TheNews.org http://thenews.org The Official Website of The Murray State News Tue, 09 May 2017 17:26:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://thenews.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/cropped-NewLogoShield-32x32.png TheNews.org http://thenews.org 32 32 Racers staying put in OVC http://thenews.org/2017/05/09/racers-staying-put-in-ovc/ Tue, 09 May 2017 17:20:23 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177925 Story by Blake Sandlin, Assistant Sports Editor

Murray State will not receive an invitation to the Missouri Valley Conference, according to a statement from the athletics office.

The Missouri Valley Conference President’s Council met Monday to discuss conference expansion. Ultimately, the council concluded the Racers will not be the school to fill the void left by Wichita State, which left April 7 to join the American Athletic Conference.

Allen Ward, director of athletics, released a statement Tuesday morning, assuring the Murray State community the Missouri Valley’s decision will have no effect on the future of the university.

“I am in no way disappointed by the news or have any regrets being involved in the process,” Ward said. “Our goals and objectives to graduate our student-athletes, win championships, promote this great university and be a player on the national scene have not changed and were never reliant on the outcome today.”

The invitation for the 10th spot in the conference instead will go to Valparaiso University, from the Horizon League. The conference announced the membership will be effective July 1.

The University of Nebraska Omaha and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee were the other schools considered for bids. MVC officials spent recent weeks visiting each school.

The Racers were founding members of the Ohio Valley Conference in 1948. Ward expressed his gratitude toward the conference for its conduct throughout expansion discussions.

“We have the highest regard for the many friends, colleagues and rivals we have in the OVC,” Ward said. “I want to convey my sincerest gratitude for the manner in which they handled the past few weeks. I’m grateful for their professionalism and friendship.”

Missouri State President Clif Smart said on social media the expansion committee will continue to evaluate expansion opportunities for the next nine months.

Ward will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. Tuesday to discuss details of the expansion.

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Professor Roger Weis retiring after 28 years http://thenews.org/2017/05/05/professor-roger-weis-retiring-after-28-years/ Fri, 05 May 2017 21:58:41 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177919 Story by Sabra Jackson, Staff writer

 

After 28 years,  Roger Weis, professor of nonprofit leadership studies, is retiring from Murray State and is celebrating by publishing his 14th book.

Weis has published 11 textbooks and three poetry books thus far. After writing his doctoral dissertation, he said he thought he would never write again but decided to take up writing textbooks for nonprofit sectors.

Weis worked as CEO of the Leukemia Society of America for the state of Virginia, spent 10 years with the Boys and Girls Club and served three years in the Vietnam War as a reporter before coming to Murray State. Weis was in Vietnam 18 months of those three years.

Weis started writing when he was 14. He wrote poetry and was published in his school’s poetry journal. He then went on to high school as a sports editor.

After finishing his doctoral studies at the University of Kentucky, he said he realized the schools needed new books in the nonprofit sector and wrote his first textbook in 1996. He was asked by publishers to continue writing textbooks, and with their encouragement, he did.

Weis said his creative mind is what drives his passion to write. His poetry books are based upon the ocean and emotion.

He also credits the war for his passion in nonprofit. He worked as a community liaison with an orphanage and a hospital during the war.  

“I went over there [Vietnam], and I saw extreme poverty and deplorable living conditions,” Weis said. “People would actually cook on the side of the road along with their bathroom trench. It was such a culture shock.”

Weis said one of his greatest achievements includes his students winning 40 local awards in academics, leadership, service and research.

Weis said the nonprofit program had nine people enrolled when he first started and now has close to 600. His time at Murray State helped make the program the largest at Murray State for 25 years.  

“You teach a class, your students do the project that goes along with the class, and they return and realize how much difference they make in the lives of someone else,” Weis said. “The memories of watching students go out and take what you presented to them and use it to make a difference in other people’s lives and pretty much know they are going to keep doing that the rest of their lives.”

Robin Esau, lecturer of nonprofit leadership studies, has worked with Weis for the last ten years and said Weis has put a lot of work into the program.

“He’s really enjoyed seeing students get involved with the community and then just embrace that experience and grow to love the nonprofit sector,” Esau said.

Esau said West Kentucky Mentoring, formerly known as Big Brothers Big Sisters, was established in Calloway County because of a student who took a class Weis taught.

“Students have really enjoyed knowing that he really supports their work in the community and helping them find their passion in life,” Esau said.

