Campus Life Blog: Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Elena Harding

I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day.

It’s not because I’m frugal or think everyday should be a celebration of love, it’s because I think Valentine’s Day is silly.

Flowers are nice, so are chocolates and other gifts, but something about Valentine’s Day seems contrived to me. With the apparent good intentions of the day, showing loved ones that you care about them also comes with an artificial sense of urgency and expectation. This unnecessary stress pressures people to behave a certain way during a certain time of the year.

The commercial hype surrounding the holiday does not appeal to me. Neither does the price gouging that accompanies it, particularly for roses.

Whether the day originates from Christian martyrs, Chaucer or the pagan Lupercalia festival, I’ll continue not to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Destino’s Leadership with a Purpose

February 12, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Wesleigh Ogle

A small group gathered the evening of February 10, Thursday, in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom for Leadership With a Purpose, hosted by the SMU chapter of Destino. The Destino Movement is a nationwide student-led organization with the purpose to connect Latinos to God and one another.

Esmeralda Sanchez, a 2009 SMU graduate who started the SMU chapter of Destino in 2008, opened the presentation and welcomed the speakers.

“Just like the title of the event, we know that you’re here with a purpose,” she said. “We hope that tonight will be a blessing to you.”

The speakers, Dr. Gus Reyes and Jonas Gonzalez, both encouraged the audience to follow their dreams, be good leaders and build a relationship with God.

Dr. Gus Reyes, director of the Hispanic Education Initiative, and Jonas Gonzalez, president of Enlace, pose with SMU students after the Destino Meeting on Leadership With a Purpose. (PHOTO BY WESLEIGH OGLE / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Seventeen tables were set up in the grand ballroom. When only ten people showed up, the plans changed and the gathering became more intimate.

Instead of standing on stage, Reyes and Gonzalez interacted with the audience. They told stories of their childhoods and how they became successful.

Reyes said his best piece of advice is to listen for God.

“Take that next step and get ready for the best ride of your life,” he said. “It’s scary, but you can count on him.”

Gonzalez, the president of Enlace, a Christian TV network in Spanish, spoke in Spanish and his daughter translated. He told students to find a job in something they enjoy so their occupation is their hobby.

When a student asked about changing majors, he said, “If you have to change and change and change, it doesn’t matter. But when you find it, let it be a life effort.”

Reyes advised college students to find mentors who are in the place they want to be in the future. He said to choose this mentor based on his or her character and integrity not corporate success.

The discussion then turned to leadership and what is required to be a leader. Gonzalez said a leader must have a message to influence others.

“If our life doesn’t have a message, our message doesn’t have life,” he said.

Reyes said leaders must help their followers reach their full potential. He said leaders sometimes make difficult decisions about people, but a successful leader helps others succeed.

However, leadership is lonely, Reyes warned.
“There is some loneliness about leadership that only leaders can know about.” he said. “The good news is that we have a God who can help us through that loneliness.”

Dr. Gus Reyes, the director of the Hispanic Education Initiative/Affinity Ministries for the Baptist General Convention of Texas speaks about he became successful through his faith and with the help of the Lord. Reyes is also the co-writer of "30 Days, Turning the Hearts of Parents and Teens towards Each Other." (PHOTO BY GRACE ROBERTS / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Gonzalez had a less spiritual approach. He said a leader can be the boss, but not every boss is a leader. He said a boss looks for extraordinary people, while a leader looks for ordinary people to make them extraordinary. He also said a boss says ‘go,’ but a leader says ‘let’s go’ and asked the audience which they would rather be.

At the end of the presentation, Reyes spoke about being both a leader and a Latino.

“You are a global leader because of your heritage,” he said. “You see things differently… The United States needs you.”

Although the audience was small, the event had an impact on those who attended.

“It was reassuring that it’s ok if things change and… God has a purpose for my life,” Jacqueline Ross, an SMU sophomore, said. “I know that my journey will be blessed if I follow his purpose.”

Cindy Trujillo, an SMU junior, also felt reassued.

“It’s relieving to see that you aren’t the only one who goes through these struggles,” she said.

Destino meets every Friday from noon to 1p.m. in Hughes-Trigg Atriums C and D.

