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Today @ Sam

SHSU Update For Week Of Aug. 29




Gibson To Address State Of University On Thursday

Dana Gibson will deliver her first speech as Sam Houston State University president as she addresses faculty and staff during the annual general assembly on Thursday (Sept. 2).

The “state-of-the-campus” meeting will be at 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.

In addition to her message, Gibson will recognize staff excellence award recipients, as well as service award recipients in five-year increments beginning at 20 years.

A meet-and-greet reception with the new president will follow.


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Ruck March To Raise Awareness, Money For Troops

Sam Houston State University will help military servicemen and women “carry the load” during its inaugural five-mile Military Ruck March on Sept. 25.

“The five-mile foot march is in commemoration and to bring attention to the physical, mental, and emotional "load" that military/ veterans and our civil service brethren carry daily,” said Jacob Bullion, Veterans Resource Center recruiting coordinator.

“Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, thousands of Americans have borne the burden of fighting and dying in multiple theaters of war as well as those civil service men and women that bear the brunt on the lines here at home keeping us safe,” he said. “This is a march to commemorate both the efforts of those still serving, those whom have served, and for those that never came home.”

The competitive march will begin at 8 a.m. at the southwest corner of the Westhill Mall parking lot. Registration will begin at 6 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony.

Participants can enter the event individually or as a team. Prizes will be awarded in 18 categories, with divisions for military personnel carrying 45 and 60 pound rucksacks, civilian and individuals.

The cost to participate is $100 per military team of four, or $25 per military individual, carrying a 45-pound sack; $60 per military team of two, or $30 per military individual, carrying a 60-pound sack; $80 per civilian team of four, or $20 per individual; and $15 per individual civilian or military personnel carrying no rucksack.

All proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, Huntsville Police Officers Association and Huntsville Volunteer Fire Department.

The event is sponsored by the SHSU Veterans Resource Center and Collegiate Veterans Association. For more information or for registration forms, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~reg_www/veterans.html and click on the WWP Ruck March link, contact Bullion at 936.294.4079, or stop by the Veterans Resource Center, in Estill Building Room 104.

The mail-in deadline is Sept. 10, and registration will also available on the day of the event.


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Picnic To Welcome International Students To Campus


Students from all over the world attending SHSU this fall will get a Texas-sized “howdy” from the university community and other “friends of internationals” during the International Student Welcome Picnic on Sept. 11.

The event, hosted by the offices of International Programs and Multicultural and International Student Services, will be from 3-7 p.m. at the University Camp, near the intersection of Highway 19 and Farm to Market road 980 in Riverside.

“The event is an official welcome for our returning international students, new incoming international students, visiting international scholars and domestic students and friends who wish to become ‘friends of internationals,’" said Pat Herrington, international student and scholar adviser.

Activities will include games, provided by the Recreational Sports department, and music and dancing, with disc jockeying by Reading Center coordinator Wally Barnes. A barbecue dinner will also be served.

“Friends of internationals” are a group of volunteers who help SHSU’s international students feel welcome.

“This is done in a number of ways, such as volunteering to drive a university vehicle to pick up students at the airport their first time to America, taking students to the ethnic grocery stores in Houston, being a buddy or a mentor, participating in ‘free talk time’ for our students here to study English as a second language before beginning their academic studies with us, joining the International Student Organization and participating in the International Festival or be a part of study abroad,” Herrington said. “There are many ways for domestic students to get involved and help globalize SHSU.”

Transportation will be provided to the camp from the Estill parking lot, departing from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on the day of the event.

Those interested in attending should reserve a spot by Friday (Sept. 3).

For more information, or to RSVP, contact the OIP at 936.294.4737 or oip@shsu.edu.


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ADAI To Showcase Its Services, Programs

The SHSU Alcohol and Drug Abuse Initiative will introduce students to the services it provides and invite students to get involved with the organization on Wednesday (Sept. 1).