Malley Johnson, junior from Cunningham, Kentucky, said Weis has been her adviser and professor for the last two years and has encouraged her throughout her college career to pursue what she wants to do.

“I’ve really just appreciated his guidance and his encouragement,” Johnson said. “It’s been a pleasure to learn under his teaching.”

“Marissa’s Secret” is Weis’s newest writing piece, which he says you can either read or wait for the movie.

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Police chief hearing student concerns http://thenews.org/2017/05/05/__trashed-4/ Fri, 05 May 2017 21:49:38 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177911 Story by Destinee Marking, Staff writer

 

James Herring has nearly completed his first year as chief of Murray State Police and has made many changes to the department.

Changes made in the last year include renaming of the department, a new website and new ways for the department to receive student feedback.

In December, Public Safety and Emergency Management was approved to become the Murray State Police Department.

Herring said this is important to him because he said he believes when people think of public safety on college campuses, they think of officers who do not have complete police authority, but the Murray State Police is a full-service police department.

“When I came here I found a very professional staff of well-trained police officers, and I felt the name of the department needed to reflect that,” Herring said.

A vital part of his job is to connect with and listen to students, Herring said, so he created the Murray State Police Student Advisory Council.

“It allows unrepresented populations to have a voice,” Herring said.

The Student Advisory Council consists of nine students. Herring said the initial council consisted of students who expressed interest in being involved, but for upcoming semesters, campus-wide forums will be held to choose members.

Herring said the department’s new mission, vision and values statements were developed with input from the council in mind.

Herring is also championing a program called Bridging the Gap.

Herring said this program will consist of meetings in which exercises will be done that encourage participants to use eye contact, read non-verbal body language and listen to police.

“Once that is done, facilitators guide conversations regarding relationships, perceptions and expectations involved in police community interaction,” Herring said.

Herring said one of the things that stood out to him most this year was Murray State students.

“I’ve really been impressed by the quality of the students here and the dedication they have to learning,” Herring said.

A new website was created to match the new name of the department, as well as to be more user friendly and informative to students, faculty and staff.

Herring said he wants the department to be transparent, so he wants departmental policies to be available on the website by next fall.

Richard Mehlbauer, patrol sergeant, said he was apprehensive at first about a new chief of police, but Herring’s value of transparency stood out and put him at ease.

“From the get-go, he was very transparent,” Mehlbauer said. “That meant a lot.”

Herring moved from North Carolina and he said he has learned a lot about Murray and the people since coming here.

“Murray is great place,” Herring said. “I understand why people come here and don’t want to leave.”

Overall, Herring said he feels confident about the work that was done this year and will continue to focus on building relationships with students.

Roy Dunaway, captain of administration, said he cannot speak highly enough about Herring and what he has done to the department.

Dunaway said among Herring’s stand-out qualities are his progressiveness and overall knowledge of his job.

“His leadership skills, his management skills and his knowledge of university policing are unprecedented,” Dunaway said. “He is a genius.”

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Meal prep service now offering student discounts http://thenews.org/2017/05/05/meal-prep-service-now-offering-student-discounts/ Fri, 05 May 2017 21:45:00 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177906 Story by Katlyn Mackie, Staff writer

 

A new meal-prep and delivery service has come to Murray and is providing meals for those seeking an alternative for healthy eating in western Kentucky.

Maple Street Market is home to Fitmeals, properly-proportioned meals for people working toward health and wellness goals. Meals are prepared using farm fresh, local ingredients to promote higher quality and less-processed foods.

AnneMarie Tanner, owner and founder of Maple Street Market, said the meal-prep service started in January 2016 when she leased a kitchen at the Murray Banquet Center to cook meals for her friends at the gym. She called it Fitmeals Murray.

Tanner said she wanted to try something different because of her love for working in food service.

She said she told her friends she would cook them meals if they bought the groceries and the first week she prepared 15 meals. A month later she had 30 people on her waiting list.

“That’s when I was like ‘This is it, this is what I want to do, this could be something,’” Tanner said.

In December 2016, Tanner said she found an official location at a storefront in Murray and rebranded Fitmeals Murray to Maple Street Market with the Fitmeals being the product.

Tanner said she and her staff plan the menu, do the shopping, cook all the meals, portion them appropriately and deliver them. The meals come chilled with nutrition information on each container.

