The Rockwall Experience

Southern Methodist University has always been a place to explore and expand your interests. The Dedman Recreation Center on SMU’s campus is no exception from this pioneering trend. From indoor soccer to sand volleyball, the Rec Center has many different activities and facilities for students to check out. One of these exiting facilities is the climbing center. The climbing center consists of two different climbing walls, the TAOS Tower and HUECO Bouldering Wall. The TAOS tower is the tall climbing wall that uses a belay system of ropes to safely support a climber up and down. The HEUCO Bouldering Wall is used for bouldering, or a form of rock climbing that is performed without the use of ropes or harnesses but from a low height. These two walls combine to provide over 2600 square feet of climbing space. So, last week while at the gym, I decided to try my luck at the climbing center.

Ever since freshman year, I have wanted to try the rock wall but just never made the time for it. So this year, I decided it was time to give it a go. As my friend Nick and I approached the front desk, a smiling face was there to greet us. We then signed a couple forms and within minutes had a climbing belt on and were ushered to the wall. From the bottom looking up, the wall looked much bigger than I had previously thought. The lady belaying me helped me to get my initial footing and before I knew it, I was off. I climbed for the next hour or so traversing differed pathways up the wall as well as trying out the bouldering routes. I finally quit when my forearm muscles burned too continue climbing.

Since then, I have gone three more times and am looking to add rock climbing to part of my weekly routine. It’s a great activity to try with friends and has a very large range of difficulties for climbers to try out. I highly recommend checking out the rock wall next time you pass through the Dedman Recreation Center.

-Michael Keay


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Start-Ups Start Here!

Do you have the next Big Idea? Are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to be an entrepreneur?

A picture from one of our club meetings.

A picture from one of our club meetings.

During high school, I started my own automotive accessories business and was fortunate enough to make a profit. Naturally, when I came to SMU, my first priority was to find the SMU Entrepreneurship Club. Upon membership, I met many other SMU students who also had entrepreneurial endeavors. I am so passionate about entrepreneurship that I am now, as a sophomore, the Vice President of the club. The SMU Entrepreneurship Club is one of SMU’s 200 student organizations and is one of the best resources available to get real world entrepreneurial experience. Whether you have the next billion-dollar idea, want help with an existing business, or simply want to hang out with cool people, the entrepreneurship club is for you!

The club prepares students for pitch competitions around the country and hosts guest speakers and pitch training events. One of my favorite events we do as a club is Shark Tank analysis. Shark Tank is a popular TV show in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of notable investors, such as Dallas local and billionaire Mark Cuban. In fact, a few SMU students have pitched their businesses on the show. The club plays the recorded pitches and collectively analyzes the pitcher’s strategy and techniques. The event is both educational and a lot of fun.

Entrepreneurial spirit on campus does not stop outside the club. SMU is one of the most entrepreneurial universities in the country. SMU is ranked #14 on Forbes’ list of “Start-up Schools: America’s Most Entrepreneurial Universities 2015.” This can be attributed to our very social, involved, and entrepreneurial student body, and also to the fact that Dallas provides the perfect incubator for starting businesses. Forbes ranked Dallas, TX #7 for the “Best Cities to Start a Business.”

If you answered “No” to all three of my initial questions, congratulations for reading this far. SMU offers 199 other student organizations; at least one will surely make you feel at home. My advice to you: get involved as soon as you step foot on campus.

Pony up!

-David Zimmer


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Research at SMU

Just chilling with some of the research equipment.

Just chilling with some of the research equipment.

Something that’s been a huge part of my year and a half at SMU has been my participation in Faculty led research. It all started the first week of my freshman year. Coming into SMU as a Psychology major, I knew that if I didn’t get some research training under my belt soon, I wouldn’t be as competitive in applying to graduate schools as I wanted to be. So, I met with my Introduction to Psychology Professor during her Office hours and talked to her about research opportunities at SMU. She advised me to go onto the Psychology Department’s website and read up on some of the professors’ research studies in hopes of finding something interesting and to email that professor to see if there was any availability to work in their lab.

Online I found a link to the Anxiety and Depression Research Center at SMU (or ARC), and was immediately interested in the researching going on there. I sent Dr. Alicia Meuret, the head of ARC, an email admitting that the extent of my experience with Psychology was two classes of Intro to Psych, but that I was eager to get involved with research and would be willing to work hard to catch up in my knowledge on the subject. She emailed me back the next day and asked if I wanted credit hours for my work or not.

