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TUESDAY FEBRUARY 21, 2017 VOLUME 106 ISSUE 24 www.UniversityStar.com

THE TEXAS STATE AVENGERS

Joseph Losoya, public relations senior, Big Neechi, exercise and sports science senior, Connor Tremallo, biochemistry senior, and Dan Barry pose for a photo Feb. 19 at Sewell Park. PHOTO BY ABDUL QASEM | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

By Stacee Collins Assistant Lifestyle Editor @stvcee On a day that will never be forgotten, four of San Marcos’ mightiest heroes— Frisbee Dan, the Bubble Believer, RipStik Guy and Big Neechi—came together Feb. 19 at Sewell Park to form the Texas State “Avengers.” Frisbee Dan gave the other icons tips on how to throw disks, the Bubble Believer shared his bubble-blowing skills, RipStik Guy taught the “Avengers” how

to ride his board and Big Neechi gave the group workout and social media advice. San Martians couldn’t believe their eyes. Those swimming or picnicking at the park were surprised to see all four Texas State icons together. Photos of the group spread like wildfire on social media throughout Texas. One photo of the Texas State “Avengers” gained nearly 2,000 retweets and over 3,000 likes on Twitter. Any time students visit Sewell Park, Frisbee Dan is there throwing disks with

anyone who is interested. Since 1990, Dan Barry has entertained students and locals alike with his impressive Frisbee skills and short-shorts. “I get a lot of respect from people who want to throw the Frisbee,” Barry said. “I play Frisbee because it’s one of the best physical exercises you can do to stretch and get in shape.” Barry said he tries to throw the Frisbee around 3 p.m. on weekdays and leaves around 6 p.m. Inspiring students and locals to be more productive is Barry’s goal, wheth-

er it is in physical activities or academics. “I like to be a role model because you only get good at what you do by practicing and focusing,” Barry said. “When students see me, they know I spend a tremendous amount of time involved in what I do and how I do it.” Monday mornings tend to be rough for college students, but this isn’t the case at Texas State thanks to the Bubble Believer.

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Student Government presidential candidates prepare for elections By Connor Brown Special to the Star Texas State Student Government voting elections have begun, and booths will be set up in the LBJ Student Center from now until Feb. 23.

“It is of paramount importance for everyone to feel safe on our campus. Colton and I will work with the administration to improve lighting throughout campus.” -Connor Clegg Presidential candidates Connor Clegg and Russell Boyd II have discussed their administration plans for the 20172018 school year.

Clegg, current Student Government chief of staff, is campaigning on behalf of the College Republican party. He believes that campus safety is among the top priorities of his administration. Recently partnering with “Not On My Campus,” a student-led organization dedicated to empowering students against sexual assault, Clegg and vice president candidate Colton Duncan met with legislators at the Texas Capitol in Austin to discuss sexual assault reform on college campuses. “It is of paramount importance for everyone to feel safe on our campus,” said Clegg in a Facebook video add for his campaign. “Colton and I will work with the administration to improve lighting throughout campus.” “Furthermore, we will promptly institute a more vigorous, thorough, and far-reaching safety information campaign so that all students can be aware of their resources.”

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BRIDAL SECTION PAGE 6

The President's house is located off Academy Street. PHOTO BY JAMIE DORSEY | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

President Trauth’s Spring Agenda Survey By Alison Quisenberry News Reporter @aliquisenberry With a goal to cultivate a safe academic space and preserve diversity, President Denise Trauth has developed a spring action survey to stay on top of concerns and issues surrounding the university. The year of 2016 was encumbered with controversy due to incidents surrounding the presidential elections and controversial fliers Trauth sent out a routine email Jan.

How to use BobcatMail Students can become more organized this spring as they discover the various tools the new BobcatMail has to offer. The introduction of Office 365 equips students with 18 different apps to simplify their personal and academic lives.

PAGE 5 UNIVERSITY

17 to all members of the campus community. She encouraged all members of the community to attend a few spring semester events. She also provided information on the “forwardlooking agenda” she began working on in the fall semester of 2016. In her email, Trauth states that through multiple resources, she wanted to achieve “fostering and cherishing the academically vital, safe and sacred space that we have at Texas State.”

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HEADLINES The University Star

The University Star Bri Watkins Headlines Editor @briwatkins17

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

RESTAURANT

Gumby’s loses battle for liquor license

Editor-in-Chief...............................Emily Sharp, stareditor@txstate.edu News Editor.......................................Bri Watkins, starnews@txstate.edu Sports Editor................................Lisette Lopez, starsports@txstate.edu Lifestyle Editor...................Denise Cervantes, starlifestyle@txstate.edu Opinions Editor......................Mikala Everett, staropinion@txstate.edu Multimedia Editor...............Lara Dietrich, starmultimedia@txstate.edu Copy Desk Chief..................Claire Abshier, starcopychief@txstate.edu Design Editor............................Vivian Medina, stardesign@txstate.edu Engagement Editor...................Stacee Collins, starpromo@txstate.edu Director of Media Sales.......Folee Hall, folee.hall@universitystar.com Account Executive..Anthony Woods, anthony.woods@universitystar.com Account Executive...Christina Castro, christina.castro@universitystar.com Account Executive....Kassidy Watson, kassidy.watson@universitystar.com Marketing Manager.........Britney Cox, britney.cox@universitystar.com Sales Manager....Marisa Campbell, marisa.campbell@universitystar.com Media Specialist..............................Dillan Thomson, djt48@txstate.edu Advertising Coordinator..................A.J. Arreguin, aa1530@txstate.edu Publications Coordinator.........................Linda Allen, la06@txstate.edu Publications Director......................Richard Parker, rlp119@txstate.edu

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The popular chain, Gumby’s Pizza Feb. 15, recently announced possible expansion for a new location. PHOTO BY JENNIFER CHACON | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

