Utah Tech women’s basketball comes up short despite strong fourth quarter

Utah Tech University was neck and neck with Seattle University at the women’s basketball game Jan. 28. The game ended closely with a score of 70-66.

The game started with Seattle getting the ball; however, the Trailblazers quickly took possession. Seattle missed its first layup, and Averi Papa, a sophomore history major from St. George, took charge and scored the first two points in the game.

The game continued back and forth between both teams scoring 3-pointers. Emily Isaacson, a redshirt junior recreation and sports management major from Perry, and Papa scored multiple 3-pointers in the first quarter tying Seattle and Utah Tech at 18 points.

In the second quarter, Trailblazers’ effort and teamwork was strong, but the score fell shortly behind Seattle.

After halftime, the game opened with Seattle at 37-30. At the start of the third quarter, Papa scored two points, which brought the score back up. Toward the end of the quarter, Amber Kartchner, a redshirt freshman management major from Logan, brought up the score by five points leaving the score at 55-50.

The final quarter started and Trailblazers started out strong. They were behind by five points, and intensity and suspense filled the Burns Arena. Shortly after the fourth quarter started, the referee called a foul with two players fighting for the basketball, making the crowd supporting the Trailblazers unhappy.

Once the game picked back up, Trailblazers brought the heat advancing with more shots. Seattle took the ball and brought the score to 57-61. The turning point in the game was the four foul shots the Trailblazers made. All shots were made by Papa and Breaunna Gillen, a senior exercise science major from West Jordan. In the last 45 seconds of the game, Gustin sent three of their players to play defense.

Within the last few seconds of the game, Seattle shot and scored ending the game at 70-66. The Trailblazers will keep their heads up high and play at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Feb. 2.

Many under-used resources for homeless students at Utah Tech

Many people would be surprised to know that Utah Tech University officials have seen an increase in homeless students the last few years.

Ali Threet, assistant vice president and dean of students, said there isn’t an efficient way for the university to keep track of every student experiencing homelessness on-campus. However, the university can keep track of how many homeless students come forward and ask for assistance whether it’s basic needs, food and/or a place to live.

There are a lot of resources on campus many students in need don’t utilize. One being the Student Resource Center, previously known as the Women’s Resource Center.

The SRC has four main focus points:

  1. Women and families
  2. Non-traditional students
  3. First generation students
  4. Basic needs

Threet said it is hard for the SRC to know about all of the homeless students if they not do come forward, so the best way for these students to get help is to come forward and ask for it. Students shouldn’t feel embarrassed or scared to ask for help as there is a reason why these free specific resources exist on campus.

The main way the university helps homeless students, or students in need, is by providing the struggling student fund. Threet said this private money is funded through donations from faculty, staff and community members.

Student Body President Devon Rice, a senior marketing major from Bountiful, said community events are one of the main ways the struggling students fund receives donations. Rice said the money raised at the Fire and Ice Gala is where thousands of dollars are donated to the struggling student fund.

Currently $39,273 of the struggling student fund has been used since the fall 2022 semester.

The struggling student fund has been around for awhile, but Threet said it wasn’t being regularly funded and utilized like it is currently. She said this is how she can tell more students than ever before are struggling with basic needs, especially because of high inflation rates.

The struggling student fund can be used for a few different things:

  • To pay for a students meal plan for a semester
  • To pay for a students rent in the case that they may be evicted soon
  • To help any student who may be struggling to buy themselves the basic necessities for life

Threet said: “If they [students] are living in campus housing, and they are kicked out for that week or two while they have to do cleaning, and then they are able to move back in at the beginning of the semester,” Threet said. “So maybe there’s been times where we cover the cost of a hotel room so students are not just [put] out for those two weeks.”

Threet said if students are living in their cars, they will call on-campus student housing to find a place for them to live. If students aren’t able to pay the deposit of the room, the struggling student fund can cover it if necessary.

Some homeless students have been found living in their cars in on-campus parking. Ron Bridge, interim chief of police, said it is not legal for students to sleep in their cars in school lots. However, if Utah Tech police officers find someone living in their car, they will check in with them and point them to the necessary resources.

In the past, Threet said the previous dean of students was only awarding $500 or $600 at a time. Threet recently put a limit on the the money where students can receive up to $2,000. A lot of students are needing $2,000 at a time because this can pay their rent for a few months.

Until now, the struggling student fund was allowed as a one time use to a student; however, Threet is in the process of changing this rule because she doesn’t want it to affect the future of the students.

