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Letter From the Editor: Welcome Bearkats!

RYAN REYNOLDS Editor-in-Chief @Ryan_Reynolds9 Welcome to Sam Houston State University freshman and transfer students! If you are a returning Bearkat, welcome back to your

home away from home. SHSU is a wonderful place and Huntsville is the perfect spot to spend your next four years. Let us get this out of the way first: college is not a cakewalk. You are going to feel like you are short on time, you are going to be stressed, and you are going to feel lonely. However, all of these experiences hold life lessons; and will shape you into the person you will become when it is your time to graduate. The pros of being a Bearkat certainly outweigh the cons. The campus is peaceful, the other students and faculty are friendly and approachable, and the university is full of organizations to get involved with. My suggestion is to BE ACTIVE. Get out of your dorm room, attend an informational meeting, or go to a sporting event. When I arrived at SHSU in the fall of 2014, I

knew nobody. I felt alone, trapped within the confinements of my Sam Houston Village dorm room. I felt that way until I stumbled across The Houstonian. They welcomed me into the newspaper office with open arms and that is when I knew I found my niche. By breaking out of my shell and exploring what SHSU has to offer, I found a group of people I see as my second family as well as a safe haven. College has changed me and I am not afraid to admit it. For most, college is a new beginning, the first experience of living in a different city without your parents 30 minutes away, a test to show yourself how you handle certain situations without the influence of others. How can people expect you not to change? There is a reason why people say, “college is the best four years of your life”, and rightfully so. If

anything, I would best describe college as a rollercoaster ride because you are going to feel a little bit of everything. You are going to feel enthusiastic when you ace an exam you studied so hard for. You are going to be upset at yourself when you do not make the grade you expected. People are going to let you down. You are going to feel love. You are definitely going to feel tired, stressed some days, and refuse to go to class. College has it all, but not every college provides it in the way SHSU does. The small town vibes of Huntsville is what makes the college experience at SHSU unique. You are going to see familiar faces around campus every day. People who attend the University of Texas or Texas Christian University cannot say that. The local businesses like Mr. Hamburger, Potato Shack, and Farmhouse Café makes you

appreciate the small town that Huntsville is. I am proud to be a Bearkat, and every time I meet someone new, I tell them that deciding to attend SHSU was the best decision I have ever made. It is an honor to be serving as The Houstonian’s editor-in-chief for the upcoming academic year. The Houstonian is the official news source of Sam Houston State University and it prints every Wednesday. However, all content is also posted to the web at HoustonianOnline. com. We are working on creating a more multimedia presence, and we are always looking for new writers and reporters. This brings me to my last piece of advice: get experience for your future job field while you are still in college. I cannot stress that enough. I am really excited for this year. It is going to be a great ride. Eat ‘Em Up Kats!







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Welcome Letter from the SGA President

BRIAUNA AUGUSTUS Student Body President Welcome to your new home! You definitely picked the right school, unlike our neighbors in Nac of Nowhere!

Get ready to take it to the next level at one of the greatest universities of the state. Make the most of every semester and utilize every resource! This school WANTS to see you prosper! Look around. These people are your Bearkat family amongst all the other Bearkats enrolled here- tall or short, man or woman, graduate student or undergrad, criminal justice major or agriculture major! This is about to be the most amazing 4 years of your life. Make friends, try new things, be involved, play hard and work even harder! I’m glad you are here and I’m even happier you are now apart of the Sam Fam! Remember to call your mom every once in awhile and most importantly- EAT EM UP KATS.

COMMUNICATION STUDIES The Department of Communication Studies offers BA, BS, and MS degree options covering a variety of communication topics, including













Graduates are prepared for careers such as event coordinator, religious leader, consultant, attorney, teacher, manager, social worker, counselor, and sales.


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Hero spotlight: Q&A with UPD’s Kevin Morris ABIGAIL VENTRESS Senior Reporter The Houstonian sat down with the University Police Department Chief Kevin Morris to discuss a few key topics that might interest incoming students. H: How long have you been working with SHSU UPD? A: “I have been here since 1994. I started as a student assistant writing parking tickets and then, worked full time as a police officer since September of 1995.” H: What are your main duties as police chief ? A: “I have three different areas of responsibility: policing, parking, and now, as of January of the year, emergency management. I have two assistant directors and another director who report to me. I have a deputy chief for policing, another deputy chief

who handles parking, and then I have a director who handles emergency management and public information. Emergency management was moved over to us when it was originally reporting to risk management and safety. However, because of how our interaction is on a daily basis, it was deemed that it would be more appropriate that it fell under our area for better management and effectiveness. I think it’s been really good because we’ve seen really a dramatic swing in the production of the KatSafe, the webpage, and the notifications. It’s become more consistent and a little more concise. We’re still always trying to make the system better, especially the webpage and the outreach to the university community.” H: What is the best part of your job? A: “Not parking. I get to interact

with a lot of different police chiefs from around the state and I listen to the issues that they have. Yeah, we have issues here too, but when I see some of the things that they have to deal with on a daily basis, I am very fortunate and very blessed to be where I am at. The university community here at SHSU is wonderful. The people I work with and the students that attend SHSU…I mean, it’s phenomenal. It is just a great environment, and I think that’s one of the big things that has kept me here over the number of years. It’s the people and the students that we deal with on a daily basis that’s great.” H: What do you think sets SHSU’s UPD apart from other UPDs? A: “When you look at yourself and try to compare yourself to others, we’re set up very similarly to other municipalities or other

UPDS. We’re very proactive. We like to engage with the university community. One of our goals is that we really like to be out there, we like to intermingle. We don’t want you to be afraid to come to us to talk to us. I think it’s that interaction. I think that what predominantly sets us apart from other universities is that our students feel comfortable coming to us and talking to us and using our officers for extra jobs. Whatever the case may be, I think our university community is comfortable with our officers.” H: What is your opinion of the safety of SHSU? A: “I think we have a really great campus, faculty, staff, and students. I think what’s really great about this is that everybody has a little sense of ownership at the university, and I think everybody wants to see things happen a certain way. At the end of

the day, everybody kind of comes to an agreement and they take ownership in that. I think when they see something and it doesn’t look right, they’re not afraid to contact us, and we’ll go out and make sure we resolve the situation as amicably as possible that fits best towards the university and for the students and community. I think that’s fantastic. Overall I think our safety at SHSU is great. Do things happen here? Yes. We can’t prevent everything, but we’ve been very fortunate not to have a number of really bad events like what we’ve seen here recently like at UT and other places. Everybody has different beliefs, spectrums, but at the end of the day I think everybody is fairly respectful of that and we kind of go about or business and take care of what we need to do.” For the entire article visit


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Hero spotlight: Q&A with Sammy Squad

RACHEL VARNER Staff Reporter Classrooms, dorms, sports fields and a library may be what make a school, but it is the desire to help others, the drive for success, and the orange, white and blue that transforms this school into a community. School spirit becomes a force to be reckoned with on game days. The biggest catalyst for the hype can likely be attributed to none other than SHSU’s mascot, Sammy Bearkat, who makes appearances at every major and many minor events on campus. The Houstonian sat down with Sammy himself along with Jarid Swope, one of his top bodygaurds. (H): What distinguishes Sam Houston from other Universities? (S): What sets Bearkats apart

is our passion for school spirit; that’s definitely number one. There’s no other mascot that could lead such a great school. Sammy is a mystery in more ways than one, but the question most students would like answered is what he is exactly. Some speculate that the “bearkat” was modeled after a kinkajou, a small, lemurlike animal from Central and South America. Others believe they are more closely related to a binturong, an Asian mammal that resembles something between a sloth and a cat, which has also been nicknamed a “bearcat.” But the truth is that no one really knows what it is. Bearkats are mythical creatures, even down to the spelling of their name. The peculiar “k” has since become a campus-wide tradition, popping up in titles like Jobs for Kats, Katsafe and Kats for Christ. H: How different is Sammy in

the world of mascots? S: [Sammy] is one of a kind. He’s very unique. Debatably, Sammy is the face of SHSU. He and the Sammy Squad, his team of bodyguards whose purpose is to assist and protect, appear at most sporting events as well as art shows and music performances. While his job is, of course, to entertain, Sammy loves showing off. There are his football push-ups and Katstomp, and he performs at half time during basketball games.Occasionally Sammy can be spotted in the Lowman Student Center mall area around lunch time. That is when he gets to hang out with all his friends and fans. H: What is Sammy’s favorite part of his work on campus? S: Sammy’s favorite thing is probably how much everybody loves him, all the hugs and the love. He can always guarantee

a picture.There is one event where Sammy can’t be missed: the SHSU homecoming parade. Homecoming is a week-long celebration filled with food, games, the announcement of the homecoming king and queen and many mascot moments. Last

year’s theme was Bearkat Heroes in honor of both the fictional and real heroes in student’s everyday lives. Sammy especially enjoys getting to see all the costumes. For the entire article visit


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Hero spotlight: Q&A with SHSU President ETHAN HORN Associate Editor @TheEthanHorn The Houstonian visited with Sam Houston State University President Dr. Hoyt to discuss her favorite things about SHSU. H: What is your favorite place on campus? A: I think I would have to say it’s our historic campus quadrangle, especially around Austin Hall. With the beautiful old trees and carefully landscaped flower beds, I’m reminded of how inviting our campus is. In addition, this gorgeous area offers a very calming and peaceful environment and reminds us of the traditional values that have

made our university what it is today. H: What programs do you recommend students start looking forward to day one? (Sammy’s, All Paws in, Etc.) A: SHSU has so many opportunities for our students that it’s hard to narrow down the choices. However, several that come to mind are The Tree Lighting Ceremony, the Sammys, Bearkat All Paws In, Raven’s Call and the Diversity Conference. All of these are excellent programs, and each has a different purpose and provides a unique experience. H: What should students look forward to most as they begin their journeys at Sam? A: Participating in the Ring Ceremony should certainly rank high on our students’ lists! This

tradition is such a special event for our students and their families, as it reminds them that all their efforts are paying off, and they are one step closer to graduation. H: How can new students help make the University even better than when they arrive? A: When students begin their academic journeys at SHSU, they often make choices that will influence their college experiences. I encourage new students to get involved with the numerous programs and organizations available to them! Studentinvolvement goes a long way in making the university better, because we as administrators and faculty hear fresh ideas, learn what our students are thinking, and we have a better understanding of any concerns that they have. New

students also bring new energy when they come in, and that energy helps SHSU thrive and move forward. H: What is your advice for incoming freshman to succeed in college?’ A: Get to know your professors. We have outstanding faculty at SHSU, who genuinely want our students to achieve their goals and be successful. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to your teachers. H: What is one thing you would recommend doing in or around campus before graduating? A: I believe that people benefit by having experiences outside their comfort zones. I encourage students to seek out opportunities to learn and grow through some

event, program or activity in which they have no previous experience. SHSU has many, many from which to choose—try something new!

Become a Teacher, Principal, Administrator, or Superintendent.