By Jonathan Gonzalez News reporter @Jonny_boy_01 The San Marcos City Council denied an application for Gumby’s to retain a Conditional Use Permit for the sale of mixed alcohol beverages, putting to rest an ongoing battle between Gumby’s Pizza and members and business owners of the community. The alcohol permit would have been an addition to Gumby’s new location on 312 West Hopkins Street, located across from Tantra Coffeehouse. On Oct. 24, 2016, Gumby’s applied for a Conditional Use Permit for the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption. The request was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission Jan. 10, which facilitated criticism in the community. Immediately following the P&Z approval of the permit, Cathy Dillon, co-owner of Crystal River Inn, began a petition in demand that the city council reconsider the consequences of consuming alcohol at the downtown business. “In the right location, there’s nothing wrong with Gumby’s request to have a bar, but in this location there is a problem,” Dillon said. “Hopkins Street is in danger of becoming an entertainment district.” Multiple community members also felt the permit was granted without reviewing pertinent information, such as

business location and the effects on surrounding occupants. “I’m opposed to this Conditional Use Permit and any future CUPs, until a firm and legal buffer zone is implemented to include business, professional and residential areas. I’m not opposed to Gumby’s as a business. It’s a municipal issue,” said Kathy Morris. San Marcos resident. Residents voiced concerns at the Feb. 7 city council meeting. Gumby’s close proximity to residential and historic areas was a big issue to Kathy Morris, who did not wish to have the responsibility of dealing with “the lingering odor of stale alcohol and urine” left behind. However, not all those gathered at the city council meeting were against the permit. Some residents held signs that read “I Love Gumby’s” to show support for the local business. “To pretend that we have some sort of alternative economy that isn’t revolving around (the restaurant industry) in the downtown area would be us lying to ourselves,” said Zach Halfin Marcos resident in support of Gumby’s. “These guys are investing in a building that, as far as I know, has been abandoned for the last five years. They are not trying to open a bar, but a restaurant.” Forrest Higdon, co-owner of Gumby’s, was also present at the city council meeting to make a brief presentation about the outline of their plan, as well as make it clear that CUPs have

already been granted to surrounding businesses. “Late night restaurants are not new to this area,” Higdon said, in his presentation to the council. “Three locations to the west of our location on 312 West Hopkins location already have (CUPs) to serve alcohol, including Zelick’s and Palmer’s.” Higdon also stated that Gumby’s first priority was in the restaurant business, not alcohol sales. “We started in San Marcos seven years ago as a delivery/take-out only location, expanded to a dining room where we offer a buffet, and we are doing this to increase our business capacities for delivery,” Higdon said. “The permit we’re requesting limits our sales of alcohol to less than 50 percent of our gross sales.” After more than an hour of public comments, the application for the alcohol permit was overturned with a vote of 5-2 by the city council. However, Higdon said that the decision will not affect the move to the new location. “We’re going to have to obviously circle back and figure out how to continue on,” Higdon said. “We had originally intended to open by July. I think we’re still aiming for that.” Higdon said he does not see the business reapplying for the conditional permit in the future, and will instead, choose to focus on opening their new location without the bar.

BUSINESS

Redbud Roasters taken over by local coffee shop entrepreneur By Andrew Turner News Reporter @AndrewTurner27 Elizabeth Rios, owner of Jo on the Go and Jo’s Cafe, has taken over the Redbud Roasters shop located on South LBJ Drive. Rios’ shops join over 15 other San Marcos coffee hubs, which offer a means for Texas State students and residents to grab a cup of joe, eat, work and socialize. Rios said she was inspired to go into the coffee business about 19 years ago after watching sleepy students mosey

to be a business of some kind. Whether it was going to be a liquor store, auto parts, coffee or whatever, I knew that that’s where I was headed to.” Rios’ newest venture, Redbud Roasters, has been located at 169 S LBJ Dr. since 2010. The business was previously owned by Austin and Mary Van Zant, who served coffee that was roasted inhouse. Much of the coffee brewed was of South American origin, while tamales and bakery items were on the food menu. Rios kept all of these elements of Redbud Roasters. “The coffee business is starting to

“The coffee business is starting to shift a little bit. People are more interested in pour-overs and Frenchpresses and different varieties of how you make your coffees." -Elizabeth Rios around with their cups in hand. She wanted to give them more. “We started off with little things at Jo on the Go,” Rios said. “When we got Jo’s Cafe, we (wanted to) give them something more.” Before Rios dove into the world of coffee, she lived on the east coast and worked in offices. She later moved to Austin, hoping to take a break from her work while searching for her next step. “I knew I wanted to do something— I just didn’t know what it was going to be,” Rios said. “I just knew it was going

shift a little bit,” Rios said. “People are more interested in pour-overs and French-presses and different varieties of how you make your coffees. Over here at Redbud, there’s kind of this new coffee world that people are venturing into and figuring how to drink coffee differently.” Jessie Plotts, baker for Jo on the Go and Jo’s Coffee, has worked with Rios for a few months. She said she will make specialty items for the Redbud Roasters location. “There are a lot of specialty things

that are kind of in the works right now,” Plotts said. “That’s what I like the most—it’s cold brew coffee.” According to researchers at Bloomberg News, young consumers are increasing their daily consumption enough to make up for a decline in older drinkers. Rios’ decision to expand her coffee business in a college town was a good one. “I probably drink a 12-ounce coffee four or five times a week,” said Rachel Hendrickson, interdisciplinary studies

senior. “I started drinking coffee when I was seventeen. It started off with sugar drinks and then it moved to espresso.” Hendrickson said she normally drinks coffee from her brewer at home, but when given the chance, she enjoys exploring coffee shops around San Marcos.


The University Star

HEADLINES

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 3 Bri Watkins Headlines Editor @briwatkins17

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

POLICY

FROM FRONT POLITICS

History shows parallels with present day policy By Jonathan Gonzalez News Reporter @Jonny_boy_01 Parallels of present day immigration controversies echoed in a presentation Feb. 15 on Chinese immigrants by Dr. Andrew Urban, “Servants and Refugees: The 1916-17 Punitive Expedition and its Labor Histories.” Part of a series of discussions titled, “The Mexican Revolution on the U.S. Border,” Rutgers University Assistant Professor Dr. Urban was one of two speakers along with Raul Ramos, an associate professor at the University of Houston, to speak. Urban’s study focused on the aftermath of the failed 1916-1917 Punitive

“We tend to forget that as the U.S.-Mexico border solidified as a kind of space of borderlands that need to be policed, it’s not Mexican immigrants that are the initial concern of the officials policing and patrolling the space. It’s Chinese immigrants." -Dr. Andrew Urban Expedition by the U.S. government to enter into Mexico to pursue infamous revolutionary Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution. As the expedition retreated back to the U.S., a group of over 524 Chinese immigrants residing in Mexico that helped throughout the expedition and sought asylum in the U.S. out of fear for backlash against their actions, were the subject of controversy. “Their situation provoked a contentious and protracted debate as to whether they deserved asylum, and if so, what form asylum would take,” Dr. Urban said. “Before 1875, there were no distinctions between immigrants and refugees at all.” At the time, a ban on Chinese immigration was in place in the United States under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, one of the first forms of im-

