Friday, April 22, 2016

Utah State University goes green on Earth Day

By Braden Clark
The Utah State University Student Association, or USUSA, is celebrating Earth Day with the students of Utah State starting at 9 a.m. Friday morning. All throughout the day, events were planned by the USUSA.
Starting at 9 a.m. booths were set up on the campus’ Quad, and students were informed about the ways their campus helps sustain the environment they live in.
“I think Earth Day is unique and super special, because it’s like the celebration of all the work we’ve done all year,” said Emily Blake, an environmental studies student at Utah State who works in the universities sustainability office. “The office does a lot of things throughout the year, and Earth Day is a way people can celebrate the it.”
Along with all the events planned for Earth Day students took the initiative on their social media sites to celebrate Earth Day.
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world,” said Braxton Moon over Twitter.
“Go shawty, it’s your Earth Day. We gonna party like it’s your Earth Day,” said Tiffany Roedel over Twitter.
Some students managed to wake up to catch the sunrise in the wind caves up Logan Canyon.
“As you can see winter is shadowing away in the background only to tell us one thing. Spring has arrived,” said Sunny Patel on his Instagram.
Along with tweeting their own original tweets a few students retweeted Neil deGrasse Tyson as he reflected over Twitter.
“We’re short, so Mountains seem tall. We’re mortal, so Earth seems eternal. Our spacecraft are slow, so the Universe seems vast,” Tyson tweeted. “’Save the Earth’ really means ‘Save the humans’ or ‘Save the Life on Earth’. Earth the planet will outlast all extinctions.”
Students were also encouraged by USU Dining Services to use #PartOfTheSolution on their social media sites as they take part in reducing plastic waste, and use refillable water bottles.
“Today we are showing students all the things we do to showcase how we reduce waste on campus,” said Tiffany Moss, a marketer for USU Dining Services.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. students were asked to take a pledge to reduce plastic waste, and received a green cup that they can use to refill anywhere on campus.
“I think it’s really cool how Utah State is showing all of our support over social media,” Moss said. “I’ve enjoyed seeing all the ways students are keeping the Earth clean, or just enjoying the Earth on this day.”
More events follow later in the day, and starting at 1:30 students can participate with “Yoga on the Quad.” Following Yoga on the Quad, students can join in a service project at 2:30 at Aggie Blue Bikes and that will last until 5 p.m. tonight. After the service project Utah State will conclude its Earth Day with a barbeque and games at First Dam.
“I think Utah State is moving in a really cool direction,” Blake said. “President Stan Albrecht has done a really good job, and has done a lot of great stuff for us. It’s all uphill from here, and it’s important for students to recognize today and be thankful for what we have on this campus.”

Thursday, April 21, 2016

“True Aggies” share their favorite True Aggie Night memories on social media

By Braden Clark                                                                            
Friday marks the 100 year anniversary of Utah State University’s “True Aggie Night,” and students, alumni and lucky bystanders have been sharing their favorite True Aggie Night moments on social media in honor of the celebration.
“My favorite memory of True Aggie Night has to be when I kissed Mr. USU, Kurt Kowal, on the A,” said Lynette Erickson, a student at Utah State University, on her Instagram.
True Aggie Night started in 1916 when several students at Utah State built the “Block A” for their campus. The Block A changed locations a few times before finding a final resting spot at the top of Old Main Hill. Despite varying locations, students would gather in long lines to kiss on the Block A and become “True Aggies.”
“When we were in college it was a really exciting tradition to be a part of,” said Tresha Haymond, who graduated from Utah State in 1990. “I see the pictures students have now, and we didn’t have that luxury of keeping those memories.”
However the night can be exciting for some, there are those out there feel like True Aggie Night is not a positive experience.
Current Utah State student JC Thomas, along with other students, took to social media to share their side of the story.
“All my friends want to go to True Aggie Night, but all I would rather stay in my bed and eat ice cream,” Thomas tweeted.
“I would like to say not going to True Aggie Night tomorrow,” said Michael Kay, a student at Utah State, over Twitter, “why go if I’m just going to stand there and be cold?”
Not all the tweets have been negative, but some of the seniors have nostalgia on their last True Aggie Night as an undergraduate.
“Last True Aggie Night forever for me. Not sure if I can handle it,” said Jason Charles, a graduating senior at Utah State University, over Twitter. “Many great memories on that A.”
As students began to share their memories over social media some things stood out to many such as proposals to one another, members of the LBGTQIA becoming True Aggies in front of their fellow students, and the entertaining and fun atmosphere.
“Utah State really does it better than most of the universities here in Utah,” said Brittnee Peace, a student at the University of Utah. “I know a lot of the universities have tried to recreate the atmosphere that is created in Logan, but it just doesn’t feel the same. Almost like the other schools are trying too hard to be like the Aggies.”
Although Utah State was the first in the state to start the tradition, other schools across the state have started their own version of True Aggie Night. For example, in Orem, Utah Valley University has its “True Wolverine Night” in the middle of their campus’ patio in front of a “UVU” fountain.
“It’s alright down here,” said Brandon Montague, a student at Utah Valley and a True Aggie, “but it’s better in Logan. It’s different down here, because it’s so new and nobody really goes to it. If you’re not there in the first 10 minutes then you’d best leave, because all the candidates would be gone.”
Other schools like Dixie State, Weber State, University of Utah and Snow College have similar traditions, but Utah State’s True Aggie Night started the trend.
Anyone can become a True Aggie by receiving a kiss on the Block A under a full moon at midnight by somebody who already is a True Aggie, or on Homecoming or A-Day by somebody who is not.

