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Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011

The sTudenT newspaper of wesT Texas a&M universiTy

Partly Cloudy 52°F | 30°F

Volume 94, Issue XII theprairiewt


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Social Work Students Light up Lives this Holiday

ashLey hendriCK sTaff wriTer


tudents have been taking lights from the WTAMU Social Work Club’s Christmas tree. The tree, once filled with different colors of paper lights or tags, now stands almost naked and bare on the second floor of Old Main. “People take a tag and give a gift,” Dr. Melody Loya, assistant professor of Social Work and advisor of the Social Work Club, said. The Lighting of Lives is a charity project organized every year by members of the Social Work Club. Until Dec. 1, anybody from the local community can take a tag from the tree and purchase the gifts listed on the tag. Those gifts will then be given to Dr. Loya and donated to the individual whose name resides on the tag. “We have 250 tags on the tree,” Nancy Zamora, president of the Social Work Club, said. “We have never, not been able to provide gifts for everybody

on the tree.” While a lot of local charities concentrate on children and families who are less fortunate, members of the Social Work Club decided to focus their charity project on a lesserknown population of the mentally disabled and elderly. “There are lots of other programs that serve families, but there aren’t any programs that serve this population.” Dr. Loya said. The individuals who will be receiving these tagged gifts are clients of the Department of Aging and Disability Services. Some are young people with developmental disabilities who have aged out of the foster care system and now find themselves in the care of the state. Other clients are orphaned elderly who are older chronologically, but have the mental capacity of a four year old. “Christmas is still a big deal for them,” Marisela Teran, a junior Social Work major, said. “They still expect a visit from Santa Clause.” Unlike other club projects

that have tendency to fade away after a few semesters, the Lighting of Lives has been going strong for 19 years. The WT community has been a major factor in its success. “The WT community has been fabulous over the years,” Dr. Loya said. “We have met the needs of every client every year.” The number of gifts donated has increased every year, but despite the charity’s success, recent economic activities have caused some people to hesitate giving to charities. “With the economy the way it is right now, some people are not actually going to have Christmas,” Zamora said. Members of the Social Work Club are still trying to alert the community of the need for donations for the less fortunate this holiday season. “I think it’s important for them to know that there are people out there that still believe in Santa Clause and maybe they are not young in age, but that’s where they’re at right now,” Teran said.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Melody Loya Social Work Majors Amber Powers, Marisela Teran, and Nora Rodriguez (left to right) next to the Lighting of Lives Christmas tree on the second floor of the Old Main.

Obama and Republicans face challenges in 2012 KrysTina MarTinez assisTanT ediTor


resident Barack Obama will have to jump a few hurdles in his 2012 reelection campaign. According to a recent New York Times & CBS News poll, 43 percent approve of his performance. The nation’s view of the government is even more bleak. 23 percent believe that the country is going in the right

InsIde sporTs:

direction, while only 12 percent approve of the job Congress is doing. “Voter mood in 2012 is the same as it was in 2008,” Dr. Dave Rausch, WTAMU professor of Political Science, said. “Voters are angry, but they can’t tap into who they’re angry at.” Although President Obama’s campaign has not had as much media attention as the 10 Republican candidates fighting for the GOP bid, Dr. Rausch predicts this will change once


WT Football wins Kanza Bowl. The Texas Board of Education will visit campus this year. Page 4

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“the Republican field [narrows] after the Iowa caucuses.” He also points out that incumbents like Obama face a unique challenge when they run for re-election. “[Being] too candidate-like is a problem, but too presidential is a problem as well,” he said. However, public relations may be the key to a strong campaign, according to Kim Bruce, instructor of Mass Communication.

“Honestly, PR helped Obama win the previous election,” said Bruce. “The Obama website is clearly the best I’ve seen for securing volunteers at this grassroots level.” According to Bruce, candidates may also choose to tap into grassroots groups such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street into their own campaigns.

Obama story continued on p. 3


CaMpus Life:


Check the answers from the Nov. 15 online version of The Prairie.

Engineering students started the process of becoming a chapter of the American Society of Engineers. Page 5

WTAMU Symphony Orchestra gets ready for upcoming events.

