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Today @ Sam

SHSU Update For Week Of Feb. 10

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ROTC To Host Annual Blood Drive For Troops

Sam Houston State University’s Army ROTC Bearkat Battalion is once again supporting their brothers and sisters in service by collecting blood for troops around the world on Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 12-13).

The ROTC Blood Drive, open to both the Bearkat and local communities, will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day in Academic Building III Gym No. 1.

“The purpose of this particular blood drive is to replenish the blood available for our service members,” said Lt. Col. David Yebra, chair of SHSU’s military science department. “As a service member, I’ve seen firsthand how the wonderful support we receive contributes to the vital support of our soldiers and their family members.”

All donations, collected by the Robertson Blood Center from Fort Hood, will be sent to the Army’s support contingency missions overseas, including to Afghanistan, within the week.

Last year’s drive collected 136 units of blood, which went to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The battalion is hoping to collect at least 150 pints for this year’s event.

“The blood drive here at Sam is one of the largest donation events for the Fort Hood blood center. They are as grateful as we are for the ‘outpouring’ of support,” Yebra said. “We always appreciate all the incredible support we receive here at Sam and from the Huntsville community. I’ve served in the Army for close to 23 years and have never experienced a community that is so rich in patriotism and dedication.”

Donors must bring a valid picture identification, weigh at least 110 pounds and should be in general good health, without any cold or flu symptoms.

For more information, call the military science department at 936.294.4994.



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History Students To Sign Copies Of Recently Published Book

Historic Walker County CoverStudents in associate professor of history Jeffrey Littlejohn’s public history course will celebrate the release of a book they published as part of the class during an event on Thursday (Feb. 14).

The release party and book signing will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Katy and E. Don Walker, Sr., Education Center.

Historic Walker County: The Story of Huntsville & Walker County was published in December by the Historical Publishing Network.

The 88-page book was written by nine graduate students in Littlejohn’s History 5388 “Public History” class in fall 2011.

The authors include Meredith A. Miller Austin, Carolyn A. Carroll, Amy Hyden, Anthony Lane, Sharla Miles, Patricia Staniszewski-Hale, Gonzolo Tamez, Garnette Bane and Littlejohn, who also edited the book.

Students worked on their essay contributions to the book, based on primary sources, and then participated in the selection of the images for the book.

Historic Walker County examines life in the area, from its earliest inhabitants, the Cenis Indians, to its present prominence as a hub of education, state corrections, agriculture, tourism and timber into the 21st century.

“The book tells through word and picture the role the area played in the Texas Republic; how Texas’s first president, Sam Houston, came to reside in Huntsville; and how the Trinity River added to the regional economy through steamboat transportation of cotton and logs,” Littlejohn said.

It also recounts the founding of Austin College in 1852, the forerunner of Sam Houston State University.

The project began when the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce contacted Littlejohn about their interest in creating a new local history publication. He agreed, as long as students could be the primary contributors to the book.

“I am interested in working with graduate students on local history because it offers them a chance to do primary research on a topic that is of significance to the local and regional community,” he said. “The students get a chance to discover, interpret and write about primary sources, and members of the public enjoy reading about significant events from the past.”

The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Littlejohn is now editing a second book with another set of graduate students on Camp Huntsville, the World War II prisoner of war camp that was located on Highway 19. He anticipates publishing that book within the next year.

For more information on the signing, contact Littlejohn at littlejohn@shsu.edu or 936.294.4438.



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Event To ‘Drive Home’ Dangers Of Distracted Driving

There are many things students can find themselves distracted by while driving their vehicles. They could be eating breakfast, changing the radio station, or even focusing on an upcoming test.

But there is one thing that distracts people on the road more than anything else: texting.
Among the phone related activities people can perform while on the road—including talking, dialing, or even reaching for the phone—texting while driving is the most dangerous, according to AT&T.

Distracted driverTheir 2010 study showed that in 2010 alone, texting while driving increased 50 percent, and those who do are 23 times more likely to be in a car accident.

To inform students, faculty and staff of the dangers of distracted driving, the SHSU Student Health Center is teaming up with AT&T to bring their “It Can Wait” driving chair simulator to campus on Wednesday (Feb. 13).

