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SHSU Update For Week Of Oct. 27

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Firefest To ‘Light Up’ SHSU, SFA Rivalry Week

Sam Houston State will channel the fires of Hades on Halloween night to give students a little extra “spirit” for the annual Battle of the Piney Woods.

Firefest logoThe annual “Firefest” pep rally will kick off at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 31) at Intramural Field No. 3.

Adding some heat to rivalry week, SHSU President Dana Gibson, and her SamSwitch president for the day Karri Jones, a sophomore nursing major, will speak during the event to fire up the Bearkat football team.

"Firefest is such a spirited event and truly helps to ignite that internal flame that all Bearkats have to play and win at the Battle of the Piney Woods,” said Brandon Cooper, associate director for Student Activities. “The program's focus is to light up Texas in grand Bearkat style, and let everyone know that the Kats are on the prowl.

“In addition, SamSwitch is a great opportunity for the president and a student to reverse roles and learn from one another, so at the end of the day an even more successful educational environment can be achieved for SHSU. And what more perfect of an event than Firefest, an established SHSU tradition, for them to each speak about their experiences and encourage students to get involved at SHSU,” he said.

The Bearkat Marching Band, the SHSU cheerleaders, Sammy the Bearkat, the Orange Pride dance team and members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams will also appear, as well as head coach Willie Fritz and Bearkat football players.

Students can warm up by the bonfire, ride a mechanical bull and enjoy free food and other giveaways.

In addition, the Center for Leadership and Service will work to give local families a hot meal by hosting a canned food drive in conjunction with this year’s Firefest, offering a free T-shirt to anyone who donates at least one canned food item.

Kickoff for the 88th annual Battle of the Piney Woods game will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 2), at Reliant Stadium. Tickets are available at Gobearkats.com.

For more information on Firefest, contact Student Activities at 936.294.3861.


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English Forum To Examine Hawthorne’s Wales Visit

English professor Julie Hall will present her research on 19th century American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, his wife Sophia and their excursions in Wales on Friday (Nov. 1).

The English department’s Friday Faculty Forum presentation will be from 3-4 p.m. in Evans Complex Room 212.

“Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘Wild’ Wales,” will be based on an article that was published in the literary journal Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Relations and is a part of Hall’s larger focus on travel writing, particularly the Hawthornes’ travel writing.

“What and who they saw, as recorded in their separate and voluminous journals, is of interest, but also of importance is the notion of how they saw other cultures and the more basic idea of cultural exchange—the culture (‘American’) that the Hawthorne’s took with them as they traveled; the various cultures they encountered and, to some degree, absorbed, along the way,” Hall said. “No writer (or person) lives or works in isolation, and U.S. writers and their attitudes toward what was for some of them ‘the mother country’ (England), as well as the bastion of culture and civilization (Europe), are highly important and revelatory.

“The most immediate and direct effect of Hawthorne’s travels was the production of his last two published works, Our Old Home, a series of essays drawn from his journals, about Britain and The Marble Faun, his last completed fiction, set in Italy.

Hall, who has taught at SHSU since 1992, has published extensively on both Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne, as well as on their travels. She is also an expert on 19th-century American literature, women’s literature and the novel.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of the South, in Sewanee, Tenn., and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The English Friday Faculty Forum is designed to highlight research by graduate faculty and fellow graduate students.

Presentations are also open to the public.

For more information, contact forum coordinator Paul Child, professor of English, at 936.294.1412.


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Production To Take ‘Powerful’ Look At History, Identity

The Sam Houston State University Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre will present a brave, chilling and funny new work, We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915, Wednesday (Oct. 30) through Saturday (Nov. 2).

cast members
The cast of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915.  —Submitted photo

Show times are at 8 p.m. each day, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, in the University Theatre Center's Showcase Theatre.

The story unfolds as a group of young actors gather to give a presentation on the 20th century extermination of the Herero tribe of Namibia.

They're passionate and energetic and have piles of research. But what do they really know about being black Africans under German colonization?

In their attempt to delve into history, they struggle with stereotypes, fear and their own personal histories.

"I was inspired by my own inability to write something meaningful about the Herero-Namaqua Genocide," said playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, who learned about the extermination of the African tribe while researching race politics in Germany. "So I tried to write a play where the characters fail to do the same thing.

“I hope that they fail in a way that allows people who see the play to feel something, to be entertained and think at the same time, and to have really good conversations after the show," she said.

Described by The New York Times as “an inventive new play,” and “90-minutes of original, enlightening, pulse-pounding theater,” by Backstage, the production premiered at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, followed by New York's Soho Rep in fall 2012.

