Tag: News

Vaping increasing in popularity with teens

by Victoria De Souza

The increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes among teenagers is a result of the easy access and targeting a young audience in the promotion of vape products.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly two in five students in 12th grade report vaping within the past year. This has been raising concerns about the impact on vaping on brain health and the potential for addiction in teenagers.

The use of e-cigarettes by teens has been increasing for the past few years. In 2016, the NIDA released data showing that teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than cigarettes.

In 2018, research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that an estimated 3.6 million adolescents were using e-cigarettes.

With the e-cigarettes companies, such as eCigs and JUUL, targeting teens and young adults with frequent appearances of the products on social media, that impact has been increasing sales of the products and inducing people to become consumers. In 2015, JUUL spent more than $1 million in promoting their product on social media.

The rising number of hospitalizations related to e-cigarettes has been pushing lawmakers to step up to change regulations for the production of e-cigarettes and how they can be obtained.

The Texas Medical Association has confirmed more than 70 cases of vaping-related illnesses in the state of Texas. Nationally, there have been more than 800 reported cases and 11 deaths in 45 other states. The state of Texas enacted legislation to increase the minimum age to purchase electronic cigarettes to 21 on Sept. 1 of this year.

The first death in the state related to vaping was reported by the Texas Department of Health Services on Oct. 8.

Around 20 percent of high school students in 2018 consume e-cigarettes, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey.

Richard Winslow (not his real name) is an 18-year-old high school student in the Levelland area who said experimenting with vaping was a means of escape.

“I started vaping a year ago,” recalled Winslow. “I was in a dark place. I used my sister’s vape. I could say I started to feel the need to continue using it to feel good and feel something new.”

Gabriel Regnedel (not his real name), another high school student from the Levelland area, explained how curiosity lead him into the habit of vaping.

“I was hanging out with my junior buddies when I was a freshman,” recalled Regnedel. “They had vapes, and I tried it, and it was a shocking experience. It was very flavorful.”

Richie Hook (not his real name), another student from the Levelland area, said he used e-cigarettes for two months as a casual thing to do that did not last.

“I was honestly interested in it because of all the tricks that I saw people doing with the vapor,” said Hook. “But then I realized that I was not getting nothing out of that besides losing my money.”

Winslow, Regnedel, and Hook each said that although they are younger than the minimum age to purchase e-cigarettes, it is easy to obtain the product. Almost any person they ask buys it for them.

According to NIDA, teens who consume e-cigarettes are 30.7 percent more likely to start smoking tobacco products, while there is only an 8.1 percent chance of a non-user starting to smoke.

Regnedel mentioned that a couple of months ago he consumed tobacco cigarettes, but said that being a user of e-cigarettes did not lead him to cigarettes.

“I don’t believe that vape lead me to try cigarettes, because I always vaped, but I never was bothered by the smoke of cigarettes,” said Regnedel. “My dad was a smoker for all of his life and passed away from lung and liver cancer.”

Recent media reports about how unsafe using e-cigarettes may be are causing some users to reconsider their actions.

“Vaping, in general, doesn’t concern me,” said Regnedel. “I believe the danger is on the THC-based vapes.”

Winslow, who has been vaping for a year, said that after seeing the news about e-cigarettes, he started to be concerned about how vaping could lead him to have issues with his lungs.

DeEtte Edens, associate director of Health and Wellness on the Levelland campus of South Plains College, reports that the number of students presenting symptoms of vaping-related issues has been increasing on campus.

“We have an increase in the number of students that have been seen for upper respiratory issues that are also users of vape,” said Edens, “and, unfortunately, some of them have been presenting strong side effects.”

Jayden McDaniel is a 19-year-old SPC student who has been vaping for two and a half years.

McDaniel mentioned that his usage of e-cigarettes, THC-based and regular vapes, started as a habit to help him deal with his issues with stress and anxiety in high school.

“It was always available to me, so I just kept using for the nicotine,” said McDaniel. “I tried THC vapes, and they made me feel better, but I did not enjoy the taste.”

The lack of regulation for e-cigarettes based in THC has been brought to the attention by the public, since the use of cannabis products are prohibited by federal law. But they are being produced on the black market.

“These products have no regulation by the Food and Drug Administration regulations,” said Edens, “and there is no knowledge of what kind of chemicals are being mixed and later being inhaled by the consumers.”

Consumers of e-cigarettes, whether THC-based or not, say that vaping has brought them judgements from others who may not have consumed or do not have knowledge of what it is.

Consuming e-cigarettes is not safe and must be stopped immediately, according to the FDA.

Book signing, reading held for ‘Passe-Partout’

by Autumn Bippert

“Passe-Partout” tells the tale of two lives, two narratives centuries apart, as they unravel the mystery of a hidden magic of writing.

“Passe-Partout,” written by Stephen M. Sanders, assistant professor of English at South Plains College, tells a narrative of two characters, Paul and Cyprus, in another dimension.

The Levelland campus Library hosted a book signing for Sanders on Oct. 2. He had copies of the book for sale, which were sold out at the event.

Sanders also read passages from his book at the signing.

The fantasy narrative is divided into two “books.” “Book One” follows Paul, who is in vaguely modern day, while “Book Two” follows Cyprus, who is living at some time in the Middle Ages.

Sanders said he kept details of time periods vague on purpose in order to avoid having to make sure he didn’t have to spend a lot of time on details and live up to research of past time periods.

The protagonist in each “book” is trying to solve the mystery of the death of their father figure. Through the “book,” each character discovers that these deaths are far bigger than he thinks.

“Passe-Partout” took about eight years to write, according to Sanders. He began writing his book before his son Stellan was born, and then took a break to help take care of him.

“After he (Sanders’ son) was a little more self sufficient, I decided to get back into writing my book,” Sanders explained. “I had so many ideas of what I thought I could do better than everybody else, as if it was that easy. And it’s not that easy.”

Sanders said that he is a poet by training, and he has only written poetry most of his life. He wanted to see if he was able to write something other than what he has been used to.

“It’s been received decently, which is encouragement to keep on,” Sanders said of his book.

Sanders said that he wanted to express in his book his own teetering relationship with faith.

“How can I talk about that into a murder mystery/fantasy (book), and how can I talk about things I don’t see other places,” Sanders said. “So this book is like a squished together compendium of everything I was thinking about and everything that I am.”

Sanders explained that he wanted to write a book with characters he hadn’t seen well represented before. His book features main characters who are LGBTQ, women and people of color.

“Being an English major, you see a lot of cliches, and tropes you should avoid,” explained Sanders, “which I think makes you harder on yourself. I wanted to make sure I had characters of color, characters that are LGBTQ, as major characters and protagonists. I wanted them displayed as just people.”

He said he wanted to present people from all different types of life as just people in his book and not as “others,” because in this part of the country, you don’t see people represented well.

“I was always paranoid of treating characters that aren’t white, cisgender male with respect and dinginty,” Sanders explained. “I had one reviewer say, ‘Why don’t you point that out on the back of your book, that you have these minority characters?’ I said, because they’re just characters in my book. They’re normal people. I’m not going to take advantage of someone’s minority, or who they are, to sell a book.”

Sanders said he was scared to show his book to his parents. He said the book is written by a person who comes from a place of an ultra-strict form of Christianity. He said that people who come from that place in their lives might find this book challenging.

“I hope you get ticked off when you read it (the book), because that means that you’re thinking about it,” Sanders said. “I wanted to make something moving, something that would move me when I read it.”

Sanders explained that he has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which made writing his book difficult at times. He said that he would find himself writing the same sentence in his book 10 to 15 times.

He said once he read the book over, he noticed that his character would exhibit some of his same Obsessive Compulsive Disorder tendencies.

“I didn’t realize I was transferring some of my angst to this character,” Sanders said.

Sanders explained that the book cover was designed by one of his former students, Delany Price Jackson. Jackson is a graduate of the Graphic Arts program at SPC and currently is an adjunct instructor at the college.

