Both Sides of the Boulevard

Untitled7By Liz Crowell

It’s easy to become comfortable and stuck with the same routine, the same buildings on campus and the same group of people once you get settled in college. At SMU we have two prominent sides of the boulevard; on the West side you have the renowned Meadows School of the Arts while on the East side the equally as renowned Cox School of Business. Sounds a little bit like the Sharks and the Jets from “West Side Story” if you will. Both schools demand a lot from its students especially outside of the classroom, so it’s sometimes hard to get the time to see the other side.

As an accounting major at SMU I find myself spending most of my days at either Einstein’s or in the Business Library. I’ve lost count of how many group projects I’ve had for classes and how many 10-Ks I’ve had to read as well. I love the Cox school of business; the people I’ve met in it, the opportunities it has afforded me and the necessary skills it has taught me to be able to enter the business world. But every now and then I like to dip my feet into unchartered waters, to come up from the Cox basement and see what’s going on with those Jets on the other side of the Boulevard. Thankfully, I’ve been able to do just that with the connections I’ve made at SMU and the events those individuals put on.

At SMU, the theatre department performs a couple of mainstage shows each semester that draw in audiences from all over. After I’ve finished reading a few 10-Ks, I’ve found my way at Meadows watching mainstage shows such as The Women, Black Snow, Middletown and countless others. Outside the mainstage selection of shows, students of the theatre department have made SMUST a force to be reckoned with. SMUST, or SMU Student Theatre, is an organization that puts on many shows throughout the semester that are written and directed by SMU students, starring SMU students. Personally, I think these shows are much more entertaining and memorable as they’re a bit of a grassroots movement. I see my friends writing and acting out the most amazing scripts and stories weekly and the best part, it’s free to attend. Past shows have included shows like “Am I Blue”, “Frack” and “Shakespeare’s Star Wars” just to name a few.  I love that SMU allows me to work at a Bloomberg Terminal for hours and then watch free theatre performances all in the same night.

I’ve seen both sides of the boulevard, I’ve been a Shark during the day and a Jet at night. As I finish up my first semester of senior year I encourage everyone entering college in the next year to see what the other side is like and leave that comfort zone you create for yourself at school from time to time. Thankfully at SMU, due to its size and driven student population it’s not hard to create both a comfort zone and get out of it whenever you want.

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The Greek System: A Senior’s Perspective

By Emily Hegi

This semester I’ve had the incredible opportunity to be on the executive board of my Greek organization. I know what you’re thinking: the Greek system is all about partying and paying for friends. I’m here to tell you that stereotype is completely inaccurate.   But first, lets rewind to my very first semester at SMU.

I had just graduated from a large high school, but somehow was the only girl from my class that came to SMU. I essentially knew no one. Neither of my parents were involved in Greek life, and frankly they didn’t want me to be either. Luckily, SMU participates in something called “deferred recruitment”. This means that joining (or not joining) a Greek organization doesn’t happen until the second semester of your first year. Thank goodness.

In that first semester at SMU, I had the opportunity to meet women from every Panhellenic sorority in classes, other clubs on campus, and in my residence hall. I also had the opportunity to figure out how to live on my own, study for class, and to adjust to college life in general. I got to do all of this, however, without the commitment to a sorority (and believe me, it is a commitment).

By the time recruitment came around, I felt like I was making an informed decision. For starters, I had realized that the Greek system was not what I thought it was. I had been to philanthropy events and informative lecturers put on and brought to campus by different Greek groups. I had seen how sorority women encouraged each other to excel in the classroom and to get involved in other areas on campus. I knew that the sisterhood and the familial aspect of Greek organizations were not a made up marketing ploy—they was real.

Fast forward back to present day in my senior year and I’ve never regretted my decision to go Greek for a minute. Being Greek has made me who I am today. I have met my best friends and become my best self through experiences facilitated by being in a Greek organization. The leadership experience I’ve been exposed to is unparalleled. I truly believe that one of SMU’s strengths is its diverse Greek system.

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Life Around Dallas: D-town Boogie

UntitledBy Austin Whittle

Dallas is no stranger to the music scene. Headline artists such as Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Drake and Lil Wayne have all made recent appearances in the Big D. Although not as well known as the artists I have previously mentioned, Echosmith, The Mowgli’s, and American Authors came to town as well, and my friends and I could not pass up the opportunity to see them. With Dallas being the affordable city that it is, tickets were less than $25! The bands played at the Granada—a small, local theatre less than a mile away from campus. All three acts were amazing and unforgettable.

