SMU Replaces Dallas Hall Oak Tree

January 14, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Photos By E’Lyn Taylor

SMU landscapers and construction workers circled around a neatly dug hole Thursday morning while watching a new healthy oak tree being crained into it its home in front of Dallas Hall.

The new oak tree in its home in front of Dallas Hall. (PHOTO BY E'LYN TAYLOR / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

SMU plant worker Jim Dunlap said the reason why they had to do a replacement is because the oak tree was diseased.

“A diseased oak tree could cause many landscaping problems and more maintenance,” Dunlap said.

According to Garden Guides, oak trees can live up to 200 years. With one infected Oak Tree it could kill nearby trees within a matter of day.

Student Foundation Brings in the Holiday Season

December 2, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Anna Kiappes

The day starts bright and early and so does the crew. Men are lifted across Dallas Hall like passing clouds across the sky. Strings of lights fall down the building’s columns like a shower of stars. It is not long before the columns shimmer in the sunlight as if they had been dusted with glitter. The trees nearby have snakes of lights wound tight around their branches and trunks.

Students begin to wander to classes after weekend activities, but the crew from Facilities Management and Sustainability brings SMU’s annual Celebration of Lights to the forefront of students’ minds.

Holiday lights line the trees on the main lawn days before the Celebration of Lights. (PHOTO BY ANNA KIAPPES / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Celebration of Lights is held annually the Sunday before finals week. The celebration is meant to welcome the holiday season with the lighting of the Christmas lights on campus. Mark Miller, the founding president of Student Foundation, came up with the idea of the event in 1977.

Miller established an endowment for Celebration of Lights in 1999 before his death in 2007. The account collects the interest off his original donation. Though it does pay for some, the endowment does not support all of the celebration. Right now the celebration is supported by Student Foundation, Student Senate and the President’s office, but Student Foundation plans for the day when it will be self-sufficient.

“Our goal is that one day [the endowment] will fully fund the program,” Dawn Norris, director of Student Activities and Multicultural Student Affairs said.

Miller also started the tradition of the celebration being planned and run by the students.

“From our general members, to the Campus Events committee, the Student Foundation Board and Exec, we strive to make Celebration of Lights a success,” Campus Events Chair Staci Talamonti said. “Celebration of Lights could not happen without every single member’s voice and hard work. The event is a true reflection of the spirited work of the entire 100 member organization and it could not happen without any one person.”

The plans for Celebration of Lights begin in August and take most of the fall semester to put everything together, from the entertainment to the food served. The Student Foundation plans for upwards of about 3,000 students, faculty and residents around SMU to come.

“The campus events committee meets once a week in a separate committee meeting after the general member meeting to plan the event and countless hours are dedicated to planning during any given week in the fall semester,” Talamonti said.

Miller’s original ideas of coming together and celebrating the holiday season have played major parts in the celebration for the past 33 years.

“I would say that Celebration of Lights is a pretty consistent event and no major changes have taken place over the years,” Vice President of Programming Cathleen Good said. “The event is centered around President Turner reading The Christmas Story, carols being sung and Dallas Hall being lit up with lights.”

Source: Student Foundation

Students also take this time to reach out to the community to bring joy to local children. The Student Foundation created a partnership program with children attending Cesar Chavez Elementary School.

“Every year, we bus in kids from Cesar Chavez. This year there are 50 and all are sponsored by SMU students: they meet each other, see the Celebration of Lights together and give the kids a present,” Norris said. “It’s a great opportunity for those kids to get to see SMU and a great example of how generous SMU students can be.”

Celebration of Lights is an event that also leads students to get involved and join Student Foundation.

“I have always wanted to be involved with Celebration of Lights since first learning about it as a high school senior applying to SMU,” Talamonti said. “I love all things related to the holiday season and being chosen as the campus events chair was and is a huge honor and joy. We work diligently with all of the Student Foundation members to make Celebration of Lights not only a successful event, but a reflection of the holiday spirit that every member has.”

Many of the Student Foundation members and staff have special memories of the event, whether it is attending the celebration with family or just the joy of being there.

“That day is my favorite day on campus all year,” Norris said. “I have been here for 10 years and my favorite moment is flipping the lights. I love the lights flipping during everyone singing “Silent Night” and everyone going “Ohhhh and Ahhh” at the lights.”

As the days begin to get shorter and colder, the Facilities Management and Sustainability crew continue to string and test lights on and surrounding Dallas Hall. The feel of the holidays weaves its way through the lights and decorations and into the hearts and minds of SMU students, faculty and staff.

