Campus Life

You Won’t Go Hungry Here!

By Mehdi Hami

It’s no secret that Dallas has more restaurants per capita than New York City, but who would have thought that SMU’s cuisine on campus is also really good. It has to be to keep me eating on campus more than off campus!

In terms of cafeteria options, Umphrey Lee, also known as Real Food on Campus, provides a wide variety of food that will have you coming back every single day. From the International Street Fare to Country Kitchen, you’ll feel like you’re right at home! Mama T’s omelet’s and the fresh cookies at the dessert station will have you begging for more! For those days when you want to control that calorie count, Healthy on the Hilltop, the deli station, and salad station will keep you fit! SMU even has a dietitian to advise all your dining needs. There is no limit!

Outside of Umphrey Lee, SMU has a variety of retail locations that really hit the spot. You can grab fresh bagels for breakfast in the morning at Einstein’s in the business school.  The Varsity in the student center has Subway, Pizza Hut, and Chick-Fil-A to satisfy all your cravings. SMU has its own Sushi restaurant, Sushic, and serves burritos at eSMUcho. After hitting the gym or the tanning pool at Dedman, you can even grab a smoothie or a protein bar at SMUothies!

If you’re up at 11 PM at need a late-night snack, there is Mac’s Place, a great grab-and-go late-night dining option.

If this sounds awesome, just wait until the new two-story cafeteria opens in Fall 2014 with an outdoor patio… it’s safe to say that Mustangs never go hungry!

Campus Life

Real Talk: 21st Century Activism

blog1By Ashley Garner

I had the pleasure of attending the first “Real Talk” of the spring semester. The office of Student Activities and Multicultural Student Affairs hosts lunches that invite students and SMU staff to discuss challenging societal concerns.

Students are encouraged to discuss topics pertaining to the diversification of America using the Bantu discussion method. All students sit in a circle and speak one at a time to share their opinion on a topic. Their listening peers are not allowed to make comments until everyone has spoken. The purpose of this discussion method is to engage students in a culture of listening to understand not listening to attack the views of others.

Our first discussion topic was centered on the ways in which 21st century activism manifests and whether we still need activism. Student responses reflected that activism has taken a new from with the emergence of social media. Additionally, this means that we each take part in serving as activists whether in standing up for inequalities or otherwise.

The discussion was a perfect way to celebrate MLK day and kick off our “Real Talk” series for the semester. I look forward to attending more in the future!

To follow the discussion, check out highlights from their live tweets here:

Campus Life

‘Tis the Season: Celebration of Lights

1397447_604490579613722_2052303589_oBy Liz Dubret

Today is my favorite SMU tradition: Celebration of Lights. It marks the beginning of the Holiday Season on campus. It is a time when SMU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Dallas community come together in celebration of the Holidays. Everyone bundles up, grabs a candle, and hot chocolate and waits for the festivities to begin. There are many different performances, lots of Christmas Carols, and finally President Turner reads everyone a Christmas story.  At the end, everyone’s breath is taken away as they turn on all of the Christmas lights on campus. It is truly a sparkling and magical moment.

So as I went to write this blog, I started to think back on my past two years of Celebration of Lights. My first year on campus, I went out with a few of my best friends and had a blast! We took pictures, accidentally dropped wax on each other, and spilled hot chocolate as we goofed around together. It was our final moment to snuggle in the cold before we locked ourselves in the library as we prepared for our first college finals. It was the perfect end to a wonderful semester.

Sophomore year, I went to Celebration of Lights with only my roommate. We had spent the entire day together, and wanted to end on a happy Christmas note before we went our separate ways for the holidays. Of course we met up with all of our friends there, but it was nice to spend it with my best friend as we stood there and remembered how lucky we were to attend such a wonderful university that had such great community and family.

This year, I am excited to see what I do for Celebration of Lights. I do not have any special plans, but know that as it is my second to last, it will definitely be a special time to remember. After all, nothing can go wrong during Christmas!

Campus Life

Family Weekend: Running the Show

By Will Slack

SMU’s administration is unique in that it places a tremendous amount of trust in student leaders. I experienced this aspect of our university firsthand while planning this year’s Family Weekend. Throughout the planning process, it was my job to oversee a 7-person subcommittee, meet with the school’s graphic designer to create the printed materials, allocate a large budget, brief SMU’s president about Family Weekend, and ensure a great weekend for all families. Family Weekend was a learning experience to say the least. I learned how to create timelines, set goals, and work with people different from myself (I’ve been able to discuss Family Weekend in all of my internship interviews).

All in all, Family Weekend is a highlight of my college experience. It served as a reminder of how much the university trusts me while inspiring me to keep giving back. SMU is a great environment for students who want to improve their leadership skills.

