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APRIL 10, 2019



St. Edward’s University






When we were kids, we didn’t think about building relationships, we just built them — first at home, then at school and beyond with the people that were around us. We had experiences that helped us or deterred us from building communication skills. We made friends with people who liked the same things , laughed at the same things, or just lived nearby. Relationships happen, whether we talk about them or not. Now, we’re people, and we’re living in a time where communication is essential to success. Building relationships isn’t as simple as it used to be, and we don’t always do it for the same reasons. While it may still be done out of love and care for others in some cases, there are also cases when we use relationship building as a tool to move forward in our own paths. This issue was created in order to learn more about relationships: the different types, how they are formed and maintained, and how to navigate different types of relationships as you grow. We did this by talking to people about their experiences, and in some cases, sharing our own. This issue is meant to help people bridge the gap between awkward and intimate as they move forward in their lives. Whether you’re a freshman learning how to navigate campus socially, or a senior reflecting on your undergraduate years as you prepare for the next chapter in your life, we can all learn something from someone else. This issue covers four types of relationships: professional relationships, friendships, romantic relationships and environmental relationships. But none of these relationship types can sincerely thrive without a solid relationship with oneself. This is such a personal journey, and I don’t think that Hilltop Views, or any publication, is capable of covering it in a way that does it justice for each person. But I will leave you with this — I would encourage you, at any stage in your life, to ask yourself how to find a home within yourself. College is an immaculate time to consider what makes your home feel like home, and learn how provide that home feeling for yourself independently. Thank you for reading our stories.


Manuel Piña always walks into class with something “For me, it’s a matter of letting a student know I’m to say. here and I can meet you wherever you need me to reach Whether it is a simple question about your day, a story you,” said Piña said. “If we’re going to learn and work about one of his kids or something completely random, together, we need to have some sort of interpersonal he always makes it a point to start a conversation with relationship.” his students. Some reply, at times going off on tangents, While some professors may disagree, Piña finds the while others listen or sit quietly. Still, there’s no resisting connection between a student and professor to be very a laugh -- not even a smile -- before class actually starts. important when it comes to learning.He believes that These small interactions between professor and without a “foundational relationship,” it is difficult for student are what make Piña’s Writing and Rhetoric learning, listening, and growing to take place in the classes more than just another required course. For classroom. Piña, sharing stories, photos and asking genuine Which is why he always sets time aside to talk before questions about his students’ lives is not only an teaching -- so much, in fact, that he incorporates it into important part of teaching, but of being an overall his syllubus. “good” human being. In general, it’s important to have professors who care “Teaching is about people as much as it is about about students on both a personal and professional content,” Piña said. “That’s why I care. I care because it’s my ethical, moral responsibility to care about people.” For most c o l l e g e students, the typical professorstudent relationship doesn’t grow much inside, let alone beyond, the classroom. It only ever seems to be strictly professional, such as seeing SAMANTHA CARRIZAL / HILLTOP VIEWS a professor Professor Manuel Piña teaches a group of students. Piña believes sharing stories and elements from his personal during office life with students helps facilitate their education. hours or briefly talking to them about something academic. Because of this, it’s level. A simple, “How is your day?” or any other almost rare to have a professor that truly, genuinely genuine gestures can change the entire perspective and cares about more than a student’s academic interests. meaning of a professor-student relationship. Yet, for However, there are ways of breaking these barriers the most part, these close relationships can be so much that not only change the dynamic between student- more. They can be seen as friendships, ones that are professor relationships, but the way they are viewed. long-lasting and reliable throughout a student’s college For Piña, those ways are by simply being open, career. They can offer connections, resources, and unforceful and approachable to his students. While mentorship. When a professor cares, they will make he genuinely enjoys sharing about his personal life, he it a point to show that they care -- in and out of the also sees it as an invite for students to open up about classroom. theirs. He claims to make himself available “physically, “The class shouldn’t end after those 15 weeks,” said emotionally, and intellectually” to his students, leaving Piña. “When students come up to me just to chat or see his office door open at all times with coffee waiting to me walking across campus … To me, that’s validation be brewed in the corner. of what I’m doing and why I do it.”



Language can exist as an obstacle in terms of developing relationships, but it can also be an adhesive method of communication that reveals culture and an intimate identification with another. In terms of language at St. Edward’s, whether you are a beginner or a native language speaker looking to expand your knowledge and expertise on a particular language, language professors seek methods to diffuse students’ hesitations in language courses. For Dr. Regina Faunes, a professor who teaches courses on Spanish language and Latin American culture, language is a bridge to cross, but it ultimately brings individuals together. “You start to break down those boundaries, and you get to know a little bit about someone,” Faunes said. “You know a little bit more about them and they’re not just somebody sitting in a classroom who you

are going to assign a grade to. It makes for a more friendly environment.” For new speakers, Faunes said that she speaks to her students about their courses, their families and their day-to-day with their vocabulary in order to get to know her students and to make them feel more comfortable in the classroom. “The best way to develop relationships with them, since it’s a language class, is to start talking about things that are familiar to them. Their family, their classes at university, but always trying to encourage the point of ‘okay you understood me, and that is great,” Faunes said. “If they said something that is not quite right, just address it. And that tends to work.” In terms of developing relationships with native speakers, Faunes finds this a little easier, as she can reference Latin American culture and current events of Spanish speaking nations.

“In upper divisions where you have a mix, I find that that is very easy (to start conversation). In many ways, easier. Immediately, if I have a student from South America, I immediately can say, oh I bet you miss some ceviche. The smile lights up on their face because I know a little bit about where they from, and about them,” Faunes said. By getting to know her students this way, Faunes has noticed a trend in the number of students that visit her office. She shares that when students feel comfortable, they’ll reach out more often to her because of her attempt to connect with her students. “I feel that once you break down those barriers, students feel more comfortable coming to the office. At the beginning of the semester, kids won’t come. They’re very reluctant to come,” Faunes said. “When you’ve broken down the barriers, at the end of the semester, you’ll have more people coming in.” Fa u n e s not only recognizes that building relationships with her students incentivises them to reach out to her, but she also notes that it allows them to feel more at ease in the classroom. Whether a student is cautious to participate or having difficulty with comprehending conversations in the classroom, Faunes notes that by breaking down barriers with her students, they reap a better learning experience. “It goes a huge way towards the better learning experience for the student. I’ve read this in

Faunes says more students come in to her office later in the semester. “When you’ve broken down the barriers, at KATHIE ROJAS / HILLTOP VIEWS the end of the semester, you’ll have more people coming in,” Faunes said.

studies of language classes, but sometimes students are so uptight and their hands will sweat and they really can’t hear or process what you’re saying,” Faunes said. “They’re so worried about getting called on and being able to say what they need to.” Faunes believes that breaking down bar-


riers translates into courses all over the board. Although she doesn’t believe that it is impossible to teach a student without a relationship, she does believe it aids the student’s experience in the classroom. “Language is so foreign, but I think this translates into even physics classes or in a chemistry class where students are like what? Where a professor might ask them something and they don’t know and they don’t feel comfortable saying that they don’t understand, where they might feel that intimidated or cowed by a professor, or the presence of a professor. That can’t be a good thing,” Faunes said. “So I think that even in those classes, it goes a long way to break down what prevents a student from saying ‘I don’t know, or ‘can you repeat that’, or ‘can you help me’. I think it’s definitely a big piece.”


