Today@Sam Article

SHSU Update For Week Of Jan. 15

Jan. 13, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Lane Fortenberry

Diversity, Intercultural Affairs Center Opens In LSC

The Sam Houston State University Department of Student Activities and the Division of Student Affairs have created a new center that seeks to enhance and support the academic and personal development of every student, while encouraging other Bearkats to embrace the cultures of others and the diversity across campus.

The new Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs, formerly Multicultural Student Services, is located in Lowman Student Center Room 324A.

Its creation was made possible through the continued support and encouragement of Frank Parker, vice president for Student Affairs.

“I’m excited to see the development of the center. It has been a vision of mine since we initially created the Multicultural Program Coordinator position in 1995,” Parker said. “This center will provide the opportunity for all students to experience the different cultures and diversity that exist on our campus and throughout the world.”

The CDIA will strive to create an inclusive campus environment in which all students, staff and faculty feel welcomed and appreciated.

Some of the many current programs already implemented include the annual Diversity Leadership Conference, an intercultural library, a registered student organization fund, the Embracing Our Diversity Luncheon Series, and numerous diversity and heritage programs.

“This is an exciting time for the SHSU community and great things are in the making,” said Jordan Chang, the center’s coordinator and the central contributor in its development.

The new CDIA also plans to expand on all current programs by incorporating diversity and inclusion workshops and trainings, a speaker series, new academic initiatives, and further advising and academic support to multicultural student organizations.

“Sam Houston State University is an extremely diverse campus and the recent development of the CDIA will only nourish and support the great educational experience that students, faculty, and staff all love about SHSU,” said Brandon Cooper, director of Student Activities.

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LGBTQI* Events Planned During Spring Kickoff

Sam Houston State University’s Department of Student Activities and the LGBTQI Faculty and Staff Network will host two events that bring together students, faculty and staff who identify as LGBTQI*.

The Lavender Mixer will allow LGBTQI* Bearkats and their allies to mingle in Lowman Student Center Room 304 on Jan. 24 from 6-7:30 p.m.

“The purpose of the Lavender Mixer is to create an inclusive environment,” said Jordan Chang, coordinator of the Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs. “Being that it is the beginning of the semester, we may have incoming students who fall within the LGBTQI* demographic and do not feel included. This event is for these students who are looking for a home away from home.”

Food and refreshments will be provided at the event. Those who attend also have a chance to win a prize.

“Students are more inclined to stay at the university when they feel a sense of belonging and feel included at the institution,” Chang said. “This event caters to the LGBTQI* population and allows them to mingle and network with others they are able to identify with, thus giving them a sense of belonging.”

The SHSU LGBTQI* Faculty and Staff Network Spring Kickoff will be held at The Vortexan on Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

“We thought that it would be very important to have a place where faculty and staff who identify as LGBTQI* can come together as a group not only socially, but also professionally,” said Ervin Malakaj, assistant professor of German in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. “We also wanted to create a venue were LGBTQI* personal and professional issues can be hashed out and discussed.”

The support of the event has been growing on campus, according to Malakaj. The group has hosted events in the past and the network has expanded each time. While this event is only open to faculty and staff who identify as LGBTQI*, there will be a series of events throughout the year that will welcome allies.

“I have personally been approached in person or by email from every imaginable administrator; everyone has been extraordinarily supportive,” Malakaj said.

For more information about the Lavender Mixer or SHSU LGBTQI* Faculty and Staff Network Spring Kickoff, click the links to visit their event pages.

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Legal Services Recognized As ‘Office Of The Year’

Sam Houston State University’s Student Legal and Mediation Services was awarded the J. Raymond Schiflett III Annual Award for “Office of the Year,” presented by the University Student Legal Services Association-Western Region, at its conference in Santa Barbara, California.

The award honors “outstanding training, advocacy initiatives, customer service, and leadership roles,” according to Gene Roberts, director of SHSU’s Student Legal and Mediation Services.

“Our professional organization recognized the hard work of our staff, the dedication of the Division of Student Affairs and the university to support our students, including educating students about the law and responsible ways to handle conflict, retaining them, and helping them focus on their academics,” Roberts said.

