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University officials seek applicants for TSUS student regent position


Courtney Harris (senior third baseman), Randi Rupp (freshman pitcher) and Kelli Baker (junior second baseman) celebrate their 12-0 victory against Houston Baptist April 15 at Bobcat Softball Stadium.



the Smith and Arnold Halls area, which currently houses 500 students. Proite said a dining area may be built in the Smith and Arnold Halls space. Proite said DHRL officials hope to create a space for more than 500 students after the new residence halls are built. Officials expect to raise the number of residents to 1,000-1,200 students.

University officials are considering ways to garner interest in the student regent position for the Texas State University System (TSUS). The university receives only one or two applications per year for the position. The last time a Texas State student held the position was two years ago, said Joanne Smith, vice president of Student Affairs. The regent is the voice of the students within the TSUS, said Anna Sandoval, current student regent from Sul Ross State University. “The goal behind it is (TSUS) wants to select a student who is going to exemplify the values of the Texas State University System,” Sandoval said. “For example— ethics, leadership and helping out your fellow student.” “The guidelines really suggest that the Student Government be a part of trying to solicit students to apply,” Smith said. “Our Student Government has been doing it, but we just haven’t had a number of nominees that have taken us up on applying for the position.” Smith said Student Government members use emails, flyers and social media to spread information. The university has not seen an increase in the number of applications they receive despite Student Government’s efforts. “We are going to assist Student Government in trying to get the word out to more people about the position,” Smith said. University officials will provide information on the position to the academic college deans as well as the director of Student Affairs, Smith said. “We’re going to ask people to nominate students that they think might fit the criteria for the position,” Smith said. “Student Government will still have the information out there, so students can still apply through them as well.” The first regent for the system was a Texas State student, she said. A total of four Texas State students have held the position since its creation in 2005. Smith said any undergraduate or graduate student may apply for the position



Randi Rupp pitches perfect game in 12-0 victory See SOFTBALL, Page 3


Construction plans underway for new residence hall complex By Kasandra Garza NEWS REPORTER @KasGarza The Moore Street Housing Project is on track to be completed May 2016 in the university’s 10year reconstruction plan. Officials with Texas State Department of Housing and Residential Life (DHRL) began the construction of new buildings on Moore Street after San Saba Hall was torn down in spring 2014. The Moore Street Housing Project is part of a 10-year construction plan. The plan began in 2010 with the renovation of various living facilities. The project will be complete in 2020 after the demolition of Arnold, Smith, Hornsby and Burleson Halls, said Rosanne Proite, director of Housing and Residential Life. The Moore Street project is a “hybrid,” Proite said. Hall names have not yet been selected. The physical arrangement of the two buildings and the floors will resemble that of Falls and Sayers Halls. The room style will resemble that of Gaillardia and Chautau-

qua Halls. The new complex will consist of single and double bedrooms and community bathrooms shared among nine to 10 students. Some students are worried living in the new Moore Street complex will be expensive. “I think they’re going to be like Falls and Sayers,” said Karla Carranza, criminal justice sophomore and Blanco Hall resident. “I feel like since they’re newer, they’re going to be pricier.” Proite said the new space will have inexpensive traditional rooms. “We’re trying to cut our construction cost so that we don’t have to keep raising the amount of money it costs to live on campus,” Proite said. “That’s a big concern for us.” DHRL officials plan on incorporating a community feel by following the floor layout of Falls and Sayers Halls. Some locations will have five floors, while others will have six. Halls will include lounges and small group study rooms on every floor so students will have places to “hang out,” Proite said.


The Moore Street Housing project is to be completed in May 2016 as part of the University’s 10-year reconstruction plan. “It gives our students the ability to gather,” Proite said. The halls will house a total of 598 students, she said. Renovation of Retama and Blanco Halls will begin after the Moore Street residences are finished. New residence halls will be built in place of the demolished ones. DHRL officials are in the planning stage of mapping out the new buildings that will occupy

By Rebecca Banks NEWS REPORTER @r_banks1


San Marcos, TxDOT proceed with construction projects

By Jake Goodman NEWS REPORTER @jake_thegoodmam Some road projects in San Marcos are ahead of schedule, but others have fallen behind due to unforeseen delays. Shaun Condor, engineering manager for Engineering & Capital Improvements, oversees projects on North LBJ Drive and State Highway 123 (SH-123). He said the LBJ Drive construction project has been delayed, while the city’s section of SH-123 is moving ahead of schedule. Chris Bishop, public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), said the TxDOT side of the project will not be completed for two years. Condor said LBJ Drive will be completed sometime this summer. The project was originally scheduled to be finished last March. “I expect (completion) in July, assuming the weather cooperates,”

Condor said. “We’ve had a lot of rain, which forces us to give more days to the contractors.” Condor said the new sewer and waterlines at the intersection of LBJ and Sessom Drive were added to the project scope, delaying completion. Condor said the waterline was scheduled to be a separate project, but it was added to the road renovation. Adding the waterline to the current project ensured crews did not have to come back and start at a later date. “People don’t realize that underground projects take a lot longer than they should,” Condor said. “Anything where you have underground improvements, you just keep digging over and over.” Condor said the city’s part of the SH-123 project is about two months ahead of schedule and will be completed within the next month. The road portion of the project will not be complete until the TxDOT share is finished.

