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DEFENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT SINCE 1911 TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2018

@universitystar | universitystar.com

Spring activities that won't break the bank Voter participation is vital to democracy

SEE BREAK PAGE 3

Volume 107, Issue 22

Paintball team seeks to emerge as national contenders SEE PAINTBALL PAGE 7

SEE MAIN POINT PAGE 5

IMMIGRATION

SHELTER

CAMPUS WEIGHS IN ON IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY

Euthanized cats spark community response By Geoff Sloan News Reporter

By Evelin Garcia News Reporter

D

uring the latest Student Government presidential debate, the lack of an immigration attorney at Texas State was a concern and has been since the legislation to recommend the hiring of such attorney failed in September 2017. Ethnic minorities make up 52 percent of the student population according to the Texas State's Facts and Data website. No immigration attorney exists on-campus to aid students with immigrationrelated issues. However, schools across the state currently provide such assistance. Alex Molina, political science junior and Student Government senator, and Mariana Zamora, alumna and former senator, co-authored the proposed legislation titled "A Resolution to Establish a Position of an Immigration Lawyer at Texas State University." The legislation suggests bringing an attorney to campus to aid students with immigration-related issues. Student Government voted on the resolution Sept. 25, 2017, during a meeting, but failed to pass it. The resolution received a final vote of 20-19, missing the resolution by one vote. The role of an immigration attorney on campus would be like an advisor or counselor to foreign citizens and immigrant students. Unlike a traditional lawyer, an immigration attorney spends less time in courtrooms and more time providing advice and guidance to their clients.

PHOTO BY CHELSEA YOHN

SEE IMMIGRATION PAGE 2

SEE SHELTER PAGE 2

STAFF

Reports show university losing staff without replacement By Sandra Sadek Senior News Reporter Reports made to the Board of Regents show a decrease in the amount of administrative staff hired, this contrasts with the hiring reports from faculty campus wide, the reports show the inverse relationship between hires and staff leaving. The latest quarterly report from February revealed a net loss of one staff member. However, the report made in November 2017 showed a net loss of 25 staff members. Alex White, associate professor of mathematics and the Faculty Senate Chair, delivered the data during one of the senate's weekly meetings. "Faculty hiring has actually

been up. When we say staff, we refer to the administrative body," White said. "But I have only seen about five reports overall, so I wouldn't be able to know whether this is a consistent trend or not." The university's quarterly reports are made to the Board of Regents, created in part by Eric Algoe, vice president for Finance and Support Services. One of the topics reported are the changes made within the faculty and administrative body of the university. "This year is the closest break we have had in a long time in terms of staff hired and staff lost," Algoe said. "Although the numbers are not always so significant, the staff we are referring to is the one that works to make everything easier for faculty and students, so we

definitely see the impact this has on faculty and students." The job market in the area is one of the most competitive of the past decade, forcing the university to compete for qualified staff. According to the 2017-23 Planning Background Brief, in the chapter entitled Hire, Inspire, Retain, the university currently offers 3,100 staff positions spread across 734 job titles. In recent years, the number of staff job postings has increased, but the applicant pool has decreased. The brief states in 2015, 14.5 percent of all postings were closed as "no hire" and there has been an average 40 percent decrease in applicant per posting in the last couple of years.

SEE STAFF PAGE 2

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Nine cats were picked up by a San Marcos Animal Protection officer May 2, 2017 and seven were euthanized within 24 hours. The anonymous owner claimed the nine cats were living on her property and had their ears clipped, a sign they were neutered but they were feral according to shelter employees. The cats were picked up by an animal protection officer and were immediately brought to the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter. Within 24 hours of arriving at the shelter, seven of the nine cats were euthanized without informing the owners that the cats had been picked up or euthanized. As of September 2017, 70 percent of cats and 26 percent of dogs are euthanized upon intake to the shelter in San Marcos. The Save the Cats of Hays County Facebook group was made Jan. 15, partially in response to the nine feral cats euthanized in May 2017 and the high rate of euthanasia, but it also works to discuss and bring awareness to the high euthanasia rate in San Marcos.


The University Star

2 | Tuesday, March 6, 2018

NEWS

Katie Burrell News Editor @KatieNicole96

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

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

Editors Editor-in-Chief: Denise Cervantes, stareditor@txstate.edu

SWIPS

Campus organization forms to support women in political science By Brittlin Richardson News Reporter

Multimedia Editor: Tyler Jackson, starmultimedia@txstate.edu

Students are empowering each other through an organization called Supporting Women in Political Science, or SWIPS, in an effort to get more women involved in the field. Brianah Rodriguez, political science junior, and Ana De Loza, political science senior, created SWIPS after they realized many women majoring in political science enter the education sector instead of pursuing law and politics. The organization coordinates and hosts debates on campus and is working to create workshops. “If you look at the department itself, there are very few female professors and that was one thing Ana and I wanted to bring awareness to. Why are there not more women political scientists in this field?” Rodriguez said. “We were just curious as to why more women weren’t going out into politics or law.” Rodriguez and De Loza said SWIPS allow them to facilitate constructive dialogue and give women support in a male-dominated field. “Everybody knows that politics and the field of political science is a man's world, and of course there are some women that get there but it requires a lot of work,” De Loza said. “To learn from women who have already cut down the path to all of these different careers and learn what they did and how they got to where they are.”

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FROM FRONT IMMIGRATION

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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 5,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, March 6, 2018. 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 are brought to our attention will be corrected as soon as possible. Visit The Star at universitystar.com

Usually providing help with visa applications, green cards, citizenship, naturalization, deportation issues and employment for non-citizens, making sure such applications are submitted correctly otherwise to guarantee the applicant to her/his best chance. The immigration attorney would be much like hiring any other attorney. It would first have to go through administration. An immigration attorney would need to go through the same process any faculty member goes through before getting hired. According to Bobbie Brandenburg, a Human Resources representative for the employment section, once there is a job opening, such as an immigration attorney position, a search committee will be created to review all the applicants for that position. Those applicants will then be evaluated through a matrix system that will evaluate if the candidates meet the requirements. At least three applicants will need to be interviewed before making a final decision. Once the final decision has been made the applicant will have to get a background check, which is then sent to the Equity and Access department and then back to Human Resources. If the applicant passes the background check, they have the job. The applicant will negotiate a salary and attend the new employee orientation. Molina says no barrier exists that would prevent an immigration lawyer from coming to campus and helping students. “There’s nothing in print that says we can’t do it, there are other universities in Texas who are doing it,” Molina said. “They have a center model that we can follow and the whole time we’ve

Members of Supporting Women in Political Science meet to discuss event planning for the year. PHOTO BY BRITTLIN RICHARDSON

