New student body president has high expectations
Apr02

New student body president has high expectations

THE BELLS –By Wesley Ashton Results are in for university student body president,  and next year’s SBP is sophomore engineering science major Christian Harper. Voting took place March 3-6 after a long road of advertising, debating and reaching out to the students of the university. The campaign started with the student government presidential debate Feb. 27 when all four candidates talked about their different platforms. “My previous affiliations with SGA include serving as both the freshmen class president and vice president,” Harper said. “I plan to address several issues, including campus dining, the housing process, creating more parking, making textbooks tax free and improving the chapel experience for everybody. Something else that is very dear to my heart is the bridging of the social gap between students and student athletes on this campus.” Harper ran against junior psychology major Alex Aleman, junior international business major Jonathan Kendall and junior economics and marketing major Ryan Sewell. Candidates chalked the side-walks, posted on dorm doors and loaded tables with advertisements in hopes of representing the university’s student body. Ultimately on March 6,  the email went out that Harper had won. “As student body president, I look forward to serving my fellow students as liaison between the student body and administration,” Harper said. “I endeavor to improve each student’s educational, social and spiritual experience here at UMHB.” Harper is a football player at the university and uses that as a platform to get to know others. He wasn’t involved in SGA last year but hasn’t allowed that to stop him from staying up to date on current issues facing students. “I didn’t think people really had issues with so many things,” Harper said. “Then I started asking what we could do better. I really found through SGA I could make a difference. Freshman year, I really got a feel for what I wanted to do here at UMHB. We need to go to the people to build community on the campus.” Besides getting football players more involved on campus and reaching out  to them, Harper wants to try to make the chapel experience more appealing to students at the university through the addition of a band. Students came out in support during voting week for the vision Harper has for the campus—the year to come will make his dreams of change that much closer. “I like his idea of bringing a band into chapel and looking at the past bills that weren’t passed and seeing why they didn’t,” freshman cell biology and chemistry major Kristan Gomez said.  “I hope that the other candidates who didn’t win will help Christian become a good...

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Get some sun and earn class credit with paddle boarding
Feb25

Get some sun and earn class credit with paddle boarding

THE BELLS — As spring break approaches, so does the thought that the semester is halfway over, steering minds to  summer. Some students think about the relaxing three-month break they will have, while others stress over the credits they still need to register for to take during the summer. Of course, students can take classes on campus, but why stay in Belton to take courses when one can take the same course in a more vacation-like place? The university will be taking 10 students to South Padre Island to enjoy a little bit of fishing and paddle boarding in the sea while receiving two hours of P.E. credit that all students need. The trip is conveniently placed the Sunday after graduation and will be back the Wednesday after, just in time for students to get back who are planning to take the first May mini-mester. The van will leave at 5 a.m. to embark on the journey, and they expect to arrive on the island around noon. Then the students will start their first paddle boarding adventure on the coast of South Padre. Not just any student can go, though. Students will have to show they are good swimmers and prove they can carry a paddle board. They also  have to have a physical before going on this four-day trip. Dr. Jamey Plunk, a professor in the exercise and sport science department, will host the trip and instruct both fishing and paddle boarding. “This is the first year that we have actually had this class. It works out really, really well for most students because it starts the day after graduation and ends the day before the mini-mester starts,” Plunk said. “It’s a pretty intense four days because you’re having to knock out two hours.” He also made it known that the classes will be listed as a spring class so that students can use financial aid from this year to go toward the trip. Junior nursing major Chaley Shiffler saw the advertisement on MyCampus, which sparked her interest in the trip. “I’m most excited to learn how to fish and paddle board for the first time,” Shiffler said. “I’ve also never been to the Padre Islands, so that’ll be a first as well.” The 10 students will wake up at around 5 a.m. every day to fish off the coast. After a few hours, the students will go back to the condos to eat lunch and get ready to paddle board for the rest of the afternoon in calm and rougher waters. Once done with that at around 8:30 at night, students will prepare to spend the rest...

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Holly Tucker shares talent, Voice
Feb25

Holly Tucker shares talent, Voice

THE BELLS — Two years ago, 21-year-old Baylor student Holly Tucker auditioned for the TV show, The Voice, in Dallas, persuading each of the four coaches to turn around (indicating they wanted her on their team) while she sang. Tucker chose Blake Shelton as her coach, headed to California and eventually placed in the show’s final six. Tucker took the stage Feb. 12 for chapel before a crowd of Crusaders. She flaunted black, glittery cowboy boots, which she explained were mailed to her by a supportive fan to wear on the show. She said was “excited to do a gig for people her own age.” Sophomore marketing major Jessica Pitcaithly said the word passion best describes Tucker. “Not only does she work hard towards her music, she is a Christian, and it is very inspiring,” Pitcaithly said. Pitcaithly shares Tucker’s love for music and hopes to achieve songwriting success of her own one day. “I definitely feel like I can relate to Holly Tucker. She’s in school like me, and I’m also an aspiring musician in the song writing department,” Pitcaithly said. Tucker, a junior double speech communication and Spanish major, sang many well-known country songs, some of which she competed with on The Voice. Accompanied by her guitarist, she belted out Sugarland’s hit, “Settling.” The captivated audience’s response encouraged her to speak about herself and her story in between songs. Just days before one round of competition on The Voice, a vicious tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., devastating the town and calling for help and support from the rest of the country. Even though the potential for sizeable backlash was likely, Shelton and Tucker decided to use Tucker’s opening performance as an opportunity for prayer. She performed Carrie Underwood’s rendition of “How Great Thou Art” to remind a distressed country about God’s unceasing presence. Tucker said her faith is “a big part of who I am.” She wanted to be her most authentic self throughout the TV competition. Tucker performed the same song before dismissing students at chapel. Sophomore nursing major Lauren Garcia followed Tucker’s journey from start to finish that season on The Voice. She was excited when she met Tucker after chapel. “She is so sweet and is an amazing role model for young women,” Garcia said. “Her audition blew me away. I even have some of her covers on my phone.” Although Tucker is just a little older than she, Garcia said, “It’s not weird, but amazing. To manage school and a music career … that’s a lot of work.” In a post-elimination interview after her last appearance on the show, Tucker was gracious and...