migration policy instituted by the U.S. government. However, thanks to their service to the U.S. military expedition, these immigrants were granted asylum, despite the immigration ban. “We tend to forget that as the U.S.Mexico border solidified as a kind of space of borderlands that need to be policed, it’s not Mexican immigrants that are the initial concern of the officials policing and patrolling the space. It’s Chinese immigrants,” Dr. Urban said. According to Dr. Urban, this history of immigration regulation by the U.S. persisted throughout the late-19th and early-20th century quotas against Armenian, Irish and Jewish refugees. But the exception granted by the U.S. government upon the Pershing’s 524 Chinese refugees poses the question as to how to government qualifies the worthiness of immigrants and refugees entering the country. “In the United States, there’s been a long tradition befitting our country’s conception of citizenship in which both manhood and fitness for selfgovernance was proven on the battlefield,” Dr. Urban said. “For black men, Chinese men and other races of color, however, the capacity in which they were allowed to demonstrate their manhood was itself a contentious matter.” In the case of Pershing’s Chinese refugees, it was through their service to the Punitive Expedition that validated their worth to be admitted into the U.S. Dr. Urban pointed out the parallels of this policy to the current state of affairs with countries in the Middle East that have seen U.S. occupation. “Since 2007, refugees from Iraq have been given preference as a ‘priority population’ within the annual quota slots allotted to refugees. In addition, another 500 special visas have been set aside each year to Iraqi translators that worked with U.S. forces,” Dr. Urban said. This course of action threatens to continue a discourse of the “good immigrant,” and perpetuating a stigma against those considered “bad” immigrants according to Dr. Urban, which he believes are based on notions of patriotism and martial citizenship. “The Trump administration’s recently turned down Muslim travel ban is parallel to this discussion in a way that cannot be ignored,” Dr. Urban said. “I do not think that helping U.S imperialism abroad should be the most important prerequisite for proving one’s humanity and worth for asylum.”

The LBJ statue greets students on their way to class. PHOTO COURTESY OF CONNOR BROWN

Along with campus safety, conservation of the San Marcos River is another priority of the Clegg-Duncan campaign. “One of the greatest things about being a resident of San Marcos is the quick and easy access to a fun day floating the river,” said Clegg on his Facebook page. “Our campaign will work to #BringBobcatsTogether around a shared effort in expanding conservation efforts as well as our shared understanding of the ways our actions affect the environment.” Clegg and Duncan stated that they would work with organizations like the Geography Organizations Council to “expand river responsibility on campus and throughout the community.” Boyd, NAACP member and current president of the Student Organizations Council campaigning on behalf of the College Democrat party, believes student involvement is a vital part of his administration’s priority. “There is a strong need to get more students involved,” said Boyd in response to a public Q&A during the second Student-Body Presidential Debate Feb. 13, The University Star reported. “Student Government at the college level is a mini representa-

tion of the world beyond college. I want students to be engaged in the community and the government beyond college.” In response to several white supremacist fliers circulating around campus in recent months, Boyd and vice president candidate Emari Shelvin want to ensure students that the Boyd-Shelvin administration takes a strong stance against racial insensitivity. “We want to ensure that bobcats are engaging in healthy discourse that creates the vulnerability needed for growth,” Boyd said in an email response. “We hope that bobcats will understand that we have the right to freedom of speech, however, with that right we should be respectful of our fellow bobcats and be cognizant that certain rhetoric and actions can be divisive.” Voting will take place Feb. 20-23 on the second floor of the LBJ student center across from the Wells Fargo. Students can also vote online at https://mako.sa.txstate.edu/Votes. Students who wish to know more about the candidates can find them on Facebook or visit their websites at www.boyd-shelvin2017.com and www.cleggduncan.com.

FROM FRONT UNIVERSITY dent body, and he is eager to see what adjustments are made in light of the survey. The survey tool being used to gather information on the spring agenda is similar to the one used to gather student input and opinion on Campus Carry legislation. Dr. Brittain said the survey model was useful in voicing concerns about Campus Carry and is still available for input. Bryson Williams, studio art senior, said he believes that President Trauth does her job and she does it well, and that she will take the survey into account. Williams also said that he believes that many of the student’s wishes are out of reach because of unseen variables and that this needs to be understood by the community. In her email, President Trauth wrote she wants to act as the community’s “impartial guardian” by listening to the voices of the community through the spring agenda survey.

President Denise Trauth created a survey asking students to share suggestions on how to maintain campus environment. PHOTO BY JAMIE DORSEY | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

In order to ensure every voice is heard, the survey offers suggestions from all members of the university to partake in. Engagers can submit suggestions to Trauth on how to create or maintain a diverse and safe environment on campus. When using an open-link survey model, anyone who accesses the survey through the public Texas State website can submit suggestions. In a statement, Dr. Vicki Brittain, special assistant to President Trauth and political science professor, said many of the suggested events in the original

e-mail have already occurred and made the intended impact, which offers hope for success of the forward-looking agenda and open-link survey. According to Brittain, Student Government handed out Bobcats United wristbands and We Are Bobcat messages on the quad which increased value and respect in community members. The Martin Luther King Celebration events and Interrogating Violence Conversation series were successful in encouraging diversity and inclusion. They have also provided public forums for

civil dialogue on the subject. Lastly, the creation of the #TXSTUnited hashtag shows Bobcats are united through shared values and actions. Andrew Homann, student body president of Texas State, said that he thinks the Bobcats United wristbands were successful, but that it’s still a growing initiative. He says the plans for these wristbands were to start dialogue between the students over the Bobcats United program. Homann said that he believes President Trauth is very receptive of the stu-


4 | Tuesday, February 21, 2017

THE PULSE

The University Star Denise Cervantes Lifestyle Editor @cervantesdenise

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

FROM FRONT STUDENT LIFE Joseph Losoya, public relations senior, began blowing bubbles and shouting words of encouragement on the Quad in fall 2015. Since then, he has started a Bubble Believer club that spreads positive vibes throughout campus. One of the most rewarding aspects of cheering up Bobcats is the way they have responded to his movement, Losoya said. During finals week, a few students told him he saved their lives. “I want to make everyone feel more connected to Texas State and make it a more positive environment,” Losoya said. “I want to make the university more unique, where it feels like more than just a college.” Being a local celebrity and gaining so much attention from students has been an eye-opener for Losoya because he didn’t initially believe bubbles could do so much. “I take a big responsibility to make sure I represent Texas State right,” Losoya said. One of the Bubble Believer’s favorite experiences at Texas State was blowing bubbles at the football game against the University of Houston. The Bobcats were losing, and he noticed the student section wasn’t enthusiastic. As soon as he started blowing bubbles, the crowd went wild. “I was happy to be that spark, and I couldn’t believe how crazy the stands got,” Losoya said. “I actually got the stands of a college game pretty wild.

