New Student Accessibility Advisory Board coming to Utah Tech’s Disability Resource Center

The Utah Tech University Disability Resource Center faculty recognizes the need to increase accessibility on campus for students.

Because of the increased need for accessibility for those with disabilities on campus, the DRC staff is in the process of creating a new program: the Student Accessibility Advisory Board. This board will be implemented in Fall 2023.

This will be a board full of students at Utah Tech who will work together to find and fix accessibility problems on campus. A DRC staff and faculty member will be the adviser for the board and help assess the presented problems and solutions.

The DRC provides multiple resources for students in need; students who have been diagnosed with a disability can apply for services for academic accommodations.

Kayla Henry, Disability Resource Center coordinator, said some common accommodations the DRC provides are extended time for exams, distraction reduced testing area, notetaking assistance, ASL interpreters and audiobooks.

To see if a student is eligible for disability resources, students can visit their DRC website to access the application. Once they have filled it out and attached the proper documentation, it goes to the DRC staff to evaluate.

“After evaluating the application and documentation that was submitted, it is our job to determine eligibility, and provide reasonable accommodations to the student, so as to eliminate any barriers that they may experience on campus due to their disability,” Henry said.

A professor on campus has also made it her goal to educate her students about the accessibility in the community. Kari Gali, associate professor of education, gives her students the assignment of spending one hour in a wheelchair around campus or the community to test the accessibility for those who need it.

“Since they aren’t experts on ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) requirements, I don’t ask them to evaluate their space,” Gali said. “However, they are asked to reflect on what they’ve learned related to accessibility.”

Gali said one comment that pops up a lot with this assignment is accessibility doesn’t always mean convenience.

Gali said: “This statement stems from them learning that a ramp doesn’t always lead directly to an accessible door. Or, an accessible entrance isn’t always where you come from. Sometimes they do notice things that are problematic such as buttons for doors that don’t work, or paper towel dispensers in some bathrooms that are too high for someone in a wheelchair.”

Another thing that came up with Gali’s assignment is people’s reactions to the students in wheelchairs. While some interactions may be positive like someone holding the door open for them, some interactions may not be. Some students shared the looks of pity or someone looking uncomfortable around them.

“It’s a very short experience, so their insights and experiences are limited,” Gali said. “My goal is to help them understand why the ADA is so important, as well as helping them gain an understanding accessibility issues someone in a wheelchair may experience.”

Utah Tech softball pitcher receives WAC award, acknowledges team for success

A Utah Tech University softball pitcher was awarded for her hard work on the mound but credited her team for her success.

Kate Dolinski, a redshirt fifth-year psychology major from Fort Langley, British Columbia, started softball when she was around nine years old.

After training with Team Canada players that played college softball in America. Dolinski knew she wanted to have a softball career down south and eventually go back to Canada.

“I’m a very competitive person, so any sport that I kind of picked up I was pretty passionate about,” Dolinski said. “But when I got into high school, probably my junior year was when I fully committed and was like, ‘this is what to do for the future.’”

Dolinski chose to attend Utah Tech because of the sunny, warm weather in St. George and the Division I factor after playing Division II for two years.

“Coming here was a big game changer for my career, and it made me love the game even more,” Dolinski said. “My teammates were the best people in the world, and they pushed me to be better every day, so I can’t thank them enough. Big credits to them.”

Dolinski was recently named Western Athletic Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week for her performance during the three-game sweep against Seattle University. 

In her two starts against Seattle U, Dolinski went 2-0, striking out five batters while giving up just one earned run. During the last game of the series, Dolinski had a four-hit shutout and had only one Seattle U runner reach third base.

Head coach Randy Simkins said Dolinski loves big moments, loves to compete and wants the ball in big situations.

“She’s going to be someone that we’re definitely going to need some big innings out of going forward throughout the rest of the year for sure,” Simkins said.

Ashtyn Bauerle, a redshirt senior sports management and communication studies major from Syracuse, said Dolinski is hardworking, passionate and plays with emotion. 

“As far as her influence on other athletes, it’s probably seeing her compete on the mound with the emotion she plays with,” Simkins said. “That’s definitely infectious throughout our entire team.” 

Dolinski was also complimented for being supportive, celebrating teammates’ victories and helping everyone around her.

Dolinski said she never cared too much about personal accolades and believes the whole team played a part in her achievement. 

“My team makes me want to push myself to do better, and I just want to be able to do the best job that I can for them,” Dolinski said.

