Getting Ready for Spring Class Sign Up!

It’s almost time to sign up for Spring classes! Make sure that you make an appointment with your advisor to plan out your spring semester here at SMU. Advisors are here to help you and so is your Peer Academic Leader, Hailee Browne. In fact, Hailee is putting on an event Monday, October 24th from 8-10 p.m. in the Mary Hay Lobby. Here, Hailee will serve you up some doughnuts and you can drop in to ask your enrollment questions and learn to read your Degree Progress Report. Hailee’s such a PAL!


If you miss out on this event, never fear. You can always reach out to Hailee at and she can help you choose classes that will get your requirements done! Making sure that you take all the right classes is essential to having a great semester and graduating on time.

One thing that I might suggest is taking a class that is “out of the box.” Sometimes you find things you are good at in random places. I, myself, have always been artistic and took a chance on a video art class. It was one of the strangest classes that I have ever encountered, and although it was not my favorite, I wound up being very good at it and I learned how to edit videos. This really proved to me that I could go for my major and helped me when I applied in the following semester. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Make sure that you look at your requirements when signing up for classes and never be afraid to ask for help!

Blog by RA Eric 

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October Events to Get Pumped For!

MHPS Commons Council is super excited to announce all our upcoming events. October is going to be a very busy month and we want everyone to be involved.

First off, we have paired with the best FiR out there, Liljana, and changed Sunday Night Snacks to Ice Cream Sundae on Sunday on October 16th.


Then we kick off Halloweek on Monday, October 24th with reverse trick-or-treating starting at 9 p.m. Tuesday, we’ll have pumpkin carving out on the Quad at 7 p.m.  Thursday, October 27th get pumped for our annual haunted house. The haunted house will be hosted in Mary Hay first floor so don’t forget to stop by to get in the scary mood for Halloween.


While our residents are getting in the Halloween spirit with Halloweek, MHPS will also be getting in the Homecoming Spirit as that same week we will be painting our Peruna model and our banner while also preparing our Homecoming picture for all the fun Homecoming events. Painting will happen Friday, October 28.

Sign up here to PAINT PERUNA:

One more upcoming Homecoming event: Amazing Race Field Day! If you’re interested in competing for MHPS, contact Eva, our Spirit and Competitions Chair, at 

October 29th our amazing FiR, Liljana, will be hosting “Downtown Dallas.” If you have ever wanted to explore downtown and all the wonderful museums it has to offer, this is the event for you.


Don’t worry MHPS residents, because October isn’t our only busy month. Here is a brief calendar to look forward to for November:

  • November 6th  – Celebration of 1st Semester Birthdays at Sunday Snacks
  • November 10th – Movie on the Green
  • November 13th – Make Cupcake Turkeys at Sunday Snacks
  • November 15th – R.C. Dinner (Waffles & Wisdom)

Blog by Commons Council’s Chief of Staff, Sam 

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Taste of Diversity… and Defense


Exam Week

What a week MHPS just had! Many of our residents were undergoing their first set of exams this past week, however, they still made it a point to make it to MHPS events this past week, both educational and social.

On Wednesday, September 28th, MHPS hosted a Sexual Violence Prevention program in the Peyton Parlor. We were graced by the presence of Mr. Piotr Chelstowski, from the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness. He is also the self-defense instructor for Personal Responsibility and Wellness classes at SMU. Mr. C taught us the importance of learning simple self-defense moves in the case we are faced with unwelcoming stranger.

Stop Sexual Violence

Useful for both men and women, these simple combat moves will help an individual evade a potential threat and allow one to escape the face of danger. Residents were able to pair up with one another, and with special protective equipment, were able to practice moves against each other. It was a very interactive way to learn self-defense and crucial tool to prevent sexual violence.

For more information on sexual violence prevention, please utilize the following resources:


On Saturday, October 1st,  MHPS hosted its annual Taste of Diversity program on the North Quad lawn. A tradition in this commons, Taste of Diversity highlights the cultural aspects of different regions of the world, in a way that’s both educational and delicious. There was a large turnout from both residents and non-residents from the SMU community. While listening to music of various languages, having fun on the lawn, and getting to know fellow students and community members, attendees of the event learned about many cultures and about each other.