“She did really good work,” Sanders said. “It was a process of several months of work. She was amazing at narrowing down on what I wanted for the book.”

Women’s Protective Services of Lubbock honors women affected by domestic violence

by Desiree Lopez

Women who were killed by an intimate partner or family member in Texas and those who have survived domestic violence recently were honored and remembered during a Candlelight Vigil.

The event, with Women’s Protective Services of Lubbock playing host, was held on Oct. 2 at the Lubbock County Courthouse Gazebo.

The service began with a prayer and was followed by a recognition made by Shelia Patterson Harris, a member of the Lubbock City Council. She offered special recognition to the WPS of Lubbock Candlelight Vigil. Harris strongly encourages every citizen within the city of Lubbock to join WPS in the effort to actively address and eliminate family violence.

After the recognition, employees of WPS read the names of the victims of domestic violence and their county of residence.

The guest speaker, Irma Linda, ended the event with her success story of how she got out of an abusive family and how she turned her life around. Linda graduated from high school and college, then began her own loving family, despite her family’s past of domestic violence.

The Candlelight Vigil was organized by Steven Garcia, coordinator of community education, outreach, and legal for WPS. It is his job to conduct presentations, training, donation drives, and public appearances. He also oversees the assistance of clients with legal issues such as filing charges, divorces, custody, child support, and immigration.

“Women’s Protective Services is a nonprofit agency dedicated to the elimination and prevention of domestic violence,” explains Garcia. “WPS services Lubbock County and 11 surrounding counties by providing shelter, food, clothing, counseling, educational classes, assistance with employment and benefits, and advocacy to victims of domestic violence.”

WPS is funded by government programs such as the Victims of Crime Act and Violence Against Women Act. They receive state-level funding through the Office of the Attorney General and Health and Human Services. They also receive funding through the local level by grants and foundations. WPS is truly thankful for the additional funding they receive from private donations and fundraisers.

According to Garcia, there are various fund-raising events and donation drives held throughout the year designed to assist the families staying at WPS and to bring awareness to the public. To stay updated on upcoming events, visit http://www.wpslubbock.org.

The mission of WPS is to create an environment of empowerment for women, children, and families, and to eliminate family violence, according to Garcia. They hope to intervene in relationships where domestic violence is present and bring awareness to the public.

WPS specifically hopes to reach the entire population since, according to Garcia, one in three women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

If you know someone who needs help, it is encouraged to become informed or lend a sympathetic ear. Do not blame the victim. Instead, guide them to community services, confront the victim with the danger, and help develop a safety plan.

If you are the one who needs help, you do not have to suffer alone.

“You are not alone in this,” explains Garcia. “It is not your fault, and you don’t deserve this. WPS can help you and your children.”

If you are a victim, do not hesitate to call WPS at (806)-747-6491.

Renaming of Science Building, fall contact hours among topics discussed at Regents meeting

by Atumn Bippert

The South Plains College Foundation Annual Report, approval for renaming the Science Building and fall contact hours were among the topics discussed during the October meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Stephen John, vice president for institutional advancement, presented the SPC Foundation Progress Report for 2018 to 2019.

“The Foundation had a very successful and very productive year,” John explained. “Net assets for the Foundation grew 2.54 percent to a record, $23,182,702. While this growth was a little bit less than what we experienced a year ago, when we closed up fiscal year 2018, the fact that we were able to end the fiscal year with the positive change in that aspect was really good.”

John also said that the Foundation received a total of $1,918,308, including $743,516 in contributions to new and existing scholarship funds.

“We had 597 individuals, businesses and organizations give to the Foundation in fiscal year 2019, and that was a 21.6 percent increase in the number of donors,” John said. “The number of individual donors increased by 39 percent over the prior year.”

John said that individuals and SPC employees contributed 45 percent of the total gifts that the Foundation received, with employees making 17 percent of the contributions and individuals at 28 percent. Also, 39 percent of total gifts were contributed by businesses and organizations.

“The fact that our employees are giving a little more than a sixth of the amount of funds that are received by the Foundation is a good sign of support from our employees,” John said.

John added that after discounting grants received for the Lubbock Center, the average gift amount was $1,330.

“The Foundation exists primarily to provide scholarship support or support college students,” explained John. “And this last fiscal year, 853 students benefited from those scholarships that total $953,095, which was a record of about a 4.75 percent increase in the amount of scholarships awarded the prior year.”

John also said that the average scholarship awarded was $1,117, which increased by12 percent from 2018.

The Foundation’s Permanent Scholarship Endowment grew by 2.3 percent, equalling $20.8 million. The Founders Opportunity Endowment grew by 4.1 percent to $4.2 million. The permanent endowment for the Founders Opportunity Endowment fund reached its goal of $3 million, which was set in 1998, for the 2019 fiscal year.

“The primary source of contributions over the past 21 years has been from our two fundraisers, the Scholarship Gala and golf scramble,” John explained. “That is really what has fueled that to that $3 million over that period of time. Our two fundraising events this last year raised $236,000 in net proceeds for scholarships. They were both very successful, and they continue to be an important source for scholarship funds.”

John also mentioned that nine new scholarship endowments were established, and seven additional funds reached endowment status during the year.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, presented a letter from the William R. & Sandra L. Wheeler Charitable Foundation, Inc. that requested that as a part of their $7 million donation toward the reconstruction of the Science Building that the college rename the building the “Helen and Wilburn Wheeler Science Building,” which was approved by the Board.

“Mr. Wheeler and I’ve been discussing this, and he’ll be delighted,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “They were very impressed and very excited about the renderings of what the building would look like. He’s very proud to have his father’s name on that building, and we should be very proud of that.”

Wilburn Wheeler was a member of the college’s first faculty, and his son, William Wheeler, is an alumni.

The college also has a $5 million commitment from the Helen Jones Foundation and $350,000 from the Montgomery Family Foundation.

“This is the largest construction project we’ve entered into on this campus ever,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “I just am very convinced that this is will be transformative for our college. It will be one of the first things students see. It will change the face of one of our most sought after educational facilities here at the college.”

Dr. Satterwhite said that they anticipate a groundbreaking ceremony and formal announcement of the name change sometime in January.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, presented the Fall 2019 Contact Hour Report. Dr. DeMerritt pointed out that the college saw a dip in contact hours by 1.2 percent, which is 21,856 hours. The college has a total of 1,842,944 contact hours.

According to the report, contact hours for the Levelland campus dropped by 6.3 percent, which is 54,304 contact hours. The Reese Center also saw a drop of 8.7 percent, or 25,328 contact hours.

The Lubbock Center and Plainview Center saw a rise in contact hours, 11.9 percent (17,552 hours) and 1 percent (608 hours), respectively.

Dr. DeMerritt also presented the Clery Report on Crime and Safety for 2018.

“You’ll find most of our activity, not surprisingly, happens on our Levelland campus as related to housing,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “That’s very common and just part of having a residence life on campus.”

The college is required by the Clery Act to report all crime from the previous year on Aug. 1.

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, informed the Board that the college received the Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Grant Award, which is a grant of $506,719.

Dr. Gibbs also reported to the Board that the college’s nursing program was recommended to receive accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

It also was announced at the October meeting that Board members Linda Patton and Ken Williams are resigning, effective immediately, due to moving outside of the tax district. Williams’ term was to end in May of 2020, and Patton’s term ends in May of 2024.

Chairman Mike Box appointed himself, Bobby Neal and Ronny Alexander to the Appointment of Regents Nomination Subcommittee. The committee will decide to either find someone to fill these chairs immediately, or wait until May for the candidates to run for the position.

Whoever fills Williams’ chair will serve a full six-year term, while whoever fills Patton’s chair will serve for the remaining four-years of the term.

