Women drop second in a row

   Two consecutive losses this week plagued the Dixie State University women’s basketball team to a 4-14 overall record — the first of which pitted the Storm against Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

   The Storm came into the game following a victory against Chaminade University, but the good fortune didn’t hold up Tuesday night. 

   DSU shot for just under 44 percent from the field in the first half but allowed BYUH to connect on nearly 55 percent of its 3-point attempts. The Storm also committed nine fouls during the first half, which sent the Seasiders to the line 14 times. BYUH sunk 13 of those foul shots.

   “We just didn’t hit shots,” head coach Jenny Thigpin said. “At the end of the day, we didn’t execute and didn’t communicate in transition [defense], and that’s what hurt us. We have to be able to communicate in transition.”

   The Storm committed 19 turnovers, which helped allow the Seasiders to outscore them in every quarter of the game. DSU never led in the game and eventually fell by a final score of 92-79.

   Senior center Taylor Mann led the way for the Storm as she recorded a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds.  Sophomore guard Sandria Bolden recorded 14 points, while senior guard Leslie Tademy finished with 13 points and seven assists. Junior guard Tomorie Sangster chipped in 10 points in the losing effort.

   Following the loss, DSU returned home to take on the Hawaii Pacific University Sharks. This is the first and only matchup between the two teams this season.

   DSU grabbed the early lead 14-6 to start play in the first quarter. The Storm, however, were outscored 23-7 in the second quarter, which left them trailing at halftime by a score of 31-21.

  “We always talk about putting four quarters together,” Thigpin said. “As you can see, we only scored seven points in the second quarter. At halftime, we talked about getting back to our strengths and sticking to them.”

   The Sharks extended the lead to 46-31 in the third quarter before DSU trimmed the deficit to nine by the end of the quarter.

   “Our defense helped us get back into the game in the second half,” said senior guard Chermayne Moore, a psychology major from Pinole, California. “They did a good job at limiting our runs, though. I think we did all that we could do, but some possessions just didn’t swing our way.”

   The Storm kept fighting in the fourth quarter. Every DSU run was matched with an equal run by the Sharks until the Storm had cut the score to 60-56 with just under four minutes to go.

   Clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch for the Sharks helped them hold off the rallying Storm, and DSU fell by a final score of 70-61.

   “We need to be able to execute down the stretch in games like this,” Moore said. “If we play all four quarters and play lock-down defense, we will be able to come out on top going forward.” 

   The Storm shot just 37 percent from the field, while the Sharks found the net on 44 percent of their 3-point shots. DSU also allowed 24 points off its 21 committed turnovers throughout the game. 

   “Shots were going in, but I think our defense could have been better,” said guard Tramina Jordan, a red-shirt freshman and general education major from Las Vegas. “We took a few possessions off on the defensive end and were just too relaxed down the stretch.” 

   Mann led the DSU offense in the loss with a double-double, 26 points and 15 rebounds. Moore was the only other player in double figures with 10 points. Jordan put in seven points for the Storm. 

   “Our guards need to be more aggressive,” Thigpin said. “We want [them] to be able to get the ball into the paint by attacking the defense. Sometimes it’s the other way around, and we can’t let that happen.”

   The Storm will now take a seven-day hiatus and will host California Baptist University Saturday before taking on the Academy of Art University Feb. 11. Both games are at 5 p.m. inside Burns Arena.

Avoid asking active military, veterans ignorant questions

 Being in the military is a blessing and a curse.

   Crazy cool benefits, job protection, serving the country, and no lines for the bathrooms or showers if you’re a female, are only a few perks. 

   However, the cons are waking up early, the hurry-up-and-wait game, and answering questions from civilians about what military life is like.

   So, here’s a list of stuff you want to know and say to military members past and present  but shouldn’t ask or say. This will save you a ton of embarrassment you don’t know you have coming. You’re welcome in advance.  

“So, is basic training hard?”

   Are you serious? What kind of question is that?

   If you’re thoughtless enough to ask, then, for you it probably would be. 

   However, if you’re reading this article, you might actually wonder, so I’ll tell you: It’s actually a huge let down. 

