Preventing sexual assault has become a priority for colleges
Nov07

Preventing sexual assault has become a priority for colleges

After the attack on a student near campus Oct. 3, sexual assault has been a topic on many students’ minds. Since then UMHB has joined the national conversation as government and university officials work to combat the issue.   “Sexual assault is one of the most under-reported, underrepresented crimes,” says Suzanne Armour, director of Families in Crisis, an organization that provides support services in Bell County.   “It’s an intimate crime that many don’t want to talk about.”   Every two minutes, another American is sexually assaulted, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey. The problem is not limited to dark alleyways or empty parking lots.   College campuses across the country are hotspots for attack with an assault happening once every 21 hours on campus grounds, according to a National College Health Risk Behavior Survey.   The recent assault took place near campus with the suspect representing himself as a police officer by wearing a black pull-over shirt with the word “police” on it and a baseball cap with a police badge on it.   “Generally, all UMHB officials wear a police uniform and are not dressed as the suspect in this case,” UMHB Officer Gary Sargent wrote in an email to students. “All police officers are required to carry an identification card …You should feel comfortable in asking to see an officer’s identification. If you would like an escort on campus, contact the UMHB Police Department at 295-5555,” Sargent said.   Many students are wary of attacks by strangers, but researchers say in 90 percent of cases survivors knew their perpetrators. The epidemic particularly affects college women; an estimated one in four women will experience rape or attempted rape during her academic career. According to the National Institute of Justice, about half of attacks against college women happen in the context of a party or date.   UMHB has several resources for students to report sexual assaults including a new link on the Student Life section of their website.   “A student can report to UMHB officials in person, in writing, by mail or by email to the officials listed on our ‘Report It!’ website,” said Vice President for Student Life, Dr. Byron Weathersbee.   “It is important to know that a university official will help a student report the incident to law enforcement,” he said.   Some officials say one method of prevention is to instruct students about the use of alcohol in these cases.   “It is a societal problem that needs to be addressed. Seventy-five percent of sexual assault cases involve alcohol,” Weathersbee says. “In my opinion, a good place...

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Mission offers hope through clean water
Nov07

Mission offers hope through clean water

Ask any non-profit how they got started and they’ll never say it was with someone who thought it would just be cool to make a difference. It happens when enough courage is built to be proactive with dreams.   Mike Lipman, an ex-military soldier who saw too much to sit back and do nothing, founded South Asia Pure Water Initiative, Inc. in 2004. He put together a team that would begin a journey to help provide purified water for the innocent people of India whom are at high risks of contracting disease due to lack of clean water.   SAPWII strives to provide households, villages, primary schools and health clinics with BioSand Filters.   “Our team is focused on taking the BioSand filter technology countrywide by training organizations that already have rural development projects and are looking for a low cost and effective clean water technology,” Lipman said.   The team travels overseas to India to train different organizations that already have rural development projects and are looking for low cost and effective clean water technology. The BioSand Filters use reverse osmosis (RO) to purify the water.   “RO has some drawbacks. Fundamentally, reverse osmosis is the process of pushing contaminated water under pressure through a very fine membrane to remove all the contaminants. The process requires large amounts of electricity to force the water through the membrane,” explained Lipman.   Shivani Kumar, SAPWII’s India country representative, hoped to spread this technology throughout India and manage the 90 trained non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are building and distributing.   “When I do site visits to villages and see that families are reporting healthier lives and spending less sick days, it’s the most gratifying feeling and that’s what keeps me energized and focused,” she said.   Some students are much closer to the problem than we think. Masters of Science in Information Systems international student Shiv Rudravaram, was aware of his countries needs and struggles.   “I am from the city, people maybe 100 miles from the city drink contaminated water from the factories. [The BioSand filter] is good, but they need to know the exact places where the problem is. They have good intent.” Going back to the basics of the environment, Kumar explained the process of the BioSand Filter and what it is capable of.   “While the rest of the world is going hi-tech, we are going back to nature. The BioSand Filter simply requires sand, gravel, and a naturally occurring biolayer as the purification method. Actually the solution is ancient, it’s utilizing the same principle as fresh mountain water. It’s nature purifying...

