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‘Angel Tree’ spreads Christmas cheer

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Amarillo College has been given the opportunity to partner with the community and spread Christmas cheer this holiday season. For the second Christmas in a row, the Student Government Association will host an Angel Tree event. The Angel Tree provides gifts for children throughout Amarillo. “We did this for the first time last year,” said Heather Atchley, director of Student Life. “It’s a good community service project and makes participating in an Angel Tree event much easier. Instead of having to go somewhere like the mall, angels can be picked here on campus.” SGA has teamed up with the Salvation Army to help the fund start to grow.

“There really aren’t any rules to the Angel Tree,” Atchley said. “You just pick an angel that has a child’s age and what gifts they would like. Then you go purchase a gift, stick the angel to them and return them to the CUB basement.” An angel has been selected by SGA, and members will purchase a gift for the smaller girl. “We are hoping to get her a stuffed animal, scooter, pajamas or an Easy-Bake Oven,” said Abraham Pnorio, a biology major. “It feels really good to help people, and it is important to me because I am representing SGA.” The Angel Tree is not a typical community service commonly found at a college.

“It really is a fantastic feeling,” said Cutter Love, SGA president. “It gives you an opportunity to help someone that you may never meet, and you’re benefiting outside of your own personal life.” “The tree is up now and has a few more angels left,” Atchley said. “Anyone can participate, and everyone is encouraged to contribute.” The gifts for the Angels are to be dropped off at the College Union Building basement on the Washington Street Campus no later than Dec. 11. The Salvation Army will collect them and distribute the gifts to the children.

Running the numbers | Little pieces make up the big picture

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1.14 million brown paper bags are used in the United States every hour, 240,000 plastic bags are used every 10 seconds, and there are 2.4 million pieces of plastic in the ocean. Those are not just statistics, but artwork to artist and photographer Chris Jordan. Jordan’s work is on display at the Amarillo Museum of Art. On Oct. 23, Jordan came to Amarillo to give a talk about his exhibit, “Running the Numbers.” The work explores the phenomenon of American consumerism. “Running the Numbers” looks at contemporary American culture through the lens of statistics. Jordan’s work depicts the amount of mass consumption in the United States on an hourly, daily, weekly and annual basis. He manipulates images in order to help people visualize unimaginable statistics. Jordan’s presentation at the opening of the exhibit addressed how America’s mass consumption has led people to lose touch with the environment they are destroying. He said he uses his artwork to make the issue more tangible and to help people understand and grieve over what they have lost. “The only thing we have to connect with the enormity of the situation is statistics,” he said. “We cannot comprehend the millions or tens of millions or tens of billions. “Nothing registers. There is no feeling, and if we can’t feel these issues, we become disconnected from them.”Several AC photography majors attended Jordan’s talk and said his use of images stunned them. “It’s just amazing the impact he makes with the number of how many things we go through in a day, and in minutes, and the way he depicts them into an actual photo,” said Tasha Thorn. Another photography major, Esther Perkins, said, “His work and talk were eye-opening and mind-boggling. Until we visually see how much is used, we never really realize it.” The students noted that Jordan’s art brought out strong emotions. “His artwork moved me and made me realize the amount and number of things we actually use,” Read more [...]

Club gives hands-on experience

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Many  people on the Amarillo College campuses have artistic eyes, and they are who the Fuse Arts club was made for. Fuse Arts was created six years ago by several students who thought it would be fun to fuse all the various art clubs on campus together. Another goal was to do collaborations with the other clubs. “When we would meet with other clubs, we’d basically just do silly things, nothing serious,” said Visual Arts Instructor Stephanie Jung. “You don’t need to be an art major to join Fuse Arts; I’m just looking for people who are interested in some form of art.” Fuse Art meets at 2 p.m. each Monday in 112 Russell Hall. To join, all students need to do is show up to the meetings. They previously worked with groups such as Odyssey Hospice, Legacy Nursing Home and San Jacinto Elementary School. Fuse Arts is trying to work with children, to help them get a hands-on experience with art. One of the projects the club is organizing is an outreach with elementary students, said Gabby Garza, a graphic design major. Members want to show them how to be creative and also perform a couple of art techniques such as using contour lining and outlining. Having been a tutor, Garza was able to help the club get into the Tradewinds ESD program. That was their outreach center, and together they would work with students and create a group project with them. Another activity this semester is making leached shirt stencils. “We wanted to help the children be productive with their hands and have fun while doing it,” said Ashlyn Farrell, a graphic design major and president of the Fuse Arts club. Interested students can call Jung at 806-371-5282. Her office is located in 124-B Russell Hall. Read more [...]