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Hero spotlight: Q&A with head coach Keeler RYAN REYNOLDS Editor-in-Chief @Ryan_Reynolds9 H: You have been at four universities over the course of your career. How would you say Sam Houston State is different from those? A: There’s a commitment to win here that is impressive as any place I’ve ever been. It starts at the top with Dr. Hoyt and then Bobby Williams our Athletic Director. That’s one of the things when we recruit we always talk to our kids about is that if you want to go someplace to win, you want to go to a place where they’re committed to win. They’re committed to win here. The other great thing is, in terms of our location, there might not be a better location in America for

a college football coach to be than right here because we’re right here on the border of east Texas. We can get down to Houston, which has phenomenal football and Dallas is only two and a half hours away. We can also reach out to Austin and San Antonio in about three or three and a half hour radius, it is amazing how good the high school football is. So, a combination of the great high school football and the commitment to win here. I mean this is a dream job. H: You’re going into your fourth year as the head coach of SHSU’s football program. When you first got on campus, how were you welcomed by the people? A: I can remember my very first press conference and just the outpour of well-wishers and I came from a different culture, being back east, and just how

inviting everybody was. I always tell the story about how we started off 1-3 and I was walking the dog with my wife and I hear a car pull up, and I’m thinking about my days back in the northeast, and the window rolls down and someone said “hey coach, how you doing? We’re just so blessed to have you.” So I replied “So blessed to have me? We’re 1-3!” She said “aww you’ll be fine.” And I’m like “My wife doesn’t even think she’s blessed to have me.” So, it just very friendly people who just love their football, and love their Bearkat football. I’ve been happy with the way the kids have come out and it looks like we’re going to open either Thursday night or Sunday. There’s a chance they could move the game to Sunday, which would be a nationally televised game. It will be the first weekend on campus, so we’re going to have hopefully an amazing crowd for

whatever it is, either that Sunday or that Thursday, and rally just start off this new season in a positive way. H: What kind of impact would you say football has here at SHSU? A: From the Kat Krazies to the phenomenal band, and our alums coming out, we have a chance to possibly open on national television and there’s a reason why. They want the highest, highest, highest, level of FCS football to be represented. So, it’s neat. It’s neat what we’ve established here. What people forget is that 68 wins, I’ve won 34 over the last three years, but 68 wins in the last six years only Alabama, Clemson, and North Dakota State are in front of us in all of Division I football. There’s a reason why you win. There’s a lot of good things going on here and a part is the support from our

fans and student body. H: With three years at Sam Houston State in the books, what would you say is your favorite memory so far? A: It’s really tough because going back east and playing Villanova For the entire article visit

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Originally Published: 11/09/16

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Student democrats, republicans react to election TRICIA SIMS Orientation Editor @TriciaAnnnn Election night has been a roller coaster. The Associated Press was the first to call the win in favor of Republican nominee Donald Trump. Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton called Trump privately to concede. President of the College Republicans Leah Boyd said the states that Trump won have been surprising. “Nobody thought he could pull the states he did, he is doing so much better than everybody thought,” Boyd said. “There are

just places that Clinton messed up and it has costed her a lot of votes.” The night seemed decided after results of Pennsylvania were released 48.9 percent for Trump and 47.6 for Clinton. To Boyd this means that every voice can make a difference. “I am surprised that Trump lead Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania,” Boyd said. “I think it just really shows that people’s votes do matter.” Clinical Professor in the Department of Political Science Mike Yawn said Trump’s victory in certain states are due to the third-party voters. “He is doing about 2 or 3 points better in the polls than expected,” said Yawn. “Some of the early polls are

showing that Clinton did not mobilize some of the key groups that typically vote overwhelming democrat. I think in the last week or two weeks, that a lot of the third-party voters decided to vote for one of the two major candidates and apparently overwhelmingly for Trump.” After weeks of predictions and analysis, many believed that Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton was going to win the presidential race. In an unexpected turn of events Clinton has conceded. President of Bearkat Democrats London Sneeden said election night brought interesting results with Republican nominee Donald Trump winning some states that many predicted Clinton to win.






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Did you know? The College of Criminal Justice at SHSU is the only school in Texas, & one of only a few in the nation, to offer a bachelor’s degree in victim studies?

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“It has been very back and forth,” Sneeden said. “I think it is actually crazy that we have a candidate who has the most political experience that we have had in the last thirty years and that this election was still so close, when the comparison is someone with no political experience and who is a star of reality TV show. All of these things are shocking, yet incredible to me. I am still in shock. I think it says a lot about our country and our political climate.” The states that Clinton was proposed to win, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, became a Trump victory due to third party voters according to sophomore Logan Kennemer. “In many polls, it showed Clinton winning at a pretty safe

margin, but we have seen tonight Trump has taken many states that he wasn’t predicted to win,” said Kennemer. “I think that third parties had a very large effect on many states. The amount that the third party took in was actually larger than the difference between Trump and Clinton. I think a lot of those and undecided voters made those states that were not necessarily supposed to be swing states made them flip to the other candidate.” With the conclusion of one of the most historical presidential elections, Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning showed that anything can happen and nothing can be assumed. Donald J. Trump is set to become the 45 President of the United States of America.


Originally Published: 01/01/17

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Executive disorder: ban causes widespread protest ETHAN HORN Associate Editor @TheEthanHorn On Friday night, January 27, President Trump signed an executive order that has come to be known as the travel ban, the immigration ban, the refugee ban and, most notably, the Muslim ban. The executive order had an immediate effect on individuals across the nation, including some close to Sam Houston State University. Dr. Kandi Tayebi, who teaches graduate classes in literary theory and 19th-century British literature and has received over $4 million in research grants, felt the impact in more ways than one. “[My husband] holds dual citizenship. After the ban from our country, Iran followed with a ban on American citizens. Thus, to visit his aging mother, he would travel to Iran on his Iranian passport, but if he does this, the United States will not let him back in,” Dr. Tayebi said, “Since his mother is in her late 80’s and in poor health, this is a horrible situation for him.” “My cousin holds a green card, has a job here in the United States, owns a house here, and has all her belongings here. When the ban was signed, she was back in Iran visiting family. She was told that she should get back to the United States immediately,” Dr. Tayebi said, “In order to change her ticket, she had to travel to three different countries and pay thousands of dollars. When she arrived in the states, she was detained for seven hours without food after an 18 hour flight.” Once safely on the ground in the United States the situation for an Iranian citizen with an established life continued to get worse. “Because the current administration does not call holding these people detention, they are not allowed legal representation,” said Dr. Tayebi. As stories like this unfolded,

protests spread across the country. In major airports, protestors gathered to challenge the ban and voice their anger at the administration. The text of the order details two distinct, enforceable orders. First, the order bans immigrants and visa holders from 7 countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days. Secondly, the order halts a vast majority of refugee additions for the next 120 days, with Syrian refugees entry halted indefinitely. The 7 countries banned are primarily Muslim countries who have appeared on a number of travel bans issued in the past, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. One major loophole, and a center of issue for the protesting, stems from a clause that permits religious minorities to be aloud entry under the joint discretion of the Secretary of State and the Homeland Security Department. The issue with this clause stems from an apparent contradiction within the legislation. While the loophole covers refugees, it doesn’t appear in the indefinite immigration ban regarding Syria. This led to confusion for government officials over the weekend, as Christian Syrians (a persecuted minority in that country), were still barred from entering the United States due to the immigration ban. “Attending the protests Saturday and Sunday was important to me because I was raised to believe in protest as a civic duty. Much like voting, civil dissent is a way to show decision-makers that they won’t be in office long if they ignore the concerns of the people. I disagree with the executive order and the way it is being implemented. It’s discriminatory and punishes those who are legally entering and working in this country,” Abbe Carter, who attended the protests at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), said. Faculty across campus got involved with the protests as well. Dr. Jeff Littlejohn, the director

Elisabeth Willason/The Houstonian

of graduate studies in the history department, specializes in the history of Civil Rights. “The protest against President Trump’s ban on refugees at IAH airport in Houston proved to be very interesting. Hundreds of people from East Texas participated, and the remarkable diversity of our state was on display. Several local figures spoke on the need to maintain America’s tradition of accepting refugees from war-torn areas of the world,” said Dr. Littlejohn. But it wasn’t just the immigration ban that had hundreds of thousands out protesting, Dr. Littlejohn noted several things called out during the protest at IAH. “Participants at the protest also pointed out many other questionable moves made by the Trump administration, including Steve Bannon’s promotion to the National Security Council, the nomination of Betsy DeVos to education secretary, and the move to repeal the Affordable Care Act

before any suitable replacement has been articulated,” Dr. Littlejohn said. Amongst all the activity over the weekend, some are more hesitant to condemn the entire idea. “Well I think that right now it is okay,” said Noah Hood, a SHSU conservative student on-campus. Hood argues that Trump wants to take the time that the ban provides to further improve the refugee process. “Because Trump wants to look at the refugee process to make sure it is the best we can get it. Also there are other countries that are accepting refugees, so it isn’t like they don’t have a place to go. The ban is only temporary so it isn’t long term. If he renews it then I will probably not be happy with it, but right now it is good,” Hood said. The executive order did detail that during the 120 day ban, congress needed to rewrite the methods for admitting refugees into the country. Political

scientists from both parties have indicated that the timeframe is incredibly short, and appear doubtful anything concrete will appear before the deadline. Federal Judge Ann Donnelly in the Eastern District of New York delivered an order keeping law enforcement from deporting immigrants who have arrived at airports since the ban was signed. The text says that law enforcement responsible in making the decisions are “restrained from, in any manner or by any means, removing individuals with refugee applications approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and other individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen legally authorized to enter the United States.” For the entire article visit

Page 16 News New ‘Mother’s Room’ opens in the LSC Originally Published: 02/01/17

TRICIA SIMS Orientation Editor @TriciaAnnnn The Lowman Student Center opened a new “Mother’s Room” during the spring semester that is dedicated to breastfeeding mothers on campus. The private space is located on the second floor in the LSC by the Dean of Students’ office. Assistant Director of the LSC Krystin Catlin said the

project began in the fall semester when new LSC director, Robert Webber, joined the staff. “The LSC staff set out to make the student center a more inclusive, welcoming place for our campus community,” Catlin said. “The Mother’s Room is part of that initiative.” Sam Houston is the latest university to add this room on campus. Other universities that have this feature include the University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington,

Texas State, Rice and Texas A&M University. “Lactation spaces for mother’s have been proved to help mothers transition back to work and school by reducing sick time, increasing retention, and increasing morale and productivity,” Catlin said. “Additionally, breastfeeding is supported by both Texas and Federal laws. For the LSC, it was just the right thing to do to create a space dedicated to mothers on campus.” The Division of Student Affairs and the Lowman Student Center

Office teamed up to make this space for mothers all over campus whether a faculty, staff, visitor or student. The room is open for women to breastfed or pump. The Mother’s Room has many features for the users. There are lockers, a few seating options, hot and cold water, a baby changing station, cleaning supplies, dimmable lights, electrical outlets and a mini refrigerator for milk storage For extra security, the door to the room is passcode locked. Before use mothers have to go to

get the code. “Mothers can access the room by contacting our office at the LSC Information Desk on the 2nd floor, or in LSC room 311,” Catlin said. “They will be given a passcode to unlock the door, which will change at the beginning of each semester. We welcome mothers to use the room as long as they need, and will notify them of passcode changes each semester.” For more information, visit or call 936.294.1759.

