An Open Letter: My SMU Experience

By Michael Saunders

Hey guys my name is Michael Saunders and I am a senior double majoring in Philosophy and Spanish!  I am a Resident Assistant in the Hilltop Scholars Community and an active member on the Cheer team and Hip Hop Club.  This semester has absolutely flown by, partly because every semester seems to, and partly because the job hunt, along with the rigorous training the Cheer team goes through as they prepare for College Nationals, are making it a little challenging to look up and watch the weeks pass by rather than race through each day with no concept of time!  I am having an incredible time, though, and am so grateful for all of the opportunities that this University has made available to me.  Whenever I have time to catch my breath in between classes and extracurriculars, I have a tendency to reflect on some of the many things I have been able to do since enrolling at SMU in the fall of 2010: Open for B.o.B, Study abroad in Madrid, the Hawaii Bowl, being introduced to President Bush, being there for as students stormed the court after our basketball team beat #7 Cincinnati in Moody.  These are only a few of the MANY stories and I can’t help but recognize that it has been an incredible ride and I know it is still far from over!  What happens next? Who knows!  I know that I certainly do not, but I can assure you that I am looking forward to the future and will do everything in my power to make a positive impact on this world.

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Moody Magic: An Intern’s Perspective

By Jeffery Jacobs

This semester, I was fortunate enough to work as a Public Relations Intern with Southern Methodist University Athletic program. I started working on January 2nd as a volunteer construction worker for the Moody Coliseum. With only two days before the opening of the coliseum, it was imperative to make sure every tile was in the right place, test the lighting and sound, and experiment the various food options in the different concession stands. It was hard work, but it was amazing to make my contribution into the coliseum that will be standing for at least the next half century. If you have been into the coliseum, you will see the blue section numbers circulating the stadium. Before the coliseum was opened, they were power drilled into the wrong locations. My job was to unscrew all of the blue signs and take them all down so they could be placed in the correct spots. Even though I was going backwards on work that had already been done, it was still cool to make my marks in the coliseum.

The first game was amazing because we played and beat the University of Connecticut by 20+ points. It was a big deal for us at the time and it is even more impressive that we beat the NCAA Champions of 2014 twice. Too bad we couldn’t play them instead of Minnesota. This began the whimsical slogan of “Moody Magic.” During the season, my job was to run the statistical data from the media table in the center of the court to the team benches, the radio crew, the television crew, and all of the media sources that attended the games. I met a number of well known people from ESPN, ABC, and TXA 21. In addition, I also met George Bush, Jason Garret, Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Michael Finley, Vince Carter, and a few other successful individuals. This was just a bonus perk but it was really cool to meet people who I see on television every day. With the year coming to a close, I feel so much more prepared for the business world in sports because I learned that the game itself is what people come to see, but all of the cyber kinetics between the different offices in an athletic department is what lasts on a daily business. This is a tough and time consuming business. People who work in sports have to be prepared to work back to back 16 hour days because it is very possible. Sports in the real world is a very fast paced business and you must learn how to keep up before you actually know what you are actually doing in your position. You have to be prepared for sudden changes, discretion, and representing a positive image for not only your department, but for the athletic program as a whole, and the school/team you are working for. This is the most fun I have had in my life.

 

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Student Life Spotlight: Happy Birthday Peruna!

p1By Taylor Thompson

Every spring SMU students emerge from class to find a huge carnival set up on Dallas Hall Lawn to celebrate Peruna’s birthday. He’s a pretty big deal around here, so we definitely go all out for him. The event is called Perunapalooza and is put on by Student Foundation, one of our student organizations on campus. Dallas Hall Lawn is covered in giant inflatables with everything from slides, an obstacle course, “The Wrecking Ball” (which is probably self-explanatory), and my favorite, the Meltdown. If you’ve ever seen the show “Wipeout,” they have an obstacle with two spinning arms at different heights, one high and one low, that you have to jump and duck under. If you’re not careful, the arms will knock you off your platform and you’ll go flying. By the time I was done, let’s just say the score was Meltdown: 1,000,000 Taylor: 0.

Besides laughing at everyone getting knocked off their feet at “The Meltdown” the food is definitely the best part of Perunapalooza. There is everything from free Chipotle and Kind Bars, to popcorn, fried Oreos, and giant birthday cakes, just to name a few of student’s favorites. I love Peruapalooza because it’s the perfect way to relax before everyone starts heading into final texts, projects, and exams. The entire campus comes together to celebrate the feisty pony who fills SMU with all our spirit, just as it should be, because without Peruna, who knows where we would be. SMU students would probably not be camping outside of the ticket office trying to get into the student section for the Louisville basketball game, that is for sure. But guess what? WE ARE!