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Reaching Out team to go on special mission to Independence
Feb25

Reaching Out team to go on special mission to Independence

THE BELLS — It’s important to have a connection to the past. Because of this, a group of students will travel to UMHB’s original home, Independence, March 1 as part of Reaching Out. The program gives students a chance to actively serve the community, and taking a trip to Independence shows that the university is still in touch with its origins. “Reaching Out is a university-driven service project,” said Michael Murphy, who is the student director for the event. “Students will partner with the Baptist church in Independence and help with various projects.” Director of Alumni Relations Rebecca O’Banion said Reaching Out gives students a chance to spread the gospel away from campus. “We have the opportunity to work together as faculty, staff and students to show Christ’s love in a tangible way to those outside the university family,” she said. A group of 20 students will participate in the service project, which will primarily take place at the Independence Baptist Church, the oldest continually operating Baptist church in Texas. The church opened in 1839 and was a center for mission work in the Republic of Texas. Aside from its age, the church has historical significance because it is also the congregation of which Sam Houston was a member when he was baptized. O’Banion said the trip will be a unique experience because students will not only have a chance to serve the community of Independence, but will also get a history lesson as well. “Those traveling to Independence will work on restoring the old church,” she said. “This has been an ongoing process, and our students will get to be a part of history by lending a hand to this church.” Even though UMHB moved from Independence to Belton in 1886, O’Banion said there’s still a strong connection between the university  and the town. “We have built a good relationship with the pastor and the community and wanted to do something to help them,” she said. “They are always such gracious hosts to us when we visit, and we wanted to serve them.” Because of this connection, the decision to plan a Reaching Out trip to Independence was easy to make. “It seemed like such a great opportunity to serve the church that was the church family of our students in Independence in the 1800s,” she said. “It feels like we are touching part of our history by serving this church.” Registration for the trip is currently closed, but students can sign up for a waiting list at umhb.edu/reaching-out-independence. Director of Student Organizations, Tiffany Wurdemann, said students who sign up for Reaching Out should be prepared to serve...

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Community members gather at Mayborn for annual Canstruction
Jan29

Community members gather at Mayborn for annual Canstruction

THE BELLS — Groups from across the community gathered in Mayborn Gymnasium Friday to construct monuments made from canned goods collected for charity. Saturday night the groups reconvened for a banquet.        

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FCA conference draws Cru athletes
Jan29

FCA conference draws Cru athletes

THE BELLS — The Cru Fellowship of Christian Athletes took a trip to Glen Rose, Texas, this past weekend. They weren’t looking for fossils but attending a college retreat that drew more than 500 Christian athletes from all across the state to take part in the fun-filled weekend of worship. “I had been looking forward to College Advance for a while now, ever since it was brought up in one of our weekly meetings,” senior physical therapy major Elijah Hudson said. “It seemed like such a great opportunity to get closer to the Lord.” The weekend consisted of silly games, plenty of food and, of course, praise and worship to give the athletes a break from their weekly routines. The speaker was Mikado Hinson, who is the athletic chaplain for the University of Houston. Mikado has met many athletes while being chaplain, and has become friends with a few names people might recognize. For Texans fans, Hinson and quarterback Case Keenum have a close friendship that grew strong while Keenum was playing for the Cougars. “I think he (Hinson) was the perfect speaker for the weekend. He made it clear that sports is just something we do, but our true calling is to serve our God in everything that we do,” Hudson said. Junior exercise sport science major Stanton Holland found the speaker to be very relatable and knowledgeable about the struggles of being a Christian athlete. “I have heard Mikado speak before, and he is awesome,” Holland said. “Everything that he talks about is completely relevant to what college athletes go through, and he also gave pointers on how to strengthen your walk with Christ.” The UMHB FCA group was just one of the very few small colleges that attended the retreat. “I didn’t really know what to expect going into the weekend. But when we got there, almost every big university from Texas was there it seemed like,” Holland said. The students arrived at Glen Rose around 7 p.m. on Saturday night and were kept busy until they left after lunch on Sunday. “I knew that it was going to be too busy, but when I got back, I was exhausted. It was worth it, though. I got a lot out of the weekend, and I would encourage everyone to try and make it to College Advance at least once,” Hudson said. Junior Christian studies major and FCA leader Taylor Irby hopes that this is just a kick-start to what will come for the UMHB FCA group. “I think this will light a fire underneath our group that went, and that group will impact the others,” Irby...

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