University growth turns mail service into Wild West
Feb25

University growth turns mail service into Wild West

THE BELLS — The United States Postal Service has come a long way since the days of the Pony Express. Unfortunately, it’s still struggling, especially on campus where many students are having a hard time tracking down their mail. Highwaymen and Comanche warriors no longer threaten the safe delivery of mail, but modern issues create serious complications. Three main issues lead to students not receiving their mail on campus: wrong addresses, failure to receive notification slips and time delayed delivery. Latricia McMillan is the manager of mail services on campus. She and her team are working in a room piled with packages and mail to get every student’s mail delivered. A portion of the problem would be eliminated if students living in the apartments instructed anyone sending them mail to use their specific apartment address. McMillan held up a small envelope that read UMHB 900 College Street and, she said, “This could actually fit in a student’s mailbox, but because they put UMHB 900 College, they’re going to re-route it here.… so guess what. This student probably doesn’t even have a package notification.” This leads to the second problem that occurs when students don’t receive the slip telling them they have mail waiting to be picked up. The office’s first priority is dorm mail; however, any overflow from the apartments goes to the mail office in the SUB. “If for some reason they (the apartments) run out of space to store those packages they’re supposed to leave a note for the student in the mailbox that says to come here to get the package,” she said. When the mail carrier delivers these packages, the carrier leaves a note that tells whether or not a notice was left for the student. Out of all the packages for apartment residents that McMillan’s office had, only about half of them had received notification. Every regular work day, two mail deliveries are made to the university. One carrier goes to the SUB early in the day and the other to the apartments later in the in the afternoon. When a student living in the apartments finds a notification slip, they won’t be able to pick up their package until the next mail delivery day because of the two carrier system. This is the reason for the time delayed delivery. Julie Walker is a resident director in Independence Village and she has witnessed the problem grow with the larger number of students and more online shopping. With more students and more packages coming to campus accommodations have not been made. “With the volume that we have now—and I think that’s the situation, I think...

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Sport Spotlight: Thomas Orr
Feb25

Sport Spotlight: Thomas Orr

THE BELLS — Thomas Orr is a senior sport management major from Hutto, Texas, where he attended Hutto High School. Before joining the Cru, Orr attended Panola College in Texas and State Fair Community College in Missouri. He played two seasons for the Cru and helped lead his team to the 2013 NCAA Division III National Championship Game last season. He now serves as the student assistant basketball coach. Orr chose UMHB “for multiple reasons—basketball, the winning tradition is excellent here, it is also close to home so my parents can watch me play, and I just like the feel of the community walking around campus and the surrounding support that they have,” he said. He talks about the change of roles. “The transition was kind of hard, especially losing in the National Championship game. I kind of feel like I still have a little bit left to prove, but my time is up. It’s hard to say. Playing to now coaching… you are right there in a game. It’s like you’re injured and just waiting to get back on the court. But I have enjoyed the transition, and it feels good,” Orr said. Throughout his basketball career, he has collected many favorite memories. “My first one would be my senior year of high school when I scored a career high 41 points in a playoff game. My second one would be in the conference tournament against Hardin-Simmons where I scored 38 points, my career high at the college level. And then the national championship dunk of course,” he said. After college, Thomas hasn’t made a final decision on what he wants to do. But basketball will surely be involved. He said, “My dream job is to become a head basketball coach somewhere. I don’t know where. People always say they want to go to Duke or something like that, but I could go coach anywhere. As long as I am the head coach, I will be...

