Page 1





Mr. Green's Garden Center celebrates small businesses in new local flea market

Campus community supports return to normalcy after mask mandate lift



Opinion: "Selena: The Series" showcases Selena Quintanilla’s impact on the Latinx community SEE PAGE 6



Student football coach breaks sport's gender norms


Meadows Center works to combat water pollution in coastal communities

By Kate Connors Sports Reporter After just one year of interning as a student equipment manager for Texas State football, Jada Gipson runs a touchdown into an assistant inside linebackers student coach position, and a chance to pursue her passion: a career in the football industry. Despite her interest in coaching, the prospects of a job in the field felt slim to none, at first, due to the lack of women coaching in both collegiate and professional football. Before Jada Gipson, a general studies senior, stepped on, even Texas State's coaching staff was made up of solely male coaches. “[Coaching] was something that I always wanted to do but didn’t know was possible at the time,” Jada Gipson says. “I didn’t really see a lot of women in football till my sophomore year of college when there were four women coaches in the NFL.” Sports have always been a large part of Jada Gipson’s life. Her father played basketball at Baylor University and her brother, Jaylen Gipson, played quarterback for Texas State. Jaylen Gipson has acknowledged his sister's struggles surrounding being a woman in the football industry but says she's unfazed by the challenge.

Softball reflects on season, focuses on new team's future

By Arthur Fairchild News Reporter

Texas State Assistant Linebackers Student Coach Jada Gipson talks to freshman linebacker Josh Emmanuel (30) during spring practice, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS

“Jada has dealt with a lot of [adversity] since you don’t see many female coaches, and she hasn’t let that affect her at all,” Jaylen Gipson says. “She is very determined and dedicated to being a college coach. She is busting her butt, no doubt, and I see all the hard work she puts in." Before leaving her internship in the equipment department, Jada Gipson expressed her interest in coaching to

Director of Equipment Operations Andrew Johnson, her boss at the time. This proactiveness led her to a new position — coaching under former Inside Linebackers Coach Archie McDaniel before the 2020 season. “Andrew Johnson...asked our former linebackers coach Archie McDaniel [about the move to coaching],” Jada Gipson says. “[Johnson] just texted me one day and said to 'Go talk to

The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Texas General Land Office to lead the Clean Coast Texas Collaborative, which will help coastal communities reduce nonpoint source water pollution. Nonpoint source water pollution is a type of pollution caused when rainfall drags both natural and humanmade pollutants, such as fertilizers and insecticides, from the soil into bodies of water. According to Timothy Bonner, professor and director of the aquatic biology B.S. program, nonpoint source water pollution is difficult to control. Because it originates from natural elements like feces and fertilizers, nonpoint source water pollution is more unpredictable than point source water pollution, a type of pollution released through discrete conveyances, like sewer pipes, and tregulated by the state. "An example of [nonpoint source water pollution] is farmland or agriculture land, where cattle deposit feces and urine on the [land], and, ultimately, it can get flushed into the freshwater systems," Bonner says. “It’s a lot more difficult to manage


Alumna and husband create purr-fect new board game, CATastrophe By Sofia Psolka Life & Arts Contributor Board game fanatics and cat lovers alike will get the opportunity to take on the roles of some of the internet's most famous cats in the brand-new game, CATastrophe. As players take part in a series of minigames, the competition will decide who remains on top of the cat tower and who meets the Grim Reapurr. Along the way, players must remain wary, for this game is just as unpredictable as cats. The idea for this quirky board game came to life when alumna Abi Norris' husband, Josh Norris, first brought the idea up in 2016. Produced by the Norris' San Marcos-based publishing company,

Original Sasquatch, CATastrophe is a two-to-six-player family board game where each player takes on the role of a cat, battling other players' cats until their nine lives are up and just one player remains.

A promotional image for CATastrophe featuring Lil Bub, a character who passed away in 2019. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABI NORRIS

To add a fun twist, the cast of cats that players can choose for their avatars are based on famous cat social media pages, such as Hosico Cat and Molly and Monty Happiness. As a communication studies alumna, Abi Norris promoted the game on social media platforms. From announcing the game's launch on Instagram to creating a cat page for the couple's own cat, Indie, Abi Norris says her education at Texas State contributed to CATastrophe's establishment on the internet. "I took about just every public speaking class Texas State had to offer," Abi Norris says. "Through that, I just learned a lot about communicating with people for our company and our game. I run most of our marketing and social media and

all of that. My time at Texas State really helped with that." With this education in her pocket, she set up giveaways, Q&As, reposted reviews from different game publishing companies and set up interactive activities for the game's fan base while her husband worked on the game's production. Josh Norris grew up surrounded by cats and, from a young age, was molded into a mega cat lover. In 2016, while a student at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the furry creatures were still on his mind. He dreamed up the idea of a board game that incorporated his love for cats, and five years after thinking up the concept, he and his wife created CATastrophe.