The 100 year anniversary of True Aggie Night begins Friday night and goes through Saturday morning. Students are encouraged to attend the event, by their student association, as the school concludes its semester and “A Week.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Miss Diversity is crowned Miss USU

By Braden Clark
Miss Diversity, Francia Solis Gil, was crowned Miss USU Wednesday night on Twitter and live in the Taggart Student Center’s ballroom. Solis Gil took home the overall competition, but also collected the most votes over the contests Instagram page.
“It’s time for us all to realize that we have so much diversity on this campus,” Solis Gil said. “I think that the diverse students here at USU really worked hard to see that they were represented well in the contest.”
Solis Gil, originally from de los Caballeros, Santiago, of the Dominican Republic, is studying French and Spanish at Utah State University. Solis Gil is fluent in French, Spanish, English and Portuguese, and before her time at Utah State she studied at the Technology University of Santiago.
Solis Gil had a commanding lead on the social media side of the competition with a total of 1,134 likes on her picture. Miss Education, Jessie Howard, finished second place in likes on Instagram with 882 on her picture. Since Solis Gil took home the overall crown, Howard was given the “People’s Choice” award for having the most likes on her picture.
“It’s really great to have Francia as Miss USU,” said Luis Armenta, Utah State University Student Association’s diversity vice president. “I think a lot of the diverse students on this campus really appreciated seeing her recognized tonight, and the student body as a whole seemed to be really excited when she was crowned Miss USU.”
Solis Gil had a large fan base in the audience, but any doubters were quickly swayed during her talent section of the competition.
Solis Gil performed a series of different dance routines from different cultures across the world, and also had people hold up their countries flag while they sat in the audience.
“I was honored to be a part of it all,” said Michael Scott Peters, who performed in Solis Gil’s dance routine. “When she asked me to join in I was somewhat confused, because I’m just a white guy from West Jordan, Utah, but she made it clear that everyone is diverse in their own way. I had a lot fun, but the night was really all about Francia.”
Solis Gil ended her dance routine to a standing ovation from the crowd as she dropped to a complete right-leg split, and Twitter instantly blew up.
“Francia just rocked USU when she dropped into the splits at the end of her talent,” said Tanner Field, a student at Utah State, over Twitter.
“I see you Miss Diversity. I see you,” said Chris Glaittli, the Utah State University Student Associations assistant marketing director, over Twitter.
Along with Solis Gil’s talent, she dedicated her night to honor all the diverse cultures on the Utah State campus, and with her formal attire and question she started to get emotional with her answer.
“We have so many amazing cultures on this campus, and most times we don’t take time actually sit back and realize this opportunity,” Solis Gil said. “I love USU, and I’m so thankful for all of the students that came out to support all of us in this pageant. It truly was remarkable.”
As the night ended and votes were tallied, and Miss CHaSS, Felicia Gallegos, was named second runner-up and first runner-up was given to Miss CAAS, Heather Lieber. Finally, Solis Gil was announced as Miss USU, and the ballroom erupted into cheers.
“I want to thank all of the students at Utah State, my friends and my family for helping this week, and supporting me through all these years. Go Aggies,” Solis Gil said. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Red Bull has given wings to these three Utah State students

