Orientation Edition 2021

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2021 Orientation Edition

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT Welcome to Sam Houston State University! Welcome to an exciting new academic year. I am happy that you are joining the Sam Houston State University community. This is the start of a journey with the destination I hope you’ll keep in sight: earning a degree that will benefit you the rest of your life. You will be able to take advantage of many experiences on the journey that will enrich you along the way. You’ll meet students who are interested in the same academic subjects, share your enthusiasm for sports and entertainment and might have grown up in the same region or even attended the same high school. You’ll meet other students with whom you have little in common. The familiar can provide a level of comfort; the unfamiliar can provide opportunities to stretch and learn. Both are important. You’ll find the Bearkat community welcoming, and I hope you’ll get to know as many individuals as you can. My husband, Elliott, and I moved to Huntsville a week before classes began in August 2020. It was a strange time in our nation and around the world. As I reflect on last year, I am gratified with how the university community came together to help navigate the year in a manner that allowed us to operate without closing the campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are planning for normal operations this fall. I’m excited that I’ll get to see facial expressions of the people I see on campus and around town, and I hope you’ll introduce yourself if you see me. My family and I made the choice to get vaccinated, and I can’t adequately express the renewed sense of optimism I’ve felt since. I encourage you to take personal responsibility for your health and well-being and invite you to check the University Web site and campus messaging often for updates regarding CDC recommendations. Please familiarize yourself with campus resources. Our excellent faculty and staff want you to succeed. If you don’t know what you need or what is available, please ask someone. We’re all here ready to help. Best wishes for a wonderful year. Welcome to the Bearkat family! President Alisa White Photo courtesy of shsu.edu


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Meet Yahtzee: The unofficial 'mascot' of Sam Houston BY JORDAN SMITH Digital Director Sam Houston State University does not just have a new president in Dr. Alisa White and first gentlemen in Elliott Herzlich, but also a furry friend in Yahtzee, the first dog of Sam Houston. Although Yahtzee is new to Huntsville, Texas, the six-year-old Morkie is not experiencing the Lone Star State for the first time, as she was adopted by Herzlich and White in Tyler, Texas just a few years ago. White talked of fond memories about the first interaction with the three of them. “About a month before [Herzlich] moved [to Austin Peay State University], we got [Yahtzee] in Tyler,” White said. “She was 11 weeks old and we went over to look at these puppies that one of my friends told me about, we were just visiting my dad, and this little youngin’ went over to Elliott. She picked him, she left the litter and went over and picked him and he was done for.” Yahtzee joins an elite group of famous dogs at Sam Houston State University with the likes of “Tripod.” Dubbed the unofficial mascot of the university by the students, according to a Dan Rather editorial in 1952 entitled “Tripod Legend Growing Fast,” the final words of the piece named him a Sam Houston legend. His name sake was given because one of his front legs were broken and unfortunately irreplaceable. The Sam Houston State University student body were found to even have raised $50 to send him to a veterinarian at Texas A&M University but to no avail as there was nothing the doctor could do to fix his leg, according to shsu.edu. Everyone around campus at the time knew who Tripod was and there was a collective effort to help Tripod out

because he was so friendly. And just like Tripod, Yahtzee is a friend to all people of Sam Houston State University. “Elliott will take her to the dog park, and she will go to the parents of the dogs to play,” White said. “She’s just used to people, she loves students, she loves kids. But mostly when she plays, she plays with the ball mostly and she rips the bits out of stuffed animals.” The one question everyone has on their mind: Does Yahtzee’s name come from the board game? “Yes,” White said. “I played Yahtzee with my grandmother from the time I was five years old until the time she died, which was about 10 years ago. She was 95 [years old]. When my son was little, I played it with him.” White then reminisced about a previous dog she had before adding Yahtzee to the family. “I had a Yorkie many years ago,” White said. “My son is 26 and before he was born, I had a Yorkie named Scrabble. I like games.” Needless to say, the president of Sam Houston State University is a connoisseur of board games and that hobby has served to fill a great purpose.

Photos courtesy of Leila De La Cruz


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Letter from SGA President LaYauna Bonds LAYAUNA BONDS SGA President

Editor-in-Chief Assistant Editor-in-Chief Arts & Entertainment Editor Sports Editor Opinions Editor Community News Editor Campus News Editor

Hey Bearkat! I am LaYauna (Luh-yawnuh) Bonds, the new Student Body President for fall 2021-spring 2022! I am a marketing major and an upcoming senior (Woop-Woop)! Being at Sam Houston for three years, there are so many things to learn, take advantage of and just take in as a student! With that being said, I wanted to share a few words of advice and thoughts with you! First things first: College is not as hard as everyone makes it out to be, nor as easy as some make it! Worrying causes stress, but it WILL happen and that is okay! You will have doubts AND THAT IS OKAY! You MAY or MAY NOT get distracted… and THAT IS OKAY! Secondly: Let this college experience be YOURS and no one else’s! Live with no regrets until you have some… and

Lizeth Gonzalez Ariole Jones Adrianne Reece Scott Morris Jacob Courtney Jordan Smith Justin Hardcastle

Run Sheet Manager Faculty Advisor

those will just be stories that you will laugh about 10 years from now! Thirdly: Get involved! It sounds so cliche… and I am sure you have heard that enough, so I will just leave it at that.

“Let this college experience be YOURS and no one else’s! Live with no regrets until you have some.” Fourthly: Take care of yourself and ask for help if you need it... even if you do not. This is for mental as well as educational purposes because LIFE is ALWAYS happening. The Health

Kia Seastrunk Debbi Hatton

Digital Director Multimedia Editor Photographers

Center is already coming out of your fee statement, so do not be afraid of booking an appointment with a counselor! They are here to help! In terms of educational help, go to your professor’s office hours, which is a study session with your professor and sometimes peers! You are here for school and are paying at that, just in case you forgot. Finally: Use these four, sometimes five and even six years of college to stop and smell the roses! You got this and if you feel like you do not… TAKE A BREATH, A BREAK and remember that YOU ALREADY MADE IT THIS FAR and that is an accomplishment within itself! I wish you the best in your future endeavors, I hope to meet you and welcome to your home away from home!

Jordan Smith Leila De la Cruz Elizabeth Machuca Sara Cox

The Houstonian is the independent student newspaper of Sam Houston State University. Serving the campus and community since 1913, The Houstonian prides itself on upholding professional journalistic standards while providing students from a diverse array of backgrounds opportunities to learn and grow. Completely student-run, The Houstonian welcomes staffers and submissions from any SHSU student regardless of major. All opinions published reflect only the thoughts of the author unless otherwise stated, and do not necessarily align with the views of the publication. A voice for the campus of SHSU, The Houstonian is an award-winning addition to the Mass Communication department, housed in the Dan Rather Communications Building room 210. Please contact The Houstonian office with any corrections if we publish something in error. We strive to maintain the highest journalistic values, and we welcome critiques in hopes of continuing to better the publication at large. Please send emails to our Editor-in-Chief, Lizeth Gonzalez, at eic@houstoniannews.com, call our office phone at 936-294-1505 or stop by our office during the week. Please submit any letters to the editor to eic@houstoniannews.com, or drop them in the box on our office door. Every letter will be reviewed for publication and subject to grammar and AP style edits. Anyone interested in paid employment with The Houstonian can keep an eye on Handshake or stop by the office to inquire. The Houstonian prints every other Monday during the school year, and continually updates its multimedia content. A digital Orientation Edition will be available starting June 10.


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College of Arts and Media Dean Dr. Ronald E. Shields

DR. RONALD E. SHIELDS College of Arts & Media

Photo courtesy of the College of Arts and Media

Welcome to Sam Houston State University! As you make your way to Huntsville to join the SHSU community, I’m delighted to add my words of welcome and I look forward to seeing you on campus. This has been a transformative year for all, and I recognize that although this is an exciting new chapter for you, I imagine it also comes with some questions about your future and how to get started. Between our facilities and educators, you will find opportunities to network, try new things and get involved both on and off campus. I encourage you to connect to campus life through these opportunities and other activities sponsored by the College of Arts and Media (CAM). To me, CAM represents more than just our college name. It also serves as an acronym for what we strive to be:

Creative, Active and Meaningful. Each of our academic units is unique, yet cohesive in innovation and cultivation of creative individuals.

“CAM represents more than just our college name, we strive to be: Creative, Active and Meaningful.”

community highlights and important announcements. Should you have any questions as you start on your new path at Sam, please do not hesitate to reach out to your respective area office: DEPARTMENT OF ART (936) 294-4311 | shsuart@shsu.edu DEPARTMENT OF DANCE (936) 294-1875 | shsudance@shsu.edu DEPARTMENT OF MASS COMMUNICATION

(936) 294-1341 | mcom@shsu.edu Take the time to check out our college website to learn about all our upcoming staged performances, concerts, recitals, art exhibitions, film showings and other events, as well as information related to your department or school. On our social media pages, you’ll find CAM

SCHOOL OF MUSIC (936) 294-1360 | music@shsu.edu DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE AND MUSICAL THEATRE (936) 294-1329 | theatre@shsu.edu


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College of Business Administration Dean Mitchell J. Muehsam

MITCHELL J. MUEHSAM College of Business Administration

Photo courtesy of Gavin Guinther

The College of Business Administration’s (COBA) mission is to help students in their future endeavors by actively involving students, faculty, business communities and other stakeholders to develop knowledge and skills in the field of business. COBA works to be one of the best regional colleges of business administration in the nation through a number of values such as quality, responsibility, respect, individuality and honesty. These core values are pivotal in developing a good student and an even better person by teaching them these skills. To create such a successful program, not only are these values instilled into the students in COBA but those same values are expressed by all faculty and staff. “The College of Business Administration offers a comprehensive range of academic majors, a strong

curriculum, excellent teaching, and special programs that give our students the real-world perspective they need to meet the challenges of today’s business environment,” College of Business Administration Dean Mitchell Muehsam stated on the official COBA website.

“A program that encourages innovation, embraces change.” “We have worked hard to cultivate a program that encourages innovation, embraces change, and embodies our deep commitment to providing a personal educational experience for each and every one of our students.” COBA offers numerous courses for

all their majors, which can be taken in Huntsville. However, a number of these majors’ courses can also be taken at Sam Houston’s Woodlands Center. The degrees range from accounting, banking and financial institutions, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, general business administration, human resource management, international business, management, management information systems and marketing. Along with this, a specialized general business administration plan is offered, which focuses on PGA golf management. COBA also has three different graduate programs to choose from with the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Science in Accounting and the Master of Science in Project Management. The college also offers an online Executive MBA in Banking and Financial Institutions.


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College of Criminal Justice Dean Phillip Lyons

PHILLIP LYONS College of Criminal Justice

Photo courtesy of Lizeth Gonzalez

The Department of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University is a nationwide leader in research and education for this field. They are committed to promoting a campus culture that embraces diversity and inclusion. “Students gain valuable experiences outside of the classroom through our many student organizations, our exceptional internship opportunities, and opportunities to collaborate with faculty,” the Criminal Justice and Criminology official website stated. SHSU promotes a campus culture that appreciates diversity and inclusion. This is accomplished through proactive assessment of policies, operational strategies and program implementation where the motivation is to remove institutional barriers in order to recruit and retain a diverse university community. The university acknowledges and values

the responsibility of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology to develop an unbiased and inclusive environment where students, faculty, staff and community recognize benefits of mutual respect through diverse identities and experiences.

