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TUESDAY

October 5, 2021

VOLUME 111 ISSUE 9 www.UniversityStar.com

DEFENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT SINCE 1911

Student-run picnic business aims to create spontaneous experiences

Football's lack of depth hurts first act of season

Here's a Thought: Instructors aren't as understanding as they were earlier in the pandemic

Star Snaps Photo Gallery

SEE PAGE 4

SEE PAGE 7

SEE PAGE 8

SEE PAGE 8

GIS MAPPING

Texas State students map Hurricane Ida disaster zones with national, federal agencies

together to determine the level of destruction marked by artificial intelligence. According to Kaplan, FEMA used an artificial intelligence system that had marked areas of destruction in sets of polygons. The volunteer's Students in Texas State's Geographical Information job was to examine the marked polygons to determine Systems (GIS) program assisted the Civil Air Patrol the amount of damage in the areas. (CAP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency "We need to classify the structures as destroyed, (FEMA) in mapping disaster major, minor, affected, zones caused by Hurricane Ida no visible damage or this September. unknown," Kaplan “I REALIZED THAT THE MORE The students volunteered said. "Those are the through the Civil Air Patrol's classifications FEMA I HELP, THE FASTER PEOPLE Geospatial Program where they uses for classifying conducted imagery analysis of damage but requires CAN GET THE HELP AND THE damaged structures using the really strict guidelines FEMA Crowdsourced Damage to it. So, when someone Assessment app. As of now, FASTER THEY CAN DO SOMETHING WITH would say well 'my roof Texas State students have helped is missing,' it's you complete 28,000 out of 29,300 THEIR DWELLINGS BECAUSE THE IMAG- know, 'it's destroyed,' damage assessments made. that's actually not a true Capt. Scott Kaplan, CAP ES I'VE SEEN THEY'RE JUST HORRIBLE. statement, it is probably geospatial program manager major damage. If there's and national volunteer, a hole in your roof it described the project as a has to cover more than volunteer opportunity that -ELENA SHABALINA, two-thirds of the roof initially started with different A GIS GRADUATE STUDENT to be classified as major, state CAP chapters. Texas otherwise, it's just State students were offered the minor damage." chance to work with CAP and Riley Brewer, a FEMA after the organizations GIS senior, explained previously worked on a project volunteers were mapping areas of Afghanistan with the students. emailed by FEMA support and given a link to Esri, The project's goal was to collect data on areas an international supplier of geographic information destroyed by Hurricane Ida. The National Crime SEE GIS MAPPING PAGE 2 Insurance Bureau tasked FEMA and CAP to work

BIKE ACCIDENTS

By Timia Cobb News Editor starnews@txstate.edu

THEATER

Texas State Theatre celebrates Hispanic heritage with 'El Nogalar' By Kim Davis Life and Arts Contributor

In a play exploring corruption, classism and family relationships, the Department of Theatre and Dance presented “El Nogalar,” a story of a family’s struggle to keep their homestead amid the looming threat of the cartel in northern Mexico. The production ran from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3 and was led by guest director Anna Skidis Vargas. "El Nogalar" featured alternating English and Spanish primary casts with subtitles for both performances. Based on the 1903 play, “The Cherry Orchard,” by Anton Chekhov, “El Nogalar” is a modern adaptation

written by Tanya Saracho. The story follows the Galvan family, who face the threat of losing their estate and social status to the cartel in modern-day northern Mexico. The modernization of “El Nogalar” allowed Hispanic cast members to connect with their characters and personal backgrounds throughout the performance. Anastacio Gutierrez, an acting senior, played the character Lopez, a handyman who works on the Galvan family property, in both the English and Spanish casts. Gutierrez said he shared a personal connection to Lopez in that they have similar childhood experiences related to their Mexican heritage. SEE THEATER PAGE 4

The stage set for "El Nogalar," Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, at the Patti Strickel Harrison Theater.

