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September 7, 2021



A breakdown of Texas State's parking, transportation services

Opinion: Live Oak Hall construction makes oncampus parking worse

Opinion: The 1836 Project erases the history of communities of color

After season-long hiatus, club sports are back and fully functioning






Volleyball star capitalizes off of name, image, likeness By Aidan Bea Sports Reporter


As Texas State volleyball star Janell Fitzgerald enters her senior season, not only is she striving to become a four-time Sun Belt champion, she is also looking to promote herself and grow her brand in ways she was previously unable to. On July 1 the NCAA, after years of deliberation, lifted its rules preventing athletes from profiting off of their name, image and likeness (NIL). Now, collegiate athletes, such as Fitzgerald, are able to sign endorsement deals and use their status as public figures to make money while still retaining their eligibility. However, there are still some rules athletes must follow. For example, athletes cannot use any university branding or images in their own endorsements and must report all deals they engage in to their university

to ensure they are within the NCAA’s requirements.

For Fitzgerald, the change in NIL rules is more than making money; it is about exercising her freedoms and preparing herself for the future after her collegiate career is done. “Professional athletes are able to do it and they put just as much work in as we do,” Fitzgerald said. “I believe that we as [collegiate] athletes, I mean we work hard, we should be able to show how hard we work and be able to profit off of that.” Since the rule change, Fitzgerald has launched her own line of merchandise and partnered with companies such as Crossnet, NovaShine along with various clothing and beauty brands, advertising products to her 119,900 TikTok followers and 18,300 Instagram followers. Fitzgerald’s personality and energy seem to be what attracts companies to her. On the court, she is known for hyping up her teammates and has been credited with starting the dances the team does during breaks in the action.



San Marcos to celebrate diversity, creativity at fifth annual Lost River Film Fest By Sarah Hernandez Life & Arts Editor

Spanning four days and two cities, the San Marcos Cinema Club will present its fifth annual Lost River Film Fest to showcase the talent and creativity of the region's independent cinema. This year, the event will take place from Sept. 9-12 in San Marcos and Lockhart, Texas. Since 2017, the Lost River Film Fest has been designed to present and promote indie films exploring concepts of art and social justice. Every year, the festival's lineup includes films, filmmakers and events that celebrate diversity within the community. "We have a lot of queer films, a lot


The festival is scheduled for Sept. 9-12 in San Marcos and Lockhart.

of films about immigration. We even have a lot of films from people who are from like Iran [and] India," said LeAnn Jackson, the programming director at the San Marcos Cinema Club. "I think it's awesome to showcase that and to celebrate filmmakers from everywhere, every corner of the world, [every] sexuality." Jackson started working for the Lost River Film Fest as a volunteer two years ago. Now, as programming director, she said she enjoys getting to dive deeper into planning the event and experiencing the

inclusivity and creativity of it all. "I also want to just say it's an opportunity for us as a crew as well to explore our own creativity," Jackson said. "It gives us a chance to dig into our minds, and to also come up with stuff for the festival. So I think it's all-around a whole thing ... it's really touching. I think it's just an opportunity for us to come together and really just explore and see what we can do for the community." To carry out its mission of inclusivity, the festival will showcase films featuring topics such as immigration,

criminalization, criminal justice and the LGBTQIA+ community. The festival aims to celebrate diversity not only through the actual films but through the diverse lineup of filmmakers, writers and directors featured. Jordan Buckley, the festival's director, said while planning the event, they wanted to ensure the films they recruited were a good match for what the festival stands for. "One slogan that we've kind of had as an organization since our get-go is, we're a film society that cares both about film and society," Buckley said. "You know, we hope that often we can showcase films too that ask hard


State representative seeks to expand voter accessibility By Destany Fuller News Contributor

Since 2019, State Representative for Texas House District 45 Erin Zwiener has challenged Texas legislation in an attempt to pass a bill that allows college students to vote with their school-issued identification as well as other standard forms. Zwiener, who represents Hays and Blanco County, has filed House Bill 118 twice and is now working to have it passed by state lawmakers for the third time. If approved, the bill will grant college students the option to vote using their student IDs, expanding the state's election code which currently bans individuals from using student identification cards to vote.

