Annual DSU tree lighting providing new activities

By: Tyler Heaton

Dixie State University is starting out the holiday season with the lighting of the tree celebration. 

DSU puts on the celebration to get the students and the community in the holiday spirit.

“It is just a time to celebrate where people are just coming out and enjoying the holidays,” said Megan Church, director of university events and promotions. “It’s a fun way to start the holidays. It is a good opportunity for people to come together.” 

This year’s celebration will offer numerous activities for adults and children of all ages, said Bailey Zimmerman, events & promotions coordinator. The celebration will have new features this year that are sure to offer a fun experience, such as a carriage ride around campus. 

Church said there will be ornaments given to the first 500 people in attendance. The first 100 students to check-in will also receive a free holiday T-shirt and a scantron for finals.

“We are partnering with the athletics, alumni and our science technology and engineering team, who will be providing different games and activities for the kids,” Zimmerman said.

The celebration will also include many of the same fun experiences as last year’s celebration, like a visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus and DSU’s very own Brooks the Bison, Zimmerman said. Holiday treats and food will be available for purchase by food vendors that will be attending. There will also be various performances by local groups.

Church said DSU has managed to keep the cost of this event as low as possible and has plans to keep things in-house by bringing in and partnering with different groups and organizations. For example, DSU will be making the ornaments on campus in order to keep cost respective, Church said.

This is the last event at DSU for the 2019 fall semester, entertainment event director Emma Van Lent said. DSU organizations will begin to gear up for the numerous events that will kick off the spring semester.  

“The first week back we have ritz and glitz, a formal-type dance. We also have a Wednes-D event, which is battle of the sexes,” Van Lent said. “That will kick off the new semester, and we will have an event every week following these as well.” 

The tree lighting event will be held on Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. The lighting of the tree is scheduled for 6 p.m. All festivities will take place next to the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons.

For more information, visit https://news.dixie.edu/2019/11/22/tree-lighting/

Possible collaboration between St. George Children’s Museum & DSU

Children in St. George now have the opportunity to step into Dixie State University’s athletes shoes.

Dixie State University Athletics and Marketing and Communication commission is possibly partnering up with St. George Children’s Museum.

The collaboration is waiting upon contracts that need to be signed and more information to come after the signing, said Riley Brown, development coordinator for the St. George Children’s museum.

The collaboration also includes the Town and Gown project, which was put into place to promote collaborations and branding opportunities with community partners and DSU.

University Marketing & Communication initiated the Town and Gown project, which works to promote St. George as a university town. The project works with the community to make DSU an integral part of St. George for members of the community and visitors.

Town and Gown is part of DSU’s marketing goals, said Jordon Sharp, Vice President of marketing & communication.

Sharp said some examples of the branding opportunities that the Town and Gown project collaborations have worked with DSU on include the Trailblazer Art in the City bison project, which is the colorfully painted buffalo’s placed around town.

The collaborations with the St. George Children’s Museum is also intended to advertise St. George as a university town, Sharp said. 

The collaboration is said to be a direct collaboration with DSU athletics, Sharp said. It will include adding a room in the St. George Children’s Museum specifically dedicated to athletics and the design will be centered around DSU team colors, exercise equipment and even athletes from DSU sports team cut outs to encourage a relationship with the community and DSU athletics, Sharp said. 

Sponsoring the room is also a part of The Town and Gown project. 

More information will be published as it becomes available.

COLUMN: Ballot Box: DSU students need better access to mental health resources

Editor’s note: This article talks about suicide. If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness contact the national suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Nearly 90% of college students across Utah “felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the last 12 months” according to a 2019 Utah System of Higher Education survey. Approximately 60% said things had felt hopeless and 87% said they were “exhausted (not from physical activity).”

Overall, suicide is the leading cause of death for Utahns age 10-24, according to a 2019 report from the Kem C. Garder Policy Institute. And, most troubling of all, over half of Utah adults with mental illness did not receive mental health treatment or counseling. 

These numbers are absolutely, unequivocally, unacceptable. 

It is unacceptable that help is not being given to those who struggle, and it is unacceptable for mental health to be shoved on the back burner during college years by students and by institutions. 

In all honesty, I have struggled with not prioritizing my health myself. I let getting good grades and keeping up with my peers take precedence over getting my anxiety under control for a long time.