“It’s TxDOT’s right of way,” Condor said. “We’re just moving in advance. My work is completed when my scope is completed.” Bishop said the TxDOT project includes the construction of feeder roads and an overpass on top of SH-123. TxDOT officials require cities to relocate water and power lines before road projects can begin. “We don’t allow utilities to move through the edge of the highway,” Bishop said. “That way it doesn’t affect traffic flow and puts it in one place that’s accessible.” Bishop said barricades have been set up and the site is marked for construction. “In this case, (TxDOT) opted to let the utility work finish and waited for better weather conditions to settle,” Bishop said. “Now we’re ready to get geared up and hit it a lick.” Bishop said the first stage of the project is the construction of a diamond interchange and feeder roads. These features will allow traf-


Construction completion on LBJ Drive has been delayed until the summer due to inclement weather and the addition of sewer and water lines to the Sessom Drive and LBJ intersection. fic to flow during construction of the overpass. “TxDOT’s top priority is safety for drivers on (SH-)123, and we want to

make sure drivers can get through in a timely manner,” Bishop said. The overpass will be complete sometime in late 2017, Bishop said.

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2 | The University Star | News | Thursday, April 16, 2015

MOORE STREET, from front The halls will likely not resemble Falls and Sayers. The traditional residence hall style will be kept for all locations. “I’m hoping the new dorms will really facilitate community,” said Breonna Ruffin, communication design junior and resident adviser for Smith Hall. “Dr. Proite gets really excited each time she takes on a new project.” Proite said officials are considering ways to make the halls more afford-

UNIVERSITY able while continuing to provide a sense of community and family for students. “We’re going to reconfigure that whole area out there, but we also want to maintain that sense of outdoor space,” Proite said. “It’s all about the fact that Texas State is trying to continue to offer a variety of options for our students.” The Moore Street residence halls

are expected to be opened in Fall 2016, she said. “Really what we’re after is that a student can walk into a residence hall and feel like, ‘You know, this isn’t bad, I can live here,’” Proite said. “That’s our goal as we’re going through the construction and renovations, as we work our way through this 10-year plan.”

Arellano said the governor selects one applicant from the pool of candidates. The student position is a one-year term from June 1 to May 31, Smith said. Smith said the student regent is a non-voting member of the TSUS Board of Regents. The student attends the August, November, February and May meetings. “In essence, they’re a regent,” Smith said. “They are just not voting in the meetings.” Sandoval said the student regent works closely with the student advisory board composed of each univer-

sity’s Student Government president and vice president. “We communicate regularly, and I am able to get the students’ concerns from them,” Smith said. Sandoval has learned about the relationship between higher education and the board of regents during her time in the position. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it’s something to definitely hold dear to your heart,” Sandoval said. “You feel a sense of pride that you are able to represent 80,000 students, faculties, staff and ultimately the Texas State University System.”

STUDENT REGENT, from front provided he or she will attend the university for at least one more year. “Students applying for the position should be in good standing, have a good disciplinary record and a minimum 2.5 (grade point average),” said Margarita Arellano, dean of students. Students are required to fill out the TSUS and governor’s applications and undergo a criminal background check, Smith said. The application process will begin in September, and students will submit forms to the university, Smith said. University officials submit their chosen candidates to the TSUS in January.


Blanco Vista principal resigns amid complaints By Alexa Tavarez SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @lexicanaa The principal of Blanco Vista Elementary School resigned April 2 after parents and faculty made complaints regarding her leadership style. Recent events concerning Rebecca Shea, principal at Blanco Vista, led to an uneasy social climate at the elementary school for students, faculty and parents. Parents filed a petition for Shea’s removal. Shea submitted her resignation two days after parents brought the petition to a March 30 Hays Consolidated Independent School District (Hays CISD) board meeting. Parents and representatives of the teachers’ union and the Hays Educators Association expressed their concerns to the HCISD board of trustees in March. Carla Perez, president of the Hays Educators Association, said the negative comments regarding Shea had been ongoing since her arrival in 2012 at Blanco Vista. “Several teachers had voiced their opinions that they were not in favor of what (Shea) was doing,” Perez said. “It just culminated to this boiling point that eventually had to come to light.” Perez said parents and teachers did not feel the school board was listening to their concerns and grew frustrated. Tim Savoy, spokesman for Hays CISD, said the board was unaware of problems with Shea until parents and faculty expressed their concerns at recent meetings. Shea’s letter of resignation indicated her departure was “unrelated to recent events regarding Blanco Vista.” Shea will finish the 2014-2015 school year as principal. “I continue to hope for the best for this campus and also pledge to continue to lead in a professional and respectful matter,” Shea wrote in her resignation letter. Some parents said they were upset because Shea canceled the school’s Cinco de Mayo celebration. Savoy said the celebration was moved indoors, not canceled, due to particular circumstances. “Classroom time is a valuable and

