DEFENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT SINCE 1911 @universitystar | universitystar.com
Texas State should be more involved in off-campus housing SEE MAIN POINT PAGE 7
TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2018
Understanding service dog etiquette SEE ANIMALS PAGE 4
Volume 107, Issue 23
Texas State water ski team continues to flourish SEE WATER SKI PAGE 9
Elliott Hall to turn into office spaces By Jakob Rodriguez Assistant News Editor Elliott Hall opened its doors to residents in 1963 but will be closing in May and will add staff office and teaching spaces. Elliott Hall is comprised of three buildings: A, B and C, totaling 37,293 square feet. The estimated total repurposing project cost is $6.5 million. "A specific college or major has yet to claim the space," said Michael Petty, director of facilities planning. Petty said the existing infrastructure was a factor in the decision of repurposing the hall into office and classroom space. The proposed renovations include changes to modify the buildings from bedrooms to classrooms and offices. The remaining rooms will be converted for use as faculty and staff offices with supporting functions such as printing, lounge and break areas.
SEE HALL PAGE 2
Elliot Hall houses students for one last semester before the University decides its fate. PHOTO BY TYLER JACKSON
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The University Star
2 | Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Katie Burrell News Editor @KatieNicole96
FROM FRONT HALL New classrooms will be constructed on the ends of each floor. The second floor will be converted to a storage area and will not be accessible to the public. The student lounge will be updated on the north and south sides of the building, and a suite of offices for administrative functions will be created. The construction cost estimate is $4,700,000. The next milestone for the project is selecting an architect and contractor. Changes to Elliott Hall come at a time when the oncampus community will feel it the most. "It's going to be a loss," said Rosanne Proite, director of the Department of Housing and Residential Life. This year, DHRL overbooked facilities, leaving some students sharing common area rooms for a time instead of individual dorms. DHRL said it found 100 students temporary housing. The total number of oncampus residents is about 7,000, according to the DHRL. The DHRL will attempt to make up for the 186 bed loss in Elliot Hall by continuing renovations in Blanco Hall. Proite said that at the end of 2019 Blanco Hall will undergo a $29 million dollar renovation. Proite also said that The DHRL will add between 787 and 1,025 new beds in a construction project utilizing a new residence hall complex. The project includes the demolition of two existing residence halls, Burleson and Hornsby, and the construction of a new complex in their place.
Austin-area commuters stuck with large bus fees By Tyler Hernandez Senior News Reporter Extra bus fees and difficult bus schedules have affected Texas State student son the Austin area since 2012. While all students pay a bus fee each semester, these commuters must pay extra each month to get to class using CARTS. As the university population grows, commuting students continuously rely more on transportation via the university bus system to get to campus. Up until 2012, commuters in Austin and surrounding areas could use the same university bus system as everyone else. Steven Herrera, director of transportation services, said that changed when the Texas Transportation Institute, based out of Texas A&M, completed a study showing that universities should focus on local commuters. “There were a couple of elements looked at: riderships, cost per passenger and safety issues,” Herrera said. “One of the findings was that the local service really should be the priority because that’s where the majority of students are.” The result was an increase in transportation options for local students as well as a steep spike in price for longer distance commuters. While all students attending Texas State must pay a $95 fee each semester toward the operation of the university busses, these commuters pay an additional $88 dollars each month. Ashley Lamar, a digital media innovation junior, said the price was too much for her to afford. “It might not seem like a lot of money, but to a college student that’s a lot,” Lamar said. While all Texas State students have access to the CARTS busses that make up the city of San Marcos’ public transportation free of charge, the interurban coach is not included. Dana Platt, marketing director for CARTS, said that this was due to the nature of the contracts agreed to by the city and university. “(Students) get to ride the bus, it’s not for free but it’s included in their tuition, so when they ride the bus around town, locally, they just have to show their ID,” Platt said.
Cutline here and here and Capital Area Rural Transportation System is a shuttle service that serves Texas State students. STAR FILE PHOTO
Because the interurban bus routes are designed to service the wider hill country area, the commute to the university is not the only priority for CARTS. This means that the connection times on the routes are not coordinated with Texas State course schedules. Dana Platt said aligning the two schedules would be impractical. “We have nine other routes that we make regionally to try to make connections, so it’s not really ideal to check with Texas State classes to make sure they line up,” Platt said. “I’m not sure that we could possibly, as a transportation organization, check with Texas State’s classes to make sure that all of our routes are going to perfectly line up.” Lamar said these delays often leave her waiting for a bus to arrive near campus. “I’ll have a class that is from 2 to 3:20 (p.m.),"” Lamar said. "I think the last bus leaves like three. These class times leave an extra 20 minutes, but the next bus doesn’t get there until 5:10." The involvement of CARTS in the Austin area is purely the result of supply and demand as it unfolded after the university began focusing on transportation local to San Marcos. Steven Herrera said that the
trade-off resulted in benefits that are still felt today. “There was a service that they felt could be provided by them operating it,” Herrera said. “We were able to put in services to Bobcat Village.“ For the foreseeable future, this situation will remain largely the same, although the bus schedule may be flexible. “We’re open to tailoring our routes to fit our communities,” Platt said. “ We just came out with these new schedules in January, our next schedule change will be in August, so we’re collecting data and we’re open to suggestions that, next time we make route changes, we can implement.” Lamar said Texas State should set aside a bus for the area, otherwise, for her and her fellow commuters, transferring to a nearer college may be the only solution. “It’s just a big necessity I see,” Lamar said. “If they really want more people transferring to Texas State or commuting I think that would be one big thing to do. It’s not just kids that can’t afford to move to San Marcos it’s also people who are blind or can’t drive or have to stay home with family, they can’t live on their own. It’s kinda messed up in a way, I think.”
