November 8, 2022

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News: Public Defenders Office

Opinion: City Funding

Life and Arts: Into The Woods

Sports: Womens Basketball






November 8, 2022 VOLUME 112 ISSUE 13


Poll workers persist despite public opinion, Election Day challenges By Ireland Sargent News Contributor Hays County poll workers continue to fight the misconception that involves working for an election-based job, giving insight into the work they do for the community throughout the election season. Poll workers are responsible for facilitating poll stations by confirming eligibility, distributing voter passes and assisting in various tasks to ensure the voters' experience is effortless. Kelley Cato, a poll worker for Hays County, said the importance of community outreach and educating the public about the financial benefits will hopefully lure in more individuals willing to be poll workers. "I think a lot of people assume we are doing this out on a volunteer basis and that's not true because the county pays us," Cato said. "I think if the county expressed the pay involved, more people would be willing to do this job." To become a poll worker in the state of Texas one must undergo a series of modules and training before assuming the role. Jennifer Doinoff, the elections administrator for Hays County, said poll workers are dealing with the new rules and regulations that continue to change in Texas. "Poll workers are working under new laws that passed the last session and are given a limited amount of time to understand the material," Doinoff said. "They had to train and get up to date on these new laws giving us a small amount of time and affecting the poll worker's typical way of doing things. If they were

Where to vote in San Marcos Broadway (Christus Trinity Clinic) San Marcos Housing Authority/ C.M. Allen Homes Brookdale San Marcos North San Marcos Public Library Calvary Baptist Church Sinai Pentecostal Church Centro Cultural Hispano de San South Hays Fire Department Station #12 Marcos Stone Brook Seniors Community Dunbar Center Scan For more First Baptist Church San Marcos information: Hays County Government Center, Conference room LBJ Student Center Promiseland Church San Marcos Fire Department Station #5 Links to


not properly trained that could put them at the risk of criminal penalty." Stereotpes surround poll workers and others question their intent for encompassing the job. Cato has had daunting experiences with voters. She described one instance in which a voter who was not registered in Hays County berated the poll workers because he could not vote at that location. Cato said a large part of the job is to remain calm in those types of situations. Some believe poll workers are at polling locations to change ballots or express views, though the misconception is far and few between.

"People come in to vote and think that sites run smoothly comes from the work we are there to work against them," Cato completed by the elections judge in each said. "They are so sure that everything county. Larry Thompson, the elections we are doing there is a sham." judge for Buda City Hall, shared his The number of hours poll workers hope for the community throughout spend at the poll stations is the most the election season. difficult part of the job, according to "I open the polls each day, arriving an Cato. hour early to our original start time, I "We spend 10 to 12 hour days each work alongside the poll workers to run week and that's not factoring the time tests on the machines to ensure they we spend setting up the equipment," weren't tampered with overnight and I Cato said. "That's for sure the hardest check our supplies before we open the part of the job, but I enjoy the people polls," Thompson said. "My goal is to I work with and we are a tight-knit get them in and get them out as fast as group." possible." A significant part of ensuring voting SEE ELECTIONS PAGE 3


San Marcos Art Center honors veterans and military with November showcase By Benjamin Middleton Life and Arts Reporter Trigger Warning: This article contains discussion of suicide. An eclectic mix of photographs, sculptures, jewelry and paintings lines the walls of the San Marcos Art Center. Each individual work of art has a unique emotion behind it, but they have one thing in common. All of the almost 20 different creators featured in the showcase are veterans or on active duty. Nancy Brown, director of the art center, envisions the Veterans' Art Showcase as a way to repay them for

their service and give a platform to those who have served. By giving local veteran artists an audience, she is able to reward and recognize them in a meaningful way. “I think it's important to recognize the service that they provided to the country,” Brown said. "It's all very well and good to say 'oh, thank you for your service,' but this is a little more concrete.” Valarie Seelye, a second-year master’s student studying secondary education, is one of the artists participating in the showcase. She joined the Air Force in 2017 and was on active duty for three years. Now, she is a member of the Air National Guard until next spring. Her work for the show combines watercolor

The Veterans Art Showcase is installed at the San Marcos Art Center, Monday Oct. 31, 2022. PHOTO BY BENJAMIN MIDDLETON

and LED lights to show a mermaid posing in front of glowing water. Seelye loves to work with any medium that is not digital and is drawn to work with physical mediums because she loves the process of creating art with tangible things. Not only do the textures of the mediums calm her anxiety, but they also spark her creativity and inspire the direction in which her art goes. “I have been learning a lot from art materials rather than learning how to be an artist,” Seelye said. “I have been trying to do what feels good to make and I like the sensory experience of the materials in my hand.” Seelye believes that the Veterans' Art Showcase helps humanize them in the public's eye. In her eyes, people have narrow views of the personalities of veterans. Even though they have all served, she said everyone still has wildly different beliefs and personalities. To her, the showcase is a way to show all of these different personalities to the public. “We're just regular people who have different interests,” Seelye said. “I'm not all about putting on some more paint and to go back into the field. I paint with watercolors and I have interests that aren’t all just hardcore military things.” Another artist involved is Dan Gamez, a Texas State art senior. As a 58-year-old veteran who served in intelligence in Europe during the Cold War, Gamez came to Texas State to get a degree in art so he can teach it to children. Gamez's current focus is abstract painting. His technique involves strategically pouring primary colored paint onto a canvas and then using toothpicks and torches to modify the painting. His goal with his paintings is to spread happiness and bring something beautiful to the world. “The pouring is so beautiful,” Gamez said. “It doesn't mean anything. All it is is color. No message. Nothing political. Nothing religious. Just color.”