Photo Provided by LSC Assistant Director Krystin Catlin


Originally Published: 10/05/16

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Anallely Hernandez/The Houstonian

SHSU ‘Sam Switch’ provides new perspectives HOLLY GRAY SHSU Alumna @holyholly15 Have you ever wanted to be president for the day? Cameron Price, a senior in the Department of Music at Sam Houston State University, will live the dream during the 4th annual Sam Switch. Sam Switch is a special day in which a student is given an opportunity to switch places with the University’s President, Dana Hoyt. The Division of Student Services hosts the annual Sam Switch contest. In order to win, students had to Tweet #samswitch, and explain in 140 characters or less why they wanted to switch places with

Hoyt and be president for the day. Student Services selected the top 10 tweets that advanced to the final round. Those finalists wrote a short essay explaining in detail why they would like to be president for the day. Cameron Price is also a drummer for the SHSU band. His winning tweet said, “I’ve been the BMB Drum Major for 3 years, and it would be awesome for Dr. Hoyt to lead the band and I lead the school!” Price will not only get to be President for the day on this upcoming Friday, but he also won two tickets to sit in a luxury suite at the 91st Battle of the Piney Woods at NRG Stadium. Brandon Cooper, Director of Student Services said the contest originally started to help promote and bring awareness to Battle of the Piney Woods.

“Sam Switch is a great program,” Cooper said. “Not only does it give the student insight to what it’s like to be a university administrator, but it also is for Dr. Hoyt to know the current vibe and feelings of the students she represents.” Hoyt will be a music student for the day. She will park where students are required to park, and start the day by having coffee with some of Price’s friends at Starbucks as he usually does. Then she will attend his classes, and work his job where he is a student assistant for the school of music. She will also be participating in his band rehearsals that day. “She won’t be able to play the exact instrument he does, because that is not a skill that she has right off the bat,” Cooper said. “But they are going to work with her to find some percussion instruments

she can play.” Price on the other hand will park in Hoyt’s parking spot, and go to the president’s office. First he will meet with the chief of staff in the morning to go over what will happen that day. He will then have a meeting with the president’s cabinet, which is made up of all the vice presidents and heads of each division for the university. Price will meet with them and give them his platform to talk about any issues he feels are important to address as a student. After that, Price will have various other meetings throughout the day that will be meetings similar to what Hoyt would have, such as construction meetings, and meetings with the department heads. “I don’t think any of us realize what the president does,” Cooper

said. “They are constantly on the go from the first thing in the morning until late that night, working on behalf of Sam Houston State University. This gives the student an opportunity to see that, and see how much effort and work is put into us bearkats.” The switch itself takes place on Thursday night at the Fire Fest pep rally for the Battle of Piney Woods, and they switch back on Friday night. “As administrators we move higher up and we lose connection with the students sometimes, so it’s good for Dr. Hoyt to be able to regain that connection.” Cooper said. “This a great opportunity for both parties involved, and we are looking forward to it.”


Originally Published: 10/12/16

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Student perspectives on clown sightings at SHSU ABIGAIL VENTRESS Senior Reporter The clown craze has made its way to Sam Houston State University. As of last week, clowns and clown sightings were all over social media, and students were either entertained or frightened. University Police Chief Kevin Morris said the clown craze has been all across the country over the last month “It’s become very popular and fairly copy-cat like,” Morris said. “We’re finally catching it on our end.” According to Morris, the clowns began overseas a couple of years ago. Other countries have since caught on and started participating. Last week, students were

searching for clowns around campus at night. They would follow clues provided through social media platforms like Twitter. There were reports on social media stating that clowns were sighted near the intramural fields, the pit, as well as other locations. Students were communicating back to the clowns through Twitter and documented their quest to find the clown(s) via snapchat. “I think social media has a huge implication on how this is perpetuated, especially when everyone takes social media as face value as if it is the truth without validating or checking,” Morris said. “I think social media allows individuals to be a little more boisterous than what they may normally be in a group setting, and they actually post things and they think will not come back to

them.” Texas State University had an incident where a female student sustained an injury while being chased by a clown. The student fell when she was grabbed by the clown. “No one wants to get in trouble for this stuff; I would assume that most people are just having fun with it, but if a prank does go too far, it could land you in some serious trouble,” Morris said. “You could face arrest or, depending on the situation, you could also be referred to the Dean of Students’ office for their judicial process.” Despite social media rumors, there have been no clown-related arrests made on campus or any credible reports of threats turned into UPD. However, Huntsville police have arrested one clown for disturbing peace at a local park. According to Morris, there are

a couple different aspects of the clown situation. “I think it initially just started up as fun,” Morris said. “I think some people have taken it to extremes. Other people are kind of just having fun with it. Right now, what we’re seeing here on our campus is primarily people having fun. It’s close to Halloween. Maybe for them, it’s a good stress reliever. Because of the hype that has surrounded it over the last month it’s been associated with threats at schools’ people making wild statements online or on other social media aspects.” Some students have felt threatened by this situation while others are having fun with it. Education sophomore Alyssa Deason said the topic has created a lot of buzz because there have been reports on it happening

many places other than Sam Houston. “The clown sightings are pretty popular on campus because of the sightings that have been happening in other states as well,” Deason said. “I feel a little less safe because people are saying they’ve seen the clowns and some can be dangerous.” Criminal Justice junior Drew Jenkins said he is not worried about the situation. “I understand that there have actually not been any arrests on campus regardless of social media trying to tell everyone that dangerous clowns are running around,” Jenkins said. “My family isn’t worried at all. They believe the situation isn’t an issue unless clowns actually start attacking people around here.” According to Morris, UPD does not police social media sites.

News — CLOWNS , page 18 Social media are not something that UPD focuses on unless there is reason to believe there is a threat made to the university or community. “With people posting on social media, false information, it creates more panic or distress to the situation that doesn’t need to be there,” Morris said. “Currently, our investigator is following up with these individuals who are putting this false information out there.” Students can contact 936294-1800 and select option 3 to be escorted or driven by either a student or UPD officer from one campus location to another campus location. This service is available during nighttime hours. “At this time, there is no information that would suggest that there is a threat to the student body,” Morris said. “It’s always good to be aware of your surroundings. Let people know where you’re going, when you’ll be back and where you’re going.

It’s no different than any other time of the year.” Last Wednesday night, a large portion of SHSU students received a safety notification warning them to evacuate the campus. This message was meant only for students of Lonestar College, but instead was sent to anyone who had ever been affiliated with that college. The college had a gas leak on their campus in Tomball at the University Park campus. The notification incident is still under investigation, but was not a case of illegal hacking. Students at other campuses also received the alert if they had ever been affiliated with Lonestar College in the past or present. “I have a daughter that goes to Texas A&M, and she did dual credit through Lonestar so she actually got the notification too,” Morris said. “You add that on top of the social media event with the clowns, and it really caused a little bit of a panic among some people, especially parents which really

Originally Published: 10/12/16 caused an issue for us because it takes a lot of our resources.” Because of the concern with the Lonestar alert and the clowns, UPD had to call in additional help. They needed to have more people in the dispatch office due to the surplus on phone calls they were receiving. “We highly encourage parents to have their students contact us with their information,” Morris said. “That’s probably been one of the biggest things during this incident is that we actually haven’t had students contacting us about it; we’ve had parents, so it would be great to actually hear from the students who are having these issues where they don’t feel safe or they’re actually seeing clowns that they would contact us so that we can respond appropriately.” If there is an emergency on the SHSU campus, UPD will communicate it with the students by sending KatSafe alerts. If students feel that they are in danger, it is encouraged that they contact UPD.

Page 19

“I think social media has a huge implication on how this is perpetuated, especially when everyone takes social media as face value as if it is the truth without validating or checking.” -Kevin Morris UPD Police Chief

“If you see a clown, and you feel threatened please contact us immediately let us know where you’re at, where you are, where the clown is at how the clown is dressed and the direction that they are traveling so that our rosters can respond appropriately,” Morris said. According to Morris, there

was a similar incident at SHSU shortly after the release on the movie “Scream.” The ghost mask became popular to use to scare or prank others. Jenkins said the clown situation has blown up due to social media interaction. For the entire article visit

Page 21 Sam Talks Pets in college: what’s the real cost? ANGELA THEIS SHSU Alumna “Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” That is a quote rumored to have once been said by French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, in the late nineteenth century, and, whether or not that is true, many people would agree. Studies have shown that young adults having a pet in college can be psychologically therapeutic, teach responsibility and provide a sense of companionship. Additionally, emotional support animals have gained a serious following in combating many illnesses like depression and anxiety. This is not a new practice; animals have been used in hospitals and senior living communities to boost morale for years.

But, are there hidden costs associated with pet ownership? For an already financially unstable college student, a pet is a massive financial investment. The average cost of owning a dog, according to the American Kennel Club, adds up to $23,410 over its lifespan, with the cost being highest in the dog’s first year of life due to early medical requirements. Today’s typical public college student, according to The Institute for College Access and Success, will graduate with an average of $30,000 in student loan debt. Many young people become caught up in the novelty of owning a furry friend and often overlook the true monetary cost of the animal. College apartment fees alone can range from 200 to 500 dollars and are often nonrefundable.

With so many college students relying on loans and part-time jobs, paired with a lack of savings, animals emergencies may often go ignored or even result in loss of the animal’s life due to lack of funds to cover unexpected and surprise costs. However, the costs extend beyond a student’s financial limitations. Pets themselves are prone to anxiety. A stable living environment is crucial to a happy and healthy animal. Owner’s Thursday nights out and weekend benders, commonplace in the lives of college students across America, can cause uncertainty, anxiety and agitation in the lives of pets. Party habits coupled with the fact that school vacations, like fall and spring breaks, and extended weekends create the ideal travel opportunities for

young Americans means that many pets will be left alone for hours and sometimes days, carted to temporary homing locations or cared for by a revolving door of friends and unfamiliar faces. Additionally, students often move apartments each year. Constantly changing living arrangements and locations results in added stress and sense of unpredictability felt by an animal. Finally, there is an added time cost with every pet. Life span is an often overlook yet vital variable to consider. Depending on the breed, dogs can have life expectancies from 7-15 year while cats can live to be over twenty. Taking account of all pet owner ship costs adds up to the idea that animals are forever companions. Once a human decides to take on an animal, they become solely responsible for that animal’s


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wellbeing. With over seven and a half million companion animals entering shelters every year, according to the ASPCA, there is a need to acknowledge the commitments one makes when bringing a new pet into a home. While luckily 2.7 million pets are adopted out each year in the United States, the same number aren’t quite as lucky. Over two and half million shelter animals will be euthanized in 2016, 41 percent of shelter cats and 31 percent of shelter dogs. Pets don’t come with a return policy; they can’t just be abandoned when they become the slightest bit burdensome, they aren’t cute anymore or an owner loses interest. These things should always be kept in mind when finding the perfect companion.