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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 20, 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
Residence halls work to keep up with growing population By Geoff Sloan News Reporter The Department of Housing and Residential Life plans to demolish and renovate buildings on campus to keep up with population growth. DHRL operates the residence halls at Texas State which occupy between 6,000 to 7,000 students throughout the academic year. The need for renovated on-campus housing and more housing is necessary according to the department, with the student population breaking another record of 34,206 undergraduates. Arnold, Smith, Hornsby and Burleson Halls are set to be demolished and replaced by brand new residence halls. The new halls will include 1,200 bed spaces and cost just over $132 million together. Blanco Hall is undergoing renovations currently, but with no set completion date. This is the first set of renovations since the hall was constructed in 1987. “The scope of renovations and improvements includes: upgrades of the building utilities infrastructure as well as upgrading the fire protection systems; updating the restrooms; minor modifications to the bedrooms; upgrading the community living rooms; repairing/enhancing the exterior; and improving the main entry area," according to the DHRL website. These changes to Blanco Hall have meant some temporary closures to parts of the building, unusable bed spaces and fewer Resident Assistants employed at the hall. Out of the 715 total bed spaces at Blanco Hall before renovations began, there are 375 bed spaces currently filled. More information on the approved residence hall projects can be found on
Arnold Hall, along with Smith, Hornsby and Burleson Hall are planned to be demolished and renovated in the near future. STAR FILE PHOTO
the DHRL website. The most recently constructed residence halls have a higher price compared to the older halls. San Gabriel Hall and Angelina Hall had their first residents in fall 2016 and range between $3,950 and $4,935 for an academic year. Future residence halls will likely show an increase in price compared to older halls because of new amenities. Nicholas Consoli, exploratory freshman, shares his feelings about what the on-campus living experience is like. While Consoli realizes that living oncampus can have its challenges, Consoli said he believes there could be an added benefit to having more on-campus options. "Some benefits of living on-campus are definitely making friends and
definitely that it's a whole lot closer," Consoli said. Consoli believes that creating more options for living on-campus would extend these benefits to students like him. Making friends and having a close proximity to academic buildings are not the only benefits according to DHRL. "Students who live on campus have a 10-15 percent better chance of doing well in college than students living off campus. On-campus students have better grades, take more units and are more likely to persevere to achieve a university degree," DHRL states. DHRL states living on-campus is linked to a student's academic success, therefore, making more and better oncampus housing a tool for academic success among students.
The fight for Float Fest continues By Triston Giesie News Reporter For two days in summer 2017, 15,000 concert-goers attended the annual Float Fest. However, the fate of Float Fest in 2018 is currently hanging in the balance after failing to secure a permit. Float Fest is a summer festival in Martindale, that combines all the favorite parts of tubing, camping, and live music. This is the fifth time that Marcus Federman has organized the festival, with it growing each time. At the Guadalupe County Commissioner’s meeting Feb. 17, Federman appeared with his attorney Joseph Stallone. Together, the two men made an opening argument outlining how they had learned from previous years and that they worked in cooperation with other entities on their 201-page permit application. “It’s a win-win for the community. There’s tax revenues, the local businesses thrive during Float Fest weekend, we get letters from businesses thanking (us for ) what we do and wanting to be partners,” Stallone said. Stallone emphasized the potential for Float Fest to give back to the Martindale community. He also stressed the importance of the wording within permit application. “The court shall grant a permit application… shall in the statute, is a mandatory term, it means you must,” Stallone said. For Commissioner Jim Wolverton, this argument was crucial to him when voting to issue the permit to Federman and Float Fest.
Cutline here and here and MGMT performing at Float Fest in 2017. STAR FILE PHOTO
“The statute clearly states that if he has filed his paperwork timely and properly, we shall issue the permit,” Wolverton said. At the hearing, County Judge Kyle Kutscher expressed his concern with Float Fest being the possibility of traffic and congestion, especially in the event of an emergency evacuation. “It is still a funneling method of getting people off of the road and onto the property,” Kutscher said. Both Kutscher and Wolverton expect Federman to appeal the decision of the Guadalupe County Commissioners to deny the permit allowing 30,000 attendees, twice as many as last year’s Float Fest. Citizens of Martindale spoke at the hearing against Float Fest, airing a variety of grievances. Among these citizens was James Fancher, who spoke of the issues
of safety and planning. “At (9 p.m.), the majority of law enforcement leaves the area… the music doesn’t stop until (2 a.m.) That’s five prime hours of reduced law enforcement, inadequate to handle the group (of 30,000 attendees),” Fancher said. Virginia Copy, a pregnant mother, said she felt that the health and safety requirements of the Float Fest attendees had been addressed, but the health and safety of Martindale citizens had been neglected. “At what point is it too much,” Copy said. “At what point will you guys put your tax paying citizens above a commercial operator." The meeting concluded with a 3-2 decision against issuing the permit. Both Kutscher and Wolverton both expect Federman to appeal the decision.
4 | Tuesday, March 20, 2018
The University Star LeeAnn Cardwell Lifestyle Editor @leeanncardwell
Understanding service dog etiquette By Arielle Raveney Lifestyle Reporter College life can be tough for those with disabilities not visible, but a canine sidekick can help make it a little easier. Bruce Coonce, Office of Disability Services assistant director, said a service animal is a dog that is trained to perform a specific task for a person’s disability. “Service animals are more than just the presence of a dog for a source of emotional comfort; they perform a task,” Coonce said. “People will go to online registries (for an emotional support animal) and think that allows them to take their dog anywhere. Those facts are bogus actually.” Coonce said students with service animals are not required to have them registered with the school, but is encouraged. Lauren Gordon, music education freshman, has had her medical service dog, Taluka, for about a year and a half. Taluka helps Gordon monitor her glucose levels for her type one diabetes. Gordon said Taluka can smell it on Gordon's breath when her blood sugar level is high or low and is able to alert her. “Dogs have a sense of smell that is like a world we don’t even know,” Gordon said. Gordon said the universal problem for people with service animals is strangers petting the animal without permission. "For Taluka, her job doesn’t stop,” Gordon said. “At any second, I could drop, or something could happen."
Gordon said when someone pets her animal without permission it could result in the dog's distraction and the failure to help Gordon if an emergency occurs. Gordon said she had reoccurring seizures at night her senior year of high school that led her to get a service dog for college. Taluka is Gordon’s best friend and she performs a service that is vital to her health. “An analogy I like to tell people is that if you see someone walking down the street with crutches, you don’t go up to them and take their crutches,” Gordon said. “In a way, you're taking away a person's medical equipment." Taylor Baxter, general studies senior, has a psychiatric service dog named Sophie to help her with complex PTSD and generalized anxiety. Sophie is half dachshund and puts her long nose to good use. Baxter said Sophie is scent-trained to smell and react to cortisol levels, a hormone the body produces when one is stressed or anxious. Baxter said Sophie is trained in deep therapy pressure which is where the weight of her body has a calming effect on Baxter. Sophie is also trained in body blocking where she stands behind Baxter if a room is crowded and keeps space between her and other people. Baxter said the biggest issue in public is when people come up and touch Sophie without permission. "She’s trying to do her job, but it distracts her," Baxter said. "It’s frustrating because it’s hard enough
Taylor Baxter and Sophie, captured by Wolf and Rose Photography PHOTO COURTESY OF TAYLOR BAXTER
for me to go out and do a normal thing. It takes a lot of energy to just go grocery shopping, so then it makes my life harder to have people all up on me excited that I have a dog.” Baxter said there seems to be confusion around the difference between an emotional support animal and a service animal, especially with a psychiatric service animal. “The legal difference is task training,” Baxter said. “The human has to be considered disabled by their illness,
needs or mental illness. Then, the dog has to be specifically trained (for) tasks to mediate the disability and help make it better." Baxter said emotional support animals are not trained and only there to comfort the human with their presence. Service animals are intended to assist humans with medical disabilities and perform an essential role in their owner's lives. They stand as service animals first before anything else.