The University Star

2 | Tuesday, November 8, 2022 Nichaela Shaheen News Editor


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

Editorial Staff Editor-in-Chief: Arthur Fairchild Managing Editor: Sarah Hernandez Design Editor: Kadence Cobb News Editor: Nichaela Shaheen Life & Arts Editor: Marisa Nuñez Opinion Editor: Dillon Strine Sports Editor: Carson Weaver Multimedia Editor: Vanessa Buentello Engagement Editor: Meadow Chase Digital Products Developer: Monica Chase Creative Service Director: Michele Dupont

Public & Internal Relations PIR Director: Elle Gangi

Full-Time Staff Director: Laura Krantz Student Publications Coordinator: Caitlin Mitchell

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 3,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, November, 8, 2022. 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. Visit The Star at

Professor creates food delivery app to aid older adult population By Carlota Pulgar News Contributor Professor and Associate Director for the Translational Health Research Center Larry Fulton and his team are developing a free food delivery app, Nutrition for Underserved Elderly via Application (NUEVA), aimed at helping the older population of adults in Central Texas. Fulton and his team are using a $2.76 million grant from The Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) to fund the development of NUEVA. The goal of the app is reducing food insecurity and loneliness as well as improving nutrition and the quality of life for individuals of 60 years old, and older. The grant can be renewed for up to five years. “I think that it is important for the community, and so I think we can do some really good work here," Fulton said. “Once we heard we were going to get funding, we started working immediately before the funding arrived.” A nutrition grant through HHS and the Administration on Community Living is responsible for implementing the Older Americans Act which addresses malnutrition. Within the app, there will be an assessment of nutrition, according to Lesli Biediger-Friedman, associate professor and the lead of nutrition and outreach for NUEVA. “We're working on initiating a systematic review of where literature is of use of technology for public health topics among the elderly,” BiedigerFriedman said. The development of the app started in August, but the idea for NUEVA came long before. “COVID changed the way our elderly is able to interface,” Fulton said. “The logical step is [to] support community action here in San Marcos, and focus on using technology to provide a mechanism to provide them food, to provide them contact, assesses how they're doing for mental health, overall health, nutrition and food security.”


Part of the initial development of NUEVA is creating the app itself, which is being coded by associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, Apan Qasem. “Because of Dr. Apan Qasam we have both the Android the iOS and the internet apps, roughly 10% developed connecting to the back end,” Fulton said. “So, we have mockups of this that

are actually already working.” This app is supposed to help those in need, and there will be a screening process to determine the services each individual will be eligible for. “There’s a screening process for individuals to receive meals,” Fulton said. “We're also not just doing meals, that's our focus, we're also in grocery delivery.”


First-time voters cast ballots for future By Nichaela Shaheen News Editor Election Day is here, and first-time voters are excited for the opportunity to have their voices heard. On the Hays County midterm election ballot, eligible citizens are voting for Texas Governor, Texas Lieutenant Governor, City Council members and more. Many people have had their main focus on the gubernatorial race between incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic nominee Beto O'Rourke, but voters like Halle DiValentone, an English freshman, believes it is important to be knowledgeable on all races including local ones. “It's pretty important, especially considering they're the ones making the policies that will affect you the most,” DiValentone said. “If in Hays County, they make a policy, you should know who's going to be making the decision on that as a person who lives in the area.” DiValentone, who used to go to the polls with her mother, said being able to vote for the first time and receive her own sticker was a thrilling moment. Knowing that her vote matters meant a lot to her. “It was very like, ‘oh my god, I'm voting… I'm an adult and I can vote now because I used to go with my mom to vote,” DiValentone said. “She would let me see her vote so it was weird to be doing it like 'I'm voting. This is my vote being cast for the first time and I get my own sticker.'” Tyra Collier, a physics sophomore, has been exposed to voting polls since she was young, her mother would also take her with her to go vote. “My parents have always been really big on taking action for what you believe in so they've always voted so that instilled in me that voting is important if I want to see change happen,” Collier said.“I was really excited because I can finally vote and do something about

it. It kind of went how I expected, it's really easy to vote.” The ballot full of many races can determine the future of not only the state but the nation's policies. First-time voters like Collier feel heavily motivated to vote because of certain stances on these policies. “One of the main reasons I decided to vote was definitely women's rights, I definitely believe that abortion should be legal, so I was voted for someone who could make that happen,” Collier said. "Women's rights, human rights, climate change are some of the really big important things I decided to vote for, or vote for people who have the same views as I did.” Utilizing close voting poll locations is Rylee Williams, a wildlife biology freshman, plans for her first voting experience. She believes that voting on college campuses is essential to getting voters mobilized. "Every vote matters, such as on our college campus, some college students may not have the means of transportation to get to other voting polls. So having one on campus where they can reach it, that means that more

I would wait in line no matter how long it is, people are willing to wait four hours in a line for a Disney ride, if they can do that, I think it's a little hypocritical if they can't wait to vote." RYLEE WILLIAMS, Wildlife biology freshman

people are able to exercise their right,” Williams said. Poll locations close at 7 p.m. but Williams believes that everyone should stay in line even if they experience long wait times. “I would wait in line no matter how long it is, people are willing to wait four hours in a line for a Disney ride, if they can do that, I think it's a little hypocritical if they can’t wait to vote,” Williams said.


The University Star

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 | 3 Nichaela Shaheen News Editor



Electioneer clerk Jack Seaborne checks student form of identification to vote Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, at LBJ Student Center. PHOTO BY SARAH MANNING

Accessibility is key to an efficient voter location and each one must encompass specific qualities to accommodate every voter. For example, Thompson said there is a need for a location that is approachable and has multilingual poll workers. "When hiring I look for specific qualities and always need someone who is Spanish speaking and fluent in sign language to ensure I can accommodate everyone's needs," Thompson said. "Voter satisfaction is very important to me so I am looking for a location that has a large parking lot, a building big enough for the machines and at the same time this location is familiar to residents of the county." Thompson has been an elections judge for five years and has witnessed poll workers reap the effects of others' disapproval. "There are people and organizations that find a polling location inconvenient to them — whether they're dealing with cars or the traffic from people trying to vote — and they will choose to express their opinions towards poll workers," Thompson said. "We

deal with thousands of people during election season so we are trying to make the environment as accessible as possible for everyone involved in the process." Doinoff recognizes reasons many voters fear the intent of poll workers, but said voters should not suspect dishonest activity with the use of electronic voting systems. The recent election has created many contentious people who are unafraid to voice their opinions toward election workers. "People are really passionate about their beliefs whether it's about other voters, the election or the processes," Doinoff said. Despite hardships that come from being a poll worker, Doinoff said there are positive aspects to being a poll worker. "We have a wonderful and dedicated group of people who believe in the work that they are doing," Doinoff said. "It truly is a wonderful thing and these poll workers believe in democracy and accessibility to voting." Emily Lapaglia, an elementary education senior,

bility to voting."

