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For most Southwestern students, December means wrapping up fall semester classes and getting ready for finals. But for many, it also means giving to others.

Members of the Sigma Phi Lambda Christian sorority have worked all semester to collect gifts for the Angel Tree Project sponsored by the Salvation Army. The sorority “adopted” 215 children this year, all of who have parents incarcerated in the Austin area. Sorority members recruited students on campus to shop for each of the children when they went home for Thanksgiving.

“It’s nice to see students open their hearts and pockets to shop for these children,” said member Kathryn Bollich. “Some even took two children to shop for. Despite the economy, students were very generous this year.”

Members of Circle K International a new student organization on campus this year - also have been collecting toys, as well as food and clothing, to deliver to families in the state of Matehuala, Mexico, over Christmas break.

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The Southwestern community is mourning the loss of senior philosophy major Robert Atkinson, who was struck and killed by a car the evening of Dec.4 as he was crossing University Avenue. Atkinson was a leader on campus and was involved with numerous organizations, including the Theatre for Social Justice group, Kappa Sigma fraternity and SU Native. He had spent several summers working on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Atkinson also was the national legislative director for the Student Peace Alliance, and had organized several peace marches in Austin. He was doing an internship this semester with State Rep. Lon Burnam.

“Rob was a leader for the things that count and matter,” said Jerry Brody, vice president for Student Life.

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Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun and all the major Austin media outlets covered the death of Rob Atkinson. Here are links to just a few of the stories:;jsessionid=B71C56DCAE244B26BDEC575ABD5A7A73?contentId=8008212&version=4&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1

The Williamson County Sun ran an article about the recipients of the 2009-2010 Brown Fellowships and the Sam Taylor Fellowships. 


Cross country and track coach Francie Larrieu Smith was recently selected by USA Track and Field as Junior Women’s Team Leader for the World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan on March 28, 2009. 


This is the last issue of In Focus for 2008. We will resume publication Jan. 9. Happy Holidays!