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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Though the Blog will lie dormant until January, I wish all of you a very peaceful, safe, relaxing, and happy holiday season and break. I close out my 2008 postings with a small treat for you. I am attaching a few video samples of one of my favorite Trinity programs - the Christmas concert. At this event I witness the many talents of student residential life staff, runners, Student Conduct Board regulars, Trinitonian staff, athletes and more. The breadth of our students' talents never cease to amaze those of us who serve witness. They almost all do this because they love it and are good at it. They share, and that's a great message for the holiday season! (Special thanks to the music department for this excellent production.)

Click here to see and hear the wind ensemble (Sleigh Ride!)
Click here to see and hear the choir.
Click here to see and hear the hand bell choir.

New: Bonus Video by Raj and Tyler - Baby it's Cold Outside

Monday, December 1, 2008

Two Years Later - Loss Still Haunts

It is not unusual for me to be called when a student is having a problem. This time, the student - Melisse Buland (at right) - had taken off, and her friends were worried. So, I found myself driving around town looking for a crazy woman. She had favorite spots, including Mahnke Park and the San Antonio River, where it runs through Brackenridge Park. No Melisse, but we were almost arrested by the Park Rangers.

As often happens in situations like this, the wayward student had come back to campus while we were searching. This would be the first of many wild goose chases I went on for Melisse. The last was when I went to her
funeral. Melisse took her life on December 1, 2006, while on leave from Trinity University.

Melisse was no ordinary person, and the message from her family was loud and clear - her bi-polar disease got her. Their Melisse wouldn't have done this on her own. I think they were right. The Melisse I didn't know was the star high school athlete and the incredibly bright scholar. The one I knew was deeply troubled, but always funny, often indignant, feisty, and stubborn. She was truly incredible and touched many.

Within a week of our failed search, Melisse was detained for us by Security because she was having a manic episode. Several of us sat with her while awaiting her parents to arrive from Fort Worth - a semester lost... one of many to come. It was then that I first actually met her and was drawn into her witty, silly, painful world. Plenty of other were too.

A year later, she ran away again, only to be arrested for kicking an Alamo Heights police officer. My most poignant memory of Melisse, though, was when I visited her in a local hospital ward and as I was entering the unit (from where she was being moved) and heard her yell, "Wait, stop: That's my Dean of Students." Never, ever had I felt so needed by a student. We sat and visited, while she told me about how crazy everyone else there was. Though I bet most still live today.

The phone call from her father on December 2nd shook me. It was the same call I received from my father on February 16, 1981, when, as a junior in college, I learned that my mother had taken her life.

I would never glorify the act of suicide. But I can see it as an act that requires some courage, rather being an act of weakness. My mother knew pain, lots of it, and needed a way out. For Melisse it was the same. In last week's
Trinitonian, Haley Mathis reported that 3% of Trinity students consider suicide each semester and 7% of students have considered suicide at least once.

But there are other choices. Ask the many students and employees at Trinity who have lost a loved one to suicide. For those in need, there is help. Our tight-knit community paves the way for students to express concern and seek assistance for their friends. Family members will sacrifice anything to keep loved ones alive. There is tremendous help in the community and
on-line and through hot-lines.

At Trinity we have plenty of resources to assist students. The
Student Success Behavioral Assessment Team is set-up to identify students who are troubled. Other resources include counselors, the chaplain, residential life staff, on-line resources from the Counseling Services, and even me. For the Dean of Students - it's personal.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Sky's the Limit!

The "Dean of Student's Half Marathon Challenge for Health" wrapped up on race day, Sunday November 16, 2008. This inaugural program coincided with the first Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon in San Antonio. Pictured above are a handful of the 50 Trinity runners who completed the Challenge. Most runners from Trinity finished within 15 minutes of the two hour mark (1:45 to 2:15 for the 13.1 miles).

The primary goal of the program was to help students develop healthy lifetime fitness habits. In a follow-up survey this week 92 percent reported they would continue to run in the future. Thus far, 38 of 39 respondents have reported they would participate in the program again or would attempt the full marathon next time.

The group generally trained together on weekends and in pairs or alone during the week. The program included presentations on running gear, technique, nutrition, and strength training. The bookstore on campus discounted Trinity Under Armour shirts for us to wear (and Trinity got lots of shout-outs during the race when spectators saw us). A food drive was generated as part of the program to give something back to the San Antonio community and 279 pieces were collected for the Food Bank.

Probably the best indicator of the success of the program was on race weekend itself. The group had a pasta carbo-loading dinner (see photo at left) at the Dean of Students' residence on the Friday preceding the Sunday race, and a group went to the marathon expo on that Saturday to pick up information and check-in for the race. Mostly, however, the spirit of camaraderie and accomplishment was evident on race day, when twelve weeks of training culminated in all of the runners crossing the finish line.

On a personal note, this was one of the most positive experiences I have had as a member of the Trinity community. I really enjoyed this group. You get to know a lot about people when you spend a couple hours a week running together. They were all so nice and gracious and positive. I also appreciated the role some of my colleagues played in helping pull this off, namely Pete Kelly-Zion, Rick Roberts, and Harry Wallace. The greatest thrill of all, besides my pride in all of the runners, was completing this run with my 16-year-old son Nathan, who was participating in his first race!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Honor Parking - Why Not?

Nick Shockey, former ASR senator and current senior, hasn't let his loss in last spring's ASR presidential election slow him down. He is continuing to push forward a proposal he initiated last year to create short-term (15-20 minutes) parking spots at various campus locations.

Shockey's plan is to designate a half dozen spots on campus (where students are often currently ticketed) as they run in and out of buildings on quick errands. Some proposed spaces include Thomas Hall first floor, in front of the Witt Center, in the lot between Ruth Taylor and Northrup, and in the Heidi Circle.

Nick has looked at various options such as placing parking meters at these locations. This creates some issues as Security will have to spend even more time in parking lots rather than keeping campus safe. It also means that someone needs to remove coins, track revenue, etc. Meters would also be targets for thieves and vandals.

The issue is really how to monitor students who take advantage of these quick 15 minute spots and remain for longer periods of time (a meal, a class, a meeting). Identifying these spots is easy. Leaving enforcement to Security is problematic. (Security is often characterized unfairly for overzealous enforcement, which is really done to simply support those who have paid for the right to park.)