“We found it’s really great for people working two jobs or is a busy mom or someone working third shift,” Tanner said. “There are not enough hours in a day to eat healthy or cook healthy because it does take a little more time so we try to facilitate that.”

Tanner said she tries to use locally-grown goods such as fruits, vegetables and meats from the local farms and believes it is more nutritious to eat food grown from the area you live in.

According to the Fitmeals Murray website, the core of the menu is fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, little starch and no sugar with a focus on lower sodium, lower fat and less heavy carbs.

Maple Street Market also offers cooking classes twice a month for $20 that features a range of foods from pizza to sushi.

Tanner said although she has considered franchising and even has an offer to do so, she wants to stay local because she likes the idea of a small business because she can maintain a real quality.

“We really want to work with the community here in Murray and I’m really happy with it,” Tanner said. “I like knowing my customers and knowing what their needs are. Me staying small is a part of who we are.”

She said her customers’ ages have a broad range, from high school students to her oldest customer, a 101-year-old woman who didn’t like the food in her nursing home.

A customer, Diana Ross, said she orders four to seven Fitmeals every week to eat throughout the week and does so because it is easy and quality nutritious food that helps her watch what she eats and lose weight.

“It is cheaper and less time consuming than having to go out and buy all the ingredients I would need to make this meal,” Ross said.

The director of development in the college of science, engineering and technology at Murray State and faithful customer, Jennie Rottinghaus, said she eats at Fitmeals for the convenience, the delicious options and to support the local farmers.

Like Ross, Rottinghaus said she could not buy all of this and make it taste this good and have it be convenient.

Regular size meals with 4 ounces of protein and sides costs $8 each. Large meals with 6 ounces of protein and sides cost $10 each, which are available for pick-up or delivery. Discounts are offered to Murray State students.

For more information or to order call 270-681-5015 or visit their website at FitmealsMurray.com.

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SGA members defend low number of passed legislation http://thenews.org/2017/05/05/sga-members-defend-low-number-of-passed-legislation/ Fri, 05 May 2017 21:40:24 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177903 Story by Destinee Marking, Staff writer

 

Murray State’s SGA Student Senate passed two pieces of legislation in the last year, a low number in comparison to the student governments of surrounding schools.

Clint Combs, former SGA president, said out of the two pieces of legislation passed, one of them affected the student body and the other concerned SGA.

According to Western Kentucky University’s website, during the 2016-17 academic year, Western Kentucky’s SGA passed 66 pieces of legislation.

In recent weeks, Western Kentucky’s SGA passed resolutions to support diversity, hate crime and sexual assault training for the Western Kentucky University Police Department and a resolution supporting the expansion of vegetarian and vegan food options on campus.

A majority of the legislation passed at Western Kentucky pertains to the student body.

According to Austin Peay State University’s website, at least 15 pieces of legislation concerning the student body were passed.

Austin Peay State University’s SGA voted to support an athletic fee increase and to install additional surveillance cameras in student housing.

Combs said over the past few years, many issues were discussed, but Murray State’s SGA tends to utilize private meetings to solve the issues brought to them.

“For the longest time our student government didn’t handle issues with legislation,” Combs said. “They took the quieter approach to get things accomplished. I try to schedule a meeting to see if we can do something. For instance, we just recently had a meeting to allow some academic suspended students the ability to use counseling services, so they can continue to have mental health options until they are eligible to return to school”

Combs said during his presidency, he encouraged more public discussion, but it is a change that will take time.

As for programs, Combs said SGA had a hand in putting on the Presidential Lecture series, free events in the Curris Center throughout the year and various concerts.

Connor Moore, Murray State SGA election ways and means chairman, said he has heard criticisms about the Student Senate.

“In the last SGA, SGA had been criticized as being stagnate, by people that aren’t aware of the impact SGA has,” Moore said.

Moore said the organization’s main focus has been updating the SGA constitution and bylaws.

“We are taking outdated terms and replacing them,” Moore said. “For example, instead of ‘secretary’ it’s now ‘vice president of administration.’”

At the April 26 SGA meeting, the senate voted to pass amendments that change senate membership requirements; the grade point average requirement is now 2.0 as opposed to the previous 2.5.

Tori Wood, SGA president, said she believes there is always room for improvement, but SGA depends on student input to know what changes to make.

“I’m hopeful that if a student feels as if our work is inadequate or they want to see a change, they will come to us,” Wood said.

Wood said SGA cannot represent the student body if students are not sharing concerns and opinions.