The Western Region of the University Student Legal Services Association includes the University of Texas, University of California Los Angeles, University of California Berkeley, Colorado State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, University of North Texas, University of California San Diego, University of Illinois, and West Virginia University, among others.

This is the first time since 1996 that SHSU’s office has received the award.

“This award validates the collaborative efforts made by our office to work with partners in the university and the community for the benefit of our students,” Roberts said.

In the past academic year, SLMS hosted Conflict Resolution Month and Donation Awareness Month. SLMS—along with the College of Criminal Justice, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Department of Psychology and Philosophy—hosted a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Miranda v. Arizona.

The office also achieved its fourth consecutive year of increased consultations and student contacts.

“Our students tell us that before seeing us, their issues were causing them stress, affecting their academic focus, and they even considered leaving school. After meeting with us and receiving our counsel, students tell us that their stress is reduced, they can focus on their academics, they are less likely to leave school, and they feel satisfied and more connected with the university,” Roberts said. “I’m honored and humbled that our professional organization recognized the high-level services that our office provides for Sam Houston State students.”

For more information on the SLMS services, visit or call 936.294.1717.

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SLMS To Host New Event Lawyers Over LunchLol Flyer1

Sam Houston State University’s Student Legal and Mediation Services will host a new event called Lawyers over Lunch on Jan. 26 from 12-1 p.m. in Lowman Student Center Room 304.

During the catered lunch, students will be able to ask questions to the department’s attorneys and learn more about the department and the services it provides.

“Sometimes seeing an attorney can be stressful and we want students to know that we are here for them,” said Jessica Lundstrom, SLMS administrative assistant. “Our time together will include meeting the attorneys and office staff, learning about events and services our office provides, having the opportunity to ask questions over a wide range of legal and conflict-resolution issues, and scheduling appointments if the students want a more in-depth and personalized consultation.”

The department offers free assistance for a variety of situations students might find themselves in and how to handle them in a professional manner.

“We created this event for students to get a better understanding on the services our office provides,” she said. “We want students to be aware that we can help them in situations they may encounter with their landlords, traffic tickets, divorces, mediation, employment, and other issues that can disturb their studies. Our data shows that we help students stay in school and improve their academic focus, so we want more students to know about all of the good things we can do for them.”

For more information, visit the Lawyers over Lunch event page.

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Museum Exhibit To Highlight Civil Rights Movement

The Road to the Promised Land
A featured photograph in "The Road to the Promised Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement" exhibit.

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum will present “The Road to the Promised Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement,” an exhibition by Humanities Texas beginning Tuesday (Jan. 17).

Featuring photographs, facsimiles of landmark documents and quotations by King and others engaged in the struggle for civil rights, “The Road to the Promised Land” surveys the Civil Rights Movement from the King’s emergence as a civil rights leader in the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 through the 1990s.

“We have been interested in this exhibit from Humanities Texas for some time and reserved this exhibit more than two years ago in order to bring it to the community of Walker County to highlight the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement,” said Casey Roon, museum curator of exhibits.

The Civil Rights Movement changed the face of the nation with minimum violence, laying the groundwork for crusades by other minorities to claim their rights; the efforts to achieve equality produced a revolutionary social impact, according to the Humanities Texas description of the exhibit. 

“The Road to the Promised Land” illustrates the movement’s enduring significance by focusing on the people and the events that made it possible, including Rosa Parks, Marian Wright Edelman, Jesse Jackson, Barbara Jordan, Malcolm X, and the Congressional Black Caucus.

The exhibition will be available to the public through Feb. 28 in the exhibit gallery at the Katy & E. Don Walker Sr. Education Center during museum hours. The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 4:30 p.m.

The Walker Education Center is located at 1402 19th St.

Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, develops and supports diverse programs across the state, including lectures, oral history projects, teacher institutes, traveling exhibitions, and documentary films.

For more information about viewing hours or to arrange group visits, contact the museum at 936.294.1832.

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Delegation Gets Inside Look At Texas Prisons

The Taiwanese delegation hosted by Sam Houston State University's College of Criminal Justice.

