Domestic charity work should be first priority
Apr20

Domestic charity work should be first priority

The United States of America is known for their dabbling in foreign affairs and coming to the aid of countries in need. Almost everyone has seen the commercials filled with heart-wrenching images of starving children in Third World countries, who need water and food to fill their bloated bellies. As viewers, we are compelled to call the 1-800 number and donate to save a life in a country far away paying no mind to the homeless population in the streets of our own country. This begs the question, is it right to help those suffering in other countries when we have people struggling to make ends meet right here at home? In Third World countries the undeveloped infrastructure provides little to no means of basic living essentials to its citizens like food, clean water, adequate housing, and some form of commerce. The United States on the other hand is a super power amongst most countries, having in place a democratic form of government, successful infrastructure, and health care. America has so many avenues for individuals to access the “American Dream” but many people continue to hover near the poverty line. Homelessness is not okay in any area of the world, but it is even more unacceptable in a nation that is perfectly capable of adjusting its system to help those in need. Meanwhile, the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer in our country’s time of financial deficit. Austin has an average of 2,300 people on the street. Of that total 900 are chronically homeless according to the city. Chronic homelessness refers to those on the street for one year or more or over four times per year and 40 to 50 percent face death everyday. People don’t have to turn on the TV to see homelessness because it is right here in our back yards. If aid is given to those in need here in the United States, it threatens the money and status of the elite class. Taxing the higher class could be beneficial to helping get those less fortunate on their feet so that they can work to sustain a livelihood. The American upper class is so consumed with monetary value that aiding those of their own country isn’t as important as keeping their fortunes. Instead, people turn a blind eye to the issues of our homeland. In the question of home versus foreign affairs, no one wins because all of those in need deserve help. But there is no excuse for a great country like America not to exhaust every option to sustain its...

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Ad council’s common sense campaigns a waste of gov. funds
Apr20

Ad council’s common sense campaigns a waste of gov. funds

We’ve all seen the commercials; an anthropomorphic bear telling you to put out campfires, smokers telling the dangers of tobacco. Public service announcements run rampant on television, radio and just about every other form of mass communication. But what we don’t question is whether they’re an appropriate use of government funds. The Ad Council is a non-profit organization that produces public service announcements for a wide range of non-profits, agencies and even the United States government. The organization was founded in 1941 and soon became a major contributor to World War II efforts, encouraging Americans to enlist, buy war bonds, and support the war effort in many other ways. Seventy-five years later, the country is in an era where most people have access to a multitude of information in their pockets. So, is it really necessary to spend government funds pumping out ads that most people think are common sense? Let’s look at the Ad Council’s most notable campaign, Smokey the Bear. The iconic bear is the product of a collaboration between the US Forest Service and the Ad Council. The campaign was created in 1944 to spread awareness about wildfire prevention. Smokey’s warning that “if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave” is good advice, but one would think campers could use their own common sense when it comes to putting out campfires. If someone needs a cartoon bear to tell them that leaving a roaring fire unattended in the woods is a bad idea, then humanity as a whole probably has bigger problems. Another reoccurring PSA subject is tobacco awareness, with frequent ads that show the side-effects of smoking. But in 2016, do people really need to be told that filling their lungs with smoke could have negative health effects? It may be different if campaigns had a noticeable impact, but it’s not clear that they do. According to United Press International, a recent study on hundreds of PSAs worldwide produced mixed results. The study concluded that while anti-smoking campaigns seem to be effective, campaigns warning about the dangers of alcohol fall flat. Ads with additional content – from nutrition to health screenings – were all over the map. So, if it’s not clear whether or not the ads even have the desired impact, then maybe it’s time to consider shutting them down. After all, it’s not the government’s place to make life decisions for everybody. It’s time we used a little common sense to make our own...