PROFESSORS OF COLOR RELATE TO DIVERSE STUDENT BODY BY CHRISTINE SANCHEZ @CHRISTINELIZA3 St. Edward’s University has a diverse student body. The faculty, however, is not diverse. This lack of diversity affects relationships that are formed between students and their professors. According to College Factual, St. Edward’s is above average in terms of student diversity, with the ratio of non-white to white students being 57.1 percent to 37 percent (with 5.8 percent of students classified as ‘Ethnicity Unknown’). In terms of faculty diversity, roughly 69.2 percent of faculty are white. Dr. Arcelia Hernandez is an Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education and has been at St. Edward’s since 2011. When I asked her about student efforts towards diversity, Hernandez pointed out that “we had the Red Doors Manifesto twice.” “I think that we’re hearing from students who would like to see greater diversity in the curriculum, specifically courses about race, class and gender identity, and that it would really help them be more at home and feel academically supported if they had more faculty that they naturally had an affinity with,” Hernandez said. Hernandez added that it is critical for students to have professional relationships with faculty who can understand their experiences. “It’s sort of a safety net so that students can think, ‘If something comes up, I know who I can go to, and that person will listen, give me some words of encouragement and might use the right words to help me feel better — maybe even in another language,’” Hernandez said. Hernandez has been a mentor to many students at St. Edward’s, including Jovahana Avila, a senior Political Science major. “I took a class with Dr. Hernandez called Education and Society, and it was one of the first times I realized that I came from a lowincome community and I went to low-income public schools my whole life. Unpacking that was part of the class. A lot of faculty aren’t willing to do that [unpacking], but with her, it was so easy because of her willingness to open up about her own story,” Avila recalled. Hernandez said that apart from being a

mentor to students, she has debriefed a num- oric as my area of expertise, but I’m teaching And, perhaps most importantly, I listen to ber of student-faculty interactions. Hernan- these things to students who are people. It the stories that they have to tell when they dez mentioned how these experiences can be sounds obvious, perhaps, but the truth is, are comfortable enough to share them with specific to students of color in “formal, main- if I don’t see my students as people and put me,” Piña said. stream, English-only cultural spaces.” my relationship with them first, then teachSimilarly, Avila believes that students of “These professors are well-meaning, they ing them course content becomes so much color have an instant connection with faculty want to be as supportive of diverse students harder,” Piña said. of color because there is no cultural barrier. as possible, but the message that is delivered Piña thinks it’s important for students to Her mentors of color at St. Edward’s have and the message that is heard is sometimes see themselves in successful people. He cited helped her academically as well as with things very different. So, a little bit of cultural pro- a 2011 Netflix documentary called “Miss as simple as taking care of her health. ficiency can go a long way,” Hernandez said. Representation.” Like Avila, Mariana Sarmiento Riaño is a Hernandez said that it’s on the students “In the film, Marie Wilson says, ‘You can’t Latina studying Political Science at St. Edand professors to be culturally proficient, but be what you can’t see.’ I’m not sure if she is the ward’s. Unlike Avila, she has found mentors more responsibility falls on professors: originator of that phrase, but the idea behind in other areas of the university. “[I provide] a little cultural coaching for stu- it is powerful: in order to move up the social “I know that I have a letter of recommendadents, but I also have ongoing conversations ladder, you have to be able to see people who tion at Student Activities. I feel like I have a with my colgood foundation of people leagues about that really know me, it just developing wasn’t through academics,” our own culSarmiento Riaño said. tural profi“I’ve only ever had one ciencies. The non-white professor fact that prothroughout my three years fessors have here. It’s hard when I’m more power studying Political Science really puts and I haven’t been exposed the onus of to many women or people responsibilwho look like me. I defiity on us.” nitely think we do better Si m i l a rly, than other schools, but Hernandez there’s always room for thinks that improvement,” Sarmiento students’ reRiaño said. sponses to She added that there are these situaplaces beyond academics tions depend where all students can find on their cula place on campus. tural back“I’ve gotten to know Joi ground: Torres and Lionel Lopez, CHRISTINE SANCHEZ / HILLTOP VIEWS “I think who are a part of Diverall students Dr. Hernandez, a mentor to a number of students of color on campus, places a political cartoon outside her office to sity and Inclusion on camwant to be show support for undocumented students. Hernandez contributes to the food insecurity fund created by Monarchs pus. I think if it wasn’t for on the Hilltop and Dr. Glenda Ballard. effective and them, there would be a be respectful, big void on this campus,” that’s sort of the big thing, especially among look like you and talk like you and identify Sarmiento Riaño said. Latinos — ‘I want to be respectful,’ — but un- with you in those positions of power,” Piña The Office of Diversity and Inclusion optil they learn how to navigate the system, they said. erates student organizations such as Black will struggle with that,” Hernandez stated. Piña strives to establish bonds with all of Student Alliance, Pride Club, and Latino Manuel Piña is a Visiting Instructor of his students. Student Leaders Organization among others. Writing and Rhetoric and the Associate Di“I share stories with [students] about my “Nothing is perfect. Although there are rector of the General Education Writing Pro- past and about growing up as a young His- downfalls, I don’t think anyone has malicious gram at St. Edward’s. panic male in El Paso, Texas. I share stories intent. Impacts are what matter — inten“I think teaching is an inherently human en- with them about my academic and family life, tions, not so much,” Sarmiento Riaño said. deavor,” he said. “Yes, I teach writing and rhet- about my kids and my life in the US Navy.


CHRISTINE’S MENTAL HEALTH STORY YOOOOO AHHHH AH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AFFECT STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS BY CHRISTINE SANCHEZ @CHRISTINELIZA3 Eighty percent of college students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities as students, according to a study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Fifty percent have anxiety that has affected their performance in school. Despite this, 40 percent of students do not seek help to improve their mental health. There can be many reasons why students don’t seek help, one being that they are scared of how they may be perceived by those close to them. Those who do report say they do so to receive clinical services and to reduce stigma for other students. At St. Edward’s University, the Health and Counseling Center provides services for students to improve their physical and mental health. Michael Hershberger is a Staff Psychologist and Group Coordinator at the HCC and said that “good mental health is imperative for the success of anyone in any field — whether you’re a student, whether you work in a grocery store, whether you’re a graduate or undergraduate.” The quality of students’ mental health can impact their relationships in other areas of their lives. “If [students’ mental health] is not okay, then that impacts their ability to sleep, focus, learn and retain things. It also impacts their relationships with family, friends, significant others, roommates — it kind of branches out into all areas of their lives,” Hershberger said. As a Group Coordinator, Hershberger leads therapy group sessions on campus, which are designed to give students a place to talk with a group of peers who are going through similar things. This year, the HCC offered two therapy groups, one on relationships and another on social anxiety. Hershberger said that groups help build encouragement among students and “helps multiple students deal with similar issues.” These groups begin several weeks into a new semester. HCC staff advertises new groups with flyers around campus, and other departments in the university are informed of the groups to refer students they think might benefit from group counseling. Hershberger said that the HCC is currently

looking to add a variety of meeting times each

care for a lot of people. They give, give, give, and then they have nothing left for themselves. That’s a big reason why they’re struggling. We help them re-adjust their priorities so they can focus on taking care of themselves first. If you’re not okay, you’re not going to be able to help anybody else,” he said. For students w h o need more than the MICHAEL HERSHBERGER allotted four sesSTAFF PSYCHOLOGIST AND GROUP COORDINATOR sions, the HCC






