Academics Ambassadors Campus Life General Spirit and Traditions

A Letter to the Class of 2026

To the incoming Class of 2026,

Welcome! Welcome to the place that will be your home for the next 4 years, but will stay in your heart for a lifetime. Welcome to the place that just might challenge you to your limits, but those challenges will shape you into the world-changer we know you are. Welcome to the place with the family that will champion you in your triumphs, but more importantly, lift you up and walk with you in your struggles.

As a student finishing my 3rd year and getting ready to begin my senior year, I am nostalgic as I write this and think about all the exciting things that you all, the Class of 2026, will get to experience in just a couple months. Here are just a few of the numerous memories I could tell you about from my first couple weeks:

  • A snow cone social with my entire residential commons on the night of move-in; looking back, a couple of those people I met and talked to that night are now some of my closest friends
  • The first Boulevard! Of course, you’ve heard so much about this, but what really stood out to me was, for the first time, feeling like I was truly a part of the SMU community instead of just a freshman because we were joining such a time-honored tradition with the entire student body and all the alumni.
  • A dinner picnic in one of the prettiest parts of campus, Dallas Hall lawn, with my new friends
  • A long-weekend trip to the SMU-in-Taos campus where we hiked and stargazed

Those are only a few of the things I remember most vividly from my first month or two of freshman year but don’t take my word for it. This is YOUR experience! First and foremost, remember you are at a top school to get a great education, so make your academics a priority. But then… this is your opportunity to forge your own path and take advantage of all those once-in-a-lifetime events that come your way. It’s your time to try new foods in Dallas, or go to a concert of an unknown band, or join your commons on an intramural team for a sport you’ve never played. In addition to all the fun you’ll have around campus and in Dallas, take some introspective time to get to know yourself. These 4 years of college are such a special time to discover who you are, what you believe, and what you value.

As I conclude this letter, I want you to know how excited we are to meet you next year. This campus community will be a brighter place with you in it, and you will surely leave your unique mark on it.

Pony Up,

Sophie Fernando

Class of 2023

Academics Ambassadors Campus Life General Residence Life and Student Housing Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

Finding Community in Your Commons

Move-in day can be scary. While the air is filled with the excitement of new opportunities and experiences, moving to a new location at such a pivotal point in our lives can feel like walking on a high-beam without a safety net below. On move-in day, most college students are moving away from their friends, their family, and their home. But here at SMU, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A “dorm” is a place where students live away from home. At SMU, we don’t have dorms. Instead, we have Residential Commons Communities (each called a “Commons”), which are designed to become your new home.

In my experience, this works like magic. With one faculty member living with their family in a built-in apartment on the ground floor of each Commons, every student has access to a set of incredibly supportive parents-away-from-home. When I walked into my Commons for the first time, my Faculty in Residence (FiR) immediately knew my name and invited me to a home-cooked dinner. Through successes, failures, breakups, and job offers, I never stopped leaning on my FiR family for support and encouragement.

But even with a built-in family, making friends represents so much of what the college experience is about. Luckily, the Commons system has some fantastic ways to build lifelong friendships with your neighbors. I found community through Commons intramural sports teams, Commons Council, and even just hanging out in the building’s lounge spaces. Every Commons puts on dozens of fun events each semester to encourage their residents to spend time with one another. With so many opportunities to meet new people, the commons experience basically comes with automatic friendships.

Throughout my time as a first-year, orientation leader, stampede guide, and RA, I have seen hundreds of students enter this university and find their home. The commons system provides us students with community in an ingenious way: by recognizing that home is never a place, but instead a person.


I found my home on the Hilltop, and I hope you will too.

Jack Lucas

Ambassadors Campus Life General Life Around Dallas Residence Life and Student Housing

Where to Eat in Dallas (On & Off Campus)

One aspect of college that I never realized would be so pivotal and meaningful to me was food. As I made the trek from California to Texas, I mainly thought of the heat, the cowboy hats, and the southern accents that would truly affect my location experience. It wasn’t until I stepped into the Dallas foodie scene where I quickly realized my love for food needed to be added to the list.

