The Summer of Rambo

By Mehdi Hami

Over the summer, I decided to take several summer school classes. Not only did I get to spend more time on this beautiful campus, but I was about to work on campus and boost my GPA. As a biology major, I was tired of all the science courses that I had to take throughout the year, so I was set on completing some of my perspectives over the summer.

I decided to take a Film class, The History of the 1980s. It was the perfect course for me. Since I wasn’t born here, I never understood any of the references to the culture of the 1980s. I really enjoyed the class because it wasn’t just a class on films, but it mixed politics with the overall culture of the country and how it was affected by and affected the film industry during that era.

I was able to see some movies that I knew were classics but never had the chance to watch, and now I could…because it was required for school! I saw movies from “Back to the Future” to “Dirty Dancing,” and even “Rambo.” I chose to write my essay at the end of the class on “Rambo” and how the series was affected by the attitude of the 1980s and how it even affected the post-Vietnam War United States. It was a blast researching for my essay and I was even able to elaborate on my essay for the class to be counted for Honors credit!

Sure, it was great taking a class that was different from anything I’d ever taken before at SMU and being able to receive Honors credit for it, but the most important part of the class for me was being able to understand from here on out every reference regarding Marty McFly from “Back to the Future” and the characters from “The Breakfast Club.”

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!


Mustang Pride

By Melody Davis

SMU students are passionate about our school! One of my favorite ways to show Mustang Pride and give back to all that SMU gives me is by giving campus tours. How could you not want to wear the SMU polo and teach visitors to Pony Up? SMU Ambassadors love to represent red and blue while walking groups along the boulevard and showing off our spectacular campus while teaching prospective students about all the other wonderful aspects of Southern Methodist University.


Election Day on the Hilltop!

By Katelyn Hall

Hello everyone! Whether Republican or Democrat, SMU students are excited for Election Day! All of my friends have either cast their absentee ballots or are headed to the polling stations today to participate in electing our next President!

I’m actually in a political science class on presidential elections right now. In that class, we analyze different polling techniques, campaigns, the structure of the Electoral College, etc. It’s especially interesting to learn about these things during the election season.

Today was my first time voting for president, and I have to say, it was really exciting! Tonight the excitement will continue on campus as we watch the votes roll in at election night watch parties. I live on campus in Virginia Snider Hall, and we’re having a watch party with lots of food and friends.

I can’t wait to watch the results come in tonight and talk about them in my presidential elections class tomorrow!

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!


Careers General

Wanted: Video Game Tester

By Billy Hightower

Today was awesome!  This summer I was bored one day so I decided to log on to MustangTrak to look for any job opportunities. After applying to a couple of internships there was one in particular that caught my eye…VIDEO GAME TESTER. I quickly submitted all my information to this potential opportunity and I got a call last week asking me to come to the SMU in Plano Campus and test video games.  Earlier today I went to the Plano campus and was called in by the THQ gaming center.  Along with about 10 other testers, I got the chance to play an unreleased video game and then give my feedback on it. After an hour and a half of playing we were compensated with new video games and IT WAS AWESOME! Well I g2g, it’s Friday and there are some friends of mine playing Ultimate Frisbee out in front of Dallas hall.  LATER!

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!

Spirit and Traditions

Homecoming: Hawaiian Style

By Amie

I always tell prospective students to visit SMU on a football weekend if they are ever in limbo about the SMU experience. This homecoming weekend put that statement into action because the entire SMU campus was full with pride. Homecoming weekend is huge in many aspects, but for student organizations it means hard work that extends past homecoming week. 

I had the honor of serving as a homecoming candidate for the Association of Black Students and Asian Council this year. Competitions between organizations included field day, peruna painting, window painting, and many others. However, a huge bonding experience comes with float building, which lasts all week long. Floats this year included everything from huge sombreros to a life size cow. Organizations truly get creative with these floats since they are showcased in a homecoming day parade. It was amazing to stand on our float, pass out leis, and witness the SMU and Highland Park community support SMU students and all of our hard work.

