Student leaders look ahead,  seek guidance for future
Feb04

Student leaders look ahead, seek guidance for future

The weekend before last, students packed luggage into a trailer and filled several university vans and embarked on a three-and-a-half-hour journey to Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. Hardin-Simmons was this year’s host school for the annual Christian Association of Student Leaders conference. UMHB attendees represented almost every organization on campus including the likes of Student Government Association, Baptist Student Ministries, Campus Activities Board Welcome Week Steering Committee and Residence Life Association.   Junior psychology major Ross Jones went to the convention with members of First Year Council, also known as FYC. This was his third time to participate.   “My favorite part of CASL is getting to connect with students from other universities and sharing ideas. This year in particular really helped me step into the shoes of a first-year student and take into mind the stress level that they are experiencing and how to work with that not to overwhelm them more,” he said.   Not only did he meet and learn from students at other universities, but the experience made him grateful and gave him a new respect for his own school.   Overall, something I always end up taking away from CASL is perspective and the realization that we are truly blessed here at UMHB in a variety of ways and a lot of the time we tend to take it for granted.   Senior international business major and Student Body President Jonathan Kendall was among the representatives from SGA.   One lesson he took away from the event was how “to better prepare senators for SGA and to communicate the work that is happening within SGA.”   Maegan Loya, a senior education major and executive member of Campus Activities Board, enjoyed herself, but was sad this would be her last year to attend. What made this year special for her was being asked to make a presentation to all of the universities’ Campus Activities Boards about events she and her team have helped plan and execute at UMHB.   “It was great because it’s something I know, love and could talk about with ease. After submitting my presentation among every other school, I was honored to be one of two selected to present at CASL for Student Activities,” she said.   Another highlight of the event for Loya was the second night, which featured a concert by Christian songwriter and recording artist Jimmy Needham.   She said, “I absolutely loved it! I had never seen him live … which made me even more excited to see...

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#UMHBRO14
Oct16

#UMHBRO14

A frigid wind dragged along the steps of Luther Memorial Saturday morning, October 4th, yet still, more than 300 students showed up to serve at Reaching Out 2014.   Lord knows it was a miracle I was one of em’. Saturday mornings, I’m usually in a state of comatose only the rapture can lift me out of. But my girlfriend, junior education major Savannah Davis wasn’t having any of that. My phone bu-zzzzzzzzzz-ed. It was time to go [insert sound of whip cracking here].   7:30 a.m. We just had to get a T-shirt. Savvy and I stood at the back while dedicated students materialized in front of Luther.   My roommate, senior physcology major Alex Aleman, stepped up to the microphone to lead us in prayer.   “We wanted students to have a direct impact on the community this year in a way they could see it,” he said. “It’s great that we got to work in Belton because this is our town.”   Aleman is the Director of Spiritual Life for Student Government Association, and “me and the chaplains are in charge of preparing the sites, finding a speaker and finding people to lead worship,” he said.   Senior Biblical Studies major Matt Boden, and fellow teammate of the acclaimed co-rec intramural football team known as “Jesus Jukes,” joined junior exercise science major Alexa Billington in leading worship.   Boden said leading worship at Reaching Out is unique.   “First,” he said, “It is so dang early. But the people who show up usually want to be there. That’s a breath of fresh air for someone in ministry to see.”   Students all around joined in a chorus of praise.   “Singing is just a very powerful form of worship,” Billington said, “and I know, for me, it’s what makes me feel like I’m connecting with God the most.”   “It’s just a beautiful thing to be able to sing to The Lord before the sun even comes out …” Boden added.   The only thing missing from Reaching Out’s pregame experience was Shawn Shannon’s “Big Watermelon!” warm-up. She was sick and dearly missed. But either way, it was time to serve. Savvy and I headed out to help clean up Nolan Creek.   We were joined on the trail by senior education major Kristen Cain, who also served at the Harris Community Center.   “We picked up large sticks and branches that were along the trail to clean up from the big storm Thursday night,” she said.   Our work replenished the creek’s appearance.   “God has shown me easy ways to serve in my community...

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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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