FYC plays matchmaker for Crusaders
Dec06

FYC plays matchmaker for Crusaders

Excitement filled the crisp, autumn air as students took their seats at the annual Date Auction. It was a fundraising event put on by First Year Council to raise money for Spring Formal, and they collected more than $1,400 from the event. Here’s how it worked. Female students bid on their favorite of the 37 available single and group dates based strictly on the description of the date. The men waited, hidden among the crowd, watching the women place bids on their dates. Dates ranged from single to group dates of up to four, from horseback riding to the Twilight premier and cost from $15 to $190. Sophomore psychology major Andrew Alvarez thought it would be fun to take on a group date with two friends. The three planned a picnic followed by some “thrifting,” to shop for ’60s attire, which they plan to wear at the local roller rink. “I’m just looking for a good time and a fun triple date,” Alvarez said. Though he may not be searching for anything more than a night out with friends, college is a time of self discovery, and the university has seen its fair share of engagements. Some hopeless romantics even plan to use the event to their advantage. Sophomore accounting major Seth Michaelson wrote on his blog about his Date Auction experience. “Tonight I took part in a date auction,” he said, “I planned it to target specifically the girl I like.” All was going his way. The girl bid on the date but his roommate decided to intervene and drive up the price of the date. His roommate ended up winning, but he conceded the date, and Michaelson got the girl. Romantic intentions or not, Date Auction provides a fun way to meet people. “I think if things go well that the dates could lead to relationships,” said sophomore ministry major Alec Lloyd. As an officer of FYC, Lloyd signed up and auctioned off a date that featured a little culinary adventure of homemade pizza and building a gingerbread house. The key to the success of the event came from the bidders. The women’s reactions to the different dates varied but each date had someone who was willing to pay the price. Freshman nursing major Julia Domicoli decided on a date of glow-in-the-dark miniature golf. “I chose to bid on (my) date because the date seemed interesting, and it would be a fun way to get to know someone,” Domicoli said. The fundraising will be a big help for Spring Formal where some of those attending may be on their second...

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Memories survive the ashes of State Fair’s iconic cowboy, Big Tex

It was his 60th birthday. No one saw it coming. Smoke appeared out of nowhere, and before anyone could stop the flames, he was gone. Big Tex had burned. This was a rough year for Big Tex. His big birthday bash was rescheduled due to large amounts of rain. Just after the celebration concluded, the 52-foot cowboy met an untimely demise. October 19 was a tragic day for crowds at the State Fair in Dallas. Half an hour after the gates opened, an alleged electrical fire sparked inside of Big Tex’s right boot. Passersby first noticed smoke coming from his neck and stood watching as the flames engulfed the beloved icon. News spread almost as quickly as the flames, and supporters around the nation grieved the loss of the Texas legend. “My heart is so very sad,” Resident Director Rebeka Retta said. “It was (a) childhood memory.” Sophomore nursing major Lizzy McElyea grew up visiting Big Tex each year. Hailing from Dallas, she knows how big a deal the fair is and considers it a kind of tradition. Her family would stop to take pictures with Big Tex in the background, waving his arm and welcoming guests to the fair with a booming voice: “Howdy, folks, and welcome to the State Fair of Texas.” When McElyea heard about his tragic end, it was as though a close friend had died. “I actually heard through the grapevine that he burned, and I thought people were joking,” she said. “I had to Google it to find out for myself, and I was so sad and distraught because that was a childhood memory of mine. It’s like a hero burning to the ground.” While some mourned Big Tex’s fiery finish, others chose to handle the circumstances with a hint of humor. “Looks like they couldn’t think of anything else to fry at the fair, so they decided to fry Big Tex,” freshman finance major James Ewing posted as a Facebook status. After the flames died out, Big Tex’s iron frame stood tall and bare, his singed hands the only recognizable survivors of the tragedy. The gentle giant was carted away in a super-sized body bag. Texas’ great loss was recognized around the nation. Despite the tragedy, the State Fair remained open for the duration of its run. Statements issued by officials said that plans are in the making to restore Big Tex to his rightful place by the 2013 grand opening. Rumors are circulating that this new and improved icon will be better than ever. McElyea looks forward to seeing the restoration and improvements at the fair next year. She said, “I...

