The DC, Volume 104, Issue 1, Winter 2022

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Volume 104, Issue 1 • A Publication of The Daily Campus Winter 2022

Ponies With a Purpose

Meet the student leaders changing SMU culture

First Up: Kennedy Coleman and Matthew Merritt, SMU’s Black Royalty

Page 2 STAFF Follow uS SupporT uS Co-Editors-in-Chief Soksan Teng Giovanna Scroggins Managing Editor Catie George Engagement Editor Jordyn Harrell News Editor Emma McRae Co-Sports Editors Kirk Ogunrinde Giovanna Scroggins Social Media Editor Brooke Betik Co-Arts & Life Editors Brey Sands Jordyn Harrell Podcast Editor Simone Melvin Contributors Milly Stephenson Charlie Grant Staff Photographer Mark Reese Contents 3 A NoTe From The ediTorS Your Top Three 4 News TexAS TribuNe Ceo oFFerS mASTerClASS oN mAkiNg JourNAliSm proFiTAble Brooke Betik pArkiNg, pleASe? Milly Stephenson gop domiNATeS midTermS Emma McRae 5 PersoNal essay porTrAiT oF A YouNg AlCoholiC oN CAmpuS Charlie Grant 6-7 arts & life ZAlAT’S 24Th loCATioN briNgS A piZZA FAN FAvoriTe To SNider plAZA Brey Sands big breAkS Giovanna Scroggins hookup 101 Simone Melvin STudeNT FilmmAkerS give “FreAkY FridAY” AN empATheTiC rebooT Soksan Teng & Catie George 8-10 Cover story 5 CAmpuS leAderS Fueled bY CommuNiTY: keNNedY ColemAN & mATThew merriTT Jordyn Harrell & Giovanna Scroggins rAleigh dewAN Soksan Teng ShArA JeYArAJAh Simone Melvin ISiS kAZAdi Giovanna Scroggins 11 sPorts plAYiNg iT ForwArd @smudailycampus @thedailycampus @thedailycampus @smudailycampus @smudailycampus5620 Join the SMU community and stay up to date using our socials, which help support the journalism division. We strive to work together in providing credible, trusted and timely news. Learn more at
Photo by Mark Reese


Note from the editors

Long time no see, readers! Welcome to this edition of The DC, a publication of The Daily Campus. It has been a long time coming. Four years ago, the last print edition of The Weekly Campus was issued but our commitment to cover ing campus never waned. We’ve always been and will continue to be online at We have been devel oping this issue for the last several months. In addition to news about parking, sports and the election, we picked five

students who we con sider Stand Out ‘Stangs around campus. You will also meet senior Charlie Grant who wrote about recovering from alco holism. Grant celebrated his six-month-sobriety benchmark this semes ter. He shares his sober journey to show others in similar situations they are not alone. We would like to thank our sponsors for making this print edition possible. We would also like to thank our journalism fac ulty advisors for helping us throughout this process.

Huge shout out to every one who contributed to this edition and The Daily Campus throughout the se mester: we appreciate you.

Don’t forget to lis ten to our podcasts, The PonyPod, The Fine Print with Simone Melvin and read about what’s happen ing on campus online at

Enjoy this edition we have curated for you and we’ll be back in the spring with our next issue of The DC.

Sincerely, Your Top Three

Page 3 O P E N 1 1 A M F R I , S A T , S U N B R U N C H AV AI L A B L E O N L I N E D E L I V E R Y AV A I L A B L E A T WW W O L I V E L L A S C O M SM U D I S C O U N T S M U ST U D E N T S R E C E I V E 1 5 % O F F W I T H V A L I D I D ( D I N E I N / C A R R Y O U T O N L Y )
Catie George Giovanna Scroggins Soksan Teng Photo by Mark Reese

texas tribune Ceo offers MasterClass on Making JournalisM Profitable

Evan Smith is the most Texan non-Texan you could find. Born and raised in the Northeast, the co-founder and CEO of The Texas Tribune is one of the biggest names in the nonprofit jour nalism industry, laying the roots for his work deep in the heart of his beloved adopted state.