SHSU’s production is directed by assistant professor of theatre Leslie Swackhamer, and the cast includes Chase Parker, Andrew Carson, Jordan Bigler, Clifton Adams, Catherine Pope and Yemi Otulana.

Tickets are $10 and are available by phone at 936.294.1339 or through box offices in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center and University Theatre Center.


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Foreign Languages Offers Spring German Cinema Course

As students prepare to register for the spring semester, SHSU’s German program is offering students an opportunity to gain upper-level credits in foreign languages while exploring the country’s culture through film.

The “Modern German Cinema” course will be offered as FOLG3061 on Wednesdays from 6-8:45 p.m. in the Evans Building Theater, in room 105.

The course will present a sampling of recent German cinematography covering the time period beginning at the end of the Cold War, through the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the development of a unified German state, and beyond.

The format will include the weekly screening of movies such as “Das Versprechen,” “Run Lola Run” and “Nowhere in Africa,” including an introduction and followed by a discussion of issues that emerge within the films, mixing art, history and politics, according to course instructor James Frankki, assistant professor of German.

“Students who have no knowledge of German will be able to take the course, as a first step towards learning about the culture and language,” Frankki said. “This film course offers an opportunity to experience German culture without having to learn the language first; all films and discussions will be in English (or with English subtitles) and no prerequisites are required.”

The “Modern German Cinema” course is a continuation of the “History of German Film” course offered last spring, offering an examination of the many changes that took place in the country, including economic and social reform and immigration issues, following the 1990 unification of East and West Germany.

“I believe to understand modern-day European society, you must understand Germany, the most powerful and influential country in the European Union and in Europe, in general, both politically and economically,” Frankki said. “The issues of immigration and how Germany has dealt with them are instructive and useful for politicians and others who would like to solve our immigration problems. And the German health care system is a model of efficiency and fairness, which we could certainly learn from.”

Credits for the course may be applied as upper-level electives or toward a minor in German.
In addition, the course will be offered for audit by the public, who can attend and participate for free.

For more information, contact Frankki at jlf017@shsu.edu or 936.294.1442.


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Composer To Join Percussion Group For Concert

The Sam Houston Percussion Group will present "The Music of David Farrell," along with Farrell himself, on Monday (Oct. 28) at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.

The performance will showcase all of Farrell's existing percussion music, including the world premier of two pieces—"The World was Mist Once," for percussion ensemble, and "There is a Grandeur in this View of Life," for percussion duo.

In addition to being joined by the composer, who will be in residence for rehearsals and the performance, the percussion group also will be joined by faculty artists John Lane, associate professor of percussion and percussion group director; Daniel Saenz, assistant professor of cello; and Matt Holm, percussion adjunct faculty member.

Several pieces will include chamber music and works featuring piano, winds, and strings.
“I would describe Farrell's music as thoughtful, sometimes quiet, very intelligent, and, most of all, extremely elegant and beautiful,” Lane said.

Farrell, currently based in Denver, taught music theory, musicianship and orchestration at SHSU in 2010-2011.

He has performed across the country and has written music for several artists.

Farrell earned his Doctor of Music and Master of Music degrees in composition from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

The Sam Houston Percussion Group, the premiere percussion chamber music ensemble at SHSU, is comprised of a select group of students.

The group is becoming known nationally and internationally and has made recent appearances with the National Symphony of Panama, the Alfredo de Saint-Malo International Music Festival and concerts at the National Institute of Music in Panama, according to Lane.

Admission is free.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.


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Dance Grads To Build Beautiful ‘Bridges’ In Concert

SHSU Department of Dance Master of Fine Arts candidates will present an evening of vibrant performances for their “ROYGBIV: Bridges” concert on Thursday (Oct. 31) and Friday (Nov. 1).

Performances will begin at 8 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theater.

The works presented consist of a variety of movement styles including modern, hip-hop, African, dance for camera, and aerial silks.

Each piece offers thought provoking content set on highly skilled and engaging dancers, creating a concert that is a true representation of the diversity and artistic ingenuity to which the dance department is committed, according to Dionne Sparkman Noble, assistant professor of dance.

Ideas addressed in “Bridges” include female empowerment and the male gaze, the struggle of the aftermath of lost love, self-image, sacrifice versus reward, trust, perseverance, the coexistence of love and hate, and more.

Choreographers for the fall concert include Alicia Carlin, Shate’ L. Edwards, Tristin Ferguson, Timithy Holecek, Tawnya Kannarr, Mirannda Lindberg, Jennifer Mabus, Travis Prokop, Sarah Sanchez, Takiesha Scimio and Taryn Wilson.