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Social media: A breeding ground for bullies
Apr20

Social media: A breeding ground for bullies

With the advent of social media, we can constantly keep up with everyone and everything. While having instant access can be good, it also allows social media users to comment anonymously. This can sometimes lead to cyberbullying. Recently under fire from social media, is 20-year-old R&B singer-songwriter, Kehlani Parrish, who releases her music as Kehlani. Kehlani is from Oakland, California and prior to fame was part of the teen pop band PopLyfe, who finished fourth place in the sixth season of America’s Got Talent. Kehlani came under fire when rumors popped up that she cheated on her boyfriend, professional basketball player Kyrie Irving, with her ex-boyfriend PartyNextDoor, a fellow singer-songwriter. Once news sources leaked the information, social media lit up with negative comments. Commentors shamed Kehlani and called her inappropriate names. Even though this did not become a trending topic on social media, it was still a mass cyberbully attack. According to Dictionary.com, cyberbullying can be defined as the act of harassing someone online by sending or posting mean messages, usually anonymously. While those who posted about Kehlani might not have been anonymous, they fit the first half of the definition really well. These users were posting things that they would not say to Kehlani’s face, if they ever met. The cyberbullying got so bad that Kehlani attempted suicide. Her friend, PartyNextDoor, found the singer and called 911. Fortunately, she was found in the right amount of time and survived her attempt. When she awoke from her living nightmare, she posted a picture of her arm with the IV in it to her Instagram account, detailing what happened and how thankful she was to be safe. The picture went viral with the hashtag, #staystrongKehlani, trending on social media sites. One thing most people forget when making not-so-pleasant comments, especially about their private life, is that there is an actual person behind that public persona. Kehlani’s post made people realize that their comments did actually effect someone. Many celebrities reached out to Kehlani, while some added to the cyberbullying noise. Singer Chris Brown took his opinions to Twitter, shaming Kehlani and implying that she posted a picture from the hospital in order to stay in the media. Fortunately, other celebs called Brown out on his actions and his followers began dropping like flies. While the advancement of technology and social media has been great, it has also made people more susceptible to bullying. Cyberbullying is a category of its own, because while it may not be physically painful, it can cause a lot of mental and psychological damage. And because cyberbullies are often anonymous, it can make it impossible for...

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Revival unites students
Apr20

Revival unites students

The very essence of UMHB’s Spring Revival is praise and worship of God. Each year, hundreds of students gather in the quad for three days to fellowship and worship together. This year, the band Digital Age was back for their third time, and Dr. Kneeland Brown was there cracking jokes and ministering to all who came to participate in the annual event. The event is student led, and draws in not only those seeking out the event, but also people walking by. Spring revival comes just days after the university’s Easter Pageant and helps students reflect on what Jesus did for us. It’s a time to praise and worship, and come together as one body of Christ. The Digital Age was happy to be a part of Revival, and helped to set the tone for the entire event. “We don’t typically do things more than a year or two, and they asked us again, and we were like ‘Of course we’re going to do it, cause we love you guys. We really do,’” said Mike Dodson, the group’s piano player. Guitarist Mark Waldrop (Shark) also had positive things to say about the event. “Everyone we’ve met here has been awesome, we have a lot of friends from Baylor who are here now, and it’s just awesome to sleep in our own beds and come down here,” he said. The band hails from Waco, where they first formed. But it wasn’t just the band who enjoyed the event that took place under a tent. Those who helped plan Revival were also moved by its worship-centered vibes. “One of my favorite aspects of the event was just getting to work with the committee.” aid Kelsey Riegel, junior history major. “Every single one of them had different stories, but they were all so on fire for the Lord and that was so evident through the whole Revival process. Getting to hear how they were telling their family and friends about the event, and getting to share the gospel with them was just incredibly uplifting,” Riegel said for her, the best part was that most of them were freshman and had never even been to UMHB’S Revival. “They didn’t know what it was going to look like when it all came together, so seeing them so excited and passionate for an event they’d never been to was so amazing and humbling,” she...

