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 Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

Class of 2025 Stampede Recap

The incoming class of SMU was welcomed to the Hilltop through the Stampede experience. The three scopes of the programming are the Residential Commons, SMU, and Dallas. Stampede guides, such as myself, were trained to interact with and lead a crew of twenty to thirty first-year students throughout the weekend.

This blog post will recap this experience in chronological order with the hope of providing readers with a greater sense of the weekend.


Thursday August 19th:

Kickoff: To begin the weekend, all attendees were in Moody Coliseum for the SMU version of a pep rally. President R. Gerald Turner and the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Mmeje spoke at this event. They both highlighted their belief in this class to stay safe as we all completely return to campus life. Kickoff concluded with an overview of the next few days and the Stampede guides led their crews to their first meetings in which everyone was introduced.

Home Sweet SMU: Each commons planned a social event for the students to meet more people in their commons and the other commons in the same quad.


Friday August 20th:

Stang Safety: This presentation addressed topics related to students’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Class Photo: Everyone walked out onto Dallas Hall Lawn and stood inside the markings so that the number 2025 would be created by the sea of people.

Academic Sessions: Students were able to visit one or two of the academic college information sessions to learn more about the school from professors and other relevant people. This was also a great time to walk around the campus and learn where the classes are.

Serve Your City: After dinner, everyone returned to McFarlin Auditorium to listen about the importance of community service and how being a student at SMU is tied to the responsibility of giving back to the Dallas area. We also learned about the Engage Dallas program that has specific associations with each of the eleven residential commons.

Stampede Sundown: The field of Ford Stadium became a western-themed party to celebrate the halfway point of Stampede. The event had food, games, a petting zoo, and was a great time to spend with new friends.


Saturday August 21st:

Discover Dallas: Each residential commons group was assigned to a different location in Dallas to explore, such as Cowboys Red River, Reunion Tower, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and the Dallas Arboretum.

RC Brunch: The Residential Community Director, Faculty-in-Residence, and Resident Assistants gave presentations about themselves, the commons, and its traditions.

Every Mustang Will Be Valued: This event showcased the worries, wants, stories, and communities that exist within the incoming class. In a silent McFarlin Auditorium, the flashlights would shine when students related to a certain sentence.

Candlelight: At this ceremony, students are being prepared to officially become a part of the Mustang Family. Third-year guides, such as myself, shared pieces of advice. First-year students from each commons spoke about their Stampede experience.

A Night at the Club: The Indoor Performance Center hosted this enormous club fair. All organizations had the opportunity to represent themselves at this event. The energy was electric as incoming students walked around the different booths while organizations were advertised by current members.

Live! At SMU: In Moody Coliseum, Iliza Schlesinger delivered a hilarious stand-up performance.


Sunday August 22nd:

Religious Life Live: Students were able to listen to the various ways to get involved in religious life on campus by attending this panel in the afternoon.

Commons Photo: Before walking to Dallas Hall Lawn, each commons had the incoming students stand outside their respective building for a photo.

Rotunda Passage and Convocation: Dressed in Boulevard attire, the incoming class walked with their commons into Dallas Hall from the back entrance. They were guided around the seal, out onto the lawn, and on the sidewalk that leads to McFarlin Auditorium. In McFarlin, the class of 2025 was officially welcomed to the university.


Stampede is packed with activities and opportunities to meet new faces. As a guide, it has been an honor to serve the incoming class as a resource for advice about all things SMU. It all starts with a stampede!

Ambassadors Campus Life Meadows School of the Arts Student Organizations Transferring to SMU

Dear Future Transfer Students!

Rain spattered against the concrete and puddles splashed under my feet as I ran across Dallas Hall Lawn. My black umbrella towered above my head to protect the soft brown curls flowing from my hair that I had worked so hard on earlier that morning. My shoes, on the other hand, were a different story. The cold rain from the humid August day had soaked through them. Nevertheless, I was determined get to class so I kept going.


