Photo Credit: Emily Ng | Daily Texan Staff

Incoming freshmen and transfer students will be required to attend fewer activities at orientation this upcoming summer than in previous years. 

Alex Kappus, New Student Services coordinator, said administrators hope to increase student attendance at optional events by reducing the number of mandatory activities, although the overall number of activities offered will remain about the same. 

“A philosophical shift for this summer is this idea of really helping create an orientation that keeps in mind the flow for the new students, building in time for students to commute between events so that they don’t feel like they are rushing from place to place,” Kappus said.

Joey Williams, communications coordinator for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, said each incoming freshman will be required to participate in a small group, which he said helps increase student retention rates in the long-term. The class of 2017, the first class to participate in small groups, had the highest average GPA and retention rates of any UT class in history, Williams said.  

“We know [participation in small groups] has a direct impact on how well students do in terms of persisting, staying in school, their GPA [and] how many hours that they are taking,” Williams said.

Williams said the personal finance course “Bevonomics,” which in the past has been taught in-person, has been turned into a pre-orientation video because many students walked out of the course before they finished it.

“It’s kind of dry material, and it would take up a lot of time,” Williams said. “They are required to watch these videos, and we know that they’ve done that. That’s something we don’t have to do during orientation, so we have more time to do some of these other community and other programing things.”   

Additional changes were made to academic group advising sessions during orientation, which were previously one-day, four-hour sessions. It will now consist of two sessions, at most two hours long, spread over two days. Students will also only be required to attend two wing meetings instead of five.

Psychology freshman Ann Folker said she found the amount of information she received during orientation overwhelming.

“It was kind of stressful, and I was already nervous going in,” Folker said.

Gretchen Pierce, New Student Services communications manager, said students will be able to participate in more optional program sessions about topics such as campus life and Student Government during three different time slots every orientation session. 

“We did have optional program sessions last year, but new this year is that we are collectively calling them ‘Discover UT,’” Pierce said. “We hope that by branding them that way, students will be more interested in the programs and excited to attend and learn more about everything UT has to offer.”

Clarification: This story has been amended since its original publication. The overall number of programs offered at orientation will remain the roughly the same. Gretchen Pierce is the New Student Services communications manager,

David Chambers, coordinator for Student Emergency Services, provides support and resources for students going through difficult situations. He devotes his time to alleviating students’ crisis.
Photo Credit: Zoe Fu | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: In 300 words or fewer, this series spotlights people in our community whose stories typically go untold.

With a big smile on his face, David Chambers, coordinator for Student Emergency Services, welcomes students in crisis to his office. He offers a list of resources to get back on top, deems any student’s concern an emergency and works overtime to help overwhelming situations seem less scary.

“I’m kind of a hugger,” Chambers said. “There’re many times I just want to hug you and make it all go away.”

Although Chambers has an undergraduate degree in computer science, his love of working with people pushed him to get a masters in higher education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He said his calm disposition helps him handle chaotic situations.

Since high school, Chambers has volunteered with EMTs. Eventually, Chambers decided to become a firefighter, in honor of his cousin, a police officer, who had died in the line of duty. During his seven years as a firefighter, the department honored Chambers for his heroism after he saved a disabled person from their burning home. 

“For the fields I have worked in, there’s some dangers to it — whether that’s physical or mental,” Chambers said. “But this is what I enjoy doing. For me, I couldn’t sit home and program all day. That would get me down.”

In order to gain more knowledge and build a larger support network for students, Chambers became part of the Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team of Travis County. Chambers doesn’t know how many cases will come in each day, but he waits patiently in his office to give his full attention to concerned students. 

“In my previous job as a firefighter, I never really followed up with people,” Chambers said. “Here, we continue to work with students through the crisis and see how resilient the students are and how they can succeed against a lot of struggles.”

Correction: This article has been amended since its original publication. Chambers became a firefighter in 2006, a few years after his cousin, a police officer, died in the line of duty. Chambers attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 

Tuesday marked the 10th anniversary of the initial invasion of Iraq and the start of the Iraq War. 

Student veteran coordinator Ben Armstrong said while the day offers an opportunity for remembrance and recognition for US citizens, veterans’ experiences remain personal. 

“It’s not as easy as saying this is a day where we can sit around and talk about it,” Armstrong said. “We’re still too close to this war to romanticize it or simplify it. It’s messy. It’s war.”