Blake Boatman and Nicole share a pack of bubblegum, Monday, May 31, 2021, at Sewell Park. PHOTO BY HANNAH THOMPSON

Concert attendees dance and blow bubbles at a FunkOTron show, Friday, May 27, 2021, at Studio San Martian. PHOTO BY NATALIE RYAN

Derek Thigpen plays saxophone for FunkOTron, Friday, May 27, 2021, at Studio San Martian. PHOTO BY NATALIE RYAN

The University Star

2 | Wednesday, June 2, 2021


Timia Cobb News Editor starnews@txstate.edu

KITTENS Trinity Building 203 Pleasant St. San Marcos, TX 78666 (512) 245 - 3487

Editorial Staff Editor-in-Chief: Brianna Benitez stareditor@txstate.edu Managing Editor: Payton Russell starmanagingeditor@txstate.edu News Editor: Timia Cobb starnews@txstate.edu Life & Arts Editor: Sarah Hernandez starlifeandarts@txstate.edu Opinion Editor: Valeria Torrealba staropinion@txstate.edu Sports Editor: Sumit Nagar starsports@txstate.edu Design Editor: Viviana Faz stardesign@txstate.edu Multimedia Editor: Hannah Thompson starmultimedia@txstate.edu Engagement Editor: Eryka Thompson starengagement@txstate.edu Podcast Editor: Kim Davis Jr. starpodcast@txstate.edu

Public & Internal Relations Nadia Gonzales PIR Director starpr@txstate.edu

Full-Time Staff Director: Laura Krantz, laurakrantz@txstate.edu Student Publications Coordinator: Mayra Mejia, mm1894@txstate.edu

About Us History: The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday of the spring and fall and once a month in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 4,500. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung. Copyright: Copyright Wednesday, June 2, 2021. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in The University Star are the exclusive property of The University Star and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the editor-in-chief. Deadlines: Letters to the Editor or any contributed articles are due on Monday the week prior to publication. Corrections: Any errors that are in the pages of The University Star and brought to our attention will be corrected as soon as possible.

San Marcos animal shelter seeks fosters, offers kitten rescue advice By Timia Cobb News Editor

As kitten season scampers through Hays County, the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter seeks to educate community members on what to do if they find abandoned kittens and also looks for more animal fosters as the shelter's capacity crawls to new heights. Kitten season, which begins in March of each year and lasts until October, is another term for cat breeding season, the time when most female cats are in heat, a cat’s estrous (reproductive) cycle. During these months, many cats often produce litters of kittens, generating a large population who end up abandoned, sick or near death. The San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter strives to rescue as many kittens as it can with the help of local citizens. Animal Shelter Program Coordinator Sophia Proler says the main source of kitten rescues comes from citizens who find kittens alone and take them to the shelter. However, in many of these situations, she says the kitten is not in need of rescue. “People think that mom is not around, and they will pick up perfectly healthy kittens that they think are orphans, but, in fact, they are just in their nest waiting for mom to come back,” Proler says. “Because the human is there, at the nest, a cat, a mom cat, is not going to come back because, of course, she's scared, and she's smart, and she's like, 'No, I'm not gonna go where this scary human is, I'm gonna wait till they're gone.'” At times like this, Proler emphasizes the importance of leaving kittens in their found location. Instead of immediately taking the kitten, she says citizens should observe the spot for a couple of hours, leave the area and return to evaluate any physical changes to the kitten. She adds citizens should search for signs of a mother cat before deciding to take the kitten home or bring it to the shelter. “If you come upon kittens, and you see that the mom is dead, or you witnessed mom die, then you have a pretty good assumption that the kittens need to come in [to the shelter],"Proler says. "If you come across a kitten or kittens and they look very dirty, if their eyes are crusty or goopy, if they seem to be limping or have fleas, or if they're crying constantly, like meowing constantly, they are more likely not to have mom around." To decrease the number of abandoned kittens in the community, Lilia Hughes, founder of Hays County Community Cats, thinks the best solution is to spay and neuter full-grown cats. To do this, she says it's important to trap the mother cat if she is around. Hughes references the Full Circle program, a San Diego-based program which centers on ending the reproduction of kittens by stray cats which often end with dying, stolen or abandoned kittens. Hughes says for a program like this to work, people need to focus on the mother cats before they become pregnant, cutting off the chances of mothers producing litters with health risks.


A small brown and white kitten Caroline lays on a towel at her foster's home, Friday, May 28, 2021, in San Marcos. PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER HAYES


attention and socialization.'" Hayes has been a foster for many of the shelter's kittens but doesn’t see herself adopting because of already owning a cat. “I fall in love with every single animal who I foster, but I am fortunate in that I [own] a cat that doesn't like other cats,” Hayes says. “So, I know that they're going back. They're going back to the shelter or going directly into a home. Even if I didn't have that situation, if you adopt, then you don't necessarily have the room anymore to continue fostering and continue that life-saving process and, it’s really, I can't say enough how rewarding it is to help raise little babies like that.” Another factor that pushes Hayes to be a foster is being a part of the kittens' lives at a time when they are growing up and in need of constant love. -LILIA HUGHES, “You get the joys of having adorable without the long-term FOUNDER OF HAYS kittens responsibility of having a cat for the next COUNTY COMMUNITY CATS 10 to 20 years. You get continual kittens. If you choose to foster kittens, you can The San Marcos animal shelter uses a also foster cats. You get some of their best foster system to take care of abandoned times when you’re fostering," Hayes says. kittens, many of which require special Anyone interested in fostering care due to malnourishment. The fosters kittens or other animals can fill out an take care of these kittens' health and well- application on the shelter’s website. If being, however, at this time of year when approved, fosters can choose how many the shelter stays constantly full, Proler animals they would like to foster, and will says the shelter seeks more fosters to help be provided the essentials needed to foster the multiple needs of all the kittens. their animal such as heating pads, kitten “We absolutely need more people milk, milk bottles and medical assistance. willing to foster animals, foster kittens, Fosters usually keep the kittens between specifically. We work with our fosters to two and eight weeks, preparing the kittens find the kitten or a litter of kittens that to be healthy and ready for adoption. work best for their lifestyle. So, some of our fosters are, like, out on the road, and they actually take kittens in a little box, and they put them in the passenger seat, and they feed them every few hours. It's a great life for a two-week-old kitten because they need care every two hours, and this person can keep them while they drive around,” Proler says. “Some folks, you know, they don't work from home, but they can come back for lunch, so they take care of kittens that are about four Small brown and white kitten Caroline to five weeks old and six weeks old, who at her foster's home Friday, May 28, only need to be fed, something like four 2021, in San Marcos. times a day, instead of every two hours or PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER three hours. So, we always, always, always HAYES need more fosters." Jennifer Hayes, a foster and volunteer For more information on how to adopt, with the shelter, is currently fostering foster, volunteer or what to do when a kitten and says she loves the shelter’s finding abandoned animals, visit https:// fostering program because it gives her a www.sanmarcostx.gov/203/Animalkind, charitable feeling. Services. Animals up for adoption can be “Fostering kittens is fabulous,” Hayes viewed on the shelter’s Instagram says. “It's very gratifying to see them @smtxanimalshelter or its Facebook. become healthy and grow, so that they are able to find forever homes. It’s wonderful to be a part of that process of getting them out of the shelter into a loving, caring home where they can get individualized