PHOTO BY KIM DAVIS

Texas State urban and regional planning junior Art Naylor tests a tire's rotation, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, at the Bike Cave. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH

After uptick in state cyclist deaths, local bicyclists plea for driver awareness By Arthur Fairchild News Reporter

The increased risk of crashes involving bicyclists across Texas has San Marcos cyclists calling for safer bike paths and more consideration on the roadways. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), bicyclist fatalities have increased over the last five years. In 2020, 82 people died from bicycle-related crashes. Crash data collected from the Texas Peace Officer's Crash Reports (CR3) received and processed by the Texas Department of Transportation indicates there were a total of six crashes involving pedalcyclists in San Marcos in 2021. Four out of the six reported crashes resulted in minor injuries. “I’ve been hit a couple of times, on campus and around town,” said Art Naylor, an urban and regional planning junior. “At the corner of Charles Austin and Aquarena Springs somebody hit me when I was taking the crosswalk it was really scary and I was really angry, but I felt like my life was threatened.” Naylor said the ongoing construction on campus and around San Marcos has impeded his ability to get to and from the university safely. Because of the increase in construction and bike trail detours, Naylor calls on drivers to be more vigilant on the road. “They just started that new project from 123 to Hopkins on the feeder lanes and highway and the first thing they did was tear up the multi-use path which is the only safe bike connection from the east side of I-35 to the west side of I-35," Naylor said. Eric Gilbertson, an assistant professor of philosophy, cycles to the university daily. He said the most dangerous part of his ride is by Sessom Drive where the bike lane ends. Like Naylor, he calls on drivers to be more considerate of cyclists. “I don’t know if drivers are aware enough of cyclists in general and I think that having bike lanes would increase awareness to cyclists,” Gilbertson said. While bike lanes are intended to keep cyclists safe on the road, Peter Tschirhart, associate dean of the Honors College and avid bike rider, said in some instances, bike lanes don't protect cyclists enough. “They're essentially glorified shoulders where all the trash and road gravel gets put and it’s not really a suitable transportation lane,” Tschirhart said. “Car drivers need to understand that roads are public space and cars are not the only vehicles in the SEE BIKE ACCIDENTS PAGE 2


2 | Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The University Star

NEWS

Timia Cobb News Editor starnews@txstate.edu

FROM FRONT BIKE ACCIDENTS

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

Editorial Staff Editor-in-Chief: Brianna Benitez stareditor@txstate.edu News Editor: Timia Cobb starnews@txstate.edu Life & Arts Editor: Sarah Hernandez starlifeandarts@txstate.edu Opinion Editor: Hannah Thompson staropinion@txstate.edu Design Editor: Viviana Faz stardesign@txstate.edu Multimedia Editor: Natalie Ryan starmultimedia@txstate.edu Engagement Editor: Eryka Thompson starengagement@txstate.edu Podcast Editor: Rasika Gasti starpodcast@txstate.edu

Public & Internal Relations Nadia Gonzales PIR Director starpr@txstate.edu

Full-Time Staff Director: Laura Krantz, laurakrantz@txstate.edu

About Us History: The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday of the spring and fall and once a month in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 3,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, October 5, 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 universitystar.com

Scan the code above to have The Star Roundup delivered to your email every Tuesday and Thursday.

world.” Despite, fewer drivers and cyclists being on the road during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of accidents inclined. According to a national study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, collisions between drivers and cyclists are expected to rise. The 2020 study sites speeding, drunk and drugged driving, as well as distracted driving as reasons for the surge. Bicyclists like Aziel Garcia, a Spanish junior, said reckless drivers make it harder for bicyclists to travel safely on the road. “The thing that makes me feel unsafe is the way people drive, they drive extremely fast," Garcia said. Texas State business sophomore Will Axcell tunes the brakes of a bike, “Driving should be considered almost Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, at the Bike Cave. like holding a gun, driving is very PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH dangerous, and you can definitely hurt a lot of people doing it.”

FROM FRONT GIS MAPPING system software used for web GIS and geodatabase management applications. Volunteers were then administered logins to the platform. “We sent them the [volunteer] signup sheet which they used to create our login,” Brewer said. “Then in the link, we pulled up the page. From there we could access the web map that would have all the satellite imagery, and then FEMA created an activated grid that you could zoom into that was kind of just like a set area, geographical space.” Volunteers had to indicate damage in different areas wrecked by the hurricane. Elena Shabalina, a GIS graduate student, was eager to help with the project after she heard about the volunteer opportunity. “It is a unique opportunity because we work closely with the Air Force, and with government data and also the benefit was that people needed help,” Shabalina said. “I am an experienced GIS specialist. I couldn't just miss this message, and I heard on the news that it was a catastrophe for people.” Shabalina helped inspect hurricane damage in southern Louisiana using drone and satellite data. “Sometimes I've seen really horrible pictures, it was the house and after the hurricane, it just was something destroyed,” Shabalina said. “I realized that the more I help, the faster people can get the help and the faster they can do something with their dwellings because the images I've seen they're just horrible.” Brewer previously worked with CAP on another mapping project before being asked to work with Hurricane Ida. Brewer was intrigued by the type of damage a hurricane could create for different housing infrastructures, despite being in the same area. “It was definitely crazy, invariable