SWIPS has garnered support from women from other majors and backgrounds as well. Victoria Vasquez, electronic media junior and social media chair of SWIPS, joined the club to support other women in their endeavors and to have an outlet for her through the weekly meetings in which they sit and talk about opportunities and ways to participate in the political sphere as well as simply providing support to one another. “The beauty of it is that not everyone agrees so we are able to have really significant discussions and be able to go somewhere with it,” Vasquez said. “We talk about how to get more women in

been thinking of having the lawyer in a part-time position and increase time if needed.” Public universities have hired immigration attorneys including The University of Texas at Dallas. Elijah Miller, Student Government senator and criminal justice junior, said he reached out to the immigration attorney at The University of Dallas and discussed the legality of bringing an immigration attorney to Texas State and said there shouldn’t be an issue in hiring one. “We’ve been told it was impossible and come to find out that’s not true at all. We were told that it was against the rules and regulations of Texas State, but it’s not,” Miller said. “The University of Dallas is a different school but we operate under the same laws, to say it’s

political science (regardless of parties or beliefs).” SWIPS is geared towards promoting women majoring in political science, but Vasquez said the organization is open to students of any major or gender. The primary goal of the organization is to bring women in politics to speak to members and create a support system. Rodriguez said some members have even applied and been accepted to law schools since joining SWIPS. SWIPS and College Democrats will be hosted Justice Melissa Goodwin to speaks to its members as well as a kickball benefit for SCOPE at 6 p.m. March 2 on the field across from Bobcat Stadium.

illegal to hire an immigration lawyer is factually incorrect.” Shannon McCall FitzPatrick, director of the Office of Attorney for Students, said hiring an immigration is something Texas State can provide. “It was all a misunderstanding. To be clear, it’s not illegal to get an immigration attorney,” FitzPatrick said. “It’s an administrative decision. It depends on if the school has the space and money.” Preston Nieves, Student Government senator and political science sophomore, supported bringing an immigration attorney to campus and said the school should find the funding or an alternative. “There’s no written rule anywhere at the university level or the university system level prohibiting us,” Nieves said. “The way we could bring an immigration attorney to campus is through activism.”

FROM FRONT SHELTER Lillie Raybon, San Marcos resident, joined the Save the Cats of Hays County Facebook group and is working to promote awareness. “If pets get lost and you have its ear clipped because you can’t afford the chip and the collar falls off, there’s a chance it could get euthanized that same day,” Raybon said. Bridget Wasson, founder of Path Ahead Animal Shelter Consulting, said educating people and providing options other than bringing unwanted pets into shelters is a way to avoid overpopulation and euthanasia in shelters. “A lot of cats are really not lost,” Wasson said. “You have cats that really we don’t need to do anything with them, other than spay and neutering them… and then other ones that actually are lost.” According to Wasson, the number of pets, particularly cats, are picked up by animal control officers is higher than

San Marcos does not currently have a low-cost program to chip pets. While chipping pets and using collars are the most effective way to keep pets safe, clipping their ears is a cheaper way to identify pets have been neutered and are owned by someone. Euthanasia can be avoided through programs and initiatives like the San Marcos Animal Shelter's foster program. The program is an opportunity for potential pet owners to see if a pet is a good fit for the owners and the owner's lifestyle prior signing adoption paperwork. Fostering can be done after four months San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter are of volunteer work with the San Marcos euthanizing 30 percent of dogs upon Regional Animal Shelter. “I think students should foster first and intake. PHOTO BY ELZA TAURINS figure out if it’s for them and if it’s for necessary, because many of these animals them, then they can go on to adopt the are feral and are not causing problems for animal,” Raybon said. “We can’t point the people, despite seeming homeless while blame in any direction. We need to work as a team to solve this problem.” they are outside.

FROM FRONT STAFF "We are not purposely cutting staff, but we only want to hire the best people out there to serve the needs of the school and 38,000 students," Algoe said. "We have a talent management professional team who gets the message out to workers, telling them to come and work at Texas

State." One of the biggest problems the university is facing in regards to its staff is 25 percent of Texas State's current employees will be eligible to retire within the next five years, with 33 percent of those in administrative support positions,

as stated in the brief. "We are working on attracting employees through competitive salaries and better benefits packages," Algoe said. "We have been conducting searches both on the state and national level for people to fill positions."

Texas State is improving its incentives to motivate current staff members to stay. This includes promotion, training opportunities, increased responsibilities, special classes, amenities or other nonmonetary awards.


The University Star

LIFESTYLE

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 | 3 LeeAnn Cardwell Lifestyle Editor @leeanncardwell

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

OUTDOOR

Students research to develop trails By Sonia Garcia Lifestyle Reporter

The heavy traffic in the greater Austin area will soon be alleviated by the development of trails for foot and bike travel. Lucas Chavez, geographic information systems graduate student, was the project manager for a semester-long service project in his GIS Design & Implementation course. Working alongside Chavez was Julian Emerson, resource and environment senior, and Emma Highberger, Texas State alumna. This class is instructed by Yihong Yuan, geography assistant professor, who has taught the course for three years. Yuan allows students to partner with a client who presents a proposal. Chavez, Emerson and Highberger were assigned the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance, a nonprofit organization that creates natural ways to travel, as their client. Together, the students worked alongside their client to begin planning for the Emerald Crown regional trail, and plan to connect it with Austin’s Violet Crown Trail. The Emerald Crown Trail will connect San Marcos, Kyle and Buda to Austin through the Violet Crown Trail and will

city officials, but also with each other. The trio was randomly grouped together and had to learn to work with one another. The group connected easily and everyone was eager to do their part. “It was amazing working with Emma and Lucas on this project,” Emerson said. “Probably the best group I’ve ever worked with in an educational setting.” Yuan said she and the client are very satisfied with the students' results, given such a short time frame to work on getting data for SMGA. She said the class and project assigned will be beneficial for their futures, and many of the projects have lasting impacts with clients. “They partner with real-world clients with real-world projects," Yuan said. "They get the experience regarding what Lucas Chavez, geographic information systems graduate student, worked with his they can expect after they graduate and classmates to create the Emerald Crown Trail. PHOTO BY SONIA GARCIA start a real job. How to deal with clients, write a proposal and getting a taste of consist of 12 fully developed concrete Chavez said. “It’s really cool that you have what the real world is like.” routes. so many ways to get around, and it would At this point, the students' portion of The students' research included finding make a city trip enjoyable because you the project is done, but this is only the further information on the cities, parks, never have to get any kind of traffic, and beginning phase of the implementation road networks and soil layers in the areas you get to see nature.” of the trails. the paths would cover. Chavez said every The student researchers attended A final finish date has not been aspect of the research was essential to meetings with city officials to ensure the established and is still in the planning stage. creating the trails. trails served every party's best interest. The SMGA plans to collaborate with “I think (the trails) will help with health, Not only did they have to effectively other classes in the geography department lifestyle and community cohesiveness,” communicate their plan and progress to to further the success of the project.