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Page 24

Not your grandpa’s college: today v. back then MAKAYLA FARLEY Viewpoints Writer College today is not what it used to be. Today’s generation has it a lot tougher than previous generations. From increasing costs of tuition, textbooks and more rigorous academics, it seems as if the college students of today can’t catch a break. Whenever college students talk about their schooling to members of the older generation, often times their responses will be somewhere along the lines of, “Quit complaining, you’re just lazy,” or my personal favorite, “If you would work harder, like I did when I was your age, you wouldn’t be in this mess!” What our predecessors don’t seem to understand is how completely different the “college experience” is now compared to when they were in school. Tuition

prices are a lot higher in recent times, and for most students, financial aid doesn’t cover all their expenses. Back then, a student didn’t have to rely on financial aid; they could just have a part time job and use the money earned from there to pay their way through school. Not to say that a student can’t pay their way in current times, but it definitely would require more than one job to be able to do that. Some students are lucky enough to get scholarships or grants from their state, but not everyone is as lucky as others. Even with all that “free money” combined, in some cases these scholarships and grants don’t entirely cover the costs of schooling. When that happens, students are either forced to take out loans or drop out and work full time to save up enough money to pay off the costs on their own.

Student debt is so high it is absolutely ridiculous, and for most students the prospect of graduating with massive debt deters them from ever even starting their college education. It’s not that the current generation of college students are lazy or not working hard enough; it’s just that the entire system in general is more difficult than it used to be. When you talk to the older generation about their experiences in college, often times they will recall it fondly, saying something like “Those were the golden days.” To them, college was an equal parts fun, social and educational. For most college students today it’s less fun and social, and more like a sort of educational purgatory. Today, kids are expected to go to college; in fact, it’s become a sort of requirement, a “must” if you want to do well and be successful in life.

“It’s not that the current generation of college students are lazy or not working hard enough; it’s just that the entire system in general is more difficult than it used to be.” -Makayla Farley

For many students this mounting pressure to do well combined with all the stress and anxiety from trying to keep up with their schoolwork can lead to burn out and discouragement. This is how students’ disinterest starts to build, until eventually they have a breakdown, or just

give up and drop out of school. It’s all pretty overwhelming, and to have people who have no idea what you’re going through telling you to just “suck it up,” is just more than one can bear.

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Sam Talks

Originally Published: 09/27/16

Page 25

When speech is violence-free speech v. safe space MICHELLE SKLAR Viewpoints Writer Can speech be an act of violence? Perhaps, when it comes in the form of threats or intimidation. If you want to stretch it, you could possibly include such things as profanity, obscenity, or disparaging comments. What about an opinion? Can that be construed as violent? You may or may not have seen the recently publicized videos of Yale University students confronting Nicholas Christakis, the former master of Yale’s Silliman College. The videos were recorded last fall, after his wife, Erika Christakis, urged students not to take offense at insensitive Halloween costumes. The behavior that had the students so agitated: Nicholas sided with his wife, agreeing that students did not need the university to tell them how to dress for Halloween. All debate about Halloween costumes aside, as an adult person with the capacity to reason, I found these videos deeply disturbing. Although there are several sources for the videos, for purposes of clarity, the following comments refer to the clips posted on the Hit & Run blog at Reason. com. The four videos totaling around 24 minutes were recorded by Greg Lukianoff, president of Foundation for Individual Rights for Education. At the opening of the first video clip, the viewer is presented with the scene of a lone man surrounded by several dozen students. Literally encircled by them, Christakis stood and listened to the complaints of the students. Repeatedly, the students shouted him down, while he tried to respond to the concerns of each one. The crowd grew deeper, more densely packed, louder and more agitated. A number complained that he didn’t know their names. Because knowing the names, faces and personal habits of 500 students had clearly not been his top priority for the entire 2-month

period Christakis had held the position. He explained that this was a personal deficiency, and had nothing to do with race. (It seems this is an issue, because many of the students are people of color and Christakis is not.) “It seems that way,” he was told. When he pointed out that people have different skillsets, and that he also lacked musical ability, the crowd didn’t want to hear it. The accusations and complaints made by the students against Christakis included “stripping people of their humanity,” and not listening (This is after 20 minutes of just the part that was recorded.); “What you did was create a space for violence to happen, “Your wife never invited me anywhere,” from an aide; “Lisa left bawling because you couldn’t say sorry,” although he had; “Let us tell you if you’re being racist.” What? The students have the ability to see into the hearts of men and know their inner feelings? When Christakis tried to return to a student he had been speaking to after an interruption, saying, “I don’t want to ignore her,” another voice from the crowd admonished, “You don’t need to maintain the power in the situation.” Watching the video made that statement particularly ironic, as by then the crowd surrounding Christakis had grown to a hundred or more. One student shouted out, “It is not about creating an intellectual space.” It’s not? Isn’t that precisely why we come to college, to learn new things, to have our experiences broadened, to be introduced to perspectives that are different from the ones we have always known, for intellectual growth? Another student accused Christakis of gaslighting. According to Urban Dictionary, gaslighting is “A form of intimidation or psychological abuse, sometimes called Ambient Abuse where false information is presented to the victim, making them doubt their own memory, perception and quite often, their sanity. The classic example of gaslighting is to switch something around on someone that you know

they are sure to notice, but then deny knowing anything about it, and to explain that they ‘must be imagining things’ when they challenge these changes.” I’m not sure how that applies here. Apologies were demanded, and Christakis gave them. “I’m sorry for hurting your feelings,” he said. When that didn’t satisfy the mob, he tried again, “I’m sorry for causing you pain.” That was still not good enough. Christakis asked how the students would prefer he word his apology. Someone from the crowd shouts out, “an act of violence.” Really, violence? Throughout this ordeal, Christakis was calm and reasonable, long after most people would have walked away, and far past the point where many would have escalated the situation. He was candid about times when he has “stepped in it,” and apologized for his fallibility. He listened to them all patiently, tried to address their concerns, and stood unflinching in the face of screaming, hysteria, demands, and even intimidation and implied threats from students who stepped into his personal space, got up into his face. One speaker refused to shake his hand, accused him of having a smirk on his face, and went on a 3-minute tirade about how disgusted she was. “All I see from you is arrogance and ego,” she spat at him as she thrust a finger in his face repeatedly. He stood and listened. He let her have her say for almost two minutes before he attempted to respond, saying, “It’s my turn now.” Again with the finger in his face, the student replied, “Sir, do not do it. This is not the day. You do not want to play this game with me. Do you understand what I’m saying?” She continued, “You want free dialogue, you want free speech? This is how it works.” Yes, apparently this is how it works. For the entire article visit

Sam Talks

Originally Published: 03/07/17

Page 26

Trump bans news organizations from White House NICK WARD Viewpoints Writer Less than two weeks ago, Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer held a press briefing that was controversial for two reasons. The first reason was the press briefing was held off camera which gathered much attention because of the second reason: Trump barred five different news organizations from attending the press briefing. These five organizations were The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, Politico and Buzzfeed. As usual this became a partisan debate with Trump supporters defending this as taking a stand against fake news, and those who oppose him calling it an attack on free press. As you guessed, I am a believer of the latter. How Trump is treating the press is not a partisan issue and it should

terrify everyone. Disapproval with the media and the news has reached an all-time high in this country. Complaints include the increasing number of media bias, an increase in corporate influence, and the lack of important news stories while focusing on stories that are unimportant but easy to sensationalize. These complaints are reasonable, but the problem is that the U.S. population only applies these complaints to the news organizations that disagree with their political views. The most notable example of this is the complaint of liberal bias in the news, but continues to watch Fox News, Breitbart and Info Wars. At the same time liberals complain about the awfulness of these news organizations, but ignore the shortcomings of the liberal media and this is where Trump has taken this mindset to

a terrifying new level. Throughout his campaign and tenure as president, Trump has constantly manipulated this mindset to his advantage. This includes him saying in campaign speeches that the media has declared war on him, calling the media “the enemy of the people” on Twitter and at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, using “fake news” an excuse to shut down any opposing question, and now barring news organizations that he deems “fake news” from press conferences. There is truth in the fact that is there is an overload of dissent from the opposing side with any president. Another example of this is how Obama was treated by the conservative media during his presidency. His supporters are using this as an excuse for his behavior towards journalists, but it doesn’t.

To put it bluntly, this is Trump deciding what is and what isn’t fake news, and to the Trump supporters who are defending him, imagine how you would you feel if Obama was committing the same actions as Trump. In fact, there were times when Obama would more subtly block Fox News from events, and Fox and conservatives were outraged, as they should be. Despite how awful a news organization is, a president should not decide what fake news is because even if there is an overflow of dissent, that does not mean that all of the dissent is invalid. Also for the amount of dissent from one side, there is an equal and opposite response from the opposing side of the media. This is the other side of the fake news that Trump adores. The news organizations that paint Trump as the savior of America,

and refuses to say anything negative about him. Trump has shown to favor these organizations that include InfoWars, Fox News, and most notably Breitbart News, with the appointment of Steve Bannon, the executive chair of the news organization to this cabinet. What’s terrifying about this is as far as fake news, Breitbart is the textbook definition. Multiple articles on Breitbart have been proven false, but the site will still retain the articles, and even just the headlines show the inaccuracy of their stories. Ever since Trump’s campaign started, it became Trump’s propaganda station. You have a person painting any opposing news source as fake news, and then boosting a news organization that he has in pocket as the beacon of journalistic integrity. For the entire article visit

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Page 31

Student Orgs: An Important Part of EVERY Kats Experience EMILY DAVIS Assistant News Editor @straightnuggin Starting college is exciting, but scary. We have all been there and we know how hard it can be to make friends in a new place. According to Emily Snider, the Program Specialist for the Department of Leadership Initiatives, the best way to meet others with similar interests is by being involved in your school and community. Sam Houston State University currently has over 250 student organizations on campus. These range from recreational and club sports, religion and spirituality groups, academics, advocacy, diversity programs and social

fraternities and sororities. “There is definitely something for everyone,” Snider said. “By working with others in the organization, students can work toward a common goal and share their passions with others.” Student involvement is beneficial to students in teaching things that may not be taught in the classroom. The successes of these organizations are based on how well the students run them. Being involved allows students to become connected to their school, build a community, discover their passions and strengths, and importantly – build your resume. “Learning these types of skills allows the student to become more marketable when they are in search of their future job,” said Snider.

Involvement in an organization is a hands-on way students learn things such as communication and leadership skills. Employers

“Overall, it has helped

me find who I am as a person, who I am as a leader, and I now know what I want out of life,”

- Tiffany Hock

look for well-rounded and outgoing individuals, and what better way to show that then by being

involved? Tiffany Hock, a senior who graduated this May, encourages anyone and everyone to get involved. Hock is president of four organizations; National Agriculture-Marketing Association, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Sigma Alpha, and Delta Tau Alpha, as well as a member of the Agribusiness Club. “Being so involved allowed me to step out of my normal comfort zone and meet many great people in my department and on campus,” said Hock. “The amount of networking that comes out of being involved is unimaginable, and I have learned how to talk and dress appropriately when communicating with professionals,” Hock said being involved with these organizations helped shape her lifestyle and she will cherish

the memories she has made. “Overall, it has helped me find who I am as a person, who I am as a leader, and I now know what I want out of life,” Hock said. “I encourage anyone and everyone to get involved through your college years, but also take on leadership roles within that involvement, because the best benefit of all is the memories you take away from it.” Involvement on campus does not have to be restricted to permanent positions or groups. Be on the lookout for temporary activities too, such as service projects or campus event planning. Students can check the SHSU organizations website and subscribe to the SHSU newsletter in order to stay up to date on the latest opportunities, and to get more information on organizations.

