Spring Break en Panamá

IMG_6094.1By Shauna Davis

This past Spring Break I had the opportunity to travel internationally with several SMU dance majors (and one engineer!).  The location was Panama and what brought us there was dance.  We worked with a group called Movement Exchange that has developed partnerships with orphanages in Panama, Brazil and the States.  Over the course of a week, we taught dance classes to underserved kids in orphanages, providing them an avenue for expression, building self-confidence, developing community, and having fun.  While there we taught other dancers at the University of Panama, tried some of the local food, and fumbled our way through the Spanish language.  Luckily we picked up the words baño, numbers 1-10 and bailar right away. Among the things I learned in Panama, here are some of my highlights.

5 of the many things I learned in Panama:

1- People are always willing and able to help

2- Children are energetic balls of fun, talent, patience and stamina

3- Zanahoria means carrot… and nananja (orange) zanahoria juice is very interesting

4- Panamanian people are extremely passionate and spiritual.  On October 21, Catholics thousands make a pilgrimage to Iglesia de San Felipe in Portobelo to witness Christo Negro (the Black Christ)

5- Power in numbers is very, VERY real people- with 9 students and a combined total of 8 years of high school Spanish (and about 17 years of French) the Movement Exchange students from SMU and FSU have combined forces and made a great curriculum for the kids.

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The Final Four in Dallas

By Elizabeth Dubret

Not too long ago, Dallas was lucky enough to host the Final Four!  It was an exciting time to be in the city, and there were so many amazing things to do as a student.  To kick it all off, SMU hosted the Three Point and Slam Dunk competition in our very own Moody Coliseum.  picAs a student, I got a cheap ticket to go and watch this event.  I sat with some of my best friends as we cheered on the competitors and watched how they had formed a friendship.  I then watched the slam dunk competition.  At first, I was not impressed. I felt like I, at five foot two, could do some of these dunks.  But then, they got really good.  Players jumped over things and people, did full spins in the air, dunked backwards, and even swung the ball around their legs.  But, the best part of the night was watching the amazing Adreian Payne have Lacey Holsworth kiss his basketball for good luck before it was his turn. Her strength, his compassion, and their relationship inspired the entire audience.

The next day, the free concerts in Dallas began.  There were artists from the Killers, to Tim McGraw, and Bruce Springsteen.  It was held downtown under the Reunion Tower, and was such a fun time even though it was raining. There were food trucks, vendors, and games, and the concerts were everything the artists had promised.  The other best part of the weekend, was that SMU students received tickets to the final four for $20. Even though SMU was not playing, we could go and cheer on the teams at AT&T Stadium. Overall, having the Final Four in Dallas was an experience of a lifetime and a blast for SMU students.

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Class Spotlight: Honors Marketing Practicum

By Lauren Lyngstad

This semester, I have had the opportunity to be a student in the Cox School of Business Honors Marketing Practicum. This course takes place every fall for a select group of graduating Marketing majors, and it has easily been one of my favorite courses that I have taken during my time at SMU. Essentially, at the beginning of the year we start off with 25 students in the class. From there, we divide into five teams consisting of five students. The teams are chosen draft-style–the class designates five leaders and each leader chooses their team members with a goal of creating the best, most well-rounded team. After that, the fun begins!

For the past four years, this course, and SMU, has partnered with FOX. Every year, FOX Sports kicks off the course by visiting the classroom and proposing a semester-long project to the class. From there, the five teams of student compete to develop the best solution to the project that FOX has presented. This year, we have been tasked with developing a national campaign for FOX Sports 1 soccer programming. At first, I must admit that I was a little bit intimidated by the gravity of the project. After all, this was a NATIONAL campaign! After the intimidation period passed, our group got down to business. We started off the semester by conducting extensive secondary and primary research. From there, we began to develop ad campaign ideas to present to FOX.

