Mr. Dixie sets example, this year’s contestants

 The annual tradition of Dixie State University’s Mr. Dixie pageant is almost upon us.

  The Mr. Dixie pageant gives students the opportunity to become contestants and display their talents while competing for the title of Mr. Dixie and the prize that comes along with it.

  “The prize changes every year,” said Brett Coleman, a senior communication studies major from Midway, “The year that I won it was $300. This year they’re giving away a hot tub.”

  Coleman is the current Mr. Dixie and will be passing down his crown to the next eligible contestant. Coleman said his journey to becoming Mr. Dixie started through his love and school spirit for DSU.

  “It’s one of those fun things that has been on our campus,” Coleman said. “I love Dixie State and am pretty huge on Dixie spirit so it felt like the right thing to do.”

  As the current Mr. Dixie, Coleman said he doesn’t have that many responsibilities aside from being the host for a few events and helping the contestants by getting ready.

  Coleman said being on Raging Red, a singing and dancing group at DSU, helped him to prepare for his talent piece in the competition. The talent piece that Coleman performed was a parody of a song from “The Little Mermaid.”

  Coleman said, “I used something that I knew I could be good at to win with the talent piece.”

  Aside from being Mr. Dixie, Coleman is also just another student. He balances being an active voice on the DSU campus as well as a prominent member in school activities. Coleman said it wasn’t that hard to balance being a contestant, a member of Raging Red and a student

  “I just work [Mr. Dixie and Raging Red] around my schedule,” Coleman said.

  Coleman said his dedication for both activities is different.

  Coleman said, “I don’t think it’s the same necessity; I don’t need to give as much time to being Mr. Dixie as I do for Raging Red.”

  The dedication for Mr. Dixie isn’t as rigorous as that of the time commitments for Miss Dixie Coleman said.

  Geoff Reynolds, the director of Raging Red, said, “Brett is incredibly dedicated to both Raging Red and Dixie State, he also oversees our outreach than as our PR and marketing manager.”

  Coleman said being a part of Raging Red and Mr. Dixie has given him more confidence.

  “They help me to be more confident,” said Coleman. “At the end of the day they boost each other.”

  Bailey Zimmerman, the events and promotions coordinator, said Coleman takes his role as a leader seriously.

  Zimmerman said, “Brett is a service-oriented leader who gives his all to the organizations he is involved in, as well as those he is leading.”

  As Coleman comes to the end of his time as Mr. Dixie, Coleman said his advice for others is to just go out, have fun and be confident.

  Coleman said, “Just go out and be yourself.”

  Zimmerman describes Coleman as giving his all, leading with enthusiasm and imbuing school spirit into everything he does. She said he has set an example for this year’s Mr. Dixie contestants.

Campus View Suites II groundbreaking, more to come in 2020

 President Richard “Biff” Williams announced on Jan. 31 the groundbreaking of Campus View Suites II, a possibility of Campus View Suites III, and highlighted a few additional changes coming to campus.

  The new Campus View Suites will be located where Shiloh Hall is now, which has been on campus for more than 60 years. It used to be a mens dormitory back in the ’60s, said Guest Speaker and Alumnus Lee Bunnell.

  The crowd in attendance mainly consisted of city officials such as Mayor Pike and other DSU officials such as Chief of Police Blair Barfuss.

  “This [groundbreaking] is such a visual piece of the growth at DSU,” said Bailey Zimmerman, event and promotion coordinator.

  The new apartments will be built and designed by Method-Studio who will also be building the Campus View Phase III if all goes well with the partnership.

  Method-Studio architect Joe Smith said the apartments will have five stories compared to the four that Campus View Suites has now, and 534 beds available in the 142,000 square foot building.

  “Today we are turning dirt, in September we are officially launching our next robust feature plan, in May we will break the third phase of Greater Zion stadium, [and] in the fall of 2021 we will cut the ribbon on the new [Science, Engineering and Technology] building and move into the west building of Greater Zion Stadium.”

DSU President Biff Williams

  “[It’s] a home for students that further active learning,” Smith said.