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Bawcom Student Union dedicated by students
Oct23

Bawcom Student Union dedicated by students

Chick-fil-A and Starbucks. An amazing view of the new football field. A new and improved bookstore. These are just a few of the things the Bawcom Student Union building has to offer. But there is more than meets the eye when considering the newest campus facility that students have already been enjoying for a couple of months.   To show their appreciation, hundreds of students gathered on King Street in front of the new building to celebrate with Dr. and Mrs. Jerry G. Bawcom in a ribbon cutting ceremony dedicated to them.   Not only did students come to show their support, but friends and family of the Bawcoms were also in attendance.   The building was named in honor of Dr. Bawcom and his many contributions to the university before, during and after he served as president from 1991 to 2009.   “In two short months, (the building) is already transforming the student life experience on our campus,” President Randy O’Rear said.   The building provides offices for faculty and staff, a band hall, a great hall, a food court, conference rooms and a board room for the Board of Trustees, SGA and other meetings.   During the ceremony, O’Rear announced that the great hall on the third floor of the building was renamed the McLane Great Hall as a surprise to Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr.’s family. The new sign was hung the morning of the grand opening.   “Dr. and Mrs. Bawcom, this remarkable facility was planned with one thing in mind: students,” Dr. O’Rear said. “And anyone who was fortunate enough to serve with you in your time of leadership knows how much you invested in and loved students, and knows how much they loved you.”   Vice President for Student Life Byron Weathersbee spoke about how the building has impacted many of the students on campus.   “When we opened this building, students got to flood into it, and I was standing right here. I was talking to a student and the student said ‘this building is a game-changer,’” Weathersbee said. “And as I stood there, I thought about the many years of planning and what all it took to make this building happen.… Thank you for allowing us to dream big and to encourage us to do that.”   The building serves faculty and staff as well. It has gone above and beyond what its original purpose was; it has become more than what the students, contractors, faculty, staff, the board and anyone involved could have imagined.   “I really do believe I could express for our student life staff.… I think I...

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Homecoming week brings joy to campus
Oct23

Homecoming week brings joy to campus

Homecoming. It’s a time for celebrating the past, living in the moment and excitement for the future.   During the week leading up to homecoming weekend, students participated in a sand volleyball tournament and hung out at Fest-of-Fun. They also spread out their blankets on the field at Crusader Stadium and bundled up to watch Little Giants.   The weekend officially kicked off on Friday evening with an alumni dinner in Millennium Oaks Park. After dinner and a carnival, alumni, students, parents, faculty and staff headed to W.W. Walton Chapel to watch Stunt Night and the crowning of the 2014 Homecoming king and queen.   Senior international business major Johnathon Kendall and senior interdiciplinary studies major Sarah Payne were voted by the student body as this year’s royalty.   Payne said being voted queen is “really overwhelming.”   “I wasn’t expecting this, and I certainly can’t describe how it feels right now. But it’s really great to know that UMHB students care about each other and these opportunities are available to us,” she said.   Stunt Night is a competition between all four of the classes that incorporates a skit and original song within a theme that is selected by each year’s Steering Committee.   Senior Katelyn Holm has been a director all four years for her class.   “I cant even begin to describe was Stunt Night has meant to me over the years…. I’ll never forget sitting around a table freshman year, trying to write an award-winning script with strangers. Then I look at us now, doing this production with the same people, some of my closest friends. It’s amazing. I’m so proud of my class,” she said.   The freshmen portrayed the story of Jacqueline and Aaron as they went through their first year at UMHB.   While they came across some bumps in the road, the class found they could do anything in unity.   The sophomores performed their rendition of Horton Hears a Who where Horton encourages his jungle friends to believe in something they can’t see—Cruville.   The junior class told the story of Ted who works so hard to win everything on campus to get a girl’s attention, but ends up losing his friends in the process. Ted eventually learns his lesson and finds that winning isn’t always everything.   The seniors performed a tribute to UMHB and told the story of Alec, a senior who is afraid to leave the university he loves so much. In the end, Alec finds that there’s a time to move on.   The senior class walked away with awards for best costume, song, dance and...