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Cru softball back in action
Feb25

Cru softball back in action

THE BELLS — by Emily Steppick Last weekend, the softball team traveled to Clinton, Miss. for a four- game series against Mississippi College. The team played a double-header  and lost the first game 3-4 along with the second 2-3. The Crusaders played a second double-header Feb. 16. The girls lost the first game 1-4 and the second 0-3. Last season the team placed third in the tournament and finished 29-16. The women ended with a 17-7 record in conference play. Sophomore Kourtney Bevers said the team prepared well for the season. “As far as pre-season/fall ball, we did a lot of different training as far as conditioning to get us in better shape. We did CrossFit and a lot of circuits work in the weight room.” The Lady Cru have full potential to dominate ASC play adding new talent to the experienced returners. “We have a lot of freshmen that came in, so I think just the competitive atmosphere of our team has heightened because nobody’s spot is set in stone.” After pitching every game in her high school career, Bevers was recruited as a pitcher for the Cru. However, last season she started as a center fielder. Bevers said she chose number 10 both this season and last season because she likes to wear the same number in softball as she wears in basketball. The atmosphere of the softball program is one that allows the players to have fun and be competitive at the same time. “Softball honestly feels like a family here. There’s not a person I don’t get along with, and the coaches make the competitive environment a fun place. Another big thing I like is that we pray before every game and strive to reflect God in the way we play.” Bevers is working on a major in art and visual communications along with a minor in marketing. After graduation, she can see herself pursuing a career in sports advertisement logos or in interior design. Junior left fielder Janie Neyland agrees with Bevers. “The team went through hardcore workouts in the fall to prepare for this season,” Neyland said.  “This year there are a lot of freshmen, creating a very young team.” Before playing for the Crusaders, Neyland played softball throughout high school and played for a select softball team. So she knows what it takes to be successful in the sport. “The key to winning games this year will be having high intensity throughout the whole game and trying to string all our hits together.” The chemistry between the players is one that is hard to describe because even though some of them have...

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Cru Knights: a Gatsby-approved party
Feb25

Cru Knights: a Gatsby-approved party

Lights. Camera. Cru Knights. The legendary man pageant is one of the highlights of the spring semester. Each year, male students from across campus come together to represent an organization or group. They dance, make videos, strut and compete to win the title of Mr. Crusader Knights. This year, 23 men hit the stage under the direction of junior computer graphics design major Lauren Theodore. The goal was to put on a show that would transport audiences back in time and showcase the hard work each contestant put into the performance. For this year’s theme, the directors selected Roaring Twenties. Each advertisement and decoration featured Art Deco elements, and all the glittering gold and extravagance resembled a party Jay Gatsby himself would be proud to host. The set, designed by junior exercise sport science major Shannon McGorty, wowed audiences and cast members alike. Sophomore public relations major Katie Valenzuela helped run social media on the promotions team. She was excited to find ways to make the theme come to life for the audience. “We were like ‘Hey, come dressed in your best Roaring Twenties Great Gatsby outfit,’” Valenzuela said. “We (wanted) to transport these people into a different place and really create an awesome show for them, so for the audience to be able to be part of the production is something really neat.” Juniors Braxton Tucker and Taylor O’Rear emceed the event, transitioning between dances and videos with 20s-styled jokes and one-liners. “Please silence all cell phones because they don’t even exist yet,” Tucker quipped on opening night. The competition began Friday with parody videos submitted by each contestant. Their assignment was to spoof a viral YouTube or music video. New spins were put on old favorites ranging from “Charlie Bit Me” to the Sonic commercials with those two guys in a car, and a few music videos in between. After each cluster of parodies, one set of men would perform their group dance on stage. The contestants ended the night with a large group dance. Saturday evening was filled with struts, interviews and plenty of dancing. Former Mr. Cru Knights and alumnus Tanner Clarke was featured in a number before crowning this year’s champion later in the evening. “I’m really blessed to do this from a different perspective. Getting to pour into these guys every single day, doing devotionals at practices, really helped me to be part of their lives even though I wasn’t a student anymore,” Clarke said. “Giving away at this point is a blessing for me because I get to pass on what I had as a student to somebody else.” After an interview...