NUTRITION

Professor makes impact through nutrition studies By Constunce Brantley Special to the Star One assistant professor is making an impact on her communities, from the Women's Infants and Children program, to Bobcat Bounty, to teaching students

in nutrition. Lesli Biediger-Friedman, assistant professor of nutrition and foods, graduated high school in Seguin and attended Texas Tech University to become a registered dietician. Afterward, she attended Benedictine University in

By Diana Furman Lifestyle Reporter

VACATION

While the upcoming spring break provides the hope of relief and rest, the cost of activities could put a damper on vacation plans. Luckily, Texas offers all kinds of fun spring activities that will not break the bank.

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SPRING ACTIVITIES THAT WON'T BREAK THE BANK

Austin Bats

From March through October, Austin experiences the Texas bat season. During Texas' warm months, 750,000 bats visit and live underneath the South Congress Bridge. About 20 minutes before sundown, the bats emerge from their temporary home to hunt in the Hill Country. There are pay-to-park areas at the Austin American Statesman that provides a free view of the famous bats in flight as they rise from the South Congress Bridge, according to the Austinot. The bridge itself also allows standing room to watch the bats. Jacob Dondell, political science junior, witnessed the bats in flight by accident a couple years ago while biking home. As he passed under Congress Bridge, he noticed a huge crowd staring in his direction. He looked up and saw infrared lights shining on the thousands of bats hanging beneath the bridge. "It kind of felt like a 'Saw' movie or some horror movie," Dondell said. "But it was so cool."

Gayle Jackson, owner of Flowerland, enjoys making flower arrangements at her shop located on North LBJ. PHOTO BY DIANA FURMAN

Illinois to receive her Master’s in public health. After earning her master's degree, Biediger-Friedman conducted research for the state health department for five years. During her time at the department, she was the state nutrition coordinator for

obesity. Biediger-Friedman soon realized she wanted to continue her education in nutrition and policy and returned to Texas Tech University to earn her PhD.

SEE PROGRAM PAGE 4

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Rio Frio Fest

From March 14-17 in Concan, Texas, the Frio River will come to life with music and fun. Single-day passes are $20 and include live performances from Mike Ryan, Wade Bowen and William Clark Green. Each day includes concerts, activities, games and cookoffs. This Texas-style festival includes wild hog sacking, tubing, scavenger hunts and crawfish boils.

A natural waterfall at a local Texas State Park. PHOTO BY CHELSEA YOHN

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Texas Mural Road Trip

An easy and cheap option for spring break is a road trip across the Texas Hill Country in search of historic murals. Depression-era America brought forth Roosevelt’s Public Works of Art Project which employed 40 artists to paint murals on buildings nationwide. The art depicts the “American Scene” and was greatly inspired by Mexican art in the early 20th century. These murals live along building walls from Kilgore to Amarillo. Some have been destroyed or painted over, but others have been restored and preserved.

3

Garner State Park

Just a short road trip away from San Marcos is Garner State Park, which lies directly on the Frio River. For $8 a day, guests can enjoy the river, food and a historic pavilion. The Park Store, a short shuttle ride away, provides all kinds of river items from tube rentals to swimsuits and sunscreen. Paddle boats and kayak rentals can also be found onsite. Garner State Park offers freshly grilled burgers, ice cream and candy at their nearby restaurants and shops. The historic pavilion, built in the 1930s, offers a large dance floor with concession stands nearby. When the sun goes down, guests take to the Texas Hill Country stone floor to dance the night away.

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SXSW

Enjoy the festival without spending a penny with a South By Southwest Guest Pass. SXSW hosts free outdoor concerts at Lady Bird Lake in Austin for attendees with guest passes. The concerts are held on the largest stage at the event with over 50,000 attendees. Emmanuel Galvan-Vasquez, exercise sports science freshman, has attended SXSW's free concerts in the past. He said despite the concerts not being big, they were still enjoyable because he was not burdened by the cost of a regular festival ticket. "The biggest benefit I saw was that I was able to buy drinks with my extra money," Galvan-Vasquez said. SXSW also hosts free, unofficial daytime events. These parties are typically sponsored and have previously headlined performers such as Kanye West and A$AP Rocky.

HUMANS OF SAN MARCOS "There’s a lady here who’s 72 and she’s worked here since she was 15. She’s taught me everything I know about arranging flowers and buying flowers. She says that people either have the 'eye' for flowers or they don’t. If you have the 'eye' you can learn to arrange. It’s always joyful to have new babies come in to families that I know. I’ve had to help my friends bury their children. I’ve done that three different times, young teenagers and early adults. That’s always very hard, but I like being able to control the quality of what they receive and know that they’re going to get something really nice. It makes me happy that I can offer

comfort and some slight bit of pleasure to these people. We personalize things too, not just for funerals. I love it when the college boys come in and say, 'I don’t know what to order, my mom always did this,' because I’m all about being a mom. You know, guys call in and they don’t know what to get their girlfriends and we’ll say, 'Is she a girly girl? A sporty girl? What’s her favorite color? Do you know if she has a favorite flower?' If they don’t know anything, I’ll tell them they now have something to talk about tonight." – Gayle Jackson, owner of Flowerland


4 | Tuesday, March 6, 2018

LIFESTYLE

The University Star LeeAnn Cardwell Lifestyle Editor @leeanncardwell

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

SXSW

Game changing innovation at SXSW By Alyssa Weinstein Lifestyle Reporter Three lab teams that study hair, commuting from Austin and functional clothing for women may seem to have nothing in common. However, they all share a desire to solve real-world problems through student research. Texas State student innovation lab teams will have a chance to showcase their research on March 11 at South By Southwest at the Texas State Innovation Lab showcase. Three of the 15 student lab teams that will be featured at SXSW include Reduce. Reuse. Regrow., Commute Relief 2.0 and Pockets. At the reception, lab teams will present their research to corporate partners in attempts to get their work launched in the marketplace. The R3 lab team consists of two student researchers studying how hair and fur could be a green waste solution when used as compost. Alex Mcmoran, agriculture business management senior, is one of the two researchers working on this project and said they plan to market their product to organic farmers and home gardeners. Based on a former study using wool, the R3 team created two separate compost

recipes. One recipe consisted of wood chips and food waste while the other recipe consisted of dog and human hair. “This project may seem like primitive technology compared to the other groups at SXSW, but if everyone understood the importance of soil health in the environment, then it's well worth it to present something that challenges the conventional paradigm," Mcmoran said. Mcmoran said he does not expect investors to stop by a booth with a bunch of dirt at SXSW, but does hope that concerned intellectuals will be interested in the project and will talk to him and his partner. “We are looking forward to being a part of it," Mcmoran said. "In the midst of artificial technology, it will be exciting for our group to present something so simple, yet so helpful." Another project that will be featured at the innovation lab is Commute Relief 2.0. This lab team consists of six student researchers who are focusing on the financial, environmental and economical impact of commuting by creating a helpful online tool for commuters to use. “Our goal is to promote mobility as a service and we want to improve the transportation industry in Austin," Nikita Demidov, project manager and finance senior, said. "The way we do it is

Lorena Martinez, member of Commute 2.0 lab team, works on project plans to bring traffic relief for commuters. PHOTO COURTESY OF NIKITA DEMIDOV

by offering a person the best alternative transportation option based on time and location.” The team is achieving this goal with their online tool, Commute Relief, that would be used to make commuting more efficient. The tool is a platform that alerts users how and when they should leave by offering the most efficient transportation options available based on the user's current location and destination point. The team hopes to not only help make commuting easier, but also to help solve the traffic problem in Austin. Another project that will be showcased at SXSW is Pockets, a five-member team that is working to improve the durability and functionality of women’s clothing. Amanda Gregory, materials science engineering and commercialization doctoral student, is the founder of Pockets.