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Vets transition from combat to classroom
Apr15

Vets transition from combat to classroom

UMHB students have a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some students have even seen combat, and are looking to transition from active duty to civilian life. The university has demonstrated a commitment to helping veterans adapt to their new lives. So much so that UMHB has been classified as a yellow ribbon school which simply means soldiers are always welcome. They go through admissions, enrolling, and classes just like everyone else. One downside to the admissions process is that sometimes UMHB doesn’t allow active duty students. “[Active duty military members] often have to work on the base as a full-time job, and working from eight-to-five isn’t going to give them a well-rounded college experience,” said Patrick Munoz, head of military admissions. But because the university wants to serve all members of the military, they are working on an online program that would be beneficial to those active duty students. For those who have gone through active duty and are returning to civilian life, the process can be very stressful. The university not only wants to help ease this transition by providing an opportunity to advance their careers, but also by providing services that will help them ease into the next stage of life. If a solider is having a hard time adapting to their new life and classes they can get free counseling at UMHB’s Counseling Center. Being on campus also gives veterans the chance to get to know other students and participate in university events. “After leaving the Navy, I tried to do a semester online before coming to UMHB, but it was so isolated. UMHB gives me social interaction.” said Garrett Coppin, a junior business Management major. Coppin was an Intel specialist for the Navy and spent a lot of his time at different ports around the Americas. He has served in Cuba, California, Washington State, and Hawaii. “My responsibilities are different and I get to sleep in longer,” said Coppin said of the differences between military and college life. But even though college affords many veterans the chance to gain experiences they’ve never had, it can often be an adjustment when going from living on a base to living in an institutional setting. Brandon Middleton, a sophomore history major, explained that after coming to UMHB he had a hard time following UMHB’s rules. He struggled with these issues for a short while, but eventually realized that these rules were put in place for a reason. “My work ethic changed and got better after all the training,” said Middleton, “It is easier to learn here because of the small classroom sizes.” Middleton was a tank driver in...

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Following in the footsteps
Apr15

Following in the footsteps

For more than three-quarters of a century, UMHB has preluded the Easter holiday with its annual Easter Pageant. And while guests often leave campus feeling moved by this rendition of Christ’s crucifixion, the pageant has an equally strong impact on those who portray the Biblical characters. The pageant process begins with the selection of a director, and individuals to portray Jesus and Mary. These selections are made by University President Dr. Randy O’Rear. This year, senior social work major Carissa Araujo was selected to direct. “I was in complete shock that I was asked to direct. I was also so thankful and humbled by this opportunity,” Araujo said. Dr. O’Rear selected senior Christian studies major, Quinton Payton to play Jesus, and senior education major, Brianna Helmer to portray Mary. Once these three roles are assigned, the director begins putting together the rest of the cast. “Usually, several people want to fill the same role which is where being the director can be tricky,” Araujo said. “Casting took a little while this semester.” Araujo said it was important that she considered what role would be right for each individual.” “I spent a lot of time praying and thinking about who should fill what role. I want people to be able to connect to the story in a different way through each role,” she said. Once roles were assigned, Araujo then had the task of putting the performance together. “The first week of rehearsals I was only working with Mary, Jesus, disciples and mourners,” she said. “We worked on the few opening scenes so that they would have those down and be comfortable before we added the rest of the cast in.” Pageant participants don’t always have acting experience, so it was important for Araujo to ease everyone into the process. “I would try to focus on three to four scenes at each practice before we started morphing all of the scenes together,” she said. “Practice takes a lot of repetition at times, so it was always important to just keep the people you specifically needed for those scenes to respect everyone’s time.” As time went on, the pageant became less of a theatrical production and more of a spiritual learning process. Payton said the experience playing Jesus gave him and his fellow cast members a chance to grow in their faith. “For me to play Jesus, it meant that I was going to bring others alongside me to enjoy this journey with me and be there with me when it became difficult,” Payton said. “God surrounded me with an amazing group of disciples from all across the campus and brought...

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