NOTHING LEFT FOR THEMSELVES. ” semester so that more students can participate in group therapy without being hindered by their class or work schedule. Through therapy groups, students are able to foster relationships with their peers in the groups and the group facilitators. “Our job as facilitators and co-facilitators is to be able to use that energy and steer it into the direction where we feel like it needs to go,” Hershberger said. Hershberger said students seeking any type of counseling service can come into the HCC at any time to set up an appointment. “Someone comes in looking for assistance and one of our counselors will meet with the student and go through a series of brief screening questions to figure out what sort of appointment will fit them best,” he said. The HCC counseling staff operates under a brief therapy model, where they offer four sessions per student, and students meet on a bi-weekly basis. “This helps with acute issues, teaches [students] coping skills and helps them gain perspective so they can resume their normal lives,” Hershberger said. He also said that counselors work to change students’ perspectives through counseling. “We have a lot of students that come in that

has an on-site case manager who will help students find a counseling service in the Austin community. According to NAMI, 73 percent of students said they experienced a mental health crisis while in college. Triggers of these crises include extreme feelings from anxiety, panic and depression about school and life, to stress about course load to homesickness. Hershberger said that it’s best for students to seek out help sooner rather than later. “That’s one of the

things that we will see is ‘I’m just gonna push it down and ignore it and I’m not gonna deal with it.’ Everyone can do that and sometimes needs to do that temporarily, but it’s when it becomes more of a regular thing is when it gets so pressurized that it’s gonna explode. You’re holding it together, and all of a sudden, boom, everything falls apart,” Hershberger said. Sophomore French major Emily Persons says that good mental health helps students enjoy their college experience. “Good mental health makes such a difference in your grades and school work. You have more drive to learn, show up to class and study, while also getting excited about your future,” Persons said. “For me, my mental health has changed in the sense that I’m more anxious about a lot,” she said. “This inhibits my ability and drive to do things, which leads to feeling depressed. College has taught me to figure out what choices are good for my mental health and which ones make my anxiety worse. I also have to set aside time to just chill and figure out what I need to do to make it through the bad moments.”


Students suffer from anxiety more than any other psychiatric condition, according to a study done by the AUCCCD.



Whatever the case, new students arriving in an entirely new environment can be scared and incredibly intimidated. Transfer students may feel even more worried, because they feel that the majority of friendships have been established. However, this is not always the case. Among the many transfer students at St. Edward’s, Ella Grace McDonnell and Mireya Torres shared their stories about meeting their new herd on the Hilltop. “It was different than I expected. I bounced around friend groups a lot until I found ones that felt really authentic. It took a while to adjust, but I finally found a wonderful group of people, one of which is living with me next year,” Sophomore McDonnell said. “For me, it was about finding the balance between being social and taking time to be by yourself.” Staying true to herself is what helped her form her strong friendships in her new home. While McDonnell loves the new friends she’s made, she makes sure to keep in contact with her friends back home in Portland, Oregon. McDonnell said, “I keep up with friends back home on social media. My best friends from high school and I talk on the phone everyone once in a while. It’s nice to have two really strong sets of relationships in both of my homes.” Taking time to catch up with your friends from home will make sure that no bridges are burned and that

you have a support system everywhere you go. As a second-year student, Torres had a pretty similar experience as McDonnell. Torres said that making friends her first semester was difficult, because she lived off-campus and wasn’t involved in student organizations yet. However, Torres has since then made friendships that she feels will last a lifetime. Despite her busy schedule, Torres still makes time for her new friends at St. Edward’s. “I make plans to meet with them for lunch or dinner. Sometimes, we get too busy to sit for a meal so instead, we plan on going to the library and studying.” Torres makes sure to get her work done and support her friends all at once. While Torres loves her newfound friends, she still makes sure to contact her friends back home in Houston, Texas. Torres says, “My friendships back home are definitely cherished. We make it a point to call each other and catch up regularly. Now that we are both becoming busier and busier the phone calls are less frequent, but the love and support is everlasting.” With 274 transfer students that came in last school year and more coming, it is important that St. Edward’s continues to foster a loving and supportive environment. The university offers new students a close knit community that they seem to love. Living on a small campus and having such an inclusive community helps the transition into a new school be a whole lot less nerve-racking.


Gissel Gamez (left), Mireya Torres (center) and Adriana Mendoza Ortiz (right) have found comfort on the hilltop after the intimidation of transferring has passed.



St. Edward’s students Victoria Applewhite and Brian Mack enjoy each other’s company over a cup of Jo’s coffee. Their time at the university has allowed them to become great friends. By DANIELA A. URDA VAZQUEZ @adeurd_

It’s often said that friends are the family we pick. They are with us at our worst moments and also at our best. They become our caregivers, our confidants and our best friends. They are the support system that pushes us forward to achieve our goals, our dreams, and they allow us to reach our full potential. It is because of these relationships and networks that friends become essential to our college experience. This is the case of St. Edward’s students Alyssa Aguas and Desiree Manriquez, two friends who met each other in their study abroad program in Angers, France, last fall. When asked what role their friendship plays in their college careers, the two said it has contributed to their lives inside and outside the classroom. “I definitely think it helps you take a step back and not be so stressed out, so caught up in what you are doing. I think to have a friend there to talk to you about anything you are worried about or anything you are going through or even just to have fun, it lets you take a weight off your shoulders,” Aguas said. “I think friendship helps balance everything out,” Manriquez said. “Sometimes you get so busy with all your classes, and your friends are there for you to fall back on when you are stressed. They help ground you; they bring you back on your feet even if it’s just with little words of encouragement, personal things we tell each other to push us to do great things.”

In college, many students suffer from stress and anxiety, so it’s recommended to build some sort of support system. Aguas and Manriquez talked about how support groups form part of a healthy college career. “When you are in college it is important to have a support group, because they are your eyes in moments you need them the most,” Aguas said. “They are able to sit you down and be there for you, telling you, ‘Hey, you need to get your stuff together, let’s go! We can get through this.’ It’s a nice thing to have someone who loves you be there pushing you to do your best.” Manriquez said, “College is a journey. Sometimes that journey is blurry, and we get lost in that journey. It is thanks to those friends that tell you hey it’s left, not right, and guide you. They see for you.” The friends we make in college are also our future colleagues and networks. After high school, we are pushed to make friends so we can develop strong connections. Manriquez said, “you make friends with different interest and those interests are what pushed them to be part of different organizations. They take you to their different events and you meet people that’s how you find different networks and opportunity. They become a way to expand your circle and to find a better chance to get a good job. But you don’t really know this when you meet them, its when you find each other’s interests and passions.” Having friends is a necessity, a motor that helps you thrive during the hardships of college. They can be our vehicle to success.