special commodity,” Savoy said. “You have to really focus on instruction time being instruction time.” Perez said veteran teachers left due to Shea’s micromanaging and mistrust of employees. The dual-language program suffered, and the students were affected. “It’s not that the dual-language program went away,” Perez said. “It lost its effectiveness.” Perez said the program was founded by departing veteran teachers who were pivotal to building its good reputation. “I think that is where the parents started to notice,” Perez said. “I don’t think anyone told them the dual-language program was going to change a bit.” Martha Lopez, a Blanco Vista parent, said in a board meeting March 30 her children had lost interest in their studies because of the recent events at the school. Lopez wished the older teachers could return to restore the quality of the dual-language program. “All I’m asking is that we have a dignified school that will help prepare these children to be valuable members of this country,” Lopez said. Carla Pera, a Blanco Vista parent, spoke to the Hays CISD board of trustees March 30 about meeting with Shea after her son applied to the duallanguage program. “I spoke with the principal, and I felt like I was being ridiculed,” Pera said. “She made me cry because I

want my son to learn both English and Spanish.” Pera’s older children attended Blanco Vista and did not face the same problems as her younger child, she said. “I don’t want any more discrimination,” Pera said. “We are all the same.” The dual-language program began in Hays CISD schools in 2003, Savoy said. The program provides a two-way classroom with an equal amount of instruction time in Spanish and English. Savoy said 359 students are enrolled in the dual-language program at Blanco Vista. Any student living within the Hays CISD can apply. The board is in the process of having the dual-language program audited by a third party to evaluate areas of improvement and overall effectiveness, Savoy said. “Everyone can agree we want to have a campus that is welcoming,” Savoy said. “The culture and climate at the campus is an ongoing process.” Hays CISD officials have contracted a third party to conduct focus groups with parents and faculty to evaluate the root of the problem, Savoy said. K12 Insight officials will present an analysis report to the board after meeting with seven focus groups. “Taking those two pieces of information, we will be able to identify things we need to improve or change,” Savoy said. “The focus groups are a much better setting to explore all the issues that are taking place.”

New York Times journalist discusses digital media By Darcy Sprague NEWS REPORTER @darcy_days For Maira Garcia, former editor-in-chief of The University Star, the process of getting a job at The New York Times began with a speaker series much like the one she presented for Wednesday. Garcia said she networked with a presenter from The New York Times when she was a graduate student and was later offered a job. She is now a senior staff editor on the home page team at the Times. The alumna returned to Texas State to discuss the importance of digital media and networking Wednesday afternoon. Garcia spoke as part of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. Garcia received a B.A. in print journalism and political science and her masters in mass communication from Texas State. After graduation, she began working for the Austin American-Statesman’s social media team. Garcia credits the Austin American-Statesman for showing her the ropes of digital media. “Social media is so important to being a journalist,” Garcia said. The most influential class Garcia said she took while at Texas State was a web design course. “(Coding) gives journalists an edge,” she said. Garcia mentioned the Fundamentals of Digital Media course as a way university officials prepare mass communication students. “I’ve been really impressed by everything Texas State has done to keep students learning at the best journalistic standards,” Garcia said. Garcia said she learned a lot during her time as editorin-chief for The University Star. “It was a great leadership experience,” Garcia said. “I had a great staff. We still keep in contact today. I have gone

to some of their weddings.” At The New York Times, Garcia is responsible for writing headlines, monitoring news, managing the website and creating summaries. “I love the Times,” Garcia said. “It’s been such a fascinating place to be.” An audience member asked Maira about the skills needed to work at The New York Times. “The Times is not about one person but the Times as a whole,” Garcia said. “It’s about what you bring to the table and can contribute.” Garcia said having a thick skin and being able to take criticism well is important. “You can’t have an ego at the Times,” Garcia said. Garcia said the new wave of media made The New York Times officials rethink how they tell their stories. They are modifying the app, making the NY Times Now app free and creating an app for the Apple Watch. She said the newspaper strategy includes analytics more than before. “We know what to do to make our journalism more available for everyone,” Garcia said. “We are always thinking of what’s next.” Garcia said leaving Texas to work at the Times was hard, but her fiancé (now husband) encouraged her. “I miss H-E-B,” Garcia said. “Day-to-day life is so different (in New York).” Garcia is unsure what the future will hold for her. “I think a lot of people think about creating startups.” Garcia said. “I know I’m happy at the Times for now.” Garcia was asked for the best advice she could give to students. “Don’t forget about those connections you make,” Garcia said. “They’re your network. They’re your contacts. Journalism is a small world.” She said inviting professionals out is a great way to connect if they are nearby. “I’m always up for having coffee with a Texas State student,” Garcia said.



A group of parents at Blanco Vista Elementary School are pressuring the school board to replace Rebecca Shea, principal.


