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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Homecoming 2014: Winter is Coming

By Katie Maiers

This past weekend, I experienced two special occasions here at SMU; it was a weekend of welcoming alumni, but it was also a weekend of welcoming some the coldest temperatures this season. Sun or snow, the weekend was full of excitement and energy as campus welcomed alumni, families, and friends to campus for the traditional Homecoming festivities. My parents also came up from Austin for the weekend, and it was actually the first time that they’ve seen campus aside from move-in days!

Before the Homecoming activities kicked off on Saturday afternoon, I took my parents around campus and showed them some of my favorite features about SMU. Naturally, I took them up to the 3rd floor of Dallas Hall to show them my favorite view of Dallas. I also took them into the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum where they were amazed by the beautiful design, architecture, and content. We then fueled up for the Homecoming Parade by stocking up on carbs at one of my favorite Dallas pizzerias, Olivella’s.

The parade this year was my favorite one yet. The floats were incredible, and they included special guests such as Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Aladdin and Jasmine, and even Jay-Z and Beyoncé to coincide with this year’s theme, “Dynamic Duos.” It’s always amazing to see the results of the countless hours that students put in in order to create the floats.

We then ventured to the boulevard where I was able to introduce my parents to my friends and their families. My favorite part of this boulevard, however, was being able to introduce my parents to an SMU alum who provided me with an amazing internship this past summer at a local advertising agency. It was great to connect my parents with someone who is not only a former boss, but also a great friend and fellow Mustang. After cheering on our Mustangs and the Homecoming candidates at an especially chilly Ford Stadium, it was time to call it a night and a day well spent.

I’ve always enjoyed Homecoming weekend because I consider it to be a weekend that celebrates SMU’s past, present, and future by continuing and creating traditions. This year, Homecoming definitely lived up to its expectations!

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Homecoming 2014: Pomping and Parading

Untitled2By Kathleen Batman

Homecoming is one of the best times to be on campus. So many alumni come back to celebrate SMU and it’s a lot of fun to participate in all of the events during the week leading up to the football game. The biggest event is always the homecoming parade where organizations present their floats and drive through campus. Organizations spend hours upon hours building their floats and pomping (filling chicken wire with small pieces of tissue paper). The homecoming candidates representing the organizations always get to ride on the float during the parade. I was lucky enough to ride on the float of Nineteen11, which is an organization I have been apart of since I was a freshman. I got to dress up as Minnie Mouse and wave to people on the parade route and hand out footballs. It was such an amazing experience. I had a blast celebrating my last homecoming as an undergraduate and am looking forward to next years as an alum.

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Opportunities Abound at Tate Lectures

By Mehdi Hami

As a student at Garland High School, I first learned about SMU through the Tate Lecture Series. I would attend as many Student Forums as I could as a high school student. Tate Student Forums are interactive (and free) sessions with world changers, and also got me extra credit in my high school Physics course. At the time, I loved the Tate Lecture Series because it boosted my grades in a course that I knew little about, Untitledbut I did not realize the impact it would have beyond that.

As I stated earlier, the Tate Lecture Series was when I first learned about SMU and the amazing opportunities available here. At the time, I only thought of the extra credit I’d receive for my Physics class. Now, I think back on seeing the likes of Buzz Aldrin and Clarence Thomas and wonder at being able to ask them questions about their lives.

Ever year, a student moderates the Student Forum and gets to spend time with each speaker. The Student Forum is open to high school student, SMU students, and community members to attend and even ask questions. In addition to that, SMU students can attend the Lecture in the evening for free by showing up to McFarlin Auditorium with a student ID. This year, every single Lecture has been sold out, but SMU students can still attend for free!

The Tate Lectures are an essential part of the SMU experience and one that even high school students can experience.

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SMU Abroad: Bonjour from Paris

IMG_8258By Shauna Davis

To be honest, it wasn’t until seeing the Eiffel Tower and the city of Paris from thousands of feet in the air that it hit me: I would be living, breathing and eating in France for three and a half months. At that moment I freaked out.   Surely I must have said “this is by far the coolest thing I’ve ever done!” thirty times before touching the ground.  The same thought runs through my mind every day.  I’m constantly reminded of what an incredible experience it is to be here in Paris, learning a new language, studying, traveling around Europe, experiencing a different culture and being pushed out of my comfort zone.  I could write a book on all I’ve learned thus far.