OPINION | How events like Inferno can be improved in following years

Utah Tech Student Association hosted one of the most anticipated events of the year April 22—Inferno.

This dance was well-planned out, having few hiccups during the night, but this entertaining event could always have room for improvement.

I have been to every single dance at Utah Tech University during my college career, and I have always enjoyed myself. However, I was going into this dance with a little bit of a critical eye, and I found myself wishing for a more impactful difference to separate this dance from the rest.

There were many changes and original ideas added to this dance like the white-out theme, paint war and bungee trampoline. Classics surrounding the Inferno dance also reappeared such as the pick-up basketball and the True Trailblazer afterward.

Inferno had many successes throughout the night that made me proud of the planning and preparation UTSA did. The entry lines were short and went smoothly. There weren’t many announcements made to push back a rowdy crowd smushing the barricades. There was plenty of space and opportunities for students to take breaks from dancing to enjoy themselves with the smaller activities.

The only complaint I had throughout the night was this dance didn’t stick out compared to past dances or even last year’s Inferno. Last year’s Inferno created more hype which enticed more people to attend. The attitudes of each person last year was to just have the best time they could; this year, those attitudes seemed to not have been repeated.

The DJ played the same songs I have heard at every dance, and he even had predictable transitions. While these songs are classics and get the crowd hyped up, I danced throughout the night wishing there was more originality in the playlist.

The crowd at this dance felt the same as any other. There were the people that wanted to mosh in the middle, those that wanted to dance in the back, and those that wanted to purely rock out to the music in the front. There was the same amount of pushing past to get to stand closer to the front, temporarily breaking apart other friend groups while they dance. This crowd was neither better or worse than any other year.

A better crowd would have been a more considerate crowd. I always seem to leave a dance with a few more bruises from the pushing and shoving. I understand getting to the spot people enjoy most, but I would rather have had people pass respectfully than shove hard out of the way.

I have always looked forward to the dances at the school, but after attending so many, I was seeking a little more of a stand-out for this year’s end of the year event.

I would have loved for this dance to have had the paint thrown on the dance floor rather than contained in another space as I came to the dance to dance, but I still wanted to get a little colorful in order to optimize the white-out theme.

I hope in the future UTSA has a dance with a different playlist. Something like a full throwback dance, with the songs we listed to growing up, or a country themed dance would separate the feeling that every dance is the same.

2023 Inferno was an excellent time for all those involved, but some of my fellow friends and I were hoping for the same feeling and excitement that came from attending last year’s Inferno.

This dance made big improvements from past dances when it comes to security and other provided entertainment. It is hard continuing to top past events when the bar is set so high from the first one, but in the future UTSA can come up with a truly unique and entertaining night of dancing for all.

OPINION | Are you taking college safety drills seriously?

Safety drills are a familiar routine on college campuses that students need to take more seriously. 

These drills are vital in preparing students for worst-case scenarios. This can include fires, earthquakes, active shooters and more. If students are prepared when they find themselves in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, they may just be able to get themselves out of it. The only way for them to be prepared is by taking these safety drills seriously.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 3,800 university housing fires occur each year in the United States. These fires are a big threat and students can avoid being injured if they are more prepared for them.

Last year, I was living in on-campus student housing and remember a day when the fire alarm went off for a drill. Resident Assistants in the building were instructing students to exit for the drill and meet outside. Despite this, only a small number of people in the building ended up evacuating. If this incident had turned out to be an actual emergency, many students could have been seriously injured. 

Active shootings are also a serious threat to college students. The Citizens Crime Commission of New York City found that between 2001-2016, 437 people were shot on or within two miles of a college campus, meaning college students are at serious risk.

In the event of an active shooter, being prepared and knowing what to do can mean the difference between life and death. 

Practicing safety drills without students knowing it is a drill is also a method school officials have used since kindergarten to help reduce panic and fear during a real emergency situation. Drills would randomly occur at least once a semester to test students knowledge and preparedness.

I remember being in class during elementary school when suddenly over the speaker intercom I heard our principal announce a school-wide lockdown. This is the first time I had ever experienced a lockdown without the principal or my teacher telling us it was a drill. This caused many students, including myself, to become nervous yet attentive to what our teacher was telling us. After the drill was over, our teacher told us it was just a drill, and we were perfectly safe. 

Later that year, our principal got on the intercom to announce another lockdown. However, this time we were less nervous because we had already experienced a lockdown situation and knew what to do. 