This year I again let my schooling impede with taking care of myself. I did not sleep or eat. I did not take my medication. I ignored my needs to meet the expectations of others. I got lost in the mirage that living for my work would bring me happiness.

Everything around me reflected these were good decisions. My grades soared, my instructors praised my work, and the relationships with my friends grew stronger. But my brain was rotting. My actions were eating away at the creativity and ambition that helped me get where I am today. 

There is no casual way to tell your professor you did not complete the assignment because you were too busy researching how much medication you need to take to kill yourself. Or that you did not show up to class because your insomnia has kept you up for 46 hours and counting. Or that the very act of opening your laptop has been giving you anxiety attacks.

I felt like I could not reach out. I could only think about how everyone has it hard during college, that I just needed to get over it and get my assignments in no matter what – that this struggle was what college is about. 

That is not what college should be about.

Teachers, faculty and administration, it is clear DSU students need a way to tell you these things without feeling like they will be penalized or ignored. They need you to be understanding and accepting of the struggles they go through.

This could be in the form of a deadline extension, a friendly email, reminding students of office hours, or bringing up mental health resources throughout the semester.

DSU itself can help it’s students by making the Booth Wellness Center more accessible. As of now, students are unable to schedule an appointment online. For those with anxiety, making this phone call can be an incredibly difficult task and can prohibit them from instigating the healing process.

The university should also expand its wellness program and hire more mental health professionals who can offer therapy sessions. A staff of 10 is not nearly enough for a student population of over 10,000 students and counting. Students may even have to wait weeks to get a session or admit themselves in as a risk to themselves or others.

DSU should strive to meet better than a 1:1000 counselor ratio.

Mental health resources for college students have to be made affordable, accessible. 

Meanwhile, students, it is time to start breaking down the barriers between us and those that make the decisions. We have to talk about what is affecting us openly and effectively because we can not expect a system to change by being silent.

OPINION: Math essential for higher education skills, critical thinking

I have found math to be a difficult subject; however, mathematics should still be required for all majors regardless of the field of study.

Pursuing a higher education requires a generalized increase in education on an overall degree. While it may not be as important to study mathematics for an art degree, there is still a necessary skill to learn. The skill is to be able to have a general knowledge of a wide variety of subjects. This skill shows dedication, discipline and adaptivity when facing a difficult subject that doesn’t directly correspond with the main field of study.

In regard to mathematics, there is no “perfect” way to teach math to everyone. Instead, learning anything depends on the individual, there are multiple ways to learn any new subject. Students wanting to learn difficult subjects should identify what type of learner they are: visual, aural or physical. Visual learning can be through a video or infographic, aural learning is anything that includes audio such as music, lectures or videos, and physical learning is a hands-on experience. Then seek out the best method to suit their individual learning style, especially when it comes to math.

Dylan Bryant, a sophomore media studies major from St. George, said math should not be required for all majors. Students have struggled and worked-hard through calculus classes in high school, did poorly on the ACT, got no AP credit, and now they have to do it all again for their unrelated major.

Bryant said in regard to universities, encouraging their students to succeed in their fields where they are the strongest; however, when pursuing higher education there is still a necessary element at play. This would be going out of the comfort of a singular field of study and branching out by increasing the difficulty of general studies.

Therefore, mathematics is extremely important regardless of the field of study people go into. From finding the square root of pi to converting significant figures, math is something that we use in everyday life. No matter what you do in life, you will use math.

Pursuing math labs and tutors who will teach you how to learn math the best way that works for you are ways to make your journey through math easier. Mathematics was as a whole is not entirely necessary for every degree; however, it is necessary for the critical thinking and problem solving that is dealt with.

For resources regarding math tutoring, visit https://tutoring.dixie.edu

Strategic plan raises concerns, encourages students, faculty to speak up

Dixie State University’s 2020 strategic plan is in the works and students, faculty and community members have been involved in expressing their thoughts and concerns.

After an initial announcement of the strategic plan, the university held a planning meeting and community forum in October where everyone was invited to share their thoughts on the plan. According to an article by the Dixie Sun News, no students showed up. 

Earlier this month, another meeting was held where over 100 students came and participated, said Provost Michael Lacourse, vice president of academic affairs.

“This is a very important process for the university,” Lacourse said. “We need students especially  to get involved in this process because it is shaping their future and the future generations of students to come.”