Alkek disturbance caused by fireworks, police say By Carlie Porterfield ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @rep0rterfield University Police Department (UPD) officers investigated “possible gun shots” near the library early Wednesday afternoon. “At 3:12 p.m., a call came in saying there were possible shots fired by the Math (and) Computer Science building into Alkek (Library),” said Brian Carpenter, UPD sergeant. Mondy Hobbs, public relations senior, was studying on the seventh floor of Alkek when she heard the noises. “All of a sudden we heard really loud bangs,” Hobbs said. She said the sound seemed to be coming from the roof of the library. The noise was loud enough to disturb everyone in the vicinity. “It startled everyone on the seventh floor,” Hobbs said. “We looked up at the same time and looked at each other like, ‘What the heck was that?’” Hobbs never considered the noise to be possible gunshots despite the report in the initial call to UPD. “It scared me, but I honestly thought it was construction on top of the roof,” Hobbs said. Witnesses told UPD officers they saw people throw something into nearby bushes, Carpenter said. Witnesses said they heard two loud bangs and smelled a sulfur-like odor. “What (UPD) concluded was possible fireworks in the

area,” Carpenter said. No remnants of fireworks were found by UPD, he said. Some witnesses reported seeing fireworks falling off of the roof of the Math and Computer Science Building. Carpenter said officers found no indication to support the claim.

“All accesses to the roof were locked and secured, so nobody was up on the roof,” Carpenter said. No evidence suggests the noises heard Wednesday were related to the possible gunshots reported between J. C. Kellam and the Freeman Aquatic Biology Building April 13, Carpenter said.

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The University Star | Thursday, April 16, 2015 | 3


SOFTBALL, from front By Christian Rodriguez ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @crod9521


Randi Rupp, freshman pitcher, throws the ball against Houston Baptist April 15 at Bobcat Softball Stadium. Rupp pitched a perfect game in the matchup, Texas State’s first in seven years.

Before Wednesday night, the last time a Texas State softball pitcher threw a perfect game was 2008. Randi Rupp, freshman pitcher, changed that when she led her team to a 12-0 victory over Houston Baptist. The freshman threw a total of 81 pitches in a shortened five-inning matchup, earning nine strikeouts and the first perfect game in seven years. “Randi’s been a little frustrated with the way she’s been pitching,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “I think that was big for her to let go of that frustration and come out and pitch and pitch well.” Rupp understands success from the offense is important. Earlier in the season, Rupp threw a nohitter against Louisiana Monroe, a game in which the offense put up nine runs. “That’s all that I ask, is that they get some runs early,” Rupp said.

“They did a great job offensively in scoring some runs, and out there it helps tremendously having a little bit of confidence with runs on the board.” The pitching was literally perfect for Texas State, and the hitting was not far from it. The Bobcats totaled 14 hits from eight different players in the contest. Woodard recognizes the work her team has put in to attack quality pitches. The offense was a key factor in the success against Houston Baptist. “They’re spending more time working on their hitting,” Woodard said. “That’s all you can ask, is that they spend more time at it, and lucky for us it’s starting to pay off.” Kelli Baker, junior second baseman, made her mark on the game, going three for three at the plate with one run batted in. The leadoff batter used her speed and an awkward bounce of the ball to start the game with a triple. “Yeah, I saw the ball bounced off the wall weird and she wasn’t expecting it, so I took the oppor-

tunity to take three,” Baker said. Kendall Wiley, junior first baseman, was another key contributor on the offensive end. Wiley went three for four with two runs batted in and three runs. The team hopes the pitching and hitting performance the Bobcats displayed Wednesday night carries over into the weekend. Texas State is scheduled to face conference opponent South Alabama in a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday. The Jaguars are ranked No. 22 in the nation and second in the conference behind Louisiana-Lafayette. Baker knows the road trip will be a tough, but she feels the momentum the Bobcats gained will help them get the job done in Mobile. “You definitely want to have a real big game like this,” Baker said. “It’s tough to come back after a loss or a bad game and stay focused at practice the next day, and then you have to travel and it’s still on our mind, so it’s definitely a big thing to be able to play like this before a big conference series.”

BASEBALL By Matt Gurevitz SPORTS REPORTER @Matt_Gurevitz

Humpal will pitch on Friday, and because of the wide range of last year’s results, the outcome is a mystery.

The Texas State baseball team is in the home stretch with three losses in the last four games. The Bobcats will host defending conference champion Louisiana-Lafayette this weekend. A challenge is in store for the team.


LAST YEAR’S RESULTS Texas State and Louisiana-Lafayette played against each other five times last season, and the Bobcats had one victory. Two of the losses came in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, and one was an elimination game for Texas State. The Bobcats were down 4-3 in the eighth inning with the game-tying tying run on third base and one out. A deep fly ball was all that was needed to bring the Bobcats back from a 4-1 deficit. Austin O’Neal, former first baseman, grounded into an inning-ending double play. The last at bat in O’Neal’s college baseball career ended the Bobcats’ season. Memories like these could come to life for the Bobcats when they face off against the Ragin’ Cajuns for the first time since last year’s conference tournament.

