By Janett Muñoz –

College is all fun and games until you become a senior and realize that you have no idea how to do your taxes, how to invest for retirement, or how to manage your money effectively. The surmounting pressure and uncertainty of being a senior slowly crept up on me as I registered for my last year of classes. My friend Maia and I were excited to have nearly completed our Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major but something unsettled me about how I could explain the role of carbonic anhydrase in the body and yet I could not tell you the first thing about taxes. I was in desperate need of some personal finance tips.

As was the case for many other students, my parents were not much help. My peers seemed just as confused as I. Maia and I were determined to have a personal finance class. She reached out to Dr. Eugenio Dante Suarez from the business department, and I to the amazing, ever-so kind, Dr. Sheryl Tynes. Dr. Tynes was extremely receptive to my feedback and coordinated a group of Trinity faculty and staff to create the Financial Literacy Collective. They created a game plan and I sat in on their meetings to show my desperation about needing a personal finance class.

personal finance, class, trinity, michael taylor
Trinity's New Personal Finance Class
After a few months of meetings, Trinity was able to offer the class this spring! I was thrilled to hear the news because this would be my opportunity to learn about finance. I could tell I was not the only one interested. The class filled a few days after opening, and the waitlist held twenty people and counting. Knowing that students wanted the class as much as I did was comforting.

Of course, I was nervous to take a finance course since I had no background. Luckily, our professor, Michael Taylor, a Harvard Graduate, made the first day of class relaxing by cracking finance jokes which helped relieve any stress. Professor Taylor has definitely been open to all my questions (if you are in the class you know I have many) and makes learning finance fun. He also made it clear to us that he would teach us practical money management.

Michael Taylor, Personal Finance
Personal Finance Professor Michael Taylor, a Harvard graduate, teaches a class.
In just the first couple of days of class, I learned more about finance than I have in my entire life, which is both sad and exciting. I was introduced to some basic investment methods. By basic, I mean that I asked what a “bond” is. I knew they were not the bonds we talked about in Organic Chemistry. I was in a finance class. No carbon structures were drawn. Instead, I began to learn how a bond is a form of investment. In addition, we have learned about about compounding and discounting interest, which is fundamentally important for everything finance (who would've’ known?). This is Scifi stuff right here. Later we will learn about how to save for retirement, invest, and manage our money!

It is great to see how students of all disciplines have joined together to learn about the importance of personal finance. I am excited to set investment goals and make smart money decisions NOW in order to prepare for the future. Michael Taylor has mostly shown us that being wealthy isn’t that hard. It’s all about investing little by little and never selling. Thank you Trinity for offering this class!

About Janett

Janett Muñoz is a senior Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major from San Antonio, Texas. She is involved in the McNair Scholars Program, Catholic Student Group, and Trinity Distinguished Representatives. She loves to be part of dance shows and play soccer with friends. 
By Reagan Herzog and Hunter Sosby –

The Trinity in Spain program is Trinity’s first full-semester faculty led study abroad program that takes place in Madrid. We had the incredible opportunity to be part of the inaugural trip, and we’d like to share with you the top five reasons why you should consider the Trinity in Spain program.

1. Madrid
When making decisions about study abroad, the most important one is what city you are going to live in. Now we may be just a little biased, but we think that Madrid is the perfect place to study abroad. With one of the best public transportation systems in the world, an incredibly walkable city, and great weather, Madrid couldn’t be a more livable city. Combine that with a vibrant street life, beautiful parks like Retiro, and plazas on every corner, it’s hard to not feel at home here.

2. Internships
One of the biggest draws to the Trinity program is the opportunity to hold an internship in Madrid. An internship abroad is a pretty rare experience to have, and was honestly one of our favorite parts of our experience abroad. We both worked with nonprofit organizations in Madrid, Fundación Sanders and Fundación Tomillo, where we had the opportunity to work directly with prominent community members in Madrid. With an internship you have the opportunity to see the city and culture from a completely different perspective and make connections that will last a lifetime.

