Killer fees overwhelm DSU students

For students who are already burdened with the cost of tuition and rent, the last thing they want to think about is an awaiting list of even more fees.

We usually anticipate paying for tuition, class fees and books, but it is easy to forget about the smaller expenses that can add up. You’ll need supplies like pencils and paper for note taking, furnishings for your dorm, and if you drive to campus, it’s guaranteed that you’ll need a parking pass. These costs are easily overlooked, and when it boils down to it, if you’re anything like me, you may have gone way over what you’d expected to spend before the first week was even over.

When I began my freshman year, the extra costs were like a slap to the face. Did I really have to purchase a $100 access code for a class that I was already paying for, or $200 for a book that I’d probably never touch after the semester ended? I couldn’t believe my eyes. If the university had warned me about the additional expenses before the semester started, I could’ve been better prepared. Dealing with the pressure of moving and starting school was already enough; I didn’t need the added stress. 

Dixie State University should better inform its students of other expenses besides tuition that may be incurred. On the main tuition and fees page of the website, there is no mention of other possible expenses. If you do a little digging, you may find the outdated page listing budget and cost information for the 2016 to 2017 school year. 

If DSU provided an estimated cost of materials under each course description in the catalog or on myDixie, it would help students be better prepared. Budget and cost information cannot be lumped into generalized categories because the cost of supplies and course fees vary from course to course. The budget of an art student who must pay for various art tools and supplies will be different than the budget of a psychology student. A simple list of approximate prices for access codes, textbooks, and course fees per class would help enormously. If I could add up how much each of my classes would cost, I’d know how much to save up over the summer.

The university does partner with St. George and the Washington County School District to offer Community Education at DSU. Community Education offers non-credit courses to the community, including a few classes on financial success. These classes offer a great opportunity to learn what to do in financial crisis, how to prevent it, and how to better plan out finances.

A mandatory seminar on budgeting for freshman may help students be better prepared for the financial burdens of college. DSU should mandate a class prior to entering college to equip its students with the knowledge they need to tackle their finances. Students often take a year or more off from college because it ended up costing more than they planned for and they can no longer afford it. Not everyone has older siblings or parents to tell them what to expect; so it’s up to DSU if it wants to retain its students, to make sure people know what they’re getting into.

Now that I’m in my third year, I’ve gotten a little more used to all the extra expenses, but I still feel stunned as I watch my bank account balance drop lower and lower at the start of each semester. I remember how painful it was to experience that as a freshman, but just know that you’re not alone.

Speak up, take action against sexism

In an industry dominated by men, I feel the need to stand up for women who believe they’re not adequate enough for their jobs. 

If you asked me a couple of years ago if I was feminist, I’m ashamed to say I would have said no. But here I am, editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, wondering why there are looks of surprise and uncertainty when someone comes into the newsroom and says, “I’m looking for the editor-in-chief of the Dixie Sun,” and I say, “That would be me.” 

For me, being a feminist means believing in equality. I expect to be held at the same standards as men, and I expect to receive the same respect men do.

Normally I wouldn’t let actions like strange looks or microagressions bother me because sometimes it’s unintentional, but as a leader of an organization, I can’t falter to those who think a man would be better suited for the job I have. I know I have the capabilities and stamina it takes to keep up with this job.

Unfortunately, I’ve had men and women in my life tell me I’d be better suited as a dental hygienist or a receptionist. There’s nothing wrong with those jobs, but I’m a journalist at heart, and I’m not afraid to show I have what it takes to compete for what I want in this field. But it’s frustrating that women like myself will have to work harder when that competition is against men. 

According to an article titled “Where are the women?” on niemanreports.org, 37.2 percent of journalists in 2013 were women, which is only a 0.3 percent difference from 1998. When it comes to management positions, the Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media found men occupy 73 percent of those positions.

I never came into this job thinking, “I’ll try my best, but my best probably isn’t as good as a man’s would be.” But I did know I would handle certain situations differently than a man would. I’ve had my fair share being around men in management positions, and I’d like to think that I’m more sensitive and understanding than some men I’ve worked with. But at the same time, I’ve also worked with sensitive, good-hearted men, and I’ve worked with women who are tough and don’t let something like maternity leave stop them from completing their duties. These are just stereotypes.

Ladies, it’s OK not to fit into society’s norm of what a CEO, a businesswoman or a manager should be. But we need more women in these positions to make our voices heard.

The argument of sexism in the work force and the gender gap with wages won’t go away for some time, but if we continue to stand up to people who question our capabilities as women, we can make strides. We’ll continually be questioned, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

When they say, “You’d be better as a caretaker,” you say, “I’m even better at my job.”