While Lacourse believes things are going smoothly with the strategic plan, some faculty have raised concerns about their college within the university and what could possibly change.

“Our university is growing and maturing in a time of limited financial resources,” said Erin Ortiz, associate professor of media studies. “The concern is that this could potentially lead to some negative consequences, such as less resources being allocated to the college or not being able to provide a holistic education our undergraduate students need. The reality is that students need more than skills training.”

Ortiz said she while there is concern she believes the university is doing a good job getting feedback of what direction to the strategic plan. 

“Contrary to popular belief, civil discussion and debate are healthy and important parts of this process,” Ortiz said. “If navigated correctly, conversations regarding concerns and issues like the ones that the college of humanities and social sciences is voicing should be expressed now so that the issues raised can be part of the direction of the university and solution. We have agency in imagining and creating the kind of university we want to participate in, and we are taking actions now to get us there.”

Jeff Jarvis, dean for the college of the arts, said the new strategic plan is crucial for shaping the university. He said it is the second strategic plan since DSU became a university, so the focus of this strategic plan will set the direction for the university and for future strategic plans.

“In my mind, a strategic planning process at its minimum is an opportunity for everybody that cares to voice what they think,” Jarvis said. “I am not going to get everything that I want as the dean of the college of the arts, and neither are students, but if we want something, we need to voice our opinions and thoughts now.”

Jarvis said a university is very complex. It would be much easier if students were the only ones who were affected by the strategic plan, but that is not the case.

Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from higher education, Jarvis said. Realistically, the entire state of Utah is effected by the higher education system at DSU because they pay state taxes which go towards the university.

Lacourse said he encourages everyone to educate themselves about the vision for the strategic plan and if anyone has questions or wants to send in ideas or comments, they can visit https://strategicplanning.dixie.edu.

“Why is it that we as humans tend to go negative when we think about the change, like we think it’s going to be for the worse?” Jarvis said. “When I look at the change in my life over the past 30 years, it has been mostly good change. If we care about this university, we should be excited and looking forward to this change.”

OPINION: First-generation students have it hard

First-generation students — those who are the first in their family to go to college — are at a serious disadvantage compared to their peers.

According to the First Generation Foundation, 50% of college students are first-generation. Most of these students probably don’t know what resources are available to them or how to access them.

As a first-generation student, I struggled with applications, building my resume, completing the FAFSA, and organizing my schedule and credit load; my family had no experience with this and I didn’t know who to ask for help.

My family also didn’t originally expect me to go to college — graduating high school was the main goal since only one of my parents did that — so, they didn’t know how to encourage me or what to suggest for my future. Not to mention some members of my family still don’t understand that college can be just as difficult and stressful as their jobs, or that working on the Dixie Sun News technically is a job.

There are TRiO programs offered such as Student Support Services, Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search, but how many students are aware of these resources and know how to use them? The Dixie State University website is difficult to sift through when students don’t know what they’re looking for, and by the time they hear about TRiO programs at freshman orientation they’ve already struggled through the application process and it’s just one of 1 million things they hear about during the workshops.

First-generation students may also have limited social and networking opportunities given that they don’t have the benefit of being a legacy member of clubs and organizations on campus, unlike some of their peers, and may not know what to join even after club rush.

Another factor in lack of social opportunities is that first-generation students tend to come from low-income environments. They can’t get out and experience college to the fullest if they don’t have the money, which likely contributes to the reason one-quarter of low-income first-generation students leave after their first year — four times the dropout rate of higher-income second-generation students — according to the First Generation Foundation.

I can confirm that; I’ve been restricted in the past thanks to my financial struggles and carpooling situation, which makes random group projects and field trips worse than they already are, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to pay for school if I didn’t have help from the FAFSA and scholarships.

DSU could make these problems easier to deal with if it gave information about resources for first-generation students more often. It would also help if classes specified time requirements for group projects and field trips during registration. These are key issues to bring up during DSU’s strategic planning meetings or on its webpage strategicplanning.dixie.edu.

Until then, any first-generation students should talk to their advisers. Information for contacting them can be found at advisement.dixie.edu/advisors.

DSU women’s soccer heading to sweet 16


The wait is over as the Dixie State University women’s soccer team will be making its second NCAA postseason appearance in program history.

The last time the Trailblazers were in action was on Nov. 8 where the team lost to MSU Denver in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference quarterfinal game. Now, the team has been given a second chance to keep its season alive in the 2019 NCAA South Central Regionals on Nov. 22.