We have a wonderful and dedicated group of people who believe in the work that they are doing. It truly is a wonderful thing and these poll workers believe in democracy and accessi-

JENNIFER DOINOFF, Hays County, Elections Administrator

shared her gratitude for poll workers after casting her ballot during early voting. "I just know that we couldn't do it without them," Lapaglia said. "When I was early voting I noticed a lady's ballot didn't print correctly and the poll worker had to step in and help; poll workers are always very helpful."


Hays County PDO still awaiting implementation Hays County does not have a foreseen start date for the Public Defender's Office, already approved by commissioner's court. By Blake Leschber News Contributor Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra allowed the implementation of a Public Defender’s Office (PDO) in May of 2022, but the office has still not been implemented by the county. “I was able to allocate $5 million to [the PDO’s] formation,” Becerra said. “For the most part, the commissioners on court don’t want it and have been protesting it. It’s been very slow [to implement] due to pressure.” Hays County Commissioners Court allocated $5 million from American Rescue Plan money toward starting a PDO in the county. It chose Neighborhood Defender Services to represent clients in the district. “We have earmarked money from our own budget when we had free money from the state to do it," Becerra said. The PDO that would be implemented will be a holistic defense office meaning more than just public attorneys will be provided. “They don’t just have attorneys inhouse, they also have social workers and other people that see people as whole people,” Sarah Minion, senior program associate with the Vera Institute of Justice said. “So not only will they provide effective counsel but also the kind of wraparound services through social work that can help folks get access to housing or mental health care that they need.” Not running the office can cause massive issues in the jails and courts of Hays County. As of Oct. 29, 474 inmates were held in Hays County Jail pretrial. These inmates are held on average between one to six months without any sort of representation or chance to prove innocence. “Eighty percent of those sitting in our jails that we’re wasting millions of dollars holding have not yet had their day in court,” Becerra said. “They’ve not yet seen a judge and so it is truly a broken judicial system that is incarcerating the poor.” Currently, only private defenders are available to represent people who cannot afford an attorney. These


attorneys are assigned to their clients. Becerra said they are likely overworked and underpaid meaning there is little motivation to pay attention to a case. The lack of a PDO directly harms young people, low income individuals and minorities according to Becerra. These numbers can be seen at The Vera Institute of Justice’s Jail Transparency Dashboard, which works to provide accurate numbers and statistics about the jail population in Hays County. “We wanted to create opportunities for people to have real conversations about what was actually driving the

jail population,” Minion said. “We can craft actual policy that’s data-driven to try to change what you’re seeing on the dashboard.” However, this amount is too long for some as some organizations and individuals have worked for years to implement this office in Hays County. “We often say justice delayed is justice denied,” Karen Muñoz, cofounder of Mano Amiga said. “We’ve been fighting for this for three years so we waited a long time.” Mano Amiga is a local organization that works to improve the criminal justice

system and immigration policies. The organization has been fighting for the implementation of a PDO since 2019, holding demonstrations and speaking at Hays County Commissioners Courts. The lack of urgency with the contract is not due to Neighborhood Defender Services as they are ready to go according to Becerra, but rather because the commissioners do not want the implementation of the PDO. “What we’re supposed to do is keep putting pressure on the court to have a finalizing of the agreement contract with Neighborhood Defender Services, so that we could be one step closer,” Becerra said. “But it is splitting hairs with these [commissioners] that don’t want it so it is foot-dragging and stall tactics.” People being held pretrial for longer periods of time can cause the incarcerated population to overwhelmingly inflate. While those numbers will not decrease overnight according to Minion, there would be a return on investment with the population and public safety. There can be serious effects of the PDO not being implemented besides the rise of the incarcerated being held pretrial. One example of this is people feeling pressured to take plea deals. “Unfortunately when people don’t have access to effective and quality council, they often might take a plea deal while in jail to get out,” Minion said. “Because they might be losing their job and housing and kids, you see people pressured into taking a plea deal to better their situation.” Commissioners are targeting the Nov. 22 meeting to take action on the contract, but it is unsure whether the contract can be signed by then. According to Muñoz, while the PDO may be put in place at this meeting, it can take months for the office to actually be up and running for the county. “A system like the public defender’s office will ensure that no matter what your last name is or how much money you have in your bank account or in your pocket,” Minion said. “You will have a zealous advocate who will show up for you and who will be able to get you the resources that you need.”