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Feature Prairie Artist captures spirit of the North Texas landscape 2

November 29, 2011

Kendra Barth Guest Writer


huck Olson’s The Land: Spirituality, located in the Amarillo Art Museum, can be seen as a vivid delineation of the mesas and canyons of North Texas. Olson completed this piece in 2009, when the artist had a solo show at the Amarillo Museum of Art. Though not always on display, this piece is in the permanent collection of the museum and can be viewed upon appointment. The painting uses bright acrylics and decorative maps to illuminate the emotive qualities of the regional landscape. The canvas is sectioned into two pieces: a small rectangular left piece and a large rectangular right piece. This cut does not disrupt the picture as a whole, as the two parts are placed close together. When I visited the museum, it was on display in an open area with natural and artificial light. During the day, it can be fully illuminated by the natural light. The painting is about 2-3 feet off the

ground and is very large, positioned high above one’s head and spans more than ten feet across. It stands alone; there are no paintings within its close vicinity. The acrylic paint the artist chose is very bright and textural. In some places he has watered it down to allow it to drip and in other places, he has globbed it on to create thick brushstrokes. At the bottom of the painting, there are antique maps pasted on. The paint has dripped onto these maps, blending them into the painting. The maps create a horizon line and foreground to the painting. I think that Olson chose maps to share the excitement of travel and the local topography. Olson was not a native of the area and would have had to travel to visit the region. The vivid golds, oranges, and browns of the painting delineate the feeling of sunrise or sunset. The bright blue in the background signals the appearance of a sky. These colors are very expressive of an afternoon on the Southern Plains. Olson uses a lot of flowing, sweeping, and broad lines that which carry the eye

around the work. The large, dark umber brush strokes start from the lower left and rise to traverse horizontally the top of the piece. These marks are the darkest color and the thickest lines of the piece, so their effect is very dramatic. Though not life-size, the scale of the piece is large enough to draw the viewer into the piece. When standing a few feet from the painting, it dominates your entire view. This scale produces the feeling of being out on the vast open plains with that infinite expanse all around you; it made me feel small, but grounded. The sky is the majority of the landscape with dark clouds that could signify either day or night. A mesa rises from a golden skyline behind the plains. The mesa is painted minimally with a brown outline and brown small brushstrokes delineating the top. In the foreground, there is a straight horizon with what looks like wind turbines in the middle; these forms are bright white and stand out. There is also what appears to be a power line, painted very thinly,

crossing the work. Olson shows us a view alongside a road, where industry and technology—the road, turbines, and powerlines—blend in with the natural landscape. For me, this painting represents a memory of a place, more than a specific place itself. The blurred shapes and vivid color are not realistic, but mimic the essences of a place that the mind holds on to. The large strokes and drips of paint add to this reconstructed feel. Olson’s painting represents spirituality. The white turbine-forms can also be read as white crosses. While the crosses bring the work into a Christian context, I believe that Olson wanted to show spirituality in a more abstract way. His work points out how one feels spiritually small against the vastness of nature and the cosmos. The lone crosses, strong but isolated, inspire a feeling of loneliness, but also of reverence in the beauty of the place. Olson’s visit to the Panhandle must have been a spiritual journey, impressing itself upon his memory.

performances, as well as collaboration performances with the dance program. After wrapping up their latest performance “Chaplin, City Lights” in live cinema, the Symphony Orchestra is now preparing for their annual Christmas Concert performance. It will take place Dec. 4 in the Northen Recital Hall. “I think if people are interested in what we are up to, there is video on YouTube, and we have some tracks on our webpage,” said Mark Bartley,

director of the Symphony Orchestra. This spring, the WTSO will have many more ensembles to perform. On March 2, there will be a showcase performance at the Globe-News Center. On March 24-25, they will be having an opera and performance at the Branding Iron Theatre and on April 15, they will put on an orchestra concert in the Northen Recital Hall. “I am grateful to be able to perform professional repertoire in a collegiate

orchestra, and I look forward to seeing the WT Symphony continue to expand and improve,” said Noah Littlejohn, who has served as the principle and assistant principle cellist of the WTSO. For students who are interested in trying out for the Symphony Orchestra, auditions are held the first two days of the Fall and Spring semester. Students can sign-up for an audition time on the bulletin board outside Room 257 in Mary Moody Northern Hall.