like every natural disaster would be,” Brewer said. “Definitely interesting to see how different roof types work because when you zoom in on this where you see one house, that is probably 5,060 feet from the other, and their roof is completely caved in and a person that had a barndominium is fine, their yard is just messed up. So, it's definitely interesting and sometimes really sad to see the impact that it had on a lot of people's homes and businesses.” Nakky Ekeanyanwu, another GIS graduate student who helped with the project, was happy to receive experience and the chance to work with FEMA. “I get to put it on my resume as volunteer experience, which I also feel looks really good," Ekeanyanwu said. "I may not have worked there full time but what I did gave me some insight into how these guys function, how they work, what their goals are, what they're into.” The project consisted of volunteers from over 39 states. Kaplan explained

AFAAF ALNAHAS many of the volunteers were younger Boy Scouts, national CAP members or people looking to gain GIS experience, such as the volunteers from Texas State. Organizations including the American Red Cross, shelter and housing task forces and different sectors of FEMA will continue to use the data collected to estimate the cost of damages and determine where help is needed. "Multiple groups are using the data that we did to help with the response. So, we're helping Louisiana, and that's just incredible right now because now they know where the most highly damaged areas are because they can look at the data that we gave," Kaplan said. The project concluded at the end of September and from the amount of work done by volunteers, Texas State students and CAP conducted the largest crowdsourced imagery analysis review of damages for FEMA this year.


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The University Star

LIFE & ARTS

Sarah Hernandez Life and Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu

SMALL BUSINESS

Student-run picnic business aims to create spontaneous experiences By Sarah Hernandez Life and Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu

Early on in the pandemic, when one of the safest ways to visit with loved ones was to meet one another outside, Trey Hiller watched picnics in the park rise in popularity and saw an opportunity to start his own luxury picnic business. After months of planning, preparing and surveying the public, Hiller, a marketing and management senior, launched Chic City Picnics, a San Marcos-based picnic service, in September. His goal was to help people enjoy the outdoors without the stress of planning it. Hiller started mapping out how he wanted Chic City Picnics to look and what he wanted customers to experience back in February. He sent surveys out to residents at student apartments and asked students on campus what they would want to see from a picnic business. Once he figured out prices and picnic themes, Hiller's friend Lauren Bice, a marketing senior, helped polish the business model and worked on marketing Chic City Picnics on social media. Hiller said he took inspiration from TikTok and Instagram for the business' image and would take those ideas to Bice to refine them to fit Chic City Picnics' aesthetic. "I saw what [picnic companies on social media] did and how extravagant their stuff was and so I kind of would show Lauren, 'hey, this is what I want to do,' and then she'd be like, 'maybe you should do this' or 'maybe you should consider this color theme or this designer,'" Hiller said. "So, I kind of took my idea and took it to Lauren, and then she kind of refined it and made it prettier or better." Chic City Picnics offers customers a "neutral theme" or a "pink theme." Each base package comes with a picnic table, a rug or picnic blanket, pillows for each guest, table settings, candles and candle holders, a table runner and faux or dried floral decorations. Picnics last two hours and customers can bring their own food and beverages as they are currently not provided by Chic City Picnics. The price of a picnic for one to four guests is $100 and any add-ons such as real flower arrangements are an additional charge. If a customer wants real flowers at their picnic, Hiller and Bice partner with The Floral Studio, a local flower shop, to make arrangements. Hiller said he is looking to partner with other local businesses to create charcuterie boards and desserts. "I definitely really want to just support and champion local San Marcos businesses," Hiller said. "I'm