The “Alcohol and Drug Abuse Initiative FAQs” will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both days in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area.

Students can visit an informational table to learn how to become a certified peer educator, volunteer with the organization and be a part of the committee.

ADAI participants learn about binge drinking, drinking and driving, substance use and abuse, laws and litigation, SHSU drug policies, campus and community resources, and being a designated driver, according to Rosanne Keathley, ADAI coordinator.

“We show people what we mean by ‘Kats taking care of Kats,’” she said.

The ADAI is a multidisciplinary group composed of faculty, staff, administrators, and students dedicated to ensuring the safety and health of SHSU students.

The coalition hosts a number of programs throughout the year to raise awareness related to and reduce abuse of alcohol and drugs among SHSU students.

The group hosts, throughout the year, iDrive, a designated driver incentive program; Six Weeks of Alcohol Awareness Training, comprehensive alcohol education presentations; and the National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness and Reducing Irresponsible Drinking and Drugs weeks, which include interactive exhibits and educational seminars.

The event is part of the ADAI’s Six Weeks of Alcohol Awareness Training program, through which students can earn prizes by attending events over the course of six weeks.

For more information on the ADAI, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~org_aai/.


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Bonanno Appointed Editor Of Prestigious Journal


Alessandro Bonanno, Distinguished Professor and chair of the sociology department, has been appointed the next editor of Rural Sociology, one of the major journals in the field.

Bonanno, who was one of a select number of individuals invited to apply, was chosen by a national panel for the position, which will run from Jan. 2011 through Dec. 2013.

“This is a very prestigious journal and those who are selected to be editors are well respected in the discipline and viewed as accomplished researchers,” Bonanno said.

The journal is considered “the major journal in the world in the substantive area of rural sociology, a sub discipline of sociology,” he said.

“I published a number of articles in this journals over the years,” Bonanno said. “It is a very prestigious journal with a 95 percent rejection rate. This means that only five out of each 100 articles submitted is published.

Rural Sociology is one of the oldest journals in sociology and is the major journal in the world in the sub-discipline of rural sociology, according to Bonanno.

With his appointment and the current transition of the journal to the university, SHSU now houses two major journals in the field, the other being The Journal of Rural Social Sciences. SHSU is also the first non-land grant university to host the office of the editor.

“It is remarkable that SHSU sociology houses these two journals,” Bonanno said. “No university has ever housed Rural Sociology and The Journal of Rural Social Sciences together in the past. This is a first.”


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Criminal Justice Hires Communications Coordinator

Beth Kuhles, a communications specialist for more than 25 years, has joined the College of Criminal Justice as the editor of the CJ Mandate.

Kuhles spent half of her career in public relations in Texas and New Jersey and half as a journalist in the two states, most recently working for the Houston Chronicle for the last 10 years. From 1997 to 1999, she served as the public information officer for the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission, the statewide agency for adjudicated youth.

Kuhles has won several awards for her writing, including a national Sigma Delta Chi Award, for “Impact: A Small Town Murder,” which examined the effects of the Robert O. Marshall death penalty case on family and friends. The documentary aired on public television networks in New York and New Jersey.

Among the other newspapers and magazines Kuhles has worked for are New Jersey Lawyer, The Record of Hackensack, NJ, and New Jersey Outdoors. She also served in public relations at Houston METRO and Hyacinth AIDS Foundation.

Kuhles also taught basic reporting at Rutgers University in Newark for one year.

As the communications coordinator for the college, Kuhles will edit CJ Mandate, the College of Criminal Justice newsletter, and other publications at the Criminal Justice Center, as well as assist with marketing efforts at the college, the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas, and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas.


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Bearkat Camp Completes Second Successful Year


Bearkat Camp groupThree hundred freshmen experienced the “Spirit, Pride and Tradition” of Sam Houston State University during the second annual Bearkat Camp this summer.