Crime report shows decrease in burglary, increase in stalking

by Desiree Lopez

An increase in stalking and motor vehicle theft, along with a decrease in burglary, are among the reported in the 2018 Annual Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Report.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president of Student Affairs, had assistance from Dr. Lynn Cleavinger, dean of students, and Nickolis Castillo, chief of the South Plains College Police Department, with collecting information and disseminating the report before Oct. 1.

It is required by law that all post-secondary institutions receiving federal financial assistance disclose campus crime statistics and security information every year, according to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1990.

One case of rape was reported on public property in Levelland in 2018, while no cases were reported the previous year, therefore, showing a slight increase.

Cases of fondling decreased from one case to zero, while cases of aggravated assault also decreased from four cases in 2017 to zero in 2018.

Two cases of burglary were reported on campus property in student housing facilities on the Levelland campus, which is a decrease from the four reported cases in the 2017 crime report.

Only one case of motor vehicle theft was reported for on-campus properties in 2018, while two cases were reported on public property.

There were no cases of incest, statutory rape, robbery, or arson reported on the Levelland campus in 2018.

In 2018, one case of domestic violence was reported on public property in Levelland, which shows a small increase compared to zero in 2017. Cases of dating violence decreased from one to zero in 2018 for on-campus student housing facilities.

The number of stalking cases increased from zero to eight on on-campus properties, and two out of those eight were at on-campus student housing facilities.

We have a case with multiple reports involving the same person,” said Dr. DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, at the October meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents meeting. “So that’s why it looks inflated than what it usually is.”

These stalking cases were all reported from the Levelland campus.

One arrest was made in 2018 for carrying or possession of a weapon at an on-campus student housing facility. No disciplinary referrals were given for carrying or possessing a weapon on the Levelland campus.

Three arrests were made for drug abuse violations on on-campus property, and one of them was at an on-campus student housing facility. This is a slight increase from zero arrests reported in 2017. A total of 14 disciplinary referrals were reported for drug abuse violations in 2018, declining from 19 in 2017.

A total of 21 arrests were made in 2018 for liquor law violations, while a total of 19 disciplinary referrals were given on the Levelland campus. Both totals are decreases from the 2017 report, which included 28 arrests and 47 disciplinary referrals.

“We know for a fact, that if you look at disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations, we had a group of students in the fall of 2016 that continued into the spring of 2017 that continued to cause problems for us,” explains Dr. DeMeritt.

Three fires were also reported in 2018. An accidental grease fire occurred in one of the Smallwood apartments, which had property damage of $100. In Lamar Hall, a lit sparkler caused a fire with no property damage. Lastly, in the kitchen of North Sue Hall, a fire caused by burned popcorn was reported, but there was no property damage.

According to the Annual Security Report, South Plains College’s goal is to create a truly safe campus that can be achieved through the full cooperation of all students, faculty, and staff.

We take care of this (report) every day and try to make sure that we’re taking care of what we need to report and being very transparent with it and not hiding numbers, not inflating numbers, not ventilating numbers and being very truthful with what we find,” explains Dr. DeMeritt.

It is encouraged to act responsibly, work collaboratively together, and whenever possible assist each other to promptly, accurately and effectively report all unsafe incidents and criminal offenses to campus security authorities or responsible employees.

The Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Report can be found on the SPC website at http://www.southplainscollege.edu/studentconsumerinformation.php under Security, Crime, and Fire Safety Reports.

Effects of vaping increasing in young adults

by Victoria De Souza

E-cigarettes may be a possible risk for some new lung illnesses, but the actual cause of these diseases still remains unknown.

With reports of hospitalizations related to vaping, doctors and scientists are scrambling to find the cause.

In the early 1800s, tobacco was one of the most popular vices. Now, in the 21st century, new tobaccoless devices are gaining attention for presenting a negative impact on health.

The marketing of addictions is one of the most lucrative, with around $9.36 billion of profit made in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Even though the first attempts of inventing a smokeless, non-tobacco cigarette started in 1963, they became popular around the mid-2000s.

In 2011, after the invention of the first-modern e-cigarette, the use of an electronic cigarette became part of the mass market in the United States.

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol vapor produced by the e-liquids. Most of the e-cigarettes contain glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and different flavoring liquids.

While there is uncertainty surrounding any health benefit from vaping, e-cigarettes have been promoted as safer substitutes for tobacco. But there has been some concern about manufacturers targeting young adults and teenagers as their main consumers.man holding a vape pen and cigarettes

With nine confirmed deaths and more than 300 people hospitalized as a result of vaping, the rising visibility of the effects of vaping is causing the health community to question the safety standards of vape consumption and production.

Dr. Ximera Solis, a fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, said little is known about the effects of vaping.

“The fact is that we do not know much about the effects of vaping on long-term and short-term health,” said Dr. Solis. “As far as I know, there is no regulation on these products by the FDA, and a lot of these products are bought from less than credible sources.”

The CDC has issued a warning about the dangers of vaping and recommends that people stop using this product.

Since vaping only has been around for a short period, there is no research on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes.

“Most of the research now is focused on pathophysiology and learning more about vaping in general,” said Dr. Solis.

E-cigarettes can be helpful to ease the process of quitting the consumption of tobacco cigarettes.

“The only ‘advantage’ (to smoking e-cigarettes) is that it does help some people quit smoking regular cigarettes,” said Dr. Solis, “and they can lower the nicotine content over time to wean themselves off this.”

One of the side effects brought about by the use of e-cigarettes is the new development of a lung disease. So far, the CDC has not been able to identify any specific substance that could be the cause of this illness. But it is known that nicotine can cause very damaging effects to the lungs.

One questionable substance that can be found in the e-cigarettes that has come to the attention of medical specialists is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can be found in a variety of e-liquids that can be counterfeited without proper regulation.

The lack of information known about the development of this new illness makes it difficult for medical professionals to provide the correct treatment to be given to the patients.

“What we do know is that the patients become ill very quickly,” explained Dr. Solis. “What is important to realize is that this is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that we have to rule out other causes that could explain this symptomatology. Each patient must be treated on a case by case basis. What we do see is that patients have required admission to the intensive care unit, intubation and mechanical ventilation, and even chest tubes for pneumothorax (air in the chest wall from a collapsed lung).”

Dr. Ebtesam Islam from the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine of TTU Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, explained the inflammation in most of the cases is severe and diffuse, affecting both lungs.lungs this one

“It is suspected that the formation of an aerosol (i.e. the combustion of the flavoring, nicotine, and other chemicals) causes stress on respiratory epithelial cells by inducing inflammation,” said Dr. Islam. “What we see on imaging, such as Computed Tomography scans or chest x rays, are signs of severe inflammation, like what we would see with infectious processes.”

Dr. Solis mentions the present symptoms are nonspecific for any respiratory illness, such as coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.

The repercussions of e-cigarettes have been rising, along with lung disease cases. The symptoms of these cases do not match those of cigarette smoking and highlight an entirely new disease.

“Cigarettes tend to cause damage over time, leading to a chronic illness such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or Emphysema and takes years to develop,” explained Dr. Islam. “Vaping incidents that are being reported now suggest an acuity to the illness. The time to illness from exposure has varied from days to weeks. With vaping, over two thirds of the patients have been young, between the ages of 18 to 34, and otherwise healthy, and the opposite tends to be true for those with chronic pulmonary disease.”

A focus on treating current cases and the causes of the e-cigarette illness will be the main priority of future research, according to Dr. Solis.

Both Dr. Solis and Dr. Islam agree that vaping should not be taken lightly, and avoiding the usage of e-cigarettes is the safer way until there is more information about the subject.

“These otherwise healthy young adults can present in critical condition, requiring prolonged and repeated intubations,” said Dr. Solis. “Since not much is known about how well these patients would recover, the effects from this illness can be damaging and life-long.”

Students leave sexual education event with useful information

by Desiree Lopez

South Plains College students were recently able to ask anonymous questions regarding sex, sexual abuse, STDs, and relationships during an event called Sex in the Dark.

