VOLUME 102, ISSUE 22
Defending the First Amendment since 1911
OCTOBER 11, 2012
The University Star put together an interactive map of all campus parking, with features such as highlighted parking zones and detailed lot information. Visit UniversityStar.com or scan here for a closer look.
Organizations prep for derby
Quiet zones to silence trains at local intersection By Karen Zamora News Reporter City of San Marcos officials updated residents from the Victory Gardens neighborhood Wednesday about future railroad “quiet zones” in the area. The Engineering and Capital Improvements Department addressed approximately 20 San Marcos residents on the future improvements of the Patton and Eisenhower Street railroad crossing. Janae Ryan, graduate engineer for the Parks and Recreation Department, said the intersection is one of
26 public railroad crossings in the city to be “quiet zoned.” About 20 trains pass through San Marcos every day, she said. A quiet zone is a section of a rail line with alternative safety measures put in place, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. The measures waive the requirement that trains blow their horns when approaching crossings, according to the administration. Crossings without quiet zones require trains to sound their horns 15 to 20 seconds before crossing public tracks. Linda Huff, Engineering and Capital Improvements director, said the quiet zones
limit the trains’ use of whistling unless there is an obstruction on the track. She said the noises and the flashing lights at the railroad crossings will still be intact as a safety measure when trains are approaching. Ryan said some of the safety improvements to be made to the quiet zones include road medians on either side of the track, “No train horn” signs at each railroad crossing and quad gates. Ryan said because many residents spoke against closing Patton Street during the im-
READ RAILroads, PAGE 3
SPIRIT SHOWCASE Homecoming Talent Show contestants demonstrate skills, thrill crowd
Kathryn Parker, Staff Photographer
Austin Darsey, accounting senior, and Jason Wagner, excercise and sports science senior, test the Sigma Chi soapbox derby car Oct. 9 in preparation for Friday’s race. Sigma Chi has won the soapbox derby the past three years. By Megan Carthel News Reporter Zach Edstrom may be racing in his organization’s soapbox car from last year, but is confident he will take his team to new heights at Friday’s Soap Box Derby. Edstrom, mass communication sophomore and Mu Sigma Nu member, said he will give his team a literal leg up in this year’s derby. His 6-feet-9-inch frame is what he hopes will be the secret to winning the race. Student organizations, residence halls and greek organizations participate 2 p.m Friday in the annual Soap Box Derby. The event has been held since 1967. Eddie Perez, Order of Omega president, said the location of this year’s race has been changed. Traditionally it is held on the hill in front of Commons Dining Hall. However, the race has been relocated to the front of the Student Recreation Center and the Family and Consumer Sciences building due to recent construction. The tradition was first sponsored by the Interfraternity Council, but is now held by the Order of Omega. There are three brackets within the race: residence halls, greeks and student organizations. Each car has two days to be inspected by the Order of Omega to be eligible to enter the race. Edstrom said mental preparation and a “streamlined form” is the key to winning the race. His strategy differs from last year’s driver, who was afraid to ride down the hill without brakes. Edstrom said he will use little to no brakes. “I feel like we’re kind of the underdogs,” Edstrom said. “But we’ve got a lot of determination and heart.”
