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The crisis in the Middle East was the central topic in a panel discussion hosted by the International Affairs Group of Texas A&M University-Kingsville today in the Student Union Building.

Dozens of students and faculty of the university attended the discussion, which focused on the rise of ISIS and the causes of the problem. 

Professors Richard Hartwig, Nirmal Goswami and Mario Carranza presented their findings, and students and faculty were able to contribute after the presentations with a Q&A session.

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Students of Texas A&M University-Kingsville know what’s going on in Javelina Nation, but President Steven Tallant wants to spread the word to even more people with a tour around Texas.

In honor of TAMUK’s 90th anniversary, university officials have planned a tour around the state to provide an update of campus affairs to alumni all throughout Texas, kicking off with an event on the rooftop of 219 West in Austin on Feb. 26.

The tour will hit several major cities were alumni are located, like Dallas, Houston, Harlingen and Corpus Christi.

“We just wanted to bring Javelina Nation to all these different cities,” said Justin Munoz, Interim Director of Alumni Affairs.

The idea was to show alumni that TAMUK has made progress in several different aspects, and there’s no better way to show that then with a few students.

“We’re doing great things, and we want to show (alumni) that their alma mater is up to good things,” Munoz said. “It’s also a good chance to meet a few current students and seeing what they’re up to.”

It’s not uncommon for presidents to go on these tours, Munoz said, but the administration is hoping to do things a bit more casual on this trip.

“It’s more of an event to mix and socialize and enjoy each other,” Munoz said.

The tour is expected to hit nine cities, but Javelina Nation might not be finished there.

“We originally said nine cities, but we’re hoping we can extend that,” Munoz said.

The National African American Read-In has been an ongoing celebration for 26 years. It is an event that brings together communities to share a book, poem, or a song that represents African American literature.

Texas A&M University-Kingsville students, faculty and staff gathered at the pavilion in front of the Student Union Building on Feb. 18 to read continously and be part of a 5-hour celebration.

Dr. Christopher Hinojosa, English lecturer at TAMUK, said the purpose of the Read-In is to get everyone at TAMUK and across the nation to participate and acknowledge literature.

“We are trying to get as many people together at the same time on the same day to be reading words by, for, or about African Americans,” Hinojosa said.

Hinojosa said schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, communities and interested citizens will join their voices to make literacy a significant part of Black History month by hosting and coordinating Read-Ins across America.

“This is a chance to show unity and show what place African Americans had in both the history and the literature of the United States,” Hinojosa said.

He said people need to celebrate African American literature as a sign of respect and recognition.

Jenni Vinson, language and literature lecturer, said that across the academic community of linguistics, once upon a time people thought that the African American voice didn’t have any intelligence to it.

“We are finding that the things that they wrote 600 years ago even when they were in a state of enslavement has academic merit,” Vinson said.

Vinson said there is a lot to learn from African American literature.

“We have a lot to learn from what was penned down by our African American brothers and sisters,” Vinson said. “We want to make sure to go back and learn what their voices were, even when they were in a point of enslavement.”

A lot of the literature does tell how they felt coming out of enslavement, she said.

“We are never going to be able to walk in their shoes, but by reading their literature we’ll gain an understanding and maybe soften our hearts,” Vinson said.

Vinson said she, along with the department of language and literature, promotes African American literature on a yearly basis and every February they make sure that they are part of the National African American read-in at TAMUK to join the national voice.

 

 

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Photo by Herminio Rodriguez
Photo by Herminio Rodriguez

While many high school students did their normal routine of going to class, others took time out of their schedules to tour the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus and plan their futures.

Honors College Day, held on Jan. 29, gave prospective students an understanding of not only what the university has to offer, but what the honors program can do for these students too.

Sue Nichols, Honors College Assistant Dean, said being a student at TAMUK has lots of advantages, but being an honors college student adds more to that.

“Some of the benefits of being in the Honors College is that when internships, jobs, graduate schools look in the student’s transcript and they go down and see honors, they know that you (student) have done above and beyond the regular class,” Nichols said.

Nichols said another benefit that honors students have is priority registration after completing their first semester.

“The priority registration benefit means that they can register on the first day while other freshman that are in regular classes have to wait at the end of the line,” Nichols said.

Not only is registering made easy for the honors students but if they decide that living on campus fits their options, they are guaranteed a room on campus.

“We have Mesquite Village West which is home of the Honors College and if they are in the honors college and want to live there they are guaranteed a room in that building if they choose that option,” Nichols said.

Boukary Diallo, Senior Accounting Major and Honors College student, said the mission was to tell the high school students how great the Honors College is and the great opportunities that it offers.

“The honors college makes me always go that extra mile in whatever I’m studying,” Diallo said. “When you’re really interested on something you just don’t want to be learning the basic thing, you want to go real deep into it.”

Diallo said small class sizes in the Honors College is a big plus when it comes to student and teacher interaction.

“In some universities the classes are very huge and it is hard for students to stand out and be noticed,” Diallo said. “In here is easy for you to talk to professors and advisors whenever you need.”

Derrick Salinas, senior at the Science Academy in Mercedes, said that he has visited A&M-College Station and other bigger universities and likes the fact that TAMUK is much smaller and that contributes to getting to know and interact more with people that have the same things in common.

“My chances of coming to TAMUK are very high, because I got the presidential scholarship and because it is closer to home,” Salinas said.

Salinas said he likes the small campus and the sense of community.

“So far what I like the most is the sense of community,” Salinas said. “Even today in the meetings many of us had a lot of things in common and just being around people that like the same things that I do is a big plus.”

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