  Campus View Phase II will focus more on private rooms, which are a new design for the suites. The whole building was sketched to specifically fit the university’s values, Smith said.

  Having released the newest strategic plan, Williams has now added physical changes to the timeline. Along with the new Greater Zion Stadium groundbreaking happening within the next month, Williams hints that new general classrooms, a science building, softball field and more student housing are in the works.

  “Today we are turning dirt, in September we are officially launching our next robust feature plan, in May we will break the third phase of Greater Zion stadium, [and] in the fall of 2021 we will cut the ribbon on the new [Science, Engineering and Technology] building and move into the west building of Greater Zion Stadium,” Williams said.

  With Campus View Phase II setting off a series of new buildings and plans for the university, students can expect a new-looking campus.

  Tours of Campus View Suites II can be set up with the current Campus View Suites at (435) 652-7500.

DSU students create ‘Game of Thrones’ Parody

  Dixie State University students are transported to the age of heroes, knights in shining armor and fierce dragons through the new short film “DSU Game of Thrones Parody.” 

  Released on Jan. 24, DSU’s film and theatre department initially created the parody to represent and highlight the university’s core themes: learning, engagement and opportunity, said Ben Braten, the short film’s director and director of video production.

  The parody begins with a wide shot establishing the dreary setting outside of a window of Campus View Suites. Inside sits a disgruntled Patrick Weeks, a junior theatre major from Las Vegas, watching an episode of “Game of Thrones.”

  Weeks is surrounded by bags of local fast food joints and a variety of pizza boxes. His narrative begins, allowing the audience to learn that he is a lazy, failing DSU student. 

  With pizza sauce smothered on his face, Weeks drifts into a deep sleep suddenly waking up in the world of Jon Snow, a main character from “Game of Thrones.”

  He navigates through the issues of being a lousy student by seeking guidance from other “Game of Thrones” characters on DSU’s campus, eventually leading him to success. 

  “Learning, engagement, opportunity,” said Weeks and multiple other characters repeatedly throughout the parody.

  It was important that the script was structured around DSU’s core themes, so the audience could learn how important each value is to the current students, future students, faculty and community, said Brian Grob, the short film’s screenwriter and associate academic adviser for College of the Arts.

“There was a lot of prep work, but once we got going I had fun with it.” 

Tisa Zito, producer and Actress

  “I spent evenings watching ‘Game of Thrones,’ and as I was watching it I was writing the script,” Grob said. “I had never watched the show before.” 

  Grob said the script went through a process of three revisions as it bounced back and forth from himself and Braten. Braten was able to include humor and dialogue from “Game of Thrones” as Grob combined those features with DSU’s core themes and structured the script. 

  “The project took about four to five shoots over a series of a few months,” said Tisa Zito, the short film’s producer and actress that played the red witch in the film. “There was a lot of prep work, but once we got going I had fun with it.” 

  DSU students from the film and theatre departments were able to completely take part in creating and developing the project as well. 

  The parody was filmed by students in the film program using professional equipment such as the Fuji X-T3 and the Fujinon MKX lenses, Braten said. Students from the theatre department helped in creating medieval costumes and providing actors. 

  “When [Braten] was writing the script for the parody, he remembered working with me and thought I would be perfect for the lead role,” Weeks said. “He sought me out, and the rest is history.” 

  Grob said not only was the parody a way to share DSU’s learning objectives and core themes, it allowed for the creative arts of theatre and film to be recognized for their hard work.

  “I hope that the students here take away DSU’s Core Themes from this,” said Zito. “I hope they also see what an amazing program we have in our Digital Film Department, how much talent there is at this school and how much fun you can have while learning,” said Zito.

Tips students can take away from career fair

  Taking your first step into the working field can be intimidating, but finding employment as a college student can be easier than you think.

  Career services held a career and internship fair on Jan. 30 filled with employers looking to hire new employees.

  According to employers at the career fair, they have suggestions of the do’s and don’ts for potential employees.