To create that excitement and be a part of their college experience was really amazing.” Walking up and down the Alkek Library stairs and throughout the hills on campus can be tough—unless you’re the RipStik Guy. Otherwise known as Connor Tremallo, biochemistry senior, the RipStik Guy can be seen zooming through campus on his board. He brings his board in order to quickly get from class to class. “If someone had told me over 30,000 people in a single town would know who I am, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Tremallo said. Being a small town celebrity is weird for Tremallo, but he said it has been rewarding to meet so many people who know him as the RipStik Guy. He hopes to show students that you can be kind to others whether you know them or not. Getting asked to take pictures with random students is one of the most surprising things that has happened to him so far, Tremallo said. “I get looks from people and I can see them whispering about me,” Tremallo said. “So many times, I’ve seen somebody pull a phone out and point it in my direction. It’s kind of surreal and not what I expected.” Being accepted and known as the RipStik Guy has allowed Tremallo to be himself on campus. “It’s really instilled a confidence in me,” Tremallo said. “With everyone’s

Ripstick Guy, Bubble Believer, Frisbee Dan and Big Neechi, pose for a photo Feb. 19 at Sewell Park. PHOTO BY ABDUL QASEM | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

support, it’s shown me that I can be unique.” Tremallo said he hopes the boost of confidence he gets from being the RipStik Guy can transfer over to the students who see him throughout campus. Many Texas State students hope to get noticed on social media from Big Neechi—who has over 450,000 Twitter followers. He is a Texas State student who promotes events and his fitness routines. “It’s a blessing,” Big Neechi said. “There’s a lot of prestigious people at Texas State and a majority of them

know who I am.” Big Neechi said he wants to spread positivity to students through his fitness routines. “I hope to motivate and influence people to better their health,” Big Neechi said. “People contact me telling me I made them want to workout, and I feel like that is going to help them focus on and live by improving themselves.” Eventually with an even bigger platform, Big Neechi wants to honor Texas State University and let people know about how welcoming and friendly the people are.

DISABILITES

What students with wheelchairs experience on campus By Amanda Heileman Lifestyle Reporter @busybeeamanda Texas State is known for its scenery because it resides in the middle of hill country. However, students with disabilities may experience a different campus. Joshua Lynch, applied sociology senior, said using a ramp filled with people can be time consuming. “It can be frustrating if I’m in a hurry,” Lynch said. “I understand that people don’t think they will encounter someone in a wheelchair when they’re walking down the ramp, so I don’t perceive that as if they were doing it on purpose or for selfish reasons.” Lynch said the ramps can be out of the way or inconveniently designed.Lee Bryant, recreational administration senior, believes the ramps can be far but manages to get around campus in his wheelchair. Sometimes people push his chair. “Going downhill is awesome; the uphill ramps are just really difficult,” Bryant said. “I’m fine. I have a special device that helps me go up ramps; it just takes me a while to get to class.” Bryant said it isn’t so bad when someone pushes his wheelchair.“I like taking my time,” Bryant said. “I line up my

Accessible walkways can be found throughout campus for students with disabilities. PHOTO BY NATHALIE COHETERO | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

schedule to where I get as much time in between classes as I can, and if I ever go over to Jowers, I enjoy the ride.” Bryant said the Office of Disability Services has been a huge help. “The ODS does a really good job of getting us whatever we need,” Bryant said. Gerardo Altamirano, accessibility services coordinator, said the ODS primarily assists students with academic accommodations and ensuring students have access to university-sponsored

events and programs. “Sometimes the door button doesn’t work,” Bryant said. “It’s off and on, but sometimes it doesn’t work outside Alkek and sometimes over at Centennial Hall.” If this happens, students can contact ODS or maintenance. “Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with our office to receive services that range from academic services in the classroom and interpreters for events,” Altamirano. The ODS also offers assistance to

students with limited mobility. “We approve accommodations for individuals who have temporary ambulatory disabilities and have difficulty moving around campus,” Altamirano said. “Let’s say a student has too much fun over spring break and breaks their leg. Then our Cats on the Go service will help that student get to and from class.” ODS helps students in wheel chairs by educating them about special routes throughout campus for people with disabilities. “Students can use ramps to help them get around the unforgivable hills on campus,” Altamirano said. Support groups are also available for students with and without disabilities. ODS works in partnership with the counseling center, and they offer various support groups for students, Altamirano said. “We have a career exploration group for students with or without disabilities who have trouble with interpersonal skills and employment-seeking skills,” Altamirano said. The group is called Bobcat Crew: creating readiness and employability for work, but that is not the only beneficial group for students. Students with disabilities can find more information at the ODS website www.ods.txstate.edu or by calling 512245-3451.

FASHION

What’s trending this rodeo season past couple of seasons. “Kendra Scott jewelry is seen everywhere right now,” Arteaga said. “For example, I have seen a lot of girls wear the long necklaces with big pendants from that brand.” Arteaga said Turquoise jewelry is still commonly used, but more people are opting for different colors and simpler looks. Norma Diaz, bilingual education senior, said Kendra Scott is definitely one of the top jeweler preferences among students. “I have seen a lot of girls not only styling the Kendra Scott necklaces, but also the drop earrings,” Diaz said.

Keep it casual With the rodeo coming to Central Texas, the cowboy boot trend is back on the rise. PHOTO BY JENNIFER CHACON | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

By Paola Esquivel-Oliveros Lifestyle Reporter @paolaoliveros With winter coming to an end, spring is on its way with rodeo season in tow. Rodeo fashion has evolved throughout the years from big belts and bling to bell-bottom jeans. Here are a few tips to stay on track with this season’s trends.

Kicking it off right Cowboy boots will always have their place in the rodeo scene, but booties are taking the spotlight this year. Kasandra Arteaga, fashion merchandising junior, said she is seeing more

people with booties rather than Cowboy boots. “Booties are much more versatile, not that cowboy boots aren’t, but more people already own booties which makes it easier to style with anything,” Arteaga said. Arteaga said cowboy boots can be very expensive, so pairing booties with an outfit is cheaper.

Jewelry Turquoise jewelry, a Native American accessory, has been the go-to for many years, but there has been a style change in the recent rodeo seasons. Kendra Scott, an Austin native jeweler, has been trending for the rodeo the

Recent rodeo trends are moving away from big bling and focusing on smaller, delicate details to create a casual look. “Rodeo looks have become more laid-back and casual,” Arteaga said. “I have seen girls wear mostly simple dresses with boots.” Ana Deloza, dance junior, said less can be more. “I think that western fashion has transitioned into a lot simpler detailing,” Deloza said. The detailing in this area of fashion uses a lot of white lace, fringe and Native American inspired designs.