   The hardest part of basic training or boot camp is putting up with the idiots to your left and right who constantly get the entire platoon in trouble because they can’t even seem to breathe right. 

   Yeah, waking up at 4:45 a.m. isn’t a walk in the park at first, but you get a lovely wake up call from your drill sergeants, making you up and at ‘em in no time. 

   Coffee? Who needs it when you have an angry instructor with a megaphone?

“I bet you could kick my ass, huh?”

   One of the most major misconceptions is that all service members are trained at an advanced level of hand-to-hand combat. 

   There are definitely people in the military who could lay you out with one swoop. We refer to them as special forces, MARSOC, SEALs and rangers, and any of the other elite forces. 

   A regular Joe could probably still put up a decent fight, but the majority of soldiers do not have that Hollywood style of crazy warrior ninja skills you think they do.   

“Have you ever killed anyone?”

   I’m pretty sure most of you know better, yet some still ask. One of three things is going to happen.

   A: The veteran is going to be brutally honest with you and include all the gory details.    

   You’ll get your answer and the opportunity to sit through an extremely awkward period of time with no idea how to respond. Here’s a hint: If he or she is telling you after you ask, the veteran is not looking for your sympathy or empathy. You asked and the service member told. 

   B: You will ask a veteran who has and bring up painful memories he or she doesn’t want to live through again.

   C: You’ll ask a service member who hasn’t. Although there’s no negative repercussion for this scenario, eight times out of 10, he or she will think less of you for asking.

“Wow, you don’t look like someone who would be in the military.”

   This is one I have personally experienced quite a bit, and, frankly, it  makes people look and sound ignorant. 

   I don’t think much of it, but those are the kinds of comments you keep to yourself because it makes you look small-minded. Service members come in all shapes, colors and sizes.

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll get deployed or whatever?”

   Here’s the thing: We didn’t take an oath to not deploy. That’s why we joined the military, and you decided somewhere in or after high school it wasn’t for you. 

   Most slick sleeves, which is an Army term for someone without a deployment patch, are eager to deploy. The reasons vary. The brotherhood,  experience,  excitement and the opportunity to do our part and become part of history are all reasons why we enlisted.

   Just like any other group of people, veterans cannot be lumped into one big category.   

   There are a good chunk of veterans out there who couldn’t care less about this entire list. However, avoiding these questions  altogether is never going to make you look stupid.

Storm front returns to Burns Arena

   Dixie State University basketball hit the ground running after returning home from a road trip that landed it in the Hawaiian Islands. 

   Following a 2-1 stint in the Aloha State, the Storm came back to Burns Arena to start a season-long five game home-stand, and it paid dividends in the 84-63 win over Hawaii Pacific University. 

   “It’s always good to be able to come back home after a long road trip,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “I think we played with an energy and chemistry that I hadn’t seen in a while, and I think the home crowd had something to do with it.” 

   The crowd, 3,167 strong, gave a warm welcome to Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky for the night. Rocky performed acts during timeouts, including a dunk-show that was only rivaled by sophomore guard Trevor Hill’s first-half slam. 

   Hill blocked a shot on one end of the floor and then euro-stepped around a Shark defender on his way to a posterizing dunk that gave DSU, and the crowd, a huge boost of energy. 

   The dunk gave the Storm an early lead that they never relinquished. They led wire-to-wire en route to the 20-point victory and, in DSU fashion, upset the favorited HPU Sharks.

   Senior forward Mark Ogden Jr. continued his high level of play by tallying 26 points on 12-17 from the field and pulling in 13 rebounds. Ogden electrified the crowd with a dunk of his own in the second half, this one off of a pass from senior guard Robbie Nielson. 

   “Now we just need to be consistent and play like this every night,” said Ogden Jr., a business administration major from Spring Valley, California. “Teamwork is a major key.”

   Senior guard Mason Sawyer had 16 points in the win, going 4-8 from distance and adding four rebounds and three assists. On Sawyer’s third make from beyond the arc, he moved into sole possession of third place on DSU’s all-time 3-pointers made list (112), behind only DeQuan Thompson (130) and Tom Whitehead (145). 

