Health sciences degrees more student-friendly

Dixie State University is making significant changes to the school of health sciences by seeking to offer new degrees in exercise science and restructuring others to be more student-friendly.

The school of health sciences created a new department of health and human performance which has taken over for the physical education, health and recreation programs and is actively developing new curriculum and opportunities for students. The university is also considering degrees in health promotion, recreation and sports management, athletic training, and physical education teacher education.

“It is part of a 5 to 10 year plan,” said Patricia Wintch, interim dean of the school of health sciences and dental hygiene department chair.

Susan Hart has been appointed department chair of health and human performance and has been developing the program for the university since being hired three years ago.

Gaining approval for the new degree in exercise science has been a year-long process of scrutiny by the university and several committees, Hart said. It recently received approval by the Utah State Board of Regents for a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. Final approval for the program by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is not expected for 90 days.

If approved, the exercise program will enable students to participate in laboratory courses, gain practical knowledge from working with the population and within the industry, and will require an internship in the community to increase students’ experience in the job market. Upon completion, graduates will be prepared to pass a test, obtain necessary certifications and have the credentials needed to rapidly enter the workforce, Hart said.

Hart said it is expected 150 students will declare it as their major within the first year, and by the fifth year, the total number is predicted to increase to 300. Students are excited it will become available soon and think it would be a great addition to the region, Hart said. 

“We don’t yet have a program, and instead of decreasing enrollment, we’ve increased enrollment,” Hart said. “We are offering multiple sections, and we have wait-listed students we are letting in.”    

Although it is not yet officially available as a program of study, many related courses are filled to capacity.

This is the first step in considering other possible degrees for the program, Hart said. The department currently offers an integrated studies degree with an emphasis in recreation management that could develop into a four year degree program. Future courses could include commercial recreation, professional golf management and therapeutic recreation.

Plans are currently underway to build a new Human Performance Center that will house the new programs and replace the facilities currently housed at the Student Activities Center.

Pursuing the new exercise science degree is just one of many goals outlined in “Dixie 2020: Status to Stature,” which is the university’s strategic plan to expand its offerings.

The Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene has also undergone changes to enable completion within four years. Students have been taking nearly six years to complete a degree, but courses have been restructured to run concurrently and allow them to finish with a bachelor’s degree in four years.

“The plan was to streamline the process,” Wintch said. “They work so hard, they deserve it.”

The dental hygiene program also operates a dental health clinic that is open to the community and offers lower prices to DSU students and faculty. The clinic is housed on the first floor of the Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center located on the Dixie Regional Medical Center’s River Road campus at 1526 Medical Center Drive.

Volleyball warms up for conference play

Coming off one of the most successful seasons in Dixie State University’s volleyball history, the Storm    hoped to return to mid-season form with a warm-up contest against a team comprised of DSU alumni. 

DSU finished 17-3 in the Pacific West Conference last season and upset No. 1 nationally ranked Northwest Nazarene in the NCAA tournament before its campaign came to an end in the Sweet 16.

The alumni team, led by Nichole Koehler and Kara Cotter, both members of last year’s team, put up quite a fight. It led at some point in each set and even pulled off a win in the fourth. Ultimately, the Storm’s towering front line proved to be too much for the alumni to handle, blocking and spiking seemingly every ball in play. DSU’s size is an asset that head coach Robyn Felder said is a huge advantage. 

“Our defenders this year are ridiculous,” Felder said. “I’m 5 foot 11 inches and at practice, I feel small. I think our blocking and defense can be No. 1 in the [PacWest] conference.” 

Anchoring the Storm’s defense are returning middle blockers Makenzi Bird-Murphey and Lindsey Jones. Bird-Murphey, a senior communication major from St. George, started in 22 matches and posted a .279 hitting percentage, which ranks in the top 10 in DSU history. She added 142 kills and 54 total blocks, both among the leaders in those categories in the PacWest. 

Jones, a 6-foot-2 junior from St. George, is already proving to be a force in the middle for the Storm. She finished her sophomore season with similar numbers to Bird-Murphy, gathering 112 kills, 48 blocks and a hitting percentage of .339, landing her at second on Dixie’s all-time list. 

