Young Dallas Director Shines the Spotlight on America’s “Undocumented”

October 1, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Gloria Salinas

Parents, students, faculty and a Dallas area LULAC Council turned out for SMU’s LULAC Council and Program Council’s presentation of “Undocumented,” a documentary about immigration in America though the eyes of a young director and Dallas native, Justin Malone.

Malone’s idea for “Undocumented” came as he noticed large cultural influences were changing the face of his hometown – kids were walking out of Dallas high schools, marches were taking place in downtown Dallas, Mexican restaurants were popping up all over the place and the city of Farmers Branch was passing laws that made English the official language of the city, fining owners who rented housing to illegal immigrants. When he began filming “Undocumented” he was 25, broke and this was his first film project.

Executive Producer, Robert Curlin opened the showing in SMU’s Hughes-Trigg Theater and said he became involved with the documentary only after growing tired of Malone’s phone calls to help him with the film.

“Justin Malone began calling be two years ago and bugged me for six months to help him with this documentary about immigration,” Curlin said.

Curlin finally met with Malone over lunch and decided to take on the film under three conditions – he was not going on the road because he said he “wanted this to be a project of discovery,” he wanted Malone to narrate the documentary because it would make it more personal and his third condition was for the film to be completed in May of 2008 in time for the presidential elections.

All of his conditions were met, except for the third because Malone began receiving support and money for his documentary and his film crew traveled outside of Dallas to 24 major U.S. cities to see what immigration battles and stories they could find outside of Texas.

“Sit back and enjoy a trip around the nation and see immigration through Justin’s eyes,” Curlin said, as the lights dimmed for the film to start.

Malone gathered his young film crew of three women from Craigslist: one Philippine, one Latin and one Spaniard. The documentary takes the audience on a journey through the nation interviewing the Klu Klux Klan of Alabama, immigrant families, workers and everyone in between.

Dallas County Community College’s Mountain View LULAC Council attended the showing of “Undocumented” and member Victor Lopez said he hoped this movie would shine a light on the good and hard working immigrants.

“Most people come for progress, to give a better life to their children,” Lopez said.

Lopez is an international student from Mexico where his parents still live. He has family in Wichita Falls, Kansas and Dallas and is a freshman at Mountain View College.

“I think it’s a very good movie,” he said. “I think it’s a movie that supports and tells what Mexicans really do.”

One28 Benefit Concert for Clean Water Wells

September 23, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Danielle Barrios

More than 100 students, faculty and fans gathered Wednesday evening for One28’s benefit concert with Jason Castro and Brandon Heath, bringing the community together for good music and a good cause.

The concert, held at 8 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg student theatre, accepted all donations with proceeds going to One28’s goal of raising $12,000 for African Water Wells and Living Water International. As the theatre seats began to slowly fill, One28 members and their mentors stood proudly in red T-shirts anxiously waiting for their community to get involved for such an important cause.

A promotional film from Living Water educated the audience on the need for clean water wells in Africa. (PHOTO BY CAROLINA BRIOSO / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The Water Well Dilemma

Every 15 seconds, one child dies from a water related disease due polluted water or lack of hydration. Recently, One28 members became passionate about this cause deciding to team up Living Water International in hopes of eventually putting a stop to this epidemic. Living Water International has helped ministries all across the country including more than 9,000 water projects in over 25 countries.

“Were trying to raise at least enough money for one water well,” said David Morrison, an enthusiastic member of the One28 staff.

Morrison encouraged the community saying, “Let’s all get together and do this- do something great for nation in need.” Morrison spoke on behalf of One28’s goal to raise at least $12,000 dollars from selling $20 T-shirts and $5 water bottles at the benefit concert for the one-sixth of the world’s population that doesn’t have access to clean, safe water.

Castro, a former American Idol contestant, and Heath, an award-winning gospel singer, played crowd favorites. Between performances, One28 staff members reminded the audience of the important cause the concert’s proceeds would benefit.

Logan Masters, SMU senior and a fan of Heath, showed her enthusiasm for both One28’s mission and the Water Well project sitting with her friends as the theatre began to fill.

“You can just show up here at 8, and everyone’s here with open arms,” said Masters about One28’s passionate and friendly members. Although it is her fourth year as a member, she has high hopes this concert and cause will have an impact within community.