LUCAS HUMPAL Texas State started Lucas Humpal, junior pitcher, on the mound last year against Louisiana-Lafayette. Humpal allowed one hit and zero earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched. Texas State lost the game 2-0, but Humpal did what was asked of him. Humpal earned a start against the Ragin’ Cajuns in the tournament due to his success against them in the regular season start. The plan, however, backfired for the Bobcats. The No. 1-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette scored seven runs on 10 hits in 4.2 innings pitched by Humpal, and the Ragin’ Cajuns won 11-4 to send the Bobcats into an elimination game.


The team batting average is .235, which is last in the Sun Belt. The Bobcats will look to improve against the Ragin’ Cajuns, who are second-best in the conference with a 3.50 earned run average. Louisiana-Lafayette is first in the Sun Belt with a .239 opposing batting average.

ACTIVE BASE PATHS Teams are not afraid to run on Texas State’s catchers. The Bobcats lead the conference in stolen bases allowed with 62 this season. Louisiana-Lafayette is one of the best teams in the Sun Belt in stolen bases attempts with 74. Tanner Hill, junior catcher, might not catch this weekend because he leads the Sun Belt in stolen bases against with 43.

STANDINGS SITUATION Whoever wins the series will be ahead in the Sun Belt Standings. Texas State is 9-6, and the Ragin’ Cajuns are 8-6. The winner could advance all the way to second in the standings, and the loser could fall all the way to ninth.

WHAT’S NEXT The Bobcats will travel to Austin to play the Texas Longhorns in the second game of their season series on Tuesday. Texas State lost March 24 to the Longhorns 6-4 in San Marcos in the previous meeting. Texas State continues Sun Belt play against Troy on the road next weekend. The Trojans are first in the Sun Belt in stolen bases with 61.

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Tips for surviving finals season students may feel being around other people is distracting. That is okay, too.

Eat real food.

Get enough sleep. For many students, faculty and staff members, finals season means less sleep. However, as necessary as an all-nighter may seem in the moment, the repercussions are serious. Sleep deprivation slows down the communication in the frontal lobes of the brain, according to a Sep. 12, 2012 Business Insider article. It is moot to stay up all night studying in an attempt to retain information when the effect is a slow brain.

Take advantage of study hours. Some classes offer study hours with the teaching assistants or lab instructors. Students should use these times to get extra help in their classes. Faculty office hours are a good tool for students to use. Instructors set these times up to help students. People should utilize them to ask specific questions in areas they need help with.

Join a study group. Some people work best in the company of others. Social situations focused on studying can help people learn things that might not have sunk in when they were studying alone. Some

It makes sense to want quick meals during a flurry of studying. However, the instant gratification of eating a bunch of greasy junk food quickly wears off. Taking 10 to 15 minutes to make a healthy sandwich or spaghetti is worth the temporary hassle.

Don’t put your mental health in jeopardy. School and grades are important, but nothing is more vital than one’s mental health. Everyone has one life and mind, and sacrificing that for the sake of a test is not worth it in the end.

Utilize constructive relaxation techniques. Working in 10-minute increments with breaks in between is a good way to keep from going stir crazy. Students should plan productive break activities like doing jumping

jacks or having a mini dance party. Social media is a large part of people’s lives, and it can be hard to resist the urge to use Facebook when studying. A 10-minute study break on YouTube can turn into a 45-minute detour if people are not careful. It’s easier to stay on track than get back on track.

Don’t be ashamed to not have a social life. The temptation to hang out with friends instead of studying can be hard to resist. Students should not feel bad about choosing to stay in and study instead of going out to party with their friends.

Be careful if you decide to take performance drugs. College campuses often have prevalent drug cultures when it comes to using performanceenhancing narcotics during finals. It can be tempting to abuse drugs such as Adderall and Vyvanse when reading about them on Yik Yak, but students should exercise caution. Prescription medication is very serious and should not be

abused under any circumstance.

Incorporate positive study rewards.

makes it seem easier to manage. After all, climbing a mountain happens one step at a time.

Students should celebrate their good study habits with positive rewards in between cram sessions. If it relaxes you to call your parents, call and chat with them for a bit. Other possibilities include eating some fruit or a piece of candy, reading a book or listening to a song.

Make a plan. Going into studying blindly often accounts for more stress than necessary. Take 15 minutes at the beginning of the study session to figure out what exactly needs to be done and to outline steps to make it happen. Breaking one large task into smaller sections


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 Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State University.