Armstrong is the coordinator of the Student Veteran Services Center, which opened in November 2011 to assist with the transition for veterans from active duty into student life. Armstrong served as a corporal in the Marine Corps for five years. He said the center gives veterans support when returning to civilian life. 

“Seven hundred some people scattered across this campus had to go out into a different culture — put there by people who make decisions — and did the best they could to adapt and overcome in their specific situation,” Armstrong said.

Philosophy senior Gary Romriell, a student veteran who was medically discharged, said prior to his deployment in 2004 as an infantry soldier, he did not fully understand the combat experience.

“I was going to become special forces and all that,” Romriell said. “Then I went to Iraq and I decided ‘No, I’m going to college.’”

Romriell said the media tends to emphasize anniversary days as an opportunity for political promotion or monetary gain.

“We remember the experiences and maintain our own pride internally,” Romriell said. “I learned to appreciate that no matter what our political perspective, every war is both horrible and a possible force for change — for good.”

Armstrong said that each soldier has their own ghosts, skeletons and memories.

“With or without this day set aside for acknowledgement, the different experiences of the veterans will always be with them,” Armstrong said.

Biology senior Amy Prichard, a Student Veteran Services Center management team member, said Army medicine made history by leaving a fully functional hospital with the government of Iraq during her service as a captain in the Medical Service Corps

“It obviously makes me sad to point out the futility in all of it, but my individual opinion doesn’t matter,” Prichard said. “Geopolitically what was happening was what was happening. Regardless of whether or not I agree or disagree I feel good about what I did, and I feel good about what my hospital did, and the people we took care of. That’s what I have to keep.”

Running back Malcolm Brown handles the ball at spring practice.  Brown will be guided in part by running backs Larry Porter, who brings seasoned experience to his first year at Texas.  

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

It was Darrell K Royal who said a football coach is nothing more than a teacher.

Lessons won’t be in short supply for Texas after a string of promotions, hires and new positions in its coaching staff. Among those with new job titles are co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite, co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt and assistant coach/running backs coach Larry Porter.

The relevancy of their brag-worthy resumes is undeniable. But the burning question is what the impact of those changes in staff will be on the Longhorns.  

After taking the reins just before the Valero Alamo Bowl, Applewhite will have a bit more time this spring to get a handle on things, particularly the up-tempo offense head coach Mack Brown has been emphasizing. Applewhite is more suited to the quick offensive strategy than former co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, Brown said at a press conference before the start of spring practice.

“I think it’s probably easier for Major to do it, because it had not been a huge part of Bryan’s background and it’s been what Major likes and what he does and it’s been what Darrell Wyatt likes,” Brown said.  

Applewhite will bring his expertise as a former Longhorn quarterback to implement the up-tempo offense and smooth any rumples as the team adjusts to the strategy.  

Like Applewhite, Wyatt also received his promotion just before the Alamo Bowl. He has worked with Texas wide receivers since his hire in January 2011, with two of them, Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, posting more than 50 receptions.  

Wyatt has a history of getting results. As co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Kansas in 2010, Wyatt helped rebuild a team that had lost a quarterback and two wide receivers. He also guided the University of Southern Mississippi to a school record of 428 points in 2009. 

“Texas is the type of place where the sky’s the limit on what you can accomplish,” Wyatt said in a press conference following his hire. “The level of expectations are extremely high and that’s something I will definitely embrace.” 

With returners Davis and Shipley, plus the additions of Jake Oliver, Jacorey Warrick and Montrel Meander, Wyatt has an impressive batch on his hands, and his vision and determination could help propel Texas’ wide receivers to smoother play in the up-tempo offense.  

For Porter, burnt orange is a new color. 

The assistant coach/running backs coach embarks upon his first season at Texas after being hired in January. After graduating from Memphis as a four-year letterer, Porter had coaching stints at Arizona State, LSU, Oklahoma State as well as his alma mater. The running game of his Sun Devils ranked 24th in the nation last season. Four of his running backs were selected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft in three years, from 2004 to 2007. 

“He brings a wealth of experience and has a reputation as one of the best coaches and recruiters in our game,” Brown said after Porter’s hire.  

Porter’s expertise in developing players could be just what the Longhorns need to capitalize on a strong group of backs that has tremendous potential. With the influx of an up-tempo offense, the speed of Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray and Daje Johnson will surely be utilized.