Sonja Burton, Staff Photographer
Top: Harambee, step and dance group, perform at the Homecoming Talent Show Oct. 10 at Evans Auditorium. Left: Kristian Vasquez, music studies freshman, dances to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” during the Homecoming Talent Show in the Evans Auditorium. Vasquez defeated 18 acts ranging from dance to vocal performances. By Nancy Young News Reporter Bobcats filled the Evans Liberal Arts Auditorium Wednesday night to cheer on their classmates in the annual Homecoming Talent Show. The talent show featured 19 acts and was sponsored by the Student Association for Campus Activities. The acts consisted of singing, dancing and other various performances that had the crowd on its feet. Ultimately, Kristian Vasquez, music studies freshman, won the judges over with his Michael
READ SOAP BOX, PAGE 3
Jackson-inspired dance. Tiffany Roemer, former Associated Student Government vice president, hosted the show with Anyssa Bohanan, mass communications senior. Myisha Bradham, Pride and Traditions coordinator, announced the men and women who were elected as Gaillardians during intermission. The finalists for Homecoming King and Queen received sashes. The crowd snapped along as Courtney Shilo, applied sociology sopho-
READ talent show, PAGE 3
Campus organizations to select Gaillardian winners By Colin Ashby News Reporter A few select students were honored by their peers in one of the oldest Texas State Homecoming traditions. The Gaillardian Award was made to recognize the outstanding and accomplished students at the university, said Myisha Bradham, director of Pride and Traditions for the Student Association for Campus Activities. Fellow Bobcats select the Gaillardians each year in an election. About 35 students were nominated for the
Gaillardian Award this year, Bradham said. The students come from a number of campus organizations including Delta Gamma, Chi Omega, University Ambasssadors and Diamond Sweethearts, among others, she said. Student organizations are a major part of the Gaillardian selection process and choose students who they feel are exemplary and successful, Bradham said. Bradham said the Gaillardian Award is one of oldest traditions at Texas State and dates back to the 1920s. The award was established by Texas State’s former yearbook and named
after the school flower, the maroon and gold Gaillardia, she said. “The Gaillardian tradition represents the various organizations that are on campus,” Bradham said. “Their representation is more so of Texas State than the actual Homecoming King and Queen.” The 12 finalists, six men and six women, are presented the Gaillardian Award at the Homecoming Talent Show, Bradham said. The honorees wear Gaillardian sashes Saturday to the Homecoming celebration. The Gaillardian award is not just about outstanding efforts and accomplishments, said
Peter Pereira, staff advisor for the Student Association for Campus Activities. He said the award requires students to show academic efforts. The nomination form requires students to have a minimum 2.5 GPA, he said. “We check for grades before voting to make sure everyone is eligible to be in the election,” Pereira said. Pereira said last year’s Gaillardians included Anyssa Bohanan, Mindy Ballesteros, Lindsay Collyer, Meg Gandy, Jennifer Iles, Nicki Johnson, Gabriel Garcia, Alistair Laing, John Luna, Nathan McDaniel, Vincent Pitocco and Brandon Toussant.
2 | Thursday October 11, 2012 | The University Star
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rec beat Organization hosts 5K run, benefit Texas State runners, joggers and power walkers will gear up early Saturday morning for the Homecoming 5K race. The Professional Recreation student organization (advised by Campus Recreation) organized the event with sponsorship from Core Running Company, Wells Fargo, Sprint, Cryo Studio and University Bookstore, which will commence and concluded at the Texas State University West Campus fields. “This year’s annual Homecoming 5k will help benefit the Fisher House for wounded soldiers at Lackland (Air Force Base) in San Antonio”, Max Miller, Vice President of Pro-Rec said. Participants will gather at the West Campus practice fields on Oct. 13, for registration at 8:00 a.m., followed by a quick warm-up. The chip-timed race begins at 9 a.m., as contestants begin the race. The race makes a loop through campus, leading participants back to the registration area to cross the finish line.