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Page 33 New Kats Six places to hit the books across campus ETHAN HORN Associate Editor @TheEthanHorn Finding the perfect place to get work done is essential for exceeding in college. Sometimes that’s your dorm room, others it’s Starbucks at the Library. Occasionally you want to change it up though, and we have a list of 6 great places to do that. The first thing to do when looking for a place to hit the books? Check the weather. The weather plays a huge part in where you should land. It’s been the subject of multiple research papers, and the results point to the benefits of finding yourself outside. On campus, we have so many amazing locations that it can be

hard to choose just one, though sprawling out in the grass is an excellent option. If you want to sit up off the ground you might check out the mini gazebos on the LSC Mall. The vine wrapped metal structures are perfect for shading those thick philosophy textbooks on sunny afternoons. The next spot is a little harder to find, but definitely worth seeing. The concrete table between the Walker Education Center and the CHSS is nearly almost shaded, and the large stone table makes for a great group project location. The flowering bushes make it especially attractive in the spring, when it becomes popular with couples. Looking for somewhere way off the beaten path? Check out the tables by the art buildings. They are a little hard to get to,

but when you are surrounded by art the intellectual environment is stimulating. These also come with the added benefit of being near a number of off campus restaurants that you may not otherwise eat at very often! But what if the weather is bad? Sam can get pretty cold around winter, and Texas weather is famously bipolar. Whether you are determined to get out of your dorm or trapped on campus thanks to an after class rainstorm, sometimes you’ll need to find a spot in campus. For the day’s you’d rather be inside there are three spots to remember. As with the outside, we have to recommend one obvious place. The Library. The Newton Gresham Library is four floors of quiet, comfortable study area. You can even get private rooms for study

groups if you reserve them ahead of time. Our personal recommendation is the fourth floor. It seems like the entire building gets quieter the higher you go, and the top floor has a reputation for near complete silence. That sword goes both ways though, don’t take group projects up there or you WILL be glared out. The LSC atrium is known for two things on campus, studying and naps. It’s pretty typical to find each of the couches filled with a napping student, but the plush chairs are all about the books. Located at the center of campus, the LSC atrium is less crowded than the Library and a great spot to escape the crowds. If you really want a quiet, secluded location, check out the end of the CHSS hallways. Chairs and tables line the windows at the end

of the hallway, about 8 per floor. The massive glass windows make for great views, especially in inclement weather, but the quiet is even more inspirational. The challenge here; behaving yourself. The CHSS is both a student and staff building, so if you get any louder than a mouse be prepared to leave, the quiet there is a serious business. These are some great places to get started, but don’t be afraid to check out new areas. English students are often found on the steps outside of the Evans building, Mass Comm majors line the halls of Dan Rather. Future STEM professionals can be found ringing the Lee Drain atrium. Wherever you like to study, don’t be afraid to find a new place and keep consistent routines; it’s the first keys to success.

Morgan Phillips/The Houstonian

New Kats

Page 35

How to set realistic goals in the college environment CHARITY KENNEBREW Staff Reporter In high school, setting goals becomes a very important part of our language. “What are your short term goals?” or “what are your long term goals?” We are expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives at fourteen, which creates an unrealistic illusion of what our future will look like. At 14 we are not individualized, we are too young to know exactly who we are. It is easy then to confuse who we are and who we want to be. These are the steps I followed to help me better understand my actual goals. The first step is to step out on faith and consider your passions in life. Many people get lost in

what they are passionate about because they get distracted within someone else’s. Social media tells us how to look or dress, school teaches us how to think, and our parents? Well, they get to make decisions for us and expect it to be done the millisecond after the end of the sentence rolls off their tongue. It is up to you to research what your interests are and dig deeper into how far you can go with it. Passion spews from the depths of your soul. It is what you stand by and believe in. Go with your passion, it is bound to lead you in the right direction. In some cases, it could lead you in the wrong direction, going with your heart might not always be the best benefit for you, which brings me to step two. Plan your goal and it will guide you along the way. The best plan for

you is the one you create. Write down how you are going to achieve your passion and figure out a way to check all the nooks and crannies off your list. For example, maybe you want to be an actor. First, you have to be a decent actor. Second, you know that you have to find an agent to help you with your process of different job findings. Third, you have to believe and be confident in yourself because that field of study is particular and difficult to get into. The next step is to execute the plan. Get that agent to assist with your dream and make sure he believes in it. Acquire internships that will allow you to focus on that particular aspect. Also, express to them how much you want to be there and show them by working hard and overachieving. Lastly, bask in your success and



“I learned very young that you should have a still mind and go with it, body and soul. It is very important to stay on the path you created for yourself.” - Charity Kennebrew buy whatever your heart desires. It is the best feeling when you finally accomplish something you put so much time and hard work into. Do what is best for you and be the best version of yourself. Remember to be the best you, only you have control over your

future and be realistic. I learned very young that you should have a still mind and go with it, body and soul. It is very important to stay on the path you created for yourself. It will be the only way your future will be regulated.



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Page 36

Dorms are our home away from home - here’s what to expect MORGAN PHILLIPS Viepoints Editor @morganleemusic Sam Houston is full of many adventures for an incoming freshman, but none is scarier than having to live in a dorm. Most have become too comfortable living at home with their parents. Now you are expected to live in a small area with someone you may not even know. Like many journeys in life you are going to have to go this alone. You are going to have to learn how to live by yourself; making decisions and choices without the advice of a parental unit, unless you are in a dire need to know how to wash clothes. They say college is not easy and you’re about to find out why.

From making decisions to getting out of your comfort zone I felt dorm life at SHSU gave me everything I needed to succeed. In the first couple of weeks you might find yourself juggling your schedule with your free time deciding whether or not to go out, struggling to find a fresh set of clothes beyond the mound piling around the edges of your bed, and getting into disagreements with your “roomie”. Through all this you are trying to have fun while making A’s and buying Chickfil-a. The first days might drag, but soon you’ll find yourself impossibly tired and without a Bearkat Buck left. In those moments I found myself happy with the decisions that I had made and the people that I befriended. In the residence hall setting you can make

your own decisions good or bad. Being in a small room might sound displeasing, but I found that it helped me reduce clutter and rethink what I really need. It is incredibly easy to find things you are looking for in your room. You are not limited to your room though; the university provides many resources for you to use your free time. The gym is a great place to get some sick gains or to prep your legs for those long treks around campus. In the Belvin dorm they give students an entire floor dedicated to the arts, so students can go and work without having to live the building. Besides leaving the the building, the most entertainment you will find in the dorm is hanging with your roommate. Learning another person’s life is a great way to increase your view on the

“Sure, college is a messy experience, but it is made great by the people you meet and the lessons you learn.”

- Morgan Phillips world and increase your cultural scope. There might be problems but always keep in mind that you are living with another human that has flaws. Just like at your house back home, sometimes things don’t go the way you plan. College is a mixture of emotions and in that way it is a perfect slice of life. The residence hall is a microcosm of the world that your parents protected you from, but through this turmoil you are being guided by professors, res-

ident advisors, roommates and school faculty. Sure, college is a messy experience, but it is made great by the people you meet and the lessons you learn. Whether you think you belong in college or you don’t, just remember that there are lessons to be learnt and knowledge to gain. A dorm is a small place but it is more than enough to welcome you to a college life filled with ramen, dirty clothes and friends.

Morgan Phillips /The Houstonian




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Freshman year is when to make the most of Sam Houston TRICIA SIMS Orientation Editor @triciaannnn Freshmen insecurities can turn into the best years of your life. Four years ago, I started out just like you all are right now. I was so unsure and scared of what my college life would be like. I came into the university not knowing anyone in my dorm not even my roommate. I had a few high school acquaintances that I knew were attending SHSU, but I did not think I would hang out with them too much. I literally felt like I was back in kindergarten, I was starting all over without all my friends who knew me so well. It was terrifying. I had a random roommate my

freshmen year. I did not meet her until that day after I moved in. All I had was a name and a couple emails from her. Her name was Isabella Fontana. We were not even Facebook friends yet. I literally did not even know what she looked like. On that first day I was so paranoid. Every little noise I heard, my heart shot up and I thought it was her coming through the door but all that day she never came. It was the second day when I finally heard the keys. I stopped unpacking and pretended to be all-casual and picked up a book. She came into the room with a couple boxes, a big smile and heavy breathing. (we lived on the top floor without an elevator) She quickly introduced herself with a simple, “Hi, I’m Isabella but you can call me Izzie.” I smiled and

then shook her hand. When she finished taking in all her stuff from her car we got to talking. She told me that this was actually her junior year. I had assumed she was a freshman but it was a great surprise. She was now a resource to me. She had already been on campus and knew what life as a student was really like. I had all these questions and worries. Now I had found the person to help me through it all. Over the next few days she taught me everything SHSU related. She is the one who told me to go to Party at the Pit and to go try out my now favorite study spot. Without her guidance, I would have never joined the organization I am currently in and I would not have made all the friends that I now have. She would talk about her fresh-

man year and share with me all her mistakes and helped me not make them. Then told me all the fun and silly things to do around campus. Her advice included swing on the Belvin swings; taking a nap by the fountain; taking a picture with the Sam Houston statue by the library; hanging out at the pit; and feeding the chickens across the street. That year I did all those things and I started to really feel a real connection to the school. Now I am here about to graduate and I am so sad. The connection I have made to with the university and all the awesome people I met would never have happened without my first interaction with my roommate. That first moment of freshmen year truly changed me forever. It gave me a sense of truly belonging and

knowing I was at the right place. So do not worry about it freshmen. You have already made a great decision by choosing SHSU and I am sure you will have your ‘moment’ soon.


years ago, I started out just like you all are right now.” - Tricia Sims


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Get out more! See beautiful, scenic Huntsville BRANDI GOMEZ Campus Culture Reporter As a freshman this year, I made my schedule to where my classes were in the morning times. Although that may seem dreadful, the time I have after those classes seem much vaster. But what do I do to keep me entertained with the unfulfilled time? When I am feeling home-y, I stay in and watch Netflix or, at times, being a writer, I read or write. This down time, keeps me less stressed, pulling my mind away from the some-

times, chaotic school work. When I get bored in my dorm, the adventure side of me comes out and I feel like going out and doing ‘something’. My favorite place to go is the Huntsville National Park. I go with my sister and friends, and it can take up an afternoon or even a weekend for only 5 dollars. If you love nature, it’s a close spot to swim, fish and go hiking. If you don’t want to drive too far from your dorm, there are activities on and close to campus. I like to visit the art galleries around campus, there are about

three of them you can go see. There is one in the LSC, and two in the art buildings. They have themed shows every month. Another of my favorites is the Open Mic night for poets they have at different places on and off campus. I am not a party, or club character but there is plenty to do around this small town of Huntsville. From Shenanigans to football games, to pageant events. There are so many announcements that will inform you on what is going on, on and off campus. Morgan Phillips | The Houstonian

