Become a true southern Utah local: 5 Hikes in St. George for beginners

It’s time to embrace your inner “St. Georgian.”

With St. George being known for its abundance of outdoor activities, it can almost be expected of the residents to be familiar with the hiking opportunities that draw in all of the tourists.

Here is a list of five easy hikes – from easiest to hardest – to do in St. George to help jumpstart anybody looking to partake in the popular, local hobby.

Secret Sauce/Claim Jumper

Location: Desert Canyons Trailhead, SG-6745-G, 2, St. George, UT 84790

Navigation: Easy

Difficulty Level: 1/5

Estimated time to complete: one hour 30 minutes

Length: 4.5 miles

The “Secret Sauce” hike is the place to start your new journey. In this hike, you will find a well defined pathway that slowly weaves up a small plateau. You won’t find yourself gasping for breathe, or feeling your quads burn, which makes it the perfect hike for anybody wanting an advanced “Hot Girl Walk.” You can walk your pet, get to know someone on a first date or enjoy a casual catch-up with a friend.

Take note that you may feel a little tired due to its length.

This hike doesn’t include the best views that St. George has to offer due to the fact that the highway is right next to the plateau, and there aren’t any red rocks in sight.

Camille Fenton, a dance major from Tooele, said, “There were some moments where I felt like I was in the cars ride from Disneyland.”

This hike may not be the most jaw dropping hike, but its user-friendly and has a name that is undeniably unique.

Temple Quarry Trail

Location: St. George, Utah 84770

Navigation: Easy

Difficulty level: 2/5

Estimated time to complete: one hour 30 minutes

Length: 2.3 miles

Temple Quarry hike is a generally a flat trail that takes you around the old “airport hill.”

This hike was originally built for easier access to the quarry that had the “lava rocks” used to build the foundation, basement and walls for the St. George Temple. There are informative signs throughout the hike that go into more detail.

This hike has a much better view of the city of St. George. After a couple minutes of shallow stairs, you follow a stable pathway with little elevation change. Due to this lack of intense elevation change, this hike is perfect for jogging.

This hike accommodates families, friends and pets. There are benches placed throughout the hike that give a perfect view and also keeps you out of the way of anybody else exploring the quarry.

This hike reveals the often unnoticed black lava rock boulders that live on the quarry. You get to walk within them and it leaves you questioning how you never noticed them sooner.

This hike brings great views, low exertion and a small history lesson while you’re at it.

Owens Loop

Location: 452 N Main St, St. George, UT 84770

Navigation: Medium

Difficulty level: 3/5

Estimated time to complete: two hours

Length: 2.7 miles

Owens loop leads you to scale the classic red rocks of St. George. You witness unique rock formations that try to guide you through the smooth, peaceful and secluded terrain. This hike has a pretty respectable elevation change but for a very low amount of energy exertion. Once you reach the top of the loop, you get a nice view of the city of St. George. Specifically Bluff. Down at the bottom of the hike – if you keep a keen eye out – you can find a fairy garden that has been created by what seems like local children.

This hike is perfect for anyone looking for a taste of adventure mixed in with their hike. The trails are less defined, so there are opportunities to explore – either purposefully or accidentally.

Before blazing this trail, be sure to consider how the weather is. There are moments in this hike that can be a little muddy, especially if it has rained, snowed or frosted over recently. The hike is safe, but your shoes won’t be happy during the wet season.

Elephant Arch

Location: Washington, UT 84780

Navigation: Easy

Difficulty level: 4/5

Estimated time to complete: 1.5 to two hours

Length: 3.8 miles

Elephant Arch is a stunning hike full of beautiful views that truly encompass the beauty in St. George. This hike takes you through an easy to follow trail including views of red mountains, green bushes, caves and viewpoints. This trail is also unique with it being made of sand. With that being said, hiking sandals such as Chacos are the best shoe option for this hike, especially if you don’t want your shoes and socks filled with sand.

In this hike there are steeper climbing moments that feel difficult due to the sand. Luckily, it is only a small portion of the hike and if you ever get tired, take a break and admire the consistent beautiful scenery around you.

Once you reach the destination of Elephant Arch, it can be a little difficult to find it in the mountains before you.

Jalen Robison, an exercise science major from Fillmore, said to “look for the small arch that will be slightly to the left, once you find the arch, imagine it to be the trunk of the elephant; from there let your imagination go wild.”

The rock formations surrounding the elephant are great to explore, climb and stretch your imagination.

Shinobe Kibe

Location: Paiute Dr, Washington, UT 84780

Navigation: Easy

Difficulty Level: 5/5

Estimated time to complete: 1.5 hours

Length: 1.4 miles

For the grand finale, we have Shinbone Kibe. This is an easy to navigate hike, but once you find the entrance, don’t make the mistake of walking around the perimeter of Shinobe Kibe when the entrance to the hike is right next to the neighborhood where you park.