Contestants will be provided with breakfast, a free t-shirt and goodie bag. An award ceremony will be held after the race. A raffle of items donated from local businesses will conclude the ceremony. Some of the raffle prizes include movie passes, dinners for two and free haircuts. “A raffle is always a good thing to have. It gives the public an incentive to come out and support a great cause,” said soccer club alumnus Daniel Lanni. Texas State students, faculty, alumni and community members are welcome to participate in the $25 race. Registration is available at Active. com, just search Texas State. “This fun run/walk is open to everyone. Community, alumni and students will have fun exploring the university’s campus and actively taking part in a good cause,” Miller said. The Professional Recreation organization will staff the event, with the help of volunteers. The Mens’ Club
Soccer team volunteered for a 5K hosted by Professional Recreation this past spring. “Volunteering is always a great feeling, especially for the causes that (Professional Recreation) supports. As a team leader, the opportunity to volunteer for the 5K with my team gave us the chance to bond and build a different type of team chemistry while cheering on the runners,” Lanni said. Professional Recreation dedicates itself to activities and organizes events throughout the year, which give stuAustin Humphreys, Photo Editor dents a chance to gain hands-on expe- Will Garrett, agriculture junior, works with a theodolite during his land rience developing and running large- surveying class Oct. 10 near the agriculture gardens. scale events. The organization fosters professional development by providing scholarships to student to attend conferences. Visit campusrecreation.txstate.edu for more information about this event and future events. —Courtesy of Bonnie Uresti
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2nd floor LBJ Student Center www.bookstore.txstate.edu 512-245-2273
The University Star | Thursday October 11, 2012 | 3
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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
provements of the crossing, the city instead decided to install four “quad gates” at each crossing. Two gates will be installed on either side of the track to block the entire street width in lieu of trains sounding their horns. Ryan said the city is waiting for Union Pacific Railroad to start building the gates. Ryan said Union Pacific has estimated there will be six months of construction. He said there additionally will be a six-month period for conductors to adjust to the changes¬¬, meaning it will be about a year before trains crossing the Patton and Eisenhower intersection can go quiet. Huff said some railroad crossings in San Marcos have better safety conditions than others, which ultimately made the project less
expensive. The budget for Phase 1 of the project totals $514,000, which includes the safety improvements of the 26 intersections. Zeke Enriquez, Victory Gardens resident, said trains have been an ongoing problem for him for the past 15 years. Enriquez said he has complained to the city and Union Pacific about the train noises repeatedly. The train horns are so loud that they disturb his four dogs, Enriquez said. “It is painful to their ears,” Enriquez said. “They just cry and cry. And (the train conductors) do it on purpose, and they know they agitate us.” Enriquez said he is glad there will be more quiet zones in the city, but is not happy about the time of completion.
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Austin Beavers, Staff Photographer
Alterations to the Patton Street railroad crossing must be made to continue with the city’s new quiet zone ordinance for trains.
Kathryn Parker, Staff Photographer
Jason Wagner, exercise and sports science senior, and Austin Darsey, accounting senior, make repairs to their soap box derby car, “The Duke,” for their entry in this weekend’s derby. Edstrom said Mu Sigma Nu’s biggest rival is Theta Chi, but his fraternity’s
strongest competition is a toss up between Sigma Chi and Pi Kappa Alpha.
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more, sang a rendition of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking Bout You.” A 14-person group called Chris Joo and the KKC performed a dance to “Gangnam Style,” a Korean pop single. Vasquez won the talent show overall, as well as first place in the miscellaneous category. He said his win was “overwhelming.” Vasquez impressed the crowd and judges with his moonwalking skills and said he used to be “that little kid in socks in the kitchen.” Vasquez said he has always been a big fan of Michael Jackson and moon-
walked just to be funny. “One day I noticed, ‘Oh my God, I’m actually kind of good at it,’” Vasquez said. David Booth, communication studies senior, performed a medley of songs ranging from Eminem raps, “Wonderwall” by Oasis and “A Whole New World” from the movie “Aladdin.” Booth ended his performance with “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. Alpha Delta Pi showed off its moves with what began as a lyrical dance but ended with a hip-hop flair. Sorority members also danced to “Gangnam Style,” a reoccurring theme throughout the night.