Leave the big belts at home Double buckle belts have become a staple accessory for many fashion lovers in and outside the rodeo scene. “I’ve seen a lot of skinny double buckle belts,” Arteaga said. “People

aren’t using the big thick ones as much anymore.” Buckle designs are also experiencing a change. “The design on the buckles are no longer stacked with bling on top of bling,” Diaz said. “The popular design on buckles right now is engraved detailing.”

Jeans

Flared jeans have been a primary staple piece of clothing to complete the full cowboy or cowgirl look. When skinny jeans hit the style scene, they almost overtook the rodeo style. However, flared jeans are making a comeback this year. “I have been seeing several people style the flared jeans,” Arteaga said. “They are actually coming back, but either way skinny jeans will always be there.”


The University Star

THE PULSE

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 5 Denise Cervantes Lifestyle Editor @cervantesdenise

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

FROM FRONT UNIVERSITY

Organizing your life with the new BobcatMail By Dalia Moreno Lifestyle Reporter @dalyazmor Students can become more organized this spring as they discover the various tools the new BobcatMail has to offer. The introduction of Office 365 equips students with 18 different apps to simplify their personal and academic lives.

Use Planner to coordinate group projects Students can use Planner to split tasks between group members. Open Planner from the drop-down app list and click the “New Plan” option on the left hand side of the screen. To create a to-do list, simply click on the blue plus sign. Students can type in the task, set a due date and assign the task to a group member. All team members are able to view and edit task lists. When a specific task is assigned to a member, it will be added to his or her "My Tasks" tab, where the member can provide updates of their progress and check off the task once completed. Visual learners can benefit from Planner’s "Charts" option, which uses graphs to track the group's progress. The team is also able to share notes through the "Notebook" tab, which links to Microsoft OneNote.

Use Word, Excel and PowerPoint online Another feature in the new BobcatMail is the ability to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint online. Since the new email system is based on Cloud, students are able to begin their work on one device and finish on another.

Caronina Reyes, exercise and sports science freshman, said the new Excel feature has been very helpful. "Due to my major, we have to create a lot of graphs and scientific data,” Reyes said, “Since the new mail has Excel in it, it’s easy for me to save my work and just print it out in the library.” Laura Arsto, biology sophomore, said she looks forward to sharing access with other students in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. “I’ll probably mess around with the (features similar to Google Docs) for my lab reports for physics,” Arsto said. “Because we all have to write a lab report together, I think all of us having access to it will make it easier.”

Scheduling with Calendar The Calendar in Office 365 is similar to other online calendars. Students are able to share their calendars by sending an invitation through the Calendar app. Students have the option to create multiple calendars or create a new calendar dedicated to their organization or team project. The “Add Calendar” feature at the top of the screen allows users to search different calendars through Bing to add events to their calendar. For example, game schedules for the NBA, NFL and MLB can be integrated. Users can also add calendars from file or the internet.

Use OneNote as an online journal to take notes in class OneNote allows users to toggle different notebooks for each of their classes and create subpages for different chapters. OneNote users can copy a fact found

The switch to the Microsoft Outlook server has both improved and streamlined the Texas State email experience. PHOTO BY MELISSA UECKERT | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

online and it will appear with the direct link when pasted onto OneNote. Some features like doodling are only available through the desktop version, which can be downloaded for free through the Apple or Microsoft store.

Tell better stories with Sway Sway is a storytelling tool that is useful for presentations. Users can set a theme for a more coherent presentation and view it through different devices. The "Storyline" format makes it simple to organize information. Users start with a “card”—the equivalent of PowerPoint’s “slide.” Users are able to add pictures, text, links, videos and even audio to each card in order to group information. Users can upload their own content and have the option to pull content from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, OneDrive and Bing.

Sync your new BobcatMail on your mobile device Although many additions have been made, one old feature has not transferred smoothly. Chris Hoerster, public administration Masters student, said he missed an email notifying him of a cancelled class when Outlook did not forward the email to his personal inbox. “I drove from south Austin to Round Rock because I missed an email,” Hoerster said. “I’ve been forwarding my email since 2010 because I have jobs and everything, so I forward everything to one email for management.” Instructions on how to set-up email for Android and iPhone devices are available online. Videos will be added to www.txstate.edu/office365 to help students and staff members learn how to manage the different apps.

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6 | Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The University Star

BRIDAL

Denise Cervantes Lifestyle Editor @cervantesdenise

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

BRIDAL

Things to keep in mind when planning a wedding in college By Denise Cervantes Lifestyle Editor @cervantesdenise Walking down the aisle shouldn’t break your bank. Make your big day memorable for the right reasons and not the debt it comes with. The average amount newly weds spend on a wedding in the United States is $26,645, according to costofwedding. com. Use these tips to help be resourceful for your wedding day.

Ask for Help College campuses come with a plethora of resources and unique student personalities. Look to fellow Bobcats to help make the wedding of your dreams come true. Film and photography can be pricey for weddings. Ask friends and peers if they know any local student photographers or videographers to help capture

the big moment. If you’re in need of entertainment, look around for local artists and musicians.

Venue Consider hosting the reception and wedding in the same location, this way you won’t have to pay for separate venue locations. Having the wedding on a weeknight can help save you money. Saturdays are the most popular day to get married, according to U.S. News. By looking at other days of the week you may receive a discounted price at the venue. There is also the option of ditching the venue all-together and host a backyard wedding.

DIY Don’t spend unnecessary money on decorations you can make from the

comfort of your own home. Fresh flowers can be costly, consider using fake flowers for centerpieces and fresh flowers only for the reception. Nearly 2,000 dollars can be spent on flowers and decorations, according to Statistic Brain. For a list of DIY ideas, visit Buzzfeed.

Don’t Buy New While a brides’ dress may be the centerpiece of the night, don’t spend the majority of your budget on something you’ll only wear one day. Multiple brides regretted spending too much money on their wedding dresses, according to CNN. Look to second-hand stores and online for dresses being sold by former brides. After all, the dress was only used once.

Something else to keep in mind, look for white dresses in other places besides bridal stores. Weddings bring in revenue for a lot of businesses, don’t fall into the trap by purchasing an overpriced dress when you can find a dress at a local department store.

Honeymoon at Home There’s no reason to leave home for the wedding. Chances are you haven’t explored every inch of the state you’re living in. Look for local getaways in your hometown or plan a road trip to a city you’ve never been to before in your state. If you and your significant other are from different places, take each other to your home roots and explore the city your loved one grew up in.

