Author: Daniel Conrad

Johann Sebastian Bops

San Antonio’s classical music community was treated to a number of novelties this weekend. The Classical Music Institute (CMI) Chamber Orchestra performed in the Ruth Taylor Recital Hall last Saturday, Oct. 7, with its 2017–2018 season opener, “Bach to Bach.” This performance was itself the first in a new CMI series titled “To Music,” which will celebrate individual composers with a night featuring their work. The 14-piece ensemble played eight compositions representing a variety of Johann Sebastian Bach’s work. David Heller, chair of Trinity’s music department, kicked off the night with a performance of the prelude and fugue of the second book of “The Well-Tempered Clavier in E major.” Harpsichord haters, step aside; his memorized solo performance hit all the right notes. It’s hard to hear the tinkling of a harpsichord and not imagine myself in a regal courtyard, but Heller’s performance justified the fantasy. CMI violin soloist Mari Lee joined Heller for a performance of the first two movements of “Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Harpsichord in E major”. Beginning with its moody adagio, the pair worked together to pull out the composition’s sorrowful tones until it was time for the second movement, the allegro. An allegro to be sure; its melody was bouncing and joyful. The whole chamber orchestra emerged to perform an excerpt from the “St. Matthew Passion,” an operatic concert piece with a sacred theme: the...

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SOS: Senior leads opioid OD response initiative

Students for Opioid Solutions (SOS), a startup nonprofit co-founded by Trinity senior Jonah Wendt, aims to eliminate opioid overdoses on college campuses nationwide. As executive director of SOS, Wendt will encourage universities to enact proactive policies intended to reduce rates of student overdoses on opioid painkillers Wendt, best known for his leadership positions in the conservative student group Tigers for Liberty, co-founded the organization after meeting Gerald Fraas, a junior at the University of Alabama, through the College Republican National Committee. “SOS started on Sept. 11, 2017, when one of my friends that I met while interning at Capitol...

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Rescheduled concert clashes with Yom Kippur

Practicing Jewish students were disappointed to learn that the Cashmere Cat concert was rescheduled for Sept. 30 — the same day that they will be concluding a 24-hour period of fasting and prayer in observance of Yom Kippur, one of Judaism’s most significant holidays. Members of the Student Involvement staff have apologized to Jewish Student Association-Hillel (JSA) and are developing a policy for navigating potential conflicts between student programming and religious holidays. Yom Kippur, or ‘Day of Atonement,’ begins when the sun sets on Sept. 29 and ends at sunset on Sept. 30, which will occur during the concert....

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First-year students’ struggle prompts QEP

Amid rumors of an unusual number of Class of 2020 students at risk of academic probation and dismissal, university officials were unable to fulfill requests for comprehensive data on student performance during their first semesters at Trinity by press time. According to the university’s website for the latest Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), nearly one third of first-years receive deficient grades: “40 percent of those deficient grades are a [sic] ‘F.’ ” The document, written on Dec. 20 and 21 of 2016, notes that more than six percent of Trinity first years earned a GPA under 2.0 after their first semester. It cites data from the National Survey of Student Engagement: “Trinity scores below our peer and peer-aspirant institutions in first-year advising in virtually all survey items.” “There has been an increase in struggling first-year students this year,” said John Hermann, associate professor of political science and chairman of the QEP, titled Starting Strong: Intentional Strategies for Improving First-Year Student Success at Trinity University. “I have the exact data, but….” He trailed off, having previously explained that he wasn’t at liberty to share specific information. “Our goal with the [First-Year Experience] was to really make sure that every first-year student, right away [once] they got on campus, had an intensive writing, reading, and analytical thinking experience,” says Tim O’Sullivan, interim associate vice president for academic affairs. “We want to make...

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Budget surprises force student govt. spending deficit

Rumors that Student Government Association (SGA) has gone over its semesterly budget have been confirmed by SGA president Nick Santulli and vice president Joseph Khalaf. “[This deficit] essentially means that the demand of student organizations exceeded the allocation we got for this semester,” Santulli said. In an email interview, Joseph Khalaf explained how the funding allocation process works. “Every student at Trinity pays a student activity fee (SAF) of $150 per semester,” Khalaf wrote. “This money is pooled together and 94 percent is given to SGA to distribute to student organizations.” Khalaf explained that the university keeps 6 percent of each year’s SAF; two percent of the remaining 94 percent funds SGA’s internal operating budget. University-sponsored organizations and registered student organizations send funding requests to SGA. The vice president of SGA and elected student senators then decide whether to back the proposals. But according to Santulli, SGA wasn’t told its semesterly budget allocation until mid-February — after senators had already heard proposals and approved funding for several events. “We weren’t really able to estimate how much money we had to allocate before that, and it was lower than we expected it — more students, I guess, transferred or withdrew,” Santulli said. A number of unusual surprises complicated this semester’s budget. “The previous SGA underfunded recreation sports and we are obligated under contract to fund a five-year average,” Khalaf wrote....

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