“It is perfectly OK to see issues or challenges on campus,” Wood said. “They exist and should be addressed.”

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New app in development may solve Murray State’s parking problems http://thenews.org/2017/05/05/new-app-in-development-may-solve-murray-states-parking-problems/ Fri, 05 May 2017 21:35:21 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177901 Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer

 

Overcrowded, hectic campus parking lots may have finally met their match: two graduating seniors and Murray natives who sought to slay rush hour parking dilemmas with a website project.

Computer science majors John Lollar and Jason Spann are in the process of developing a program tentatively called Parking Pal, which, if implemented, will allow students and faculty to see how many parking spots are available in lots on campus.

“I thought of this idea last year, just because it was a pain to park around campus during busy hours, as every commuter knows,” Spann said.

Francie Ray, parking supervisor at Murray State Parking Services, said there has not been any type of commitment discussed regarding implementation at Murray State, but she has met with Lollar and Spann about the project. She said she assisted them with ideas and provided them with a copy of the Murray State parking maps.

“We met with her and had a meeting for a couple hours,” Lollar said. “She seemed pretty optimistic and liked the idea and wanted us to keep moving forward with it. She thought it could potentially go somewhere.”

Lollar said ideally, if Murray State chooses to adopt the program, it would be in place next year, but the project is still in the beginning phases until they can test more lots.

Spann said the student app will potentially show all the parking lots on campus. Users will be able to filter results based on parking pass color, proximity to certain buildings and how many spots are left.

Spann said readers that use radio frequency identification technology would be placed at entrances and exits of parking lots. Each parking pass will have a tag on it. When a car enters the lot, the tag is picked up on the reader, the info will be sent to the server and it will add them to the parking lot. When they drive out, they will be removed.

The readers cost $1,500, and the tags cost 50 cents.

“When we talked to Francie, she said she has looked at ways to solve this issue for a while now, and all the other commercial options have been way too expensive.” Lollar said. “I think that was one of the things she liked about ours – is that is seemed to be more cost-efficient.”

Lollar and Spann are in assistant professor Stanley Jointer’s CSC 530 senior capstone class. Jointer said the course is project-based, and as part of their projects, he encourages students to seek out real-world issues, solve them and seek to commercialize the work they’ve completed.

Jointer said Lollar and Spann have been in several of his classes over the past few years.

“Both are among the best in the department, and their parking app shows the ingenuity and intelligence that I’ve witnessed from them over the years,” Jointer said. “I eagerly anticipate their success, be it in this endeavor or another.”

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‘Girls Who Code’ club strives for gender equity in computer science http://thenews.org/2017/05/05/girls-who-code-club-strives-for-gender-equity-in-computer-science/ Fri, 05 May 2017 21:30:21 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177898 Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer

 

The Murray Girls Who Code Club visited associate professor Robert Pilgrim’s class on May 1 to meet computer science students and to cultivate their interest in technology.

Middle school girls in the club observed a computer graphics and game programming class in which teams of college students build games.

Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit that seeks to close the gender gap in the technology field. They have clubs and summer immersion programs for girls to learn more about coding.

Pilgrim said 25 percent of students in his classes are women, and he said there should be more gender equity in the technologies.

“The technologies, and computer science in particular, have a hard time drawing women into the major,” Pilgrim said. “I’m not sure why, because they always end up being in the top of their class.”

Ginny Kelley, web coordinator at Murray State’s Kentucky Academy of Technology Education, is the facilitator of the Girls Who Code program. She graduated from Murray State in 2004 with degrees in math and computer science.

Kelley started Calloway County’s arm of Girls Who Code last year. Since the club’s formation, six to 10 girls have been involved each year, and one boy last year. It is free and open to students in sixth through 12th grade from any school in the area. She said most of her students are in middle school at Calloway County Middle School, Murray Middle School and Eastwood Christian Academy.

They meet for two hours a week with the goal of completing 40 hours of curriculum that teaches four fundamentals of computer science: variables, loops, conditionals and functions. Kelley said they typically meet in Alexander Hall on campus, but they also take field trips. She said a few weeks ago, they visited the 3D printing labs on campus.

“Getting them started at middle school age helps them to remember that this is an option,” Kelley said. “Maybe they’ll come back in high school or college and continue to stay in coding.”

In addition to the coding curriculum, Kelley said they do some bonding and sisterhood activities to get to know each other and to meet other role model women in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Kelley said.