By Braden Clark
Dane Cooper, Vico Noma’aea and CJ O’Neal, who are students at Utah State University, are currently in second place in the “Red Bull Can You Make It” competition in Europe, with hours remaining. The contest has a total of 165 teams from different universities across the world, and Team USU is in second place in the entire competition.
They require help from social media as they travel through Europe with only cans of Red Bull to get them where they need to go. They accumulate points by people sharing, hashtagging and liking their videos they post on the Red Bull website.
Team USU currently sits in first place in the social media category of the competition with a commanding 146,633 point lead. Right in front of them, in the overall standings, is a team from Belgium, Germany, but are trailing Team USU by 55,302 points in social points.
Fans of the team can help Team USU earn points by hashtagging the phrases TeamUSU, VikoCJDane, CanYouMakeIt16 and USUFans.
“They’re a little bit more muscular than I am,” said George Service, one of the contests directors. “I’ve done some digging into their statistics, and I have seen that 71% of their audience are actually female, and they are making sure that they post their videos when everyone back home is awake to see them so they get more points.”
Students at Utah State University have been following Team USU very closely as Cooper, Noma’aea, and O’Neal travel throughout Europe, and are helping any way they possible can.
“It’s been really exciting for us to keep tabs with our friends as they travel through Europe,” said Sonina Mikkelson, a friend to the members of Team USU. “They’re really close to winning this, and I want to help any way that I can. I enjoy the fact that they are getting the publicity they are receiving, because they are working really hard day and night."
Team USU is required to use cans of Red Bull as its only way of currency, and so far they have traveled through five different countries and traveled a total 2,514 miles.
They have managed to trade Red Bull cans for different forms of transportation, and on Sunday they traded 24 cans of Red Bull for a train ride from Avignon, France, to Clermont-Ferrand, France, approximately 236 miles between the two cities.
The competition ends April 19 at 2 a.m., which is 6 p.m. Monday evening in Utah, and the team just reached Mont Saint-Michel an island in Normandy, France. The Belgium team has a significant lead in all the other categories of the competition, but family members of Team USU are hoping social media will be the team's way to victory.
“We are so proud of our boys, and the fact that they have made it this far is incredible,” said Kathy Cooper, Dane Cooper’s mother. “The adventure that they are on is the true prize, but we are so thankful for Red Bull for this opportunity. Team USU has done a great job, and they are so motivated, and we couldn’t be happier with the support their friends at Utah State are giving them. Just please keep voting until the contest is over.”
The winners will be crowned soon after the competition is over, and will be ambassadors for Contiki Travels, the contests sponsor, as they travel throughout Europe this summer.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dixie State University students have a week to remember

By Braden Clark
Students at Dixie State University are loving the publicity their school has been getting in the last week, and in result, sharing their school pride over social media.
“I love the new mascot! Great representation of the Dixie spirit. Job well done,” said Jeremy Buck, a Dixie State University alum, over Twitter.
“We are setting records, and doing great things here at Dixie State,” said Ammon Haymond, a student at Dixie State, over Instagram.
Along with changing its school mascot, Dixie State found itself in a Twitter banter with an NBA playoff team. Dixie State’s announcement tweet, “We are the DIXIE STATE TRAILBLAZERS” on Tuesday got the attention of the pro basketball team who responded shortly after.
“We were eating dinner when it all started, and one of my friends yelled across the table, ‘Guys! We are in a Twitter battle with the Portland Trail Blazers!’ you can imagine the confusion,” said Andrew Ashton, a student at Dixie State University. “I was wondering how we got their attention in the first place, because we are a small school in St. George, Utah, and they are preparing for the playoffs.”
Dixie State University announced the name change from the “Red Storm” to the “Trailblazers” Tuesday morning, and Portland responded to the tweet with simply, “One word, or two?” which caught a lot of the students by surprise.
“I thought we spelled our name wrong,” Haymond said, “I assumed that they had the correct spelling of the name, because they’ve always been called the Trail Blazers ever since they’ve been in the NBA. I honestly thought we were gonna back down from them, but instead we responded.”
After going back and forth the university seemingly finished the battle on Wednesday with a tweet bashing the Portland team for losing in the NBA finals in 1992.
“I think it was a refreshing surprise to some to see that a university could have some fun,” said Joel Griffin, Dixie State University’s coordinator of public relations. “When they first tweeted us with ‘One word or two?’ it was about trademark, but we’d done our homework. When they sent us the Damian Lillard gif with him shaking his head we thought, ‘Okay, they want to have some fun, so let’s go.’”
On Thursday, the university tried to reconnect with the Portland twitter by sending a picture of Lionel Hollins, a point guard on the 1977 championship Trail Blazer basketball team and Dixie State point guard from 1971 to 1973.
“Even though we teased them about the ’92 NBA finals we knew they had won a championship in ’77 and it turns out we have a strong tie to them outside of just our name; their point guard when they won the championship was Dixie State Alumnus Lionel Hollins,” Griffin said. “We made up a basketball card in our last reply to highlight that connection.”
After the announcement and throughout the week students and locals gathered around campus to take pictures with the new logo and mascot.
“It’s been a fun week here in St. George, and with the name and mascot change it looks like the students are even more excited than us common folk,” said Doug Miller, a St. George native for 15 years. “We’ve been through a lot of the name changes, and it seems like this one will stick for a while. It’s exciting to see what’s happened to this university in the last few years.”
“The university feels like it changed overnight. Brooks the Bison’s face is all over the campus and the students have been wearing their swag proudly and lining up hours before the events this week to get their hands on more. Dixie State’s Trailblazer identity is here to stay,” Griffin said.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Students at Utah State University dislike its Campus Story on Snapchat

