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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Cru fitness: tone, define, dance
Jan27

Cru fitness: tone, define, dance

It is a new year, with a new semester, new classes and new assignments. It is also a time to start a new goal to get more fit and to maintain bodily health. This semester, the university offers eight diverse fitness classes that  are free to every student, faculty and staff member.One of the most popular classes is Cru Crunch. According to the class description, if you’re trying to get rid of that spare tire or striving for the ultimate six pack, this class will get you on the way. Fitness Instructor Fanny Dufour is the woman who will guide eager Crusaders through the class. She has been an instructor for over a year and is currently working on her undergraduate degree. “I am also a full time undergrad student, majoring in exercise science with a recreation minor. The military brought me to Ft. Hood, and now I am here as a student at UMHB. I absolutely love my department, professors and fellow students. There’s no way that I could leave it.” Fitness class options are Yoga, Kickboxing, Zumba (Latin-inspired dance-fitness), Pilates, Body Sculpt and Cycle Spinning. With such diverse options to choose from, many students are deciding to try out the classes more than ever in past semesters. Senior elementary education major Megan Johnson is a fitness supervisor at the Mayborn Campus Center and is impressed with the turnout. “It’s important to have a variety for the students, faculty and staff. At the beginning of this semester alone, I’ve had close to 50 new students show up for classes.” Junior psychology major Audrey Mays, is a fan of one class. “I love Cru Crunch,” she said. “I’m expecting to feel better the next morning, and I do. Fanny is really great about targeting muscles that you never thought you had.” Students can also use the techniques they learn in the course, outside of the gym atmosphere. “I was able to still use a lot of the exercises over the Christmas break,”Mays said. “It’s convenient to do them at home also. They are simple moves that also target muscles that are normally hard to reach.” The university fitness department wants everyone at the school to be able to participate and attend the various classes. “Every instructor here is great,” Dufour said. “They are knowledgeable and constant.We want it to be fun and (a) healthy experience for everyone. We try to encourage every person to participate and that is what is awesome about it. We really care about their health.” The fitness department also encourages new suggestions from  participants. “We’re open to the new trends in fitness,” Dufour said. “I...

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Christmas trips go far beyond visits to grandmother’s house
Jan27

Christmas trips go far beyond visits to grandmother’s house

By Patrick McDonald Many memories are associated with Christmas. For some, it is that feeling of wonder as they plummet downstairs like a bullet toward the Christmas tree. Most would then tear open their presents, but this did not happen for some. Students from the university traveled the world during Christmas break as missionaries with GoNow. Sophomore social work major Stacey Davidson went to East Asia. The work that she did there was beneficial to the people in many ways. “My team taught English for a week at middle school and got a chance to really love on all of the students and teachers there,” Davidson said. “The next week, we hosted English at a local university and built some relationships with the students for the short amount of time that we had left. Most of our job, however, was to encourage and strengthen our host, who was a Chinese Christian at the middle school where we taught.” She also had the chance to minister to a university student there. She met Lindsay, who spoke very English well. “I got to know her pretty well and found out that she was not a Christian, but she knew who Jesus was because of her Christian mother,” Davidson said. “We had to leave soon after, but I told her that I was a Christian as well. The next day, I had hopes of seeing Lindsay, but no way to contact her. Soon after arriving at the same university, a student randomly began a conversation with me, inviting me up to her dorm room in the process. It was Lindsay’s room. This really showed me that God was definitely at work among us and in me. He placed me where he wanted me.” Students traveled around the world to minister to people. Senior psychology major Tania Riveria went to Serbia. She helped distribute Bibles and build relationships with the people, in conditions very different from East Asia. “It was really, really cold. Everybody spoke a language we did not. We were like fish out of water,” Riveria said. “They put us to shame of how much history they know. I learned a lot about their history.” Riveria had opportunities to spread the Gospel while she was there. “We were doing something with Bibles in the square, and for the most part could not understand what they were saying. But there was a lady and she came up and said, ‘A Bible for me, really?’ She was just in awe that we would give her a Bible because she has never had a Bible in her life. And she said, ‘That’s the best...

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Students’ ‘hard day’s night’ may only be a myth

University students are getting enough sleep. Associate Professor of Marketing Doyle Eiler and Assistant Professor of Eco-nomics Paul Stock conducted a two-week-long survey last fall about how university undergraduate students spend their time. The preliminary results revealed shocking realities. Eiler said, “I suppose the one that surprised me the most based on what you hear in class and (when) you talk to students is how much sleep they’re getting.” Stock said of the 342 students who completed at least one survey, the average amount of sleep is eight hours or more. Eiler did not expect it. “I mean you listen to (students) and there’s always this moaning and groaning of being tired,” he said. The survey was conducted out of personal curiosity, as well as a desire to better understand students’ needs. “It’s an area of interest for us,” Stock said. “I was surprised also at how much the students work here. It’s good for us to know, too, how much work should we assign, how much time do they have to work on homework or to study for exams, things like that.” He admits eight hours is plenty of rest. Stock said, “They must be forcing themselves to get that much sleep.” The professors divided each day into 13 “common time use categories,” which students used to allocate their time use, for the chance to win a Wii gaming system. Nursing December graduate Sarah Hare won the drawing for a Wii gaming system. “We play the Wii sports game that came with the system because you can play with multiple players,” Hare said. Surveys were sent via e-mail. Students categorized each half-hour increment for certain days of the week. Seventy-five percent of the participants were female, with seniors making up the majority of participants by class. Of those who responded, an average of two hours working and two hours in class is spent a day. Eiler said, “Our big goal was to get out the preliminary results. Now, we’re going to be doing more analysis. One thing we want to do is get some published research.” Eiler anticipated the university using the results to better plan campus events as well as to inform various academic departments of their findings. “It’s ended up in the freshman seminars’ workbook,” Eiler said. They hope the results broaden the doors of the university and the nationwide academic community. Stock said, “Our hope is to present our findings at a conference. That might inspire other research….Other universities may ask to join and do another similar survey.” Another interesting fact was that student athletes spend more time in class and sleeping than their non-athlete...

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