This year’s homecoming was beyond fabulous and I can only hope that you will be able to experience one for yourself in the near future 😉

Pony Up!

Campus Life General

What Do People Do at SMU?

By John Angle

Hey folks!

So you may be wondering, “what do people do at SMU?” Well one big way that a lot of people spend their time is to get involved in one of SMU’s 180+ clubs and organizations. There is literally something for everyone, ranging from multicultural organizations to campus programming to religious to community service and more. Some of the more unique organizations I would say are the Mustang Mavericks who are a group of country-western dancers who perform and compete, or the SMU Ballroom Dancing Club which has grown exponentially lately.

The organization that I am most involved in is called Student Foundation and is one of SMU’s largest and its most-selective organization. SF is charged by the university with the responsibility to plan Family Weekend, Homecoming, Celebration of Lights (our Christmas celebration), and Mane Event (spring carnival), as well as facilitating the Tate Lecture Series and Ambassadors program which sends SMU students to university functions in the community. I served as membership chair two years ago, the Family Weekend Chair last year, and am currently the President.  It has been so cool to have a hand in planning and pulling off all these important university traditions because on so many campuses they have a team of professional staff that plan these events. I’ve grown so much as a leader and had a ton of fun.

That said, SF wouldn’t be something for everyone…. but there is almost certainly some organization that would be for you here. If there isn’t, you can get a group together and charter one and Student Senate will fund it. If you’re interested in seeing if there’s something that you’re interested in here’s a list.

Until next time – Pony Up!

John Angle

Campus Life General

The First Step

By Courtney Steele

Walking up the stairs to the Hughes-Trigg Student Center that summer, a huge “Welcome New Mustangs” banner hung above the entrance, I was terrified. The time had finally arrived, AARO (academic advising registration and orientation) was here and it was time to embark on a journey I knew very little about, and a journey that would continually surprise, amaze and astound me. But I had the most incredible support system by my side for this new journey. Between the girl and her mom standing next to me and my parents who had already supported me through every happy and hard time in my life, I hope I was ready.

The day before, in the lobby of the Hilton Park Cities, I had met my new best friend who was getting ready to embark on the same journey. She immediately became the girl I cried to, the girl that my family welcomed in (I always wanted a sister), the girl whose family I joined (she always did too), the girl I went to Billy Bobs with, the girl that I went to the midnight premiere of the Justin Bieber movie with and the girl who started our pasta and rolls weekend dinner tradition. This crossing of paths taught me very early on that you never know where life will take you, who will come into your life and what you’ll learn along the way.

Walking up those stairs an instant later, it didn’t feel so scary, it felt right, more right than I could have imagined. SMU welcomed us all in with open arms and from that moment forward, we became Mustangs for life. My family immediately expanded and I was firmly planted in my home away from home. As my time at SMU winds down, I look at that moment as a pivotal moment. We learned about everything SMU, the traditions, the classes I would be taking, what to expect that first week of school, but most importantly we had reconfirmed that I had made the right decision.

As the college decision is looming and your senior year is winding down, remember a piece of advice that I had a hard time accepting (and maybe still do) – it will work out. I hope that SMU is the place for you, but moreover I hope that you have that feeling of serenity, calm and confidence in your decision that I felt standing on those stairs at AARO in 2008. Pony up!

Ambassadors Campus Life Spirit and Traditions

Elephants and Super Heroes and Narwhals, OH MY!

By Annie Bures

We all loved Halloween when we were little but in college it is Halloween all year ‘round! Now every university has its traditions about costume parties but at SMU we do it large and in style! I have been known to come up with some pretty great costumes in my time (from Minnie Mouse to the NBC Peacock to a Pizza) but this year I outdid myself with a home-made Narwhal costume! While my toothed whale costume made quite the splash (pun intended!) on the costume party scene, my fellow SMU Ambassadors had some pretty original costumes too. From Billy’s “Steve Jobs” to Ramon’s “Emo Unicorn” we definitely set the bar pretty high for this year.