Morgan Phillips | The Houstonian

Morgan Phillips | The Houstonian

Morgan Phillips | The Houstonian

Page 44 Huntsville Be there or be square: Top SHSU events HOLLY GRAY SHSU Alumna @HolyHolly13 You finally moved into your dorm, went to your first college classes, and made some new friends. Now what? If you’re a first-year college student at Sam Houston State University, you might be wondering, what people do for fun around here? Well, a lot! The department of Student Activities at SHSU as well as several other departments host events on campus all year around for students. Not only that, but there is usually free food, entertainment, and prizes! During Welcome Week, fun events are happening everyday on campus! On Wednesday, the 23rd,

after a long day of classes, Student Activities will be hosting Casino Night in the LSC Ballroom from 6-10pm. Vendors bring in Black Jack tables, Texas Hold ‘em, and Craps for students to play. Along with fun games there will also be a DJ. As students play games they win tickets, and put their tickets toward a drawing to win a prize. “We give away prizes like TVs, mini fridges, dorm room packs with snacks, and lots of other things to use for your dorm room. You name it, we probably have it, even things like beats headphones.” Mekayla Perkins, president of program council said. At the end of the party, Miss Sam Houston will draw the winning tickets. Free t-shirts will be given away while supplies last. “It’s a lot of fun! Definitely a real casino feel with real equip-

ment.” Perkins said. Along with several other events during Welcome Week, “RecFEST” will be hosted by the Recreational Sports Center where students can explore the RSC, go out and enjoy free food and T-shirts, demonstrations, music and more. Another popular event during Welcome Week is the Kat Comedy Showcase, a performance where students can enjoy performances from actors and standup comedians. A few other fun events students don’t want to miss during Welcome Week are the Kats Meow Karaoke held in the LSC Kat Klub, free food at the at the Bearkat Picnic, Party in the Pit held in the Old Main Pit behind Austin Hall, Dinner and a Movie held by Program Council, Kat Club Bash and SHSU’s first volleyball and soccer

games of the year. Later in the fall, leading up to SHSU’s homecoming football game, the university and Student Activities will host Homecoming Week with different events such as the Homecoming Parade and Sam Jam Carnival. At the end of the week before the football game will be the Bearkat Alley tailgate party. Students will be voting for homecoming king and queen during this week as well. The Homecoming Parade takes entries from students of floats, cars, or walking groups. The parade entries will be eligible for awards based on creativity, appearance, and spirit. The firstplace winner will receive $1000, second place wins $500, and third place wins $250. The parade is a great opportunity for students, organizations, honored alumni, guests, and Huntsville businesses

to celebrate Bearkat football and get involved. The Sam Jam Carnival will feature food and carnival-style games and rides. At the end of October, during the week of Halloween, Student Activities and Program Council will let students “take over” the entire LSC building to celebrate Halloween. On each floor there are different attractions, games, prizes, food, and a costume contest. “It’s really cool because everything we do is free.” Perkins said. “We are hoping to bring a lot of new attractions this year for the students. We have a wonderful new director of the building who we are teaming up with to bring some exciting new things.” For the entire article visit

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Chemistry & Forensic Science

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As incoming students might have noticed there are some construction projects going on around campus that have changed the parking spots over the last year. There have been some new additional spots created along Avenue H to help compensate. Debuting in the fall 2016 semester, the parking app NuPark is set up to work with the pay per hour spots. The app is available for both iPhone and Android. The app is able to give students different information about the campus such as an interactive map where you could park depending on your permit, and it gives

the university. SGA took over 100 surveys in person and more than 100 on Twitter. The organization then decided to represent the student body at the Feb. 21 City Council meeting and both Bolden and the 2016-17 Chief of External Affairs Logan Ellis spoke at the meeting. “I think it’s extremely important whether you are going into politics or not to be involved outside of the university,” Ellis said. “City council meetings help to inform and educate people about what is happening around town. It also gives you a chance to voice your opinion and talk to city leaders.” After the next meeting, the City of Huntsville decided not to take SGA’s suggestion and the For the entire article visit



students the ability to appeal a citation. More services include account management, permit purchase and management and citation payment. Although the app was implemented to give students more alternatives to parking rather than having a permit, many students have become frustrated. The Student Government Association took surveys to see the student opinion on the subject. The City of Huntsville came to 2016-17 SGA President Jacqueline Bolden to inquire if SHSU students want to allow more paid parking where permit parking already exists. Upon hearing this, SGA began surveying students in the Lowman Student Center mall area. Many students were unaware that revenue from hourly parking goes to the city and not


TRICIA SIMS Orientation Editor


Huntsville plans to add more per-hour parking




Originally Published: 10/05/16

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DOMINATION AT THE BATTLE OF THE PINEY WOODS SHSU breaks records in 63-28 thrashing of SFA RYAN REYNOLDS Editor-in-Chief @Ryan_Reynolds9 Records are meant to be broken, and Sam Houston State broke a handful of them with their dominating 63-28 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 1. “I thought that this was a team that if we didn’t play our best could beat us,” Head Coach K.C. Keeler said. “I thought it was very much like looking in a mirror. They have a very good defensive line. At times they’ve had really good quarterback play. I really liked their skill kids, outside receivers especially. I thought it was going to be a heck of a contest, but our kids just took them apart.” A record crowd of 27,411 at NRG Stadium for the 91 Battle of the Piney Woods was just the beginning, as the historic game was literally one for the books. Junior quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe led the charge with a career day. He went 25 of 33 for a career best of 438 yards and seven touchdowns, which marks the most passing touchdowns thrown by an SHSU quarterback in school history, and only one shy of tying the Southland Conference record. The program’s previous record of five had been reached five times. “That was unreal,” Athletic Director for Media Relations Jason Barfield said. “He was able to do whatever he wanted out there and to do something like that in a rivalry game is something else. Not only have we ever had a game like that in the Piney Woods, we’ve never had a game like that period.” Barfield has been around the football program, and SHSU athletics, for over two decades. He has witnessed 22 straight Battle of the Piney Woods games and believes that spectators may never see a performance like Briscoe’s ever again. “In all of the big games that

Sam Houston has ever had before, and the big huge numbers that we’ve put up before, nobody has ever done that,” Barfield said. “I was looking at the record book afterwards and the record was five touchdown passes in a game, and he does seven. You look at the guys who threw five and it’s Josh McCown, Dustin Long, Chris Chaloupka, Rhett Bomar. I mean the best quarterbacks in Sam Houston history and they only did five in a game. That was something else and something we may never see again.” Briscoe’s 438 passing yards was the sixth-most by an SHSU quarterback in a single game and just the 10 400-yard performance by a Bearkat signal caller in school history. Accolades rolled in after his monster performance. He was named Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week, STATS FCS National Offensive Player of the Week, as well as being added to the STATS FCS national Offensive Player of the Year watch list. “I think the way he plays kind of helps everyone else around him,” Keeler said. “He makes good decisions, so he has the ball in the right positions. He has such a quick release and he throws with his core. He’s special he really is. I think the most impressive thing doesn’t have to do anything with his physical skills, or his mental capacity to get us in the right place, but it has been his leadership.” Junior wide receiver Yedidiah Louis also made his mark on the field and forever left his imprint on the SHSU all-time list. Louis finished the Piney Woods game with seven receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game raising his career total to 2,189 yards, which moved him past Jason Mathenia into fourth all-time in program receiving yards. “You kind of fit your game plan into what they do defensively, and

then after you do all that you say ‘how can I get [Yedidiah] the ball three or four more times?” Keeler said. “When you have a guy that talented, you have to do that. If you give him any space at all he’s going to make you pay. It’s a combination of his quickness, his speed and strength. I mean the number of tackles he breaks is mind boggling.” The Bearkat special teams played a tremendous factor in the Piney Woods outcome. Senior punter Joseph Figenshaw boomed a 58-yard punt in the first quarter to flip field position and the momentum; but it was senior kicker Luc Swimberghe who inched closer to a major milestone. Swimberghe finished the game a perfect 9-for-9 on PATs, giving him exactly 300 points for his career. He’s only the second Bearkat kicker to reach that mark, joining Miguel Antonio, and needs just 25 more points to move into first as the all-time leader in points for Bearkat kickers. “I’m a go for it on fourth down kind of guy, but I constantly go over to Luc and ask him to give me a yard line,” Keeler said. “He would probably be the leading kicker in the history of the school right now if he wouldn’t have gotten hurt last year. Coming off that knee surgery he’s worked so hard to get back. Luc is one of the best I’ve been around and I’ve been around some pretty good ones too.” The Bearkats also set a pair of Piney Woods team records in the beat down. An avalanche of 63 points scored by the Bearkats was the most points scored by one team in the history of the Piney Woods matchup, breaking the 56 points scored by SHSU in 2013. With the win, the team also broke the Piney Woods record for total offense with 653 yards. “To put 42 points up and 400 yards at halftime against a pretty good defense, those are histor-

Photo courtesy SHSU Athletics

ic numbers,” Keeler said. “Once we got to 63 we spent the whole fourth quarter managing the game and just trying to get out healthy. We score a lot of points and we’re a really talented offensively. We really have no flaws [on offense]. I mean we’re a headache to defend.” The victory over rival SFA was also monumental for the 23-year headman Keeler. The win served as Keeler’s 200-career victory and moved his overall record to 20086-1. Between his stops at SHSU, Delaware and Rowen University, Keeler is just the 76 coach to reach the milestone and joins 14 other active coaches. Keeler was the 11 fastest in terms of coaching years to reach the 200 win mark and the 12 youngest in the history of college

football to reach the milestone. “I didn’t really think about the 200 win,” Keeler said. “I mean there was nothing, until after you do it then you sort of reflect on it a little bit because it is an accomplishment. You reflect back and you realize that you coached a lot of great players, you had a lot of great coaches who work with you and the third thing that’s really important is that you work with some really good administration. It was very rewarding getting that win.” Oct. 1 was a historic day for SHSU sports, and with the historic beat down over the Lumberjacks, came historic performances that spectators will remember forever.