Bobcat Break contributes to community By Diana Furman Lifestyle Reporter As spring-breakers across Texas geared up for sunshine and relaxation, others prepared to donate their timeoff to those in need. Student Volunteer Connection provides an opportunity for students to travel to a direct location and engage in active citizenship through their Bobcat Break program. Through volunteer work and reflection in group activities, students delve into the specifics about a selected cause or issue. Students emerge equipped with the skills to assist their local community in meeting its needs. Participants are allowed to select a social issue they are passionate about and are then put into a group that focuses on that cause. Two groups attended separate week-long trips during spring break. From March 1118 the group '#nobounderies' went to Houston and worked with children in the MD Anderson Hospital. The other group, 'Building Joy', assisted a homeless shelter and Habitat for Humanity in New Mexico. Alexander Taylor, finance senior, participated in his fourth Bobcat Break trip this spring. Taylor said in the past he assisted in rebuilding a hiking trail in Tennessee, helped a homeless shelter provide more efficient services and restored a home for a family displaced by flooding. Taylor said he felt called to devote his time to community service after suffering from financial hardships growing up. He said there was a period of time where his family was homeless- living in hotel rooms and
Autumn Dorrough, Texas State alumna, works at Dos Gatos Kolaches and has her own photography practice full time. PHOTO BY SONIA GARCIA
"The leader of Joy Junction tended to look at these homeless people like they were prisoners," Todd said. "I hope we changed that by the way we showed that community love through our actions." Todd said Habitat for Humanity tended to be more caring about the people it was helping. She said the organizations really took time to know the individuals personally while assisting them. "We were able to see how their interaction with the community made a difference in how they served," Todd said. "It taught us what to do and what not to do. Jonathon Adams, Student Volunteer Connection president and geography senior, said all the site leaders are new and he has seen how hard they have worked to perfect their trips. “The fact that they got to see (the projects) they've been planning since May come to (fruition) is really exciting,” Adams said. Taylor said it is important for students Building Break team takes a break from construction to commemorate their work to know there are more ways to help with Habitat for Humanity. PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH TODD those in need rather than just giving monetary donations. “We may not have money but we then a homeless shelter for a couple of the homeless community. months. Todd's group's social issue this year have strength,” Taylor said. “We have “It was a very humbling experience was housing and homelessness. They physical ability to plant a garden or going through those hardships,” Taylor first worked in Santa Fe to assist Habitat rebuild a home.” Taylor said he knows he will always said. “I realized not everyone has certain for Humanity build houses for those in privileges and some people need help need. Later in the week they traveled to carry the knowledge he has gained from getting through that.” Albuquerque to work with Joy Junction his Bobcat Break experiences with him Taylor said he wants to take every Homeless Shelter in order to make the throughout his life and plans to utilize opportunity he can to give back homeless shelter look less like a shelter it and give back to his community any chance he gets. because he doesn’t want anyone else to and more like a home. “I will be giving back to my community experience the same adversities he did. Todd enjoyed that they were able to in one way or another for the rest of my Sarah Todd, site leader and nursing witness this issue through two different sophomore, headed Taylor’s group as perspectives in working with two life,” Taylor said. they traveled to New Mexico to assist different organizations.
HUMANS OF SAN MARCOS "I started my business two years ago, it’s called Keta Photographs. I love meeting people in the area because of the culture and I love San Marcos. I’ve traveled all over Texas and gone to Colorado to shoot photos. Right now I have been really busy with senior season, and that’s actually how I started my business. I work with lots of models and bloggers to complete portraits
and of course the Texas State community during graduation season. My husband is my biggest supporter. He is the one who bought my camera and even during slow seasons he is super encouraging and always pushes me to do more." – Autumn Dorrough, Texas State alumna
The University Star
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | 5
LeeAnn Cardwell Lifestyle Editor @leeanncardwell
Apartment locators prove to be useful By Paola Quiroz Lifestyle Reporter Although uncertainty of services provided by apartment locators lurks, they provide free services to students who need advice and help when looking for a place to live off-campus. Chris Day, office manager at Apartment Experts, said students come to apartment locators and tell them what they are looking for as far as price range, furnishing, pets and roommates. Then they will show students the options that match their criteria with a unique database created in-house. “We will be with them every step of the way from the moment they sit down with us to making sure they are approved and moved in,” Day said. Once the student has narrowed down the list of top choices, the apartment locators provide a free driving service to allow students to tour the properties in person. Cody Lewis, apartment pros locator, said he has noticed how often times people with aggressive breed dogs have trouble finding an apartment that accepts their dogs. They are denied many times, but when they go to an apartment locator they can easily find an apartment that will fit their unique situation. “It can be discouraging for someone in that position to call apartment after apartment and be told ‘no no no,’” Lewis said. “When they come to us and we match them with apartments they can go to, it is very uplifting.” Mareany Martinez, health information management sophomore, said she used the free services provided by apartment locators and went to them for advice after living on campus.
“They were very helpful,” Martinez said. “I didn’t know much about leasing, but my apartment locator went over every single page of my lease and made sure I understood and if I didn’t understand he went over it and made it more simple to understand.” Apartment Pros and Apartment Experts are two of the six affiliates of Texas State's Department of Housing and Residential Life through the ACT Ally program. ACT Ally members include a number of apartment complexes in the San Marcos area. The list of apartments can be found on the website. Lewis and Day said the overall intake process takes between 30 minutes to an hour, and they can be as thorough or as quick as one needs them to be. The services are free of charge because of the company's real estate license. “We get paid to help people,” Day said. “The apartment community pays us in the back end so we don’t charge students anything.” Lewis also said it is best to not make a rash decision when choosing an apartment. He said since their service is free, he suggests students hear what they have to say. Lewis said the demand for apartments has exceeded the supply, so prices do go up on a weekly basis at some apartments. “You don’t want to wait (to sign at an apartment) because your options decrease by the month or by the week and the prices go up,” Lewis said. Apartment hunting can be stressful, but apartment locators provide free, easy services. The Texas State Department Of Housing and Residential Life ACT Ally website offers assistance finding off campus living with its list of apartment locator affiliates.