Hailing from Brownsville, Texas, Carlos “Charlie” Chavira started college in an entirely different atmosphere than the place he calls home. In the midst of a culture shock, he found familiarity in an unlikely source: his roommate, Eduardo Emmanuel Carrillo, also known as “Lalo.” At a small high school devoted to the medical sciences in the Rio Grande Valley, they met in freshman year homeroom. Growing up together, both Carrillo and Chavira have been through it all: high school, graduation and leaving for college. Instead of parting ways after high school, however, they were brought together. “I always say this, but I don’t know what I would have done without Lalo,” Chavira said. “My first year of college would have been completely different.” The dynamic from friendship to roommate can be turbulent. The change in their case, however, turned out to be more positive than Chavira could have expected. “Honestly, it’s been a big change. Our boundaries have changed since living together, and we’ve become way closer. It’s more than a friendship: he’s

like family.” Though they have the same roots, they have contrasting personalities. Chavira, the more introverted of the two, enjoys the aspects of Carillo’s personality that differ from his own. “He’s really extroverted, and he’s always saying something funny. He’s also really on top of his things, which helps me be on top of my things.” Chavira said. Though there may be differences, the two have a lot in common. As a part of the Natural Sciences Living Learning Community, the two share not only similarities in the past, but in the pursuit of their future. “We’re both biology majors, we both have the same path, and we both have the same drive,” Chavira said. “We help each other be our best.” While sharing the same academic goals, the two also connect on emotional level. Living in the same space provided them a foundation to experience the highs and lows of freshman year in solidarity. “We’re growing together, we live together, and we share the same struggles. We’ve been through a lot, and we share a lot of memories. “When we came to St. Ed’s, I didn’t really know anyone but Charlie,” Carrillo said. “Having that foundation was great- I could have a day full of meeting new people, come back to the dorm and see a familiar face.”


From the Rio Grande Valley to Austin, freshmen Carlos Chavira and Eduardo Carrillo have made the move from high school friends to college room mates.

It was this support that made the transition so much easier. Through late night talks, everyday routine, and similar career paths, the two have become closer than ever. Living together formed a friendship deeper than surface level. “I feel like I’m going to be viewing Charlie as one of my lifelong friends,” Carrillo said. “We’ve already been through so much in high school, we’re going

to the same university and we have the same major. I’ve seen him grow and he’s seen me grow.” Their shared roots in South Texas allowed them to mesh naturally, and while no pairing is perfect, the two have made it this far with no major issues. In sharing a room, they’ve learned more about each other than they ever would have back in highschool.


“My big thing with club tennis was making a community,” said Lexie Elliott, junior and president of the SEU club tennis team. In fall of 2017, Elliott decided to bring back the club tennis team after it had died off. “I knew if I didn’t make friendships, no one was going to come.” The team started off small in 2017 and although it’s grown, it still only has 12 members on the team. With a small number of players, they’ve been able to get to know everyone and learn about what’s going on in each person’s life. Every Thursday, the team shares highs and lows from the week as a way to maintain their tight-knit friendship. “It’s through highs and lows and hearing how everyone is doing that we’re able to care for each other,” Jack Rice, sophomore and vice president, said. “It’s fun to come out and ask about everyone’s day and see everyone be encouraging and supportive while play-

ing and talking about things going on in our lives,” sophomore Emma Weber echoed. Weber was nervous to join the team first semester of her freshman year because she didn’t know anyone on the team. After joining her second semester, she felt like she was a part of the team right away. She accredits those feelings to the team being welcoming and excited to have whoever wants to join The members view the team as a good niche because everyone comes from different majors and are involved in various organizations on campus. It’s through their love of tennis that they’ve gotten to know each other, but it’s through their different interests and involvements that they’ve been able to bond on deeper levels and learn more about each other. “One of the teammates went on SBE and we all got to hear about SBE and her trip specifically,” Elliott said. One thing junior Damanty Bakker said she likes about her teammates on the club tennis team compared to other clubs and organizations she’s been

a part of is that she can joke around with them but can also talk about serious topics. “At practices, we get to see each other’s fun sides and laugh a lot, while at matches, we tend to be more serious and focused,” Bakker said. “Getting to see both sides of who each person is allows us to grow our friendships even more.” It wasn’t until spring 2018 that the team was able to go to tournaments and participate in matches. Rice noticed that tournaments and road trips together allowed for more bonding, because the team spent time together doing things outside of tennis, like listening to music in the car and going out to eat after. “I think you have to be willing to make new friends if you are going to join a club sport, let alone run one. You have to be willing to put yourself out there,” Elliott said.


Isabella Rieger’s involvement with club tennis has given her the opportunity to make close connections with her fellow teammates and continue working on her passion for the sport.



The way society has developed and maintained relationships has completely evolved with the rise of social media. Friendships are now being built through direct messages and tags, so it is no surprise that constantly checking social media is as standard as brushing your teeth every morning. With so many platforms to participate in, it has become the norm for businesses and schools to also include a social media aspect into their organizations. Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter being the platforms of choice for most, it is hard to imagine how we would communicate with friends and family without these channels. Sophomore at St. Edward’s Maria Gray acknowledges her current reliance on the platforms but expects it to decrease as time goes by. “Social media is definitely a part of my everyday routine. I rely on it pretty heavily in terms of texting my friends. I use it a lot for school and it is also a big part of where I work,” Gray said. “However, I see it diminishing. I recently deleted a few of my social media accounts, including

Snapchat, so I think, overall, it’s probably going to diminish overtime.” Communication is a crucial ingredient in any relationship, so social media looks to facilitate this by presenting a fast and convenient way to not only create but strengthen relationships. A Texas native Gray highlights the positives that the channels have afforded her by mentioning the impact it’s had on her relationship with her family. “Social media has influenced my friendships in the sense that I am able to keep in contact with people that are farther away from me or that I can’t see on a day-today basis. I also have family in Mexico so being able to reach out to them through social media is really important to me.” Friendships differ from person-to-person, each one being built on different values, characteristics and dynamics. However, for Gray, a key component for a prosperous friendship is frequent in-person interactions. As only an Instagram user and not relying on it to be her main source of communication, she states some flaws that she feels social media has brought on.

“Negatives would be not interacting face to face as much anymore with people that are close to you, I think social media has taken away a lot of that personal interaction. I would rather have an in person conversation than do it through social media but if I did have to use a platform I would choose Instagram.” Social media is part of our culture and most relationships. As a result of both younger and older generations also tapping into the technology it’s societal presence seems to be continuously increasing. Although involvement on the apps varies, it is common practice for most to belong to at least one platform. With the ability to discover, generate and nurture new and old friendships social media’s role in our lives, it doesn’t seem to be on the decline. We have the power to access friends, family and loved ones right at our fingertips and that is something that we need to use responsibly.


Joey Hadden MULTIMEDIA EDITOR Andrea Guzman

DESIGNERS Kelly Salinas Steven Severance NEWS EDITORS Kenny Phipps Matthew San Martin


With the vast number of social media platforms, the way we communicate and build relationships has changed the way we live.

SPORTS EDITOR Adrian Gonzalez LIFE & ARTS EDITOR Gianni Zorrilla John Walker

3001 S. Congress Ave. #964 Austin, TX 78704

VIEWPOINTS EDITOR Sierra Rozen Samantha Cienfuegos

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Camille Mayor Olivia Barrett



COPY EDITORS Colette Guarnier Sarah Gonzales Kathie Rojas Tyler Hotz

STAFF WRITERS Justin Gongora Jose Flores Odett Ochoa FACULTY ADVISOR Curt Yowell

Hilltop Views is the student newspaper published by the School of Humanities and serves the St. Edward’s University community. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the university, whose mission is grounded in the teachings and doctrine of the Catholic Church. Hilltop Views welcomes all letters to the editor. Letters may be edited for space, grammar and clarity. Letters will be published at our discretion and anonymous letters will not be printed.