Do your Research: 

  Shane Blocker, assistant director of career services, said the first thing to do is research. Make sure to do research on the company you are looking to apply for. Know their mission and what their company stands for.

Present Yourself Professionally: 

  Presenting yourself in a professional manner can show employers you are determined.

  “The hardest part of any career and internship fair is ‘how do you approach people’ and ‘how do you feel comfortable with an environment that sometimes is an intimidating thing’,” Blocker said.

  Walking through the fair once and getting an idea of who’s there is a great way to make a strategic plan of what company you want to approach and talk with, Blocker said.

Make a Personal Connection: 

  Some recruiters will want to speak with you right away, while others will want to contact you later on, Blocker said. It is important that you make that personal connection, even if they don’t have a position available that is in your interests. After you have made that connection, it is easy to contact them and ask about when other positions in the company will be available, Blocker said.

Search Online for Job or Internship Opportunities: 

  While some students aren’t always able to attend career fairs, there is always the process of reaching out to specific company’s and apply straight through them.

  Wanda Cook, human resource director from Navajo Technical University, said they offer entry level jobs that give students an opportunity to expand their knowledge and learn throughout the experience. 

  While not all jobs start at entry level, students can start building their experience through internships while they attend school.

  Students can even get experience and employed through DSU.

  Bailey Zimmerman, events and promotions coordinator, said students can apply to intern at the University Marketing and Communication, which include opportunities available from public relations to digital internships.

  “The UMAC offers students who want to learn new experiences,” Zimmerman said. “It helps them not just build on their hard skills, but also improve their soft skills.”

Find Jobs that Cater to your School Schedule:

  “About 50% of our employees are students,” Megan Holt, team lead director from Caption Call said, “Ours hours are longer than most business’, which allows students to work when they have time. They just need to make sure they are responsible and work during their appointed shift.”

Know what Employers are Looking For: 

  When it comes to what they are looking for in employees, it comes down to if they are willing to work and be responsible. Their company is perfect for students who need flexibility in their schedules, said Holt.

  Finding employment can be stressful for students, but there are plenty of companies that are willing to work with students looking to build on their experience.

Nets on Fire: more than just basketball

 Nets on Fire is a facility that is about more than just basketball and they encourage kids to be better on and off the court.

  The non-profit basketball facility holds tournaments, leagues, camps and rents space for athletic and non-athletic events.

  It sponsored the Dixie State University men’s and women’s basketball games on Jan. 25 and gave out over 1,400 shirts for the “blackout” night. DSU’s basketball and volleyball teams plan to hold camps there over the summer.

  Beyond the basketball training, Nets on Fire offers what Jermaine Odjegba, the on-site manager and president of the board, said is a “leadership academy” that is available to any kids who want to join. The academy is focused on character development through mentorship nights, fun activities, education and service projects.

  “Our mission is helping kids become better, Odjegba said. “Not just basketball players, but we want kids to learn how to serve. We want the kids to learn leadership characteristics that can help them and take them to future jobs off the court.”

  Shauna Odjegba, on-site manager and wife of Jermaine, said, one of her goals for the leadership academy this year is for all the kids to have a stronger support system and build relationships with people who have the same mindset as them.

“Our mission is helping kids become better.”

Jermaine Odjegba, the on-site manager and president of the board

  “We want to help kids from all kinds of backgrounds have opportunities and access to a great facility,” Jermaine Odjegba said.

  Nets on Fire offers individual, group and team basketball training for K-12 and works with youth of all skill levels. It also has open gym times for people of any age to come and play.

  “They have a really big impact on the community,” Jada Edwards, a senior sports management major and Nets On Fire intern from Riverside, California, said. “Especially with everything they have coming. It just keeps growing and growing.”

  Shauna Odjegba said it is also a great way to help kids stay out of trouble.

  “We want everyone to know we are one big family here,” Jermaine Odjegba said. “We want to uphold and uplift each other. We’re all about pushing and striving to be better.”


  Jermaine Odjegba said the company wants to get better community events going at the facility that would allow visitors from other communities and states to come and play. He said this would bring in a better diversity of competition to the area.

