OPINION | SafeUT, Utah Tech Safe apps are underutilized

When someone is in trouble and needs medical or emergency assistance, 911 is called. I would never pull out my phone, go to an app and wait for someone to reply or call an emergency number.

SafeUT is an app created by the University of Utah for students to use when they are having a mental health crisis or when there is an emergency. This generation of students is very app-centric when it comes to contact, but is an emergency app the best way to help those in need? The idea of having an emergency app sounds great but the reality is not.

When I downloaded the app last year, I was told I should always have the app on my phone in case of an emergency. I ended up deleting it to save more room on my phone because in an actual emergency, my fight-or-flight response would be to call 911. That’s what I have been taught since I was in elementary school.

This app is not necessary for students or the community. It seems more reliable and a better option to call an emergency number than to go through an app.

The app is not promoted enough at Utah Tech University for this app to be helpful for students.

There are three different apps for SafeUT. There is SafeUT for crises involving mental health and other education concerns. There is SafeUT Frontline for Utah law enforcement, fire and health care providers. There is also SafeUT National Guard which is for for Utah Air and Army National Guard members and their families to have access to licensed mental health professionals.

Overall, the SafeUT app is an alternative for submitting a tip to a school or getting in contact with a counselor.

While I was researching, I found the app Utah Tech Safe. This is an app created for students and the community to have safety and security. I have never heard of this app before, but this app is designed to be Utah Tech centered with numbers to local emergency contacts and other resources.

Both apps are not promoted enough at Utah Tech to be helpful for students. I was told about it during Trailblazer Connections, but after that, I have not seen one flyer, reminder or call to action about the app.

Utah Tech should be promoting this app more to students. Having classes or signs around campus can remind students that the app still exists.

For the safety of students, faculty, staff and community members, SafeUT and Utah Tech Safe are not essential resources to use. To avoid potential app glitches and possible confusion, it is best to use emergency phone numbers in times of emergencies.

OPINION | Books reign supreme over movies

Harry Potter,” “Divergent,” “Hunger Games,” “Percy Jackson” and “The Lord of the Rings” are all books that have been made into movies.

Books will always be better than movies. Movies have a tendency to leave out parts of the books that are key parts to the characters’ development.

In the “Harry Potter” books, Hermione turned Rita Skeeter into her animagus beetle form and trapped her in a jar for a full year for spying on others and spreading lies. She then carried around the jar and shook it around to jostle Skeeter around. 

This is something that people would know about Hermione and her craziness if they read the books. 

There are endless book series out there that could be movie-worthy but will never be made into movies, whether that be because they are too detailed and long to do it justice, or the popularity level is just not high enough. 

The details in books are completely on another level compared to the details in movies. In stories, we get to dive deep and get to really see these characters and their thoughts, emotions, memories and so much more.

In movies, it is really hard to get those details across because we have to see those things through their facial expressions and their body language. Books allow people to actually read those things and feel it as if they were in the story. 

Growing up, my mom had made a rule for me pertaining to books that were made into movies. It was that I had to read the books before I could watch any of the movies. So as I grew up, if I wanted to watch a movie, whether that be something as popular as “Harry Potter” or less popular like “The BFG,” I was powering through the books in order to experience the live version. 

Don’t get me wrong, the movies were great, but watching them right after I had finished reading the original stories, I was nearly always coming out of it a little disappointed that certain parts of the books didn’t make it into the movies. Quite a few of those missing parts were some of my favorite moments to read. 

I will always be grateful to my mom for making me read those books as a kid. One day when I get to be a parent, I will be setting that rule into place with my own children, so they can thank their grandma for that rule.

I am a pretty avid reader. I try to read at least one to two books a week. That being said, I’ve read a lot of books, and I’ve gotten the chance to meet a lot of different characters written by many different authors. When I see those characters I love put onto a screen, I am only seeing the surface level of them rather than all of the inner workings of their brains and personalities. 

I have always had a pretty wide imagination. Reading allows me a way to sort through my imagination and pinpoint it onto the things read, kind of guiding it in a way. Being able to escape into a world in my head is one of my favorite things to do. It is a quiet way for me to relax and not have noise blasting from headphones or a TV. For me, it is a way to escape reality. 

Having my imagination be so strong and the images in my head being so vivid makes me very opinionated on what I think casting should look like if a movie or show does get made from the book.

BookTok also has people just like me. This community has made the production of books into movies a lot more difficult.

Recently the film adaptation of “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover had such bad backlash toward the casting as well as the wardrobe that the adaptation was put on pause indefinitely. I do not support the lashing that BookTok gives to casting, but I do have my opinions on who would be a good fit or not. However, bullying is never the right way to go about it. 

Movies are great, especially for those who are not readers. They give people the chance to unwind and relax at the end of a hard day or week, but books will be better in the long run.

For those readers who are out there, never stop reading. Keep finding those stories and share them with the world. We need to spread our love of these stories that are still enclosed in the pages of books.

OPINION | Rise above cancel culture—create safe spaces for speech

Cancel culture encourages conformity; conformity has no place on a college campus, a place where diverse thought should be nurtured.

Cancel culture is a tool used to shame people for their views on a topic because society has deemed it offensive. The fear of cancel culture has silenced us when our views are not shared by the majority.

The protection of the First Amendment is our right to free speech. This protection includes any speech whether it is found offensive in nature or not. Free speech on a college campus is important for students to feel like they can talk about topics they agree with and debate those that they do not.

Our education relies on the development of a free mind, and colleges and universities should be providing environments where students can have free expression.

When we are faced with topics that we disagree with most, that is when we find out how much we truly value the freedom of speech. Speech that we deem offensive and threatening to our point of view deserves the same protection as speech that we agree with.

However, the protection of the First Amendment does not pertain to harassment or targeting. There is a line between free speech and threatening an individual’s safety. Situations in which a student feels that line has been crossed should be handled carefully and on an individual basis.

I took a political science class last fall, and we discussed topics such as whether or not the Green Initiative would work or if Congress is a dysfunctional institution. Politics is a subject where free speech comes into play very often and influences most debates. In the class I took, I often found myself thinking about my opinion but never speaking it out loud. I felt like my political views did not align with the majority of the class, so I kept my thoughts to myself.

Living in a conservative area, such as St. George, can have a big impact on how much censorship happens on campus. Students may feel the need to self-censor when talking about topics that do not coincide with the right-wing views that are common in the community.

How often are we self-censoring for fear of being canceled by our peers? When someone disagrees with you, are you silenced, or do you engage in a debate? Maybe the consequences of saying something that may receive backlash are too steep, and you would rather just keep your mouth shut.

The anxiety of our views being met with immediate hatred or the thought of being “canceled” has taught us avoidance. We would rather lie or simply not speak on a topic rather than risk rejection from our peers.

Universities should be creating environments where student’s self-expression is a top priority. Diverse thought and expression should be welcomed in classrooms. We should feel encouraged to be brave and stand up for our views rather than feel the need to shut ourselves down when faced with opposition.

Universities should encourage professors to promote diverse thinking in their classes and aid students in feeling that they can talk about their opinions, even if they are unpopular among their peers.

As students, let’s challenge each other’s convictions and create spaces for open discussions. Rather than freezing out someone we don’t agree with, let’s talk about how our opinions differ and be open-minded to other points of view.

Campus culture needs to be in favor of challenging our ideas and creating debates allowing us to grow and develop our worldview.

OPINION | Suicide Prevention Month needs to be a priority for universities

It’s imperative for students’ well-being that Suicide Prevention Month be at the forefront of all universities’ radars. 

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among individuals 15-24 years old, which is the age of most college students. It is the second leading cause of death among those who are 25-34 years old.

As September is National Suicide Prevention Month, National Suicide Prevention Week is held the week after Labor Day. This year it was held Sept. 10-16, Sept. 10 being World Suicide Prevention Day. 

Utah Tech University’s Booth Wellness Center hosted its Suicide Prevention Week Sept. 6-8 which consisted of minimal activities

While suicide can be an uncomfortable topic, students need to know there are resources, support and help for them. 

The events that occurred Sept. 6-8 included:

Booth Wellness Center flyer for Suicide Prevention Week

I understand the university can only do so much, but compared to last year, their activities this year felt hurried and not completely thought out. For example, the pool party was something UTSA had planned, so it doesn’t make sense to count it as a suicide prevention event. 

For how much the BWC is encouraged as a resource for students, one would think there should have been more intentional events surrounding suicide prevention. 

Last year, the university laid out more than 300 backpacks around campus to represent how many Utah Tech students had attempted death by suicide within the previous year. About 1,300 pinwheels were set up to represent students who had thought about dying by suicide. Positive messages were written with chalk art in front of the Gardner Student Center.

Compared to last year, this year’s suicide prevention events did not have the same powerful impact. Having physical objects represent real students with real experiences is far more powerful than attending a pool party that UTSA planned. Instead of having activities that feel rushed, universities should conduct meaningful and impactful events.

Jamy Dahle, director of counseling services and wellness promotion at the BWC, said after having a debrief meeting pertaining to this year’s Suicide Prevention Week events, it is noted that next year will have a display to bring more awareness to the number of students on campus struggling with suicidal thoughts and attempts.

One thing the university could do is have a community walk for suicide prevention. I understand this would take a lot of preparation, but community walks help people connect and make individuals feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves. 

Oftentimes, what people need is to feel they are a part of something that matters. As someone who has had a few close members of my family die by suicide, it is important for me and my family to participate in suicide prevention and awareness events. 

This past April, my mom and I participated in the Life’s Worth Living Foundation’s Walk to Wendover

The foundation, based in Tooele, took a large group of people who had been affected by suicide and bussed them along the route from Tooele to Wendover. Each person chose what increments they wanted to walk. My mom and I walked over 20 miles within the span of two days. 

The walking wasn’t the part I remember the most. The part I remember the most is talking to all the people we were around and knowing all of us had been affected in different ways by suicide. As my mom and I talked with our fellow participants, I felt that even though we were just walking, we were doing something grand. It was grand to each of us individually. 

Another activity Utah Tech and other universities can do is encourage students to volunteer at crisis hotlines by setting up a workshop for students to learn how and where to volunteer. 

BWC does offer Question, Persuade and Refer training to help individuals recognize the warning signs of suicide and help those at risk. QPR is a free training that is offered periodically throughout the year. While this isn’t a mandatory training, it should be promoted through Utah Tech’s social media and talked about in classes. If more students knew about QPR, there would be a higher participation in the training.

Having open conversations about suicide isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it helps students realize they are not alone in their own thoughts and experiences. It’s OK to ask difficult questions if you notice someone is struggling. 

For next year during Suicide Prevention Month, Utah Tech should take into consideration creating events that have the power to impact students’ lives in a more meaningful way. 

Instead of attending a pool party UTSA planned, events like a suicide prevention walk around campus and physical representational displays would be better alternatives and far more meaningful to students. 

Suicide Prevention Month shouldn’t be rushed or consist of activities on the sideline. It should be at the forefront of all universities, and it needs to be taken seriously. No more careless events thrown together. Students need to know they are cared for and have a community that offers help and support. 

OPINION | Essential self-defense tools for your protection

There has been an increase of sexual assault and violence cases on college campuses leaving students feeling fearful and panicked.

Within the past week, Utah Tech University had a police report sent out about a sexual assault case that happened on campus.

According to RAINN.org, one of the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organizations, an estimated 13% of all graduate and undergraduate students experience a form of sexual assault. 

While it’s certainly not the only type of violence that happens to students on campuses, it is one that is not reported as often.

Anyone can be a victim of violence or sexual assault, but more often than not, it’s women taking the brunt of these attacks. Walking alone at night, sitting in your car in the parking lot or even walking to your next class can lead to unfavorable circumstances. 

Having common sense and awareness of your surroundings is a great place to start to protect yourself. Think of it as being aware of them before they become aware of you. Having an extra hand can really help your chances of getting away if something were to happen.

I always carry a pocket knife and pepper spray on me just in case. You never know who or what could be following you.

That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the wide assortment of self-defense tools and resources available to provide extra protection and preparedness. If it’s there, take advantage of it

Here are a few self-defense weapons you should consider getting to keep yourself safe.

Pepper spray

As simple as it may sound, pepper spray is a surprisingly versatile self-defense tool. While it doesn’t provide any long-lasting effects on the perpetrator, it gives just enough time to run to a safe area and find help. 

When not in use, pepper spray can also serve as a deterrent to someone looking for their next victim if they happen to see it on a keychain or backpack.

There are several places to buy pepper spray, including online and in-person options. You can get plenty of great deals at Amazon and Target

Fortunately, I’ve never been in a situation that needed pepper spray. Looking at it from a practical standpoint, it’s a great weapon. It keeps you at a distance from your attacker, which provides you with enough time to run away and call for help. It’s fairly simple to use, and it also leaves the attacker relatively unharmed in case law enforcement takes that into consideration.


While pepper spray acts as a great deterrent, kubatons act as a defense tool that works well with someone’s natural instincts. Typically made out of metal, kubatons form naturally to the curve of fingers when the hand is made into a fist, making it an excellent self-defense tool that utilizes the fist and edge of the hand.

Instead of keeping your attacker at a distance, the kubaton is a close-proximity weapon and requires you to be relatively close to your target to use it effectively. It is not sharp but is a great choice if you can get it close to the eyes or ears of your attacker. They are easy to carry and conceal, so you won’t catch yourself being the unsuspecting victim of a crime.

These can serve as a deterrent for someone looking for an easy target. Even someone who isn’t professionally trained in self-defense can still use it to gain the upper hand. You can get this tactical pen kubaton from Amazon, and here’s a guide for how to effectively use one.

Pocket knife

Serving both practical and tactical use, pocket knives are probably the most multi-faceted self-defense weapon there is. Outside of self-defense, pocket knives can be useful in many different situations like lighting a fire or cutting shoelaces.

While knives of any form can be potentially dangerous to both the attacker and victim, having a pocket knife on you is never a bad idea; I never leave home without mine. It can both be used as a deterrent from a potential threat and also make you feel more confident knowing you have more than just your fists to protect you.

Self-defense keychains

There are several keychain-specific self-defense options that are both cute and functional. The one that comes to mind is the cat-shaped keychains that have finger holds and pointed cat ears to make an easy weapon to defend yourself.

However, these keychains can prove to be quite bulky and don’t seem like something I would immediately go to when I needed it. But, you can find these self-defense keychains at local stores, on Amazon or other online retail sites.

All these tools serve a purpose and help women feel more confident walking around by themselves. You can never go wrong with extra protection. A good weapon plus a good sense of self-protection and common sense can really make a difference.

OPINION | Coach professionalism: be a leader, not a dream crusher

Coaches cross the boundaries of professionalism frequently enough, and the standard they are supposedly held to is unclear.

Coaches should be passionate about the game they train their athletes for, but sometimes, that passion turns into favoritism, mistrust, lack of loyalty, and ultimately, lost athletes. This frustration leads to many negative lasting impacts on players.

First, these impacts the coaches have on athletes can lead to injuries, lack of improvement, lack of inspiration, and sadly enough, lack of wanting to play the sport they once loved. At this point, when is enough, enough?

Is the line finally crossed when athletes are in the position to quit their sport and pay for therapy because all they are told is that they are not enough? When all an athlete hears are negative comments and gestures, there is no doubt the athlete will be experiencing lifelong trauma afterward.

I played many sports growing up, and the main one was soccer. As many people may see, soccer is a highly competitive sport, which opens the gateway for coaches to be that much more passionate.

Growing up I had parent coaches, which worked well while I was still young in elementary. They were supportive and neutral amongst us as kids but not so much as I entered junior high school and high school. Parent coaches are biased as they focus on their kids’ best interests rather than the other kids or even the team in general. This was understandable until it got out of hand when parent coaches told their team to foul play.

Is it crossing the line of professionalism when these coaches specifically would tell their kids and athletes to purposely foul the opposing athletes just because they are a threat?

Well, this was my situation. I was the athlete who ended up getting injured when the opposing coach told his athletes to play to injure. I was the victim of a jealous coach who enticed violence on the playing field.

Now that’s a dream crusher.

Although my passion and love for the sport were slowly depleting, I continued to play soccer in high school. To no surprise, I had another bad experience, although this time the bad coach was my coach.

A new coach was hired at the beginning of my senior year. At first, the coach appeared to be everything we, as a team, had been wanting. Someone who cares and could build us up to our best potential. Not even two weeks in, we started to see his true colors.

We soon learned during game time if we did not perform above and beyond his expectation, he would yell at us, tell us we were not good and we would never be good. Talk about dropping our confidence.

Coaches are supposed to inspire players, improve skills and lead their players in a positive path forward. The ability to inspire players is the ability to ignite confidence.

Coaches are supposed to help players achieve their goals while giving them the training they need to excel as an individual and as a team.

Coaches are supposed to improve player performance and have the ability to communicate without a condescending tone of voice.

Coaches aren’t supposed to be dream crushers, but that line is still unclear. Coaches should be held responsible to a contract beginning every season that states: any absurd behavior is strictly prohibited and will result in punishment.

There are too many instances where college coaches cross a line and are investigated for misconduct. What are they being investigated for if there isn’t a set standard for the way they should be acting toward their athletes?

At Michigan State University, football coach Mel Tucker is in the midst of being fired for alleged sexual misconduct.

For the National Women’s Soccer League, four coaches were banned perpetually for systemic misconduct and abuse.

At Northwestern University, football coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired for hazing.

At Utah Tech University, women’s basketball player J.D. Gustin is under investigation for coaching misconduct.

The extremities should be decided within the organization, but a contract should be signed. Make the professional line clear, and save dreams from being crushed.

OPINION | Cover songs march to the beat of their own drum

I’m not even “Sorry” when I say I could “Keep Driving” down the highway with my “Drivers License” listening to my favorite cover songs because it “Hits Different.”

Music has been and always will be a massive part of my life. Having roughly 18 years of dance experience under my belt, I have listened to about a million different songs including different covers.

I am all for listening to new songs and new versions of songs. Hearing what people are able to do to change songs and put their own twist on them is something I find as a real talent.

I get bored of listening to the same songs over and over again, so it’s nice to listen to my favorites but different versions of it. To put it simply, covers are like chocolate cake and vanilla cake. Both are cake, just different flavors depending on the mood you’re in.

However, it does bother me when people simply take the song and sing it the exact same way as the original artist. If people are going to do a cover of a song, make it unique and not the exact same as the original song.

I like covers of songs for the most part. There is a cover of “Billie Jean” by The Civil Wars that I tried listening to, and I shut it off almost immediately because the singers sounded like they were trying too hard to make it unique. There are cases where the original song should just be left the way it is.

Cover songs are becoming more and more common, especially with social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok having more videos available for viewers as well as those who are trying to share their talents. These new and aspiring artists are becoming more popular with each cover they do.

Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Sabrina Carpenter, Olivia Rodrigo. These are all artists who are very popular within the media right now, and with that, their music is constantly being remade into cover songs.

“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift has a cover by I Prevail which is a punk/rock version, giving a twist on her traditional pop version. I don’t really like it, but I love the idea behind it, allowing it to be a version of the song that those who are into punk and rock music would enjoy.

Going back to Harry Styles, he is a big artist who has his own music, but he also does covers of songs and has performed them on talk shows as well as his own “Harry’s House” tour. I enjoy listening to him sing in general, so hearing him put a twist on other artists’ songs is fun for me to listen to.

I also like that Harry Styles doesn’t seem to make drastic changes to these songs either. He mostly keeps the same tune and theme. I will say that sometimes his specific covers can be better than the original, like the cover he did of Lizzo’s song “Juice.”

Some artists that do covers will oftentimes flip the feeling of it. For example, they take an upbeat song and switch it to a slow song that has the opposite feeling to it.

In 2021, TikTok had a video become really popular because it was a good cover of a song. “Kiss the Girl” by Brent Morgan went viral for being a slowed-down version of the original Disney song. The beautiful piece continues to be played on a regular basis, and it’s one of my favorite songs on my “calm” playlist.

I personally love it when covers are done in a calmer version of the original. It gives me a way to listen to those really upbeat songs at any given moment. Whether I’m sad, calm or excited, I know I always have different options of songs because of covers.

The “Choir of Man” musical is a perfect example of this type of music. This show is based in a pub in London, and throughout the show, they sing many covers of popular songs live. It is a beautiful, fun and energetic masterpiece, and it was nominated for the Olivier Award in 2022.

One of the main songs in the show is “You’re the Voice.” The original song by John Farnham was such a great one, so to hear it done by another group in a different context was so cool to hear. I liked how in the show, the words and fluctuation in the singers’ voices are clearer and more precise compared to the original song, just because it’s a live performance.

That is another contributing factor as to why I like covers because a good majority of the time, the covers I listen to don’t have as much autotune, and I can clearly hear the singer’s voice and the talent that comes with that.

Another song that is covered in this show is “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. This version is a slow acoustic song, and they actually bring up an audience member and serenade them with the song. This is a good song to begin with, but this cover is done with a guitar and the singers’ voices. It’s not overbearing with other instruments or synthesizers to change the sounds in the song, but it is purely instruments and voices, and I love that aspect.

These are only a few different examples of covers. There are endless versions of songs by many talented performers. I love covers, and as long as you’re giving the credit to the artist who created the song, then please, share your covers with the world because I for one, would love to hear them.

OPINION | Stars aren’t at fault—don’t blame your horoscope for why things go wrong

Even though it may be easy to reassure ourselves that our signs are the reason things are going bad, sometimes there is just not a reasonable answer for why bad things happen to good people.

However, some people have found the easiest way to get through the pain is to blame their zodiac sign for all of the shortcomings life brings.

With that mindset, we can believe that the reason why your boyfriend broke up with you is because your horoscopes aren’t compatible. You are a water sign, and he’s a fire sign. Sorry. 

This breakup has nothing to do with the fact that he has been cheating on you. It has everything to do with the fact that he is a Leo man. 

According to astrology, Leo signs need constant attention and affection. Since you went and spent time with your friends for a night out, he was just lacking that closeness from you. Ultimately, he found it in your best friend. Just blame his sign because it was nothing personal.

We all would love to have an excuse for why things just don’t line up, but you can’t blame your horoscope.

Your boyfriend cheating on you is not because he is a Leo. It’s because he’s probably a man who has narcissistic tendencies with severe jealousy and insecurity issues.

Just because he’s a Leo does not mean that he can be possessive. He makes choices for himself, and his sign does not rule over him.

With this way of thinking, it would be possible to blame every time someone has mistreated you based on their astrological sign.

Your mom yelling at you for not picking up your laundry in your room is not because she’s a Libra.

Your teacher telling you tough luck when you forgot there was a test and didn’t study is not because he is an Aries.

Horoscopes are about the positioning of the planets and stars. To figure out your sign use your birthday to see what zodiac sign date you fall into.

My birthday is Dec. 9, so my zodiac sign is Sagittarius. Women with this sign are known to be independent, spontaneous and optimistic.  

I am very optimistic about my time management skills. I always believe that the universe will help me. I stay prepared by calculating the amount of time I need to leave for an event in my head every time.

For example, I figure that if I wake up at 6:50 a.m., I will have time to eat breakfast, brush my teeth, get ready and start my walk to the gym by 6:56 a.m. I am supposed to be arriving at 7 a.m. Yes, it might be an eight-minute walk to the gym, but I choose to be optimistic and believe I am going to make it in time.

Seeing the glass half full is just in my nature because I am a Sagittarius.

The reason why I’m late to the gym in the morning is because I don’t like waking up early. I sleep in until the very last second and run around my house trying to get my ducks in a row in under 10 minutes. I am late because I choose to not leave myself enough time in the morning.

It’s time to allow ourselves to take responsibility for our behavior. Our signs are not a scapegoat for our poor decision-making. The stars won’t align perfectly in order to help me teleport to the gym, and your boyfriend won’t magically become less controlling and considerate when Mercury is in retrograde.

People have the ability to choose their choices and think of how they may affect others. Even though astrology can be an entertaining and fun discussion, zodiacs will never be able to justify the poor behavior people choose.

OPINION | Exploring the benefits, value of Greek life at Utah Tech

Crazy parties, booze and RushTok are what come to mind when someone mentions Greek life, but the positive experiences Greek life provides are overlooked.

Greek life provides opportunities for networking. Joining a fraternity or sorority helps students build connections that prove valuable in the future when they are looking for internships and recommendations. Knowing people in different positions of influence or importance can give students an advantage. These relationships can be crucial as a student grows in their career.

Fraternities and sororities are social organizations. Students who are a part of Greek life have many opportunities to develop leadership and social skills. These skills are crucial not only during their time at college but throughout the rest of their lives.

Another positive side of Greek life that is often overlooked is the service that the organizations do for their communities. Coordinating events and fundraisers is a big part of the altruistic strategy that many chapters have. Having these values teaches students many lessons including selflessness and the importance of giving back to their community.

What a student gets out of their involvement in these organizations is up to them. Choosing a fraternity or sorority that is in line with the student’s goals and values will make for a more positive experience.

Fraternities and sororities originated in the mid to late 19th century. They began as groups of students at universities getting together with the intent to be able to express themselves freely as they discussed, debated and explored various topics.

While these deep conversations remained at the heart of the groups, they shifted toward social endeavors such as parties, dances and sporting events.

In order to start a fraternity or sorority, goals for the organization need to be established. Approval from the university is necessary to start up the organization. Once approval is secured, the recruitment process, branding and generating recognition can begin.

Universities in Utah that have Greek life organizations include the University of Utah, Utah State University, Southern Utah University and Weber State University. Despite all of these universities making Greek life a part of their campuses, Utah Tech University has decided to abstain from participating.

Utah Tech has an unofficial fraternity, the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. The fraternity was created with the goal of providing a safe space for its members. The fraternity is not affiliated with the university but is a good example of a group that has benefited students on campus. This organization is focusing on community service and academics, rather than the stigmas that surround Greek life.

The negativity surrounding Greek life comes from its reputation involving alcohol, drug use and hazing. While this culture seems to be a part of many of these organizations at universities, the value the experience of Greek life has to offer should not be ignored.

On Utah Tech’s campus, we can determine the kind of experience Greek life can provide for us. We should have the opportunity to create a group that is committed to providing a place for students to freely express themselves. A fraternity or sorority on campus could be a place to have intellectual discussions and benefit from the networking and social interaction Greek life has to offer.

It’s time to stop focusing on the negatives and start considering the benefits that Greek life could bring to the students at Utah Tech.

OPINION | Utah fashion trends are real—but so are trends everywhere else 

From curled hair with straight ends to a mandatory Stanley in hand, Utah fashion never ceases to be a trend. 

It’s funny to me that Utah fashion has an emphasis when everywhere else in the world has its own fashion. Think about California vs. New York. They have their own fashion styles too. New York gives off a business look with dark colors while California gives off a relaxed beach look with flowy fabrics. But, no one makes a craze about other fashion the way they do with Utah fashion.

Renowned Utah fashion found all over social media, especially TikTok, displays typical outfits for girls including:

  • Curled hair with straightened ends
  • Zara wide-leg pants
  • Platform converse 
  • Stanleys 
  • Cropped shirts 
  • Lululemon athletic sets and crossbody belt bags

It’s normal that Utah has its own fashion. It’s weird that everyone makes it a big deal. Utah fashion reflects trends that are everywhere, like Stanley tumblers. Around the entire United States, people have been going crazy for Stanleys. Yet, it’s emphasized as Utah fashion. Wide-leg pants and Lululemon are a part of fashion everywhere else too, not just in Utah. 

Utah fashion primarily focuses on women. After spending a significant amount of time on TikTok trying to find Utah fashion centered around men, I came across practically nothing. The criticism that comes from social media is directed toward women’s fashion. 

That is because Utah fashion originated from Utah “mommy bloggers.” An article about Stanleys from The New York Times featured one woman saying she bought a Stanley after seeing a woman influencer from Utah buy one. 

The fashion that came from these bloggers in the early 2000s was more Utah-style than anything I’ve seen. It consisted of maxi dresses and other clothing considered to be modest. Considering Utah style used to be maxi dresses, the fashion of Utah has come a long way in improvements because it now features trendy items. 

Why is current Utah fashion being criticized? If that’s how someone wants to dress, why should they be criticized? I understand making a joke that doesn’t necessarily align with how one feels, but truly criticizing with the intent to hurt someone is wrong. 

Some of these TikTok videos talking about Utah fashion are genuinely criticizing and making fun of people from Utah. However, some of them feature outfits from Utah fashion that they personally love

I am guilty of a little bit of Utah fashion, but guess what? I live in Utah. Of course I love the wide-leg pants, but I don’t make my entire personality Utah fashion because it’s not. I don’t own the Lululemon belt bag or a Stanley. People usually don’t fit into one category of fashion; they are a combination of different style categories.

Utah fashion is not a bad thing. It doesn’t reflect negatively on the state or the people in the state. It just means we have people who love trendy items. Utah fashion is a reflection of how trends are everywhere else in the United States, not just in Utah. 

The next time you see a girl with Zara wide-leg jeans and a Stanley, don’t think of the ways her style can be made fun of. Instead, realize she is part of a group of women who love their trendy items, and there’s nothing wrong with that.