Since then I’ve been working at ARC, helping on numerous research projects. I’ve interacted with participants in a study on self-harm while acting as a confederate, I’ve been trained to run participants through a rigorous protocol for a study evaluating the physiological mechanisms that might indicate the presence of psychological disorders, and I’ve even finished up my first, first-authorship publication of the Fight-or-Flight response. It’s certainly been difficult along the way, but reaching out at the beginning of my freshman year was one of the best decisions I could have made, and one that I would recommend to anyone interested in any field that does research. As a research university, SMU has countless opportunities for students of all years to get involved. All one has to do is ask!

-Stephen Chamberlain


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Sunday Funday

Sundays can be either the best day of the week, or the worst – depending on how you look at it. It can either be the last day to cap off a glorious weekend, or the day filled with finishing homework before the dreaded Monday ahead. However, my past Sunday was how every Sunday at SMU should be – a day filled with laughter and friends.

After a long weekend, a few of my friends and I took it upon ourselves to schedule a college styled play date at the park closest to campus. At times, the rigors of college can make you feel much older than you would wish. That is exactly why I believe it is important to embrace your inner child. And I must say, after a day filled with swinging on monkey bars, playing football and riding around on a skateboard, we were able to do just that.

My amazing breakfast

My amazing breakfast

We started out our “play date” with the foundation for a day; a good breakfast. I first tried a new breakfast location with some friends, the Kozy Kitchen on McKinney Avenue. The only thing better than their infamous coffee is their delicious battered pancakes, or possibly the homemade migas and eggs. A must try breakfast location in the Dallas area.

Afterwards, we went to the park and had a blast. Previous to our Sunday outing, the last time I climbed a tree was in middle school – entirely too long ago. For the first time in ages, I played tag and monkey in the middle. A Sunday at the park was a perfect way to end a great weekend, and an even better way to feel young again with friends.

All in all, Sundays don’t have to be bad as they are made out to be. Whether is playing with some friends on the field, trying new places to eat or possibly watching some NFL Sunday football, keep your Sunday fresh by ending your weekend with superb start to the week ahead.

-Vafa Behzadpour

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Rangers Games

Being from Los Angeles, California I bleed blue and white for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I grew up going to a couple games a season with my family or my friends, as well as playing baseball through my senior year of high school. Baseball was a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

chad solomonWith saying that now I’m in Texas and have to fill the void of not being near the Dodgers, I was forced to adopt a team. Thus, I chose the Rangers. I try not to be a bandwagon fan, but rooting for the Rangers is almost as fun as the Dodgers.

Globe Life Ball Park is just right outside of Dallas located in Arlington about 25 minutes from campus in the same spot as AT&T stadium (home of the Cowboys). I had never attended a game until this previous October. My brother worked for the Rangers as an intern, thanks to SMU’s help, and surprised my girlfriend and I with two tickets to a game against the Angels.

The game was a blast. We got there in just under 30 minutes, thanks to a ride from my roommate. Once arriving, we got some hot dogs and pretzels and then sat down in our field level seats. In front of a sold out crowd, the Rangers ended up clinching a play off spot that night and the game followed with fireworks. It was an awesome date, mixing some of my favorite things: sports, my girlfriend, and Dallas.

Whether it’s the Rangers, the Cowboys, the Starts, the Mavs, or for all my soccer fans, FC Dallas, the opportunities are endless. SMU is not only a fantastic school, but is also in a great location. Although it was no Dodgers game, it was still one of my favorite nights of the semester.

-Chad Solomon

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Change Should be Exciting!

As you can see, we all love Texas!

As you can see, we all love Texas!

As a senior in the class of 2016, my second to last semester at SMU can most accurately be described as a 10-year old kid (me) taking his fully-grown German Shepherd on a run. I just can’t seem to keep up. All too often when you ask a soon-to-be college graduate how they feel about leaving their home of the previous four years, you will hear something along the lines of: “I can’t believe the four best years of my life are almost over!” I cannot deny that SMU has given me four years of incredible, lasting memories and friends I will cherish for the rest of my life, but all of those memories were the direct result of a conscious decision to leave South Carolina – my friends, family and comforts – to call Texas and SMU my new home.

It has been almost four years since that decision day to commit to this truly amazing University, nestled right in the heart of Texas. For those of you reading this who are either juniors or seniors in High School, I would like to give you one piece of advice in the coming months as you tour schools and ultimately make your College decision.