The impacts of these new coaching positions will unmask themselves as play begins to pan out, but for now, Texas coaches have plenty to teach. And the Longhorns have plenty to learn.

Published on March 6, 2013 as "Coaching shifts impact play". 

Students getting rid of used items can consider contributing to a campus-wide drive that is looking for donations ranging from pairs of gently worn shoes to notebooks and household goods.

The eighth annual Trash to Treasure Donation Drive will begin today and run through May 15 on campus. Organized by the Campus Environmental Center, the drive will collect used goods, from apparel to houseware, at donation locations across campus for the fall 2012 Trash to Treasure garage sale.

Geography sophomore Reanna Bain, the coordinator for Trash to Treasure, said the goal of the drive is to divert waste that occurs when students move out of residence halls.

“It will prevent usable items from going to a landfill,” Bain said. “The project strives to recycle what others may consider to be trash and resell items in a campus-wide garage sale at the beginning of the school year where many students can’t believe the amount of treasures they find.”

Bain said all students are consumers and should be aware of the environmental impact they have when they buy new things and throw away items that can still be used.

“Our planet can only hold so many items and so many people think of  ‘throwing something away’ in an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ perspective,” Bain said. “In actuality, everything that we make, especially if it’s not biodegradable, is still on Earth. Therefore, it is wasteful for humans as a whole to create such large amounts of waste and not expect to face the consequences later.”

Psychology senior Faith Shin, outreach coordinator for Campus Environmental Center, said the advantage of this drive is the abundant potential for students to enjoy the used materials donated.

“The rising love for vintage and used goods makes this donation all the more relevant,” Shin said. “Students who partake in this drive as volunteers can see that the donations benefit a lot of people.”

Desired donation items include gently used clothing, shoes, electronics, household items and school supplies, she said.

“Keep in mind that items not allowed include children’s clothing, clothes or shoes with stains or holes, undergarments, swimsuits, personal care products or outdated electronics that are old or broken,” Shin said. 

Marketing senior Brittney Walls, event coordinator for the University Co-op, said they held the Duds for Discounts drive at the Co-op branch stores in late April. The two Austin locations, which collected an estimated 300 donations, gave those items to the Trash to Treasure drive.

“We were looking for charities to partner with in each city and since we’re right across the street from campus, what better way to give back to UT than through this drive?” Walls said. “We received some really nice men’s and women’s clothing that students would benefit from especially at such a low cost.”

Drive donation areas will include Jester East, Jester West, San Jacinto, Duren, Kinsolving, Whitis Court, Littlefield and Carothers residence halls.

Steve Stern from the University of Wisconsin at Madison speaks at the unveiling of Guatemalan police archives at the UT law school on Friday afternoon. The documents’ existence was long denied by the Guatemalan police, and they chronicle the history of the Guatemalan police for the past 100 years.

Photo Credit: Jorge Corona | Daily Texan Staff

A digital archive featuring millions of images and documents from the National Police of Guatemala could help people searching for family and friends who have disappeared, said Karen Engle, law professor and co-director and founder of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

The Rapoport Center, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and UT Libraries hosted a conference where panelists discussed a wide-range of topics, such as how the use of the archive has helped with the progress of human rights cases and research in Guatemala.

Engle said the information in the archive became public in 2009 when Guatemala passed a freedom of information law, and on Friday the UT Libraries made much of the archive available online.

The archive’s coordinator, Gustavo Meoño, created the archive from a warehouse of decomposing documents at the national police headquarters that was found more than six years ago in Guatemala City. The warehouse’s existence had been denied by the country’s government and police force, according to UT’s website.

Now, Meoño and his team have transformed these documents into a world-class archive that chronicles the history of the national police for the past 100 years.

He said this archive has helped and will continue to help uncover the history of Guatemala, specifically the time period of 1975-1985, when the majority of human rights violations were committed during the country’s civil war.

“The archive is fundamental for criminal investigations and persecutions in Guatemala,” Meoño said. “Historical, cultural and sociological investigations can all be stemmed to the archive and can advance the transition of justice.”

The archive is currently comprised of approximately 80 million images and documents, and about 13 million are already digitized and available on the archive’s website.

Christian Kelleher, archivist for the Benson Latin American Collection and project manager for the Human Rights Documentation Initiative, led the presentation of the website.

Kelleher navigated the audience through the website’s structure and discussed how to go about searching for documents and viewing them.

