Trailblazer gaming is still in full swing despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Because they’re online-based, the teams can still meet, practice, and compete in their games. They’re gearing up for a strong season to hopefully put DSU on the map in the competitive E-Sports world.
Month: August 2020
DSU football saving lives, staying involved in the community
Dixie State University’s football team has become local heroes to the St. George area.
DSU football head coach Paul Peterson has preached about the importance of community involvement for his team, and his team has taken this to a whole new level in the last month.
On August 7, the DSU football team anticipated a team trip to Dixie Rock to for a meeting between coaches and players to talk about the season they were preparing to play. As the team waited for coach Peterson to address the group, though, DSU’s offensive coordinator Kelly Bills realized commotion on the cliff’s side.
A woman had gotten herself stuck to a rope while climbing the cliff and was unable to get back up.
“There were a couple people laying on their stomachs looking over the edge of the mountain,” Bills said. “That’s when I ran over and all of our guys congregated over there… I think it was around four and a half minutes of the final pull of when we got her back up the mountain.”
Just over two weeks after the incident at Dixie Rock, DSU football players were once again playing hero, only this time for a girl stuck under her car amidst a flash flood.
On August 23, what students thought would be a typical rainstorm quickly turned dangerous as it turned into flash flooding. DSU football, once again, found its players being in the right place at the right time to help someone in need.
DSU football player Kaleb Hatch, a sophomore business major from El Paso, Texas, and his roommates, were trying to help people get themselves and their belongings out of flooding apartments when Hatch’s teammate, Mo Tuileta, began calling for help from across the street.
“Me and my two roommates ran over, and sure enough, we realized that the young lady was completely submerged underwater and that we had to lift the car to get her out,” Hatch said. “We were trying to lift, but we couldn’t necessarily get her out right away.”
Hatch said assumes the woman was pinned against a tire, which caused her to be stuck. After nearly five minutes of trying to lift the car, they were finally able to get the car up and get her out of the water.
“We were lucky the fire department had just pulled up right as we pulled her out,” Hatch said. “So it was probably about a 15 second handoff between when we got her out of the water and handed her off to the firefighters.”
The woman went to the hospital, and the next day Hatch, Tuileta and Hatch’s roommates found out the woman had survived and was in stable condition.
Bills attributed his team’s heroic acts to merely being in the right place at the right time, but believes his team’s mindset is something special, and its ability to act when called upon is something instilled in his team each day.
“It’s really just the everyday values that we preach to our guys,” Bills said. “Showing up on time, finishing, hustling, going to class, helping on campus, being a good example; those values that we instill every day, they just carry over into their everyday lives.”
Peterson said that his team’s continued quick action in these situations isn’t surprising. His team is full of good men, and he knows that. Whether it’s saving lives or just giving back to the community, DSU football takes whatever opportunity to help out.
“That’s just what we do,” Peterson said.
In addition to helping save a woman’s life, the DSU football team also helped to clean up the rocks and dirt out of the roads the day after the flash flooding occurred.
DSU football plans to continue their community involvement by trying to do something in the St. George community at least once a week. Peterson has plans to help clean up the city from the flooding again and wants to get into the classroom with his team and read with kids in the elementary schools.
“We’re trying to lift up the community the best we can because they lift us up all the time,” Peterson said.
Escape to Pine Valley
The town of Pine Valley is an outdoor retreat for those looking to get away from the soaring temperatures and population of St. George. With mountain views and mostly untouched landscapes, it is the perfect escape for overwhelmed college students looking to connect with the great outdoors.
The best part? It’s only 45 minutes away.
Student activities altered to accommodate social distancing
Even with COVID-19 safety measures in place for university activities, Dixie State University students can still expect opportunities to form a sense of community.
While in the past students have been used to the usual yearly events following the return to campus, those resident life activities have not been scheduled for the near future.
Seth Gubler, director of housing and resident life, said the resident assistants are still reaching out to students individually to check in on how they are feeling about the semester to come and what types of activities students would like to participate in.
With the absence of events for student housing, Gubler said students have less of a chance to meet their peers; however, the smaller DSUSA events will still allow students the opportunity to socialize.