   “We have to keep stringing together good practices and keep having fun through the process,” said Sawyer, a psychology major from West Jordan. “Our record isn’t what we hoped it would be at this point, but we understand how much we still have to play for.” 

   Sophomore guard Brandon Simister kept up his hot shooting from Hawaii. He tacked on 13 points on 3-5 from the filed and 7-7 from the charity stripe. 

   The Storm, now 7-5 in Pacific West Conference play, 10-8 overall, put themselves in position to control their own destiny down the stretch. The top six teams make the conference tournament, and Saturday’s win moved DSU into a tie for that coveted sixth place. 

   “We knew it was a big game for us,” Sawyer said. “We tried to make the easy play and didn’t force or rush any shots. It all seemed to click and come together tonight.”

   Next up for the Storm is another Saturday night home matchup against a higher ranked PacWest foe, this time against California Baptist University. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. in Burns Arena.

DSU softball reloading for another championship run

   After coming up just one win shy of a national championship two years in a row, the No. 2 Storm are ready to take the country by storm once again. 

   2014 and 2015 were both record-breaking years for the DSU softball team, and 2016 looks to be just as exciting. 

   The 2014 season resulted in a school-record 51 wins and a heartbreaking loss to West Texas A&M University in the national title game. Even after setting the bar so high, the Storm exceeded expectations and broke their own record with 52 wins and another title game appearance in the 2015 campaign.  

   The Storm were selected this year by coaches to repeat as Pacific West Conference champions and slated as the No. 2 team in the country behind University of North Georgia, the team that beat DSU 5-0 in the NCAA final last May.

   Head coach Randy Simkins, however, said the team hasn’t accomplished everything it wanted to just yet. 

   “Our goal every year is to improve off of what we did in the past,” Simkins said. “The only way to really improve now would be to win a national championship. We can’t go in with that mindset, though. We have to take it one pitch at a time, and we’ll put ourselves in a good position in the end.”

   The 2015 PacWest Coach of the Year has an exceptional chance to do exactly that as he returns numerous pivotal players from previous years. 

   DSU, along with being picked to win its fourth consecutive conference championship, return a conference leading four preseason All-PacWest selections. 

   Senior pitcher Aryn Feickert finished last season 20-5 with a 2.18 ERA and 146 strikeouts. Feickert is the only DSU player to ever throw a perfect game, and was named the Preseason PacWest Pitcher of the Year. 

   Sophomore outfielder Janessa Bassett was a first team All-American last year and was awarded with NFCA honors as the nation’s top freshman after batting an astounding .449 and holding down the Storm outfield. Even with all the individual accolades, Bassett said she’s only focused on the goals of the team. 

   “There’s always a little bit of pressure,” said Bassett, a biology major from Stansbury Park. “If anything, it serves as a reminder of how hard we worked for our achievements last year and how hard we have to work to just as well or better this year.” 

   Junior infielder Brooklyn Beardshear is coming off of a First Team All-PacWest season and repeated Bassett’s sentiments. 

   “We still have the expectation to be just as good or better than we were last year,” said Beardshear, an exercise science major from Tucson, Arizona. “We have a new team, and it will take a lot of hard work and team chemistry to get where we want to be.” 

   2015 third-teamer Mallory Paulson batted .301 on 47 hits and six home runs. Beardshear was formidable from the plate, matching Paulson’s six home runs and batting in 40 RBIs. The junior spent sparing time in the circle for the Storm in 2015, accumulating a 2.36 ERA, something she’s expected to do a lot more of this year. 

   The Storm lead off their season Friday as they welcome some of the top teams in the country to St. George. DSU begins season play against No. 13 Humboldt State and follow it up with a Saturday matchup against West Texas A&M, the 2014 national champs. In addition, the Storm will round out the season-opening home stand facing Colorado State University-Pueblo Sunday.

Uninsured children receive dental hygiene care at DSU

Luis Candray, 8, wants to become a dentist when he grows up after receiving dental care from the Dixie State University dental hygiene department Saturday. 

The Give Kids a Smile event at the Russell C. Taylor Health Science Building provided free dental treatments to local children who don’t have insurance or Medicaid. It was the first time since 2013 this event was held to help. 