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The Time has Come: Graduation

By Margaret Ellen Crawford

My four years of college are finally coming to a close. It is hard to believe that it’s been so long since I first stepped on campus as a bright eyed and eager high school senior. I visited SMU in April and I immediately realized that SMU was an incredible school. Its beautiful campus, its size, and its location in Dallas made SMU stand out from all of my other prospects. I loved that I could study more than one subject here. I loved that SMU students were incredibly involved on campus. And most of all I loved that when I walked around campus students looked happy – like they truly enjoyed going to school here. These were the factors that lead me to make my decision to come to SMU. What I didn’t know at that time was just how big of an impact SMU would have on me.

Graduation-May2013Quad(picured: Last year’s May 2013 SMU graduation ceremony on Dallas Hall lawn)

As I write this I am a mere three weeks away from graduating. In my time at SMU I have changed my major more times than I can count. I have joined clubs and quit clubs. I have had the “what am I going to do with my life” crisis. I have excelled and I have struggled. Your four years of college are a time to discover your passions, develop life long friendships, and build the foundation for your future career. College challenges you in everything you do; teaches you about your strengths and weaknesses; and ultimately shapes who you are. I look back on who I was when I first walked down the boulevard and am so thankful that I chose to be moulded by SMU.

My mom always told me growing up that you are the company you keep. To a certain extent I agreed, but I also thought that a person decides who and what they become. In my time at SMU I have realized that we both were right. When you are surrounded by excellence it challenges you to also be excellent, but ultimately the decision to be excellent is yours. What I have found at SMU is a community defined by excellence, full of students that excel but also that encourage their peers to excel with them. Not a community of competition, but of shared accomplishment. I have done and achieved more in my four years at SMU than I ever imagined I would when I first stepped on campus. I attribute that success to the encouragement and support not only of my professors and mentors, but also my peers. More times than not it was my friends that convinced me I could achieve something when I was skeptical of my own ability.

You always hear people say “College is the best four years of your life!” A part of me can’t help but agree with this. I have had MORE than my fair share of fun during my time at SMU going to themed parties, boulevards, sporting events, and formals. I have stormed the field after our football team beat TCU and the court when our basketball team made it to the NIT championship. I have studied abroad in Italy and traveled all over the country visiting friends. While this is only the tip of the iceberg of the fun I have had in college, a part of me hesitates when I hear that college is the best time of your life. I truly believe that because of my decision to come to SMU I have set myself up to have many more years of incredible memories. SMU has given me friends and mentors that will support me. SMU has given me an education that has prepared me for the real world. SMU has given me outstanding resources that greatly contributed to me getting a job. And finally, SMU has given me the tools to be successful no matter what path I take going forward.

Graduation is a bittersweet time for all seniors. In the past few months there have been many “lasts” and there are even more to come in the next couple of weeks. There will be ceremonies and hard goodbyes, but there definitely won’t be any regrets. I can honestly say that coming to SMU was one of the best decisions of my life, and I hope that you too can say when you graduate that the best is yet to come.

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Approaching the Semester’s End

p2By Adam Melson

As the spring semester winds to an end, one obstacle lies in the way of students returning home, starting internships, and even graduating: final exam week. During this week, students will spend hours visiting with their professors and studying in SMU’s various libraries in order to prepare for the semester’s end. After the semester, many students will begin internships set up through SMU’s MustangTrak, which allows them to experience a new job setting and build up one’s credentials for after graduation. For those who are graduating, this is a bittersweet time; the senior class will close a chapter in their lives and finally enter the real world!

Getting through finals isn’t an awful time at SMU because of the amenities that SMU provides for its students. Every night at SMU’s Fondren library, a “midnight breakfast” is catered for the students who are studying away during the night. SMU also provides free massages in the residence halls to relieve stress and provide a break for students who are focusing on exams.

Although exam week is a burden for most students, SMU goes out of their way in order to help us succeed. And we just have to remember that summer is just a week away!

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May 1: Decision Day

smuBy Ryan Herrscher

Today is the day! If you were recently accepted into SMU, we hope that by now you have made the decision to join us here on our beautiful campus in Dallas, Texas. SMU is a wonderful school with abundant opportunities, and we think you are going to love it. You have a lot to look forward to this summer with AARO, Mustang Corral, and the beginning of the next chapter of your life! If, on the other hand, you made your decision and plan to go somewhere other than SMU, we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Regardless of your choice, I think I speak for all of the SMU Ambassadors when I say congratulations on completing the process. For those of you headed towards the hilltop, we look forward to welcoming you to campus in the fall! Pony up!

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Put On Your Creative Hat

By Katie Maiers

As an advertising student, I often forget that research papers, minimum word requirements, and the typical academic fears that loom over many college students continue to exist. Don’t get me wrong: I still write an occasional paper now and then, but for the most part, my assigned work tends to feel more like assigned freedom.IMG_3810

My recent assignment in my Introduction to Creativity course was to make a “creative hat.” The only instruction was to make a hat, and the grade would depend on the creativity and execution of the idea. Yes, that’s it, and yes, that was my homework. Although it seems simple, it truly was a challenge. I went through countless ideas and totally failed, and the deadline was coming closer and closer each day.