When they say, “No sweetie. I can do that for you,” you say, “No thanks. I can do it myself.”

When they say, “Make sure to look pretty for work,” you say, “My looks have nothing to do with my work performance.” 

Rebrand extends to university fight song

As Dixie State University continues its rebranding, it’s out with the old and in with the new fight song. 

“We’re Trailblazers, and that’s who we are, and we are going to blaze this trail and this is going to be a tradition that is going to last forever,” said Kiel Lambson, a sophomore business administration major from Santa Clara.

Most universities have a school song and a fight song, but DSU is an exception. For many years DSU has been using its school song as the fight song.

During the freshman orientation, student government unveiled a new fight song for incoming students.

“The fight song is a way to get more people involved in the games and going to games and getting people cheering together and the fight song does that,” said Alisa Amussen, a freshman accounting major from Pleasant Grove.

Merrilee Webb, director of raging red and special projects, produced the fight song with help from the Fandom Committee and President Biff Williams to help rebrand athletic events with the Trailblazer identity. 

The lyrics reflect how, despite the rebrand, DSU students will continue to thrive within traditions and history by saying, “Our strength and tradition have brought us this far will fight until the end, we know who we are.”

Everyone will be able to hear the debut of the fight song on Sept. 16. Before the debut, the fight song will be featured on various social media outlets so students are aware of the new fight song. 

“The fight song will serve as a big recruiting tool for future students,” said Cajun Syrett, a junior communication major from Bryce Canyon City. “Here at Dixie we are trying to create an atmosphere that draws students here because they see how rowdy we are at football and basketball games.” 

DSU implemented new roles within DSUSA called the Stampede. It is meant to be a way to create a high-energy environment at every athletic event that supports the Trailblazers and give students the opportunity be loud and proud. 

DSUSA is working on projects to help the Stampede increase student involvement and spirit at various sporting events. With DSU having the most students it’s ever had, and new projects happening on campus, DSU is stepping up to the next level and school spirit should be the same, Lambson said. 

Differing personalities benefit classrooms

Student personality types fall all across the board, creating differences in how each individual learns.  

Extroversion and introversion exist on a spectrum; people who have extroverted tendencies flourish in social situations while those on the introverted end of the spectrum may feel more comfortable spending time alone. These traits can dictate how students learn and behave in the classroom.       

In a college environment, there are multiple ways to learn. Professors teach using textbooks, lectures and online material in the classroom.

Robert Oxley, instructor of sociology, said Dixie State University provides a wide variety of ways for students to learn, especially through technologies like Canvas. He requires class participation as part of students’ grades. For an introverted student, the idea of being graded based on how much you engage in discussion can be daunting. To combat this, Oxley said he also posts discussion questions on Canvas, where students can also earn credit by sending written answers and replying to their classmates’ responses.

Oxley said he notices some students who are shy and hesitant to raise their hand in class often write outstanding answers to questions he posts on Canvas. He attributes this to those students being more comfortable at home in front of their computer, rather than in front of the whole class.

“They’re getting the material; they just don’t want to express themselves,” Oxley said. “They’re afraid of making a mistake or afraid of being laughed at, which we don’t allow in my classroom because we all mutually respect each other.”

Saya Yabe, a freshman nursing major from Hilo, Hawaii, considers herself an introvert. She said her personality type affects her learning because it makes it more difficult to communicate with her professors and classmates.

“If I don’t know the answer, I feel nervous asking my professor because I don’t want them to judge me or think I’m dumb,” Yabe said. “I’d rather just go home and do it by myself and work it out that way.”

There are a number of reasons why students may not want to speak in class. Some are internalizing the material so they can go home and study it at the end of the day, and some students are simply trying to be respectful and quiet in the classroom, Oxley said.

Yabe said she prefers classes that are discussion-based. Although she usually just sits back and listens, she said she feels more alert and grasps the content more when her professors engage the class. Yabe appreciates the varying personality types of her classmates because it makes it more interesting, and she can learn from her more outspoken peers.

Kelton Hunt, a freshman biomedical sciences major from Enterprise, said he is an extrovert. He enjoys class discussions as well because he can feed off his classmates’ responses and energy. Hunt also appreciates his peers’ differing points of view.

“Some people think way outside of the box and cause more interesting discussions,” Hunt said. “It broadens your horizons of learning.”

Varieties in personality types create a far richer learning environment, said Sandra Petersen, associate professor of education. In a diverse class, the students balance each other out, not just with different personality types, but also with different backgrounds and experiences.