“Promoting a campus culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.” Their online graduate degree programs serve a diverse audience of current and future criminal justice practitioners. In 2020, U.S. News and World Report ranked their online graduate degree programs #2 in the United States. The department announced a new minor

in Criminal Justice Equity and Inclusion in 2020 and students can now declare the minor. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers various areas of criminal justice and criminology such as Administration of Justice, Biosocial Criminology, Community and Environmental, Criminology, Corrections, Courts, Criminological Theory, Development and Life Course Criminology, Gender and Crime, Legal, Policing and Victimology. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology is housed within the College of Criminal Justice building at SHSU. It is also one of the oldest academic Criminal Justice programs in the United States. Come study and collaborate with one of the leading groups of scholars in the United States. Our faculty have teaching and research expertise in victimology, criminology, policing, corrections and legal issues.


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College of Education Dean Stacey Edmonson

STACEY EDMONSON College of Education

Photo courtesy of the College of Education

Welcome from the College of Education! We are so very excited that you are joining the Bearkat family this year. Becoming a Bearkat teacher is a really big deal, and we look forward to meeting you in person and helping you navigate this important part of your journey. In the College of Education, we believe that teachers are the most powerful people in the world. They impact lives, they influence people and they make a difference, every single day. Wow. We take our role in helping you become the most amazing teacher possible very seriously. Watch your email and social media for opportunities to engage with the college in fun and meaningful ways throughout the year, including events for interacting with our faculty, staff and other students across the college.

We have amazing faculty and staff who are committed to your success; they are passionate about what they do because they want you to be passionate about what you do too. We believe in what we do because we believe in you.

“Teachers impact lives, they influence people and they make a difference, every single day.” Please let us know how we can be of help as you start the new academic year. Come by and visit us in the Garrett Teacher Education Center. We would love to meet you in person and help

welcome you to Sam Houston State University and the College of Education. Words of wisdom for this semester: study hard, have fun and take care of yourself…and remember to let us know how we can help. Have a great year! SCHOOL OF TEACHING AND LEARNING (936)294-3313 | teachinglearning@shsu.edu EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP (936) 294-1147 COUNSELOR EDUCATION (936) 294-4857 | COEGradHub@shsu.edu DEPARTMENT OF LIBRARY SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (936) 294-1151 | libraryscience@shsu.edu


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College of Health Sciences Dean Rodney C. Runyan

RODNEY C. RUNYAN College of Health Sciences

Photo courtesy of Leila De La Cruz

Welcome to the start of your successful SHSU experience! Majors in the College of Health Sciences include Family and Consumer Sciences, Kinesiology, Population Health and the School of Nursing. We prepare our graduates for rewarding and in-demand careers. For those of you already set on a major, or those who are still not sure, consider what is possible with some of our degree programs: Imagine yourself as an exercise physiologist or registered dietician, helping people of all ages achieve peak physical and nutritional wellness; or as a registered nurse, working the frontline of patient care to make life or death differences; or as an interior designer, reimagining health care provider spaces; or leading a team of nurses, physicians and other professionals as a hospital administrator. These are just some of the

career experiences our graduates can expect. Your future awaits in the College of Health Sciences! As you begin your core classes, enjoy those introductory courses. They provide glimpses of academic paths within your reach. They provide foundations for when you move more deeply into your major.

“Your future awaits in the College of Health Sciences!” Some programs like nursing and athletic training are very competitive and require an application for acceptance. Understand course requirements in preparation for the application process. Interior Design, Physical Education, Teacher Education

and Fashion Merchandising are program areas that have a specific recommended course schedule, making early selection of those majors is a good idea. Those interested in our graduate programs will find high-ranking, sought after programs geared toward preparation beyond the bachelor’s degree. These graduate degrees provide an increased knowledge base, enhanced skillsets including critical and strategic thinking and intense clinical experiences. Graduates gain a distinct and differential advantage when competing for job placements. We are here to help you succeed: registered majors feel free to come by the college office and pick up a free t-shirt. Call us with your questions and follow and connect on our social media channels. Stay in contact for valuable information through your time at SHSU! We’re glad you are here!


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College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Chien-Pin Li

CHIEN-PIN LI College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Photo courtesy of Jordan Smith

On behalf of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), I am delighted to welcome you to our SHSU Bearkat family. As you embark on this exciting new chapter of your life, you will soon realize that higher education is much more than vocational training. It provides a rich learning experience that expands your horizons and provides you with new perspectives. In CHSS, we offer academic programs that combine theoretical knowledge with practical skills to prepare you as a successful professional and engaged citizen. Whether in or outside of the classroom, our dedicated faculty and staff are prepared to support you in your pursuit of academic and professional goals. As you begin this journey, we

encourage you to explore many opportunities that the campus has to offer, such as internships, student organizations, study abroad programs, academic community engagement and student-faculty research.

“Whether in or outside of the classroom, our dedicated faculty and staff are prepared to support you in your pursuit of academic and professional goals. ” They provide valuable hands-on experiences that lay the foundation for a

successful career. Over the past year, CHSS Bearkats have distinguished themselves in these activities, including serving as a Student Regent for the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System, producing technical documents for Houston Police Department, participating in democracy tours across American Southeast, and winning the Applied Skills Consortium competition. We encourage you to follow their paw-steps and make the most of this educational journey. We are excited that you are joining us and we look forward to seeing you on campus. To contact the College of Humanities and Social Sciences: COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES (936) 294-2200 | chss@shsu.edu


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College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean Charles E. Henley

BY CHARLES E. HENLEY Osteopathic Medicine

Photo courtesy of Lizeth Gonzalez

The College of Osteopathic Medicine at Sam Houston State University works to provide medical education as well as services to the eastern region of Texas. COM is working hard to be recognized as a leader for the primary workforce as well as access in the state of Texas. This program is the eighth college at Sam Houston State University and is only the third osteopathic medicine in the entire state of Texas. The college is located in Conroe, Texas. COM’s mission is to make sure that students are ready for primary care through rural practice as well as developing physicians who are compassionate, culturally aware and diverse. The students that come through the COM program will learn the principles of osteopathic medicine and care in order to serve the people

of Texas with personal care as well as professionalism.

“Developing physicians who are compassionate, culturally aware and diverse.” There are three separate divisions for COM. Biomedical Sciences focuses primarily on clinical anatomy, molecular and cellular biology and physiology and pharmacology. Clinical Affairs focus on clinical education and skills as well as graduate medical education, osteopathic principles and practice and primary care. The Educational

Affairs aspects focuses on assessments, evaluations and accreditation as well as faculty development and medical student affairs. There are a number of ways in which COM is working to help develop certain skills in all Sam Houston students that come through the program. • Using biomedical and clinical research to bolster the academic experience provided through the COM program. • Producing quality candidates who will one day become a part of the east Texas medical workforce. • Providing a top of the line academic experience through science and clinical curriculums through experienced and field-specific clinicians and faculty. • Developing excellent programs through opportunities with clinical training sessions for students and faculty.


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College of Science and Engineering Technology Dean John Pascarella

JOHN PASCARELLA College of Science and Engineering Technology

Photo courtesy of Lizeth Gonzalez

To incoming students in the College of Science and Engineering Technology, Welcome to an outstanding college at SHSU! Our eight schools and departments offer numerous majors and minors in all areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics plus Agriculture), as well as programs focused on K-12 teacher preparation, pre-engineering transfer, and pre-medical, pre-dental and preveterinary science. We look forward to bringing you informative classes where you will be challenged but encouraged. Our faculty are campus leaders in community engagement, active learning and projectbased approaches. We have many opportunities for participation in student clubs, community service projects and focused internships. Please take the time to get to know your

department’s faculty, staff and clubs so you can maximize your time here at SHSU.

“We even help provide funds for you to present your research at local, regional, state, national and international conferences.” We encourage all students to consider doing research with our faculty, even as an undergraduate. In addition to volunteering, many faculty offer paid positions from grants.

We even help provide funds for you to present your research at local, regional, state, national and international conferences. Many programs also offer study abroad courses, and we encourage you to participate in those that catch your interest. Science is a global enterprise and having cultural knowledge as well as technical skills will enhance your employment prospects. You made an excellent decision in choosing Sam Houston State University and we look forward to having you in our programs. To contact the College of Science & Engineering Technology: COLLEGE OF SCIENCE & ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY (936) 294-1401 | COSET@SHSU.edu


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Office of International Programs Director Dr. Justin Ball

DR. JUSTIN BALL Office of International Programs

Photo courtesy of Lizeth Gonzalez

The mission of the Office of International Programs is to bring together and embrace diversity on campus. The department offers services such as studying abroad, student and scholar services, student admissions and international agreements. “Our guiding principle is to “Put Students First,” the Office of International Programs official website stated. “We lead and support campus initiatives that give students the opportunity to become global citizens prepared for the opportunities that they will face in the 21st century.” Their team works together to help both domestic and international students achieve academic and professional goals. The OIP identifies themselves as the international gateway at Sam Houston State University as they work with colleges and departments to promote

and highlight all international efforts and initiatives across campus. Their purpose is to facilitate, encourage and initiate the process of internationalizing SHSU.

“We lead and support campus initiatives that give students the opportunity to become global citizens” The OIP works hard to help with ventures such as scholarships and awards like the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Mitchel, Truman, Goldwater, Boren or a number of other awards as well as helping both graduate and undergraduate students when applying for external, nationally-

competitive fellowships. As a house for international information, the OIP provides information on most immigration issues and help with concerns or issues such as cultural adjustment, language barriers, financial problems and health-related matters at SHSU. They offer several events during the year for all international students and scholars. Along with that, SHSU has become a new member of the National Student Exchange, a group of over 170 colleges and universities all over the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and even Canada. Through this academic program, SHSU students can spend a semester or full year studying away at another member campus and continue to work towards their SHSU degree. After being on exchange, students return to SHSU to complete their degree and graduate on time.


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The Graduate School Dean Ken Hendrickson

KEN HENDRICKSON The Graduate School

Photo courtesy of Lizeth Gonzalez

Most of you will finish your degree in a four to six-year window. While that seems like a long time to contemplate at the start, please trust me when I tell you it will go by faster than you can believe right now. There’s a list of things I highly recommend you investigate starting with your first semester: 1) Here’s a basic but crucial one: get a credit card, use it very responsibly and establish your credit rating. As for your educational needs: 2) Learn how to use the university as a tool. Think of the university as a big computer or digital device. It has functions, codes, routines, etc. and will produce things for you beyond your class schedule. SHSU will try to get you the basics but to become an effective user you will have lean in to learning how the place works. It won’t take long. An

early investment in this will make a very big difference in your comfort level and your success.