Also returning for DSU is libero Alex Anderson, who is 605 digs away from becoming the Storm’s all-time leader. Anderson, a senior biology major from Prescott, Arizona, has been a staple of consistency for DSU for the last two years, appearing in some capacity in every game since her sophomore season began. She has been awarded with All-PacWest honors in both her sophomore and junior seasons. 

Along with those familiar faces, the Storm will welcome five junior college transfers. Newcomers who, Anderson said, are fitting in perfectly. 

“I think that’s something [Felder] really stresses,” Anderson said. “In order to be a team, you really have to go outside your comfort zone. Our team has been really good at that.” 

Along with the transfers, seven freshman will be joining the DSU roster this year, adding some much needed depth. 

“We are excited to have some more depth at each position,” Felder said. “I can’t wait to see who steps up. I have big expectations for this group and I know they will rise to the challenge.” 

Felder is not the only one who has high expectations of this year’s squad, as Dixie received the most first place votes in the PacWest preseason poll with four. BYU-Hawaii also picked up four while California Baptist University and Point Loma Nazarene University were awarded three. The coaches’ poll resulted in the closest voting in the conferences history with CBU being tabbed as the No. 1 team coming into the season. PLNU took the No. 2 spot, BYU-H nabbed No. 3 and the Storm rounded out the top four. 

This season is shaping up to be a tightly contested one at the top of the PacWest as DSU looks to make its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. 

The Storm begins its season with an exhibition match Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. in the Student Activities Center against Colorado Mesa University.

Letter to the Editor: ‘Dixie’ means southern hospitality

   To me, the word “Dixie” means the quintessential of “southern hospitality.” Dixie is a word used to describe a more genteel world.  It harkens to a time when a person’s word was more binding than any legal contract and when neighbors took care of each other no matter the color of their skin. Everyone was welcome and treated with respect until they proved they did not deserve it. Sweet tea and honey biscuits were offered freely when you went to visit anyone. People were judged on the content of their character, not the color of their skin, political affiliation, religion or world views.

   In my experience, the only people that equate the word “Dixie” with racial disharmony are those who have never taken the time to experience the people of the southern region. Those people haven’t taken the time to understand that “Dixie” refers to a gentle state of mind, not to a politically-charged arguing point used to brow beat and subvert someone into thinking the same way as they do.

   “Dixie” has often been used to describe people as rebels. What is a rebel? Someone who does not blindly follow along with others simply because it is politically correct to do so. Rebels are those that stand up for the rights of all people regardless of color, religion or any affiliation.


Dave Gaspardo

Senior psychology major

St. George 

Storm women’s soccer striving to finish top in conference

Dixie State University played Western Wyoming Community College Saturday night in a scrimmage that ended in a 4-0 victory for DSU, a game DSU dominated in time of possession and goals scored. 

The game remained a scoreless tie until the 37th minute when DSU scored the first goal of the game, putting the Red Storm up 1-0 against WWCC. The score remained 1-0 going into halftime, but DSU would go on to score three more goals for an eventual 4-0 victory.

In the 60th minute, midfielder Kaisa Rogers, a senior accounting major from Springville, was taken down hard by a WWCC defender, resulting in a penalty kick for DSU that turned out to be successful, putting DSU up 2-0.

“I’ve been practicing penalty kicks for years and years,” Rogers said. “I was confident about scoring when I went up. I knew that I was going to make it.”

In the 88th minute, DSU added a fourth goal. After the ball bounced over the WWCC goalkeeper, Tori Washington, a criminal justice major from South Jordan, got into position behind the goal keeper and lightly kicked the ball into the net.

“I just read the play,” Washington said. “I watched what my teammates were doing and was able to put the ball in. I just want to work as hard as I can and leave everything on the field.”

For the majority of the game, DSU kept the ball in the WWCC end of the field, while only allowing four shots on goal.