Symphony Orchestra gets in tune for future events Michael Flores McoM 3309 neWs editinG &reportinG


he WTAMU Symphony Orchestra is compiled of students who play string and wind instruments. Throughout the Symphony season, the students put on many different events. These events consist of concerts, opera, choral and live cinema the


Staff 2011-2012

Editor- Maria Molina Assistant Editor- Krystina Martinez Web Editor - Georgia Romig Layout- Kati Watson Ad Manager- Bryan Samuel Faculty Adviser- Butler Cain

Reporter- Jes Roskens Reporter- Melissa Bauer-Herzog Reporter- Ryan Schaap Reporter- Matt Watkins Reporter- Lisa Hellier

Reporter- Jordan Fry Reporter- Daniela Fierro Reporter - Brittany Castillo Public Relations- Aurora Ortiz Photographer- Alex Montoya

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. - First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The Prairie is a student-operated publication at West Texas A&M University. It functions to inform, educate, and entertain readers accurately and responsibly. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the administration, faculty or students. The editorials that appear on these pages represent the opinion of the Prairie editorial board. The views expressed by other columinsts are the writers’ opinions and do not necessarily reflect the board’s views. Advertising rates are available upon request at (806) 337- 2090 or at WTAMU Box 60754, Canyon, Texas 79016. The Prairie is distributed on Tuesdays during the semester and has a circulation of 1,500. It is printed by The Amarillo Globe-News.


News Prairie Congress fights online piracy, theft 3

JeS rOSkeNS Staff writer


o combat Internet theft of copyrighted materials, Congress is taking action with its new Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). According to NPD, a group that gathers business statistics, in 2009 only 37 percent of music in the United States was purchased legally. Creative America, a group fighting online piracy of movies, reports that more than 500,000 movies and television shows are viewed illegally every day. In addition, stats from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation show 24 percent of the world’s bandwidth is devoted to digital theft of movies, music and other copyrighted material. These numbers equate to tens of billions of dollars lost annually and more than 10,000 U.S. jobs lost every year. “The bill is of vital importance to protecting American jobs and artisans,

protecting American consumers from dangerous counterfeits, and ensuring the very vitality of American culture,” House Judiciary Committee member John Coyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) said during a hearing on the act on Nov. 16. The SOPA and its Senate counterpart, Protection of Independent Property Act (PIPA), are meant to stop piracy by giving law enforcement and copyright holders greater ability to shut down sites that illegally share media. SOPA does this by making it so that websites, if found guilty of illegally distributing copyright content, can have their domain names blocked, advertisers removed and the website would be banned from search-engine results. Others say SOPA may have the opposite affect and hurt technology and other industries that depend on the Internet. Several technology companies are gathering against SOPA, claiming it goes beyond the law and into censorship because of the bill’s lack of a clear definition of what is and is not criminal content.

WT expects visit from the Texas Board of Education Sara Smith mCOm 3309 NewS editiNg & repOrtiNg


he Texas Board of Education will be visiting the WT campus this year in order to make sure that the campus is meeting the provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act. The Higher Education Opportunity Act was designed to enforce penalties on those who violate it by downloading copyrighted materials within the A&M system. If the campus does not meet all the criteria upon the visit of the board, the aid that comes from the state can be revoked, which means students would not be able to receive financial aid in an extreme case. “WTAMU must meet the requirements of this federal mandate to remain an eligible institution for student loan and assistance programs,” James Webb, chief information officer, said. The Texas Board of Education takes

such offenses seriously and once a year they will send an agent to make sure that campuses meet the criteria provided in the Higher Education Opportunity Act. The campus must have posted signs in dormitories and around campus warning students against illegal downloading, a summary of penalties, and a description of the institution’s policies on the school website. Downloading copyrighted materials is a serious offense and result in consequences such as blocked Internet usage. If the offense is repeated three times the student will have permanent blocked usage until he or she has met with the Judicial Affairs office. “I think students should be punished for downloading things illegally,” Morgan Grazier, a senior Business major, said. “Just because people can find ways to download illegal things doesn’t mean they should, and especially not using the school’s system,” Nichelle Dawkins, a junior Communication Disorder major, said.