As a total foodie, the night was made complete by some amazing food as well. Before the concert, my friends and I went to one of our favorite restaurants in Dallas called The Old Monk. The food did not end at dinner though! After the concert and to end the night, we all childishly indulged in some popsicles from an ice cream truck just outside the theatre. Overall, it was another exciting night in Dallas.

Coming from a small town in Georgia where the only fun thing to do is go to the movies and the only restaurants are chain restaurants, I can easily say how thankful I am to go to school in a city with such an awesome and accessible entertainment and food scene.

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Pony Up, Mr. President

By Carissa Laughlin

I was very fortunate as a student at SMU to have the opportunity to attend a presentation from former President George W. Bush about his new book, 41: A Portrait of My Father. This opportunity was provided to me from the Hunt Leadership Scholars program and the generosity of the Hunt family.

Having the opportunity to attend such a prestigious event is something I will never forget. Hearing former President George W. Bush talk about his childhood and growing up with his father as President of the United States was a very unique experience. Former President George W. Bush was extremely candid and open with the crowd, which made everyone lean in to listen to the stories of exchanges between father and son, in and outside the White House.

Untitled2(Pictured (left to right): Carissa Laughlin, Emily Hegi, & Elizabeth Dubret at McFarlin Auditorium at SMU with signed copies of 41: A Portrait of My Father)

One of my favorite stories was when former President George W. Bush was very young, and stole a set of toy soldiers from a local shop in Midland, Texas. His father noticed the toy soldiers and asked where they came from, and former President George W. Bush not wanting to lie, proceeded to tell the truth. Admitting to the stolen items, former President George W. Bush was escorted by his father back to the store, and was told to apologize and return the items. Former President George W. Bush said this was how his father would discipline. It was much more about learning and growth from the experience, and making things right. Though it is easy to put leaders up on a pedestal and forget that they are normal people, hearing these stories really humanized two historical leaders of this country.

These types of opportunities are often made available to students at SMU through on-campus events, the Tate Lecture Series, and on-campus programming from student organizations.

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Taking a Study Break with Meadows Performances

Untitled5​By Katelyn Hall

I’m a journalism major in Meadows School of the Arts, but I’ll tell you one thing: I’m not artsy. I can’t draw, I’m tone deaf, and I trip on my own feet.

But my artistic deficiencies make me appreciate the work my peers in Meadows do even more. I have friends doing a gallery shows as senior art majors, Brown Bag performances in dance, and black box theater performances as theater and film majors. The best part about all this talent in Meadows is that I get to see all of it for free.

There are countless productions every week. I already have time carved out of my study schedule to see my friend perform in a theater production this evening and I can’t wait to get into the holiday spirit with the Belle Tones and Southern Gentlemen winter performance.

There’s something really magical about getting to experience amazing art on campus – especially when I’m cramming for my finals and writing Spanish research papers.

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Celebration of Lights: A Senior’s Perspective

Untitled5By Taylor Thompson

With finals approaching (actually, they start in 3 days, yikes!) it’s always nice to take a break with friends to celebrate the holidays. My favorite tradition that we have on campus is Celebration of Lights. Students, faculty, staff, and families from about the Park Cities all come together on Dallas Hall Lawn to eat warm cookies, drink hot chocolate, and sing everyone’s favorite carols. The entire lawn is lit up by the most beautiful glow from all the lit candles as we stand together as a community. Now you must be wondering, if this event is called Celebration of Lights, where are all the lights?! The last song we all sing together is Silent Night. After the first verse, 138,000 white lights that are wrapped around Dallas Hall and all the trees on the Lawn are all turned on at once. It’s hands down the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen when it comes to Christmas lights. For me, this year was particularly special as it was my last Celebration of Lights as a student. Standing with all my friends, I was reminded at how many memories I have created and how many life-long friends I’ve made over my past 4 years at SMU. As the temperature keeps dropping, our planners become more filled with review sessions, and sweatpants are considered “getting dressed,” Celebration of Lights couldn’t be a better reminder what this time of hear is all about.