Now don’t worry, I know you are all getting nervous that you aren’t ready for the intense costumes at SMU, but as soon as you are part of the Mustang family we will help you out with some brand new outfits for all of our social events. Whether it is an annual campus costume party or an organization’s event based on a theme SMU knows how to have fun with all of our crazy costumes!

The Ambassadors having fun at a costume party!

Ramon in his infamous elephant costume.

Me, in my Narwhal suit. Complete with flippers!


Ambassadors Campus Life Life Around Dallas

Weather Woman

By Lauren Lyngstad

Though it is February 2, and Punxsutawney Phil may have “seen” his shadow, it sure doesn’t seem like winter time in Dallas. The past week the highs have been around the 60s and 70s, making it easy to forget that it is the middle of winter! I have loved being able to run to and from the gym in shorts and a t-shirt and being able to walk to and from class without having to trudge through the snow. Being that I am a North Dakota native, it has been so nice going to school in a warmer climate.

It’s crazy to think that this time last year we were in the middle of a “snowpocalypse” in which school was cancelled for four days! Dallas weather really does keep you on your toes. It is great that you can show off every season of your wardrobe throughout the year, and I look forward to seeing what surprises the weather will bring us the rest of this year!

Ambassadors Careers Life Around Dallas

Nuts about Southwest!

By Lauren Cook

I have the privilege of working as an intern for Southwest Airlines this semester. I wouldn’t have gotten to application opportunity if it weren’t for the help from SMU staff and students. Not only had my professor worked with Southwest Airlines, but also one of our very own tour guides, Derek Hubbard! All of that to say–SMU networking is fantastic.

SMU students have the chance to hear about great networking opportunities including but not limited to: job shadowing, internships, work study jobs, free resume reviews, free mock job interviews, and informational interviews with top managers and recruiters. Most of the time, the professionals come to us on campus!

I am so thankful for this opportunity at Southwest Airlines. I am excited for the three months ahead of me (I just started January 17th and I go till April 18th). And I can’t help but thank SMU for getting me there. Hopefully, it will turn into a job! Fingers crossed 🙂

Until next time,


Athletics Campus Life

A Very Centered Start to the Semester

By Elizabeth Eliot
One of the great things about SMU is the opportunity that we have as students to really explore our interests through the variety of classes offered here. Whether you want to expand your horizons in terms of language, the study of history, or art, you can certainly do it! Personally, I’ve chosen to explore the practice of Yoga. Yes. That’s right, Yoga.
At SMU, we have to take a Wellness II class before we graduate. These classes range in variety from individual fitness to golf to scuba to triathlon, a great selection of classes that won’t only challenge us, but that is also very fun! I’m not actually taking Yoga as my requirement—I took self-defense Fall 2010 so don’t mess with me, but just for fun. I think that yoga is a great way to start my day every Tuesday and Thursday, and also a unique form of exercise that I will be taught by a qualified instructor rather than throwing my back out trying to follow a video.
So far we haven’t done any poses that are too extreme, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy class by any means! Every day I sweat like a pig and wake up the next morning incredibly sore! I have really gotten into the practice thanks to this class, and the Group X passes at the gym, so I’ve been looking into yoga studios in Denver for when I move home, and have been blown away by how expensive, far away, or inconvenient all of the classes are! Something that until now I have really taken for granted at SMU is how easy it is for the student to do everything that they could possibly want to do here. I will definitely miss that come May 13, 2012 (the day after graduation)!
Ambassadors Campus Life General

A Family Affair

By Greg Nelson

It was great to be home in Ohio for winter break with my family. It had been about five months since I had been home. While I was home, my brother who is a senior in high school started hearing back from some of the schools he had applied to early. One afternoon he walked in with a big, red envelope from SMU. He was all smiles and I was excited as well to hear that he had gotten in to SMU. He started asking questions about what was my favorite thing to do on campus and where to live and all those questions. I am really excited that he got in and hopes he chooses to become a Mustang. Good luck to the rest of you that are waiting to hear back, and to those of you that got in… Congratulations and welcome to the SMU family.