While in graduate school at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 1987, Smith stum bled into reading Texas

Monthly, a magazine headquartered in Austin. Having never spent any time in Texas, Smith said he fell in love with the magazine and ended up working there 18 years.

“I became really interested in the the ory of Texas because at that point I hadn’t experienced the reality of Texas. It had this mythic quality to it,” he told The Daily Campus before delivering this year’s Sammons Lecture Oct. 5.

Smith’s dedication to the state is what led to his departure from Texas Monthly in pursuit of building the Texas

Tribune — a nonprof it, nonpartisan online newspaper and media organization headquar tered in Austin. Built in 2009 with the purpose of preserving democ racy via excellent local nonprofit journalism, the Tribune is now one of the most successful nonprofit news orga nizations in the world, touts countless awards and has the largest state house news bureau in the United States.

“I love this state enough to both stay and also be honest about the things that need to be better,” Smith said.

Parking, Please?

The Faculty Senate created a new committee in October to hear concerns from faculty members who said they are unable to park on campus due to a lack of assignments from parking services.

While the committee looks for answers for faculty, more needs to be done to improve student parking, SMU junior Sarah Kachelhofer said.

“Students are constantly overlooked when it comes to parking at SMU,” she said. “Faculty does not need more parking.”

Parking services imple

mented a new policy this fall designating East campus lots for overflow parking, but many students find it unsafe.

Concerns heightened when a female student was unlaw fully restrained after accept ing a ride to campus from SMU Boulevard. SMU Police have arrested an unidentified man in connection with that case, officials said.

The incident only shows the danger of not making parking affordable and safe, Kachelhofer said.

“I shouldn’t have to walk across the highway just to get to class, especially when there are parking spots that are only unavailable because I’m a commuter,” she said.

This mission state ment has carried the Tribune’s success. Its signature annual event, TribFest, features poli ticians from all areas of the political spectrum including Beto O’Ro urke, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Pete Buttigieg and Liz Cheney.

“Journalism is about searching for the truth and telling people what we find,” Smith said. “That sometimes means having hard conversations with people in the state who, like me, love it, but need to hear the things that need to be better.”

The Tribune’s innova tive model has inspired similar nonprofit local news publications to pop up in 25 states.

“There has never been a more important time

for journalism to step up and do its job than right now,” Smith said. “Our democracy is at risk, and I believe journalism is how we make it better.”

goP DoMinates MiDterMs

Texas politics held tra dition during the midterms on Nov. 8, with Republicans sweeping statewide offices for the 14th consecutive election.

Democrats fared well in urban areas and South Texas, but wide margins of losses up and down the ballot di minished any lingering hopes of turning the state purple.

“Tonight, Texans sent a message that they want to keep the Lone Star State the beacon of opportunity that we provided over the past eight years,” Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted on election night.

Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke ran a prom ising campaign that proved to be one of Abbott’s most competitive. Despite out raising Abbott and visiting each county in Texas, O’Ro urke fell short by 11-per centage points.

“I don’t know what my role or yours will be going forward, but I’m in this fight for life,” O’Rourke said in his concession speech.

This year, both parties struggled to motivate vot ers. Out of the state’s 17.7 million registered voters, only 45% cast their vote in the election.

Meanwhile, Texas law makers have already started

filing bills ahead of the 2023 session.

Many bills surrounding LGBTQ rights were filed to address gender-affirming health care. One bill, filed by Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) seeks to crim inalize gender-affirming health care by barring health care officials from providing various procedures.

Lawmakers have also filed bills intended to prevent the power grid from failing again, like one directing regulators to require backup power generators and devel op an alert system for boil water notices.

The 2023 legislative ses sion begins in January.

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Photo courtesy of @evansmith on Twitter CEO and co-founder of the Texas Tribune Evan Smith talks with Hillary Clinton at the 2022 Tex as Tribune Festival.

Portrait of a Young alCoholiC on Ca

When you first get sober, it’s all-consuming. It overwhelms every fiber of your being: mind, body and soul. You go to bed angry at yourself for letting it get out of control and wake up wishing you could turn back the clock and do things differently. You lie to yourself and say that you weren’t really that bad. I’m here to tell you that all of that is okay. All of that is normal.

proud to admit that remaining sober in those moments was more difficult than at any other point in the last six months. As it turns out, everybody who has gotten sober has thought the same thing, and everybody who has given in to the urge says the same thing: it’s not worth it.