Upon reaching Umphrey Lee, I swung open the doors to the journalism department. Finally, I was out of the rain. I stood in the hallway for a brief second taking it all in. The newsroom with tall glass windows, shiny silver Mac computers, and a row of televisions flashing the latest news sat to my right. In front of me, a long hallway painted in deep SMU reds and blues led to the studio. I took a deep breath and turned left to my classroom.


I had made it. After over a year of detailed planning, recommendation letters, and lots of stress, I was finally starting my first day as a transfer student at Southern Methodist University. As the rain poured down, it washed away parts of my past to make way for the next two years of my college career. Today, I was a Mustang.


I transferred to SMU on August 27, 2019, as a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. While my experience holds a lot of meaning to me, I am not the only one with a story. According to Inside Higher Ed, more than a third of all college students in the country transferred in 2015. Today, at SMU, transfer students make up 20 percent of the student body.


In my experience, transferring is often an avoided topic and is frequently followed by stigma. Not to mention, it’s challenging because it means you must take a massive leap of faith to move to another school with new teachers, students, and opportunities for the sake of a better experience, fresh start, or a greater future. In other words, it’s like starting college again as a freshman, but this time everybody knows where they fit in except for you. Although it is difficult, it’s immensely rewarding—especially at SMU. Luckily, there are ways to make the process easier.


First, I would advise doing as much research as possible. To explain, I chose to transfer because I wanted more opportunities to prepare for a career in broadcast journalism. As a communications student, I started by making a list of the largest media markets in the U.S., including Dallas. Then, I looked at schools in those top markets. Once I had narrowed down the schools I was interested in, I kept the research going. For each school, I compiled a list of information about the journalism schools. It included the awards, clubs, organizations to get involved in, the professors’ career experience, and how successful students were after graduating.


Second, I visited campus to make sure I could see myself there. Over Spring break, I took a tour through the SMU Admissions Office. I asked many questions, awed at Dallas Hall, and even ate on campus at the student center. Sitting on the outdoor patio at Hughes-Triggs with a Chick-Fil-A sandwich in hand, I knew I could visualize myself as an SMU student.


After this, I reached out to a journalism school professor to ask more specific questions and set up a tour of the facilities. Immediately, they set up a phone call with me to talk about my transferring decision. Afterward, they created an itinerary for my trip to SMU. It included a tour of SMU journalism, sitting in on the morning news broadcast, joining a class, advising, and meeting with the department’s head. Not only did I get to see what life would look like here, I felt welcomed.


With that, I knew I wanted to go to SMU. After a semester of goodbyes to my old college friends and a long hot summer, I finally began courses in Dallas. Little did I know, choosing to transfer was only half the battle. Now, I just needed to find my niche.


Once you arrive on campus, my biggest piece of advice is to get involved. At some point, every college student hears that, but this cliché has stood the test of time. For me, it took a lot of experimenting with clubs and organizations. Eventually, I got involved with SMU-TV, the SMU Daily Campus, and the Undergraduate Admissions Ambassadors program. By joining these groups, I found ways to fuel my passion, meet new people, and even meet other transfer students.


Lastly, and I can’t emphasize this enough: the entire transferring process takes time. Not only does it take patience to wait during the application process, but it also takes time to adjust to the new classes and schedules once you arrive on campus. Above all, real and genuine friendships take time to build as well.


As I approach graduation in May, I could not be happier with my decision to transfer to SMU. In just two short years, the university has opened doors for me, challenged me to be a better version of myself, and introduced me to lifelong friends. With that being said, if you’re transferring to SMU, be patient with yourself and know that all of the hard work will pay off.

Ambassadors Campus Life Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

How It Started vs. How It’s Going

Looking back on the fall semester of my senior year, I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a Mustang. Though changes have been thrown at this University left and right, SMU has remained committed to providing the best student experience possible. One of the main ways I have seen that take shape is how the administration has had faith in students to continue hosting safe events and opportunities for the campus community to come together during these unprecedented times.