Visit The Star at universitystar.com

Scan the code above to have The Star Roundup delivered to your email every Tuesday and Thursday.

The sign in front of the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter adoption center, a public facility. STAR FILE PHOTO

The University Star

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 | 3


Timia Cobb News Editor starnews@txstate.edu


Campus community supports return to normalcy after mask mandate lift By Timia Cobb News Editor After Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued Executive Order 36, which bans all government entities from mandating masks in their facilities, Texas State followed suit by ridding of all masking restrictions, leaving students, faculty and staff to begin an adjustment back to prepandemic customs.

heavily suggesting Bobcats to mask up. "We're complying with the governor's order and saying we're not going to require [face masks]," Carranco says. "We’re not going to require the wearing of face masks, but we do strongly recommend, especially those who are unvaccinated, to continue wearing face masks for their own protection and for the protection of others.” Mariah Mutuc, a communication

A face mask dangles in the hand of the LBJ statue, Monday, May 25, 2021, at the Quad. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

The executive order, which was signed on May 18, prohibits government institutions from enforcing masks, planning to fine institutions up to $1,000 if they disobey the order. Prior to eliminating its mask mandate, Texas State lifted its outdoor mask mandate after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported indoor and outdoor activities posed a minimal risk to fully vaccinated people. Texas State Student Health Center Director Emilio Carranco explains while the university is required to lift mask enforcements, the governor’s executive order said nothing about the university

design senior, spent the past school year in her hometown of Laredo, Texas, due to COVID-19. With the lifting of the oncampus mask mandate and her fall classes scheduled to be in-person, she has started preparing for the leap back to life in San Marcos. “I think it's going a little fast, but I think it's just that [Texas State has] to keep up with what [its] told to do, in a way, because of the Texas government and stuff like that,” Mutuc says. Even though she's not required to wear a mask and is fully vaccinated, Mutuc worries about possibly spreading COVID-19. She says she plans to wear

her face mask, especially around strangers and in classrooms. “I know that for sure a lot of people in my classes would probably still [wear masks], especially for my professors,” Mutuc says. “A lot of my professors are older, and I would hate to, like, maybe give them something, you know, maybe give them freaking COVID or anything like that. Like, no, I could not live with myself. I think, just for the protection of my classmates, and, like, my professors who are older, I would still wear my mask.” While Mutuc chooses to still wear her mask, she doesn’t see herself judging others for not wearing a mask, feeling safe behind her own face covering. “I don't think I would, like, really judge anyone for not wearing [a mask],” Mutuc says. "I feel like as long as I have mine on, you know, I feel safe, and if there are enough people around me that have theirs as well, I think I'm okay.” Carranco adds while the university cannot require face masks, the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains present, as many people eligible for vaccinations have yet to receive their shot. According to information available by the state health department, Carranco estimates overall nearly 60% of university faculty and staff have been vaccinated. He adds only 15-20% of students have received a vaccine provided by the university. In the event that COVID-19 cases increase with the return to in-person classes in the fall, the university has crafted a plan to alter its COVID-19 regulations. Carranco says methods the university used in the past to slow the spread of infection might be implemented again if needed. “We might adjust activities on campus, we might decide not to allow large events to occur, we might decide to reduce capacities again and go to smaller classroom capacities,” Carranco says. As the university continues its plan for a return to campus, some consider this new phase a slow return to normalcy.

Lynn Ledbetter, a member of Texas State's Faculty Senate and a professor of violin, supports the university's return to normalcy, but says she is cautiously optimistic and believes people should be respected despite their vaccination status. “I think it's important to understand that there are people who don't wish to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons, and there are those who wish to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons," Ledbetter says. "I think all of those need to be respected, but I think it is a matter of life and death.” During the past few semesters, Ledbetter says the fine arts curriculum had to adjust to either Zoom lessons or one-on-one classes, which presented challenges due to the quality of music through a streaming platform, like Zoom, or masks blocking sound in other musical fields. “The thing that is unique for us in the fine arts, I would say this probably for theater, dance, you know, all those things, but specifically for musical instruments, I don't care how good the internet connection or the WiFi, an instrument like violin sounds terrible across Zoom," Ledbetter says. "It just sounds terrible, and we're trying to teach a very specific craft that we're dependent upon tone quality, and you just don't get that on Zoom. So, it has been horrible.” Ledbetter says all faculty can do now is to suggest students get vaccinated, without enforcing it, reassuring students that the choice is their personal decision. She says while she would like life to return back to how it was before the pandemic, she realizes the world itself has changed. "I think we're going to have to be compassionate with each other," Ledbetter says. "Coming back in the fall, we're going to have to reach outside of our own comfort zone and see what makes somebody else comfortable. We're going to have to think about others with a high regard for them. We may not feel the same way, but we need to respect what they feel and what they need to feel safe. My goal is to be as compassionate as possible and to think of others as much as I can.”

