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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Year in Review - 2008-2009

As the last day of classes is upon us and the farce issue of the Trinitonian (Trinibonian) is published and the Mirage yearbook is distributed, it is time for the first annual Dean's List review of the year. Above, AcaBellas Cristina Castro, Emily Sadler, Lindsay Vande Hey, and Candace Hawkins entertain in Coates and are one of this year's bright spots.

Top Stories

1. President Retires - No other story tops the big news that Trinity University President John Brazil is stepping down after ten years on the job. Between him and predecessor Ron Calgaard, there have been just two TU presidents in the last 30 years. Other personnel moves shaking the campus are the departure of Campus Security Director Rudy Gonzalez and CCI Director Becky Spurlock. Faculty notables leaving us are Char Miller, headed to Pomona, and Alida Metcalf, assuming a teaching position at Rice.
2. PIKES peak - The new national fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha burst onto the scene. If you didn't know they were national you might not notice. The group is still made up of Trinity students. The group got off to a fast start, adding a large inaugural class.
3. The Capital Campaign nears goal - The University should soon conclude it's $200 million capital campaign. When will the next one begin?
4. Sustainability catches on - The signing of the AASHE agreement by President Brazil led to the creation of the Sustainability Task Force, which led to campus-wide efforts to formalize green initiatives. Among them, sustainability course with a residence hall connection, LEEDS certification nearing for renovated Thomas and Lightner Halls, and a recycling program to be proud of. Kudos to Physical Plant Director John Greene and Dining Director Miguel Ardid. They made huge sweeoing changes.
5. Tragedy - Student Emma Hutchinson passed away in August and an accident in April left a student hospitalized and another from A&M dead. Really, these are the biggest stories based on personal impact and they deserve their own category. On the other hand, they shouldn't be trivialized as campus news. They are listed simply because we need to remember these students who we care so much about as well as these important events.

The Honor Roll for 2008-2009

The AcaBellas - This group has incredible talent and brightens the campus. They are the Eve to the Trinitones' Adam. The Trinitones have gotten plenty of well deserved attention. Now it belongs to the ladies! Click here to see one of their Coates Center performances.
Raj and Tyler - Is it me or are these guys hilarious. They showcase what our students can do with a little know-how, creativity, and willingness to not attend class.
Spotlight/Trinity Idol - These events have gotten bigger and better every year. In my calendar these are "don't miss" events. Spotlight really delivered this year and was the best show I have seen.
Christmas Concert - This Christmas Card to San Antonio is one of my all-time favorites. Lots of talent, lots of energy, and lots of good spirit.
Alternative Spring Break trips from CCI - These trips grew this year under the direction of Edwin Blanton. The Washington D.C. and the Dominican Republic trips set a high standard and students and staff want to see these grow in the future. Beach trips aren't dead, but cool doesn't have to only happen at the beach.
IM Field - Sure it smells like rubber, but it never needs cutting or water and it never turns to mud. Good investment in student recreation!
Greg Mortenson - The Three Cups of Tea lecture and Reading TUgether program was the brainchild of VP Felicia Lee and carried out to perfection by CCI staffer Ben Newhouse.
Nalgene bottles - speaking of sustainability. The distribution of bottles to all students was a stroke of genius by TUVAC and ASR. This will become a tradition as the bottles are distributed to all new students annually.
John Cleese - This Monty Python icon was not only notable for a great talk, but he cut across generations and Laurie Auditorium was packed for his lecture. People were turned away at the door. The Q&A was the best. Sure he is another white male, but at least he was funny.
Thomas/Lightner renovations - It took three years, but Physical Plant oversaw a renovation that makes these halls complete and stylish. They are green too!
MLK march - This march has been happening for years. This year, CCI staffer Ankita Rakhe did a fabulous display in Coates and ratcheted up the program by having the MLK speech played in the buses on the way to the march. It was the biggest Trinity turn-out ever and was buoyed by Sophomore College participation.
Sink - The non-story story of the year. Don't stand between a University community and its java!
Spring Hallympics - A new tradition from Res Life staffer Josh Brack.
Come TUgether - Civil, interesting, and outwardly focused. A good place for local and Trinity news.
Firefighters playing sports - Maybe some students don't like the area firefighters parking their trucks between the tennis courts and the Bell center. I find it reassuring. I want them to know our campus well and I like knowing that they are shooting hoops or playing tennis instead of sliding down their poles.
Northwestern University - I like that they practiced on campus for the Alamo Bowl. I think smart Universities like ours should help some of these other places when they need it.
Jerheme Urban - A Tiger in the Super Bowl. Enough said.
Pikes and Sigmas - Maybe the Sigmas had a companion fraternity. Maybe not. The union between them and the Pikes was a good one in the late spring. Their see-saw marathon and the GIVE program reflect the best of what Greek life has to offer.