“The bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new and uncertain liabilities,” AOL, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo!, Zynga, LinkedIn, Facebook, Ebay and Google said in a joint letter to Congress. Private groups like Censorship America are gathering against SOPA and PIPA. When SOPA had a hearing on Nov. 16, Censorship America organized a day of protest with 6,000 websites. Participants put up a blocked homepage. To avoid the present and future consequences of digital theft, WTAMU Network Administrator Greg Crowley recommends students to seek legal options through websites like Hulu and Spotify. “There is no reason to view media content illegally when there are so many legal options,” Crowley said. For more information on current copyright laws and legal sites to see copyrighted content, Security Analyst Lane Greene said students can go to

November 29, 2011

Obama continued from p. 1 “Utilization of theses groups is likely to prove to be a deciding factor,” she said. “For Obama, this is somewhat tricky as the Occupy Movement is still in its infancy and has some problems organizationally and with some associated personnel.” Obama may have to pull out the stops when it comes to convincing voters like senior Communication major Steven Watson. “I think he’s going to have a hard time convincing the people that he has their best...interests in mind,” said Watson, who calls himself a constitutionalist rather than a Republican. “It’s undeniable that he created more jobs but he also increases the deficit, consequently decreasing the value of the dollar.” However, Republicans will have their work cut out for them when it comes to attracting voters. According to Watson, it will be a while before he will decide which of the GOP candidates he likes. “I like to hear what they have to say pretty much up until election time,” he said.


SportS Prairie Women’s basketball wins at Thanksgiving Classic 4

Melissa Bauer-herzog staff writer


he WTAMU Lady Buffs basketball team played their first home games of the season on Nov. 25 and 26 at the First United Bank Center. The team played in the Roberts Ditching Thanksgiving Classic, playing the No. 5-ranked Metro State College on Friday and St. Mary’s on Saturday night. The Lady Buffs had a tough challenge on Friday night against Metro State College, but came extremely close to beating the team. The game started with MSC drawing first blood, grabbing a 12-2 run early before WT senior Joni Unruh scored on a pair of free throws. Kenisha Harris followed up Unruh, getting the Lady Buffs within six points of their opponent. However, the Roadrunners fought back, making it a 14-6 game with 14:11 left in the first. The Lady Buffs finally grabbed a 22-20 lead with nine minutes left in the first, but MSC fought back again, scoring a three-pointer and retaking the lead. After another battle, the women headed to the locker rooms tied 31-31 at halftime. The second half looked much like the first with the teams fighting back, tying the game four times early in the half. The Lady Buffs then went on a 4-0 run with 8:43 left in the game to grab the lead once more before there was a four-minute dry spell. But after another lead battle, Chontiquah White put the Lady Buffs ahead one more time with both her free throws

November 29, 2011

with two minutes left. The Lady Buffs looked to be within reach of a victory with a 65-62 lead until MSC went on their own 4-0 run, making the score 66-65 with only 14 seconds left on the clock. After a missed free throw for MSC at the 1.4 second mark, WT tried but couldn’t gain that extra point and fell to the opposition 66-65. The Lady Buffs returned to the FUBC on Saturday night, looking for revenge from their one-point loss on Friday against the St. Mary’s Rattlers. WT struck quick, scoring off a jumper from Ashley Leven only 56 seconds into the game. However, St. Mary’s would go on an 8-2 run, leading by four with 11:58 left in the first. The Lady Buffs refused to give up, gaining an eight-point lead with 5:05 left after Lacee Logan scored off a jumper. The St. Mary Rattlers wouldn’t see the lead again, even after getting within two points of WT multiple times, as Sally Higgins and Logan both scored to end the first half with a score of 24-18. The Lady Buffs went on a 6-0 scoring spree in the second before a STMU player pulled off a threepointer. WT played to win, keeping themselves at least eight points up until the clock showed 8:45 remaining, lowering their lead to seven points. Lacee Logan pulled WT to 10 points in front with a three-pointer, but STMU refused to give up, scoring eight points to get within two of the home team. WT saw the opportunity to get their first win of the season, however, and went on another 8-2

