Candidates battle at SMU in the 2012 student body officer debate

30 Apr

Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Student Senate is one of the most important organizations on the campus. The Student Senate has three Student Body Officers who are in charge of the organization. Every year during the elections, the candidates for President, Vice-President, and Secretary have a debate. This debate is an ongoing tradition that was continued this year during the 2012 Student Body Elections.

The only candidate for Student Body President was Student Senate Chief of Staff Alex Mace. He has been a part of Student Senate for three years, having been elected a senator as soon as a freshman. Although he was the only candidate running for the position, he has a strong platform planned out for President. His two pillars that he wants to build are community and communication. As President, Alex Mace hopes to create a greater bond between the students of the campus.

The position of Student Body Secretary only had one official candidate, former Student Senate Membership Chair Katherine Ladner. Currently a sophomore, she has been a part of the organization since she was a freshman. Her platform focused on many changes within the Student Senate Chamber. She wants to track absences and enforce the consequences for too many absences, something that has been lacking in the past several years. She also wants to introduce many significant pieces of legislation that were discussed this past year in Senate.

For the position of Student Body Vice-President, three candidates presented their platforms in an attempt to sway voters. The three candidates were Student Senate Finance Vice-Chair Zane Cavender, Cox Senator Cohagen Wilkinson, and former football player Travis Carlile. Each candidate presented his arguments and pointed out why he would be best for the position. Zane Cavender hopes to reform the finance system to allocate money more fairly to organizations. Cohagen Wilkinson wants to increase communication between Student Senate and other campus organizations. Finally, Travis Carlile wants to increase communication between athletes and the student body.

Student Body Officer Debates are a tradition for the SMU campus. They allow students to view the candidates before they make their vote on Election Day. Students can make an informed decision about who to vote for during the elections. It is a tradition that will continue for years to come.

If you would like more information about the debate or about Student Senate, feel free to contact me, the current Membership Chair, at


Spreading at the speed of light

30 Apr

Hearing someone speak about 400 words per minute is not something you normally hear every day. You also do not hear the words spreading, flowing, topicality, or kritics on a daily basis. However, this is something you live with every day in the debate world. Debate is a world of competition and education that constantly works your mind while allowing you to have fun.

At a normal debate competition, participants are not dressed in suits to impress the judges. In fact, my experience with SMU is that we are normally the best dressed team with jeans and button-down shirts. Debate rounds are two hours each and there are four or five debates in one day. This intense level of competition means that your first priority is not your appearance. Furthermore, you will most likely sweat at some point during a round, so there is no reason to dress nicely. Finally, judges are more impressed with arguments and rhetorical skills than appearance, so it is not important to concentrate on what clothes you wear.

Another aspect of debate is spreading. Spreading simply means speaking at a rapid pace. Some of the top debaters in the nation spread at almost 500 words per minute. I remember how intimidating my first debate round was with spreading. My partner and I went against a team that qualified for nationals the year before. We had no clue what was going on since they spoke so fast. Now, we can both spread just as fast as they could. Spreading is probably the biggest shock for most people who decide to watch a debate or participate in one.

Flowing is another interesting part of debate. It is a special form of note taking that is used specifically for debate. Debaters use several sheets of paper to keep track of arguments. Different kinds of arguments, like disadvantages and kritiks, go on different sheets of paper. Instead of writing across the page, you write narrowly straight down. You also leave space in between each individual argument as you go down the page. As the next debater makes their arguments against yours, you line up the arguments. This form of note taking allows you to keep track of the arguments throughout the round.

Finally, the best part of debate is the educational opportunity it provides. During rounds, debaters are forced to argue about different policy options. This is an educational opportunity that most students do not get in college. Debate also allows students to think critically in a restricted amount of time. This is a skill that is essential for anyone wishing to acquire an excellent career. The opportunities that debate presents are infinite, meaning everyone in college should participate in it at some point.

For more information about SMU debate, you can contact me at You can also contact Dr. Voth, the director of the Speech and Debate program, at

An interesting musical twist

16 Apr

Many people hearing Katy Perry’s song “I Kissed a Girl” might have some weird memories pop into their heads. Some guys will remember a girl they kissed in the past. Some girls will remember a time that matches with Katy Perry’s song, either causing a sense of enjoyment or a sense of disgust. Some people will have memories that they never wanted to come back again.

For me, however, this song brings up the memory of my study abroad trip to Costa Rica during high school. That may seem a bit weird at first. When I traveled to Costa Rica, the song had just come out on the radio. Whenever our group was heading places during the trip, that song would always come on the radio. We would sing along to it because we all knew the words perfectly. “I Kissed a Girl” became the unofficial theme song for our trip, so any time I hear that song I think back to my trip to Costa Rica.

My trip to Costa Rica was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I met several amazing people on my trip there. Furthermore, I gained a mastery of the Spanish language. Spanish is a truly beautiful language to learn. It can be difficult for some to learn, but studying abroad in another country helps tremendously. I would suggest to anyone learning a foreign language to stay in the country of the language they are learning. Everyone who went to Costa Rica on my trip became fairly fluent in Spanish, showing the effectiveness of studying abroad.

I also learned a significant amount about Costa Rican culture during my trip. Costa Rican life flows at a much slower pace than that of U.S. life. The slower-paced lifestyle represents the culture of Costa Rica. Life there is fairly peaceful. In addition to lifestyles, food is extremely important. Most dishes in Costa Rica use rice, beans, and some form of meat. Costa Ricans pride themselves on their food. Everything is bought fresh and homemade, something that most Americans like me are not used to. By learning these aspects of culture, I gained a true appreciation for the country.

Although my experience with Katy Perry’s song is not typical for most people, it is very unique and meaningful to me. My experience in Costa Rica was one-of-a-kind and something that I will never forget. Any time I hear that song, I am flooded with memories of a truly amazing study abroad trip.

Communication at its finest

11 Apr

Running a market, public relations and copyright business presents a big challenge, but Jef Tingley makes it seem easy. His business advises organizations in communications so they can convey messages to specific audiences. This requires creativity, innovation, and people skills to interact with clients. Jef uses these skills to run a successful business with several major clients.

Jef’s clients come from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. One of his clients in the media sector is the Dallas Voice. One of his bigger clients in the community relations sector is the Dallas Zoo. Finally, in the non-profit sector, Jef works with WFAA-TV’s Santa’s Helpers. This is one of his most impactful community outreach programs since it delivers toys to needy children in the area.

In his lecture, Jef discussed the importance of reaching the target audience in public relations. According to him, it is necessary to know the audience. Without knowing the audience, the message of the organization cannot be properly conveyed. For example, a clothing store like Urban Outfitters primarily attracts young college students. An advertisement will need to be targeted to young college students since they are the ones most likely to shop at the store. Learning this lesson is the key to success in the communications field.

For communications students and young communication professionals, Jef provides a model for success. He has risen through the ranks in the communication field, starting his own business. It can be difficult to succeed in the communication field, but Jef Tingley shows there is hope.

For more information about Jef, visit his website at

Hello world!

19 Jan

Welcome to After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.