BRIDAL

High school sweethearts celebrate wedding day By Bri Watkins News Editor @briwatkins17 February has been a special month for Texas State student Caleb North, who married his high school sweetheart, Mariah Owen, on the 9th. Caleb and Mariah North’s journey began at Jack C. Hays High School, where they first met. They remained friends for five months until their romantic affection cultivated into a relationship. They dated for a nearly a year and a half until Caleb proposed to Mariah on his birthday, Nov. 12. Caleb and Mariah’s story is unique because they shared their first kiss on the alter in front of their loved ones. “When I tell most people this, their immediate reaction is disbelief,” Mariah said. “Even though it was hard to not kiss him during our dating and engaged relationship, it was completely worth the wait. Waiting for our kiss made me fall in love with him even more because he respected that boundary we created for ourselves.” Mariah said she enjoyed every second of her wedding—from the singing and dancing to the sparkling cider toasts. The two moments most dear to her were walking down the aisle toward Caleb and hearing his vows. As Caleb watched Mariah approach

the alter, he felt an overwhelming rush of joy. “It took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes,” he said. Although the couple received an amount of criticism, including restaurant bussers at the bachelor’s party, Mariah and Caleb knew they were making the right decision by getting married. “We knew that we wanted to marry each other. We didn’t see a point in waiting until we were older,” Mariah said. “I wanted to get my life started with him. I wanted to see the world with him, and I didn’t want to wait much longer than necessary. The couple values a foundation centered around Jesus Christ, and intends to display a marriage that represents the savior’s love. “I believe that marriage was created by God to show the relationship between Him and the love He has for His church,” Mariah said. “I truly hope that others see Jesus’ love through our love for each other.” The couple appreciated the love demonstrated in their parents’ marriages. Mariah and Caleb hope to portray the same view of marriage to others. Fifty years down the road, Mariah said she hopes to “love Caleb with everything in (her) and never get used to waking up next to him, kissing him or spending time with him.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF RAY MAINS PHOTOGRAPHY

Caleb wants to “figure out ways to keep the spark, always fan the flame, seek to outdo each other in kindness and service, but above all else, keep Jesus at the center.” Mariah said she is looking forward to living a life of laughter with Caleb and

growing together through marriage as well as friendship. “I want to love Caleb so much deeper at 50 than I do at 20,” Mariah said. “I want the butterflies he gives me now to be bigger and more prominent at 50.”

ing the complete repeal of the Clean Power Plan. While this last portion may be a hard pill to swallow for some, it is important to recognize that progress is happening. This proposed legislation is proof that the issue of climate change is no longer a partisan issue.

warming is happening” Unfortunately, research conducted by Yale University shows that only 9% of Americans correctly understand that there is a scientific consensus around human-caused climate change. It is our duty as an institution of higher learning to advocate for policy-making based on sound, scientific research. Our generation must be the generation to put an end to humancaused climate change.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR By Sarah Durham Recently the Climate Leadership Council along with a group of prominent Republicans unveiled a carbon fee and dividend plan in hopes of reducing the impacts of global warming. The proposed legislation would place a tax on carbon at the source of oil extraction or importation. The basic idea is to disincentive fossil fuels while at the same time incentivize renewable sources of

energy. The tax would start low and rise slowly to avoid shocking the economy. This gradual rise in price would also make the future market much more predictable so that energy companies could adjust accordingly. While the cost would get passed on to the consumer, all the revenue would be returned to the people through a dividend. What makes this proposed legislation different from other similar proposals is the drastic reduction of EPA regulations, includ-

Current research conducted by NASA reveals that “97 percent of climate scientists are convinced, based upon the evidence, that human-caused global


The University Star

OPINIONS

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 7 Mikala Everett Opinions Editor @mikala_maquella

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

RACE

MEDIA

Don’t limit black history to a month America’s

watchdog needs to stop sleeping on the job

By John Lee Opinions Columnist @ leeeeyonce The words Black History Month usually bring a nostalgic image to my mind. It reminds me of elementary school, when I learned about the significant contributions black citizens made: Rosa Parks’ impact on the Civil Rights Movement, George Washington Carver’s experiments and, of course, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for nonviolence. At that age, most of us happily accepted and enjoyed Black History Month. It was a time to celebrate black excellence and recognize their contributions to the world. However, as I got older, I came to understand that black history, or black excellence should not be contained in the shortest month of the year. To put it simply, black history is American history and should be taught more comprehensively year-round. Negro History Week, as it was called at the time, was started in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a Harvardeducated historian. Woodson saw the underrepresentation of African Americans being taught in school, and made it his mission to change history. He chose the month of February to pay respects to Fredrick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, both of whom were important figures in black—American—history. The week of “negro history,” eventually became Black History Month in 1976. What Woodson did not perceive, is that by setting up the foundation for Black History Month, he also set up a system in which black history is only celebrated in February. At the lower grade level, teaching about Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is important and introduces the idea that not all citizens were equal at one point in history. Yet, as they grow older, students are taught about the same leaders repeatedly, instead of the many black Americans that have made significant and numerous contributions to society.Evidence has shown that many students do not

By May Olvera Opinions Columnist @yungfollowill

ILLUSTRATION BY ISRAEL GONZALEZ

understand some of the most important historical actions that have taken place in the United States. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress U.S. History Exam, out of the 12,000 12th grade students tested, 73 percent of students were unable to come up with an appropriate response when asked about “separate education facilities (being) inherently unequal.” The answer pertaining to the Brown V. Board of Education is quite possibly one of the most important Supreme Court cases to date. Another report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization, shows that 35 states receive an F grade for only teaching “20 percent of the recommended content” concerning civil rights. Fifteen of these states completely ignore civil

rights all together. When discussing the state that America is in when looking at black history, one month is absolutely not enough. Black history is important because it is American history and the only way to avoid repeating history is to learn from it. The history of slavery, segregation, civil rights, and oppression needs to be taught. Since students are not learning about inequality and injustice, they are bound to repeat it. It is vital that students learn about Claudette Colvin, Marsha P. Johnson, Bessie Coleman, Robert Smalls and other forgotten black iconic figures, and not limit black history to just a month to understand the impact black people have made on all of our lives. -John Lee is a marketing freshman