Johan Elverskog Speaks On Portraits of Muhammad

September 3, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Aileen Garcia

Students view slides on the portraits of Muhammad from the past and present. (PHOTO BY AILEEN GARCIA / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The department of religious studies hosted the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, Johan Elverskog, for a discussion on “Portraits of Muhammad from Genghis Khan to South Park” Thursday evening.

The lecture focused on the changing perception of Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic religion, who is often regard as a messenger and prophet of God. Early representation of him in history are know, but not common. But depicting an image of him is considered against the Islamic culture and very offensive to Muslims.

Elverskog explained that Muhammad’s portraits were presented around the Muslim world during what they call the Golden Age, but in today’s modern world we see few to no representations of Muhammad.

“What went wrong is the wrong question to ask,” Elverskog said. “We may ask instead what happened?”

For many years Islamic art avoided any kind of representation to the world, but during the 12th century the Qur’an helped with the expansion of art in Islamic tradition.

“The Qur’an made art permissible,” Elverskog said. “The Qur’an only dismissed three-dimensional figures. Things that didn’t cast a shadow were permissible.”

This in turn, said Elverskog, caused an explosion of Muslim art. But most still do not know what happened to the representation of Muhammad. Research simple points out that during the 14th century Muslims portrayed Muhammad and 500 years later they abandoned the tradition altogether.

In some countries, like Iran, they chose to never stop the portrayal Muhammad.

Hannah Savage, a sophomore double majoring in history and physiology, said she found the lecture a bit confusing, but while some might have struggled to keep up, others found the speech inspiring.

“I found the speech really informative,” said Akrit Soin, a junior majoring in international studies. “It gave you a great perspective about Muhammad and Muslims.”

Traffic Flow to Change This Week

March 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

by Kathryn Sharkey

In case you missed the e-mail that was sent during spring break, the roads around Fondren Library will be changing.

Starting Wednesday, Hilltop Lane, the street between Fondren Library and Dallas Hall, and McFarlin Boulevard, the street between Fondren Library and Hughes-Trigg, are changing directions so that the traffic flow will go towards Airline Road, instead of away from it. The section of University Boulevard, the street between Hyer Hall and the Dedman Life Sciences building, will be closed temporarily. The section of Fondren Drive, the street by the new fountain in front of the Dedman Life Sciences building and the new education building under construction, will be permanently closed to traffic.

The changes don’t stop there. Starting in August, the traffic flow of McFarlin Boulevard and Hilltop Lane will change back so that the traffic will go away from Airline Road. University Boulevard will reopen and connect to Airline Road with traffic flowing towards Airline. Check out the SMU map and this Google map to help you see the changes.


The Daily Update: Wednesday, Feb 10

February 10, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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Students Take Study Break at Mane Event

May 3, 2009 by · Comments Off 

By Theresa Nelson

The lawn in front of Dallas Hall was transformed Friday afternoon into a carnival-like end of the year bash. SMU’s Student Foundation hosted their annual Mane Event, giving students a chance to get out of the library for a few hours and enjoy the not-so-perfect weather. Despite it being overcast and humid, students played, ate and hung out with friends before going their separate ways for summer.

SMU looked more like a theme park, complete with a moon bounce, zip line, inflatable obstacle course, caricature artist, photo booth, henna tattoos and a psychic to let curious students know how they were going to do on their finals.

Junior Stephen Reiff said he jumped at the chance to get out of the library for a few hours and enjoy himself.

“Next week is going to be crazy with studying and finals, so this was the perfect way to enjoy myself before I really have to hunker down and study,” Reiff said.

According to event co-coordinator Ken Bell, that is exactly why Student Foundation puts on this event. “It’s a great way to bring everyone together and have some fun,” Bell said.

And many students came out to take advantage of the free food being offered at the event. A variety of local restaurants including Pluckers and Wild About Harry’s sponsored the event, and similar to any real fair, the food was an important attraction. There was everything from giant turkey legs, quesadillas, cotton candy and ice cream for hungry students to munch on.

Student Foundation was estimating that nearly 1,000 students would take part in the event festivities, and this year they decided to make their marketing strategy a little different in hopes of generating more buzz around the event.

A few weeks ago students may have noticed the pink flamingo yard decorations that were placed all around campus and in the lawns of the fraternity and sorority houses. The only thing the flamingos said was “May 1, 3-6 p.m.”

“Students starting asking around, wondering what those flamingos were for, and that is exactly what we wanted,” Danielle Storey, Development co-chair for Student Foundation, said. And they let students wonder for about a week before Student Foundation unveiled the theme for the Mane Event. “It’s supposed to be like a neon, kind of 80s summer bash,” Storey said.

Bell said he felt that everyone present enjoyed themselves, and that means that the event served its purpose. “This is the event I look forward to every year,” Bell said. “It’s just a celebration, and it’s all about the students having a good time.”