Sororities can be beneficial

Written by Chris Collins One group of six girls from Shoemaker High School in Killeen recently came to visit the UMHB campus. They were accompanied by two women wearing royal-blue jackets with white Greek alphabet letters. Dawnjalice Brown and Vivia Cormier are members of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, an active community-oriented service organization. One of the programs Brown initiated for the chapter in 2010 was the ZEAL Institute, “which is Zetas equipping aspiring young ladies to be tomorrow’s leaders,” Brown said. Other than being female, no prerequisites are needed to join. “Students are recommended by faculty members at Shoemaker High School despite their GPA,” she said. The purpose of the UMHB visit was to orient the students to campus life and help prepare them for college. “I never had an agency or anybody to help me with my college decision,” Cormier said. “It is beneficial to have someone help you decide instead of doing it yourself.” Four of the six girls plan to graduate this spring. Kiara Mason-Brown, one member of ZEAL, is not sure where to attend college. “I really liked the sports center,” she said. “I want to take a year off after graduation, then major in pre-med.” After a full day of visiting with select departments, the group left campus. In addition to mentoring and being a big sister for the young women, Zeta Phi Beta offers financial assistance for college tuition. “All of our seniors will receive scholarships to help with their education,” Brown said. She explained that the sorority is a networking tool. “There is nothing like having 100,000 sisters,” Brown said. “I believe UMHB would benefit by having a Greek sorority because students would have another outlet to effect change in their community.” UMHB has never had a Greek system. Vice President for Student Life Dr. Byron Weathersbee explained the UMHB Christian Association of Student Leaders met a few weekends ago, and the topic of having fraternities or sororities on campus was considered. “They liked the fact that we didn’t have them,” he said. Weathersbee is aware of  everything fraternities and sororities do for their communities; however, the chances for UMHB having them are not likely. “The idea has not been on our radar,” he said. “I don’t anticipate seeing Greek fraternities on campus in the future.” When Brown and Cormier are not conducting business with the sorority, they are full-time soldiers in the U.S. Army. Although UMHB students cannot join the collegiate Greek chapter, they can still join at the alumni level upon...

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Once again gas prices spike, affecting people everywhere

The economy is slowly beginning to pick up from where it was two years ago, but in some areas it is suffering worse than ever. Gas prices are dangerously close to reaching an all-time high, currently sitting at a national average of $3.50 a gallon. Central Texas prices are coming in just under that number, averaging out at about $3.39 a gallon. Costs are rising much faster than pay increases, and everyone is starting to feel the effects, including students. “I have to spend about $45-$50 every time I fill up my car,” senior performance major Kimberly Jones said. “I live in Harker Heights and go back and forth to UMHB every day of the week. I also work in Austin parttime, and I go to Killeen to drop off and pick up my son, so I               average between 40-60 miles of driving.” One month ago, when prices were still around $2.80 per gallon, the IRS estimated the cost of gas for an average vehicle to be roughly 50 cents every mile. This basically means that if someone drove 100 miles, it would cost him $50. Even students who don’t drive much throughout each week are feeling the effects of the increase. “I only live in Belton, but I still drive at least 30 miles a week,” senior sport management major Brenson Bristow said. “I drive a truck, so two months ago, when the gas prices were lower, it cost me around $65 to fill up. Now, it costs about $80.” Bristow said he is noticing his wallet taking serious hits. “My grocery budget has definitely suffered from the increase. Also, if someplace I want to go is really far away, I won’t go unless I absolutely have to.” Adjunct French professor Geraldine Touzeau-Patrick lives just outside of Austin. She only teaches at UMHB on Tuesdays and Thursdays which still requires her to drive roughly 200 miles round trip each day she comes to campus. “When I drive like that for 16 weeks, statistics say that I have to spend $1,600 over the course of a semester,” she said. “And that was back in the fall, when gas was only $2.50 a gallon. At this rate, a third of what I make teaching here is spent on gas getting here.” Many people are choosing to make fewer and less expensive purchases, and people are also deciding to drive less and walk or bike more when their destination is close. “It’s crazy that gas went up so much literally overnight,” Jones said. “I’m having to cut some unnecessary items out now …. Usually I’ll go to HEB to buy lunch,”...