run, giving itself another eight point lead with 1:24 left on the clock. STMU scored two more points, but in the end WT’s Casey Land would make both of her free throws to give the Lady Buffs a 50-43 victory. Lacee Logan led the team with 13 points. Devin Griffin and Joni Unruh following with nine points each in addition to a team-high five rebounds each. “I thought we got a lot better and I thought there were certainly some positives,” Head Coach Krista Gerlich said. “I think we still make too many self-inflicted mistakes and I think we had a great opportunity to beat

the number five team in the country and let it slip away from us. But I thought we really fought hard on Saturday and figured out a way to win.” The Lady Buffs will hit the

road again next week with a trip to San Antonio to play Incarnate Word on Dec. 1 for their first Lone Star Conference game of the season.

Photo courtesy of iStock.

WTAMU Football team beats Central Missouri Mules Khiry Robinson named Kanza Bowl most valuable player Matthew watkins staff writer


he WTAMU Buffalo football team closed out the season by traveling to Topeka, Kansas to take on the No. 23 Central Missouri Mules in the Lower Inc. Kanza Bowl. WT grabbed its second Kanza Bowl trophy in three years with a 26-7 win. The Buffs started slowly after having a two-week layoff. As sophomore quarterback Dustin Vaughn threw an interception on the fourth play of the game, the WT defense was able to hold UCM to a three-and-out. Junior Khiry Robinson got the Buffs the first points of the game with a four yard run to put WT up 7-0 with 9:27 remaining in the first. Robinson carried the ball 24 times for 163 yards and the one touchdown on the afternoon. “The offensive line made lanes for me to run through,” Robinson said. The Mules quickly answered when Taylor LaVance ran it in from a yard out to tie the game at seven with 5:47 left in

the first. The Buffs were able to regain the lead when Vaughn connected with senior Brittan Golden for a 44 yard touchdown. WT took a 13-7 lead after UCM blocked the point after try. With 33 seconds left in the second, an eight-yard run by senior Tommy Hampton gave the Buffs a 20-7 lead heading into the locker room. Both defenses dominated in the second half. WT kicked a 21 yard field goal for the only points in the third quarter and a 26 yarder in the fourth for the only six points of the half. Vaughn finished the day 23 of 42 passing for 347 yards with one touchdown and two picks. Sophomore Lance Ratliff led the receivers with six receptions for 116 yards, and Golden had six catches for 101 yards and a score. Robinson was named the MVP of the Kanza Bowl after his 163yard performance. “It means a lot, it’s like making an A in a class you didn’t think you would be able to pass at first,” said Robinson.




Campus Life

November 29, 2011

WT Engineering is taking big steps for their future KElsEy Wright MCoM 3309 nEWs Editing & rEporting


T students have just started a year-long process of becoming a student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). “The students had the initial idea,” said Kenneth Leitch, professor of Civil Engineering. “I was approached by them.” Robert Heinz transferred to WT in 2011 for the civil engineering program. After visiting other universities he decided on WT because he wanted to be a part of something new. Heinz initiated the request to start an ASCE club. He and other students talked about it in a civil

engineering course early this fall and decided they wanted to approach Leitch with the idea. As soon as their professor was on board, the students decided to start right away. “It all started when I visited other colleges and got the opportunity to see some of the items they were working on,” Heinz said. Becoming a student organization under ASCE is a two-fold process. First, the students have to go through an easy process of getting recognized by WT. After being recognized by the school, the next step is to have ASCE recognize the organization. When that happens, a oneyear probationary period is followed by the acceptance by the national ASCE as a student chapter. During that year of probation, the student organization

cannot use the “ASCE” in their name. Right now, WT’s still in the very early stages of the long process and they have turned in the necessary paperwork and constructed a constitution. “The hardest thing about the process is the one year probation period because the ASCE has to evaluate the club to make sure we are going to represent them in a professional manner..” Andrew Payne, a junior Civil Engineering major, said. Leitch will be named the academic adviser of the club. The professor has been a student and national member since 1993 and has prior experience starting a chapter at a different university years ago. But because the organization is student-led, he will only assist the students. Ultimately, they will

be in control. The club is being organized to promote the civil engineering discipline to students members and the community. It is expected to develop leadership, practical tactics and connect students to a network of professionals. “Civil engineers build the quality of life we expect to have,” said Leitch. “Creating roads, buildings, dams and flood control, airports, railroads and just about anything else that we need to function in a modern society.” The Civil Engineering Society hosted its first general meeting Nov. 16. “I believe we have accomplished a lot, and we are well on our way to being a well respected and fun organization,” Heinz said.