  “I want them to gain confidence in themselves and to feel their worth,” Shauna Odjegba said. “They all have gifts and talents.”

  For the Leadership Academy, speakers come talk to kids about topics like nutrition, finances, business and furthering their careers past basketball.

  Jermaine Odjegba said, “It’s been great to have a great variety of good people and good staff to support the business.”

  Easton Smith, a senior media studies major from Payson and intern at Nets on Fire, said one of the best highlights of the internship is being able to watch kids progress in their game, mature and seeing kids from all over Southern Utah work together.

  “We want those that leave our facility to go serve and leave the community better than where they found it,” Jermaine Odjegba said. “We want to build stronger leaders in our community here to support and grow this county.”

  Smith said the company is well-rounded and it’s growing like crazy. He said the management is also doing really well and getting good sponsors.

  Nets on Fire has partnered with DSU in offering internships for communication studies, sports management, finance, marketing, media studies and many more.

  You can find more information about Nets on Fire on its website netsonfire.org, on Instagram @netsonfire, on Facebook @netsonfirebasketball or contact its office at 435-705-4922.

DSU pays respect to Kobe Bryant

  The Black Student Union of Dixie State University hosted a memorial for Kobe Bryant on Jan. 30 on the rooftop of the Human Performance Center.

  More than 130 students payed their respects to Bryant at the memorial. Justice Slayton, BSU’S vice president of internal programming and a sophomore business administration major from Chicago, said she was ecstatic for the number of people who came to the memorial. Slayton said her goal was to get 100 people to show up and that was surpassed.

“We put this together last minute [and] of course you don’t expect a death; so, to have that many people show up is amazing,” Slayton said.  

  Jermain Suggs-Caray, co-president of BSU and a senior business major from Salt Lake City, said the memorial was put together because BSU wanted to celebrate the lives, the message and the lessons the nine victims applied to the world.

“We all had this whole week to soak in everything and have those days where it was sad. We wanted to have something to remember them and enjoy.”

Jermain Suggs-Caray, Co-president of BSU

  Suggs-Caray said: “We all had this whole week to soak in everything and have those days where it was sad. We wanted to have something to remember them and enjoy.”

  The memorial consisted of a moment of silence, a talk about Bryant’s legacy, a speech about reminding loved ones you love them and a balloon release, which symbolized saying goodbye to Bryant.

  Malik Smith, a freshman finance major from Las Vegas, said Bryant impacted his basketball life after seeing him put up 81 points against the Raptors at the Jan. 22, 2006 game. Smith said Bryant taught him to become a bigger person because of the way Bryant acted off of the court: a symbol of high intelligence and somebody to look up to.

  Smith said Bryant’s “mamba mentality” taught him to keep pushing through trials that come along and to keep that mentality of “I’m going to get this done.”

  One of the last messages to be left was BSU playing Bryant’s poem “Dear Basketball.”

  “I can’t love you obsessively for much longer. This season is all I have left to give. My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind, but my body knows it’s time to say goodbye. And that’s ok. I’m ready to let you go. I want you to know now so we both can savor every moment we have left together. The good and the bad. We have given each other all that we have. And we both know, no matter what I do next I’ll always be that kid with the rolled-up socks, Garbage can in the corner, five seconds on the clock ball in my hands. Five…four…three…two…one,” – Kobe Bryant.

  Suggs-Caray said he wants everyone to understand the principle of the poem.

  “It’s not just basketball, sports, but it’s the principle of having the mentality that you can actually go and accomplish your goals,” Suggs-Caray said. “That’s what I get from it as a business major [and] someone who does music, that mentality to get what we need done.”

New bell schedule raises faculty concerns

 The Faculty Senate Committee has raised concerns about the process in which the new bell schedule was proposed.

  As stated in a previous Dixie Sun News article, “The altered bell schedule is part of Dixie State University’s attempt to meet space utilization standards set by the Utah System of Higher Education.”

