Dave Eggers

When Dave Eggers co-founded 826 Valencia, a tutoring center in San Francisco, he alsohelped to start a business, one specializing in goods fit for Captain Reuter: a pirate supply store.

The honored guest for this years The Writer’s Voice, Eggers referenced this personal connection as he began his address to SU Pirates and community members.

An author, screenwriter and founder and editor of the independent publishing house

McSweeney’s, Eggers has helped to open 826 additional writing centers similar to 826 Valencia (minus the pirate theme). In addition to tutoring services, the centers offer youth the chance to engage in creative writing; even publishing collections of student work in book form.

For Eggers, writing, reading, and painting was an escape from the tragedy and difficulties he faced as an adolescent.

“For a couple of years there I was going through some rough times, full of angst, alienated from everything and everyone, I was really having a hard go of it through adolescence, and I found validation in [English and painting],” Eggers said.

 

Eggers’ love of storytelling was augmented by his high school English teacher with whom he still works with to this day.

“I wanted to write about persuading folks to take a bicycle trip to the inner mantle of the earth, after all it was downhill!” Eggers said. “I was kind of a prankster. I was looking for a reaction and found a teacher who took us all seriously.”

Eggers emphasizes the value of patience and understanding when working with students in their writing at his non-profit tutoring center 826 Valencia.

“You cast your net over a wider group of students,” Eggers said. “I tell them ‘let’s get it out on the paper, don’t self censor, earn their trust…and you become a part of them forever.”

What happens when the students get writer’s block?

“The tutor will just chat, 10, 20 minutes, sometimes an hour. Kids are then encouraged to write about subjects they are passionate about. It is all part of trust and validation.”

During the Writer’s Voice presentation Eggers discussed the difficulties of composing a creative nonfiction story like “Zeitoun”, his most recent publication that chronicles the experiences of a Muslim family during destruction and injustice-ridden aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

“The writing was exceedingly slow,” Eggers said. “I don’t think I could write more than two or three sentences at a time without calling someone for confirmation.”

Eggers also commented that authors cannot get too bogged down in the experience of writing this type of story, and encouraged writers to step back and capture the experience from the character’s point of view.

“I don’t think the author sees that himself,” Eggers said. If you get caught up in your own patterns and theories, then you lose the art of it I think. So much of it has to be unconscious.”

Throughout his presentation, Eggers championed the transformative power of writing.

“[Reading can] drive people to action…drive people to change,” Eggers said. “There is no better democratic means of empowerment than the written word.”

Eggers also emphasized the capability and responsibility writer’s have to encourage sympathy and inspire change.

“If we want to understand, we have to read. We have to tell stories,” Eggers said. “[There is] no better way to engender empathy, to understand, to experiences [others’] experiences…to live in their skin, to walk in their shoes…that tickles your ‘justice bone’, that unites our minds…than to read.”

After discussing the merits of reading and writing and the value of storytelling in human society, Eggers took a few minutes to share some of his less than serious compositions, including, to the delight of the audience, a series of letters to prominent CEO’s from “a dog named Steve”.

“I am allergic, actually, so we can’t own a dog,” Eggers said. “It is my most joyous writing, this cart wheeling downhill kind of experience, where I associate wind, speed, joy and abandon. Dogs are noble and ridiculous. When I am inside this voice with a different set of rules, different observations can be made, and it is totally free.”

Following the rendition of “letters from Steve”, Eggers talked about his enthusiasm for writing stories and insisted that anyone really can write anything.

“You never know when you’re going to find the most joy, the most passion in writing,” Eggers said.

Students had many opportunities to direct questions to Eggers in various classes throughout the week and during a luncheon held following the Writer’s Voice event. Most students had nothing but appreciation, enthusiasm, and praise for Eggers message.

“Eggers is a perfect fit for Southwestern,” sophomore Jacob Brown said. “He not only stands for lifelong learning in his range of interests…but he’s also dedicated to civic duty- changing the world for the better.”

Eggers Book Design Covers

In preparation for Dave Eggers Lecture, part of Southwestern’s Writer’s Voice Series, students competed to create interesting new covers for their favorite books.