This hike is straight elevation gain, and you’ll feel it. On this hike you will find yourself scaling Shinobe Kibe through switchbacks that take you up the mountain. There are places you can take breaks and admire the progress you have made but don’t get discouraged and push for the top.

Once you hit the top you will find a smooth rocky terrain, an American flag and a notebook. The notebook is filled with hundreds of names of people who have also completed this hike. Be sure to bring your own pen if you want to write your name inside.

This hike can be seen from anywhere in St. George – a constant reminder of the successes you have made as a new-found hiker.

A free app you can download to help support you in your hiking adventures is “AllTrails.” AllTrails helps you search through hundreds of nearby trails and also includes a GPS Tracker within it to make sure you’re staying on the right path. It also has reviews from other local hikers.

Luke Wilkins, the assistant director of campus recreation, has a recommendation for all students interested in taking on hiking.

“Stay hydrated,” Wilkins said. “Hiking in Southern Utah is tremendously rewarding if the proper precautions are taken.”

These five hikes could be just the beginning for a new favorite hobby. Check them out for yourself to see if you have what it takes to be a classic “St. Georgian.”

Don’t struggle this midterm season, use these tips from Utah Tech professionals

Midterms are here, and if you don’t want to waste your time studying only to forget what you studied when the exam comes, use these five study tips.

Plan ahead

“Go into studying knowing exactly what you want to work on and how long you need to work on it,” said Haylie Jacobson, Writing Center coordinator. “Also, set little goals for yourself, it’s important to measure how much you’re learning so you know what you need to work on more and what you’re confident with.”

Without planning ahead, you may sit down and realize that you don’t know what to study or where to start. This will only add to your stress and shorten the amount of time you can spend studying. Planning this out ahead of time will allow your studying to go smoothly and help you be more confident in the information you are taking in. 

Start early

The more time you have the better. Getting started early can give you that extra time that most people may not have and will allow you to easily cover more topics. It will also allow you to spread your time out in a more efficient way. 

“Nobody wants to study for five hours straight; at that point, studying becomes a chore,” said Cambrie Richardson, Peer Coach coordinator. “It’s much better for you to break up your study time, study for 20 minutes, have a snack, study for 10 minutes, go hang out with friends and then study for 30 minutes.”

Taking breaks can help as it will allow you to rest your brain for a little bit and then go back into studying with a clear head. 

Focus on one class at a time

It’s easy to get sidetracked while studying, especially when you have multiple classes to study for. Before you start studying, decide which class to study for first and then go from there. 

If you try to study for multiple classes at once, you could get information mixed up and you’ll be less likely to remember it when the time comes to take your test. If you focus on one at a time, you can get all of the information you need for that class down before you begin studying for another. 

Find or create a specific study space

If you have ever found yourself sitting down to study for a test only to have your roommates or many gadgets in your room distract you, then you’re not alone. Distractions can cause a lot of frustration when attempting to study. Finding or creating a specific study space will help lessen this problem. 

One thing you can do is clear the desk at your apartment of anything that isn’t vital to your studying. You can then turn your phone off and turn your full attention to the class material.

Another solution would be to go to a quiet space that is specifically designed for studying such as the library. The Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons offers many computers for students to use and even an entire floor where conversations are prohibited. 

Utilize campus resources

Utah Tech University offers many resources that can aid you in your classes and studying. 

The Writing Center is located on the 4th floor of the HCC and is a service that can provide much-needed help to students who may struggle with writing. The Peer Coaching Program is designed to help first-year students transition into college life and this can include one-on-one tutoring. 

Additionally, the job of a professor is to make sure students have the knowledge necessary to pass the class.

“I think the best resource on campus is your professor,” Richardson said. “They know what’s on the test, and they are there to help you succeed.” 

The next time you find yourself sitting down to study for your midterms, use these five strategies and it will help you pass your next test.

‘In The Dirt’ podcast: How Latham Chandler started his own podcast at Utah Tech

Utah Tech University has an abundance of resources for its students to pursue passions, hobbies and talents.

Latham Chandler, a junior finance major from Evanston, Wyoming, started his podcast “In The Dirt” with the equipment in the podcast studio of the Jennings Communications Building.

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily
Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

Chandler initially started his podcast with a friend in April 2022; however, it took a few months until production was consistent.

“The podcast idea was born from just friends sitting in a living room at 2 a.m. hashing out crazy ideas, then we somehow took the idea seriously and made it happen,” Chandler said.