INTERNET

Crossing the red tape of cyber warfare

ILLUSTRATION BY JUAN CARLOS CAMPOS

By Jakob Rodriguez Opinions Columnist @JakobRyRod With the rise of cyber attacks, modern conflicts are essentially borderless. Surveillance between world powers has too often blurred the lines of cyberwarfare. As technology continues to advance, there is an inherent need to establish rules for this new age of espionage and warfare. U.S. government and world officials need to realize a “Cyber Geneva Convention” needs to be drafted to establish online boundaries on interactions between countries. Cyber security was a mainstay in the 2016 presidential election cycle with private email servers, talk of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions being hacked and the overall election being influenced by Russia in some way. Donald Trump, presidential nominee at the time, tweeted: “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why

did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” Trump stated that while he did not know who hacked the DNC, it could have been Russia, China, a 14-year-old or someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. This statement, while comical, is not necessarily wrong. However, cyber warfare and large scale hacks are not typically the work of a 400-pound 14-year-old. They are the work of governments and sophisticated, trained teams. The United States, Russia, China and other world powers have been keeping tabs on one another for years. Cyber terrorists and internet trolls are completely indistinguishable online. The continued advancement of both technology and ways to manipulate it makes it increasingly difficult to crack down on hackers trying to steal information—whether it is a government official or a Texas State student. Computer hacks and hackers have

only continued to advance. Even Texas State fell victim to a campuswide phishing attack, where students were baited into providing information to an unofficial source earlier this semester. Government officials are attempting to prevent a “cyber-Pearl Harbor,” which would take the nation by surprise and devastate information from Tommy down the street to the President of the United States himself. An attack on American servers is bound to happen if we do not step up our informational technology game. “A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack on 9/11,” said Leon Panetta, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, according to the NATO Review. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s “Worldwide Threat Assessment” strategic outlook states: “The consequences of innovation and increased reliance on information technology in the next few years on both our society’s way of life in general and how we in the Intelligence Community specifically perform our mission will probably be far greater in scope and impact than ever.” We are living in a different age than most politicians grew up in. Everything they say, do and support is cataloged online. Lack of familiarization among government officials in regards to how the internet works is evident in the recent congressional record. Politicians say internet when they mean web. However, the internet is the structural underpinning of the web, which is what you see while clicking around online. This lack of familiarization adds to the chaos of a potential cyberattack. We have nuclear warheads that are still controlled by floppy disks. This and numerous breaches in information has created the need for around-the-clock innovation and intervention. It appears that in order to stop the hackers of tomorrow, we need help from the hackers and inventors of today.

-Jakob R. Rodriguez is journalism Freshman

Formal journalism has strayed from what it should be and has allowed for citizen journalists to pick up the baton of true reporting. Now, more than ever, it is vital for journalists to pick up their slack, drop their appeals to the government and serve the American citizens. The current state of journalism requires a look at recent history and, more specifically, the conflict in Iraq. The United States’ involvement in the Middle East has led to the amplification of news media and to the birth of “embedded journalism.” The term “embedded journalism” first arose during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It refers to news reporters who follow military units during armed conflicts giving them an inside-view of war. Although this may sound beneficial, the concept is quite problematic because it allows a country’s military to dictate what can and cannot be reported to the rest of the world, effectively turning it into state propaganda masked as objective news. According John Pilger, Dan Rather, one of America’s most prominent journalists in modern history, argues, “had journalists questioned the deceptions that led to the Iraq war, instead of amplifying them, the invasion would not have happened.” Perhaps as a direct result of the issues irresponsible formal news sources have posed to our society, such as unmitigated bias and spotty news coverage, there has been a rise in citizen journalism throughout social media. In Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia, Twitter and Facebook were used as revolutionary tools to schedule protests, build underground networks of resistance and diffuse information clear of government propaganda to the rest of the world. The revolutionary media presence dominated by ordinary citizens was so profound, in fact, the Egyptian government blocked all access to the Internet Jan. 28, 2011. In response, cyber-activist groups like Anonymous provided Egyptian revolutionaries with proxies to bypass the ban and allow people to continue to report the brutalities they were experiencing. Americans witnessed a media blackout in 2014 when Michael Brown was killed by a Ferguson police officer and protestors took to the streets to demand justice. The resistance was mainly streamed on Twitter until official news sources were forced to report on the matter. Why is it that formal sources have begun to fail American citizens again and again? Why has the responsibility of reporting people’s struggles against state-led injustices fallen to those people themselves? To me, it seems like the first amendment—which protects journalists from government repercussions—is largely going to waste. We currently live under a president who, in his first hours in power, presided over the arrest of over 200 inauguration protestors, including several journalists. Those arrested are facing 10 years in prison. He has also overused the term “fake news” to describe any negative reports on his presidency, going as far as to wage a press war against CNN. Now is the time for journalists to set aside their need for a gold star from the government and maximum viewership. They should instead report on the real struggles people are currently facing. There is a reason people are turning to their peers for information. However, as journalists, professional or ordinary, can and need to work together to do better by the people. Journalists have an inherent responsibility to act as watchdogs for the government. Today, journalism is not what it should be, but with ethics, passion and conviction, journalists can seize this political moment and begin to better serve ordinary citizens. - May Olvera is a journalism junior


8 | Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SPORTS

The University Star Lisette Lopez Sports Editor @lisette_1023

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

BASEBALL

Baseball makes comeback win to tie the series By Logan McCullough Sports reporter @Logman__ After losing its first two games of the season, the baseball team remained resilient and won two games to tie the series against the Purdue Boilermakers at 2-2. The Bobcats kicked off the 2017 season with back-to-back losses against Purdue. In the season opener, the Boilermakers were the first to make it on the scoreboard with three runs in the first inning while the Bobcats remained at zero. By the end of the fourth inning, the Bobcats were down 8-0. However, Travon Benton, junior infielder, hit the first homerun of the season. Texas State scored two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but fell short to the Boilermakers by a score of 9-3. In the second game of the doubleheader, Purdue earned four runs in the first inning. The Boilermakers continued to rack up runs in the second, third, sixth and ninth innings. The Bobcats earned their last two runs of the game in the ninth inning, but the hole they dug themselves into

Connor Reich, sophomore pitcher, pitches Feb. 17 during their home opener against Purdue. PHOTO BY LARA DIETRICH | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

was already too deep. After two tough losses, the Bobcats rallied together to beat Purdue in an emotional 13-11 comeback victory. Purdue held an 11-9 lead after the first nine innings. However, the Bobcats managed to come back with a walk-off homerun from Derek Scheible, junior

centerfielder. Head coach Ty Harrington described Scheibel’s homerun as an emotional and euphoric feeling, and asked his players to carry the momentum into the final game of the series In the fourth and final game of the series, the Bobcats found themselves

down by two runs at the top of the second inning. Harrington said the beginning of baseball games start slow like anything else in life. “Sometimes it’s your nerves. Sometimes you’re amped up. Sometimes you just don’t know what happens,” Harrington said. The Bobcats regained their composure, compiled an impressive offensive performance and cruised to a 14-5 victory to conclude the series at 2-2. Harrington said his team learned a valuable lesson about the importance of changing gears and learning how to move forward after experiencing emotional losses and wins. “When you win, you feel great. You lose and you feel bad, but the next game comes right back to you in a hurry,” Harrington said. “That’s the one thing these guys had to learn a tough lesson about. We lost an emotional game Friday in front of a big crowd, we’ve got to turn around early the next day and then we take one right in the chin again. After an emotional win last night, as fun as it was, here it comes again.” The baseball team will continue season play at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Bobcat Ballpark against Big 12 team Baylor.