“College students bring a lot to the table,” Petersen said. “They’ve lived a number of years. They have stories to tell and experiences, failures and successes, and that makes [the class] a richer place.”

She emboldens her students to step out of their comfort zones to learn in different ways. As a professor, she tries to help students unearth their potential and see what they’re good at, whether it’s public speaking or written assignments.

Yabe said she has tried to slowly get out of her comfort zone by talking to classmates and forming study groups.

“It worked out really well because I made a lot of new friends that way,” Yabe said.

Hunt said it is beneficial to speak up in class because you get your questions answered, and also feels it’s more of an authentic way of learning.

“Memorization kind of learning doesn’t really mean anything to me; it’s just stuff you remembered to get an A,” Hunt said.

Petersen said she encourages students to make themselves heard in class, but she also wants students to support and encourage one another.   

You aren’t born knowing everything, so it’s important to be patient with yourself in the learning process and remember you’re still a novice, she said.

“We have great students, and I think we have great professors, and we all support each other,” Petersen said. “That kind of environment fosters inclusion and learning and fosters an atmosphere where everyone tries to be the very best they can and help the person next to them be the very best they can be as well.”

Oxley and Petersen both said they implement small group work in their classes. The small groups allow students to become comfortable with one another and open up to each other when working as a team. Oxley said group work is a great learning experience that can prepare you for a future in the workforce. An employer may ask you to team up with coworkers from different departments and you’ll have to work with a combination of introverts and extroverts. When everyone is working towards a common goal, he said, is when you’ll really see both personality types flourish.


Students, faculty offer tips to budget, save money

Budgeting and overspending often become large recurring issues for struggling college students, especially if they don’t track their spending.
For some students, college is their first time living without their parents’ financial support. Trying to juggle this new responsibility on top of a new setting and college-level classes can get tough.

This is where budgeting comes in. If you don’t track and monitor your expenses and spending habits, it becomes easy to overspend.

Students can also practice shopping smart. Using apps, couponing and comparison-shopping are a few smart shopping tactics.

Valerie Housley, the TRIO student support services academic adviser, said foremost, students should keep track of where their money goes. She recommends tracking spending, keeping receipts and categorizing expenses such as rent, groceries and gas.

“You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been,” Housley said. “It’s kind of like that saying.”

Jordan Langston, a junior accounting major from Hurricane, said he tries to put a specific amount of his paycheck into savings every month and keep it there. If he notices that he’s taking too much out, he makes changes to his spending accordingly.

Ideally, students should put at least 10 percent of their revenue each month in savings, said Shandon Gubler, an associate professor of business management. Students should have the equivalent of three to four months of expenditures put aside for emergencies, Gubler said.

It is also important to make sure that your bank records match up with your actual expenses, Housley said. This is why students should balance their checkbooks. Not only does it keep track of what you spend, but you can also avoid being overcharged by your bank and monitor for fraudulent charges on your own.

Overdraft fees and other bank and institution fees are high, Gubler said, so he recommends balancing your records at least once a week. Even if you don’t have a checkbook, you can create a spreadsheet or find one online. Gubler said it is important to record expenditures immediately to make sure you don’t spend more than what you’re bringing in. Compare your expenses spreadsheet against your budget plan, and if they don’t align, make changes and get yourself back on track for the next week.

The next step is to determine needs versus wants. While those may seem obvious, it is beneficial to have a set list of needs to differentiate them from non-essential purchases. 

Gubler recommends reviewing your budget with a trusted adviser. This person could be a close friend, parent or spouse, anyone who will give honest feedback about your budget and help determine needs and wants. Having an adviser will help to ensure you stick to your budget month to month.

Housley said she has found eating out is the biggest area of difficulty for students to resist.

“It’s just so much more convenient,” she said. “They’re away from home, and mom’s not cooking for them anymore.”

But frivolous dining adds up. Housley encourages students to come up with a budget and plan out meals or a cooking schedule with roommates. Even eating off the value menu when you go out helps save money, she said.

Mckayla Primm, a freshman nursing major from Magna, said that she records her monthly expenses and spending on an Excel spreadsheet. Each time Primm wants to go out to eat, she looks at the spreadsheet beforehand so she knows how much she can spend; however, Primm said she tries not to eat out too often and instead, buys groceries and cooks at home. Primm and her fiancé make grocery lists to ensure they only buy the necessities.

“We never go to the grocery store hungry,” she said.

She also buys in bulk to save money. Not only is it a better deal when you buy in bulk, but you don’t have to go to the store as often, and you can avoid the temptation to make unnecessary purchases.