Kiera Taylor, seventh grader, and Isolde Menchinger, sixth grader, are involved in Girls Who Code and go to Murray Middle School. The girls agreed they like the way the program is targeted toward girls.

Taylor said in her two years at Girls Who Code, she learned teamwork is the key.

“I like that women are going into these fields,” Taylor said. “I encourage all those girls out there to be who they want to be and do what they want to do.”

Menchinger started this year. She said she learned how to code for the first time ever and made more friendships

“It’s pretty cool,” Menchinger said. “I know women are capable of doing what men do, we’ve just been stuck in a stereotype that’s hard to break out of, but we’re doing it.”

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First generation graduate walks the line http://thenews.org/2017/05/05/first-generation-graduate-walks-the-line/ Fri, 05 May 2017 21:28:29 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177895 Story by Paige Effinger, Contributing writer

 

Katlin Walker has lived in Murray her whole life, driving by Murray State every day since she was a child, and now her time here will come full circle as she graduates this May.

When she arrived at Murray State in Fall 2013, she became the first person in her family to attend a college or university.

Walker grew up around the university, and as a child knew she wanted to attend college despite being the first in her family. Walker said her parents did not feel the need to go to college as there wasn’t as much demand for a degree as there is today.

When it was time for her to start applying to colleges, Walker said her parents kept an open mind about her next step but encouraged her to pursue a degree.

“They educated me on what they thought I should do but knew that college is not meant for everyone,” Walker said.

As Walker nervously attended her first classes, getting lost the first day of school and meeting so many new people her first semester, she said the hardest part was her parents not understanding or being able to give advice.

“Freshman year brought many obstacles for me to overcome because my parents did not know what college life consisted of nor did they know how to answer my questions on what I was struggling with in classes,” Walker said.

She said she got most of the assistance she needed from her guidance counselors and other members of her sorority. She said she wouldn’t have gotten through it all without them.

Although it was not her parent’s decision to attend a university, Walker said her parent’s have been more than supportive in her journey through college. She said they have encouraged her every step of the way, and pushed her to keep striving.

Being from Murray, Walker’s parents told her that if she wanted to attend college, Murray State was the only realistic option.

“If I wanted to go to college, Murray State was the only opportunity that I had,” Walker said. “My parents said either you go to this college or your school wouldn’t be paid for.”

Walker’s mom works at The Murray Bank and her dad works at Saputo here in Murray.

As Walker will walk across the stage this month, she said her graduation will be a very special event for her family.

Walker will be graduating this spring with a degree in financial planning and hopes to start graduate school at Murray in the spring.

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Murray welcomes new new nonprofit offering advocacy for women and children http://thenews.org/2017/05/05/murray-welcomes-new-new-nonprofit-offering-advocacy-for-women-and-children/ Fri, 05 May 2017 21:26:34 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177892 Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer

 

Murray resident Traci Lawrence is opening a residential mentoring facility in June for women and children called The Way of Wellness with her years of experience and passion in nonprofits organizations.

The facility will serve those who are homeless or victims of domestic violence in Calloway County and target five areas of wellness: physical, mental, spiritual, social and financial.

“We chose the title of a mentoring facility instead of a shelter because sometimes when you think of shelter, you think of victimization,” Lawrence said. “We don’t want these women and children to live in that identity that they are victims. We want to help them rise up out of that.”

The Way of Wellness will provide safe housing, food, clothes, transportation and counseling for clients, while they either work, go to school or volunteer in the community. Up to 12 clients can be served at a time.

Lawrence said she is in the process of building a staff. A counselor, case manager and a support staff will be available to help transport, help with parenting, cooking, cleaning and teaching life skills.

Lawrence said clients can stay for up to nine months and will work with staff members to set personal goals. When clients first come, they set three goals and meet with staff every two weeks to assess if they have met those goals. She said the staff wants to help identify roadblocks and also celebrate victory.

“It’s just to hold them accountable and to know that they have somebody on their team,” Lawrence said.

She heard about a friend suffering abuse when she was around 8 years old, and from this story, Lawrence said a passion was ignited within her to serve women and children facing hardship.

Since starting the Lighthouse Children’s Home in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1999, Lawrence said her concern for children has grown. She said while the children are at The Way of Wellness, they have a safe place, food to eat, encouragement, love and hope.

“There’s nothing worse to me than child abuse. What did a little 3-year-old kid do to get beaten or burned?” Lawrence said. “I think kids deserve a chance and a safe home.”