Despite two unsuccessful attempts to get the bill passed, Zwiener continues to work alongside organizations such as MOVE Texas, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that focuses on building political power for the young people of Texas. According to The Texas Politics Project, only 32.1% of voters ages 18-24 voted in the 2020 Presidential Election. Zwiener said she's not giving up on the bill and believes it's too important to let die. "I'm going to keep filing this bill until it's passed," Zwiener said. "Young voters Hays County voters wait in line to vote in the general election, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, participating in the process is essential. at the Performing Arts Center at Texas State. When someone starts voting young DOUGLAS SMITH they become a life-long voter." Zwiener said school-issued IDs should be acceptable because they are SEE VOTING PAGE 2

Whether you plan or cram, find your study jam.

2 | Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The University Star

Timia Cobb News Editor


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

Editorial Staff Editor-in-Chief: Brianna Benitez News Editor: Timia Cobb Life & Arts Editor: Sarah Hernandez Opinion Editor: Hannah Thompson Sports Editor: Sumit Nagar Design Editor: Viviana Faz Multimedia Editor: Natalie Ryan Engagement Editor: Eryka Thompson Podcast Editor: Kim Davis Jr.

Public & Internal Relations Nadia Gonzales PIR Director

Full-Time Staff Director: Laura Krantz, Student Publications Coordinator: Mayra Mejia,

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 4,500. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, Septmber 7, 2021. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in The University Star are the exclusive property of The University Star and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the editor-in-chief. Deadlines: Letters to the Editor or any contributed articles are due on Monday the week prior to publication. Corrections: Any errors that are in the pages of The University Star and brought to our attention will be corrected as soon as possible. Visit The Star at

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A breakdown of Texas State's parking, transportation services By Timia Cobb News Editor

With the Bobcat community back on campus for the fall semester, commuter parking spots are filling up, and Bobcat Shuttles have returned to its expanded route schedule. Texas State Parking Services oversees over 100 permitted parking lots and garages. Permits are divided into various categories, and individuals can purchase either academic year or semester-based permits. Academic year permits start at $115 for students and semester-based permits start at $65. Students can also purchase weekly permits starting at $6. There are several types of academic year parking permits including residence hall, Mill Street, commuter, interior commuter/ perimeter, Bobcat Village, red restricted and red reserved. Semester-based permits offer permits for residence hall, Mill Street, Bobcat Village and commuter/perimeter. Commuters may only buy commuter permits, but students who live on campus can buy a commuter permit if desired. All interior commuter parking permits, or orange permits, have been purchased, along with all green residence hall permits. Due to the construction of Live Oak Studio, the Sessom parking lot has been closed, only leaving lots that are a distant walk from central campus available. Some commuters, like Helena De Los Santos, an education junior, find the lack of close parking frustrating. “Even commuter parking sucks completely because the closest commuter lot there is is Speck and that’s still a 30-minute walk to the main part of campus,” De Los Santos said. With many commuter parking lot options away from main campus, Coordinator of Alternative Transportation Alex Vogt said students end up having to take the Bobcat Shuttle to travel from their parking spot to campus. “I mean I think they're probably situations where it could be faster to drive, if you were able to find parking close in. But, given that most students can only buy a commuter parking pass and there's very limited close in commuter parking permit, there's a very real possibility that a student who is trying to drive to class will end up having to park and then take the bus anyway," Vogt said.