FROM FRONT ENVIRONMENT because we’re not sure all the sources of [the pollution] and what’s being put on the landscape." Money from the grant will be used in conjunction with coastal communities to find the best practices for combating water pollution. Nick Dornak, director of watershed services at the Meadows Center, explains the funds will first go toward helping under-resourced communities, such as those in the Texas cities of Rockport and Fulton. “A big focus of this effort is going to be on underserved communities in the gulf coast. Those are the cities that, oftentimes, need the most help because they don’t have the financial resources,” Dornak says. "That is such a tremendous part of our strategic plan and our mission at the Meadows Center — to make sure clean air and clean water are available for everyone.” In providing the resources to reduce this pollution, the Meadows Center is working with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services’ Texas Community Watershed Partners to set up educational workshops within coastal cities. These resources aim to educate residents on the effects of nonpoint source water pollution. City ordinances will soon be pitched to local governments asking for support against water pollution.

Spring Lake sits still at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. STAR FILE PHOTO

“Support could be anything, from we're

A woman paddles down the crystal clear water of the river in San Marcos. STAR FILE PHOTO

going to help [them] do some engineering planning on how to handle runoff or erosion issues. We're going to help them develop local ordinances to control development and how things are built,” Dornak says. "The core of this program is providing capacity and resources to local communities to help them address water quality and pollution.” Even some pollutants found in the local Guadalupe River are thought to contribute to water pollution, often traveling downstream to coastal waters and impacting coastal communities. City Council member and head of the San Marcos Sustainability Committee Maxfield Baker believes water pollution in San Marcos has consequences that go outside the city. "We use the phrase in San Marcos 'What goes here flows here,' and that

might be a little short-sighted because, in reality, what goes here flows all the way to the coast," Baker says. “When we look at pollution, we try and go as far upstream as we can to make sure we start at the beginning and our water pollution is tied to the coast." With growing populations in Texas cities, city development and runoff could negatively affect water quality in coastal cities and on coastal beaches, according to a statement released from Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. In the statement, Bush says that "As population growth continues, land conversion and development could adversely impact water resources of our beaches, bays and streams, if not handled properly." He believes that by working with coastal communities, concerns regarding the effects of stormwater runoff

on waterways can be addressed. Beyond the Clean Coast Texas Collaborative, the Meadows Center plans to work with coastal communities long-term and will continue applying for grants to help communities across Texas. Dornak believes working with local grassroots organizations is the best way to fight pollution in these cities. “We feel like the fastest way to solve these problems is working with local communities to find local solutions," Dornak says. "There is not a 'one size fits all' for how to address nonpoint source water pollution."

The University Star

4 | Wednesday, June 2, 2021


Sarah Hernandez Life & Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu

FROM FRONT BOARD GAME an English alumnus who he has known since childhood, to bring comedy to the game. Birkhimer’s contributions ranged from writing clever one-liners for each cat card to acting in CATastrophe’s Kickstarter fund promotional video. During the early stages of CATastrophe's production, Josh Norris and Birkhimer ran through multiple versions of cat character cards, sets of rules and playtests. After some time, the game testing nights seemed no different than a fun-filled game night. "I would help Josh gather a lot of people to test the game out and get their feedback. After, we always fed them pizza," Birkhimer says. "At conventions, we would have people sign up for an hourlong slot to come learn the game with me. So, I would run the game and then, you know, always have a good time." To get commercial access to the more "famous" cats featured in the game, the couple packed their bags for Los Angeles to attend a pop culture event dedicated to all things feline: the 2017 CatCon. the convention, the -JOSH NORRIS, twoThroughout shared their passion for the project CO-CREATER OF with vendors and sponsors taking part CATastrophe in the event and unexpectedly met CATastrophe's future game artist, a key player in bringing the game to life, Jenny Parks. With this passion under his belt, Josh "We did not really go to CatCon to Norris teamed up with Chris Birkhimer, find an artist, but we found this amazing


artist, Jenny Parks, and what I wanted for the game, the idea in my mind — whenever I saw her booth and all of her

Josh and Abi Norris smile with their cat, Indie, as they celebrate the launch of CATastrophe’s Kickstarter on May 4, 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABIGAIL NORRIS

art, it looked exactly what I was hoping for except 10 times better," Josh Norris says. On May 4, Josh and Abi Norris launched a Kickstarter fund for CATastrophe with their goal set at $10,000. The couple feared they would not raise the funds by their deadline of June 4. However, Josh Norris' phone rang non-stop the day the Kickstarter began, blowing their worries out of the water. Currently, over $85,000 has been pledged to back the project. "We had no idea people were gonna be interested," Josh Norris says. "And

that's a really vulnerable, scary moment whenever you do that, and we were blown away, that in 29 minutes, we raised over $10,000." Now, with a solid foundation of funding and unwavering passion gearing up for the game's April 2022 launch, the three friends are finally reaping the rewards of all their efforts. With less than a year to go before the game's physical release, the team remains hopeful and passionate about completing their journey. "We're gonna take it one step at a time. We're gonna call somebody who's done it before, or we're gonna do some research, and [we’re] gonna figure it out as [we] go," Abi Norris says. "And if you can do that, if you can have that kind of tenacity, then you can accomplish anything, really. I truly believe that." For more information about CATastrophe and the Kickstarter project visit https:// www.kickstarter.com/projects/joshnorris/ catastrophe. To stay up to date on CATastrophe's journey follow the game's Instagram and Facebook @catastropheboardgame.