Bigger buildings would mean better business

Jeffrey Bradshaw OPINIONS COLUMNIST @jeffbrad12


overnment always finds a way to insert itself into people’s lives. For example, here in downtown San Marcos, buildings cannot be higher than four stories or 45 feet, according to the San Marcos City Code of Ordinances. The ordinance was probably enacted to preserve the old buildings decorating the Square. However, if owners decide they want to build upon the existing buildings they own, they should be able to. I can understand the city not wanting the demolition of the historic buildings, but there are ways to build up without tearing down what already exists. What city officials fail to understand is that building height also restricts how owners

conduct business. “A maximum height restricts how buildings are designed on the inside,” said Andy Howard, owner of the Hub Bicycle Lounge on the Square. Making rules like this one, while perhaps with good intentions, will negatively affect some businesses. “I would prefer to expand up rather than out,” Howard said. Not allowing the expansion of buildings does not necessarily negatively affect the economy, but it does not help either. All buildings on the Square are more than one story. However, if something were to happen to one that caused it to be demolished, the city should welcome taller buildings. I am not suggesting a skyscraper be built in place of a fallen building, but the fourstory requirement is not necessary. For example, a 10-story building could be very beneficial. More than one business could occupy that building, resulting in more jobs and more money for the city. San Marcos is not getting any smaller, and neither is the university. With a bigger city and growing university come more people in need of

The University Star Editor-in-Chief................................................Nicole Barrios, Managing Editor....................Cameron Cutshall, News Editor..............................................Kelsey Bradshaw, Lifestyle Editor..........................................Britton Richter, Opinions Editor.......................................Imani McGarrell, Photo Editor...........................................Madelynne Scales, Sports Editor........................................... Quixem Ramirez, Copy Desk Chief.....................................Sam Hankins,

jobs. A building with more than one business in it would help alleviate unemployment. If a new building were built downtown, it could still be constructed in an aesthetically pleasing and historically accurate way. Architects would easily be able to replicate the style that defines the cozy downtown area of San Marcos. After all, if aesthetic continuity was the motivation behind this ordinance, it has not really worked. Just look at the Hays County Records Building. It looks nothing like any of its neighbors and is, frankly, quite unappealing. Having a city ordinance that restricts the height of buildings might have its benefits, but it also has plenty of negative side effects. Cities change over time, and with this ordinance, San Marcos cannot grow and change. Bigger buildings would result in more businesses and more space to utilize in a multitude of ways. The four-story requirement hurts the city more than it helps.

—Jeffrey Bradshaw is a political science sophomore

Airbnb offers unique but inconvenient experience

Rivers Wright OPINIONS COLUMNIST @MonsieurRivers


lternative lodging company Airbnb recently announced it will start standardizing the overall experience and the way guests check into their accommodations with the help of companies like Guesty, City CoPilot and Beyond Pricing. Airbnb will offer hotel-like amenities such as a front desk, concierge services and other utilities found when one vacations away from home. The catch is guests will have to go to local bars or coffee shops to pick up their keys in order to receive these services. Users must also go to a separate set of bars or coffee shops to address grievances such as an air mattress breaking or needing more towels. The idea behind Airbnb is relatively new and exciting for those young travelers who are looking to save some money as they fulfill their sense of wanderlust. Given all the different locations travelers will have to go to retrieve their items, their vacation is essentially turned into an adult scavenger hunt. If for nothing more than convenience, it is easier to stay in a hotel. Safety is also an issue the alternative lodging company faces when trying to attract travelers. After all, people are of-

fering up their personal houses as places for travelers to stay. As the company sees a steady increase of users, there is also a steady increase of reviews voicing concern for locations of their homes away from home. If Airbnb wants to offer hotel-like accommodations, then they might as well become an actual hotel instead of a lodging facility. However, the company faces a double-edged sword in that sense. They can stay the way they are and have an edge on the competition, or they can conform and become just another hotel chain with similar amenities. According to an April 2 Buzzfeed article, the company is giving itself the title of “home-sharing” and comparing itself to the likes of Uber or Lyft who coin themselves “ride-sharing” businesses. Home-sharing is a burgeoning market the world may not be ready for yet. I know I certainly am not. It was hard enough for me to wrap my head around a hostel. However, I do prefer hotels, and I am willing to pay a little extra for the services that come with them. While there is some apprehension among consumers, considering Airbnb is on the rise they must be doing something right. The sense of adventure and not really knowing what lies ahead for travelers must be appealing, and the lodging company offers the answer to the calls of the wild and free-spirited. It does say something about Airbnb consumers that even though they are looking for something different from the cookie-cutter hotel, they still search for those similar accommodations. Then again, only time can tell if the trend will shift and people will opt for the feeling of crashing on a friend’s couch or if the appeal of a bellboy and continental breakfast will win the day. . —Rivers Wright is a journalism junior

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Renowned pianist delights crowd with familiar scores By Denise Cervantes LIFESTYLE REPORTER @cervantesdenise Students, faculty and the San Marcos community came together April 12 to hear familiar songs performed in a new way. The Texas State School of Music hosted Simone Pedroni in the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall as part of the Guest Artist Series. Pedroni performed some of the works of composer John Williams, including the Star Trek and Harry Potter film scores. Pedroni incorporated compositions by Nino Rota and Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Jason Kwak, associate professor in the School of Music, said the familiarity of the works made the performance inviting for audience members. “The music is much more accessible,” Kwak said. “It’s the most universal language, and the audience can find a connection to it. It’s not your typical or standard performance.” Kwak said Pedroni is a worldrenowned pianist who has won first place at the ninth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the Queen Sonja International Music Competition in 1993. Pedroni won second place at the 1992 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition. “He is a winner of the most prestigious piano competition in the world, so that is a huge exposure,” Kwak said. “Just the fact that he is a gold medalist—it should give everyone the security that this is a worldclass pianist.” Chelsea Strong, audience member, admires Pedroni’s work. She said the opportunity to see him perform live was an honor. “I think it’s really nice that Texas State offers this to their students,” Strong said. “I’ve played piano for over 20 years, and having the opportunity to see Simone Pedroni