“Our current circumstances are unprecedented and all of us are adapting in less than ideal ways,” Gubler said. “Not providing activities limits the amount of opportunities for students to connect with their peers and build community,” Gubler said.
Even though activities are lacking crowds, Hailey Berg, a freshman music education major from Henderson, Nevada, said she doesn’t foresee the restricted activities hindering her college experience.
“I was never that person that really went out and did anything anyway,” Berg said. “I think for me I’ll be okay.”
Sarah Ramaker, student life coordinator, said DSUSA will continue to have weekly Wednesday events, along with drive-in movies throughout the semester with the hope of giving students an outlet to meet others.
While homecoming week is still expected to proceed, students can expect changes to its activities, such as social distancing and fewer crowds of students allowed at events, to ensure student safety.
“Homecoming is no exception to the safety guidelines, but the homecoming committee is dedicated to celebrating this time-honored position,” Ramaker said.
Ramaker said these altered events should still go on as it gives students a chance for a normal semester, and they can begin to interact with others outside their normal circle of friends.
Berg said she would be missing out a little in regard to not having as many people at homecoming week and events as there normally would be, but she is happy with the precautions DSU is taking.
Lizzie Heinhold, a sophomore psychology major from Acworth, Georgia, said even though there won’t be as many students at events, she can meet people in new ways.
“It gives me an opportunity to meet people in new ways, not just in person or in class,” Heinhold said.
Student Body President Penny Mills, a senior communication studies major from Orem, said homecoming week will still bring a decorated campus, and it is part of trying to help students get back to a more normal college experience.
Mills said for more information regarding events, students can follow DSU’s Instagram page.
Faculty senate votes to support DSU name change
Editors note: This is part one of three parts researching the history behind the university’s several name changes, and what the community’s response would be to another name change.
During the summer, the Dixie State University faculty senate held an emergency vote in support of removing the word “Dixie” from the university name due to its racist connotations to slavery in the South.
Influenced by worldwide protests for racial equality and past changes to the name, the motion to approve the resolution to change the name passed at 18-6 with three members abstaining.
Bill Christensen, faculty senate president and business professor, said the vote was not about “a popularity contest,” but rather about what is in students’ best interest.
Christensen said: “The role of the faculty senate in this is to ask the question, ‘Between the pandemic and the summer, is it possible to be inclusive and still go forward with the Dixie name?’ About two-thirds of the faculty suggested the name change. The world is different now. And I’m really glad that administration is taking an open-minded approach.”
Christensen said part of the administration’s approach included hiring an outside consultant to investigate the consequences of keeping “Dixie” in the school’s name.
This isn’t the first time DSU has undergone some sort of rebranding. The university has had six name changes from its establishment in 1911 to the present day, and each name besides the original St. George Stake Academy has had “Dixie” in the title.
Dixie’s original meaning is a nickname for the Southern states of America, especially those involved in the Confederacy. The southern Utah regional “Dixie” was founded by southern Mormons who set out to grow cotton in the area, which later led to Dixie Junior College (renamed in 1952) adopting the “Rebel” nickname and formally making the Rebel soldier its mascot in 1956. The confederate flag then became affiliated with the school in 1960; blackface minstrel shows and mock slave auctions were even held on campus. Dixie State College (renamed in 2000) eventually ended up cutting ties with all southern symbols and mascots in 2007 besides the name “Dixie.”
Other universities have undergone similar branding changes. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, like DSU, used to fly the Confederate battle flag during sports games and still has ties to the south with its Hey Reb! mascot; however, a statue of the mascot was recently removed from campus in June.
Both students and faculty have weighed in with their thoughts on the decision to change DSU’s name.
Mike Nelson, assistant director of the multicultural inclusion center, is originally from North Carolina, and said he’s seen how the definition of “Dixie” varies from region to region.
“We have had discussions with students and groups, and I have heard comments on both ends of the spectrum,” Nelson said. “For those that have lived out of the area, they recognize that there is a different context.”
As a DSU alumnus who’s lived in the St. George area since 1992, Nelson has seen the university undergo several name changes over the years.
