Category: TCU Journalism Workshop

TCU football begins $100 million stadium upgrades

TCU football begins $100 million stadium upgrades

The TCU football program’s success has generated big money which has also allowed it to start big projects. That now means a bigger stadium.

Construction will soon start on a $100 million-dollar expansion to Amon G. Carter Stadium. The project comes after the stadium went through a $164 million renovation in 2012 — TCU’s first season in the Big 12 Conference — and is expected to be done in time for the 2019 season.

Associate Athletic Director Ross Bailey

“We’ve gone through six seasons of playing in the stadium, (and) part of what has become apparent is that our fans, our patrons, have had a desire for a premium-level experience,” said Ross Bailey, TCU’s senior associate athletic director. “And we were out of that space, we didn’t have anything to offer them.”  

The expansion will add 1,100 club seats, 22 luxury suites, and 48 loge boxes for a total of about 2,000 more seats, said Jeremiah Donati, TCU’s athletic director.

Bailey said there will be more to the expansion than football facilities.

“There’s going to be a ballroom club up on top of this thing that’s going to seat about 700 people with unobstructed views,” he said.

Bailey said that will fill a need because the B.L.U.U (Brown Lupton University Union) can only seat about 450 to 500 people and its normally booked all the time. The extensions will be made on the East Entrance building, providing another place to host events and hold celebrations.

The side nearest TCU’s campus and Frog Alley will be receiving the upgrades seen in this rendering. Photo courtesy of TCU Athletics


TCU breaks ground on new music building

TCU breaks ground on new music building

TCU’s music department is spread out across seven buildings, but in two years it will all come together in a state of the art building behind Brite Divinity School.

The building will be part of the Creative Commons that is transforming east campus from a sea of parking lots to a hub of learning.

The new building’s prime feature will be a concert hall that will seat 700 and be designed specifically for music performance.

“It will provide us an opportunity to have that as a signature building at TCU,” said Richard Gipson, director of the TCU School of Music.

Richard Gipson

Gibson said the concert hall has prompted the department is starting to rethink its program.

“We do more than just provide educational experiences and training for students,” he said. “We provide tremendous opportunities for art experiences for patriots outside of the university.”

The school of music provides studies such as piano, percussion, voice.

Gibson said that being spread out across seven buildings limited the ability of students to improve musically. However the new building won’t be the only new addition to the department. Gibson that the new building is the first step of a multiple face project.


Youngest winner of “The Voice” guided by North Texas native

Youngest winner of “The Voice” guided by North Texas native

Youth dominated the 14th season of “The Voice” as a 15-year-old took the top honors in a field that included several teens.

Alexa Cappelli, 18, of Upland, California was among the contestants. She said her experience – she was on Kelly Clarkson’s team, helped her improve her vocal and performance skills.

“She really did pour into us a lot and wanted to get to know us all as artists,” Alexa said of Clarkson.  Although Alexa was cut during the live playoffs, she said she learned from her coaches and the other contestants.

A recent graduate of Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), Alexa said the commercial music program taught her how to communicate with the coaches so she could learn to her fullest extent.

She described her time on “The Voice” as a constant learning experience where she was always surrounded by a variety of different musicians.

“I actually never thought I would make it, but once I got there it was just so cool because I was still learning,” she said. “You never stop learning.”

She said Clarkson, a native of Fort Worth, showed her how to take a step back and see how the platform she has been given can show her what to do with her career.

During her time on “The Voice,” Alexa said she became friends with Brynn Cartelli, who at 15, became the youngest winner in the show’s history.

“It’s so crazy to me how she is 15 and she knows what she wants. She knows so many types of music and is such a hardworking person,” Alexa said. She said Brynn is a perfect friend and beautiful person.

Under the guidance of country-pop star Clarkson, Brynn survived the Blind Audition, Battle Round, the Knockouts, and lastly the Live Broadcasts.

Brynn won $100,000 and a record deal with Universal Music Group. She said she plans to purchase a new electric keyboard and other music items for when she goes on tour.

“Kelly has helped me by being honest about what to expect in the music industry and by believing in me even when I didn’t,” Brynn said.

TCU’s efforts to resolve emergency protocol issues continue

TCU’s efforts to resolve emergency protocol issues continue

Seven months after the campus lockdown TCU is continuing to update its emergency protocol and promote campus safety.

Last November’s early morning lockdown prompted concerns that the announcement from the university’s alert system were only in English. At the time, some non-English speaking staff and students said they were at a loss as to what was happening.

Although TCU officials said they would address the situation, closing the language gap has been a challenge.

Adrian Andrews

“That would be a big movement on campus to make that happen, we have around 40 different languages we could use,” said Adrian Andrews, the assistant vice chancellor for public safety.

He said the university is instead focused on teaching people how to respond to emergency situations. The idea is for everyone – English speakers and non-English speakers – to react when they hear lockdown, evacuation and shelter in place.