A photo of parked cars, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, at Pleasant Street Garage. JEFFREY HALFEN

However, some students who do not live near a shuttle route still have to commute to campus. Parking Services Associate Director Stephen Prentice said if students can avoid driving to campus and instead take the shuttle, it could save them time and decrease traffic. "I think there's, you know, reasonable evidence that if there were thousands of vehicles trying to access the center of campus, then nobody would ever get to class," Prentice said. "Buses couldn't navigate, and we'd be creating real traffic hazards with pedestrians. So, taking one minute to find an empty spot in Mill Street ... waiting a couple of [minutes for] the shuttle and taking a 10-minute ride, that 15-minute time period is a third, a quarter of what it would take, you know, to come on campus. You don't find a parking spot and you're late for class and then you park, and you get a ticket.” De Los Santos said when she drives to campus she has to leave her apartment, which is less than two miles from Old Main, an hour beforehand. De Los Santos recently started riding the bus but said the shuttle isn't as assuring as driving can be. “With the shuttle, it's kind of a hit or miss, because the other day was my first time. I was waiting already for 10 minutes, and when it came it filled up at capacity before I could get on it, so I had to wait another 10 minutes," De Los Santos said. While it might be hard to find a parking spot, Prentice said limited parking isn't the issue. Rather, it is the

number of people trying to get preferred spots closer to campus simultaneously. “Tuesday, Thursday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. are really the highest concentration of people parking on campus because it's the highest concentration of classes," Prentice said. "Of course, people will park in the closer ones sooner, which is where everyone would like to be. If you go out into those commuter lots there is never less than 1,200 empty spaces.” However, De Los Santos believes the university could invest in allocating more commuter parking closer to campus. “I honestly think that they need to make more parking," De Los Santos said. “Either they need to open up parking, like closer parking to commuters, or they need to make more parking garages because it's just ridiculous.” Compared to last semester, the bus shuttle has changed its rider maximum and has returned to full capacity but will continue to enforce face masks. The shuttle also added more stops to its campus loop. The route now includes a stop named Water Tower, which stops in front of Elena Zamora O'Shea and First Five Freedom Hall adjourned halls. Vogt urges students to explore the different routes on and off-campus to find out which best fits their schedule. “What I would really stress to students who are new on campus is to try to kind of test their commute out as much as they can," Vogt said.

voter turnout is critical, and explains how MOVE Texas has been a part of the effort to pass the bill. "We've been very involved in the fight at the Capitol over this kind of omnibus anti-voter legislation that the governor has been pushing, but also advocating for proactive policies like student voter ID, that would eliminate some of those barriers that exist to young people casting their ballot," Bonner said. Additionally, Bonner believes lawmakers have the opportunity to make voting easier for young voters by passing this bill, but they are choosing not to. "It's a really clear instance in our voting laws in which lawmakers have to pick and choose their voters, they decide who they make it easier for and

who they make it more difficult for," Bonner said. "All of these actions are intentional." Student Government Senator Quieraney Belvin said a bill such as this one can make voting more accessible to college students and could also have a large impact on election results. "[The bill] would make [voting] completely easier," Belvin, a political science senior, said. "The young vote is such a huge swing vote, but sadly it doesn’t really get exercised. I think really, if we saw a huge outcome ... we would be the generation that could really make a huge difference." If the bill is passed on its next filing, the earliest that it will go into effect is by September 2023.

FROM FRONT VOTING also state-issued. If the bill is approved, student identification cards will suffice when voting, since they are issued from higher education institutions and include an individual's photograph, full legal name and birth date. "A student ID from a state university is a government ID," Zwiener said. "Texas State University is a government institution ... it's as secure as other government IDs that we currently accept for voting. I have seen students ... walk away from the polls because they hadn't brought a form of ID that was accepted by the state. A lot of students don't carry around their driver's license or their passport on a day-to-day basis, they carry around their university ID." Charlie Bonner, the communications director for MOVE Texas, said youth

The University Star


Tuesday, September 7, 2021 | 3 Natalie Ryan Multimedia Editor

Texas State students play with virtual reality during Alkek One's open house event, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, at Alkek One. JEFFREY HALFEN