This year’s camps exceeded the capacity for the two sessions, leaving an additional 100 on the waiting list and doubling the inaugural year’s participation, according to Chris Mahlen, traditions camp and outdoor coordinator.

“We had a great response and great feedback from students,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of students, in our survey, recommended it to incoming freshmen next year.”

An extended orientation program, Bearkat Camp is a four-day, three-night off-campus residential camp for incoming SHSU freshman designed to assist students in making the transition from high school to university culture and campus life. 

Participants are split into tribes and do team competitions that focus on themes of pride, tradition and spirit and including such activities as a pep rally with the spirit teams, small group discussions, group-building exercises, recreational activities and tournaments, traditional experiences and evening socials.

“It builds a peer network before classes begin,” Mahlen said. “We’ve had a really good retention rate with students who attended. It helps students feel connected here and stay here.”

Building a tradition on its own, Mahlen said the Bearkat Camp staff anticipate the program to have a continued growth every year and are beginning to plan to facilitate even more students next year.

“Students are excited about the college experience, and this is one of the first things they really get to do away from home as a college student,” he said. “They get to hang out with 150 other folks who will be a part of their class, 2014 this year.

“We have the luxury there of doing a program that’s more tailored to them,” Mahlen said. “Orientation does a good job of getting out the information, and we get to do the more informal, student-led activities; there are no lectures. It’s all experiential learning activities, and we wrap it all up in a very fun package.”

For more information on Bearkat Camp, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~rca_www/bearkatcamp/.


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CMIT Hosts Annual Gangs Conference In Austin

Two former gang leaders recently helped enlighten 250 professionals from corrections, probation, police departments, sheriffs’ offices and school police on gangs in Texas.

Gangs have been making big news across the country for decades, and Texas is not immune to the threat. To combat the trends, The Correctional Management Institute of Texas, a part of the SHSU Criminal Justice Center that provides ongoing training for professionals in the field, hosted the Annual Gangs Conference Aug. 2-5 at the Omni Hotel in Austin.

The conference featured T.J. Leyden, a former neo-Nazi skinhead, and Oscar “Ossco” Bolton, a former member of the Crips.

Leyden, of Utah, founded StrHATE Talk Consulting, an organization that combats hate, bigotry, intolerance and discrimination through education. The author of Skinhead Confessions, Leyden worked for the Task Force Against Hate at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and was a featured speaker at the Clinton White House Conference on Hate.

After his nephew was killed by gang violence, Bolton, of Kansas City, Mo., started Peers Organized to Support Student Excellence, a “positive” gang or peer mentoring organization.

In 1993, Bolton was a representative at the “Gang Summit,” a national effort that brought together community leaders and gang members for peaceful discussions. He also created and designed “Operation Break and Build” to understand the causes behind the gangs and violence. He was appointed by two Kansas City mayors to task forces on violence and citizen complaints.

Bolton said criminal justice professionals, as well as young people, need to show leadership to make a difference with gangs. He said education, not arrests, can help combat the problem.

“You have to give a different outlook on the badge,” Bolton said. “You have to help youth so they will respect, not fear or hate, the badge.”

Participants also learned about the latest prison gangs, including their tattoos, activities and outside connections from Emil Garza of the Security Threat Group at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Among the other topics covered at the conference were drug cartels, Barrios Azteca, Aryan Brotherhood/Aryan Circle, Tangos, Gangs on the Internet, Gangs in Schools, Females in Gangs and Identifying Sources of Program Funding. The event was sold out.


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Send Update Items Here

Information for the SHSU Update can be sent to the Office of Communications electronically at Today@Sam.edu or to any of the media contacts listed below.

Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

All information for news stories should be sent to the office at least a week in advance to give the staff ample time to make necessary contacts and write the story.

For electronic access to SHSU news see the Communications Web page Today@Sam.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Bruce Erickson, Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Aug. 27, 2010
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu




This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office
Director: Bruce Erickson
Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834

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

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