Simone Pedroni plays the piano as part of the School of Music’s Guest Artist Series April 12 at the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. play is something that I will hold very close to me for a long time.” Washington Garcia, associate professor in the School of Music, said Pedroni committed to a full weekend at Texas State, hosting master classes and performances for students. “Not only is he a very talented artist, but he is one of the nicest people I have ever met,” Garcia said. Strong said the passion and tal-

ent Pedroni exhibited in each of his pieces were the highlights of the performance. “You just don’t get to see that often,” Strong said. “I can really see that he is invested into what he is playing. I think that is one of the things that makes him stand out so much. Anybody could see that, not just musicians.” Kwak said all Texas State students, regardless of major, could enjoy the concert.

“As intimidating as it is to go to a classical recital, you never know how you’ll like it unless you try,” Kwak said. Attendees had the opportunity to purchase Pedroni’s recordings, get autographs and take photos with him. “It’s a huge deal to get to see him perform,” Strong said. “But having the chance to meet him is even a bigger deal. This is something everyone should take advantage of.”

Elizabeth Peterson, audience member and Texas State alumna, was unacquainted with classical piano, but the familiarity of the pieces Pedroni performed made the experience enjoyable. “I got really excited when the Harry Potter music came on,” Peterson said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was really good. He got really into (it), and that was really fun to see. I’d buy tickets to see him play again.”

STUDENT CHOREOGRAPHERS HOST THESIS PERFORMANCE By Sarah Bradley LIFESTYLE REPORTER @sarah_bradskies The friends and family of five Texas State students received powerful messages through dance at the BFA Senior Thesis Concert. The Division of Dance in the Department of Theatre and Dance hosted the concert in Evans Auditorium on April 10 at 7:30 p.m. The program consisted of dances choreographed by soonto-be graduates. Students Olivia Barto (senior), Eileene Vicencio (senior), Desiree Kostelnik (junior), Rachael Hodge (senior) and Kristin Denson (senior) choreographed the concert. The students will receive their degrees in performance and choreography. Stephanie Corley, stage manager and theater senior, said a cycle of messages and feelings were emitted through the choreography during the performance.

“Almost all of (the dances) were made specifically to make the audience react or rethink,” Corley said. Corley said the performance included dances that advocated feminism, encouraged the audience to live their lives, commemorated those who die while crossing the border or evoked emotion. “It’s like what the choreographer wants to have known,” Corley said. “‘This is what’s important to me; this is what message I have for you,’ all told through dance. It’s amazing.” Corley said she thought the production was put together well. “The best way to describe the dances, both separately and as a whole production, is ‘dynamic,’” Corley said. “Each piece is so powerful in its own way, but they all came together so beautifully too.” Denson, choreographer and performer, said dance is intended to evoke emotion as well as provide entertainment. “As choreographers, and also

as dancers, it is almost our job to use our art to persuade, evoke emotions and make the audience feel something rather than create dances the audience just looks at for nice dancing and pretty smiles,” Denson said. The performance was gratifying considering the dedication and effort put forward by fellow choreographers and dancers, Denson said. “I started looking for dancers actually during the summer, started choreography around Christmas break and finished only a few weeks ago,” Denson said. “It was definitely a long process getting this show together, but the end result is so rewarding, and I couldn’t be more proud of my dancers.” Denson said overcoming unexpected challenges made the performance more rewarding for choreographers and audience members. “It’s also so rewarding because things really never go as planned in the dance world,” Denson said.

“Things break and costumes collapse, but to work around those things and still develop something to be proud of, even with all the curve balls, is a great feeling.” Denson said some viewers enjoy dance, but those who are unfamiliar can come to learn about the art. “Typically the fellow dancers that come to watch our shows love it, but non-dancers tend to have different viewpoints,” Denson said. “Some still like it, but for others it’s not their thing, and that’s okay. But I think it’s important to broaden your experiences and not keep yourself in a box of norms.” Christel Rudd, dance freshman and audience member, said she recommends the performances to audience members who want to expand their interests and learn about fine arts. “This was my first time attending a Texas State dance performance, but I would highly recommend things like this because it provides new and interesting

dance styles,” Rudd said. “Especially for those interested in pursuing dance, it’s nice to develop what styles you’re familiar with.” Rudd was refreshed by seeing something new even though she was not familiar with the style of dance. She said the production flowed well. “It was really well put together and organized with genius choreography,” Rudd said. “Even though their dance style isn’t what I’m used to, the choreography made me want to try that kind of dancing.” Corley said she believes in the power of dancing as an art and views it as more than just physical movement. “I believe dance is so much more than it appears to be,” Corley said. “I think it contributes to society, sends out important messages or protests and generates amazing art. Dance is definitely underrated, and anyone who hasn’t experienced it is truly missing out.”