Tickets are $8 and can be purchased through the GPAC Box Office at 936.294.2339 or shsu.edu/boxoffice.

“ROYGBIV,” the semiannual graduate student concert, was devised as a “tongue-in-cheek” play off on the faculty choreography concert “Spectrum.”

For more information, contact the department of dance at 936.294.1875.


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Club To Celebrate ‘Exquisite Corpse’ For Holiday Lessons

Halloween is a time for the “undead,” when ghouls, goblins, vampire, zombies and monsters of the unknown come to “life” to haunt houses and trick-or-treat in neighborhoods.

But this Halloween, the SHSU Drawing Club will focus on those remaining dead with an event that will highlight the “Exquisite Corpse.”

The project will bring art students together with members of the Bearkat and Huntsville communities to collaboratively create human figures, from 3-6 p.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 30), in Art Building D Room 116.

“We plan on giving everyone a sheet of paper and then they will fold it into four sections, with only one section visible at a time. The person draws a part of the human body, whichever part/how much of the body they wish, and then passes it on to the person beside them who will draw a select part of the body in another section without looking at what has already been drawn,” said Amy Rackley, SHSU Drawing Club secretary. “In the end the final person to get the drawing will connect the pieces together to make an abstracted human figure.”

The free activity, open to anyone with an interest in drawing, is designed to encourage people to participate in art without having to sign up for classes. Drawing Club members, who take a class on drawing the human form as art majors, will be available to offer tips for drawing the human figure.

“Drawing the human form is harder than it may seem. The hardest part is learning how to get the proportions right,” Rackley said. “There are different ways to check this as a person is drawing. The most common is using reference points on the body, like if the model’s thigh is the same length as her forearm from elbow to tips of fingers, you want to check that in your own drawing.”

The goal of the event, and the club, is to promote drawing as a finished art form and to make the act of drawing more accessible and possible for non-art students, according to Rackley said.

“We think that a lot of people believe that they could never be artists because they can’t draw; however, drawings don’t always have to be super accurate or realistic. Anyone can make art despite his or her skill level,” Rackley said. “I think our main goal with this event is just to show people that drawing can be a collaborative and interactive process as well as a lot of fun. These drawings could be used in Halloween decorating, as well, if the person so chooses.”

Paper and other drawing supplies will be provided, but those who have materials are encouraged to bring their own.

For more information, contact Rackley at alr046@shsu.edu.


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Celebration To Recognize Spanish Day Of Dead

The foreign languages department will keep alive the Spanish tradition of paying homage to the souls of loved ones no longer on Earth during their annual El Dia de los Muertos, the “Day of the Dead,” celebration on Friday (Nov. 1).

A traditional altar will be set up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Academic Building IV Room 317 that day, during which students can pay their respects to the dead in line with El Dia de los Muertos.

dia de los muertos altar“The celebration of the Day of the Dead has different artistic manifestations, but the most important is the construction of altars in the homes of Mexican families because they have a rich symbolic and mystical content,” said Spanish graduate teaching assistant Julio Medina-López.
“In Mexican culture, the tribute to death is an artistic manifestation—it can be represented in a burlesque, venerable, terrifying and even sacred ways; the tribute to a family member who has died is the root cause of altar to the dead,” he said. “The celebration of the Day of the Dead is like celebrating someone's birthday; this is like remembering the presence of someone who has died. It is a celebration of life and respect for death.”

In following this tradition, the department will create an altar, which is created in seven steps signifying “the seven deadly sins and the path of the soul of the dead to rest,” according to Medina-López.

These steps include placing on the altar an image of a saint to which the altar is devoted; then a mirror and candles to show souls the path to heaven from purgatory; salt to purify the soul and toys for dead children; then “Pan de Muertos,” a celebratory bread; next, the favorite foods and drinks of the dead, a photo of the dead and, finally, building a cross on the floor created with flours and filled with salt. Other decorations are also used.

“The altars of the dead vary according to the diversity of regions in Mexico; these contain mysticism in honor of the death. The altar has a variety of symbols, which are connected with the defunct and with the death,” Medina-López said. “Installing an altar may be seen as an entertaining activity.”

During SHSU’s celebration, Pan de Muerto (“bread of the dead”) will also be served.

For more information, contact the foreign languages department at 936.294.1441.


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Concert Series To ‘Heal’ Community Through Music

Sam Houston State University’s music therapy program, in partnership with The Woodlands Family Church, will present the second annual Healing Hospice Patients Concert as a part of the Healing Concert Series on Friday (Nov. 1).

