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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Discovering Dallas: Fair Friendly Friday

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.14.47 PMBy Kelsey Buttrell

This past week, I put on my favorite pair of red cowboy boots and walked over to the DART station to make my way to the Texas State Fair. This was my second time attending the fair while being at SMU, and it was as entertaining as I remember. The key is to go during the day on a weekday, so it is not too crowded. The DART let us off right in front of the entrance gate, and we got our tickets. While I was there, we roamed around looking for what we wanted to eat. This was quite the process. There was absolutely everything, and when I say everything I mean everything fried. They had fried diet coke, fried thanksgiving meal, fried snickers and fried enchiladas. I ultimately decided to try one fried treat: the fried pumpkin pie. As crazy as this sounds, it was simply delicious. Then, we walked around to the petting zoo where I got to feed a llama and I rode the Ferris wheel that had the most spectacular view of Dallas. It was definitely an amazing adventure and a great break to this busy week. If you have not visited the Texas State Fair yet you have to go! There is nothing quite like it.

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Academic Spotlight: Wellness at SMU

By Whit Rasmussen

For the UC curriculum, every student is required to complete a physical wellness course. Walking, fencing, ping-pong, triathlon and basketball are just a few of the many classes to choose from. For my wellness credit, I decided to check off a bucket list item and signed up for marathon training. I couldn’t hide the sense of accomplishment when I added the class to my upcoming semester list. That is, until I actually realized signing up for the class meant running 26.2 miles. For any cross country or track runners out there, 26.2 miles might not seem too daunting. For a mildly in-shape College sophomore just looking to check off a bucket list item, every long weekend run felt like finals week all over again.

1391806_222872844556486_2011383281_nTo this day, almost a year after my marathon training, I attribute all of our class’s success to our professor, David Bertrand. Professor Bertrand educated, trained and inspired us through the grueling 3-month training program. Even though the class only met two times a week, we obviously had to train much more. Professor Bertrand often sacrificed a great deal of his time every week to schedule outside training runs, provide nutrition and training advice, or just hang out and have a good time.

As the weeks flew by and the marathon date moved closer and closer, what once seemed like a distant, unrealizable goal – to run 26.2 continuous miles – now seemed entirely possible. The sore legs, blistered feet and mental exhaustion became more and more bearable – our small class of 11 runners could feel the excitement looming. We were about to become marathoners! The final days leading up to the race seemed to take an eternity. Could we actually finish? In the end, the marathon was canceled due to the “icepocalypse” ice storm in December 2013. We were all clearly upset, we couldn’t achieve our final goal, 26.2 miles now seemed farther away than ever. Less than an hour after receiving the fateful email from the race directors, informing us of the cancelation, Professor Bertrand sent a follow up. It is hard to sum up an experience like training for a marathon in college with 11 other students, but Professor Bertrand’s email did just that. He reminded us of the amazing feat we had all accomplished.

Every runner in the class was prepared for that race and I have no doubt we all would have finished the race. Professor Bertrand reminded us that the race is not what mattered. The class was all about the experience of training for a marathon and succeeding. We all completed the training; all grew extremely close as friends and would never forget the lessons learning during that 3-month span. To this day, I remain in contact with everyone in my class and Professor Bertrand. The 11 runners in my class embody what is true of so many SMU students – we are ambitious, dedicated and committed to helping each other succeed. Marathon training wellness class is just one of an endless amount of examples. When you come to visit campus, ask other students to share their stories and I’m sure you will hear something very similar. If you choose to make SMU your home for the next four years, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Pony Up!

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