  Michelle McDermott, associate professor of nursing and the faculty representative on the space utilization task force, stated in the most recent faculty senate meeting, “We discussed this last fall, and we were in agreement with the necessity of doing it so that we can justify more buildings.”

  Though this is accurate, Chelsea McCracken, assistant professor of interdisciplinary arts and sciences and member of faculty senate, said, “We also said we wanted to see some of the research and rationale for why this is being done in the first place.”

  A few questions brought up by McCracken were: Where did the utilization task force get this information and where is the evidence as to why this would be an effective way to change our bell schedule?

  “It sounds like [the task force] maybe did a study, like a space usage study,” McCracken said. “They could have released that study to us, so we could see the evidence.”

  Samuel Tobler, associate professor of physics and president of faculty senate, said the space utilization task force provided a first draft of the bell schedule to faculty senate to review a few months ago, in which the faculty members raised concerns about, but it was not followed up with before the final proposal was submitted.

  “There is some rationale that has been explained and other rationale that some faculty feel — in terms of what I’ve heard — has not been explained to their satisfaction,” Tobler said.

  Faculty senate has a principle of shared governance, which means faculty has a decision making rule, specifically regarding things that affect the faculty, McCracken said. One of the faculty’s concerns is they were not offered a decision making rule in terms of the bell schedule.

  Jason Wilde, assistant professor of family and consumer science and member of faculty senate, said in the most recent faculty senate meeting: “I don’t think we had much of a chance to say if we like the new bell schedule. I don’t even know the formula they based this on or the research they did behind the bell schedule.”

  McCracken said she is supportive in terms of the bell schedule change if it’s going to solve the problems the university is worried about.

  “As a whole, the body of the faculty understand why this bell schedule is being put upon us,” Tobler said. “We understand this is DSU’s response to basically under-performing to the criteria that is being mandated for us.”

  The problem is the faculty members expressed feelings of not being heard and listened to, Tobler said.

  “Most faculty feel that as long as they get their opinion across, even if their opinion is not what the end result is, they’re okay if it was still rejected,” Tobler said. “It’s the perception of not being heard that upsets us.”

“When you’re given a tough task, you’re not going to please everyone.”

Samuel Tobler, associate professor of physics and president of faculty senate

  One of the issues the faculty brought up about the bell schedule is the unbalanced expectation for space utilization, Tobler said. The space utilization expectations are the same for the whole state, but DSU is much smaller than the other universities in Utah. The size of DSU’s courses don’t align with the sizes of classrooms, which is why it may seem like the university is not using it’s space properly.

  “The next step as I see it is rearranging rooms to better correspond with the size of courses,” Tobler said.

  McCracken said the issue with space utilization seems to be about class capacity matching the class sizes.

  Another issue is the timeline of the bell schedule, Tobler said. The faculty members need to submit the spring 2021 semester schedule by late October, so there is a deadline before there is time to decide if the bell schedule is beneficial or not.

  “I’m afraid we won’t have time to realize if we like it or not,” Tobler said. “We want to be supportive, and so we are going through it. We’ll just have to see where it goes.”

  Pamela Cantrell, associate provost for academic and budget planning, said the faculty’s concerns were recently brought to her attention, but she was not able to comment on it at this time.

  Tobler said: “We are a different beast yet we are being mandated to have this criteria across all up and down the state, so [the task force was] given a hard task and I applaud them for even coming up with this however it turns out to be. I wish them the best. When you’re given a tough task, you’re not going to please everyone.”

Women’s tennis eager to compete again

The Dixie State University women’s tennis team is back in action on Feb. 7 in Ogden as they face two Division I exhibition games: Weber State University and Boise State University.

  The Trailblazers last took the court 124 days ago when they defeated Colorado Christian University, 7-0.

  “It’s actually great, in the fall it allows the freshman to get their feet wet and get a little taste,” head coach Eric Pelton said.

  Pelton has been with the women’s tennis program since the sport was added to DSU Athletics in 2006, but this may be the youngest group he has worked with. The team holds five freshman, one sophomore and one senior. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t excited for their upcoming matches. 