Photo curtesy of Dr. Katsuo Nishikawa.
3. Language
One of the most frequently asked questions about our time abroad is whether or not we’re fluent in Spanish. While we’re hesitant to use the label fluent, it’s clear that our skills increased an incredible amount of the course of four months. Between taking all of our classes in Spanish, speaking Spanish in our homestays, and using Spanish in a professional context with our internships, we were able to use spanish in a more practical way than we ever have before and we feel much more comfortable with the language than we ever have.

4. Experiencing the World
While when you’re abroad we recommend spending time in and getting to know the city you’re living in, being abroad in Europe provides you with the opportunity to visit some of the best cities in the world. We definitely enjoyed traveling during our time in Spain. With the Trinity in Spain program we had the opportunity to travel to many different Spanish cities and get to know the country we were living in -- San Sebastián and Granada were some personal favorites of ours. And of course, we couldn’t resist visiting other cities like Paris and London when they’re basically in your backyard. A semester abroad is one of the best opportunities you’ll have to see the world.

5. The People
Leaving everything you know behind to go study in a foreign country can definitely be overwhelming. However, there’s a long list of people we could thank for making the trip one of the best experiences we’ve had. To start, the Trinity in Spain group became like a second family to us all. It was great to have a support network abroad we grew incredibly close. We also had the support of our host families who were there to help us navigate the city and culture, as well as any problems we had abroad. And of course, the friends we made in Spain and the people of Madrid were some of the best we could ask for and our time abroad wouldn’t have been the same without them.

Photo curtesy of Dr. Katsuo Nishikawa.
We also had a great time taking over the Trinity Snapchat account near the end of our semester. Take a look below at our takeover and see what it was like to spend a weekend with the Trinity Madrid Program!

Follow Trinity University on Snapchat as leeroythetiger for more updates on what’s going on with the Trinity community.

About Reagan & Hunter

Reagan is a junior from Stockton, California studying Political Science, Communication, and Spanish. On campus, she is involved with Alpha Phi Omega, Trinity University Press, and Trinity Distinguished Representatives.
Hunter is a junior Political Science and Spanish double major from Wimberley, Texas. He is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and PRIDE, as well as a Distinguished Representative and Tour Guide for the Office of Admissions.
By Katie Middleton –

As we get into the swing of the new semester so does the newly elected Student Government Association here at Trinity for the 2018 year. Last week I sat down with SGA president Amulya Deva and former SGA president and current senior emeritus Nick Santulli to discuss the role of their experience in SGA, hopes for the semester and advice for the new SGA.

Elected by the student body last November, Deva ‘19 steps into the SGA presidency having the experience of a student class senator during the 2017 year after transferring to Trinity University in her sophomore year. “I first ran for Student Government to become more involved on campus and meet more people,” said Deva, “and I enjoyed being in the senate and serving a platform where students could have their issues and concerns addressed and eventually was convinced to run for SGA president last semester.”

Nick Santulli '18 and Amulya Deva '19 sit in Coates University Center for the interview.
Some of that convincing came from former president Santulli ‘18, who faced major challenges as the head of SGA in 2017. One such challenge has since been dubbed “Greekgate” where there was major backlash over the decision to revoke SGA funding from Greek Council. In facing the internal and external controversy that resulted from this decision, Santulli says “ SGA officers received numerous strongly-worded emails from students voicing their opinions and it was an important reminder that SGA is accountable to the student body.”

While “Greekgate” was an intense time on campus, it brought many things into perspective for members of the 2017 SGA and allowed them an opportunity for change. In the spring of 2017 the remaining senators formed a constitutional review committee headed up by then-president Santulli and former class of 2019 senators Amulya Deva and Callie Struby. “It was a learning experience in how to respond to criticism and come back with something better than you had before,” said Santulli of the process which resulted in a fully edited SGA Constitution being approved by the senate and the student body in the fall of 2017. The newly-passed constitutional amendments include funding protections for University Sponsored Organizations like Greek Council, the establishment of an independent judiciary, and measures intended to increase SGA’s transparency.