Students don’t take drills seriously because they are aware of them being a drill. They simply brush them off and believe they would know what to do in a real emergency situation. 

Some people also argue drills are unnecessary and even harmful because they can cause stress, anxiety or desensitize people to real danger. However, stress and anxiety are what allow us to know we are in a dangerous situation. On top of that, if a student were to suddenly find themselves in an emergency situation with no idea what to do, then their stress and anxiety would be much worse than it would be in a safety drill. 

Emergency situations can and do happen on college campuses. Rather than dismissing drills altogether, students and college officials should work to conduct these drills in informative and sensitive ways for all involved. 

I encourage everyone to visit the Utah Tech University safety website and watch as many safety trainings as possible. Additionally, next time you are part of a safety drill, take it seriously and follow the safety procedures. I promise it will help you be more prepared for any dangerous situations you may find yourself in.

How you can become the next Brooks the Bison

Do you love Utah Tech University and want to become Brooks the Bison for the 2023-2024 school year? Well, you’re in luck because applications for this position are now open, and you can be the one to put on the face of the Trailblazer spirit.

Applicants must provide:

  • Verification of enrollment
  • Letter of recommendation
  • A video of you performing a skit, routine or dance video done by another mascot along with a link to the video referenced
  • A paragraph explaining why you want to be the 2023-2024 Brooks the Bison

Karlee Myers, student engagement coordinator, will invite applicants to a second round of private auditions after the initial application is reviewed.

Myers oversees every aspect of Brooks from rentals to suit cleanings to the audition process.

Myers said the best Brooks in the past are those who have fully immersed themselves in the character and truly embodied the spirit of what Brooks means to Utah Tech.

“I think a huge thing with being Brooks is that you can’t be afraid to be silly,” Myers said. “He is a silly guy who is interactive and always has a good time.”

In an interview with a translator and the 2022 Brooks, he said the best part of being the mascot was being able to interact with current, future and past Trailblazers.

Brooks was first introduced as Utah Tech’s mascot in 2016 after the trailblazer identity was coined specifically for Utah Tech. The mascot of Brooks is a bison because the majestic beasts were America’s original trailblazers of the land. The name Brooks is based on the original trailblazer Samuel Brooks who was the first student to attend what was then named St. George Stake Academy in 1911.

Now, Brooks attends a large majority of athletic events throughout the year where you can see him rocking jerseys, posing with students for photos in full stadiums and even performing with the Blaze dance team during halftimes in football and basketball games.

“He also attends all of the ribbon cuttings for new buildings on campus,” Myers said.

Aside from being active on campus, Brooks is also an active member of the St. George community. He attends special events like the Dixie Power Kite Festival and even has his own birthday party called “Brooks’ Block Party” during annual D-Week traditions. Teaching internet safety at many local elementary schools is also on his lengthy agenda of activities.

“He also went to the drag show as a judge this year and that was a new one he had not gone to before, but it was a really fun time and experience for him,” Myers said.

This position includes a scholarship that covers the cost of in-state tuition for two consecutive semesters. To be awarded this scholarship you must maintain a 2.75 GPA.

Auditions for Brooks are currently open and all that are interested are encouraged to apply here.

OPINION | The power of healing: why therapy is for everyone

We have all had those days where we needed a long rant session or some validation from someone, and fortunately, there are people out there who get paid to do this. 

Therapy is an opportunity for anyone to express what challenges are impacting them. Life and people aren’t perfect and it is important to seek out support. Since going to therapy and working through my struggles, I now have a bigger capacity to handle hard situations. Therapy is for everyone and anybody can take the chance to improve daily and become better.

Mental health awareness is bigger than it has ever been in the United States. There are speakers and paid jobs that solely focus on mental health. Some of these include therapists, psychiatrists, public speakers and psychologists. These jobs are essential in today’s world to help people process and work through their mental illness and emotions.

Personally, I have received therapeutic help since my parents were divorced in 2009. My mom paid for therapy, so I could have a person to confide in and trust. This was extremely helpful and built me into being the person I am today. Some major topics that have impacted me in therapy are mindfulness skills, conflict-resolution problem solving and being unapologetically me.

Therapy is all about sharing and feeling one’s own emotions. It is a healthy outlet because everyone needs someone to talk to. Humans are pack animals, and we rely on each other for support to live. Talking with people allows individuals to grow and accomplish goals to succeed.