The concert, designed to heal through music, will take place at 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Conroe, at 600 N. Main St.

The concert will consists of a message of healing through movie clips, videos, true stories, testimonies and musical performances by professional music therapists, music therapy students and professional musicians.

Performers include four SHSU School of Music faculty members: Rebecca Grimes, soprano; Kevin Clifton, piano; James Cho, piano; and Hayoung Lim, cello, as well as performing music therapy students Jessica Hernandez, guitar/vocals; Jonathan Silbert, keyboard/vocals; Amber Slayton and Sarah Rossi, French horn; and Keelin Davis, violin.

Artistic director of the Healing Concert Series Hayoung A. Lim, a board certified music therapist and SHSU associate professor of music therapy, has experienced the strong effect of music in her scientific, evidence-based music therapy sessions with individuals with various physical, mental, developmental and medical disorders.

Lim—a concert cellist performing numerous solo recitals and participating in internationally-recognized orchestras in Seoul, Korea, and the U.S.—also has noticed the need for healing through music and musical experience in families and friends in our community.

“Among many great things which benefit people, music has a very special and unique healing component due to its inherent structure and passion in people,” she said.

One of important aims for this concert is to create jobs in hospice care for music therapy graduates while also acknowledging the effects of music in healing hospice patients and their families.

Admission is free and open to the public. Donations are encouraged, with all proceeds benefitting Odyssey Hospice Conroe.

For more information, contact Lim at halim@shsu.edu or 936.294.3261.


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Workshop To Give Crash Course On Credit, Law

The Student Money Management Center and Student Legal Services will offer students a crash course on credit cards on Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 28-29).

The “Credit Crash Course” will be from 2-3 p.m. on both days in Lowman Student Center Room 315.

Peer counselor Adam Bell and Gene Roberts, director of the Office of Student Legal and Mediation Services, will lead the discussion to help students understand credit and its different forms, including credit scores, building credit, deciding on credit and the importance of credit, as well as the various legal aspects associated with credit cards and credit.

“This is a brand new workshop for us, and we will be partnering with Student Legal Services to help us out with the workshop,” Bell said. “We came up with the idea through student feedback, because in other presentations, students asked questions about credit, if it was good or bad.

“Students are subjected to so much while at school and while credit cards may look like an easy way out for a lot of students that are worried about money, only a few students can actually be responsible with credit,” he said.

For more information, contact the SMMC at 936.294.2602.


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Council Spotlights Alumni Coordinator

Casey Hughes, coordinator for alumni events and event marketing, has been selected as the October “Staff Spotlight” by the SHSU Staff Council.

Casey Hughes

Hughes, a 2012 SHSU graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communication, concentrating on public relations, joined the SHSU Alumni Relations Office in 2012, handling “all alumni events, A-Z,” she said.

She originally started with the office as an administrative coordinator, but after a year, her title changed to coordinator of alumni events and event marketing.

“I feel like I’ve landed my dream job because I get to do what I love for a living while continuing to learn from this university and support my alma mater,” she said. “I have built great relationships with our alumni and feel as though I’ve gained another family through the alumni office.”

At SHSU, she also serves on the homecoming and founder’s day committees.

Hughes said she motivates herself and others with food, because “everyone works better on a happy stomach,” and contributes to her office atmosphere by celebrating everyone’s half-birthday.

“It’s a fun way to celebrate your co-workers/friends/family on a day that might not normally be special to them and make it special,” she said.

She is expecting a baby boy in January.


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Submit Update Items Here

In order to assist members of the Sam Houston State University community in publicizing events, the SHSU Communications Office (Today@Sam) is now requesting that students, faculty and staff submit information about events, accomplishments or ideas for feature stories online.

Submission criteria and guidelines, including deadlines, have now been placed online, at http://www.shsu.edu/~pin_www/guidelines.html. This information is also accessible through the “Submissions” link in the right-hand navigation on Today@Sam.

From there, those submitting ideas can access forms that will allow them to provide detailed information about their idea, as well as attach event calendars, vitas/resumes or photos, depending on the type of submission.

Ideas submitted to the SHSU Communications Office are directly utilized in several ways: as news stories, “slider” or SHSU home page stories, hometown releases, and on the Today@Sam calendar.

If your submission qualifies for distribution, we will either contact you for more detailed information, or we will edit the information using SHSU/journalistic style and forward the final release to the appropriate media.

All information is verified before release, so please provide complete, accurate and timely information. Please type all responses in appropriate upper and lower cases.

For more information, contact the Communications Office at 936.294.1836 or today@sam.edu.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Oct. 25, 2013
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu






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Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu.

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