“It’s an amazing feeling;” said head coach Steve Golas. “We’ve been given that second chance at life and they’re fully ready to take advantage of it right now.”

DSU will play Texas Woman’s University for the first round of regionals. The Pioneers finished their regular season with a 15-5 overall record, 10-3 in conference play and finished No. 4 in the Lone Star Conference.

Forward Whitley Johns, a sophomore general studies major from Gilbert, Arizona, said practices have been high energy and competitive as the team realizes they’re going to be playing at a higher level going up against TWU.

The Trailblazers have not made an NCAA playoff appearance since 2009. Golas said what’s interesting between themselves and TWU is DSU is the new kid on the block.

Golas said: “One of the big things for us is going to be how do we handle that big moment? Is the spotlight going to be too bright? I don’t see that with our group because of the work rate. It’s definitely going to be a huge challenge.”

Goalkeeper Adelle Brown, a junior recreation and sports management major from Fallon, Nevada, said her main goal for the upcoming matchup against the Pioneers is to win. She said she hopes the team brings high intensity and will not allow any goals.

Golas said the key for the offense to be successful is taking advantage of opportunities when they are presented to them. He said the key for defense is communication, staying together and keeping connected.

“The points of emphasis for this week is as much as we’re going to try and drive on the attack, can we be there, an attack-minded team,” said Golas. “That other side of the ball is so important to us. If we can preserve things, limit those opportunities, self-inflicted mistakes, we’re going to be a difficult team to beat.”

The Trailblazers will take on TWU Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. at Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The women’s soccer team defeated Texas Woman’s University 4-3 in a penalty kick shootout on Nov. 22. The win over the Pioneers earned the Trailblazers their first postseason victory in program history. The Trailblazers then pulled off its biggest upset of their season by defeating No. 1 ranked, and fellow RMAC member, UCCS 2-1 on Nov. 24. The women’s soccer team will head to Bellingham, Washington for the Sweet 16 to face off against Dallas Baptist on Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. The winner of this game will play Point Loma or Western Washington University on Dec. 7.

More information will be published as it becomes available.

Miss DSU International hopes to raise scholarship awareness

By: Ilea Thompson

From the beginning of the event to the end, the Miss DSU International pageant offered a night to remember.

Elysha Samatua, a senior accounting major from Pago Pago, American Samoa, was crowned this year’s Miss DSU International.

Samatua said: “Honestly, I’m grateful and I’m privileged. There are no words to explain how grateful I am for the support of my poly fam. International students don’t have the same opportunities as American students.”

She wants to serve the community and already has service projects planned.

The Miss Dixie State University International pageant has been a tradition of Dixie since 2016. The pageant is important because it helps international students connect better to the DSU campus.

“We still want to give international students the opportunity to represent their population and to represent DSU as a whole,” said Amber Denning, international student life coordinator.

In this year’s pageant, there were nine contestants: Elysha Samatua (Miss American Samoa), Uly Alcantara Ribeiro (Miss Brazil), Selena Donaldson (Miss Canada), Fabi Puschmann (Miss Germany), Miki Akiyama (Miss Japan), Adenike Akntunde (Miss Nigeria), Nicole Aguirre Silva (Miss Peru), Alejandra Henriquez Roncal (Miss Peru), and Rus Arenas (Miss Spain).

In the talent portion of the pageant, three contestants sang, one in German, one in English and one contestant sang, played the ukulele and danced three traditional Samoan dances. Three other contestants also did traditional dances from Brazil, Peru and Spain. Painting and yoga were also some of the other talents performed at the pageant.

Akintunde, a senior population health major from Egbe lkotun, Nigeria, said: “If I would have won, I would try to make the scholarship better and introduce events that we have back home here. That way we don’t feel so far away from home, so that we can feel at home here at DSU.”

The Miss DSU International pageant allows international students the opportunity to receive a $1,000 scholarship and the ability to impact campus and bring part of their culture with them here to DSU.

Arenas, a freshman elementary education major from Valencia, Spain, said, “I choose to do this because I think it’s a great experience as an international student because of the scholarship that is made available to us.”

Eccles Fitness Center pool to close, marks end of an era

The pool south of the George S. Eccles Fitness Center is officially closing on Dec. 14.