There are many stressors that have not been as relevant to prior generations such as social media and university requirements. Schools have taught more information as technology continues to advance, meaning there is more knowledge out in the open everyday. This can lead to mental struggles because of the high pressure put upon students. It is important to discuss these stressors and challenges with someone who can validate, help and treat the problem, so people can release and feel their emotions effectively.

Bottling up emotions and then releasing them in an angry manner is a very common way to express emotions. However, this isn’t the healthiest way. It is more productive to process and problem solve the issues causing the anger.

One of the first things I learned in therapy is what a coping skill is. Coping skills are a ways to feel and work through the emotional pain someone is feeling. For example, a coping skill could be dancing in one’s bedroom and singing to the music out loud. This helps to temporarily manage and work through the pain an individual is feeling.

Since I have attended therapy, I have learned there are different types of therapeutic approaches. Although all of them have the same basic skills, there are different types that are targeted toward certain illnesses and problems. Some of these techniques are dialectical and cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and play therapy. All types of therapy are effective, and it is good to be aware of the different options to receive the correct help.

Not only does therapy affect a person’s emotions and how they deal with themselves, but therapy also helps connect people and help others have empathy in all types of relationships. 

Clients who attend family therapy report that it helps with “improvement in work productivity, co-worker relationships, family relationships, partner relationships, emotional health, overall health, social life and community involvement.” 

I agree with the reporting of these clients because therapy has helped me all around. I used to be anxious to talk to new people and branch out, especially after moving to a different state for school. After working through this in therapy, I have become involved with the community and developed a social life.

Empathy is a huge part of being in a relationship and understanding where a person is coming from. Empathy allows people to respond in a social situation appropriately and be aware of themselves and others. People don’t always know what their friends and family are going through, and it is crucial in a relationship to be considerate.

Another reason why it is important to seek help and have a therapist is because it builds confidence.

Confidence helps build character in a person. Having the tools to create a happier self-image allows a person to step outside of his or her comfort zone. Confidence makes the person who they are and helps with current and future situations. Self-esteem also plays into this.

Therapists help an individual identify their personal core beliefs, whether that is positive or negative. Learning to embrace those beliefs can improve one’s outlook in life.

Therapy can benefit anyone in any lifestyle and improve someone’s day to day experience. Instead of sitting and wallowing in problems, individuals can have someone who listens to them, understands what is going on and helps plan a resolution to their issues. It is important to attend therapy to have that healthy outlet and create a productive life.

Utah Tech students spread positivity through their clothing brand

With the goal of spreading positivity and smiles, five students at Utah Tech University created a business in hopes of making a profit and an impact through fashion.

Beginning in January 2023, these students participated in a project for an entrepreneurship class. Despite not knowing each other beforehand, they worked together to create long-lasting friendships and QR Hoodies, a business with the main goal of making people smile by wearing fashionable clothing. 

The students who started the business are as follows: 

  • CEO Sophie Wood, a freshman management major from Lehi
  • Marketer Jared Fotu, a freshman management major from Alpine
  • Social media marketer Hailey Reynolds, a freshman general studies major from St. George
  • Product manager Kirsten Dopp, a sophomore general studies major from St. George
  • Developer manager Ava Poppe, a freshman general studies major from St. George

Despite selling hoodies, a commonly sold apparel item loved by many, there’s more than what meets the eye with QR Hoodies. Located on the frontside of the hoodies lies a smiley face and the quote, “Be the reason someone smiles today.” On the backside of each hoodie lies a QR code that takes its scanners to the business website where a new, positive quote awaits its readers every day. 

“You’ll never wear the same quote twice because it’s always something relevant, and fresh and new,” Wood said. 

Wood said the idea came to her when discussing ideas with her group at the start of the semester. With prior experience of owning another clothing business, Hello Mod Clothing, Wood felt inspired to continue her fashion journey with the creation of a new business with a different message: spreading positivity. 

“I really like the business because I have never seen the idea before,” Fotu said. “I also think the hoodies look pretty good. Obviously people want to look good, so I like that we are able to spread positivity and also spread good looking hoodies.”

Owning a business comes with its own highs and lows, and the group has felt the outcomes of both. 

“The highs of owning the business are definitely getting recognized and seeing the progress,” Wood said. “We like seeing the hard work pay off, but obviously, there’s a high risk with entrepreneurship.”

Although some of the risks that come with entrepreneurship include the potential loss of both money and time, Wood said the rewards and goals of the business are what make it all worth it. 