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6 | The University Star | Lifestyle | Thursday, April 16, 2015


Students perform April 10 during the BFA Senior Thesis concert in Evans Auditorium.

Percussion ensemble showcases unique instruments By Callie Haley LIFESTYLE REPORTER @calliehaley Members of the Percussion Ensemble and Panorama Steel Band showcased their talents in an endof-the-year performance April 13 through April 15 in Evans Auditorium. Genaro Gonzalez, professor in the School of Music and percussion coordinator, said students developed the performance pieces throughout the semester. There were two performances separated by an intermission: one by a percussion ensemble and another by the Panorama Steel Band.

Gonzalez said the percussion ensemble features eight students, primarily music majors, ranging from freshmen to seniors. “The percussion ensemble plays a lot of different instruments,” Gonzalez said. “They play the marimbas, xylophones, battery percussion instruments, including tambourines and symbols, and a drum set.” The Panorama Steel Band includes students from a variety of majors, Gonzalez said. “We have people that aren’t music majors in the steel band,” Gonzalez said. “Basically everyone starts from a beginner standpoint with the steel drums, and they learn how to play in the class.”

Gonzalez said steel drums like those used in the performance were invented using empty oil barrels in Trinidad on a naval base after World War II. From there, they slowly evolved into today’s instruments. “There are different types of steel drums,” Gonzalez said. “The bass drums are full 55-gallon oil drums. The very highest-pitch drums are called the lead pans, which are cut much narrower in depth.” Gonzalez said steel drums are uncommon, but audiences tend to enjoy their distinct sound. “For someone that’s never heard the steel drums, I’d describe it as very happy-sounding music,” Gon-

zalez said. “It makes people smile. A lot of the pieces are dance-type pieces.” Nick Tozzo, music graduate student, joined the band in 2007 while earning his bachelor’s degree in music and returned to play later. “It’s fun music,” Tozzo said. “I have my own steel drums, and I play professionally on the side. So an ensemble like this that practices three times a week gives me a good chance to hone my skills.” Members of the steel band wore Hawaiian-style shirts during the showcase. Tozzo said the unconventional style has been a tradition for years. “For regular percussion en-

semble bands, everyone wears all black,” Tozzo said. “The Panorama Steel Band has worn Hawaiian shirts during performances since the band started 25 years ago. It goes with the feel of the music.” Christine Acebo, music senior, chose to attend the concert because of her passion for percussion. Acebo said the performance was a positive experience. She plans to attend music events in the future. “I really liked the marimbas, and ‘Unleash the Fury’ was my favorite piece,” Acebo said. “I am really looking forward to the next performance because the steel drums are my favorite instrument.”

PICKS OF THE WEEKEND By Britton Richter LIFESTYLE EDITOR @brittonrichter

FOR THE SAN MARTIAN The Keep San Marcos Beautiful Spring Concert Series is returning tonight for another of its weekly shows. The event will host Americana band The Tejas Brothers. The series serves as an educational event to inform the public about the importance of keeping the town clean as well as providing community entertainment. Pre-concert activities begin at 6:30 p.m. while the music starts at 7:30 p.m.

FOR THE FESTIVALGOER The first TXSpringFest will begin Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Cool River Ranch in Martindale. The event is in San Marcos’ backyard for those who love music festivals but cannot necessarily travel to them. The event is presented by Tha Fixx and Endless Entertainment and will feature hip-hop and electronic music artists including Juicy J and K Camp. Tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite, and more information can be found on the festival’s Facebook page.

FOR THE ANIMAL LOVER The San Marcos Mutt Strutt will be hosted to benefit the

San Marcos Animal Shelter this Saturday. The Mutt Strutt is a one-mile walk along the San Marcos River with everyone’s favorite four-legged friends. The event will run 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the San Marcos Plaza Park. The event will feature contests, music and free donuts after the walk. Registered participants may partake in the walk.

FOR THE ATHLETE The Texas State Sprint Triathlon will occur Sunday at 7 a.m. at 921 Aquarena Springs Drive. The event allows people to swim in Spring Lake and is perfect for beginning triathletes. Registration has closed, but support is always welcome at the event. The proceeds from the benefit will go to the students of the Texas State Triathlon Club.

FOR THE BARDEN BELLA The film Pitch Perfect became a cultural phenomenon after its release. With a sequel in the works, the Student Association for Campus Activities (SACA) will host a Pitch Perfect Sing Along. The event will take place Saturday from 6-9 p.m. in George’s at the LBJ Student Center. This sing along can fulfill the dreams of anyone who loves Anna Kendrick (because who doesn’t) or has ambitions of being a show choir superstar.

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