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Young provides insight on nature of God
Nov16

Young provides insight on nature of God

The Shack, written by William Paul Young, has received its fair share of criticism and praise. With more than six million copies sold, the book has become one of the most talked about Christian works of the decade. For a book that was originally intended to be a spiritual gift from a father to his children, a lot of discussion has been stirred from the theology and imagery of God that is found in the book.   The university was able to hear a unique viewpoint on the story, one that many haven’t heard.   The author spoke at Chapel about his journey as the author of The Shack and about God in general.   His life experiences and upbringing caused him pain and confusion in his faith.   Young said, “My theology was that Jesus came to save me from a ticked-off God.”   Freshman psychology major Spencer Sims said he benefited from Young sharing his past.   “I liked at the end how he was willing to be honest with us about his upbringing, and use that to influence the future generation,” he said. “He uses his past to help rather than hiding behind it or resenting it.”   Once Young experienced religion as more than just the rules, he began to understand more clearly what being a Christian truly means. He spoke on how individuals’ views of God affect their trust in him.   Young urged attendees to know who he is rather than focus on childhood or made-up perceptions of him.   “The God of your imagination will not show up for you,” he said.   In his book, the trinity is described in an unconventional manner with God the Father being portrayed as a large African American woman who knows how to make a hearty meal.   Young said that he didn’t actually believe God was how he portrayed him in the book, but that he is simply more than popular depictions.   Resident Director of McLane Hall, Wendi Fitzwater, found herself right in the middle of the controversy of Young’s portrayal of God.   “I don’t know that I agree with it, but I don’t necessarily think it’s wrong,” she said.   Fitzwater read the book and said it challenged her previous view of God.   “It gave me a completely different perspective to visualize God outside of what I normally was taught in a very structured environment on religion,” she said.   Young challenged the audience by presenting several theological questions. His purpose in doing so was to explain what he believes about God’s love and pursuit of everyone.   “He is...

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ASTRA club encourages volunteer work

If you’re looking to help wrap Christmas gifts for children who might not get to experience the joy of this holiday season, or make sandwiches for the Salvation Army, the newly chartered ASTRA club might be for you. ASTRA is an acronym for Ability, Service, Training, Responsibility and Achievement. The club is for people who are interested in doing community service projects around the local area. Along with a book drive for Maggie Lee For Good Day, ASTRA has participated in other interesting service events. Vice president, junior business management major Hannah Gardenhire, said, “We joined up with Altrusa, which is a sister club. It’s kind of the backbone for ASTRA. They were doing a Feed My Sheep (project) for the Salvation Army, and they needed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So, we got together and made over 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and those were donated to the Salvation Army.” Other planned events range from a Nov. 17 Belton Dam trash cleanup to assisting with the Angel Tree Program. Campus adviser Traci Squarcette is an active member of Altrusa of Temple. She also sponsors the ASTRA club and acts as a mentor-liaison between both clubs. Squarcette said students can learn much about working together through group involvement toward helping the community. Any currently enrolled UMHB student under the age of 25 can become a member of the club, and membership is free. Junior business administration major Joanna Leath is president of the organization. She hopes students will be more responsive to the needs of society. “Through community service, they can know how to be better members of the community. They’ll have awareness of problems that are going around in their community that they can help out with, whether it just be donating books or meeting a need,” she said. During the spring semester, the organization will mentor children between the ages of 12 to 17 for the new youth ASTRA club that is going to be chartered through the Conservatory Program on campus. Gardenhire thinks the selfless acts ASTRA is involved in will benefit future members of the club. She said, “I think sometimes, especially when you’re in college, you focus a lot on your studies and yourself. I think ASTRA is really trying to push that, through our club, you can learn leadership skills.” ASTRA meetings are held every other Thursday in the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts Lecture Hall from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Joanna Leath at jcleath@mail.umhb.edu, or visit the club’s official ASTRA group Facebook...