With the victory of the constitutional review as well as the passing of the “Menstrual Products Access Initiative,” which provided students emergency access to menstrual products in bathrooms on campus, under the Student Government Association’s belt from 2017, President Deva is excited to get to work with the new senate and new officers. She hopes to kick standing initiatives into gear and expand upon them, perhaps starting with growing the number of menstrual product receptacles on campus and further develop the First Year Academic Success Committee, and is ready and waiting for any incoming issues or concerns from the student body.

With many meetings left for this current SGA administration, Deva and Santulli have this advice for their fellow SGA members and peers in the student body: keep a healthy sense of perspective in everything you do and “fight for steps in the right direction,” says Deva, even if the evidence of change is not immediately evident. “While the work you’re doing is important, it’s also important to take care of yourself,” advises Santulli.

The Student Government Association meets in Waxahachie Room in Coates University Center weekly on Mondays at 5:30 - Guest comments are welcome.
This column was first published in the Trinitonian as "Across the Pond and Back" on Jan. 17, 2018.

Over Christmas break, I had the opportunity to join 15 other Tigers and two faculty members on a two-week study abroad program to London, England. Leading up to the trip, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had never been to Europe, had never experienced truly cold weather and did not know much about England (except that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are adorable). I had so many questions I wanted answered.

Over the span of two weeks, I walked 113.81 miles, took over 600 photos, visited over 15 stadiums and attractions and rode the tube over 30 times. The trip was filled with hundreds of new experiences, and yet I feel as if I can sum the entire experience up in two words:

Bloody brilliant.

Hailey Wilson, Sport in London
Hailey Wilson enjoyed getting to see the British metropolis of London. photo by Hailey Wilson, sports reporter
The Sport in London program provided me with the opportunity to take a look into the business of international sport. Seeing through the eyes of a Londoner completely transformed the way I understand sport and has allowed me to appreciate it on a much bigger scale than I had before. Between touring different venues, traveling to different cities, eating new foods and attempting to keep up with the typical London vocabulary, I learned more about myself and about the world than I would have ever expected.

The program was built and planned by Jacob Tingle, the director of Experiential Learning, and Paul McGinlay, the head men’s soccer coach. Tingle and McGinlay crafted a class that took us all around London. The group was instructed to land in London on Dec. 27. Shortly after landing, we convened at the hostel, unpacked our bags and went through orientation at our host school, Arcadia University.

Our trip started off with tours of Twickenham Rugby Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the O2 arena and Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal football club. Shortly after, our group had the opportunity to have lunch with a group of British college students, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Discussing the differences between American sport and English sport was fascinating.

Delving into the differences between cultures proved to be a learning experience that I would not have been able to access anywhere else. Tours of Wimbledon, Wembley Stadium, Loftus Road Stadium, Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, the Roman Baths and Lord’s Cricket Ground followed. Although the trip has ended, our London experience hasn’t come to a close quite yet — every Wednesday, the class will continue to meet and debrief about our experiences.

Going on the Sport in London trip has allowed me to see places and meet people that I otherwise would have never came across. I now have 14 lifelong friends, friends in which I have hundreds of lifelong memories with.

As we were having our closing discussion, one of my classmates, Shelby Devore, mentioned that “every moment matters.” As I reflect on our trip, I find this statement to be more and more true. Whether it was sprinting to try to catch the Tube on time, staying up until 4 a.m. playing card games, or singing karaoke at the top of our lungs, I cherished every moment abroad. I can honestly say I came back with a better, more thorough understanding of international sport. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything, and spending two weeks across the pond was one of the best things I have done since coming to Trinity.