Why not make the spots 15 minute honor spots? The punishment for abusing the privilege would simply be the ire of other students who can't take advantage of the parking places. Post signs identifying these as honor spots, hazards required, and let students have at them. It would reinforce the ultimate on self-governance. Security wins as they don't have to enforce the use of the spots and students won't get tickets that frustrate them.

Nick will continue to work with the Traffic and Parking Committee. If you support his plan, let others on the committee know.

My Life as a Man

I have four sisters and no brothers. I have worked primarily for women, outstanding women: Susan Winters, Rhonda Viney, Coleen Grissom, Gage Paine, to name a few. I have had many female colleagues in a profession dominated by women. Strong women. I have respected and feared many female secretaries as well. My wife Donna - a fantastic woman- has been at my side for nearly 19 years to love, guide, correct, and fix me. (Pictured at right are Sandy Ragan, Coleen Grissom, Felicia Lee, little Kellyn, and Donna Tuttle.)

So what took place on November 13 was as unpredictable as it was inevitable. Men have an internal clock that ticks to a time when a bone-headed remark or action will have to take place. It is nature's way of keeping us grounded. Exhibit A: Telling your bride at the altar that her mother looks great in her new dress.

Back to November 13. My supervisor and Vice President, Felicia Lee, stopped by my office so we could walk together to the Young Alumnus Luncheon, honoring an outstanding 1993 graduate named Tess Coody. As she bounded into my office suite in Northrup 118, Dr. Lee asked, very directly, "Does this skirt make me look fat?" She would later say that she was asking my administrative secretary, Lynette Kenyon, and not me. But she posed the question and she looked at Lynette, and looked at me.

It was really ironic that she asked about her skirt, because I had met with her earlier in the day and actually thought to myself "what's with the skirt?" Sometimes men make decisions to do the wrong things with confidence. Exhibit B: "I don't want anything for Mother's Day, it's such a busy time for you." Other things just jump out: "Wanda, you look like a Den Mother."

What is it about time that in a split second one can go through an incredible thought process? Here's how mine worked. First, I don't think my boss looks fat. So, no, I could definitely say, to the question I thought was directed my way, "no, you don't look fat." However, Felicia Lee is a complicated person. Lynette, who speaks her mind to me, clearly knuckled under to the VP, declaring, "no, not at all, it's really cute." Ha, she totally fell for the trap. I knew this was a test from Dr. Lee. There is a lot riding on this, I thought. If I lied, like Lynette, then Felicia would not trust me as a confidante in important decisions, like what to do with the Tigers' Den or where to have the holiday party. If I told the truth, she might ridicule me and harass me forever.

As the perspiration started to bead up on my brow I could hear my father-in-law's voice in my head saying "when will you ever learn?" I even heard my wife's voice saying, "David, those skirts are in style, and besides, never say anything about a woman's appearance, ever."

But what came out of my mouth was this, in my own voice: "I don't really love the skirt, but it doesn't make you look fat." It was, I believed, a brilliant tactical ploy. Avoid any negative reference to weight, but attack the object: I was honest and sensitive, right? "So let's go to lunch."

"I wasn't asking you!!I look like a clown! I'm fat!" It was like something out of a bad Cathy cartoon. Lynette called herself on the phone so she could answer her own call to escape, leaving me to my own misstatements. Sometimes knowing when to be quiet is a good strategy. Instead, the rest of the conversation went like this:

David: "It's just that the way the fabric hangs over the top, it makes it look... a little, big."
Felicia: "I have to go home and change!"
David: "That belt thing in the back, all of that fabric bunches out around it and..."
Felicia: "I thought it would be different, I wanted to take a risk."
David: "It looks like a burlap bag. I am sure it is fine, I just prefer a classic look."
Felicia: "James said I was dressing too old, I took a chance, and YOU called me a clown."
David: "I've just never seen pleats there on a skirt."
Felicia: "Argggh!"

I was like a broken sprinkler head, I couldn't stop. It got a little worse after that.
At the luncheon, budding Lynette's, er, students, kept commenting on how "cute" Dr. Lee's skirt looked. You've got to be kidding me. "Oh, wool is really in right now," one said. There is a fine line between wool and burlap.

Suffice it to say, the rest of my day I received harassment from all quarters, even strangers, about what had by then been blown completely out of proportion by my boss. So to my brethren at Trinity, I offer you some advice. When you make a mistake with a woman, please just shut up.
As for me, at least I didn't say anything about Dr. Lee's shoes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can it!


Support the Dean of Students Half Marathon Challenge for Health by donating food to the San Antonio Food Bank. All runners are being asked to donate 13 food items during these 13 days before the 13.1 mile run. Over 30 people from the Trinity community will be participating in the Challenge as runners in the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. Show your support for these runners by donating to the food drive. Runners aren't the only ones who need nutritious fuel. By sponsoring the food drive the group can support the city that hosts this marathon and demonstrate care for those in need of daily sustenance. If you know a participant or just want to show your support, this is a fantastic way to recognize our road warriors.

The Audacity of Action

A classroom in the Bell Athletic Center is found with a homophobic slur on the blackboard that references the desks turned upside down as a seating arrangement for gays. A Black Student Union flier in a residence hall has the word is defaced. A ROTC student gets jeered when he walks on campus in uniform. The "N" word is posted on a electronic message board. A neighbor calls the Dean at his wit's end about the behavior of Trinity students on his block while an alumna writes to complain about the drunken comments (including dropping the F-bomb) by a fan at a Trinity football game.

The Commitment to Excellence in the Student Handbook states that "the University strives to create an atmosphere in which basic civility and decency are expected, mutual respect are fostered, and sound religious faith and expression are encouraged."

Some have apparently not gotten the message. That's too bad, because the outliers do not reflect the general goodness in the souls and consciences of the majority of our students. Now more than ever our students show through their speech and action a genuine caring for the community and the world, and a global perspective absent just a decade ago. But as any team, company, college administration, political party, profession, or fraternity is judged by the negative actions of a few, then our students will be judged, at times, the same way.

So where is the disconnect between what is expected in this community of scholars and the actions of a few? Perhaps it is just simple mathematics. In any sized group a certain percentage will be knuckle-heads. Maybe it is the nature of the millennial generation, raised on Reality TV and shock radio, anything goes and well, its only words. Perhaps people are de-sensitized by the media they are constantly fed and only want sensitivity when they are the ones being offended.