The event was held on Sept. 16 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center on the Levelland campus.

The panel included: Jana Daniel, professor of sociology; Craig Allen, instructor of law enforcement and criminal justice; Dr. Peggy Skinner, chairperson of the Behavioral Science Department and professor of psychology; Samantha Curtis, employee at Texas Department of State Health Services; DeEtte Edens, associate director of health and wellness at SPC;, and Brant Farrar, professor of sociology and sponsor for SPECTRA. Dr. Lynne Cleavinger, dean of students at SPC, served as the emcee for the night.

Students wrote down questions on pieces of paper while one of the panelists came by to pick them up. Questions were hand-picked randomly by Dr. Cleavinger. All lights were turned off for anonymity, and glow sticks were passed around to provide some illumination. Condoms were also given away for free to students in attendance.

Whether students attended for extra credit or voluntarily, they left the event with a lot of useful information.

According to Daniel, there is a great need for sex education, particularly among SPC students.

“What we [department faculty] have found is that students across the state of Texas and other states don’t typically get comprehensive sex education,” explains Daniel. “So when they get here or become sexually active, they think they know everything, and there is so much that they don’t know.”

When discussing sexuality, it is important to have knowledge about it because it involves not only physical health but mental health too.

“It is also important for students to know the resources they have, because a lot of students don’t have a clue that they have them and that they are free,” says Daniel.

Professors and special guests enjoy being on the panel for Sex in the Dark, according to Daniel. They enjoy the interactions they receive from students when they discuss various topics about sex.IMG_0384

Daniel explains that the panelists continue to participate at Sex in the Dark because it is beneficial to students.

“We have a good time doing it [Sex in the Dark],” said Daniel. “Some students may have a little bit of hesitancy, but I think that after the event they begin to feel more open about it. We just want students to be safe.”

Faculty of the Behavioral Science Department and those at the Health and Wellness Center are available to answer any questions that students may have regarding sex, diseases, and sexual assault.

The difference between both departments is that professors are required to report any sexual assault or rape, while the Health and Wellness Center has confidentiality under the HIPAA, which is medical rules and guidelines.

It is encouraged that if someone is a victim of rape or sexual assault and wants to speak with a certified individual, speak with a professional counselor at the SPC Health and Wellness Center or call the Voice of Hope 24-hour crisis hotline, (806)763-RAPE (7273).

Bus driver retires after traveling thousands of miles

by Desiree Lopez

Danny Vest has spent many hours driving hundreds of thousands of miles for students at South Plains College.

He recently retired after 35 years of service as the transportation director. He started working for SPC in 1984 and was employed at the college until August 31, when he officially retired.

A Levelland native, Vest attended junior high and high school in Levelland before enrolling at SPC. While he was an SPC student, he served as the manager for the men’s basketball team. After he graduated, SPC had gotten new “people carriers,” according to Vest, which is another term for bus, and the position for full-time bus driver became available, so he applied for the job.

His favorite memory was when he had the opportunity to drive the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. They came to campus one year, and he had the privilege of picking them up from the airport and driving them to their destinations.

Vest considers his most memorable moment while working at SPC to be when the men’s track and field team won 11 consecutive NJCAA Outdoor National Championships.

Being the bus driver, Vest had the chance to go on multiple trips with many SPC organizations. He drove the students in the Upward Bound Program every summer and went to many places such as Colorado, Ruidoso, N.M., San Antonio, and Austin. He also was able to go to Florida with Country Caravan, which was a band of college students and professors who performed free concerts while traveling around Texas and other parts of the country.IMG_0372.JPG

He drove the basketball and track teams to many of their games and events. He went to San Diego, California with the women’s basketball team, as well as to Detroit, Michigan with the track teams. He also has driven the men’s basketball team to Hutchinson, Kansas, where he watched them win several national championships.

According to Vest, his trip mileage with SPC is about 750,000 miles.

There are a few SPC organizations that are sad to see him go, but wish nothing but the best for him as he starts the new chapter of his life.

As of now, Vest doesn’t have any plans for the near future, but hopes to one day visit Alaska, since it is the only state that he has not been to.

“I actually just thought that it was a good time to just do it now,” says Vest explaining why he chose to retire.

Vest said he is very thankful for South Plains College for the numerous opportunities he had while working here. He made many lifelong friends and intends on keeping those friendships throughout his retirement.

Traveling performer entertains students with hypnosis

by Abi Hernandez

As the volunteers sit quietly in their chairs in a trance on the stage, Tom De Luca tells them their orders to do after he snaps his fingers as the audience watches.

He snaps his fingers and the stage comes to life as the volunteers do as they were told mindlessly. The audience claps and cheers.

De Luca took a three-hour plane ride to perform on Sept. 16 in the P.E. Complex on the Levelland campus of South Plains College.

De Luca has performed in various places for all kinds of people. He was born in Illinois and now lives in Orlando, Florida. De Luca then attended the University of Illinois, where he first began to explore “the Hypno-business.”

“I learned how to deal with difficult situations,” said De Luca. “I also learned it is harder to get an adult volunteer.”

De Luca’s psychology professor is the one who first introduced him to hypnosis. De Luca then hypnotized a guy and found he had a gift. One of his first shows was at a hotel.

“The crowd was tough and called me fake,” he recalled.

His next gig was at a night club every Wednesday, once a week, and sometimes once a month. He has traveled to 13 different states to do a countless number of shows.

De Luca said he has performed in North Carolina, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Virginia, Georgia, Texas, Alaska, and Kansas. He said he usually does any show where they want him. A lot of colleges call him to ask if he will perform for back-to-school events. So on average, he goes to 13 states a year. When he traveled to Alpine, Texas, he said it was the longest drive “because you feel like your driving forever.”

The most interesting event De Luca performed was at the University of Tennessee during the half-time of a basketball game in front of 22,000 people. He picked out 12 volunteers from the crowd in the stands and hypnotized them. After the show, they hung out with him.IMG_1890

“ It was extremely intense and very scary to perform in front of all those people,” said De Luca.

During his many adventures, De Luca performed for the former president’s daughter and family members. He also did a show at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and he did show for a lot of CEO’s at their own homes. He also has performed in Anchorage, Alaska and Fairbanks, Alaska, where they have only three hours of daylight each day.

Throughout his career, De Luca has learned that he has to keep adjusting all of his performances to fit the different audiences. He has also observed that as the years have passed, the attention span of people has decreased tremendously and is still decreasing. In saying that, he tries to keep the pace of his performances steady and interactive so the audiences won’t get bored.

“ People are more easily offended nowadays, so I have to watch what I say sometimes,” said De Luca.

The more he performs shows, the more De Luca says he learns about human nature and behavior. The older the audience members are, the less likely they would volunteer to participate in any of the shows.

“It’s been rough, but it has been worth it,” De Luca said. “I have met some pretty interesting people.”

New downtown center will benefit students, Lubbock

By Autumn Bippert

The City of Lubbock and South Plains College have finalized the sale of the current City Hall building to become a new campus. 

The sale comes just after of the 12-month time frame was set aside to explore the possibilities of using Lubbock City Hall as a future campus for South Plains College, as part of  the Memorandum of Understanding between the college, the City of Lubbock, and Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA).

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of South Plains College, recently explained that the cost of the building was $2 million. He also said that the expected cost of the construction is $15 million. SPC has received $16 million in commitments from LEDA to support  the purchase and remodeling costs.  SPC will receive an additional $3 million in operation support for the first five years of operation.  Overall, the college will have $19 million in financial commitments for the project.

city hall

The Lubbock City Hall buliding will be remodeled to be the college’s Downtown Center.
The new campus will house Arts and Sciences classes that are currently at Reese
Center and is anticipated to open for Fall 2021.

“There were a number of factors that influenced the decision to move forward with the Downtown Lubbock Center,”  Dr. Satterwhite said. “Among the greatest of these was the long- term decline in enrollment at the Reese Center and the potential for SPC to be located closer to Texas Tech and our other university partners.”