Imbalance. This is how it starts. A relationship of any kind should form in a manner that the people involved are equal to one another. Unfortunately, this is not how all relationships begin, and it is not how all relationships grow. Some people don’t value one another, and some people don’t value themselves. The perfect combination of this can lead to something so poisonous on the inside. Toxic relationships tend to be kept behind closed doors and swept under rugs. They are seen as shameful things that only happen to a handful of people. However, 43 percent of college women report experiencing some kind of abusive behavior when it comes to dating. Having almost half of a population report the same kind of behavior means that this might not be such a small problem. Instead of being ashamed of toxic behavior, the first step is to bring these kinds of relationships to light. Not only does this apply to dating, but it can also apply to other relationships, be it friendship, familial or work related. For someone that has never experienced what it’s like to be in some kind of toxic relationship, it can be hard to understand why someone won’t leave the relationship. It can also be hard to tell if someone you know is experiencing the signs of a toxic relationship. At the same time, some people may not realize they are involved in a toxic relationship, especially those who may not have had an example of a healthy relationship in their household growing up. For example, one study found that over a three-year period, about three-in-ten (31 percent) children younger than six had experienced a major change in their family or household structure, in the form of parental divorce, separation, marriage, cohabitation or death. This can lead to children growing up without a good example of what a healthy relationship looks like. Without personal experience to guide them, it makes it harder for them to recognize toxic behaviors. Some signs of a toxic relationship include the following: Disrespect.Disagreements are a normal and healthy part of any relationship, but when it borders on being disrespectful towards another person and putting down their opinions and interests, this might be taking things too

far. Sexual violence. If one person is forcing or pressuring another person into doing any remotely sexual that the other person doesn’t want to, this is absolutely a sign of a toxic relationship. Consent is key in any kind relationship. Control. This is usually demonstrated by one person wanting to control what their partner does or who they hang out with. It can also hand in hand with dependence and distrust. Dependence. Holding another person responsible for happiness and fulfillment in life can lead to false attachment. Dishonesty. Being dishonest with someone creates a wall between two people that is only visible to the liar. The last thing someone needs is your judgement if they do not feel ready to leave a toxic relationship. Be patient and don’t feel the need to pressure them into doing something they are not ready to do. Personally, I think we’re all a little bit toxic, and recognizing that fact is key to conscious decision making in a relationship to keep it as healthy as possible.

Our campus is known for its stylish pavement catwalks, and small little animal statues, but we seldom discuss our day-to-day, awkward run-ins with exes. “I feel like dating around campus is intimidating, since it is such a small school. People figure out pretty fast. I know that when I started dating my recent ex, when we became public, people were staring a lot more and asking questions,” said Christopher Ayala, a sophomore Communication major. Ayala has had two serious relationships at St.Edward’s. He shares that while the first didn’t end well, he is on better terms with his second ex. “I don’t really mind dating on campus, but I think that lately I am cool with dating off campus, just to get out of the St. Ed’s bubble,” Ayala said. Logan Stallings, a senior double Writing and Rhetoric and Graphic Design major, admits that she at first intentionally did not date people from St. Edward’s. “I have not dated anyone from campus. I think it was intentional for a while, but then I started dating somebody from Dallas,” Stallings said. “We were doing this back and forth thing, but that didn’t really work out. So I said, you know what, I am just going to graduate and not really worry about it.” Stallings shared that the long distance was too much for her to handle. She decided to focus on graduating this year instead. “I feel like if it’s the right person, then you would make it work, but it really tests it. It begs the question, are you really happy, is it really worth it? If not, then it makes that more clear,” Stallings said. Even if you’re dating abroad, retiring feelings can be a difficult thing. While in France last year, Hernandez dated a French citizen for a total of 8 months. It is a romance she recalls fondly, but it was a tumultuous, overseas love nonetheless. “My ex lives 5,000 miles away, so I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your ex on campus. The breakup was very amicable. We discussed a lot. It was the post breakup that was difficult to transition into,” Hernandez said. A few months after their breakup, Hernandez’s ex continued to contact her. Because in France it is common to stay friends with past partners, Hernandez had to break the news to

her old man that staying friends is not an American disposition. Hernandez recognizes how challenging it can be to set aside past relationships while on campus. Her sophomore year, Hernandez had a temporary fling with a longtime friend on campus, to which later he said, “I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong idea.” He took Hernandez out to dinner and spent plenty of time with her, but ended up deciding it was a nogo. She decided to study abroad afterwards to take a temporary vacay away from the St. Ed’s lovenest. “It really sucked seeing him around campus, and because of that, I took the steps to study abroad the first time. I had planned to study abroad, but I just hadn’t really taken the steps to do it,” Hernandez said. Stallings shared a similar emotion in seeing a past fling around campus. “There is always one person, where I know it didn’t end super great, if I could avoid you, that would be stellar. But we have such a small campus, and it’s impossible,” Stallings said. The romantic setback led Hernandez to seek out therapy for some time. “Being led on and then let down, I ended up seeking professional help. It triggered my own anxiety. It made me reevaluate whether or not people are telling me the truth. I did whatever I could to get to France,” Jeanet said. In terms of dealing with breakups, Stallings and Ayala both shared that they rely on friends and keep busy to help them through the temporary, post-breakup bleakness. “I don’t know if it’s healthy or not, but I rely on my friends a lot. If I am feeling down in the dumps, I don’t like to be by myself as much. I try to do fun stuff,” Stallings said. Ayala advises to be direct in breakups. He recognizes how small our community is, and how we should expect to see our ex again around campus--the school they also attend. “If you’re breakup with someone, do it face to face. When you breakup with someone, you can still be friends with your ex, it’s just a matter of how much respect and admiration there is between you and your ex, and how mature you are as people,” Ayala said. “Especially since it is a small campus. You wanna keep that harmony together. You dated that person for a reason. Obviously it didn’t work out, but that admiration and love was there.”




Dating apps, whether it’s Bumble, Tinder, or even Grindr, seem scary from afar. Some people believe they’re just mindless devices for hookup galore, but they aren’t. If used correctly, you can avoid the hassle and find your soulmate easily. Now, you don’t have to believe in the concept of soulmates to want to improve your dating life. You just have to hope for a better experience in creating organic and meaningful romantic relationships. 1. State your intentions. To avoid mixed signals, always state your intentions in your biography. This isn’t a scenario where one thing really means another. No, intentions are intentions. If you’re looking for a relationship, slap it in there. What’s the point of putting something in your biography that caters to something you don’t really want? If you’re not into random hookups, don’t put it in your biography. In fact, state that you aren’t into hookups. Try to avoid sex on the first few dates. It seems old fashioned, but holding off on physical relations can help grow your intellectual attachment. When crafting your biography, make sure it sounds like you. You want to cater your personality and show off your best self. Be sure to only put a paragraph’s worth of information. 2. Realize that romantic relationships take work. If you want a meaningful relationship, use your dating app as a way to meet someone. Once you’ve met them, try to foster an organic relationship rather than relying on an app to send you true love. It takes work. It takes sending that first message and putting yourself out there. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s also okay to feel scared about that vulnerability. The possibility of getting hurt is a chance you have to take, if you want to pursue a relationship. 3. Take clear and real pictures that show off your personality. If we aren’t basing our relationships off of looks alone, try to insert your personality in your pictures. Take moments of your life that you want to best show off to others. Remember, this is to make a point of conversation, not really advertise the world of how hot you are.