Texas State sociology senior Armando Ramos plays guitar, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, outside Taylor-Murphy. Ramos is also minoring in music. LILIANA PEREZ

Texas State anthropology sophomore Sarah Evans works on designing a belt for her cosplay of the character Midnight from the anime/manga series “My Hero Academia”, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in the MakerSpace at Alkek One. Evans says she discovered Alkek One “on accident” when she was just wandering around. Since then, the MakerSpace has been one of her favorite spots on campus because she can use its 3D printers for her costumes. LILIANA PEREZ

Texas State wildlife biology junior Shannon Cerda beams with delight while looking at the bubbles she blew, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, at the courtyard near Evans Liberal Arts building and Derrick Hall. Cerda was one of the few students who were also blowing bubbles with the wands provided by Bubble Believer. She believes that blowing bubbles is a stress reliever during busy week days. RASIKA GASTI

Coca-Cola Tour Manager Domineque Taylor (right) hands out cases of CocaCola Zero Sugar to students, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, at Texas State. On July 13, the soda company announced it would be launching a new look and formula for Coke Zero, to which there has been recent discourse over its new taste. Taylor and the rest of his team will be visiting numerous states and cities across the west coast to promote this latest recipe. LILIANA PEREZ

4 |Tuesday, September 7, 2021 Sarah Hernandez Life & Arts Editor

FILM questions of inequity and of social injustice, and hopefully stimulate conversations among filmgoers about, you know, 'what is our role, as people that witness this content, to transforming our own community?'" Keeping with this slogan, an element of the Lost River Film Fest this year is its effort to relocate a Confederate monument from the Lockhart Courthouse lawn to the Caldwell County Museum. The monument was placed in 1923 at the height of the county's Klu Klux Klan influence. The Lost River Film Fest's efforts have helped advance the cause for racial justice in Caldwell County by securing support from the local commissioners court to relocate the monument, making Lockhart the only place in Texas with the Texas Historical Commission's permission to move a monument of its kind from its longtime placement. The commissioners court has required the public to foot the $29,600 bill to pay a contractor to remove the monument. Through a link to the GoFundMe on its website, the Lost River Film Fest has helped raise $22,000 for the cause. "Lockhart is changing drastically," Jackson said. "So I think this is really good for Lockhart to be showcased this year. We have the article [on the website] about the removal of the Ku Klux Klan monument that's down there. And that's a huge thing too because I think it's just showing change in how like we're progressing forward instead of backwards." As the director of an indie film festival, Buckley wanted to ensure those in the spotlight at the Lost River Film Fest were getting the exposure they may not receive elsewhere as indie creators. One of these filmmakers is Richeler Aladin, a finance alumnus and writer/director who discovered his love for filmmaking in film elective classes at Texas State. His first feature film, "Evinced," is a sci-fi thriller about a man whose prediction videos come true. The film follows his journey to getting the help of the detective hunting him down to change the future. Aladin is inspired by writers and directors such as Christopher Nolan and Jordan Peele and is a fan of sci-fi movies that are grounded in reality. "Evinced" is reminiscent of shows and movies such as "Inception" and "Black Mirror," productions in which reality is blended with things that are unreal. Filming for "Evinced" took place in San Marcos and Austin in January 2020. Over the summer, Aladin and his crew held a private premiere of the film at a Cinemark movie theater in Pflugerville, Texas. The film's second screening and the first time it'll be showcased to a larger audience will be on day four of the Lost River Film Fest at the Texas State Performing Arts Center.

