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Holiday e d i u g t if


Holly jolly Houston

Staff Council organizes drive to support local charities

The gift of gigabytes Cougar Byte offers tech toys

2 • Thursday, November 15, 2012


Editor’s Note


s a student from Michigan, I was excited when I was assigned as the editor for this section. The holidays back home are all about spending time with family, sipping hot chocolate and having fun in the snow. I wanted students to think of UH as a place where the holidays come to life. Inside, you’ll Channler find acts of giving on campus by the UH Staff Hill Council, upcoming desserts projects to be sold by Barron’s, and incredible deals for all the technology gifts on your list at Cougar Byte. This Holiday Gift Guide was designed to get you in the holiday spirit.

Giftguide Advertising supplement to The Daily Cougar SECTION EDITOR Channler Hill COPY EDITORS Aryan Baktash, Ahlam Gani, Max Gardner, Samantha Wong CONTRIBUTORS Ellen Goodacre, Julie Heffler,

Student organizations prepare holiday events Ellen Goodacre HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Winter Wonderland will return with new attractions for students, including a whopping 120,000 pounds of synthetic snow and free hot chocolate and funnel cakes, showcasing UH’s holiday spirit. Hosted by Student Program Board, the fourth annual event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m Nov. 28 in front of Moody Towers. It will offer even more for students than last year’s according to SPB president Jessica Grono. “Something new that we’ll be doing that we haven’t done in the past is Council of Ethnic

Organizations is collaborating with us to do a Photo Snow Blow, where you can go inside and take pictures,” Grono said. “We’ll also have two inflatable (bounce slides) for competition racing and a gingerbread house competition.” In the past, 5,000 to 10,000 students have come to Winter Wonderland, Grono said. “As the Student Program Board, it’s our job to entertain students, and that’s why we do it,” Grono said. “It’s one of the most talked about events on campus. People just get excited about it. There’s just something about the snow.” Other student organizations will also host events to bring the

holidays to campus. Coog Radio DJs will record holiday-themed shows, which will play during the winter break, along with holiday music, said sports director Rashad Eaglin. CEO hosted Pumpkin a La Carte on Tuesday to teach students how to make miniature pumpkin pies in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday. “Our organization is all about appreciating diversity and promoting diversity,” said Armand Viscarri, CEO marketing director. “For us, it’s important just to appreciate how every group celebrates the holidays differently and appreciating the diversity.”more storage in it and better applications,” Cartagena said.

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Giving back in a time of great need Staff Council organizes Sock and Blanket Drive to donate clothing to Star Of Hope Mission Amanda Hilow HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE As the holidays draw closer, students, faculty and staff are counting their blessings and seeking ways to give back to the community. Staff Council provided that outlet for students at UH and at the UH-Northwest campus. The Staff Council Sock and Blanket Drive set up collection sites at more than 20 locations across campus where individuals can donate items such as

new blankets, socks, underwear, towels and warm clothing to multiple charity organizations. “This year, local charities have been stretched thin and are in great need of donations,” said UH System Staff Council representative Bill Ashley in a press release. “The Sock and Blanket Drive provides a prime opportunity for the UH community to clean out closets while assisting those in need.” This year’s drive benefitted the Star of Hope Mission, which requested gently-used household items to be donated, and the Harris County Protective Guardianship Program asked for items in new condition to be

donated for holiday presents, according to Ashley. “The Star of Hope Mission has been serving Houston’s homeless since 1907. Approximately one-third of the people they serve are children,” Ashley said. “The Harris County Protective Service Guardianship Program serves as legal guardians for 1,300 adults, ranging in age from 18 to 105. Some clients are mentally retarded; others are severely mentally ill.” Program manager B. Renae Milton recalled successful charity experiences throughout the lifetime of the drive. “This heartwarming event began over ten years ago in an

effort to assist the Houston community,” Milton said in a statement. “In past years, recommendations and requests have also been submitted to assist different staff member’s families who have had traumatic incidents occur, such as their homes being destroyed by fire and flooding.” Milton said the blanket drive has also donated to charities such as Pierce Elevated, an organization collecting blankets and non-perishable food items for people residing in the short, elevated section of Interstate 45 in downtown Houston. The Staff Council is always improving and gaining support for its mission, Milton said. “We anticipate the continued

Rowena Castro, a member of Staff Council, sorts through donations from last year’s sock and blanket drive. | Courtesy of UH Staff Council

effort of staff to support the drive in future years,” Milton said. “The response Staff Council receives annually to help benefit the Sock and Blanket Drive is immeasurable.”