Athletic teams - especially Trinity baseball (last summer), Trinity soccer (the best team didn't win, again), Trinity volleyball (they deserve a title). These teams represent us well and had very competitive seasons. There coaches have been here awhile and have built fantastic programs. Honorable mention to men's basketball, the over-achieving-est team on campus.
My Tiger Talk - I like the concept and even the edginess, but not the lack of civility and respect. It only drew in a fringe group and I think in part that led to the creation of a second student run list-serve.
Reel Big Fish - They really could have been better and their music was fine, but they had the maturity level of say... Sugar Cult. Something about microphones and bands that brings the f-word out in the best of them.

Too soon to tell

Upperclass Task Force recommendations
- Sophomore College, Class Marshal/Alumni Sponsor program, Senior Year Experience, class identity, and Welcome Week. It all got off to a good start. If the Trinitonian had stopped bashing Sophomore College in the weekly editorial perceptions may have been different. But we made mistakes and learned. Next year should be different.
Twilight at Trinity - The first ever senior banquet funded by Residential Life. It hasn't happened yet. On the positive side, over 200 seniors have responded that they will attend.

Under the Radar

Student Affairs Strategic Plan - Collaboration with faculty members, student development, social justice and diversity, and a topping of assessment. This was the first year of the plan and there will be more to follow.
Crisis Management Team - People only care about it when they need it. This month, we've needed it.
E-mail Migration to Google - I still don't get it, but it will be better, faster, stronger, and tastier. Good for us.

On the horizon

ASR finally gets to do something - Our student government is great, but they get bored and most of their nit-picking of campus issues and policies has been heard. Now they get power and authority as they prepare to assume responsibility for doling out the student activity fee - just like every other student government does.
A new/renovated science building - This will take some time and new construction will be meshed with renovation. The end product? Hopefully a building that rivals the arts and administration buildings.
Miller renovation - This dorm needs it as does its neighbor Calvert. One year at a time...
New President - New vision and leadership and some excitement. It's like having a baby. We just want to meet him or her.
Joint Statement - This statement in the student handbook about student rights and freedoms was to be reviewed, changed, and adopted. Mind-numbingly slow and tedious and still not right. Look for this to gain momentum in the fall.
Oblate property - The West Village... Picture it across from Thomas and Lightner on Shook. Imagine the possibilities.
Lights to decorate the Tower - We have the most prominent structure outside of downtown. IA small group will keep requesting seasonal lights to draw attention from across the street.
HDTV - High-def is coming. Maybe 2009, maybe 2010, but it's coming.
Policies - The alcohol and balcony policy revisions will be rolled out soon.


Sunshine Cottage - Will start building a new facility north of campus on Hildebrand. Hey, I didn't know there was land there!
San Antonio Marathon - The city rocked with over 25,000 participants in the inaugural San Antonio iteration of this event.
Trish for Mayor - A former Trinity student is on the run.
Mike Soto - Professor Soto, seen on TV at San Antonio election night party in November, is now his own man. Will Obama reciprocate if Dr. Soto wins?
River development - The River Walk isn't done yet. It is creeping closer to the Trinity campus.
Bush visits - Love him or hate him, he stopped traffic when he visited the Olmos Pharmacy last fall. At least he won't have a library on campus.


Light rail - Will the stimulus package come our way? Light rail to Austin makes Austin City Limits the EASY place to be.


Amethyst Initiative - Changing the drinking age? Good idea to discuss it. There is nothing magical about 21 except we need our highways.
Election - Trinity was revved up for an Obama victory and got its wish. Bexar County votes Obama. He wins anyway.
Economy - Quick turn-around needed: Institutions and families look at costs in tough times.
Swine flu - This story is catching on. Trinity braces for the pandemic, but the timing could have been worse. Classes are over.


ComeTUgether said...

Nice list, but what about showing some love to the perhaps less edgy, but more "civilized"

Becky Spurlock said...

I was here and I forgot about some of these things. Thanks for bringing the year in review into view.

Ryan Darley said...

great wrap up, I'm excited for the things to come

mark said...

I don't think you teach any classes, so I don't really need to suck up, but your columns are really pretty funny. And - I know funny. Thanks for all you do.

David Tuttle said...

I'm glad someone besides me thinks I am funny!