Hate-speech codes have been shot down by the Courts because they take away the free speech of others. Colleges and Universities, espousing values of diversity, openness, civility, and care desperately want to create an environment where all students feel welcome to share perspectives and to feel comfortable where they live and study. But creating rules to demand respect never work. As with those who protest tasteless art, the attention then is drawn to that which deserves it the least. On campuses, the argument becomes about speech, not inclusion. (Note that at Trinity there are no restrictions on speech or even assembly, which often are detailed in time, place, and manner policies.)

So does the institution set up workshops, conferences, and meetings to try to wring the incivility and insensitivity from students? It might help, but more often than not, the audience who needs it the most is nowhere to be found.

It is the general responsibility of the Student Affairs staff to promote and cultivate the values of civility, citizenship, and caring in the student body. It is paramount that the faculty educate students about sexism, racism, homophobia, and more. But mostly, it is students who need to hold one another to a higher standard - to not accept that "boys will be boys," as former Dean Coleen Grissom oft stated - to hold one another to a higher standard of respect and care. It was the students who developed the Trinity Honor Code after all.

Until yesterday it seemed all that many people in the country had was hope. Now it is time for more. Our students who exercised their civic responsibility to vote need to see that this was only the beginning. It is time now to hold one another accountable, every day, in every setting, to make this place collectively better and to accept nothing less than civility and honor. It is time to act.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Putting on the Breaks

This weekend Trinity students take a long-needed break as fall recess kicks into gear. Interestingly, no one is sure how long Trinity has had this traditional one-day Friday break, why it is in place at this time of year (mid-October), or what purpose it serves.

No doubt it is well-deserved and important to students, despite it offering only a three-day respite. At one time, mid-semester grades were clustered into early October. Today's students, however, find that once tests begin, there is really no let-up until finals end in December.

Over the past several years the University (students, faculty, staff, administration) has explored changing the Wednesday before Thanksgiving from a class day to a day off, to allow students to travel and arrive at their destinations prior to the Thursday holiday. In order to change the calendar, and have enough class days to retain accreditation, the University cannot simply lop off a day from the calendar. The day needs to come from somewhere.

Some of the options that have been explored include scrunching a day in at the end of the semester (creates problems for submitting senior grades before commencement), adding a day in August (which actually would require a seismic shift in the move-in, orientation, and faculty calendars - and require additional work days missed by parents traveling mid-week to deliver new students), or to exchange the day for fall break.

Understand that a Wednesday really should be replaced by a Monday/ Wednesday/Friday, because classes are only offered on that sequence, alternating with Tuesday/Thursday classes. Switching out the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for fall break is attractive to the faculty because it doesn't disrupt the calendar at either front or back end.

There are also concerns shared by faculty and students that a two-day week prior to Thanksgiving would become a de facto week off. Indeed, some schools offer such a break, though the timing is odd, given that Trinity's semester beak follows Thanksgiving in three to four weeks.

Students have strongly opposed swapping out these days. It is a no-brainer for them. Most take off the Wednesday before Thanksgiving anyways, as only about half of the classes actually meet, based on a recent survey. To lose a day the students are ducking out on anyways AND lose fall break is unpalatable. Though the fall break seems too short to be effective, it does offer a huge psychological target for students to reach for. The intensity of the semester ramps up then, and just having that break on the horizon often relieves enough stress heading into finals to pull students through.

The people who struggle with our current set-up the most are parents of new students. New students have not yet figured out the nuances of how to decide to skip the November Wednesday or not, and parents are anxious about flights for many of them.

So where does that leave things? No one is really fighting for change. For the time being, that means Trinity has a fall break, and holds classes on the busiest travel day of the year. And somehow... it works.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Winters at Trinity - Hall of Famer Added

A group of faculty and staff members has been playing "Noon Ball" basketball on campus going back at least as far as the 1970's. The group was even covered in the San Antonio Express News back in 1998. George Winters began playing in 1975 and "retired in the mid-90's. On October 9, 2008, he was inducted into the Trinity "Noon Ball" Hall of Fame. Above left, George receives his plaque from Maury Eggen, the Hall's second inductee.

When Pete Neville, former Director of Student Activities, moved to California in 2004, the Noon Ball guys honored him by creating the Noon Ball Hall of Fame, with Pete as the first inductee. A plaque is displayed in the Webster Sports Forum of the Bell Athletic Center and now lists eight inductees. Above right, George's name is added to the Bell Center plaque.

Current Noon Ball-ers Rick Roberts and Mike McKinnerney also joined in at the Coates Center Tigers' Den for the ceremony. Recounting stories of old characters, down to the colors of their shoes, the hand they shot with, and the ways they got under someone's skin was a fun way to reminisce. The award has been a fun, light way to commemorate old friends but has been a touching honor for them as well. You learn more about guys than their skills at Noon Ball.

George has taught Trinity students music and currently offers private lessons on campus. A semi--retired bass player for the San Antonio Symphony, George also headed the Winters Chamber Orchestra, a regular Ruth Taylor Theatre fixture for 25 years.

George used to hoop it up with Professor Bob Blystone, who along with Doug Brackenridge and Walt Hargraves advised the basketball-lovin' Omega Phi's. When Doug stepped down in 1981 George was invited to be an advisor to the group and was told it would not be a significant time commitment. He still advises the group today, 27 years later.

George was a good player and a true gentleman and statesman on the court. Also inducted, in absentia, was John Bentley, alumnus. He will have his own story in a subsequent post when he comes to town and receives his plaque.

COLLEGE

Everybody loves the Trinity House of Liberal Politics (THOLP). This is a self-governed Community Initative floor that is organized around the theme of politics in the context of this year's election. The students were placed on the first floor of Murchison Hall where they are very visible on the trek from lower to upper campus.

The staff has tried to curb this group's tendency toward sloppiness, but they are a great advertisement for what college should be. Students sitting around, talking politics, wasting time, smoking, greeting others coming up the hill, and even sleeping. Here's to you THOLP!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Tiger Talk Odyssey

Sophomore Pat Donahue decided something was missing at Trinity. He did something about it, developing an on-line forum specifically for Trinity students. The forum, My Tiger Talk, which is not sanctioned by the University, has been featured in the Trinitonian and become quite popular with a segment of the student body. From a technical standpoint, it is masterfully run. It is current, well-organized, and Mr. Donahue (one of the few who attaches his names to his well-argued posts) has proven to be an excellent moderator, though as far as I know - anything goes.