Five Mile Dam as well." Hiller is trying to work with Texas State to add Sewell Park as a picnic location option. Customers can also book picnics in private areas, such as their own backyard. When designing the business model of Chic City Picnics, Hiller and Bice wanted to ensure it was appealing to college students, their target market. Bice said she hopes the business will become something students look to when they want something relatively inexpensive and fun to do with their friends. "As a college student, I love doing spontaneous things. And I feel like most things that we do aren't necessarily like super planned ... you can grab a blanket, you can grab some food and you can have a picnic. But how often do you get to have a luxury picnic? So, I think it's just a really spontaneous and really fun thing to say that you got to do," Bice said. Chic City Picnics' first customer, Namrah Quazi, found out about the business through Instagram and booked a picnic to celebrate her husband's birthday. From Kyle, Texas, Quazi is not familiar with San Marcos but said Hiller set up an unforgettable picnic experience in a secluded area along the river. "We had a really great time," Quazi said. "My husband was pleasantly surprised. He was totally not expecting that. He was just like, 'oh my god, this is the best thing ever.' So, we had a really great time. It was really nice." Quazi has since recommended the business to her friends, relatives and coworkers in the San Marcos area. She said she looks forward to seeing the A Chic City Picnics setup at Rio Vista Park in September 2021. business grow. PHOTO COURTESY OF CASON ASHER "San Marcos is so pretty, especially with the [river]," Quazi said. "Because it's a college town, a lot of people A Chic City who do go out want to be outdoors Picnics'set a lot so it's a really great concept. up at Rio Especially if people just want to spend Vista Park time together on a date or have lunch in September together or something. I think it's a 2021. very great idea, especially in that area." PHOTO While Chic City Picnics is just COURTESY OF getting started, Hiller and Bice aim CASON ASHER to keep planning well-thought-out themes and arrangements in hopes of expanding their business throughout the community. "I just think it'll be great to see it expand really to Texas State students," Bice said. "I think it's just just really making hopes doing this will make people a great way to be involved in the local sure that we're embracing the San appreciate San Marcos for the sights community and also [support] our Marcos community and helping it has to offer. local community." elevate not only us as a company, "We currently offer locations at Rio For more information on Chic City but other companies around us and Vista — I know the actual Rio Vista Picnics or to book a picnic, visit its making sure that they're not falling itself is always super crowded, but we website at https://chiccitypicnics.com or behind as well." found a location a little further down @chiccitypicnics on Instagram. By setting up the picnics outdoors, the river, kind of like tucked away Hiller wants to highlight the river and where it's like super private and super the beauty of San Marcos parks. He intimate," Hiller said. "Then we offer

FROM FRONT THEATER “My character is Lopez, and he was a worker on this property,” Gutierrez said. “He grew up there as a kid, his father worked there, and his grandfather worked there. It’s just something that I resonate to like on a level I get from my father. That’s like my heritage.” He also saw a resemblance between his own family's history and the Galvan family's story. “I really resonated with the story,” Gutierrez said. “Because my dad and my grandpa, when I was a lot younger, had a property back in Mexico. Especially in the area where I’m from, there’s a lot of issues.” Elisa Pedraza Sanchez, a theater freshman, played Dunia, the Galvan family's maid, in the English cast. Pedraza Sanchez said being in a play with a Hispanic cast was special as they connected with each other through shared experiences and heritage. “One time we had like an analysis of the play,” Pedraza Sanchez said. “And at some point, we were just telling stories of what it is like being Hispanic in this country. What it was like being Hispanic in general. We were just agreeing like ‘wow’ we’ve never felt more seen. We never felt

(From left to right) Ana Paula Monterrubio, Rachel Arguello and Yasha Alaniz, members of the "El Nogalar" English cast, pose for a photo at the Taylor-Murphy courtyard. PHOTO COURTESY OF LAUREN JURGEMEYER

more comprehended by a group of people because we all could relate to each other.” Guest director Vargas played a big part in bringing the production's cast and crew together. Cast members said her work ethic and the collaboration she had with them made the experience enjoyable.

“I’ve never worked with anyone like her," Pedraza Sanchez said. “She is so collaborative with the cast members and also the stage-managing team and the crew team. She is so respectful of everyone’s ideas and always on time.” Gutierrez said Vargas’ approach to working with the actors made rehearsals fun and helpful.