Of my 2 years in Dallas, I have made a list of restaurants on & off campus that have caught my eye and wanted to share with the community. So here is my coveted Top 20 List of Restaurants based on cuisine, expense, and my personal experience… enjoy!

  1. Sixty Vines (Modern American, $$, Constant favorite!)
  2. The Henry (American, $$$, Lovely brunch place)
  3. Le Bibloquet (French, $$$, I feel very fancy when I eat here!)
  4. Honor Bar (Traditional American, $$$, No reservations but great when you get in)
  5. Shinsei (Asian Fusion, $$$, One of the best places to get sushi in Dallas)
  6. *Mac’s Place (Fast-Food American, $, Great quick food & have dorm room essentials too such as paper towels/soap/microwavable food)
  7. Taverna (Italian, $$, Right on Katy Trail & can walk from campus)
  8. La La Land Coffee (Coffee, $, Just coffee and small bites but great back story and even better coffee)
  9. Luckys Hot Chicken (Hot Chicken, $, Tastes like you are in Nashville)
  10. Penne Pomodoro (Italian, $, Great for all meals and can walk from campus)
  11. *Cinco Taco (Mexican, $, Easy lunch in between classes)
  12. Olivellas (Italian, $, Best. Pizza. In. Dallas.)
  13. Flower Child (Healthy, $$, Great food when you feel like you have been eating unhealthy lately)
  14. Velvet Taco (Tex-Mex, $, Arguably the best queso)
  15. Torchys Tacos (Mexican, $, Also arguably the best queso)
  16. Wabi House (Japanese, $$, Go here if you are ever craving ramen)
  17. Bistro 31 (European, $$$, Best service in Dallas & in Highland Park Village)
  18. Public School 214 (Gastropub, $$, My parents say they have great drinks for those parents that visit)
  19. rise (French, $$, Souffles are to die for)
  20. Jose (Mexican, $$, Brunch is great and aesthetic inside)

*(on campus in Hughes-Trigg)


Thank y’all for reading & I hope when you visit Dallas for however long you visit at least one of these amazing Dallas restaurants!

Thank you,

Camille Enes ‘23

Ambassadors Athletics Campus Life General Spirit and Traditions

Boulevarding Essentials

Hello, party people! My name is Palmer Beldy, and I am a senior studying Creative Advertising and Public Relations. But, more importantly, I am a member of the only grade to have experienced a normal Boulevard. EVER.

“What is a Boulevard?” you might ask. Well, I am happy to tell you that it is one of the best game day traditions on any college campus if I do say so myself. It is such a great time to connect with the entire Mustang community and it reminds you of what and who makes SMU so special. Plus, you get to have the best time with friends, faculty, alumni, and the administration. It’s a Pony Party up in here for every home football game!

Seeing as the Class of 2022 is the only grade to have ever gone to a “real boulevard” before, younger and potential mustangs probably have some questions about how to successfully navigate the whole day like a pro. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help you rock it on our first home game day this weekend.


  1. Set the Smood
  • Everyone needs a good playlist to set the mood for the day. Some ambassadors and I got together to make this SMU-themed playlist, so take a listen to it while you are getting ready to cheer on the Stangs.


Apple Music:

  1. Your Fit (clear bag and sunglasses)
  • What are you wearing out on the SMU-town? The first game day is simple – all white. White dresses, white polos, or button-downs are typically the norm for our “white-out” on the first game day, but wear whatever you are comfortable in – that is what matters! It is so magical to see the sea of white on the Boulevard at the start of the school year! After the first game, any mix of SMU colors (red, white, and blue!) works beautifully. Typically everyone is wearing fun “going out and about” outfits. My go-to is my red cowboy hat :))
  • Also, make sure to have a clear bag or a really small bag for your belongings per Ford Stadium policy. You can find more information about what is allowed into the stadium on their website.