Sam Houston State University’s College of Criminal Justice recently hosted a delegation of correctional experts and scholars from Taiwan who wanted to learn more about management practices and innovative programs at Texas state prisons.

The delegation was led by Yung-Lien (Edward) Lai, a criminal justice graduate from SHSU, who now serves as an associate professor at Central Police University in Taiwan. About 10 years ago, the country adopted two new laws: a three-strikes rule and stricter penalties for violent and sexual offenders, which significantly increased the prison population. To address those changes, the group came to the U.S. to study the Texas system.

“The U.S. prison systems have built up a high security classification system which classifies prisons in five security levels and have helped correctional officers to manage and secure inmates in a safer and efficient way,” said Lai.

The group met with the Correctional Management Institute of Texas and the College of Criminal Justice for an overview of corrections in the U.S. The issues the delegation hoped to address were:

  • Security inside and outside the prison system
  • Management of housing, including evaluations, types, inmate assignment, and security
  • Correctional officer duties and assignment based on gender
  • Use of lethal and non-lethal weapons
  • Application of technology for inmate management
  • Special needs for elderly and ill inmates
  • Services, education and vocational training for inmates
  • Re-entry programs for offenders who are preparing for release from prison

The group also toured TDCJ facilities to get a firsthand look at programs in action.

The visit is part of the College of Criminal Justice’s Office of International Initiatives, which coordinates activities among faculty, staff and students of the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center.

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Walker County Club Scholarship Fundraiser Set 

Sam Houston State University’s Alumni Association, along with the Walker County Area Alumni and Friends Club, will host a scholarship fundraiser for students who attended high school in the Walker County area.

The event will be at Elkins Lake Clubhouse on Jan. 23 from 6:30-9 p.m., beginning with a reception and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. followed by the dinner and live auction at 7 p.m.

“The fundraiser’s main purpose is to support and promote the university by providing fellowship and leadership development while meeting the association’s mission,” said Meagan Korenek, event coordinator of Alumni Relations. “This scholarship fundraiser allows the Walker County Club to raise funds for a permanent endowment, which will provide scholarship support for SHSU students who went to high school in the Walker County area. During the first three years of this event, the club raised more than $45,000.”

SHSU’s head rodeo team coach Bubba Miller will be the guest speaker.

“Bubba Miller and the rodeo team members were asked to attend the event so the club and attendees could congratulate them on their past season and so attendees can learn more about the rodeo team and their success,” she said.

The event is open to the public and is $50 per person. The net proceeds will benefit the Walker County Club Scholarship Endowment.

For more information about the scholarship fundraiser, visit their event page.

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Student Ornaments Ready For Pickup 

Ornaments used in the 96th Annual Tree of Light Ceremony have been taken down and are available for pickup in the Student Activities Office during normal business hours.

Students and student groups that created ornaments for the annual event should pick up their decorations by Feb. 7.

The Student Activities office is located in Lowman Student Center Room 328. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, contact Casey Davis, administrative assistant III for the Department of Student Activities, at

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Send Experts, Story Ideas Here

Are you an expert in a topic might be of interest to reporters? Or even a unique topic? Would you like to have your research interests highlighted or discuss your expertise with reporters seeking interviewees?

The university Communications Office is collecting information and story ideas for its ongoing projects, including the online SHSU Experts Guide, the SHSU home page and Today@Sam. 

The SHSU Experts Guide was established as a resource for the media, who turn to university experts lists for potential interviewees for news stories. Faculty who are interested in being a part of the university's database of experts can submit their biographical and personal information, as well as their areas of expertise, through the Experts Guide Submission Form available online at

Other story ideas, both news and features on faculty or student research and accomplishments can be sent to or For news stories, please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

All information, including news story ideas and update items for Today@Sam, should be sent a minimum of a week in advance of the event in order to make necessary contacts and write a story. Feature story ideas for the SHSU home page ("sliders") should be sent a minimum of two months in advance. 

To see a full list of the Today@Sam submission guidelines, or to access submission forms for news and feature stories or hometown releases, visit

For more information, call 936.294.1836.

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