“I enjoyed working with her,” Gutierrez said. “Every rehearsal was fantastic. She had a great approach of knowing when to let [the actors] play with [the characters] and when to step in.” With the production's schedule now complete, the cast members hope their portrayal of the Galvan family's story of hope and culture offers audiences a look into their Hispanic heritage. Ricardo Lopez Montilla, an acting freshman who was an English cast understudy, said he wanted audiences to walk away from seeing "El Nogalar" with a fresh perspective in the modernized Mexican approach. “If they’re familiar with ‘The Cherry Orchard,’ which is the source material, I hope they take away a new perspective,” Lopez Montilla said. “If they’re not familiar with the source material, then I hope they have a great time. And enjoy this super-cool story about class in Mexico and how crime has affected it in the past decade or so.” For more information on upcoming productions from the Department of Theatre and Dance, visit https:// txstatepresents.universitytickets.com/.


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Tuesday, October 5, 2021 | 7

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SPORTS FOOTBALL

Texas State Head Coach Jake Spavital embraces his players in the tunnel prior to running out onto the field to face the Cardinals, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. The Bobcats lost to the University of the Incarnate Word 42-34.

Football's lack of depth hurts first act of season

PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

By Sumit Nagar Sports Reporter

Four weeks into the season, Texas State Football’s 2021 campaign is reflecting the follies of past seasons. With a 1-3 record thus far, the Bobcats’ underwhelming play echoes its 13-51 record since the start of the 2016 season. Their most recent losses came at the hands of the Incarnate Word Cardinals of the FCS 42-34 and a 59-21 blowout to the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Now finishing a third of their season and coming off a bye week, the team hopes to right the ship as they set to start their conference schedule against the South Alabama Jaguars on Oct. 9. The Bobcats have lacked firepower, particularly in the offensive line. Running the ball, they have totaled 545 net yards and five touchdowns but only average 3.6 yards per carry, putting most of the pressure on the passing game. Sophomore quarterback Brady McBride has 786 yards (79137 ATT) with seven touchdowns and three interceptions on the season, but the porous offensive line play has allowed 11 sacks and 15 hurries. Against Eastern Michigan, McBride went 16-25 for 187 yards and three touchdowns, however, he was sacked four times and hurried four times “I thought [McBride] made some really good plays,” Head Coach Jake Spavital said in the post-game press conference. “We got to help him out … we have the ability to move and go and you see sometimes we’re an unbelievable offense … and then we look like we don’t know what we’re doing at times … I really think every single person is looking at what they can do better and how we can get the right product on the field.” Defensively, Texas State prevented high-scoring contests in its first two games as they held the Baylor Bears,

Texas State freshman linebacker Issiah Nixon (10) and sophomore tight end Seth Caillouet (84) jump in celebration after the Bobcat victory over FIU, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Riccardo Silva Stadium. The Bobcats won 23-17. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS

Texas State junior wide receiver Chandler Speights (80) celebrates after the Bobcats' overtime win over FIU, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Riccardo Silva Stadium. The Bobcats won 23-17. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS

its only Power Five opponent, to 29 defend against the run and pass has points and the Florida International been unpredictable. Panthers to 17 points. In their first game, the Bobcats However, the Bobcats’ ability to allowed Baylor to beat them on run

for 238 net yards while only letting up 148 passing yards. Against FIU, the Bobcats held their opponent to 3.7 yards per rush but let 259 yards through the air on 15.2 yards per completion. They were stronger holding back the run against Incarnate Word, letting up 79 net rushing yards but were burned through the air with 376 yards. The unit folded against Eastern Michigan allowing 242 rushing yards and 257 passing yards. The most consistent piece of the Bobcats’ defense is their inability to pressure the opposing quarterback, as they only have four sacks on the year, three of which came from freshman linebacker Issiah Nixon. Despite the play on the field, the Bobcats’ lack of depth in their roster, due to a mix of COVID-19 protocols and injuries, has hindered their performance prior to the starts of games. Before their game against Incarnate Word, 25 players were ruled out and 19 players were unavailable for their trip to Eastern Michigan. Spavital said a large number of absences has hurt the offensive and defensive line play the most, but it has also impacted the defense’s ability to tackle and the whole team’s ability to execute plays. After the loss to the Eagles, Spavital was hopeful the bye week would help the team recover for the next game. “We’re lacking in depth,” Spavital said. “We’re kind of very similar to where we were at last year. This bye week comes at a good time for us to get back to Texas to get healthy again and get our stinger back.” The Bobcats will head home to start their conference schedule against the South Alabama Jaguars at 6 p.m. on Oct. 9 at Bobcat Stadium. The game will air on ESPN+


8 |Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The University Star

OPINIONS

Hannah Thompson Opinion Editor staropinion@txstate.edu

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.