Southwestern Football Program Will Boost Pirate Pride vs. Problems Overshadow Benefits

Pride
All it takes is a 20-minute drive down I-35 to arrive at one of the most iconic football grounds in the state of Texas, Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium. There play the Longhorns: padded behemoths whose performance week in and week out has a palpable effect on the student body and an extensive alumni network.

The Longhorns rally both the student body and the alumni, as well as countless other interested parties, not around the football program itself but the university as a whole. Recently, Southwestern began the long and arduous process of creating its own rally point, the Pirates football team, a move that in the long run will have similar positive effects.

Although the university already has a strong, respectable athletic program that provides the student athletes themselves with an opportunity to grow on and off the field, it has failed to rally the general student body around it.

Football has the potential to be the center around which alumni and students gather, not just to cheer on the football team but to celebrate their pride in the university. It will foster a more unified and larger alumni network more eager to support and donate to the school because they maintain their feeling of connection to it. Football could also help increase publicity and name recognition for the university.

Even so, at a time when the university has decided to cut library costs and cannot keep professors’ salaries in line with inflation, some argue that a football team may seem imprudent.

While the positive effects may not be felt immediately and the university may lose money in the short term, as long as the program is well run over time, revenue will begin to catch up with and eventually exceed expenses. In 15 or 20 years from now, when the program has had time to establish itself, alums will be able to return and take pride in what Southwestern accomplished, knowing that they were there at the beginning.

Opponents of the move also express concerns about the effect that the presence of football players themselves will have on the university. At a small school, the effect of 100 new people on the composition of the student body will not be as diluted as at other schools, so this is a serious consideration. This where the university must remember that it has a responsibility to admit student-athletes that are likely to be productive members of our community, as they have been doing up to this point.

Currently, the GPA of student-athletes is comparable to those of non-athletes at Southwestern. The university is aware that it must not be so consumed by success on the football field as to compromise its admission standards and has promised to maintain admissions quality.

As long as the program is developed in a responsible and prudent manner, the football program will have a profoundly positive effect on all alumni, present and future.

Undercuts

The recent decision by the Board of Trustees to add both football and women’s lacrosse as varsity sports has created considerable controversy in the student populace. Notably, students and faculty were left in the dark until the final decision was suddenly sprung upon them. If these new changes will make the school so much better off, students and faculty should have been consulted in the process.

Similar discussions occurred at Berry College of northwest Georgia, where a similar football installment plan has recently been approved.

A small student protest took place, and it seemed most students against the plan didn’t have a problem so much with football as with installing football on their college campus. They held serious doubts about the ability for the football team to actually generate revenue, andwhether their own campus culture would be negatively impacted.

Berry College resembles Southwestern in its small enrollment size, liberal arts focus, and its status as a Division III school.

At Southwestern, the reaction may very well resemble that of Berry’s, as many small colleges have been making changes in the past few years. Financial concerns present great importance, and the concern that the initial gift money provided by the recent agreement doesn’tcover the full $10-11 million in total costs presents a problem.

Money will be coming in slowly, and debts will continue to pile up as the university takes on this additional challenge. If this risk doesn’t pay off, it would mean a much deeper hole,and wasted time and energy creating facilities that wouldn’t necessarily be utilized to their full potential.

Deemed as one of the less controversial matters in this discussion, women’s lacrosse has simply been eclipsed in the concern over reinstating the football team. This lack of controversy is simply not true. The story told has seemed to suppose that moving women’s lacrosse from a clubsport to a varsity sport would act as a sort of “upgrade” or “progression”; clearly a substantial assumption.

Currently, The University of Dallas is the only other varsity women’s lacrosse team in Texas. If the current club sport were to become a varsity sport, this would equal increased transportation costs of time and money for the team. A women’s lacrosse student’s ability to engage in diverse and stimulating activitiesduring their time would be ever more restrained. Not to mention that the team wasn’t contacteduntil the final decision to begin with, possibly because Title IX laws all but forced women’slacrosse’s inclusion in the process.

Besides the crucial overlooked issue concerning women’s lacrosse, claims of increasedenrollment seem to add appeal to this plan of action. A predicted 120 students would help achieve the enrollment goal of 1,500, but it fails to take into account the numbers of students who would have specifically chosen the university for other reasons.

The decision wouldn’t so much depend on students who specifically didn’t want a football team, so much as the other activities and opportunities that are promoted in the space of football.