I heard someone explain that whenever you’re in an AA meeting (or doing another positive sober

In those moments, you must re member that getting sober is the big gest thing in your life. Getting sober is kind of like joining Fight Club. The first rule is to be sober, and the second rule is to be sober. Nothing else mat ters. But there will come a time after you have gotten sober that you must begin to live sober. To live sober, you recognize that everyone experiences adversity, and yours is nothing more than an interesting fact. That’s what I am doing right now.

As you progress through recovery, you come to terms with everything that went wrong and recognize that addiction is a disease. Everyday life becomes easier. That marks the transi tion into living sober and, with it, a new challenge.

After taking a hiatus from alcohol, I began to think that I was “cured” and that I could maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol. I forgot that I am powerless to alcohol despite knowing it was true. I am not too

I thought that was genius. No matter how long you’re sober, how many meetings you go to, you will never be cured of your addiction. Rather than trying to fight this truth, accept it.

You must also recog nize that to live sober, you must truly live sober. Regardless of what people say about triggering environments, you can’t live a life without ever be ing near alcohol again. That’s just not feasible. Although being in a bar may not be easy at first, it will get easier over time. But you don’t have to force yourself to watch people play beer pong in a garage if you don’t want to.

Although I believe once you become powerless to alcohol you remain powerless forever, I also do not deal in absolutes. I am 22 years old and may never drink again. I may live for 70 more years without ever consuming another alcoholic bever age. But one day I may drink again. I don’t know. It’s not about one day 30 years from now. It’s about today. It’s about now. You can let the thought of never being able to drink again drive you crazy, or you can say, “One day, I might be able to do that,” and just move on. I don’t know if I will drink ever again, but I do know that I am not going to drink today, and that’s what matters. – Charlie Grant

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ZaLat’s 24th Location Brings A Pizza

Fan Favorite to Snider Plaza Big Breaks

From late-night study sessions in Fondren to a post going-out snack, SMU stu dents like junior Hailey Johns, can attest that ZaLat Pizza has been an essential part of the college experience.

“I have countless memories of ending my freshman-year nights with ZaLat,” Johns said. “A lot of friendships have been forged over their pizza.”

ZaLat Pizza created a buzz in the Dallas food community after first opening its doors on Fitzhugh Avenue in 2015. The location saw immediate success and CEO Khanh Nguyen was hungry for a bigger slice of the Dallas food scene.

“The Fitzhugh location became a beast, right out of that tiny little shop,” Nguyen said. “We were handling so much business, that location was the number one busiest solo restau rant location on Uber Eats in the entire world.”

That claim might sound a bit over the top, but that’s Nguy en’s personality—big and even bigger plans for ZaLat. With increasing volume and business demands, he began opening lo cations across DFW and Hous ton. Seven years after its debut, ZaLat has opened its 24th store in Snider Plaza, just walking distance from the SMU campus.

The early success of the Snid er Plaza location is due to ZaLat Pizza’s unique business model, which operates on making spe cialty pizzas such as the “Load ed Notato” or the “Pho Shizzle” into the wee hours of the night.

Whether you are a first-year still grasping the ropes of col lege life or a veteran senior like Audrey Penn, craving a ZaLat pizza is a universal experience for many SMU students.

of the company’s success and growth, she said.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

“At SMU I have experienced a lot of late nights studying or enjoying my college years; through it all, ZaLat Pizza has always been there for me and my friends at the end of the night,” Penn said.

ZaLat fanatics are not only the most loyal custom ers, but they are also honest when the quality is not up to the brand’s high standards of promising fresh pizza made with the best ingredients, said Tricia Sims, vice president of research and development and marketing support.

“Our customers are not afraid to call us out,” Sims said.

This established relationship between ZaLat’s customers, and the brand is a large component

Johns agreed that ZaLat has done an exceptional job of catering specifically to the needs of SMU students, due to its speedy delivery process and closing time of 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

“ZaLat is an SMU staple, I have shared many laughs, funny stories and night recaps over ZaLat,” Johns said.