Over the past three years I had the privilege of serving in a wonderful student organization called Student Foundation. SF brings all of SMU’s traditional events to life on campus such as Family Weekend, Peruna Palooza, Homecoming, and Celebration of Lights. As I’m sure you can imagine, when the pandemic hit we were devastated about what the restrictions and everchanging circumstances would mean for our events. It wasn’t long until I and other leaders in SF had an epiphany. We realized that tradition is not about doing the same thing year after year, but rather is meant to unite the SMU community and help us grow stronger as a Mustang family. And the truth is, there are so many ways to do that! This set the tone for our year and was a driving force behind each event we put on last semester. Though SF’s events in 2020 did not look exactly like they have in the past, I want to share how a special tradition on campus started, but more importantly, how it continued to thrive even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Family Weekend is a campus tradition that is near and dear to my heart. This event dates back to 1973 and has featured events such as Boulevard barbeques, Mothers’ Club Luncheons, student talent shows, cultural events, exquisite receptions, and movie nights on Dallas Hall Lawn just to name a few! These events usually include an address from President Turner, delicious food, and incredible conversations among all types of SMU families and community members. There is something so special in the air throughout this weekend as students welcome their family and friends to their “home away from home”. It is at this point that families get a true sense of why their student loves SMU so much.

In a year when traveling was restricted, indoor receptions were unsafe, and large gatherings were prohibited, SF had to think outside the box. We were committed to delivering SMU families a quality Family Weekend experience, whether they were in Dallas or someplace else around the world. To kick off the weekend, we distributed “Game Day Goodie Bags” to students and families at the flagpole on Dallas Hall Lawn. Since SMU football game tickets were limited, this bag was full of merchandise families could use to show their SMU spirit throughout the weekend. It was a great way to boost morale and to share what other exciting events were happening throughout the weekend.

Our next program was a series of virtual information sessions put on by the different academic and student affairs departments titled “An Inside Look at SMU”. Families were invited to learn more about Greek life at SMU, study aboard programs, and so much more. And the best part is that they could join these sessions from anywhere!

One of my favorite events of the weekend was the “Reverse Care Package Packing Party”. Since many families were unable to travel to campus this year for Family Weekend, SF provided supplies and merchandise for students to send their families a care package from SMU. In classic assembly line fashion, students moved down the line, customizing their care package to include exciting items such as stationary, coasters, M&Ms, and even a custom postcard that included a picture of their student! Once the care package was just as the student wanted it, a member of SF taped it up, addressed it, and put it in the mail cart to be shipped! I loved the inclusive nature of this event, as every student felt as if they could take part in Family Weekend, even if their parents were unable to travel to campus.

After an exciting afternoon, it was time for “Night on the Lawn”. This outdoor concert consisted of live country music, an address from President Turner, Instagram worthy photo opportunities, and precious picnic blankets that families could take home as a souvenir. Additionally, there was a livestream of the event so that families could join in on the fun even if they were not on campus. This night was truly a dream come true! To see families safely gather on Dallas Hall Lawn to celebrate how special it is to be an SMU Mustang was truly incredible.

All in all, Family Weekend 2020 is one example of how tradition remains strong at SMU because of the commitment and perseverance of its students, faculty, staff, parents, and community members. There is a new found appreciation for being able to come together, whether that is in person or virtually, and I have no doubt that the events and ideas that were implemented this year will continue to positively shape the inclusivity of Family Weekends to come. The importance of our Mustang family has never been more clear, and it was such a privilege to get to share that with so many families throughout Family Weekend 2020!


Sophie Pasternak

Class of 2021

Ambassadors Athletics Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

The Hub of SMU Spirit

Hey guys! My name is Nathaniel Ntuk and I’m a rising junior double majoring in Saxophone Performance and Political Science! I’m from Plano, Texas, and have lived in the North Texas area all my life.