“We tried to make the experience of using this online archive as close to the experience of someone using the original archive itself.” Kelleher said. “There’s very limited indexing that can lead to direct access to the document, so identifying any material or looking for any document takes a lot of work to find.”

Charles Hale, director of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and Benson Latin American Collection, said students could find the archive valuable for many purposes.

“Students can learn how to navigate large data sets, explore the complexities of Guatemalan history — deeply intertwined with that of our country — and work in support of initiatives in Guatemala to protect human rights, bring perpetrators to justice and build a more just and democratic society,” Hale said.

Printed on Monday, December 5, 2011 as: Archive features Guatemalan documents

Dr. Margaret C. Berry encouraged students to get involved and to make positive changes within the university during her interview at the Alumni Center on Friday evening. Students are petitioning for the SAC to be renamed Margaret C. Berry Student Activity Center to honor all her efforts as an alumni.

Photo Credit: Julia Bunch | Daily Texan Staff

The woman widely known as the unofficial historian of the University shared her memories spanning 80 years of UT history, including the construction of the Tower, the acquisition of the Big Bertha drum and the Charles Whitman shooting in a public interview Friday.

Margaret C. Berry, who has written eight books on UT history, conducted the videotaped interview with theater and dance sophomore Leslie Powell at the Alumni Center. Powell is a coordinator for Students for the Margaret C. Berry Student Activity Center.

The group has collected more than 4,000 student and alumni signatures on a petition to name the building after Berry, said UT alumnus and Austin real estate agent Rick Potter.

Berry was a student at UT in the 1930s and became an associate dean of students in the 1950s. She recalled that the tearing down of the Old Main building and the construction of the new one, which was finished in 1937, caused controversy.

“Former students really raised Cain. They really raised heck because they didn’t want the Old Main building taken down,” she said. “But those of us who were on campus were glad to see it taken down. It was creaky and ugly. It never was built very well.”

Berry said the Charles Whitman shooting in 1966 led to the establishment of the first university-sponsored 24-hour telephone counseling service in the country in the late ‘60s, which she administered for a year.

“We saved people’s lives, I know for sure we did,” Berry said.

Berry encouraged students to work for the changes they want to see at UT.

“The shuttle bus system is one thing, the kiosks on campus, opening the Tower after it had been closed for a long time — students have done a lot of good things, and you can keep on doing good things,” Berry said.

Powell said she conducted the interview with Berry to help preserve the history of UT for posterity.

“She’s one of the oldest living alumni and has so many memories of the University,” Powell said. “There’s no one better to talk about the history of the campus.”

Powell said the building should be named after Berry since only eight campus buildings are named after women, and five of those are current or former women’s residence halls.

“No other person has had as much positive influence on the students of UT as she has,” Powell said.

Jules Villarreal, a sociology and Middle Eastern studies freshman, said the interview helped him learn about UT history.

“I really came here to UT not knowing much about the history or traditions or knowing much of anything, and listening to this interview — it’s kind of a snapshot of all the traditions and history of UT,” Villarreal said. 

Adjusting to a new scheme is nothing new for Mack Brown’s defense.

In the past seven seasons, four defensive coordinators have held the position at Texas, grooming the Longhorns in their own ways.

Browns’ latest defensive hire, Manny Diaz, is in full control now after completing his first spring season in Austin and the Longhorn defense is finally starting to take shape.

Texas fans can expect to see a more aggressive defense on the field in 2011, behind Diaz’s pressure-oriented scheme. The days of sitting back and reacting — usually the game plan under former coordinator and current Florida head coach Will Muschamp — are gone, and the Longhorns will look to dictate the opposition’s offense by attacking the quarterback and running game.

“In this defense, we bring so much pressure that we dictate what happens,” said Texas senior linebacker Emmanuel Acho. “It’s not so much what the other team does; it’s more so what we do. If you’re aggressive and your teammates are aggressive, big things will happen.”

The change certainly has Acho excited, and the Dallas native says the potential for the defense this season is sky high.
While Diaz plans to utilize the speed and quickness up front to harass the ball carrier, the former Mississippi State coordinator isn’t forgetting his playmakers in the secondary. In fact, senior safety Blake Gideon says his newfound freedom on defense is a welcome change because the players have more flexibility to make adjustments before the play.