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Oct. 20

October 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Oct. 20 from on Vimeo.

Find out about where you will be able to view all scrolls from the Dead Sea online, the score that brings the Texas Rangers one game closer to the World Series, and a culinary contest at the American Airlines Center

What’s Wrong With Being Second?

May 4, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Briana Darensburg

Narcissistic, lazy and spoiled are just a few of the characteristics that some may use to describe Generation Y. From social networking sites that are used as virtual ego inflators to the instant-fame obsessed culture, it’s no wonder people have diagnosed the Millennials as “overdosed on self-esteem.”

However, there is a new counterculture movement called I AM SECOND and it has leaked onto the SMU campus. According to their website, the organization is meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others.

Representatives from the nationwide movement range from athletes like former University of Texas quarterback, Colt McCoy, to American Idol’s Jason Castro, to the every day person.

The movement uses short videos of personal testimonies that deal with the typical struggles of everyday living.

SMU junior James Parker saw the need for a group that empowers students to live for something greater than them—to be second. He decided to begin the first I AM SECOND group early this spring in the Mary Hay Hall.

“I see this [group] not just as a Christian thing, but for each other,” Parker said.

Although James is well-connected with students as a resident advisor and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, he didn’t know what to expect the first meeting.

“I thought maybe six or seven students would show up, but when I opened the door, it was like a roar,” Parker said.

To his surprise, nearly 30 students showed up at the first meeting.

Perhaps SMU students have their own perceptions of religious based groups, but Parker said that the I AM SECOND group on campus is not what you may think. On the group’s Facebook page is a disclaimer stating, “I AM SECOND is not: a bible study, church group, youth group or whatever.”

Due to the success of the group, four other resident halls now host a discussion group. The meetings consist of watching an I AM SECOND video and then discussing how it relates to your life.

The discussion groups not only talk about students’ personal struggles but how they are able to become second to God.

Group leader Evan Taylor said he envisions the group volunteering together so they can grow closer.

“We are community-based and about each other,” Taylor said.

Freshman Kacey Nelson, a participant in the group agrees that helping others should be something people focus more time on.

“I don’t think people spend enough time helping others,” Nelson said. “It doesn’t even have to be religious.”

Although the I AM SECOND group on campus is rooted in Christian values, the group strives to be inclusive and welcomes people from all religions to attend the meetings.

Nelson said that the group does not allow people to be judgmental and Taylor said students will not feel out of place.

“I just want SMU to know that this is a safe place,” Taylor said “No one would be bashed for their beliefs.”

With a selfless movement like I AM SECOND on the rise, it is unclear as to whether some Generation Y stereotypes are warranted. In fact, the Pew Research Center conducted a report on the values, attitudes and behaviors of Millennials.

The study found that the things Millennials value in life mirror the things older generations value. Family matters most and fame and fortune are much less important.

Journalism professor at SMU, Jake Batsell, also argues against Generation Y stereotypes in his recent blog post titled, “Journalism’s Next Generation: Working with Millennials.” Batsell claims that SMU journalism students actually want to make a difference.

“They want to use their multi-platform storytelling skills to do some good,” Batsell said.

Helping others has certainly become a trend at SMU.

“Two recent SMU grads spent part of last summer reporting and blogging from Romanian orphanages and one of our recent alums helped start an orphanage in Uganda,” wrote Batsell.

There are many different opportunities to ‘be second’ and make a difference at SMU. If you would like to get involved with the I AM SECOND’ group on campus, they hold meetings at Perkins Hall, Mary Hay Hall, Virginia Snider Hall, Shuttles Hall and Morrison-McGinnis Hall.

You can check out their website for SMU students for more information.

Campus Christians Come Together for All Campus Worship

April 8, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Students from over 25 Christian groups worship together at the fourth annual All Campus Worship. (PHOTO BY LAURA COOK / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Students from over 25 Christian groups worship together at the fourth annual All Campus Worship. (PHOTO BY LAURA COOK / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

By Laura Cook

The Hughes-Trigg Student Theater was transformed into a place of fellowship Wednesday night when students from all ministries and background gathered to worship God.