One thing that had arguably the biggest impact on my life thus far has been marching band. In high school, it was a place for me to hang out with friends throughout the week and on weekends while engaging in an activity that I love. Moving into a college marching band, there were some changes. Gone were the days where marching band competitions would last all Saturday, long and stressful rehearsals, and spending over 5 hours a day rehearsing for the inevitable competition season in October. 

Moving to the SMU Mustang Band was a little daunting, to say the least. I had little knowledge of anyone in the band or anything relating to the band. Little did I know that the Mustang Band would be the foundation of my experience here at SMU. 96 random college students turned into my second family that I constantly look forward to seeing. With our band having a total membership of fewer than 100 people, it makes it much easier to get to know everyone in some way. A vast majority of my friends have some affiliation with the Mustang Band, and chances are, you may meet someone who is a Mustang Band member that may not seem like it.

Although we may be one of the smaller organizations on campus, we no doubt have one of the largest impacts across campus, being referred to as the “Hub of SMU Spirit” for a reason. Imagine going to a home football game and not hearing the band playing for every first down, or performing before the game or during halftime. It just wouldn’t feel right. Whether it’s football, basketball, volleyball, or even soccer, the SMU Mustang Band has some part in cheering on our athletic programs and driving them towards success. Even if you aren’t apart of the Mustang Band. You can definitely see the impact that the “96 Guys and A Doll” have on the spirit of this campus.

I look forward to seeing what happens this fall semester! Stay safe and Pony Up!

Nathaniel Ntuk

Class of 2022

Ambassadors Campus Life Student Organizations

Get Involved at SMU!

Hey y’all!

My name is Christian Hammond, and I’m a junior ambassador here at SMU studying biology and political science with minors in European studies and French. I’m originally from Memphis, Tennessee, so SMU and Dallas were an amazing fit for me: southern hospitality combined with all the opportunities and amenities that an incredible city like Dallas has to offer.

Like so many of y’all in high school, I was extremely involved before I came to SMU; I played soccer for a club and my high school, did choir and theater, was an Eagle Scout, and loved being involved with a few service organizations at my high school. Needless to say, when I arrived at SMU as a first year in the fall of 2017, I was ready to jump straight in to everything SMU had to offer.

A “Night at the Club” my freshman year was the best way possible for my college career to start out. For those of you who don’t know, NATC is basically an organizations fair right before the first week of class where every campus organization sets up a table, pushes free t-shirts and food and candy on you, and gets you to sign up for their organization. I gave out my email and number to probably 30 different people that night, and within the first two weeks of school I was already doing community service with Mustang Heroes, attending a campus ministry, and playing intramural soccer and volleyball.

One of the coolest things about SMU’s student involvement programs is that if there’s something you want to do that, by some impossible stretch of the imagination, isn’t already supported on campus, it’s extremely simple to start your own organization. After serving with and leading in Mustang Heroes for two years, a good friend of mine, Darian Taylor, approached me to help him start the Big Event on SMU’s campus. The Big Event is the nation’s largest day of collegiate community service, and we started it in order to give every single SMU student a straightforward and accessible outlet to volunteer with their community and to be united through service. It was so simple to start: all we needed was an advisor, bylaws that we drew up, and funding, which we got easily through Student Senate, and voila: a new student organization!

I think the most important thing that I’ve learned about being involved on campus is to make sure you’re only doing things that you are personally invested in. It’s so easy, especially your first year, to be sucked into saying “yes” to every club and every position that comes your way, but I learned hard and fast that it’s hard to balance school, a social life, organizations, and sleep at the same time. One of the biggest lessons you’ll learn at SMU is how to say no: SMU students are so talented, so involved, and so well-rounded that after a few years, I’ve learned that my “no” is infinitely more valuable than my “yes.” By now, I’ve narrowed down my involvement to the things that I truly care about and that have made a difference in my life. I love being involved with my Greek chapter and serving on the Interfraternity Council executive board, attending my student ministry the Wesley House, working as an ambassador, and serving on the Big Event team. These opportunities have given me a platform to make a difference in my community, and that’s what student involvement is really all about: finding ways to invest in the communities that have invested in you.