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Warmest Holiday Wishes

From our Cougar family to yours. —President Renu Khator and all UH Faculty and Staff

4 • Thursday, November 15, 2012


Q: How will you do your holiday shopping this season? I usually try to do it in secret like I will just kind of prod around and see what my friends and family would like and then I’ll go when I can, and I just go and try to buy it — make sure it’s a surprise so they don’t know that I’m doing it for them because I think it’s better that way.


Pretty much like last-minute or with the family, wherever they’re going. - Hassan Alsalman, biochemistry sophomore



— Chardonae Givens, biology freshman



I just go to the Galleria and then I figure it out from there. - Rebecca Nguyen, finance and biology sophomore

Black Friday, that’s about it. I don’t really buy gifts for people because I don’t really celebrate Christmas like that. I’m usually never even in town for Christmas, so my holiday shopping is buying stuff on vacation.

— Kevin Masoudi, biology junior I really don’t shop for the holidays. I’ll go to Target or something, but I won’t wait till the last-minute. I’ll go like two weeks before the break is over. — Deborah Hernandez, UScholar sophomore


Most of it online probably — the malls are just too crowded — it’s just so easy. It comes right to you, and sometimes they wrap it for you too, which is great. But also, my mom does a lot of the shopping for the family and just puts all of our names on it.


— Kellie Smith, nonfiction creative writing sophomore

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The way you think This year’s celebrations won’t be like last year and won’t be perfect. On the other hand, they could be better! Your family has changed, perhaps you’ve added or lost loved ones. Be ready to change rituals. Last year’s fights don’t need to continue. Planning ahead Watch your holiday spending. “Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts,” notes the Mayo Clinic. Make time for yourself and even some time alone. Careful with the alcohol and overeating. Reach out Use social events in the community, volunteer or connect to a religious organization. Talk to your doctor or see a counselor if you need one. Just a few changes in the way you think about the holidays and plan for them make a big difference.

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6 • Thursday, November 15, 2012


David Haydon/Holiday Gift Guide

How well do you know the holidays? Take a look at the history and traditions of the holidays celebrated at this time every year HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE STAFF

Christmas, Dec. 25

Thanksgiving, Nov. 22

Hanukkah, Dec. 8-16

Kwanzaa, Dec. 26 - Jan. 1

Diwali, Nov. 13

The first record of a December Christian holiday marking the birth of Jesus Christ dates back to A.D. 354, and the roots of many common Christmas traditions can be found in pre-Christianity festivals centered around the winter solstice. Although it could be considered a Christian holiday, Christmas is celebrated by many people who do not identify as such. Common modern Christmas traditions include singing Christmas carols, giving gifts, putting up Christmas trees and decorating with strings of lights. Traditional meals vary across cultures, but generally families share a large meal around Christmas.

Thanksgiving is generally celebrated in the U.S. and Canada, although the name has roots in European Puritanism, where events seen as special blessings from God were celebrated as days of Thanksgiving. The modern Thanksgiving, especially in the U.S., is generally thought to be tied to giving thanks for a good harvest, a tradition brought to the new world by Puritan colonists. Although there are several theories on when the first Thanksgiving celebration took place, it dates back to sometime in the early 17th century. Thanksgiving in North America is commonly celebrated with a feast shared by a large group of extended family and friends.

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C. It is celebrated through eight days, and on each day, a candle on the Menorah is lit. On the first day, three blessings are said over the lit candle, and two are said on subsequent days. Families often exchange small gifts on each day, and fried foods are traditionally eaten to recognize the importance of oil. Many families play a game with a four-sided top called a dreidel, risking treats or coins on spins of the top.

Maulana Karenga invented Kwanzaa in 1966 as an alternative to Christmas in which African-American culture could be celebrated. Now most commonly celebrated in the U.S. and Canada, Kwanzaa is often observed alongside Christmas, not instead of it, although mixing symbols from the two holidays is discouraged. The observance of Kwanzaa may include music, libations from a community cup, the lighting of one of the seven candles on the Kinara, gift exchanges and feasting.

Diwali, also called the festival of lights, is a multi-day Hindu festival, celebrating the end of the harvest season and the new financial year. It also symbolizes the victory of inner light over darkness. To celebrate Diwali, families clean their house and light clay oil lamps to make Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, feel welcome. They also set off fireworks to drive away evil. Sweets, dried fruits and other vegetarian foods are usually shared among those who celebrate it. Although it was originally a Hindu holiday, it is commonly celebrated today by Indian people of all beliefs.