I was first introduced to the list by Mr. Donahue himself, when he shared, in a show of fair-play, a post of his, critical of University policy and, by inference, me. I went on the list and responded, only to find my response was not positively accepted by the masses. After reading some posts that I found disheartening, I swore off ever returning. Mr. Donahue and I met for a cup of coffee to discuss the list in person rather than over e-mail. Since he and I agree on practically nothing, it was a spirited conversation. My goal was to explain why the list didn't deserve my attention. Instead, he convinced me to keep reading and posting, though my cyber trips to the list often seem to ruin my day.

I have stuck with it for now. It's maddening, crude, lacks reason, is bereft of substance, and is misogynistic. It is also interesting, clever, and laugh-out-loud funny. At its best, it has drawn some new students to the Trinity Alcohol Coalition.

My Tiger Talk keeps drawing me in. I have become somewhat addicted. At first, that addiction was really about damage control and defending myself. (My colleague, Ben Newhouse, thinks someone has been posting under my name by the way, but I haven't seen that. Mine are from me.) Eventually, I was drawn into the more tawdry topics too. It is no surprise that one of the topics with the most hits is simply "Sex." The biggest hit on the list so far? "The Maid Caught Me..." at over 1,200 hits. And it is a particularly unsatisfying post. Even the posts on politics, the ones intended to be substantive, deal more with the likes of Sarah Palin's beauty pagent resume than her views.

At a time when Trinity University is being lauded for its work on information literacy, this list can be viewed as its opposite. If logic doesn't work, name-calling can put a wrap on any conversation. Most posts that lead with "I heard..." are generally full of falsehoods if not downright lies. Yet they are taken as the truth unless otherwise challenged. And even then, they can be dismissed by those who are negative or critical.

What's missing are the contrary voices to the... contrary voices. One post-er asks for the positive reasons to attend Trinity (for a transfer friend) and the few responses question why anyone would transfer to Trinity. That seems peculiar to me. I could give a dozen reasons without thinking about it, but would be seen simply as a Trinity mouth-piece. I heard many tales at Family Weekend about the students here, and their love for their experience. If I were to only read this list I would want to transfer too though.

I like that there is a forum like this. It's raw, unedited, and dynamic. To not be on is to not be heard, in my opinion. But where are the other voices from this campus? For this list to realize its potential it can - and should be - an honest forum with civil discourse. The conversation so far seems pretty one-sided. I suspect Mr. Donahue would agree with me on this, if nothing else. Voices of reason: get involved on this list.

Family Matters

The October 3-4 Fall Family Weekend was a huge success. The FFW committee put together a terrific program that included a lecture from faculty marshal and education professor Dr. Angela Breidenstein, a faux Nacho Hour to replicate the weekly Wednesday event, a reception in the Library with faculty members from every academic department, a talk by top administrators, and a ParentTalk reception at the home of the Dean of Students. (See the slide show at right to view the ParentTalk reception.) At that reception George McLellan made an encore appearance, staffers Gary Neal (Counseling and Health Services), Brian Hirsch (Career Services), Ben Newhouse (CCI), the Morgan's arrived separately - each lamenting that this was their LAST PT reception - and even Nutmeg, the resident Golden Retriever, came out to greet the parents.

Parents and other family members travelled from as far as Washington, New York, England, and even Houston to attend scheduled events, other campus activities such as the play and the soccer games, and mostly spend time with their loved ones.

Connections Made

The annual San Antonio Making Connections program attracted over 100 alumni and an additional 100 students on September 25 in the Great Hall on campus. The Making Connections series also takes place across several other cities over the winter break.

At left, Griffin Leen-Sohl, almnus and successful businessman dispenses career advice to students. See the slide show at the very bottom of the blog. In addition to a general reception in the Great Hall, people are also split out by interest areas in different classrooms in the same building.

This program is sponsored from the hard-working staff at Career Services with support from the Alumni Office. The event was a huge success this year as measured by the attendance from alumni (such as Ben Newhouse) and students and the level of conversation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Should the dorms at TU be smoke-free?

With all of the money the University put into the LEEDS-certified renovation of Thomas and Lightner Hall, the one element that may keep us from being fully certified is that the halls are not smoke-free. This will change in 2009-2010. There is no way to justify not going all the way on this important project.

Since I quit smoking in 1986 or so, the wave of anti-smoking sentiment has continued to rise. Sitting at a sports bar this weekend with colleague Ben Newhouse reminded me why. (Both of our teams - the Titans and Packers - were big winners, by the way.) The gentleman next to me about killed me, though it was a little enticing as well.

So where do we go from here? Should all dorms be smoke-free starting next academic year? ASR has said no in the past. (Of course ASR supported Sophomore College, until the following year, when it didn't.) As the policy stands, students may smoke on balconies and walkways.

What do you think? Take the poll at right to weigh in.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Woe is We

The year has barely begun, yet I am already somewhat disheartened that an off-campus party attracted new students on move-in day (can't we give them 24 hours to settle in?). I am chagrined that Student Conduct Board is already two weeks behind because of early-year alcohol incidents. I am worn down by the rhetoric of a few, who passionately fight for their rights to drink. I begin this week facing an alumna complaint about drunk and boorish behavior from our students at the football game on Friday. But I have been here before.

In the sea of all all of this there is one bright light. A first year student named Natalie approached me about starting a Gordie alcohol awareness peer group chapter on campus to battle, at the student level, the dangerous consequences of alcohol and hazing. Manna from heaven...

The only truth I can really can state unequivocally is that alcohol and the behavior that comes with it takes up far too much time and energy. It seems to be the one topic with no answer and the one consistent topic that pits administrators versus students.

So, here are my thoughts and feelings on alcohol today. Some of these are in direct conflict with others:

1. Whether the drinking age is 16, 21, or 18, the American culture is one that holds up binge drinking as a rite of passage, especially during the college years, but even well beyond. If the drinking age were 18 it would be the early 1980's all over again. The European model of drinking at all ages wouldn't work here because our culture glorifies alcohol and partying.
2. Students will get drunk and intoxicated and sometimes that is fun. Prohibition doesn't work and isn't educational. Modeling responsible drinking and communicating to students that first and foremost, their health and safety is the most important issue, is the University's approach.
3. Around 1,700 college students die each year in alcohol-related accidents. While I feel like saying "go ahead and drink, see if I care..." that stat is pretty haunting. I do care.
4. Only a third of students do most of the drinking. The other two-thirds often have to live with the consequences.
5. Why is alcohol so important to people anyway? (Rhetorical question.)
6. Students underestimate the moral liability that administrators feel about this issue. We are often criticized for not wanting to be sued. If we are sued, it hurts EVERYONE from our University community. The endowment doesn't belong to the administration. What administrators fear most is meeting with family members of a student who has died senselessly because of alcohol.
7. Universities that receive federal funds have to have an alcohol policy and show they enforce it in order to receive funds. Schools that have alcohol policies and don't enforce them are in for trouble.
9. Trinity's alcohol policy is well-reasoned, thoughtful, and pretty liberal. This is a national issue, not just Trinity's.
10. It would be nice if students could sit in their dorm rooms and have a beer or glass of wine while enjoying a DVD from Netflix.
11. The five strategies that have been shown to work in approaching alcohol problems are offering alternatives, showing students that not everyone is drinking, restricting alcohol promotions, limiting availablity, and increasing enforcement of policies.
12. The Trinity Alcohol Cooalition is open to anyone. E-mail dtuttle@trinity.edu to join.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Space Jam

Trinity University parent (oh - and astronaut!) , Mike Foreman, presented items to the University in August. Mr. Foreman, whose son Jack is a sophomore, took a swimming cap and t-shirt into space and safely returned them as gifts to the University. Check out the full story from James Hill (you have to scroll beneath the picture). The hat will be on display at the Trinity Library in the near future. Pictured above are son Jack, swimming coach John E. Ryan, Mr. Foreman, and me.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Banner Behind


Last week Reverend Nickle and Josh Beebe, who works with Greek Life on campus, took the Trinity banner to the funeral for Emma Hutchinson in Houston. Emma, a junior, passed away on August 23 after succumbing to an infection related to lifelong health issues. The Hutchinsons asked that the banner be displayed along with ones from the Rice Colleges where Emma grew up as a daughter of the College Master - a live-in position in the Rice Colleges. She loved her teachers, her education, and her friends heree, and the family wanted to honor that.

The banner was returned to Trinity in time for the lecture the next day by Greg Mortenson. In his talk, Mr. Mortenson (pictured with Ben Newhouse at left, in front of the Trinity banner) stressed the importance of education. His enthusiasm is remarkable. He doesn't care about politics or terrorism per se. His mission is to build the world up one school at a time, particularly where there is resistance to education.

It has been gratifying to learn more about Emma. As with Greg Mortenson, she was driven by education. Having lived in the Rice Colleges and then moving on to Trinity, she was described by one professor as the most enthusiastic student he had ever had. Her passion for math was unparalleled. At the Trinity service her friends described a time when, during an intermission at the symphony downtown, she pulled out a napkin at the nearby coffee shop, scribbling frantically, because a math solution had suddenly come to her.

Greg Mortenson has been imprisoned for his passion. He has been caught in weapons crossfire, and he has sacrificed family time for his cause. Emma's father and sister both articulated that they knew one day they would face Emma's death. Her illness gave her life in many ways. She lived a full, brave life in a brief 20 years.

Emma's friends and family loved her intensely. She was a character. She was focused, funny, loyal, and quirky. Greg Mortenson shares many of these traits. He is clearly a person who sees the good in others and feels called to serve with loyalty and compassion. He is a big teddy bear who talks to the Taliban, builds bridges, signs books for hours, and befriends strangers.

So we were blessed last week -- in many ways -- by hearing more about the passions of two people who never met, but had much in common: appreciation for education, a love for learning, courage, humility, disregard for arbitrary boundaries, and even a maroon banner.
Click here to read the very moving eulogy (one of several) for Emma deliverd by her friend and professor, Dr. Betsy Tontiplaphol, at the Trinity service.

Greg Mortenson Review

It was a pleasure to serve as Greg Mortenson's driver for his quicktrip from his hotel up to the campus. That little bit of drive-time got me a promotion to Doctor and a mention in his opening thank yous as he began his speech on August 28 to a packed Laurie Auditorium. Too bad, since the most work I had done on this program was read the book.

A great big thank you goes to Felicia Lee, VP for Student Affairs, who with the support of Michael Fischer in Academic Affairs, brought Mr. Mortenson to campus. Ben NewStudentOrientationhouse originated the theme of Reading TUgether and did all of the leg work to pull off this outstanding program. He deserved the recognition I got, which is a bit embarrassing. The picture is of Ben Newhouse on the left, Felicia Lee, and Greg Mortenson at the President's reception prior to the talk.

Greg Mortenson is not a classically polished speaker. He is the best kind of speaker to listen to. His message last night flowed from the heart. He is humble, sincere, gentle, funny, honest, and sweet. He gets a kick out of people, and even himself just a little. I have never seen a speaker peak out from behind the curtain before a talk to give the AV people a thumbs up to start. He is devoted to his cause - education for the impoverished and oppressed - as well as his family. He is apolitical though his social message is clear.

Mr. Mortenson made the new students feel welcome by asking them to stand for an ovation. He also warmed up the crowd of about 2,000 with his power point title of "Miracles on the football field and across the world."

This program is really a tribute to the vision of global citizenship that Dr. Lee has stamped on her one year tenure as Vice President. It marks an excellent re-tooling of the summer reading program, which extended to the entire campus community rather than just the first year students.

Mr. Mortenson signed books long into the night. Mine? He simply wrote "to the best driver I ever had!", which is all I ever was.

See the video of Mr. Mortenson's lecture!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bitter, Sweet

Trinity parents and other family members brought students from the Class of 2012 on Friday, August 22. We are so excited to have the new students here. The families were greeted by the Team Trinity move-in crew, went to the Celebrating Trinity program, attended a parent orientation, relaxed at a reception with the staff, and said goodbye at the Saturday farewell breakfast. At right, a proud mom from Florida sports her Trinity t-shirt and puts a license plate frame on his out-of-state vehicle.

Elsewhere on this blog is a slide show from the Friday reception and the Saturday breakfast. (Click on the slide show to expand it.) My role at the breakfast was supposed to be an unobtrusive one, yet I somehow ended up snapping 59 photos. It was so touching to see the families as they spent time together before departing campus.

What a pleasure to welcome the new families and students to the Trinity family. On behalf of the entire staff and faculty I can say we take our awesome responsibility extremely seriously (though often in a light-hearted way).

Parents can learn more by going to the Parents and Families web page to sign up for the daily LeeRoy event calendar, The TrinitE Parent and Family electronic newsletter, and ParentTalk, an interactive list serve. Fall Parent and Family Weekend is just around the corner.