“Once you understand more about the workings of the university, begin to explore your options.” 3) Once you understand more about the workings of the university, begin to explore your options. First make a good identification of your major. Second learn to work well with your academic advisor and how to ask good questions. These will start with

possible elective courses you will use to build your degree but will continue into more advanced topics as you progress. 4) Become a planner! You can learn how to research job opportunities, regional hotspots for successful careers, long-term salary prospects, and much more. We can show you how! 5) Come to see us at the Graduate School. Early in your undergraduate degree, learn about graduate degrees: what’s the difference, what are graduate degrees for, how to prepare during your undergraduate time. We have a friendly, pro-active staff and work with freshman and sophomore students to help them learn more about all their choices and opportunities. Come see us and ask us your questions, about anything SHSU related!


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Counseling center gives students mental health guidance BY MARY WILSON Contributing Reporter Mental health is one of the most important things that college-aged adults should pay attention to. The Counseling Center at Sam Houston State University provides counseling for Bearkats that help students through challenging times like semester burnout, anxiety and concerns about the future after graduation. “Our services are free, and we have qualified licensed professionals available,” Counseling Center associate director Dr. Shantha Stokes said. “You don’t have to be in severe distress to take advantage of our services.” Although new students may be hesitant to speak with a counselor, the Counseling Center provides students resources in workshop formats along with individual counseling. Students can learn and share their experiences with a group of students or individually with a counselor. “Many of our services are offered via workshops only require you sign up

online,” Dr. Stokes said. “We have TAO, which is self-guided online platform that students can access 24/7 and we also have our single sessions that don’t require a long-term commitment to therapy.” For students that prefer not to participate in workshops or individual counseling, the Counseling Center often does student outreach in the outdoor areas around campus. They have a therapy dog and host a part of an event called “Paws and Kisses,” a day for students to get some love from animals. This method provides mental health support for students who may be missing a loved pet back home. While the pandemic has caused some setbacks for the SHSU Counseling Center, they are looking to the fall 2021 semester to get things a little more normal than in the past year. “In the fall we hope to be able to provide some face-to-face sessions but will continue to offer virtual session in some form,” Dr. Stokes said. “Virtual sessions are essential for students who work, commute, are taking classes at TWC and COM and

Photo courtesy of Lizeth Gonzalez

for busy students who do not have time to physically come to the center.” The SHSU Counseling Center helps students with personal difficulties that

hinder day-to-day production. Services are currently offered virtually due to COVID-19 protocols but are still fully available for students to utilize.

Sam Center offers valueable advice to incoming students BY JUSTIN HARDCASTLE Campus Editor

At Sam Houston State University, the Student Advising and Mentoring (SAM) Center has one of the most valuable resources for incoming freshman, guiding students through new academic careers. Upon being accepted into SHSU, incoming freshman’s first contact will

be the SAM center. With the help of the center, students are given a jump start in what they will need to begin their college careers. “We are responsible for advising all undergrads, were a fully professional advising team that makes sure students are making the most of their time here at Sam,” SAM center Associate Director of Advising Chelsea Story said. “We work a bit as a liaison for students, we are one of new students’ first points of contact.” The SAM center also provides students help in navigating the fastest way towards graduation. Advisors are available to help students in specific degree plans that work with the colleges that the student’s major falls under and provide them with a connection that works for them.

“Your advisor is going to work to get you on the fastest path towards degree completion,” Story said. “There are things that students don’t know that advisors will when it comes to class schedules.” Although university class schedules can seem daunting to a new freshman, the SAM center provides answers with the process of signing up for classes and detailed information in classes needed for their major. The SAM center advisors are divided into each college to provide the best knowledge about a student’s degree plan. “Rather than advisors having a caseload of students to work with,” Story said. “Students are given the option to meet with any advisor that works for the college of a student’s degree.”

To begin class registration all new students are required to meet with an advisor to plan out their first semester at Sam Houston. Students will then meet with an advisor every semester after, which is required for all students to register for their following semester classes up until graduation. “Advising appointments become available two months before registration, book appointments, they fill up fast,” Story said. The SAM center’s role in a student’s life is to provide resources that an incoming Bearkat can use every semester. An appointment with the SAM center can be scheduled virtually through their website or contacted by phone at 936294-4444.


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WOTS: What advice would you give to incoming freshman?





“Find your group of friends. That really helped me. When I got here I found my group of friends and my freshman year just sailed by.”

“Time management. It would be so helpful to do one hour a day than 5 hours a day right before the assignment is due. Sit down and plan your day.”

“Stay on top of your work. As soon as you get it, get it done! And be involved in school.”

“Branch out and try meeting as many people as you can. Don’t overload yourself with work and dont procrastinate.”





“Plan a schedule at the begining of the semester. Make sure you have a calander with all of your assignments and dates. Also, find time to relax.””

“Always look into classes before registering for them. Always read the syllabus once they drop to be better prepared for dates, tests, and requirements.”

“Be realistic as to how many classes you are willing to take. Be willing to talk to people when you need help. Also, rest, and plan ahead.”

“Get involved so that you have a good community that will love you and value you.”


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Dorm life? Here is what you will need to prepare BY MYA CALEB Contributing Reporter Throughout the summer, many new and some returning students are tasked with buying necessities for their college dorms. Concerns about what to buy and what is necessary for living in the dorms may arise during this the fall semester especially, since this will be the first semester that some new Bearkats have ever been away from home. Instead of left in the dark, it is always best to seek the help you need in order to be stirred in the right direction. Resident Advisors can provide new Bearkats with helpful knowledge for their new homes. “I’d say, if you have someone that’s been to college before, I would definitely talk to them just so that you have a general idea of what you can have and what you can’t have,” Sam Houston Raven Hall resident advisor Mikaela Hubert said. “I would also say definitely look at an outline of whatever dorm building you are going to be staying in or go on a tour of your dorms so that you know how much space you have and how much your room can fit.” Even with the best advice, it is still possible to bring more than what is necessary. First time college students typically overpack for their first semester away

from home a lot of what is brought can be left at home. And it is best if new students understand this. “I brought a router, didn’t need that. I brought an extension cord instead of a power surge cord because I thought was supposed to have the extension cord, but they have specifics on what you can and can’t have with that,” said Hubert. “I didn’t do it, but I’ve seen it, I know that some people bring refrigerators and some buildings already have that, so they don’t need that.” In the midst of trying to prepare however; things can be forgotten and left behind. There are important items that most new students do not even think about that can make their first semester much easier. “I’d definitely say command strips because when you want to hang stuff up they have these guidelines on what you can hang up with certain things,” said Hubert. “I’d also say risers for your bed, because the beds are pretty low and if you have a lot of belongings, you can always put extra storage underneath your bed.” Doing research on what is needed and what is not is the best solution when it comes to shopping for a college dorm. Packing smartly and practically will enable new Bearkats to have a much easier time their first semester at Sam Houston State University.

Veteran students find community in SHSU CVA BY JUSTIN HARDCASTLE Campus editor

Transitioning from the military to university life can be one of the most challenging things a newly separated veteran can do. At Sam Houston State University, the Collegiate Veterans Association (CVA) helps veterans by providing a community that students can rely on with a new transition, founded on the principle of “no warrior is left behind.” The CVA is an organization that represents student veterans, activeduty military students, reserve and National Guard students, spouses and dependents. The CVA provides an opportunity to feel welcomed in the college community by helping them with the transition from a military lifestyle to a university lifestyle. For some veterans, the university lifestyle is

an unfamiliar setting, and the mental strains of classes are vastly different from the more physical strains of military life. All these differences can lead to student veterans feeling isolated and alone. “To any prospective military member looking to attend SHSU, we want you to know that we are here to help you any way we can,” CVA president Francisco Pena said. “We are one of 1,500 chapters nationwide who advocate for student veterans. We strive to ensure that student veterans have a voice within the campus community." The CVA works closely with the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) to organize various events throughout the year. “One of my favorite events is the Yellow Ribbon, which occurs every year during the fall semester," Pena said. "During veterans’ week in November, we hang yellow ribbons with note cards around campus, to recognize the many sacrifices that our service members and families make, and to also show support from our community and wishing them a safe return.” The CVA provides a great starting point for new veteran students at Sam Houston State University and welcomes all veteran branches and family members. Although university life can seem like a daunting task compared to serving in a unit, the CVA helps veterans during this transition by providing resources, career opportunities, general tips about SHSU as a student and veteran resources for all new veteran Bearkats.


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Freshman Welcome Week, a great intro to SHSU BY MARY WILSON Contributing Reporter Every year, Sam Houston State University welcomes incoming freshmen and transfer students the first few weeks of the fall semester. Throughout Welcome Week new students are given the opportunity to participate in events throughout campus giving them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with campus and make connections with new students. “We would be in the Kat club doing stuff and normally a comedy show is done,” assistant director of Student Activities Steven Begnaud said. “We will do a lip sync battle and have all different kinds of food like picnics and ice-cream social events.” Along with the activities set up by the student activities department, the athletics department promotes sporting events that give students an opportunity to meet student athletes at Sam Houston. “We do breakfast with student athletes and if there’s volleyball, soccer or football games going on we promote that as well,” Begnaud said. SHSU student volunteers help students transition in their first weeks of

Photo courtesy of Brian Blalock

school before getting acquainted with the campus. The SHSU student activities does about 30 events for students which gives incoming Bearkats plenty of time and opportunities to find something fun to participate in. The pandemic is still going to be a factor heading into the fall semester. The university has guidelines in place for the safety of the students, faculty, and staff. But with the pandemic, any event could be changed at moment’s notice. “Of course, a lot of things can change nothing has been approved yet, so that is why nothing has been sent out.” Explains Begnaud. Despite the pandemic, plans to help new students during welcome week will still be organized. Helping new Bearkats find their classes is one of the weeks highlights. “The first day of school we are planning to do a picnic, ice cream social and feast with the raven which is in the dining halls that night so basically we are providing lunch, ice cream and dinner all in one day on the first day of class to students.” Explained Begnaud. The SHSU student activities mission is to ease the transition into college and feel welcomed and involved on campus for new students.

Photo courtesy of Brian Blalock

Photo courtesy of Brian Blalock

Photo courtesy of Brian Blalock


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Safety resources on campus to keep students safe BY PRACHI VASHISHT Contributing Reporter One of the biggest concerns of parents of new college students is safety. Parents want to know that their new Bearkats will be safe during their college experience and Sam Houston State University carries a proactive approach in maintaining a peaceful campus for its students, staff and faculty. The university’s Department of Public Safety Services further strengthens SHSU’s commitment to ensure a secure and safe environment for all students and staff on campus. “There are three different areas of responsibility,” university chief of police and executive director of public safety services Kevin Morris said. “First, there is the police side, second is the parking management and support

services and the third area is emergency management. The university police are the primary law enforcement.” The police department helps students in recovering missing properties, medical, traffic enforcement and oncampus emergencies. Additionally, the department provides a security escort service, available during the evening and nighttime hours. This service allows students to avail themselves of walking/ driving services from the campus to the different on-campus destinations. The parking and transportation service allows the students to avail apt parking spots along with managing the parking permits. The SHSU community needs to register their license plate, pay for parking permissions and display their license plate toward the driving aisle for smooth operations. “We have officers that work 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Morris said.

Photo courtesy of Jacob Hodges

“Whether you live in a big city or small town, no one can predict crime. It is easy for you to become complacent. Always be aware of your surroundings.”