WT Readership winners will Opportunities for students travel to Honduras in Spring outside of the classroom david MEraz guEst WritEr


his year, 15 WTAMU freshmen will be spending their spring break in an unusual location compared to most college students. These students will be traveling to Honduras with WT’s Readership Ambassador Program. This year the freshman class read, “Where am I Wearing,” by Kelsey Timmerman. The first story of in the book is about the experience Timmerman had while he was in Honduras. “Going to Honduras is ideal because it ties to the book,” Kendra Campbell, director of First-Year Experience said. “We were considering other countries, but [Timmerman] mentions Honduras directly and anytime we can go to the location specifically, the better.” More than 200 students wrote and submitted an essay to be judges by a panel and from there semi-finalist were selected and eventually winners were announced. This is not the first time WT’s Readership Ambassadors travel abroad after reading a selected book. Previous locations include Poland, Africa, Turkey and Cambodia. Campbell has been the only person who has traveled to all locations. “I was fortunate enough to have been selected to travel to Poland a few years

ago,” Brant Nelson, an English Graduate student said. “The experience alone taught me a lot and really opened my eyes to things we do not experience in the U.S.” While in Honduras, the students will interact with the locals and even live with families in the area where they travel. The full details of the trip are still in the air but the students will be involved with some service projects. “These trips tend to be emotionally difficult, but this one will also be physical demanding,” Campbell said. “One of the things we do every night is process what we are learning and gaining perspective so it’s always an emotional experience.” Students will participate in a spring semester class that will prepare them for their journey. They will also be blogging all of their thoughts throughout the trip. After the trip, the Ambassadors will begin their community work here in the Panhandle when they attend town hall meetings, schools throughout the community, clubs and many other community events to speak about their experience. The students selected to travel to Honduras include: Benton Allen, Brittany Castillo, Samantha Hearn, Clara Saenz, Erica Knowles, Marisol Benavides, Zinzan Elan-Puttick, Reid Copelin, Jacob Smith, Hannah Follis, Hope Sorrells, Trent Kelly, Chris Hart, Delanie Crist and Sarah Horn.

Maria Molina Editor


he success of the freshmen readership program at WTAMU has inspired other readership opportunities around campus. The CORE office organized two different readerships during the Fall semester, the Leadership Readership and the Diversity Readership programs. The Leadership Readership was organized by the Leadership Board and was started two years ago. “We wanted to have this [Leadership Readership] as another program that students could get involved with to actually expand their leadership skills by reading certain books,” Valerie Swope, leadership consultant for the CORE office, said. This year the chosen book was Humilitas by John Dickson. Participants were given about two months to read the book and then joined for a two-day discussion forum about the book. Dr. Jonathan Shaffer, assistant professor of Management, participated in the Leadership Readership and said the most helpful meeting was when the group had a Facebook conversation with the author of the book. “I think he was able to explain his

thoughts in a more detailed and sometime more nuanced way than he was able to do in the book,” he said. On the other hand, the Diversity Readership is a program that started this semester. It is organized by the Diversity Program of the CORE office. Skip Chisum, director of student activities, said they partnered with Study Abroad and Students for Global Connections. The book chosen for the program was Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves. Chisum said this book was chosen because the global market has shrunk and the chances of working with someone from another culture is greater. “We want to create marketable graduates and I think diversity is a big part of that,” he said. “The more you know about diversity, the more you understand about culture, the more effort you put in cross cultural communication, I just think you are well rounded.” As far as why readerships have become so popular in WT campus, Chisum said it is the momentum. “When a lot of people do the same thing it created this momentum, it all comes back to a shared experience and I think that is what books are all about,” he said. “ I also think more than that, we realize students look for opportunities outside the classroom to broaden their horizons.”