College Presidents Seek Drinking Age Change Dialogue

A national stir was created recently when a proposal by college presidents to discuss a possible drinking age shift from 21 to 18 was announced. The project was not a secret, but many media outlets jumped on the story, often seeking local angles. The presidents were somewhat misrepresented, because they merely are seeking a discussion, though their goal to move the drinking age back is clearly part of their agenda. (Note that college presidents have taken more stands lately on social issues.) Conversely, Dr. Gary Neal in Counseling and Health Services has passed on an interesting research study that may indicate that the higher age requirement has some strong science behind it.

Some suspicious sorts think this initiative is in place so universities can duck liability for drinking-related incidents. I suspect that is not a consideration. With 1,700 drinking-related college deaths annually, administrators would shudder at the notion of pushing that number higher to merely avoid liability. Indeed, one issue colleges face is that students often drink off campus to avoid university policy enforcement. Students perceive that administrators force them to drive-drink-and-drive. No one wants students to drink and drive. In fact many schools have taxi ride programs and assigning designated drivers is a simple, free, and expedient solution.

It would be nice to shift discussions on campus from enforcement to education and responsible drinking. Students can't be sheltered from alcohol, they need to learn how to drink like adults. It would be nice to teach students that college does not equal binge drinking and movies like the Animal House update, College, are promoting false perceptions of successful college life. (Disclosure: I haven't seen the movie.) It would be nice for students to feel comfortable having a drink in their room so they can stay on campus. It would also be nice for students to not have fake IDs, worry about MIP tickets, and not have to turn to older students to provide their booze.
Trinity is not anti-alcohol. What is concern is the behavior that often comes with heavy drinking: assault, sexual assault, injuries, vandalism, noise, trash, and poor academic performance. De-mystifying alcohol would be a plus, to diminish these adverse effects, but can it happen? Maybe over time. I would hate to see a return to the crazy days of the 18-year-old drinking age. Are we any better prepared now than we were 20 years ago to be able to manage that?

Students who can vote and fight in wars should be afforded other rights of adulthood. Nevertheless, one of the reasons for the change of the drinking age in the first place was high school drinking problems. Mothers Against Drunk Driving makes a strong case that lives have been saved since the drinking age went up.

Trinity University has not formally discussed this issue. I must admit, I am intrigued by the idea of a lower drinking age. I could like the idea of a 19-year age limit or bestowing drinking rights three months following high school graduation or at 19 for non-graduates. It protects the high school students (and those who share the road with them) and gives most college students a chance to exercise their adult rights. At Trinity, the approach is to educate students about alcohol to try to keep students safe.

The research makes me nervous though. So do the negative outcomes of drinking. It will be interesting to see how this discussion unfolds. It is an important topic.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trinity Night at the Spurs Dates Set

The Residential Life Office's Trinity Night at the Spurs programs have been tentatively set for the 2008-2009 season. Because of increased season ticket sales, the number of available tickets for group sales continues to dwindle. Trinity will try to offer four nights rather than the traditional two, so as many Trinitonians as possible can see the Spurs play. The games selected are for the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets so the obnoxious student fans from those cities can come see the Spurs humble their hometown teams. The Rockets games are Friday, November 14 and Sunday, March 22. The Mavericks games are Tuesday, November 4 (isn't that election night?) and Tuesday, February 24. Tickets are $10 each. A Rampage hockey game will be offered as well. More details to follow on all of these games.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...

The Student Affairs Office has undergone several changes over the past few months. We have bid farewell to Katie Jundt, Virginia Fraser, Katie Kanady, and Kris Weese, while welcoming Lily Gonzalez, Cally Chenault, Melissa Pinchback, Lynette Kenyon, Maranda Larsen, and Edwin Blanton. This week we learned that after seven years of terrific service Maureen Chea (pictured below, right) will be leaving the Vice President's suite to move to the Chapel to work with the Good Reverend Nickle. We will miss her! Maureen was the winner of the Trinity McKinley award in fall, 2007.
Katie Storey, Assistant Director of Residential Life, has recently announced that she is expecting a baby! This is much better news. We are all thrilled for Katie and her husband Chris. They join Staff Psychologist Kristin Eisenhauer and her husband Adam in the expectant parent category. Last, but not least, Residential Life Coordinator Josh Brack proposed to his lovely new fiancee, Amanda, last week. She accepted of course! Their nuptials are scheduled for later this fall. The Student Affairs staff is proud of all these colleagues, and congratulate them on their personal and professional changes.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Upperclass Task Force Recommendations Come to Life

In the Fall of 2006 the Upperclass Task Force was convened to complete some of the unfinished business of the 2001 Quality of Student Life Task Force. Among the questions pursued were "how do we improve the upperclass student experience?" and "what does it means when Trinity touts itself as a residential campus?" Certainly we should offer more than a place for students to hang their hats. The charge to the Task Force was to think boldly, broadly, and courageously. Task force members included eight students, four faculty members, two alumni (one of whom served a double role as a Trinity parent), and ten staff members.

The recommendations outlined in the Upperclass Task Force Report were distributed and reported on widely in the spring and fall of 2007. The 2007-2008 academic year was used to set plans in place and try out various programs, including a pilot program of the Sophomore College.

The 2008-2009 academic year will be the first full year to roll out the recommendations. This post is an update of the progress made to date. These changes represent a huge investment of time by many people committed to making improvements in areas that students have cited as deficient for many years.

The Task Force recommendations were focused in three areas: social/community, academic, and developmental:
- Creating a dynamic social environment for sophomores and more freedom for upperclass students was important.
- Taking advantageous of our academic/residential campus climate (out of class debates during election times, discussions about global and environmental issues, etc.).
- Tending to the developmental needs of students (dealing with independence, exploring identity, living in a diverse world, making plans for life after college, etc.)
Many of the recommendations are inter-connected and build on one-anther and are directed toward these thee areas.