  1. Brunch Spot
  • A hidden tradition within Boulevarding is to get brunch with your friends before you hit the Boulevard. Luckily, Dallas is home to so many good restaurants, so you will have a new place to try for each game. Some of my favs include Sixty Vines or Dolce Riviera! If you want a chill morning, swing by Merit Coffee or Foxtrot to grab a coffee and a quick bite!


  1. Everything’s Bigger on the Boulevard
  • The Boulevard is essentially a big block party. White tents home to students, alumni, faculty groups, and vendors will sprawl down the Boulevard as far as the eye can see. So make sure to explore and say hi to your Mustang fam! I recommend doing a full lap around the Boulevard every game day. You never know who you might see!


  1. Dancing in the Street
  • Catch the SMU Band, Cheer, Pom, and Peruna make their way around the Boulevard before the game! It is so much fun to get to see your friends and fellow Mustangs doing their thang! Get as close to the Boulevard as possible for the best view.


  1. Download your student ticket BEFORE the game
  • This is a new one, even for us seniors. Download the SMU Athletics app and download your student ticket, or your QR Code, BEFORE game day! That way, you can stroll right on in and see your stangs play without any hangups. You can find more information on the Athletics page.


  1. Pony Pride! Have Fun!
  • The Boulevard is truly one of my favorite memories at SMU. It is so much fun, and you get to see so many wonderful people and leaders all in one place, so enjoy it and show off your Pony Pride!


I cannot wait for every Mustang to experience the Boulevard. Hopefully, this gave some potential Mustangs a preview of all that awaits you at SMU :)) Have the best time this semester, and pony up!


Palmer Beldy

SMU Class of 2022

Academics Ambassadors General

Advice for High School Seniors from an Student Ambassador

My name is Austin Foster, and I am a sophomore majoring in Finance with a concentration in Alternative Asset Management, Political Science, and Public Policy. I am originally from Arlington, Texas—about a 30-minute drive from campus. I am writing today to share two pieces of advice as you work on deciding what the next four years of your life will look like and where those years will transpire.

Going through the college search process can be very stressful. Not only are you choosing what you believe to be your future career path (don’t worry—you’ll change your mind at least two or three times before making a final decision), but you’re also choosing where you will live for the next four years. While the former is certainly important in the decision-making process, the latter is, in my opinion, a much bigger deal.

Personally, I entered the college search process knowing two things—That I wanted to study business and that I wanted to go to school outside of Texas. As such, I applied to school all across the United States—East Coast, West Coast, and everything in between. At SMU, I got one of these two things, but wouldn’t trade the other for the world. While academics are important to consider when selecting a university, choosing the place that feels like home is far more important than any ranking, program, or course offering.

For me, SMU was the perfect choice because it hit so many of my wishes and needs as a student. We have small classes (An average of 22 students), which makes me a name rather than a number for my professors. We have a student body that is just the right size—enough students that there is always someone new to meet, but you’ll also always see a friend whether you’re walking down the boulevard, studying in Fondren library, or headed into Dedman Rec.

My second piece of advice is very simple. Nobody Cares.

This is something that I was told before I came to SMU and I wish it was something I had truly taken to heart at the time. Looking back, I realize how true it is. The beautiful thing about college is that nobody cares where you grew up, who your parents are, what you’re wearing, or what classes you decide to take. All that truly matters is that you are HERE and that you do the things that make you, YOU. By being brave enough to be yourself rather than trying to fit a mold of what you think everyone else wants to see, you will find your lifelong friends and enjoy your college experience.


Pony Up!