Gregory said her inspiration to begin this project grew out of her frustration with the lack of pocket space in her jeans. “When I started really seriously talking with women, I found that, universally, women aren't happy with how their jeans fit and when I started really carefully comparing men's and women's jeans, I started noticing something else," Gregory said. "Men's jeans are made of more durable material. Not only are the pockets large enough to practically fit a house in them, but they're made of this heavy-duty durable material that isn't half stretchy stuff.” The team hopes to first serve women's needs by creating women’s jeans with more efficient pockets, but they would also like to collect more data on what challenges women face when looking for types of clothing.

FROM PAGE 3 PROGRAM Biediger-Friedman found her love for public health and community nutrition as an undergraduate student and enjoyed being able to advocate for those who needed better education on nutrition. Biediger-Friedman became a professor because she can research and learn more about new ways to better her communities. While teaching at Texas State, she noticed how her interests in nutrition and the public health system lined up with the efforts of the Women, Infants, and Children program. WIC provides nutrition counseling to lowincome women and children who are at nutritional risk. While Biediger-Friedman worked with the organization, WIC was in the process of creating an app that would help families learn about health and nutrition. "We did research throughout South Texas with women participating in the WIC program and tried to see what apps they currently use, and if they would like an app about nutrition education," Biediger-Friedman said. Bobcat Bounty, the campus food pantry, opened its doors Feb. 1 because of the the efforts of Biediger-Friendman and Hannah Thornton, senior lecturer and dietetic internship director. Biediger-Friedman said she and Thornton ran a study to see how many students on campus meet the definition

Biediger-Friedman teaches her students how to apply policies in real world situations. Her classes have out of class assignments that require students to go into the community and advocate for better nutrition education systems or better food options. Colton Scott, nutrition and foods senior, took a course on ethics and policy in nutrition with Biediger-Friedman and said the class taught him practical ways to get involved in community advocacy. “I really liked getting familiar with policies, finding ways to maneuver through policies when trying to make change within your community," Scott said. "It has always been about the science of nutrition and working with patients, but it's kinda cool to take a step back and look at how things are implemented throughout the whole community.” Henley Meadows, nutrition and foods senior, has also taken BiedigerLesli Biediger-Friedman, a nutrition professor, is the head dietitian for the state of Texas Friedman's course in ethics and policy in and helped create the WIC app. PHOTO COURTESY OF LESLI BIEDIGER-FRIEDMAN nutrition. “One thing that I took away from of being food insecure. Of the 1,300 involve students at every single phase of her class is to always be fully aware how students sampled, they found 40 percent envisioning this," Biediger-Friedman said. ethically correct you need to be in your of Texas State students are food insecure. "Students have really led the charge and research or situations when working with Bobcat Bounty is open every Thursday as faculty and as the research coordinator research participants,” Meadows said. from 5-7 p.m. in FCS 187. The food behind it, I am able to teach concepts that Biediger-Friedman's efforts to bring pantry is run by dietetic student interns we're then able to immediately practice nutrition education and advocacy and also welcomes student volunteers. in participatory experience working with throughout the state and at Texas State "It has been an amazing experience and provide a service to our university make her a welcoming force for change. because we have been able to really and community.”

ART

Artists interpret meaning of mercy By Arielle Raveney Lifestyle Reporter For those who want to see imagery of mercy, look no further than the walls of LBJ. A new art exhibit, "Mercy", is now open from Feb. 26 to Mar. 26 located on the third floor of the LBJ student center next to room 3-14.1. Amy Nicole Rubio, curator of the exhibit and studio ceramics, said about 30 students entered pieces under the theme of mercy and 16 pieces were chosen for the final display. “With every exhibition, I look forward to pushing the artist,” Rubio said. “I want to see how they can express themselves towards whatever exhibition is being put on. I want to see through the eyes of the artist.” For Penelope Savannah, exhibit artist and communication design and studio art painting junior, mercy carries a political meaning. Her painting is a cartoonish illustration inspired by current events. Savannah said her painting expresses her feelings towards Donald Trump and her belief that as president he should have more mercy for his citizens. “I decided to paint about what was relevant at the time, and that was Trump,” Savannah said. “I let my feelings out. It is basically my mind on a canvas of my feelings about Trump, the racism in our

country and just the overall turmoil.” Savannah said she heard about the exhibit through a friend who encouraged her to enter a piece, despite her apprehension to do so because of the political nature of her work. "I was afraid of what was going to be said," Savannah said. "But then I thought 'If you don't do it, then what was the point of creating the piece in the first place?'" Leslie Osornio, painting and communication design sophomore, is another artist featured in the exhibit. Her piece was a call for mercy against sexual misconduct. "I painted it for a project... called 'What the F---,'" Osornio said. "I had been hearing about so many cases of sexual abuse and thought, 'That is crazy, that is, 'what the f---?'" Osornio's piece is a self-portrait of her in a bathtub, her body covered in handprints of paint. Her painting won best in show at the exhibit. "The painting is a representation of all the hands that touch us and what happens as we go around living," Orsornio said. "I don't want it to look like a sexy picture of me in the bath. I wanted it to express that I was upset and for people to understand why I am upset about this." The 16 pieces are on display in a hallway free for students to view and discover their peer's interpretations of mercy.

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The University Star

OPINIONS

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 | 5 Carrington Tatum Opinions Editor @mogulcarrington

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

Voter participation is vital to democracy The foundation of any healthy democracy is enthusiastic, active civic engagement by the collective community. When the people are apathetic to the decisions of the people selected to represent them, the society is flawed and only marginally better than an oppressive state. If the right to vote is not exercised, then it does not serve its purpose in a government for the people and by the people. Apathetic attitudes toward voting and civic involvement do not exist without reason. Voter suppression, gerrymandering and a lack of ballot education make it difficult for the average citizen to feel that their vote matters. It can be disheartening to care and trust in the process and see the system fail its most vulnerable time and time again. This has been a common theme in Texas specifically. Only 43

percent of eligible adults in Texas voted in the 2016 general election and even fewer Texans turned out for the 2014 midterms with 35 percent casting a ballot. A common saying among politically motivated Texans is the phrase “Texas isn’t a red state. It’s a non-voting state”; a sentiment recently repeated by Democratic senatorial challenger Beto O’Rourke. But this may no longer be as true as it once was. Early voting results in the 2018 primary have seen increased turnouts from both political parties, compared to 2014. In particularly, participation in the Democratic primary has more than doubled since the last gubernatorial election. Accompanying the increased voter turnout, Gallup declared Texas is no longer a solid red state and instead operates more like a battleground state