Focusing on special weekends also seems inviting, but student-run organizations and activities make events like Homecoming an already inviting opportunity for alumni. In this way,student leadership and teamwork works to present different unique opportunities for the day orweekend, as opposed to a singular event that would drive the show.

A better plan would be to consider the debts currently owed, and how to close the gap. Qualitative improvements in student recruitment would work wonders, such as the improvementof student involvement in visit day programs.Academic quality must also be maintained, as must the inviting campus culture and gender balance.

Another balance may also be interrupted with the new plan, as seen in a potentialincrease of the new football students going into certain departments and programs such asbusiness. This would create another type of balance problem, which must be acknowledged.Gender balance, especially on our campus, remains an important issue to be dealt with.Throwing the women’s lacrosse team under the bus just doesn’t seem like the way to do it.

SlutWalk to Protest Rape Culture in Society

Today, the first ever campus-wide SlutWalk will take place, rallying students of all genders and identity to protest the rape culture evident in society today.

“The basic part of SlutWalk is to make people see it exists, that it’s here, and that we want it gone,” first year Genna Davis said.

Davis is organizing SlutWalk SU as part of her activism project for her Introduction to Feminist Studies course, but she also is very passionate about creating awareness about rapeculture.“I’ve seen examples [of rape culture] here at Southwestern. Like when people refer to the parking lot near the soccer field as ‘rape lot’. I really just want to get a dialogue started on campus,” Davis said.

Rape culture is not just limited to campuses, but is also play a part in how cases and trials about rape are approached.

“Chief Brown came into my Intro to Feminist Studies class and gave a presentation about the sexual assault policies on campus,” Davis said. “She told us that when she went to some trials and they put her on trial and treated it like it was her fault and the victim’s fault: her fault for allowing drinking [on campus] and the victim’s fault for drinking.”

The belief that women can somehow predict and prevent their own rape is the kind of attitude that SlutWalk SU hopes to take a stance against. SlutWalk began when a representative of the Toronto police department told students at asafety forum at a New York University that women should ‘avoid dressing like sluts’ (huffingtonpost.com on slutwalk) in order to prevent from being raped.

“This is a prime example of victim blaming. They held the first SlutWalk in Feburary and it just spread from there,” Davis said.

SlutWalk has now become a ‘global, viral, grassroots movement’ according to the officialwebsite, slutwalknyc.com. It has also gained a lot of media attention due to their name and the clothing choices of many people who march in it.

“A lot of emphasis by the media is on what we wear. People dress provocatively and hold signs and megaphones and yell. What’s really important are the signs and what they wear. Many victims wear what they wore when they were raped, which are usually jeans and a hoodie. That’s the real uniform [of SlutWalk],” Davis said.

There is also an undercurrent of controversy to the whole idea of SlutWalk, stemming from the use of the word ‘Slut’ in their name.

“A lot of emphasis has been put on the reclaiming of the word ‘slut’ and diffusing it, but that’s not a part of SlutWalk I identify with,” Davis said. “I feel like ‘slut’ is a word full of hate and negativity and I don’t want that word to exist. It is meaningless as a concept. What is a slut?…Who decides?”

Ultimately, the goal of SlutWalk SU is to raise an awareness of rape culture and the blaming and the shaming that go along with it. The march for SlutWalk will occur from 12 p.m.to 3 p.m. today.

“I mean it to raise awareness, as a catalyst for change. And change can’t happen until we’re aware,” Davis said. “So hopefully SlutWalk will accomplish these things.”

“Dero Fix-It” Bike Repair

Next semester will bring new conveniences to cyclists and bike lovers at the university through a bike repair station called a “Dero Fix-It” and a bike part vending machine that will beinstalled on campus.

“[A Dero Fix-It] is a bike stand with tools and a pump attached to it. You can mount abike and do minor repairs on it. There will be attached instructions for things like fixing flats,”senior Ben Parafina said. In conjunction with SEAK, Parafina received a Seed Grant and a King Creativity Grantto organize the creation of a bike repair station and install a bike part vending machine oncampus.

“A repair station would benefit the student body because students’ own bikes can be a phenomenal way to travel across campus or elsewhere, but certain things, such as flat tires or a broken chain, can prevent these bikes from being functional,” sophomore Sean Stone-Ashe said.