Can’t wait to see how y’all get involved on the Hilltop next year! Pony up!


Christian Hammond

Class of 2021

Ambassadors Athletics Campus Life Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

SMU Homecoming 2019

Last year, I had the privilege of serving as the Homecoming Chair for SMU. Homecoming is a special time for SMU when the entire community of students, faculty, alumni and university neighbors come together to celebrate a time of togetherness and school spirit. My committee and I planned a fun filled week with a pep rally, a philanthropic dance marathon and a parade with over thousands of attendees. We had 31 homecoming candidates that spanned 18 different organizations. I am so proud to say that in 2019, we had the most diverse participation ever with groups such as the Association of Black Students and Theta Tau, the engineering fraternity.

This year I picked the theme to be “Homecoming: A Tradition as Old as Time.” Each organization was given a chance to submit their choices and we had great themes such as the The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Alice in Wonderland. At the start of the week, we started out with our pep rally, Rock the Vote. The entire student body was invited to our football stadium where we asked the candidates questions for everybody to get to know them better and their personality. Our dance and cheer squad also performed to start the week on a fun note.

We had a parade with 9 fully built floats, 4 decorated golf carts and 3 decorated vehicles. Floats were decorated over the course of a week with 10 hours each day available for members of each organization to come decorate. During the parade, each candidate or pair of candidates rode in the parade with their organization walking behind and cheering. They passed out stickers, cups, and fun other items to the people watching the parade.

We then finished the day with an amazing 59-51 win against East Carolina University. I loved being able to put my own spin on Homecoming and get to work with my committee to plan such a special day.  I learned lots of amazing lessons and am so grateful for the experience.

Pony Up!

Abby Johnson

Class of 2021

Ambassadors Campus Life Life Around Dallas Student Organizations

SMU, Service, and (Connor) Saeli

Hey everyone! My name is Palmer, and I am a sophomore studying Public Relations and Advertising. I am originally from California, but I live in Lexington, Kentucky, now. Dallas is the perfect blend of the big city culture of Los Angeles and the southern hospitality of the Bluegrass state.

Some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life have been at SMU. There is always something to do, and always someone to do it with. Whether you are Boulevarding on a Saturday or studying in a coffee shop in Deep Ellum, it is easy to become busy and let the time fly by. But, if you have some extra time, one of my favorite ways to meet other SMU students and learn about the Dallas community is through service and philanthropy! It might not be as glamorous as beating TCU (Go Stangs!), but if you like to volunteer or need some service hours for a scholarship, here are a few of the service experiences that have shown me what it means to be a Mustang.

Mustang Heroes 

Mustang Heroes is the biggest service organization on campus. Mustang Heroes works with over ten nonprofits in the Dallas area, and so there are plenty of options for students to choose from, whether it is tutoring little kids or walking dogs at the animal shelter.

The Big Event 

The Big Event is the largest, one-day, student-run service project in the nation. The Big Event was established at Texas A&M University in 1982 and continues to impact communities 36 years later. Each Spring, tens of thousands of students nationwide gather to serve their communities. It is so much fun to get to see so many friends, faculty, and staff members on one day and get to hang out and have fun while we help the community!

Dance Marathon

Dance Marathon is a year-long fundraising initiative that raises money for Children’s Health in Dallas. At the end of the year-long effort, we have a big dance party for 6 hours to celebrate all of SMU’s work in supporting the kids and families at Children’s. There are games, family speakers, music, performers, and more! For Dance Marathon 2019, we had Connor Saeli, an SMU grad and contestant on The Bachelorette, come and help us out! I am on the exec board for Dance Marathon, and so I got to work with the hospital families that visited and introduced them to Connor. I have never seen The Bachelorette or The Bachelor (sorry Bachelor nation!), but it definitely shows “once a Mustang, always a Mustang.”