“I understand that oftentimes a students may need help more than one time,” Threet said. “Let’s say they are a freshman and then they come upon financial difficulties again their senior year; I would hate to have to say we can’t help you because we helped you your freshman year.”

Threet is also in the process of creating a committee and application, so the university can keep track students who need the most help. Students will be able to fill out the application, and the committee will then decide which students need extra financial help. This way, they can provide resources for each student in a more organized manner. However, she said she doesn’t expect the committee to be finalized until the middle of February at the latest.

Another way Threet is helping students in need is through food scholarships. Students will meet with Dru Bottoms, director of student resource center, and she will decide how much food will be given to that student through the food pantry and how much money will be put on that students meal plan. But when students receive food scholarships, they also have to “give back” to the university through volunteering at the food pantry.

“I would love to make this a community where we take care of our own,” Threet said. “When we receive help we also give help.”

Threet said they have given a few food scholarships to students already even though there is currently not an official give back program in place yet. She said she hopes to have a give back program in full effect by the end of the spring 2023 semester.

Threet encourages any homeless students to come forward and speak with her so any students who are struggling can get the help they need. To make an appointment with Threet, call Debbie Millet, executive assistant for student affairs and dean of students, at 435-652-7514 or make an appointment through the Navigate app.

Utah Tech food pantry ensures students won’t go hungry

It is safe to say because of the increasing raise of inflation, college students are paying more for college tuition and food compared to previous years.

This issue has caused many students at Utah Tech University to go hungry. Skipping meals seems to be the new normal with having to pay rent, tuition and the list goes on.

Utah Tech University has a program that allows students to have access to food from a food pantry with no questions asked. The food pantry is in partnership with the Utah Food bank allowing students access to canned goods, packaged items, fruits, meats and hygiene products.

The food pantry has recently been relocated to the Browning Learning and Resource Center in room 103. The new location has been open since finals week of last semester. The increase in students using the food pantry has been favorable for the new location.

This new location is a popular place for students – especially freshmen. Students new and returning may not know about the food pantry or are looking for one.

The food pantry is located in the same area as the Center of Inclusion and Belonging. The room itself hosts different activities throughout the semester along with many services for students to use.

Having the food pantry in the Browning will help students feel more comfortable getting the food in a place that is already welcoming and familiar.

Ali Threet, assistant vide president and dean of students, said, “We have found that all of our students at times need help with food or housing or basic needs.”

Food pantry employees are working on making an online signup sheet to make ordering food in advance more efficient in the future. Foods like meat and fruits are harder to have for on-site visits, and students who sign up in advance are more likely to get those items as the food pantry can budget for those items.

The food pantry is being marketed in many ways. Flyers can be seen around campus along with Canvas banners. “The biggest way to advertise is through the Canvas app. That has been found to be some of the best ways to market anything across campus.” Threet said.

A common misconception is that the food pantry is only for students who can’t afford groceries. While this is the case for students who can’t afford groceries, the food pantry is open to all Utah Tech students who are hungry. Whether they have had food security or not. The food pantry has food for basic dinners, lunches and breakfasts ready and available.

“If they [students] are having any financial hardships this is for them,” Threet said. “I really firmly believe that we can care of our own. We give and we help when we can.”

Come and Get It program 

The Come and Get It program is another opportunity to have access to free food. If you register for the program (free of charge), you automatically get signed up to receive text messages notifying you of when extra food is available on campus.

Extra food comes from different events on campus when food is catered. Students love free food and this is a perfect way to get some.

According to the American Psychological Association, Students who are constantly hungry are at risk of higher rates of depression and anxiety. Hungry students also are more likely to have lower self-esteem and lower point grade averages and lower attendance, which leads to dropping out of college.

“Along with having these programs, advisers and deans have or will be given bags of food for students that are struggling.” Threet said.

Many different offices and classrooms around campus will have bags of food ready for students who need it. That way students can get a meal and eat some food, and then go to the food pantry. In the bags are nonperishable items, and a list of resources available like the Center of Inclusion and Belonging, Booth Wellness Center and more.

Threet said: “There are different times across the semester where there will be free food. We have cooking demos where you can learn how to cook…some different events will have free food available for them [students].”

The food pantry and the Come and Get it programs are one of the many student resources at Utah Tech. If you or any students are hungry, make the stop at the food pantry.

Utah Tech women’s lacrosse program looks to grow

What once was “long past due” is now one of the newest and fastest-growing clubs at Utah Tech University.

The Utah Tech women’s lacrosse program is paving the way for collegiate women’s lacrosse. 