DSU goalkeeper Danica Nusink made four saves and recorded her first shutout of the season. With the win on Saturday night, DSU improved to 2-0 on the season, remaining undefeated thus far. The DSU women have a goal to win their conference and reach the postseason.

“Our goal is to win,”said Rogers. “We want to play as a team and have good chemistry. Of all the four years that I have been here, this is the best team by far, and I am excited to see what we can do this season.”

Washington, who recorded a goal against WWCC and an assist against Heat 99 Football Club, agrees with her teammate Rogers that DSU has a goal of having a great season and making improvements.

“We want to finish top in our conference,” Washington said. “[We] also want to improve our record on away games.”  

 DSU out-shot WWCC 15-4. DSU officially opens the regular season on Sept. 3, vs Southern Utah University at 6 p.m. at Hansen stadium.

Foam dance wraps up Week of Welcome, breaks attendance records

With record attendance, the fifth annual Foam Dance at Dixie State University was the most successful end of Week of Welcome bash in its history.

Sarah Ramaker, vice president of student life and a senior dance major from Midland, Michigan, said an upward of 1,450 pre-sold tickets were purchased by students, bringing its total to more than 150 than last year. Over 1,500 students flowed into the foam-filled North Instructional Building plaza to celebrate the start to a new year at DSU.

Ramaker said DSU is founded on traditions such as the Foam Dance and the Dixie spirit thrives on it.

“It helps the incoming freshmen understand this spirit and what it can do for them,” Ramaker said. “This event and all others are for the students to bond with each other and to get to know their classmates.”

Ramaker and Luke Kerouac, assistant director of student involvement and leadership, along with the Student Life Committee have been organizing the Foam Dance for months.

Kerouac said booking the disc jockey, security, fencing and ticket sales were set up weeks and months in advance.

“It takes a crew of about 40-50 people the day of the dance to make sure everything happens smoothly,” Kerouac said.

Even with months of planning, not everything fell into place as the DSU Student Association intended. The usual host, DJ Marcus Wing, was involved in multiple accidents leading up to the event and left the responsibility with DJ Jorge.

With the usual host out of commission, students still flowed into the plaza with record numbers until DJ Jorge rang the bell at midnight.

Sydney Adams, a freshman general education major from South Jordan, said: “The Foam Dance was so sick. Everyone was just going so hard and dancing like crazy. I have never been to a dance party that intense. I can’t wait for the next one.”

The day after, buzz of the Foam Dance spread over social media with pictures in front of DSUSA’s wall mural and in the middle of knee-high foam.

Austin Moss, a sophomore general education major from West Valley, tweeted “Brace yourself for all the foam dance pictures, mine included.”

Kerouac said this year’s event featured a light package for the foam and aerosol chalk for the backdrop, helping students to capture this moment with their friends. DSUSA looks for new additions each year to increase the Foam Dance attendance and help excite students for a new year at DSU, Kerouac said.

Even if you don’t like the foam, everyone is drawn into social connection the Foam Dance provides for students.

“It’s a great way to meet new people,” Moss said. “I will end up going again next year even though I am not a huge fan of the foam.”

Ramaker said DSUSA looks forward to putting together many events throughout the year that will help students connect with each other and feel the Dixie spirit.


Try Something New: Student attempts food challenge at Ancestor Square

When college students think about the weekend, they think about parties, crazy adventures and lifelong memories. 

Ancestor Square is another magnificent place to make memories and have crazy adventures.

Ancestor Square is a shopping and restaurant area, that’s perfect for a date or even just hanging out with friends. Instead of visiting just one restaurant I tried the appetizer, main dish and dessert challenge.

The challenge consists of going to different places for each part of the meal, and the goal is to try things that you would not normally try. 

I went to Benja’s Thai and Sushi to start my challenge, which is a restaurant that serves sushi and Thai food. This is where I had my appetizer. When I first walked in, I noticed it was very quiet and had a peaceful feel. It was soothing and relaxing. I would definitely recommend this place to students after finals or a stressful day.