“Our number one goal is making people smile,” Wood said. “We want to make a difference and spread positivity, and that’s what this business does.” 

To spread positivity and sell more hoodies, the group has found social media to be an effective way to advertise their business. Through the use of both Instagram and TikTok, they have been able to reach a wider audience and increase engagement with potential customers, especially on campus. 

After doing a photo shoot to celebrate their first launch day on April 4, Wood said, “We basically broke even with our launch, and we are almost out of hoodies.”

With the outcome of their launch day, the group put in another order of hoodies to keep up with the high demand of their apparel. With many of their hoodies being sold within the first week of their launch, buyers were quick to purchase from the business. 

“I decided to buy from QR Hoodies because it’s such a great message,” said Ashley Peterson, a freshman management major from American Fork. “I think it’s important for everyone to be kind to others and remember that we’re all going through something, so it’s important to just smile.”

Although the business was started as a class project in hopes of receiving a good grade, Wood said, “We’re obviously continuing it and want to make it grow as much as possible.”

With the summer heat of St. George quickly approaching its residents, the group hopes to expand its apparel selection within the next couple of months to other items that allow for comfortability and style in the hot weather, such as shorts, shirts and hats. 

“I hope our business blows up,” Wood said. “I think it’s such a good idea, and I think that it can go so many different ways in the future.”

With dreams of turning the business into a brand that promotes mental health awareness, Wood believes the business’ positive message can have a significant impact on people’s lives. 

“Our hoodies retail for $49 which is a super reasonable price,” Wood said. “Anywhere you walk, you’ll make everybody that scans your hoodie smile, and I think it’s such a positive message.”

Here’s how you can prepare for finals

Finals week is almost here which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for many Utah Tech University students.

This stress and anxiety comes from the pressure students feel due to future grades and potential job prospects relying on their exams. Here are five ways students can overcome that pressure and conquer finals week.

Get enough sleep

Many students opt to spend a large portion of the night before an exam studying instead of sleeping. Although studying a lot can help you take in more information, sleepfoundation.org says it is simply not worth it at the expense of a good night’s rest. 

According to the website, students who sleep better get better grades, better recall, an increase in mood and improved mental health. This in turn can lead students to be more energized and ready to take a test as they will be in a healthier mental state.

Additionally, sleeping well the night before is not enough. In order to get the full benefits a healthy sleep schedule can offer, students need to get a recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night for at least a week before taking a test.

Avoid last-minute cramming

Debbie Bartlett, assistant director of the student testing center, said the most critical part of testing is to avoid procrastination. 

Procrastination will lead to a lot of students’ time being spent on things less important than finals. Time spent procrastinating could be time spent studying. This will then force students to cram all of their studying in at the very last minute and could cause a lack of sleep or an increase in stress. 

Bartlett added showing up to the testing center last minute will add unneeded stress as well because students run into the possibility of a long line that may shorten their test-taking time. 

Utilize campus resources

“I think one of the best and most underutilized resources on campus is the study halls,” said Nicholas Theis, academic advisor for general education. “These include the academic performance center, writing center, student success center, Hazy tutoring and math e-lab.”

Theis said each resource is unique and provides a collaborative and supportive environment to study and obtain free tutoring services. To learn more about tutoring and student support on campus, visit https://tutoring.utahtech.edu/.

Stay organized

Staying organized around finals weeks can help minimize stress and prevent students from being overwhelmed. 

There are many different strategies and tools to help students stay organized. One of the most effective strategies is to find a specific time and place to study. This could be a study room, the library or a quiet and distraction-free part of a student’s apartment. 

Another good way to stay organized is to use a planner. In a planner students can write out all of the classes they have to study for and when they’re going to study. This will help them not only remember to get everything done but assure that they give themselves enough time to do everything. 

Take breaks

It is easy for students to get burnt out while studying for and taking tests. It’s a lot of work that can cause even the most relaxed students to feel overwhelmed. That’s why taking breaks is so vital to getting through finals. 

Just like our smartphones, our brains need to recharge after prolonged periods of use. Doing so can help productivity increase contrary to what many people believe. The most effective breaks can help reduce stress levels and increase concentration when students return to studying. 

Finals week can be stressful, but by following all of these tips it might be a little bit better. So next time you find yourself overwhelmed, just remember to get enough sleep, avoid last-minute cramming, utilize campus resources, stay organized and take plenty of breaks.