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Celebration of Lights: A Holiday Tradition

By Melody Davis

It’s time for finals now for SMU students – which means late nights studying, extra coffee, stress to pull off those good grades; no surprise there. But finals time also means something else on campus for SMU: Celebration of Lights. This past Monday, I celebrated my fourth but hopefully not last Celebration of Lights ceremony at SMU. Coming back from Thanksgiving break to Celebration of Lights is the perfect transition into the Christmas spirit and semester wrap-up. Celebration of Lights is such a special time with holiday songs, the reading of the Christmas story by President Turner, and the lighting of our already spectacular campus with thousands of beautiful white lights. This year was especially bittersweet, watching the ceremony for my senior year, but also seeing special friends who came back to celebrate with us even after graduation. If I’m lucky enough to stay in Dallas next year, you can bet that I’ll be back to celebrate one of the most wonderful SMU traditions!

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Top 22: The Best Things About Winter

By Laura Spitler

It’s that time of year again! The temperature is dropping, the year is drawing to a close, and the holidays are upon us. Here is my list of 22 of the Best Things about Winter in Dallas:

1.  Cozy SMU Apparel

2.  We get to see snow! …but it doesn’t last long enough to be annoying

3.  Attempting to have a snowball fight with your friends

4.  Getting “Ice Days” off of School

5.  Just when you are getting too cold, there will be a random 70F day

6.  The Russian Ballet performs the Nutcracker at McFarlin Auditorium

7.  Ice skating around the giant tree at the Galleria

8.  Horse-drawn carriages through Highland Park to look at Christmas Lights

9.  The Tomato Basil Soup from La Madeline

10. Procrastinating studying by watching the classic holiday movies

11. Therapy dogs at Fondren Library

12. Warm holiday brews from Café 100

13. Choir performances at Meadows

14. Holiday parties in your residence hall or with your campus organizations

15. Getting a nice LONG winter break at home with your family

16. Fondren library brings in free food during exam week

17. The window displays at Neiman Marcus downtown

18. Klyde Warren Park is beautiful at night

19. Celebration of Lights at SMU

20. We get TWO reading days (no class!) before final exams

21. Campus organizations sell hot chocolate by the west bridge as fundraisers

22. Gingerbread cupcakes from Sprinkles

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Hilltop!

Thanksgiving-PhotosBy Ryan Herrscher

Finals are just over the horizon with winter break and December graduation on the other side. All of those things bring stress, happiness, joy, and a general sense of excitement to our campus. This week though, we pause our hectic schedules and push aside the busyness of our daily routines. Thanksgiving provides a much needed break and an opportunity to look back and give thanks for the experiences that make up our lives. My time at SMU has been one of the defining experiences in my life and I know I will continue to be thankful for the opportunities I have had long after this Thanksgiving and my graduation in May. Regardless of where you find yourself this Thursday, I hope you are able to find things in your life to be thankful for as well.

We will not have any posts on the blog for the next week as many of us will be back home with our families or around Dallas with friends. In the meantime, I think I speak for all the Ambassadors when I say happy Thanksgiving and Pony Up!

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Homecoming 2014: Crown the King and Queen

Untitled3By Adam Melson

As the fall semester ends and the temperature drops, its a telltale sign that Homecoming is near. This past Homecoming weekend was again one of the best weekends of the fall semester.

(Pictured: 2014 Homecoming King Kyle Cantrell representing Beta Upsilon Chi and 2014 Homecoming Queen Taylor Goerke representing Chi Omega)

Alumni from all years past came back to the Hilltop to celebrate being a Mustang and relieve their college years. To kick off the weekend, the SMU men’s basketball team kicked off their season with a win at Moody Coliseum. The celebration continued the next day with the Homecoming parade and the Boulevard. So many organizations were represented by floats on the parade, which was led by SMU alum and star of the Office, Brian Baumgartner. The Homecoming Boulevard was a welcoming reminder of all the support and spirit for SMU. The festivities stretched from Dallas Hall down to the tip of the Boulevard and each tent was a representation of the community spirit of our organizations on campus. It was incredible to see the blocks of Hillcrest avenue and the boulevard teeming with fans cheering for SMU. Unfortunately this was my last Homecoming parade and Boulevard of my undergraduate years, but I look forward to coming back to Homecoming each year as an alumni member.

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