Much like me, you are coming to a crossroads in life where one decision will profoundly impact you as an individual. My advice to you is this: Don’t shudder, don’t hesitate and be confident in yourself. I have no doubt you have worked tirelessly to achieve everything you have accomplished up to this point in your life and you should be proud of that. Step out of your comfort zone as frequently as possible. This conviction led me to leave the comforts of South Carolina, and for it I am eternally grateful. SMU has afforded me the ability to challenge myself daily, laugh deeply, experience lasting friendship and live every single day with a smile on my face at one of the best Universities in the country.

I wish nothing but the same for all of you! Pony up and Go Mustangs!

-Whit Rasmussen

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Sunny and 75

Enjoying Steel City Pops on a perfect Dallas Day!

Enjoying Steel City Pops on a perfect Dallas Day!

Enjoying beautiful weather in Dallas just got easier. Here’s my quick guide to spending the day outdoors.

1. Dallas Hall Lawn:

You don’t have to go far to enjoy the beauty of a sunny, Dallas day.  Dallas Hall Lawn is the perfect spot to throw down a blanket and soak up the sun! On a typical sunny day, you can usually see students enjoying a game of Frisbee, or catching up on their reading between classes.

2. Katy Trail:

As someone who loves to run, Katy Trail is easily my favorite place to go on a sunny day.  This trail, which begins about a hop, skip and a jump away from campus, extends three and a half miles into the city, ending downtown at the American Airline Center.  For those of you who are less inclined to go running, activities such as biking, walking, and roller blading are equally popular on the trail.

3. Klyde Warren Park:

Take a short drive into downtown and you can find yourself at Klyde Warren, a 5.2-acre park built over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. Get active by participating in a public yoga class or playing a game of pick up soccer.  If you’d rather have a more relaxing afternoon, there are plenty of tables and chairs available for you to kick your feet up and enjoy the company of friends.  Food trucks line the streets by the edge of the park, making this the perfect spot to enjoy some local Dallas eats.

4. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of college life in this beautiful oasis.  With over 60 acres in the gardens, there are endless things to see and explore.  The gardens remain beautiful in all seasons, making this a good way to spend a day outdoors throughout the year.

5. Steel City Pops

Take a walk to Steel City Pops, my favorite place to get dessert, and enjoy a popsicle with friends! They have all sorts of flavors; from Blackberry Lemonade to Chocolate!

Here’s to hoping for some awesome weather this week!

-Lauren Zabaleta

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Childhood to College

Baby me in Dallas

Baby me in Dallas

I grew up in Orinda, California but I was born in Dallas at Baylor Medical Center. I took my first steps and spoke my first words in our house 2 miles south of the SMU campus. While my family loved our time in Dallas, my dad got a new job when I was 18 months old and we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. I don’t remember my first year and a half in Dallas but my parents always spoke fondly of their memories in Texas and we periodically came back to visit old friends and go to the State Fair. My parents and college counselor encouraged me to apply to SMU and I chose to come here in April 2014 after a long college decision process. I never thought I would come back to my old stomping grounds but now every family weekend fills my parents with nostalgia as we drive by old playgrounds and favorite restaurants. It’s amazing how much has changed and yet stayed the same in the last 18 years. For most of my life Dallas was just the birth city on my passport but now with the help of our old family friends and the new friends I’ve made here – Dallas has become home.


My mother and me on SMU's campus.

My mother and me on SMU’s campus.

I’m halfway through my sophomore year and I can’t speak highly enough of my time in Dallas. I’ve gone to Mavericks and Stars game, countless concerts, had formals in Reunion Tower, met Tory Burch and I’ve made the closest friends I’ve ever had. I love walking around Bishop Arts District with my friends, grabbing brunch in Uptown on the weekends, and going to Central Market,  my favorite grocery store. Living in Dallas is never boring because there are always sporting events and concerts to go to and new restaurants to try. Making Dallas my home again has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

-Emma Bar

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Objection: SMU Mock Trial is WAYY Too Cool!

Mock trial

I compete on the SMU Mock Trial team, a group that travels all over the nation simulating law proceedings and gaining both legal and theatrical experience. As a drama and speech enthusiast in high school, I pounced on the chance to join this nationally ranked team the second that I stepped foot on SMU’s campus as a sophomore. Why? Because it is just way too fun to pass up.