The University Star

LIFE & ARTS "I'm really excited. Actually, we're all excited to just meet the people at Lost River Film Fest and hopefully, they can come check out our film and kind of showcase this to a different audience," Aladin said. "This time, it's coming to a festival with a brand-new audience. We've done this before where we showcase our art to other artists and it's awesome to get the positive reassurance with those short films. But with features, those are a lot more challenging because you have to keep people's attention over a long span of time. So, I'm really excited to showcase this at Lost River Film Festival and have a Q&A with my team." Aladin's name is one of many from the pool of independent directors, writers and filmmakers attendees will be able to see at the Lost River Film Fest. As organizers of the festival, Jackson and Buckley recognize the importance of giving small artists the opportunity to show the community what they can do. "I think [the festival is important] to showcase artists who don't feel known. And kind of like [Aladin], you know, not only with him being a Texas State [alumnus], but also like being a Black student who wrote and has directed and has his own film," Jackson said. "I think it's to celebrate people who don't feel like they're seen. And also, just let the bigger cities know that we can do it too." The San Marcos Cinema Club and the Lost River Film Fest are working toward bringing together the communities within the cities they host. Among the festival's crucial San Marcos sponsors are Mano Amiga, The Center for the Study of the Southwest, the Texas State College of Fine Arts, Tom Copeland, Texas Film Commission, Industry, AquaBrew, Vagabond Vintage, Mermaid Society, Gil's Broiler and The Coffee Bar. Buckley said the cinema club also has a goal to bridge the gap between the local San Marcos community and the college population by incorporating students, alumni and the Texas State campus into the festival. "Historically, [the] cinema club has been about half comprised of students and non-students," Buckley said. "We're at a point where a lot of our students have graduated and so we actually are looking for Texas State students to get involved in our work also. And that's one reason why we like to always have at least one day of the festival on campus and to be sure to highlight the incredible talent that Bobcats possess." For more information about the Lost River Film Fest and to view the schedule and locations of film screenings, visit To learn more about Richeler Aladin and watch the trailer for "Evinced" visit

The University Star

Tuesday, September 7, 2021| 5

6 | Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The University Star


Hannah Thompson Opinion Editor

Opinions in The University Star are not necessarily those of our entire publication, Texas State University’s administration, Board of Regents, School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Student Publications Board.


Live Oak Hall construction makes on-campus parking worse

By Hannah Thompson Opinion Editor My journey to being able to drive to campus was filled with many challenges. However, I never really thought parking was going to be one of them. After two weeks of commuting to campus, I can already see parking at Texas State is suboptimal. Last semester, I avoided commuting from my hometown of San Antonio to San Marcos. Due to COVID-19, I was taking classes virtually. With Texas State returning to in-person classes in the fall, I realized that not all the classes I needed were available online. I also realized that meant I’d have to drive to San Marcos every day ... which meant getting my license. Don't worry, I passed. Texas State set a record for freshman enrollment with 6,600 students enrolled for the fall 2021 semester, a 13% increase from the previous year. Even with its new influx of students needing parking in residence and commuter lots, Texas State decided to close down Sessom Lot to build Live Oak Hall. “I never got to park there because it was always full, but they took it away to build a building. You have a parking shortage and you’re gonna take away parking?” Amber Mathews, an anthropology and English senior said. “It seems to me that commuter parking takes up the bulk of the student body, so why are we treated like crap?” Sessom Lot was one of the closest parking lots near central campus. Now, students are forced to park in lots much farther away such as Bobcat Stadium, which is a 30-minute walk from the Quad. A week before school started, I needed to head over to Old Main, but the 45-minute drive from San Antonio wasn’t the issue. As I parked at the Aquarena Lot (P9), also listed as the Coliseum Lot on the map, I realized it would be an egregious walk to campus and then a hike up to Old Main.