The Task Force discovered that the desired goal of class identity gets off to a good start in the first year and abruptly stops. While the Task Force believes that stronger class identity can create deeper, richer connections to other students and the institution, the goal is not to isolate students from different years from one another. Great care should be taken to nurture the blending of all students in the classrooms, in organizations, at campus-wide events, and in junior/senior housing.
Here is a summary of specific plans already in place or taking root this fall:
- ASR senators represent students by class
Task Force member and ASR VP Katie Hampton led the way in reorganizing the senate to represent the needs of their particular classes. Students voted in favor of the change and this year senators will live with and represent the sophomore, junior, and senior classes.
With the aid of the Faculty Senate and Alumni Office Angela Breidenstein was selected to serve as the first Class Marshal and Dave Mansen will be the Alumni Sponsor for the Class of 2012. They will be with this class from beginning to end, to help, to listen, and to mark the important rites of passage of the Trinity student.
One of the big issues students presented in 2001 and again in 2006 was the marked drop in enthusiasm from the first year to the second and subsequent years. This was very evident in the way students were welcomed back to campus. Little attention has been paid to letting students know they are still important, that they deserve to have events designed for them, and that they different needs at different stages in their student experience.
- Major Meals
The Sophomore Slump has been characterized as a real issue at campuses across the country. Students often experience a general malaise, develop questions about their identity, and often struggle to make decisions about their academic future. The Major Meals program has been designed to offer meals (mostly dinners) in the Mabee Conference room. About 20 academic departments are participating and will offer programs that include faculty, majors (mostly seniors), and even some alumni who graduated with the targeted major. The list is being finalized now. Energizing students about their majors is intended to help battle the slump our sophomores sometimes experience.
One of the most exciting, if not controversial, recommendations of the Task Force was to house sophomores together in order to continue the kind of community feel from their first year, but in a different way that also acknowledges the differences. The hallmark of this program is housing sophomores in some of the larger halls which makes it easier to develop dynamic community. Creating that community and offering programs for sophomores about identity, majors, study abroad opportunities, and ways to engage in service are cornerstones of this program.
- Upperclass student housing
Juniors and seniors have asked for greater autonomy as they mature and become comfortable living on campus. The Task Force looked to acknowledge that by allowing them more freedom to live in smaller, more private halls, and back off the level of day-to-day supervision they received as new and second-year students. Hall managers will oversee the administrative and facility-related concerns of their buildings and will have much more area to cover. They will offer developmentally targeted programs to their areas in topics relevant to the residents: internships, graduate exploration, career development, and preparation for off campus life.
An ad hoc committee, which will include the senior ASR senators, has already begun impressive work to make the senior year more dynamic and with more clearly presented calendars and information that promote an array of senior events. Career Services has already set-up an impressive schedule of events for 2008-2009.
- Witt classroom
The Witt Center basement (pictured above) has been renovated as a state of the art electronic classroom. This will allow faculty members to taste life in the residential area of campus and for students to see that learning on campus doesn't just occur on upper campus.
- Study Abroad
One important component of the Trinity experience is studying abroad. Indeed, 55% of our students will have some kind of study abroad experience (generally, a 40% figure is considered high). Presenting programs about these opportunities in the sophomore area will help improve their accessibility. Plans are being developed for students who return from abroad to discuss their opportunities with those thinking of making similar treks.
- Service
As sophomores return having attained some level of campus mastery, they will be given opportunities to reach out into the community to do service. Some opportunities are also being investigated for some international spring break excursions just for sophomores.
- Health
An ad hoc committee has forwarded several recommendations to the campus health committee. The Student Affairs division is also adopting the value of health and wellness as important to the success of our students. The Half Marathon Challenge for Health has already attracted over 100 participants. The Student Health 101 newsletter is being distributed campus-wide and to parents who sign up for the TrinitE Parent and Family electronic newsletter.

While other plans will continue to be developed, the bulk of the Task Force recommendations are now in place. In all, these initiatives are meant to improve satisfaction, increase retention, and aid students in their quests to succeed as Trinity students. New initiatives will be evaluated this year and reported on once more. Assessment will continue thereafter to evaluate if the programs are meeting desired outcomes. After a follow-up report in the summer of 2009, the Task Force work will rarely be cited, as the new initiatives simply take hold, grow, and are re-worked.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Green is in at Trinity

Note: This is the first of several reports on sustainability at Trinity University.
Mike Schweitzer of the Physical Plant recently organized faculty and staff tours for the area recycling center, Vista Fibers, aka Greenstar. The response was phenomenal, which reflects the growing green movement in the nation, in San Antonio, and at Trinity University.

All of the recycling material from Trinity goes to this recycling center, including pre-sorted alumnium, plastics, and papers. What is truly amazing to see is the single sort system. This is the system that collects curbside recycling (where cans, paper, plastics are all combined). Trucks dump these items in a big trashy heap and they are sucked into a mechanized sorting system, sorted, and then sent through again. Real people serve as quality control experts on the line.

Some things to keep in mind when recycling on campus. Remove lids, even though most can be recycled. These become projectiles when the containers are smashed and air forces the lids off. Rinse food containers so the recycling staff doesn't smell the stink. Take apart things like Pringles cans. The metal bottom, the cardboard tube, and the plastic lid can all be recycled. Last, this center can recycle all plastics that contain the recycling logo. Check out the slide show at right. Special thanks to Mike Schweitzer and Zach Walter at Greenstar for giving great tours.

On the Trinity front, the appropriately named Director of Physical Plant, John Greene, has done a phenomenal job in making the campus green. He has removed the plastics recycling burden from students, dedicated staff time and also a truck to recycling (even inventing a new logo and painting the truck to be a symbol -- to the campus and community -- of our commitment to the environment). In addition, Mr. Greene and ARAMARK have developed an herb garden behind Mabee and ramped up recycling areas in the dining hall. Physical Plant and custodial services will be delivering green recycling bins (that are actually blue) to all offices and dorm rooms to make taking items to recycling areas in corridors easier.

Molly Ellis is leading a student effort to publicize recycling to students. ARAMARK is considering going tray-less. New furniture and even vacuums in the dorms have to meet environmental standards. ASR and TUVAC will be providing all students new Nalgene bottles and ARAMARK will again donate Earth Sense mugs to first year students. There are discounts for beverages that are purchased with these containers. It would be nice to see plastic bottles disappear altogether on campus. (Faculty and staff can purchase Nalgene bottles at the bookstore.)

This is literally only a small fraction of what is happening on campus. There are many, many heroes and environmental advocates to commend. This week though, special mention goes to Mr. Greene, Mr. Schweitzer, and the Physical Plant.

The Sustainability Task Force, appointed by President Brazil, is preparing to submit its final report this month. Trinity has signed the AASHE agreement. Members of the task force include Professor and Chair Richard Reed, Dr. Heather Sullivan, Dr. Kelly Lyons, Dr. John Huston, Dr. Peter Kelly-Zion, students Alex Wallender and Molly Ellis, and John Greene, Physical Plant, Miguel Ardid, ARAMARK, the Director of Residential Life (me), and Ana Windham, Fiscal Affairs.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Welcome Week is for EVERYONE!