Students take pride in culture

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Every year, Americans observe Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. During that time, people celebrate the cultures, histories and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Roughly 54 million Hispanics live in the United States today, making up about 17 percent of the population. They are the largest minority group in the United States. Many Hispanics make the journey to the U.S. in search of a better future for themselves and their family, often leaving their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents behind for opportunities their native land cannot provide for them. It is a difficult journey that many make with unpredictable consequences.“My dad had to leave Cuba to make a better life for us,” said Daniar Oños, a computer science major. “One day my dad was in a really bad train accident that left him disabled. The main reason I came to the United States was at that moment, I thought that coming to help him was my destiny.”Hispanics experience many hardships, whether it is learning English to having trouble finding resources that can help them get settled in the United States.“Being Hispanic in the U.S. has been really hard for me because learning English was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do,” Oños explained. “Besides having to leave my mom, family and friends in Cuba. But they gave me the strength not to give up and do the best I can for me and for them.” For Hispanics in the United States, having an education is an accumulated disadvantage due to not having the economic and social resources that many other students have access to.“Having an education is very important not only as a means to become economically successful in the United States, but a vehicle for personal, spiritual and emotional success for us, immigrants,” said Maury Roman-Jordan, director of outreach services.“Back then, whenever you’re Hispanic, it was more Read more [...]

AC houses one of largest insect collections in Texas

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The Natural History Museum houses many different animal specimens at AC.
Tiffany Lamb, director of the Natural History Museum, works with thousands of animals, insects and plants. The Natural History Museum on the Amarillo College Washington Street Campus houses more than 30,000 specimens, including one of the largest insect collections in Texas. The museum is free for anyone to visit, and guided tours are available.  “We are there so anyone can come by and check out animals and plants from around the world,” Lamb said. The museum is there not only for people to examine the collection, but it can be used for research.  Scientists and students have used the collection for study. “We’ve had museum representatives from across the United States come view and study our specimens,” Lamb said. There are plans to add more to the collection in the future, but according to Lamb, “We rely on the generosity of the public and members of the biology department” to help it grow. “When we collect, all the specimens are donated to the museum,” Lamb said. “We also have individuals from the public donate to us. Many of the public donors are game hunters who do not have room to display in their trophy cases at home, so they donate them in order for everyone to be able to learn about the animals.” The museum accepts donations of legally obtained specimens that are in good condition for display. People interested in contributing to the museum can donate through the AC Foundation. The pieces at the museum vary in value, and some are even priceless because the species are endangered. Some of the rarer species are worth thousands of dollars, while others, such as local plants and insects, are collected for free.  Cristian Murga, a vocational nursing major, said he has heard of the museum but has never been inside. Because of a lack of an advertising budget, the facility is not well known by most students. “We do not have an advertising budget, so we rely on word of mouth to let people know about us,” Lamb said. Murga Read more [...]

Fun, creative way to earn P.E. credit

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Running around a field while wearing a five-foot diameter plastic bubble is a new way to earn college credit. “Try it; you’ll love it,” said Nathaniel Buttel, an engineering major. This semester, Amarillo College is offering bubble soccer for both continuing education and physical education credit. Offering the class for a physical education credit gives students more interesting options, said Trent Oneal, a fitness and life services instructor. Students also can come play just for fun. “Every person involved in the game wears a giant ball and tries to get the soccer ball in the goal,” Oneal said. “It’s kind of experimental. We’re excited to see how far it will go as far as popularity and all that we can do with it.” Each team consists of up to six players, and the game consists of four quarters, 8 to 12 minutes long. A goal counts as  one point, and the team with the most points at the end of the last quarter wins. Players say they enjoy wearing the giant bubble ball because it allows them to run into each other and fall down without getting hurt. “I like how they hit and they fly,” said Holly Clark, a player and general studies major. Practices take place at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at the Memorial Park soccer field next to the Washington Street Campus. If weather conditions are bad, players move inside Carter Fitness Center. “You won’t regret it,” said Intramural Coordinator Calee Follins. “It will be the best couple of hours of your week.” Read more [...]
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