I surely miss the boulevarding, my buddies and BROWN BAG, but this opportunity is one I am so happy not to have passed up during my four years as a Mustang.  As a dance major, there is no better place to spend time than one with a rich and diverse history of art.   I’ve found a local dance studio where I’m known as the American girl who speaks ‘Franglais’ and  I feel so much apart of the community here! Paris has made me a more independent, knowledgable and aware global citizen and I’ll carry that with me always. It will be bittersweet to say au revoir to Paris but I am so excited to be welcomed back into big, beautiful Texas in a few short months! Ah!  See you soon SMU.

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Family Weekend on the Hilltop

By Liz Dubret

This past weekend at SMU was Family Weekend and one of my favorite weekends in the fall!  We are more than half way through the semester and everyone is missing a tiny bit of home.  So it is nice to have friends and family come spend a weekend seeing all that SMU has to offer.  The University provides many different opportunities for families from the Talent Show to campus tours and everything in between.  But as a senior, my parents felt like they had seen and done it all and just wanted to spend time with me.  So I spent Friday night at a dinner with my friends and our parents – of course we made them take us somewhere nicer than Cane’s!  And then we all went to hangout to eat desserts and listen to a  live band.  It was fun to see the parents and their kids eating cupcakes and goofing off out on the dance floor.  Saturday we all woke up extra early for the Boulevard and to go support the Mustang Football team.  I took my parents to the Lyle School of Engineering tent to meet my professors and then walked them all over campus to continue to meet my friends and their parents.  We then went to Ford Stadium to watch the game.  And even though it is October, it was still scorching hot and my mom and I left at the very end with sun burned noses.  To end all of the commotion of the past 24 hours, my parents and I finally relaxed on Greenville at Steel City Pops before calling it quits for the night.  It was a great end to four years of Family Weekends and I think my parents can honestly agree that SMU has been a great place for me and I sure know that they have enjoyed visiting!

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Friends, Fun, and Fried Food!

burned155632-300x450By Taylor Corrigan

Every year the great state of Texas looks forward to the State Fair of Texas: fun rides, games, and every kind of fried food you can imagine. Since its first year, back in 1886, the State Fair serves not only as an annual event celebrated with friends and family here in Texas, but visitors come from all over the nation to experience the fun tradition and to truly get a sense of Texas pride,  most notably with the fair’s beloved icon, Big Tex. This year, the State Fair of Texas not only had record-breaking numbers for attendance and sales in food and rides, but it just finished as the most successful year in the event’s 128 year history!

Last year I went to the State Fair for the first time, and I had never experienced anything like it! Similar to other state fairs, except everything at this was bigger and better; the fair spans 277 acres and is the largest state fair in Texas. The fair grounds are also an important part of the iconic event and is both a Dallas and National Historic monument. Boasting of its size in land, it is also home to the largest ferris wheel in North America. Keeping true to the mantra of Texas, everything at the State Fair of Texas really is bigger!

Now, everyone knows that it wouldn’t be a state fair without tons of fried food, and this fair has plenty of it!! This fair is notorious for having the most extreme menu: fried Sriracha balls, deep friend “breakfast for dinner,” fried guacamole, fried bacon cinnamon roll, fried PB & J, and even friend butter. And of course all the other typical state fair foods are there too: corn dogs, funnel cakes, candied apples, and ice cream. It may not be the healthiest night of your weekend, but it sure will be the tastiest!

This year when I went to the fair, I rode one of the largest ferris wheels, won a stuffed animal prize, took a picture next to Big Tex, and ate fried macaroni and cheese — I’d say it was a successful fair too!  While the fair is a hit every year, it turned out to be an even bigger hit this year, celebrating all things Texas, and I can’t wait to go back again next year!