The University Star

4 | Tuesday, November 8, 2022 Dillon Strine Opinions Editor


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. PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

A fight for funding: police vs. poverty Complicated managment of a community budget By Lindsey Boyd

Opinions Contributor In San Marcos, people are more likely to die from a car accident than a homicide. Yet the city spends more on police funding than on making roadways safer. In 2021 there were 3,096 vehicular crashes in Hays County, 25 of which were fatal. Of those crashes, 1,322 happened in San Marcos, which resulted in seven fatalities. That same year, there were two homicides in San Marcos. It is not wise to focus too much of the city's funds on any area when others compete for limited funds. The appropriate allocation of these funds is essential to develop a safe city. San Marcos needs to reevaluate its budget allocations. The poverty rate in San Marcos is 28.9%, according to the 2021 census. In contrast, the national poverty rate was 11.6%. San Marcos spends more on police funding than social services. This means that San Marcos and Texas are spending way more on the effects of social issues than on the cause. Crime and poverty are two social issues that are heavily intertwined and co-dependent. Areas with higher poverty rates have higher crime rates the majority of the time; the Department of Justice has studied this. We have the hindsight to know that inequity has a lot to do with poverty, seeing the lasting effects of social injustice. Too often, areas that are struggling with poverty today are those which struggled with poverty for years. For several years, there has been a significant focus on gentrification. Areas that were poor in the 1970s are still today. The regions that gentrify are those in a perfect storm of cheap property, high-profit margins and an influx of higher-income earners interested in the area. When these areas get redeveloped, amenities often drive out the existing residents due to increased property appraisal. For example, Homeowners Loan Corporation (HOLC) redlining maps produced in the 1930s depicting San Antonio, Texas, illustrate that the inner city's east, south and west areas struggled with poverty and racial inequity then and still do. This reality is true in most major metropolitan areas. There are inner-city redeveloped areas in San Antonio, like Southtown. However, Southtown borders the King William district and the Eastside Promise Neighborhood. Though President Obama recognized the Eastside Promise Neighborhood as one of the first five nationally recognized Promise Zones in


2014, the neighborhood is still struggling to achieve economic growth and stability, which is why it's so important to focus on neighborhood revitalization rather than gentrification. Criminologists would likely attribute the struggles of neighborhoods like Eastside Promise to the Broken Window Theory, which argues that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime. However, the broken window theory is the effect and not the cause. Why have specific communities struggled with poverty for decades? They didn't always have as many broken windows as they do now. That's what happens when you don't put any funding into communities. As the historical redline maps prove, this issue is persistent. The concern with all social issues is that they are costly to fix, and communities don't have one or two problems. Sheryl Sculley, former San Antonio city manager, was a proponent of distributing funds equally across departments. She is known for shutting down police and fire collective bargaining efforts because she was critical of their tendency to want the largest piece of the pie. She wasn't anti-police and fire; she was procity. In this year's Fiscal Year 23 budget deliberations for San Marcos, two items of contention were how the tax rate could potentially negatively impact the city's poorest residents and whether or not it is appropriate to allocate additional funds to public safety. Managing a delicate fund allocation between poverty and the police is difficult for public administrators. The public works department needs as

much funding as the police department, which needs as much as the social services department, which requires as much as the recreation and tourism department. A balanced budget is a key to community success. Public safety is a genuine concern, particularly in a college town like San Marcos. However, San Marcos must focus on other departments just as much if they want to reduce poverty and crime, a delicate task that cities across Texas are working to navigate. According to the City of San Marcos's published Fiscal Year 2022 budget, $8.05 million were allocated for community development, $6.33 million for parks & recreation and $3.28 million for neighborhood enhancement. Meanwhile, administrators allocated $34.36 million to public safety. We are focusing more on cleaning up the problems rather than preventing them. For example, we should focus on transportation alternatives, environmentalism, childcare options, housing stability, food security, job training, economic development and business retention as much as we focus on public safety. In that case, our crime rate will make improvements. -Lindsey Boyd is a public administration graduate student The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinion Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.


We need more sustainable student housing By James Phillips

Opinions Contributor In the fall semester of 2012, Texas State opened Gaillardia and Chautauqua Halls. Besides being a beautiful example of Spanish-style architecture, these halls have been officially given the Gold LEED certification by the United States Green Building Council for their environmental sustainability. Texas State should replicate the success found in the two halls and move to make all housing on campus environmentally sustainable. Doing so would protect the local environment and create high-quality housing at lower costs. Making housing at Texas State environmentally sustainable reduces each dormitory's electrical and water footprint. Solar panels can be placed on the rooftops of each dormitory to provide cheap, renewable power. For example, the Veterans' Affairs hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas achieved complete solar power by creating a shaded parking lot using solar panels. We can generate additional solar energy by emulating it. This placement would provide clean, renewable energy to the dorms and benefit students by creating more shaded areas throughout campus. Solar energy would keep Texas State buildings powered during winter storms like the one in 2021. According to a report from the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center, solar energy could have supplied enough power to meet the shortfall in production during the freeze. Solar would allow university housing to remain powered should an incident like the freeze repeat itself. Electricity-saving appliances can also reduce the electrical footprint within dorms. The Department of

Energy states that LED lights use not only 75% less energy when opposed to standard lighting but also last twice as long. LEDs even have the option to dim their brightness, meaning that every student's lights can fit their specific needs or preferences. Electrical lighting should not be on during the daytime; as long as each room has access to outside light, the sun can do the bulb's job for no cost. The next step would be reducing water consumption. This step is meaningful due to the fragile state of the San Marcos River. Besides serving as a significant point of pride for the San Marcos community, the San Marcos River is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the southwestern U.S.. However, due to the current drought, water levels of the San Marcos River have lowered. This extreme circumstance has highlighted the need to reduce water consumption to protect the local environment. Texas State should ensure all water

