Senate Report: Tuesday, Feb. 15

February 15, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Andy Garcia

New senators were sworn into office today and a bill regarding charted organizations was brought to the floor. All this and more on your Senate Report.

Senate Report: Tuesday, Feb. 16 from on Vimeo.

SMU Students Volunteer To Help West Dallas Schools

September 20, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Andy Garica

Southern Methodist University students, West Dallas schools and 16 non-profit organization came together to host The School Zone: Pep Rally for Education at the Field of Dreams in West Dallas Saturday morning.

The event was the brainchild of SMU alumnus Philip Wise and Regina Nippert of the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition. According to Wise, the pep rally served as a demonstration of how the schools and nonprofit organizations are coming together to help students in West Dallas.

“Part of the idea was just to bring everybody together in a physical location to make it easier for the parents to see all the services that are available in the neighborhood,” Wise said. “And how they can pool different services to help their children.”

SMU Student Senate President Jake Torres was contacted by the DFCC to help provide volunteers for the event. Torres said he was thrilled to see the number of SMU students in attendance.

“We have such a gracious and incredible student body,” Torres said. “I sent out a couple of emails and we had literally dozens of SMU students show up.”

While learning more about the services provided by both the schools and non-profit organizations, attendees were treated to free entertainment with appearances from radio personality Shannon Murphey and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and carnival favorites like cotton candy.

At the end of the pep rally families had the opportunity to be driven to SMU and watch the Mustang’s beat Washington State. According to Torres, busses and five hundred game tickets were donated by SMU Bus Brigades.

Lashonda Green, a parent of three elementary school age children, was pleased with the pep rally. She appreciated seeing the different schools and organizations coming together to reach out to the community in a way that was both fun and informative.

Among the number of organizations that participated in the pep rally was Watermark Community Church . Along with participating in the event, WCC has adopted a school in West Dallas.

“We go into C.F. Carr with volunteers every week on a regular basis,” WCC member Steve Owen said. “We work with the administration and the teachers there to really help in whatever capacity they see fit.”

Representatives of The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas were also at the pep rally to promote a service they are offering. According to United Way representative Gayla Trigg, The United Way in partnership with the City of Dallas and the IRS is offering free tax preparation for medium to low income families in the West Dallas area.

Tara Powell, the Communications Coordinator for the DFCC, was pleased with the turnout of the event and said she looks forward to future School Zone events that SMU students can participate it.

“If you get the chance to do something do it,” said Alejandra Aguirre, SMU sophomore and pep rally volunteer. “You could impact someone’s life.”

Some facts from Powell about why initiatives like School Zone and volunteers are needed in Dallas.

In the state of Texas, 73 percent of beginning freshmen will graduate from high school within four years. In West Dallas, only 43 percent will graduate; in 2009-10, 15 percent (14 students) graduated ready for college.

One in three families live in poverty.

Fewer than 35 percent of West Dallas adult residents have a high school diploma.

The average home is valued at less than 25 percent of the median home price for the city of Dallas.

Every night, at least 300 school aged children sleep in a car or on a sofa belonging to a relative or friend.

To learn more about how you can help, email the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition.

The Daily Update: Thursday, April 29

April 29, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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Student Senate Runoff: Torres and Prentice Join Perkins

April 1, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Brooks L. Powell

Jake Torres, Student Body President-Elect; Austin Prentice, Student Body Vice-President-Elect; and Katie Perkins, Student Body Secretary-Elect

Jake Torres, Student Body President-Elect; Austin Prentice, Student Body Vice-President-Elect; and Katie Perkins, Student Body Secretary-Elect (Illustration by Brooks L. Powell / The Daily Mustang)

Junior Jake Torres and sophomore Austin Prentice have won Student Body President and Student Body Vice-President, respectively. Torres won 55 percent of the vote for Student Body President, and Prentice won nearly 59 percent in the Vice-Presidential contest.

They join sophomore Katie Perkins, who was elected Student Body Secretary in a landslide victory last week, securing 68 percent of the vote.

With elections now complete, newly elected Student Body Officers and Senators (click for full results) await inauguration Tuesday, April 27.