Starting the podcast was easy once Chandler learned about the recording studios on campus and the assistance he could get from staff and faculty.

“I had heard about the recording booths and walked past a few times listening to the music on the radio,” Chandler said. “Then one day, I just walked through the door, talked to a few people and the podcast started to happen.”

Chandler started the podcast to have fun and do something he would enjoy.

On the podcast, Chandler shares his experiences, life stories and opinions. He also interviews other university students and community members about their jobs, passions and life lessons. The most recent guest on the podcast was Ed Tracey, president and CEO of Washington Chambers of Commerce, who shared behind the scenes of his job and new comedy club.

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily
Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily
Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

“I love all my guests, but the most recent one, Ed Tracey, was a blast,” Chandler said. “Another memorable episode was No. 25 with my buddies: Donald, Eric and Kevin.”

Eric Mendoza-Beltran, a sophomore marketing major from Rigby, Idaho, met Chandler his first year at Utah Tech when they were roommates. Donald Kapustka, a junior history major from Colorado Springs, Colorado, met Chandler through Mendoza-Beltran and other mutual friends.

“We went in the studio a few times, not to record, just to listen,” Kapustka said. “One night we decided ‘all-right this time we are actually going to record.'”

Mendoza-Beltran joined in on the podcast after being convinced by his friends it would be a fun experience. This was the first time for all of the guests in this particular episode to be on a podcast.

“I was nervous for the first five minutes of recording; I was mumbling and felt awkward,” Kapustka said. “Then we got in the groove and had a very fun hour and a half.”

Both Mendoza-Beltran and Kapustka agreed it was Chandler who made the experience of being on a podcast a good memory.

“He [Chandler] engages with you a lot and makes everything pretty broad and comfortable in the studio,” Mendoza-Beltran said.

Mendoza-Beltran had such a great experience recording with his old roommate and friends that he is going to try and help Chandler outreach his podcast to help him accomplish goals related to his podcasting passion.

While Mendoza-Beltran and Kapustka came on the podcast to have a good time and the connection to get on was easy, as they are friends with Chandler, they shared that Chandler is not limited on who he has on the podcast.

“He doesn’t just talk to one certain type of person,” Kapustka said. “He reaches out to a lot of different people to be on the podcast.”

Chandler enjoys having fun and including a wide variety of guests on his podcast he can learn from and help share more diverse stories.

“I just ask people that I find interesting to come on and talk about their life and passions,” Chandler said. “I try to get guests with cool experiences to share.”

Utah Tech is a place to start new hobbies and passions as they have so many resources to offer. Thanks to Utah Tech taking action in providing ways to help students live its motto “Active Learning. Active Life.” Chandler was able to find a new passion that even others, like Mendoza-Beltran and Kapustka, can see within him.

Kapustka said: “Latham is super passionate about the podcast. He is always talking about it, and I think it is awesome that the school has a recording booth on campus for their students to pursue hobbies and passions like this.”

Chandler’s advice to any person wanting to start a podcast is to “get fun people and get in the studio.” He started his podcast off on a fun whim, but has found a passion within this outlet. He is planning for the podcast to continue to grow in listeners and to start bringing on professors and graduates to talk about their fields and niches.

The podcast, “In The Dirt,” can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. You can also follow the podcast on Instagram to add visuals of the people you are hearing from each episode.

‘The Drowsy Chaperone’: A critical look at the return of musicals at Utah Tech

“The Drowsy Chaperone” is a step in the right direction for Utah Tech University’s theater department, and while it’s by no means perfect, those who have not seen this hilarious show will have a good time.

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

First, a bit of a PSA: this is the first time Utah Tech’s theater department has put on a musical since the steampunk version of “The Wizard of Oz” in 2018. If the public wishes to see more musicals from the theater department, they need to support their endeavor into somewhat unfamiliar territory. I am not involved in any way, shape or form with this production, but I’m an absolute sucker for good musical theater.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” is one of my favorite musicals. It’s filled with meta-commentary about the golden age of musicals and the need to escape from the troubles presented by modern day life. It achieves this through the pseudo-narrator of the show who doesn’t have a name, but is often called “The Man In The Chair.”

The audience is then transported to a Great Depression era musical called “The Drowsy Chaperone” within the confines of the man’s apartment filled with musical theater memorabilia.

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

The show that unfolds is incredibly campy and cheesy with “The Man In The Chair” commenting and interacting with the material like he was a heckler at a comedy show.

What has just been described is usually how it’s supposed to go, but here is where Utah Tech’s theater department decided to take a risk.

The narrator in this version of the show is known as “The Person In The Chair.” They are played by an actor who prefers they/them pronouns, and their costume includes a skirt and classic curlers in their hair.