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Variety makes force strong
Nov16

Variety makes force strong

People often come to the university down different roads and by different means. Criminal investigations officer John Ellison is no different. Before coming to UMHB, Ellison was a firefighter and owned a painting company on the side. While working on a project for the university, he learned the campus police department had a part-time position open. He has now been a campus officer for six years. “I think everything is kind of planned out, and we have a path we’re following,” Ellison said. “I think I was put here for the right reasons, and it’s been great. It’s been fun, and, hopefully, it doesn’t stop anytime soon.” As a Temple firefighter, Ellison was sent through the police academy to become a certified arson investigator. This had Ellison well on his way to working in law enforcement, and those years spent fighting fires helped prepare him for his job at the police department. “As a fireman and a cop, at times you’re seeing people at their worst,” Ellison said. “You’re dealing with college age students that are trying to make their way. I think coming from the fire department having that mindset of wanting to help people plays perfectly into our role here at the university.” Getting to see the university grow is one of the favorite parts of his job. “It’s exciting for me now that I’ve been here. I’ve seen people come in as freshmen and then graduate and move on,” he said. “Even if we have to deal with somebody as a freshman that got into a little bit of trouble, to see them find Christ while they’re here and learn that ‘hey I can be a good citizen’ is awesome. You get to see people grow up, and that’s a good, rewarding aspect.” A person who was influential in bringing Ellison and the rest of the current campus force together is Police Chief Gary Sargent. He has been chief for 14 years. Sargent graduated from the police academy in 1981, and after working his way through the ranks at Baylor University, he came to UMHB because he “had to find a football team that could win,” he said, laughing. “I felt it was an opportunity to really have a positive impact on a university culture,” Sargent said. “I really came in at almost the rebirthing of the police department, and I recognized the opportunity to have a major impact in shaping and building an organization that was responsive to the needs of our community.” When he was first hired as chief, the department was in a transitioning stage. Sargent helped it evolve into its current role...

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RHA can: challenge created to fight hunger
Nov16

RHA can: challenge created to fight hunger

The holiday season is coming up, and food drives around campus are in full swing. Local organization Helping Hands is collecting cans for families in need, and students have plenty of opportunities to chip in. The Collegiate Financial Organization was part of a group that announced a food drive, and the university’s Residence Hall Association joined forces to help inspire students to support local food banks and the community. Hot off the heels of the successful Flat Randy Project, RHA sponsor and Burt Hall Resident Director Rebeka Retta thought it was time to bring students together by performing a service project.. She brainstormed with co-sponsors Johnson Hall Resident Director Julie Barr and associate dean of students and Director of Residence Life Donna Plank. “I know there’s another organization that’s doing a can drive, and they asked (Julie) if it would be possible to do something in the dorms to promote the students within the dorms to (donate),” Retta said. “All the cans will eventually go to Helping Hands. So we got to thinking and Julie said, ‘Why don’t we do a challenge and see who can get the most cans?’” Retta met with the publicity team for RHA and hashed out the details. Since the competition lasts Nov. 5-15, the team decided to name it the 10 Day Tin Can Challenge. Though the main goal is to assist Helping Hands, RHA wanted students to have fun in the process by hosting a competition. The dorm that collects the most cans wins the chance to prank their resident director. Some of the proposed prizes include free room checks and throwing jello and pies at the RD. Freshman exercise sport science major and RHA publicity team member Nicole Viana believes the contest aspect of the canned food drive is what makes it successful. “We wanted to make it fun and not just donate cans. We wanted the students in the halls to get something out of it, so we decided to make it a competition within the dorms,” she said. Retta hopes to mimick the success that another project generated. She said, “The Flat Randy project that we did worked out really well; people had a lot of fun with it, so we did something else against dorms.” However, Retta is looking for more in the 10 Day Tin Can Challenge. “Even though the Flat Randy was a lot of fun, it was just fun,” she said. “This one is fun still, but it’s about helping other people, thinking outside of ourselves. It’s kind of a twist because it’s still like the Flat Randy where there’s competition, but it’s still helping...

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