Unfortunately, I’m not the only one with a commuter pass who faces the inconvenience of having to park far and walk to class in the Texas heat. Like me, Savannah Gonzales, a communication studies sophomore, started commuting this semester. “I have to walk all the way from the stadium and all my classes are on the Quad,” Gonzales said. "So, I have

blisters all over my feet and it’s not great.” Apart from the long distances students may have to walk from the parking lots to their classes, there’s also the matter of finding a spot. “Every day I would just sit in the parking lot for like 15 ... 30 minutes and I would wait for someone to come and move their car, just so I could find a spot,” Sami Nasreddine, a biology sophomore, said. “This semester, since we’re in person, all the commuter spots were gone. I bought a pass for a week for like six or seven bucks, just to see how the commuter parking would be. After that first week, I’m like 'I’m not wasting my money.' I wouldn’t be able to use my pass.” With 2020 having sold 13,882 perimeter passes, the pass mostly used by commuters, out of the total 16,180 passes sold, commuters make up the vast majority of drivers on campus. Taking away access to commuter parking negatively impacts students who drive to campus. In order to better serve its commuter student population, Texas State needs to invest in additional parking lots closer to campus. While it's nice to see the university expand its educational programs and buildings, there's no point in these expansions if students already have a hard time getting to class. “I feel like if people have to bring their cars they should have spots to put their cars. I don’t understand why they want us to drive our cars, and the best spot we can find isn’t even on campus, it's on the stadium and then we have to get on a bus," Nasreddine said. - Hannah Thompson is a histroy senior The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinion Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.


The 1836 Project erases the history of communities of color By Jacklynn Broussard Opinions Contributor House Bill 2497 was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on July 7, creating The 1836 Project. The purpose of this law aims to promote the teachings of state patriotism, but at the cost of limiting the discussion of critical race theories in classrooms and in public spaces. The newly passed law, which was filed and created by Rep. Tan Parker District 63, seems like the final push to completely erasing all traces of past racial issues in America, more specifically Texas. We live in a climate where race and ethnicity have been at the forefront of everything that happens. Just in 2020, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 150%. In 2019, a Texas man was charged with federal hate crime offenses for a mass shooting that killed 22 people after saying the attack was "a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas." Hispanic and Black children make up over 60% of enrollment throughout schools in Texas. The 1836 Project's attempt to sugarcoat the mistreatment of their ancestors is setting students of color up for failure. It's giving them this false set of beliefs and views of life where everything is not based upon the color of their skin. The hero complex, a narcissistic tendency to control the situation in which an individual’s ego grows from their own help in victories, runs deeply through this country and it is sad to see. Students need to know all aspects of history, both good and bad. "You can teach African American history, but only as long as it relates to the history of prosperity and democratic freedom in this state," Thomas Alter, an assistant professor for the Department of History said when describing the limitations of the bill. "When that's largely for most history, much of the history of Black Texans does not relate to the history of prosperity and democratic freedom, so right there


you've eliminated a large part of the Black Texan experience from history by only limiting it to prosperity and democratic freedom." The project is named after the year 1836, because that was the year Texas gained its independence from Mexico. While that may be the case, this date does not necessarily apply to everyone's freedom residing in Texas. Once Texas gained its independence, The Constitution of the Republic of Texas was created. At the time, slavery was legalized, and Indigenous groups were excluded from gaining independence. Independence only really applied to the Anglo-Americans that lived in Texas at the time. There have been racial tensions in American history the moment Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. This country was built off of the mistreatment of many races from Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans and many more who do not identify as Caucasian. With this new law, children of color will not be taught the importance of their history, especially in a country that has been built to keep them oppressed from the moment they are born. There is an entire program called I.C.E that's

created to hunt down illegal immigrants and put them through the most horrendous treatments before deporting them. Every race that resides in this country has a traumatic history and it’s unfair to try and brush it all under a rug like it never took place, because it’s “unpatriotic” for kids or Texas citizens to know the harsh reality. This law goes beyond simply wanting to be patriotic by educating students on state pride. The law is erasing and rewriting history that has molded citizens and pushed them into actually learning in-depth about events they may find interesting. Sugar-coating and erasing history isn't a new concept. In 2016, a Houston mother noticed her son’s ninth-grade textbook had referred to slaves as “workers” and “immigrants." When she went public with this information, there were no real actions or apologies made by the company. Referring to slaves as "workers" insinuates that slaves were willingly brought over instead of violently removed and carted from Africa. This was followed by discussing European indentured servitude and how they worked for pay, comparing it to slavery. In 2018, a charter school teacher in