Originally Published: 01/24/17

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BEARKAT ATHLETES SHOW DEDICATION IN CLASSROOM Southland Commissioner’s Honor Roll includes 89 Bearkats RYAN REYNOLDS Editor-in-Chief @Ryan_Reynolds9 Sam Houston State University lives by the motto “The Measure of a Life is its Service,” and Bearkat student-athletes put that motto on display in the classrooms during the fall semester. SHSU placed 89 student-athletes on the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll list, which was announced on Jan. 20. The honor roll acknowledges participants in all sports; and in order to receive a nomination student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA during their respective competition season. The 89 representatives were the fifth most among Southland schools; but the Bearkats had 23 student-athletes finish with a perfect 4.0 GPA, which was the second highest total in the conference. Athletic director Bobby Williams compared the academic

accomplishment to winning conference championships and competing at a national level on the field. “It’s like winning conference championships athletically and competing at a national level, whether it be regionals or for a National Championship if I can compare it to an athletic situation,” Williams said. “To achieve that high in the classrooms, especially with 23 4.0’s, it’s a great credit to our student-athletes and it shows that our coaches recruit quality people. I also give credit to our academic compliance staff.” Only fall semester sports were eligible for the Commissioner’s Honor Roll and all five of SHSU’s athletic programs had representatives make the list. Football led all programs with 29 nominated student-athletes, followed by 23 soccer student-athletes, volleyball posted 15 representatives, while men’s and women’s cross country added 11 apiece. “One of our main goals is to define the student athlete experience and we want to make sure

we’re successful at defining that,” Williams said. “A part of that is achieving at a high-level academically as well as on the field of competition athletically.” The Bearkat football team had a successful season both on the field breaking records and in the classroom. The Kats were ranked No. 1 in the nation at the end of the regular season, but fell in the FCS Quarterfinals to James Madison University. Led by head coach K.C. Keeler, the honor roll representatives for the football program are as followed: Daniel Adams, Tucker Addington, Hunter Brown, Remus Bulmer, Adrian Contreras, Eric David, James De La Rosa, Darion Flowers, P.J. Giddens, Justin Gil, Sam Hardy, Jaylen Harris, Jessie Harris, Ragan Henderson, Macade Isbell, Quinten Jackson, Justin Johnson, Sione Latu, Alfonzo McMillian, Santiago Montoya, Shyon Motlagh, Parker Murry, Luc Swimberghe, Carlos Teal, Taner Tunstall, Bryson Wallace, Javin Webb, Sammy Webb IV, Tristan Wendt and Ryne Yost.

Just one season ago the Bearkat soccer program made an appearance in the conference title game, but the 2016 season was different as the team finished with an overall record of 2-16-1. However, the Bearkat soccer student-athletes hit the books and excelled in the classroom. The 23 representatives from the soccer program are: Megan Bennett, Lindsey Bienski, Micaela Birt, Lexi Bullard, Meredith Carlson, Kaylee Davis, Kylie Dick, Hannah Dupin, Maddie Gangi, Josee Jacobellis, Jordan Jarzombek, Allie Johnson, Katy Johnson, Anna Kaiser, Ashley Long, Hayden Oswalt, Maddy Panozzo, Taylor Pritchard, Bailee Shanks, Acacia Shepardson, Beryl Smith, Bailey Strong and Whitney Woodward. Despite having to call gym two of the Health and Kinesiology Center their stomping ground for the 2016 season, the Bearkat volleyball team overcame adversity and scheduling problems to have a successful year on the court. The program made an appearance in the conference championship game, but fell to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The 15 volleyball nominees are as followed: Taylor Cunningham, Meagan Elkins, Shelby Genung, Amanda Gooch, Michelle Grif-

fith, Breanna Homer, Kayla Jones, Claire Kilpatrick, Addison Miller, Natalie Nevlud, Margaret Revell, Sarah Sherman, Jordyn Vaughn, Madison Wallace and Jaclyn Ward. The men’s and women’s cross country teams finished the season with a handful of athletic accomplishments. The men’s cross country team finished fifth at the Southland Championships, but the women’s team took home second place. Now, both teams have received an academic accomplishment. The 22 representatives from the cross country programs are as followed. Men’s cross country: Evan Arambula, J.T. Bounds, Grant Buley, Connor Del Rio, Alex Hernandez, George Lowe, Mark Martinez, Robert Monticone, Stephen Southall, Colton Stoker and Cameron Theriot. Women’s cross country: Cassidy Allen, Jamie Eckford, Camry Grigsby, Kassandra Luna, Briana McCall, Veronica Molina, Ana Moreno, Olivia Olguin, Holly Pierce, Hannah Tarrant, and Alina Ward. The Southland Conference will announce the 2017 Commissioner’s Honor Roll within 30 days upon conclusion of the spring semester.

Photos courtesy SHSU Athletics


Originally Published: 04/26/17

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Kats head to Southland tournament for first time in four years RYAN REYNOLDS Editor-in-Chief @Ryan_Reynolds9 In Rob Hubbard’s first year as head coach, the Sam Houston State tennis team is back in the Southland Conference tournament for the first time since 2013. The eight-team tournament hosted by Lamar University will begin on Friday and run through April 30. SHSU is slotted as the seventh seed and will kick things off with a match against second-seeded Lamar on Friday at 10 a.m. “We were picked to finish down toward the bottom of the barrel and not be a contender this year because we had the same team back from last year,” Hubbard said. “I think these girls just went about proving all that wrong.” In their last eight games, the Bearkats are 5-3 and are entering the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the conference. SHSU finished the season with a 6-5 conference record, which are the most wins SHSU has seen in Southland play since 2010. “It would be a great help to have the doubles [point] and then we’ll have six individuals out there in the singles so we’ll see where it goes,” Hubbard said. “If we play the way we finished the season, virtually everyone was playing pretty well, good things could happen.” SHSU and LU already met once this season back on April 1 when the Kats went on the road and defeated LU for the first time in 10 years. Junior Fabienne Gettwart is set to play on court No. 1 for the Bearkats in the SLC tournament and will take on LU’s No. 1, senior Katya Lapayeva. Gettwart got the best of Lapayeva in their previous meeting notching a 6-4, 7-6 win. “I know I’ve beaten her before,” Gettwart said. “But I can’t rely only on that factor. I have to go into the match like a blank page and say ‘okay, it’s a new game, a new day.’ You never know if she’ll have a good day or if I’ll have a bad day. I need to go in with the belief of not being too confident.” Hubbard, along with assistant coaches Robin Hubbard and Patrick Horne, have adopted the word “believe” as the theme of the season. The Kats were tested with a tough non-conference schedule in mid-January where the team lost six consecutive

matches. However, the tough competition paid off at the start of conference play when the Bearkats shocked the world and defeated Stephen F. Austin for the first time in six years. The Bearkats now carry around a wooden orange carving of the word and it’s awarded to the MVP of every match. The sign will be in Beaumont with the team to remind them that anything is possible. “They continue to amaze me and they believe in themselves now,” Hubbard said. “All along myself, Robin and Patrick have told them that we believe in you and on the road you have to believe in yourself or it doesn’t get done. We actually have a sign here that’s part of it. Robin found the sign, brought it home, painted it orange and it goes with them after each match.” Injuries have plagued the Bearkats in the last several weeks. SHSU will compete in the SLC tournament without its captain sophomore Ema Barkovic due to a torn ACL. Gettwart and freshman Diane Friedrichs have both been dealing with stress fractures in the foot, but have been cleared to play in the tournament. “We don’t have next man up so we had to deal with what we had when they went down,” Hubbard said. “When Fab [Gettwart] went down against Nicholls State it bothered us, but we kind of knew she was playing banged up. When Ema went down after two or three games, you could see everyone’s heart sink. That one was a punch in the stomach. That one took the wind out of us.” The Bearkats will face LU in round one at the Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center at 10 a.m. on April 28.

Photo courtesy SHSU Athletics

Photo courtesy SHSU Athletics


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BOWLING INTO SAM HOUSTON HEARTS Kats finish season at No. 4 in nation after semifinal exit HIVAN MORENO Assistant Sports Editor @wild_game_boy The Sam Houston State bowling team wrapped up a strong 2016-17 season, finishing with an impressive 102-47 record and making it to the NCAA semi-finals. The Bearkats started the season ranked No. 6 in the country and had a strong start, placing first three times in their first four tournaments. During that span, the Kats notched a 47-21 record. “This season was definitely a good one for us,” junior Heather Penatzer said. “We won four out of five tournaments during the fall semester, which was extraordinary. After losing three seniors last year and gaining three freshmen, the team dynamic was much different. However, that didn’t hold us back one bit.” One of those tournaments was the Kat Klash, an annual event hosted by SHSU in Houston that included top teams in the nation such as Stephen F. Austin and Nebraska. SHSU finished the tournament in the top spot with an 11-3 record. “Winning our home tournament in November was definitely a highlight,” junior Heather Penatzer said. “We led for most, if not all of the tournament, and we beat Nebraska in the finals. Nebraska was ranked No. 1 nationally at the time and had won the tournament for the previous few years. Winning at home is always satisfying, especially against such a strong field.” After a strong start to the fall semester, the Bearkats had a rocky start to the second half of the season. The Kats started off the second half with a sixth placed finish at the PV A&M Invitational in Arlington. SHSU went on to place in the top three in two out of their six remaining tournaments. “The spring semester started out shaky for us,” Penatzer said. “But we managed to pull things together in time to give the Na-

tional Championship a run.” Before making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Kats traveled to Jonesboro, Ark. to

bracket to the semifinals was one of our greatest accomplishments this season.” With the season ending, the

Photo courtesy SHSU Athletics

compete in the Southland Bowling League Championship. SHSU finished the conference tournament with a 4-1 record and were the runners-up after being swept by Arkansas State. “It wasn’t the way we wanted to end the regular season,” sophomore Madysen Keller said. “But we had to keep our heads up and come back stronger for the National Championship.” The Bearkats entered the national tournament ranked No. 4 in the nation and were the eighth seed. After qualifying rounds, SHSU went 2-2 overall and was eliminated from match play by top-seeded McKendree in the semifinals. McKendree went on to win the national title. “While we didn’t achieve our goal of winning the tournament, reaching the top four was a great finish,” Penatzer said. “In the past four years, SHSU has reached the semifinals or higher three times, which is an incredible achievement. The resilience and perseverance shown by the team in match play was incredible, and our climb out of the losers’

SHSU bowling team will say farewell to its two seniors. One of who is Randi Speiler. She not only had a huge impact in the bowling lanes, but with her teammates as well.

“Randi really helped me out with my grades,” Keller said. “I really struggled with my education and to get to where I am. I had to raise up my GPA. She put me in the right mind set. It going to be sad to see her go.” Janine Kuwagara will also be graduating this spring. Kuwahara has been a member of SHSU’s bowling team for the past four years, has earned back-to-back NCAA Elite 90 awards and has appeared in the national tournament in all four years of her Bearkat career. “She has been a model to her peers,” head coach Brad Hagen said. “She has had one of the most successful careers of any Bearkat bowler to date. To graduate with a top three career average and backto-back NCAA Elite 90 awards is amazing.” Since the season has ended, the bowling team’s focus is to recruit more talent for the upcoming season. “Right now our priorities are finalizing any needs of the team and recruitment efforts for next season as August will be here very quickly,” Hagen said. “We have voids that still need to be filled and team meetings to strategize the needs of those returnees and

the expectations that follow moving forward.” The Bearkats will return to the lanes seeking the school’s second National Championship, first since 2014, in the fall.