Advertising Supplement

Thursday, November 15, 2012 • 7

Cougar Byte brags on its low prices Christopher Shelton HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE For students in search of the latest gadgets and gizmos at an affordable price, Cougar Byte is a one-stop shop. Cougar Byte offers options for students with a budget looking for Christmas gifts because of the low prices, said Fabian Buentello, store employee and computer engineering technology sophomore. “Even though it’s a business, we don’t treat it as a business where it’s all about sales,� Buentello said. “We’re not about meeting a mark at the end of the month.� “When customers come in we just make sure they leave happy. That’s definitely the model that my manager has.� The store offers a variety of products from electronics to furnishings for residential areas and large appliances, like refrigerators. Cougar Byte manager Patrick Grizzaffi said the store is a good place to shop for the holidays because it’s convenient and affordable. “The prices are one thing.

It’s on campus. It’s easy. A lot of students can’t just run around everywhere,� Grizzaffi said. “If we don’t have it, we can always order it ... Plus if it’s a parent shopping for a student, they can always ask for advice.� Some faculty, staff and students shop at Cougar Byte for the software prices. It sells Microsoft Office Pro Plus and Microsoft Office 2011 for Macs at $14 each. Both include Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Outlook. For people who enjoy graphic design, Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design Standard, which is $249 at Cougar Byte, is a good gift. On Adobe’s website, the Design Standard for students and teachers is $349. Mechanical engineering junior Bert Cartagena said Cougar Byte helped him make an informed decision on which iPad to purchase. “They did help me out a lot in my decision to buy an iPad. (The iPad 3) had a better retina display. There was more storage in it and better applications,� Cartagena said. “A cool thing that I got to do with the iPad 3 is the upgrade to the iOS 6 which includes

Cougar Byte has the new MacBook Pros on display in time for the holidays. | Esteban Portillo/Holiday Gift Guide

Siri. Thanks to Cougar Byte’s information, I was able to get a better iPad and make a better purchase.� As an Apple Inc. authorized campus store, Cougar Byte offers MacBooks. An option is a 13 inch MacBook Pro for $1,099, which has 4 GB of memory and a 500 GB hard drive.

For students who need a backpack to balance their books, laptop and mp3 player, Cougar Byte has the Case Logic Lightweight Sport Backpack, which is specifically made to hold electronic items. It has a padded compartment for laptops up to 15.4 inches. Beyond the products, Buentello said Cougar Byte is a viable

Christmas shopping option because associates do not try to up-sell customers. “I wouldn’t make someone buy something that is out of their price range,� Buentello said. “We’re not going to oversell you on things. We’re not going to sell you a $40 mouse when a $20 one would suffice.�

Wish h List Naughty

Nice My tuition paid for by Santa Claus. Allen Le, Life & Arts editor Books on food ethics. Samantha Wong, Copy editor Novels, hair accessories, and love. Ellen Goodacre, Assistant news editor


r Kris Kringle, whatever it was we used to call \RX$Q\ZD\LW¡VEHHQ \HDUVEXWZHKDYHQ¡W forgotten about how you lied to us about why we should never be naughty. Our stockings would be drowned in lumps of coal as punishment for our behavior, right? Wrong. All you were interested in was making us work hard so that when you shimmied down our chimney, there would always be milk and cookies to feed you.

we were children. Here at The Daily Cougar, we spend countless hours perfecting our paper before it becomes accessible to students. :H¡UHUHTXHVWLQJWKDWWKH elves we once adored prepare each wish and send you on your sleigh to UH. This will be new IRU\RX<RXZRQ¡WĂ&#x20AC;QGD WUHHLQRXURIĂ&#x20AC;FHRUDQ\ delectable treats for your taste buds, but you will uncover an environment similar to your workshop WKDW\RXVKRXOGĂ&#x20AC;QG pleasing.

