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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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On Campus: News From Across Texas A&M

No Pet Left Behind 

After learning that many women who experience domestic abuse report they are hesitant to leave an abuser if it means leaving a pet behind, a group of students in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences established Aggies Fostering Hope.

Created by Hunter Greer ’16, Melodie Raese ’17 and Jamie Foster ’21, Aggies Fostering Hope provides a safe, temporary home for the pets of women facing domestic abuse. Since many domestic abuse safe houses don’t allow animals, the program could help victims leave abusive situations sooner.

The program has partnered with the Bryan and College Station police departments to transport victims’ pets to the Texas A&M Small Animal Hospital for medical treatment, where discounted prices are offered. A foster then provides a safe home until the owner and pet can reunite, while intermittent visitations between the owner and pet are arranged.

The program also educates veterinarians about the link between domestic violence and pet abuse. “Seventy-five percent of animals that are in abusive homes are being seen by veterinarians,” Raese said. “More than likely, there are signs that are just not being recognized. There are ways for veterinarians to intervene to help these women and animals.”

For more information, visit give.am/AggiesFosteringHope. 

Mikayla Slaydon '22

Fostering Success

Texas A&M University is increasing its support for students who have aged out of the Texas foster care system with a new Supervised Independent Living program. As an extended foster care placement, the program provides financial assistance for on-campus housing and dining, mobile phone fees and other personal expenses while allowing students to live on their own, pursue a college degree and become self-sufficient.

“This program creates an opportunity that combines financial support and mentorship to help students enter higher education and obtain a degree,” said Melanie McKoin Owens ’16, a case manager for Student Assistance Services who also noted that private funding will be needed as the program expands. “Our office serves as a coordination point, working one-on-one with students to ensure they receive support services that will help them along their college journey.”

Educational psychology major Mikayla Slaydon ’22 is one of the program’s first participants. “When I think of where my life was before I entered the foster care system, the system saved me and gave me so many amazing opportunities,” she said. “I think this program will also help ensure that my time at Texas A&M is exceptional.”

  • Student Services Building

    A new Student Services Building opened in January to provide a central hub for multiple offices aimed at helping students. The $42 million, 95,000-square-foot facility houses four Division of Student Affairs departments, including some Residence Life offices, the Offices of the Dean of Student Life, Counseling & Psychological Services, and Disability Resources.
  • Salute to Sully

    A life-size bronze statue of Sully, former President George H.W. Bush’s service dog, was unveiled last December at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. America’s VetDogs, a national service dog school, commissioned renowned sculptor Susan Bahary to create the piece highlighting Sully’s work as a loyal companion to President Bush during the last year of his life.
  • Radio Silence

    One of Aggieland’s familiar sounds will soon fall silent thanks to a 1.7-mile railroad quiet zone to be implemented near campus. Approved by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, the decision will improve educational and research activities and the quality of life on campus by reducing noise.

Rocketing to New Heights

For Texas A&M University’s Sounding Rocketry Team (SRT), the sky is just the beginning. Founded in 2013, the student-run engineering organization designs and constructs rockets and provides its members with hands-on skills and tools for professional growth. “Our goal is to build up engineers,” said Jared Kizer ’20, the team’s director. “The majority of my valuable engineering skills are due to my time with SRT.”

During the past seven years, the team has created five flight-ready rockets and four hybrid engines. In 2019, the team launched its rocket, Theseus II, at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition’s Spaceport America Cup, marking the group’s first flight of a hybrid engine. “Getting that rocket off the ground was definitely our biggest accomplishment yet,” Kizer said.

In the fall 2019 semester, the team constructed and tested its latest engine, Vulcan, designed to reach 30,000 feet. While its scheduled launch at the 2020 Spaceport America Cup was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team plans to continue expanding its engineering skills and hopes to design more advanced rockets in the future. “There’s some pretty amazing things ahead for SRT,” Kizer added. “I’m excited to see what the future holds for our organization.”
 

John “Keoni” Meigs, painting for Waikiki Reef, c. late 1940s; gouache on paper, 24 x 30 inches; © Keoni Collection.

Aloha to Fashion

Earlier this year, the Texas A&M University Stark Galleries hosted Art of the Aloha Shirt: Keoni of Hawaii, 1938-51, an exhibition exploring Hawaii’s enduring fashion statement: the Aloha shirt. The exhibition was a program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance with The Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.

It featured original textile artwork, production sketches and swatches, advertisements and vintage shirts that showcased the story of the late John “Keoni” Meigs. A self-taught painter, he manufactured his first creations in 1938 and is credited with producing as many as 300 Aloha shirt designs. 

“In a sense, Aloha shirts put Hawaii on the map,” Meigs said once. “The first thing people did when they arrived was make a beeline for a department store to buy one. A lot of kooky things were designed, but I always tried to be a purist when it came to using motifs from Hawaiian sources.” 

The patterns of Polynesian tapa cloth, the colorful and bold floral designs of Tahitian pareau, and the sheer Japanese fabric used for making kimonos are often cited as some of Meigs’ early stylistic influences of the shirt.
 

Contact:

Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor