Blog: New year’s resolutions
Feb02

Blog: New year’s resolutions

I love the start of the new year because everything seems so hopeful, so full of life, and so full of opportunity. New year’s resolutions are made and loved ones find a reason to reunite and get a fresh start at once-damaged relationships. January is a huge symbol in the lives of so many Americans because it resembles the opportunity to leave the mistakes of the past year behind and set goals to make the year better than the last. Some start a diet so they can shed the weight, along with insecurities that come along with being overweight, and some make their best efforts to correct tose late-night study sessions so they can get up earlier and be more productive. Overspending is a force in almost every college student’s life, mostly because we don’t have much money in the first place, but spending less and saving more is always a good goal for those looking to set themselves up for the future. Even though most won’t stick to the diet, go to sleep earlier or spend less money on junk they don’t need (guilty on all charges), the goals still give each of us a chance to feel like we are breaking out of our mold and like we are making a conscious effort to better ourselves. So I challenge each person, whether 2008 was magical or a nightmare, to welcome the new year with your own personal goals and that you pursue them...

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Last take: wrapping up presidency, becoming like a ‘normal’citizen
Jan28

Last take: wrapping up presidency, becoming like a ‘normal’citizen

With a final wave, former President George W. Bush left the White House and returned to Texas. While his eight years in office were filled with controversial decisions, one thing is sure: He gave his all and did what he felt was best for the nation. In his final speech to the country from Washington, he said, “I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right.” After Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony, Bush flew to Midland, Texas, and then to a reception in Waco where he addressed a large crowd on the cold night, thanking them for their support, wishing Obama the best and sharing his relief to be only a U.S. citizen. Bush had several odd moments. Many included humorous sayings or words, such as “misunderestimate,” “hispanically” and “subliminable.” In a traditionally “Southern” way, his jargon entertained many while others scoffed or made his colloquial expressions a source of entertainment. His time in office was quickly disrupted by many issues, forcing him to make several decisions that will remain in the history books. In his final speech, Bush said, “Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.” In his first term as president, the U.S. was hit with the largest attack on U.S. soil in our country’s history. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 led to the president’s decision to finish the fight. The war in Iraq has been the main topic of many heated conversations, but Bush stood by his decision and tried to make it as effective as possible. Bush said during his final speech, “As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe.” Unfortunately, the economy slumped along with his ratings. Even Bush’s final days were met with the final waves of controversy. The president-elect handled the situation carefully. President Barack Obama said, “I thank President Bush for his service to our nation … as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.” Many supported him, or at least respected his position, but...

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Students cover Bush up close for eight years
Jan28

Students cover Bush up close for eight years

For the average person, meeting the president of the United States is unfathomable, but journalists see it as the opportunity of a lifetime. So in theory, if the professional can’t do it, students shouldn’t even try—right? Wrong. Over the past eight years, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s students have used the opportunity to capture and pursue the latest news on the president. With Bush’s ranch just to the north, it would have been a travesty from a journalistic standpoint to ignore UMHB’s proximity and access to the chief. Beginning in December 2000, The Bells staff actively pursued the coverage of former President George W. Bush. J. David Rowley, one of the first students to jump into action and begin capturing the president through a lens, says he spent his Christmas break trying to receive press credentials which would get him into the White House. “I was working on getting press credentials for the (Texas) state legislature. Afterwards, I still had some time left, and I thought, well, the next major event is Bush (being) president. I thought, well, I have state credentials now, which is one of the requirements to get your national press credentials. So I purused it. I don’t know how many hours I spent on the phone, but I spent hours and hours,” Rowley said. After receiving his national press credentials, left for Washington, D.C., which became a place he would often visit in the years to come. During one of his trips, he attended a photography conference. After being assigned a photo essay project, he considered one about the White House, and hours of phone calls later, he was in. He spent the next week in the White House with the national media. Rowley said he’s proud he has captured nearly every type of picture one can get in the White House, including the Oval Office. He said he came face-to-face with the president, became known by the press corps and even snapped the only departure picture of Bush on one occasion. From then on, he covered the Bushes whenever possible, including all arrivals and departures to and from Crawford, dedications and local events. His experience proves that a pursuit can be successful. Rowley said, “What I tell people is the worst thing anyone will tell you as a journalist is no. But don’t give up even on no because for every one person who tells you no, there’s one person to tell you yes. That’s how I ended up in D.C. because I found the one person who would say yes.” He said while he pursued coverage for the opportunities, he also did so...

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Blog: College life
Jan27

Blog: College life

What is college? It’s an education of higher learning. Right? Or maybe it’s about going out and partying. Perhaps college is where people go to find their one true love, or at least a lifelong friend. Which one is it? The truth is, college is all of these. It’s not just about going to class and making the appropriate grades, but it’s an overall experience. For some people, the first time they see someone of a different race is in their freshman English class. Sad, but true. And for a lot of students, college is the first time they do their own laundry. It’s here that people have those experiences, big or small, that have a valuable impact on their life. College is about growing up, maturing as a person, figuring out who you are and what you want to do with the rest of your life. It’s about getting to know people different from yourself, learning how to live with roommates and finding your “BFF.” It’s about trying new things, participating in special events on campus, supporting athletic programs and yes, even parties. Of course, parties at UMHB might not be as wild as they are on other campuses, but we still know how to have fun. When people graduate and look back on the last four years of their life, they shouldn’t have any regrets. They should reminisce about all the great experiences they’ve had rather than the grades they did or didn’t get. Now, don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe that making good grades is important. How else would you graduate? But there’s so much more to it than that. You gain knowledge and wisdom over the college years, and I feel like you have a responsibility to pass on what you have learned to the next generation of undergrads. This is in a way, giving back. Everyone doesn’t come out of school with a six-figure job waiting for them and is able to donate thousands of dollars to the university. But taking a young adult under your wing and passing on the knowledge that you have learned over the years is just as...

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New Siren system installed for protection

The skies are blue and the weather is perfect. It’s one of those days that everyone wishes for. Then you hear it: loud sirens echo across campus,  and questions flood your mind. It’s not raining,  no people are running for cover. You glance at your watch realizing two things: It’s Friday, and it’s 11:55 a.m. Many students, faculty and staff have been wondering about the sirens that echo every Friday. Through research and for the safety of the campus, a new siren alert system was installed in two separate locations on campus. It became apparent to leaders that it would be beneficial for security purposes to add a mass notification system. Director of Risk Management, Larry Pointer, said that the decision to research different safety precautions was due to a series of incidents that occurred on other campuses. “Because of  serious injuries, and in some cases deaths, on other campuses that it became apparent that a mass notification system, or a combination of systems, was necessary to provide critical information to the UMHB community, including students, faculty, staff and visitors,” he said. The idea was presented and was approved. “Consequently, the reverse 911 phone notification systems and the campus siren system were approved and funded by UMHB leadership to facilitate an enhanced level of security,” he said. Pointer said that because of the extensive research “UMHB is well prepared to respond to a variety of crisis situations. The UMHB Critical Incident Management Plan is designed to guide the Critical Incident Management Team in responding to crisis situations like tornados, fires, hazardous materials incidents and shootings on or in the vicinity of the campus.” In 2006 research was taking place as leaders at UMHB were drawn together to come up with a way that the entire campus could be alerted at one time that there is an impending emergency. Gary Sargent, director of campus police, said, “In the past we relied on e-mail, telephone contacts and computer generated messaging. As we looked at that, it really requires someone to be standing by a telephone or sitting at a computer. We began looking at technology that was developing to see how we might be able to enhance our capabilities.” Sargent said the university is smart to have a plan before anything drastic has occurred. “We are ahead of the curve. We have been very fortunate that we have initiated action prior to major events occurring across the country. The university is very concerned about the safety of our campus and is taking significant steps to improve safety.” The higher education act was signed into law this year. There is now a...

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Local businesses meet student needs
Jan27

Local businesses meet student needs

As the economy tightens, college students who have very little to spend find the need for discounted food, goods and services more necessary than ever. Businesses like Taco Cabana, Alvin Ord’s, Texas Java, the Beltonian and Premiere Temple Cinema 16 offer price reductions and competitive prices to students who might otherwise not be able to afford a cup of premium roast coffee or a couple of enchiladas on an outing with friends. The discounts, however, are few and far between. Only a handful of places provide a break from the financial stress that comes with being a college student. For example, the Beltonian, under new management, is offering a college night in which students can enter the theater free of charge. Sophomore nursing major Jessie Cromack enjoys the 10 percent discount that Alvin Ord’s gives students on sandwiches, but notes that the area lacks in student-friendly dining. “I’m not sure why we don’t have more discounts,” she said, and added that the cause may be because Belton is “too small.” Cromack suggested that local businesses could adopt a “college night” in which students could get discounted food or services once a week. Local businesses contribute roughly $200,000 a year to the school to be used for scholarships for students in financial need. The Director of Corporate Relations, Michael Street, handles monetary interaction between the university and businesses. He said, “We have more than 100 local businesses and individuals that contributed to our central Texas annual fund, which is a scholarship fund for students here at UMHB.” Street explains the reason that more discounts are not available in the area is most likely due to university policy. He said, “We tell them ‘If you will give to our scholarship fund, we won’t come to you and ask for gifts any time within that year.’” Sophomore Kelly Buethe thinks market conditions influence the lack of reduced prices in the area as well. “The economy is probably a big reason why businesses do not want to be a little more reasonable when selling to financially troubled college students,” she said. Students at other universities help stimulate the local economy by using money from their meal plan to eat at restaurants located near campus. Schools like the University of Texas and Texas State University allow their students to dine with their equivalent of “Sader bucks” off campus, giving them a diverse range of food choices. Buethe thinks the idea is great for college students but would not work for UMHB. “It would be useful for me, but I honestly doubt it would be useful for companies. If MHB was a bigger school …...

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