I ordered the potstickers, which are a combination of beef and mixed vegetables wrapped in thin dough and deep-fried to perfection. To complete the dish, the server gave me soy sauce to dip them in. I loved being able to dip them in sauce; it made them nice and juicy. 

My main dish was from The Pizza Factory. The feel of that restaurant was laid back and comfortable. It would be a fantastic place for just hanging out with friends. 

I ordered the build your own calzone. I chose six pizza toppings, which were mixed with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, wrapped in pizza dough and baked until golden brown. The finishing touch was dipping them in more tomato sauce.

I love pizza, but calzones are better. They are like pizzas, but without the mess.

Some other options on the menu are pizzas, pastas and a salad bar. The salad bar is cut fresh every day. Also, they have lunch specials every day before 3 p.m.

Lastly, for dessert, I went to the Sweet Tooth Fairy and ordered a strawberry shortcake cupcake.

It was a vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting and topped with a chocolate-dipped strawberry. I honestly love strawberries and combining them with sweets made my day. 

The Sweet Tooth Fairy also make a variety of sweets such as cinnamon rolls, brownies and cakebites. To top it all off, you get a free treat when you come in on your birthday.

Ancestor Square offers other restaurants like the Painted Pony and George’s Corner, as well as shops like The Nook, Bedard Gallery and The Mission Art Gallery. Also, every Saturday it has a local farmer’s market in the morning where guests can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Even if you don’t want to try this challenge, Ancestor Square is a great place to have fun and be with friends. If you really want to try something new in St. George, the food challenge at Ancestor Square is for you.










DSU’s name must evolve for university to reach potential

Dixie by any other name would smell as sweet. 

The unofficial nickname of the Confederacy, “Dixie,” was always just meant to be an epithet of the greater St. George area when cotton was grown here in the 19th century. It was never meant to be the official name of anything. 

However, the name stuck. The college that was founded here was named “Dixie in 1913, perhaps as an endearing tribute to the pioneers who founded the area. But whatever the reasoning for the name, it was abandoned in the 1950s when Dixie College adopted the “Rebels” mascot and other Confederate motifs. Confederate flags, costumes of Confederate soldiers, and even blackface are prevalant in the yearbooks of past decades at Dixie.     

Dixie State College eventually evolved in 2013 into the Dixie State University that we know today. While the “Rebels” mascot was dropped, the name refused to evolve. 

Brody Mikesell, the student body president of DSU in 2013, was among those who wanted the name changed. He was on the board of trustees that collectively voted to keep “Dixie” in the new university’s name.

Mikesell said while he was initially in favor of the name “Dixie” after students started voicing their opinion to him and doing some research on DSC’s history with Confederate imagery, he changed his mind. Mikesell started speaking out against keeping the name “Dixie.”

“Administrators came to me, pressuring me and telling me it would be inappropriate if I voted against the rest of the board (of trustees) in the vote to change the name or not,” Mikesell said. “So I gave in and voted to keep the name, ‘Dixie.’ They wanted to say the vote was unanimous.”

Mikesell said he now “deeply regrets” voting to keep the name. 

“Dixie’s isolation has driven a pride in this community to keep the name no matter what,” Mikesell said. “Arguments (to keep the name) are juvenile and emotion-driven. They’re not based on fact.”

The “fact” is, unless we adopt a new name for our school, DSU will never grow to its full potential as a university.

Several other universities around the country have rebranded themselves when their previous name was holding them back. When Beaver College in Pennsylvania became Arcadia University in 2001, applications doubled. Trenton State College was looking to increase its influence when it became College of New Jersey in 1996. And University of California, Hayward wanted to attract more students when it changed to University of California, East Bay in 2005. We wouldn’t be the first.  

The argument to change the name isn’t even about political correctness anymore. A name like “Dixie” on our diplomas won’t make much sense to a potential employer outside of Utah without an explanation. It’s informal and has too much negative historical baggage attached to it. This university would see much more growth and have a better reputation if it had a neutral name like “St. George State University.”

