It’s Springtime in Dallas!

By Erin Robbins

Spring is arguably the most beautiful time of the year to visit SMU and a perfect season in Dallas.  Everything is in bloom, the weather is perfect, and there are tons of things to do outdoors. One of my favorite things to do on a sunny 78-degree day (like today) is head out to the Katy Trail.  I love enjoying some fresh air and vitamin D after a long week of classes and studying!

springThe Katy Trail is a great 3.5 mile jogging/walking and biking trail that starts near SMU and runs through the Uptown area of Dallas.  This trail follows along the greenbelt that the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad used for over 100 years.  in 1997, a nonprofit organization called Friends of the Katy Trail was created to convert the abandoned railroad tracks into the trail it is today as part of a national “rails-to-trails” initiative.

Throughout the trail you get to see some great views of downtown and green landscapes (yes there are trees in Texas for those of you from far away)!  However, my favorite part is seeing all of the Dallasites out with their dogs, which is a huge plus when I’m missing my dog at home.  Another popular activity among SMU students is rollerblading, and there are places to rent them for your afternoon on the trail.  You would never expect that such a tranquil place existed in the midst of the most densely populated part of the city.  The Katy Trail is so accessible and a great outlet for enjoying these beautiful spring days in Dallas! Here is the Katy Trail website if you’re interested in some of the construction they’re doing to expand:

With weather like this there is nothing to keep you from getting out and exploring Dallas!


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SMU Pom Squad: Bringing the Spirit

p3By Blake Ann Seeker

It has been an honor and privilege to support SMU athletics this past year, as a member of the SMU Pom Squad.  What began with tryouts last May has lead the ‘pommies’ to march in parades, boulevard with fellow mustangs, cheer on our teams to victory, watch the Larry Brown Era take off with the opening of the new Moody, and so much more. p2As other sports seasons wind down, the SMU Pom squad will now put down the pom poms and do some competing of our own. On April 9th, both spirit squads, Pom and Cheer, will head to Daytona, Florida for the national competition. This is the first time the Pom squad will return to the competition since the current seniors were but first year students at SMU. The team, led by Coach Lori Todd, has worked hard to prepare and hopes to “shine bright” (a recurring theme in the song’s lyrics) in our performance.  We would love for any and all members of SMU community, including prospective students in the area, to come to our routine showoff this Friday, April 4th at 6pm. Hope to see everyone then, in the Dedman Rec Center!

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Fighting for the Innocent at SMU

By Liz Crowell

Now that I am almost halfway done with my time in college (which I still refuse to accept), I truly didn’t think that my experience at SMU would continue to diversify and expand.  Thankfully, I have been proven wrong with the addition of The Innocence Project of Texas into my daily routine.  I was one of those students who changed their major about 5 times and who were always looking for diversity when it came to things to be involved in. bloga I finally settled on a double major in Accounting and Public Policy with a recent addition of a minor in Human Rights last fall semester.  This new minor is what spurred my involvement in The Innocence Project.   One of my current classes for my minor this semester, History: America’s Dilemma, requires either 20 hours of community service at one of four organizations or equivalently a thesis at the end of the term.  Naturally, I accepted the hours over a paper.  In this human rights class, we divulge into the history of this topic and issue with the progression of The United States as well as the world.  We analyze the role human rights have played and the growth it has experienced in topics such as civil rights, The Holocaust and the political world.  Although there is a large amount of reading and work this class is incredible, especially since it allows us to fight for a cause and contribute to individual’s human rights.  The required 20 hours of outside community service with The Innocence Project have now become an involvement I look to carry on long past graduation.

Volunteering with SMU’s division of The Innocence Project has allowed me to be a part of something bigger than just papers and tests.  With weekly meetings and group discussions on clients, I am able to have first-hand insight into the legal and justice system while working for individual’s exoneration that have been wrongly convicted.  When discussing cases and possible strategies, I see myself becoming passionate for a cause that I had never really given a second glance before.  Thanks to SMU and the flexibility it gives to its students, I am now able to graduate with 2 majors and a minor…all in 4 years (something my parents are thrilled about).  More importantly though, it has given me knowledge about things I am not necessarily studying and the opportunity to hopefully make a difference in individual’s life by working with The Innocence Project; long after 20 hours of service.  SMU never ceases to surprise me in the opportunities it provides and I can’t wait to see what else I will come across during the last year and a half of my undergraduate time.