cost less in the long run. There is one small snag with this green housing revolution, and that is the initial cost. The cost to replace all equipment would run several thousand dollars, with the most considerable costs coming from solar panels. This initial cost, however, is offset by the economic benefit of green housing and its far smaller operating costs. A real-life example of this effect is the Whisper Valley housing project. Whisper Valley is an environmentally sustainable community located just northeast of Austin. The houses in this project are self-sufficient, with solar panels atop the roofs and heating from a network of underground geothermal vents. Besides doing a small part to help ILLUSTRATION BY MADISON WARE avert a globe-spanning environmental disaster, the benefits provided by this outlets, such as toilets, shower heads and community are in each resident's wallet. faucets, are environmentally friendly to The self-sufficiency of the homes has reduce each dormitory's water footprint, resulted in residents paying far less on which can be done by following the their energy bills. Residents of Whisper Envormental Protection Agency's Valley stated not going over $50 any WaterSense program. The WaterSense month in the summer in an interview label is given to water outlets that meet with KXAN. EPA's specifications for water efficiency While Texas State is much larger and performance. These items perform than Whisper Valley, the university similarly to their non-environmentally should still strive to make our housing friendly counterparts, except they use just as environmentally friendly. If the less water. In the case of shower heads, changes were made, Texas State would they reduce demands on water heaters, protect the local environment and invest resulting in less water use and cheaper in high-quality housing for its future at water bills. a far more affordable cost. Sustainable products benefit the environment and provide tangible -James Phillips is a history freshman benefits to students. Sustainable products are nearly always of a higher The University Star welcomes quality than non-sustainable products Letters to the Editor from its readers. All since they are designed to operate highly submissions are reviewed and considered efficiently and last for an extended by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinions period, as in the case of WaterSense Editor for publication. Not all letters are shower heads or LED light bulbs. guaranteed for publication. Environmental sustainability means students can access better utilities that

The University Star

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 | 5


Marisa Nuñez Life & Arts Editor


Veterans take plunge into scuba diving By Benjamin Middleton Life and Arts Contributor Mission Support SCUBA (MSS) hosted its Try SCUBA event to give veterans an introduction to scuba diving under the guidance of professional instructors at the San Marcos dive shop and the San Marcos Activity Center on Nov. 5 The Try SCUBA event gives veterans an introductory lesson into the world of scuba diving without financial or time commitments. It allows veterans who are physically unable to go through the certification program to experience the benefits of diving. “A couple of times a year we bring veterans in to figure out if they like to dive or not,” Vesseliza said. “But what's important is even if they don't learn to dive, a lot of folks think it's therapeutic just getting in the water, putting your head underwater and blowing bubbles.” MSS started out as Operation SCUBA in 2015 as a Texas State program that taught scuba diving to veteran students. In 2019, Texas State stopped funding the program. With help from the San Marcos Dive Shop, Bob Vesseliza, an Army veteran and a scuba instructor for Operation Scuba co-founded MSS with other scubaloving veterans. Today, MSS is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and sponsors to let all veterans, not just those who attend Texas State, experience scuba without financial pressure. Try SCUBA is an introduction into scuba diving, encouraging veterans into joining MSS's full Open Water scuba course, which takes place at least twice a year. After a diver gets their certification with MSS, he or she has the opportunity to assist the South Hays Fire Department Dive Team in search and recovery missions. The community also goes on frequent community recreational dives. “A lot of other groups will certify people and take them on certification dives and then they don't see them anymore,” Vesseliza said. “We do not only teach folks how to dive but we try to keep them involved in water.” During Try SCUBA events, the instructors cater to the physical needs of any veteran who wants to participate. The afternoon session of Try SCUBA took place at the pool at the San Marcos Activity Center, which is ADA accessible. The location change was so that veterans in wheelchairs could

Bob Vesseliza and Dr. Lyn Litchke help purple heart recipient, Steven Schulz into scuba gear, at the Try Scuba event, Saturday Nov. 5, 2022, PHOTO BY BENJAMIN MIDDLETON Scuba diving requires deep, slow a recreational therapist and the experience scuba diving. Steven Schulz is an injured marine founder of Caliber Therapies, wanted and intentional breaths that calm the veteran who was able to dive because to sponsor the event so veterans could diver in the water. Vesseliza believes that of Try SCUBA. In 2005, Schulz had try diving without worrying about the scuba diving can help mental health. “[Controlled breathing] actually a traumatic brain injury while serving financial toll of scuba equipment. Vara believes that scuba can provide switches that track in your brain so you in Iraq that left him half-blind and get all the benefits. of relaxation just by half paralyzed. For his service, he was both physical and emotional support. “Scuba actually helps with stability,” breathing in, because you're not able to awarded a purple heart and has met four presidents. To be ablwwe to safely dive, Vara said. “It has some physical, social focus on anything else,” Litchke said. “It he had help from two instructors to put and emotional domains that help you really just lights up a different center in on the equipment and navigate in the with anxiety and depression. It can also the brain.” Scuba also helps alleviate chronic help give water. pain. Because divers float in the water, The two instructors swam on either a social component to it and you they don't feel the weight of their own side of Schulz, letting him dive in a safe can meet other people with a similar bodies. This weightlessness puts the way. interest. So you can start building some divers joints under less stress, allowing Even though this was not Schulz's social capital in that way. So it's really, them a larger range of movement with first experience with scuba, he was really beneficial across many of the less pain. The pressure of the water also limits arm or leg tremors because the excited to have the opportunity to get human domains.” Try SCUBA was in part organized water holds the body in place. in the water. “I like how much of the weight “It was pretty nice,” Schulz said. “I by Texas State therapeutic recreation like the freedom of being able to just go graduate students from Lyn Litchke’s [being in the water] just takes off my Issues and Trends in TR Services class. joints and my body, especially with around and be free under the water.” Caliber Therapies is a specialized Some of the students got in the water being injured,” Cale Chaney, a first-time therapy company that sponsored the Try themselves to get hands-on experience diver and Army veteran, said. “I loved it, with scuba diving as SCUBA event. Katie Vara, it was freeing.” recreational therapy.