with Republican leanings. The civic engagement during the state primary has prompted some to decree Texas is experiencing a “blue wave." Despite the long term reputation of being a conservative stronghold, Democrats have experienced some success at the state level before, such as former Governor Ann Richards and former Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock. But on the national level, the reputation was well deserved. Texas has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976, since then, Republicans have won by more than a 10 percent margin in seven of the last 10 presidential elections. However, the face of Texas is changing and with it, so is the average voter profile. The Latino population continues to grow and the majority of them are younger, on average according

to Pew Research Center. Urban areas expand and with them, diverse communities flourish. A single party cannot retain control of an entire state when they fail to adapt to representing their constituency. Texans must come out to vote and support the Texas we all deserve. This is not an explicit endorsement or dismissal of the blue wave, but rather an optimistic approach to increased voter participation and the benefits of an active voting populace in the republic. The excuse of “my vote doesn’t matter” is no longer good enough to not participate in elections. The path to a greater society cannot be traveled by doing nothing. In fact, we are faced with no other option if our democracy is to survive.

The Main Point is the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. Columns are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the full staff, Texas State University Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State University.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Remarks on the current state of Texas State University Student Government, We took notice of the Texas State University Student Government Supreme Court decision not to impeach Student Body President Connor Clegg, and we will not comment on that specific decision at the moment as an appeal might still be considered. Nevertheless, the events of the last months have revealed some dysfunctions and several structural issues within Student Government. We feel that multiple branches have lost the trust of a significant portion of the student body and are not fulfilling their duties as representatives of the students. Moreover, we believe that the president is granted an excessive amount of power, leading to a weak separation of powers. Indeed, the president has the ability to veto any legislation passed in the House or the Senate, appoints Supreme Court Justices, and can play a role in filling vacant seats in the Senate (currently 22 Senators out of 41, including 3 Senators serving in the Cabinet, appear to not have been elected during regular elections). We are also disturbed by the excessive absences of many senators and the failure to uphold the Senate attendance policy. These dysfunctions and structural issues are the instances that lead students to feel unheard, unrepresented, and lose trust with the role of Student Government on campus. Furthermore, we were troubled by some remarks made by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Garcia, reported by The University Star. Garcia said, “Just because something is morally wrong, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s against the rules… We can agree with these people and these sentiments that maybe this isn’t the best course of action that could have happened but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s illegal and he should be impeached for it.” We refuse to see the lives of Texas State students be guided by such a statement. If doing something morally wrong is not against the rules, then

LETTER TO THE EDITOR we must change the rules. If choosing to represent only those who voted for you and not the entire student body is not against the rules, then we must change the rules. If disregarding and disrespecting the opinion of a significant portion of the student body is not against the rules then we must change the rules. If representatives cannot be held accountable for their actions because the rules are too imprecise, then we must change the rules. We are committed to making Student Government better by increasing the accountability among representatives and by striving to represent all students at Texas State University. We will take the necessary actions to amend the Student Government Constitution and code in order to ensure the organization properly serves the student body, and we invite anyone who would like to participate in this process to get in touch with us. The opinions expressed in this letter belong solely to the authors and do not reflect the official position of the Graduate House, Student Government, or Texas State University. Maël Le Noc, Graduate House Leader Amarillis M. Castillo, Graduate House Representative Brittany Davis, Graduate House Representative Blair Didion Sr., Graduate House Representative Anthony Gallardo, Graduate House Representative Kelly Gourluck, Graduate House Representative Jennifer Idema, Graduate House Representative Jessica Ramos-Karmaker, Graduate House Representative

White. Did that catch your attention? I am not writing this to be the next Rudy, not at all. I am writing to let the entire student body know how Connor Clegg has personally affected the future of thousands of Texas State students, a whole department, a couple dozen members of Texas State Faculty, and me. When Connor Clegg, the man that 3,500 students voted for, threatened to defund The University Star, it thrust our university into national headlines for all the wrong reasons. When you google “Texas State University free speech”, you are immediately bombarded with several articles about Connor Clegg’s statement. Connor Clegg’s selfish statement that was made worse due to a lackadaisical response to FIRE from Denise Trauth. When you are a Mass Communications major, you are taught from the moment that you pass the Punctuation, Usage, and Grammar test, that the First Amendment is your career. From that moment on, you eat, breathe, and live the First Amendment. We take Media Law, that specifically spends at least two months emphasizing the importance of the First Amendment to us. Without the First Amendment, we no longer have a purpose in our fields. When Connor Clegg, made that statement he attacked every student, faculty, and staff under the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Every. Single. One. When we go to apply for Mass Communications jobs, they are going to google Texas State's journalism and mass communications department. Why wouldn’t they? They obviously have to ensure that we have been taught the essential fundamentals to start our careers. What happens when they see that we have been ranked as one of the worst universities with free speech? What does that do to our degrees? I’ll save you the googling. It puts us at a disadvantage. An extreme

disadvantage. It insinuates that the First Amendment doesn’t matter on this campus. It insinuates that when we step foot on Texas State we are taught to censor ourselves, to add a chilling effect on our speech. It devalues our degrees. For the next 3-6 months, when the seniors apply for a job, and employers see that we are graduates of Texas State University, they are not going to care about what skills we have, they are going to assume that we have been taught that individual voices do not matter. They are going to assume that we aren’t going to allow other people to have their voices, it makes outsiders believe that our voice doesn’t matter. When professors and lecturers eventually decide to move on from Texas State University, do you think that potential employers are going to do the exact same thing? They most certainly are. Do you think that employers are going to look at them differently now? They most certainly are. The department has so many brilliantly amazing people working for them. Their reputations are damaged. They now have to work under the assumption that they are not doing their jobs correctly, that they are teaching censorship to the next generation of professionals, and that they should not continue to work in this field. Connor Clegg and Denise Trauth, I deserve an apology from you. The students of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications deserve an apology. The faculty of the School of Journalism deserve an apology. The future students of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications deserve an apology. We all deserve an apology from you because you just made the community that you both are being paid to represent A LOT harder. Sincerely, A’Naiya Davis Public Relations and Mass Communications senior