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

When I first heard about this change, I began to sweat a bit. I have no problem with the choice of actor and subject matter, but what I was worried about was the idea of the theater department prioritizing political matters over a quality show.

Luckily, my worries were unfounded. The spirit of “The Person In The Chair” was infectious in their comedy and stage presence, and I was more than happy to be guided through this show by this variation of the character.

That’s not to say they did a perfect job, but there were unlikely character choices that had me looking at this character in a new light. Some lines I expected to give me a chuckle like usual ended up making me feel sympathy for “The Person In The Chair.”

However, I would’ve liked to see a little more patience in the comedy from them. Comedy is like a loop on a roller coaster. You tread up an incline before starting the approach to the loop, this is the setup of the joke. Then you have a sense of floating while you experience the apex of the loop, this is the comedic pause before the punchline. Lastly, the final bit of adrenaline in the drop of the loop along with the straightway of speed, this is the punchline and reaction.

Long story short, I wish “The Person In The Chair” would have relished in the joy of the comedic pause.

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

Meanwhile, the other characters of the show seemed to be severely toned down in the campiness and cheesiness that I’m used to when it comes to “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

Case in point, Aldolpho, one of my favorite characters in the show, was missing a bit of the crazy edge he usually has. He is usually a comedically bad stereotype of Europeans while also being over-the-top in the best way possible.

The Utah Tech version is still wacky, but it felt like the actor wasn’t allowed to take that extra step into campy town that I was hoping for.

Same goes for the character of The Drowsy Chaperone. What is usually an almost incomprehensible mess of hilarious drunken quandaries has turned into someone I could realistically see at a bar.

There lies the problem I have with the theater department’s version of this show. I’ve seen what these characters can be since I’ve seen the show many times through many performing companies.

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

The only one who is supposed to be somewhat stable in character is “The Man In The Chair.” Once the musical begins to unfold in the man’s living room, every character needs to be a time capsule of over-the-top nonsense that encapsulates everything crazy about the golden age of musical theater.

So, would I recommend seeing “The Drowsy Chaperone” at Utah Tech?

I would if you’ve never seen the show before. While I wasn’t as impressed with the more grounded versions of the characters, the co-workers who were with me had never seen the show before and they seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

If you’ve seen “The Drowsy Chaperone,” you are going to be disappointed with what’s presented. This is due to different choices that may not be to everyone’s taste. This also includes the omission of the best gags that happens during the “intermission.” If you’ve seen the show before, you know what I’m talking about.

Overall, students need to show their support for this show. I say this because while I wasn’t blown away with the quality of the production, this is a step in the right direction for the theater department. Musical theater is such a big facet of the arts, and it’s an absolute shame they don’t indulge in spontaneous song and dance more often.

Here’s hoping this isn’t a one time showing for musicals at Utah Tech.

Here’s what 10-years of ‘university’ status looks like at Utah Tech

Utah Tech University is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of becoming a university this month.

On Utah Tech’s instagram page, a video was released listing events since attaining university status. 

According to Utah Tech’s website, bachelor’s degrees were introduced to the school’s curriculum in the late ’90s.

University status ensured the growth and expansion of opportunities for Utah Tech. Since 2016, a polytechnic approach has been installed and master’s degrees have been added. 

To celebrate Utah Tech’s 10-year anniversary Feb. 16, a cake cutting was held in front of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons and Library to commemorate the day Governor Herbert signed the bill into legislation.

“It was a nod back to the original event when it happened,” said Jyl Hall, director of public relations. “Back 10 years ago, Governor Herbert actually came on our campus to sign the bill. They had a big cake cutting ceremony.”

Hall has worked at Utah Tech since 2014, almost nine years. From 2015-2020, the university had its first strategic plan to develop growth called Status to Stature. The school had its university status but remained a small school. This plan created even more growth for Utah Tech. 

Hall said she loved witnessing the Status to Stature plan unfold. 

“I love that we’re an open access institution,” Hall said. “That anyone who desires an education can come here and get it.”

In 2013 when university status was gained, the name changed from Dixie State College of Utah to Dixie State University. 

The change from Dixie State College to Dixie State University started when faculty, alumni and students wanted to become a university due to how much growth was seen. More degrees were being offered and even the potential of graduate degrees were being discussed.

Despite the most recent change in name, from Dixie State University to Utah Tech University, there have been many name changes since the institute opened in 1911: 

  • 1911-1913: St. George Stake Academy
  • 1913–1916: Dixie Academy
  • 1916–1923: Dixie Normal College
  • 1923–1971: Dixie Junior College
  • 1971–2000: Dixie College
  • 2000–2013: Dixie State College of Utah
  • 2013–2022: Dixie State University
  • 2022-Present: Utah Tech University

Hall said within the past 10 years, the processes of changing names were similar. Because Utah Tech is a state funded institution, name changes have to be completed through legislation. 