“One student mentioned that when Dixie changed its name in the 1930s, the decision to change the mascot from the Flyers to the Rebels was really when that connection to slavery started — it was that conscious decision to step in that direction.”
Nelson also said a name change has the potential to foster a more welcoming environment for diverse students, and “what was good, lighthearted fun for some people back then has changed to have a different meaning. We’ve got to recognize that this is bigger than us. This is happening on a national level.”
Assistant English professor Olga Pilkington said she sees both sides of the argument for keeping or changing the name. The association of “Dixie” with the St. George area and community is important to many students and alumni, but because of its connection to slavery and the South, the removal of the word from DSU is understandable.
Pilkington said the current political climate was just “one more push,” and the idea of removing “Dixie” has been around since the college transitioned into a four-year university.
“The university exists out of Utah; it’s not just a local institution,” Pilkington said. “We cannot change the world’s perception of what Dixie means, so recruiting students might go better if the name was more generic, like St. George University.”
Benjamin Miklautsch, a senior English major from Antioch, Illinois, said: “As an outsider to the local community, the word ‘Dixie’ has no direct meaning to me. I feel no connection to the word itself.”
Miklautsch said keeping the name would validate “outdated” and “antiquated” opinions because of DSU’s history and “it’s time to move on.”
OPINION | Precautions need to be considered before joining Zoom
By now, we have all used Zoom or some kind of video app allowing us to learn and see others through a screen, but professors need to be taking proper precautions to assert online safety for their students.
Since COVID-19 turned into a global pandemic, Zoom meetings have been something that professors all around the country use to connect with students. All students have to do is enter a code and instantly they see their fellow classmates and professor. Easy, right? But it’s making it too easy for hackers to access.
At the end of March, an article by the New York Post stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been warning people to be on the lookout. Hackers had been entering Zoom meetings and presenting threatening language and images of hate and pornography. Hacking rates have gone down since then, but it still happens and Zoom isn’t the only program getting hacked; other video chats such as Google Meet and Skype have too.
Hackers exposing this kind of material is something no one should witness, especially children. For one, kindergarteners — who tend to be 6 years old — may not understand what “hacked” means. They could be watching their teacher and all of a sudden see inappropriate material and not know what to do, who to tell or how to act. This is why it’s important for parents to talk to their children about online safety.
But it’s not OK for college students and professors to see either.
At Dixie State University, at least two days a week students are participating in Zoom classes while professors are hosting daily meetings. If a meeting was hacked, it would be just as inappropriate for college students and the professor because it causes an interruption that is uncalled for and unsettling. So regardless of age, it still remains adverse for anyone.
USA Today has an article containing five ways someone can properly join or host a meeting. These five ways include using a meeting ID and password instead of a link, adjusting the screen share options immediately, using waiting rooms to screen students, creating a webinar instead of a meeting and remembering that everything is being recorded.
If you remember and use these five steps, it could save the host and audience from a hacker or a “Zoombomber.”
During this crazy time, it’s important that people follow proper precautions for a safe meeting. Just as teachers and professors would be protective in the classroom, they need to be protective on Zoom.
NCAA grants additional eligibility for fall student-athletes
Dixie State University athletes will be able to participate in competitive games once again regardless of their current year in school once Covid-19 becomes controlled.
This new eligibility change relates mostly to the seniors at DSU because they are now able to stay and play even if this would have been their fourth year of participation. Normally, an NCAA athlete is only eligible to participate in sports for a maximum of four years unless they have a redshirt year or medical redshirt year.
“I have four graduating seniors this spring, so this is huge for them to have a fifth-year opportunity,” said Robyn Felder, head coach of the women’s volleyball team. “I think it all just comes down to how physically and mentally [the seniors] could handle another year and how it fits into their academic plan.”
As seniors across DSU and other student athletes make plans to determine if they should return and play for their fifth year, the decision may not be as easy as it seems.
“This changes my whole academic plan,” said Jordyn Nelson, a senior medical laboratory science major from Phoenix, Arizona. “Obviously, my top priority is my degree and being able to finish my clinicals, so a lot will depend on that and [how it will] affect my ability to come back.”
Athletes will have to be enrolled in at least six credits to participate, but can already have their degree.