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The University Star LeeAnn Cardwell Lifestyle Editor @leeanncardwell
ORGANIZATIONS By Sonia Garcia Lifestyle Reporter Women in search of confidence, empowerment and role models have found a place to grow on campus. Organizations such as Society of Women Engineers, Society of Women in Physics, Women in Medicine, Women in Leadership and Women of Gold give ladies a unique space to be around likeminded individuals who are passionate and goal-driven. These organizations were established in the past five years and are devoted to granting women the opportunities and support systems they might not find elsewhere on campus.
Women unite on campus
Women in Leadership
Society of Women Engineers Despite the gender gap in the engineering field, SWE brings women interested in engineering together by giving them professional, volunteer and social events. The mission is to support each other and promote engineering to the female community while gaining practical experience in the work force. DaNae Winston, president of SWE and electrical engineer senior, has helped the organization grow. She has established relations with businesses through her personal internship with Samsung and by creating a mentoring program. SWE underclassman are paired with an upperclassmen to help them adjust and feel comfortable in their career path. “As I move up in my engineering classes there are fewer and fewer girls, and in almost all of my classes I’m the only African-American girl,” Winston said. “When I leave class I see all my friends from SWE so it doesn’t even bother me anymore because I know I have a community of females.” Members meet at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in RFM 4342.
Society of Women in Physics The physics department also suffers from a shortage of women interested in the field, but at 12:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, members of SWIP meet in RFM 3240C. The organization started off as a small social group for women in the physics department. It has now grown and attends conferences, even having their own demonstrations at the Women In
with other members and enjoys when the organization hosts study sessions. “I think it’s really important to surround yourself with a good group of people,” Garcia said. “It is really important to network, talk to people in the same field and see how they did it and what they went through.” Women in Medicine meet at 7 p.m. biweekly on Wednesdays in LBJ 3.9-1.
Women of Gold is a women empowerment organization on campus. They participate in volunteer activities as well as social activities to allow women to feel confident in their own skin. PHOTO COURTESY OF WOMEN OF GOLD
Women of all majors are invited to attend meetings for Women in Leadership held at 7 p.m. bi-weekly on Wednesdays in LBJ 3-6.1. This organization focuses on developing leadership skills and having ladies support each other. Their focus is to develop as individuals and assist each other with the resources to do so. Victoria Lerma, president of WIL and pre-nursing junior, said members have a strong bond and are supportive of one another's every-day endeavors. “A lot of the members want to empower themselves and their peers, but also want to develop their leadership skills and feel confident,” Lerma said.
Women of Gold
Women in Medicine welcomes females going into the medical field to feel empowered by being around others who are going through the same struggles as them. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARISSA CHATMAN
Science and Engineering conference. Alison Nichols, web master for SWIP and physics junior, said members are encouraged to become familiar with each other outside of meetings because the physics department is relatively small. “Being a science major, you’re surrounded by a whole bunch of dudes 24/7, and I think it is really nice there is a sense of female community,” Nichols said.
Women in Medicine Women in Medicine was created to
allow ladies interested in the medical field an opportunity to connect over the same issues they face in classes and in the work force. The organization brings in alumni and women in the field to answer questions and concerns about the careers the students are pursuing. Outside of their regular meetings, members regularly volunteer at a local hospice and other nearby hospitals. Gabriela Garcia, secretary of Women in Medicine and biology junior, said she likes being able to discuss tough courses
Women of Gold is a women's empowerment group that focuses on promoting self-love and self-confidence. Meetings are held at 5 p.m. every Sunday in LBJ 3-9.1 where students discuss the every-day struggles college women can relate to. It offers a comfortable environment where ladies can express what is on their mind. Dalontria Carothers, secretary of Women of Gold and philosophy senior, said she joined to meet new people and get involved on campus. “I’ve seen the girls who have been in the organization become more confident with themselves, starting YouTube channels or blogs, sharing their experiences with other women to help them feel empowered,” Carothers said. The organization participates in multiple volunteer activities such as river cleanups and helping at the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center. These organizations give women at Texas State the chance to connect with others and gain tools to become the best version of themselves professionally, socially and in a community setting.
ROOMMATE TIPS AND ADVICE By Alyssa Weinstein Lifestyle Reporter To prevent roommate situations like Katie’s, apartment professionals in the San Marcos area spoke to us to give us their best roommate advice and tips to have a pleasant roommate experience. When beginning the apartment searching process, one of the most stressful aspects of it is finding roommates, especially if you cannot live with anyone you already know. Micah Gilbert, leasing manager of the Vistas of San Marcos, said to look for others who are similar to yourself. “I always encourage students to find a roommate who shares their interests, major/minor, or is involved
in the same organizations as them," Gilbert said. "I (also) tell students to find a roommate who shares the same sleeping habits, social habits, and work habits.” However, if situations with roommates go astray, there are several options that can typically be taken to resolve conflicts. “Keep calm,” Diana Stevenson, general manager of the Thompson said. “Then ask the roommate if they'd like to sit down to discuss your concerns and reach a solution. Remember that each individual is unique and it is best to try to understand their point of view.” Reagan Tatsch, community manager of The Local Downtown, said it is best to use honest and direct
communication. “Passive-aggressive actions only cause both sides to dig in deeper," Tatsch said. "If the situation involves lease rules violations, notify your community manager. Communicate and be willing to compromise.” The way that apartment complexes address roommate predicaments vary. For The Local Downtown, there are layers of options to help residents resolve their roommate conflicts. “First, we encourage residents to work it out among themselves," Tatsch said "If that doesn’t work out, The Local has a phenomenal team of Community Assistants who are available to act as a go-between to help get the situation resolved. If the problem can’t be resolved, we
offer mediation of the issues and in the rarest cases transfer one of the roommates if there is a unit available.” The Thompson's way of handling roommate matters are similar to The Local Downtown's in order to reach a solution that satisfies all the roommates involved. "We request every roommates point of view then ask to sit down with all roommates for a meeting so each roommate can find a comfortable and happy median,” Stevenson said. In order to avoid having a roommate horror story, communication is the most vital part of roommate living so all parties can experience the best living situation.