Students can reach out to the police department in case of emergencies at 936.294.1800. Alternatively, you can also connect to 911 in a situation of crisis.

What international students need to know about healthcare BY KIA SEASTRUNK Contributing Reporter FEBRUARY 7, 2021 -- Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many international students at Sam Houston State University have experienced uncertainty regarding their healthcare. International Student Recruiter and Special Programs Coordinator Dana Van De Walker explains how students within this program are receiving their healthcare and how it compares to domestic students. The Office of International Programs serves two purposes: assisting students that want to study abroad and working with any incoming international students. “We do international student admissions, international student advising and some programming and orientation and different things like that,” Walker said.

Photo courtesy of International Students Office

When it comes to international students receiving their healthcare benefits, Walker explained that it is actually more straightforward than people realize. “International students are charged mandatory international student health

insurance, so they’re just like domestic students,” Walker said. “The only difference is that domestic students, technically, can be uninsured.” As part of their visa, international students in the United States have to

have insurance. For Sam Houston State University, they are automatically enrolled and will be charged for their insurance. If an international student has a minor illness, they are advised to head to the Student Health Center. For more serious illnesses or injuries, any clinic partnered with their insurance plan will be available to them. For students in Huntsville, Texas, this includes Huntsville Memorial Hospital. Walker notes that it is important for all students, especially international students, to have proof of insurance to avoid complications with billing. “Just make sure you have your proof of insurance with you at all times,” Walker said. International students can visit the Office of International Programs with questions regarding health insurance in general as well as to learn more about the program itself.


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Huntsville housing development gives students options BY JOHN JAMES Contributing Reporter

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Machuca

Huntsville to-do list: eight things to do while at SHSU BY CODY MCDOWELL Contributing Reporter Huntsville presents a very welcoming environment with a traditional and historic small-town feel. While it might be a small town to some, Huntsville offers plenty for students and residents alike.There are plenty of options and activities to do while you have some free time in and around the city. 1.EXPLORE THE NEW CITY When you first move to any new city the first thing you should do is get familiar with its layout. Huntsville has a series of complicated roads with small and tiny shops located on every street corner. You never know what you might find with the ever-growing nature of this historic city. 2.VISIT THE GRAVE OF SAM HOUSTON Sam Houston‘s grave and tombstone is located in a cemetery less than a mile away from campus. People from all over the state will drive hours to see Texas’ first president’s tomb while people who live in Huntsville have the luxury of being in close proximity of the site. 3.VISIT THE TEXAS PRISON MUSEUM Other than representing the home of

Sam Houston, Huntsville is also famous for its prisons. The Texas Prison Museum provides a short but informative insight into the history of our judicial system in Texas. This prison museum includes the famous electric chair named “Old Sparky“, which was used from 1924 to 1964. 4.VISIT THE SAM HOUSTON STATUE. If you are from Houston, you surely have seen this massive marble structure going north. Just up the road on I-45 you can see this massive 40-foot marble carving of the man himself. He serves as the watchmen for anybody entering Huntsville and looks over all of the traffic on I-45. 5.THE HEARTS VETERANS MUSEUM OF TEXAS. This exhibit consists of all sorts of historical military figurines such as tanks, guns, planes and more. A museum ran completely based off donations, the HEARTS Veterans Museum of Texas is the heart of WWII and Vietnam history. Bring your Sam Houston Bearkat ID and it is free admission for anyone who wants to visit. 6.GO TO THE SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL FOREST This forest is one of the most calming hiking trails in the state of Texas. It is one

of three national forests located entirely in Texas. Walk through this scenic pathway of nature and get exercise or go to a great spot to play hide-and-seek with your friends. If you play at night, be careful and go with many trustees. 7.VISIT SOME OF THE SHOPS IN HUNTSVILLE Huntsville has plenty of locations to spend some money. You could find yourself at a Goodwill and then two hours later at an Academy then somehow end up at a random antique shop in downtown Huntsville. It is truly a city with no limitations. 8.BE ACTIVE, PLAY SPORTS With multiple sports fields across the city, Huntsville presents the opportunity for anybody who looks to practice football, baseball, basketball, disc golf, volleyball or really anything. Pritchett Field is an excellent location to play football, soccer or even ultimate frisbee due to the Astro turf coolant field and beautiful logo plastered right in the middle. These eight things can help guide anyone to a relaxing stay in Huntsville. The most important thing to do while in college is to be happy. Visiting one of the listed activities or areas is sure to not only relax one’s mind but also to help them focus on schoolwork with a smile on their face.

JANUARY 24, 2021 -- Huntsville is home to many students and where developers have built approximately 43 apartments focused on student living and soon-tobe more off-campus rooms open for residents. Last year, the Montgomery SH Land Acquisitions proposed a new student complex on 2721 Montgomery Road with 444 beds for rent. As of Jan. 14, the project is still registered with the city of Huntsville, but no development has started. Student housing provides a rentable bedroom instead of an entire unit and focuses more on student amenities. With COVID-19 cases still rising, many amenities provided in student housing have been shutdown prompting students to re-evaluate their housing options. Though, some Huntsville apartments have begun allowing residents to use these amenities during limited hours through a sign-up system. Junior biology major Alana Roberson has lived at the Grove Apartments Huntsville for about two years and chose to stay at the apartments during the pandemic. “My experience living in an apartment during COVID-19 is that apartments have to do a lot of adjusting in order to be the most accommodating with their residents, especially when it comes to amenities that they have,” Roberson said. Student apartments are not the only option for students, Huntsville is home to many private rental properties and on-campus options are available. Sophomore forensic chemistry major Elijah Jones chose to live outside of town in rental housing since last year. Read the rest of this story on houstoniannews.com under the Community News section.


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Huntsville’s own Prison City Music Festival BY ELIZABETH MACHUCA Contributing Reporter FEBRUARY 28, 2021 -- Many talented Sam Houston State University film students attended downtown Huntsville’s Prison City Film Festival to promote their

Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Machuca

films on the big screen. Some of these works were shown for the first time. This event was held from Feb. 24-27 at the Old Town Theatre in downtown Huntsville, Texas. These are select photos of Sam Houston students on display during the three-day event.


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Photo courtesy of Jacob Hodges

SouthernBelle Mercantile: banking on history BY JORDAN SMITH Digital Director Since Aug. 1, 2020, the SouthernBelle Mercantile has ingrained itself within the Huntsville community. Just on the corner of 11th St. and Sam Houston Ave., this mercantile shop has all the fixings that any knick-knack store from the south would have. The name sake of the store comes in three different avenues. According to day-to-day Operations Manager Mary Jane Crowe, the “Southern” part comes from her being from the south; the “Belle” comes from her family name and the mercantile comes from the prior history of the space. The original purpose of the space that was occupied by SouthernBelle was once the Gibbs National Bank, which opened up to the residents of Walker County in 1890. There are still some old relics from its original use. According to Crowe, the original safe, bricks, windows and iron doors are still installed inside the space to go along with check/deposit receipts dating back to as early as 1910. Mary Jane talked about how her and owner

Tom Crowe were able to take advantage of a prime opportunity to occupy their current home. “We had another shop in Huntsville called Southern Charm and this building had been an antique shop for about 16 years,” Crowe said. “When that lady had to retire, the building was up for lease. The Gibbs representatives are a wonderful group to work with and along with their contractor, they were just easy to work with. They had a vision; we had a vision and it all gelled. We are very proud of the building, it’s a beautiful building.” SouthernBelle Mercantile also helps out students of Sam Houston State University. According to Crowe, when a student shows their Bearkat ID, they receive a 10-15% discount on their entire purchase. To put even more of a specialty on the store merchandise, only a few times a month retired teacher Dawn Camardelle comes into the store and works the register as well as selling her specialty pens. These specialty pens, made from Industrial Arts Crafting and Woodcrafts, are made of one or a combination of wood and acrylic, ranging in prices from $20-$125, according to Camardelle.

Camardelle talked about the opportunity she got from Crowe to sell these specialty pens inside their store. “Mary Jane [Crowe] is a real good friend of my sister Twyla [Harrington] and she saw some of our pens and said that she would like to have them in her shop. So, we were lucky enough that we could do it,” Camaradelle said.

This store not only has a connection to the community’s history. In fact, the store owner Tom Crowe was a graduate from Sam Houston State University in 1985 in which he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Mid-Management and a Superintendent Certificate. Crowe also received the Max Schlotter Outstanding Student in School Administration Award in 1994.


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Food trucks galore: Looking at local eateries on wheels BY CODY MCDOWELL Contributing Reporter If you miss home cooking while in college, the food trucks in Huntsville, Texas can create a somewhat replica of that home-cooked taste for you. From cajun-style cooking to Mexican grill, the food trucks in Huntsville has great food with a pleasant outdoor dining experience. In the mornings, you can stop by Costa Del Sol Food Truck located on 505 1/2 11th St. for some Mexican-style food or Sweet Dough located on 1304 15th St. for donuts. During lunch or dinner, there is a large variety of food trucks such as Taco Mania for traditional Mexican food, Fatboys, a traditional American burgers and fries or Arnaud’s Cajun Kitchen for coastal crawfish. Arnaud’s Cajun Kitchen is a fan favorite with students and gets constant praise. Residents say the crawfish is the best in Huntsville and for a local food truck, that is some high praise. Chris Castillo, a senior Marketing

Photo courtesy of Jordan Smith

major, describes his preferred choice at Arnaud’s. “I don’t go too often but when I go it’s usually only crawfish [I get],” Castillo said. “It’s good” Joshua Canterbury, a senior Psychology major, talks about his experiences with Arnaud’s and the atmosphere around it. “Me and my friends went to Arnaud’s the other day, they have really really good crawfish and it was really really spicy and I recommend that,” Canterbury said. “It’s a great atmosphere, me and my friends had a good time, and they play good music.” Never underestimate a food truck. It might just be your new favorite spot to go with your friends. Plus, the people who run them are great too. While in Huntsville, there are more than enough places to eat. Whether restaurants or food trucks, Huntsville has a mission to make sure you will never run out of options. Food trucks are rising in popularity in big cities such as Houston, Dallas and Austin with Huntsville is just following behind.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Machuca

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Machuca

Photo courtesy of Jordan Smith


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Heroes get a home from the H.E.A.R.T.S of Huntsville

Photo courtesy of Tara Burnett

FROM THE H.E.A.R.T. Members of the “Homes for Huntsville Heroes” organization meeting together in front of a finished home for a veteran in need.