T.O.D.Participation from SMU faculty should also be noted. With help from our awesome FiR, Lilijana Elverskog, she was able to gain interest from fellow SMU faculty to bring in dishes from their respective cultures to share to students. As students walked from table to table to receive various dishes, they were informed with facts about the respective nations where the food was from. With these facts they are able to be more educated themselves and are now have the opportunity to educate others about various cultures.

Here at MHPS Commons, we strive for our residents to empower themselves through education. After one week, our residents can feel empowered in the face of danger, and through open discussion about culture and diversity.

Blog by RA Christo 

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A Taste of Taste of Diversity


RA Addie answers the “Who, What, When, Where, and Why,” giving MHPS residents a taste of our event, Taste of Diversity. 


  • ALL SMU students, faculty, and staff!


  • Diverse music!
  • Free t-shirts for the first 100 attendants!


  • A ~smorgasbord~ of foods from different countries…



  • THIS Saturday, October 1st from 5-8pm


  • On the new North quad behind the Dr. Bob Memorial Health Center


  • To gain awareness of the world we live in
  • To meet faculty members who will be bringing special foods
  • To experience the new North quad
  • To make new friends
  • To leave with a full and content belly

Food Baby GIF



  • The Assembly of Residential Housing for funding
  • Faculty members who will be preparing food:
    • Dr. Liljana Elverskog
    • Dr. Johan Elverskog
    • Dr. Martine Kincaid
    • Teresa Brentegani
    • Damiano Bonuomo
    • Omar Al-Rashdan
  • Our vendors who will be providing food:
    • Urban Taco
    • Lola’s African Kitchen
    • Luna’s Tortillas
    • Kuby’s
    • Roll N Go
    • Jeng Chi
    • Infinity Cuisine by Sean
    • Paciugo

Blog by RA Addie 



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Be Happy & Be Healthy: Wellness Tips

In case you missed the “Wellness Wednesday” program last week, RAs Dillon Chapman and Addie White have some wellness tips for you to stay happy and healthy this semester!

  • Eat healthy – Your body needs fuel, and the better you eat, the better you’ll feel!
  • Don’t stress eat – That can turn into an unhealthy habit, but it’s okay to treat yourself from time to time! Reward yourself for doing well on a test with a cookie or another sweet treat!
  • Get exercise – Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, and it just makes you feel better. Ask our FiR, Liljana about walking Ziggy! That’s animal therapy too!
  • Get a massage – Massages are available for SMU students at the Dedman REC Center! Book your appointment today!
  • Make time for yourself – It’s fun to go out and explore! But sometimes you might need a night in. There are a lot of things to juggle in college, but don’t forget to relax. Watch a movie in one night, or take a trip downtown to see the museums or go for a walk in the park. Your personal time will help you improve your mental health, which will help your grades and your relationships with your friends.
  • Get enough sleep – It may seem like there are never enough hours in the day, but you’re never too busy to sleep! It’s better to get a good night’s rest than stay up to 4:00 a.m. doing homework or cramming for a test.
  • Plan ahead – Time management is the most important thing you can learn during your time here at SMU. Learn to prioritize and not procrastinate, and you’ll be well on your way to success!
  • Lastly, don’t forget about your support network – your friends, family, and RAs/RCD/ARCD/FiR are all rooting for you! We’re here to make sure you’re happy and healthy!

Here is a final gift for you – the relaxing guided meditation that we listened to during the program and a serene picture! Check out the meditation here:


Blog by RA Dillon 

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A Recap: The Culture POP Tour

Culture POP group

Two Saturdays ago, September 12th, our FiR, Liljana, hosted a “Culture POP” Tour where MHPS residents had the opportunity to visit the Frank Stella Retrospective at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art and the Japanese Botanic Gardens.

The day started at 9 a.m., and it was rainy. Luckily, by the time the bus arrived to Fort Worth at 10 a.m., the bad weather had cleared up and left a coolness in its place.

First stop was the Fort Worth Museum where MHPS residents saw a variety of modern artworks pieces, including pieces from artists in the museum’s private collection, and admired the architecture of the building.


Liljana and Madyson







After their visit to the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art, the students enjoyed catered lunch from Jimmy John’s – plus Liljana’s homemade cookies – in the garden of the Kimbell Museum.  During lunch, students socialized with one another and discussed the different art pieces they observed.


Following lunch, MHPS traveled five minutes down the road to the Japanese Botanic Gardens. There, they were immersed into a beautiful environment with blossoming cherry trees, zen gardens, the moon bridge, and bright koi fish in ponds.