According to Utah Tech’s website, after hearing the effect the name of the school had on graduates getting jobs, the school started the process of changing the name again.

The Board of Trustees had to approve of the university status change before it went to the Utah System of Higher Education. Once approved through them, it went through the house of representatives and senate.

Hall said the school’s faulty and staff members are excited to keep serving students and the St. George region.

“We really value our partnership with not just the city of St. George but all the cities in Washington county,” Hall said. “Just continuing to offer more services, events and cultural experiences for all of the community that they can come and just be enriched by the university.”

Chastity Wilson, a freshman criminal justice major from Kamas, said her favorite thing about being a part of this school is the overall community feeling here. She said that feeling makes it easier to make friends. 

Wilson said the classes are smaller and the professors are more willing to work with students, which in return, helps her succeed in her classes. Her favorite activity she has been to was the concert during welcome week. 

“I was able to go with my roommate, and we [were] front row to a band that was from Salt Lake [City],” Wilson said. “I also really enjoyed the homecoming football game and some of the dances the school provides as well.”

Kaitlyn Hougham, a freshman elementary education major from Las Vegas, said her favorite part about Utah Tech is how easy it is to get involved. 

“There are so many opportunities to be involved within the school and outside community,” Hougham said. “There’s opportunities that allow you to find and understand yourself as well as chances to make great memories with friends.”

Hougham said she also enjoys the small class sizes that allow her to be heard and not have to fight for an opportunity to speak. 

“As a student that went to over-crowded public schools almost her entire life, it’s nice being able to ask questions and form [connections] to teachers,” Hougham said.

Hougham said her favorite activity this past school year has been casino night. She was a volunteer through Code Red. She said she loved being able to connect with other students and learn about who those students are. 

The faculty members of Utah Tech continue to help students discover their passions. The continued growth in rising numbers of students show that Utah Tech is beloved by many.

Utah Tech provides textbook resources for professors and students using eTextbooks

Inclusive access textbooks are included in student fees, but many professors and students of Utah Tech University are unaware of the resources student fees are providing.

Utah Tech’s tuition and fees catalog does not highlight that online textbooks are included as a part of student fees and will be available depending on what courses a student registers for.

Each professor has the option of which textbook they want to supplement class instruction with before the beginning of each semester, but a lot of them can be free in an eTextbook form with student fees.

Textbooks are almost always required in every college course at Utah Tech under Utah’s state system of higher education laws.

The Financial Aid office posted the total estimated cost for textbooks of a full-time resident of Utah attending Utah Tech is $950 per year. This cost will increase if an individual is considered an out-of-state or international student.

Alicia Booth, instructor of the practice in communication, teaches multiple communication studies courses that use online textbooks. She said it is important to her that every student is able to access textbooks for free through canvas because she remembers how expensive they were while she was completing her graduate programs.

“Coming from being a student very recently, I understand there is a lot of need for inclusive access textbooks on this campus,” Booth said. “I always tell my students on the first day, along with keeping the textbook link in the module tab on canvas, to not go out and buy a separate one because it has already been included.”

Booth uses inclusive access textbooks in her critical communication and small group communication classes.

Booth said: “I don’t see the point in making students pay absurd amounts of money for a textbook that they will use for one semester. Knowing that when I tell the campus bookstore what textbook my classes will be using for that semester and that the university can provide an inclusive access textbook is great.”

Aliana Lomeli, a junior media studies major from Las Vegas, uses her Pearson eTextbook in Booth’s critical communication class.

“When I paid my student fees to register for the course, the textbook was included and my professor did let us know how to access it for free on canvas,” Lomeli said. “If she didn’t tell us at the beginning of the semester, I definitely would have bought one off of Amazon and wasted money.”

Booth’s critical communication course textbook is called: “Pearson eText for Critical Thinking and Communication: The Use of Reason in Argument Text” and it is an astounding $44.99 for an online eTextbook and $149.32 for a print copy.

Lomeli said: “We read the textbook weekly to know what we will be talking about in class beforehand, so having it included in the course and available on canvas modules has been easy to use and access anywhere. I’ve even read portions of the textbooks when I was in between sets at the gym on my phone.”

If students are not told they have an inclusive textbook at the beginning of the semester, they can check Utah Tech’s campus store where the staff can provide codes for ePearson’s website that allows students to download it for free if the textbook is available in an eTextbook form.

Booth said professors have to be continuously updating course material to fit the ever-changing and newest research in their field to teach their students. This translates into textbooks needing to be updated often, but their cost has continued to increase every year. Prices for textbooks have risen over 1,041% since 1977, and are not projected to become any more affordable for financially troubled students.


2 therapists, 1 nurse practitioner join the Booth Wellness Center team

Mental health is a growing concern nationwide among college students with up to 60% facing at least one mental health challenge. 

For years, students have been faced with anxiety and stress while in school, something that only gets worse each year. The topic of mental health awareness is also growing with many schools looking to match the students’ growing demand for care. 

Utah Tech University’s Booth Wellness Center (BWC) is aiming to match this demand and give students a place to go when they’re in need of help. The BWC is a comprehensive integrated care clinic offering both medical and mental health services to students.

“Booth Wellness Center medical providers offer acute care services including sick visits, minor wound care, well checks, medical testing and lab work,” said Jamy Dahle, assistant director of the BWC. “Mental health services include individual therapy, group therapy, crisis intervention and wellness workshops.” 

Dahle said the BWC also provides health education and prevention services through classroom presentations and wellness events. 

Garyn Gulbranson, director of the BWC, said some warning signs of declining mental health include:

  • Direct or indirect statements related to death 
  • Joking about suicide 
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Neglecting hygiene or self-care 
  • History of self-harm

“We know that transitioning to college can be a challenging time for many students, as can navigating adjustments and mental health-related concerns, but knowing they have access to support services such as the BWC is a significant benefit,” Gulbranson said.

Another benefit of the BWC is its QPR-certified staff. QPR stands for question, persuade, refer. These are steps that anyone can learn to help prevent suicide. 

The BWC has recently hired three new full-time employees all of which are QPR-certified. Gulbranson said this was a necessity given the growing student need. Two new therapists, Morgan Condie and Brandon Christensen, were hired as well as a full-time nurse practitioner, Carla Weaver.

Dahle said: “QPR is a nationally recognized, evidence-based suicide prevention program. By attending QPR training and becoming a QPR Gatekeeper, individuals are trained to recognize warning signs of individuals who may be having suicidal thoughts and feel competent and empowered to reach out to these individuals to offer hope and refer to help.”

Dahle said students, faculty and staff can become QPR trained by attending trainings that the BWC offers throughout the year. They send information about these trainings via UTAnnounce and Trail Tracker. Additionally, you can contact the BWC to schedule a QPR training for a specific group. 

“QPR is a vital skill to learn for everyone as it provides individuals with the tools to recognize and get help for those who are at risk for suicide,” Gulbranson said.

In 2021-2022 the BWC trained approximately 300 students, faculty and staff for QPR certification.

In addition to being able to identify warning signs in the people around you, it’s important to identify warning signs within yourself. 

“There is a misconception that an individual must be having thoughts of suicide or in severe distress to access help, but this is not the case,” Dahle said.

Dahle listed many reasons to seek out professional help including:

  • Feeling sad or down more than usual 
  • Having feelings of excessive worry
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Overuse or abuse of alcohol or other substances

Additionally, if you see someone who is struggling, reach out to them, be kind and let them know you see they are struggling. Students can also make a report using the SafeUT app or to the dean of students office. 

“We hope in the future to continue to increase our staffing and provide more training opportunities to better serve the needs of our Utah Tech students,” Gulbranson said.

The BWC is located at 1037 E. 100 S., and the phone number is 435-652-7755. Mental health appointments are free to students and performed medical services are $15 a person. 

“College can be a wonderful experience but also has its challenges, so let’s take of ourselves and each other,” Gulbranson said. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to ask others if they need help.”

Business profile: Gold Soul Family

Two Utah Tech students have found a way to change the way family stories are told through their new business.

Ben Werner, a senior information technology major from Palmer, Alaska, and Nathan Brown, a sophomore digital film major from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, have been partnering up for their business Gold Soul Family since the spring of 2022.

Werner has always liked the idea of hearing stories from older family members. While driving to Arizona in the fall of 2021, he had the idea of how to preserve stories in the modern world.

“A lot of the times we don’t get those stories from them [family members] in person,” Werner said. “I really just wanted to have a business where I could help people preserve their family memories.”

Brown and Werner met each other through X-club, one of the oldest clubs on campus.

“As soon as he pitched the idea, I thought it was great, and St. George is the perfect place to launch it,” Brown said.

Werner handles the marketing and business side of the company and Brown handles the filming and editing.

Their goal is to reach out to family members to record personal stories to tell now and after someone has died. These videos are intended to be told to current and future generations.

“Ideally, this is something the kids will buy for them [people being recorded],” Werner said.

Ads will be targeted through Facebook. This way they can find the correct demographic and reach more people in St. George. Together they have filmed about six videos and are looking forward to filming more in the future.

A video session can be anywhere from one to four hours long.

“It depends on the kind of person they are,” Werner said. “A lot of people do have great stories and love to talk about it,”

The documentary can be filmed in a home or a rented studio if needed. Filming in a person’s home helps the process of being interviewed more comfortably. It also is filmed in a place where the person can show memorabilia or their personality.

In a session, the person or couple being recorded will be asked about early childhood, married life, what it’s like to have kids, religious experiences and anything they want to tell their children or other family members.

When editing out pauses and distractions that may occur, the videos can take weeks to finish. Families are able to hear and listen repeatedly to stories of loved ones they can have forever.

Classes at Utah Tech have greatly helped Werner and Brown make this idea a reality. Classes like entrepreneurship, accounting and editing have given them inspiration and insight to improve the business and get it started.

“All of them [classes] have had insights from the teachers who have actual experiences working in it,” Brown said.

Werner and Brown said juggling student and entrepreneurship life is hard, but finding ways to stay organized helps them keep things in order.

“Finding the little minutes that I have free time… even 10 minutes can add up over time,” Brown said.

Making time for the little tasks and planning out tasks in advance has hugely impacted how they get things done on a daily basis. They have both learned how to juggle different aspects of life in a healthy way.

The takeaway both Brown and Werner have learned from this has been to live a life worth telling.

“One message I’ve heard all across the board has been live a life worth telling stories about,” Brown said.

Werner said the message he takes from these videos is beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

“These videos, to the families that are going to see it and watch it at holidays, are extremely valuable,” Werner said.

Werner’s inspiration for making these videos is the importance of family.

“Family really actually matters and is something you shouldn’t throw away over disagreements,” Werner said.

The mission of the business is to “help preserve family stories through personal documentaries.”

If you are interested, you can find them on Instagram @goldsoulfamily or you can email them at goldsoulfamilyfilms@gmail.com for pricing and inquiries.

Are Utah Tech University’s online programs actually all online?

Thanks to the ever looming factor of COVID-19, the variety of online classes has increased exponentially at Utah Tech University.

However, students may still run into a couple of obstacles if they want to go completely online.

In order to find more details about the online programs at Utah Tech, students will navigate their way to Utah Tech’s online program portal. While some of the courses are clear about the possibility of completing the entire degree online, some of the others are not as cut and dry.

For instance, communication studies may think it’s possible to complete their requirements through an all online format since it’s available on the online programs page. This is not the case. Fine print can be found in the program overview section of the course page.

It says: “Some of the elective courses are not currently offered online but will be soon. This means if you are currently a junior or a senior you need to speak with an academic adviser to see if you can complete this degree online.”

Bryan Jacobs, the senior adviser for the college of humanities and social sciences, has dealt with many students looking to take advantage of the online format, but many of them don’t notice the fine print found on the website.

Jacobs said: “I’ve had to shoot down the hopes of those hoping to complete their communications BS [Bachelor of Science] entirely online. The problem is that we don’t have any degree programs in communications that can be completed in an all online setting. So in that sense, the website can be seen as a bit misleading.”

Jacobs said the reason the misunderstanding happened in the first place was because of decisions from a previous communication studies department chair.

“A lot of these decisions were made by administrative staff who aren’t working at the university anymore,” Jacobs said. “So when problems with the online format of the program come up, there’s a good chance it was from the previous staff who set up the program.”

This isn’t the case with every program at Utah Tech, some of the majors at the university have been able to create completely remote programs with no in-person requirements. The nursing program offered at Utah Tech is an example of an entire degree being implemented online.

However, this does not count for general education classes.

Amy Fletcher, online programs adviser, helps the online nursing students find their pathway to graduation without ever meeting with them face-to-face.

“Every student that comes in has an associate of applied science, and many of them have an associated science,” Fletcher said. “So they’ve done their general education and just need to complete their bachelors from where they’re at.

Turns out online general education classes aren’t in abundance as much as Fletcher would hope. Whenever the classes are offered online, such as a required math class, it’s in such a demand that the seats are taken at a serious pace.

Fletcher said: “An associate of applied science doesn’t always have a complete set of general education credits. It’s usually abbreviated, so they need a certain number of requirements to get into their applied science program. They typically need fine arts, humanities and American institutions. Those classes have options online, but it’s highly competitive to get a seat in those classes.”

The online nursing program has fine print in the form of needing an associate in applied science before participating in the online courses. While this method is easier to understand then what’s seen on the communication studies online page, it’s still a speed-bump when looking for completely online schooling.