“It makes me want to help a lot of people clean their teeth now,” Candray said. 

Candray was among the 87 children who received dental hygiene care at the event. In some cases where cavities were bad, restorative work, crownings and extractions were performed on the children. Twelve local dentists, over 40 DSU dental hygiene students and many other volunteers from the community helped with the event. 

Patricia Wintch, interim dean of the school of health sciences and dental hygiene, said there are many low-income people in the community who don’t have insurance or Medicaid and can’t afford dental treatment.

“We’re trying to fill that need,” Wintch said. “Plus, it gives wonderful experience to our students.”

Brooklyn Hansen, a junior dental hygiene major from Santa Clara, volunteered at the event as a Spanish translator and dental assistant and said helping the patients was rewarding and helped build teamwork skills. 

“As a student, knowing how important oral health is, it just makes me so happy to be able to provide care for all of these people who can’t afford it,” Hansen said. 

Other dental hygiene students conducted X-rays on the patients, sterilized dental tools, administered sealants, and helped teach children and their families about oral health. Wintch said it was chaotic at first because, for some students, this event was their first experience with real-life patients. 

Hansen translated for people who couldn’t speak English like Milagro Lopez, a St. George resident who brought her two children to the event to receive dental hygiene work.

“A lot of families can’t afford insurance, so this event is helping our family a lot,” Lopez said in Spanish. “Our kids benefited a lot. I hope to see more events like this in the future, especially for those who couldn’t make it today.” 

Susan Tipton, sales representative for Henry Schein Dental, the organization that donated all of the dental supplies for the event, said uninsured children were found through local elementary schools.

“I’ve seen cases where the child has not received any dental hygiene work at all, and all their teeth are decayed,” Tipton said. “And when their teeth are all blown out, it really hurts for them to chew.”

Wintch said there were so many community members who came for dental care at the event that some walk-ins had to be turned away.

“Some dentists who couldn’t come have offered vouchers to see patients that were turned away in their private offices,” Wintch said. “There are not a lot of resources for uninsured people in the community who need dental work done.”

Photo by Jess Arruda. 

Speakers represent Republican presidential candidates for straw poll at DSU

Making the case for why their candidate should become the next commander in chief, representatives from several 2016 Republican presidential campaigns visited Dixie State University Saturday.  

The Southern Utah GOP Straw Poll was hosted by the DSU College Republicans and the Dixie Republican Forum, and it allowed a place for community members and students to vote on their favorite candidate. Republican candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul were all represented at the event by speakers who were each given eight minutes to speak.  

Cruz won the poll with 43 votes. He was followed by Rubio with 13 votes, Trump with 5, Christie with 3 and Fiorina with 3. The results were similar to the results of the Iowa Caucus Monday, where Cruz won with 28 percent of the Republican vote, followed by Trump and Rubio.

Uriah Hernalsteen, a junior elementary education major from St. George and president of the DSU College Republicans, said he helped organize the event because it’s important for students to be informed about what’s going on in politics.

“Everyone who’s registered to vote has an opportunity to say something with their vote, which is why they should keep an eye on what’s going on politically,” Hernalsteen said. 

Political rhetoric and jabs at the Democratic Party were common in many of the speeches. Willie Billings, the representative for Fiorina, said federal overreach on Utah land ownership will become a deciding part of the election in Utah.  

“The only reason the feds still own so much of Utah land is because tens of thousands of Utahns haven’t stood up to them in protest yet,” Billings said. “Utahns are sick and tired of sissy leadership in the Democrats, and we want change.”

This year’s straw poll was the first one at DSU and was more of a trial run, Hernalsteen said. 

“I’m hoping this will become a yearly event and that more students will show up in the future,” Hernalsteen said. 

Angela Harrison, a volunteer for Utah for Cruz from Toquerville, said it was helpful for people to come to the event and hear a live speaker on behalf of the GOP candidates.

“For a lot of college students, they have so much going on in their lives that maybe politics may be the last thing they think of to spend their time on,” Harrison said. “We need millennials to be involved in politics and learn how they can make a difference.” 

