Pomping for the Parade

By Blake Ann Seeker

Homecoming week has come and gone, but visions of the parade Saturday are still dancing in the heads of SMU students and alumni. All week long, different organizations encouraged members to help build their float for the parade from scratch. Some floats impressed the crowds with movable parts and water fountains! They surely required the expertise of some of our engineers from the Lyle School. Designs for each float are according to the overall Homecoming theme—this year’s theme was “books that became movies”. Some of the winning floats were based on the classics Casino Royal, Jurassic Park and Peter Pan.

blog6Student Foundation, one of more than 200 organizations on campus, did an awesome job organizing this event. The float parade is just one of the ways that the group fulfills its mission to unify and celebrate our diverse and talented student body. Adding to the fun, Program Council, another organization on campus, brought Canes Chicken to the build site for students to enjoy as they worked!

The time and effort spent building floats are all worth it when students get to walk in the parade with their friends. The surrounding community and alumni come too, cheering on students and marveling at each float that passes. Everyone is invited to to celebrate and participate in the SMU legacy. Though the confetti has settled, the pride we share in our identity as Mustangs is stronger than ever. And so, another Homecoming Week ends with a “Happily Ever After.”

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All Greek Homecoming Step Show

By Jeffrey Jacobs

This weekend, SMU was able to celebrate homecoming in style. All throughout last week, students were staying up late every night so they could dedicate time to building their floats. However, the men of Kappa Alpha Psi and the ladies of Kappa Kappa Gamma were practicing every night in the Dedman Recreation Center for the All Greek Homecoming Step Show. In this annual event, members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council become step coaches to members of the Interfraternity Council, the Pan Hellenic Council, and the Multicultural Greek Councils. It is wonderful to have such a popular event during homecoming that incorporates all of the Greek Councils and encourages them all to work together to make the show as flawless as possible. Between 9pm and 11pm, we would be in practice mode. After many times of running through the show, we began to improvise more lines and more steps to make the show longer, more complex, and more natural. On Saturday, after having fun on the boulevard, all the step groups had to meet at the Mac Ballroom in the Umphrey Lee Center to run through our music cues with the DJ. Our group found a classroom to claim as our own and we ordered pizza to get ready for our pre-show-party. Since the classroom was equipped with large speakers, we turned the lights off and turned the classroom into the Kappa Party room. After two groups performed, it was now our turn. It was funny to us because the show felt like another practice. This is because every time we practiced, we did the show differently. Everyone had become so comfortable with their lines, that we all made up new lines but still continued the same story.  We did not come in first place. We had so much fun though. We wanted to make sure not to cry once the show was over because we knew that we had the flag football game to look forward to on Monday.

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Pick a County…Any Country!

p1  By Taylor Corrigan

Studying abroad was always part of my college plans, but once I became a mustang, there was no way I could fathom leaving this amazing school for a whole semester! So instead, I found a way to do both and I studied abroad in the summer. I am a junior this year, and I have already studied abroad in Orvieto, Italy and in London, England! Not only did I get take classes in other countries, but I got to see the most amazing things, travel, make the best memories, and meet tons of wonderful people.

The summer after my first year at SMU I went on the SMU Italy Arts and Culture program where I took a drawing class and an art history class. My drawing class was outside everyday and for most of our art history classes we took field trips to see the p2different things we were learning about! We took field trips to see the David, the Colosseum, we took a gondola ride, saw ancient ruins, had our own private tour in the Sistine Chapel, and that’s just to name a couple. In addition to all of the wonderful things I experienced during our class time, we also traveled on the weekends and did all kinds of exploring in the afternoons. Some of my favorite things we did were taking a cooking class, swimming in the Mediterranean, and roaming the streets of Venice.

After having the most amazing experience in Italy, I decided I wanted to travel again last summer and this time I chose to go to London through the Cox Business School for a business internship program. I took a month of class learning about business and the economy of London, and the second month I worked as an intern at Modus, a fashion and beauty PR firm in the heart of London. As a marketing major, this opportunity to study and work abroad was perfect because Ip5 was able to take classes towards my business degree, as well as work in the fashion industry and see what marketing and public relations is all about! Just like in Italy, I had the opportunity to travel and went to Dublin, Paris, and to different parts of England. I went to a soccer game, the Royal Regatta, I had high tea in a fancy hotel, saw the Queen’s birthday parade, and did so much more! The timing for us to be there was so much fun because not only was every one so excited for the birth of the royal baby, but Wimbledon was also going on. Getting to spend two months in London this past year might have made it my best summer yet!

Studying abroad has given me the opportunity to learn and see so many new things, and I have come away both times with the best memories and it has broadened my horizons in so many ways. No matter what your major or your schedule is, studying abroad for a summer or a semester is a must at SMU—just pick a country!