For the first time in the modern era, Trinity students will return to campus in August to find events scheduled specifically for them. In the past, the focus has been on New Student Orientation, with opportunities for the upperclass students to jump in on one or two events. One of the major issues identified by students in the 2001 Quality of Student Life Task Force and again in the 2006 Upperclass Task Force was that there was no sense of welcome during the second year and beyond. Indeed, the attention has always been on getting first year students acclimated and adjusted. The Trinity experience is four years long though, and all students should feel welcomed back each fall.

So what is on schedule for our returning students? First, the upperclass students have move-in day set-up by class. Sophomore College students come in on Saturday, August 23. The following day there will be a conference-style session for students to attend to get tips on managing in their second year here - and avoiding the sophomore slump. This will be followed by a barbecue on the Prassel Lawn.

Juniors will return on Sunday, August 24 and on Monday will have a session specifically directed toward their needs. Internships is one area that will be a focus. The conference sessions are really panels with students who will comment on their personal experiences from the year or two before. This will be followed with a dessert in the Heidi Lounge.

Finally, seniors will return on Monday, August 25. ALL seniors (on or off campus) are invited though, to attend the conference session on transitions OUT of Trinity, job and graduate program preparation and more. Staff and alumni will serve as panelists to discuss these important issues. A senior happy hour will follow.

The other major events planned for new and returning students include comedian Nicholas Anthony, hypnotist Daniel James, the welcome back concert with Reel Big Fish, the midnight movie Iron Man, and of course the Reading TUgether lecture. There will be an all-school picnic on the Wednesday evening before classes begin. This is in place of the picnic previously sponsored by ARAMARK prior to a football game. Returning students will be asked to be on hand at 5:30 p.m. to welcome the new students as they process from the convocation.

Welcome Week is for everyone. The staff and student leaders are anxious to make returning to Trinity feel like a homecoming.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thomas and Lightner Renovations Impress


The Thomas and Lightner renovations are complete, after three summers of work. As always with residence hall renovations, the priorities are safety, comfort, and then amenities. The first phase of the project was an upgraded fire alarm and sprinkler system. The heating and cooling was completed and then this summer a lot of work was done in rooms and corridors.

Thomas Hall will be a Sophomore College building and Lightner is for juniors and seniors -- as part of the upperclass area. The big little change in Thomas is ceiling fans. This is an addition introduced by Director of Physical Plant John Greene. I was not very supportive until I saw the ceiling fans. I do worry about maintenance and wear (okay, and drunk guys) but I think the fans will make the rooms feel more homey.

In Lightner, the floor lounges are complete (they weren't carpeted last year). The rooms were improved similar to the ones in Thomas Hall. The cherry on the top of all of this is the Lightner Tea Room (pictured). It is now fully accessible. It will also be open to residents 24/7 and will also be available as a program space. I would like to see some wine and cheese events up there for seniors with faculty.
To see more photos of the renovation, scroll all the way to the bottom of the blog to view some slide shows. What do you think? See the poll at right (and down). Not pictured is the new computer lab on the third floor of Thomas Hall.
The renovations worked aout to about $60,000 per room. That is pretty staggering, but most of the costs are in the building infrastructure. Under John Greene's leadership, the renovations were done to LEEDS specifications. The beds and chairs are even environmentally friendly.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Washington Heights

The Student Affairs staff participated in a one-day workshop with presenter Dr. Jamie Washington on July 16. The session was intended for all of our staff members to continue to explore the important issues around culture, power, and our interconnectedness as a community. This is important to the Student Affairs staff, as our strategic and programmatic plans are to develop competencies in these areas with our students.

The staff is responsible for helping students explore issues on living and working with others who share similar and different backgrounds and perspectives. This supports the staff's mission to develop true global citizens.This workshop was just the beginning for the staff in considering the subtle and persistent issues that we all face while trying to create a just and caring world.

Pictured: Mary Butler of the Mail Center spends time with VP Felicia Lee at the morning breakfast. Residential Life Coordinators can be seen in the background preparing to take the day seriously. Reverend Nickle makes an important point to Ankita Rakhe, of CCI.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We're Bad... We're Nationwide

Trinity University has gone national with the attention our athletes and former athletes have been receiving. First, one of the real good guys, Jerheme Urban, is heading back to NFL training camp again. Jerheme is in his second season with the Arizona Cardinals. He is a 2003 graduate of Trinity University and starred here in track and as a wide receiver on the football team. Not only has he come back and helped with Athletics here on campus, he has also held a camp in his community, took time to work with the Dean's son (an aspiring high school receiver at Central Catholic), and most importantly, is married to a former RA and star in her own right.

Second, out of nowhere, Trinity baseball is in the news with the relationship that has been sparked between major league sensation Josh Beckett and members of the Trinity baseball team. Zach Fregosi sent along an ESPN story that is really fantastic and lots of fun. Mr. Beckett was on campus the day after the All Star game, pitching in front of baseball campers and another Tuttle son, who reported his fast ball had plenty of velocity.

Finally, the football players, coaches, and announcers involved with the Miracle in Mississippi apparently had a great time at the ESPYs, which aired on July 20 on ESPN. James Hill from Athletics has sent along a link to a KAAB Sports feature. Go to Sports and then Sports Video on Demand to see a terrific piece.

The soccer team unofficially won the championship this year and baseball had its own miracle. Congratulations to all of our athletes!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Announcing the Half Marathon Challenge

I am excited to announce the first Dean of Students Half Marathon Challenge. The San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon will be on Sunday, November 16, and all members of the Trinity community are invited to participate. A half marathon is 13.1 miles short. With a decent running base and some training, anyone can do one! One of the best resources out there on this and other running topics is Runners World. We will wear Trinity gear and show San Antonio that Trinity Rocks! Okay, well, maybe it will just be me. Most students I have mentioned this to have seemed enthusiastic. I hope they were being true and not just "yes-Dean"-ing me. This year, the goal is to determine the interest level, have fun and develop camaraderie by training together, and focus on personal health. The long-term goal will be to connect with some sort of charity and community service project. This year's group will offer recommendations for that. We will have some guest speakers and do a pre-race pasta dinner from the Dean's Office. This program is in line with the Student Affairs values related to health and wellness, and in the future, social responsibility. If you have a hint of interest, please sign-up to be placed on the e-mail list.