As a registered Democrat, McKade Christensen, a senior communication major from St. George, said he attended the event to learn more about the Republican candidates even though he wouldn’t be voting for any of them. 

“Even though I disagree with a lot of the policies, I wanted to come to hear what [the Republican candidates] could offer,” Christensen said.

Christensen said it especially scared him when the representative for Rand Paul spoke on wanting to end the National Security Agency’s surveillance on Americans because “the NSA has caught a lot of bad things that would have happened by using domestic surveillance.” 

“I think it’s really important to voice our opinion, to become well informed, (and) to really know what the issues are about instead of just relying on what we were raised off of or what our grandparents think,” Christensen said. “We need to have our own well-informed opinion on what the facts are.”

Students and community members fill in their ballots at the Southern Utah GOP Straw Poll Saturday. Ted Cruz won the most votes at the event. Photo by Spencer Ricks.

Board of trustees talks SunTran deal, plans to jack up enrollment

Although freeing up campus parking lots and bringing in more students sound like contradicting ideas, those are exactly the things Dixie State University administrators are pushing for.

DSU faculty members, officials and board members presented at the board of trustees meeting Friday morning. Along with routine business like awarding tenure to faculty members, listening to the status of various building projects, and going over the university’s budget, Friday’s meeting revealed detailed information on a deal between DSU and SunTran, St. George’s most popular public transportation vehicle.

SunTran deal 

Paul Morris, vice president of administrative services, said all faculty, staff and students, both full and part time, are now able to ride the SunTran at no cost to them. 

“We think this is a great initiative to get cars off the road and help free up cars from the parking lots,” Morris said.

Although it’s free for anyone with a student ID, the university is paying $3 for full-time and $1.50 for part-time faculty, students and staff. The university paid about $20,000 in total to SunTran.

“[This deal] is a great value, I think, for the campus,” Morris said.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike said the deal will help the city overall, and SunTran is working on adding larger bike racks to the buses.

In addition to the SunTran deal, Morris said a rental car service will be offered to complement the new student housing project. He said hopefully three to five rental cars will be available for student, faculty and staff use.


Brett Schwartz, director of new student programs, kicked off the first board of trustees meeting of the semester with a recruitment update. His department’s goal for fall 2016 is to raise total enrollment to 10,000. Schwartz said it’s a lofty goal, but it’s one the university is on track to meet.

One concern brought up by members of the faculty senate was that an increase of students would need to be supported by an appropriate amount of faculty as well. 

“We want to make sure everyone is prepared in advance so people aren’t caught off guard and surprised,” said Erin O’Brien, faculty senate president and chair of the biology department. “The growth is exciting; we just want to make sure the capacity is there and everybody is ready.” 

Schwartz said new strategies have been implemented in order to reach these goals. 

“We couldn’t just do what we’ve done in the past and expect major results,” Schwartz said. 

The new plan involves increasing what Schwartz referred to as the “enrollment funnel,” which describes the process of turning prospective students to registered students. Increasing campus tours, waiving application fees, awarding scholarships early on, hiring new recruiting officers, and sending SWAG boxes to students who have been admitted are the ways he hopes to increase enrollment. 

“The earlier you can offer a scholarship, the more likely you can get that student to come,” Schwartz said. 

Student association 

In addition to a projected increase in enrollment numbers, Student Body President Matt Devore, a junior integrated studies major from Mesquite, Nevada, said DSU’s Student Association is seeing and expecting an increase in student involvement. 

Devore said DSU’s clubs have doubled their service hours, and DSUSA’s service branch logged 2,347 hours last semester. Student life also saw an increase in attendees last semester, Devore said. 

“This is where students get that full college experience,” Devore said.

Luke Kerouac, a DSU alumnus and previous coordinator of student life, has been chosen as DSUSA’s new director of student involvement and leadership. 

Mental health awareness is an initiative that student body presidents across the state have been working on together, Devore said. The campaign’s slogan is “Stand up to stigma,” and a video featuring representatives from every university in Utah is in the works.

“It’s become apparent that this is an issue,” he said. 

Devore said he’s going to work on pushing for more counseling centers. 