“A bike repair station would therefore benefit the student body by giving them the ability to quickly and easily fix their bike woes,”Parafina is something of a bike expert around campus.

In addition to working for the non-profit bicycling organization Bike Texas, he built his own bike on campus. Parafina’s experiencewith bikes inspired him to organize the bike repair station.

“As gas got more expensive, more of my friends got bikes and people would come to meto get their bikes fixed. I just wanted to make sure people could fix and ride their own bikes,” said Parafina.

THE CHALLENGE

THE CHALLENGE, an event sponsored by Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge (SEAK), will take place at 5:30 p.m. on the mall today.

“The purpose of the event is to raise awareness around issues related to composting andrecycling,” sophomore Joey Kyle said.

THE CHALLENGE is a tag competition in which players dress as recyclable objects andtaggers attempt to sort them into correct compostable and recyclable categories.

Prizes including gift cards and concert tickets will be awarded to the winners. SEAK will also hand out environmental literature.

Yesterday, SEAK hosted a drum circle to advertise the event in the Commons and hand out environmental fortunes.

SEAK’s ultimate purpose for this year is to get bottled water off campus and contribute to the University’s sustainability.

“In the upcoming months there will be a revamping of past compost systems and our hopes are that people will be educated enough to have a self-sustained compost system,” Kyle said.

Big Red: University Celebrates Red Mccombs at Book Signing

“Big Red” for sale and Big Red soda for free! On Oct. 25, Red McCombs ’49 came to campus to autograph his most recent book “Big Red: Memoirs of a Texas Entrepreneur and Philanthropist” and Big Red soda was given out for free to accompany the book signing.

“He’s had an interesting life and is an interesting person. He’s definitely had a successful career,” a faculty member said.

This event took place in the Bishop’s Lounge of the McCombs Campus Center which was named after McCombs and his wife, Charline.

 

The event also included live music performed by Eric Hanke ’01, with free salsa and chips available to attendees.

Students took this opportunity to attend the signing and to meet with McCombs.

“I came because I wanted to buy the book and get it autographed to give to my dad for Christmas,” senior Kristyna Uhles said. “I might give it to him early and not wait until Christmas, I get really excited about giving gifts and I want to give the book to him.”

In addition to students, individuals from the Georgetown community and groups from various cities across Texas came to campus to meet McCombs and get his autograph.

“My husband and I drove from Marble Falls to come see Mr. McCombs,” an attendee said. “I was a student at Southwestern in the ‘70s and I appreciate that he’s helped this school continue to be a success.”

The book depicts McCombs’ beginnings in the town of Spur, Texas and recalls his successful business ventures and generous contributions to various organizations. He began selling peanuts at the age of ten and then steadily grew into financial success through car sales.

After attending Southwestern and then UT Austin, McCombs built multiple businesses that dealt with a great variety of goods and services.

His various businesses included cattle, oil and gas, insurance, horse racing, films, real estate, and professional sports.

He co-founded Clear Channel Communications and at two different times owned the San Antonio Spurs, as well as other professional sport teams.

With his success also came great benevolence. McCombs and his wife have given their financial support, adding up to over 8 million dollars, to Southwestern.

Their generosity has also been extended to UT Austin and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

“I work at Creative Services and we all wanted to come to

support Red McCombs and show him our appreciation,” senior Rebecca Bennett said.

He and his wife met at Southwestern and were married in 1950.

He has served on the Southwestern’s Board of Trustees, was Chair of the Board twice, and served as an honorary chair of Thinking Ahead: The Southwestern Campaign. Mrs. McCombs was an inaugural member of the Board of Visitors.

The university has previously recognized their contributions with the President’s Philanthropy Award in 2006, honorary doctorates, and the SU Medal.

SUSTAIN: ‘Students for Sustained CivicEngagement’

When David Boutte transferred here from New York City, he brought his work experience andorganizational skills with him. In his first few weeks on campus, he set out to bring them to otherstudents by founding an organization called SUSTAIN: ‘Students for Sustained Civic Engagement.’

The group is working to help match students with internships and career opportunities, in localand national partnerships that would last and benefit both parties.“We realized that, more than a lack of opportunities, there was a connection block betweenstudents and the realization of those opportunities,” Boutte said. “The group will be tabling inNovember to get information from students and hopefully through first year seminars to find out whatsort of internships people are looking for, and create a working database, so that Southwestern’s officesof Civic Engagement and Career Services will have a communicating extension.”