After exploring the Japanese Garden, students returned to SMU with a broader scope on modern art and Japanese Botanic Garden design, plus many memories from the “Culture POP” Tour.

A special thanks to our FiR, Liljana, and our Faculty Affiliate, Johan, for organizing the trip and providing educational commentary along the way! Missed it? Jokes on you, cause the group had a blast! But, hey, sign up for our next Trip in October!

Blog Post by Sean Nierat (Communications Coordinator) and Leah Hudson (RA) 

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Adulting 101: Microwave Edt.

If you missed RA Idara’s floor program this week, here’s the highlights from “Adulting 101” as reported by RA Raven. 

Ahh College! A time of newfound freedom, opportunities, and ADULTING (dun dun dunnnn). Adulting can be anything from being more accountable for your actions, to doing laundry, to learning how to cook – well effectively use a microwave. Some of us take a little longer than others to learn how to adult, but it’s okay – cause “WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!”


To help us take a step forward into the wonderful world of adulthood, RA Idara Akpan (2nd Floor Mary Hay) decided to host a floor program called “Adulting 101”. This program was geared towards residents learning how to use the floor microwave without burning the food…or the lounge. Idara really thought it would be useful to do this program because not only does no one want to live in a space that smells like burnt food, it really does impact community living. During her freshman year, Idara said “someone burned down the lounge over burnt popcorn”. Here are some common College eats that RA Idara educated her residents on how to prepare properly:

    1. Volunteer Resident Microwave Chef – Tre Rose
    2. Tips for Popcorn Success:
      • DO NOT PRESS POPCORN BUTTON (we have strong and sensitive microwaves).
      • Instead, only cook it the specified time on packaging.
      • Don’t leave the microwaving station – if you do, you will burn down the lounge.
      • LISTEN to the popcorn sounds so you’ll know when it’s done.
      • After opening the microwave door, wait 5 seconds so nothing pops in your face.
      • If it smells burnt, it probably is.

Idara 1

    1. Volunteer Resident Microwave Chef – Parker Bryant
    2. Tips for Easy Mac ‘n Cheese Success:
      • Follow instructions on packaging.
      • ADD WATER.
      • Cook for 3:30 – that’s minutes, not hours.
      • Watch for boiling water, and be sure to clean up any spillage when you’re done.

Idara 2

    1. Volunteer Resident Assistant Microwave Chef – Raven Harding (that’s ME)
      • Follow instructions.
      • ADD CORRECT AMOUNT OF WATER – not too much.
      • Cook for 3 minutes – again, not hours.
      • Be careful handling – the water will be HOT.

These 3 college classic dinners are super easy to make, but super easy to destroy. HOWEVER, if you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming MasterChef: Microwave Edt. and a wonderful addition to the Adulting Community of MHPS.

Idara 3

HOORAY!! #MHPSisthebest

Blog by Raven Harding (4th Floor Shuttles RA)

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Culture POP!!! Our FiR + Free Food + Free Fun + Fort Worth

Save the Date!!! 

This is one MHPS event you don’t want to miss… Our FiR, Liljana, is taking us on a FREE trip to explore the “Arts & Cultural” scene in Fort Worth, TX on Saturday, September 10. Buses load at 9 a.m. and will return at 5 p.m. after a full fun-packed day.

“Culture POP” Trip Highlights AKA Reasons You Want to Go:

Link to Sign Up: 

Deadline to Sign Up: Thursday, Sept. 1 at 11:59 p.m.! Only 50 students can go, so sign up fast!!!

Culture Pop Flyer


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MHPS Commons Council AKA “Cool Kids” Applications Out

Meredith with flag

Hi everyone! My name is Meredith McBee and I am so excited to serve as your Commons Council President this year.

(I hope you’ll read all of this, but if you read anything, this is it: APPLY TO COMMONS COUNCIL HERE.  APPLICATION CLOSES SEPTEMBER 6 AT 11:59 P.M.)

Now that we all have a week of classes over and done with (congratulations!), it’s time to start thinking about becoming involved in our MHPS community… Maybe you’ve seen our “Cool Kids” signs around the Commons?

Recruitment Flyer

During the second week of my first year, I joined Commons Council on a whim. To be completely frank, I happened to be in the common room at the same time as the meeting. Lucky for me, I enjoyed Commons Council so much I decided to come back this year!