“We want to be able to hire more people, so students don’t have to wait so long to see someone,” Devore said.

However, Dean of Students Del Beatty said three days is the longest any student has had to wait to be seen at the Health and Wellness Center. Pike said whether it’s a pressing issue at DSU or not, he applauds the effort. 

“It’s something we can all do together to make sure we’re not just blind to it,” Pike said.

Alpine mayor resigns to volunteer as entrepreneur mentor at DSU

Plans for a new entrepreneurial program are on the horizon at Dixie State University with help from the former mayor of Alpine.

Don Watkins, who stepped down as mayor of Alpine Jan. 21, will be volunteering as an “entrepreneur in residence” at DSU, working with other faculty members to build a program that teaches students entrepreneurial skills. Watkins has volunteered as a mentor at Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University in the past.

The program

The school of business has been looking into an entrepreneurial program for some time, said Kyle Wells, dean of the school of business and communication.

It takes a certain personality type to be able to deal with the risk and pressures of running a business, Wells said. 

“Part of the goal of the program is to find those individuals with that drive and that ability,” Wells said. “The ones that have that drive and the education are more likely to succeed than the ones who just have the drive or just the education.”

Wells is taking examples from entrepreneurial programs at BYU-Hawaii and Weber State University to get an idea of what is successful. He said he is hoping the program will be available by fall 2016 but said there are many factors out of his control.

Wells sent an initial proposal to the dean’s council and President Biff Williams, but he said it is all still quite preliminary. He is hoping to roll out an entrepreneurial certificate that doesn’t require prerequisites in business.

“A biology student or a music student could come in and take these classes to get a certificate,” he said.

The program will be low investment and high reward, including classes that already exist, which means not many new classes or faculty members will need to be added.

“We have to start small,” Wells said. “We have to take an entrepreneurial approach to this development.”

Garett Garcia, a senior business administration major from St. George, said he is excited for the program to come to DSU. He said he hopes he will have enough time to get the certificate before he graduates. He said DSU doesn’t have many options for entrepreneurs, and they are much needed. 

“It’s about time,” he said.

The former mayor

After serving in Alpine in various positions for about nine years, Watkins resigned as mayor Jan. 21. Watkins said Alpine is in excellent condition and feels he could be of better service to students at DSU. His official term as mayor would have ended December 2017.

“Entrepreneurs love to be part of startups,” Watkins said. “Being a part of [DSU] starting up a new entrepreneurship program was something I could not pass up.”

With 40 years of experience as an entrepreneur, Watkins said he is looking for opportunities to serve as he shares stories of his failures and successes with students.

“I love working with the students, teaching classes and working with them one-on-one,” Watkins said.

Watkins’ first experience starting a business was as a student at BYU. He said, as a young man, he developed his own real estate construction company.

“I thought I’d be a cocky 30-year-old millionaire,” he said.

When interest rates skyrocketed, Watkins said he was lucky not to go bankrupt.

He went on to start a company that sold computer accessories and went into the business of auto cleaning supplies two years ago. Some car air freshener products that Watkins’ company sells are “Refresh your car” and “Bahama & Co.”

Watkins is still residing in Alpine, and for the next six to nine months, said he is planning on commuting from Alpine to St. George on a weekly basis.

“I hear the best things about Dixie students,” Watkins said. “I absolutely love St. George, the people and the environment.”

Taking easy classes can be damaging

Taking easy classes in order to boost your GPA might actually be damaging to your transcript.

According to Ryan Hickey, Petersons & EssayEdge’s article, “How Getting an Easy A Can Hurt You,” the authors state the problems with taking electives just to boost your GPA. The main points they make in the article are transcripts are reviewed holistically, cruise courses make a student look less focused, and employers generally look at grades of required coursework, not elective credits. 

“I’ve heard a bunch of students say that [taking classes for an easy A] helps, but every adviser I’ve talked to said it doesn’t,” said Sariah Holsinger-Backer, a freshman nursing major from St. George.

Andrew Skaggs, employer outreach for the career center, said it depends on a student’s plan whether or not grades, or even classes on his or her transcript, matter. He said in more academic venues, potential employers would look at a potential employee’s grades and maybe specific classes.