The University Star

6 | Tuesday, November 8, 2022


Marisa Nuñez Life & Arts Editor


TXST musical theatre journeys 'Into the Woods' By Cara Cervenka

Life and Arts Contributor Into the Woods has had multiple renditions from the original Broadway play to the live-action film. Many people know the story, now it's time for a fresh take on the classic. The Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance will bring its audience into the world of "Into the Woods" from Nov. 15-20. The Broadway production told by James Lapine is being brought to Texas State by the creative minds of Director Stacy Hawking along with the cast and crew. "Into The Woods" is the third production Hawking directs at Texas State. Hawking is currently studying at Texas State as a second-year MFA directing candidate and "Into The Woods" his is her third time directing a production at the university. Hawking said that throughout preparation for this production, everyone is learning, even herself. “I think there is a strong focus on the community at Texas State and a lot of care for the students that are in the program," Hawking said. The story of the musical is a combination of several popular Brothers Grimm fairy tales connected by the story of a baker and his wife. Stories featured will be "The Little Red Riding Hood", "Jack and The Beanstalk", "Cinderella" and more. "Into The Woods" brings together all of the beloved storybook characters. When the storybook opens, the characters on the page come alive. "'Into The Woods' is a story about all your favorite fairy tale characters going to find something that they want and coming out of it with a new perspective on life,” said Mia Kaplan, a musical theater sophomore who is

FROM FRONT ART Gamez wants to make people happy through his art because art has saved his life. Eight years ago Gamez was bedridden with severe back problems and he lost the will to live. This culminated in his attempt to die by suicide. His life turned around six years ago when he joined Veteran Team Recovery Integrative Immersion Process (Vet TRIPP), an organization centered on improving veterans' lives. Through this program, he found the medical help he needed and was introduced to art when he signed up for a college-level art class hosted by Vet TRIIP. Now, he makes art to move forward in life. Gamez creates art that makes him happy, switching between styles just to keep the creative process fresh. He creates with the purpose of producing something beautiful. “When it comes to art, I go from when it started,” Gamez said. “I won't go back. I don't want to go to the dark.

FROM PAGE 2 MEALS The deliveries will be carried out by preexisting organizations in central Texas, according to Oren Renick, a professor in the School of Health Administration. “We're going to need to do is to create relationships with existing transportation services for elders that exist, you might say from Georgetown to San Antonio,” Renick said. “So, there's a whole corridor of potential colleagues and collaborators in getting food delivered." Alpha testing of NUEVA with a small population will begin in the spring of 2023 and allow for feedback opportunities. “We're going to work slowly in perfecting it and working the kinks out,” Renick said. “So, from our standpoint it’s adapting what’s known to the unknown, tying together the app with the operations.” NUEVA’s goal is to improve the health of older adults in relation to their nutrition. "We're able to have really informed conversations of how to make sure we are reaching more people. Then in addition to not just reaching people, assessing for malnutrition and providing

playing Little Red Riding Hood. The cast and crew are focused on bringing the storybook world to life in every way possible. That includes creating the set and costumes to resemble the pages of a storybook. This process has been challenging but worth it according to Angelica Hadiwibowo, the production's costume designer. The set will look as if it was ripped out of a book. “It's like making origami clothes basically,” Hadiwibowo said. Every costume is built by attaching paper onto the fabric, which has designers working up until the deadline. The production is the first step at Texas State to have costumes made entirely from scratch. Each costume was made to fit the actor or actress. Since every costume was made from scratch, the designers had an opportunity to tell a story with their designs. "'Into The Woods' is really interesting. [The costumes] are very character-driven. I played a lot with shape language,” Hadiwibowo said. Shape language is a way for costume designers to continue telling the story through their clothing. For a story like "Into The Woods," shape language was especially helpful to convey the message. In a classic storybook retelling like 'Into the Woods' the audience will find themselves watching a good versus evil narrative. Triangles are used for evil or unfriendly characters like the witch, and circles are used in designs for friendly characters. The storybook play revolves heavily around the influence of paper. The sets and costumes may appear to be paper but the actors are also required to move like paper. Paper shapes the entire production, especially the choreography. “We used paper as our influence, so we created something really sharp or

specific or something that's a little bit flowy for other moments,” Hawking said. The cast and crew continue to have a safe space to learn and grow. Supporting this production is directly supporting the young cast and crew who work hard to bring this world to life. “We are still in an educational experience, I am getting to grow as I am playing this role and getting to learn and figure out new parts of my voice that I can express,” Kaplan said. Kaplan never believed she would get a lead in this production let alone a starring role. She said that musical theater has always been her calling, and this production will help further her career. Designers, Tech crew, actors, and even directors are learning during this process. The benefit of a student-run production is that everyone is learning

"I'm not all about putting on some more paint and to go back into the field. I paint with watercolors and I have interests that aren't all just hardcore military things." VALARIE SEELYE - Air National Guard

I want to keep on going to the light.” Gamez’s dream in life is to teach art to disadvantaged children. Art has given him a newfound hope, and he wants to spread that hope. He believes that if he was able to become an artist in his 50s anyone can become one. “To finally go back to college to get my second degree in art to teach art gave me hope and gave me direction,” Gamez said. “The thought of suicide is so far gone. That's what art did to me. That I never thought I could do it, but I can do it.” Gamez sees the Veterans' Art Showcase as an important stepping stone for artists trying to get into galleries. Most galleries only want to show artists that they think will sell. If an artist is able intervention," Biediger-Friedman said. "One of the things that's really going to help with is collecting data that allows for a nutrition intervention to be possible." The app and data collection can allow for the potential delivery of medically tailored meals in the future. "Right now, medically tailored meals are not something that is wildly possible to logistically deliver, we're potentially seeing how we can tailor meals appropriately," BiedigerFriedman said. "The app just allows us to have those conversations with the people who are already doing it. So, we're not coming in and replacing them. We're coming in and helping them optimize such. I think that's really important." NUEVA has the potential of being used beyond central Texas, according to Biediger-Friedman, and the potential to change lives. “As we learn more about populations that are additionally disenfranchised, it provides additional opportunities for this particular program, to make a huge impact on our communities and help the elderly live healthy, independent lives as long as possible,” Biediger-Friedman said.

to sell work at the veterans' showcase, it increases their chance of being able to get into more galleries in the future. Brown believes that giving veteran artists a place to show their work is extremely important because it validates their art. For many artists, their work is an expression of their emotions, so having people see their art validates what they are doing and motivates them to create more. “I think it [having artwork shown] is validating,” Brown said. “Because that creative urge is universal. I think having your expression recognized really feeds the soul.”

from each other. Kaplan expresses that although she has been in previous theater productions she continues to acquire new skills. Actors and actresses are able to find new parts of their voice and sing on an entirely different level than they did before rehearsing for the production. “I would say the cast and team have shown each other a lot of grace because we are all still learning,” Hawking said. Scan the code below to purchase tickets.