Austin Foster, SMU ‘23

Ambassadors General

Taking Care of Yourself at SMU

Hi all! My name is Anna Musich and I am a sophomore studying Marketing and Spanish with minors in Music, Economics and Advertising here at SMU. Yes, that may be a long list however I find a reality of college life is simply being busy. Another reality, that I did not realize until the middle of freshman year, is also knowing how to take care of yourself. Amongst the busy life of a college student, it can be hard to discern priorities and more often than not, self-care can be placed on the back burner. As one of the many busy students on campus, working jobs and being very involved on campus, I am frequently guilty of ignoring my needs. Coming back to campus this semester after a long-needed break, and amongst the midst of a pandemic, I realize how necessary for success self-care is for a successful college experience.

Hydrate or Diedrate!
My Class Schedule!

Now, don’t get me wrong I love face masks, sweet treats, and chill nights as much as the next person however, staying healthy and happy more involves creating a routine in which you can thrive. My schedule is hectic; however, I have found setting aside time for meals and snacks throughout the day helps me slow down and is also an opportunity to catch up with friends. When scheduling my classes I do my best to make sure I have time to eat.

This past Wednesday I went with my friends to the new Panera! The time I allotted myself to slow down and enjoy a meal with friends allows me to recharge. Their pick 2 menu is my favorite and I usually pair mac and cheese with a sandwich 🙂

Unfortunately, a designated lunch time did not work out with my schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays as I am online from 9:30-2pm. However, within the 10-minute breaks I make sure to have a granola bar, go-go squeez, popcorn, and/or dried apricots on hand so I can snack and keep my energy up! Pro tip: Always have a water bottle on hand, as you need to remember to drink water!

On campus, we have a ton of religious organizations and I love all the different services they provide! Personally, I am Catholic and this week they happened to offer Spanish services. I normally go every Sunday and is a set to slow down within a larger community. This has been critical with keeping my stress levels manageable.

Finally, I finished out the week spending time with friends and playing Cards Against Humanity, hanging up a new picture for the dorm room, and giving our selves fake tanner “tattoos” while eating Oreos. While these are not extravagant events, the small things are what make college memorable.

At the end of the day, I have a set night routine before bed. After all the work is done for the day, I like to dance around my room before bed, or play frisbee in the quad, or just watch Netflix. I often go to bed late (and right now it is quite late as I’m writing) but my routine always stays the same, washing my face, lotion and my pink fluffy headband. Again, finding these small parts of my daily routine in which I can incorporate time where I take care of my physical and mental health is what allows me to have more fun and success on campus.

All this to say, it’s not that I don’t get stressed (or I don’t get dehydrated;), and in no means am I perfect at all this. I probably will refer to this article for reference and taking my own advice.


I hope this is helpful and you can find inspiration to start taking care of yourself in the best way possible!

Learn more about Health Promotion and Wellness at SMU, here!

Ambassadors Campus Life General Life Around Dallas Uncategorized

What I Miss Most About SMU

Hey guys, I’m Zac from San Diego,CA majoring in Finance and Corporate Communication & Public Affairs.

College students across the country are struggling with the reality that their time on campus has been cut short. I know for me; it has been hard to walk away from the friendships that I have made here, especially with the seniors who won’t be returning to campus the next time I do. SMU has been my home for the past three years, and I have grown to love the culture that encompasses our beautiful campus in Dallas, Texas. Other than being away from the amazing friends I have made at school, there are a few other things that come to mind when thinking about what I miss most about SMU…

The Katy Trail

A beautiful 3.5-mile trail that begins at the edge of campus and stretches all the way downtown to the American Airlines Stadium. A few miles down the trail you can find the Katy Trail Ice house, which is a classic destination for good food and drinks.


Dallas Hall Lawn 

Dallas Hall Lawn is the ideal place to sit and enjoy a sunny Dallas day with your friends. There are dogs running about, people playing spikeball and hammocks in between trees. It’s a special place that is also home to many of our long-standing traditions like Boulevarding, Peruna Palooza (our mascot, Peruna’s, Birthday party) and Celebration of Lights.

Fondren Library 

Or what most students refer to as “Club Fondy,” is the first floor of Fondren Library. It is the ideal place to grab a quick snack, work on a group project, chat with friends or even meet with a mentor for a cup of coffee.