CARTOON OF THE WEEK

CARTOON BY STEPHANIE CLOYD | GRAPHIC DESIGNER


6 | Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The University Star

OPINIONS

Carrington Tatum Opinions Editor @mogulcarrington

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

TALK IT OUT W Makenna Timoteo

DEBATING THE ISSUE #ArmMeWith school supplies not guns By Hannah Schmanske Opinions Columnist Gun control and gun violence are unsettling topics that resurface after every mass shooting. When tragedy struck Parkland, Fla, President Donald Trump proposed that teachers should carry concealed handguns. Teachers are meant to teach not be a form of law enforcement. No one should be forced to carry a gun. Especially those who were not trained for their position to do so. Furthermore, just because a teacher has a gun, it does not guarantee that they will be able to bring themselves to use it. Additionally, there is a greater risk of mistakes when guns are in the hands of people who are under-trained and hesitant to use them. These are risks that must be evaluated because the group that we are forcing gun use onto signed up teach not kill. "I went to college to educate children, not because I wanted to kill another human. If I wanted a job where I was responsible for carrying a firearm, I would have taken a different career path," said Brittany Wheaton, an English teacher from Utah in an interview with CNN. Listening to what teachers want is the answer to the debate. Lawmakers fail to realize what the classroom setting is really like for teachers. Making an average of $54,000, teachers in the U.S. are already underpaid for the monumental task of shaping the generations of the future. Teachers are expected to instruct energetic kids to pass standardized tests with little supplies to do so as teachers spend hundreds of their own dollars in supplies for their students according to studies by Scholastic. Educators are not paid adequately for the stress their job already entails. Congress wants to add more of a burden by having guns on campus. Until teachers get paid accordingly for all they do, making them carry such a dangerous weapon should be out of the question. The #ArmMeWith movement is growing among the education community It promotes that teachers want to be armed with better funding for things such as school supplies, more counselors and smaller class sizes. Smaller class sizes would allow teachers to interact more with their students. Teachers will be able to have a better understanding of their students' home life and recognize if the child requires more attention. Giving a child a good atmosphere at school could be a step closer to solving the issue of preemptively giving attention to troubled kids who go on rampages with school shootings. Arming teachers with items that will help them improve and educate the next generation is what they need, not a gun. Adding more guns in a school environment is not the solution. Guns are not another thing teachers need to worry about. Teachers should be focused on doing their job as educators. Arm teachers with things that will help children succeed and grow, not fear their educators. - Hannah Schmanske is a journalism freshman

Why we should arm teachers By Jordan Drake Opinions Columnist It's time to not be victims. The mass shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla, has forced us to take a hard look at how to deal the issue of gun violence in the United States. According to CNN, there are roughly 320 million civilian owned guns in the United States. This number means there is no realistic way to strip people of their firearms without causing more problems. There must be a better solution. There are evil people in this world who wish to inflict death upon others and there are those who are so bullied they feel revenge is the only solace available. Additionally, there are those who wish to be infamous and have their names and faces all over the news. These people will always find ways to commit mass death. People need to be able to defend themselves and fight back because these kinds of people will always exist and the government cannot realistically take away all of the guns in this country. Texas lawmakers passed a bill in 2016 that allowed anyone over the age of 21 to conceal carry on a college campus. More students and staff should take advantage of this policy to protect themselves. The Parkland shooting demonstrated police are not always reliable which is not always their fault. Police are limited and cannot be everywhere at once meaning response times can vary. Where government fails, the individual should be willing to take the responsibility to defend themselves. Being armed would help with that in two ways. First, an armed campus would act as a deterrent for criminals and second, being armed means people have a better chance of not being a victim. Deterrence is a proven effective method for limiting violence. There is a recent example of guns responding to guns in the church shooting of Sutherland Springs, Texas. In this instance, a shooter at large was shot by a citizen near the church who heard the gunfire and rushed to the building with his own gun. In this case the carnage in Sutherland Springs was minimized by another gun owner. This shows that shooting in an armed society is much more difficult to escape unscathed. In the extremely rare cases where deterrence does not work, being armed can be the only thing standing between an individual and death. The Parkland shooting illustrated there is no shortage of brave teachers who will willingly run towards the gunfire. It is of the utmost credit to individuals like Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel and Chris Hixon that they not only did this, but laid down their lives shielding students from gunfire. Unfortunately, this was their only option to save lives. Had anyone been a licensed concealed carry holder the outcome might have been different. At the very least, there would have been more options to confront the threat. No one is advocating for staff and students to hunt down an active shooter. This would cause major problems for law enforcement, but if trapped in a classroom or in a situation in which running is not an option, being armed will save lives. It is up to individuals not to be victims and having more than a few desperate options can ensure a safer environment for everyone. There is no easy way to address this issue, but society cannot keep creating situations in which shooters can fire unimpeded for minutes at a time before being confronted. It is time for students and staff of Texas State to utilize their second amendment rights and protect themselves. - Jordan Drake is a communications junior

ILLUSTRATION BY MAKENNA TIMOTEO

LETTER TO THE EDITOR On February 27, 2017, I and a couple hundred others silently protested and watched as our sitting Student Government President Connor Clegg, seated high atop his pillar of white privilege, got off on a total of six charges brought against him before the Supreme Court. The decision was unanimous: “Not Guilty.” Keep in mind, Clegg appointed five of these justices, the other two were appointed by the former Student Government president, and Special Adviser to Clegg, Andrew Homann. He walked away unscathed. This comes mere months after Clegg lead the public persecution of former The University Star's opinions columnist Rudy Martinez, in the aftermath of the release of his column “Your DNA is an Abomination.” Clegg attacked Martinez, and The University Star as a whole, for utilizing the very same right, freedom of

speech, that Clegg used in his defense that evening. I can’t say that I, or anyone else participating in the protest, was surprised by the outcome. Events like the Student Government Supreme Court's impeachment decision is one we have seen time and again in this country. Justice being denied to people of color while another white man is spared even a slap on the wrist. Given Texas State’s indifference and passiveness concerning issues affecting students of color, and the clear disparities seen between the questioning of the defendant and prosecution that night, things were made explicitly clear: this administration has no real intention of taking the action we have so contentiously called for time and time again. The feelings of safety and of having leadership we can trust in, are being continually denied. The student Supreme

Court, and the higher echelon of leadership, which include the likes of Texas State President Denise Trauth, have failed at protecting the interests of all the students they represent. They have allowed students to be the subject of harassment by white supremacist groups and have given Clegg permission to foster an environment that allows those non-inclusive ideals to flourish. We tried changing our current conditions through bureaucratic means and failed: The time for being “peaceful” and “cordial” is over. Now it is a question of self-defense versus masochism. Though we continue to be ignored, and safety, a basic necessity, is not promised to us, we are not threatening anyone with violence. Self-defense manifests itself in a multitude of ways, and we aim to engage in a prolonged campaign whose ultimate goal is a

brighter day at our institution. This is a rallying cry for those who continue to have their voices stifled and dismissed at Texas State. Join us and fight with us, for the struggles we face within the confines of academia are mirrored in society—and it will be our responsibility, once we graduate, to join the larger conflict that has always been at the root of this country’s identity: that of the color line. However, we must remember that this project we are embarking upon is a fun one. Our revolution’s roster does not include the solemn and the dreary but rather the willing and the daring, and it is our firm belief that the future belongs to the daring. Join us, not to take cover, but to confront this storm at its very core. Mena Ashwood, English freshman

EDITOR'S NOTE: As a result of the recently published column "Your DNA is an abomination," we have chosen to dedicate these two pages to letters submitted by our readers. Due to the volume of letters we received, we will be publishing a sampling of the letters in print and more online. We value your comments and your feedback. Thank you to those who have submitted letters. Those interested in submitting a letter can email StarEditor@txstate.edu or visit our website at universitystar.com