Photo courtesy SHSU Athletics


SHSUMBB looks to rebound from ‘let down’ season GABRIEL MYERS Staff Reporter @G_Myers33 For each of the last five seasons the Sam Houston State Bearkat basketball team has been on the cusp of Southland Conference glory. Each of the last five seasons, the Bearkats have reached at least the semi-finals of the SLC tournament, but every time they have fallen short of their ultimate goal, which is to win the conference tournament and secure a berth in the NCAA tournament. For head coach Jason Hooten, he needs to address how to

turn the Kats from contenders to champions. “That’s one that I’ve been trying to get answered,” head coach Jason Hooten said. “I think a lot of things have to come into play. Number one thing is that we’ve got to shoot the ball better this year. Our percentages from the three-point line just weren’t good enough, and so we’re looking to see if there are some things we need to do offensively X’s and O’s wise differently or if we just got to make shots.” Last season, the Bearkats shot just 31.7 percent from the threepoint line, which ranked last in the SLC. However, the good news for the Bearkats is that they are returning four of their top five

three-point shooters from a season ago; sophomore forward Albert Almanza (40.9%), and sophomore guards Cameron Delaney (39.5%), Josh Delaney (38.6%), and John Dewey III (35.3%). All four players, with the exception of Dewey III, spent most of the season coming off the bench, and are projected to get more minutes in the 2017-18 season. “I think we have some shot makers coming in,” Hooten said. “And some guys returning who can make shots as well.” SHSU will look much different on the court next season. The team lost four starters due to graduation; Paul Baxter, Dakarai Henderson, Aurimas Majauskas and Torry Butler were all seniors and

were cornerstones in the Bearkat basketball program. Despite the four losses, the Kats however will not lack talent this season. Dewey III made the All-Conference team and ranked second in the conference in assists per game last season. The Bearkats also return junior forward Chris Galbreath Jr., who was one of the top sixth men in the conference last season, and started each game in the conference tournament. Junior forward Jamaal Williams is also making a return to the hardwood. Eight new players are set to make their Bearkat debuts this season, and Hooten is hopeful that the team will finally be able to get over that conference title hump that has haunted the team since

their last SLC title in 2010. “To get over that hump is the toughest thing to do in any sport,” Hooten said. “We just need to figure out what we can do better. Our biggest letdown to me was our chemistry. I thought at times we didn’t always play up to our ability, and I think our chemistry had a lot to do with that.” Fixing the chemistry is not something Hooten views as a problem going into next year. Even though the Bearkats lost four leaders, the Bearkats are bringing back people who had a solidified role on the team last season, and are ready to expand upon that role in November.


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Brown DASHES with Houston, serves as goalkeeper coach

Photo courtesy SHSU Athletics

CHRISTINA NICHOLS Staff Reporter Having lead the Sam Houston State soccer program through some of the team’s most successful seasons, it comes as no surprise that head coach Tom Brown also doubles as a goalkeeper coach for the Houston Dash, a team within the National Women’s Soccer League. Brown was granted the volunteer position during the Dash’s 2015 season, and while his title is goalie coach, he does much more than just coach goalkeepers. “I do quite a few things actually,” Brown said. “I do work with the goalkeepers during training with the team and not with the team, but I do most of the video work like opponent scouting and presentations to the players about upcoming opponents.” Being a goalkeeper coach for a professional team, Brown had the opportunity to work with two goalies that have competed at the international level, and with that, Brown has learned many skills he applies to the Bearkat soccer team. “The biggest thing I get out

of working with the Dash is that that game [Dash] is much faster than the college game,” So, from a perception stand point it helps

Tom Brown SHSU head coach

me read the games faster here [at SHSU] and help our players.” Head coach Randy Waldrum of the Houston Dash granted Brown his first job as a graduate assistant in 1991 and since then has felt Brown possessed the skills to be an effective goalkeeper coach for the professional team. “Tom brings a wealth of experience to our organization,” Waldrum said. “He’s got a great

understanding of the game and the tactics involved at a high level. In addition, his goalkeeping experience is an asset as he is training our two world class goalkeepers as well as his on the field responsibilities.” Waldrum praised Brown by saying the SHSU coach holds a great rapport with the Dash players, and is highly respected by the professional players. Since taking the head coach position in 2008, Brown lead SHSU to their first Southland Conference tournament championship match in 10 years back in 2014. In that season, the Bearkats also captures eight league victories, which is the most in program history. In the following season, Brown also led the Bearkats to a program best of 10 season victories. “The biggest thing I enjoy about being a soccer coach is working with the players,” Brown said. “You’re around young people that are wanting to learn and achieve. So working with them on trying to achieve their goals is the biggest thing for me.” Brown will return to the sidelines of Pritchett Field and

coach the Bearkat women when the soccer season officially begins in mid-August.

Houston Dash Professional women’s soccer team in the National Women’s Soccer League


Originally Published: 03/07/17

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Ballew conquers surgery, returns to mound after two years RYAN REYNOLDS Editor-in-Chief @Ryan_Reynolds9 There is one injury and one procedure that without a doubt sends chills down every pitchers’ spine. Those three words are: Tommy John surgery. The procedure is more properly known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (or UCL). It is a surgical operation in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. For Sam Houston State, redshirt sophomore left-handed pitcher Seth Ballew had to face the rigorous challenge of recovering from it. “I had the surgery in August of 2015 and I first picked up a ball and started throwing on Jan. 11 of 2016,” Ballew said. “I had over six months of not being able to throw a baseball and I had to do physical rehab stuff and a throw-

ing program. The recovery time is going on 19 months.” Over two years ago, Ballew’s baseball career was put in jeopardy. He was playing for the Blinn College Buccaneers at the time and was on the mound for a game in late February. Ballew felt his elbow pop after a pitch and immediately knew something was wrong. “It was about a month before that game when I started feeling some pain in there,” Ballew said. “Of course I did what people tell you not to do and I researched it and looked it up. There were some signs of ulnar collateral ligament tears, but I was able to pitch on it for about three games before it finally popped.” Blinn referred Ballew to a local doctor in order to find the root of what was going on. The pitcher visited the professional from February to May, but the MRIs came up negative, showing no signs of any injury. “He was telling me there was no structural damage and that nothing was wrong,” Ballew said. “So I kept trying to throw and it

wasn’t getting any better.” Some symptoms of ulnar collateral ligament damage include pain on the inside of the elbow, a sense of looseness or instability in the elbow, irritation of the ulnar nerve and numbness in the small finger and ring finger. Ballew said he felt his symptoms every time he would lay back his left arm. “The main one I remember was every time I would lay back my elbow there would be a knifing sharp pain,” Ballew said. “It was right in the UCL tunnel, so that was probably the biggest amount of pain there was.” Taking the doctor’s word that there was nothing wrong; Ballew ignored the pain and continued playing baseball. Nothing was getting better, so he decided to seek a second opinion from Dr. Keith Meister, who is also the Texas Rangers’ medical professional. “I talked to coach Sirianni and he sent me to Dr. Meister,” Ballew said. “He performed another MRI on me and basically didn’t find anything wrong. He put me on a throwing program.” The throwing program that Dr. Meister assigned did not work out the way he expected. The sharp pain returned to Ballew’s elbow in mid-July, and finally, a surgery was performed on Aug. 5, 2015 right before attending his first semester at SHSU. “I had a weird tear,” Ballew said. “Tears are normally straight down, but mine was like a little pin hole tear. They took my tendon out of my right wrist and they basicalPhoto courtesy SHSU Athletics ly went in and just

figurated it around the hurt ligament.” Tommy John surgery is said to be a risky procedure because of

Seth Ballew Sophomore left-handed pitcher

how many question marks surround the recovery process. Every human reacts differently to an injury and the main focus of the pitcher is returning to normal form. According to Keller Marshall of the Am J Sports Medical Journal (2015), 25 percent of pitchers who have first-time Tommy John surgery need additional surgical procedures; 34 percent go on to have throwing shoulder problems and 57 percent return to the disabled list at least one more time. However, the success rate of the procedure is on the rise and pitchers around the country are finding more success on the mound following surgery. “I’m familiar with the success rate of Tommy John surgery,” Ballew said. “It has come a long way since the surgery first came along. I had known a couple of my buddies who had Tommy John and had comeback. I wasn’t worried about my career being over, more just me being the same kind of player when I came back.” Ballew said his toughest challenge of returning to the mound was his mental game. “It was tough picking up a ball

and throwing again because you have a mental block in your head,” Ballew said. “To where you’re like ‘I don’t know how it’s going to be’, ‘I don’t know how it’s going to feel’, ‘Is it going to feel any better?’ I would say that was the toughest.” SHSU redshirt junior catcher Hunter Southerland went through Tommy John surgery two years before Ballew did. The two are roommates and Ballew said that Southerland’s past experience with the injury helped him get through his. “He knew kind of the ins-andouts and what I would be going through,” Ballew said. “He was definitely the biggest person that helped me through it all. I’d come to him about certain stuff I was feeling and certain things I could do to strengthen it back up.” Ballew is now seeing action this season for the first time since injuring his left elbow two years ago. The Bearkat has started in three games, has pitched 10.1 innings and holds a 6.10 earned run average with five strikeouts. “It’s a great feeling being back out there after two years,” Ballew said. “I’m just so excited to finally get back on the mound and compete. Everyone comes back from an injury differently, but I feel fine. I feel strong out there. It’s just working back into it.” The SHSU pitcher is expected to make his next start on Saturday against Lamar University. “It was bad,” Ballew said. “But like I said, with the help from everybody around me, our coaches, my family and my friends, I’ve been able to come back and I’ll be stronger than ever.”


Originally Published: 04/12/17

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SHSU golf notches No. 5, breaks match titles record

CHRISTINA NICHOLS Staff Reporter For the first time in program history, the Sam Houston State University women’s golf team has claimed five match titles this season, three of them coming back-to-back. “This is the absolute best season the program has had,” assistant coach Thomas Chain said. “Our accumulation total is the lowest it has ever been in the history of the program and every tournament we have one, two or three girls finish in the top ten.”

The Bearkats currently stand second in the Southland Conference with an average score of 300.97, only .97 points behind No. 1 Central Arkansas. The women also hold the lowest round total in the conference with 287 and the most wins with five. To add to the women’s success, four Bearkats are ranked among the top 15 in the conference with junior Gianti Mahardhika holding the lowest round total with 66 and senior Heather Shake holding the second highest individual win total with two. Bearkats ranked among the top 15 include freshman Hannah Al-

berto in third place, Mahardhika in fifth, Shake in sixth and sophomore Jenna Philips in 14. “It is incredible how these girls have, in such a short period of time, develop a good team, rapport and relationship that has carried over to their golf,” Chain said. “They’ve been able to do that because of their hard work.” In their last outing, the Bearkats competed at the Intercollegiate in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, which marked the end of the team’s regular season. SHSU took home fifth place in the weather-shortened event. The Bearkats opened the first

round with a five-stroke lead after 18 holes and held a low round of 294, but after two delays due to worsening weather conditions, the Bearkats struggled to get back in their grove and finished with a shot of 319. On a positive note, Alberto had an individual finish of eight place at six over par while Phillips shot a team low round of 70 in the opening round. While the Bearkats hold the most match victories in the conference, head coach Brent Kieschnick hopes to improve that record to six at the Southland Conference Championship.

“Winning breeds winning,” Kieschnick said. “Going into the conference championship we know how to win and feel very confident going into it. I feel we will have a really good chance.” The Bearkats will travel to Montgomery on April 17 to compete in the two-day SLC Championship at Woodforest Golf Club where they hope to pick up their sixth match title and first team title at the championships in 10 years.

/HoustonianSHSU @HoustonianSHSU

Photos courtesy SHSU Athletics

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