Mr. Green's Garden Center celebrates small businesses in new local flea market By Brooklyn Solis Life & Arts Reporter As the Texas summer begins to heat up and the community takes in the dazzling sun, Mr. Green’s Garden Center will open its new San Marcos Flea Market on June 13, hoping to shed light on local small businesses and rejuvenate the neighborly San Marcos environment. Inspired by the fun-loving nature of old-school small towns, Victor Figueroa, owner of Mr. Green’s Garden Center, created the new flea market where locals can enjoy drinks, listen to live music and support businesses around town. He hopes the market allows locals to meet their neighbors and small business owners in a fun, nostalgic setting. “We’re kind of trying to start an event that can create the retro 70s vibe,” Figueroa says. “Where people just walk out of their houses to an event every Sunday — just watching all your neighbors walk out and head to the event where there’s live music every week. We’re trying to reach out to the neighborhood and connect the community, more than anything.” Mr. Green’s Garden Center operates every Sunday inside Wonder World Adventure Park as a fun educational center, offering free propagation and agricultural lessons to visiting plant lovers. Across town, Figueroa sells the plants he grows in his greenhouse at the San Marcos Farmers' Market, where he has become a well-known vendor. As a small business owner himself, Figueroa recognizes the challenge of promoting his business while still offering genuine customer service. By implementing his flea market, Figueroa hopes local businesses can thrive within the community. “Being able to generate $500-600 every week is very beneficial for the community,” Figueroa says. “The money is staying local; we’re buying local art, local jewelry and kind of funding these individuals as artists in our community. That’s kind of what a lot of communities lack, the funding for artists to thrive here; that’s what we’re trying to provide.” For Audrey Robison, owner of Outlandish Co., an online shop selling an assortment of hand-made art, Figueroa's flea market will be a great way to expose her business, sell some pieces and share the face behind her brand. “It’s such a great way, like connecting with your community, networking and just kind of being more personal,” Robison says. “You meet people faceto-face, and you're able to show your personality more, connect with them and talk to them about other things, rather than just what you’re selling, and just

Outlandish Co., a local small business selling a range of clothing and home decor, sets up its stand at the San Marcos Farmers' Market. PHOTO COURTESY OF AUDREY ROBISON

connect in that way. So, definitely, the personal aspect of being face-to-face helps a lot.” Robison encourages local vendors to take part in the market, believing it will be a fun place to share their craft, establish their name in the community and get out of their comfort zone. “It’s a really fun way to be personable and put yourself out there,” Robison says. “It always seems kind of scary to have your own stand out there, but everyone is so welcoming and willing to help you set up. So, just making those connections, building those friendships and getting plugged in is super fun and something I think everybody should try if they have the stuff to sell.” For local shoppers looking for a walk around the block along with unique, vintage and handmade items, Robison says the flea market will be a great place to spend Sundays. “It’s a great way to find unique [items], whether it be decorations, candles or anything,” Robison says. “It’s just fun to see that people in your community are making those things, and it’s just a fun way to support and get plugged in. Honestly, it’s just a good way to spend your Sunday too, if the weather's nice,

walking around seeing all these fun crafts and hanging out.” After a year of social distancing, Creighton Coyne, co-owner of Mr. Green's Garden Center, says a market lined up with a myriad of vendors, food trucks, music and drinks will be a great way to reignite community fellowship.


Like Coyne, Figueroa hopes the market will serve as a social hotspot and aims for it to brew the nostalgia of small town neighborly encounters. He also intends for the flea market to fill the past year's social distance with community connection. “We’re trying to promote a place where you can just walk on in and sit down with people you don’t even know and just start a conversation,” Figueroa says. “We’re kind of trying to promote people to come on out and meet their neighbor.” After the San Marcos Flea Market's grand opening on June 13, it will be open every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Wonder World Adventure Park. The market is free to attend and will feature live music, local vendors and food trucks. For more information on Mr. Green’s Garden Center follow its Instagram @mr.greens.garden.center.

The University Star

5 | Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The University Star

6 | Wednesday, June 2, 2021


Valeria Torrealba Opinion Editor staropinion@txstate.edu

Opinions in The University Star are not necessarily those of our entire publication, Texas State University’s administration, Board of Regents, School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Student Publications Board.


Opinion: Texans must continue wearing masks By Valeria Torrealba Opinion Editor On May 18, 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott lifted mask mandates across Texas, prohibiting government entities from enforcing the usage of masks. People across Texas took to social media to share their discomfort at the announcement — a notice that comes after 14 months of hard adjustments, distance from loved ones and insurmountable grief. Throughout the past year of the ongoing pandemic, masks have become a necessity when leaving the house; they are a staple in our wardrobes, shielding our faces and protecting us from the airborne droplets that easily spread COVID-19. Though many people, at first, opposed the simple cloth and/or surgical masks, they soon became the number one tool for defense across the world — and they worked. Abbott’s decision comes at an incredibly vulnerable and critical time. With roughly 43% of the population inoculated with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Texas is headed along the right path to reopening. But now, when Texas COVID-19 cases are just beginning to die down, is not the time to stop wearing masks. Despite both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated guidelines suggesting fully vaccinated people (people who have gone two weeks since their second COVID-19 vaccination dose) can stop wearing masks and the numerous indicators pointing to the lack of transmission from fully vaccinated people to others, masks should continue to be a staple in our lives until Texas — and the world — fully defeats the groundbreaking virus. Abbott's decision to prohibit government entities, such as public schools, including our beloved campus itself, to enforce masks is a dangerous move that could potentially lead to a rise in cases. When Abbott reopened Texas in March of 2021, only one year after the declaration of a national disaster due to

the virus, cases suddenly sprung up again and countless people were hospitalized.