Former American Idol contestant Castro delighted crowds and supported a humanitarian cause through his music. (PHOTO BY CAROLINA BRIOSO / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

One28’s Step Toward Change

As the concert came to a close and the students slowly cleared the theatre, donations rolled in. One28 staff members have not counted the money they have raised yet, but they have the utmost optimism for change and the world’s water conditions.

Because lack of water has caused so many health, education, and poverty issues around the world, Talisa Dever urged SMU students to have a good time and get involved with One28 for their cause.

“We do lots of service projects but we do fun stuff too,” Dever said. She encouraged everyone, even the timid freshmen to come to One28’s weekly meetings in Hughes Trigg every Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Get involved on campus with One28 or learn more about the One28’s quest for clean water.

MAPS Mixes It Up

September 15, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

By Jefferson Johnson

Jennifer Robb, a first year pre-med student, said she wanted to become involved on campus. She decided coming out of high school that she wanted to do only health-related activities.

“Things that are going to help me in the future, toward my career,” Robb said.

When Robb noticed the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students meeting flier on the bathroom door she knew she wanted to get involved.

Vice President Clinton and other memebers of MAPS piqued the interest of potential members. (PHOTO BY JEFFERSON JOHNSON / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

“I really wanted to come,” Robb said.

MAPS hosted its first mixer for the Fall 2010 semester in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Tuesday afternoon. The crowd was a modest group of 15 or so, most being panel members and office holders. Despite the low number of new faces, MAPS panelists had plenty of questions to answer.

Michelle Clinton, SMU pre-med junior and vice president of MAPS, said, “Our goal is to bring in the new freshman as well as give them an opportunity to ask us questions about being a pre-med or pre-health student.”

MAPS focuses on bringing opportunities to minority students in its organization. It also offers them avenues to gain research experience alongside professors trained in medical-science fields. MAPS members also offered tips and suggestions to freshmen under academic pressure. The members volunteer their time to the SMU community.

“I want minority students to feel like they have all the resources in front of them,” Clinton said of her goals for the organization.

She said she wants students to feel confident as they apply to medical school and continue to pursue their dreams.

Students disperse as the mixer concludes with refreshments and conversation. (PHOTO BY JEFFERSON JOHNSON / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Not only did the MAPS mixer give pre-med and pre-health students the opportunity to meet and greet each other, it provided an opportunity for upper classmen to mentor future members. According to Clinton the organization is also a great bullet on your admissions application into graduate school.

SMU Adds New Abroad Programs

September 14, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Sadi Anderon

This fall SMU has been working to give its students additional opportunities to enrich their education through study abroad. The number of SMU students that partake in study abroad increases each year, a trend the university hopes will continue. As the university encourages more students to study abroad it has added additional programs.

Last year there were 24 programs offered in 14 different countries. This year the number of choices has increased to 145 programs in 48 countries.

The increase was made possible through additional partnerships with study abroad providers such as Bridge Connect Act and the Institute for Study Abroad. Countries including the Czech Republic, Argentina and Belgium have made it to the list.

SMU will showcase all of its new programs Wednesday, Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Huges-Trigg Student Center. The abroad fair will be an opportunity for students to speak with different program providers and abroad advisors to ask questions.

Abroad advisor Meleah Chriss expressed her wish for more students to take a semester abroad.

“We want students to fill personal and academic goals while getting to see new places,” Chriss said.

Advisors also want to help place students into programs that are a good fit academically.

“We are not in the business of keeping students at SMU longer than they want to be,” Chriss said. “I always tell students to plan early, because planning early will help them decide where they want to go depending on the different classes offered.”

In the past, students may have struggled to find a program that would help them earn needed credits, but now there are programs for all majors.

Along with getting classes to fit your schedule, another concern to many students is cost. However, if a student chooses to go abroad through an SMU approved program they will be treated as if they were in Dallas. They will be guaranteed the same financial aid, course credit and tuition.

Senior Caroline Qvale spent last semester abroad and had a good experience.

“I would tell all students who are even slightly interested in going abroad to go,” Qvale said. “It was hands down the most exciting experience of my college career.”

If the thoughts of taking a gondola through the canals of Venice or climbing the Great Wall of China excite you, make sure to attend the upcoming abroad fair.

There are also study abroad informational sessions Mondays and Thursdays of each week held in the Laura Lee Blanton Building at 4 pm.