Hailey Wilson is a sports reporter for the Trinitonian, Trinity University's sole source of independent student journalism.
By Kailey DeLuca –

Last fall, I somehow ended up taking both an introduction to entrepreneurship course and a theatre improvisation course. Despite not knowing it at the time of registration, the two fields have quite a lot in common. Here’s three areas where the two fields overlap:

Trinity, Improv, theater

1. Saying Yes

The fundamental rule of improvisation is to say ‘yes’ to whatever opportunities spring up within the scene. To reject an offer is to close yourself off to new opportunities and exploration.
For example, your scene partner may choose to endow you with the qualities of a sheepherder named Steven. Rejecting this offer prevents subsequent exploration of the character of Steven and how his experiences as a sheepherder may affect his characterization and the scene. By saying ‘yes’ to the offer to become Steven the sheepherder, you may let go a bit of control over your own destiny, but you also allow the scene to unfold in an unpredictable way.

From ideation to implementation, startup companies are built upon saying yes. A business idea must be accepted before it can grow, and partners must enthusiastically say yes to the company mission if they are going to motivated to work towards it. When working with clients, fledgling companies may have to say yes to unexpected clients in order to build a portfolio and stay afloat – but through this experience, they may find the perfect niche market or solution to a previously unsolved problem.

Saying yes to new opportunities allows both improvisers and companies to explore, which prompts one to leave their comfort zone to chase new, hopefully fruitful ventures.
Even if chasing these new opportunities does not work out, the improviser and company does not have to wonder “what if” to accepting them. They can simply accept the result and move onto the next opportunity.

2. Working Within Limitations

Improvisers rarely have unlimited control over their scenes; instead, they must follow the rules of their game or take suggestions from the audience. Doing so forces the improvisers to work within the box and make the most of limited resources. As counter-intuitive as it seems, confining oneself to the rules of the scenes leads more creative, and frankly more fun, scenes.

For instance, the game “three item monologue” required actors to answer three questions within the span of a short, one-minute monologue. Actors had to think creatively to answer vastly different questions within the time limit. Although limited in their ability to pull in new sources, the actors offered funny and insightful monologues. In a similar way, scenes with clear boundaries flowed better than scenes with no rules at all. Knowing that one’s character had to exhibit specific characteristics allowed those qualities to shine. Actors have to let go of control and create logical worlds out of limited resources.

Likewise, a startup has little control over the circumstances surrounding the company’s launch. Entrepreneurs must work with limited budgets, deadlines, and capital to release products. Instead of letting these obstacles stifle work, successful entrepreneurs must be flexible to work with them. The most successful companies thrive in spite of obstacles, because their teams rely on quick wits and creative solutions to overcome them.

3. Partner Flow

Within an improvisation scene, you must rely not only on your own wits, but also that of your partners. Scenes require mutual trust and respect for one another; since partners cannot discuss beforehand what to accomplish in the scene, all decisions are made on stage. You must depend upon your partner to accept your ideas and offer his own for the benefit of the entire scene.

Partners must know each other’s various strengths and weaknesses in order to better highlight each person’s ability. For instance, if I know from past scenes that my partner is talented at performing accents, I may endow him with certain characteristics that highlight this ability. On the other hand, if I know that he absolutely despises performing with an accent, I will work the scene to avoid this possibility.

During a pitch like that of the Stumberg competition or Shark Tank, partners must trust in each other’s ability to convey their business plan and expertise without consulting each other mid-pitch. Each partner must be able to rely on the other to perform well and improvise should the pitch fall off-script.
Company team members must rely on one another to complete their individual tasks so the entire company can function and move towards a common goal. A team without trust will never be able to thrive.

In conclusion, improvisation and entrepreneurship require similar qualities – the ability to work with others and within set limitations and the courage to say yes to new opportunities. While these qualities alone do not guarantee success on stage or in the market, strengthening them better allows teams to implement creative solutions for the benefit of others.

This post was originally posted on 11/02/17 on the Trinity University Entrepreneurship blog.