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Interviewing with CNN’s Headline News

By Elishah Ramos

As is quite common with college campuses all throughout the nation, there are always ongoing rivalries in athletics, and our annual battle is one none other than Fort Worth’s Texas Christian University. Every year between SMU and TCU we have a football game where we battle for the Iron Skillet. To outsiders it might not seem like much, because it really is just a skillet, however, that skillet for us represents victory over our rival school.

photoThis year I have the honor and privilege of being a Peruna Handler. For those who are not sure Peruna is our live Mascot, a black Stallion Shetland Pony. Although we are the Mustangs, a mustang is an undomesticated animal; therefore, we went for the next best thing. Peruna is an aggressive and feisty little guy that fears no one. He is famous for his kick – just ask Fordham University’s ram or Bevo. We have the tradition that after every touchdown and at the end of every quarter we run Peruna all 100 yards of the field and hope that our legs will move us fast enough to keep up with him and not trip!

Peruna’s tenacity is well known and because of that CNN’s Headline News wanted to have a quick question and answer session with us [the Peruna handlers] and Peruna. The interview was so much fun and it was great to have our little stallion shine in all his glory. I remember getting text messages and emails from friends letting me know that they saw us on tv, even though now that all of our games are televised, it is not the only appearance the handlers have made with Peruna. Sadly, the results of the game were less than stellar, but there is always next year! Pony Up!

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I’m Coming Home!

CanstructionBy Billy Hightower

Homecoming week is afoot. Being a senior, this week has never been more exciting. Last Sunday was the SMU Homecoming field day, in which all the teams comprised of pairs of student organizations compete in events for the first points and an early lead in the homecoming race. We even have a team for first year students sponsored by U11, a spirit group for first year students. Our canstruction event was also Sunday, where teams build structures representing the theme of their team. Throughout the remainder of the week we have float building, a rally contest and a plethora of other events. Although these events are fun my favorite part of the homecoming celebrations is the return of the young alumni and friends I’ve made through my years here at SMU! This weekend not just our campus but the city of Dallas will be filled with SMU alumni showing pride in our campus. Hearing stories of the post-grad life and the strides they’ve made in their careers is exciting for a student who will be in their shoes in just a few months.

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InterSECTIONS Diversity Retreat

By Ashley Garner

Fall break is the best time of year. SMU students have the option to go on an alternative break trip, visit with family, take a road trip with some buddies, or simply relax and enjoy their vacation.

I decided to go on SMU’s first ever InterSECTIONS Diversity Retreat. I along with nearly 40 other students chose to spend half of our break learning about how diversity impacts our SMU community.

We spent our time in large and small group discussion talking about the way our diverse campus population impacts our students and our world. We each learned about the of value each person’s experiences and how different backgrounds create a richer SMU culture.

The retreat lasted 3 days and 2 nights and my favorite activity was the “Line of Privilege” activity. Our facilitator had us spread out along the edge of the building and read out a series of statements. If the statement applied to us, we would walk forward. There were some difficult questions that played in to gender, ethnic, and racial stereotypes. Yet, at the end of the activity we debriefed over how we all experience levels of privilege in our daily lives.

It was truly a great retreat and I would recommend to anyone who wishes to attend in the future. Pony Up!

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Everything’s Bigger in Texas

big texBy Erin Robbins

October is my favorite time of year for many reasons; I love everything pumpkin flavored, the weather in Dallas is perfect, football season is in full swing, my birthday is coincidentally at the end of the month, AND it’s Texas State Fair time!

For three weeks, the Texas State Fair comes to life in Dallas. The fairgrounds are only a fifteen minute train ride south of SMU’s campus via the Dallas public transportation and is a great weekend activity.  With midterms finishing last week, I decided that a trip to the fair was the perfect way to enjoy the cooler Dallas weather and treat myself to a few hours away from the library!

downtownRight when you walk in you are greeted by Big Tex, the iconic symbol of the fair (shown in the first picture).

Each year new fried creations compete for one of the coveted Big Tex Choice Awards.  This year the winner of the best tasting was deep-fried Cuban roll and the most creative was fried Thanksgiving.  My personal favorite is fried butter, and until you’ve tried it for yourself I guarantee you won’t understand.  Making sure you don’t eat too much is the hardest part of the fair, especially if you want to enjoy some of the rides.  The Texas Star is the biggest Ferris wheel in North America and can be seen from the entrance into the fair.  It is always one of the busiest rides because it has some of the most spectacular views of downtown Dallas!  I took a picture from the top of the Ferris wheel and had to share how cool it looked.  The Texas State Fair is quite a unique experience and is definitely a must-see during your time as a Mustang!

 

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Reflections of a ‘Senior’ Citizen

By Bri Strickland

It seems like just yesterday I was a wide-eyed first-year Mustang strolling the Boulevard, unsure of what the next four years had in store for me. I came to SMU without knowing a single person so my first few months were marked by awkward first encounters and countless handshakes. I remember wondering if I’d outgrown the campus or if I had even made the right decision to come over 1300 miles away from home.