There are so many more ways to get involved on campus, but these are a few of my favs! If you have any questions about these organizations or involvement on campus, please reach out at

Pony up!

Palmer Beldy

SMU Class of 2022


Campus Life Student Organizations

Asosiación de Empresarios Mexicanos

The past couple of years have been exciting for Latino students at SMU. This is because SMU recently inaugurated its chapter of AEM (Asosiación de Empresarios Mexicanos), an organization that aims to connect Latino students interested in business with each other, as well as with entrepreneurs from across the world. Even though this is a Mexican organization, it is open to all Latino and American students. The AEM’s executive board is composed of many of my best friends and some of the most intelligent and entrepreneurial minded students on campus. Because of this, the organization promises a huge success. For example, some of the exciting events that the AEM has hosted so far have been networking mixers at Quill (an up and coming hip lounge in the Dallas Design District), an SMU-TCU pool party at SISU, a speaker series featuring important leaders like Felipe Calderón (former president of México) and Latino tents during the Boulevards. Having Latino tents has been a great way for the Latino community to get to know one another. It is also a fun place where students that are not affiliated with a Greek organization can enjoy the Boulevard, one of SMU’s favorite traditions. In addition, the AEM has started a philanthropy program called Young Leaders of Tomorrow, a mentoring program in which the members of AEM will be paired up with low-income Latino high school students with similar interests. In my experience, being a member of the AEM has been a rewarding opportunity, since it has allowed me to have incredible moments with my best friends while I prepare for the business world of tomorrow.

Sofia Castells

Campus Life Meadows School of the Arts Student Organizations

Culture on Campus

SMU has some of the most entertaining cultural and artistic experiences on a college campus through our Meadows School of the Arts. Over the course of the semester, you could easily catch performances in dance, vocal performance, studio art and orchestra. A while ago, I had the opportunity to see the Cézanne String Quartet’s final recital as SMU’s Peak Fellowship Ensemble in Residence. The fellowship is Meadow’s way of bringing extraordinary artists, some from around the world, to campus. The group consists of two violins, one viola and one cello. They are currently working on recording their first album. The fall recital will be on the first album and focuses on tragedy in the human experience.

Overall, it was an incredible experience. Many people will never get the chance to see the caliber of performers that are in the Cézanne Quartet, much less for free, but at SMU, experiences like this are the norm. One of my favorite things about our University being located in Dallas is that these artistic and cultural opportunities are not limited to campus. Almost any day of the year, it’s simple to find an event in fine arts. Whether you are interested in venturing into the city or filling a few hours between classes, Dallas and Meadows ensure that there are no shortages of opportunities to learn and grow in areas that may be culturally different. As a student studying accounting and biology, two subjects that do not make much room for creative leaning, I find myself being refreshed and inspired by programs and performances that break up the monotony of my own academic agenda. Make sure to check out Meadows’ performance schedule if you are visiting us on the Hilltop – you won’t regret it!

Holt Garner

Athletics Campus Life Student Organizations

Rising in Ranks from Varsity to Club Sports

Four year varsity football. Four year varsity track and field. First Team All-State athlete. And after all that in high school, NOT a collegiate varsity athlete. Why?

Near the end of high school, I was seriously considering the possibility of playing varsity football at my future college. Every time I weighed the pros and cons, no matter how I spun it, I realized that there were not enough benefits to outweigh the drawbacks. As a mechanical engineering and mathematics double major, I am very studious and prioritize my academics above all else. Coming from an intensive and structured high school experience in my hometown of Las Vegas, NV, I saw college as the time for me to experience freedom in a variety of aspects. The time commitment of varsity sport practices every day, multiple times a day, was something that I couldn’t justify to myself since it would dictate my entire schedule. While I arrived at SMU with no intentions of joining varsity sports there was still a missing piece. Health and fitness are integral to my identity so I always knew that I wanted to continue that in one way, shape or form. However, simply going to the gym did not fill the void of being a part of a team.