VETERANS SHOWCASE When: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11 Where: San Marcos Art Center 117 N. Guadalupe St., Suite 101 The San Marcos Art Center is open Wednesday through Friday as well as Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The University Star

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 | 7


Marisa Nuñez Life & Arts Editor


'Cats Walk: Richard Prasedyoko speaks on filmmaking, creativity, inspiration By Monica Vargas Web Editor 'Cats Walk is a segment that will highlight Texas State students. Web Editor Monica Vargas will talk to a different Bobcat about school, self-love and Texas State. This week Monica interviewed Richard Prasedyoko, a theater sophomore with a concentration in film and a minor in music. He received his associate's degree in media production at South Plains College in Lubbock, Texas. His previous education was in his hometown of Jakarta, Indonesia. Currently, Richard is a part of the production crew for the Texas State Film Club. Richard's favorite quote: “Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.” - Fyodor Dostoevsky Vargas: Tell me three things you love about yourself. Richard Prasedyoko: I am extremely passionate to learn anything and everything in my passion for film and music. Prior to coming to this university, I did much self-taught learning through visuals and videos. I love my adaptability, in Indonesia, I moved to five different cities, then came across the world to come to the states to educate myself and pursue my dream in film. That takes a lot of courage to leave home and go to a brand-new country. Since I was a little youngster I have been playing music; being a multi-instrumentalist, writing my own songs and performing them. I love and appreciate that about myself. [I am] thankful I can give messages in creative ways. Guitar and drums are usually what I play most of the time, though there are more instruments I do play. My band is called Pheelo, which means fear of falling in love and feeling low. I struggled with this in my high school years, and music helped me cope. Tapping into my talents helped me to release how I felt. Vargas: What inspired you to pursue film? Richard Prasedyoko: This may sound so cliche but when I was little, I watched “Iron Man” and got inspired to build and engineer things. I decided to do that through film and music; create and build things that will help others through life. I saw many indie

Indonesian films as a child, and that stirred my creative flow even in my youth. Vargas: What made you choose Texas State for film? Richard Prasedyoko: Well, I am originally from Indonesia and where I’m from, film is a very meaningful outlet for portraying and displaying messages. I wanted to come to a university that was inclusive where I can get a hands-on apprenticeship and feel welcomed in this competitive industry. I am new to Texas in general. My family lives across the world, and thankfully one of my sisters is somewhat nearby in Lubbock, Texas. Currently, all my courses are my favorites. One in particular, my professor brings famous directors and people from the film industry who have worked in big films to meet with us on Zoom from Hollywood. I appreciate that all my courses are interesting. [I am] learning the business of film, the history of film, all of it. Vargas: How long have you been in the film industry, and have you produced any films? Richard Prasedyoko: “Langgam” is a short film I created back home in Indonesia in high school. It’s about someone who just moved into a new house and discovered there was a ghost that resides there. This ghost happens to be a traditional dancer from Indonesian dance culture. That was the first film that I fully wrote the script, directed and composed in full production. The film is interesting as it connects with where I’m from; traditions that most of us grow up with and know about. So making this film made me feel proud and [I could be] relatable to the audience.

Texas State theater sophomore Richard Prasedyoko smiles for a photo while he waits for a Texas State Film Club meeting to start, Thursday Nov. 3, 2022, at the Theatre Center. PHOTO BY MONICA VARGAS

Scan to continue reading 'Cats Walk:

Vargas: Do you have any mentors or directors in filmmaking you look up to or know personally? Richard Prasedyoko: Joko Anwar is a director that inspires me from back home. I actually had an interview with him to work with him on his sets, but the timing was not right. I ended up coming here to learn more and perfect my craft in filmmaking. The good news is, he said he is going to keep an eye on my journey in film as I grow in my talents and experiences.



8 | Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The University Star

Carson Weaver Sports Editor



Veteran players lead program By Kobe Arriaga

Sports Contributor College basketball season is here and the Texas State women’s team has begun preparing for the 202223 season after a 25-point loss in last year's conference tournament forced a second-round exit for the Bobcats. All eyes are on the 2023 Sun Belt Conference tournament in Pensacola, Florida. Last year's tournament run ultimately got cut short in the second round when the University of Louisiana took advantage of Texas State's offensive struggles. Since the loss in Pensacola, head coach Zenarae Antoine has shaped this season on the idea that the team needs to improve defensively. “If you take a look at the seasons where we’ve done our best at Texas State, it’s always come down to when we were really good defensively, so being top three in multiple categories is going to be really important for us moving forward,” Antoine said. The Bobcats finished last season at 15-14 overall with a 9-6 record in the Sun Belt and are taking advantage of the team's overall depth and experience to help improve on both sides of the ball this year. The Bobcats' main core and top six scorers return from last season, and the team will rely on veteran leadership and an experienced roster to propel Texas State women's basketball to its first conference championship appearance since 2018. Graduate forward Da’Nasia Hood, who was awarded her second Preseason First-Team All-Sun Belt selection this year, along with graduate guard Kennedy Taylor, who enters the season ranked second in program history in career assists with 572, highlight the experienced Bobcat team and look forward to providing quality leadership over the course of the regular season and conference tournament. Hood said there is never a feeling of comfort because there should always be room for improvement in herself and her teammates. “I see my role as being more of a leader vocally; trying to step up in different ways whichever the team needs,” Hood said. “Whether it be on or off the floor.” Hood led the team in scoring last season after averaging 16.9 points per game and enters this season in 10th place on the program's career scoring list with 1,412 career points. Hood believes that having a roster filled with experienced players makes it easier to adjust and grow