Special Showing of “When the Levees Broke”

August 30, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Aida Ahmed

If you’re a freshman or if you’ve been keeping up with our NOLA Now blog you may be familiar with this year’s freshman reading, “Zeitoun”. This week’s fifth year anniversary of Hurrican Katrina culminates in the SMU premiere and discussion of Spike Lee’s documentary of “When the Levees Broke” Tuesday August 31, at 5 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater.

Director of the SMU Human Rights Program, Dr. Rick Halperin, will be opening the showing with a few words about Katrina and the human rights issues violated in the disaster.

Students are invited to stay for pizza, cookies and drinks and discuss the film.

Meet the New Mr. and Ms. SMU

April 23, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Seniors Vanessa Trevino and Jesse Murphy pose as the winners of the Mr. and Ms. SMU Bodybuilding Championship competition. (PHOTO BY KATHRYN SHARKEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Seniors Vanessa Trevino and Jesse Murphy pose as the winners of the Mr. and Ms. SMU Bodybuilding Championship competition. (PHOTO BY KATHRYN SHARKEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Sydni Brass

The Hughes-Trigg Theater was packed with friends and family who were there to cheer on the eight students, three women and five men, competing in SMU’s twelfth annual student bodybuilding competition. 

“Welcome to the gun show!” exclaimed this year’s host and SMU fitness coordinator, Kelly Richards.  

Hours spent at the gym and weeks of extreme dieting paid off for seniors Jesse Muphy and Vanessa Trevino, who took home the first place trophies and claimed the titles of 2010′s Mr. and Ms. SMU.  

Runner-up contestant and senior Nina Sosa felt the competition was worth the hard work even though she didn’t win the title of Ms. SMU.  

“If I can do this and be a triple major, I can do anything,” Sosa said.  

The beginning of each division was a showcase of mandatory poses. Competitors lined the stage as the host called out the different muscles that each contestant was required to show off. 

Biceps, laterals, abs, quads and more were showcased in front of a panel of five judges and a crowd full of fans.  

Regina Coreil, three-time judge of the competition and fitness director at the Texas Club, said that there were five categories in which the contestants were judged. 

“We look for presentation, muscular definition, symmetry, muscularity, posing, proportion and overall shape,” Coreil said.

This year’s runner-up in the men’s division was also the youngest participant in the competition.  

“I knew I wanted to be in the competition after I saw it last year,” sophomore and first-time participant Stephen Poulin said.  

Contestants had to do a lot of physical training and some say it became very tough at times.

“Dieting was definitely the hardest part of the process, especially towards the end,” Poulin said. “One week, I lost 10 pounds in 6 days.”  

Each contestant choreographed and performed a short routine to the music of their choice. Poses in the routines had to be in traditional fitness pageant form.  

“It felt great performing in front of everyone,” Sosa said. “I love being on stage.”  

After the routines, competitors filed on stage again for a second phase of mandatory poses followed by a final pose down, which was their last chance to make an impression on the judges. 

The winners of the competition took home trophies and all other participants received a medallion for their hard work. The winners’ picture will be added to the “Mr. & Ms. SMU Hall of Fame” in the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

Nina Sosa-Rivera, Marissa Adamany and Vanessa Trevino pose as the three female competitors at the Mr. and Ms. SMU Bodybuilding Championship. (PHOTO BY KATHYRN SHARKEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Nina Sosa-Rivera, Marissa Adamany and Vanessa Trevino pose as the three female competitors at the Mr. and Ms. SMU Bodybuilding Championship. (PHOTO BY KATHYRN SHARKEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The contestants in the men's section of the body-building competition all strike a pose for the judges. (PHOTO BY KATHRYN SHARKEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The contestants in the men's section of the body-building competition all strike a pose for the judges. (PHOTO BY KATHRYN SHARKEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Movie Review: Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Amanda Mervine

With what must be one of the most expensive casts of all time the holiday-appropriate movie Valentine’s Day is set to hit theaters this Friday.

Fortunately, I was one of the members of the SMU student body who was able to snag a seat to the sneak preview of the flick in the full-capacity Hughes-Trigg auditorium on Wednesday evening.

The film stars nearly every actor/actress that has appeared in a romantic comedy box office hit in the past decade.

Such actors include Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Gardner, Jessica Alba, Ashton Kutcher, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Taylor Lautner, and everyone’s new favorite celeb Taylor Swift. As well as several more performers that contribute significantly to the movie’s multidimensional story line.