It matters which grocery store you choose to shop at, Housley said. She has noticed there are big differences in price between groceries stores around town, so it is important to make sure you are shopping at the one that is most economical. Housley said she personally likes Lin’s Marketplace because of the sales it offers.

“Wal-Mart is always good too,” Housley said. “My only problem with Wal-Mart is sometimes I buy things that I don’t need there because they sell so many things that aren’t just groceries. So if you’re a person that does that you might want to choose a [different] store… Know yourself and how you do things.”

Housley recommends comparison shopping and researching different prices and reviews before you buy. This helps to avoid impulse buying and is important when looking to purchase higher priced items.

“My theory in life is when you want something that’s a higher priced item, you always go look, leave for 24 hours, and then if you still think you need it and that’s the best place to get it, then go buy it,” Housley said.

Students can look at coupons, shop sales and use rebate websites to save and make money while they shop. Websites such as Ebates.com and Swagbucks.com give you cash back or credits when you shop at certain online retailers. There are also free apps that offer cash back as well. Ibotta and Checkout51 are a few apps students can use. Coupons can be found online or in your mailbox.

Primm said she likes to look at coupons she gets through the mail.

Another resource offered to DSU students is the Starving Student Card. The card is sold for $25 at the campus bookstore and gives students a variety of discounts and free items at restaurants, retail stores and other services.

Saving money and budgeting in your college years is critical to developing financial discipline for your future, Gubler said. If you adopt positive habits now, you will have a much easier time paying bills when you move into your professional and family life.

“They will have much more peace of mind if they know they’re within a budget and saving,” Gubler said. “Life will be much happier for them. Once they discipline themselves to do it and they experience the peace that comes from doing it, they’ll want to do it.”

Building signs replaced by online maps

Despite the removal of building signs from in front of each campus building, freshmen at Dixie State University seemed to find their way around through the Ellucian GO app.

Building name signs that used to be in front of every campus building were removed because they weren’t consistent with DSU’s current image. The signs were taken down just days before the start of fall semester.

“Most of the signs had the old Dixie State College logo in the background, so they needed an update,” said Sherry Ruesch, executive director of facilities management. “Some had been hit by mowers too, so it also solves that problem.”

DSU would place real estate signs in the past with the building names in front of the buildings during the beginning of school, but now with students having easy access to maps on their phone, DSU doesn’t do this anymore, Ruesch said.

“By presenting one unified brand, we eliminate any confusion on who we are, make a distinct impression on our audience, and have the best opportunity possible to share the momentum of Dixie State University,” said Public Relations Director Jyl Hall.

At this year’s freshman orientation, students were urged to use the campus map found on their phone to find their classes.

“I didn’t really struggle finding my classes because I used the app,” said Steven Burila, a freshman general studies major from Stansbury Park. “I would just look at my schedule and then click the link to follow the map around campus.”

The Ellucian GO app has an option to click on the building and classroom your class is in and follow that to your class. DSU has been paired with the Ellucian GO app since fall 2016, but DSU is starting to advertise for it more as DSU continues to add more information to it. The app is available in most app stores.

Some buildings, such as the Jennings Communications Building, don’t have clear signs on every side of the building, so faculty put red papers in the windows indicating what building students were entering.

Ruesch said DSU is not planning on replacing building signs that were taken down, but DSU will place lettering on the sides of buildings where there currently is none.

I survived DSU’s foam dance

After several days of my roommate constantly telling me to buy a ticket to the foam dance, I finally caved.

Because I’m a junior this year, I figured I might as well attend the sweat-fest at least once. Since my freshman year, the foam dance has been advertised as one of the best parts of the Week of Welcome. However, thousands of sweaty, half-naked college students grinding on each other just didn’t sound like something I wanted to be in the middle of. But there I was, with my rubber bracelet that served as my ticket to the wettest dance I’ll probably ever attend.

I received an email two days before the dance stating the dress code. And then I saw it: swimsuits. I’m not ashamed of my body by any means, but wearing a swimsuit to a dance is not practical for my body type. If I followed this dress code, I guarantee I would have flashed the students attending several times.

On the day of the dance, my roommate and I spent a half hour or so trying on different outfits and testing if they were dance-proof. Once we found secure, waterproof and cute outfits good enough for Coachella, we were ready to go.

I entered the dance with my boyfriend and two of my friends, and we were ready to get our groove on. 

Foam went up to my stubby knees and dance attendees were  already sticky from the white bubbles falling from the sky. Everyone around me was, as I predicted, grinding on each other and finding their hook ups for the night. Every time someone passed by, his or her sweaty, nearly naked body would rub up against mine, and I would cringe. If I know you, I’m more comfortable being in close quarters, but when you are a sweaty and sticky stranger, I’d prefer to keep my distance.