Campus Life

Homecoming Happiness

photoBy Melody Davis

Homecoming: another reminder that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves- an entire community at SMU and not just our four years spent here. Homecoming last weekend was again one of the best weekends of the fall semester. All the hype and excitement of the Homecoming festivities came true. But as I walked in the Homecoming parade, behind our organization’s float, I was reminded that the support and spirit for SMU stretched beyond many college students. As we passed out candy to many children dressed in red and blue Mustang gear and saw old couples sitting along the boulevard as we passed, it was special to see the community come together to support our wonderful university. So many alumni on campus were able to join in our fun festivities. It was incredible to see the blocks of Hillcrest street and the boulevard teeming with fans cheering for SMU. Regardless of age, SMU is a special place for all, even after graduation. Although I can’t imagine leaving this place any time soon, or in the next two years once I finish my undergraduate experience, I know I’ll always have a place at SMU.

Campus Life

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.”

Campus Life

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.

Campus Life

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.

Campus Life

U11: Fostering Mustang Spirit

558862_4820281228524_636664766_nBy Jack Murphy

Oh how sweet it is to return to SMU after a hot summer in the hills of northern California after a great summer internship.  It’s good to get back to the Big D.  While I had been keeping busy over the summer, it seems that SMU has been making big changes as well!  Closing in on finishing the final touches on the Residential Commons, improving Moody Colliseum for our top-caliber basketball team, and welcoming a whole new class of awesome first-years!  I remember my first year, which actually ended only a few months ago.  The people you meet, the classes you take, and the big city you live in all have an impact on every new college student.  But the memories I will never forget is my time with the first-year program called U11.

829 1341When everyone is scoping out the interesting organizations during “A Night at the Club”-the fair for SMU clubs and organizations – I came across a combined group of the Union and Mustang 11.  Known as U11, this group promotes class spirit and unity, and in doing so they play a major role during football and basketball games!  When U11 accepted me, I became part of a family of friendly and spirited people and we were given to opportunity to uphold a major tradition at SMU: Lead the football team onto the field.  Before every game, I would march down the Boulevard with the Mustang Band, Cheer team, and Pom Squad onto the field and lead our Mustang Football team out of the tunnel and onto the field.  It’s the most exhilarating experience running in front of 50+ large college athletes, praying that I don’t trip and get trampled on!  By participating in U11, I had the opportunity to get a photo-op with some pretty awesome people!  I shook the hand of former President George W. Bush at the first football game and met TOMS shoes founded Blake Mycoskie at the Homecoming game!  After such a memorable experience with U11, I took up an advisor role with the organization and continue to show my SMU spirit for every game, all the way to the forth quarter.  These are the times in college that you will never forget.

Top picture: My U11 friend Allison lost amongst the football team while trying to outrun them.

Bottom picture: Me, (Jack Murphy) in the Sunglasses in the back,  taking a photo with George W. Bush.

Campus Life Life Around Dallas

Back on the Hilltop

1150320_10200527032207355_698717938_nBy John Angle

Can you believe it? Summer break is already over – again! I’m especially sad about this summer ending, as it’ll be my last one ever. The real world comes calling after this year! Although I’ll miss the ability to sleep in, not do homework, watch as much Netflix as my retinas can handle it is really great to be back on the Hilltop!

One of the things I’m most excited about this coming year at SMU will be serving as a student representative on the SMU Board of Trustees! At SMU one student serves as a full voting member of the Board of Trustees and one also sits on each of the trustee committees. I was lucky enough to be selected to sit on the Finance and Audit committees, and I could not be more excited. My first audit committee meeting is this week and am enjoying thoroughly pouring over all the information and data they already provided me.  It’s exciting to have the opportunity to serve alongside many of the important business and civic leaders who also serve as Trustees and to give back to SMU in a new way.

On an unrelated – and much more fun – note I played Dallas tour guide all weekend as one of my closest childhood friends, Elizabeth, came to visit me from Atlanta.  Over the long Labor Day weekend we got in a Boulevard and the Texas Tech/SMU game, the Katy Trail, White Rock Lake, Klyde Warren Park, Perot Science Museum, and a Rangers game. We also ate our weight in barbeque, Tex-Mex, pizza, cupcakes, burgers, and some of the other awesome food Dallas has to offer. We’re lucky here to live in one of the most fun cities in America to be a young person – there is always something going on, it’s filled with cool people, and there is amazing food. It was a hot but incredibly fun weekend that reminded me how much I love my adoptive city!

Campus Life

Panic at the Disco

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 2.53.17 PMBy Ashley Garner

The first few weeks of school have been a success! A couple of my friends celebrated the third day of school by hitting the Silent Disco hosted by Silent Productionz. This program was put on by our Hughes Trigg programming staff to celebrate the beginning of the school year.

The concept of the disco is really unique.  Everyone gets a pair of headphones and can choose between 2 stations. There are 2 DJ’s that are playing music from hip-hop, pop, and electronica genres. The event was held outside and as you chose a different station, your headphones would light up with a red or blue color. This was probably one of the coolest events that I had ever attended. Since music stations had two different colors, you could dance with people who had the same color as you, and switch back and forth.

There was also mocktail bar with yummy drinks to help us cool down. To the outsider the event looked like a bunch of crazy people dancing to no music, but to us, the whole dance floor was our playground. My friend Anita and I (pictured below) wanted to relieve some back to school stress with a fun on campus event.