Dr. Satterwhite said that he anticipates that this will benefit the City of Lubbock because it will establish a more permanent and comprehensive community college presence in the heart of  the city.

Lubbock was previously the largest city in Texas without a college campus downtown. The Downtown Center is expected to enroll 2,500 students a semester. Dr. Satterwhite also explained that the downtown campus is important for employment preparation and creating a more robust workforce for the city and the region.

“Being more closely located to our largest transfer partner, Texas Tech, we believe we will have a greater number of students co-enroll at SPC and TTU,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “This    will allow us to serve a greater number of students.  Currently, many of these students cannot commute to Reese or Levelland and maintain their necessary schedule at TTU.  However, since we will only be approximately seven blocks from TTU, we expect that students may choose to enroll in many of the courses offered  at SPC at a fraction of the cost of attending the university.”

He also said that the plan to completely remodel the building in Lubbock will result in very high quality and attractive educational facilities.

Dr. Satterwhite explained that they know that SPC will eventually need to make substantial capital improvements at some of the Reese Center facilities, and the college’s investment could be more productive at a location that will better serve the students.

That the current plan is to completely remodel the Lubbock City Hall building, according to Dr. Satterwhite. This will require removing almost all of the current infrastructure of the building to change the function from an office facility to an educational facility.  Additionally, SPC hopes to create a very modern and vibrant educational environment to best serve students.

Dr. Satterwhite anticipates that the building will be complete for coursework to begin in the Fall of 2021.  He also said that they do not have a completed design for the building, and won’t be  able to begin construction until the current Lubbock city management moves out of the facility.

“The current plan is to move the Arts and Sciences classes that are currently being offered at the Reese Center to this new Downtown Lubbock Center when it is complete,” Dr. Satterwhite explained. “The Arts and Sciences classes include those courses that are offered as part of the AA or AS degree plans.  It is important to note that not all AA or AS classes are planned to be offered at the new center, only those currently offered at the Reese Center.”

Dr. Satterwhite said he’s most excited about the potential for increased enrollment at South Plains College.

“One of the major factors in students attending college is accessibility, geographic and financial accessibility,” added Dr. Satterwhite. “I believe that this new center will provide greater accessibility through lower costs than the other Lubbock options and  ease of access. Additionally, I am excited about the opportunity to create a new location that is supported by our private industry partners that will be attractive and appealing to our students.”

New officers elected for Student Government Association

By Desiree Lopez

The Student Government Association at South Plains College will have some new faces for the fall semester. 

An election was recently held for the offices of president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, public relations coordinator, and historian on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3. 

Elected as president was Cameron Pope, a freshman government major from Slaton, Texas. The role of the president is to preside over all SGA members, set an example regarding behavior, and lead all meetings. 

Elected as vice president was Danisha Lewis, a sophomore sports broadcasting major from Plano, Texas. The vice president works closely with the president and must be ready at any time to take the place of the president when needed. 

Elected as secretary was Cielo Esqueda, a freshman business major from Dimmitt, Texas. The secretary must maintain the records and take notes at every meeting. 

Elected as treasurer was Zachary Nava, a sophomore kinesiology major from Slaton, Texas. The role of the treasurer is to keep up with all finances and the budget. 

Elected as public relations coordinator was Holden Basquez, a freshman marketing major from Levelland, Texas. The public relations coordinator is in charge of advertising all events and meetings and organizes fundraisers for SGA. 

Elected as historian was Myranda Alvarez, a sophomore computer science major from Morton, Texas. The historian is responsible for all materials and for collecting files, photographs, and any other important documents, as well as, compiling a record of the SGA activities. 

An election is held once every school year for vacant positions, according to Miranda English, director of Student Life at SPC. 

There is an executive board meeting for officers once every week. The general assembly takes place twice a month in room 102 of the Student Services Building and is open to all students. 

Officers are required to attend every meeting. In these meetings, service projects, volunteer opportunities, all campus-wide events, and changes needed at SPC are discussed. This year’s focal point is food insecurity, the state of being without access to food for a certain amount of time, and promoting the SPC Food Bank.

Enrollment, academic integrity software discussed during Regents meeting

By Autumn Bippert

Fall enrollment, housing occupancy, Title IX changes and academic integrity software were among the topics discussed during the September meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents. 

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, presented the preliminary Fall 2019 enrollment as of Sept. 11. 

“Our total unduplicated headcount for the fall term is 9,300, 104 less than last year,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “We’re down 1.1 percent over last year. Not surprising, really looking at the economy continuing to maintain where it’s at, doing better and better.”

Dr. DeMerritt explained that there has been a significant uptick in online classes, with an increase of 203 students, or 7.1 percent, totaling 3,048. 

“We did see a decrease in our dual credit,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “Our dual credit decrease is due to the loss of Frenship High School to Angelo State University. Last term, they could not offer what they needed. While this term, Angelo State actually offered what they needed, and so they pulled from us.”

Dual credit enrollment saw a drop of 3.9 percent, 80 students, totaling 1,986 enrolled.

Levelland campus enrollment is 4,067, which is a decrease of 120 students, 2.9 percent, from last fall. Reese Center campus decreased by 132 students, 6 percent, totaling 2,078. The Lubbock Center campus enrollment increased by 24 students, 2.4 percent, totaling 1,079. Plainview campus decreased by 16 students, 4.9 percent, totaling 312. Online classes increased by 203 students, 7.1 percent, totaling 3,048. 

Dr. DeMerritt also presented the housing occupancy for the fall semester.

“We’re sitting at 90.6 percent occupancy,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “Of the 766 beds, we have 694 filled. Of those, eight are private rooms. So we’re sitting really strong.”

Dr. DeMerritt said that in the dorm occupancy, 54.18 percent are male students and 45.22 percent are female students, which is a change in trend to have more male than female students living on campus. Total occupancy is at 90.6 percent which is an increase from 87.9 percent from the previous year.

“Surprisingly, Gerstenberger still has nine beds open,” Dr. DeMerritt added. “The issue there is some of those folks really liked the cost that they’re paying right now for the triplets at $1,000 and don’t want to pay up the other $1,500. It’s the same way if you look at the women’s halls. Tubb has 11 empty beds.

Dr. DeMerritt also discussed several changes coming to Title IX due to HB 1735, SB 212 and HB 449 that were passed in the last Texas legislative session. He said that these changes will be made within the next month or two. One of these coming changes  is transcript notation. 

“The State of Texas has approved all disciplinary actions, a suspension or expulsion from an institution to be transcribed on the academic transcript beginning immediately,” Dr. DeMerritt explained. “They have taken collegiate registrars and admissions officers’ recommendations on transcript notation regarding disciplinary actions and have actually instilled that into law.”

Dr. DeMerritt explained that this is beneficial because institutions can see what has happened with these students who have a record of either sexual assault or heinous crimes of some type, and they can’t continue to roll between institutions. Institutions have to honor any disciplinary suspension just as they honor any academic suspension from another institution.

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, discussed adding a fee of $10 to a students’ bill for academic integrity software. 

“In August, we discussed the need to invest in an academic integrity software application that would allow us to ensure the integrity of our online learning environment,” Dr. Gibbs said. “We are currently going through the state-mandated formal bid process to determine the vendor or the service. We would like to pilot this application in spring of 2020, with institution-wide implementation in the fall of 2020.”

Dr. Gibbs explained that pricing for this type of service is typically based per student per academic year and is estimated to run approximately $200,000 annually. SPC has determined that $10 per student per semester would be enough to cover the cost of the service.  

“It will be available to all of our students and to every class, even in-person classes,” Dr. Gibbs said. “I think it’s going to enhance our ability to make sure that our students are doing their own work. So our in-person classes, we’ll actually have a more secure testing environment if they move their test to an online environment with the use of the services. So in the old days when we would go in and take a class and we would take a scantron with multiple choice tests, students were cheating those in classes.”

