This Weekend: SMU Meadows of Arts Presents Yerma

April 28, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Nick Cains

The SMU Meadows School of the Arts presents the 1934 dramatical Spanish play Yerma on Saturday, April 30th at 2 p.m. at the Owens Arts Center. The play focuses on a woman desperate to bear children and finds her moral values after learning that her husband may be the reason why she has been unable to conceive. This drama based on the tale by Federico Garcia Lorca.


Debate Team Holds First Open Competition, Tackles Immigration Law

September 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Sarah Benchaita

The SMU Debate Team held its first public competition Wednesday night in O’Donnell Auditorium at the Owen Arts Center.

While many scrutinized the pouring rain and tornado warnings outside, inside was a different focus. As the audience took their seats, the debate addressed its question: should Texas adopt Arizona’s immigration laws?

The resolution of the debate flashes on the screen at its close. (PHOTO BY CAROLINA BRIOSO / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

On the affirmative was SMU junior Jordan Wondrack, who went up against Chris Dawkins, an SMU sophomore for the negative. Both students came fully prepared, dressed in business attire and bringing with them outlines of their arguments.

Kicking off the debate was Wondrack, and it quickly became evident that she did her research. Highlighting various points within her presentation, Wondrack was careful to address the heated issue of racial profiling.

“I’m not saying discrimination is right. I fully believe it’s wrong. This issue is about having Texas adopt these laws to present a more unified front against illegal aliens,” said Wondrack.

Taking the podium after Wondrack’s closing arguments, Dawkins focused more on the effect of racial profiling. Dawkins stated, “The fact that racial profiling is even mentioned is the problem. We aren’t giving enough credibility to the U.S. legal system. We’re only giving it controversy.”

Dawkins also addressed potential negative impacts from an economic standpoint. “The illegal citizens are the ones taking jobs that Americans don’t want. This is simply the truth,” said Dawkins.

Audience members join the debate on immigration once the floor is open. (PHOTO BY CAROLINA BRIOSO / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

After presenting each of their arguments, including cross-examinations, Chair and Director of Debate and Speech Dr. Ben Voth welcomed the audience to weigh in on the discussion. “The purpose of this event is to think about what your own arguments are. We want to give you, the audience, the chance to think about and determine your own ideas,” said Voth.

Allowing the audience to participate in the discussion proved successful, and many raised points not covered in the debate. Afterwards, members of the audience agreed that the first debate of the 2010 academic year was a success.

“The whole thing was very professional. It was also relevant to current topics and it was interesting to hear other sides to the argument,” said SMU freshman, Martha Pool.

When the debate team isn’t battling with one another over topics and discussion questions, they can be found teaching monthly workshops in communication skills to D.I.S.D. students.

“It’s a great opportunity for potentially high-risk high school students in the Dallas area to come out and learn ways of communicating more effectively, and also learning to think quickly on their feet,” said Voth.

The next workshop will take place next Tuesday, September 14, at 5:30 p.m. in the Atrium located inside the Owen Arts Center. All SMU students are welcome to attend.

The SMU Debate Team will hold its next public debate in the outdoor amphitheatre of the J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building on September 28, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Art for Darfur Kicks Off Its April Auction with a Preview Night

March 21, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Hanna Nelson

“Art for Darfur” held its Preview Night on March 20 to showcase some of the art to be auctioned and displayed at its fourth annual auction in April.

This year, “Art for Darfur’s” theme is ‘great peacemakers’, and these don’t only include big-name people like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and the Dali Lama—they also include fifth graders.

“Art for Darfur” paired up with the non-for-profits “Today Marks the Beginning” and “Big Thought” to present a project to L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary fifth graders. While at the school, they asked the students the question: “If you were a great peacemaker, what would you do for the people of Darfur?”

With this question in their heads, the students were given craft supplies to make shadow boxes of the things they would build to help Darfur’s citizens. They included schools, hospitals, and even a soccer field. Their art was displayed at the Preview Night.

Tiana Lightfoot Svendsen, co-director and founding member of “Art for Darfur”, believes that art is a great way to express non-violence.

She said that she’s passionate about ending genocide because it “crosses party lines and religion. Everyone wants to end genocide.”

Because the issue of genocide unifies people trying to fight it, they come together.

“It builds community—that’s my favorite part—that it brings people out and together,” Svendsen said.

There were many SMU students in the audience, all of whom had different reasons for their interest in Darfur and the ending of genocide.

Kellie Classen, a junior pre-med major, became interested in Darfur and the genocide when she decided she wanted to be a doctor in Doctor’s Without Borders.

“I wanted to be more culturally aware of the countries where I’ll be working. I couldn’t help but be interested in what’s going on,” Classen said.

Junior Kellie Spano became involved in “Art for Darfur” when she joined SMU’s Amnesty International, a partner of “Art for Darfur.”

Spano said the reason she’s most passionate about the genocide in Darfur is that it’s distant.

“It’s someone else’s tragedy. How can you not help?” she said.

Spano said when she sees the art for the event, she sees “the passion and time put into the art. It’s inspiring.”

Saturday’s event kicked off “Art for Darfur’s” programming for the April 17th event, which will be held in the Owens Fine Arts Center. Thanks to a grant from “Big Thought”, “Art for Darfur” was able to buy canvases to host the “Art for Darfur: Community Canvases” event.

On Sunday, March 28th, the group is hosting an event to allow people to create their own art promoting non-violence, which follows Svendsen’s idea of creating a community.

For more information on “Art for Darfur”, visit