Campus Life Prairie WTAMU students share study abroad experiences 6

Jordan Fry

StaFF Writer

Part two of a three part series Taylor Barringer Junior, Graphic Design


hen Taylor Barringer started college, West Texas A&M University wasn’t his first choice. “I wanted to go to a university far away, like New York or Portland, but my parents urged me to try WT first,” Barringer said. He agreed on one condition – “If I went to WT, I would get to do something like study abroad,” he said. “And it worked out.” Barringer studied at the University of Reading in Reading, England for an entire school year from the fall of 2010 through the spring of 2011. Before boarding the plane to England, Barringer had only been on a plane once when he was younger. Then suddenly he found himself on a one-way flight to London by himself. Once he was at the University of Reading, Barringer took classes that offered experiences he wouldn’t have been exposed to had he not gone to the university. “I took a lot of art history classes and our professors would just pass around 15th century manuscripts like it was nothing,” he said. “At WT, we’ve only seen pictures of things like that.” Studying at a different school broadened Barringer’s perspective on his major. He explained that the graphic design department at the University of Reading has a very

November 29, 2011

different take on how design is done compared to that of WT. “My school in England approached design in a more theoretical way, talking about the psychology of layouts, how certain things work and other don’t,” he said. Barringer wrote more papers about design and art rather than creating art. He said this method of learning gave him “a new mind set on how to think about design,” which he feels helps projects to be more successful. “It was good to learn more than one viewpoint and approach to my major,” he said. During one of his breaks, Barringer had the opportunity to go on a five-country road trip with some friends. He went from Germany to Holland, then to Belgium and France and back to England. Barringer enjoyed seeing the

differences from one to country to another from the road, rather than flying to each country. “It was really interesting to see how the countries changed so drastically right at the borders,” he said. “And even though the road signs were never in a language I could understand, I never had a problem understanding what

was going on.” Looking back, Barringer is astounded that the total drive time through five different countries was equivalent to the time it takes to drive from Canyon to Houston. Barringer said that he would study abroad again “in a heartbeat” and is considering going to grad school abroad. He is currently looking at schools in the US as well as schools in Holland which offer degrees taught in English. “Now that I’ve done it once, it would be easier to head off somewhere else to study abroad,” he said. “I learned so much about myself, as well as academics, from my experience. It was the best and scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

Courtney Inman, Mass Communications Alumni, Graduated May 2011

Courtney Inman had always wanted to go somewhere new and exciting. She had lived her entire life in the Texas Panhandle and sought to see something different. Inman considered Scotland and Ireland before she took a leap and chose to study abroad in London during the summer of 2010. Inman used a program called the American Institute for Foreign Study, or AIFS. She lived in a dorm in London with other students from the United States and Canada for six weeks. While she was in London, she took two classes – Museums and Galleries and Manual Photography. “AIFS set up lots of different events for us to go to and participate in,” she said. “We participated in things such as a boat party on the Thames River,

a rugby game, day trips, walking and bus tours and seeing musicals.” Inman saw Westminster Tower (Big Ben), Shakespeare Theater, Victoria and Albert Museum and the London Eye. She went to several of the museums in London during a class, and during her tours, she

saw all of the major historical sites in London. “I also went on a London celebrity tour, and a Jack the Ripper tour,” she said. One of Inman’s fondest memories while abroad was a weekend trip to Dublin, Ireland with some friends she met while in London. “Ireland was amazingly beautiful and we had a lot of fun on that trip,” she said. Inman went to the Guinness factory, stayed in a hostel,

walked around at a fair that was going on and went on a countryside tour. “I remember that the most because I was with some really great, fun friends that I had met,” she said. “Ireland was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave.” Inman said studying abroad was a “once in a lifetime experience” and she feels that it gives students a chance to experience things that they wouldn’t get the opportunity to experience otherwise. “It’s such an amazing experience to get to meet people with different backgrounds and experience different cultures,” she said. “Just getting to experience a whole new place outside of your comfort zone is amazing.” One of the things that stuck the most with Inman was the independence she gained while in London. It also broadened her perspective on what she is capable of doing and made her realize that “there is so much out there and the possibilities are endless.” “The independence and new perspective I gained gave me the confidence to go for my dreams,” she said. “I realized that there was a whole world out there for me to potentially get to explore and do great things in and I felt that it was no longer so far out of reach.”