Head coach Amy Erickson said, “I have lived here for about a year and a half, and I know there is a large women’s movement for lacrosse to be down here in general.”

Erickson was eager to have the opportunity to apply her 10-plus years of lacrosse experience to a college-level team. During the club’s new student expo, over 50 students signed up. 

Nakaela Peterson, a senior exercise science major from Las Vegas, said, “I was always interested in lacrosse, so at club rush when I saw the tables for women’s lacrosse, I decided to try it out and they were very welcoming.”

The team encourages anyone with a desire to play lacrosse to attend a practice and try it out despite their previous experience. The team’s Instagram provides a link to register.

“Right now we are trying to build a team, so, if people are interested, they are welcome to come,” Erickson said. “We don’t want anything to hold people back if they have an interest.” 

Although the team is self-funded, the team has extra sticks and gear available for those wanting to play. 

Assistant coach Lyndsay Callahan said: “The more the girls, whether they have played before or never played before at all, will be embraced with open arms. We will equip them with the gear and skills they need to help us with our mission along with theirs with the school.”

The Utah Tech women’s lacrosse team is looking forward to growing over the next few years in hopes to build an actual Division II team in addition to building camaraderie throughout the team and the university.

Currently, the team is looking forward to competing against Southern Utah University, Weber State University and Utah Valley University March 30 at SUU.

“This is the start of what will be a very promising future for both the school and the team,” Callahan said.

Dixie’s Got Talent 2023: And the winner is…

Dixie’s Got Talent announces its winners and runners-up for the 13th consecutive year. 

The adult winner is Kivrin Glassco, a freshman general studies major from Woods Cross. The adult runner-up is Locklin Hammett, a sophomore communication studies major from St. George.

The youth winner is Bryce Christiansen from St. George, and the youth runner-up is 2 One Productionz Convention Team located in St. George. 

Winners received a check for $500, and runners-up received a check for $250. Winners were selected based off 60% judges score and 40% donation votes, which came from the audience members voting for their favorite act.

Dixie’s Got Talent raised nearly $27,000 for student scholarships this year. These funds go to individuals who have a need for scholarships. 

Adult Winners

Glassco, the adult winner, gave a vocal performance. She said competing was a last-minute decision. Glassco’s father encouraged her to compete despite how she dislikes performing in front of an audience.

Glassco said the process of preparing for the competition was nerve racking. She said she gets stage fright easily and only practiced for the competition the day of the finale. 

“Winning was honestly a confidence boost,” Glassco said. “Seeing that when I put myself out there, it has a reward.”

Hammett, the adult runner-up, played the electric guitar. He said he decided to compete to have the experience and enjoy the competition. He also wanted to promote his name. 

He chose to compete with a song he had been practicing for about a month. A couple of weeks before the competition Hammett started intently practicing. 

“It’s great,” Hammett said about winning runner-up, “I get the big check, so I’m grateful.”

Youth Winners

Christiansen, the youth winner, played the piano for the competition. He said he has been playing the piano for eight years. He loves competing with his talent.

“I like to take every opportunity I can get to compete,” Christiansen said, “I was practicing a lot every day.”

Christiansen said winning isn’t about getting a prize. Winning shows the amount of work attributed to practicing. 

2 One Productionz Convention Team, the youth runner-up, performed a group dance full of tumbling. Members of the group said they competed to promote their dance company and show their talent. 

The process for preparing included extra practices for the team, members of the group said. Winning runner-up has brought them closer together as a group.

Club of fall 2022 semester: ‘Birds Aren’t Real’

“Birds Aren’t Real” isn’t just a belief by conspiracy theorists, but the name of the club that was awarded best club at Utah Tech University for the fall 2022 semester.

This club was first started at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year by Nick Fajardo, a junior history major from St. George, as a way to get students more involved on campus and to increase a community feel by highlighting the rivalry between Utah Tech and Southern Utah University.

According to the clubs webpage, the goal of the club is to “boost involvement in a way that involves the movement of ‘Birds Aren’t Real’ as our marketing technique. The name helps get attention, and the events help people come together.”

Club president, Fajardo, said, “I just asked my friends if I started a club called ‘Birds Aren’t Real’ would you join, and they surprisingly all said ‘yes’.”

From that one question, Fajardo started making this idea into a reality. After taking the steps needed to start a club, like creating a club constitution, filling out an application and presenting to the club council, “Birds Aren’t Real” was up and running in time for the 2022 fall semester club rush.