6RDV\RX¡OOQRWLFHRQ our wish list, some of us have moved to the QDXJKW\OLVWDQGZHGRQ¡W care. What we want is a favor â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in return for your continuous falsity while


Design by Farah Hasnie

Sincerely, The Daily Cougar staff

A new pair of Vans to replace the ones my mother threw away while I was sleeping. Amanda Hilow, Managing editor For the Rockets and Astros to make the playoffs. Chris Shelton, Assistant sports editor New clothes. Max Gardner, Copy editor A comfy pillow or blanket. Aryan Baktash, Copy editor )RUWKH8+PHQ¡VEDVNHWEDOOWHDPWR make it deep into the NCAA tournament. Andrew Pate, Sports editor New Jordans and $500. Bryan Dupont-Gray, Assistant Life & Arts editor A day off. Joshua Mann, Editor in Chief


Aeropress Coffeemaker, and some sexy beans for coffee. -XOLH+HIĂ HU1HZVHGLWRU World peace. Ahlam Gani, Copy editor A whole semester worth of pre-made opinion pages. Lucas Sepulveda, Opinion editor For a mistake-free issue of The Daily Cougar. Channler Hill, Assistant managing editor A laptop or a wide-angle lens for my camera. Rebekah Steams, Photo editor

8 • Thursday, November 15, 2012


FIND A BETTER JOB. read the classifieds. THE DAILY COUGAR


Songs for your season




he holidays aren’t always traditional, and the taste in music can be as diverse as UH. For students who have a wacky holiday spirit, here are five songs that are sure to spice up your holiday (right) and for a classic holiday mood, check out the albums of some of the greatest platinum-selling artists (left). The Christmas Albulm Nat King Cole

“Christmas in Hollis” RUN D.M.C

From the students and staff of The Daily Cougar,

Happy holidays! Follow Cougars sports and breaking news all winter break at



White Christmas Bing Crosby

“Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer” Gretchen Wilson

Festival of Lights Marc Cohn

“Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” James Brown

Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas Elvis Presley

“Redneck 12 Days of Christmas” Jeff Foxworthy

Mariah Carey Merry Christmas Mariah Carey

“Yingle Bells” Yogi Yorgessen


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Thursday, November 15, 2012 • 9

Athletes plan for a Thanksgiving together Channler Hill HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE It may not snow in Texas, but southern hospitality is easily present this time of year as out-ofstate athletes make Houston their home away from home. On the women’s basketball team, junior center Yasmeen Thompson, who is originally from Pennsylvania, won’t share a November feast with her family because of two games scheduled for Nov. 23 and 24. But Thompson’s teammates are eager to help fill the void of her family. “I’m going home with one of my teammates, and I’m going

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home for Christmas,” Thompson said. “(But I’m going to miss) just spending time with them — for Thanksgiving, I would have went to my grandmother’s house and ate over there.” Junior forward Te’onna Campbell is in the same predicament, but is trying to push back her homesick feelings of California by spending the holidays with her teammates. “Yeah, some of the players’ families come out, and we all eat with them. We get closer, even though some of our families are not here,” Campbell said. “People (like me) who don’t get to see their family during Thanksgiving get

to spend time with other peoples’ families.” Campbell said her most memorable holiday moment was the first Christmas she spent with her nephew after his birth. His presence and the time she would spend in her family’s kitchen are what she’ll reminisce about. “When I go home for the holidays, I usually like to cook. I like to be the main one cooking, and my little nephew likes to taste it. That’s mainly the thing I’ll miss a lot,” Campbell said. “It’s just a big family I will miss. We don’t really do anything special. Everybody just comes together.” Men’s basketball head coach

James Dickey is unable to send his out-of-state players home for Thanksgiving, but has already made holiday plans for the entire team. “One of the things is obviously, we practice and we’ll have meals together during the holidays. We’ll go together to the Star of Hope and serve food on Thanksgiving and then we’ll let the guys have some free time,” Dickey said. “They’ve got a lot of friends; a lot of the guys are from Houston so they have family here. We’ll make sure everybody has a great turkey dinner.” The men’s team will even practice on Thanksgiving Day because

of a Sunday match against Texas A&M on Nov. 25, which Dickey said may affect his two freshmen, forward Danuel House and center Valentine Izundu, more as they are from Texas, and this will be their first time spending part of the holidays away from their family. “We’re together. They understand that it’s part of college play. We’ll have a lot of fun,” Dickey said. “You have to obviously stay within the NCAA rules, but usually Nike’s pretty good to us as a program; we save some things up for the holidays that Nike has provided our program. We’ll make sure they go to special places to eat.”