Student Body President:
Jake Torres – 906
Jack Benage – 739

Student Body Vice President:
Austin Prentice – 954
Alex Ehmke – 668

Source: Roza Essaw, Student Senate Membership Chair

The Daily Update: Wednesday, March 31

March 31, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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Student Body President and VP Spots to be Decided in Runoff

March 25, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Brooks L. Powell


(L-R) Jack Benage and Jake Torres, Candidates for Student Body President. Alex Ehmke and Austin Prentice, Candidates for Student Body Vice-President. (Illustration by Brooks Powell / The Daily Mustang)

Student body officer elections aren’t over yet. Candidates in the races for Student Body President and Student Body Vice-President face a runoff next week.

Former Senate membership committee chairman Jack Benage, a sophomore, and junior Education Senator Jake Torres will square off for the presidency, while Senate Chief of Staff Alex Ehmke and Senator Austin Prentice, both sophomores, are at odds over the VP spot.

Katie Perkins, Student Body Secretary-Elect

Katie Perkins, Student Body Secretary-Elect (Illustration by Brooks Powell / The Daily Mustang)

Sophomore Katie Perkins, the Senate organizations committee chair, handily won the race for Student Body Secretary, securing 68 percent of the vote against rival Austin Poynter, also a sophomore.

“I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to serve the student body,” she said. “I look forward to a great year.”

Benage said he’s pleased to have made the runoff and believes the competition between the Student Body Officer hopefuls has been good for SMU and the Student Senate.

“I’m having fun with it and hoping for the best,” he said.

Torres, the only minority candidate left in the entire Student Body Officer contest after sophomores Derek Hubbard, Matt Neman, and Mohamed Gharib were defeated, said he has backing from a variety of groups on campus.

“I have been really touched by members from so many different communities rallying behind me and offering their support,” he said.

vote totals

Courtesy of Roza Essaw, Senate membership chair.

The margins for the top two spots were close, with only 47 votes separating Benage and Torres, and 96 votes between Prentice and Ehmke.

“Getting the voters that voted for me to continue supporting me will be my major goal,” Prentice said, adding that he plans to stick to his platform through the runoff.

Ehmke, his rival, said he realizes rallying supporters for one more go-round will be a a difficult task.

“It’s just going to be tiring because I have to get everyone out to vote again, and that’s not easy,” Ehmke said in an emailed statement.

Students can vote in the runoff online at beginning at midnight Wednesday, March 31. Polls close at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 1.

Senate membership committee chair and election organizer Roza Essaw was not immediately available to discuss the turnout of this election, which may be one of the best publicized in years. Mass emails were sent daily to the entire student body reminding voters to cast their ballots.

After a grueling week of campaigning, runoff candidates are now gearing up for another round of stump speeches and glad-handing with SMU students.

“It’s going to be a tough week because I have to make up a 96 vote deficit,” Ehmke said. “I think all the candidates are completely exhausted and are truly tired of campaigning.”

To shake off the stress, Ehmke said he and his opponent Prentice plan to meet for a friendly frisbee game Friday afternoon.

Like Perkins, new student senators are off the hook for campaigning after winning their respective elections Thursday night. The full list of elected representatives is as follows:

Lyle School of Engineering Senators:
Alexa Engel
Joseph Esau
Joe Gaasbeck
Claudia Sandoval

Cox School of Business Senators:
Theodore Belden
David Coia
James Davidson
Jack Dawson
Madeline Haugh
Dillon Kruger
Austin Poynter

Meadows School of the Arts Senator:
Armando Aguirre
[Two Vacancies Remain]

Dedman I Senators:
Aden Abiye
Giacoma Cusimano
Alexa Dow
Derek Hubbard
Alex Mace
Mike Miller
Christoph Schmidt

Dedman II Senators:
Alex Ehmke*
Zaenab Farzal
Rachel Fox
Kyle Johnson
Sam Mansfield
Kellie Spano

Simmons School of Education Senator:
Laura Schur
[One Vacancy Remains]

African-American Senator:
Catherine Essig

Asian-American Senator:
Ann Dao

Hispanic-American Senator:
Alejandra Aguirre

International Senator:
Jieun Pyun

Student Center Governing Board Representative:
Joseph Esau

No candidate was elected to serve on the Student Media Board.

*If elected to serve as Student Body Vice-President, Ehmke will forfeit his senatorial seat and assume the role of vice-president. The candidate for Dedman II Senator with the next-highest number of votes will take Ehmke’s place.