Each year, SMU holds a club fair the Saturday before classes start where new students can learn about the various organizations on campus. My freshman year at the club fair, a few guys yanked me aside and asked, “Did you play football in high school? Because you’re playing Rugby now.” Unsure of whether to commit or not, I signed up for the first practice. By the end of the first week of practice, I was hooked to this novel sport. On and off the field, I have made some of my best friends through Rugby.

As a Club Sport that only practices 3 times a week, Rugby allows me the flexibility to attend practices at my own decision while still being able to compete against other schools and represent SMU like a varsity sport does. This is something true about all club sports here at SMU!

If you’re someone who was a student athlete in high school, can’t see yourself doing the same in college, but want to continue with your athletic endeavors, I highly suggest club sports as an alternative. They strike a perfect balance between a hard-working team that competes for SMU and a relaxed club that fosters lifelong friendships.

Nathan DeVera

Life Around Dallas Student Organizations

Serving the Dallas Community

10-16-carlyle-riedSMU has over 180 different student organizations to get involved in, which became perfectly clear when I attended SMU’s student involvement fair, “Night at the Club” my freshman year. During that fateful night, I signed my name on probably 20 different organizations that I was interested in. However, although I would like to, I don’t have infinite time, so I took my four years to get involved in a few organizations. One of my favorite experiences at SMU is getting involved in various service organizations. Although I’ve been able to get involved in service through the classroom and in other organizations, I’ve also been involved in exclusively service organizations. Particularly, I am a member of SMU’s largest service organization, Mustang Heroes, which hosts over 20 different weekly, bi-weekly and monthly trips around the Dallas community and have gotten very involved in my sorority’s philanthropy.

This year, I have the pleasure to be the Extended Service Committee Chair for Mustang Heroes. My co-chair, Brandon, and I plan monthly Saturday trips to different organizations around the Dallas area. Although this is only once per month, we have over 40 different members, which means that we get to see how awesome the Mustangs are at giving back. This semester, we are going on trips to serve at The Special Olympics, CitySquare, a Dallas food pantry, and Mosaic Family Services, an organization that helps to serve immigrants, refugees, at-risk youths, and those at risk of HIV or AIDS. In addition, the Executive Board goes on monthly trips to bond with one another, and our organization holds monthly awareness meetings. Awareness meetings host a speaker from a nonprofit organization around the Dallas area to come help students learn how they can help change an important social or health issue.

I am also Fundraising Director for my sorority’s philanthropy. Our philanthropy is Service for Sight, which benefits the blind and visually impaired. This year, I had the pleasure to lead a group of my sorority sisters to get donations for our various philanthropy events and helped lead a letter campaign. Although this has been a rewarding experience, the best part of my entire sorority experience isn’t just fundraising; it’s actually volunteering. Every month, I’ve been attending Friday night Bingo, where we bond with the blind and visually impaired in the Dallas area and play some Bingo. Additionally, I’ve been able to help out with schooling events for the blind and visually impaired children in the Dallas community.

No matter what issue you are interested in, SMU has a plethora of service organizations for you to get involved in. Many student organizations that don’t have to do with service add a service element inside of them; whether that be a donation drive, donating profits from events or planning bonding trips to volunteer. So when you come to SMU, it’s very easy to Pony Up and do some good!