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10 • Thursday, November 15, 2012


Khator shares her holiday experience UH President answers our questions about how she and her family spend the holidays Holiday Gift Guide editor Channler Hill asked UH President Renu Khator about her traditional holiday experiences. The Daily Cougar: What do you look forward to the most this time of year? President Renu Khator: I look forward to any opportunity to spend more time with my family, especially my grandson. TDC: What do you do for the holidays? RK: I attended a Christian high school, so I am familiar with all of the Christmas holiday traditions. We have

a Christmas tree at Wortham House and get together for traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Even though I am a vegetarian and a Hindu, we have a traditional dinner with turkey, ham and all of the trimmings. TDC: Who do you spend your holidays with?

Christmas and Thanksgiving each family member chooses one item from a list of holiday dishes. We each prepare our dish based on traditional family recipes. TDC: If you could write a letter to Santa Claus and ask for one thing you want for the University, what would it be and why?

RK: My husband, Suresh, our German Shepherd Sasha, my daughters, friends and members of our Cougar family.

RK: Exceptional, neverfail Wi-Fi for every inch of campus and front row parking that’s free for all students.

TDC: What is your favorite family recipe for this time of year?

TDC: What is the most important event of the holiday you celebrate?

RK: We have a tradition in our family where every

RK: I love opening our home and welcoming friends to

share holiday cheer and celebrate the joy of the season. TDC: What advice do you have for students who feel left out because they don’t celebrate traditional American holidays? RK: The town I am from in India is primarily Muslim and I am Hindu. I also attended a Christian high school and have spent holidays in countries around the world — from China to Turkey and Brazil. I have found that every holiday has a religious and social component. If I don’t relate to the religious component, I can always relate to the social component.

UH President Renu Khator and her husband, Suresh, pose in their traditional holiday clothing. | Courtesy of Renu Khator

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Barron’s seeks to satisfy sweet tooth Julie Heffler HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Before students return home with their families to carve plump turkeys, roast hams and enjoy other delicacies, UH’s Barron’s Restaurant will be offering seasonal dining options for students. “We have a few things going on in Barron’s before the Christmas break. Barron’s will be open the Monday before Thanksgiving (November 19),” said Kristi Baker, faculty adviser for Barron’s, in an e-mail. “For that day, we will be having a Holiday Dessert Contest. The different sections of the Advanced Food & Beverage Management course (HRMA 4323) will submit holiday inspired pies or desserts for the guests to buy at $3.50 a serving.” Hotel and restaurant management senior Carla Navarro is excited for the competition against her peers. During Monday’s class, we will be making a chocolate cake, Navarro said. “Each class — Monday’s

class, Tuesday’s class, and so on — is making a dessert. We are going to be selling them next Monday and whoever sells the most dessert — or slices of whatever it is — will win, and a certain amount of points will be given and will go toward our grade,” Navarro said. “It’s a chocolate cake, but it’s with caramel and toffee and some chocolate ganache. That’s all I’ll say.” Barron’s doubles as a lab course for hotel and restaurant management students. Because of this, its holiday selection is limited, Baker said. “These students act as the servers, line cooks, hostess and dishwashers when Barron’s is open. As students progress through their studies, they can declare an emphasis area,” Baker said in an email. “The restaurant follows the University calendar and is therefore not open during the holidays. This is why we do not have more to offer in terms of holiday items.” Nov. 30 is the last day Barron’s will be open this semester.

Barron’s will prepare a menu filled with holiday options. | Esteban Portillo

“We are going to do a buffet style and just cook up a bunch of stuff,” said HRM senior Elaine Edmonds. “It’ll be all-you-can-eat for a certain price.” While Edmonds will be at Barron’s next semester in the

management class, Navarro will not. “It’s a lot of fun. You don’t get this everywhere. Having to gain the experience of different positions is really nice. When I go on with my life, let’s say I’ll be an

executive chef, I’ll at least have a little background in it from Barron’s,” Navarro said. “I’ll miss it, but at the same time I’ll be very excited because I’m graduating.” one would suffice.”

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12 • Thursday, November 15, 2012


Run ‘til you’re blue in the face. And green. And orange. And pink. And purple. The super fun Graffiti Run will come to the University of Houston on Dec. 2! This colorful 5K puts an emphasis on fun, but there are rules. 1. Participants must get drenched in color. 2. They must have an amazing time. The race is not about running four-minute miles. It’s about running alongside grandparents drenched in pink, moms covered in orange, your best friend doused in blue and unicorns dripping with purple.*

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Holiday Gift Guide 2012  
Holiday Gift Guide 2012  

Cougar Byte offers tech toys, and Staff Council gives back in time of need