As the night went on, more and more strangers became friends, and I saw more and more people who weren’t together at the beginning of the night start making out. My friends and I tried to dance along the best we could, although none of us were fond of the electronic music the DJ was favoring.

The humidity from the water and the foam, plus St. George’s 90 degree weather, made the courtyard hot. 

One of my friends I came with, who had been going hard all night, randomly passed out toward the end of the night. One minute she was bustin’ a move, and the next she was on the ground covered in foam. I ran to get the medics, but the closest authority I could find was a campus policeman. As I was explaining to him what happened, my boyfriend and another kind stranger helped carry my friend out of the middle of the crowd. Of course, there were dozens of people gawking over her as the medics tried to bring her back to consciousness. Even the authorities wouldn’t let us get close until they knew we were with her. 

She ended up being OK. Medics weren’t sure why she passed out, but she said it has happened at a dance before. It could have been exhaustion, dehydration or blood pressure issues. 

That was probably the most eventful thing that happened to me during the foam dance, besides observing a wall that had at least five couples making out at all times.

Note to future foam dance attendees: stay hydrated and keep a medical ID on your phone if necessary.

I’m glad I could check this experience off my Trailblazer bucket list, but I would rather enjoy a less sticky dance.

Vintage housing compensates students after delayed completion

The first week of school has come and gone, yet the Vintage at Tabernacle student housing, which was set to be complete in early August, is still unfinished.

The apartment complex was to provide 265 new beds for Dixie State University students. With an Aug. 4 completion date, the project was already two months behind schedule in April.

Students were given an Aug. 15 move-in date, six days before classes began; however, on Aug. 10 residents received calls and emails alerting them the apartments were not ready.

Kristina Pramuk, a junior criminal justice major from Salt Lake City, said when she arrived on Aug. 15, instead of moving into her $5,500 private room, she moved to a room at Motel 6, which she shared with one other girl.

Two days later, Pramuk said she was notified the Vintage management wanted to move her again. Vintage told renters they should be better taken care of and have better rooms while they wait for their apartments to be ready, Pramuk said. Renters were relocated from Motel 6 into four hotels, including Best Western Plus, St. George Inn, Quality Inn and Clarion Suites. However, now students are living across town, even farther away from DSU’s campus.

“I wasn’t planning on driving to and from school every day,” Pramuk said. “That’s why I moved to [Vintage] because it’s in walking distance. I got tired of driving because it takes so much money. That’s kind of a strain on me with the gas.”

To compensate for breaking contract, Pramuk said Vintage is paying for the students’ hotels, giving them $50 gift cards and meal-plan money each week, running a shuttle between the hotels and campus, and reimbursing renters’ Vintage accounts for each day they are not living in the complex. The reimbursements can be used to pay future rent.

There is one shuttle that runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. between the four hotels and campus, said Don Steck, executive director of auxiliary services and director of road scholar program. The shuttle driver has also given his phone number to the students, so they can call him on the weekend if they need to go to a store.

Martin Peterson, director of campus dining dervices, said Vintage has purchased about 155 to 160 meal plans for students, which replenishes weekly.

Pramuk said she usually cooks her own food to save money when she comes to school. Any other year, she normally wouldn’t eat out much. Pramuk was counting on having a kitchen in her apartment, but the hotel doesn’t offer that amenity.

“It’s pretty rough,” she said.

Pramuk also said that Vintage has kept students on a need-to-know basis. She received an email on Aug. 20 from them that said they hope to get tenants in the building “soon,” and they would have another inspection on either Aug. 22 or Aug. 23.

Vintage has been communicating to DSU all summer that the project would be ready for the fall semester, said Seth Gubler, director of housing and resident life.

“One thing you have to understand with construction is there’s unpredictability,” Gubler said.

DSU came close to having to place Campus View Suites renters in hotels last year in case it was unfinished, Gubler said. 

All the way up to August of last year, he said they were unsure whether or not the building would get a certificate of occupancy in time for students to move in. During that period, they made plans similar to what Vintage is doing now. Fortunately, the project was completed and received occupancy, and students were able to move in to Campus View Suites.

It is unclear exactly when students will be able to move into Vintage at Tabernacle, but in the meantime, Pramuk said Vintage has been able to provide her with what she needs to sustain herself and be comfortable while she waits for her apartment to be ready.

Vintage offered no comment on the current situation of its residents or on the progress of the building.