Armstrong Commons  

I am fortunate that Armstrong has been my home on campus for the past 2 ½ years. Some of my best friends and memories came from living in Armstrong. I now serve as a Resident Assistant and greatly miss the residents I used to interact with each and every day.

Dallas Food 

The restaurants in Dallas are like none other. A few of my favorite spots include Velvet Taco, Mi Cocina, Sixty Vines and GapCo. However, my favorite place when I am craving really good food, is the Honor Bar. You have to order the Ding’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich.

I am already counting down the days until I step foot back on campus for one last time, as me and my friends start our senior years together.

Pony up!

Zac Scornavacco

Class of 2021


Campus Life General

The Beauty of Fall Break

I have always been a huge fan of the underdog: Rocky, Rudy, the 1980 US Men’s Olympic hockey team, etc. An underdog’s story tends to strike deep in the hearts of the masses. Despite all odds, the underdog overcomes and basks in his or her unexpected glory.  Where am I going with this? Good question.

At SMU we have a Fall Break, which, in most students’ minds, will forever live in the shadows of Spring Break. For two days, a Monday and Tuesday in October, you get to take a break from school and your responsibilities.

For some, this means going home to visit friends or family. For others, this may mean extra sleep in the Residential Commons or even going down to Austin City Limits for a few days of live music. For my friends and me, this meant spontaneously driving 18 hours through the night to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. Five students with five days to explore pile in a car to travel cross country on Thursday night (because no class on Friday in the Cox School of Business, which is the best thing ever).  

To prep for our trip, we went to SMU’s Outdoor Adventure office in the Dedman Rec Center and rented all the gear we needed for next to nothing (I’m fairly sure it was a dollar a day for a sleeping bag).  From almost falling into the Grand Canyon, watching a friend try to eat a 72oz steak in an hour, sleeping in the car, and seeing the beauty of the world around us, this trip was one of the best trips of my life, and it was all because of SMU’s Fall Break.  

While you don’t have to drive 18 hours away from Dallas, these two days coupled with a weekend open up the opportunity for you to get out of the ordinary with friends. This is why Fall Break will always have a special place in my heart.

Cameron Farr

General Life Around Dallas

Texas State Fair

SMU’s location in Dallas, Texas has many perks.  There is always new food, music and entertainment to enjoy in the big city.  One of the most famous events is the world-famous Texas State Fair.  At the end of September each year, the fairgrounds come alive as vendors flock towards Dallas to show and sell everything from fried Oreos to fried jello. One of my favorite parts about going to the Texas State Fair each year is listening to the live music.  Surprisingly, there’s more than just country music to enjoy! I’ve seen everything from pop singers to Irish rock bands perform.  There are endless rides, games and performances to enjoy. One of the busiest days at the fairgrounds is when more than 100,000 people travel to the State Fair for the AT&T Red River Showdown game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners.  These rivals have met at the fairgrounds each year since 1929!  

As an SMU student, it’s impossible to miss the Texas State Fair.  Some classes will have projects that involve the fair and many student groups attend together throughout the season.  One of the easiest ways to get to the Texas State Fair is through the Dallas Area Rapid Transit transportation network.  As a benefit of enrollment at SMU, students may obtain an Annual DART Local Pass for a one-time fee of $5.00.  This is one of my favorite perks as an SMU student.  The DART goes to areas downtown, the American Airlines Center, the DFW airport and many more places.  Most importantly, it goes directly to the Texas State Fair!

Caroline Gurley

Campus Life General Residence Life and Student Housing

My Favorite Dining Hall Hacks

I have been on an SMU meal plan for the past three years and I can genuinely say there are some undeniable perks involved with eating on campus. First and foremost, there is absolutely no required cooking. SMU offers all the home cooked meals a student could want in both dining hall locations, Umphrey Lee and Arnold. Their convenient locations allow students to easily walk in and grab food to go or sit down and enjoy a meal with friends. The best part of eating in the dining halls is that you will never have to wash a single dish.