Not only do the players face substantial uncertainty moving forward, this also has a significant effect on coaches and their availability to give out scholarships. The DSU volleyball team is currently permitted to grant only 12 scholarships to players per season; however, with the possibility of having more players on the roster, the amount of scholarships will be affected as well.
Jason Boothe, Athletic Director said, “The NCAA indicated that the financial aid of fall sport senior student-athletes who take advantage of the additional year of eligibility and extended clock will not count against team limits in 2021-22,” Boothe continued.“That means that it won’t negatively impact the ability to bring in new freshmen in terms of staying within NCAA scholarship limits as those seniors who come back won’t count towards the limits.”
Athletes can still play for any collegiate team even if they are not on scholarship. These athletes would be considered walk-on’s and will be playing for free.
An additional year of eligibility granted for athletes who have had their seasons postponed due to COVID-19 is nothing new for the Trailblazers. The 2020 collegiate spring sports had a similar experience as those athletes were granted another year of eligibility from the NCAA as well.
OPINION | Less stuff brings more happiness
Growing up you tend to look at the world around you and believe more is… well, more; however, studies have shown minimalism is the way to go.
For decades, mainstream media in the United States has promoted consumerism, the theory that increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable to children and adults. This has resulted in the accumulation of low-quality goods that spill over into our junk drawers and cluttered garages.
In recent years, there has been a rise in the trend of minimalism. A quick #minimalism search on Instagram will bring up over 19.8 million results. Minimalism is often accompanied by aesthetic images of pristine kitchens, capsule wardrobes and tiny houses. The images suggest that all minimalism means is only living with the bare necessities, but that isn’t true.
What is minimalism really?
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, more widely known as “The Minimalists,” are catalysts in the rise of minimalism as a popular trend. On their website, Millburn and Nicodemus define minimalism as “a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution.”
Minimalism as a lifestyle choice can’t be addressed without addressing the privilege that comes along with it. Many people are lacking basic resources and the best option is often the most affordable. Choosing how to meet basic needs is a privilege.
In the past, owning fewer material possessions was seen as a sign of poverty. Now it’s a way for people to escape the stress of modern-day consumerism and live a fuller, happier life.
After acknowledging the privilege of minimalism, we can recognize its benefits. Excessive consumption of material goods has a negative effect on the environment. Most of the things we buy eventually break, get replaced and thrown out. A college student looking to minimize their impact on the environment can do simple things such as buying used items whenever possible, cooking meals at home, and spending money on experiences rather than material possessions.
Minimalism is also switching off the mindset that more things means more happiness. Happiness can be connected to fulfilling needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is the psychological theory that humans’ needs can be represented in a 5-tier model. An article written by Sam McLeod explains the theory. Basic needs are at the bottom, the psychological needs are in the middle, and self-fulfillment needs are at the top. Material possessions won’t give you a sense of belonging and accomplishment. It’s what you connect with the item that does so.
For college students, recognizing this pattern of thinking can help you stop looking to materials to fulfill your needs. It will add more value to your life than material things would.
Buying more things won’t make you happy in the long run. If you base your happiness on how much you have, there will always be more that you don’t have. Recognizing this and showing more appreciation is a better path to happiness.
In a society where people are paid for their time spent working, purchases can end up costing us more than we realize. For college students, so much of our time is spent on education. Time spent working is minimal and income should be spent on necessities. Senseless purchases cost us valuable time. More really is less. When you decide to adopt a minimalist approach to life your time is used for things that you value.
Minimalism does not mean getting rid of everything you own. That is, unless you want to. The most practical approach to implement minimalism in your life is to assess your needs and values.
First, make a list of things you value. For example, a college student may write down that they value their education, music and cooking. Now go through what you own and assess whether you value it, need it or are keeping it around “just in case.”
Good things to get rid of might be things the college student doesn’t use such as shoes that don’t fit, paint or a stuffed animal from an ex. Things to keep around might include textbooks, a guitar and cooking supplies because those items align with the college student’s values. It feels good to spend time in a space that reflects your values.
Even after the process of going through everything you own, you may find yourself with more things than expected. This is OK! It means you value different things.