The University Star
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | 7 Carrington Tatum Opinions Editor @mogulcarrington
Texas State should be more involved in off-campus housing The majority of Texas State students will eventually make the decision to live off campus. Eighty-one percent of students live off campus, according to a US News & World Report. While living off campus may seem like the more economical and independent choice, it is important to consider the university’s role in offcampus living. While students cannot practically control the prices of privately owned apartment complexes, the university can help its students. The off-campus experience has been tumultuous to say the least for a number of college students. Most students have problems with moveins, maintenance or roommate issues. According to the residents of these problematic apartments, the issues stem from apathetic management. Companies can be indifferent when there will always be an influx of students running from the minimal and poor quality housing on campus. The quality of living would be a reasonable problem to forget if they truly adhered to a 'get what you pay
for’ pricing mode, but that is not the case. Without including utilities and other bills, the majority of two-bedroom apartments in San Marcos rent for approximately $700-800 a month, according to the Department of Geography. Economically, it is a lose-lose situation. Students might as well live in a low-quality room with a stranger, or live in a lower quality room with more space with a stranger for almost the same price. Apartment management may not be completely to blame here. They’re doing what good businesses do by meeting demand with supply. But with Texas State's population growing each year, we can expect the demand for off-campus living to grow and with growing demand is growing prices. The university offers assistance with students choosing to live off-campus through the Off-Campus Living department under the Department of Housing and Residential Life. OCL offers ACT Ally, a collaboration with DHRL that connects students
with a list of apartments and service providers through ACT Ally-AtA-Glace. The university claims no affiliation and urges students to do their own research, and encourages them to utilize the Attorney for Students office as well. On the DHRL website, they claim “Texas State University, the Department of Housing and Residential Life, and Off-Campus Living do not inspect, endorse or assume any responsibility for any properties, accommodations, or other housing options or websites and expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any problems that may arise in connection with your use of the service.” In other words, the university defers the blame from themselves to the apartment complex. While the resources may help students, it does not shield students from the acrossthe-board advantageous attitude apartment leases take. The resources provided for students should be there continuously, and not just after the fact. Recently, The Point Apartments
delayed move in till mid-October and well into midterms, due to failed inspections. Students were given the choice of staying in a hotel or finding their own temporary housing. The university was not able to help these students since housing is finalized before the semester begins. Texas State has an obligation to represent them against the abusive practices of apartment complexes. The university only gets to wash their hands of the apartment issue once they are capable of offering their own housing for all students. Because the university is not equipped to house the entire student body, then it has an obligation to protect the housing interests of the students. Between an overpopulated campus, predatory and advantageous apartment practices, and San Marcos city ordinances preventing students from using affording home renting options; students are left at the mercy of whatever force comes across them first.
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.
Texas State should require physical education again By Zach Ienatsch Opinions Columnist Texas State currently offers about 60 different physical fitness and wellness classes, ranging from basic exercise courses to the National Collegiate Athletic Association sports organizations. At one point in the university’s history, all students were required to obtain two credits for physical fitness and wellness classes, but this is no longer the case as of 2014. The university's decision to remove the requirement was not ideal for the health, experience and education of students and it would be beneficial to reintroduce the measure for future students. The removal of PFW requirements for universities is not exclusive to Texas State, but rather follows a much larger pattern across the country. According to USA Today, in 2010, only 39 percent of college students reported having to satisfy a PFW requirement, compared to 67 percent in the '80s and 97 percent in the '20s. The percentages are even lower when only looking at public colleges and universities. Currently, only the McCoy School of Business requires a PFW credit for all students regardless of their degree plan, although the College of Health and Human Performance recently introduced requirement qualifications for some of their students as well. The benefits of physical education are complementary to traditional classroom instruction. Just as we promote growth and sharpness of the mind, regular exercise should also be prioritized in the interest of maintaining student health and
wellness. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise helps improve health, mood and promotes higher social engagement with peers. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 85 percent of college students report feeling stressed and overwhelmed by everything expected of them. Encouraging PFW education in college students can help alleviate this stress. PFW classes will not solve the complex issue of mental health at the university level, but they would certainly be a step in the right direction for student health. For students who are not athletically inclined, the idea of being forced to participate in physical education after high school may seem dreadful. But the implementation and variety of PFW courses allow for greater choice than the typical conception of PE, which may just be running and climbing a vertical rope in a hostile gym. Students can satisfy their credit with less conventional exercise, such as bowling or racquetball. The university even offers outdoorsy opportunities, like backpacking and canoeing. These courses are accessible for students with no experience in the activities and maintain an environment which fosters learning. The opportunity for accessibility of these activities at the university level is also unique as it transcends prior socioeconomic limits. Some students come from communities and backgrounds where they did not have the opportunity to pick up activities like fencing because of a lack of resources. At the university however, they have access to this outlet just as much as a literature or science class.
Oscar Robles, exercise and sports science senior, works out Aug. 28 at the Recreation Center. STAR FILE PHOTO
And while they can certainly pursue these courses without a requirement in place, the publicity of optional classes is not sufficient to reach all students. It may be the case a student would jump at the chance to practice judo at school, but if they are ignorant Texas State even offers the class, it’s not likely they’ll register. If made a requirement, students would be compelled to research the scope of PFW courses offered and take the one they are the most interested in. The list of core requirements for students can already seem exhausting,
but PFW courses are typically only one hour and the benefits of this single hour more than justify its existence. Reintroducing the requirement would only be one of many steps the university should take in ensuring student health. Physical fitness and wellness courses are the intersection of these values and make school more fun and interesting. The university has an obligation to safeguard student safety and promote education. - Zach Ienatsch is a journalism senior
CARTOON OF THE WEEK
CARTOON BY STEPHANIE CLOYD | GRAPHIC DESIGNER
8 | Tuesday, March 20, 2018
The University Star Carrington Tatum Opinions Editor @mogulcarrington
The issue of mental illness among studentathletes
Helping the homeless is the least SXSW can do