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Play day for local children
Feb21

Play day for local children

As junior social work major Bethany Franz and her group pulled up to the park, they were greeted with huge smiles and kids running to the cars before anyone had even gotten out. They were attending one of the new ministry outreach programs of Hope for the Hungry, called Hope Play Day. The Hope for the Hungry volunteers split up into two groups going to the two different sites, Mitchell Circle and Belle Oaks Apartments, which they usually cover during the week. This time, they would be staying longer than an hour. “Each semester Jen Sutton (director of children’s ministry at Hope for the Hungry), Johanna Bartlett and myself sit down and plan events that we want to organize for the kids to participate in,” Franz said. “We decided to plan this play day so we could do something different from what we do weekly. We wanted to hang out with the kids for longer than an hour to continue to build deeper relationships with hopes of sharing the love of Jesus with them through our actions and words.” The activities during the day included baseball, chalking, hula hoops and cooking hamburgers. Franz and other members also decided to make Hope Play Day Valentine’s Day themed by creating cards and decorating red and pink    cookies. “The Bible activity we did that day was from 1 Corinthians 13 relating God’s love to Valentine’s Day,” Franz said. Hope for the Hungry usually meets Tuesdays at Mitchell Circle and Thursdays at Belle Oaks Apartments, with either Franz or Bartlett leading the group in their familiar         blue shirts. Their main goal is to go to these two local low-income/government housing facilities, play games, tell a Bible story and develop relationships with as many children as God places before them. The group’s mission statement is “Sharing the Bread of Life with a Starving World.” Many students are thrilled to be a part of such a good cause. Freshman exercise and sports science major Morgan Baker said, “We feel like we need to help all these little kids and take joy in helping others. It’s our duty as Christians to help. Jesus even said in the Bible in Matthew 18, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Sophomore social work major Kristen Kimmel said, “I love seeing the way college students react with kids. We turn into kids ourselves by playing with chalk, playing on the swings, or hula hooping.” It’s no secret that the children love having the UMHB students as their temporary playmates and friends. Franz said “One thing that...

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Welcome week peer mentors to get credit

Welcome Week is the time set aside each year on campuses for incoming freshmen to learn a little bit about the university they will be attending from those who have been students for awhile. At UMHB, upperclassmen and faculty will be trying something new this upcoming fall in an attempt to retain more students after their first year. The new initiative is called the peer mentoring program, and, since studies have shown success of the project on other campuses, the university decided to give it a try. “Instead of the leaders of the family groups only being a part of the actual week of Welcome Week, they will continue to be a part of their family, assisting (in) their freshman seminar course for six weeks,” said one of the student leaders of the group, junior nursing major Andrew Kester. “The peer mentoring program is something that a lot of other universities have that helps make new students feel more welcome and a part of student life.” The program is being spearheaded by director of student organizations Kristy Brischke. Since she started working for the campus almost five years ago, peer mentoring is something she has always wanted to initiate. “Research indicates that peer mentor programs are very successful in helping new students persist at a university. I hope that we will find the same here,” Brischke said. “The peer mentors (we are calling them Cru Leaders or CL’s for short) will first be with their students during Welcome Week, which will then become their Freshman Seminar.” After the seminar begins, students will assist the faculty members in leading activities and discussions once a week, while attending a Peer Mentor Leadership course with Brischke. “Peer mentors who participate in the course will learn how to develop their leadership skills,” Kester said. “Also, all who participate as peer mentors will receive two hours of elective credit.” One of the main ways students are finding out about the program is from a Facebook group created to advertise the upcoming peer mentoring event. Already, more than 90 people have said they would be interested in attending the initial planning meetings, which will take place each week and began yesterday. Brischke said she is pleased with the amount of student response they have received. “We will be selecting about 60 students to serve as Cru Leaders – so I hope this will provide a strong pool of applicants,” she said. “Not only will this impact the new students, but the CL’s will benefit greatly from this program. They will learn about leadership, serving and relationship building.” The Welcome Week steering committee is pulling out...

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Army reservist returns to campus
Feb21

Army reservist returns to campus

Dr. Anne Crawford, professor of nursing and U.S. Army reservist major, is back to teaching classes at UMHB after a year deployment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She has returned to her family and position with a new appreciation of her craft along with images of young wounded soldiers without limbs or functionality and the medical ingenuity that allows them to live productive lives. When the call came in the fall of 2009 for her to activate and prepare for deployment, she had to put her life here in Texas – both work and personal – on hold. “They called in August initially saying, ‘you’re going’ in December,” Crawford said. “This was great because I had a whole semester to plan and get my classes and workload covered. When I knew I was going to Walter Reed … that was exciting for me. It is a premiere military medical facility in the world. And it was scary because you don’t know what you’re going to be doing exactly, and you have to leave your family.” Walter Reed is the primary center for wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. After they are stabilized in Germany at an American military hospital, they come directly to the D.C. hospital. Crawford worked in the emergency room there, just as she does at Scott & White Hospital. But the patients at the facility were not like the ones she sees in Temple. “There were all these young, healthy looking soldiers without arms or legs,” she said. “It was so sad and yet so uplifting to see the advances in prosthesis that helped their lives. There were troops with bilateral amputations above the knee who were out running on prosthetic limbs.” The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen great medical advancements to care for troops. “They say the only winner in war is medicine,” she said. “We started using helicopters to evacuate people because they did that in Vietnam. Lots of different procedures and surgeries came from the Civil War and World War 1 and all the conflicts we have been in.” For her deployment, her husband, Professor of music history and percussion Dr. Stephen Crawford, drove her to D.C. immediately following the graduation and celebration lunch of their son, James, from UMHB in Dec. 2009. Stephen visited her three times during the deployment, but being separated is never easy – especially for a pair of high school sweethearts. Stephen said, “My dad did two tours in Vietnam. When (Anne) was deployed this time, it took me back in time. It didn’t make it any easier, but having a family...

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Boxer weighs in
Feb21

Boxer weighs in

Boxers take many paths to the ring. Sophomore political science major David James Dominguez had to walk through the valley of death. On campus he is known as DJ, the guy who boxes, the guy who is always on his computer at Hardy, the guy who chews a pack of gum a day, or all three. He is an Eagle Scout, has a red belt in Hapkido and is a huge comic book nerd. But his real passion is boxing. As many student-athletes know, keeping up with education and sports is not an easy task.  For Dominguez, it is difficult to box and attend college because he drives four times a week from Belton to Austin to train at Lord’s Boxing Gym. On days that he does not go to Lord’s, he goes home to train with his father. David Dominguez said, “(D.J) has so much potential. If he can become stronger physically and mentally and have the Lord in his life to guide him and give him strength not only physically but also spiritually, I think he can go far. His dream is to get into the Olympics, and that is not easy. He has the potential though.” While boxing takes precedence in his life, DJ still values academics. He hopes to use his political science degree to go to law school. DJ is grateful for his professors at UMHB because they understand his need to pursue boxing, but they still challenge him to learn. Since he was four, DJ has been involved in martial arts ranging from Tae Kwan Do to Hapkido. When he was 13, he had some interest in boxing, but he did not begin until he was 19 years old. His passion for boxing comes from the fact that he thinks God has inspired him to box. “I was almost dead when I first started to box. I was insanely weak. My heart valve was leaking, and they told me it would take three to four years to physically recover. But God used boxing to bring me back. I started getting stronger, faster and had more confidence. Every door that would seemingly be closed was opened whether it was financial or physical,” Dominguez said. He took initiative and researched boxing opportunities in Austin. His search took him to Richard Lord’s Boxing Gym, Austin’s premier boxing gym. Lord’s, formerly a storage garage, is now a Spartan -like gym covered floor to ceiling in trophies, title posters, gear and other boxing paraphernalia. “It is held together by blood and duct tape. Mr. Lord’s Gym is as much about the man as it is the place. Everything...

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