ZaLat Pizza 6935 Hillcrest Ave (469) 280-0420

All about the nightlife, Cabo offers spring breakers days and nights to remember. Locat ed at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, Cabo is a fairly easy destination to get to and from most major U.S. airports. If you’re looking to relax, Cabo also serves as a great spa and wellness destination.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The ultimate resort vacation describes this Dominican Republic destination. Approximate ly four hours by air from Dallas, you and your friends can enjoy all-inclusive resorts and a 21-mile-long shoreline that features pure white sand. For those not inclined to water, you can skydive or zipline.

Best of the Best - Maldives

Ten hours of straight sunshine defines para dise, and the closest destination to paradise is the Maldives. Plunge into the world of luxury and relaxation as this destination lets you enjoy the water bungalows and features an undersea restau rant located five meters below sea level. Found in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives consists of 1,192 different islands. Best believe you can find top snorkeling, scuba diving and surfing.

On the Sea - Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean Group opened its new cruise terminal Nov. 9 in the port of Galveston, Texas. The Allure of the Seas is a 222,000-ton vessel that is a part of Royal Caribbean Oasis class, making it one of the world’s largest cruise ships. The regular itinerary includes stops in Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatán. The ship accommodates up to 5,400 guests.


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ArTS & lIFe
Photo by Mohamed Thasneem Maldives consists of almost 1,200 islands. Brey Photo by Brey Sands
“I have countless memories of ending my freshmanyear nights with ZaLat. Friendships have been forged over their pizza.”
Find more Arts & Life at:
– Hailey Johns

Hookup 101

Ali Drucker’s new book, “Do As I Say, Not Who I Did,” is not sub tle, delicate or laced in metaphor –and it’s ex actly the sex education college students need.

The aptly named title sets the tone for the playfully instructional guide to hookups and relationships in college, specifically as they relate to those identify ing as female. Drucker writes the book with her candid personal experi ences, aided by experts and college students.

Drucker consistently identifies myths and harmful beliefs about sex often held by young women with non-judgmental humor: “[I]nstead of throw ing off the twin ex tra-long sheets and storming out of his dorm, I stayed and listened to him explain why his lack of an erection was my fault.”

Perhaps one of the book’s most sobering and unquestionably ed ucational aspects is the research Drucker cites. “As many as 21 percent of women experience sexual pain during intercourse, and yet something that hurts 1 out of 5 women is still considered to be the default form of straight sex,” Drucker writes.

Student Filmmakers Give “Freaky Friday” an Empathetic Reboot

When the issue of obtaining citizenship and balancing out a relationship arises, Chance and Naomi are caught off-guard from a quick-witted body swap. Naomi understands what it means to exist in the suburbs as an immigrant in a non-conformative society. Meanwhile, Chance finds himself struggling to come out to his family about his sexuality.

“I Want a Body of My Own” is a family drama and coming-of-age comedy student film that seeks to embrace an individual’s most authentic self.

Piper Peña Hadley, director and writer of “I Want a Body of My Own,” spoke with The Dai ly Campus about what she learned while making the film.

DC: What is “I Want a Body of My Own” about?

Hadley: I like to call it a dramatic “Freaky Friday.” Essentially, it’s about these two people who swap bodies with one another. With the two main characters living as each other, they learn to deal with each other’s individual issues and get a sense of radical empathy – what it’s like to see

through someone else’s eyes and walk in some one else’s shoes.

DC: What separates the two characters from each other? Do they have different ends in life?

Hadley: They are super different. Our two main characters are Chance and Naomi. Chance grieves the loss of his sister, and in the meantime, he’s trying to come out to his family and let them know that he’s in a great relationship. As for Naomi, she’s seeking citizenship and found out that she failed the first attempt at it. Her sister and Chance’s sister used to be friends, so that’s how they’re connected.

DC: How long has “I Want a Body of My Own” been in the works?

Hadley: I started writing the script in August 2020 and I submitted it to the SMU Summer feature program in May 2021. We pitched the film again and got another director to get our film selected by the committee. We started filming right after school finished in May 2022. Earlier this year, we filmed for about 25 days to tal. We ended up finishing filming in early June and we have been in post-production ever since. We are hoping for an April/May 2023 premiere for SMU friends and family.