By Jaden Edison Opinions Columnist If being a student was not already enough, imagine incorporating the life of an athlete on the back end of it. Association with the title “studentathlete” consists of much more than Saturday night lights, packed stadiums and hundreds of Instagram likes. Wins, losses and awards are only the result of the tumultuous process that takes place behind the scenes. What the average joe does not see are the early morning film sessions, grueling offseason workouts and late night study hours. While getting caught up in high expectations for these students, it is easy to ignore the fact that mental illness has become common amongst them. Researchers from Drexel University and Kean University surveyed 465 student-athletes at an anonymous institution over a three-year period. It was concluded that nearly a quarter of the college athletes sampled displayed clinically relevant depressive symptoms. Mental illness can range from something as simple as stress to the treacherous depths of depression. The worrisome detail is the fact that some student-athletes feel as if they cannot speak to anyone about their problems. Victoria Garrick, University of Southern California indoor volleyball player, told USA Today that “there’s a fear of admitting a weakness because you don’t want to be viewed as weak.” Brian Hainline, NCAA Chief Medical Officer, expressed that the “stereotype is that student-athletes are tough somehow or more put together than others.” Many student athletes are expected to be strong. But behind every 1,000 yard wide receiver, 800-meter track runner and All-American volleyball libero, is an individual with emotions. If they do not feel comfortable enough to speak to their own peers about their troubles, major revisions need to take place. Texas State track & field athlete, Joe Austin III, stated that “balancing classwork and athletic schedules can equal more stress than usual.” Because of the the expectations placed upon them, student-athletes are sometimes more vulnerable to mental health than regular college students. Timothy Neal, assistant athletic director for sports medicine at Syracuse University, acknowledged that student-athletes "have stressors and expectations of them unlike the other students that could either trigger a psychological concern or exacerbate an existing mental health issue." It is not just one individual’s job to tackle the issue of mental illness. It takes a local, domestic and international effort to alert studentathletes to the resources put in place to help them. If these young students do not know where to find help, help must find them. In a study by the University of Washington, out of 477 examined NCAA student-athlete deaths, 7.3 percent were by way of suicide. Focusing on the specific reasoning for the lives lost would be irrelevant. Finding ways to prevent that number from increasing would be righteous. Maybe a simple conversation could have altered one of those individual’s decisions. It is up to communities to pay more attention to their studentathletes and help find ways to combat mental illness. That includes universities, families and peers. Student-athletes seeking aid for their anxiety, depression or isolation are not frail. And their environment is doing them a huge disservice by allowing them to feel alone. - Jaden Edison is an electronic media freshman
By Carrington Tatum Opinion Editor SXSW is a worldwide showcase of innovation in art, technology, business, and social justice. Along the streets of Austin, homeless residents sat, slept, and surveyed as convention goers filed into endless lines and celebrities shuffled to their keynotes. Americans, Texans, sons, brothers and mothers are nothing more than a peripheral eyesore and potential threat to SXSW goers. As the Hollywood elite scurry in to brandish diversity and triumphs over discrimination in their multi-billion dollar industries, the not so diverse homeless community of Austin remains. The fight for inclusion has merit and is ever present at a convention of cutting edges, but this issue is reserved for the financially stable and overshadows the much tougher fight for the basic human needs of food, shelter and healthcare. SXSW has a moral obligation to invest a part of its earnings into homelessness relief for the downtown Austin area. According to economic impact reports commissioned by SXSW, "In 2017 alone, SXSW's economic impact on the Austin economy totaled $348.6 million." Furthermore, in 2017 70,696 people attended the conference and assuming each of them paid the least expensive admission cost, then it can be estimated that SXSW as a business grossed at least $58 million from attendees alone. According to the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, "The urgent need for housing is also coupled with many interconnected needs including living wage jobs and appropriate access to health care." With figures like these, the short list of justifications for the increasing homeless population in Austin becomes a blaring point of contention. Between the city of Austin, SXSW and the number of festivals that take place in Austin throughout the year, surely someone can afford to invest part of their earnings into fixed affordable housing. Perhaps there are even opportunities for work if the earnings really are like, "(hosting) a Super Bowl here every year," as Austin Mayor Steve Adler described the convention. The trendy man bun, Starbucks, and satchel culture that Austin bolsters every year of SXSW comes at the expense of Austin residents who are subsequently
Cutline here and here and A marquee in downtown Austin is set up to display SXSW 2018 for one of the festival's biggest years. PHOTO BY KATIE BURRELL
made homeless due to the resulting gentrification. Gentrification is an issue ECHO identifies as an "Affordability Crisis" and as one of the leading causes of increasing homelessness. It is not practical to tell people not to move where they want to move in the U.S. but it is practical to request that they compensate for the displacement they cause. It is reasonable to suggest that these newcomers respect the space of the current residents, not entitle themselves to a city they only recently moved to. But the responsibility of assisting Austin's displaced residents does not fall entirely on the shoulders of SXSW, but also onto the net worth of the expansive roster of speakers and the corporations they represent. In addition, attendees could assumably afford charity if they are able to comfortably fork over a thousand dollars to attend the film festival. SXSW should serve the whole Austin community just as much as its restaurants, hotels, ride sharing services, and other businesses. There is no reason why the poorest of Austin should live in such close proximity to a showcase of
excess and affluence while continuing to grow in poverty. While it should not require a compromise to sacrifice a little capitalism for the sake of charity, the middle ground is that Austin and SXSW get to keep their trendy culture and in turn, 2,000 people do not have to sleep outside because of it. SXSW has a social impact track during the festivals that, "highlights innovative ideas from creative industries that are contributing to a better, more equitable world." While it is great that the convention attracts activists, politicians and thought leaders, highlighting is not worth much when the festivals enter Austin and leave without impacting any social or systemic change on the corner of Cesar Chaves and I-35. This is not preaching from a pulpit of moral high ground, but rather to draw attention and encourage assistance to the people who need it the most. Not because it is the right thing to do, not for tax write-offs, but simply because we can. - Carrington Tatum is an electronic media sophomore
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Reasonable gun safety measures keep us safe These continuing massacres at schools, churches, entertainment venues, and elsewhere must end – all students should be able to pursue an education without fearing that they could become additional victims. As a lifelong Texan, I grew up around guns and hunting. But a military-style assault rifle is not for hunting – it is for killing other people. And tragically that has been the instrument of death in Parkland, Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas and elsewhere. We need to restore the ban on these weapons of war that once existed. The Parkland shooting marks the 376th mass shooting since the beginning of 2017. In the past 5 months, 3 of the 10 deadliest shootings in U.S. history have occurred, including nearby at the church in Sutherland Springs. Time and again, short moments of silence in Congress are followed by long months of inaction. Enough. We all pray for those that have lost loved ones, but we need more than the regular response of “thoughts and prayers.” These precious lives are being ignored by this Republican-
controlled Congress. As the students from Parkland are urging, we need comprehensive background checks so that those with a history of violence or criminal wrongdoing cannot purchase a gun – implementing reasonable gun safety measures does not violate the Second Amendment. Working with local organizations like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Texas Gun Sense, and other concerned citizens, I am committed to making our communities safer. Students inspire by standing up, organizing action, and calling out those who prioritize safety. I stand with Texas State students and allies, some of whom are coming together with the upcoming March for Our Lives at the State Capitol on March 24, giving me hope for our country’s future. At Texas State, I have long supported both ALERRT, which provides valuable training in responding to active-shooter situations, and the School Safety Center at Texas State, which offers critical resources on school safety and reducing violence. Neither pursues
the misguided policy of placing even more guns in our schools by arming teachers. I commend the collaboration between ALERRT and the University Policy Department to provide additional training for officers and administrators through their civilian response program in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting. Those lawmakers, who want to give up and as a last resort, arm teachers, are shirking their own responsibility to prevent gun violence. Teachers should not be focused on shooting people. They should be focused on teaching our young people to help fulfill their God-given potential. While there is no solution for gun violence, we can take positive steps to prevent more tragedies, more pain, and more grief. Let’s work together to enact reasonable reforms so no one else suffers. And if this Congress will not act, we must get one that will. I want to hear from you. Please keep me advised of any federal matters on which I may be of assistance at Lloyd.Doggett@mail. house.gov. -U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett
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
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | 9 Brooke Phillips Sports Editor @BrookePhillips_
Ricci Woodard, head coach, entered the 2018 season with a 598-380-1 record.