While DSU administrators have made it clear the name is not going to change anytime soon, the fight to change the name will only increase. Proponents for the name change will continue to speak out and educate the student body on the history and true meaning of the word until our voice is too loud to be ignored. DSU will have to change its name if enough students and faculty members demand it be updated.          

The name “Dixie” should remain a nickname. That is what it was always intended to be. It’s a 100-year-old tradition, but even traditions change over time. We can make it part of our mascot, like the “Aggies” for Utah State University.

It’s time for our university to let go, evolve, and pick a new name that is reflective of its aspirations for growth and its values of inclusiveness and open-mindedness.

New era for DSU athletics


The end of an era at Dixie State Athletics will now shuffle into the beginning of another.

Dixie State University Athletic Director Jason Boothe announced the addition of three members to the athletic administration this summer, just one of several big changes coming to the athletic program this year.

Following the departure of Kenny Cox, Jason Herbers and John Potter II, Boothe admitted he had some big shoes to fill before this year’s athletic season. He said he did just that with the changes that were made during the summer. 

Buddy Allen joins DSU as the coordinator of internal operations, where he will oversee all scheduling of athletic facilities, game day operations and summer camps. Before making the move to St. George, Allen was employed at his alma mater, Grand Canyon University. While in Phoenix, Allen gained the kind of experience and expertise that he said makes him a perfect fit at DSU. 

“I’m coming from a school that knows how to get people into games and really create an environment at the events,” Allen said. “That’s something that Dixie already does really well, but just being able to add my 2 cents is a big positive.”  

While still trying to adjust to the “colder” St. George weather, Allen said his job transition has been seamless. 

Steve Johnson, incoming associate athletic director for media relations, had an even easier transition, as he only had to move his office across the parking lot. Johnson served as DSU’s director of public relations, marketing, publications, trademarking and licensing for nine years before showing interest in the athletic department position. His experience in that department was what made him stand out to Boothe. 

“It’s a home run,” Boothe said. “With his familiarity with the school and his experience in PR, it was a natural fit and something we couldn’t pass up.”  

Prior to his arrival at DSU, Johnson spent eight years as the assistant sports information director at Southern Utah University. 

“Returning to this job is returning to my roots in athletic media relations,” Johnson said. “I’m eager to increase the visibility of the Dixie State athletic department across the Wasatch Front, Vegas and Southern California. That’s our role.” 

Keric Seegmiller was chosen to fill the shoes of John Potter II. Potter served as the assistant coordinator of media relations for DSU for six years. He was also the voice of athletics. Seegmiller acknowledges the role he has to fill but said he doesn’t feel any pressure.  

“John is great at what he does,” Seegmiller said. “He is very professional and he’s got a very recognizable radio voice, but I’m going to bring my own personality and bring a fun, uplifting experience to the fans. I love putting the headset on and the first time I do that, I won’t be worried at all about having to fill someone’s role.” 

Seegmiller is a lifelong resident of southern Utah and a graduate of DSU, something he sees as a big positive. 

“As a local, I feel I should really be able to connect with the fans on a personal level,” Seegmiller said. “I’m really excited to serve in that role and help the coverage of Dixie State blow up. This university is at a position to really take off, and I can’t wait to see it expand over the next couple years.” 

All three of the new personnel spoke adamantly of their intentions to grow the institutions name and likeness. 

“When we’re watching highlights and scores, we want to see Dixie State,” Seegmiller said. “People are going to know who we are.”


Netflix Roulette is gambling with entertainment

Netflix Roulette was a totally foreign idea to me until last week.

This website randomly selects a movie or TV show for you to watch from the Netflix database.  You can narrow results based on TV or movie, star rating, directors, actors and keywords.

In a world where it is easy to fall into a rut with TV and movies, Netflix Roulette is a creative method to expose yourself to new content on the streaming service. Although I am pretty particular with the films I watch, it was an interesting experience being completely at the mercy of random selection.

I was directed to roll a movie at random and watch the film all the way through. I’m not a gambler, but I got a little tingle of excitement before pushing the button. The first “movie” I rolled was “Aquarium for Your Home: Saltwater Reef.” For an hour all that was shown were fish swimming around coral and seaweed in a tank. After sitting through about two minutes of this, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stomach another 58. 