Of course my expectations, in regards to a romantic comedy, were set fairly high considering the cast. To my complete surprise not only were those expectations fulfilled but even a little exceeded.

In my belief, one needs to go into a movie like Valentine’s Day expecting nothing but the cheesiest of scenes and plots, which is exactly what I did.

However, unlike most romantic comedies, which I find utterly and annoyingly predictable, there were certain aspects of Valentine’s Day which I could have never seen coming.

Of course many of the relationships and stories were easily predictable by the end of the film, but those that weren’t really threw the SMU audience for a loop, which they verbally pronounced.

Hardy laughs and several ooos and ahhhs by the student-filled audience, as well as myself, signified the element of surprise that the film inflicted, something that I found as being a breath of fresh air to a film genre known for its predictability.

Valentine’s Day contains a perfect mixture of extremely romantic and predictable plots swirled in with stories of a few characters that end up alone, mostly on their own accord.

While the film does leave you feeling a little bit sad for those characters who end up all by themselves on the most romantic holiday of the year, as a movie critic I found it a bit refreshing that the director decided to add a splash of realism in the mix of utter romantic bliss. But don’t worry there’s plenty of that as well.

Looking for another review? Check Aida Ahmed’s take on the movie HERE.

Free Movie Showing: Valentine’s Day

February 8, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Aida Ahmed

SMU’s Program Council is holding a preview of the new movie Valentine’s Day Wednesday night.

The preview will be held in the Hughes-Trigg student center theatre at 10 p.m.

Valentine’s Day has a full cast of stars including Ashton Kutcher, Julia Roberts, Eric Dane, Kathy Bates, Jessica Alba and many more.

Speaker Brings Evolution Battle to SMU

November 12, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

By Kathryn Sharkey

Hughes-Trigg Student Theater was packed with students, professors, high school teachers, Texas Freedom Network members, and even State Board of Education members Tuesday.

They all came together with one common purpose: to learn about the battle over evolution in Texas from Dr. Barbara Forrest, coauthor of “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design,” outspoken advocate for evolution, and key fighter in the battle.

Dr. Forrest spoke about “Why Texans Shouldn’t Let Creationists Mess with Science Education.” She referenced the bill passed in Louisiana, which allows teachers to present evidence to students on creationism and evolution theory, something she and others are trying to prevent in Texas.

“It would be really sad to think that the school children in Texas now will be no further along than those 60 years ago,” Forrest said.

The State Board of Education is currently reviewing the education standards for teaching science in Texas public schools and evolution has become the hot topic. The main argument focuses on the phrase “strengths and weaknesses” currently in the standards. This phrase allows for presentations other than the accepted scientific theories, including evolution, to be taught in the classroom.

Laughter and gasps of disbelief filled the theater and Dr. Forrest meticulously went through the arguments of main proponents for teaching intelligent design theory in Texas’ and the nation’s schools, discrediting their arguments, reasons and even the theory itself.

The “strengths and weaknesses” phrase is rooted in the writings of Duane Gish, a prominent creationist from the 1970’s, Forrest said.

At the end of the lecture, audience members lined up at the microphones in each aisle to ask Forrest questions. The lecture was scheduled at 6 p.m. to last one hour, but the question and answer session and book-signing lasted until just after 8 p.m.

Paul Keller, a member of the Texas Freedom Network, a grassroots organization which counters the religious right, in the audience attended the lecture as a concerned citizen.

“When I see [science education] perverted or converted I get very concerned that it will undermine our whole education and civilization,” he said.

Yasmeen Hanif, a junior biochemistry major at SMU said in a phone interview, she attended the lecture for class credit, but that she would have attended anyway because she is interested in the topic.

“I’ve never been to a lecture like that before that discussed evolution and intelligent design and it being taught in schools, so I got the point of view from the guest speaker about what each party is saying,” Hanif said.

In terms of her opinions on the subject of intelligent design taught in schools, she remains neutral.

“I’m not really sure about my opinion because I’m not informed about it much,” she said.

“I’m not sure I understand both sides yet completely, because it’s more complicated than it seems… I still need to do more research as to what they’re saying and the arguments why it should be taught or why it shouldn’t be taught, but I think both sides have their flaws or inconsistencies,” Hanif said.

Mark Chancey, the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, was one of the many professors that attended the lecture.

“I thought that she presented a very persuasive talk on that intelligent design is more of a religious and political movement than a scientific movement,” he said.