Commons Council is a great way to connect with your peers in the commons. Last year, the council celebrated Halloween with a week of fun events like a haunted house, reverse trick-or-treating, movie nights and a snapchat geofilter! We also boulevard on game days and represent our commons in campus-wide events like intramurals and Commons Cup Opening Day Games. And let’s not forget one of our most important jobs- to submit Hall Improvement Funds to the Assembly.

I’ve met wonderful people in Commons Council. Whether we’re complaining about inedible food or busily planning study breaks before finals, Commons Council is a place for community bonding. Joining Commons Council gives you a close-knit family within MHPS.

Meredith 2

Now I am sure you all want to join the #MHPSCCFAM. We had our first interest meeting tonight and it was great, complete with cookies. If you missed it, don’t worry. We’re hosting two more interest meetings so you can learn more about Commons Council.

Please come to one of our next interest meetings listed below:

  • Tuesday, August 30th at 8pm- 1st floor Shuttles
  • Thursday, September 1st at 8pm- 1st floor Peyton

Commons Council is what you make it. We have roles for every type of commitment, passion and skill-set. Here are some of the roles we would like to YOU to fill this year:

  • Floor Rep- A floor rep is in charge of raising morale on his/her floor. This includes planning and personally inviting all your hall-mates (aka besties) to events and keeping an eye out for ways we can enhance your floor through Hall Improvement Funds.
  • Photographer(s)- A photographer is pretty self-explanatory. I am looking for some instagram wizards to help us keep our insta on point.
  • Videographer(s)- A videographer will shoot footage at all of our events to compile into a blockbuster short film about MHPS for one of the Commons Cup competitions at the end of the year.
  • Of-the-Month Chair- Everyone loves being celebrated, right? An of-the-month chair has the difficult task of selecting the best resident-of-the-month, suite-mates of the month, best dorm-of-the-month. Really anything! To be honest, I’m kind of jealous of this job; it sounds so fun!
  • Graphic Design Chair- A graphic design chair will assist the Communications Coordinator in creating graphics for posters, instagram and maybe even painting a Peruna at homecoming.
  • Birthday Chair- A personal favorite of pretty much everyone with a Birthday (oh wait…that’s everyone), the Birthday Chair celebrates everyone’s birthday with door decs, cards, whatever your heart desires! I’ll be looking forward to when the Birthday Chair celebrates mine. 🙂
  • Other- If you have any ideas for a position, feel free to write us a proposal on the Google application coming out today! We are looking for passionate people to create traditions they are passionate about.

I know this year Mary Hay/Peyton/Shuttles is going to come together as one beautiful commons. Joining Commons Council is one way you can make this dream a reality.

If you have any questions about Commons Council, do not hesitate to contact me at

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A Note From Our Faculty-in-Residence

Dear MHPS students,

Welcome to SMU!!! Most of you are freshmen and new to SMU and Mary Hay Peyton Shuttles Commons, and I am sure you have already gotten a lot of advice from your parents.

As a parent who just sent my son off to college, I know the feeling: your parents are proud of you and they want you to succeed in college.

Thus they have no doubt already sent you off to SMU with a lot of good advice; namely, the “don’ts”: don’t sleep too late, don’t play video games all night, don’t miss class, don’t drink too much…

As a faculty member I would like to sound a little more optimistic and tell you that it is really easy to succeed in college. What you need to do is be engaged, which should make everything more fun.

Otherwise, if I can give you one piece of advice as a faculty member, it would be: go to class, no matter what; moreover, do the readings, be prepared. And while there, ask questions, talk to your professors. If you are too shy to ask questions in class, go to their office hours. For me, that is my favorite part, because that informal setting is when students get to know me and I get to know them much better.

As a Faculty-in-Residence at MHPS I would also like to invite and encourage you to be involved in our Commons’ activities. Come over to my apartment for Sunday Night Snacks; visit the Fort Worth Modern Museum and the Japanese Garden with us on September 10; come and explore Dallas downtown on October 29; stop by and talk to me.

My husband Johan, who is also an SMU professor, and I are always happy to talk to you. We are a great resource for all kinds of academic advice. And last but not least, our dog Ziggy loves company and is always grateful if someone pets him or gives him a walk. Here is a picture of him… (Look at those eyes!)



Have a great academic year,

Liljana Elverskog




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