The first goals when the club was started was to gain 100 members and host one event during the semester. However, those goals expanded to more when the club gained traction from students and the Utah Tech Student Association. After collaborating with the Stampede for the first sporting event against SUU, a tradition was formed to highlight all games against SUU as “Birds Aren’t Real” games.

“We didn’t think we’d be as successful as we were,” Fajardo said. “We couldn’t even dream of being big enough to collaborate with the Stampede.”

One of the turning points for the club’s popularity was winning the homecoming football game against SUU according to Fajardo. The student section was covered in banners with the club’s name “Birds Aren’t Real”.

“Seeing all of the ‘Birds Aren’t Real’ signs during the homecoming game was one of the most special moments for us,” Fajardo said.

Utah Tech offers a various selection of clubs and a three step process to start a new one.

Clubs are a great way to meet new people, have new experiences and find a “home” on campus. The “Birds Aren’t Real” club is no exception.

This club has an open membership and invite all to join at its events. It has been this specific club that has helped so many students, just like Olivia Pedersen, a freshman media studies major from Lehi.

Pedersen said she joined the club after seeing the booth at club rush her first semester at Utah Tech.

“I thought the name of the club was funny, so I wanted to be a part of it,” Pedersen said. “Honestly this club has blessed my life, and I was able to find really good friends and be a part of, not just going to events on campus, but being able to help host them.”

This club has also deepened other friendships and allowed for opportunities to be a leader on campus for others.

Club secretary Aftyn Hale, a senior population health major from Preston, Idaho, said: “I joined because of Nick. He told me his idea about it, and Nick it just a go-getter. So I knew if anyone could make this club possible it would be Nick, and we would have fun doing it.”

“Birds Aren’t Real” not only promotes rivalry games against SUU, but they also host events of its own.

Some of the events hosted last semester were bird watching, movie night, album listening parties and protests. This semester, the club hopes to continue hosting broader events this semester on top of the themed sporting events such as karaoke night, sign making and a carnival collaboration event with other clubs on campus.

“Our team is willing to throw a lot of events together, and we are able to combine brain cells and plan events that we are excited for,” Fajardo said.

“Birds Aren’t Real” club is a great example of why clubs are important on a university campus. Being able to bring together a community and expand friendships is what makes the hard times bearable. Pedersen said, on a day she was not feeling well, the event hosted by “Birds Aren’t Real” was able to lift her spirits.

This club is one of high energy and camaraderie for all those involved. It has offered a great “home” on campus and at events for its members like Pedersen and Hale.

Clubs are places to be around people with common interests and to have the chance to add an impact on campus. “Birds Aren’t Real” has been able to have that impact in just one semester running, which may possibly be the reason it was named club of the fall 2022 semester.

The friends club: A place at Utah Tech for making connections

From laser tag to improv—there’s something for everyone among Utah Tech University’s club offerings.

Whether students are looking to expand their knowledge, become more active or try something new, there are many different clubs that cater to different student’s demographics, personalities and interests.

Although students may have different reasons for joining a club, clubs are available and constantly being created for students to connect to the campus and form friendships.

In fact, Ali Threet, assistant vice president and dean of students, and James Threet, accounts and records assistant for business services, felt inspired to create a club that was designed for the purpose of meeting new people, forming friendships and becoming more social. 

“Toward the end of fall semester, I had about 15 students who informed me that they had missed the ‘friends’ boat,” Ali Threet said. “They explained they often went to activities alone and felt like everyone there already had their group of friends. Being lonely is terrible, and my heart was breaking as I listened to similar versions of this same story.”

With this thought in mind, Ali Threet and James Threet built a club where students are encouraged to be honest and vulnerable to establish meaningful relationships. During club meetings, students spend time eating food and getting to know each other in a “structured, yet fun” environment. 

The first meeting of the club was held at the start of the spring semester, and Dakota Reagle, a freshman general studies major from Atlantic City, New Jersey, was one of its first attendees. 

“During the meeting we introduced ourselves, and then we just made plans on where to hang out and what things that we could do to be more social,” Reagle said. “One of the ideas was to smile at three people a day to just get out of that introverted awkwardness.”

An idea the club members formed at the meeting was to attend the men’s basketball game against New Mexico State on Jan. 21. Reagle and other club members followed through with their plans and used what they learned from the club meeting to form friendships and make memories together. 

“Because of this club, I was able to go to my first college basketball game, and I got to sit with people I had just met,” Reagle said. “Afterward, we went and hung out, and that was a really cool and good experience.”