Dr. Gibbs said that because of the algorithms that are run by the system, students are not going to be able to get away with cheating.

  Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of South Plains College, brought for consideration change in dual credit pricing. 

“We charged $210 for the first dual credit class,” Dr. Satterwhite explained. “Every class thereafter, we charged $174. That’s how we structure our fee. We find ourselves increasingly competing with universities.”

Dr. Satterwhite explained that the University of Texas, Angelo State and several other colleges have been approaching high schools in the area with lower costs for dual credit classes.

He said that a decrease to $180 per three-hour course would help retain schools in the area. He also added that the fee would need to be revisited in the future to continue to compete with universities.

Dr. Satterwhite also provided an update on the construction for the Science Building. He said that the original cost estimated was $13.5 million, and SPC has raised $12.1 million through private donations. He also said that the cost is only an estimate until they begin to make bids and see where they’ll have more room to spend at.

Groundbreaking for the Science Building is estimated to be held near the beginning of December of this year.

Teeters exhibit showcases mixed media sculptures

The latest exhibit in the Fine Arts Building, “Meditation & Metaphor”, features the impressive works of Steve Teeters, a local artist who attended South Plains College decades ago.

Teeters unfortunately passed away in 2014, but his wife, LaGina Fairbetter, worked with former Gallery Director Julia Whiteside to give students a chance to be inspired by a successful graduate of SPC. The gorgeous paintings that always line the walls of the art gallery struggle not to be overshadowed by Teeters’ work, which always uses three-dimensional space that helps engage the viewer.

Teeters 6Teeters uses miscellaneous found objects in his work, such as limbs of dolls, antique clocks and decades-old poster art, in his sculptures. These objects add intrigue and a sense of historical value to his work. But upon inspection, it’s clear to see the placement of these objects isn’t always just random, but thematic.

Teeters used his work to convey his thoughts regarding human nature, society and the passage of time, burying these thoughts in subtle metaphor. Whiteside, the former gallery director responsible for the exhibit, knew Teeters while he was alive, and students who are interested may request a walkthrough of the exhibit with her when she isn’t busy for some insight into his style and metaphor.

“He is one of the most creative and productive artists I’ve known,” Whiteside said.

Found objects accent the sculptures well, but the heart of Teeters’ work is the well-crafted metals he created himself. After his start as a glassblower, Teeters moved on to metalworking, where he found immense success. The horses in Lubbock’s McKenzie Park, the pieces in front of the Wells Fargo Amphitheater and the large iconic glasses outside of the Buddy Holly Center are all works by Teeters. He also helped start the FirstTeeters 5 Friday Art Trail in Lubbock, and taught art classes for many years. Comments sections of articles regarding the artist’s passing are littered with praise from his former students.

Teeters later opened up his own foundry, Texas Brass, which allowed him to manipulate metal to do exactly as he wanted. But beyond found objects, Teeters almost always incorporated a myriad of other materials into his work, pushing many of his sculptures out of the metal category and into the mixed media category. Boats supported by wheels, jars filled with pictures preserved in cottonseed oil, metal books and cast metal objects are things students can expect to see when visiting the gallery.

Some pieces have an antique feel, and some have a morbid tone. Others have a rustic mood about them, and still others even have a bit of steampunk aesthetic. Very little space is wasted on the walls and the floor, with pieces taller than some students and some small enough to be stepped on. Students need to be careful navigating past the boats and pedestals while also being respectful toward them by not touching or accidentally leaning against any of them.

The variety found in the messages, mediums, shapes and sizes of Teeters’ works makes for a gallery that is completely original and thought provoking. The use of depth and disregard for symmetry make each piece unique. Walking around one to see how perspective toys with it is fascinating.

Typically, the gallery is peaceful and quiet. Students intending to see it for themselves have a good chance of getting the whole room to themselves. I recommend students interested in the arts take a small chunk out of their day to go while it lasts. Teeters’ artistic contributions to West Texas speak for themselves, and some of that famous talent will only grace the Levelland campus for a few more months.

The “Meditation & Metaphor” exhibit will be open until August 16. Occasionally, the exhibit may be closed to protect the pieces inside when staff aren’t watching it, but it may be opened upon request. There is no charge for admissions and the limited room in the gallery makes for a quick, enlightening visit.

Former students honored during national TRIO day reception

National TRIO Day is a day for celebration around the increased access to higher education for disadvantaged students.

Every year, high school and college students, teachers, TRIO Program staff, alumni and others turn their attention to the needs of young people and adults across the nation who are aspiring to help improve their lives.

TRIO programs were established in 1965 to help low-income Americans have an opportunity to enter college, graduate, and be successful after graduation.

The South Plains Area TRIO Programs hosted a TRIO Achiever Reception to honor selected achievers. There were six TRIO achievers honored at the event, including two former South Plains College students, held on April 18 in the Matador Room of the Student Union Building at Texas Tech University.

These programs have assisted students in overcoming many of the obstacles they face as the first in their families to attend and graduate from college. More than 10.5 million students have been benefited from these programs.

National TRIO Day is an event that is celebrated by the Upward Bound program at SPC, Learn Inc. Educational Center and Talent Search in Lubbock, Texas Tech University McNair Scholars Program and Student Support Services, and the STAR Center Program at SPC.

Each of these programs recognized two students during the event. SPC honored Diana Garza of the STAR Center and Maria Guadalupe (Lupita) Nevarez of the Upward Bound program.

Garza joined the STAR Center in the fall of 2016. While attending SPC, she was a non-traditional student who had to learn to manage her time between family, academics, and work.

Garza took advantage of the services provided by the program, serving as a tutor for the program and being involved with its student organization activities.

Garza graduated from SPC with her Associate of Science degree in May 2017. Recently, she also completed her Registered Nursing Diploma from the Covenant School of Nursing.

She was recognized for her educational and professional achievements, as well as for her professional dedication to the pursuit of a higher education.

Manuel Cedillo, academic coordinator of the Star Center, said that the STAR Center is proud of Garza for achieving her academic goals and using her nursing degree to make a difference in her patients’ lives.

Nevarez was a freshman at Whiteface High School when she joined the Upward Bound Program at SPC in 2010. After graduation, she began working at Covenant Medical Center as a Registered Nurse.

While in high school, she participated in various extracurriculars activities, including band, playing on the basketball team, and serving as a member of the Science National Honors Society, a member of student council, and WHS debate team, among other clubs and organizations.

Nevarez graduated from WHS in 2014 and transferred to SPC, where she joined Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the STAR Center. She also served as a Campus Ambassador, and as a wing advisor in the dorms. She also had the opportunity to shadow a nurse, which helped her realize her own desire to become a nurse.

After being accepted into the SPC nursing program, Nevarez completed her Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing in May 2017. She became a licensed registered nurse (RN) and began working for University Medical Center in Lubbock immediately after graduation because she is bilingual and due to her preparation in high school as a participant in Upward Bound.

Program helps prepare students for truck driving industry

South Plains College recently opened a professional truck driving school at the Reese Center campus and is looking for students who would be interested in the trucking industry.

The truck driving school is a 210 hour program which includes classroom, range and open road driving. The next class will begin May 6 and end May 31, with a new class starting every two weeks. The cost for the truck driving program is $4,995.

The purpose of the course is to certify and permit the students at the end of the four weeks of classes. The program focuses on the qualifications for entry into the field, as well as on the regulations governing the trucking industry.

During the course, students will be trained for their Class A license, and familiarize themselves with the Department of Transportation rules and regulations.

Students will be prepared for a written examination, general truck skills with hands-on components, and instruction that is coordinated with the Department of Transportation.

In order to enroll and be accepted into the program, there are certain requirements that students must have. Students must be at least 21 years of age, have a GED or high school diploma and a valid Class C Texas Driver’s License. Students who are interested in enrolling can apply at the official SPC website.