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Philanthropic Fun

By Melody Davis

As spring weather is hopefully about to hit SMU, so are several SMU parents this semester! Even if you get to college from out of state, like myself from Florida, and start to miss the family right about the semester halfway point, not to worry – they always like to come to Dallas for a visit! Who wouldn’t?

Some of the great weekends of the spring semester are the different philanthropic events that different student organizations host. This upcoming weekend my Panhellenic sorority will be hosting our Dad’s Weekend Celebration. The fun golf tournament and weekend event raises funds for our philanthropy. It’s a great way to celebrate with the family while for a good cause! I can’t wait to see what this year’s Dad’s Weekend celebration will bring for my perspective Greek chapter, as well as the other organizations on campus that have their Spring Parents’ Weekends coming up as well!

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SMU Basketball is Here to Stay

By Philip Kilgore

Last Sunday, hundreds of SMU faithful showed its undying loyalty to its basketball program by attending its first Selection Sunday event in recent memory.  Unfortunately for the team, we were only the 2nd team in history to be ranked but not make the tournament. After defeating numerous top 25 teams and coming in 3rd in one of the toughest basketball conferences, many people were expecting us to make the tournament.  The only excuse from the selection committee was our “weak” out of conference schedule (even though we played teams like number 1 seeded UVA), but everyone knows that politics reined in a very controversial bracket selection.

Afterwards, the SMU faithful wasted no time in congratulating our team and began getting pumped up for a number 1 overall seed in the NIT. Whether it be through twitter or walking around campus, our fans built up the players’ spirits and show them that not only their fans but the rest of the country realizes their hard work.

The season is not over though. The NIT is still underway, and our basketball team is playing with a chip on its shoulder to prove to those who doubted our team. Tonight’s game is featuring a talented LSU basketball team, but I can tell that the SMU team is playing with a purpose now. I can’t wait to be amongst another sellout crowd at Moody Coliseum, especially in an atmosphere where Hall of Fame coach of the Louisville Cardinals said was the worst he has been to in his coaching career.

Although we will miss team leaders Shawn Williams and Nick Russell, the Mustangs will be returning most of its talent including McDonalds All-American Keith Frazier, lights out shooter Nic Moore, dominate force Markus Kennedy, and freshman phenom Sterling Brown. After finally having a year under their belt, Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown will use his magic to make our team even better. With the addition of the number two recruit in the nation Emmanuel Mudiay, our team is going to be a force to be reckoned with. With the combination of a dedicated and fierce fan group along with an extremely talented roster with a hall of fame coach in Larry Brown, it is safe to say that the SMU Basketball program is here to stay for a very long time.

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Best Study Spots on Campus

By Austin Brown

With spring break right around the corner the majority of SMU’s student body will be found in one of the SMU’s 9 libraries studying for their multiple midterm exams.  Fortunately for those studying, the unusually cold weather is an added incentive to stay inside.  I am one of the lucky few that has already taken their midterms.  Since I do not have to spend my free time studying for midterms I decided to write this quick guide to 5 popular study spots at SMU in order to help others out.

5) Dorm Room:

Pros: Don’t have to leave your room to study, Comfortable, Don’t have to lug your books/binders across campus

Cons: Potential to get too comfortable and fall asleep, Friends from your dorm might distract you, Some people have trouble studying in dorm rooms

4) Starbucks:

Pros: Nothing beats the smell of fresh coffee, Easy access to study food, 3 separate locations on or close to campus (Café 100 included)

Cons: Can be tough to find a seat at times, Not always quiet, Closes at 9 pm

3) Hamon Arts Library:

Pros: Large windows that let in a lot of light during the day, Close proximity to a lot of the dorms, option to reserve a study room

Cons: Can be difficult to find if you don’t know your way around Meadows, Not the largest library, Closes at 12 am

2) West Stacks, Fondren Library:

Pros: Very quiet and isolated, Sectioned off study space with light and power outlet let you block off the outside and simply study, 8 different floors provide plenty of study areas that are available until 2 am

Cons: Can be too quiet and isolated for some people, Not the most recently renovated section of the library, Not ideal for group studying only solo studying

1) Fourth Floor Fondren East, Fondren Library:

Pros: Arguably the best view on campus if you look out of the windows facing South campus around sunset (or sunrise if you’ve pulled an all-nighter), Tables provide open space for group studying/spreading out while sectioned off desks provide solo studying space, Open 24/5 during the school year and 24/7 during exam week

Cons: Can be tough to find an open space at times due to its popularity, Group studying is possible but everyone must keep their voices down

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The Artsy Side of Life at SMU

1607112_10202451461061709_233284073_n[1]By Shannon Conboy

My favorite part about being at SMU as a Vocal Performance major is the balance I am able to maintain between focusing wholeheartedly on my training and being social and involved on campus. I’ve heard people speak of Meadows School of the Arts as being a conservatory-style school as far as training and this is something with which I fully agree. I love that I get that intensive training but am still on a University campus and am able to take advantage of all the opportunities outside of my Major. This February; however, I was given the chance to fully submerge myself in my opera major.