fault for lifting its mask requirements, the university did not do a stellar job in


Some survivors of the virus even reported cases of Long COVID, a condition where survivors continue to experience symptoms after recovering from the initial stages of the virus. The wearing of masks hasn’t just protected those around us from COVID-19, they also have allowed for flu cases to drop to an all-time low. In other countries around the world, such as South Korea and Japan, masks had been adopted long before the ongoing pandemic as a sign of courtesy, shielding the wearer from spreading malaise in public. Masks have proven to combat common colds, the flu and COVID-19 itself. Texas, along with the rest of the U.S., would largely benefit from continuing this trend. Although masks are not the only tool utilized in preventing the spread of COVID-19, they are by far the most accessible compared to vaccination or self-isolation at home. Harmony Stone, a microbiology senior, says while Texas State is not at

enforcing masks in the first place. Stone believes not much will change regarding mask-wearing on campus. “I don’t think Texas State did a very good job when they did require [masks] anyway, and enforcing those rules,” Stone


says. Contrary to Stone's expectations, masks should continue to be enforced as the state, and the rest of the world, continues getting vaccinated. Children younger than 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, but are capable of carrying and suffering the consequences of the virus; meaning that as they return to inperson classes come fall, the likelihood of outbreaks in classrooms may skyrocket once more. Stone also states there is a social taboo regarding masks that will linger as we ease out of the pandemic. In Texas — and across the U.S. — mask-wearing has become a controversy: the people who put on their masks, and who continue to wear them today, were donned with the nickname "Sheeple" by those who refused to have their masks on. "They're going to have to understand that some people are going to look at them differently, even if they're following, you know, safe procedures and the CDC says they can do this or that," Stone says. "So, if for no other reason, let's not be socially ostracized, like, I prefer people to keep wearing them, but, you know, I can't control what other people choose to do." It is because of these health and safety guidelines, combined with the enforcement of masks, that Texas State has not seen any significant outbreaks on campus. Thanks to these measures, case rates have steadily declined, and it is because of these victories that masks should continue to be enforced until Texas, along with the rest of the country, reaches herd immunity. Texas is heading in the right direction in combatting this pandemic, but there is still the home stretch ahead — and safety needs to remain the first priority. - Valeria Torrealba is a public relations senior



Opinion: "Selena: The Series" showcases Selena Quintanilla’s impact on the Latinx community By Nadia Gonzales Opinion Columnist

Selena's career was a family effort. The series portrays how Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., formed Selena y Los Dinos, the Quintanilla family band. Additionally, Selena's courage is illustrated through the start of her career as the series highlights how hard she worked for her family and their band.

The first episode of "Selena: The Series" premiered on Dec. 4, 2020, retelling the life story of Selena Quintanilla, the Queen of Tejano music. The Netflix series highlights Selena's fame and image, but also tells the untold story of Selena's inner circle, giving light to her father and the rest of her family. After the overwhelming success and popularity of the 1997 movie, "Selena", viewers had high expectations for the new series, and, though it earned mixed reviews, the show grew Selena's legacy even further. "Selena: The Series" shows viewers Selena's legacy is not only rooted in her music but through her impact on the Latinx community. Throughout the 18 episodes, viewers learn more about her life and why Selena's impact remains long-lasting. The Latinx culture, in particular, places a large importance on family. Latinx families, including extended family, are most often extremely close-knit. Most ILLUSTRATION BY JORDAN TAYLOR Latinx people work hard for the pride of their families and continue to stay loyal to the people who raised them. According "Selena: The Series" also takes viewers to a 2020 project study survey, it was through the evolution of Selena's fashion, found that six in 10 Latinx individuals showcasing the confidence that makes would prefer to have a big family over a up Selena's unique style. According to a big group of friends. 2016 study, as many as 20% of Latinas Selena valued her family deeply, and, from the ages of 12 to 30 struggle with throughout all her successes, never their body image. Selena encouraged forgot her humble beginnings. In our Latinas to be confident in their bodies present society, when it can be hard to see and broke stereotypes of what a "pretty" celebrities as real humans with families woman was supposed to look like. When and troubles, Selena's humble nature she was on stage, she wore what made her inspires audiences, allowing viewers to confident and happy. relate to her on a new, more personal Looking at Selena's legacy, Sarah level. Contreras, an education alumna, says The Netflix series shows viewers that Selena broke barriers that Latina women

faced, opening the door for other Latina artists and women in general. "To me, Selena is an icon because she gave Mexican women confidence," Contreras says. One of her most iconic moments was in 1989 during her performance of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough/When I Think of You". She started the performance off wearing a black and white jacket. Then, during her dance break, she took the jacket off to reveal a black bustier, yet another staple of her legacy on Latinx fashion that was recreated for the Netflix series. Julia Maldonado, a political science junior, says one of the reasons she believes Selena remains so iconic is because she continues to be loved and embraced by her fan base even 26 years after her death. "When I think of her and her story, it reminds me of many other Mexicans in the United States who have to work so hard to be successful," Maldonado says. "It makes me appreciate Selena and her talent so much more." Even in death, Selena continues to prove that women, especially Latinas, can accomplish anything. In 1994, Selena made history as the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy Award for the Best Mexican American Album. After her death in 1995, Selena was also the first Latin artist to debut number one on the Billboard 200 chart with her crossover album, "Dreaming of You". The Tejano genre, at the time, was not very mainstream across the country, and yet Selena broke barriers. She overcame the struggles of being a Latina woman working in a male and machismo-driven industry, and, on top of that, she now serves as a symbol of women's hard work and passion. Another way Selena deeply connects

