UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 19, 2024

Angel Wood Know what it takes to be an editor-in-chief

Question: What does it take to be an editor-in-chief?

Dear Lexy

If there is one thing I am almost an expert about, it’s how to be an editor-in-chief of a news organization. I’ve spent a full year watching someone else in the role and then a year learning the role myself. Now as I move on from the EIC position, I know Sun News Daily is in good hands with someone fully capable of fulfilling the responsibilities as the head of our news organization. 

An EIC has many tasks including editing everything that will be published, teaching the staff different media principles, and standing up for the staff when others may want to tear it down. The most important role an EIC has is leading the staff in being “The Voice Of Utah Tech.”

You are a leader and others will look up to you more than you know as you guide the staff throughout the year. When times get tough, sources don’t respond or others turn against Sun News, the staff will look to you for strength, answers and courage to continue on the powerful path of student journalism. 

As EIC, you will need to have courage. The life of an EIC is far from easy, and there will be times when you feel like quitting. You will need to have the courage to not only encourage others to never give up but to stand as an example of perseverance yourself. 

You will also need to be adaptive. Things will not always go your way or the staff’s way. Sources won’t always get back, stories won’t always work out, and people won’t always stay on Sun News. But, there is always another way to do things, so ensure your vision is not blurred by a single option. Somehow, things have a way of working themselves out, so just go with the flow and don’t forget that everything happens for a reason. 

On top of being positive, hardworking, inclusive and many other things, knowing how to effectively communicate will bring you much success as EIC. Communication is the foundation of everything we do as student journalists, so never silence yourself when it comes to being honest.

Leave those edits even if they may seem harsh. Have those hard conversations even if they may seem pointless. Stand up for yourself to others even when it may seem scary. Saying what you need to say is far better than keeping it to yourself and never seeing change. 

Know that it’s OK to delegate. That’s why you have a staff because as much as we go-getters want to do it all, we can’t. As mentioned before, the role of EIC is not easy and will come with many challenges and bumps in the road, but your staff is here to support you and keep you on the road to success. You don’t have to do everything on your own, so ask for help when you need it. 

Just a heads up but 3 a.m. will be your new bedtime and a planner will become your best friend. The bulk of your life going forward will be related to Sun News, so having and keeping good time management skills will be the best thing you can do for yourself and for Sun News.  

Although being EIC will not be smooth sailing, you will see all the rewards that come from holding this position. Being EIC will teach you more about who you are and who you want to be. It will bless you with some of the strongest relationships you’ll ever have with staff members, professors and other staff and faculty at the university. It will teach you more than you’d ever thought you’d know about being a leader and a student journalist. The blood, sweat and tears will all be worth it at the end of the day.

Lastly, one thing I’ve come to realize is that Sun News does not make you. You make Sun News. Toward the beginning of my leadership in the position, I put too much of my worth on Sun News. The position defined me and the job overcame me. I also found myself comparing myself to others who had come before me, thinking that I was not good enough to be EIC. 

You are what will make Sun News so great and so credible and so rewarding. Although it’s great to learn from those who have come before you as EIC, know that it’s OK to do your own things, make your own rules and lead in the way you feel inspired to. You were chosen for the position because you are Lexy Borgogno, so don’t forget who you are, and you will make Sun News amazing. 

Lexy, you are going to do so many amazing things and leave behind a legacy that won’t ever be forgotten. As EIC, you are not just a leader; you are the guiding light of Sun News Daily, so let that light shine as you continue blazing your trail.

Sincerely, 

Angel Wood

If you are seeking advice on something, message me on Instagram at @angel.utahtech.

Car Club at Utah Tech aspires to unite community with passion for cars

The roar of engines and the cheers of encouragement from others sound out through the parking lot. 

Once a month in the Karl Brooks Field parking lot at Utah Tech University, the Car Cub meets up to show off cars worth millions of dollars. Southern Utah has a reputation for having a car culture.

Meg Dalley, a sophomore digital design major from St. George and president of the Car Club, said she wanted to bring that culture right to Utah Tech in the hopes of broadening those involved.

Dalley said the inspiration came from her boyfriend’s family and their shop called German Auto & Exotics. Dalley also gets support from Rips Rallies who helps the community grow by showing up to the car shows.

Karson Ray, a senior healthcare administration major from St. George and vice president of the club, said: “We have all kinds of cars, trucks and motorcycles. They range from affordable to exotic. Our first meet had about $1.7 million worth of cars and our second meet had about $2.3 million with several more high-end exotics.”

The shows are not limited to just students. Community members are invited to show up as well. The first show on Feb. 3 had around 60 cars and 120 people. The second show increased to about 80 cars and 150 people. It is not a requirement to bring a car in order to enjoy the show.

Nicholas Fajardo, a senior history education major from St. George, said from the two meets he has been to, there has been a lot of community and alumni that participate, not just students. 

Anyone can show up with any car or vehicle they want to show off. There is a large variety of cars that have been featured, such as:

Ray said: “We have a lot of members that are really, really into tuning and customization, and some that are purists and love the car the way it was engineered. We have a wide variety of cars from American muscle to imports.”

The Car Club hopes to expand things to a larger level in order to do a more formal car show. They have collaborated with Birds Aren’t Real to bring more togetherness and school spirit. So, the hope is to collaborate with the events and promotions office at University Marketing and Communications and to do a car show for the community.

Dalley said: “I’m so happy that people are loving this. It makes me want to take the club to the next level. I would love to have merch and more sophisticated meets or car shows on campus.”

Live and Local rocks Utah Tech campus with music, local vendors

Almost two hours before Live and Local started, students were seen already waiting in line. Students were taking selfies and watching the bands practice before the event.

When the gates opened, students ran to the booth with free T-shirts for the first 300 students. The energy was enthusiastic as students laid their blankets out with their friends. Aside from music, there were food trucks, permanent jewelry, henna and more for students to enjoy.

Oliva Shoaf, a sophomore business management major from Columbus, Indiana, directed the event, and she reached out to each of the four bands.

The bands included:

  • Aiden Porter
  • Ernesto Caballero
  • Lighten Up, Francis
  • Some Girls

Sam New, a senior individualized studies major from Leeds and stagehand for the event, said, “I love meeting all the bands, and I love that the event brings music and people together.”

Aiden Porter

Aiden Porter, a junior exercise science major from Ogden, said he has been playing music his whole life. During Live and Local, he played as a solo artist, singing cover songs on his guitar.

“It was nice when the crowd knew the songs and sang it back to me, but I loved sound check the most,” Porter said.

It was Porter’s first Live and Local, and he said he had a great time.

Ernesto Caballero

Ernesto Caballero, a pop band, has played at the Live and Local event for three years.

“It’s really fun to connect with all the students,” said Cabellero, a junior music education major from St. George. “I love to play. It’s super fun to see everyone’s reactions.”

Ernesto started writing music in 2019 and then released music in 2020. He wanted to play live, so he gathered all his friends that he knew played an instrument and has been playing with them ever since.

Ernesto also released a new song, “Designer,” at the event as well.

Lighten Up, Francis

Lighten Up, Francis is an alternative rock band with four members including:

  • Whitney Royal, singer and bass
  • Tom Fitzhugh, singer and guitarist
  • Matt Checketts, singer and guitarist
  • Brad Royal, drummer

“I’m most excited to get a bunch of college-age fans,” Brad Royal said. “The crowd last year was awesome, and the students were surprisingly engaged in the music.”

This was their second year at Live and Local, and they said the energy from last year is what brought them back.

When Lighten Up, Francis started playing, most of the students in the crowd ran to the front of the stage to sing and dance to the music. Once the sun set, bulb lights turned on, creating a great atmosphere for students.

Lighten Up, Francis has a debut album in the works, and Ernesto releases new music often.

Live and Local is a great event for students to support local bands and vendors, as well as make new friends and enjoy a good time.

Sippin’ with the Senate: a look into what Student Senate is

The Utah Tech Student Association’s Student Senate is the connection between students, professors and faculty. 

On March 27 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. outside the Gardner building, members from the senate hosted Sippin’ with the Senate, a pop-up event for students to stop by and grab a drink while meeting the senate members. 

Sippin’ with the Senate featured drinks like Capri Sun, lemonade, Mountain Dew and a QR code with a survey that resulted in a voucher to get a free Splash drink.

The Student Senate, a part of the academics branch in UTSA, is composed of student representatives from the seven major academic colleges at Utah Tech. Each representative is a member of the college they represent. 

George Wells, a senior music performance major from St. George, is the Student Senator for the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“So with the senator position being a five-hour position a week, I luckily have enough time to do a lot of my other school work as well as this,” Wells said.

Wells, like the other student senators, assists with funding for academic endeavors. Wells fills out the funding applications and relays the information back to students.

Wells said: “Our first [goal of the event] is pretty much just to get word out about the senate and to help people know there is an academic senate on campus that can help people with trips or things that come to an expense outside of their student fees… We also need a little bit more information about the students on different topics that are super important to us.”

Student senators help students receive funding for capstone projects, research and conferences. They also are available for students to present any concerns or suggestions within their college. 

If students don’t want to discuss improvements with their professors, student senators can take those concerns or suggestions and relay them to the college deans, whom senators meet with monthly. Senators help the deans understand issues that students are facing.

Biological and physical sciences senator, Anna Green, a junior biology major from St. George, said: “So, if there are any concerns about classes or about the professors themselves, [students] come and talk to us. It’s less scary and we help them through that process.”

Her favorite aspect of being a student senator is the time she gets to spend with her fellow student senators in their weekly meetings. 

“I like that we just get to be together, and then we do little senate date nights that are once a month so that’s fun,” Green said. “We all just get to hang out, and then I feel like I’m more involved on campus because I know when events are…” 

Addison Steinert, a senior respiratory therapy major from St. George, is the administrative assistant of the academic branch in UTSA. 

In her role as administration assistant, Steinert completes paperwork, schedules and agenda reminders for the student senators. She completes office work and helps set up for academic events like Sippin’ with the Senate. Steinert is in a medical program at Utah Tech but still wants to be involved in a leadership role. 

“I think if you want to be involved but you work a lot or you’re in a med program, I think it’s a great position to be [in] because it’s not super stressful,” Steinert said.

One of the main goals of Sippin’ with the Senate was to bring awareness to who the Senate is and what they do.  

“We always say it’s the middle child of UTSA, it is forgotten about a lot,” Steinert said. “I think more because it’s educational and not as fun and exciting, but also, we are at a college and so education is the primary goal.” 

Steinert said they wanted to see students walking to and from classes at Sippin’ with the Senate. That way students could see who the student senators are and what they do. The event was an easy way to talk to students walking around, and who doesn’t like free drinks? 

“[Senate is] the backbone of support for your educational goals,” Steinert said. “We want what’s best for you, and we want to help as much as we can. That’s what we’re here for.”

Utah Tech organizations join together to host annual Spring Fest

Utah Tech University’s Trailblazer Nation Spring Fest is March 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Encampment Mall. 

Spring Fest features a combination of activities at booths and an adult Easter egg hunt called the Golden Egg Scavenger Hunt.

Before Spring Fest was an event, the Alumni Association started an Easter egg hunt for faculty, staff and their families.

John Bowler, director of alumni relations, said the purpose of this egg hunt was to let faculty and staff know the Alumni Association is happy to have them here at Utah Tech. 

Because the Alumni Association started the Easter egg hunt, University Events wanted to create Spring Fest in collaboration with the Alumni Association.

“That’s kind of where the whole Spring Fest came from is we were doing something, and other people were doing things,” Bowler said. “We said let’s just make this one big party kind of thing.”

The Alumni Association has been hosting the children’s Easter egg hunt for over 10 years, and Spring Fest started thereafter. 

Bowler said the children’s egg hunt is over in about five minutes. It starts at 6 p.m. and they are done by 6:05 p.m.

“It’s a blast, it’s a very funny, fun, event and we always keep some for the late-comers,” Bowler said.

The children’s Easter egg hunt will be split into different locations around campus, varying from ages 1-15 years old. Currently, University Events hosts the Golden Egg Scavenger Hunt where adults can participate. 

This scavenger hunt for adults and students starts at 7 p.m. with lineup at 6:45 p.m. According to the Spring Fest website, the golden egg hunt will result in winning big prizes. It is required to sign up for this hunt and costs $15 to register. Participants must be 16 years old or older. 

Spring Fest is similar to a carnival feel, but unlike Homecoming and D-Week carnivals, Spring Fest does not have a prize tent. They have booths with activities, but Bowler said there won’t be hundreds of people trying to get their prizes at a prize tent. Live music and food trucks will also be in attendance.

Alumni Association, STEM Outreach, Utah Tech Student Association, Center for Inclusion and Belonging, Utah Tech Athletics and University Events and Promotions will have booths at Spring Fest.

Jessica Davis, director of College of Science, Engineering and Technology outreach, said one STEM booth will have individuals make ink-blot Easter eggs.

Madison Clark, STEM outreach community events coordinator, said another STEM activity will include a bouncing bunny cup activity. 

“We will be talking about the science behind it, and we will have our big catapult there as well,” Clark said. 

Clark, along with other STEM students, have been in charge of inventing and proofing the concepts for the activity booths. They will also be running their booths during Spring Fest. As the STEM events coordinator, Clark oversees the final plan, which includes staffing and supply acquisition. 

“The STEM Outreach Center tries to attend as many community outreach UT events as possible, so we volunteered,” Clark said.

The schedule and maps for Trailblazer Nation Spring Fest can be found online.

Women’s History Month: celebrating leaders on campus, historic moments in history

We celebrate Women’s History this month with the theme of “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.”

This theme is important to campus because one of Utah Tech University’s pillars is inclusion and making everyone feel safe and seen. This celebration used to be one week during the year and started as a local event in Santa Rosa, California. Throughout time, many other states made their own Women’s Week. This grew into something bigger and turned into a full month. 

The Students United for Reproductive Freedom Association at Utah Tech is a group of students who work with planned parenthood to be able to show and give support to young women and their reproductive rights. They also give many opportunities for people to go to their meetings and learn about their rights as women and to make choices for themselves.

Nimae Adamson, president of the SURF club, said: “Women’s history is so important to learn because we can do big important and powerful things. We’re not just supposed to be on the side helping support men. We did big important powerful things, and we will continue to do so.”

The Multicultural Inclusion Student Association is a group that works to make a safe and inclusive space for students on campus. Amira Hassan, president of MISA, said it is like a “home away from home.” Her team is mostly women and the executive team is all women.

“As a woman, all I want to be is heard and seen for what I actually am and receive the same opportunities as my male peers,” Hassan said. “I hope to see more women believe in themselves and believe that they are allowed to make big moves in our world.”

This association has given her the chance to feel comfortable expressing herself as a woman and the struggles that can come with that while getting support from those around her. 

Tasha Toy, the senior equity and inclusion officer, works to make sure students and faculty on campus feel they have a place to feel safe and welcome enough to be themselves. She said she is elated to see young women who are finding leadership roles in organizations, clubs, student governments and more organizations across campus. She wants young women to not limit themselves and not be afraid to try new things.

Toy, said, “You [women] are able to be who you are in your authentic self, so make sure that you know that and do not limit yourself.”

Young girls are being taught that they should have every right that a man does. July 1848 was when the first women’s rights convention was organized. Many women in the years to come put their efforts forward. On Aug. 18, 1920 women were finally given the right to vote. 

Women such as Rosa Parks who fought for black women’s equality, Amelia Earhart who was the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic, or Susan B Anthony who was the president of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association are just a few key examples of what women can and have accomplished.

“Too often the women were unsung, and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America were as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well,” President Jimmy Carter said in his message designating March 2-8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

This month is an accomplishment for everyone to be able to see how far women and their rights have come. Over a hundred years ago, women were unable to vote for who their leader in the country was going to be, and now women are running for office in an effort to continue changing the norms.

Student body candidates share perspectives during debate

“The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope,” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said.

Each candidate running in this year’s election is running with a specific impact they will make on the next generation of Utah Tech University students.

The candidates running for student body president include:

  • Sam New, a senior individualized studies major from Leeds
  • Bella Estes, a junior communication studies major from Scottsdale, Arizona

The candidates running for vice president of academics include:

  • Kolby Spector, a sophomore mathematics education major from Fort Ann, New York
  • Alvaro Lopez, a junior finance major from Lima, Peru

The candidates running for vice president of clubs and organizations include:

  • Shellsea Ramirez Fuentes, a junior individualized studies major from St. George
  • Jimena Roque, a sophomore elementary education major from Wells, Nevada

The debate for student body president, vice president of clubs and organizations and vice president of academics occurred March 5 at 1 p.m. in the Gardner building. Voting for every position opened directly after the debate at 2 p.m.

The hour-long debate allowed the candidates the opportunity to share what they stand for and what their campaigns represent.

Sam New

“I think financial challenges are the most challenging thing for students,” New said.

He said finances are a top stressor for students. His goal is to create a scholarship portal for every student to have easy access to applying and receiving scholarships to alleviate some of that burden.

“Being a student at Utah Tech is being a person,” New said. “I think beyond positions and beyond organizations, we are all just human beings with interests, and Utah Tech is a place where we can take those interests and thrive and explore those.”

Bella Estes

“When I came on my campus tour of Utah Tech, I had no idea where I was going to go or what I was going to do,” Estes said. “I came to this campus and throughout the tour, I had this feeling… You get that feeling that this is your home, that this is the place that you want to study and be involved. As I got that feeling, I saw something in this university.”

Estes made a point of not only attracting new students to Utah Tech but keeping existing students here as well. She also emphasized outcomes for students — trying to get every student at Utah Tech to have the best experience possible while here.

“Utah Tech has made me the person I am today,” Estes said. “I am extremely grateful for that, and I really want to share that with other students as well.”

Kolby Spector

“One of my standpoints is empowerment, specifically empowerment through knowledge,” Spector said. “We have had over 60 bills submitted this year, and I would like to continue that next year and even top that.”

Spector called funding and a more equitable learning experience for all as well as bridging the gap between underclassmen and upperclassmen.

Spector said: “The opportunities and events that UTSA has here has helped me blossom personally and as a student. Now, running for VP is just about really being more involved on campus, being a bigger part of UTSA, and offering those experiences and opportunities to students.”

Alvaro Lopez

“I am running for VP of academics because I feel that I am a representative for many communities on campus,” Lopez said. “I am really excited to be representing all of the international community. I could become the first international student that is VP of academics, and that’s a fact that really excites me.”

Lopez emphasized incentivizing students to be proactive about their own success and embracing equality and the diversity of campus.

“My goal is to return every opportunity to students,” Lopez said.

Shellsea Ramirez Fuentes

“At Utah Tech, being here is being home, and I think that is the easiest way to put it,” Fuentes said. “Someone who was born and raised here and is going to the university that is in your hometown is crazy… I was just going to come here and get enough credits, then leave. Then I got here and joined a club, and now I am right here in front of you.”

Fuentes stressed communication first and foremost by everyone top down. She also made a point of the importance of promoting different clubs and organizations on campus through collaboration.

Fuentes said: “Regardless of what my journey looks like, I want to look back and know that I did absolutely everything I could for myself, my peers and those that are coming after me. That is why I am running now.”

Jimena Roque

“To me, being a part of Utah Tech means being involved,” Roque said.

Roque emphasized collaboration between various campus organizations and clubs for a more interconnected college experience. She also emphasized inclusion.

“My freshman year I had the opportunity to get involved with Code Red, and I think that really helped me with a lot of opportunities for me now,” Roque said. “I’m able to be the director of Code Red which has helped me build a lot of relationships with different people, and I am super thankful for that. I want to use that experience and help get other students involved as well.”

Voting is live and ends March 7 at 3 p.m.

Meet the student body election candidates, see their visions for a better future

With pens poised and podiums waiting, the candidates for this year’s student body government elections have begun their campaigns, carrying their hopes and aspirations for the future of Utah Tech University.

The upcoming election includes voting for the 2024-2025 student body president, vice president of academics and vice president of clubs and organizations. Two candidates are campaigning for each position.

A debate will take place March 5 at 1 p.m. in the Gardner Living Room. Voting opens at 2 p.m. on the same day and closes March 7 at 3 p.m. Students can place their votes online and must be on campus to vote.

But before you cast your votes, read on to learn about each candidate and their goals for Utah Tech.

Student body presidential candidates

Sam New

“By the students, for the students.”

Year in school: Senior

Hometown: Leeds, Utah

Major: Individualized Studies

Platform:

  • Student scholarships
  • Student involvement
  • Inclusion
  • Open door policy

As student body president, New plans to prioritize student needs through streamlining access to scholarships, increasing student involvement, and extending student access to university resources. New expects to work with students through an open-door policy and collaborate with other student leaders to increase the quality of events on campus.

“I want to make sure that all students have an equal opportunity to get an education, no matter their background or where they’re from or who they are,” New said. “And I want students to know that they have buy-in; that their voices matter.”

Bella Estes

“Serving students through opportunities, connections and experiences.”

Year in school: Junior

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Major: Communication Studies

Platform:

  • Opportunity
  • Connections
  • Experiences

As ambassador president for the university, Estes plans on using her recruiting skills in a new light to increase student engagement and retention on campus. Estes hopes to connect the campus closer to the community to provide students with more opportunities in the community and promote student life on campus.

“All students belong at Utah Tech,” Estes said. “I’ve worked as an ambassador bringing students to campus, and now that they’re here, I want to work to keep them on campus. I’m the biggest Utah Tech fan ever, and I want to share that with others.”

Vice president of academics candidates

Alvaro Lopez

“Empower, include and thrive.”

Year in school: Junior

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Major: Finance

Platform:

  • Engage to excel
  • Equity and diversity
  • Sustainable academic growth

Lopez wants to increase course flexibility, decrease waitlist time, connect students to academic opportunities and expand the Utah Tech Student Association’s focus on academics. Lopez aspires to improve student preparedness post-graduation with a focus on “active learning. active life.”

“My goal is to shape a future better for students,” Lopez said. “I’m a passionate learner who never stops looking for more. I believe that if we truly want to see change here, we can do it together.”

Kolby Spector

“Embrace the adventure and grow your future.”

Year in school: Sophomore

Hometown: Fort Ann, New York

Major: Mathematics Education

Platform:

  • Growth
  • Empowerment
  • Bridging the gap

Spector aims to prioritize Utah Tech’s “active learning. active life.” motto by increasing funding for student research and capstone projects, implementing student mentorship programs, and working to connect students with the community. Spector wants to highlight Utah Tech as the only polytechnic institute in Utah and work to prepare students for successful careers.

“Students are the priority,” Spector said. “I want to prioritize their needs, and as a candidate, I want to really listen to what they need and want from their student government and then get it done.”

Vice president of clubs and organizations candidates

Shellsea Ramirez Fuentes

“She’ll see to our success.”

Year in school: Junior

Hometown: St. George

Major: Individualized Studies

Platform:

  • Collaboration
  • Engagement and growth
  • Effective communication

Fuentes is hoping to increase collaboration and utilize resources to expand the reach of clubs on campus. In order to promote student engagement, Fuentes wants to work with clubs to provide a more inclusive environment and increase engagement with the local community.

“I want Utah Tech to be the pride of St. George,” Fuentes said. “A big part of that is community engagement, and clubs are the perfect opportunity to do that. I want it to be like, ‘Yeah, we have Utah Tech, and we’re proud of it.'”

Jimena Roque

“For the students.”

Year in school: Sophomore

Hometown: Wells, Nevada

Major: Elementary Education

Platform:

  • Inclusion
  • Collaboration
  • Communication

Roque hopes to connect every student to a club on campus, creating a home away from home that suits every student’s needs. Additionally, Roque aims to provide training for club representatives and work closely with club leaders to make goals and increase student attendance.

“I want to make sure every student finds their home on campus,” Roque said. “I am so grateful that I got to find a place where I felt like I fit in, and I want to help other students do the same.”

Students can cast their votes here and receive election updates through the Utah Tech Institute of Politics Instagram.

EDITORIAL | What Student Press Freedom Day means to us

We strive to be powerfully persistent.

To be a student journalist requires having grit in pursuing truth, investigating prominent stories and fighting against censorship, which is why Student Press Freedom Day’s theme is “Powerfully Persistent.”

Student Press Freedom Day’s sixth annual celebration occurs Feb. 22 and allows student journalists to celebrate their contributions to the community while advocating for the importance of First Amendment freedoms like freedom of the press. As Utah Tech University’s student-run news organization, it is important to highlight this day and all that it means to us.

The role of a student journalist is rewarding but not easy. Smiles are brought to our faces as we see the campus and community enjoy our stories; however, it occurs after several interviews, hours of writing and editing, and meeting deadlines while still tending to all of our other student responsibilities.

On top of that, we live in a world of constant information and deception, and navigating through that is an incredibly grueling task. Student journalists don’t let this stand in the way of telling the truth, even if that is going against common beliefs. We have to be the ones to stand up against opposition and confront others at face value because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t ever uncover the truth. Due to this, we often get backlash when we don’t report on the majority opinion and refuse to conform to peer pressure.

As student journalists, we are putting in the work, yet we are often not taken as seriously as major media platforms. Nonetheless, we are not just fulfilling our staff positions to get credits to graduate. We are striving to tell stories that matter.

We are proof of the “active learning. active life.” motto at Utah Tech through the hands-on experiences of our day-to-day Sun News commitments. Through interviews and taking newsworthy photos, we are experiencing the world of journalism.

For many of us staff members, journalism is the career path we are planning on pursuing after graduation. These staff positions are like our future jobs. Therefore, we take our positions on Sun News very seriously and deserve to receive the same respect and care in return.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without the freedom of the press. This freedom is often overlooked and not appreciated as much as it should be. The freedom of the press allows journalists to inform society about what is happening and ultimately helps make democracy function smoothly.

Despite this, student journalists are often left with fewer rights in comparison to both professional journalists and their fellow students. This can be seen in the way student news organizations are often deprived of their First Amendment rights, whether that be through frequent stonewalling or other forms of censorship.

Student Press Freedom Day falls on Feb. 22 because it is during Scholastic Journalism Week, and it is close to the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District decision that occurred Feb. 24, 1969. This court decision was one of the first steps in the right direction of allowing student voices to be heard. Through student journalism, we are able to push to have the voices of students heard and fight against censorship.

As a student-run news organization, we endure these struggles to make the community better one story at a time. Therefore, we will powerfully persist in seeking out the truth, investigating noteworthy stories and fighting against censorship.

Because at the end of the day, we are the voice of Utah Tech.

‘Perfect imitation of a casino’: Utah Tech event brings fun prizes and games

The clink of champagne glasses, the flipping of cards and the cheers from a big win are some of the sounds you would hear in casinos throughout Las Vegas, Atlantic City and even Utah Tech University.

Casino Night is an annual event where the Utah Tech Student Association is able to give back to its students. This anticipated event provides students the opportunity to dress up in elegance and class with the 80s and 90s theme of fashion as well as the music. Even students under 21 years old were encouraged to play classic casino games such as Blackjack, Roulette, Texas Hold ‘Em and Craps. Mock champagne and soda beverages were available for students to sip on as they enjoyed the evening. 

Courtney Grob, a guest who attended with a student, said, “It was a great excuse to get dressed up and have a good evening with friends and try something new.” 

Grob said she was surprised at how many people were at the event. She did not expect it to be so busy.  

In past years, this event has had thousands of attendees participate, and this year’s Casino Night was anticipated that 700 or more people attend.

“My favorite part is the perfect imitation of a casino,” said event organizer Asher Anderson, a senior marketing major from Mesa, Arizona. “Especially since most college students are underage and we are in Utah, there is no gambling or casinos, so it’s fun to pretend like you’re in one of those casinos you see in Vegas.”

The decor throughout the Gardner Center resembled that of a casino. As guests walked in, they were given the chance to walk across a red carpet and get photographed. Throughout the building, there were different sections for each type of game as well as an exclusive section blocked off for those with enough chips.

UTSA took the opportunity to give back to their students with high-end prizes. The first 200 students received a limited edition toothpick holder, and some of the top prizes to win this year included:

  • State park pass
  • PS5
  • Helicopter ride for 2 above Zion State Park
  • TV
  • Ninja Creami
  • Lululemon backpack
  • Nike hoodie
  • Lego set

With each raffle ticket worth $500, prizes could be won by trading in chips won in the games for tickets. Audience members at Casino Night were encouraging and cheered on those who won the raffle for these prizes.

Jon Balls, an attendee, said he enjoyed the evening with everything it had to offer, going on to say that it is a great testament to what the university has to offer for both its students and the public.