BY ANDREW VANNES Contributing Reporter APRIL 18, 2021 -- “Homes for Huntsville Heroes” is a recently new program dedicated to building new homes for Huntsville’s local veterans and is a startup made from members of H.E.A.R.T.S Veterans Museum of Texas. Namely, it is the passion of executive director Tara Burnett. “I had a dream,” Burnett said. “It was like I was watching TV. I saw these little cabins in our front pasture and a lot of our veterans were there. They were just little cabins right there in our front pasture and he looked at me for a minute and he said, ‘Well, let’s see what it would take to do it.’” Meeting another local veteran and Huntsville High School construction teacher Kevin DaSilva, the program quickly took off thanks to the collaboration with Huntsville High

School. In only two months, the program has already begun to take a solid shape, initially receiving a $10,000 donation to get things rolling. The program is now fully supplied by Operation Finally Home, covering the first set of homes. “Everything that we’ve needed, you know we have a question. How are we going to set this up,” Burnett said. “Somebody walks through the door or the phone rings and then we get the answer as to how we’re going to set it up. It’s just been, for lack of a better term, miraculous that it has all come together the way that it has.” With preliminary contracts already underway, Homes for Huntsville Heroes has set their sights on a goal of building five homes in five years. These five homes will house veterans on the property of Tara and Robert Burnett in a safe and modular way. This allows the veterans to keep their individuality while also supplying a safe space where they can receive aid quickly

and efficiently. Homes for Huntsville Heroes have already found their first veteran, B.J. Shotwell, who is also a member of the H.E.A.R.T.S. volunteer team. “This museum was set up for veterans by veterans,” Shotwell said. “We’ve

Photo courtesy of Tara Burnett

been taking care of veterans here for 20 or 25 years and when I first started in this museum, we had several World War II veterans. As they got older and older and older, I started to see a pattern. They got to the point that they could not function by themselves in this world. That’s where I am coming up on now, that I’m almost 74, that I have my own struggles. My water won’t flow. Drop 30 miles out in the country they see what’s happened to this guy, so that’s where I’m headed. I’m going to be in that condition soon. The property I’m on is being sold so I have to move. This came at a perfect time for me so that’s why I’m here. They saved me.” The museum also sponsors many other programs for veterans and hopes to get more of the community involved. One major hope is that by the time the last house begins in 2025 more opportunities can arise to help let Homes for Huntsville Heroes expand. However, in the meantime, there are many ways that the H.E.A.R.T.S Veterans Museum of Texas could use help. From assistance refurbishing cars, such as the museum’s Huey, to landscaping and design or the installation of a new Vietnam Wall replica. The H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum of Texas would love to have people come out and share their passions with the community.


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Do not be discouraged, freshman year can be tough BY HANNAH FOLLIS Contributing Reporter The first semester of college can be daunting. As a freshman you live in a new place, go to higher-level classes, form new relationships and figure out how to fit into a new environment. I wish I remained who I was while discovering new aspects of myself. My first semester of college was at West Texas A&M University almost 10 years ago. I left school after two semesters and finally re-applied to Sam Houston State University when I was 26. I left school after becoming depressed, attempting to be someone I was not. I just could not keep up anymore after trying to fit in with a crowd who did not care about me as a person. I stopped going to class because I was overwhelmed and lied to my parents to make them believe

I was excelling at school while I was really drowning. If I could talk to my past self before I went to college for the first time, I would let myself know to remember my values and integrity while trying new experiences. My advice to incoming freshman is to go to the cafeteria and sit with people you’ve never met or join a club and stick with it for at least one semester. Focus hard on classes. Even though some classes may not be major-specific, they could help uncover a new calling. Make one or two solid friends support you and call on family to do the same when you’re feeling low. If you get homesick, call home. It is okay to feel sad. Make mistakes and allow yourself to move past them without guilt or shame. Pay attention to your needs. Drink lots of water, do a face mask, take a bath, join a yoga class and ask questions. Get outside at least once a day and

go on campus. You may find a new eating spot or a quiet outdoor place to study. My final advice for freshman is to enjoy the people around you. There will be 2 a.m. laughs with a stranger in the library and memorable moments in dorms with friends. Remain open to

new friendships no matter what they look like. Above all, remember that you are valuable and have a purpose. You did not make it this far for nothing. School is for learning but it is also a journey of self-discovery. Do not let anyone or anything get in the way.

Have no car? No problem BY SCOTT MORRIS Sports Editor Living on campus is something that almost all incoming students must do when they arrive to college. Dorm living can be one of the most memorable parts of college but, if a student does not have a car it can seem a bit scary as to how they will get around. You can feel stuck on campus if you don’t know anyone but there are ways to survive. For starters, if you are living on campus there are many food options being that you will have to get a meal plan. That will cover food for the most part. Also, remember that Bearkat Bucks can be spent at food places in the Lowman Student Center and can be a nice alternative to Old Main and Generals if you crave fast food. For groceries

and other store needs there are three options. There is Kat Tracks, a service provided by the university through a shuttle that will take students living on campus to grocery stores like Walmart and H-E-B. There is schedule online that can be found at the beginning of each semester to explain where the pick-up spot is and how long the shuttle will be running. There are a few convenient stores close to campus like CVS that can be walked to. Another option is simply making a friend, preferably your roommate or suitemate, who has a car. It may seem scary for a lot of people to get out of the comfort zone and make friends, but it can be done. More than likely, one of the two to four people living in a single dorm will have a car. You do not have to be best friends, but it always helps to be friendly with who you are living with day to day.


Photo courtesy of Jordan Smith

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Photo courtesy of Jordan Smith

Another Bearkat journey: Jordan Smith’s story BY JORDAN SMITH Digtal Director Dear Sam Houston State University, Where do I even begin? It has been an absolutely crazy experience here, filled with all of the ups, downs and everything in between. My time here in Huntsville is everything that I wanted in college. Before I got to Sam Houston, I was a student at Baylor University. It was the first time I had lived away from home; it was the first time I was experiencing university life and it was the first time that I was on my own. It was a learning curve for sure and something that I absolutely needed to be who I am today. Due to family matters, I decided to leave Baylor University and find a new home after just one year. I enjoyed my time in Waco and will never forget my time there. When I was looking for a new home, I was looking for three different things: somewhere close to home, a

school that felt like home (small-town school) and a place that had a school newspaper and broadcast opportunities for students. I was happy to find all of that when I got to Sam Houston. I was accepted the day before Thanksgiving of 2017 and transferred in January of 2018. When I got here, I was fortunate enough to join the Bearkat Sports Network, as a production member and on-air talent, as well as being a sports writer for The Houstonian. In my time here in the sports media world, I have been a part of some great moments in Sam Houston athletics history, especially the national championship won by football just this past May. I was on the call alongside my great friend and broadcast colleague Carlos Zimmermann on the campus radio station, 90.5 The Kat! KSHU-FM. I have also been a part of a wonderful group of individuals in The Houstonian since I got here in 2018. All of the editors and fellow writers who have passed

through over the years have helped me find something that I had at Baylor that I wanted here: a family. The bonds that have been created in that office, the memories that have been shared and experienced and the joys of working alongside your friends is something that I will truly miss as I move on from that newsroom and hopefully into another. Not only have I had an amazing experience through work, but Huntsville is home for another reason. This city and this school are where I met my wonderful girlfriend, Kaylee McBride. Meeting in September 2019, Kaylee and I have had experiences that will last us a lifetime, and I am so honored and fortunate enough to call her my better half. I cannot wait to see where life takes us as she finishes up school here and I move on to my career. Sam Houston has been an interesting experience for me and something that I mainly experienced through the realm of sports. While I definitely will not miss living at Sam Houston or the ever

so confusing one-way roads on this campus, I will miss the environment. Hearing Blatchley Bell Tower toll every 15 minutes, and at 5 p.m. every day, chime the school’s fight song or seeing the squirrels, ducks and chickens make their appearances on campus daily or even finding a bench placed inside the fountains on campus (I recommend you do not partake in that); those are little things that I will take with me forever as I remember this place. It’s sad to go but great to move on. I am very fortunate to have transferred when I did to Sam Houston. Yes, it might have taken me a little longer than it was supposed to for me to graduate but the experience nevertheless here at Sam Houston and in Huntsville has been something I will be able to take with me for the rest of my time and something that I will truly never ever forget. As I ended my final student broadcast on 90.5 The Kat! in Frisco, I will end the letter with this: For one final time, I say good evening, good night and always and forever… Eat ‘Em Up Kats! Sincerely, Jordan Smith


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WOTS: Indulging on campus dining BY SYDNEY WOODWARD Contributing Reporter Sam Houston State University offers a multitude of places to eat on campus. The main campus has two dining halls

and several restaurants, including three Starbucks and convenient supply stores around campus called PODs. To figure out which is the best campus dining option, we asked a few SHSU students what they thought was the best place to eat on campus. Senior

Photo courtesy of Jacob Hodges


mass communication major Danielle Garza said Old Main Market was her favorite place to eat. Garza loved it due to the atmosphere and the food they served, especially their BBQ, fish and sweets. In terms of atmosphere, she loved how friendly the staff was. For her, it was just a great place to study or do homework while eating with her friends. Senior english major Maria De La Cruz’s favorite place to eat is at the Lowman Student Center food court. It is conveniently located in the middle of the campus and has a lot of space to see friends and safely maintain social distancing. Cruz’s favorite place to get food from in the LSC food court is Panda Express. The food is always super fresh while the staff there are friendly and work fast. As a commuter from Houston, senior mass communication major Hannah Follis does not get to experience much of the dining services on campus, however, she sometimes eats at the LSC’s major restaurants such as Chick-Fil-A and Subway. To Follis, the campus restaurant workers are super friendly in general. Graduate digital investigation major Jessica Collins always picked between Panda Express and Steak ‘n Shake when she was on campus and needed a bite to eat. Collins loved Panda Express for the variety of food offered and the service was fast enough where she did not feel the need to rush while eating. As for Steak ‘n Shake, Collins felt the fries were the big highlight of the menu. Senior mass communication major Arnoldo Guerra said he does not have a favorite place to eat on campus. Rather he much prefers to eat wherever his friends like to spend time. It changes all the time for Guerra. There are plenty of options on campus to eat and enough variety for all students. You may never know what your new favorite is until you try!


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Roadmap to connecting with your professors BY NOAH ONTIVEROS Contributing Reporter The transition between high school and college can be difficult. 45-minute classes turn into hour-long courses and attentive teachers are replaced with college professors. Do not be intimated. There are simple steps that will help you get to know your professor and set you up for success. DO YOUR RESEARCH While you are making your class schedule, make use of resources that will allow you to know what kind of professor you will have. Websites like ratemyprofessors.com are a great way to see how a professor manages a course. The website allows you to view former student’s experiences in past courses

with that professor and you get to know what type of teaching style they have. SYLLABUS 101 Before your first class, read your class syllabus. The syllabus is a personal handbook laying out the class expectations and guidelines. Reading the syllabus before class shows the professor that you care about your education. Do not forget that the professor can change the syllabus throughout the semester, make sure to check emails and Blackboard of any changes made. SAY HELLO Even after reading the syllabus, it is easy to get lost in the crowd of students. Introducing yourself can be one of the best ways to avoid that. After the first day of class go up to the professor and

introduce yourself with a smile. This does not have to be a long conversation; simply making your presence and face known is all it takes. Additionally, if you have any questions or if you did not fully understand something on the syllabus that would be a great time to ask the professor. BE SEEN Another essential tip is to sit in the front where the professor can see you. Stay focused in class. If you need to turn your cellphone off, then do so. PROFESSIONALISM ONLINE Communicating with professors should always be kept professional. When conversing through email or face to face, be sure to use appropriate language. Address the educator by their title unless they tell you otherwise. Also, be sure to

use spellcheck and correct grammar. You want to sound educated, so take a little extra time before sending out an email to perfect it. Subject headers are essential in college. With the professor having so many students, they get a lot of emails in a day. Be sure to include in your email, your name, course number and your section number. Some professors will also have sections in their syllabus explaining what details and format you should email them in, so make sure to read the syllabus! OFFICE HOURS Another great way to develop a relationship with your professor is by utilizing their office hours. Professors love to see that you are taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. They are always willing to help as long as you are eager to seek out their help. COMMUNICATION IS KEY It is important to remember that professors are humans too. Although they might look scary, odds are they like doing the normal things that everyone does. Pushing past the fear of communicating with professors will allow you to get great personal advice, along with developing a mentor relationship with your professor. LIKE MATE, STOP PROCRASTINATING Do not wait until the last minute with questions. Procrastination kills connections with professors. When you wait until the last minute with an issue the professor can be less willing to help being that you have had so much time to ask questions, but they do understand that things happen. College experiences are full of firsts. You will be put in situations that may or may not make you step out of your comfort zone but do not be afraid to open up and ask for help because professors will always be willing to lend a hand.