The book doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it recognizes the salience of its subject matter with urgency and insistence. When addressing consent, for example, she writes: “It’s a little ironic that the most important word when it comes to healthy sex is the least sexy-sounding, like you’re begrudgingly signing your rights away to have some unpleasant medical procedure performed.”

The anecdotes from real college students promote addition al legitimacy to the book’s merit, spe cifically relating to sections that Drucker has limited personal experience with (such as LGBTQ+ dating).

Crucially, Drucker’s book is as she adver tises and more. It’s compelling, funny and unflinchingly educa tional while delivering a stream of uncondi tional compassion for the reader.

You can hear Simone Melvin’s interview with Ali Drucker on “The Fine Print” podcast at

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Photo by Nathaniel Ntuk Chance (Matt Matsil) on set. Photo credit: The Experiment.

5 CaMPus leaDers fueleD bY CoMMunitY a roYal first Kennedy Coleman

The homecoming candidates waited for their cue to walk onto the field Oct. 22 at the start of halftime during the SMU Homecoming game against Cincinnati.

Kennedy Coleman and Matthew Merritt, the Homecoming Royal ty candidates for the Association of Black Students (ABS), stood together on the field with the other candidates anticipating the results.

“As we were stand ing there, I just knew that they were going to say my name first if we won. You know, just al

layed response when the results were announced.

Coleman and Merritt won first runner-up for Homecoming Royalty and made SMU history. This was the highest ranking that any Black student has finished in homecoming.

“I was very proud that we were even rec ognized and acknowl edged on a platform like that,” Coleman said. “We couldn’t have won if just ABS had voted for us. There was just no way. I think it showed us that some people at SMU really do support us and see us

Although Merritt wanted to win first place, he says that he and Coleman being ac knowledged as first-run ner up was something

“Them calling our names and recognizing us at halftime for being

first runner-up was a really big statement for us as an organization and for us, as individ uals on this campus, because we put in a lot of work,” Merritt said. “I say Kennedy is probably the hardest working, servant leader we have in our class, and just to see her be recognized on stage... she made history.”

Coleman and Merritt joked they spent just

matthew merritt

as much time planning what to wear to the game as they did taking part in homecoming tra ditions. But they were serious about represent ing ABS. These two ABS senior advisors have contributed much to the SMU community during their four years on campus.

Coleman and Merritt are involved and hold leadership positions in many on-campus orga nizations. Coleman, an English and political science major, is the Student Senate schol arship committee chair and secretary for Delta Sigma Theta Sorori

ty, Inc. Merritt, a music education major, is president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and director of educational activities for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

When the pair first came in 2019 to SMU, they knew they want ed to be involved in the Black community. SMU is a predomi nantly white campus and the culture was different from Cole man and Merritt’s high schools, which were predominantly Black and Hispanic.

“The culture at my high school and the culture at SMU are just noncomparable, so I wanted to find my people, in a sense, here on campus,” Merritt said. “I think I did that through getting in volved in the different organizations that we have on campus and the other organizations I’m involved in.”

Coleman knew that having a sense of community would help her adjust to the new setting.

the alPha Male

“When I came to SMU, it’s just a huge culture shock,” Coleman said. “So, having that sense of community, I felt like it would encour age me to keep going, or if there were issues or trouble, I’ll be able to turn to that community.”

ABS was one of the organizations that provided a sense of community for Cole man and Merritt. As they became leaders in ABS and other organi zations, they wanted to cultivate an environ ment that made every one feel welcome.

“I think one of the things that we tried to ensure was that people could come there and feel comfortable no matter who you are be cause although we’re all Black students, we’re all different,”

Page 8 Cover STorY
“I think one of the things that we tried to ensure was that people could come there and feel comfortable no matter who you are because although we’re all Black students, we’re all different. We all have different interests and values, so we wanted to cultivate a space and make it inclusive for everybody that came.”
– Matthew Merritt

said. “We all have different interests and values, so we wanted to cultivate a space and make it inclusive for everybody that came.”

Coleman said there is now a noticeable growth in both attendance and commu nity engagement.

