested in learning more about water sports. After researching many different options he decided that he wanted to bring sailing on campus.  From the drafting of the constitution to the recruiting of members for the club, Davies is learning right along with the other students. He enjoys being out on the water and wants to take advantage of the nearby lake. “Surrounded by cliffs, Lake Belton is one of the most beautiful lakes that I have seen in Central Texas … It is about three miles away from campus, yet many students do not get to enjoy the beauty and potential for recreation that it has,” he said. Daniel, along with the Lake Belton Yacht Club, wanted to partner with UMHB to form a sailing group. They have set aside funds to purchase more collegiate boats and reduced the cost of the yearly membership fee to $50 in hopes of allowing students the opportunity to sail and enjoy the lake. Junior cell biology major Keaton Koch has sailed twice with the club and thinks it’s the perfect outlet for anyone with an adventurous spirit. “Our instructor (Daniel) was really good about teaching us all about the boat and how to get started. He let us learn by experience and by coaching...

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Internationals embrace new country; resist homesickness with familiar food, traditions
Oct05

Internationals embrace new country; resist homesickness with familiar food, traditions

Swarming crowds of students disperse, drifting to their nests. Parking lots become vacant and the quad rests from scurrying feet. It’s Friday afternoon, indicating time to travel home for the weekend — a luxury international students lack. They simply learn to cope. Senior management major Will Wang is not troubled by the distance between him and his home in China. “Actually, I don’t miss my parents very much. I can skype. I can call them. But my mom — she (misses) me,” he said. Wang went to the University of China and lived in a dorm for four years before coming to UMHB. He said he’s used to being away from home.  Occasionally, Wang misses his family and when he does it’s usually during the weekend or holidays. “Sometimes I imagine … my community so I just feel the environment — the trees, the road, the beauty,” he said. Among the things Wang longs for is the food distinct to his culture. Freshman management major Cynthia Huang can attest to that. “My country’s food has a different kind of style,” she said. Huang is from Taiwan and continues to cook meals customary to her country. Another distinction that Huang noticed when she came to UMHB was Belton’s location. “It’s countryside. Before, I lived in the city. It’s totally different,” she said. Though Belton is not the community Huang is accustomed to, she and her parents view it as an opportunity to discover more in life. “I can learn how to be independent here because I have to make everything for myself,” she said. Sometimes Huang gets homesick but consoles herself by speaking words of encouragement. “I will tell myself here is a new experience,” she said. Huang wants to embrace the environment she has now by getting to know other students who do not speak her language. “I try to tell myself don’t be shy and speak with American people and make friends,” she said. Because English is not Huang’s first language, she said she is uncertain of how to make friends here. She is not sure about topics that amuse Americans when trying to spark up conversations. Not all international students are seeking degrees at UMHB. Gabriel Duran is from Columbia and taking English as a second language classes. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering but came to America specifically to learn English. “This has been a great opportunity for me,” he said. Duran arrived in January and will return home in December. He has a wife and an 8-year-old waiting for him in Columbia. “It’s hard because it’s one year without them,” he said. He...

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