The number of undergrad-uate students who return to St. Edwards University after they complete their freshman year has steadily decreased since 2010.
Eighty-one percent of freshman who enrolled at St. Edwards in 2010, now juniors, returned in 2011 for their sophomore year, com-pared to 78.6 percent of the 2011 freshman class, now sophomores, who came back to the university in fall 2012.
Freshman retention at St. Edwards is higher than the national average among peer
institutions, administrators said. Additionally, the four-
year and six-year graduation rates are higher than national
norms.Even so, the matter is of
concern for the adminis-tration. Associate Dean of Students Nicole Trevino recently took on a new posi-tion as Director of Freshman Retention programs, created to examine and evaluate the programs and initiatives cur-rently in place to help retain students beyond freshman year and until graduation.
Were taking a look at the entire campus and asking ourselves how we can do bet-ter and how can we help stu-dents to be successful in this area. Overall our goal is to help students be successful, Trevino said. Ultimately, we want them to graduate.
Trevino and other adminis-
trators will conduct research to answer questions such as why students leave the uni-versity and where they go if they leave before they gradu-ate.
My role will help to thor-oughly examine the effec-tiveness of all thats occur-ring, Trevino said. When you think about it, everyone touches retention in some way It involves a lot of collaboration, and ultimately thats already going on.
This includes retention initiative programs designed specifically for freshmen car-ried out by Academic
HILLTOP VIEWSSt. Edwards University Wednesday, December 5, 2012 Volume 32 Issue 12 hilltopviewsonline.com
8-9 | LIFE & ARTS
Holiday music, evil Santas and Catholic traditions spice up the season of giving.
Womens soccer and golf players, coaches recount teams successes.
Disgruntled Texans garner support, sig-natures to secede from United States.
10 | SPORTS 13 | VIEWPOINTS
This year will mark the first time in 25 years that St. Edwards University has not held separate graduation cer-emonies for August and De-cember graduates.
Since the number of gradu-ates are increasing, the Au-gust, December and May graduations will all be held in one ceremony starting May
2013 said Brenda Stone, the executive assistant to the ex-ecutive vice presidents office.
In August 2012, 246 de-grees were awarded. Current-ly, 340 students are certified to graduate this December. As for May 2013, the num-ber of graduates will not be known until after the Feb. 25, 2013 certification deadline, Assistant Registrar Donna Chandler said.
Graduates from August,
December and May will come together in the Frank Erwin Center in May 2013 for an official graduation cer-emony.
Meanwhile, December graduates still have five months before they can walk across the stage.
Andrew Weber, a senior English writing and rhetoric major with a minor in jour-nalism, plans to apply for internships so that he will
have somewhere to work when he graduates in De-cember. Weber plans to stay in Austin and said that he will not stick around just so he can walk across the stage.
Im not a ter-ribly sentimental person, Weber said. I dont feel that walking
across a stage will hinder me from feeling accomplished. I
can understand people that do feel that way and want the experience, but thats just not me.
Weber said that he is most excited about life after gradu-ation because he will be glad to get out of school. Weber also expressed concern about entering the job market but said that it was not something he finds extensively stressful.
Declining student retention rates prompt a university reactionSC
PERCENTAGE20 40 60 80 1000
78%ST. MARYS UNIVERSITY
55%CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY TX
83%ST. EDWARDS UNIVERSITYAV
Infographic by Lisa RodriguezCompared to other universities in the area, St. Edwards has an intermediate retention rate.
EVALUATION | 4
Joint graduation ceremonies provoke mixed student emotionsI dont feel that walking across a stage will hinder me from feeling accomplished. I can understand... but thats just not me.-Andrew Weber, senior
GRADUATES | 2
2NEWS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2012 HILLTOP VIEWS
Another December gradu-
ate, Francie Gremillion, a se-nior communications major with a focus in public rela-tions and advertising, plans to start a job with GasPedal, an entrepreneurial company.
Gremillion said that she will only be coming back to walk in May because she will be living in Austin.
Because Im not walking until May, I cant close this chapter of my life until May ... It doesnt make sense, Gremillion said.
She was also upset that she could not order a graduation gown or go through the mo-tions of being a graduate this semester. Because she could not do these things, she said it has not truly felt like her last semester as an under-graduate.