“We are taking deputies, emergency floor officers and supervisors to make sure they know each response to every situation,” he said. “We are teaching the non-English speaking students that when they hear any of those three words, that they will know exactly what they mean and what to do. We will go through drills hopefully during the summer for each building on campus, so they can practice those three procedures.”

TCU holds classes on what to do if there’s an active shooter on campus, as well as situation awareness in general. The classes have gained more attention since the lockdown, going from 16 to 60 students attending each session, Andrews said. The classes are once a month and include speakers and a question and answer portion for people to ask questions about safety and security issues. These classes teach people what to do when they know where the shooter is, when they don’t know where the shooter is and self defense tips.

TCU is also looking at technology that can help make things safer. New apps – “Frog Shield” and “Friend Watch” – are expected to be available when classes resume in the fall. Frog Shield bypasses 911 and calls the police department with the click of a button. It also allows students to send in anonymous reports and videos. Friend Watch allows students to add friends to their “call list” while out walking. If the friends do not check off that they have arrived at their destination safely, their friends can contact police.

The apps allow students who are studying abroad to notify their local police departments when they are stuck in a dangerous situation.

“Once TCU realized that we are susceptible to violence, that this is the real world and that these are things are happening, they start asking “What do I do?” Andrews said.

Quality matters when it comes to college admissions

Quality matters when it comes to college admissions

Extracurricular activities are good for balance, but strong academics are key to getting into college.

“There’s actually no ultimate factor,” said Beatriz Gutierrez, assistant director of admission. “For us we implement a holistic approach, so we’re looking at everything that the student has to offer.”

She said a student’s GPA is good indicator of how successful the student will be in college.

”When I’m reviewing an application, I’m looking for a student that has that grit of working really hard,” Gutierrez said. She wants to see how a student will make the most of a situation they are in.

In the fall of 2016, the latest statistics available, 11,700 people applied to TCU. Of those, 4,468 or 38 percent, were accepted, according to TCU Office of Institutional Research. The composite SAT score for the applicant pool has hovered in the 1700s for several years; the ACT composite has averaged around 27.

She said students who pad their resumes with lots of activity should remember that most colleges pay little attention to the number of activities. Instead, they focus on the quality of them, she said.

For example, Donald Peterson, a junior at TCU, said when he was in high school, he volunteered at a hospital because he hopes to go to medical school. But he said, his grades were what got him admitted to TCU.

“Everyone comes to college with the mindset that I need to get good grades and the grades are what’s going to get my foot in the door,” Peterson said.  

Alexa Calcagno, a sophomore at TCU, also said “For [her] it was definitely academics, but [she] was also very busy activity wise.”

Another factor to bring into consideration is that colleges pay little attention to the amount of activities you’re enrolled in, but the quality of them.

Even when trying to transfer from a community college into universities, Gutierrez emphasized that the GPA shouldn’t be neglected as it does continue to help universities track your progress, while activities will give personality to your application.



Programs hope to reduce college sexual assaults

Programs hope to reduce college sexual assaults

First-year women are most at risk for sexual assault on a college campus.

They tend to have less experience being in environments with heavy drinking and so do not know how to drink safely, or take measures to protect themselves from their drunk fellow party-goers, said TCU police Detective Robert Rangel.

In 2015, the latest statistics available, 12 rapes were reported on TCU’s campus. In most of these cases, the woman knew her assailant.

“I would say 90 percent or more is acquaintances,” said Darron Turner,TCU’s Chief Inclusion Officer and Title IX Coordinator. Turner added that he suspects there are more cases than reported.

“I don’t fool myself into thinking we are getting 100 percent of cases reported to us,” he said.

Nationally, about  “11% of college women who experience rape report it to the police,” according to One In Four USA, a non-profit that is trying to prevent rape by educating men and women about warning signs and risky behavior.

Like Rangel, One In Four USA cites free-flowing alcohol as a driving cause of sexual assault on college campuses.

In “72-81% of cases in which a male rapes a female college student, the female is intoxicated,”  according to One In Four USA.

Rangel said he could not recall the last time that there was an sexual assault report on campus that did not involve alcohol.

One In Four USA warns that sorority women face a high risk of assault, noting “women in sororities are 74% more likely to experience rape than other college women.”

The group cited two studies that suggest “fraternity men are three times more likely to commit sexual assault than other college men.”

TCU has implemented a variety of safety measures to help students protect themselves from sexual assault and be aware of behaviors that can lead to assault.

The university offers an online bystander intervention training that teaches students the importance of intervening when they see someone who appears to be in a sexually threatening situation.

TCU also operates Froggie Five-O, a ride service from 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. for students who don’t want to walk alone in the dark. All incoming first-year students are required to complete an alcohol and drug education program.