Boutte was inspired by a project he had special interest in, but in discussion with the Office ofCivic Engagement realized the project could take over five years. It then developed into somethingbroader.

“I volunteer in Austin for “The Challenger”, which the homeless write and sell in lieu ofbegging, so the homeless community in Georgetown was my first interest,” Boutte said. “I realized thatmore help in Williamson County would enable long-term programs to really impact the lives of thesepeople, so with the Office of Civic Engagement I developed ideas about maintaining groups that couldwork on sustainable projects like this. Slowly, we realized that I had to start with the gap betweenstudents and projects at Southwestern rather than try to begin with large off-campus issues.”

SUSTAIN emphasizes the importance of commitment to civic engagement, rather than themore common short-term internships students often consider.

“The name of the group means, if you’re involved, you’re committing to making a sustainableeffort, a difference that will last,” Boutte said. “It doesn’t matter what kind- internship, work,volunteering- it means making an investment in civic engagement, both for yourself and forSouthwestern. Let’s say you volunteer with a non-profit organization for the university. When youleave, if you’re in SUSTAIN, the Southwestern presence there does not disappear. We can help enableyou to train someone to take your place, and sustain the school’s positive influence there.”

The organization, still in its first stages, aims to evolve into a business model that connectsstudents to the kinds of opportunities that they want.

“We hope to find ways to fund students who want to intern but need a paying job,” Bouttesaid. “If we get the funds we need, this type of aid could really benefit the Southwestern student body.We’re making a database of all students to help connect them to non-profit organizations andbusinesses who could be more engaged with Southwestern.”

The organization met with Mel Pendland, president of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, last Friday to discuss ways to make chamber members aware of SUSTAIN’s motivations and ideals.

The Big Event is another way SUSTAIN will try to connect students to local work. On March 23, the week after Spring Break, the group’s one and only event of the year is hoped to turn out a large part of the community to introduce the ‘Be Southwestern’ campaign, a project of the Office of Gift Management under Rob Bacchus.

“Although we expect some of our programs to develop and change over time, The Big Event is our commitment this school year. We are trying to bring in businesses, churches, and other groups tothis service day with the goal of at least 300 students, staff and faculty,” Boutte said. “Our mostimportant aim is creating a sense of community between residents, students and Georgetownbusinesses and organizations. We want everyone to Be Southwestern.”

Along with inter-community connections, Boutte emphasized the differences between internships and employment.“Long-term experience teaches you skills and responsibilities that you just don’t get from a short-term internship,” Boutte said. “It allows you to build up on those skills and gain that responsibility, rather than starting at the bottom as an intern again after a semester of school.Internships, over long periods of time, can turn into lasting jobs that many other students won’t haveaccess to. We want students to make that commitment, so they can understand what it means to do ajob well. It also looks great on both academic and career resumes.”

The Big Event was an idea that started with attempts to connect school and community at TexasA&M University. Their efforts evolved into a nationwide day of service. This is Southwestern’s firsttime participating.Boutte is working with SUSTAIN’s Director of Operations Aaron Jimenez and Student LiaisonMarianne Lynch to coordinate the function with other student organizations.

“We will send out an e-mail soon to create committees and sub-committees focused onorganizing the Big Event,” Boutte said. “Not only are we open to students seeking internships, but weare looking for officers, members and help of any kind- especially with this huge program. We arecreating a great opportunity for Southwestern to maintain a presence with the organizations andbusinesses that students are involved in.”

The Big Event has happened at other schools for the past 30 years now, but Boutte is starting itoff differently here.

“We want more businesses to accept Pirate cards, to enable more local internships and to fundthose opportunities. ‘Be Southwestern’ was mega-launched at Homecoming last weekend,” Bouttesaid. “SUSTAIN is working with that campaign. We want to reinforce the idea and establish morelasting relations between Southwestern students and the community.”

‘Zombies’ For A Cause

Students chasing one another in hot pursuit across the mall, socks flying through the air, a disconcerting number of red head bands, and distracted, strategizing looks on peoples faces. All of these are side effects of Southwestern’s second annual zombie week, hosted by the co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, which began Monday morning.