  Emma Templeman, a freshman finance major from Springville, said: “I love it, we have nothing to lose. [We’re going to] play our best and play hard.”

  Templeman also said because the team is particularly young, it has been participating in a lot of practice doubles matches to see who it will fit well with as they head into the second part of the 2019-2020 season.

“I love it, we have nothing to lose. [We’re going to] play our best and play hard.”

Emma Templeman, freshman finance major

  The Trailblazers are 3-3 going into their exhibition games this weekend, which posts a better record than some would expect with such a young group.

  “We’ve got a lot of freshmen,” Pelton said. “Even with the youngness, they’ve been competing, doing well and fighting.”

  The team continues to hold this mindset moving into the rest of regular season play. 

  Juliana Honczaruk, a sophomore business administration major from Corrientes, Argentina, is one of the two returning Trailblazers who gained experience on the court from last year’s matches. Honczaruk said she remembers playing against Weber State and Boise State last year. 

  “This year, I have more expectations,” Honczaruk said. “Last year, we played them and lost both of [the matches]. Since we don’t have anything to lose, we are just going to play the best we can and see what happens.” 

  Once DSU finishes up its two exhibition matches in Ogden, they will return home and prepare for the Trailblazer Invitational on Feb. 21-23. The Invitational hosts Colorado Mesa University, Western New Mexico University and Holy Names University over a three day span.

  Last season, the Trailblazers defeated Colorado Mesa all four times they met. They were also successful against Holy Names and Western New Mexico winning those matches (4-3) and (6-1).

  “I’m looking forward to competing; I miss competing,” Pelton said. 

  While the Trailblazers used to play where the new Human Performance Center is now, their home matches are now at 470 S 600 E., just west of the Atwood Innovation Plaza.

OPINION: More schools should incorporate language immersion

 Language immersion programs should expand to all schools, to give students an opportunity to gain new experiences.

  Utah has 995 schools and only 204 have a language immersion program available to students.

  According to the Utah Dual Language Immersion, the languages offered throughout the schools in Utah include Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese, German and Russian.

  Language immersion is a teaching technique where students are taught various subjects in two languages.

  When students are introduced to immersion at a young age, it is easier for them to learn the language because they are put into an environment where that second language is the only one being spoken.

  According to an online language immersion program, learning a new language can cause students to feel frustrated, but with time students will become more comfortable with it. Students are able to pick up on the language faster by being in an environment where it is being spoken on a daily basis.

  Expanding these programs into more schools could bring students new opportunities in the future.

  Language immersion programs should be more present in all schools, to help students continue expanding their knowledge.

  Dixie State University offers a small variety of foreign languages including Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, French and ASL (American Sign Language), but it doesn’t have a full immersion program.

“Students are able to pick up on the language faster by being in an environment where it is being spoken on a daily basis.”

Samantha Ortiz, DSN Staff

  Caide Roberts, a junior media studies major from St. George, said having language immersion programs on campus would be very beneficial to students looking to become fluent in certain languages. The programs could also help students have a more diverse resume when applying to jobs.

  “When it comes to applying to jobs, adding to your resume that you are bilingual really boosts your chances of being hired,” Roberts said.

  I was part of a learning immersion program in middle school where I would take Spanish lessons then U.S. history lessons in Spanish. At first, it was difficult learning history in Spanish, but it offered me a new perspective. The program pushed me out of my comfort zone and put me in an environment where I was forced to use my Spanish skills on a daily basis. If I didn’t have the immersion, I wouldn’t be fluent in the language today.

  I made sure to take advantage of all the benefits the program offered. My high school offered scholarships to those who stayed in the program for three or more years. Opportunities such as jobs, were made available for me just for being bilingual.

  Students should be aware if their schools offer an immersion Program and know the benefits it can offer.

  Most immersion programs usually start when students are young, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t adult students who can’t participate in these programs as well.

  Although DSU doesn’t offer an immersion program students can still take courses that can introduce them to foreign languages. 

In the future, the university should expand into immersion programs and with it expand the variety of languages offered.