Head softball coach continues sustained success 18 years in By Anthony Flores Senior Sports Reporter The word “lifer” is a term used in sports to describe someone who has given themselves completely to the sport they love; someone who will spend their life in a sport. Head coach of the softball team, Ricci Woodard, is the definition of a lifer. Coach Woodard is in her 18th year as the head coach of the Bobcats and has found success at every level of the sport. Woodard's love of softball began early and there was no doubt the sport would be her life. “I remember knowing that’s what I wanted to do every day, I wanted to go to practice, I wanted to go to ball games,” Woodard said. “At six or seven years old, I was already in love with the sport.” Woodard has won championships as a player and coach. She successfully started a softball program at Brazosport High School. The lifer has produced multiple elitelevel athletes and has won 600 games as the head coach for the Bobcats. Woodard credits her success and the
person she has become to the unique journey she took on her way to Texas State. “I coached high school ball, I played junior college ball, I’ve been an assistant at a Power Five conference," Woodard said. "I’ve been here for a long time. I got to learn something at every different level that I played at and I coached, that experience has helped me become who I am.” Woodard was named head coach for Texas State in 2001. Woodard and the Bobcats found immediate success; the team finished with a 54-12 record, the best in program history. Woodard has kept the softball program consistently performing at a high level during her 18 years at the helm. Woodard’s program has produced several elite players over the years, most recently Randi Rupp, senior pitcher, and Ariel Ortiz, senior infielder. For Ortiz, Woodard’s impact goes beyond making her a better softball player. Ortiz credits the head coach with helping her find a focus and perspective on life. “As a player, she has obviously taught
PHOTO COURTESY OF SPORTS INFORMATION
me how to be the best I can be," Ortiz said. "But for me as a person, she put life into perspective. Coach Woodard really emphasized keeping a positive mindset when things (are not) going our way. It really helped me keep a level head over the ups and downs of my career.” Ortiz believes Woodard helped prepare student-athletes for the real world when the sport is over. “She has taught me life lessons that will stay with me throughout my life,” Ortiz said. “I can handle adversity, I have a great work ethic and teamwork skills that will help me in any job after college.” Woodard, in exchange for her wealth of knowledge on life and softball, gets the satisfaction of watching Rupp and Ortiz mature and grow develop their elite-level talent. “It’s been fun to watch them not only mature as ball players but to change as people,” Woodard said. “(Their) overall maturity over the past four years has been amazing to watch, to watch them transform into the players and the people they have.” Woodard’s resume when it comes to producing top level softball players
speaks for itself. She has produced three former players in the National Pro Fastpitch league: Nicole Neuerburg, Kristen Zaleski and Alex Newton. While it may appear to outsiders that she simply has a magic touch, Woodard chalks up the success players find under her tutelage to a willingness to buy into Texas State softball. The head coach links that willingness to the future success of the program, and she looks at Rupp and Ortiz as prime examples of the success that comes with buying in. “Those players bought into Texas State softball from day one, they came here to win championships and win ball games,” Woodard said. “If we can find some younger people to buy in and do what Randi Rupp and Ariel Ortiz are doing, then the program is going to stay successful.” Woodard is comfortable with her position and does not plan on moving on any time soon at this point in her career. “I like my quality of life at Texas State, I like raising my family here and I like going to work every day,” Woodard said. “I have no reason to leave.”
Texas State water ski team continues to flourish By Region Kinden Sports Reporter For some people, the lake is a place to relax. But for others, water skiing turns the lake into a life-changing experience. The water ski team is a member of the National Collegiate Water Ski Association. It competes against other teams from schools such as the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State University and Louisiana State University. Last season, the team made it back to Nationals for the first time since 2015. This is the second time Sarah Stevenson, sophomore and vice president of the team, has attended Nationals in her college career. “(We) killed it,” Stevenson said. “Taking home second place in Division II and (we) did so with only three female jumpers, typically you have five.” Stevenson said the team has developed significantly since she has been involved. A few skiers she has taught are even surpassing her own skills. Stevenson said she is motivated by her teammates to get better. Cori Picazo, senior and president of the team, said new members already have promising talent based on what she has seen in the practices. Rachel Walgenbach, sophomore and treasurer of the club, said the water ski team makes an impact on
all members. “I started my freshman year in January,” Walgenbach said. “It was freezing, but I stuck around. Water skiing has encouraged me to be a more active participant in sports." Stevenson added that she has made lifelong friendships with people from all around the world through the sport. “We are a family,” Stevenson said. “Everyone in skiing, whether it’s (National Collegiate Water Ski Association) or (American Water Ski Association). It’s a really cool network of people that have a common desire and passion for water skiing.” Some members of the club said that they see a future in water skiing, to compete or as a hobby. “I will continue to water ski until I am no longer physically capable,” Stevenson said. Picazo and her teammates hope to encourage others to get involved with water skiing. “It’s addictive,” Stevenson said. “Once you start to get a taste for the water you can’t get away from it and find yourself itching to get out even on cold or rainy days.” The water ski team believes it is heading the right direction this year, with lots of new members and practices throughout the week. The team continues to show that water skiing does not just have to be a hobby, it can also be a sport.