Other than encouraging students to make plans with each other outside of club meetings, Ali Threet said other goals she has for the club are to facilitate ways for students interested in going to events to find other students to go with. She said she also hopes to provide opportunities for students to practice social skills and increase awareness on how there are many students who are actively trying to make friends.

Audrey Huskie, a freshman general studies major from St. George, said another goal Ali Threet and James Threet have for the club is for students to take what they learn from the club and graduate from it when they have made friends.

“James Threet was kind of explaining his point of view on things, and he said that this isn’t the type of club you want to be in forever,” Huskie said. “It’s kind of something that you graduate out of, so people who join the club are there to make friends, and once they make friends within the club, that’s when you graduate out of it.”

Fernando Rodos, a junior marketing major from Hurricane, stands as the former Utah Tech Student Association vice president of clubs, and he said being a part of clubs has benefited him in many ways. 

“Joining and starting clubs is beneficial because the number one thing that I like is that you get to meet new friends,” Rodos said. “Getting to meet new friends you network with or share the same hobby with is just all around fun.”

Rodos said having a variety of clubs is important and helps the many students that attend Utah Tech find a club that best interests them.

“I feel like having a variety of clubs available really adds to the college experience,” Reagle said. “For example, I didn’t plan on joining any clubs or anything because I’m kind of antisocial, but I would say clubs are important and have helped me find more friends.” 

With over 100 clubs and organizations offered at Utah Tech, each caters to a specific demographic of people that share a similar interest. 

“To me, all the clubs stand out,” Rodos said. “I like for the Friends club specifically that it’ll reach a different demographic. Ali’s club, I think it’s great. It’ll get a lot more students that you wouldn’t even imagine would like to be inside the club, so I think just the demographic that she’s targeting is what I really like about it.”

Students interested in joining the club can schedule an appointment with Ali Threet through the Navigate app.

Utah Tech’s Insight Communication receives new workroom

Utah Tech University is continuing to expand by adding a new workspace for one of its student-run programs.

Insight Communication is a student-run public relations, marketing and advertising firm at Utah Tech. They are currently operating out of a single classroom in the Jennings Communications Building but are getting a new workspace in the Jennings to meet the firm’s growing needs.

“As the number of students who enroll in Insight continues to grow, we need a separate space, outside of the classroom, for students to conduct client meetings, plan events with other Insight students, film social media content, or conduct focus groups,” said Grayce Payne, co-director of Insight and public relations intern.

Payne added they currently don’t have a specific workspace, so this new office will enable them to have a quiet and professional space to carry out more professional tasks. 

They will be visiting the new Insight room next week to talk with Patrick Smith, digital film program director, about the progress of the room and the vision they have for the look and layout of the workspace.

Insight offers many student scholarship and tuition reimbursement positions. One of their goals is to mix the artistic world of design with the psychology of innovative thinking. 

“The beauty of Insight is that every day and week is different depending on our client’s needs,” said Kaylee Cluff, a senior media studies major from Mesa, Arizona. “Everyone in the class gets the opportunity to explore different aspects of PR and grow and learn new skills to prepare them for their future careers.” 

Kaylee added that it’ll be nice to have a dedicated space that will not only be able to hold the current number of students in Insight but also fit more as the agency expands. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8.1% growth in public relations employment by 2031 with an estimated 22,300 jobs opening up. 

Public relations jobs include:

  • Marketing Coordinator 
  • Media Planner
  • Sales Representative  
  • Employee Relations
  • Strategic Planner
  • Fundraiser

Another one of Insight’s goals is to provide graduates with the ability to demonstrate proven results to potential employers.

“Our program is very forward facing to various organizations and companies in the local community and having a new workspace is crucial to the professionalism of our class,” Cluff said. “Additionally, we want students to hear about Insight, view the course’s dedicated space, and realize the opportunities Insight can offer them through hands-on experience.”  

The firm is currently working out of room 191 in the Jennings for the semester with clients either having to come into the classroom or having to meet clients at their own office. 

Aside from a new workspace, Insight has many things planned for the future.

“We are very excited to continue working with the City of Santa Clara this semester to create and implement a ‘Shop Local’ campaign within the city to encourage more people to shop locally in Santa Clara,” Payne said.

As for the future of Insight Communication after this semester, the firm hopes to continue welcoming more students into the agency to help them gain hands-on experience in public relations.

Additionally, Cluff said she would love to see the agency’s clientele continue to grow and for Insight to continue working with organizations that benefit the local community. 

Insight will continue to work with local organizations and work to prepare students for a career in the world of public relations. 

For more information on Insight Communication, you can visit the Utah Tech website or reach out to a member of staff.