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Paranoia puts McLane residents on their toes
Feb25

Paranoia puts McLane residents on their toes

THE BELLS — McLane dormitory was a war zone this February as its signature game, the annual Paranoia competition, was in full swing. The game is a favorite among McLane residents, said junior finance/accounting major Cody Lee, who is an RA in the dorm and is in his third year playing Paranoia. “Paranoia is awesome,” Lee said, “It’s one of the more fun things to do at McLane and one of the best opportunities that is offered anywhere at UMHB.” The game turns highlighters into weapons as those who play the game attempt to mark the skin of their “target” at any location on campus except for classrooms and Hardy Hall. No marking on the face is allowed, but everything else is fair game; strategizing, cutting people off at entrances and exits, tackling, almost anything goes when someone is trying to take out a target. A unique aspect of the game is its nature of confidentiality. When residents sign up to play, they put their name down quietly and individually so other residents are in the dark about their participation. When the game begins, each player receives a “target”—the name of the person they have to mark. If they mark that target, the target then hands them the name they were going after, and the game continues this way until only one is left standing. Although competitors know whom they are going after, they don’t know who’s after them, creating the feeling of paranoia. “It literally makes you paranoid, which can be fun sometimes,” said Ross Phipps, a sophomore criminal justice major. He has a word of advice for those who play in the future: “If it seems like someone’s after you, they probably are.” The inspiration to play the game can come from different purposes, but one common goal rises above the others as a primary motivator: victory. “I wanted to win… I wanted to rub it in everybody’s faces,” said Kyle Woods, a freshman criminal justice major. “I didn’t last too long, though. I got out, like the second day.” Stories like Woods’ are common, as few residents make it past two weeks. However, some survive for several more weeks, which means the game could last for months. Senior Christian Ministries major Jesse Malina won this year’s competition officially ending the Paranoia. There can only be one competitor left standing but even participants who did not win are quick to talk about how much fun the game was. As Phipps said, whether or not you win, the paranoia – and accompanying adrenaline – are worth it. He tells those who are curious about the experience, “If you...

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Red shirt and chicken giveaway
Feb25

Red shirt and chicken giveaway

THE BELLS — The Quality Enhancement Plan committee gave away free lip balm, soda, candy and pens that promoted the QEP Writing Cru in the Mayborn Campus Center Feb. 14. T-shirts went to the first 500 people, and they will receive Chick-fil-A coupons if they wear the shirts Feb. 25 and 26. “The QEP is one of the key elements of reaffirmation of accreditation under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS),” co-chair of the QEP committee Dr. Brian Brabham said. “The QEP describes a course of action taken by a university that enhances the quality of the education at the university and has student learning as its primary goal.” The committee conducted a contest in which students, faculty and staff were asked to submit pre-proposals to determine where the emphasis would be for education enhancement. “We wanted as much campus involvement as possible. We determined that having a contest with a monetary reward would probably draw the most responses,” Brabham said. “Two proposals that dealt with writing were chosen.” The submissions from Dr. Judy Trotti, professor of education and Dr. Jacky Dumas, professor of English, stressed the need to improve writing skills at the basic level and writing skills specific to an individual’s major. “Most businesses or companies lament the fact that graduates come out and they can’t write,” Dumas said. “We need to make sure that we’re able to give them a foundation of writing, so that when students leave, they’re able to go into that vocation with a degree of confidence in their communication skills.” Since spring 2011, the committee has worked on the Quality Enhancement Plan, which was given the name the Writing Cru by alumna Sarah Norrell and senior education major Jacquelyn Jackson. The Writing Cru desires to make students competent in a writing style that is necessary for their future professions. “Everybody does some sort of writing in some facet,” Dumas said. “One of the major components of the QEP is that each major will require two writing intensive courses within the degree pathway.” The addition of a writing center on campus is one of the tools the Writing Cru will use as it works to improve student writing. The center will be located in the Mabee Student Center along with the Center for Academic Excellence, Career Services and Planning and other organizations for student support. Trotti said, “The writing center will be an asset to students as a place where specialists in foundational writing and disciplinary writing can collaborate with students as they write papers, reports, essays and other...

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