I love to eat, and over the years I have spent countless hours in the dining halls, picking up some skills and tricks that help me to make the most of SMU’s dining hall offerings, so here’s a list of my top three favorite Umph/Arnold hacks.

VEGGIE WRAP I love a good veggie wrap, and with a little initiative, you upgrade the typical sandwich station offerings to make your perfect veggie combo. Just take a bowl and grab whatever vegetables you enjoy from the salad bar. If you make your way over to the sandwich station and ask very nicely, SMU Dining staff will take the bowl of vegetables and wrap them up for you, adding whatever sandwich condiments you’d like. Bonus tip: add hummus.

SWEET POTATO BOWL Sweet potatoes are my favorite food and you can find them in the grill section at any time of the day. Grab a sweet potato and cut it open then head over to the salad and fruit stations. I like to put a little Greek yogurt and peanut butter into my sweet potatoes. Bonus tip: add granola, bananas, and cinnamon for a sweet and savory combo.

BROWNIE SUNDAE Take a brownie from the dessert section (stressed spelled backward is dessert) and pop it in the microwave. Heat it up for 45 secs. then take it straight to the frozen yogurt machine. Take as much frozen yogurt as you please and then enjoy! Bonus tip: sprinkles.

Susie Kim

Campus Life General

Tips For College as I Graduate

austin-whittle-3Now that fall break just ended and my friends are getting emails about spring enrollment, the reality of my early graduation is sinking in. Two months from now my chapter at SMU will end and a new one will begin. Looking back on my time, I’ve come up with some tips for those about to embark on their own collegiate journeys.

Be shamelessly yourself.
Coming into college, I was not true to myself. I wore what I thought others expected me to wear, studied subjects people told me would lead to high-paying jobs and created an identity for myself that was anything but me. I’m not entirely sure at what point it clicked, but I no longer feared being different with the amazing friends I made at SMU. I changed my majors, and the university resoundingly supported me in further discovering my sense of self.

Surround yourself with people who challenge you.
Going to school with people from all different backgrounds is one of the most humbling experiences. Be vulnerable to the diverse ideas people will pose in the classroom, and it will benefit you the truest form of education. SMU is full of some of the most ambitious people I have encountered to date, and they have helped reshape my perceptions of what is possible.

austin-whittle-2Ask questions.
I realized the times that yielded the most valuable learning experiences thus far were times that I dared to ask questions. Many come into college with the fear of raising hands, but now is the most important time to question “why?”

Study abroad.
One of the most formative experiences I’ve had in the past three and a half years was studying abroad. Immersing myself in a new culture taught me as much about my own culture as it did about the new. It also led to my dream of working in London after graduation.

Eat as many tacos as you can.
This one speaks for itself. The majority of my remaining time will be well-spent in line at Velvet Taco.

Keep these in mind and the opportunities at SMU will be endless!

-Austin Whittle

Campus Life General

Training for a Dallas Marathon – Staying Active at SMU

courteney-damoreI’ve always prioritized living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Whether its playing lacrosse in the Spring or training at the gym in the off-season, I love to sweat it out and keep my body active. This summer however, I decided to switch my routine up and begin training for the BMW Dallas Marathon.

In July, I mapped out my 5-month plan to success. I started off slow. My plan was to run 3 miles every other day for 2 weeks, then merge onto my official training program with three, 4 mile sessions throughout the week and one long run on Saturdays. My first week of training happened to be my sorority’s 5K run, which was a great way to push myself with friends and start off my program to a great start. To put additional motivation on myself, I also joined the Dallas chapter of Team-in-Training. Team-in-Training is an organization that raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. They manage all race registration through their website, and even provide a team of regional coaches to run with and keep you on track to success. By December 11, race date, I have set a goal to raise $1,200.