By Braden Clark
Students at Utah State University have grown impatient with the lack of content on their school’s Snapchat campus story. The campus story is designed to highlight some of the qualities of the university, but some students feel like it’s not highlighting the right parts.
“It’s really strange and I often feel embarrassed for my school, because of the things that are posted on it,” said Monica Farfan, a student at Utah State. “There are a lot of strange things people post that get put on it, and whenever I watch it I’m confused why those pictures were chosen.”
The lack of content was really what bothered the students of the university, because the story doesn’t highlight the best parts of their campus. Certain events like a domestic violence awareness philanthropy event, the Utah State Greek’s Order of Omega awards banquet, or Big Brothers, Big Sisters youth carnival were all left off the feed completely that the students felt deserved to be on it appose to students singing in their dorm rooms.
Along with those problems students feel like the story should be a positive thing that incoming students can see what students are actually doing on campus, and not a negative.
“Hey Snapchat please take our campus snap away. We obviously don’t deserve it,” said Nadir Tekarli, the newly elected Utah State University Student Association’s business senator, over Twitter.
Snapchat introduced the campus story to the students of Utah State four weeks ago, and every week students have been displeased with either the content on the stories or the lack of content.
“We have so many amazing things happen here at Utah State that other universities don’t have, and that’s what should be highlighted,” said Logan Shomo, an independent outdoor photographer and student at Utah State Univeristy.
Snapchat announced the campus story back in October, 2014, but originally started out on four college campuses. As the popularity grew it spread to many colleges across the nation, and eventually landed in Logan, Utah, in early March.
When the creators of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, announced the campus story option they also said Snapchat will regulate each of the stories and what would go on each of the schools’ feeds.
Amanda DeRito, Utah State University’s social media coordinator, said the university’s campus story is curated by Snapchat, and nobody at Utah State chooses what goes up on the live feed.
“We aren’t able to influence what is shared through live stories,” DeRito said. They choose what they see as worthy or reflective of our campus, and I’ve heard from a few students that they are discouraged by what isn’t chosen for inclusion.”
“I just don’t understand how someone over at Snapchat could make the case, ‘Yeah, that is what Utah State is about’ so that’s confusing to me,” said Ricky Benitez, a student at Utah State. “How could they possibly know what we are all about here if they don’t live here or are from here?”
The feed goes live every Wednesday, and students submit their photos to the Snapchat database throughout the remainder of the day. Nothing has been done to change the school’s feed, but students are waiting for an improvement in selection.

“I think it would be great if we saw a little more variety in the stories after every week, but right now I would like to see Snapchat highlight our great outdoors we have here in Logan,” Shomo said.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Pi Kappa Alpha is crowned Utah State University step show champions for the second time

By Braden Clark
Friday night Pi Kappa Alpha, at Utah State University, was crowned the Utah State step show champions for the second time in a row.
“We trained for nearly two months, it seems, on our routine,” said Dontre Manual, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha. “It’s one of my favorite events all year here at Utah State, and my brothers and I get really focused on this competition. We expect to win every year, but every year the competition gets more difficult. Regardless, this is for a good cause and I’m always willing to help out and donate my time to philanthropy.”
Many groups from the university, and some from the University of Utah, competed in the event Friday night. With a red carpet theme each of the competitors were asked to make each performance based off popular movies. The night was kicked off by the Polynesian Student Union, who performed a Polynesian focused step routine.
“One of my favorite parts of this event is seeing all the different cultures, and creative minds from all the students,” said TJ Pratt, a Utah State alumni who hosted the event. “When I did this when I was here it was pretty exciting, but it’s come so far from then and I’m excited what the future holds for this event.”
Many movies were referenced such as Rocky, Creed, Magic Mike XXL, Slumdog Millionaire and Sandlot. Pi Kappa Alpha won the night with a tribute to Leonardo DiCaprio, and his Best Actor victory, where they performed a serious of scenes from his popular movies.
“Leo is in right now, and we thought that this was a great idea for our step performance,” Manual said.
USU’s step show went through a change last year where they made it a competition between participating groups. Theta Nu Xi and Psi Sigma Phi, the hosting multicultural sorority and fraternity, have been setting up this event for the students at USU since 2000.

“It seems like it grows every year, and I hope one day that the ballroom isn’t big enough for this event, and we can move it to the performance hall on the west side of campus,” said Kaly Mayombe, the president of Theta Nu Xi.