November 29, 2011

Last week’s answers


Campus Life Prairie WT’s SIFE hosts Boots and Sandals for refugees 8

November 29, 2011

Ryan Schaap Staff WRiteR


TAMU SIFE has teamed up with the Diversity program to give refugees from Asia another chance to succeed in life here in Texas. The refugees are mostly from Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Congo and Burma. The event, called Boots and Sandals, was created three years ago as an opportunity for refugees to spend time socializing and to have fun with students from SIFE. This year the event took place on Nov. 18. “This is what we call ‘awaking the dream’; we incorporate refugees to assimilate the American culture,” said Marco Jimenez, president and CEO of SIFE. “This event is a great time for them to get together and mingle, share the American experience and when we sup-

ply food for them and the entertainment, it is very special to them.” SIFE has been helping refugees for eight years adapt to the American culture through education, financial and living. “We take the refugees to the malls and restaurants and give them a look at the American culture,” said Cedric Nguimatsa, a junior Marketing major. “We help them with school, tutor them, GED tests, and also help with job searches. We also bring them to football games and basketball games as well as homecoming.” SIFE also helps adult refugees adapt to the American culture. “We help prepare the parents to get a job because according to law, they have a certain time that the government will support them until they need to able to live in America by themselves,” said Jimenez. “We help them get a driver’s

license, social security, get a job, and year-old named Halimaby, is from Thaihelp them with English.” land and lives with her uncle Dakafar in SIFE recently hosted the refugees at Tascosa. She likes school and the English the Green Acres Apartments, where they people. Math is her favorite subject in played “Just Dance 2” for the Nintendo school and her favorite food is the McWii on a projector screen. Both locals Donald’s cheeseburger. and refugees had fun taking turns danc“They [SIFE] help us with homework ing with the silhouettes on the game and they are very good people,” said while spaghetti was served. Nguimatsa Halimaby. says that this is the first time some of the kids have actually seen a Wii. Many of the younger refugees have many questions to ask about the American culture. “Many of the younger refugees ask about computers and iPhones because they are very curious about how technology works,” said Nguimatsa. “This is one of the many things that we as Americans can take for granted.” Photo courtesy of Jimmy Tseng One of the young refugees, a 15 Refugee children from China.

Dance department will show Falling into Dance Daniela fieRRo Staff WRiteR


rom Dec. 1-3, the WTAMU Dance department will present its annual fall show called “Falling Into Dance.” “It’s the sixth year I’ve directed it,” Leslie Meek, director of the Dance program, said. “But this recital has been going on since 2003.” According to Meek, there will be about 30 performers dancing on stage. “Students should come and see it,” she said. “The dance program needs support and it enriches the community.” Senior Dance major Vanessa McKay said that attending the recital is a good way to imerse in to a visual art that’s not shown much and is not common around the area. “We’ve been preparing for this recital since the end of August,” said McKay. “I feel like we’re very prepared.” McKay and other Dance seniors

choreographed this semester’s “Falling into Dance” performance as their senior project. “There’s one performance every semester,” she said. “But the recital for the spring semester will be choreographed by a guest artist and by the faculty.” Audience members will see different syles of dance including modern, hip hop, musical theater, jazz among others. Nikki Blankenship, choreographer of ‘Desipulation’, said she has been preparing for the show since August. “I am exited about my cosumes,” she said. “I gave more room to creativity , but the hard part is the constrains that are put on the choreographers to enhance our finish work.” The recital will be held at Happy State Bank Studio at the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex at 7:30 p.m. It will be free for all WT students with a Buff ID present. Tickets for the show can be reserved by calling the WT Box office at (806) 651- 2804.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Tseng Refugee children play Just Dance 2.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Tseng SIFE students help with the Boots and Sandals event.

The Prairie, Vol. 94, No. 12  

The Prairie is the campus newspaper of West Texas A&M University.