I ended up making a hat out of a shoebox lid, real grass, and my own shoe. My inspiration came from one of my favorite things to do when I’m in need of inspiration: take a walk. I glued real grass from the nearby park where I usually walk onto the hat chunk by chunk, and I topped it all off with my own personal shoe.

Like many of the classes that I’ve been able to take at SMU, this course has taught me that when you’re having fun and enjoying yourself, work doesn’t even feel like work. I’ve been given a multitude of opportunities to take risks in the classroom and stretch my brain in ways that I would’ve never imagined, and all that I had to do was put on my creative hat!

 

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Spring Break en Panamá

IMG_6094.1By Shauna Davis

This past Spring Break I had the opportunity to travel internationally with several SMU dance majors (and one engineer!).  The location was Panama and what brought us there was dance.  We worked with a group called Movement Exchange that has developed partnerships with orphanages in Panama, Brazil and the States.  Over the course of a week, we taught dance classes to underserved kids in orphanages, providing them an avenue for expression, building self-confidence, developing community, and having fun.  While there we taught other dancers at the University of Panama, tried some of the local food, and fumbled our way through the Spanish language.  Luckily we picked up the words baño, numbers 1-10 and bailar right away. Among the things I learned in Panama, here are some of my highlights.

5 of the many things I learned in Panama:

1- People are always willing and able to help

2- Children are energetic balls of fun, talent, patience and stamina

3- Zanahoria means carrot… and nananja (orange) zanahoria juice is very interesting

4- Panamanian people are extremely passionate and spiritual.  On October 21, Catholics thousands make a pilgrimage to Iglesia de San Felipe in Portobelo to witness Christo Negro (the Black Christ)

5- Power in numbers is very, VERY real people- with 9 students and a combined total of 8 years of high school Spanish (and about 17 years of French) the Movement Exchange students from SMU and FSU have combined forces and made a great curriculum for the kids.

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The Final Four in Dallas

By Elizabeth Dubret

Not too long ago, Dallas was lucky enough to host the Final Four!  It was an exciting time to be in the city, and there were so many amazing things to do as a student.  To kick it all off, SMU hosted the Three Point and Slam Dunk competition in our very own Moody Coliseum.  picAs a student, I got a cheap ticket to go and watch this event.  I sat with some of my best friends as we cheered on the competitors and watched how they had formed a friendship.  I then watched the slam dunk competition.  At first, I was not impressed. I felt like I, at five foot two, could do some of these dunks.  But then, they got really good.  Players jumped over things and people, did full spins in the air, dunked backwards, and even swung the ball around their legs.  But, the best part of the night was watching the amazing Adreian Payne have Lacey Holsworth kiss his basketball for good luck before it was his turn. Her strength, his compassion, and their relationship inspired the entire audience.

The next day, the free concerts in Dallas began.  There were artists from the Killers, to Tim McGraw, and Bruce Springsteen.  It was held downtown under the Reunion Tower, and was such a fun time even though it was raining. There were food trucks, vendors, and games, and the concerts were everything the artists had promised.  The other best part of the weekend, was that SMU students received tickets to the final four for $20. Even though SMU was not playing, we could go and cheer on the teams at AT&T Stadium. Overall, having the Final Four in Dallas was an experience of a lifetime and a blast for SMU students.

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Class Spotlight: Honors Marketing Practicum

By Lauren Lyngstad

This semester, I have had the opportunity to be a student in the Cox School of Business Honors Marketing Practicum. This course takes place every fall for a select group of graduating Marketing majors, and it has easily been one of my favorite courses that I have taken during my time at SMU. Essentially, at the beginning of the year we start off with 25 students in the class. From there, we divide into five teams consisting of five students. The teams are chosen draft-style–the class designates five leaders and each leader chooses their team members with a goal of creating the best, most well-rounded team. After that, the fun begins!

For the past four years, this course, and SMU, has partnered with FOX. Every year, FOX Sports kicks off the course by visiting the classroom and proposing a semester-long project to the class. From there, the five teams of student compete to develop the best solution to the project that FOX has presented. This year, we have been tasked with developing a national campaign for FOX Sports 1 soccer programming. At first, I must admit that I was a little bit intimidated by the gravity of the project. After all, this was a NATIONAL campaign! After the intimidation period passed, our group got down to business. We started off the semester by conducting extensive secondary and primary research. From there, we began to develop ad campaign ideas to present to FOX.

Earlier in March, executives and employees from FS1 flew out from Los Angeles and also joined us via Skype. Our group was given a 30-minute meeting to present our research, campaign ideas and receive employee feedback. It was such a phenomenal opportunity to be sitting in a conference with some of FS1’s most influential employees. We walked away from the meeting with praise, criticism and a renewed passion for the rest of the semester. Currently, we are working on finalizing our final campaign that will be presented to FOX Sports later this month. It has been an absolutely crazy ride, but we have had so much fun dreaming up advertising ideas for social media campaigns, print ads, commercials and more. I cannot wait to see our final product, and I am crossing my fingers that FS1 chooses our project!

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