The simulator will be set up in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day to safely experience the first-hand dangers of texting while driving.

“Our students love interactive devices and the simulator will help drive home the importance of keeping their eyes on the road,” said Lisa Clarkson, SHC health programming coordinator.

The chair simulator is part of an AT&T campaign to raise awareness and encourage people across the country to “pledge” not to text while behind the wheel.

During SHSU’s event, AT&T staff will also be on hand to add to their more than 1.2 million “no texting and driving” pledge, and SHSU is hoping to collect at least 500 pledges for the cause, Clarkson said.

“Simply put, we're focused on changing behaviors and saving lives,” said Jennifer Harris, a spokesperson for AT&T. “We know that texting is an increasingly popular form of communication across all ages but especially with teens and college students.

“Bringing a simulator to campuses like SHSU is a great way to engage and educate, helping people to better understand the dangers of texting while driving,” she said. “We're hoping SHSU students step up, take the pledge and not text and drive.”

For more information on the event, contact Clarkson at ldc010@shsu.edu or 936.294.4347, and for more information on AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, visit http://itcanwait.com/.



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Journeys Seminar To Highlight Leadership

David YebraThroughout his nearly 23 years of military service and four years teaching, Lt. Col. David Yebra has acquired leadership skills and quite a few stories.

On Tuesday (Feb. 12), Yebra will share both with honors students and members of the Bearkat and Huntsville communities as part of the Honors 3332 Spring Journeys Seminar.

His presentation will begin at 5 p.m. in the Smith-Hutson Building's Haney Auditorium, in Room 186.

Yebra, who has served as the chair of SHSU’s military science department since 2009, plans to “highlight the power of storytelling and listening as two key qualities of an effective leader” for his “fast-paced, but fun and active” presentation.

“When people think about leadership, they think about great speakers or charismatic individuals that ignite certain emotions in us. When you peel back the layers of what makes up a great leader, or the individuals that have influenced your life, you’ll discover that you admire them for certain qualities that have very little to do with how good they look, how much money they have or their possessions,” he said. “You admire them for how they make you feel. They make you feel good about yourself because of their unique ability to listen, and to share stories that help you put things in perspective.”

In highlighting these things, Yebra will have students share stories about team leadership, and why it had a significant impact on their development, with several different groups in a “speed-dating”-type format.

“We will then identify the individuals that shared the most influential stories and have them share with the group for the benefit of all,” he said. “We’ll also then identify the ‘best listeners’ and share and discuss the qualities of being an effective listener.”

A West Point graduate, who also has a master’s degree in counseling and leader development from Long Island University, Yebra’s military career has taken him to 14 different countries and through three deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a teacher, he was named “Military Science Professor of the Year” in 2011 out of more than 237 universities in the country.

“My seminar helps strengthen the bonds of the students just by the sharing of personal stories and the willingness to listen,” he said. “We also bring in mentors to that share their personal stories and to highlight to all that the process of developing in to a leader is a result of unique experiences and our ability to reflect on those experiences. It is not so much the experiences you have had in your life but how we make sense of those experiences.”

The event, sponsored by the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College, is part of a class designed to show students what characteristics lead to success.

It is open to the public.

For more information, contact instructor Patrick Lewis at 936.294.3397.



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Students To Explore Humanity With ‘Waiting For Godot’

The only people who will have to “wait for Godot” will be Vladimir and Estragon when Sam Houston State University presents Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play beginning Wednesday (Feb. 13).

“Waiting for Godot” will be presented in the University Theatre Center’s Showcase Theatre through Saturday (Feb. 16). Show times are at 8 p.m. each day, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee.

“’Waiting for Godot’ is a tragicomedy regarding the preservation of hope in humanity against all evils,” said Hannah Huerta, senior theatre major who is directing the production. “When the world finally has its last war, the final survivors are left with the destructed ruins of the planet. In this post apocalyptic world our characters fight for survival and wait for salvation.”

A tragicomedy is a literary genre that blends aspects of both tragic and comic forms. The term can describe either a tragic play, which contains enough comic elements to lighten the overall mood or a serious play with a happy ending, she said.