All students participating were issued a red cloth to tie around their wrist or leg to mark them as human. Three “Alpha Zombies,” marked by bands around their head strategically began to make their killings and grow the zombie hordes.

By Monday night most residents in the Mabee and Kurth dorms had fallen, with a few brave survivors left cowering in their rooms, struggling for survival. With less upperclassmen playing and exterior doors to their apartments the other side of campus has made a longer stand.

“Kurth, Mabee, Olin, and the commons are definitely the most dangerous places on campus,” Sarah Faulk, a human survivor said.

School buildings are safe zones, however, the dorms are not and classrooms provide traps for zombies to use.

“We’ve been strategizing,” Alex Deri, an alpha zombie, said, “We ambush people as they leave buildings and group hunt.”

“The most terrifying moment for me took place over a span of a couple hours while I was sitting in Olin. “ Faulk said. “Zombies Alex Deri and David Vaden came and sat in the lobby with me and began massacring people. I couldn’t do anything without risking myself, so I watched them prey on people outside and eat brains.”

Thrown socks the only defense against a zombie and stun them for 15 minutes.

All a zombie must do is touch you and you immediately become one.

“I felt so helpless. They got like six people in the span of an hour.” Faulk said.

If a zombie does not feed within 24 hours of becoming one then they starve and are out of the game.

The game is not intended to make individuals live in a perpetual state of fear, but rather serves as both a fundraiser and campus wide icebreaker. Students had to pay $2 to participate and all proceeds went to the Bastrop Fire Relief efforts.

“The money goes to good cause and the game is a lot of fun,” Faulk said.

“It’s a good community builder. I have made friends with random people I didn’t know previously by going ‘Oh hey! You’re still human.’ A lot of teamwork goes into surviving.”

The same goes for Zombies, they work together to hunt.

“It’s a great way to get to know people.” Deri said. “You run right in front of someone tag them and then introduce yourself and then you work together as zombies.”

The zombie plague ceases Friday night and humans and undead will be able to reunite.

“It’s frightening to be a survivor,” Faulk said. “My friends are being picked off one by one and I feel more and more alone in the post apocalyptic world.”

Pirates Could Still Qualify for Tourney

As the conference season comes to a close, the South-western men’s soccer team is still in the running for a spot

Dishon Isaac goes in for a kick , keeping the ball away from a Hendrix opponent. Photo by Maryhelen Murray

in the conference tournament.

The pirates have a record of 3-4 for conference play and 6-8-1 for all the games they have played. If the pirates can win their next two games then they will be able to qualify for the end of season conference tournament.

Though the Pirate’s re-cord is only 6-8, the team still played well this season. Even in the games where they lost badly, the Pirates had great spells of play.

“We are not a bad team. Even when we lost there were times when we were dominating play and showing our skill. We just need to find the missing piece” Sophomore Forward Thomas Davis said.

A great addition to the Pirate’s soccer program has been the new floodlights that were installed at our home field in the middle of the season. These new lights were paid for by the parents of athletes and have allowed home games to be played at night.

The new lights have brought larger crowds and a better atmosphere for both the players and fans.

The Pirate’s have also experienced a lot of fan support. There was a noticeable amount of support at the night games and the fan’s energy helped the pirate’s to numerous victories. At the Trinity game particularly, a large section of the student body made the drive down I-35 to San Antonio. Though the Pirate’s lost the game 4-1, the fans were great at cheering the team on.

“The fan’s really helped us get through that game. We could of given up a lot earlier but the fan’s support motivated us to play through it and make the most of it,” sophomore midfielder Steven Resnik said. Many of the fans tailgated before the game.

Though the season has been rough, there have been displays of great talent from individual players. Captain and Junior Forward Evan Perkins has been a huge part of the Pirate offense. After injuring his hand early on in the pre-season, Perkins has made a huge difference for the team.

His heightened play was recognized and he was voted the SCAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week for games played through October 3 and October 9.

“Perkins is a huge part of our team. Not only as a captain but as a goal scorer and offensive threat” Resnik said.

The Pirates have two games left before the conference tournament. To make the tournament, the pirates must beat University of Dallas and Austin College away from home. If Southwestern can win both games, then the SCAC tournament is early in November.