The decision came to the lifeguards and other pool staff members on Nov. 18 after much uncertainty about what would happen to the area after the official opening of the Human Performance Center on Nov. 13.

The HPC is furnished with a state of the art aquatic center, which includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a hot tub area. The pool in the HPC is only open to Dixie State University students, however, while the Eccles pool has been open to the community, alumni and students.

“All of our programs are going to change tenfold just because we have the new facility and all of the new equipment, so it will benefit everyone in the long run,” said Courtney Given, part-time pool manager and DSU alumna.

Given said some of these programs will possibly include a junior lifeguarding program, a diving team, and classes, such as stroke correction classes or CPR.

“It opens up so many things for us to be able to do,” said Tammy Williams, part-time training specialist at the Eccles pool.

As of now, pool staff are being told the fitness center will be renovated to accommodate a learning environment for the new masters of athletic training, Given said.

Sherry Ruesch, assistant vice president of facilities management, declined to comment.

Scott Jones, a senior finance major from Stansbury and Eccles pool lifeguard, said the thing he will miss the most about the Eccles pool are the regular users he sees on his shift, including DSU faculty, community members and alumni.

The Eccles pool has been open since 1980; the only other open at that time was the St. George City pool on 700 S. Community members as well as DSU students, faculty and staff have regularly used the pool since this time.

“It’s just the closing of the era,” Given said.

Students, faculty and alumni are able to access the pool until its closing on Dec. 14. For more information visit https://recreation.dixie.edu/aquatics/ or contact Given at [email protected] or 435-652-7989.

DSU introduces Grazers at the HPC

“Food fit for Trailblazers.”

Grazers slogan promises a healthy change in the Dixie State University student’s diet.

A new food service has been added to the list of DSU’s food chains as a healthy option, which is located inside the newly constructed Human Performance Center. Grazers opened at the grand opening of the HPC on November 13th.

“It’s a great addition to the HPC and gives DSU students the opportunity to have a healthier lifestyle by providing that choice right here in the place they exercise,” said Delbrina Thomas, a freshman general education major from Lindon.

The options available on the menu include:

  • Br-avocado toast. Ingredients consist of white bread, avocado, pico de gallo, pickled onions and microgreens. It costs $4.89.
  • Peanut butter bliss. Ingredients consist of white bread, peanut butter, strawberries, chia seeds, honey, bananas and granola coating. It costs $4.89.
  • Necessary Nutella. Ingredients consist of white bread, nutella, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, sliced almonds, chocolate drizzle and whipped topping. It costs $4.89.
  • 20 oz bison fuel made with Brazilian mint limeade. It costs $1.59.
  • 20 oz salted caramel cold brew coffee. Ingredients consist of vanilla-infused maple syrup and is topped with caramel whip and pink Himalayan sea salt. It costs $4.89.

“The most popular on the Grazer menu is the Necessary Nutella, but all the options are pretty popular,” said Emily Smith, a freshman general education major from Lake Elsinore, California and Grazers employee.

It’s a much healthier alternative compared to the other food chains on campus that contain fried or sugary foods. Grazers fruit options are fresh and prepared to order and the location encourages a healthier lifestyle, Smith said.

In addition to the menu, Grazers also offers healthy snacks that include: beef jerky, assorted nuts, protein bars, water and muscle milk beverages.

These snacks are healthy and low in calories, which is a good choice not only for athletes and gym lovers, but for everyone, Smith said.

Some other options that are offered at Grazers are Roxberry Juice Co drinks in the flavors: 

  • Passion paradise – passion fruit and mango juice, strawberries, peaches and orange sherbert 
  • Iron strong – fresh limes, spinach, peach juice, pineapples, peaches and mangos 
  • Protein berry – almond milk, agave, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries with soy, whey or vegan protein
  • P-nut butter blast – almond milk, peanut butter, chocolate, bananas and non-fat frozen yogurt
  • Ocean Breeze – raspberry juice, strawberries, bananas and orange sherbert

Some students, while appreciative of the healthier options, wish there was even more mindfulness of health.

“The idea is healthy and vegan and it’s good, but it’s not as healthy as it should be,” said Abigail Loch, a sophomore nursing major from Elkridge. “There is a lot of options that include Nutella and that isn’t a very healthy substitute.”

Nutella is added to make the food popular and taste better; however, it’s taking the healthiness out of it said Loch.