with the Latinx community is because she, like some Latinx people living in the U.S., was a Mexican American who did not speak Spanish. It wasn't until she started singing in Spanish that she learned the language. For some Mexicans and Latinos, not being fluent in Spanish or their native language can cause an identity crisis. It can restrict them from communicating with people within their culture and with family members who speak Spanish or another native language. However, Selena showed she was always proud of her heritage and her roots. She made efforts to further connect with her culture and community, despite any language barriers. This is a situation some Mexicans in the U.S. can relate to. It was recently discovered that with each generation, the number of people who are fluent in Spanish decreases. One of the main reasons for this is because older generations are refraining from teaching their children Spanish in fear of being negatively racialized. "Selena: The Series" was watched by 25 million households within the first 28 days of the season one release. In 23 countries, the series also made it onto Netflix's top 10 list in countries such as Mexico, the U.S., Peru, Colombia and Argentina. Selena was the first celebrity some people could relate to on an intimate level. Through this series, Selena's legacy continues as her impact lives on and runs deep within the foundations of Latinx culture. - Nadia Gonzales is a public relations senior

The University Star

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 | 7


Sumit Nagar Sports Editor starsports@txstate.edu

FROM FRONT WOMEN IN SPORTS McDaniel and ask if you can coach with him'. Coach McDaniel already knew that I had wanted to coach, and it was just a perfect fit.” While Jada Gipson initially wanted to coach offense, she says being placed on the defensive side of the field offered her a new perspective to the game. “Coming in, I wasn’t a defensive person,” Jada Gipson says. “I was always on the offensive side of the ball since that is what my brother plays. Now I have a better understanding of how to read a defense and why we do the stuff we do.” Currently, Jada Gipson works with the inside linebackers group under Inside Linebackers Coach Brian Gamble. During the season, her days consist of player management, running drills at practice with the scout team, reviewing film and sitting in all defensive staff and linebacker position meetings. Despite being the only woman among the coaching staff, she feels welcomed on the team.


THEY POUR THEIR KNOWLEDGE INTO ME DAILY, ESPECIALLY OUR GRADUATE ASSISTANTS. THEY HAVE HELPED ME SINCE DAY ONE WITH ANYTHING I’VE NEEDED.” - JADA GIPSON, A GENERAL STUDIES SENIOR Head Coach Jake Spavital has taken note of Jada Gipson's work ethic and views her as a valuable part of the Bobcats' coaching staff. During a press conference in March, Spavital touched on her relationship with the team. “I think she has an extremely bright future ahead of her,” Spavital says. “I tell Jaylen that, 'You're not my favorite Gipson anymore, it’s Jada.' It’s an awesome opportunity, and I’m glad she’s here. She has been around this program for a while, and all the kids are very familiar with her just from being Jaylen’s sister and being around. It’s fun; she goes out there and

Texas State Assistant Linebackers Student Coach Jada Gipson prepares for the next drill during spring football practice, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS

loves linebacker drills, and she’s earning her stripes.” Jada Gipson hopes to continue coaching at Texas State by taking on a graduate assistant coaching position once she finishes her undergraduate degree in spring 2022. Beyond graduate school, she has set her sights even higher, intending to be a collegiate football coach and, possibly, make it to the professional levels. She is already making progress in the latter. Back in February, she was one of 40 women selected to attend the annual NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum, an event designed for women in football to network with professional players, coaches and executives. This summer, she will also participate in a virtual fellowship with the NFL's Cleveland Browns. The fellowship will

involve working with defensive backs for organized team activities (OTAs) in the team's offseason. Inspired by the likes of Jennifer King, Lori Locust and Sophia Lewin, Jada Gipson wants to make an impact as a woman in football. Within his own professional dreams set in the industry, Jaylen Gipson hopes to take that step with his sister, confident that Jada Gipson can make it. “The sky is the limit for Jada,” Jaylen Gipson says. “She is a very determined person. Once she puts her mind to something, she goes and attacks it, and it’s hard to tell Jada she can’t do anything. I know her hopes and dreams are to coach professionally, and I wouldn’t doubt her.”

Softball reflects on season, focuses on new team's future By Sumit Nagar Sports Editor This past season, Texas State softball was stalled by 345 days. With a global pandemic and local winter storm, the team was temporarily kept off the field, yet they managed to wrap up the season with a 39-14 overall record, a historic win streak, a program record of 25home victories and a birth in the NCAA Regionals. Even with their setbacks, the Bobcats were able to play their full season. However, they had not expected to compete in so many games, always awaiting a cancellation due to rises in the number of COVID-19 cases. To combat this, sophomore infielder Sara Vanderford says the team focused on staying healthy throughout the season, one game at a time. “You reach a certain point when you just start rolling with it,” Vanderford says. “It becomes a routine, and, at the end, you look back, and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh. We played over 50 games,’ but, in the moment, it doesn’t feel like that. Especially with COVID...somebody can test positive, you can get shut down for two weeks. The fact that we were able to do it shows that we were all doing what we could to stay COVID-free.” Even with the team's drive for safety, Texas State softball's precautions gave senior infielder Tara Oltmann anxiety when outside of practice, as she was always conscious of where she was going and who she was around. “You definitely had to sort of like think about what you’re doing before you went and do it,” Oltmann says. “I was always paranoid or worried that I was gonna get [COVID-19], but I think it has made you appreciate the game a little bit more.” Another side effect of the rigid safety precautions was a lack of team bonding. When COVID-19 restrictions were in full effect, the team couldn't go out to eat at restaurants or hang out together in the same way teams had in the past. Often, the team’s largest social gatherings were bus rides to away games. “That’s where you get to know people a little bit better, outside of softball,” Oltmann says. “When you’re on the softball field, I guess there is some small talk, but you’re mainly focused on working on your skills and on the game, competing. When you’re on the bus,