I’m one of those people. I value making my room a peaceful, clean space that feels like home and motivates me. From first glance at my room, you probably can’t tell I try to live a more minimalistic life. If you value keeping plants, posters, knick-knacks, photos, lights and other things to make the space your own, you should continue that.
Minimalism will look different for everyone, but one fact remains the same: Less is more. Practicing minimalism creates a better environment, makes you happier, saves time and energy, adds value to your life and decreases stress.
Campus diversity anticipated to be more prominent
While the world is in turmoil from the pandemic and protesting for equality — racial equality being the main focus — the Dixie State University community wants to enhance the focus toward campus diversity.
As there has been a recent surge in attention toward the Black Lives Matter movement, diverse groups on campus have continued to work toward engaging with and educating students and community members about diversity.
Tasha Toy, assistant vice president for campus diversity, director of the Multicultural Inclusion Center, and chief diversity officer, said the diverse organizations on campus continue to promote the importance of campus diversity by practicing open discourse and collaboration.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, these organizations have needed to become more creative about their outreach.
Mike Nelson, assistant director of the MIC, said the MIC absolutely sees higher demand for educating and engaging with students and community about how they can better share their knowledge, educate themselves and engage with individuals of diverse backgrounds.
Toy said the university is still focusing on inclusion and establishing plans to teach and engage the community about how they can contribute to inclusion, whether it be through hands-on teaching, reading, presentations, training, workshops or guest speakers.
Nelson said the university is continuing to focus on increasing employment of those who have diverse backgrounds and increasing the recruitment of diverse students.
Toy said while the MIC is not changing the work it does or the way it does it, she hopes recent events will attract more attention toward diverse students and cultures; however, she is disheartened by the circumstances in which it may happen.
“I think it’s not so much how we do the work, it’s more people are paying more attention to the work we do,” Toy said. “I would say our institution has always been a hub or beacon when it comes to inclusion.”
The most important thing is being able to effect change on campus first, Nelson said. The first place to start is on a departmental level. For example, departments will be collaborating with the DSU police department, which Nelson said has been a great advocate for campus diversity.
“There’s a lot of work to be done,” Nelson said. “As these events unfold, it enforces the need for this work to be done and [shows] how much work there is to be done.”
For example, Nelson said there may be people who feel like they don’t need to educate themselves about other cultures or that it may just not apply to them. The MIC can combat this type of attitude by continuously hosting educational workshops, events to help increase cultural competency, and training for faculty, staff and other student groups.
The university has grown and expanded to an international level by increasing the number of programs it offers and adding graduate programs, Nelson said, which is why students and community members should recognize the pull of individuals of various cultures.
Nelson said he stresses the importance of informing incoming students of the university’s dedication to emphasizing campus diversity.
He said he wants to continually remind students of the organizations available as support, and engage with students and community members about increasing diversity through the recruitment and retention of students from diverse backgrounds.
The key is consistently assuring students that they have opportunities to get involved, Nelson adds.
“It’s going to remind them that we’re here,” Nelson said.
Cultural clubs and associations that add to the diversity of DSU include, but are not limited to, the Multicultural Inclusion Student Association, Black Student Union, LGBTQ+ Student Association, Latin X Society, Native American Student Association, Pacific Island Student Association, and Pagan Ideology, which are all run and supported by the MIC.
Nelson said even though recent events surrounding racial inequality occurred while students weren’t here on campus, he did notice students actively participating in these events through social media by expressing their opinions and showing their support while also attending protests.
”We have seen some of those actions from students [off campus], but we haven’t had the opportunity to see much of it yet on campus,” Nelson said. “I expect we will start to see more student involvement eventually.”
MISA President Sam Tupola, a sophomore communication studies major from Salt Lake City, said he participated in the various protests in his hometown throughout the summer because he wanted to help raise awareness for minorities.
Tupola said the administration is doing a substantial job, but he wants DSU to be more upfront about what is going on this year. He said he has heard from students and community members questioning what the administration plans to do about the possible name change, and he wants it to take a public stance on its decision.
“The goals that I want to see and set for MISA is to show that we at [DSU] have the opportunity to make a difference here on campus and in the community as well,” Tupola said.