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Who was Sam Houston: Facts behind the name BY JACOB COURTNEY Opinion Editor WHEN AND WHERE WAS SAM HOUSTON BORN? Sam Houston was born March 2, 1793 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. WHAT WAS HIS NICKNAME? “Colonneh” from the Cherokee, meaning Raven, hence the raven statue on campus. HOW DID HE DIE? Sam Houston passed away quietly in his steamboat house after his health declined for five weeks. The house can be found next to the duck pond across from the Sam Houston campus.

Reddit Revolution: What frightened Wall Street BY NOAH ONTIVEROS Contributing Reporter FEBRUARY 7, 2021 -- Most of us know that Wall Street is a ‘dog-eat-dog world’ and everyday people want a turn at the water bowl. Last week, rookie investors spiked interest in a Reddit thread called “WallStreetBets”, discussing the newly bankrupt company GameStop. On Jan. 28, 2020, GameStop was trading right under $4 and this year, on the same date, that number briefly exceeded $480. Thousands of traders, amateurish and sophisticated alike, made money fast. Hedge funds that had bet against GameStop lost billions. Hedge funders invest in stocks where they are valued relatively low then, drive the market to make great profit. Redditors whose antics tend to be risky as is, began investing in GameStop as well as AMC, Dogecoin and XRP forcing hedge funds to then buy back stock at a much greater price. This is known as

WHAT WAS THE LEGACY LEFT BEHIND BY SAM HOUSTON? In Huntsville, it is mostly the entire town. Since Houston lived here, you can visit his homestead at Sam Houston Memorial Museum right across from campus. Not to mention the city of Houston is named after Sam. HOW WOULD I FIND OUT MORE? Visit the Newton Gresham Library to find the section dedicated to Sam Houston that includes written biographies such as “The Sword of San Jacinto,” “The Autobiography of Sam Houston” and many others. The Sam Houston Memorial Museum is also a great source of information. There are many sides to Sam Houston’s life to discover! a “short squeeze” and leaves the hedge fund with millions upon millions down the drain. WallStreetBets subreddit is now leading a financial revolution giving orders to hold and buy more GameStop stock until further notice. Financers are now trying to guard their secrets. Investing is at the tip of a phone user’s fingers with apps like Robinhood, Acorn and now CashApp. Pushing a button allows users to buy or sell stock. Redditors are furious with platforms like this and their actions capping GME stock that prevents investors from purchasing any additional shares. Apps like Robinhood acted in the interest of white-collar crime bullies while at the expense of the little guy. This is against their entire platform that built the democratization of trading. For years many have sat back and let Wall Streeters call the shots. This gave everyday people a chance to make a small fraction of billions that these hedge funds are in control of. This financial revolution was long overdue.


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Freshman guide to SHSU’s special events and activities BY ADRIANNE REECE Arts and Entertainment Editor Sam Houston State University’s long roster of popular events are perfect occasions for a first-year student. Even with the pandemic’s lingering presence, SHSU virtualized several of these university classics to continue the fun while adhering to CDC safety guidelines. However, with the university looking to return back to mostly in-person courses for the fall, freshman could potentially witness these exciting events firsthand instead of through screens. WELCOME WEEK Every semester, students are encouraged to connect with peers and create a sense of belonging through special activities and heartwarming traditions. SHSU develops fruitful opportunities with Welcome Week, a period of interactive

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Machuca

events catered to introducing Bearkats to campus. In the fall, SHSU hosts around 30 interactive events such as the annual Kat Comedy Showcase and Find Your Classes, while the spring season introduces Bearkat Spirit Friday, Breakfast with PC and more. With these different activities, freshman can customize their home away from home before settling down in their coursework.

and entertainment from different student organizations. Last year, SHSU decorated their campus in spooky themes to celebrate Sammy’s Haunted Homecoming in a hybrid format. The year prior adopted a nostalgic Woodstock concept titled Sammystock, where organizations dressed up their stations in floral patterns and retro colors.

HOMECOMING Homecoming season is like Welcome Week 2.0. Though every year has a different theme, the week full of activities never fall short in the exciting department. This tradition unearths some of SHSU’s most influential events such as Sammypalooza, Firefest and the Homecoming Court. During this period, students have the opportunity to nominate that year’s homecoming king and queen and indulge in a festive parade filled with creative floats

SAMMYPALOOZA Remixed from the well-known Lollapalooza festival, this massive showcase serves as SHSU’s premier destination for music fans. For one night only, popular musicians from every genre grace the Johnson Coliseum stage to perform their biggest hits. Since 2010, artists such as Panic! At the Disco, A$AP Ferg, Wiz Khalifa and more have performed at this free event. Occasionally, SHSU will let students vote on who should be in the lineup to elevate

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Machuca

their experience, which only adds to the excitement. This semester, as with many events, SHSU transformed this in-person event into a virtual concert, inviting stars such as T-Pain, Cheat Codes, Bryce Vine and Billy Ray Cyrus to sonically uplift students through this new normal. TREE OF LIGHT As students enter the last half of fall semester, temperatures begin to drop and SHSU livens up in holiday cheer. For over 95 years, the university props up a 38-foot-tall Christmas tree in the Bearkat Plaza for faculty and students to admire. Overtime, this annual tree lighting transformed into a ceremony filled with harmonious performances from SHSU’s Choral and Orange Pride Dance Team. To elevate this already jolly experience, student organizations can decorate the lit tree with different ornaments, sip on hot chocolate and contribute to the ceremony’s canned-food drive.


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SHSU First Year Experience Initiative assists students BY JIMENA GONZALEZ Contributing Reporter A freshman’s first year of college can be an overwhelming change of scenery from high school to college, and Sam Houston State University’s First Year Experience makes room to ensure that the transition is a smooth one. “It is a comprehensive and coordinated program that welcomes and creates opportunities to join their new academic community in ways that first-year students need to be the most successful,” director of First-Year Experience Kay Angrove says. From one-on-one peer mentoring to creating supportive communities with personal interests, every facet of the organization wants students to recognize personal academic potential. One of the most popular programs from this initiative is the Common Reader Program which has been a part of SHSU for 13 years. Every year a committee reviews book nominations from the university community and those selections go through another process to narrow down the ten top-rated titles. After 45 readers evaluate the top 10 books, one book is selected to be SHSU’s Common Reader of the year. Normally, freshman are introduced to this program during orientation where students are encouraged to get a head start on the novel over the summer. Certain courses also integrate the book into their curriculum. The Academic Success Center will provide students a copy or it can be retrieved through SHSU’s new Bearkat Bundle program. According to Angrove, having this early interaction with the book creates a strong community and gives students’ the opportunity to speak on important issues in a campus-wide conversation. This year, “Counting Descent” by Clint Smith took the Common Reader title. It is a full-length collection of poetry that dives into vital themes such as race, humanity and the coming-of-age

Photo courtesy of Sam Houston State University

Photo courtesy of shsu.edu

experience. Smith deeply expands on each of these themes, even breaking down the discord that results from fitting into a society that celebrates black humanity while living in a world that depicts blackness as a false impression of trouble. Besides the Common Reader Program, freshman can also make use of other resources to make the experience smoother and manageable. Each year, the New Student Convocation commemorates the start of new

students’ academic journey just like graduation serves as the ceremonial finish. This year’s convocation will take place on Aug. 15, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. Enrolling in First Year Experience’s UNIV 1101 course can be very helpful for incoming freshman. Here, students explore career paths and learn to develop and apply learning to their own academic programs and career development. Many of these sections are themed with a specific major, so students take this class with those who

share similar interests and academic goals. This initiative also offers the Forward program, which extends support and resources to former foster youth, homeless students or wards of the court. Through this, students can build meaningful relationships that are essential to reaching and succeeding their personal achievements. For more information about the First Year Experience, contact Kay Angrove at kangrove@shsu.edu.


BY ARIOLE JONES Assistant Editor-in-Chief Freshman year is the most memorable year of college because of all the new experiences and people you meet. Over the past year we have strived to do our best in classes to work towards the common goal of graduating one day, we complied some helpful tips to make your journey easier. 1. GET INVOLVED First and foremost, you can not survive college shacked up in your dorm room. Get out of your shell, put some clothes on and

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get a little uncomfortable to make some friends. The college experience is just that, an experience! To enjoy it you must play an active role in meeting new people. 2. GO TO CLASS In college, you are responsible for yourself and only yourself. There will not be anyone to make sure you get up on time for your 8 a.m and no one to double-check homework. To succeed, you must take initiative for yourself and make it to class every day. 3. CREATE A BUDGET It is no secret that almost all college students are broke. More than likely, you

will get to that point as well, however, now you must make that spending money yourself, not your parents. Get familiar with resources the school has to offer, such as the SHSU Food Pantry for cheaper dining options. The Money Management Center can also help hired students help create a plan for you to live on based on your monthly income.

and balanced diet. The “Freshman 15” is very real but if you pay attention to your health, you can reverse the curse with ease. In the nutrition department, there are graduate students that serve as dieticians for students where they help create diets and meal plans for students who want to find healthier alternatives on campus.

4. EAT RIGHT AND STAY HEALTHY If you have made it to orientation, you have already experienced the steep hills of SHSU. Being that the entire Huntsville campus sits on top of a hill, you will be walking quite a bit and every day. In this case, strive to have a healthy

5. SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP! It is very possible to spend countless hours partying, hanging with friends or even studying. Give yourself a break. It almost becomes pointless to study until the sun comes up but not have enough energy to take the exam. Prepare a schedule at least a week in advance so you can plan enough time to sleep. 6. DO NOT BUILD A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB Problems come and go; it’s life, but when one arises tackle it head-on. You might miss an assignment and your grade may fall but do not sit and wait for something great to happen for your grade to turn around. Contact your professor, do the work, keep trying. If you fall, get back up over and over. 7. STOP USING YOUR PHONE It is 2021 and almost everyone is hooked up to some type of technology. But college is an experience and some experiences just can not be made virtually. It is ok to look people in the eyes and smile, even through a mask. Be aware of your surroundings.