Ultimately, Lawrence said her faith drove her decision to start The Way of Wellness. She said the organization is not religious, but they are faith-based. Meeting the basic needs when no one else will is a picture of her faith.

“That’s why we’re called the way of wellness: Jesus is the way,” Lawrence said. “Abundant life is wellness where you’re physically, mentally, spiritually, socially and financially well—not perfect, but sufficient.”

Barbara Brittain, resident of Murray, is one of seven people on The Way of Wellness board. As a CPA, she said she brings a financial expertise to the board.

“I truly feel that this is a calling,” Brittain said. “I feel like this is what we’re supposed to be doing right now.”

She said it was Lawrence’s brainchild, but when she heard about the opportunity to serve on the board, she knew this was where she needed to be.

“Definitely we want to be helping these women who either have been abused, who are homeless or whatever, but the fact of the matter is the children are involved, and that’s what touches my heart,” Brittain said. “I want to help those mommas to be better mothers, and I want to help them to get a good start and to be able to take care of themselves so they can take care of their children.”

She said they have had a yard sale and bake sale, and many people have donated furniture and their time to renovate the house. In the future they will be having another yard sale, a Mr. and Miss Freedom Fest competition, a 5K race and a gala dinner and auction.

“There’s not many things that have really touched my heart in the way this has, and I feel it’s a chance for me to make a difference, maybe if it is just a little difference in someone’s life.” Brittain said. “I’m willing to do whatever I need to do.”

Amanda Smith also serves on the board and helps with fundraising events. She said she helped with the decision-making involved in buying the property and with deciding what rules and expectations they will have for the residents.

“I love that we will not only provide them with shelter, but with spiritual guidance and advice for healthy living,” Smith said. “They will be expected to work and maintain the facility. The children will go to school. It truly is a hand up, not a hand out.”

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Spreading the magic http://thenews.org/2017/05/05/spreading-the-magic/ Fri, 05 May 2017 17:04:30 +0000 http://thenews.org/?p=177888 By Emily Williams, Features Editor

Recently, a very brave barista at Gigabytes attempted to guess who my favorite Disney princess was. As he mulled over the options out loud while constructing my usual for a Thursday morning, none other than a piping hot 12 oz. mocha, I grew eager to hear his guess. “Ariel.” No. “Snow White.” Nope. “Sleeping Beauty.” Not quite. As his confidence dwindled and he handed me my steaming cup of kryptonite for the morning, I smiled and let him off the hook. “Belle,” I told him. He nodded and smiled and I went on my way with my coffee.

But as I walked on to my 9:30 class, I began to question my answer. Was Belle really my favorite Disney princess? Had I given this enough thought? What was it about Belle that made her my favorite princess? So many questions began to run through my mind but one lingered on: Why are we taught, from a very young age, to admire and adore these characters? What is it inside of us that wants to be smart and strong and beautiful like princesses such as Cinderella, Ariel and Belle? Or strong and brave and handsome, like Prince Eric or Prince Charming? As silly as it was, I contemplated this for the entirety of my trek to class and even a little as I sat down for lecture.

Belle obviously models several characteristics that I admire, if I claim she is my favorite Disney princess. She is intelligent, loyal, honest, trustworthy, beautiful and strong. All of the things that I strive to be but don’t always live up to. Wouldn’t you say the same thing goes for you, assuming you have a favorite Disney princess/prince? Don’t we love to idolize the characters that mirror those qualities we strive to have?

Life is no fairytale. But I would be silly if I assumed this was news to you. Of course, we want to be intelligent, loyal, honest, trustworthy, beautiful and strong. I don’t know many people who don’t want to be those things or to hold some other set of positive attributes. But could it be that our focus has been misplaced? We all have the capacity to be these things. We all have the ability to work hard at what we do, stick up for a friend, do the right thing even when it’s harder or takes up more time. Or maybe it’s something as simple as whistling while you work and having a better attitude about the responsibilities that have been placed in front of you.

But one thing is for sure: Disney princesses and princes are nothing compared to the power and influence you possess inside of you. You pass people on campus every day whose hearts may be broken, who may be in need of a friend or who need to be rescued. And guess what? You have the power to be that for them. To be a friend and a hero and a confidant. So I encourage you to be the magic that someone else needs in this world. Shine a light and spread some cheer. You may just become someone’s favorite Disney character.

 

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