Sam Campbell, a senior English writing and rhetoric major, is not that concerned
about getting a job just yet.Campbell is applying for
the Japan Exchange and Teaching, JET, Programme and for a similar program in Spain. He is also applying for graduate school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, RPI, where Campbell hopes to ob-tain a graduate degree in hu-man computer interactions.
If none of these opportu-nities work out, Campbell plans to stay in Austin and is still unsure if he will walk in May. Even if he gets into the JET Programme, he will not leave for Japan until July and will still be in Austin for the May graduation ceremony.
Campbell said that his at-titude towards not being able to officially graduate in De-cember is a combination of irritation and apathy.
Youre not rewarding stu-dents for graduating early, Campbell said.
Continued from page 1
Graduates adjust to ceremony schedule
University ranks high on list for Fulbright-producing institutions
Six students from St. Ed-wards University received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship in 2012. This number gave St. Edwards distinction as a top producer of Fulbright Students for 2012-2013 and, tied with Nazareth College in Roches-ter, N.Y and the University of Portland, a shared first place ranking for masters-granting institutions.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides funding for teaching and research to
scholars who exhibit strong academic and leadership po-tential. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1946, it is the largest exchange pro-gram in the country.
Since 2004, 19 St. Ed-wards stu-dents have received Fulbright Scholar-ships. Last year, the Fulbright program provided funding for five St. Edwards stu-dents to teach and researach abroad. The Fulbright U.S. Student program awards about 1,500 scholarships
each year, according to the Fulbright website.
Fulbright Students choose
from a variety of countries in which there are opportunities to study and teach. St. Ed-wards commitment to pro-ducing Fulbright recipients is yet another manifestation on the universitys emphasis on global thinking under the
Strategic Plan 2015.One of the great strengths
of this campus, and part of
the Holy Cross tradition, is the level of civic engage-ment. Faculty and students are actively engaged in social change. Students are teach-ing ESL classes in the com-munity, traveling with Cam-pus Ministry, working in the
community on study abroad programs in Angers and Ed-inburgh, Caroline Morris, director of fellowships at St. Edwards, said.
The English Teaching As-sistantship, ETA, Program is part of the Fulbright Pro-gram that allows students to work as teacher assistants in English classes for non-native speakers. This years recipi-ents will teach students of varying ages and academic levels, depending on the country.
The St. Edwards students who received the Fulbright Scholarship in the 2012-2013 academic year are Amanda Bolton, Morgen
Brown, Amarette Edmon-son, Elizabeth Narvaez, Collin Phillips and Marielle Septin.
Morris said building a com-munity of undergraduate scholars helps perpetuate the universitys standing as a top producer of Fulbright schol-arship recipients.
There is a student grape-vine about the Fulbright program that wasnt here five years ago, Morris said. Students are increasingly pushing one another to be-come proficient in another language, to teach or tutor or volunteer, and to develop their independent research interests within their major.
The Main Building Lawn is now off-limits to events. This decision was made last spring and has affected the University Programming Board (UPB) and other or-ganizations on campus that usually host events at this prominent spot.
Facilities met with a land-scape designer and two ar-borists who said there could be potential damage to the lawn from foot traffic. Ad-ministration then agreed to protect the area, Michael Pe-terson, associate vice presi-dent of Facilities, said.
"The trees and lawn in front of the Main Building are a valued landscaped fea-ture on campus," Peterson said.
Peterson said that the de-cision is permanent and that the road in front of Main Building can still be used for larger events. Vendors will be allowed to set up on the north side of the road.
I love the view from Main Building, and Ill miss that part of the tradition, Zan Winter, a member of the University Programming Board, said.
Winter explained how this decision has affected and will continue to affect numerous events hosted by UPB. This semester, the Welcome Bar-beque had to be moved to the parking garage. Hillfest
was moved to Holy Cross Lawn and the Faculty park-ing lot. The End of the Year Party will also be moved to the Holy Cross Lawn. Win-ter said that this move of events worked out well.
It has worked out better than expected to use alter-native locations, Michelle Mowry, the Student Life program coordinator, said. The parking garage, for in-stance, allowed more space
for the Welcome Barbeque than the Main Building Lawn had in the past.
