Annual writer’s festival a success
Mar04

Annual writer’s festival a success

In February, the university’s English department hosted its annual writer’s festival. This is a three-day event devoted to creativity and learning where students, staff, faculty and guest authors can learn about and share writing.   “I think that it’s important for the campus community and the broader community to be exposed to the literature that’s being created in the here and now. The festival is a place where both writing and faith are taken seriously,” Professor of English Dr. Nathaniel Hansen said of the event, which he has now directed for three years.   Although the event takes place over a span of three days, many months of prior preparation are necessary.   “The planning process begins about a year ahead of the festival when I start contacting potential featured writers,” Hansen said.   Once I line up the featured writers, I create a general call for papers for local, regional, state, and national writers to read as part of a panel. It’s a process that I very much enjoy.”   Hansen likes the interaction between writers of diverse places and walks of life.   “It’s a pleasure to watch writers of varying levels and differing backgrounds interact with one another. It’s also a great opportunity for our students, not just English majors, to hear from talented writers.”   Hansen was pleased with this year’s turnout and looks forward to the coming year.   “Events were well attended this year, and we had more festival participants than in prior years. Some participants traveled from Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan and Oklahoma,” he said.   Kelsey Belcher, a senior English major and president of Sigma Tau Delta said, “I was a student volunteer. I worked the book and check-in tables, and helped Dr. Hansen, who runs the Writers’ Festival, with other miscellaneous tasks in order to keep the festival running smoothly.”   Belcher believes it’s necessary to expose the campus to various writing forms with events like the writer’s festival.   “Writing is important, because it provides an outlet for self-expression and fosters creative and academic interaction with others,” she said.   Grace Lindig, a senior English major who also worked a table at the festival said, “It was truly an awesome experience and I’m sad I won’t be here next...

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Professor turns class into campus film fest
Feb04

Professor turns class into campus film fest

The theater lights dim and Charlie Chaplin’s iconic character appears on the screen, complete with his cane, bowler hat and unmistakable moustache. His slapstick antics have the audience’s attention as they watch to see how he’s going to get out of a sticky situation. No, this isn’t a flashback to a 1920s movie theater, but rather a scene from Brindley Auditorium as part of a semester-long film series put on by the communication and media studies department.   The series was born from a class, Film History and Criticism, in which students view and discuss iconic films. The professor who teaches the course, Dr. Joseph Tabarlet, has opened his class to the public so that others can view the historic films that are seldom shown in theater-like settings.   Tabarlet belonged to the Central Texas Film Society, which hosted a similar series.   “We did that for a little over two years at the CAC in Temple. It was a lot of fun. I got to see films that I had never seen before and I was able to introduce people to films that I loved that they had never seen before,” he said.   He wanted to bring something similar to UMHB and saw that his Film History and Criticism class would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Films are shown every Monday at 2 p.m. in York 102. Each film in the series either has an important historical significance or has had a lasting impact on the film industry itself.   The first few weeks focus on the early stages of the motion picture industry.   “In this series, we’re seeing a lot of silent films, and the reason for that is that’s such an important part of film history,” Tabarlet said. “You can’t understand how the film industry developed unless you see those films made before 1930 that in many cases are ignored.”   Modern moviegoers may not think silent era films are appealing, but senior general studies major Robert Edwards said they’re more entertaining than one might think.   “I don’t think I ever watched too many silent films, but now that I have, me and my wife watch them together for entertainment,” Edwards said.   Tabarlet said those who avoid silent films are avoiding a major part of cinematic history.   “If they don’t see the silent films because they’re silent, then they’re missing out on a lot. Silent film is an art form ….,” he said.   Even though most people think comedy when thinking of silent films, Tabarlet said they can have a powerful impact as well.   “I remember the...

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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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