The play follows a pair of men, Vladimir and Estragon, who tirelessly wait for someone named Godot to arrive. As they wait, the two men, through a clever game of wordplay and nonsense, search for the meaning of life. Later joined by Pozzo and Lucky, they try to divert their attention with anything “to hold the terrible silence at bay.”

The symbolism in the underlying text has allowed many critics to produce different interpretations of the play, ranging from philosophical to political. Huerta said she has enjoyed working on this piece because every day in rehearsals, the cast and crew have discovered something new and exciting within the script.

“‘Waiting for Godot’ is the type of show that feeds your soul. It is not meant to have any certain effect on you, but to make you reflect. It allows you to take a break from your everyday norm and slow down to think,” she said. “Life is filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life can be funny, beautiful, dark and scary. Life is what you make it; so is ‘Waiting for Godot.’”

Even though the play was originally written in French, Godot was voted “the most significant English language play of the 20th century.”

“It is poetic and musical in its language, using many French references because it was originally written in French. It also presents humanity and life on a simple scale to its audience,” Huerta said.
The cast includes theatre majors Allen Hughes as Vladimir, Nick Cuellar as Estragon, Matt Stepan as Pozzo, and John Forgy as Lucky.

The post-apocalyptic world in which the play is set is designed by junior theatre major Colton Spurlock, with lighting designed by J. Mitchell Cronin, sound designed by Ryan Brazil, and the production stage managed by theatre major Charles Michael Daniels.

“I have truly enjoyed working on this piece,” Huerta said. “It has been a fun challenge.”

Tickets for “Waiting for Godot” are $10. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call the UTC Box Office at 936.294.3968.



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Ensemble To Tune Up For Conference With Preview Concert

The SHSU Wind Ensemble will offer a preview on Monday (Feb. 11) of the program they will perform at this year’s Texas Music Educators Association convention.

The group will highlight various contemporary works written in the 20th or 21st centuries beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.

The performance will serve as the world premier of a commissioned work by Yo Goto called “Ruffles Call from Far,” featuring associate professor of percussion John Lane.

The program will also include assistant professor of music Kyle Kindred’s “Variations on a Tango,” Karel Husa’s “Music for Prague 1968” and John Phillip Sousa’s “Black Horse Troop March,” featuring special guest conductor Ralph L. Mills, SHSU director of bands emeritus.

The TMEA convention is held annually in San Antonio and draws music educators from all over the state.

“It is a very exciting convention for the SHSU Wind Ensemble to perform at because you must apply and be accepted in order to be one of the few college ensembles that perform,” said graduate conducting assistant Rachel Denson. “This is also an opportunity to perform for a very large audience.”

The Wind Ensemble is SHSU’s top performing wind group, including wind and percussion instruments. It is directed by music professor and director of bands Matthew McInturf.

“In order to be a member of the ensemble, students must audition every semester and are ranked and placed in the different bands based on performance,” Denson said.

Several of SHSU’s chamber groups will also perform at the convention, including a saxophone quartet, a clarinet quartet, the tuba and euphonium ensemble and the trumpet ensemble.

Tickets to the Wind Ensemble Pre-TMEA concert are $17 for general admission, $5 for children and $5 for SHSU students.

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



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Valentine’s Readings To Share Languages Of Love

The foreign languages department will celebrate the language of love in what has traditionally been considered the medium of love on Thursday (Feb. 14).

The Valentine’s Day Multilingual Love Poetry Readings will be shared at noon on the third floor landing of Academic Building IV.

For the annual event, students and faculty will present Romantic poetry, selected by the readers, delivered in languages such as Arabic, Finnish, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Italian and Spanish, representing many of the languages taught at SHSU, as well as the diversity of the SHSU community, according to Debra Andrist, chair of the foreign languages department.

"The idea of the event is to celebrate Valentine's Day multi-culturally by affording students, faculty and staff the opportunity to hear how cultures other than English-speaking celebrate love, if not the specific holiday," she said. "It's also an opportunity to read aloud and/or practice listening skills in target languages, not to mention broadening horizons in poetry."

Valentine’s Day cookies will be served.

The event is free and open to the public.

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



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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 https://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
Feb. 8, 2013
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu




This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office
Associate Director: Julia May
Manager: 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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