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SMU Abroad: Bali, Indonesia

By Sarah Woodruff

Last summer (2013) I decided to do something out of my comfort zone and out of the United States. I went and studied in Bali, Indonesia for three weeks with 12 other students. I had an experience of a lifetime and ended up catching the travel bug, which ended in me to wanting to study abroad again. So this summer (2014) I studied abroad again, but this time in South Africa. I received 6 credit hours in just four weeks while having the time of my life.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.09.59 PMThe trip started out with two 12-hour flights, a 12-hour layover in London, and at least 6 movies; however, once we reached Durban, South Africa the only thing on my mind was to get out and explore. We spent the first three weeks of the trip exploring Durban, going on a Safari, and meeting friends…all of course while still studying for class. ☺ One of the classes was a musical theatre course. We spent three weeks in SA working with world-renowned director and dancer, Roger Riggle, and SMU professor Barbara Hill-Moore, to join forces with the students from the University of Kwazulu-Natal to produce CAROUSEL. It was really neat to have both students from SMU and students from UKZN joining together to produce a musical. In addition to the musical theatre course, all of the SMU students also took a Women & Minorities in the media course with Professor Karen Thomas.  It was really neat to compare how different minorities are portrayed in the media in the US versus in South Africa. We also had a day where we studied Beyoncé and feminism, which was really neat because a lot of the UKZN students were fascinated with Beyoncé. I was even able to pick up on a few important phrases in Xhosa and Afrikaans from the UKZN students!

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.09.44 PMSome major highlights from our first few weeks in Durban:

  1. Coming within a few feet of at least 15 elephants
  2. Losing hope that I wouldn’t see a zebra on the safari and then turning a corner and seeing 5 cross the road in front of our jeep
  3. Having a monkey trying and take my banana at lunch
  4. Riding to the top of the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium

After three weeks of studying and working hard, while still having a ton of fun and going on a Safari, we flew to Cape Town for a week of relaxation. In Cape Town we got to do normal touristy things like learn about Nelson Mandela, visit District Six and Robben Island, and ride to the top of Table Mountain. Our four short weeks came to a close and we spent another 36 hours of flying back to the USA, but it was all worth it. I will always have the wonderful memories and friends that I made in SA and am really looking forward to the day that I can go back and visit!

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Enjoying the Music at Meadows

By Shannon Conboy

SMU is a fantastic place to be for a number of reasons, but my favorite aspect of the school is probably the accessibility given to all students for enjoying beautiful art, music, and shows, while at the same time offering students in these areas of study experience in sharing their talents.

As a Voice major in the Meadows school, I have the awesome opportunity to participate in ‘Opera-Free-for-Alls.’ These are performances in the middle of the Bob Hope Lobby during lunch, in which the SMU Opera Ensemble performs for anyone who wants to watch.

For our most recent show, each Opera Ensemble member sang one minute of a song or aria, so there was a little taste of everything. The show is open to all and is an exceptional opportunity for us as performers as well as for students who’ve never been exposed to such music to have the opportunity to enjoy it for free!

This week, you can expect to see an extremely large crowd packed into the Meadows Lobby as the dance department performs their ‘Brown Bag’ show! Or, stop by on Halloween to see the opera ensemble’s next Opera Free for All performance themed “All tricks, no treats,” in which all the scenes performed will involve some sort of trickery or scheming.

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Leading the Charge on Commons Development

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.02.54 PMBy Kaleb Lee

This summer I did some research abroad with the Residential Commons Leadership Corps. In July of 2014, SMU flew me and six other members of the RCLC out to Oxford and Cambridge to conduct res earch on behalf of the new residential commons model. It was an amazing experience. We toured more than 8 different colleges at Oxford and really learned about their inclusion of faculty in the residence.Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.03.07 PM

We were able to meet up with the student studying abroad as a part of the SMU-in-Oxford program, which was absolutely incredible! We attended “High Table” lecture and dinners with them and were able examined their classroom and residential structure and see how it was both similar and dissimilar to SMU. We lived on campus at Oxford for about ten days. It was an incredible experience and I cannot wait to go back to London and see the city, away from the college campus.

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