Texas State sophomore infielder Sara Vanderford (26) hits a home run during the game against the University of Texas at Arlington, Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Bobcat Softball Stadium. The Bobcats won 4-2. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS

Texas State freshman pitcher Jessica Mullins (4) winds up to pitch to the player at bat during the game against Houston Baptist, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, at Bobcat Softball Stadium. The Bobcats won 4-2. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS

Texas State senior infielder Tara Oltmann (22) tags a Maverick that reaches for third base, Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Bobcat Softball Stadium. The Bobcats won 4-2. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS

it’s kind of like regular talking to your friends...and getting to know them on a more personal level.” The team carried those connections and used them to drive 18 straight victories, tying the school record for the longest single-season win streak. In that span, the Bobcats beat their opponents by a combined run total of 107-32. Regardless of the team's dominance, Head Coach Ricci Woodard says the feat “was not easy," as Texas State beat tough opponents like the then No. 25 ranked Texas A&M University 7-6. “When you get in those grooves, it fuels you,” Woodard says. “If you can keep it for a long time during the season, you’re

doing something right. This was a fun group to work with. They worked hard at it. They did a lot of things right during that timeframe to put them in that spot. It was the reason they were able to enjoy it.” The Bobcats' win streak ended as they suffered a 3-1 loss in April to the University of South Alabama. This was the start of a slump for the team, as it lost six of its next eight games. The team bounced back to finish the regular season with a 17-6 conference record, and five Bobcats were selected to the All-Sun Belt Conference teams. Vanderford, Oltmann and freshman pitcher Jessica Mullins were awarded

First Team honors, while senior pitcher Meagan King and senior outfielder ArieAnn Bell received Second Team honors. Vanderford also secured Texas State’s first Sun Belt Freshman of the Year award, on top of what she had already earned. The Bobcats then turned their attention to the Sun Belt Conference Championships, ranking as the No. 2 seed in the tournament. But, despite their high hopes, the Bobcats were tossed out of the tournament with a pair of one-run losses against the eventual champions, the University of Louisiana and the University of South Alabama. Vanderford, who wanted to sport some championship hardware, was particularly disappointed by the tournament elimination, but both she and Oltmann were named to the Sun Belt AllTournament Team. Even out of the Sun Belt Conference Championships, the Bobcats were not done, making it to the NCAA Regionals the following week. They managed to grab a 5-1 upset over the No. 10 University of Oregon but were knocked out the following day after suffering two shutout losses to the University of Texas and a rematch with Oregon. With the season at a close, the Bobcats say goodbye to six seniors, including Oltmann, who looks back at her recruitment with gratitude for her time on the team. “They took a chance on me whenever I was teeny-tiny,” Oltmann says. “I hadn’t even hit my growth spurt until after I committed...I would not be the person I am today without coming here...I just really appreciate being able to be a part of this team for the last four years.” Looking ahead into next season, Woodard has begun focusing her sights on the team's next steps, despite the loss of senior star talent. “This is a group that’s going to be really hard to replace, not only for what they did on the field, but who they were off the field,” Woodard says. “It’s just a great group of young ladies. The legacy that they’ve left at Texas State is going to be really hard to replace, but that’s what our job is: to keep building and replacing and moving forward to the next year...It’s not like you take a break from this job. You start rebuilding the next day, so we’re looking for the pieces to the puzzle for next year.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 | 8 Hannah Thompson Multimedia Editor starmultimedia@txstate.edu

The University Star


Hays County Veterans Memorial stone and wreaths at the Memorial Day Ceremony, Monday, May 31, 2021, in San Marcos.

Memorial Day Ceremony attendees salute and pledge allegiance, Monday, May 31, 2021, at Hays County Veterans Memorial.



Troop 112 Boy Scout Tanner Long plants an American flag on the grave of San Jacinto veteran Walker Beckett Wilson, Saturday, May 29, 2021, at San Marcos City Cemetery.

Boy Scouts of Troop 112 stand in line during a flag ceremony, Saturday, May 29, 2021, at San Marcos City Cemetery. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH


Memorial Day

Scoutmaster Paul Mayhew addresses the troop in a speech, Saturday, May 29, 2021, at San Marcos City Cemetery.

Scout Troop 112 claps for the veterans, Monday, May 31, 2021, at Hays County Veterans Memorial.



Retired U.S. Navy Captain Nicholas Mongillo speaks at the Memorial Day Ceremony, Monday, May 31, 2021, at Hays County Veterans Memorial.

U.S. Army Airborne Ranger Veteran Willy Pelczar and U.S. Army Combat Medic Michael Hernandez place and salute wreaths, Monday, May 31, 2021, at Hays County Veterans Memorial.



Profile for The University Star

Wednesday, June 2, 2021  

Wednesday, June 2, 2021  


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded