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Bobcats Show Extraordinary Volunteer Effort Following Flood

IMG_3057The devastating Memorial Day weekend floods impacted hundreds of people in Central Texas, causing tragic loss of life and millions of dollars in property damage. Some of our faculty, staff and students were among those who sustained loss.

Because Bobcats take care of their own, hundreds within the university community gave their time, energy and money to help fellow Bobcats in distress.

Not all volunteers officially reported their service, but among those who were counted were 110 faculty, staff and student volunteers. Collectively, they worked 1,600 hours during the relief effort. These volunteers represented 43 units within the university community and worked for 25 different organizing agencies.

Many volunteers immediately mobilized into action following the flooding, handing out food and assembling and distributing clean-up kits.

“Texas State University hosted numerous search and rescue professionals from Texas Task Force 2 and TEXSAR at Jowers (Center) during the flood. Several of them told me that they had never seen such an outpouring of community support in any other disaster,” San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero said.

In the days and weeks that followed, additional Bobcat volunteers cleaned homes, cleared debris, cooked or delivered meals, collected or distributed clothing and other goods, moved furniture and other items to storage locations, or even helped with legal issues or counseling services.

And our extended Bobcat family, which includes alumni and other supporters, donated roughly $10,000 to help those impacted by the floods. Coupled with some existing emergency funds, the university distributed more than $27,000 to assist flood-affected Bobcats. The university also provided emergency housing for more than 200 faculty, staff, and students — and their families — at Bobcat Village.

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Here are other examples of how the Bobcat community helped during the effort:

  • Days after the flood, displaced families living at Bobcat Village were treated to a dinner organized by Carol Huntsberger, a member of the Texas State Development Foundation. She organized food donations for approximately 150 people, and Chartwells, the food service contractor at Texas State, provided pizzas for an additional 100 people.
  • Student-athletes, coaches and staff from the Department of Athletics teamed up with H-E-B to distribute hot meals the Monday following the Memorial Day weekend floods from the Bobcat Stadium parking lot. With the aid of the H-E-B Mobile Kitchen, breakfast, lunch and dinner were served to those displaced by the flooding and first responders. Additionally, student-athletes assembled and helped distribute more than 3,000 disaster relief cleanup kits to residents returning to their homes.
  • The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment held recovery workshops in June at various locations in Blanco and Wimberley for property owners.

Time: Friend or Foe?

It’s Time to Make Time Your Friend

by Texas State SLAC

clockIt’s 1:30 a.m: you’re at your desk, a huge can of Monster precariously perched on the shortest stack of books and articles, with 456 words or 19 more algebra problems to go. Our advice? Go to bed, whether that’s a mattress, bunk, or futon, and sleep. At this point, you are falling victim to the commonly held idea that you “work better under pressure.” In the summer, what this really means is only that you are working under pressure because you no longer have an option to do otherwise. Working too close to deadlines also means not having a chance to problem solve if something goes wrong or you have last minute trouble with a concept. Besides, even if you do perform best late at night during the long semesters, summer classes are held every day: days when you used to be sleeping after pulling an all-nighter.

The fact is that summer school is unrelenting. Use the self-discipline you dredge up to take care of your body, to make yourself read or study earlier in the day, to start preparing for midterms and finals, to email or talk with your professor about tests and papers―including the invisible professors in your online courses. Do it now. Check TRACS and Bobcat Mail each day and sometimes several times a day. In summer school, falling behind in sleep, your studies, or your communications is even more destructive than during fall or spring. It’s time to make time your friend.

Succeed in College: Read to Understand

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Love it or hate it, you have to get familiar with academic reading in college. Most exams include questions about texts professors assign but never address in class. So learn to read to understand. The more active your reading, the more chances for increasing understanding. Since most college texts provide surveys filled with definitions, data, and theories, use a structured reading method involving forethought, performance, and review and reflection.

During the forethought phase, gather and prepare materials, and form a context for what you read before you read it. This adds pathways to prior knowledge and builds retention:

  • Spend 5-10 minutes on the chapter title, topic outlines, headings, charts, diagrams, and illustrations to create familiarity with content.
  • Read the chapter summary twice; then think of what you already know about the topic.
  • Ask what question the chapter is answering.
  • Ascertain how much energy to put into reading based on earlier study and knowledge.
  • Use the Internet if necessary to create another framework in which to put what you read.

Use the performance phase to actively read:

  • Focus attention by following the text with your index finger, a pen or pencil, and a note card with colored edges to keep you on the correct line.
  • Divide the chapter into parts; then use a timer and short breaks to question yourself about the material.
  • Read and then mark or highlight primary points and write notes in the margin.
  • Explain to yourself (aloud) what you understand; hearing yourself increases retention.
  • Use headings to formulate questions in the margins and to prep for exams; ask what the primary ideas are in each section.
  • Reread confusing sections and get help from learning centers and classmates if you need.

Give yourself a reflection phase to review and understand:

  • Review the day of your first read-through to increase retention, then each day until the exam.
  • Use chapter review cards, mapping, study guides, and test preps to organize thoughts.
  • Explain aloud what you’ve understood to others; teaching leads to understanding.
  • Continue building a context from what you know, and connect the text to your class notes. Write the text’s page numbers besides corresponding in-class notes.

Other types of college texts require different reading strategies. Problem-centered texts require that you read and work problems; selected readings that you use introductions and notes from class lectures; literature that you read after gaining a context for the work from prior knowledge or the Internet; research articles that you read abstracts before starting; and reference works that you preview structure, use tabs to mark key points, and note other textual facets.

Also, watch for two stumbling blocks. These are an inadequate college-level vocabulary and poor concentration. Electronic or paper vocabulary cards can help tackle the former, as can learning Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Build your concentration by reading your way through a chapter in smaller increments with more rigid demands on your environment and time.

Remember that your primary goal for reading is to understand, not simply memorize. You are building a structure upon which your future depends, so make it sturdy.

Adapted from Sellers, D., Dochen, C., & Hodges, R. (2014). Academic Transformation:

            The road to college success (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson.

5 Tips for Sun Safety

_MG_4602_1Summertime is here, and with summertime come long days of fun in the sun. There is good evidence that just a few minutes outside and in the sunshine can reap multiple health benefits – including increased physical activity, absorption of Vitamin D and improvement in mood.

But time in the sun can quickly become a lot less fun – even dangerous – if you don’t take steps to protect your skin and provide for your overall health before going outside. Here are a few tips to keep your skin safe this summer:

  1. Wear Sunscreen

If there’s only one thing you do to protect your skin, it should be to wear sunscreen every day. It takes only a few minutes for ultraviolet rays from the sun to harm unprotected skin, and is well known that overexposure to ultraviolet light can lead to sunburn, skin aging and skin cancer. Make a habit of applying a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to exposed areas every morning, whether you plan on spending time outside that day or not. Some wavelengths of UV light can even penetrate window glass!

  1. Wear Protective Clothing

Also, when you do spend time outside, wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants to further protect your skin from the sun’s rays and heat. There are also many great options of sun protective clothing on the market, including several kinds of apparel with fabric with an elevated ultraviolet protective factor (UPF). These items will offer you extra protection for long days outside.

  1. Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses!

bob-van-aubel-ray-bansBecause your eyes can sustain sun damage as well, wear sunglasses labeled with 100% UV protection. Finish off your look with a wide-brimmed or floppy hat to not only protect your face and neck, but your scalp underneath your hair as well. And don’t forget your lips – pick up a lip balm with at least SPF 15 and apply it regularly throughout the day.

  1. Review Your Medications

Remember to review your medications and skin care products. Some medications and face creams (such as those with retinol) increase your skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) rays. A quick review of your medications with your primary care physician or dermatologist to figure out if anything you are taking will make you more sensitive to the sun is a great idea.

  1. Drink Plenty of Water

Another healthy habit is to stay hydrated throughout the day, more so if you will be spending the day outside. Dehydration is common among older adults and can be potentially life threatening. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Remember that alcohol and caffeinated and carbonated beverages can have a diuretic effect on the body and make dehydration worse.

Moreover, staying hydrated is the best thing you can do to avoid heatstroke, a medical emergency that can arise suddenly and is often fatal if not properly and promptly treated. When you’re dehydrated, your body might not be able to produce sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, causing an increase in temperature to unsafe levels. Symptoms may include confusion, disorientation, excessive tiredness, headache, lethargy, nausea and a rapid pulse. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Heatstroke can also be avoided by staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day. Use this time of the day to catch up with friends or family or take an outing to somewhere with air conditioning, such as the movies, a museum or the mall. If you are going to be outside during this time, take frequent “shade breaks.”

Here’s to a great, sun-smart summer!

Ammar Ahmed, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist at the University Physicians Group, which is part of the Seton Family of Doctors. SetonFamilyOfDoctors.com

Outreach Continues to Texas State Flood Victims

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SAN MARCOS – With nearly $10,000 collected through the Maroon & Gold Annual Fund for Flood Relief, contributions continue to help students, faculty and staff impacted by the Hays County flooding over the Memorial Day weekend.

Texas State University opened Bobcat Village Apartments to members of the university community who suffered loss or damages because of floodwaters. Texas State has housed more than 200 people who are students, faculty and staff – and their family members – in the university-owned apartment complex, said Margarita Arellano, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students. Another 35 community members have taken up residence elsewhere in the area.

“We have been providing them with monetary assistance and information to relief resources,” Arellano said. “We are still awarding assistance because people are still seeking help. People have been very appreciative.”

On June 4, volunteers, including Texas State Development Foundation Trustee Carol Huntsberger, organized free meals to families living temporarily in Bobcat Village.

Donations are still needed to help affected families, and those interested in assisting members of the Texas State community impacted by the flooding may donate at http://donate.txstate.edu/flood.

Volunteers Organize Free Meals for Texas State Community Impacted by Floods

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SAN MARCOS – Texas State University faculty, staff and students displaced by the Memorial Day weekend flooding and temporarily living in Bobcat Village Apartments received a free dinner June 4 thanks to the efforts of Texas State volunteers.

Organized by Carol Huntsberger, a member of the Texas State Development Foundation, organized the event, which began at noon and benefitted almost 200 Texas State community members, including 54 students and 37 faculty and staff with their families. Huntsberger organized food donations for approximately 150 people, and Chartwells, the food service contractor at Texas State, provided pizzas for an additional 100 people.

“The event went extremely well and people were so appreciative. It was very moving!” said Margarita Arellano, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students. “We continued to distribute food orders for the ones who were not there after 5 p.m. People who were working could place orders to go and we then distributed them.”

Ted Ingwersen, assistant director of Housing and Residential Life, coordinated the event and ensured members of the university community affected knew about the food distribution in advance.

Anyone interested in assisting members of the Texas State community impacted by the flooding may donate at https://donate.txstate.edu/flood.

By Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
June 8, 2015

Students: 5 Tips to Prepare for the Future

By SLAC

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”  — Ronald Reagan

Take a coffee break and start thinking about what your next step is, Bobcats.

Take a coffee break and start thinking about what your next step is, Bobcats.

So many times we are reminded to live in the present, but we still need to prepare for the future. And if you are reading this, you have a future. Whether you are a freshman or a senior, listen well: it’s never too early or late to have a game plan. In “Advice for Students: Start Planning Now for Life After College,” Dustin Max tells students not to view college as a break from real life but to start seeing it as a stage of real life. Here’s how:

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