He said it is important that every student helps make a change, that it should be more than just talk, but action as well, and the MISA has a great opportunity to do that.
“I feel like everyone knows that this is an unprecedented time, and the best thing to do is take action,” Tupola said.
‘In sickness, in health:’ DSU students wed despite COVID-19
Saying “I do” to your special someone does not need to be put on hold because of roadblocks caused by COVID-19 this year.
For students at Dixie State University, wedding bells are still ringing, intricate invitations are still being sent out, and brides are continuing to say “yes to the dress.”
Malosi Togisala, a senior communication studies major from Ogden, proposed to his wife Kelbie Togisala, a junior English education major from Hurricane, on April 23. The couple announced their wedding date on social media and instantly began planning their summer wedding.
Malosi Togisala said: “We had everything planned — everything as in a reception holding 600 to 1,000 people, a huge venue, a whole program and a luau… then July 2 happened.”
The couple said they were tested for COVID-19 on July 2, about a month out from their wedding date. Kelbie Togisala tested negative, but Malosi Togisala tested positive and was experiencing symptoms of the virus.
“While he was sick, we were still sending out invitations,” Kelbie Togisala said. “We ended up having to add inserts telling everyone that basically everything was canceled, and that we were going to just have a small family thing.”
For eight days, Malosi Togisala said he battled COVID-19, fighting to breathe, struggling with an infection in his lungs, and endured a persistent cough. Family members and his soon-to-be-wife were not permitted to see him during this intense time.
Although it was an arduous time with Malosi Togisala facing this near-death experience, the couple felt that many blessings came from his time in the hospital, and they decided to still go forth with their set wedding date, Kelbie Togisala said.
“I don’t think that 10 years from now I’ll look back and remember the big party, dancing and sparkling decorations. I’ll always remember it as the day I married my best friend. There’s always a future date to throw a big party; that can wait, but love shouldn’t.”Nafatali Stevenson, junior biology major
“I’m glad we got married when we did; our little civil thing was awesome,” she said. “I would never go back and change what we had. It was just more intimate and personal since it was just us and our families.”
Malosi Togisala said the couple was married in a local Airbnb two weeks after he was released from the hospital. At the ceremony held in the living room of the house, 30 guests witnessed them say “I do.”
“Having a more small, intimate wedding gave both of us the opportunity to have special moments, especially with certain people,” he said. “Seeing Kelbie walk down the staircase, everything was just silent, all of our closest friends and family were crying, and it felt like just us. It was one of those moments you would never trade.”
The couple found that because they decided to go on with their wedding, they were able to see more unity between both families, especially their parents, and they saved an abundance of money, Malosi Togisala said.
“If I knew what I know now, I’d recommend that everyone have an intimate wedding with the people you love the most, and celebrate later,” Kelbie Togisala said. “That moment is so special; I liked what we did.”
The Togisala’s were not the only couple who didn’t let the pandemic get in the way of their special day.
On top of the red cliffs of St. George, Nafatali Stevenson, a junior biology major from St. George, agreed to marry the man of her dreams. Shortly after their engagement, the couple planned to have a big, beautiful reception on Aug. 8.
After hearing about the COVID-19 regulations, Stevenson said she and her husband decided to cancel their original plan and have a small wedding with immediate family and a few friends. This gave the couple an opportunity to focus on their love for each other instead of stressing over wedding plans.
“Had we waited to have a huge wedding and reception like we originally wanted to, we’d still be waiting,” Stevenson said. “The wedding party isn’t what matters; it’s the act of marriage that is truly important.”
Stevenson said her wedding was kept to under 50 people, and she enjoyed how private and simple it was. Had she planned her original wedding idea, she would have focused more on food, expensive invitations, a grand venue and more.
“I don’t think that 10 years from now I’ll look back and remember the big party, dancing and sparkling decorations,” Stevenson said. “I’ll always remember it as the day I married my best friend. There’s always a future date to throw a big party; that can wait, but love shouldn’t.”
Both couples said they are planning to have a larger celebration as soon as the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 calm down.
“Coronavirus has taken away a lot from so many people, and I wasn’t going to let it take away my chance of marrying my best friend,” Stevenson said.