Texas State women's basketball team comes together for a huddle during practice,Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2022 at Strahan Arena. PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS STATE ATHLETICS

as a team. “I think our experience gives us an advantage,” Hood said. “We have a lot of veterans that are able to coach the young ones and it just helps the coaches out. It’s a lot of fine-tuning instead of teaching, and I think that allows us to get more done in a short amount of time.” Antoine also has high praise for Taylor and said that she believes Taylor is the best point guard in the Sun Belt. Taylor not only led the conference in assists last season but also ranked top four in steals with 60. This year, Taylor has the opportunity to make Bobcat history as she is only 23 assists away from passing Shelly Borton on the program's all-time assists leaderboard, a record that has held up for over 30 years. “It's tremendous to have Da’Nasia Hood back as a first-team all-conference player. You add to that Kennedy Taylor who I believe is the best point guard in our conference,” Antoine said. “I look forward to going back to Pensacola this year and doing some damage.” Taylor and Hood have played alongside each other since they were freshmen, and have developed a chemistry over the years that other teams simply cannot replicate. “It's a very special bond. We like to call ourselves the dynamic duo. It’s amazing playing with a player like Kennedy,” Hood said. “At 5’1, it’s hard to do what she does. She’s able to put everyone on our team in a

position to score.” The 2022-2023 Sun Belt Preseason Coaches Poll listed Texas State at five, and there are questions as to whether or not the Bobcats were overlooked despite having a more experienced set of players compared to other teams in the conference. Old Dominion head coach Delisha Milton-Jones made a statement about how she analyzes the coaches poll and how it can be misleading sometimes. “I don’t get too caught up in the coach’s picks and where teams fall because when you look at a team like Texas State, they’re returning a veteran team and they’re fully loaded,” Milton-Jones said at Sun Belt Conference Media Day. “They should be ranked higher than fifth.” Antoine had the same outlook when it came to this year's preseason coaches poll, and would rather focus on other aspects that can help the team be more successful. “Right now, to me, it’s just a number that’s based on the season before,” Antoine said. “I think what’s important now is that we focus on ourselves defensively and let the chips fall where they may.” Texas State women’s basketball officially tipped off on Monday, Nov. 7 in front of a home crowd against Howard Payne University. The Bobcats' next game is at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, against the Sam Houston Bearkats at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum in Huntsville, Texas.


Bobcats choke double-digit lead, winless on road By Kobe Arriaga

Sports Contributor Bobcat football (3-6, 1-4 Sun Belt Conference) remains winless on the road despite leading by three touchdowns in the first quarter against LouisianaMonroe (3-6, 2-3 Sun Belt Conference) on Nov. 5. The Warhawks retaliated by outscoring the Bobcats 17-3 after trailing, which cut the Texas State lead to seven at halftime. The Warhawks went on to outscore the Bobcats 14-6 for the remaining two quarters, and after a crucial field goal attempt on the final drive that would have reclaimed the lead for Texas State was missed, ULM walked out of Malone Stadium with a 31-30 comeback victory. Head coach Jake Spavital said forced turnovers played a large factor in creating the early lead for the Bobcats after converting on 10 points off turnovers the entire game. “We get up 21-0, and we were playing some complementary football right there. We capitalized off of turnovers,” Spavital said. “In the first half, we had an opportunity to go in with a pretty good lead and capitalize off of it, but we couldn’t run the ball on third-and-one.” Texas State started the game out strong both defensively and offensively. The defense was active, forcing sacks and turnovers which led to two touchdown passes from junior quarterback Layne Hatcher and a three-yard rushing touchdown for sophomore running back Lincoln Pare in the first quarter. The Warhawks began finding a rhythm after the first quarter concluded, making up a 75-yard drive to open up the second quarter which resulted in the first touchdown of the game for ULM. Each team traded field goals halfway through the quarter, and sophomore quarterback Chandler

Texas State junior kicker Seth Keller (6) kicks a field goal during a game against the University of LouisianaMonroe, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at Malone Stadium. The Bobcats lost 31-30. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

Rodgers recorded his second touchdown of the game off a 46-yard pass caught by senior wide receiver Tyrone Howell. The pass made it 24-17 at halftime. The Bobcats were forced to attempt a field goal again, which was good to extend the lead to 27-17 early in the third quarter. After an early mistake for the Warhawks resulted in a field goal attempt for the Bobcats, LouisianaMonroe stayed persistent and forced a turnover on downs during the next defensive possession. “We get another turnover immediately on a kickoff, and we can’t run it on fourth-and-one,” Spavital said. “That’s the right call right there to go for it [on fourth down], but we probably need to go to another play because we’re not establishing the line of

scrimmage.” Spavital made the decision to go for it on fourthand-one, resulting in an unsuccessful rush for Pare. This gave the ball back to ULM who managed to convert it into big points after Rodgers connected on a touchdown pass to Howell, making the score 27-24. After another field goal by the Bobcats increased the lead to 30-24, a 13-play drive by ULM ended in a rushing touchdown by junior running back Malik Jackson. With 10 minutes left in the game, the Warhawks had a 31-30 lead. The Bobcats managed to put together a crucial stop with less than two minutes to go in the game after senior inside linebacker Sione Tupou was able to force a fumble that got recovered by Texas State. After a series of rushes by Pare, the Bobcats were in prime field position to win the game with a field goal by junior kicker Seth Keller. After three straight field goal attempts for Keller were made in the game, the fourth, which was a potential game-winning kick, resulted in a wide kick that was no good in the final seconds of the game. Even though a field goal would've won the game for the Bobcats, Spavital defended his kicker. “We had a chance at the end, and Seth Keller misses a field goal. He’s probably one of the more consistent guys we’ve ever had in this program,” Spavital said. “That game is not lost by him. I want to make that clear.” Spavital said it was overall a tough loss, but he believes that his players will gather together and pull through to be prepared for the next game. “That’s the nature of the program we’ve created,” Spavital said. “They will show up and they will keep fighting.” Texas State will face South Alabama at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.