Over 100 people filled the auditorium nodding and singing along with the uplifting music from a SMU Christian Rock band. Inspiration and peace filled the room as the event’s leader, SMU senior Stephen Reiff, took the stage.

“Ever since I was a senior in high school, and I came to visit SMU, I saw that the campus ministries didn’t really get along,” said Reiff. “I thought that once I came here it would be cool to bring all of the ministries together under one roof.”

Reiff did just that. On April 7 SMU held its fourth annual All Campus Worship in Hughes-Trigg. The event has always been free and open to anyone who wants to openly worship God. The event combined music with prayer allowing the SMU community to come together to share the common faith and love for the Lord.

Jennifer Jones, the Executive Director of Student Development and Programs, was the guest speaker of the event.

Jones spoke of her experiences growing up, saying she lived in a different world than we do today and that today’s youth do not know what positive is. Jones believes that good things often get overlooked or underappreciated by the younger generation, and people must always respect where he or she comes from.

“I am because someone else was,” Jones said.

Jones recalls a conversation with a student where the student said one must lie to get ahead. Jones disagreed with the student’s mentality.

“You cannot do wrong to do right,” said Jones.

Despite the differences between the young minds of today and yesterday, Jones calls for students to take action and be the hope that is left in the world.

“We’ve been summoned to do something different, but you have to believe it,” said Jones.

After her speech the room became filled with music as everyone in the audience sang along and created prayer circles to praise and thank God.

The energy and spirit generated by the music is what keeps the event so popular.

Freshman business major Taylor Foran came to support his friends in the band as well as participate in the worship. Foran recently traveled to Greece with Reformed University Fellowship over spring break to volunteer at local churches and pick up trash. RUF is an on-campus group that meets every Tuesday night to think biblically about the actions one makes in everyday life.

“I have found in my experience within RUF and the church that I got pigeonholed into thinking this is what Christianity is,” said Foran. “However, upon venturing to Greece I have come to realize the vastness and extent of the Christian community of which I am a part.”

Sophomore psychology major Genny Weaver who is also involved with RUF attended the all campus worship for the first time.

“I came because there is a fellowship we have with other Christians and it’s an opportunity to worship God and learn more about him,” Weaver said.

Senior Francis Cannon is also a member of RUF and attends One28, a campus run event on Wednesday nights in Hughes-Trigg with live worship. Cannon attended the all campus worship her freshman year, and returned this year because she says it’s a convenient outlet for fellowship and a chance to listen to unique perspectives of Christianity.

There are over 25 Christian ministries on the SMU campus and the All Campus Worship is the only time of the year that they get together and celebrate their common faith.

Reiff hopes that after he graduates this spring the all campus worship will continue and his dream of unifying Christian ministries will live on.

“I just hope that someone will have God and find it in their heart to take over and keep this tradition alive and strong,” Reiff said.

Campus News Blog: Beauty Queens and Christians Respond to Gay Marriage

April 25, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Mallory McCall

Gay marriage isn’t a new headline. The public has spoken, and now, the beauty queens have spoken.

After Miss California’s anti-gay marriage answer to an interview question during Sunday’s Miss USA competition, the hot topic has made its way back to center stage.

It’s as if this touchy subject is set on timed intervals. Over and over again the issue appears.

We’ve heard what the democrats and republicans have to say, but what are the Christians saying?

Well, PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly research, 58 percent of younger, white evangelicals support legal recognition of same-sex civil unions.

Relevant Magazine talks more about how Christians should respond to gay marriage….but should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.

Christian Student Groups Merge Music and Worship

April 21, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Read more

Campus News Blog: Goodbye, Christian America?

April 10, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Mallory McCall

“The decline and fall of Christian America” is plastered on this week’s cover of Newsweek Magazine. It is as bold and straightforward as a biohazard warning sign…making it impossible to ignore.

In March, the American Religious Identification Survey released a new study. The number of self-identified Christians in America has fallen 10 percent since 1990, dropping from 86 to 76 percent.

The ARIS survey also revealed that the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990, rising from 8 to 15 percent.

As of February, 40 percent of the SMU population had not identified a religious preference. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of mystery-faithers for a southern, Methodist university in the American Bible belt.

Could agnosticism really be America’s new religion?