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Photo courtesy of Lizeth Gonzalez

How freshman can gear up their resumes for internship opportunities at SHSU BY OCTAVIA BROWN Contributing Reporter Between orientation, new class schedules and dorm rules, most incoming freshmen do not think about internships. The majority of internships that are offered for college students are typically geared towards upperclassmen. However, it is never too soon for students to prepare for post-graduation goals. Polishing resumes and cover letters are a part of shaping the college experience to achieve academic milestones. Sam Houston State University’s Career Service Center has many options to assist with internship and career search. The

university’s “Bearkats Get Hired” portal partnered with Handshake has numerous resources including part-time and fulltime job positions on and off campus, internships, seminars and more. In order to find opportunities, students must activate a Bearkats Get Hired account and personalize a profile to help the database recommend suitable job openings. Many internships require an application up to a year in advance and choosing the right position can depend on many different factors. A few of those factors include grade point average, field of study, career goals and other technical prerequisites. Other aspects include extracurricular interest or location and can help guide students in

the direction of what kind of internships will be a good fit. Being active in student organizations and getting to know professors is another casual way for freshmen to stay in the loop in their field of study. There are over 300 student organizations with a range of interests including philosophy, language, film, education and more, according to the SHSU OrgLink website. Joining an organization is easy and every option can be found on https:// shsu.campuslabs.com/engage/. Building these relationships can bring possible networks with peers in the future. For more information about how Career Services resources, visit their website at www.shsu.edu/dept/career-services.


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Sam Houston set to join Western Athletic Conference BY SCOTT MORRIS Sports Editor JANUARY 14, 2021 -Sam Houston will be joining the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) after an announcement was made In January that they would be leaving the Southland Conference (SLC) officially beginning July 1, 2021. This move coincides with three other SLC schools joining the WAC with Sam Houston; Abilene Christian University, Lamar University and rival Stephen F. Austin University. Southern Utah University will also be joining the WAC as they will be leaving the Big Sky Conference a year later in 2022. This transition will end a 34-year run in the SLC which began back in 1987. “Since I got here in 1982, this is the fourth conference movement that I have been a part of,” athletic director Bobby Williams said. “It’s so exciting to be a part of that.” With this move, the WAC will be reinstating football for the first time since 2012.The WAC will have a total

Photo courtesy of www.wacsports.com

of 13 programs once all SLC programs move over in the fall, joining New Mexico State University. Dr. Alisa White was also at the press conference to help introduce Sam Houston to the WAC. All sports outside of football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball will be divided into divisions. Sam Houston will be placed in the southwest division, which will include all Texas institutions coming from the SLC, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Tarleton State University. “The opportunity to bring five quality institutions into the conference, to significantly strengthen the WAC’s national basketball brand and other championship sport profiles, and to bring football back under the WAC umbrella is one that made sense,” WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd said. “This move to the WAC will bring a fresh vision for our department and create new revenue stream opportunities while expanding our regional and national profit,” Williams said. “It’s an exciting time and a great time to be a Bearkat.”

Photo courtesy of Jordan Likens

Who do you think of when it comes to Sam Houston sports? BY TREY BURNETT Contributing Reporter When Sam Houston athletics is brought up, who comes to mind first? Some may think of a football player, as football is the biggest sport on campus but there are plenty of other sports to choose from. When thinking of who comes to mind when you think of Sam Houston athletics, do you think championships won, best personality, best career? There are a multitude of factors. For me, when I think of Sam Houston athletics, I think of the big man, forward Gilberto Clavell from the Sam Houston men’s basketball program from 20102011. He led Sam Houston to an NCAA tournament berth in 2010 and I just so happened to be a spectator in the stands in New Orleans for the tournament game versus Baylor University. Clavell played two years for the Bearkats, averaging 18.2 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game for his career. A two-time AllSouthland Conference player, his post moves were some of the finest in the nation. As a young kid seeing Clavell’s effort on the court, it stuck with me even to this day. Ben Rikard, who is the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations at SHSU said Timothy Flanders, Bearkat running back from 2010-2013, came to mind when asked. “He was the most highlighted piece of an era of Bearkat football that propelled it

into what you see today,” Rikard said. “He was a multi-faceted back who did it every game for four years. Everyone knew what was coming and nobody could stop him.” When I asked another Bearkat athletics fan and alumnus, Russell Burnett, who came to mind for him? It was Flanders again. “Tim Flanders helped put SHSU football on the map,” Burnett said. “He was an extraordinary player on the field and a great ambassador for the university off the field. His attitude and hard work were unsurpassed.” Flanders was a two-time Walter Payton Award finalist, four-time All-American, as well as Sam Houston’s all-time leader in rushing yards and scoring. He holds 34 SHSU records. Not much more can be said about Flanders and the impact he had on Bearkat sports. Sam Houston student Mason Anderson thought of Sam Houston Walter Payton Award-winning 20152017 quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe. “He is probably our best player and the teams that he had were iconic,” Anderson said. Briscoe is probably the most storied Bearkat QB in history, with AllConference as well as All-American accolades. He tossed 57 touchdowns in the 2016 season, an FCS record. There have been many great athletes to come through Huntsville, Texas and SHSU. Hopefully, this highlighted some of the best and gave an idea as to just who Bearkat fans think of when they think of Bearkat sports.


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Sam Houston sports: An escape from the grind BY LUKE BERHEISER Contributing Reporter When we get to August 2021, a number of new Bearkats will make Sam Houston State University and the town of Huntsville, Texas, their new home. Some may be criminal justice majors, others film majors, business majors, education; the list goes on. But one potential thing all of these future Bearkat students could have is a love for sports, whether it be football, baseball, basketball, soccer or volleyball. Students naturally want to attend a game here at Sam Houston to escape the grind of studying for exams or writing extensive papers. So what is that like? Attending a Sam Houston sporting event is a great way

to get out of the claustrophobic dorm room and enjoy some sports action. To start, with almost every sport there are pre and/or postgame traditions. One of the most well-known traditions that come along with Sam Houston sports is the Sam Houston chant that happens mainly at football games but has also been done at basketball games. At some point in the game, one side of the stadium will yell, “Sam,” and the other half will yell back, “Houston.” This is to get the team and the crowd hyped up and has been done for years. Having worked at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum for the past five years, one of the most notable traditions, whether it be the men’s or women’s basketball team, after every game the teams meet in the center of the court and raise the

“Bearkat Klaw.” Soon after spectators join in, this communal ceremony always takes place, whether it be a win or a loss for the Bearkats. Also, note when attending any sporting event at Sam Houston is that each stadium or venue has a dedicated student section or at the very least a sector made up of primarily students. Elliott T. Bowers Stadium, our football stadium, has a dedicated student section that is always rowdy and full of energy. Even more fun is that the opposing team’s bench is on that side of the field, so feel free to let them know how you feel, respectfully of course. Speaking of football, one of the most iconic events hosted by Sam Houston is the Battle of the Piney Woods at NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.

Photo courtesy of Jordan Likens

Photo courtesy of Jordan Smith

Photo courtesy of Brisenia Flores

Photo courtesy of Chelsey Redman

Every year the Bearkats go up against Stephen F. Austin State University, Sam Houston’s rivals from Nacogdoches, Texas, it is a can’t-miss match-up full of fanfare. One of my favorite events to attend was baseball games, as it is my favorite sport. So, if you are a big baseball fan and happen to find this article, I would highly encourage you to find a weekend in the springtime and catch a game at Don Sanders Stadium. And a final big plus of being a student is that sporting events are free, excluding specific events like the Battle of the Piney Woods or post-season events. Going to a sporting event is something incoming Bearkats should experience at least once in their time at Sam Houston State University.


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Finally champions: Football wins first FCS Championship BY SCOTT MORRIS Sports Editor After 35 years of being part of the Football Championship Subdivision, the Bearkats football team has finally been crowned champions, along with being undefeated the entire season, finishing with a 10-0 record. However, the road to the championship win was not easy, as there were obstacles both on and off the field. “So proud of my players,” Head Coach K.C. Keeler said after the championship. “It’s really a special group when you consider this thing started in June and we had no idea when this thing would ever end. We decided not to play a fall season. Bobby Williams made a great decision there because there was going to be a National Championship in the spring.” Just like many other sports at Sam Houston, the COVID-19 pandemic had the Bearkats play in an untraditional spring season, opposed to their normal fall season. Athletic Director Bobby Williams chose to do this because he wanted to play for a championship. Although teams were allowed to schedule non-conference games in the fall, they would be deemed ineligible to compete in the spring championship. Going into the season, the team would only play six total games due to the condensed schedule as well

Photo courtesy of Leila De La Cruz

as many other Southland schools playing in the fall. However, the first game of the season would be delayed due to the lasting effects of Winter Storm Uri. The Bearkats would start their season against the #18 ranked Southeastern Louisiana University Lions at home. They would come away with a 43-38 victory in the high-scoring affair. The winning would not stop there as they would go on to defeat #7 Nicholls State University in dominating fashion 71-17. With this win, the Bearkats were put on national notice, as they had now defeated two top-ranked teams in backto-back weeks. Sam Houston would cruise through the regular season, outscoring their opponents 269-105. They would win all but one game by at least two possessions. When it came to the postseason, the Bearkats were not given an easy run. They were given the number No. 2 seed going into the playoffs, even though they were ranked fourth for the regularseason FCS poll. The Bearkats would not make it easy on themselves either with having a tough schedule and playing all tight games. Sam Houston opened the FCS playoffs against #10 Monmouth University Hawks. They would defeat the Hawks with a 21-15 score. In this game, the Bearkats would score the first 21 points with a touchdown in each of the

Photo courtesy of Leila De La Cruz

first three quarters. In the fourth quarter, the Hawks would find their momentum and score 15 straight points, claiming the final possession. On fourth and goal, junior cornerback Isaiah Downes would come up with an interception to give the Bearkats the first-round win. In the second game of the season, the Bearkats would face a familiar foe in the #6 North Dakota State Bison. In their last matchup in the 2017 playoffs. The Bison steamrolled the Bearkats in a 55-13 victory. In this matchup, the Bearkats would be much more prepared than they were three and a half years before. Sam Houston would open up the scoring by putting up the first 10 points in the first quarter, in which they would lead 10-2 going into halftime. The Bison would come stomping back, taking a 20-17-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter. However, these efforts would not be enough to stop Southland Conference player of the year junior quarterback Eric Schmid as he would score a rushing touchdown with less than four minutes to go to give the Bearkats the lead. The defense would come up huge again as they would get a fourth-down stop to end the Bison’s efforts and advance to the semifinals. The semifinals would be the toughest opponent yet as the regular season #1 James Madison University would come to town. The Bearkats would open the

scoring with a field goal in the first quarter. James Madison would respond by scoring 24 unanswered points going into the second half. Things looked bleak for the Bearkats as they had not faced this kind of deficit all season. This kind of lead did not deter the Bearkats in their hopes for a championship birth. The Bearkats would outscore James Madison 28-3 in the third quarter. The scoring would start with a rushing touchdown from junior running back Ramon Jefferson, which would cut the lead to 14. The Dukes would respond with a field goal making it a 27-10 game. The Bearkats did not play around and would score two plays later thanks to a 69-yard touchdown from graduate wide receiver Jequez Ezzard. The defense would then come up huge once again with a quick three-andout, Ezzard would return the ensuing punt return for a touchdown, which would cut the lead to three. On the next kickoff, sophomore special teamer Ryan Humphries would recover a fumble, which would completely swing the momentum towards Sam Houston. Schmid would score two more rushing touchdowns and give the Bearkats a 38-27 lead. The Dukes would not go away as they would score a touchdown on the next drive to make it a three-point game. James Madison would threaten to tie the game with under three minutes left. The Dukes would attempt a 51-yard field goal to tie the game but would end

CHAMPIONSHIP ROAD up missing, giving the Bearkats the ball back with the lead still in hand. Sam Houston was set up to punt but would be awarded a first down after roughing the kicker penalty. With the first down, the Bearkats had punched their first championship birth since 2012. The stage was set. The Bearkats would be facing the team that was gifted the #1 playoff seed in the FCS in the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits. This would be the Jackrabbits first appearance in the championship game while it was the Bearkats third. The previous two times, Sam Houston fell to the Bison in both 2011 and 2012.

captain and senior defensive linemen Joseph Wallace said after the game. “We learned the playbook like the back of our hands like we were supposed to do for Sunday, and I feel like we got a little overwhelmed at some points, but at the end of the day we got the win.” Ezzard would continue to make a huge impact on the game as he would return another punt for a touchdown. This touchdown, however, would be called back due to an illegal block in the back. Two drives later, Ezzard would find the endzone on a 35-yard touchdown catch in which he evaded numerous Jackrabbits tying the game at seven apiece.