“This year, we are hitting record-breaking numbers as far as attendance for events,” Coleman said. “The fish fry went so crazy. There were more alumni involved, students of all races came, and even parents of all races came. This was probably the most diverse fish fry we had with the most people we had.”

students, especially because my sophomore year, we were really heavy in the Black@ SMU stuff,” she said. “It was like all the conversation around Black people was always focused on tragedy, so as program coordinator [of ABS], I wanted us to have moments of celebration within that.”

Merritt wanted to use events to create a sense of belonging and community.

“I feel like my goal was to just have a lot of events where we could genuinely meet as a community and have fun, and not have to focus on the fact that we are underrepresented students on

“When I came to SMU, it’s just a huge culture shock. So, having that sense of community, I felt like it would encourage me to keep going, or if there were issues or trouble, I’ll be able to turn to that community.”

The Black Excellence Ball hosted in February 2022 was Coleman’s favorite.

“[It] was a really impact ful event,” she said. “I think it really showed all of our hard work has come into fruition. The whole year we were working on celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. The Black Excellence Ball is basically the staple of just celebrating Black excellence in the community.”

Coleman would like for future Black SMU students to continue to have a sense of pride.

“It speaks for itself if we come back and students are proud of who they are and they’re proud to be on cam pus,” Coleman said. “I hope that whoever continues to be leaders after us is also com fortable and proud enough to be like ,‘I can speak up for myself and I can advocate for our community like you guys did five to 10 years ago.’”

raleigh dewan

entrePreneur extrorDinaire

Both are proud of the growth in participation with ABS. Coleman said that this success is because of hard work and consistency.

“I honestly say we really moved a lot of dirt,” Cole man said. “Like we definitely moved a lot of dirt and plant ed the seeds. Now, we get to really see all of our work just sprout. There’s so much joy now and there’s so much pride in being a Black student at SMU.”

Good leadership helps foster a sense of community for other students. Coleman and Merritt stepped into their leadership roles with clear goals.

“My main goal was to have fun events for the

a predominantly white cam pus,” he said.

The ABS Fashion show and the NPHC Forum, an event that educates the community on the NPHC Divine Nine Greek organi zations, were among Mer ritt’s favorite events. He is especially proud of the growth in attendance for the MHPC Forum.

“This year, we had 30 to 35 [non-Greek] people compared to last year’s 10,” Merritt said. “We had to move to a larger space…I think the growth from last year to this year shows how much we’ve matured as people and how much our organization has grown as a presence on campus.”

Merritt hopes that ABS will continue to serve as an outlet, a space to congregate and have fun, for Black stu dents alongside advocacy.

“I think it’s easy to forget that we are still students at the end of the day,” Merritt said. “Our sole responsibility is not to change the culture of the campus but it’s to be students–to have a good time. I want them to realize that the weight of the world isn’t on their shoulders.”

Raleigh Dewan, a senior in marketing and creative writing, noticed his grandmother with Parkinson’s dis ease struggling to feed herself. That’s when he started developing the Steady Spoon, a self-stabilizing eating device for people with Parkinson’s and other diseases with hand tremors.

“I noticed that my grandmother was too embar rassed to eat with others,” Dewan said. “That’s when I knew I could do something to help.”

Steady Spoon performed at a 95% efficacy rate where it allowed users to feel accomplished when overcoming the struggles of feeding themselves, De wan said.

With proceeds donated to various Parkinson’s foundations across Oklahoma and Dallas, Dewan plans to partner with more charities and give back to the community.

Dewan also gives back to SMU as a residential assistant and teacher’s assistant in ESL classes. Off campus, Dewan focuses on growing the two compa nies he started, Steady Spoon and Sister Shaq Tea.

While Steady Spoon was inspired by family, Sister Shaq was inspired by a friend who was kidnapped and trafficked during her sophomore year in high school.

“It just rocked my world view,” he recalls in a video posted on the company’s website. “Up until then I’d only understood human trafficking as what I saw on ‘Law and Order SVU.’”

Dewan knew that he had to do more than listen. He started Sister Shaq Tea, a business that took off in 2021, his junior year in college.

The company is socially conscious and helps fight human trafficking with its products. Every bag has its own QR code that customers can scan and see what a partner organization does to fight trafficking in their community.

