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Spirit is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

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Also In This Issue

On Campus: News From Across Texas A&M

Howdy, Dammit!

It’s hard to say whether their boisterous voices or their T-shirts scream louder. Either way, you won’t miss members of the “Howdy Walkers” coming your way.

Every other week, Texas A&M Foundation trustee Otway Denny '71 and former Foundation trustee Van Taylor '71 are joined by Steve Pringle ’71 for a “Howdy Walk” on campus. Dressed in “Howdy, Dammit!” T-shirts and sweats, the three men complete a 4.5 mile lap around campus, greeting every student they pass with a loud and proud “Howdy!”

“Saying ‘Howdy’ is a Texas A&M tradition, but with students’ fast-paced lives and the advent of new technologies, it’s diminishing,” said Denny. “We hope to keep the tradition alive and encourage students to initiate saying ‘Howdy’ again.”

The team began walking in September 2016. They begin their route at the Jon L. Hagler Center and continue to West Campus before passing the Memorial Student Center, Military Walk and the Quad. The route takes one hour and 15 minutes.

“We get just as much enjoyment from it as the students,” chuckled Taylor. “When they see us coming, their faces light up and they sport big smiles on their faces. We remind them that saying ‘Howdy’ is contagious!”

Cruising on Campus 

Texas A&M University Transportation Services and Zagster Inc. launched a new campus bike-share program that provides students, faculty and staff with a convenient and affordable way to traverse campus.

The program features 75 cruiser bikes stationed at 10 campus locations, including Wehner/West Campus Library, Academic Plaza and Sbisa Dining Hall. To rent a bike, riders can pay an hourly rate or sign up for an annual membership.

“We are committed to providing innovative transportation options that give members of the campus community the freedom to go where they want, when they want,” said Peter Lange, associate vice president for Texas A&M Transportation Services. “We’re proud to partner with Zagster to make our campus more sustainable and reduce congestion by inspiring students to bike rather than drive.”

Bikes can be reserved via the free Zagster mobile app available for iPhone and Android or online at zagster.com/TAMU. Each bike is equipped with automatic lights, a bell, full reflectors, a Bluetooth-enabled lock and a spacious basket for carrying personal belongings.  

STARs in the Classroom

Last fall, four Texas A&M University students participated in the inaugural year of the Urban Student Teachers Advanced Residency (U-STAR) program in the College of Education and Human Development.

U-STAR is a three-year partnership with Spring Independent School District, specifically Thompson Elementary School in Houston, and Texas A&M. The yearlong clinical residency program provides future Aggie teachers with the cultural and classroom expertise necessary to thrive in urban educational environments.

“U-STAR focuses on long-term, hands-on instruction,” said Dr. Marlon James, associate director for the Center of Urban School Partnerships in the college. “Students are not just student teachers, but full-time employees of Spring ISD, and candidates who successfully complete the program are offered full-time teaching positions in the district.”

They also receive professional development support from Texas A&M faculty for two years after graduation. Participating students are part of the school’s life in every sense: They complete lesson plans, develop assignments, tutor, meet with parents, and cover morning and afternoon duty.

“This is a high-impact learning experience,” James said. “U-STAR accelerates our students’ mastery of content delivery, classroom management and parent-teacher interaction to bring out the best in pupils they teach.”

Aggies in Austin

Seven graduate students from The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University got an up-close view of the 85th session of the Texas Legislature as part of a capstone course.

Led by Professor Ann Bowman, students worked as aides and analysts on legislative committees and in the offices of members of the Texas House and Senate during the 2017 session.

Students prepared for the experience by learning about legislatures in general and the Texas Legislature in particular. “Legislatures are fascinating policymaking institutions, replete with rules and norms that are seldom seen by the public,” said Bowman, noting that in addition to hands-on learning, students were also required to complete an online course during their internship.

So far, four sets of Bush School capstone students have worked in the Texas Legislature, producing in-depth research reports at the end of each session. This year’s report focused on lawsuits filed by the State of Texas challenging the federal government.

CLASS NOTES

  • Under The Sea

    With some experts asserting that geosciences could be the defining scientific discipline of the 21st century, the College of Geosciences will begin offering an undergraduate degree in oceanography this fall. Courses will provide students a sea of opportunities to study critical challenges such as climate science and water quality.
  • Bang For Your Buck

    Numbers don’t lie! Based on cost of attendance and salary upon graduation, College Choice ranked the bachelor of business administration in finance degree from Mays Business School No. 4 in the nation.
  • A Coaching Life

    What’s it like for a head coach when the winning buzzer goes off at a championship game? In his new book, “A Coaching Life,” published by the Texas A&M University Press, Head Women’s Basketball Coach Gary Blair discusses his storied career and the lessons he’s learned on the hardwood. To purchase, visit give.am/GaryBlair.