Photo courtesy of Leila De La Cruz

The playing field for the day began roughly as the rain continued to pour on the field from early in the morning up until kickoff. The game began very sloppily as on the second drive of the game, the Bearkats lost a fumble due to the field conditions. This would set up the opening score of the championship game with a rushing touchdown for the Jackrabbits. The following drive would be another fumble punt, which would be recovered by South Dakota State. The field conditions continued to play a large factor, as the Jackrabbits would be unable to hold the snap on the ensuing field goal and the Bearkats would take over possession. The defense continued to be a force the whole game and be a destructive force. “We understood that we put in the work, we put in the time,” defensive

The momentum would keep moving in the Bearkats favor as the Jackrabbits would botch another hold on a field goal. Then the weather hit again. The teams would have to go into a 75-minute lightning delay with the game even at seven. The time would be made up with a three-minute halftime since there were still over three minutes left in the second quarter. Once play resumed, the field conditions were a little better, as the rain had stopped and the sun was somewhat shining. Play had resumed and it was time to get back to work. “My team is tough,” Wallace said. “These guys bought into the program long before today. You could tell the want-to on this team.” Who else other than Ezzard would come up with his second touchdown of the half with under two minutes left in the first half.

Page 45 The Bearkats would intercept the ball with 18 seconds left in the half and would enter the second half with a touchdown lead. The third quarter would be low scoring with only a field goal coming out of it. However, the field goal would be a career-long 45-yarder from walkon freshman Seth Morgan to give the Bearkats a 10-point lead. This would be the only field goal of the day as the field conditions would not allow for any other successful attempts from either team. The Jackrabbits were the #1 seed for a reason and showed why. On the next drive, they would go straight down the field and score a rushing touchdown to cut the Bearkats lead to three. Their defense would stop Sam Houston’s effort, and this back and forth would continue till six minutes left in the game. The Jackrabbits would score an 85-yard rushing touchdown to give them a 2117 lead. It was now all or nothing as the Bearkats had less than six minutes to go with only one timeout left. On the Bearkats final drive of the game, a banged-up Schmid led his team all the way down the field, converting two separate fourth-down conversions. “I would just say everybody is banged up at this point in the season, so you knew you had one game left, and just battling through injuries regardless of what’s going to happen,” Schmid said.

Photo courtesy of Leila De La Cruz

It all came down to this. Twentythree seconds left on the clock with the Bearkats at the 10-yard line and no timeouts. Schmid catches the snap and drives a ball right over the middle and it is hauled in by sophomore wide receiver Ife Adeyi for the touchdown. “We knew from the past two years how good we were,” Schmid said. “We just didn’t finish games and that’s something that we really got better at this year.” The Bearkats had taken the lead with just 16 seconds left on their way to their first national championship. The extra point was missed but it would not matter as the Bearkats defense would stop any attempt the Jackrabbits had at trying to kick a game-winning field goal. The clock struck zero and the Bearkats were officially champions for the first time in school history. Ezzard would be named the most outstanding player for his performance in the game, with 10 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. With the win, Keeler would move into first place in playoff victories in the FCS with 24 and is the only FCS coach in history to win a championship with two separate schools. “When you win a National Championship, it is immortality, and that’s what we were chasing, we were chasing immortality,” Keeler said.


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Short turnaround looms over Sam Houston athletes BY NATHAN WILLIAMS Contributing Reporter Fifteen weeks from winning Sam Houston State University’s first Football Championship Subdivision national title in school history, the Bearkats will look to run it back when the team opens the fall 2021 campaign on Sept. 2 against the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks. The Bearkats defeated the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits 2321 in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, to capture the FCS title in an untraditional spring season. The NCAA made the decision to move some fall sports, including FCS football and soccer, to the spring in an effort to decrease the potential spread of COVID-19. Now, Sam Houston athletics plan to resume playing traditional sports in the fall. With that decision, the offseason will be short, making it difficult to recover mentally and physically from the spring season. “The shorter you make the offseason, the more of an impact it will have on their performance next season,” kinesiology department chair and professor at Lone Star College – CyFair Ronald Nespeca said. “Football players are going to

have intensity training in July, instead of having January to July to train.” “It’s going to be really hard for the athletes, both on and off the field because they will not be able to do high intensity for a long time,” continued Nespeca, who played soccer collegiately at St. Mary’s College in California. Nespeca recommends teams and coaches decrease the amount of strength and conditioning training to avoid injuries in the offseason while preparing to play a full schedule this fall. Trainers for the Sam Houston soccer team adjusted the team’s strength and conditioning program during this untraditional spring season with an eye towards keeping the players healthy in the fall, said soccer athletic trainer Katelyn Dewalt. “During this untraditional season, my main focus was to limit the amount of overuse injuries,” Dewalt said. The soccer team went from 25 games last fall to 11 this spring, including seven games in 17 days in March, she said. “There was not a day that went by that the athletes were given opportunities to properly recover from the previous games and refuel for the games ahead,” Dewalt said. The mental and physical pressure

Photo courtesy of Leila De La Cruz

on the student-athletes to succeed while staying safe was a daily struggle. Recovery was essential for these studentathletes going through the stress of taking classes, playing the games, and, now, undergoing continuous COVID-19 testing. Coaches and athletic trainers will ease the players into their training instead of jumping into the normal workout routine. Tom Brown, head coach of the soccer team, said a quick burst of training in the offseason can

increase the likelihood of an injury for the players. “We will shortly begin to start building up there fitness again to prepare for the upcoming season,” Brown said. “We try to do this over an extended period to decrease the likelihood of any injury that would put them behind.” Sam Houston soccer will open the fall season in late August. All SHSU athletics will play their inaugural season in the Western Athletic Conference starting in the fall.


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Overcoming all adversity; Men’s golf historic season BY SCOTT MORRIS Sports Editor

Photo courtesy of Tim Cowie

Women’s golf plays in Let Them Play Classic BY SCOTT MORRIS Sports Editor After being crowned champions of the Southland Conference for the second year in a row, the women’s golf team was looking to make a splash in the Baton Rouge regional for a shot at making the NCAA national tournament. However, nature and the NCAA had different plans. Rain continued to come down on Monday and Tuesday of the event week. By Wednesday, the rain had stopped and it looked like the teams could finally begin play. Soon after, the team was informed that although the course was playable it was not at a championship level, leaving the regional to be canceled. Sam Houston along with schools such as Louisiana State University, Baylor University, the University of Alabama and plenty of other universities, were pushed away from a chance to compete because of a decision that was perceived as extremely controversial. Because of this decision, the NCAA automatically advanced the top six teams of the regional as the other 12 were left out in the dust. The only member of the Bearkats that would be competing was senior Hanna Alberto, who became the first player in program history to play in the NCAA

championship event. In the event, Alberto finished with 34 pars and five birdies in the three-day event. Word of this spread around social media and an unlikely hero came to the rescue. Sam “Riggs” Bozoian of Barstool Sports heard about this and decided to do something about it. “In the last 24 hours I just witnessed a heart wrenching decision,” Bozoian said on a video posted to Twitter. “Myself and my team are putting together the resources in Arizona for these 12 teams to compete, as both teams and individuals.” And with that, the Let Them Play Classic was born. The NCAA approved the classic and Barstool Sports were allowed to crown both individual and team championships. Barstool covered most of the finances for all the teams to participate in the event. Barstool was able to put this all together and even have a number of video guest appearances from the likes of professional golfers and even NFL star J.J. Watt. The tournament took place at the Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Arizona, with the University of North Texas coming out as champions of the event. The Bearkats were able to send three players to participate in this tournament in sophomore Leah Alberto and freshman Anna Takahashi and freshman Viera Permata Rosada.

Football was not the only sport to make history this past season. Men’s golf for the first time in their program history made the NCAA National Championship. The journey there, however, was not an easy one. The postseason run began with a third straight Southland Conference championship from the Bearkats as they won with a +9 score, 10 points lower than the second-place Lamar University Cardinals. In the tournament, junior Paul Chaplet, who won golfer of the year with fellow teammate senior William Holcomb, shot the lowest score of any individual player with a 213 over the three-day event. The Bearkats also had two other players finish in the top five, with Holcomb shooting a 215 and freshman Ting-Wei Hsieh shooting a 219. With this success, the Bearkats earned their ticket to the NCAA regional tournament, being placed in the Stillwater Regional in Oklahoma. The top five teams at the end of day three would advance to the NCAA National Championship. After the first day, the Bearkats shot a 295, which placed them in a manageable eighth place. Holcomb would be tied for second after day one, shooting a 68. The Bearkats moved up to the sixth spot, just one place outside of qualifying, which could be done

Photo courtesy of Tim Cowie

after improving by 10 strokes to have a 285 on the second day With the Bearkats just in striking distance of making the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history, they were hit with one of the worst news they could receive. Holcomb would be unable to participate in the final day of the tournament due to COVID-19 contact tracing. This was not enough to deter the Bearkats team. They went out on the final day of competition and would find a spark on the back nine. Sophomore Luis Carrera would make the clinching 25-foot put to punch their ticket to the program’s firstever championship birth. The Bearkats finished in fourth place in the competition. The Bearkats had an impressive first day in Scottsdale, Arizona, as they finished in second place shooting a 278 on the day. Holcomb and Hseih shot a team-low 67 on the day. The Bearkats fell to seventh place on the second day of the event but would bounce back and qualify for a fourth and final day of competition. They would go into that day in 11th place, needing a top-eight finish to move onto the next round. The Bearkats historic season would come to an end as they would finish tied for ninth place, needing that top-eight seed to move on. Although the Bearkats came up just short, the program still went further and finished higher than any year before finishing top 10 in the country.