“Everyone may not be able to donate money but supporting them through tea drank on a daily basis.”

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Photo courtesy of Raleigh Dewan – Jordyn Harrell and Giovanna Scroggins Photos by Mark Reese Read more about campus leaders at:


JeyaraJah auDio aD

Racial justice work forced Shara Jeyarajah to take a break from school in 2021. A year later, the senior human rights major is back to finish what she started with her self-pro duced “Maladjusted” podcast.

Jeyarajah created “Maladjusted” to encourage people to formulate their own opinions and organize for anti-racism reformation at SMU. The audio project documents and investigates the past, present and future of SMU through a racial justice lens.

as using the institution’s resources and actively redistributing them,” Jeyarajah said.

She began interviews in 2020, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, featuring guests such as SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Jerry LeVias, the first Black football player at the university and scholarship recipient in the South west Conference.

ISiS Kazadi

“I feel lucky that I got to record all this information during this fever-pitch time when everyone was interested in talking about race,” Jeyarajah said. “But now we’re here and people are a lot more passive. Engagement with my podcast has been lower than it was in 2021. It no longer has the same social currency.”

Jeyarajah took a year-long break after facing mental health challenges that were compounded, in part, from the strain of pouring time into human rights work. She returned this fall prioritizing her health, but her sights have stayed set on continuing “Maladjusted”.

Her mentor, SMU professor Dr. Brad Klein, told her that people may be feeling a sense of fatigue after experiencing the magnitude of the BLM Movement. He said “Maladjusted” will be useful for future movements sparked by racial injustice.

“People are going to be able to find this resource,” Jeyarajah said.

Jeyarajah intends for the podcast to function as a documented histo ry of how racial justice movements occur at SMU, holding the university accountable for how movements have been ignored in the past.

She plans on sustaining the pod cast through her internship at Dallas Truth, Racial Healing and Trans formation, a non-profit dedicated to creating radical inclusivity.

Her next steps include working on a symposium for North Texas institu tions and developing a forum to talk about racial justice initiatives that started in 2020, gauging their level of progress and success.

“I don’t know if I can give a de finitive answer about whether it’s the right choice to come back,” Jeyara jah said. “But one thing I know for sure is that the podcast’s legacy is going to continue.”

Chief eMPathY offiCer

The easing of hostile or strained relations is the definition and the mission of Détente, the French-named, non-profit organization in Dallas that helps the homeless, supports domestic-abuse survivors and partners with elementary schools. Human connection is at the forefront of one Détente board member’s mind.

Isis Kazadi, 21, a junior studying political science and human rights at SMU, serves as the women’s initiative chair on Détente’s board and one of her priorities is to make sure people in the greater Dallas community have a chance to live with dignity.

“We are not just trying to do things to put them on a piece of paper … we really want to get at the heart of these communities,” Kazadi said.

While helping the homelessness initiative, Kazadi recounts a mo ment where she was handing out food and toiletries when a woman approached her.

“She was like, ‘I really appreciate this blessing bag but next time can you throw in some condoms?’ ” Kazadi said.

The woman then explained that she did not need them for her and her husband, but instead she needed them to make some extra cash.

“That broke my heart in the moment,” Kazadi said.

In addition to Kazadi’s work with the non-profit organization, she is also a member of Chi Omega sorority and was elected as a panhel lenic delegate to represent her sorority. She is also a resident assistant at Peyton Commons where she strives for residents to feel safe.

“I kind of hate the term ‘safe space,’ I’m not gonna lie,” Kazadi said.

She’d rather have residents living within her commons to feel empowered through making sure students feel comfortable enough to watch a movie on the couch and not feel animosity from other students due to racial or gender differences.

After graduating, Kazadi hopes to see people feeling like they belong in SMU classrooms and around SMU’s campus. She is already starting to see changes in the campus culture, but even after she graduates she wants to make sure she is leaving her mark and legacy on campus that focuses on Black students having a voice.

“It’s a little abstract, but I would love to see a bunch of opinionated Black girls talking really loud in class,” Kazadi said. “That would make me be like, ‘Yes, I left my mark.’”

Kazadi is a leader wherever she goes and leaves the SMU community with one piece of advice:

“If world changers are shaped here … let’s get movin’,” she said.