San Antonio passed out worksheets to their students that called for them to list both the positives and negatives of slavery. In disbelief, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, along with numerous parents, took to social media and the principal to question why this worksheet was assigned. Like the first situation, no action was made from the distributors of the textbook that the worksheet came from. With no surprise, there was no effort to correct the errors that were made, only apologies. These instances will only continue to happen with The 1836 Project. Not all parts of Texas' history will be discussed, as aspects will be skimmed over. The 1836 Project shows how far state officials are willing to go to erase the history that they feel threaten Texas pride. Teachings of The 1836 Project will only result in events possibly reoccurring due to not being aware of past mistakes and the struggles that were endured. This will also put the weight of teaching onto parents, making it their responsibility to properly educate their children on the real truth. Abbott has chosen not to enact change but rather push the ugly history of Texas to the side and hope everybody forgets. He chooses to ignore the importance of the generational trauma races of color have experienced at the hands of our founders, rather than learn from history and fight for justice and equality for all. History will always be there and there is no amount of hiding that will cover it. - Jackie Broussard is a journalism sophomore The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinion Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021 | 7

The University Star


Sumit Nagar Sports Editor


Texas State then-junior outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald (16) tips the ball around incoming Baylor blockers during the second set, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats lost 3-0. KATE CONNORS

“[Fitzgerald] has an infectious personality that just draws people to her,” said Sean Huiet, Texas State’s head volleyball coach. “If you know her or watch her social media you see why she has a lot of followers, she’s always dancing and having fun and enjoying life.” Associate Athletics Director for Compliance Kelsey Solis, who oversees athletes and their compliance with NCAA and state rules, said Fitzgerald has been successful in her brand partnerships due to her work ethic. “Even before the NCAA thought about name, image and likeness Janell was doing her own networking,” Solis said. “She has a large social media following. She has worked to build that following and to build her brand, I would even say outside of volleyball. She’s worked really hard to build that.” In some ways, Fitzgerald is a pioneer in this new era of NIL. Before the NCAA rule change, Fitzgerald was invited to the Texas Capitol on May 6 to testify before a house committee about the issue of athletes making money while



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still in college. Fitzgerald, who is also majoring in political science, said the experience was both exciting and intimidating. “At first I was really super nervous but that only lasted for like an hour and then I realized how amazing of an opportunity it was and how much I could get my name out there," Fitzgerald said. "To be able to represent other student-athletes in Texas is something that I was super excited for once I got over the nerves.” The house committee wanted to hear from a student-athlete on the NCAA's NIL rules and the first person Solis thought of was Fitzgerald due to her knowledge on the subject, her potential to benefit and her knack with people. “I think she can, and she did speak on how this would affect her directly,” Solis said. “She was knowledgeable about the restrictions that the NCAA rules had on name, image and likeness and our student-athletes. She knew how she was being held back … she had firsthand experience.” Huiet said that in her typical fashion, Fitzgerald did not initially see the

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trip as a big deal, she simply saw it as an opportunity to talk about her experience and how NIL rules impact college athletes in similar positions. “Talking to [Fitzgerald], I think it ended up being a bigger thing than she ever thought it was,” Huiet said. “I think it was a pretty amazing life experience for her, not just what she initially thought it might be.” For some, the concept of college athletes earning money off of sponsorships or endorsements takes away the appeal of college sports as athletes would no longer be considered "amateur". Those in favor of the new NIL rules, however, see the changes as an opportunity for student-athletes to provide for themselves and prepare for life after college. “One of the things that’s awesome is the money they can make because a lot of the times we are asking our athletes to do a lot,” Huiet said. “That nice little extra benefit I think helps take care of them and takes care of some of the extra costs. Even though we are paying for school and paying for most of that there are other expenses. It just helps them balance that, especially for some athletes that aren’t on scholarship.” Huiet said the only time he would have a problem with athletes working with brands and exploring opportunities is if it interfered with their commitment to volleyball activities. “Even for Janell, who is probably our most profitable one with it, it hasn’t overtaken her life,” Huiet said. “It hasn’t changed who she is in the gym, she isn’t more focused on that than winning volleyball games. If it ever started to interfere there, that's when I would have a hard time with it but right now we aren't seeing that.” While Fitzgerald recognizes the value of her new endeavors, it has not been an easy journey. She is becoming aware that life as an athlete and a budding social media influencer is a lot of work. “It’s actually very hard, I can’t lie it's not easy at all,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s a second job. A lot of my free time I did have in the past is now going toward this. Especially since I don't have an