What is also great about my training is I’ve had the opportunity to take advantage of all the trails and neighborhoods in Dallas. My favorite trail to run is the Katy Trail which begins right of campus and leads all the way downtown. On the weekends, I usually opt for a more scenic route and run the trails along the Trinity River and White Rock Lake. Growing up near the ocean, I find the lakes and rivers around Dallas the perfect substitute! Even though Dallas has a myriad of running options, the great thing about training on campus is when I have limited time, I can head over to the SMU gym. Open 6am to midnight each night, no matter my workout schedule, Dedman Rec Center will be open to accommodate my training requirements.

Today, I am in week 8 of training feel better than ever! I begin my days with the routine morning miles, then head off to class feeling awake and energized. I am stronger, more alert, and overall happier than I ever have been, even with my previous workout routine. I’ve grown to love running and am excited to finally achieve my both my personal fitness and fundraising goals this upcoming December.

-Courteney Damore

General Spirit and Traditions

SMU Family Weekend 2016

10-16-evan-giacomini-1 This past weekend, SMU had their yearly Family Weekend, which included a game against our cross-town rival, TCU. My parents flew in from California around 2:00 pm on Friday, and I got a chance to meet up with them shortly afterwards. After exchanging hugs and hellos, I got my parents settled in at their hotel and we made it out to the Boulevard. Boulevard’s are SMU’s version of tailgating; our entire boulevard is covered in white tents where people serve food to stopperbys. As a senior, most of my friends know my parents well, and got a chance to say hello to them. At tents, we ate of tacos, listened to loud country and rock music, and had fun. Even my fourteen year old sister was having a great time, even though she hardly knew a single person there. There are two first years at SMU that are from my hometown and it was really nice for us all to meet up on the boulevard and have our parents visit with one another. The Los Alamitos crew (where I am from) then left for Ford Stadium to cheer on the Mustangs. After the game, we left the stadium to go grab a bite at Torchy’s tacos down the street (hands down my favorite place to eat around campus).

The next day, my family and cousin from Fort Worth met up at my fraternity house for a paired open house event. Our chapter just got the opportunity to move into a new house on campus, so I was excited to show them the upgrade we’d received. One of our alumni owns a BBQ restaurant here in the DFW area and he was kind enough to cater the event for us, and the meal was fantastic. Shortly afterwards, the six of us headed to the Dallas Arboretum, a place that I had heard was really cool, but hadn’t explored during my first three years as a student.

The Dallas Arboretum continuously changes their scenery based upon seasons or holidays, and they just added a pumpkin patch for fall. The gardens host over 90,000 pumpkins and gourds, in every size, shape, and color you could imagine. I was amazed and interested in all the different kinds of pumpkins that exist; I even spent a solid half hour trying to memorize the different names of all the unique or abnormal types. The gardens were beautiful, and we spent at least two hours exploring all the different trails, probably walking close to three or four miles. My favorite view included an overlook into Whiterock Lake, with downtown Dallas sitting on the horizon.10-16-evan-giacomini-2

After exhausting my sister and seeing a good majority of the grounds, my parents headed back to the hotel to change and quickly shower so we could head to dinner shortly afterwards. My dad always tries to take me out to dinner at least once when he comes to town and this time, we went to a restaurant I’d never heard of, but certainly plan to go back to. We ate at a place called the Dallas Fish Market, which is a small, nice seafood restaurant right in the heart of downtown Dallas. The place was unbelievably good, and I was so confused why I’d never heard of it before.

Afterwards, we had a fraternity catered reception at a place off campus. My mom finally met my best friend’s mom, even though I’ve known him since I was a first year student and had spent four or five weekends at his house in Austin. Not surprisingly, my mom and his became best friends in a single night talking together. The reception ran from around 8:00-11:00 pm and then we headed home for th10-16-evan-giacomini-3e night.