After students graduate from the SPC truck driving school, they will be qualified to secure an entry level job as an over-the-road driver. They will also be proficient at performing pre-trip, on-the-road, and post-trip vehicle and equipment inspections, be able to travel across the United States and Canada, have awareness of safety procedures, alcohol and drug effects, as well as the laws and penalties applicable to the driver, be skillful in driving techniques, and capable of map reading, cargo documentation, dispatch procedures, and regulations of transportation.

For more information about SPC’s professional truck driving school, contact Jay Warnick, director of continuing and workforce development, at (806)716-2547 or Kasey Reyes, administrative assistant, at (806)716-2341.

Graduation set for May 10

The 61st Graduation Ceremony at South Plains College will be held on May 10.

The ceremony will be in Texan Dome. Graduates are asked to report to the Physical Education Complex before each ceremony.

“Students report to the P.E. Complex by 8:45 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 12:15 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony,” said Robin Coler, the graduation clerk at SPC.

The first ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m., and will recognize students graduating in the following fields: Associate of Arts, Associate Degree Nursing, Vocational Nursing, Commercial Music, Design Communications, Cosmetology, Electrical & Power Transmission Technology, Fire Technology, Law Enforcement Technology, Sound Technology, Video Production Technology, and Welding Technology

The second ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. Students receiving a degree in the following areas will be recognized: Associate of Science, Associate of Arts in Teaching, Applied, Rehabilitation Psychology, Child Development, Emergency Medical Services, Physical, Therapist Assistant, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care, Surgical Technology, Accounting Associate, Automotive Collision Repair, Automotive Technology, Business, Computer Aided Drafting & Design, Computer Information Systems, Culinary Arts, Diesel Service Technology, Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Industrial Manufacturing/Emerging Technologies, Office Technology, Paralegal Studies, Real Estate and all majors in Dual Credit graduates.

“The most important part on Graduation Day is to be on time,” said Kathryn Perez, dean of admissions and records. “Give yourself enough time to arrive on time to enjoy the graduation celebration.”

Caps and gowns will be available to be picked up April 29 through May 9 at all SPC campuses, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The locations include the Admissions and Records Office in the Student Services Building at the Levelland campus, in the Student Support Center in Building 8 at the Reese Center campus, at the Student Support Center at the Lubbock Center campus, and in the main office at the Plainview campus.

South Plains is providing students with the graduation regalia free of charge for all graduates. Honor graduates will be issued an honor medallion to wear at graduation.

Students who are participating in the graduation ceremony who are members of Phi Theta Kappa are asked to inform Dr. Kristina Keyton, honors program director &Phi Theta Kappa lead advisor.

“One thing I do want students to know is that decorating your graduation cap is not allowed for the graduation ceremony,” said Perez. “Students who do show up with their cap decorated will be given a cap to change.”

“For the ceremony every year, we have about 400 to 500 students who choose to celebrate at the ceremony,” said Coler. “Right now, for graduation our numbers are at around 400 for the number of students who are participating in the graduation commencement.”

This number is not final, according to Coler. This year’s numbers are consistent with the graduation participation from the previous years.

If any students have any questions about graduation, there are people in offices on all four campuses who are available to help.

Requirements for graduation are found online, or visit with an advisor at any South Plains College campus.

Former residence life director takes position at SPC


Michael Hill, a West Texas native, was recently hired as the associate dean of students at South Plains College.

Hill, who has a background in student and residence life, graduated from Wylie High School in Abilene, Texas.

“I was born in Odessa,” said Hill, “and moved to Abilene when I was 13.”

After graduating from high school, Hill attended McMurry University in Abilene. During his time at McMurry, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre. After graduation, Hill began working at the university.

“I began working in higher education shortly after graduating from McMurry,” he said. “I actually started my career at McMurry in 2002 as the assistant director of student activities.”

After working at McMurry, Hill worked at the College of Wooster, located in Wooster, Ohio, where he also served as the assistant director of student activities.

After serving at the College of Wooster, it was time for him to come back home.

“I returned to Texas in 2008,” explained Hill, “and worked as the arts and activities director at Northwood University in Dallas.”

Four years later, Hill took on the position of residence life director at Northwood University. After Northwood closed their residential campus in 2014, Hill moved to Waco and became the campus living coordinator at Texas State Technical College until March 2019, before coming to SPC.

When he visited the SPC campus, Hill was impressed by the staff and students.

“I was intrigued by the associate dean of students position at SPC,” Hill said, “because it seemed to encompass both areas in which I have worked since 2002. After meeting with the dean of students, the vice president of student affairs, the president of SPC, various members of the faculty and staff, and several students, I knew that this campus would be a great place to work.”

Hill said he looks forward to learning more about the students and culture at SPC.
“I hope to have a positive impact on their college experience,” said Hill. “Additionally, I’m looking forward to getting involved with both SPC and Levelland communities.”

Hill says his primary goal while at SPC is to “provide a positive contribution to the student experience at SPC.”

As associate dean of students, Hill is responsible for campus housing and student life. He works closely with all student housing staff, such as hall directors and resident assistants. Being associate dean of students also includes student discipline, such as dean referrals, and facility maintenance. Hill is also involved in the policies and processes for all campus housing.

“I’m looking forward to working with residence life and student activities to further cultivate a healthy campus culture,” said Hill.

Students garner 14 awards from Texas Intercollegiate Press Association

The Plainsman Press staff recently was recognized with 14 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

The awards were announced during the annual TIPA spring competition and convention, which was held March 14 – March 16 at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi. There were 267 participants representing 30 colleges and universities from across the state at the event. TIPA is the largest student press association in the nation.

The Plainsman Press placed second in the category of Overall Excellence and second for Overall Newspaper Design.

“Good use of graphics and several headlines drew judges to the story,” judges of the Overall Excellence category commented. “Several of the individual features were laid out nicely.”

Said judges of the Overall Design, “Liked the Spotlight page design the best. Good use of color …”

In the competition for previously published material, Adan Rubio, now a print journalism major at Texas Tech University, placed second in the category of Breaking News for a story the Lubbock resident wrote about Senator Bernie Sanders making an appearance in Lubbock.

Kyle Ewing, now an electronic media and communications major at Texas Tech, placed second in the category of Sports Column for a story the Lubbock resident wrote about Justin Hobbs, assistant track and field coach at South Plains College, and his opportunity to compete for the television show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Autumn Bippert, who currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Plainsman Press, received four awards. The sophomore photojournalism major from Georgetown placed third in the category of Ad Design and received an Honorable Mention award in the category of Photo Illustration.

Bippert placed second, along with Kaitlyn Hyde, a freshman photojournalism major from Pearland, in the category of Photo Story for their feature and photos for “Street Eats,” showcasing a food trucks competition held in Lubbock.

Bippert also received an Honorable Mention Award, along with former staff member Tina Gonzalez of Lubbock, in the category of In-Depth or Investigative Reporting for a multi-part series on “Fake News.”

MaKayla Kneisley, a sophomore print journalism major from Abernathy, received three awards. She placed second in the category of Feature Story for her story on “Goat Yoga.”

Kneisley also placed third in the category of Feature Photo for her photo of a woman practicing aerial hoop exercises and third in the category of Environmental Portrait for her photo of chef Patrick Ramsey at the Lubbock Center campus.

The Plainsman Press staff placed third in category of Headline Writing. Said judges, “Headlines are thorough and set the stories apart. Some days, that’s the best you can hope for. Keep up the good work!”

The Plainsman Press staff also received an Honorable Mention award in the category of Overall Excellence for a Website and an Honorable Mention award in the category of Feature Page Design.

Plainsman Press staff members have won 184 awards in TIPA competitions since 2004.

Rez Week encourages celebration of true meaning of Easter

In celebration of the Christian year, the student leadership team of Baptist Student Ministry has planned Rez week 2019 at South Plains College to share and have fun activities with fellow students.