SMU Mock Trial competes with hundreds of universities across the nation. A team of witnesses and  attorneys (all students) are given a legal case, with all relevant  case law, rules of evidence, evidentiary exhibits, and witness affidavits. This year, our criminal case involves two men, a politician and a businessman, each being tried for bribery.

My team travels across the nation—this semester we’ve competed at the College of William and Mary and the University of Pennsylvania. In past semesters, we’ve traveled to Berkeley, Tucson, St. Louis, Tallahassee, Des Moines, Chicago, and New York. Annually, our Open Round Championships take place in Memphis, where we compete in the Shelby County Courthouse (which, interestingly enough is featured in Silence of the Lambs). Our weekends are full of both hard work and great fun— between sweeping the court room in our trial rounds, the Mock Trial team has toured Alcatraz, the United States Capitol, and the St. Louis Arch.

No matter what your interests are, getting involved with an incredible group like the SMU Mock Trial team is one of the key components to having a successful university experience.

Getting involved will help you find your home away from home: I can readily attest that the other Mockers on my team formed my first family here on campus.

-Blair Betik

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A Short Guide to Lower Greenville

When I hear from students that apply to SMU, one thing is always at the top of their mind: Dallas.  Our students love being in Dallas.  Proximity to all four major sports teams, incredible business opportunities, and a lively social scene are only a few of the many factors that make Dallas and SMU the obvious choice for college students.  Although there is plenty to do on campus, one of my favorite neighborhoods around SMU is Lower Greenville.  Here’s a quick list to get you to try out some cool spots right the next time you’re around!

Mudsmith – 2114 Greenville Ave.  This spacious coffee shop imudsmiths a hippie hunting lodge with a great study atmosphere.  Whether you’re looking for some inspiration for a 15-page paper or you want to hang out with your friends for an open-mic night, Mudsmith is the place to be.


truck yardTruck Yard – 5624 Sears St.  A large patch of lawn chairs, picnic tables, modified pickup trucks-turned-picnic tables, three bars (one of them is in a tree house) a Carnival Barker’s Ice Creams stand, a permanent kitchen that makes nothing but Philly cheesesteaks (appropriately named “Steak Me Home Tonight”), live music, and a rotating cast of local food trucks makes Truck Yard an SMU favorite.

Good Records – 1808 Greenville Ave.  Other than my educgood recordsation, the best investment I’ve ever made was in a record player (they sell them in store or grab one off Amazon).  Good Records is a two story audiophile’s wonderland with thousands of records, CDs, posters and more.  There’s always room in your life for Spotify, but nothing beats finding a great new sound on sale.


hg supply coHG Supply Co. – 2008 Greenville Ave.  Eat like a gourmet caveman “Hunter-Gatherer” style off a menu with paleo-inspired dishes from the best grass-fed meats and veggies.  Don’t be alarmed if you run into an hour long wait to be seated, because the real gem of this joint is the 9000 square foot patio upstairs stocked with a full bar and a picturesque view of the Dallas skyline.

Steel City Pops – 2012 Greenville Ave.  A hop and a skip from HG Supply is a dessert steel city popsshop that has the Dallas community buzzing.  Steel City Pops is a gourmet popsicle store that features some of the best treats you will ever taste.  Made from fresh all-natural or organic ingredients and sweetened with raw, organic cane sugar, these vegan-friendly pops range from fruity to creamy flavors.   Whether it’s an after-class study snack or a post-dinner dessert, Steel City has your sweet-tooth needs covered.


Honorable Mentions:

Trader Joe’s – 2001 Greenville Ave.  With over 450 locations around the country, you’ve hopefully heard of this organic grocery store so I won’t go into too much detail.  I know that my addiction to cookie butter on my toast can continue as long as I’m around a TJ’s.

Pints & Quarts – Corner of Ross and Greenville.  From the people who brought us Mudsmith, this gas station-turned-burger joint should be your next lunch stop.

Dude, Sweet Chocolate -1925 Greenville Ave. Chocoholics beware, you can’t shake the craving when you walk past this shop.  With their chocolate bark, fudge, truffles, and potions, they’ve got me hooked.

Granada Theater – 3524 Greenville Ave.  Built as a theater in 1946, the Granada has since become a popular concert hall.   Along with great music, their sister restaurant “Sundown at Granada” features Lower Greenville’s largest patio.

This is only a fraction of the cool things to do and places to go on Lower Greenville, so use these places as a starting point and do a little exploring yourself.  Hope to see you down there soon!

-Jack Murphy

Note: All pictures from the respective restaurant’s websites.

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