TENNIS

Pippa Carr: Achieving one goal at a time By Melea Polk Sports Reporter @meleadenae Because all good things must come to an end, Pippa Carr, senior tennis player, is making the most of her last year by setting goals and achieving them one at a time. Coming from Liverpool, England was not an easy adjustment for Carr. From the climate, eating out and leaving her family behind, Carr proved if she put her mind to it, she could tackle anything. “I thought America and England would be the same, but they are completely different,” Carr said. “It was hard at first, but now I am used to it.” Now that Carr is in her final season

of playing for the Texas State tennis team, she has big goals set for not only herself, but for the team. Because she is one of two seniors on the team, she took the initiative to be a leader and set the tone for the season. So far, the team is undefeated 2-0 in the season. Carr plays singles and doubles, with an overall singles record of nine victories and six losses. “Hopefully if I keep (carrying) on like I am, I will become an all-conference player,” Carr said. Being the best is not as easy as it looks. Carr finds it quite tiring, but knows in order to be the best, she has to put in overtime. Carr attends fitness classes outside of

tennis practice. “I like to go to the rec center to do extra fitness in the group classes,” Carr said. “That has really helped me out. I want to have a winning record.” Winning the Sun Belt Conference title would be a major achievement for Carr and the team, and Carr does not doubt this is the team that could bring the title back to Texas State due to their work effort and bond. “I think this is probably our best chance at winning conference,” Carr said. “The team is the strongest I have seen since I have been here.” Being a student athlete, Carr knows how to balance school and tennis. Outside of the court, she has set and achieved goals in her personal life as well.

Carr will graduate from Texas State University in May with a degree in health information management. “I wanted to be a doctor, but I did not like biology,” Carr said. “Then someone told me about this major, how it’s up-and-coming and how you could earn lots of money.” After graduation, she plans to continue school and receive a law degree specializing in health. She would love to pursue her education in Houston. “I really want to go to Houston; they are number six in the nation,” Carr said. Although Carr’s home is far away, she has no intentions of going back. Carr plans to move to Lubbock after law school and start a family with her fiancé.


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The University Star

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 11

SPORTS

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

TRACK

Sydni Willis: Making a name for herself

Sydni Willis, junior hurdler, poses for a photo Feb. 16. PHOTO BY LARA DIETRICH | MULTIMEDIA EDITOR

By Lisette Lopez Sports editor Lisette_1023 Track season is officially here, and all of the athletes are ready to compete. For Sydni Willis, junior hurdler, this season is already off to a great start. Willis was the only girl hurdler that competed for Texas State in the 400 meter hurdles, and has been practicing alone for the past two years. This year is different. She now has a group of girls to practice with that share the same passion for running that Willis has. Willis said there is something about showing up to practice every day that really motivates her. “To be able to show up and know that everybody there is dedicated and that they really care enough to give it their all in practice, it’s refreshing,” Willis said. “I really like that because I haven’t been training with anybody for so long, and now there is a whole group of girls, not just one but four or five to practice with and they are all fast.” Willis said it has really helped her become a better athlete because the girls balance out her endurance training with their speed. She not only competes in individual hurdle events, but in a team sprinting event as well. This season, the 4x400 meter relay that Willis competes in broke the school record at the Jaguar Invitational on Feb. 5. The team is combined with Willis, Tramesha Hardy and Dawnshae Evans, sophomore sprinters, and DeAijha Hicks-Boyce, junior sprinter. The team turned in a meet record and a program best of 3:42.46 in the 4x400 meter relay. Willis said the competiveness and the training that the team has can definitely take them all the way to nationals this season. The 4x400 meter relay is not the only event in which she hopes to make it to nationals. Willis has her heart set on making it to nationals as an individual in hurdles. “I really want to go for hurdles; I want to make it to nationals for hurdles more than anything,” Willis said. “It is something that I am actually focusing on, I am the only person doing it, as a girl at least. 8I col/in feel like me being able DR SP IV EED E- Y TH RU

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to train myself, and working back and forth with my coaches, making it to nationals would be a blessing.” Willis has worked harder now than she has these past two years. She struggles a little when she runs with the group, but it is only going to make her better. “I can honestly say that the training that I had all fall semester is definitely paying off,” Willis said. “I surprise myself, more than I ever thought that I could. It just shows that I have a whole lot more left in me that I ever thought that I did.” The women’s team is small compared to other big name schools, however the numbers don’t matter much when they continue to break records. Everyone is on the same page when it comes to competition, the depth of the team doesn’t mean much because they are always ready to compete. Willis said she knows that Texas State is no UT or Baylor when it comes to big name schools, but the Texas State women’s track and field team is making a name for themselves. “Texas state is a bit of an underdog because people don’t expect much from us, because we aren’t such a big school,” Willis said. “No one can ever say it’s different, that we don’t compete. We don’t let that hinder us at all.” When Willis hits the track, she does her best to try and stay focused. Even in practice, she likes to have the same mindset as she would if she were competing in a meet. It is a bit difficult to stay on top of her training all the time with school and other activities going on, but she does her best to stay motivated on and off the track. Willis said she has to be aggressive and focus on the little things to make sure that her mind is right. “When I get on the blocks, at that point there is nothing else that I can do,” Willis said. “I have already done everything that I need to do, now I just need to get out there and compete and do what I love. In my mind I keep saying, ‘don’t think, just run.’” Running track is never a business obligation, it is more of a community being brought together. Willis said she gets to see people from all over and compete, which makes it fun. There are no hard feelings, and at the end of the day it is just pure joy for Willis. No one can ever tell her that track isn’t fun. With the tremendous amount of support that Willis has from her family and friends, it’s important to push herself even in difficult situations because she never knows who is watching. Willis said she has to maintain her faith, and keep on pushing. “I can say that even when I am in the worst situation, I know that there is a blessing right around the corner,” Willis said. The season has just begun and Willis is excited to see what it will bring for her. Through all of the ups and downs, she continues to push and make a name for herself.

Lisette Lopez Sports Editor @lisette_1023


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