SMU planning councils do a great job of having fun and safe events on campus especially during the first 6 weeks of class. After the event, my friend and I begged Silent Productionz to come to this event again, we gave it 2 thumbs up!

Campus Life

They Say Some People Never Leave SMU…

By Ashley Garner

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 8.33.54 AMI am proud to say that I am one of those people. Each summer I have spent my break giving back to the SMU community and this summer I have had the pleasure of serving SMU as the 2013 Academic Advising Registration Orientation Student Director. My logistical responsibilities include assigning tasks to the orientation team, reviewing AARO vignettes, and documenting program feedback. In addition, my days are filled with getting AARO leaders ready to welcome new mustangs, answering questions of students and families, and with connecting with SMU faculty and staff. It has truly been a blast meeting the talented class of 2017.

(Pictured above: Our Orientation Staff Retreat Photo at The Hilton Hotel.  Ashley Circled in red).

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 8.33.40 AMOn our days off, the orientation team keeps me on my toes with trips to the best restaurants in Dallas, photo shoots at local landmarks, and lots of quality time watching the game show network. One of my favorite adventures was playing Just Dance in the Sony store at Galleria with some of the AARO leaders. We danced right in the window of the store and tons of people stopped by to watch and take pictures, we felt like celebrities!

(Pictured right: Katie Maiers and Ashley learning some moves in the Sony store!)

This summer has indeed kept me busy, and has definitely been one of my favorites. All the good times has made me beyond excited to begin the school year and continue making awesome memories.

Campus Life

Homecoming: View from the Top

By John Angle

This past week was one of the most fun but tiresome of my SMU career because I was in charge of planning and executing SMU Homecoming!  I had an amazing team that I worked with, and the event overall went pretty flawlessly. We began working to plan Homecoming in March and went all the way through the week it began. For the 22 candidates submitting their resumes two weeks ago, and then each of them went through an in-depth interview with SMU faculty and staff.  Next up all the participating organizations – with a record eighteen participating in some form of Homecoming – received their holiday – this year’s theme. Much of the week was hard for me because I was aware of who was winning/losing and I was desperate to share the inside info!

The week kicked off for most participants with a field day on the Dallas Hall lawn.  Teams competed in wheelbarrow races, sponge race, tug of war, and football toss.  Then, on Sunday, everyone painted a window, a 3’x5’ banner, and wooden horse in their holiday. Next up was a big pep rally/competition called “Rock the Vote” on Monday evening where everyone was introduced to all of the Homecoming Court. Voting started on Tuesday and everyone was able to vote for their favorite king and queen candidate. Wednesday and Thursday groups competed to have the highest percentage of their organization donate blood at the bloodmobile. Finally and most importantly from Monday afternoon through Friday afternoon groups worked on elaborate floats for their candidates to ride in – and everyone else to walk behind – in the Homecoming parade. The building culminated in late-night float building till 2 am Friday morning, and was a big party with music and food.  

Saturday morning we all got up for the parade and could not have had more perfect, beautiful weather. The parade went off without a hitch, and first place went to the group that designed a Texas Independence Day float.  I calculated the winners of spirit points and the king/queen and only had a little time on the boulevard before hurrying off to the game where President Bush did the coin toss.  Then at halftime I got to go on the field with SMU President R. Gerald Turner, SMU alum and TOM’S Shoes founder Blake Mycowski and all the great candidates to crown the winners. It was absolutely a blast and something I will never forget!

Campus Life

Senior Moment: “My Last Boulevard”

By Anne Parker

This weekend is my last boulevard as an undergraduate Mustang and I can hardly believe it. Boulevarding has long been my favorite part about SMU. Red dresses, cowboy boots and everyone all coming together to support our football team. What more can you ask for?

The next boulevard I attend I will be an SMU alumni. Where did the time go?

My advice: 

If you are reading this as a freshman or sophomore, savor every single moment. Enjoy it. If you are a junior, it is not long before you will be in my position. Soak it all in. Live up every single second!

Pony Up and Go Mustangs!


Academics Campus Life General

Expanding Horizons

By Laura Spitler

I want to talk about a piece of advice I heard multiple times before arriving at college: Try something new.

College is such a perfect time to expand your horizons.  For some students that may mean getting SCUBA certified through your wellness class, for others it may mean learning that foreign language you have always been curious about.  This advice translated to me joining SMU’s Ballroom Dance team my freshman year. SMU hosts an event for freshman the first week of classes called Night at the Club, where most of the clubs and organizations set up tables and give you an idea of all there is to get involved with. This is a great place to search for your new passion.  Learning a new skill is such a fun way to make friends.  Whenever you get plugged in on campus, you feel more connected and you’re likely to have a better freshman experience than those that stay holed-up in their rooms.

I definitely found my niche with the ballroom dance team.  I really appreciate that ballroom has familiar aspects to my extracurricular activity in high school, yet has allowed me to learn a completely new skill and meet some fabulous people.  Just two weekends ago, 30 of us road tripped down to Rice University to dance in a big collegiate competition.

I want to pass the advice I received onto all of you prospective students.  Don’t join the French club in college just because that’s what you did in high school.  Take some time to re-evaluate your interests and consider something new!