As a Meadows student, I have many unique opportunities to participate in shows for the rest of SMU’s campus. The largest production I’ve been a part of thus far recently finished, but it was such an incredible experience!1510763_10151933320642286_1293171742_n[1] I was cast in the opera this year as a sophomore, and spent my winter break and the first half of this semester completely consumed in the production. This year, Meadows produced Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera. I think my favorite part about the production was getting to experience the life-style and rehearsal setting that I’ll hopefully someday be experiencing as a professional. I loved working alongside the graduate students and soaking up all I could from them as well. Probably the most exciting time for me was putting the production together with the orchestra. Singing with a live orchestra is something not a whole lot of undergraduate students can claim to have experienced, and I definitely didn’t take the experience lightly!

The opera was great for me as well as all my friends who decided to attend! I think it’s awesome when I have a friend who is a Business or English major, someone who never would have previously been interested in watching an opera, and they come to appreciate the Meadows shows. It would be silly not to take advantage of all of the (cheap or free) shows that the school offers its students! It’s all right at our fingertips and I certainly love that all-encompassing aspect of SMU as well as when I get to share my major with everyone through these Meadows shows.

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Let’s Go To Taos!

taosBy Taylor Corrigan

With all of the endless opportunities SMU has to offer during the school year, the possibilities don’t end with the arrival of summer – the adventures are just beginning! For me, they are in Taos, New Mexico, where I will take a business course and a physical fitness class for the month of May (which are just two among a long list of courses offered). As soon as finals are over, I will head to Fort Burgwin in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to take a business elective course and hike the amazing forest. I have been listening to my friends rave about the Taos program ever since I became a Mustang, and now the opportunity is finally here!

I am looking forward to the adventure of a lifetime as I, along with six of my closest friends, make our way to New Mexico to learn and explore among the beautiful scenery. I am not really sure what to expect, but from what I’ve heard, I will become quite the hiker and do my best to stay afloat as I make my way down the rapids – all while learning the ins and outs of business law. Wish me luck!

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The Hilltop Gives Back

By Kevin Hess

I recently had a chance to go explore Dallas and give a little back to the city that every SMU student grows to love so much. SMU helped organize a volunteer project with a local organization called “Give Graffiti the Brush.” Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 12.03.12 AMThis was a really unique volunteer opportunity in which a group of SMU students went out into Dallas and helped clean up the city by painting over some graffitied buildings.

This fun morning shows just one of the many opportunities that we have outside of the classroom on the Hilltop (you just have to check your email!). I really enjoyed seeing parts of Dallas that I had never seen before and found it very fitting that SMU was able to give back to the city that helps make us such a great school.

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You Won’t Go Hungry Here!

By Mehdi Hami

It’s no secret that Dallas has more restaurants per capita than New York City, but who would have thought that SMU’s cuisine on campus is also really good. It has to be to keep me eating on campus more than off campus!

In terms of cafeteria options, Umphrey Lee, also known as Real Food on Campus, provides a wide variety of food that will have you coming back every single day. From the International Street Fare to Country Kitchen, you’ll feel like you’re right at home! Mama T’s omelet’s and the fresh cookies at the dessert station will have you begging for more! For those days when you want to control that calorie count, Healthy on the Hilltop, the deli station, and salad station will keep you fit! SMU even has a dietitian to advise all your dining needs. There is no limit!

Outside of Umphrey Lee, SMU has a variety of retail locations that really hit the spot. You can grab fresh bagels for breakfast in the morning at Einstein’s in the business school.  The Varsity in the student center has Subway, Pizza Hut, and Chick-Fil-A to satisfy all your cravings. SMU has its own Sushi restaurant, Sushic, and serves burritos at eSMUcho. After hitting the gym or the tanning pool at Dedman, you can even grab a smoothie or a protein bar at SMUothies!

If you’re up at 11 PM at need a late-night snack, there is Mac’s Place, a great grab-and-go late-night dining option.

If this sounds awesome, just wait until the new two-story cafeteria opens in Fall 2014 with an outdoor patio… it’s safe to say that Mustangs never go hungry!

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