This year, the Festival of Lights, a campus tradition, will still take place in front of the Main Building. In years past, members of the univer-sity community were invited to gather on the Main Build-ing Lawn to sing Christmas carols and celebrate the holi-day season. However, Win-ter said that the area around the trees will now be roped off, and only the steps and the cement pathway leading up to them will be used for the event.
There will be standing room for people on the side-walk outside of Main Build-ing. The University Police Department will also block off the road in front of the Main Building for additional space, Mowry said.
The Festival of Lights will be held Dec. 7 from 6:30-7 p.m. on the Main Building steps. A holiday concert will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the Mabee Ballrooms.
Main Building lawn off-limits for events
Photo by Lu RodriguesThe Festival of Lights takes place in front of Main Building.
Adam Crawleydcrawle@stedwards.eduJenna Jacojjaco2@stedwards.edu
There is a student grapevine about the Fulbright program that wasnt here five years ago.
-Caroline Morris, director of fellowships
3NEWSWEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2012 HILLTOP VIEWS
As the semester draws to a close, the Student Gov-ernment Association, SGA, plans to build upon its ac-complishments in connect-ing with the student body moving into the next semes-ter.
Theres always more work to be done, SGA President Brady Faglie said.
One of the last things SGA plans to do this semes-ter is meet with President George Martin to discuss campus issues.
We want to bring up the rising cost of tuition. Its an issue that affects everyone ... Its our duty to pursue such a hard cause. The important thing is to start the conversa-tion, Faglie said.
To this end, SGA mem-bers have been working to ini-tiate dialogue with other stu-dent organizations. A recent bill passed established the
duty of SGA members to reach out to at least one or-ganization and get feedback.
This bill would help SGA members to learn the con-
cerns of other organizations and act accordingly.
The SGA has been put-ting a greater focus on social media this year to reach out more, to organizations, ac-cording to Chief of Staff LeDarrion Allen.
A big part of the SGA push for greater student connection was reassessing last years administration.
One of the platforms of [President] Brady and [Vice-President] Nairods campaign was acting as a liaison. The students want a voice and we can be that voice. This is another step
that were taking so that we can assess what exactly stu-dents want, Allen said.
Some issues that SGA is pushing and plan to con-tinue into next semester are smoking, campus safety, parking and the plus-minus system.
They have also been push-ing the Green Initiative and working with Students for Sustainability to make the campus more environmen-tally aware. Additionally, they presented a check for $1,200 to Campus Minis-try to donate to Hurricane Sandy victims.
Were going to continue to push smoking, the Green Initiative and the plus/minus system. We want to follow through on these big issues. They dont finish in one semester, Faglie said.
In order to better deter-mine what students want, SGA will conduct a survey next semester. This survey aims to determine what issues matter most to stu-dents so that SGA can pri-oritize and act accordingly.
According to Allen, the survey will be ready by Janu-ary.
POLICE BLOTTERDate Time Incident Location Resolution
Nov. 14 3:24 p.m. Harassment University apartments Closed
Nov. 12 5:17 p.m. Theft BMH Casitas Closed
Nov. 15 2:25 p.m. Accident Parking garage Closed
Nov. 19 12:14 p.m. Theft Hunt Hall Active
Nov. 14 3:33 a.m. Theft Dujari Hall Closed
Nov. 8 8:46 a.m. Theft LeMans Hall Closed
Nov. 15 1:00 a.m. Theft Teresa Hall Active
Nov. 17 9:47 a.m. Information Johnson Hall Closed
Nov. 26 2:40 a.m. Illness RCC Closed
Were going to continue to push... We want to follow through on these big issues. They dont finish in one semester.- Brady Faglie, SGA President
Officials promise persistence on key issues next semester
Diners on campus will no longer be asked whether they want their food for here or to go, as dining ser-vices have stopped provid-ing to-go containers from behind the counter. As of this Monday, disposable containers have been made available to customers in a central location in the caf-eterias in Hunt Hall and the Ragsdale Center. Din-ers can also bring their own reusable containers.
Were going to force our faculty and students to make that choice, Mike Smith, general manager of
Bon Apptit, said. Were going through so many and I want someone to make their own...