“As you get more comfortable in it, then you’re able to make checks and get out of base looks on the field,” Gideon said. “You’re able to show different things before pre-snap and move into something else. It’s really an NFL feel to this defense, in the sense that [Diaz] gives us so much responsibility on the field.”

While the Longhorns feel they are becoming accustomed to the new defensive philosophy, they still have their work cut out for them in the playbook.

“Right now, we think we know; when we come back we need to know we know,” Diaz said. “But that’s tough, and it’s all part of the transition going into a different type of scheme. We can’t have it memorized; we have to have the understanding, and that will come over the summertime.”

The Diaz defense requires everyone to be on the same page on every play, and the Longhorns will have to be well-versed on the nuances of the scheme when they return to the practice field at the end of the summer.

“We’re a defense that has to do everything right to be successful,” Diaz said. “On the plays when 11 guys lock in and do their job, we’re hard to move [the ball] against. But we still have very little margin for error if we don’t play with our technique and don’t play our assignments.”

Given the talent he sees on the field, Diaz has high expectations for his crew when practice resumes.

“If we come back the first practice in August at the same level, we’re in trouble,” he said. “It’s really important for our players in the offseason to make some strides.”

That’s easier said than done, considering the Longhorns’ disappointing offseason a year ago.

“I’m not sure we had a great summer last year,” Brown said. “It needs to be player driven. They need to know that they need to fight to get jobs when they get back in the fall.”

Texas will not have a depth chart before fall practice is underway.

Bryan Harsin saw firsthand Saturday what Texas fans expect the Longhorn offense to do against Oklahoma next fall. The Longhorns’ new co-offensive coordinator sat courtside with Major Applewhite as the Texas men’s basketball team pummeled the Sooners in the Frank Erwin Center.

It will be Harsin and Applewhite’s responsibility to duplicate those results on the football field in 2011.

“I know our expectations here,” Harsin said in a press conference last week. “We have a championship program. We have a championship head coach, and it’s my job to help put together a championship offense.”

Harsin will also serve as the Longhorns’ quarterbacks coach, replacing Greg Davis, who resigned early last month after 13 seasons at Texas. Harsin and Applewhite, who was promoted to co-offensive coordinator, will work together to develop an offensive game plan, with Harsin handling the play-calling duties.

“As a coordinator, there are times when you need help and times when you don’t need help,” Applewhite said before introducing Harsin last week. “I understand that role, and so I want to help Bryan in installing this offense and whatever we need to do to just simply win games and do what is best for us here at Texas.”

Harsin arrived in Austin after coaching for 10 years at Boise State. He spent the previous five seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Broncos and was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2009, which is given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

The Broncos had one of the most prolific offenses in the country the past several years, consistently ranking among the best in major statistical categories. Their offense, primarily fueled by the passing game, helped them to BCS bowl wins in 2007 and 2010.

Harsin brings a multiple-style offense that’s different from the spread offense Texas has run for nearly the past decade.

“[At Boise], we’ve had to try to create matchups in our favor, and I think that was one of the things that pushed into going into this type of system,” Harsin said. “From that it just evolved into kind of a scheme that we felt became ours. We had a formula of how to do it that we felt worked very well.”

To compare, the Longhorns lined up in six formations on offense during their 34-7 win against Wyoming last fall. Boise State lined up in 26 formations and beat the Cowboys 51-6.

Harsin and Applewhite will team with newly hired receivers coach Darrell Wyatt to improve an offense that scored just fewer than 24 points per game, ranking 88th in the country.

Co-offensive coordinators are unconventional in college football but not unheard of. Justin Fuente and Jarrett Anderson constructed a TCU offense that ranked fourth in the country in scoring offense in 2009. Last month, Oklahoma named Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell co-offensive coordinators, after previous coordinator Kyle Wilson took the head coaching job at Indiana.

Co-coordinators have worked out in the past for Texas. Gene Chizik and Duane Akina were co-defensive coordinators in 2005 whewn Texas won the national championship.

“It’s an effort that we’re going to do this together,” Harsin said. “We’re going to put our minds together. There’s a lot of knowledge that’s going to be in that room, and we’re going to make this system a Texas system.”

Texas still has a vacancy at offensive line coach and the athletics department seems primed to fill that spot as the new co-coordinators begin to rebuild the Longhorn offense.

“They’re anxious to get started, and we can’t wait to watch what they do,” said Texas head coach Mack Brown.