-Carlyle Reid

Athletics Campus Life Student Organizations

Intramural Sports

jack-studentI love playing Intramural sports. Every season, I’m always involved in one event or another. Intramurals are a great way to get involved at college as well as creating a great environment for teamwork, cooperation, and motivation. For the past four years, I have been involved with an intramural team at any given point in time during the school year. Ranging from flag football, to indoor soccer, to beach volleyball and softball, I have played them all, some more competitively than others. In flag football, nothing is left to chance; from making playbooks, to snap counts, to defensive schemes, we have everything covered. Compared to softball where it is much more of a bonding experience with the guys than it is a competition we need to win. The best part about intramurals is the ability to play with and compete against friends. Not only will you become closer with those friends you’ve played with but also you will guarantee eternal bragging rights for the ones you beat. This will be my fourth year competing in intramurals, and I have yet to win a single championship. Although I have many successful seasons, resulting in second and third place finishes; I have yet to win the infamous Intramural Championship t-shirt. Hopefully, that will change soon, as I am beginning to run out of time. However, if I do not win, I will still have the memories of playing with friends that I won’t soon forget. See you on the field.

-Jack Student

Student Organizations

My Experience in the Best A Cappella Group Ever

09-16-nadine-kakishOver the last four years, I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of the most amazing organization on campus: the SMU Belle Tones. Belle Tones is a female a cappella group that has given me lifelong friends and amazing experiences. In the past, we’ve been able to sing for former President George W. Bush as well as in the home of Dallas Mavericks coach, Rick Carlisle. We rehearse twice a week and prepare for our concerts each semester, as well as other gigs, and are supported so well by our friends and family!

This week in particular has been quite the busy week for our group. We have the honor of performing in the SMU Family Weekend Talent Show as well as at a separate gig at The Rustic, which features a variety of SMU-based artists. For the Talent Show, we have the pleasure of performing alongside 8 other student groups or individual performers at the university, so I’m looking forward to participating in the event on Saturday! On Sunday, we’re ecstatic to be one of several groups from SMU performing for our friends and family at one of Dallas’ hotspots: The Rustic. We have been working all semester on putting on our best performances for our loved ones and I think it’s so cool that SMU provides us with the opportunity to share our talents with the community! It will be a busy weekend, but I can’t wait to perform for SMU families and show off an organization that has given me so much!

-Nadine Kakish

Campus Life Life Around Dallas Residence Life and Student Housing Student Organizations Uncategorized

Raising the Bar from the Ordinary to the Extraordinary

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Corral Guides preparing for Corral Kickoff Festivities

College is a magical time. Pretty much anyone you meet who has been will say that for a number of different reasons: the classes, the personal development, the freedom, etc. For me, what’s made SMU most magical is the people. When I put down my deposit in April, I knew that I would be attending a world-class institution with caring faculty and beautiful campus facilities. What I did not know was that I was about to join a community of the most amazing people I had ever met. From a Junior Olympic gold medalist in my Wellness class to a girl who had started her own non-profit that raised over $20,000 during her senior year of high school living next door in McElvaney, everywhere I looked there was another inspirational person to meet.

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Just a normal day in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center

But even beyond the accomplishments of our student body, there’s a certain quality to SMU students that makes them so enjoyable to be around, even doing the most mundane activities. My friends and I have spent countless nights chilling in someone’s room, playing cards and laughing ourselves to tears. We’ve started a brunch club (@thedallasbrunchclub on Instagram) and explored the Dallas food scene, one Sunday morning meal at a time. We’ve gone with residential commons on excursions to movie theaters and Mavericks games (even made it on to the Jumbotron during halftime). We’ve taken the DART into downtown for arts festivals and pretended to know the meaning of abstract art installations (some things aren’t meant to be understood). We’ve dressed up in crazy SMU spirit swag to greet new students at Mustang Corral and basically spend three days being as silly and spirited as possible (appreciate your Corral Guides; they work really hard to make the experience awesome). Some days we just sit around Hughes-Trigg and have intellectual discussions about politics, pop culture, and any other topic under the sun.

Through all these random adventures, I’ve laughed, cried, and made memories that will last a lifetime. But it wasn’t always the activities themselves that were so impactful, but the people I was doing them with. Every single person at SMU has something they bring to the table that brings an experience to life, makes it worthwhile. Once you get to the Hilltop, I encourage you to find the people that can help you take the ordinary to the extraordinary.

-Jessica Mitchell