Rez Week is a very important part of the BSM community, according to  Matt Berry, director of the BSM. The events help give the BSM opportunities to share the story of Christ and present a new meaning of Easter.

“We want people to see the true meaning of Easter beyond the eggs and time off from school,” said Berry.

Dedicating time to planning Rez Week since January, the students involved in the event picked a variety of events that everyone can enjoy, whether they are religious or not.

“Most of all, we want to provide the opportunity for the campus to join us in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus,” said Berry.

Starting on April 15 at 11:30 a.m., the 50 Cents Lunch will be provided by First Baptist Church of Whiteface. Later on the same day, a prayer walk around campus will be held, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Both events will be held at the BSM building across from the Levelland campus.

On April 16, there will be a free lunch on the lawn beside Building 2 at the Reese Center campus, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Easter eggs painting will be offered at 1 p.m. in the mall area of the Student Center, beginning at 1 p.m., at the Levelland campus.

On April 17, pancakes and coffee will be offered at the Student Center, beginning at 8 a.m.. At 7 p.m., the weekly worship service will be held at the BSM building, followed by S’mores Night.

On April 18, a free lunch will be served on the Quad, with members of Park Drive Baptist Church cooking hamburgers. At 3 p.m. in the BSM building, a movie night will begin for  students to enjoy and relax.

Look for the Easter Eggs hidden around campus for the event throughout the week. And if you find one, make sure to go to the BSM to claim your prize!

Regents discuss distinguished alumni, future campus growth during April meeting

The announcement of new Distinguished Alumni and the consideration of extending a memorandum of understanding were among topics discussed during the April meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Before the meeting began, Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, introduced Steve Green, men’s head basketball coach at SPC, and Cayla Petree, women’s head basketball coach at SPC.

“We have two of the very best basketball coaches in the nation,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “At the conclusion of our basketball season, we wanted to being them in and recognize the talents and successes we have among our head coaches.”

After Coach Green and Coach Petree were recognized, the Board gave a standing ovation to show their appreciation and support for the coaches and their hard work after a successful season.

Dr. Satterwhite commenced the meeting by discussing the proposed employment list for 2019-2020. The list includes 377 employees who receive an annual contract with SPC.

Dr. Stan Demerritt, vice president for student affairs, introduced Shane Hill as the new associate dean of students.

“I have been working in the higher education since 2002,” Hill told the Regents, “doing student activities, orientation, and housing, so this seemed like a natural fit for me.”

Hill said he has enjoyed thoroughly getting to know his new peers and is looking forward to working alongside them and becoming a part of the SPC family.

Dr. Demerritt updated the Board on student affairs, specifically student life at SPC. Currently, the student government holds an office in Region One as president and is responsible for hosting three different regional meetings for the Student Government Association (SGA) while at the state conference. During these meetings, they will collaborate with other colleges to discuss ways to improve the local community, as well as the region.

Officers from SPC’s SGA participated on the awards committee, resolution committee, and judiciary committee, and history committee at the state level as well.

“This is really impressive,” said Dr. Demerritt, “to have a Student Government Association at this level within the state of Texas.”

Miranda English, director of Student Life, has been elected for Region One to run as the Advisor Elect to the State Board for Student Government Association.

Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, presented an update on SPC’s Guided Pathways initiative.

Dr. Gibbs explained that SPC has been working during the past two years to develop defined and intentional degree pathways for students who want to start at SPC and then transfer to one of SPC’s four-year university transfer partners, such as Texas Tech University, West Texas A&M University, Lubbock Christian University, and Wayland Baptist University.

Currently, Alan Worley, dean of arts and sciences, is leading the division and is conjoined with an advising staff to build plans, or “degree maps,” for the most popular transfer programs offered.

Some programs include psychology, business, engineering, computer science, government, political science, and sociology.

“This work is guided by the state of Texas’ efforts to develop mandated field-of-study curriculum,” Dr. Gibbs said, “which is guaranteed to be transferred and then applied at any four-year state institution in Texas.”

Dr. Gibbs says he hopes this will reduce time to a degree, as well as eliminate wasted credit for students.

Stephen John, vice president for institutional advancement, presented the Distinguished Alumni for 2019 to the Board.

John explained that SPC has a committee that works closely with Stephanie Smith, alumni relations coordinator, and they are in charge of managing the selection process every year. A public reception commending the SPC alumni will be held on May 9.

Members from the college or the community are allowed to present nominations to the committee for consideration. Based upon the committee’s deliberations and their scoring rubric, they identified four individuals to present to Dr. Satterwhite for consideration.

This year, there were 16 nominations, and the two recipients selected are Kathy Hutchinson and Brett Taylor.

“South Plains College takes pride in their accomplishments, achievements, and successes,” said John. “They have each made a significant contribution to their profession and community.”

Dane Dewbre, associate dean of marketing and recruitment, presented two Paragon awards received from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR).

NCMPR is the largest affiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges, with more than 1,800 members, and is an organization that is exclusively comprised of two-year college marketing, public relations, and communications professionals.

“This year, I finished up my term as president of this organization,” said Dewbre. “It was nice to get the recognition that my staff got to participate in, and I had the opportunity to hand them the awards.”

At NCMPR, this year there were 1,600 entrees from 267 community colleges across the nation, and SPC was awarded the Silver Paragon for the Electronic Catalog, Schedule, or Viewbook and the Gold Paragon for the Quick-Turn Video made to honor fallen 9/11 firefighters and first-responders.

Dr. Satterwhite presented SPC’s master plan for growth of the college.  He mentioned the public forum that took place in March and recognized the need to demonstrate to the community and employees that there is a plan for Levelland to improve.

“Some areas on campus I feel we need to look closely at is our residence halls,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “But none of this is set in stone. Whenever we develop a master plan, these are just ideas and what we believe our needs are around campus, as well as what the growth of the campus might look like.”

The Board looked at locations to build new residence halls to replace older housing on campus. They also discussed building a new Student Center for additional dining facilities and to make activities for students as contemporary and up-to-date as possible.

“Right now, the most important is the expansion of our Science Building,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “I cannot stress how excited I am and how important I think this Science Building is to our campus.”

Dr. Satterwhite also mentioned possible renovations to the Aquatic Center, the visitor center, the Library, and possibly moving the Truck Driving School to the Levelland campus.

He also excitedly announced the completion of construction for the bleachers that will add 500 seats at the east end of the track.

Dr. Satterwhite presented the consideration of tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 school year to the Board.

During the past few years, the Board has been discussing the development of a tiered structure so an in-district student will come to SPC and live on campus while taking affordable classes.

Dr. Satterwhite said he does not recommend an increase in in-district tuition. However, there may be a tuition increase for out-of-district and for non-resident students for a variety of reasons.

“Our tax structure here supports our infrastructure, and that’s where a large amount of our taxes go,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “But if an in-district student decides to go to a different campus, I think there needs to be a noticeable change in charges.”

Dr. Satterwhite presented the extension of the MOU that has been in discussion. SPC, the city of lubbock, and the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA), have addressed various objectives relating to the expansion of SPC to downtown Lubbock.

He mentioned he feels very strongly about the importance for SPC to be repositioned in the Lubbock region in order to start developing the community to move forward and grow.

“I think the extension was good because it opened the lines of communication and provided the opportunity to start having some healthy conversations,” Dr. Satterwhite said.

The vote for the extension has been planned to take place on June 14, but it may be considered for an earlier date.

Lastly, Dr. Satterwhite informed the Board of upcoming events on the Levelland campus, including: Student Awards Assembly on May 2 in the Texan Dome at 7 p.m.; Retirement Reception on May 3 in the Sundown Room at 1:30 p.m.; Board of Regents Meeting on May 9 in the Board of Regents Room at 4 p.m.; Employee Recognition Banquet on May 9 in the P.E. Complex at 6 p.m.; ADN Nurses Pinning on May 9 in the Texan Dome at 8 p.m.; and Commencement Ceremonies on May 10 in the Texan Dome at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.