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‘Sader serves local ministry strokes of genius
Oct23

‘Sader serves local ministry strokes of genius

Stoke by stroke, the artist layers rich colors of paint on a massive wall. Alternating between sitting, standing and climbing a ladder, he works for hours at a time on a mural of Jesus flanked by his followers.   Sophomore graphic design major Edgar Ortiz embarked on a daunting creative mission after being chosen by Hershall Seals, chairperson of the art department at the university.   “Dr. Chuck Taylor … former UMHB faculty member and volunteer for Christians Touching Lives for Christ called me … to consider re-designing the old mural,” Seals said.   Taylor presented a challenge: Creating a life-like depiction of Christ on the wall of CTLFC, a local food and clothing bank located in Temple.   The organization wanted a visual representation of their group’s mission and decided to commission a talented, local artist. They then decided an image of Jesus helping others would effectively convey their own purpose, as well allude to the faith behind their cause.   Seals said, “Edgar Ortiz made his talents known his freshman year, so his talent and proven work ethic made him an ideal artist for the mural.”   After being selected by administration, Ortiz followed the requirements set before him, choosing an existing work to model his own after, and taking the wisdom of Seals to heart.   “We collaborated on a design … and worked together one evening to draw it on the wall, and Edgar took it from there,” Seals said.   By adding more dimensions, changing the background and elongating the piece to fit his work space, Ortiz made the painting his own. And though he didn’t choose the subject matter himself, he effectively expressed his own taste through the work.   “I did have freedom in what style I wanted to paint it. I’ve always liked to be as accurate and realistic as I can, but have also liked to use lots of color, with dark shades,” Ortiz said. “Although I painted another painting, I still had lots of fun in challenging myself to make my own version of an already-excellent painting. I learned a lot by looking at the colors in the original work and how they were used.”   Ortiz began the project this summer and continued to work throughout the semester when he wasn’t attending class or working.   After a total of 15 days consisting of three to eight hours each, the Bible story came to life.   The 80 hours of work paid off, and Ortiz expressed his happiness with the product.   “The most difficult part of the painting was getting the right colors for the faces and...

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Red or blue: What will Texans do?
Oct23

Red or blue: What will Texans do?

Democrat: Wendy Davis; Republican: Greg Abbott. Davis’ birthplace: West Warwick, Rhode Island; Abbott’s birthplace: Wichita Falls, Texas. Davis fought trials as the product of divorced parents; Abbott was sentenced to life in a wheelchair after a jogging accident. Texas’ two candidates are worlds apart, but both offer Texas perseverance.   Announcing his candidacy for governor in July of 2013, Attorney General Greg Abbott told the Austin American-Statesman, “Some politicians talk about having a steel spine. I actually have one. I will use my steel spine to fight for Texas values every single day.”   Senior political science major Robbie Cuadros agrees with that statement.   “Gregg Abbott offers much of the same that current governor Rick Perry has,” he said. “More jobs, mostly from the oil industry, and he is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. These policies have helped make Texas a thriving economy and a desirable place to live.”   Republicans quickly judged Davis as an Obama cohort. One of her opponent’s advertisements showed a plaque reading “Governor Barack Obama, Texas,” as a voice-over alarmingly supposed, “Barack Obama as governor of Texas?”   “Abbott was smart to tie Wendy Davis to President Obama since his approval rating is at an all-time low, especially here in Texas,” Cuadros said.   With Election Day set for Nov. 4, political jabs from both campaigns have begun to intensify.   The Davis campaign was met with a barrage of criticism, even from some of her own supporters, for an ad attacking Abbott. It began with a shot of a wheelchair and proceeded to convict Abbott of hypocrisy for trying to limit the amount of damages plaintiffs can receive in personal injury lawsuits, when he himself won a multi-million dollar settlement from an insurance company.   Senior marketing major Ryan White has seen the occasional political punches both sides have given and taken in the campaigning process, but he said, “An effective leader can take jabs, but respond with truth.”   So far, both sides of the gubernatorial race have played the nasty game of politics.   “Overall, I think the American people are turned off by politics right now,” Cuadros said.   And with a state weary of politicians, especially those from Washington, it’s unlikely Texas will go blue.   Senior history major Joshua Hosack said, “I don’t think Texas will go with a democrat this year. I believe Texans, the majority of which are conservative, will stick to their guns and continue to vote so.”   That’s the general vibe on campus and around the state. The Fort Worth Star Telegram featured an article claiming Wendy Davis faces long...

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