The University Star

SPORTS

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 | 7 Brooke Phillips Sports Editor @BrookePhillips_

UniversityStar.com @universitystar

TRACK AND FIELD

PAINTBALL

Paintball team strives to become national contenders By John Paul Mason II Sports Reporter

T'Mond Johnson, junior thrower, poses in the quad March 2. Johnson has achieved 16 top 10 finishes and a gold medal for outdoor competition. PHOTO BY JOSH MENDS

An athlete's focus that influenced a season of success By Daisy Colon Sports Reporter The unconditional love and support one receives could lead him or her to reach unimaginable heights. For one track and field athlete's case, his mother's support has been present throughout his whole life. T'Mond Johnson, junior thrower, said his track and field career began at the early age of 12 when he joined his middle school’s team in Killeen. “I started throwing in seventh grade," T'Mond Johnson said. "Once football ended, it was track; I wasn’t going to run, so I’d throw. I didn’t really get serious about it until my junior year of high school.” T'Mond Johnson's high school coaches helped him realize he had a future as a Division 1 thrower while he played football in Killeen. “In high school, I played football," T'Mond Johnson said. "I was on varsity for three years and (by) my senior year, it seemed like I was getting recruited more for track and field. I then decided to go the track route and see where it would take me.” Tonya Johnson, T’Mond’s mother, said he attended multiple football and track camps. “As he started going to different football and track camps, he started looking into Texas schools," Tonya Johnson said. "Some coaches started (to notice) T’Mond (Johnson) as a thrower. He then had an unofficial visit with Texas State and fell in love. I was elated that he chose Texas State because he’s so close.” T'Mond Johnson sees his family as much as possible, given that Killeen is only an hour and a half away. “I see my family every other weekend, either they’ll come down here or I’ll go up there,” T'Mond Johnson said. Family means everything to T'Mond Johnson as his mother has a strong influence on him. He said his mother is his biggest role model. “My mom is my biggest role model," T'Mond Johnson said. "It’s just been me and my two siblings and she would always tell us if we had a dream to just go for it. Anytime I hit a bump in the road, she’s always there to pick me back up and tell me to keep going.”

SEE TRACK AND FIELD PAGE 8

While some might think of paintball as merely a hobby, one group on campus has assembled a team around a love of the sport. What started as just a few students meeting at paintball fields, has blossomed into something much more, according to Matthew Park, manufacturing engineering senior, and Jackson Hively, political science sophomore. “We haven’t been participating in tournaments until this year," Park said. "Last year it was just me and Jackson, and now, we have been able to grow and participate in tournaments. Before this year, we were really just introducing the game to people, and now our goal is (to compete in the National Collegiate Paintball Association's championship.)” The two had low expectations for the team initially, but their humble beginnings have helped them this season. “Since there isn’t a lot of recruiting compared to the bigger sports at a college, the club teams are usually just for the people that love the game of paintball and learning,” Park said. Hively wanted to increase the number of participants and that meant making the club less exclusive. “I have opened the club to new players this semester, which has helped us a lot in growing our brand," Hively said. "I am confident in everyone we have on our team right now." The team feels it is in the right direction despite inexperience. “We are still very young, and we have been middle of the pack from the getgo,” Adam Alejandro, graduate student, said. “We haven’t come out and walked away with nothing to show for it. We have gained a lot of respect from a lot

Jackson Hively, paintball team president, running drills during practice at X-factor Paintball Park in San Antonio. PHOTO BY CHELSEA YOHN

of other lines, and anything less than top three finishes is (an) insult to our team.” Despite its newness, the team does have some older players like Alejandro. He began playing paintball as an undergraduate student at Cornell University, making him the most experienced on the team. “I have been playing competitive for six years now,” Alejandro said. “When I was an undergrad at Cornell University, I helped the team there, which is still the only Ivy League team.” Alejandro has been to Nationals before, but not with Texas State. “I have been blessed to go to Nationals with my old team, and I want to take Texas State there,” Alejandro said. Paintball is one of the most expensive activities a college student can take part in. But, according to the team, it is definitely worth it. “Tournaments cost about $500, which

gives us about seven paintball cases," Hively said. "You have to account for hotel, gas and food. Split between the team, it comes to about $150 a person per tournament. It is expensive, but it is worth it." Hively is hoping the university will be able to fund the paintball team. "Hopefully the school looks into funding us as a club,” Hively said. “Because the team gets the opportunity to compete with the bigger name schools that Texas State might not always get to play in other sports.” The team has qualified and is preparing for Nationals April 20, in Kissimmee, Florida, with a few more tournaments before then. “Our main goal this next tournament is to be a well-oiled machine,” Hively said. “We are going to have some players taking on a coaching role to help us. We are in this to win it.”

GYMNASTICS

Student gymnast works to fulfill goals By Region Kinden Sports Reporter From flipping on couches to flipping on the mat, one member of the Texas State gymnastics club has been working on her gymnastics skills most of her life. Hannah King, nursing sophomore, has been in gymnastics since she was 6 years old. She worked with the sport on and off until she entered the sixth grade, then decided to stick with it and cheerleading. “I was flipping all over the couches and stuff at home,” King said. “My mom was like 'let your energy out somewhere else for it to be productive.'” When searching for an institution to attend after high school, King wanted a comfortable place to call home. She noted the education program offered at Texas State, as well as the beautiful campus and hills, and wanted to pursue it. King then noticed the gymnastics club Texas State had and knew she wanted to be a part of it. King believes her biggest strength is working the floor event because she has enough space to do whatever she wants. “Floor is where you do dance, jumps and tumbling on a big piece of mat,” King said. “It’s where you get to express yourself while doing skills that are required for that level to your own choice of music.” King said that she usually chooses a Disney song because it matches her personality. The gymnast said she tries to have fun and relax as a confidence builder before competing in her meets.

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Hanna King, nursing sophomore, practices on the balance beam for a gymnastics routine Feb. 28 at the Aqua Sports Center. PHOTO COURTESY OF HANNA KING

“I like to listen to old Disney music like Hannah Montana or even high school musical,” King said. Teammate Bryce Singer, finance junior, believes King brings in a lot of value to the team. “She is very enthusiastic and supportive,” Singer said. “She is uplifting during practice and competitions." King hopes to become an officer in the future to continue working on her best qualities and help the team grow. Teammate Aja Stills, psychology freshman, feels King’s personality and drive pushes Stills and fellow teammates to be greater. “Her competitiveness makes her push herself to higher expectations,” Stills

said. “She doesn’t just compete with other gymnasts, she also competes with herself to be better than the day before.” King wants people to come out and watch her teammates compete against other programs. “We compete in the NAIGC, which is for schools that don’t have the sport at the collegiate level,” King said. "I want to work to get us known. Other schools didn’t know we had a gymnastics club.” Ultimately, King hopes to one day get kids involved in gymnastics to help them build their confidence as it did for her. The gymnastics club practices at the Aqua Sports Center and the next competition is at Texas Tech University March 24.