Fast forward three years – home is no longer just in sunny South Florida. Half way across the country I’ve made a whole other life with friends that feel more like family. There’s something to be said about one day waking up as a college senior and relishing in the people you’ve surrounded yourself with. In retrospect some of my greatest college nights aren’t reminiscent of a scene from Animal House, but are late nights spent sitting in the halls talking for hours or going home with a local friend for Sunday night dinners with their family. The college experience is stereotyped and marked by an accumulation of social and academic expectations but the interpersonal connections made in these four years are often overlooked and underappreciated. I can honestly say that the people I’ve met at SMU are the kinds of people I want to continue to influence me and help to grow to as a person.

I can’t believe I ever thought I could outgrown the SMU campus or the city of Dallas itself. The ‘bucket-list’ I scribbled down in my dorm freshmen year, is only 25% complete. As a senior, I feel qualified in saying that I’ve never felt like I’ve outgrown my university or its city. Naturally, my first few years at SMU were characterized and filled with on campus happenings like movies on the lawn, sporting events and more. As I became an upperclassman, a whole new world outside of the campus walls opened up. I suddenly myself engaged and exploring Dallas itself more. Whether it was a new restaurant opening, an art gallery walk in Deep Ellum or catching up with recent SMU alums, I felt a reinvigorated surge of curisoity for the city around me.

Even after over three years at SMU, I find myself still experiencing new things and meeting new people. When it comes time to graduate in May, I don’t know if I can bring myself to leave because I feel as if the best is yet to be in this capitivating city and on this enchanting campus.

So I guess it’s time to consider graduate school then?

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Life Around Dallas: Uptown

photoBy Kevin Hess

SMU is often advertised as being “just a hop skip and a jump” away from Downtown Dallas. If that is true, then SMU is also only a “hop and skip” away from the cultural center that is Uptown Dallas. Uptown is a trendy, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood less than 10 minutes from SMU’s campus. It is home to many of Dallas’ best restaurants, businesses and financial firms, and even a thriving scene for nightlife. Nestled into this part of town is also one of Dallas’ oldest and most historic neighborhoods, the State-Thomas neighborhood. Uptown is one of my favorite places to spend a day and evening, so I thought I’d highlight a couple of my favorite places.

1. In a city where brunch is the most important meal of the week, Breadwinners is king. Known for its location in an old brick hat factory in Uptown, Breadwinners is a place you can always count on to be packed Saturday and Sunday mornings. It has all the classic brunch options with some Texas specialties that will knock your socks off. A must-go for when you come to visit.

2. Klyde Warren Park is a revolutionary new urban park created “out of thin air” on several city blocks over the Woodall-Rogers Freeway that separates Uptown and Downtown. This park has an amazing range of things going on in it all the time: from food trucks to a luxurious restaurant, from exercise classes to an outdoor library, and from a separate dog park to an amazing children’s play center; it really is a fun place to spend an afternoon.

3. Lastly, no weekend in Uptown would be complete without Gui’s all-you-can-eat sushi special. Every Sunday (Tuesday and Thursday also), this restaurant runs a $20 all-you-can-eat special that holds a special home in many SMU student’s hearts. In my opinion, there’s no better way to finish a weekend then by meeting some friends and stuffing your face with some of Dallas’ best rolls. All-in-all Uptown is just one of many diverse and fun neighborhoods that Dallas has to offer. Neighborhoods like this, with their vibrant and different cultures, make me proud and excited to go to school in such a great city!

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The “Big D”

By Courtney Quinn

In March 2013, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau launched a new branding campaign to get the Dallas community involved in showing off the great city of Dallas. It was a BIG celebration! Huge block letters of “B” and “G” were placed all over the city and asked people to put themselves in the middle and spell BIG. Dallas’ nickname is the Big D, so it seemed like the most appropriate word to be the foundation of the campaign.

524665_10202154791337114_354069362_nThe letters were placed in all districts and hot spots of the city and rotate to new spots after a while. SMU was one of the first locations of the letters! My social media newsfeeds filled up with students posing in their best “I” formation in front of Dallas Hall. I couldn’t wait to get my picture with the letters! However, every time I spotted them it was an inopportune time to begin the photo shoot. Finally, the opportunity arrived!  Just last week, my friends and I were driving to campus on SMU Blvd and right in front of the George W.  Bush Presidential Center was the “B” and “G”! The Bush Center was having a special event so these letters weren’t going to be there for long. We quickly decided to park the car and run over to get the picture. A professional photographer was standing by and offered to take our picture. She was very helpful on how to properly pose. It was the best impulse decision. Now we have our BIG picture and can finally say we participated in the Dallas campaign. Also, the George W.  Bush Presidential Center is the perfect background to show how Dallas and SMU does it BIG!

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