Earlier in March, executives and employees from FS1 flew out from Los Angeles and also joined us via Skype. Our group was given a 30-minute meeting to present our research, campaign ideas and receive employee feedback. It was such a phenomenal opportunity to be sitting in a conference with some of FS1’s most influential employees. We walked away from the meeting with praise, criticism and a renewed passion for the rest of the semester. Currently, we are working on finalizing our final campaign that will be presented to FOX Sports later this month. It has been an absolutely crazy ride, but we have had so much fun dreaming up advertising ideas for social media campaigns, print ads, commercials and more. I cannot wait to see our final product, and I am crossing my fingers that FS1 chooses our project!

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A Day in the Life…

By Laura Spitler

A question we get fairly often as SMU Ambassadors is “what does a typical day look like for you?”  So I thought it might be fun to spell that out on here since it incorporates info about classes, homework, holding a job, and being involved on campus…

My alarm goes off at 8:30am.  Luckily for me, it’s a Tuesday and my first class doesn’t start until 11am.  But rather than sleep even later, I get up and use that time productively.  Today that means writing my portion of a business case assignment due on Thursday.  It’s a marketing case about Frito Lay’s introduction of SunChips and I’ve got a group of 4 to help get all the questions answered.  Since I live off campus, I try to leave my apartment by 10:40 to give me time to drive to campus, park, and get to my class in plenty of time.

Now I’ve have three back to back classes that are each 80 minutes long. First is the Sociology of Culture, then Consumer Behavior, then Product and Brand Management (the course I was just doing homework for).  So this means I’m in class from 11am until 3:20pm, with 10 minute passing periods to change buildings when need be (my last two classes are actually in the same room!).  Unfortunately this line up of classes is effective for knocking out the classes, but it means I don’t really get a lunch…that’s my bad, I planned it this way.  I just bring a granola bar to eat in class and then get to eat a substantial “snack” when classes release.

The next thing on my schedule is meeting with one of the advertising professors at 4pm.  I’m hoping to get into a Mayterm class she is teaching in New York City, and she wants to meet with all the interested students since she can only pick 12 to attend.  This sounds like such an amazing opportunity because it would mean getting to network with successful SMU alums that now work for places like Nike and Monster.com, plus we could learn more about different sides of advertising and marketing in a very hands-on way.

Now I get to head home, throw in a load of laundry, and start making a study guide for my upcoming sociology exam.  Before I know it, it is 6pm and I need to think about making dinner and heading back to campus for a meeting of a Christian Woman’s group that I am currently secretary of.  We meet in the Hughes Trigg Student Center to sing songs, pray, and talk about the upcoming events we having coming up, like Relay for Life.  When the meeting wraps up an hour later it’s off to the Dedman Rec Center for me.  I’m a part of the SMU Ballroom Dance team and we practice here two hours every Tuesday night.  Right now we are prepping for our big spring competition held in Austin (road trip!).  It’s about 10:45pm before I finally make it home for the night.  I’m worn out, but it’s been a productive, fun day.

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A Look Back on Spring Break

By Elishah Ramos

For this past Spring Break I was fortunate enough to serve the Memphis community by working on the Mississippi River in river cleanup. Here at SMU, we have the option to participate in an Alternative Breaks program for our fall, winter, and spring breaks. Last year, picI participated in a spring break trip to Indianapolis, Indiana to work on urban gardening and this past winter break I was in Quito, Ecuador working with low-income children who work in their street markets. After participating in two amazing trips, I decided to be a site leader for the Memphis, Tennessee trip.

While in Memphis, we worked with Chad Pregracke and his non-profit, Living Lands and Waters. They work cleaning up the Mississippi River and several other rivers in multiple states. He was even featured as a CNN hero of the year! It was a very humbling experience and it really helped the group understand a concept that was vaguely familiar to all of us in a more personal level. While we were there, one of the participants in our group was even interviewed for a Memphis news channel. Working with over 15 other schools for a great cause led to a very rewarding spring break.

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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:  www.katytraildallas.org

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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