Skaggs said lacking real-world experience can be somewhat compensated for by having classes on your transcript that are considered electives but teach a useful skill. For example, extra computer skills classes can help students look knowledgeable to future employers.

“It’s another hoop you have to jump through to make you as attractive to employers as possible for grad schools,” Skaggs said.

Katie Armstrong, assistant director of academic advisement, also said it is important for students to know what grades they will need to achieve their career and academic goals. She said if students plan to attend graduate schools, they need good grades. Since they know they’ll need better grades, they should plan to study harder in the beginning, she said.

“Every HR person I’ve ever talked to says GPA won’t give you the job, but it will keep you from getting the job,” Skaggs said. 

Skaggs said it’s a lot easier to drop your GPA than raise it up. Retaking classes only looks bad if you did worse the second time.

The Dixie State University policy is to count the most recent grade on a student’s transcript. Students should meet with their adviser to determine whether repeating classes is necessary. Armstrong said there are classes to boost a GPA that don’t necessarily reflect badly. She said the fitness center classes are a good example. In the fitness center, students improve their health and get a little GPA boost if they do well.

Armstrong said she encourages students to look beyond grades and focus on learning and taking classes that expand their skills and qualifications.

Ask yourself why you are taking the class. Is it for an easy A, or do you want to expand your knowledge? Armstrong said if students still aren’t sure whether taking a class is a good choice, they should talk to their academic adviser.

“I always recommend that a student discuss course options, and even elective course options, regularly with the academic adviser in their major,” Armstrong said.

Making sure students have a purpose behind taking an elective is important, Armstrong said. If students are undeclared, they should take a variety of courses in order to determine which major they would most like to study.

“College is so much more than earning good grades for coursework,” Armstrong said. “It’s about rigorous learning, thinking critically, working hard in a subject area that is unfamiliar, and really challenging yourself and your ideas.”

Participants in alternative spring break to travel to New Orleans

Some Dixie State University students will get the chance to help those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina more than 10 years after the disaster. 

Gabbie Holbrook, a senior integrated studies major from Taylorsville and alternative breaks coordinator for the DSU Student Association, said she looked through different location spots and projects to decide what destination to choose for the alternative break.

The alternative break program is where students get the chance to go to different places and do service-oriented projects on academic breaks. A group of DSU students went to San Francisco for spring break last year.  

“When it comes to this alternative break, you can’t just look at the location,” Holbrook said. “You have to look at what service projects would be offered and what’s going to make the biggest impact.”

The poverty level in Louisiana increased, homes are still in need of repairs, and people are still living in temporary homes after hurricane Katrina and hurricane Isaac made landfall, Holbrook said.

Dillon McKinney, a junior mathematics major from St. George and vice president of service, said he was surprised when he heard New Orleans was still in need of disaster relief.

“That’s something you don’t really think about because mass media and everything [have] this huge coverage and huge push for it, but then, after a year or two, it dies down, and you kind of just assume the problem is fixed,” McKinney said.

The group that is going on the trip will be staying with a camp called Camp Restore, a nonprofit organization that focuses on service and the community, and they will be doing any service that is needed in the area like construction work, painting schools and planting, Holbrook said.

The main goals of the trip are to expand the alternative breaks program, which has only been around for a year, create a service and cultural experience for students, and alleviate some of the stress from the work that still needs to be done in New Orleans, McKinney said. The main theme of the trip is disaster relief.

The trip will take place March 5-12. There are 12 people going on the trip and only one spot left. The deposit of $200 to go on the trip is due Thursday.

Shelby Thomas, a sophomore nursing major from Payson, said she chose to go on the trip because of the opportunity to do service work and to experience the culture and atmosphere of New Orleans.

“I feel like it’s a thing that’s overlooked just because it’s something that happened so long ago, and it’s just crazy that they’re still living in poverty, and they’re still living in homes that aren’t really homes,” Thomas said.

McKinney said St. George is not the only place that needs service. 

“It’s a constant process that needs devoted and really dedicated individuals to help out with the process to strengthen communities,” McKinney said.