Also, make sure your pictures are visible. Don’t take anything in a dark setting or blurry pictures from a night on 6th street. 4. Don’t self-deprecate. You’re awesome! When you finally get that match, don’t put yourself down. It gives off a bad vibe of self loathing that may turn your partner off. While that may be candid on Twitter, it really isn’t a charming way to show off how


I’ve never been in love— let’s start there. Sure, I’ve thought I’ve been, more than twice. But I was never right. So if that depletes my credibility in your eyes, I’d like to save you some sweet, sweet time. I’m not going to tell you that you should not be on Tinder, because I don’t care, and because as my wise brother once told me, ‘should is bullshit.’ I am only here to tell you why I am certain it could not work for me, in the hopes that you might find it relatable. My issue with using Tinder to find love is


you want to pursue a relationship. Relationships don’t solve your problems. Be sure you aren’t seeking a fix and put your best self forward when putting yourself out there. 5. Be sure to only spend an hour a day on your dating app. According to Business Insider, it is best to spend up to an hour a day on your dating app. Don’t let it take over your life. Dating apps are supposed to be fun. Don’t make it a chore when you clock in to view some profiles. It’s better to spend your time on dating apps getting to know your matches and fostering a meaningful relationship with them.

fundamental. It takes two people actively searching for a partner, and that is a problem in itself. It is inorganic, and to some degree, forced. You open an app, and you see a photo of a person, and you instantly know a few things about them: you know their name, age (maybe) and general location. You know what they look like when they think they look best, and you know what they choose to share with you in zero to 500 characters. Based on solely this information, you make a conscious decision to be open to the idea of

viewing that person in a romantic way. Starting with your very first interaction, you two know this about each other. I may have never been in love, but it’s supposed to be the best thing in life, right? Well, in my experience, the best stuff isn’t stuff you see coming, and it isn’t stuff you pick. It isn’t constructed or finessed. It’s organic, and it happens whether you’re present for it or not. It’s watching my cousins dance in their living room. It’s seeing my mom laugh. It’s watching people you love grow up and being absolutely amazed, even though you know that everyone grows. It’s the smell of the deep woods. It’s music. It’s the stars. It’s noticing someone noticing you and being surprised. Now, let me tell you how I start to like someone, and I mean really like them. First, I need to know them well. I need to see them in a struggle and I need them to see me struggle. I need to see how they walk through life without me. We need to be really close friends. We need to laugh and I need to be comfortable with them seeing me in all the ways I am in front of people. And only then can I consider making a conscious decision to be open to the idea of viewing that person in a romantic way. I wish that were true. If I’m being completely honest, I like someone when I do. I don’t get to pick. All those other things are only true in my dreams, but I’m leaving it in here to show you my checklist before letting myself hold onto the giddy feeling I get when I’m around a guy who gets me. Maybe I’m incredibly naive to think that this is an efficient way to find a partner. But why look for a partner? If you’re so focused on finding someone else, how can you be sincerely focused on yourself? And if you’re not focused on yourself, how can you know someone is right for you? I said I wouldn’t say what you should do, but these things are supposed to end with a ‘call to action.’ So here’s what I would do— recognize that loneliness is an unavoidable feeling at certain points in your life, and who you have around you is irrelevant. Loneliness is a result of not knowing yourself. So just get to know yourself, and the rest will fall into place. And if it doesn’t, you’ll always have yourself, and that’s the truest love there is.




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LONG DISTANCE SUCKS: ‘AMOR DE LEJOS, AMOR DE PENDEJOS’ In today’s media, there are countless depictions of love withstanding distance. From Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah” to Ed Sheeran’s “All of The Stars,” we’ve heard this theme bounce through our heads since we were kids. There’s a famous saying in SpanishAmor de lejos, Amor de pendejos. This translates to long-distance love is stupid love. For most people who have been through a long distance relationship, this saying rings true. Now, I’m not merely making an assumption, more of an observation. To put it into perspective, there are certain factors that can often time rock the boat and more than likely result in the termination of the said relationship. The first and maybe most important factor is maturity. There’s a certain level that both parties need to acquire before going head first into something serious such as a long distance relationship. They need to acknowledge that there’s a large amount of work, trust, and understanding that is placed on not only the

relationship but on themselves as well. However, often times there are promises made that don’t come into fruition. During this past fall semester, my best friend and cousin decided to try a long distance relationship. My cousin quit his job as a server where my best friend and I worked at to go back home, which is four hours away from Austin. Eventually, they broke up. In the aftermath of the breakup, I began to go what went wrong. I thought back to the worries my friend had when my cousin wasn’t around. How it was difficult to still have a relationship without them being physically present. Often times my friend sometimes would confide in me the troubles she had while in the relationship. Often times she would come to me to discuss problems, with him not being in Austin and if he was still loyal. I would sometimes observe how this affected her mentally and emotionally. I knew that they had agreed to try a long distance relationship, but I don’t think they had been able to understand the level

of maturity needed to make something like this work. Lastly, over time, people end up changing. People still continue to grow even when they’re not together, and they begin to figure out what they want out of life. They start to think about their plans for their own futures and what needs to change as they continue throughout their adulthood. Both parties come to realize that what the relationship isn’t able to satisfy them as it did before. Try as they might, the people that started a relationship long ago, are no longer present. What takes their places now are totally different people, and their goals and desires are not the same as they were before. Overall, I think that long distance relationships, while can be achievable, aren’t worth the stress and mental exhaustion that can be seen. There needs to be a high level of maturity and understanding between both parties.






Throughout ur academic careers, we are plagued with test ter test. While they are all meant to be prepaatory, we are never quite equipped for tests of he human experience — tests of the heart. We’re never taught how to cope when a sigficant other is no longer a block away, or never as in the first place. We’re never taught how to oubleshoot when challenges arise as a result. is within this process where you learn about our relationship in the most profound of ways.

If you’re a college student, chances are you’re either in, or know someone that’s in, a long- distance relationship (LDR). 75 percent of students report having had one at some point in college. To state the obvious, long-distance isn’t easy. While putting in consistent effort comes from a flowery place of love and sincerity, it is also comes from a serious place of important choices to be made. For St. Edward’s student Eli Martinez, the positives far outweigh the challenges. One pivotal positive, in her own experience and across the board, is independence. “Being in a long-distance relationship has allowed me to be less dependent and more self aware because I’m not constantly with [my boyfriend] or continuously worrying about making time for him during my busy schedule,” she said. “Being away has allowed me to have much needed alone time to reflect and get to know myself, which in turn lets me be the best partner I can be.” Martinez has learned the importance of focusing on her well-being. “The biggest thing to me is that we are both dedicated to ourselves first, and as we strengthen ourselves we help each other grow,” she said. Victoria Hoang, another SEU student, shares a similar mindset. “I feel like in relationships in general, indi-

viduals often grow to be dependent on their partner for happiness,” Hoang said. “In a longdistance relationship it is harder to grow into that mindset.”