The university also offers self-defense classes.

Rangel said TCU is committed to preventing sexual assault on campus.

“Everyone works together to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe,” he said.

Voting rates of millennials don’t reflect their numbers

Voting rates of millennials don’t reflect their numbers

Millennials are nearly even with Baby Boomers when it comes to the ability to influence an election, but they lag behind their elders because they don’t vote.

Less than half of eligible millennials voted in the November presidential election.

The turnout can be attributed to the views that vary among generations on what responsibility voting should be: an obligation to democracy for most older people and a personal choice for most millennials.

Although voter turnout can fluctuate based on factors such as a person’s ethnic and gender backgrounds, as well as income and education, millennials aren’t forecast to be a force at the polls. So, while young voters who are white often have a higher turnout than young voters of color, neither exceeds voting ratings among Boomers.

The lack of voter participation, particularly in the 2016 fall election, frustrates some millennials.

“I think our generation feels as if their vote is irrelevant,” said Ben Smith, a student at Texas Christian University who voted in November. “You have the right to stand up for what you believe in and if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the results of the election.”

Passive young people may be the main upset for their more proactive peers.

Similarly, student Paris Jones said, “It’s sad there’s a low turnout. Voters’ voices should be heard. Younger millennials don’t really have the opportunity to run for positions of power and voting is the chance to exercise that.”


Facts behind the first year weight gain

Facts behind the first year weight gain

Many first year college students expect to gain weight, but instead the “freshman 15” most gain 2.5 to 6 pounds, and experts say there are ways to keep from putting on pounds.

Some weight gain is normal because students’ bodies are often still maturing, said  Beth Winthrop, national wellness director for Sodexo Campus Services, which handles food services for TCU.

“The freshman 15” is more like the freshman five and it’ll most likely stick with you because it’s natural,” said Winthrop. “I think the main cause of weight gain among students is because of a decrease in physical activities and students might’ve been more active in high school sports.”

An Ohio State University study found the average student gains around 3 pounds during the first year of college.

Meanwhile, University of Michigan study found that the typical first year weight gain is 2.5-to-6 pounds.

Not getting a enough rest and exercise and not eating properly can also add pounds to a first year waistline.

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File photo courtesy of TCU 360

“Students complain about the variety of food provided at the Market Square. We have a great salad bar, but we also have great desserts too,” said TCU Nutritional Science Professor Dr. Anne VanBeber. “Some students might be used to home cooked meals and others eat out. Stress and drinking could also be a cause of weight gain among students.”

A spokesperson for the TCU recreation center Abby Ferguson said the facility offers lots of exercise option. “Students usually gain weight by losing track of staying fit.”

She said students can go on adventure trips, take classes and clinics, join sport clubs, and participate in aquatics.

Winthrop said there are subtle changes that can lead to weight gain.

“Students might’ve used to get water whenever going to restaurants because it was free, but now they choose to drink juice and sodas because of the availability,” she said. “In college, it’s very common to get limited sleep which leads to missing breakfast and making poor food choices.”

TCU’s women’s rifle team is among the elite

TCU’s women’s rifle team is among the elite

Forget baseball and football, one the best and most consistent teams at TCU is its all-women’s rifle team.

TCU’s is one of the few dominant programs in the country.

“Our rifle team is one of the best in the country,” said Brandie Davidson, a TCU athletic media relations assistant.

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A practice session for the TCU rifle team. (Courtesy of

The team went to its first NCAA Championship in 200. Since then it has made nine consecutive appearances.The Frogs were the first all-women’s team to win the championship team in 2010, which was also a year TCU hosted the NCAA Championship.

Rifle teams in colleges are not very common and often the public isn’t aware that students are compete on the national level. “It is not a high profile sport,” said Davidson. “A lot of people don’t know about it.”

TCU is one of six teams in the NCAA’s Patriot Rifle Conference. The conference also includes University of Nevada, Ohio State, University of Texas-El Paso, University of Alaska-Fairbanks and the Air Force Academy.

TCU won the 2016 Patriot Conference Championship in February and marked an undefeated season highlighted by a victory over UTEP.

KTCU offers listeners variety

KTCU offers listeners variety


KTCU, which is owned by TCU, tries to attract all ages with a mix of music genres, feature local bands and political talk shows, and TCU sports.

The station has about 1.5 million listeners every day, said Russell Scott, KTCU station manager.

“We’re playing something that people don’t get up and down the rest of the dial,” Scott said.

He said the variety ensures that every time someone tunes into KTCU there’s something different and new playing.

Ryan Bosquez, a TCU student who works at the station, said, “We are a college station, that puts college students on. We can act weird, fun and just do different things.”

Since the first radio broadcast in 1910, people have been drawn to immediate news. The smart phone and the internet are the latest technology to challenge radio, but the industry is looking for new ways to bolster itself.