4 | Thursday October 11, 2012 | The University Star
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Springtown ideal for entertainment development
Grace Perkins, Star Illustrator
an Marcos is in dire need of family-friendly entertainment venues to attract residents and bring much-needed revenue to the city. The Springtown Shopping Center is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on this need. According to an Oct. 4 University Star article, Target, Best Buy, Bealls and J.C. Penney relocated in 2009 from the 30-acre shopping area to other areas in the city. Currently, only Bath and Body Works, Twin Liquors and RadioShack have storefronts in the widely vacant center. With close proximity to the university and the HE-B grocery store, Springtown is an ideal location for development. Families and college students are looking for entertainment in San Marcos. With more than 20 liquor stores and bars in the city, residents are likely to patronize businesses in nearby San Antonio or Austin for family-friendly fun. San Marcos is home to thousands of college students who may enjoy a night out of drinking. However, there are plenty of people who would benefit from forms of entertainment in the city that are not bars. Residents and students would rush to check out the new improvements and ultimately spend thousands of dollars if exciting, family-friendly businesses were installed in the shopping center. Laser tag, mini-golf and “paint your own pottery” establishments, as well as a new movie theater and bowling alley would all be excellent additions to the area. These are the types of welcom-
ing places that would draw large crowds of families and students. According to the same article, a 2009 renovation proposal for the area showed the area has the potential to create 451 jobs, $295 million in salaries, $1.7 million in additional taxable sales for the city and $51.74 million in local tax rolls. This land, as it remains now, is currently largely vacant and is not being utilized to its full potential. The center funnels dollars back into the community. Moreover, it has the ability to keep families and students in San Marcos over the weekends ready to spend their money supporting other local and corporate establishments. Councilmember Kim Porterfield, Place 1, said the city’s Comprehensive Master Plan encourages officials to coordinate with economic developers to bring prospective businesses and entertainment to Springtown. Although the city may be actively seeking tenants to fill the space, more needs to be done to solicit business owners to the area. Financial incentives, tax breaks and many other solicitation tactics can be used to bring companies to the area. The land should appear profitable to better attract those businesses. The city needs to improve proposals to the economic private sector so owners invest in the shopping center and spark a goldmine of funding for the city. In addition, security in the shopping center must be increased to prevent crime rates from rising. Springtown has the ability to bring finances, fun and frequent visitors to San Marcos. With the construction of Thorpe Lane, the area could also stand to see improvements with corresponding development of family-friendly venues.
The Main Point is the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. Columns are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the full staff, Texas State University-San Marcos Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State University-San Marcos.
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Opinions | The University Star | Thursday October 11, 2012 | 5
Homecoming traditions vital to Texas State
By Alex Pernice Opinions Columnist
omecoming is an important event that students must participate in because it is one of the longest-standing traditions at Texas State.
Homecoming is an exciting event for the student body. Students will be celebrating Homecoming traditions for an entire week leading up to the big football game on Oct. 13. With all the hype surrounding Homecoming weekend, Bobcats should remember that there are a variety of Texas State traditions to embrace. A variety of different competitive activities can get students excited for more Homecoming festivities to come. For some Bobcats, events such as a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and the beginning of the powder puff football competition are fun ways to participate. Throughout the week, some traditions will be in plain view for students walking around campus. Student organizations
have painted windows at the LBJ Student Center and residence halls to raise awareness and excitement within the community. The Student Center is also where the overflow from Evans Auditorium will go to watch a live stream of the Homecoming Talent Show. The Spirit Rally, a gathering where students compete for the spirit stick, will be held at Sewell Park this year. Special guest Andy Grammer will be performing, and there will be a wide variety of speakers and activities. The traditional Soap Box Derby held in the Family and Consumer Sciences parking lot and the Organization Olympics at Sewell Park will also provide exciting Homecoming entertainment for students. Tailgating before the football game is a
vital component of the Homecoming tradition. The game will be the culmination of the spirit and excitement the Texas State community has anticipated since festivities began. During the game, Texas State’s Homecoming royalty, including the Gaillardian Award recipients, will be honored. As part of a tradition that began in 1925, twelve students will be crowned with an award that is emblematic of the university’s official flower, the gaillardia. Texas State students must take part in Homecoming events and traditions to learn and love more about their university. —Alex Pernice is a mass communication sophomore.