To spare my sanity, I was allowed another roll. The website rolled two movies that wouldn’t allow streaming in the United States. This was an eyebrow raising problem, so I decided to look into it. Apparently Netflix has some licensing limitations on certain titles they can stream, but are available through DVD-by-mail. It would be nice if Netflix Roulette would only roll options that are available to stream instantly.

After a few filter adjustments that narrowed the results,  I came up with “Wolf of Wall Street” directed by Martin Scorsese. Although I’ve seen this movie before, I watched it again because I wanted to have it fresh in my brain for a short review.

The film is about Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Belfort is a New York stock broker who starts out poor and becomes insanely rich through some questionable business and trading tactics. Eventually his wealth and drug use get chaotically out of hand, and Belfort’s life is completely ruined. He loses his family, most of his money, and eventually his freedom.

The film draws to mind themes of money, power, happiness and obsession. This is definitely not a family-friendly movie because of nudity, excessive drug use and swearing.  After about 30 minutes, you just become numb to the swear words. “Wolf of Wall Street” got a lot of controversial attention when it was released in 2013 because of the questionable content and 506 F-words. I firmly believe Scorsese didn’t put loads of profanity, nudity and drug use into the film just for fun. A good director like Scorsese has a direct purpose for what is shown in the movie; it is interesting to think about why he decided to include so much mature content. Without really witnessing Belfort’s life in explicit detail, we wouldn’t be able to fully empathize with his situation. During the last half of the movie, and witnessing how Belfort’s decisions had thrown his life out of control, I actually started to feel sad for him. If you are open-minded to mature content, I would highly recommend watching this movie.

The experience of not getting to choose my movie was completely out of my comfort zone. When it’s time for a movie, I usually know exactly what I’m in the mood for. I was skeptical about having a website choose a film for me to watch but was happy that it was one that I was familiar with and wasn’t completely awful. It will be a fun to continue using Netflix Roulette to discover new films.

New degrees in dance added

Students at Dixie State University can now dance their way to a diploma.

DSU administrators have announced the availability of a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree in dance beginning this fall. After the proposal for the degree was approved by the board of regents and multiple committees on campus, it finished the approval process on a state and national level in August. Previously, only a degree in integrated studies with an emphasis in dance was available.

Li Lei, a professor of dance and the director of the dance department, said it has been a long journey to get the dance program to where it is today.

Lei started at Dixie State College in 2000 as the first full-time dance professor and started the Dixie State Dance Company in 2001. She was the only full-time professor in the dance program for 12 years.

“I told the administration, ‘I expect in three years we can build a dance degree program,’” Lei said. “However, to handle all the coursework, we need more faculty.”

Thanks to years of her effort in expanding the dance offerings at DSU, there are now three full-time professors, several more adjunct faculty members, and student enrollment in the dance program has more than doubled.

Lei said having a bachelor’s in dance will not only be beneficial for students, but it will also propel the expansion of the university.

“It helps in recruiting and retaining,” Lei said. “A lot of dance students have to leave (and) transfer to other universities to pursue their degree.”

This new degree will also allow dance majors to more easily continue their education by pursuing a master’s degree after they graduate, which will bring more opportunities in dance-related professions.

Mikel Young, a sophomore dance major from South Jordan, said she is excited for the addition of the degree because it will bring more talent to the program.

“The dance degree will put [DSU] on the map,”  Young said. “For dancers, this will make [DSU] more appealing. I’m stoked because one feature that all great universities have is an excellent dance program.”

Lei said she doesn’t have an exact number of students majoring in dance yet because students are still signing up. She said she is looking for as many students as possible. Students are required to audition before they start the program to place them in the right classes to build their technical skills, but Lei said even some students with minimal experience have decided to be dance majors.

“Everybody dances,” she said.

Students and community members can see the dance students’ accomplishments in person by attending the end-of-semester dance class showing and the Fall Dance Concert in November in the Eccles Fine Arts Center.