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The University Star

SPORTS

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 | 8 Brooke Phillips Sports Editor @BrookePhillips_

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FROM PAGE 7 TRACK AND FIELD Tonya Johnson travels to as many meets as possible, and T'Mond Johnson is grateful that his mom can witness his greatest accomplishments. “This year at the A&M meet, I had a big throw and she was jumping around excited, with tears rolling down her face," T'Mond Johnson said. "I like that she gets to come watch me, it means a lot." Tonya Johnson compliments her son's work ethic and said she knew he would be great from the start. “He’s very opened minded, and strong-willed," Tonya Johnson said. "I used to call him my little great achiever, and as soon as I laid eyes on him, I knew that one day he would achieve anything. I’ve seen him really mature and grow to be a great leader.” T'Mond Johnson proves his strong will every day as a student-athlete trying to balance schoolwork, a social life and track. “In college, no one is going to be there to push you other than yourself,” T'Mond Johnson said. “When you want to be good at something, you push yourself and either you have it, or you don’t.” Tonya Johnson has had one word of advice for her son throughout his whole life, a word that will carry on with him now and for years to come. “My saying to him always is ‘focus,'” Tonya Johnson said. “Even if I’m not there, I’ll be there in spirit telling him to focus.”

WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD

Horizontal jumper reaches for the stars By Michelle Joseph Sports Reporter For one athlete, her hard work and dedication do not only show through the records she has made, but this track and field star's efforts have not gone unnoticed by the people who surround her. Naomi Ferdinand, sophomore horizontal jumper, began her track journey in the eighth grade after she realized her potential to thrive in the sport. “My coaches used to say I was a waste of talent because I was kind of forced into trying track, but after trying it, I fell in love and grew a passion for it,” Ferdinand said. The Houston native enjoys being part of the women’s track and field team because of the huge support system and sisterhood it has created for her. “Even when you have bad days, you have someone to pick you up and it’s amazing to have that kind of support,” Ferdinand said. “It's especially true for track because people often think that (the team is) too big, but it brings us together to create a bond.” Time management can be difficult for athletes since the sport is a big commitment, but it pushes Ferdinand to maintain good study habits. “You really have to learn how to manage everything all together, sometimes we go out all day and return late which is tiring,” Ferdinand said. “Although I am tired, I have the self-discipline to study and focus on my academics since I want to do physical therapy for athletes.” Success and victory is the best feeling Ferdinand experiences, which keeps her ambitious and motivated.

“I’m passionate about this, it’s not just a hobby," Ferdinand said. “It is a big part of me and I want to be the best in my event, coming out on top every time.” Ferdinand appreciates being a part of a champion team because her teammates are vibrant and influence her to be great. “I look up to all of the seniors since they are approaching the end and we're just getting started,” Ferdinand said. “Just being around them teaches me to be strong-minded and incredible as they are.” Ferdinand's friend, Taydria Nickerson , psychology sophomore, appreciates Ferdinand's energy and ability to make anyone smile. “Naomi can get me to laugh at anything no matter how I'm feeling and all I have to worry about is being myself,” Nickerson said. “Life feels so easy and fun when she's around.” Jaylin McMillan , electrical engineering junior, is one of Ferdinand's friends and said she is caring, dependable and encouraging. “One thing I like about her personality is that she is courageous,” McMillan said. “She is never afraid to take the next step forward in her life.” Ferdinand continues to work hard to be the best and has goals to reach for the present and the future. “Jumping requires a lot of work but my main goal is to jump 20 feet, and I'm almost there,” Ferdinand said. “If I get to where I desire to be, I’m thinking of going professional. It is one of the biggest dreams I’ve had since my junior year of high school and it’s going to be hard but definitely not impossible.”

Naomi Ferdinand, sophomore horizontal jumper, warms up before competing in her long jump event. PHOTO COURTESY OF NAOMI FERDINAND

BASEBALL

A baseball player’s new route on the intramural field By Melea Polk Assistant Sports Editor Six concussions and three slipped disks could not stop one intramural softball player from gaining experience to pursue his life-long dream; becoming a high school baseball coach. Ever since Garrett Wisdom, kinesiology and exercise sports science freshman, could swing a bat, he has wanted to follow in his father’s, Stephen Wisdom, footsteps as a baseball coach. Wisdom first started his baseball career from being inspired by his father. “I’ve been saying that I would be a high school football and baseball coach since I was in third grade,” Wisdom said. “That was my first year as a ball boy and bat boy for my dad’s football and baseball teams. In my eyes my dad is the greatest high school coach to ever coach the game. One of my biggest goals is to follow in his footsteps and be one of the best high school coaches ever.” Wisdom’s road to his career began at Texas State in the fall of 2017 after graduating from Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Johnson City, Texas. “Garrett has always been very respectable and hardworking,” Spencer Grisham, construction science and

management freshman, said. “He is trustworthy and I can always count on him.” Wisdom played baseball and football throughout high school and had plans to pursue those at a higher level, but multiple injuries derailed that dream. “I really wanted to try to play football at a junior college as a slot receiver or outside linebacker,” Wisdom said. “I also thought about trying to play baseball at a junior college level or even maybe Texas State, but throughout high school I got six concussions and three slipped disks in my spine. No doctor would clear me to play.” Fortunately, Wisdom still had a chance to play baseball at the intramural level. Wisdom and his friend John decided they wanted to put together a team, and they named the team the Benchwarmers. “Intramurals is a chance for me to continue playing baseball,” Wisdom said. “I called my friend John about playing softball with me and he agreed. We spent a few days calling a bunch of our friends and scheduling a meeting at Whataburger. From there, the Benchwarmers were formed.” One of the team members Ty Craighead, early childhood education freshman, spoke highly of Wisdom’s

(left to right) Father and son, Stephen and Garrett Wisdom,

kinesiology and exercise sports science freshman, pose in

front of Texas High School Baseball Coach Association Flag.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRETT WISDOM

work as a leader on the Benchwarmers. “Garrett is honestly one of the nicest people I have ever met,” Craighead said. “As a leader, he is extraordinarily qualified. He has been in multiple organizations throughout his life and has been very successful as a leader.” For the intramural softball team, Wisdom plays shortstop. He has experience in every position, but his team thought that he would be best at shortstop. “I played every position throughout

high school, and my dad taught me how to play all positions on the diamond,” Wisdom said. “John asked me to play shortstop for the team and I thought it was a great idea.” Wisdom’s first intramural season has given him a brotherhood that he is appreciative of. “I love my team,” Wisdom said. “We are just a bunch of chill, down-to-earth guys that love having fun. I plan to play the rest of my time in college.”

Think independent. Want to lead a team of dedicated, award-winning journalists? We are looking for our next Editor-In-Chief. Applicants can download an application at: universitystar.com/EIC Packets are due by 3 p.m. March 29th.

March 6, 2018  
March 6, 2018  
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