ACADEMICS

Instructors aren’t as understanding as they were earlier in the pandemic

Editor's note: Here’s a Thought is an opinion series written collectively by The University Star's opinion section. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of our entire publication. As the majority of students continue attending in-person classes throughout the pandemic, some have encountered an unexpected hurdle: professors. Although students have noticed professors trying their best to make things work remotely, some have noticed instructors haven't been as understanding in in-person classes. The presence of COVID-19 is almost as dominant as it was around this time last year. On Oct. 1 of this year, there were 1,063 active cases in Hays County, compared to the 1,370 active cases on Sept. 30 of last year. When not much has changed in terms of the presence of COVID-19 in the local area, it would be odd to assume that the effects the pandemic has had on students would have changed. We are still very much in a pandemic and cannot ignore that just because students have been forced to return to in-person learning. Stephanie Hernandez, an international business senior, said the switch back to full capacity inperson classes has taken a toll on her academically, as she's witnessed a lack of engagement between professors and their students. “I feel like that’s what’s been affecting me more, because professors tell you to come to office hours, but

it's like they really don’t want you to just because of their health and stuff like that which like one has to respect," Hernandez said. COVID-19 has already impacted the academic performance of some students for the worse. Whether that be because of internet accessibility or personal issues, it doesn’t help to have apathetic behaviors from their instructors. When the pandemic first began, students like DeeDee Carleton, a biology senior, figured it would be a temporary break from school. However, as the pandemic worsened it took a toll on her academically and mentally. “As the year went on, and particularly this spring when I was taking a full load of classes virtually and working from home, I had a really hard time mentally," Carleton said. "I managed to keep my grades up, but it was a struggle and I definitely struggled academically in a way I hadn’t before.” To help students cope with the effects of the pandemic, departments on campus should consider implementing platforms where their students can express concerns. The College of Liberal Arts provides CoLA Concerns, an anonymous and student-run chat service where students in the department can share both their problems and ideas. Features like CoLa Concerns can make the transition back to in-person learning smoother for students who are having a difficult time adjusting.

The effects of the pandemic have also impacted the mental health of individuals across the nation. In April 2020, 13.6% of U.S. adults said they had serious symptoms of psychological distress, compared to the 3.9% reported in 2018. Those between 18-29 years old made up the group with the highest symptoms for this distress. While other students like Maya Rojo, a psychology freshman, have not personally had any negative experiences on campus, they know someone who has. “Based on my classes, most teachers have been [helpful], but some teachers aren’t willing to put things online,” Rojo said. “My friends, they had classes where attendance was mandatory, and you get points off for not being there even with COVID.” Having mandatory attendance could be seen as teachers not being entirely understanding, especially when some classes have over 100 students in attendance. Students who do not feel comfortable with that many people being near them, as masks and vaccines are not required, should not be punished for missing class. There also comes anxiety from receiving multiple Bobcat Trace messages throughout the week, which inform students that they've been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. A lack of understanding from professors can lead to putting

instructors and students at risk, both academically and physically. Instructors should take into consideration that while there are some students eager to return to life pre-pandemic, there are also some who are anxious about the current state of the world and feel safer attending class from the comfort of their homes. “I don’t think most professors are being understanding. Out of my professors, I think only two have really expressed the importance of communication, mental health and empathy toward students and situations," Melissa Rueda, a marketing junior, said. "This is our first true semester back on campus. For many it’s almost been a whole year of not being on campus and I think professors even before the pandemic were a little more empathetic than they are now.” As students continue navigating their college education amid a pandemic, professors need to be patient and understand we are trying out best. It's not unreasonable to ask for a bit of compassion after many of us have lost loved ones to the virus or have battled it ourselves. 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.

Texas State sophomore pitcher Jessica Mullins (4) readies a a pitch to home plate, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at Bobcat Softball Stadium. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH

San Marcos Fire Capt. Lucas Sergent cleans up the shop, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, at San Marcos Fire Department. PHOTO BY STEVEN PHIPPS

Texas State environmental science junior Connor Mogen swings his lacrosse stick while he promotes and recruits members for the Texas State men's lacrosse team, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at the Quad. PHOTO BY JEFFREY HALFEN

Texas State Bobcat fans do a color run on the sidelines after the Bobcats score the first goal of the game, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at Bobcat Soccer Complex. Texas State defeated the Little Rock Trojans 2-1. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

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