help to distinguish between them. Attraction in a successful LDR is based on strong emotional intimacy. An intellectual relationship becomes just as integral as a physical one. This leads to more meaningful interaction and “BEING AWAY HAS ALLOWED the assurance of commitment, something well beyond physicality. ME TO HAVE MUCH NEEDED Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Absence also makes the communication grow ALONE TIME TO REFLECT AND stronger. In a LDR, you are more inclined to GET TO KNOW MYSELF, WHICH have goal-oriented discussions. Partners look to the future together through a lens of idealization and realistic desires. ConIN TURN LETS ME BE THE BEST flict is also strategically navigated, often addressed immediately in order to avoid tainting PARTNER I CAN BE.” time together. “We try to make the most out of every day, every hour, every minute we do have together,” Hoang said. -ELI MARTINEZ From tear-laden late nights to pangs of loneliness throughout the day, beauty lies in the ability to continue despite hardship, knowing that She has discovered productive ways to adjust reunion with your loved one makes it worth it. to the distance while maintaining her relationWhether your LDR is for a season, or forever, ship’s strength. it is a worthwhile endeavor. It is a test of endur“I have realized that I am stronger than I ance, but the rewards reaped can be some of the thought I was,” Hoang said. sweetest ever known. There’s no denying that a healthy mix of lust “This relationship feels right,” Martinez said. and love is necessary in romantic relationships. “It feels like it’s meant to be and I think it’s beHowever, the two can often be confused. LDR’s cause this is what genuine love and trust is.”



She left me with this new knowledge about what love is, but no roadmap to finding it again. In the first semester of my senior year in high school, I met a girl. We had had classes together and had known each other’s names for a few years, but we didn’t really meet until that sunny October afternoon at Fair Park in Dallas. She and I had individually arrived there to see a Weezer concert. The park was brimming with people shuffling and fighting for a better spot in the crowd. The air, filled with the sound of excited conversation, had that somewhat indefinable smell of Texas fields on a hot day. The sky was bluer than the ocean, streaked by wisps of cirrus clouds that were occasionally overshadowed by landing planes. I stopped paying attention to all of that once I saw her. She was confident, smart, hilarious, perceptive, and way cooler than me. After a few weeks, we started dating, and the days together seemed like separate eternities. When I moved to Austin, our time seemed to have passed in a flash of light. The joys of the present became pleasant memories, tinged with a soft pain for knowing it was over. I’m finishing my junior year in college now, and with each successive year - month, day, hour – those memories fade a little more. Whether due to my terrible memory or just human nature, most of the specifics of my time with her are completely wiped from my mind, evaporated like water that’s been left out in a glass for too long. The feeling of being with her is gone, and so is any attachment to the person she has become. What hasn’t faded is the searching for that feeling-- to be in love, even as an immature kid, is to connect with someone’s essence. It is to treat them as an end in themselves, not as a means. It is to know and be known. She left me with this new knowledge about what love is, but no roadmap to finding it again. Love is a special kind of romantic relationship. Romantic relationships can be anything from toxic to beautiful, casual to committed, but not every romantic partner inspires those same feelings of love. It’s a completely different thing. In the years since her, I’ve found that the key difference between romantic relationships and love is that you can conjure one but not the other. As a college student, I see my friends, and occasionally myself, involved with romantic partners for nothing other than sexual desire or a fear of loneliness. This type of relationship can be created out of thin air, and often vanishes just as quickly. I think the reason for this is that while romantic relationships can be created between any two people that are willing to put in the effort to see each other, respect each other and support each other, they typically lack the component of love that sustains and beautifies these efforts.

Romantic relationships without love are kind of like driving a car downhill with no gas in the tank; once the car starts climbing again, it won’t make it up the next hill. Anyone can climb in a car and coast it down a hill with some effort. But it’s impossible to see which cars have gas in them just

by looking. The only real way to find out is to hop in and turn the key, realize when it is a waste of time and move on. She and I were lucky to find gas in the tank, and for it to last as long as it did.




Even though St. Edward’s is considered to be a “Tree Campus USA” and was listed in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges in 2015 and 2016, the university still has a long way to go. And what better way to reduce St. Edward’s carbon footprint as a whole than reduce each student’s individual footprint? With over 4,000 students enrolled at St. Edward’s, there are some students who deeply care about the environment and want to make a change. Many of these outstanding students are a part of Students for Sustainability (SFS) while others make personal changes outside of the organization. What’s important is that students are making changes that foster our planet’s growth and recovery. While all steps towards sustainability are big steps, SFS goes above and beyond when finding new ways to help the environment. Aside from the

Climate Justice Coalition, the student organization restarted a community garden located behind Teresa Hall in 2015. “We pretty much try and work with the students and faculty to work together for an annual harvest,” Daniel Collins said. Collins went on to say, “ In SFS, we strive to build a mindful relationship between students and the environment. This entails promoting sustainable lifestyle choices, environmental consciousness and maintaining a discourse community that cherishes the resources and beauty of our natural world through workshops, poetry slams and political activism.” While SFS does a lot for St. Edward’s and the environment, other students are also putting in the necessary work our world so desperately needs. Jessica Riley, a second-year Social Work major and vice presidential candidate, feels a strong connection to our planet. “Our earth is our life, and I think people forget this or at least try not to think about it. The sun, the breeze, the grass, the trees-- all give me so much


energy and peace,” said Riley. Because of how Riley respects and cares for the environment, she urges her fellow students to do the same. “Recycle! There are bins across campus to put recyclables in, and it’s the easiest thing you can do to help out. Other easy tips include using a reusable water bottle and walking/biking instead of driving, every chance you get,” said Riley. Clarissa De Leon, senior Environmental Science major, is also passionate about sustainability. De Leon urges students to do two things: to be aware and care. “Research the kinds of locally sourced foods that are available to you and mold your diet at least four times a week to it,” said De Leon. Other students should follow in their footsteps and help St. Edward’s lead other universities to a more sustainable way of life. “Your decisions as a citizen and consumer matter. We’re all leading by example whether we know it or not.”

SAMANTHA CIENFUEGOS / HILLTOP VIEWS According to the EPA 67.8 million tons of waste were recycled with paper making up more than half of that amount.


From our Twitter feed to our YouTube suggestions, everything we consume online is tailored directly to us. We like posts that we agree with and share them with our like-minded friends. Even the algorithms that decide what we see make sure that our clicking, scrolling and sharing isn’t interrupted

that they can use filters they know one group is most likely to adopt, and start funneling information in that further manipulates the public.” This issue isn’t exclusive to social media. News channels we watch and who we hang out with also decide what information we absorb in our daily lives. Yet, the ease of access that comes with social media merely exacerbates the disconnect. “It’s a lot easier for somebody to get on

MEGAN HESS / HILLTOP VIEWS Sophomore Mireya Torres does her best to consume unbiased news sources.

by an opposing viewpoint. This phenomena, dubbed a “filter bubble,” ensures that our feeds are full of information we want to see. Based on our own preferences, any content that is inconsistent is “filtered” out. This seems innocuous when choosing your favorite lifestyle blog or picking dog videos over cat memes. In the political sphere, however, this could become problematic. “Those types of filters allow people to make decisions about where they gain resources and information,” professor David Thomason, assistant professor of Political Science, said. “So instead of having thousands of sources, I can have two or three, because I find those to be the most interesting or relevant.” When we choose to filter what political opinions we hear, we begin to confirm our own biases and enforce partisan division. According to Thomason, this is not by accident. “Today, there is a lot of information that intentionally divides people. They want to paint the world as liberal or conservative, red or blue,” Thomason said. “It’s a dichotomy that they [news outlets] want to establish so