Texas State water ski team has its first spring competition Mar. 24-25 in Conroe, TX hosted by A&M. PHOTO COURTESY OF CORI PICAZO
John Uresti, sophomore wrestler, Noah Villemarette, president and coach of the club, Janice Russell, senior wrestler, Carlos Baca, coach and former wrestler practices weekly training on the mats. PHOTO BY DAISY COLON
Wrestling club desires success By Daisy Colon Sports Reporter Although small in numbers, the wrestling club’s strong will and desire to succeed can be seen beyond the mats. Janice Russell, senior wrestler and two-time national qualifier, is one of the only female wrestlers on the team. She explains the advantages of being able to grapple with someone twice her size. “I wrestle with the guys during practice if there’s not a girl here," Russell said. "We rotate around and everyone’s pretty good with it. I think it benefits me to wrestle guys, then compete against girls. It’s definitely a different feeling; they’re a lot bigger and stronger than me, so it’s definitely helped me become a better wrestler.” Carlos Baca, coach and former wrestler, commends Russell’s resilience. “She works hard (and) she’s tough,” Baca said. Baca’s main goal is to encourage his wrestlers, improve their skills and prepare them for life after college. “I want to make them a better wrestler than I ever was," Baca said. "I make sure everyone’s going to make weight, that they’re working hard and that they’re mentally tough and strong. I’m constantly telling them ‘you can do this.’ Typically, the mind will break before the body.” John Uresti, sophomore wrestler, thinks of the wrestling club as his chance at closure. “Being on this team gives me closure (after) coming back from an injury my senior year of high school," Uresti said. "I really just wanted to close it out since I didn’t get to wrestle my last few matches
senior year." Uresti credits president of the club Noah Villemarette, management senior, as Uresti's biggest motivation to show up to practice every day. Villemarette is also another coach for the club. “Noah keeps me motivated. He keeps things live and funny," Uresti said. "He’s motivating by the way he talks to you and encourages you. I like how we can joke around with each other.” Villemarette has been wrestling for Texas State since his freshman year and he formerly wrestled throughout high school. He decided to stop wrestling and coach the team during his final year at Texas State. “After my freshman year I became treasurer of the club, then became captain of the men’s," Villemarette said. "I was the president last year. I’m the president this year and instead of wrestling my last year, I decided to coach to just keep the program together." Villemarette's former coach in high school influenced him to have more confidence as a sportsman, which helped the president to inspire his own wrestlers. “I had a coach that really made me believe in myself, and that’s what I’ve been lacking for the last ten years that I’ve been wrestling,” Villemarette said. “It honestly brought me to a whole other level, and that’s something that I want to do for these guys.” Uresti and Villemarette both said the other is their greatest motivation. "I’ve enjoyed every second in this program," Villemarette said. "My wrestlers have been my motivation to keep coming back.”
The University Star
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | 10 Brooke Phillips Sports Editor @BrookePhillips_
A tennis player's transfer from England By Michelle Joseph Sports Reporter Transferring to a new university can be intimidating, but not for one athlete who has made Texas State her new home. Alex Jones, psychology senior, has embarked on a new journey her past three years on the women's tennis team. Jones always liked sports growing up; she played soccer, golf and tennis. Her dad noticed how she excelled in tennis and signed her up for a local tennis club in England. “I was so lucky to have a wonderful coach when I was younger," Jones said. "It gave me a good foundation.” Although Jones' hometown is in Essex, England, she has enjoyed the transition to America. “All the girls here apart from one are foreign and I love it," Jones said. "The diverse cultures are amazing to learn about.” The student-athlete has a passion for tennis and preparing for matches is essential. Winning is important to her, so there are a few things she likes to think of to keep focused. “My coach tells us to sing a song or think about what to eat for dinner, so we can stay focus and win for the team,” Jones said. “Sometimes I normally think of country songs in my head while I’m playing." Other teammates admire Jones for her dedication to the team. Teammate Julia Navajo-Melendez, education junior, admires Jones' character on and off the tennis court. “Alex is really fun, but she knows how to get serious when it's time," NavajoMelendez said. “She is also a leader who is straightforward and has great balance.” Jones stays motivated during the season because of the support from teammates, family and coaches.
Alex Jones, psychology senior, warms up in preparation for her tennis matches. PHOTO COURTESY OF SPORTS INFORMATION
“My family at home and the girls on the team always support me no matter what it is,” Jones said. “People who were on the team previous years support us and our coach is one of our biggest supporters.” Jones misses her family, friends and food in Essex the most. “I miss everything but the weather because it’s snowing," Jones said. "I talk to my parents every day and I’m the oldest of two siblings. I miss the food especially, but American food is way bigger.” The athlete’s family also misses and
appreciates things about Jones as well. Jones' brother, Freddie Jones, respects her personality and work ethic. “Alex has a very calm nature which helps when dealing with stressful situations, especially in tough matches,” Freddie Jones said. “She is a positive individual and will always look to improve on her weaknesses. She works on the process rather than the result.” Alex Jones enjoys the downtime with her teammates. “We have a lot of food nights where we cook for each other or we go out to dinner,” Alex Jones said. “My
favorite dish prepared is called paella. It has a combination of rice, fish and vegetables." With her last year on the tennis team coming to an end, Alex Jones looks forward to what the future holds for her, and tennis is definitely in the picture. “I want to continue being a part of tennis even if I’m not playing it, but coaching," Alex Jones said. "I hope to involve tennis with psychology, discovering the mental side of the game which is a huge part of it."
Consistency is key to leading hitter's success
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Dylan Paul, senior designated hitter, slides into home plate at the baseball game against McNeese State Feb. 23. PHOTO COURTESY OF SPORTS INFORMATION
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Men's baseball offense has not been an issue, especially for one leading hitter. Dylan Paul, senior designated hitter, started the season playing outfield, before recently becoming designated hitter of the lineup in a home game March 6 against Rice University. So far in the season, Paul has posted a .395 batting average with a home run through 43 at bats this season, most notably for his walk-off triple in game three against Stephen F. Austin University March 4 at Bobcat Ballpark. "I'm honestly just sticking to what I've been doing everyday," Paul said. "I have a routine that I've gotten really comfortable with and I'm trying to stay focused." For most senior athletes, starting the final season can sometimes be slow; everything they have been working for has lead to this. However, Paul has been keeping the same mindset that he had since the first practice of his freshman year. "I'm really just trying to stay consistent," Paul said. "When someone succeeds, it's really easy for them to lay back and get away from what they always do, and I want my success to keep going and help this team as much as possible." During the season, the senior has
been in many crucial game moments. Whether the Bobcats are in need of a score or even just a hit to get a runner home, Paul has been able to focus and put the ball in play when needed and his mindset streams from one of his newest coaches this season, associate head coach Steven Trout "I always just try to have the best at-bat that I can," Paul said. "I think that Coach Trout, when he got here, he brought a 'positive AB (at-bat)' belt, and the team really bought into it. Our main goal is every time we get up there that we want to have the best at bat possible and just go from there." The team has had good competition this season such as two games against Rice University, and opening the season Feb. 16 at home against the Big 12 Champions, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, but even with a decent record so far, Paul and the team are not satisfied standing at 7-4. "Everyone on the team is on the same page," Paul said. "We are a better team than what our record says. We’re 7-4 right now, and we are almost outhitting everyone. Half of our offense isn’t even really going yet, and like I said, once everyone gets going we are going to be really scary.” Paul has been able to back up his talk with his stellar play, and if he keeps on going at this pace, he just might help lead the Bobcats to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series.