Students will benefit from study groups, tutoring
By Molly Block Opinions Columnist
tudents at Texas State should participate more in study groups and use tutoring facilities to attain better GPAs and improve study habits. Many students do not take advantage of all the opportunities provided by Texas State to succeed in college. Services like the Student Learning Assistance Center offer a wide variety of academic support programs such as walk-in tutoring labs, supplemental instruction and exceptional online resources. SLAC receives funding
from student service fees—Texas State students do not have to pay any extra money up front when they access the resources. Along with SLAC, many professors encourage students to participate in study groups in accordance with their classes. With all of the services available on campus, there is no reason why students should not take advantage of every opportunity. College students can benefit from study groups in many ways. According to a Nov. 7, 2010 article on OnlineCollege. org, students are more inclined to remember material when they associate with peers who also strive to succeed in class. Not to mention, they’ll gain friendships from those interactions. According to the same article, study groups are beneficial because students have the opportunity to share and compare notes. If a student did not understand or hear what the professor said during a lecture, someone else likely wrote the notes down and could help fill in the
missing information. This way, students have a unique chance to teach each other. Alkek Library is one of the best places on campus to study. Many students desire a quiet environment when studying for exams or working on homework. The library is the ideal place to avoid distractions and be able to fully concentrate without interruptions. Study areas are located conveniently on each floor, and there are even individual study rooms and group study rooms located on floors five, six and seven. In addition to the study areas, floors five and six are the designated quiet floors. Every student learns in a different way, and the Alkek Library provides an extensive variety of study environments to accommodate student needs. SLAC is located on the fourth floor of Alkek. Tutors are provided with expertise in areas students may need help in. They are friendly and willing to help. For students who need additional assistance, private tutoring is also available. Online
writing labs are accessible for students along with Supplemental Instruction study sessions. SI is a form of tutoring that allows students to focus on collaboration, group study and interaction. According to SLAC statistics, there were 11,399 lab visits during the past spring semester with sophomores and juniors comprising 62 percent of the student lab visitation numbers. With all of the resources and help SLAC is willing to offer, even more students should be able to start improving their grades and study habits through the services. With midterms right around the corner at Texas State, it is absolutely crucial students develop a solid studying pattern and utilize every opportunity presented to them. Although it may seem like an extra step, participating in study groups and using SLAC are easy ways for students to advance study skills and improve GPAs. --Molly Block is a mass communication junior.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR Every year, I look forward to the birthday party for President Lyndon Baines Johnson held on the Texas State campus. This August, I enjoyed the opportunity to not only attend the LBJ Birthday Bash, but also to visit campus in the midst of students getting involved and participating in our community. Civic involvement should last a lifetime. Particularly important is becoming involved to ensure strong support for education. Too many Texans encounter financial barriers to higher education, and too many others leave college with a mountain of debt. I successfully authored the “More Education” tax credit to help students seeking education beyond high school. Also known as the American Opportunity Tax Credit, this provision allows students or their families to reduce their federal tax payments by up to $10,000 over four years to reimburse for tuition, textbooks and other higher education expenses. This $2,500 annual credit can go a long way in covering expenses at Texas State. Even those attending school and working part time, who do not have as much as a $2,500 tax liability, can still claim up to $1,000 in a refundable tax credit for eligible
what do YOU think
educational expenses, which is similar to the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit. The credit does not apply to expenses you paid with monies received through a scholarship or other grant, but the credit can be used to cover any of your additional out-of-pocket costs. Unless my More Education initiative is extended, as proposed by President Johnson, 11 million students and their families will be denied this assistance in 2013. Some in Congress oppose increasing or even maintaining federal support for students. Your involvement matters. Know that I am here to work constructively on matters of importance to Bobcats. Both my district office and my congressional office in Washington provide year-round internship opportunities for students who have an interest in government and want to learn about the inner workings of a congressional office. I hope that as a student, you will choose to get involved with government and public service. There are a wide range of community service opportunities and philosophically diverse political organizations, both on campus and in the community, with which you can become
involved. I hope you will also take a moment to visit my website at doggett. house.gov, ‘like’ me on Facebook by visiting facebook.com/LloydDoggett or ‘follow’ me on Twitter: @ RepLloydDoggett. My Austin office can be reached at 512-916-5921 and my Washington office phone number is 202-225-4865. My staff in both cities is ready to assist you. Additionally, I hold Neighborhood Office Hours several times a year at locations throughout the area. I encourage you to attend one of these events so that I can meet you personally. Sincerely, Lloyd Doggett —Lloyd Doggett is a U.S. Congressman representing the 25th Congressional District of Texas.
Should Chartwells limit the number of meal trades used at one time?
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- Talent Show - Other
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6 | Thursday October 11, 2012 | The University Star
Emmanuel Ramirez, Star Illustrator