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Cover STor
– Simone Melvin Photo by Mark Reese Photo by Mark Reese

PlaYing it forwarD

For Zhuric Phelps, development has al ways been a priority.

In his junior year of high school, he averaged 7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals from the bench for a Duncanville team that finished 29-5 and had reached the state semi finals before the tourna ment was cancelled due to COVID-19.

By his senior year, as starting point guard, those numbers had more than doubled, as

he finished the season averaging 15.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.1 steals in a sea son where he led Dun canville to the Texas 6A State Championship.

“Taking an advanced role during my second year at Duncanville significantly helped my development,” he said.

“It was rough at the start, but I learned a lot from the coach and my teammates and began developing my game.”

Entering the second year of his college career, Phelps’s pros pects point towards a similar trend.

And despite all the accolades he has garnered, to Phelps, the most important thing is what he calls his “inner circle” – his family, friends and coaches.

“My circle has helped me prepare for this level I find my self in today,” he said. “These individuals have gotten me to the right places and now I have to work on myself to repay their support.”

Even Phelps’s deci sion to stay in Dallas was based on his strong attachment to his fam ily. During his senior year, his brother Evan Phelps sustained an injury, prompting him to remain in Dallas to support him in recovery.

“Getting an offer from SMU was a big thing for me after Ev an’s injury,” he said. “I just wanted to be close to him and help him through the healing process. Now seeing him prepare himself mentally and physical ly for the new season is a great sight to see.”

Looking to the on coming season, Phelps is sure that both he and his team are heading towards the right direc tion under the tutelage of the new head coach, Rob Lanier.

“This coach is dif ferent,” he said. “Not a lot of people can say they have trusted a coach from the start, but everyone in that locker room has com plete faith in Coach Lanier. We’re going to be just fine.”

fall 2022 the gooD, the baD anD the ProMising


OUTLOOK: The 2022 season marked the beginning of the Rhett Lashlee era at SMU. Despite start ing strong and winning the first two games of the season, they’ll finish the season coming off a 59-24 loss on the road to Tulane.

STANDOUTS: Wide receiver Rashee Rice, quarterback Tanner Mordecai

LOOKING FORWARD: The Mustangs announced a new homeand-home series with the Univer sity of Oklahoma that would begin in 2023.


OUTLOOK: Sam Erger began her first full season with SMU volley ball this fall after an extended stint as an assistant coach at Baylor. With 20 wins in 28 games, includ ing nine shutouts this season, SMU volleyball is looking like a strong contender for the NCAA tourna ment this season.

STANDOUTS: Players Marieke van der Mark, Celia Cullen, Lon don Austin-Roark

LOOKING FORWARD: The team is 14-3 in conference play and has a chance to make the NCAA tournament after its game against No. 23 ranked Houston.

MEn’s sOccEr

OUTLOOK: The 2022 team made their return to the NCAA top 20 after dropping out last season. Despite welcoming 15 new players this fall, the team finished second in the AAC and secured the No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament.

STANDOUTS: Midfielder Knut Ahlander, forward Fredrik Skilberg

LOOKING FORWARD: This season marked the first year at the newly constructed Washburne Soccer and Track Stadium and the Mustangs are yet to lose at home. The Mustangs have secured the No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament.

WOMEn’s sOccEr

OUTLOOK: The team continued their solid season performances un der head coach Nicole Nelson this year. The team finished the season with a 10-4 overall record, but lost in the AAC tournament final and missed a NCAA tournament bid.

STANDOUTS: Midfielder Courtney Sebazco, forward Julissa Cisneros


OUTLOOK: For the first time in the program’s history, SMU Eques trian checked in at No. 1 in the Na tional Collegiate Equestrian Asso ciation team rankings this season. The Mustangs defeated top-ranked Oklahoma State in their first meet of the season.

STANDOUTS: Elli Yeager and Mallory Vroegh

LOOKING FORWARD: The team will try to defend its No. 1 ranking this season.

Page 11
Photo by Mark Reese Star point guard Zhuric Phelps of Duncanville, ranked No. 9 in Texas, credits his circle of family, friends and coaches. Photo by Keagan Phillips
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