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agent representing me right now. But, it’s something that I’m passionate about so I’m willing to keep doing it.” While she is unsure of exactly what she will pursue once her time at Texas State is over, she is certain that she will continue to use the skills she is learning now and perhaps translate them into a future career. “My plans after college are still up in the air,” Fitzgerald said. “I definitely want to continue my marketing and pursue marketing a lot more because I have the experience now. I know the ins and outs of the business side from marketing myself through social media. I think that will be a great way to start my career."

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After season-long hiatus, club sports are back and fully functioning By Destany Fuller Sports Contributor

After 16 months of quarantine and virtual learning, Texas State is back to business-as-usual and so are its club sports teams. Club teams have not participated in league competitions since March 2020. Teams were only allowed to have nocontact, conditioning-only practices during the hiatus and could not compete or travel while representing the university. This rule was put in place to limit close contact between all players during the COVID-19 pandemic but was lifted on Aug. 9. With the start of the 2021-22 school year, club teams are now free to travel and compete at their own discretion. Assistant Club Sports Director Mario Rios says while most operations will return to how they were before the pandemic, there continue to be practices in place to keep athletes as safe as possible. "We'll be doing a lot of the same things we normally do," Rios said. "For those that are on campus, we'll keep track of who attends practices, that sort of thing. Off-campus, the clubs will have to self-report that information to us regarding who is attending the practices ... obviously for any potential contact tracing issue that we may still have at the beginning of this new

masks. "I know that there's a spike again. With the new strand so that's something we would really consider," Trevino said. "[We] may be enforcing masks again when we're in groups and then once we're out, practicing, we can take them off. Or maybe just distancing ourselves again." Employees for the Sports Club department such as Jaylin Glover, a business management senior, have also returned to work and are ready to pick up where they left off while still being conscious of the virus. Sports Club employees are responsible for supervising all sports teams and Texas State senior men's volleyball player Ben Simon (7) spikes the ball in a match, ensuring Texas State facilities are used appropriately. Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, at the University of Texas. "We want to prevent COVID-19 PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIO RIOS from spreading," Glover said. "We do as much as we can to prevent that from academic year." bottom tier [will be] people wanting happening. Previously ... we were more Triathlon Club President Monica to try out triathlon who've never done liable to provide something for the Trevino says one of her main concerns it. We're going to have that group players, such as water, but now we have with the return of club sports is building together so they all can learn together. to set certain restrictions and let players connections throughout her team. She Our second tier, people who've kind know that they have to bring water says she hopes her team can develop a of done a triathlon, and then our top bottles." partner system to pair athletes by their tier is going to be the people who really Texas State offers 35 different sports skill level. want to advance and have already been clubs. Students of any skill level can "I know that during COVID a lot of competing. I'm hoping we can do that join. Teams compete with colleges teams experienced that they lost that and social events as well." across the state and nationally. sense of team," Trevino, an English Trevino adds the team may continue For more information about Texas senior, said. "I'm really hoping we to practice protocols the university put State’s club sports visit https://www. can work on that this next season ... in place during the spring semester're going to create kind of tiers. Our such as pods with limited group sizes or clubs.html.

8 | Tuesday, September 7, 2021

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