The next morning, my dad dropped off my sister and mom at DFW and met me at the Rustic, a live concert venue in Uptown. We decided to go because I had several friends that were going to perform live there that day. We got a chance to see SMU’s Belle Tones, our female a cappella group, and Southern Gentlemen, the male a cappella group. After they put on two amazing performances, we got to see two of my best friends Nikki and Chance perform together at their first gig since forming a band. All three performances were absolutely fantastic, and were made even better because I knew someone on stage during all three. Lastly, Blue Apollo, another SMU band played and the concert was over. My dad had to head out, so I decided to go to the Greek Food Festival at the Greek Orthodox church slightly north of campus with some of the people in Belle Tones, and other friends that had also attended their performance. I got to have probably the best gyro I’ve ever eaten and saw some traditional Greek dancing.

All in all, this was one of the more jam-packed weekends I’ve had at SMU and truly shows what living in a city like Dallas can offer a person on a single weekend. I loved seeing my parents and watching them connect with my friends and their parents. It certainly was the best family weekend I’ve had here at school!

– Evan Giacomini


A Growing University

10-16-jack-murphyI like to say that while SMU’s main mascot is the Mustang, our unofficial mascot is the crane. No, not the long necked birds, but tall construction equipment. At your time at SMU, you might see your fair share of cranes, bulldozers, excavators, and the red and blue fences that try to mask the work behind them. Mid semester, you may find that your usual route to class is now under construction, challenging you to get creative and find a new path.
The crane is a symbol of our university. It represents SMU’s constant improvement with multiple projects completed ever year. After my four undergraduate years with SMU, we opened the Mustang Band Hall, expanded our Simmons School of Education with another building facility, adopted the residential commons system, built 5 new residential buildings, built a center to house our new $6.5 million supercomputer, renovated Moody Coliseum to be a state of the art facility for our championship basketball and volleyball teams, upgraded Fondren Library, built a 12-court state-of-the-art tennis complex, a two story dining hall, a brand new health center and the George W. Bush presidential library bringing tons of visitors scholars to campus every year.
As SMU continues to change, so will the students. This school will continue break milestones, set records, top rankings, and amaze you. I challenge you when looking for your future university to look for cranes and fences. Find a university that strives to improve itself because a school that is always growing will see its students grow as well. Use SMU and its resources to construct a better you. I have and I hope you will too!
-Jack Murphy

Campus Life General

A Friend in Every State

Emma Barr (2)“A friend in every state.” Although this is a slight exaggeration, it was a main selling point for me that SMU attracted students from all 50 states. When I stepped on campus my freshman year, the only people I knew were my roommate and the few friends I made at the Bay Area accepted students event. Many of my high school friends were going to school close to each other or even to the same university so I was nervous about making friends. I soon learned that many of my fellow SMU Freshmen were also far from home and didn’t come to college with a ton of high school friends. This evened the playing field and I can honestly say that the friends I’ve made at SMU have made me redefine friendship. Hailing from all over the country, I’ve loved learning about the regional differences in food preference, sports team heroes, slang and lifestyle. These are the people that bring me medicine when I’m sick, whom I study with until the early morning and explore Dallas with. I love getting to see where my best friends call home and the geographic diversity of the campus.Emma Barr (3)

I’ve had so many experiences with my friends here from all around the country. My roommate is from Plano and it’s nice to be able to occasionally drive twenty minutes from campus to go to her house to make cookies. This past summer, I went to Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco with my friend, Alex. She flew from Dallas and I was able to show her my high school and favorite restaurants at home. One of my best friends is from Oklahoma City and in September, three of my friends stayed at her house and visited the state of Oklahoma for the first time. This past spring break, I stayed at a friend’s house in Park City, Utah. We spent the weekend skiing and trying her favorite restaurants where we coincidentally ran into more SMU students. I’m already planning to visit one of my friends in Charleston this summer. Whether we live near or far, my friends and I have had so much fun visiting each other over breaks and during the summer. As cliché as it sounds, I love knowing I have a fellow Mustang to visit in every state.

-Emma Barr