Facebook, for example, and just get free access,” Thomason said. When St. Edward’s Business student Mireya Torres compiles her everyday social media feed, she has a hard time figuring out who to follow to combat online echo chambers. She leaves social media behind when searching about politics. “Recognizing that I can get stuck in a conservative timeline or a liberal timeline that could narrow my vision, I decided to step away from social media to gain information about politics,” Torres said. Torres has her own ways of staying aware of her filter bubbles. “I do recognize that I go to St. Edward’s University, a very expensive Catholic school in the city of Austin,” she said. “I live a privileged lifestyle and I don’t worry about a lot of things other people are worried about.” Thomason believes that bringing discussion to campus can help us escape our own bubbles. “If we don’t have healthy debate, that’s not democracy,” Thomason said. “You have to have access to information, you have to be transparent, it has to be accountable.”


CAMPUS CULTURE VARIES ACROSS AUSTIN’S UNIVERSITIES to a study done by the New York Times. So when discussing campus cultures as it pertains to UT and St. Ed’s students, one could find it easy to formulate their opinions based solely on their experiences. “St. Ed’s has always tried to act like UT, and I don’t blame them,” St. Edward’s freshman Henry Clark said. “UT has a lot more going on sports-wise and politics-wise and we’ve always said we are separate from UT, but in reality we are just trying so hard to be like them.” The discussion behind campus culture and what it means to those who attend these Austin universities has polarized most students — with the exception of Marco Antonio Islas, a UT senior who believes that UT’s campus culture was polarized before the conversation. MATTHEW SAN MARTIN / HILLTOP VIEWS “I think the general culture is a liberal one that Students make their way to class on UT’s crowded campus. has a certain dialogue of what is allowed, and any them because we have our own vibe and culMATTHEW SAN MARTIN deviation from that sparks outture being a smaller university. They definiteAustin, as most residents have come to ly have more traditions than we do, but I only rage,” Islas said. “For that reaknow it, is closely associated with the Univer- feel that because they are a bigger university.” son, the campus environment is sity of Texas. The 437 acre public university Students are socialized through their per- volatile and can change quickly that is home to more than 51,832 students ception of their institution’s norms, includ- depending on who influences it, has become a national brand that is watched ing peer norms, and their participation in like the Young Conservatives of during major football games or seen in the practices and communal events, according Texas or preachers that come to campus.” workplace with over While 482,000 registered there is a alumnis. presence While widely of heavy known as the pripolitical vate university in disagree Austin, St. Edward’s ments that can often students have forinfluence or polarize mulated their own the student body rather thoughts and beliefs quickly, other students towards UT stufind that UT has the dents and culture, ability to polarize their just as UT students campus in a different have with St. Ed’s way. culture. “I think UT culture “I’ve always is very polar. For some, thought that St. Edit is chaotic and fastward’s lives kind of paced and for some it is comfortably in UT’s lonely and depressing. shadow at times,” St. Sometimes a combo of Edward’s junior Kasthe two,” Andrés Garsandra Rose MonMATTHEW SAN MARTIN / HILLTOP VIEWS cia, a UT sophomore, said. toya said. “We shouldn’t Other UT students really be compared to

seemed to agree with this sentiment. “I think the UT student body is so large that it is easy to feel isolated, but because of it we’re compelled to form small communities that make us feel at home with our identities,” UT sophomore Gabriela Garcia said. While each student respectively maneuvers their campus in their own way, that doesn’t stop UT students from formulating their own ideas about the Hilltop. “I haven’t heard much about St.Ed’s students, but I know a common belief is that

everyone who attends that school has money,” Garcia said.”I know that’s not the case because a lot of students rely on scholarships and student loans, but their cost of attendance is a lot higher than UT, so a lot of us tend to think that everyone who goes to St.Ed’s is rich,” she added. While others may form their own views about St. Edward’s, hilltoppers know how complex the campus culture is. “It seems like St. Ed’s is more wholesome,” Garcia said. “It’s also pretty stereotypically associated with indie kids, but from what I’ve experienced, it seems like St. Ed’s is a much more tightly knit whole.”

TECHNOLOGY PROVES BENEFICIAL TO SOME, HARMFUL TO OTHERS MADDIE SPENCER @maddielspencer It is no surprise that social media has become an integral part of our lives. Apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have given us easy ways to communicate and share information, but at what cost? “It’s hard to tell what the long term effects of social media will be because it’s been around for a relatively short period of time. It’s going to be interesting,” professor Emily Barton, an assistant professor of behavioral neurosci-

JUAN DIAZ / HILLTOP VIEWS ence at St. Edward’s, said. “Right now, we know that it’s become an ingrained habit. People need stimulation, which makes them feel like they have to repeatedly look at their screens,” Barton said. “In many cases, if people do not have access to their phones, they begin to feel disconnected. This can lead to people feeling anxious or depressed, which is the most concerning short term effect,” she added. Other short term effects can be observed in intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. Experts say that social media can negatively impact these relationships in ways we may not even realize. “On photo sharing apps like Instagram, people are trying to present the best version of themselves, which can lead to a lot of internal comparison and negativity towards the self,” Barton said. The idealization of romantic relationships on social me-

dia also poses challenges to users. “People will compare their own truths and reality to what they see online, which can definitely lead to conflict within the relationship itself,” Barton said. Though it’s difficult for some to keep the real world and digital world separate, others have found out how to maintain healthy relationships with social media. “I used to not see a point in social media,” Genevieve Stunkard, an avid Instagram user and student at St. Edwards said.“I almost had this angst against it because so many people use it to promote a fake self image. Now I post whatever I want and don’t care if people like it or not.” Though Stunkard doesn’t feel dependent on it now, she once had an internet addiction that left her feeling depressed and prevented her from having healthy social interactions with people. She now uses her Instagram account to promote her art. “Being through that really helped me create boundaries


for myself with the internet. I’m in a really healthy place with it now,” Stunkard said. “I think people need to find the balance between consuming content and sharing content they create” Do you feel like you have an unhealthy relationship with social media? Next time you’re scrolling, keep these tips by Washington University professor Tim Bono in mind: • • • •

Don’t open up your social media if you’re already in a negative state of mind. Keep track of how often you use it and how you feel right after you’re done. Don’t look for external gratification. Instead, replace it with things you can control like exercise, cooking, or spending time with friends. Realize that social media is not real life. Everyone is choosing exactly how to present their own story.


St. Edward’s student lounges with his phone by the soccer field.


MORE THAN PETS: COMPANIONS. by Juan Diaz / @jad7796 and Olivia Barrett / @oliviabarrettphotography

Junior Ally Ondarza and her dachshund Daisy go everywhere together, sometimes even class.

Dorothy waits outside for her Uber with her Pomeranian mixed-breed, Rigby.

“Lou is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” freshman Paige Barrett said.

A homeless man and his dog show true loyalty by being there for each other when they need it most.

Profile for Joey Hadden

Special Issue 2019 Relationships  

Special Issue 2019 Relationships