This caveat is echoed by Marc Lundstrom, the executive director of Utah Tech Online. Lundstrom is constantly working with the faculty in all departments interested in the online format, but he also mentioned the struggles of making online general education classes more readily available for students.

Lundstrom said: “We’re working with chairs and faculty to get those courses that may not yet be developed for online delivery, whether it be for junior or senior years, or wherever they’re at. It’s certainly a process as there is a lot that goes into developing a good online course. It’s a process that takes a while, and there are courses that an online student may not be able to get into as they’re eaten up quickly.”

The staff who works on the online infrastructure are always trying to find ways to accommodate those who may be struggling in an online environment. Lundstrom is also working towards getting more classes that are exclusively for online students.

This also includes experimenting with new formats of education such as a new physics lab course in development that will take place in virtual reality.

It’s still unclear as to when more measures will be put in place to help online students plan out their roadmap to graduation. Although the staff for Utah Tech Online understands the issue and will hope to fix it sooner, rather than later.

5 big entertainment releases for February 2023

February is not just about valentines and presidents. It can also be quite the month for entertainment, and it seems like this month is set to deliver this year.

Here are five big releases for February 2023 to keep your eye on.

Hogwarts Legacy

The Wizarding World and its titular school of witchcraft and wizardry are back in this new video game from Portkey Games and Avalanche Software.

The player takes on the role of a new fifth year student at Hogwarts, but academics are just a small part of the overall experience in Hogwarts Legacy. Learning new spells, brewing potions and fighting off a goblin uprising are only some of the antics one will find.

Hogwarts Legacy, despite facing some controversy, has managed to receive both critical and financial acclaim. Before the game officially released, Steam had a concurrent count of 500,000 players on average.

While the Wizarding World has been trying new things since the end of the Harry Potter films, this particular endeavor seems to have bore the fruit that the producers of WB Games, the publisher of the title, were been hoping for.

Hogwarts Legacy is available now on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, and will be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One April 4. A Nintendo Switch version is also in development and is expected to release in July.

“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania”

This film marks the beginning of phase five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While phase four did not receive much critical success after the climactic end of “Avengers: Endgame,” the third installment of Ant-Man’s adventures will introduce the next major villain for the entire MCU.

Kang The Conqueror is the main antagonist in this film and will also be the main antagonist for the overarching plotline of the MCU for the next couple of years. Jonathan Majors, who is portraying the big villain, made his debut in a less evil capacity in the Disney+ series “Loki,” but this version of Kang will be the dictator that fans of the comics know so well.

Early impressions of “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” vary depending on the publication, but one common thread found in each of the reviews is a surplus of praise for Jonathan Majors and his portrayal of Kang The Conqueror.

The film will release exclusively in theaters Feb. 17. You can expect to see a Disney+ release in April.

PlayStation VR2

The follow up to the 2016 Playstation VR headset has been met with a bit of disdain due to the pricing of the device. PlayStation VR2 is $550, which is expensive by itself, but you also need to own a PlayStation 5 in order to use the headset. PlayStation 5 models range from $400 to $500 depending on if you want a disc drive. Do the math and you’ve got to have at least $1000 in your bank account in order to experience it.

With all that being said, the crazy thing is that early adopters of the new headset say it’s worth it. While this has been toted by Sony as the best virtual reality experience on console, this may just become the best virtual reality experience on the market in general.

If you can get past the financial hurdle that comes with owning this piece of tech, keep an eye out when PlayStation VR2 releases Feb. 22.

“Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey”

When a character like Winnie the Pooh becomes public domain, one can’t help but imagine what kind of new takes on the character we will see. For instance, Pooh and Piglet deciding to eat all their friends in the 100-Acre Wood.

Hence, we now have “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” and its quest to bring a new take on a beloved character that you would never see from Disney.

“Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey,” which is in fact a slasher horror film, will release in theaters starting Feb. 15.

Metroid Prime Remastered

Something like Metroid Prime Remastered can be described as a dream come true. Not only did that dream come to fruition, it was also announced and released on the same day.

Metroid Prime Remastered is an enhanced version of the original Metroid Prime released on Nintendo GameCube in 2002. The player takes on the role of Samus Aran—a bounty hunter who doesn’t let anyone or anything get in her way of accomplishing her goals.

The player accomplishes said goals by exploring a planet rife with dangerous flora and fauna while collecting new weapons and upgrades for Samus’ power suit.

Needless to say, Metroid Prime is one of the best gaming experiences when it came out in 2002 and has only aged better with time.

Metroid Prime Remastered is available for Nintendo Switch through the Nintendo eShop and will be available physically starting Feb. 22.

2023 is already filled with variety through multiple mediums of entertainment, and it seems the excitement is far from over.