By Allyson Mackender – 

I've always considered myself well-mannered. I chew with my mouth closed, have a firm handshake, keep my elbows off the table, and was taught by a rather snooty best friend which fork you use for salad. I say "please" and "thank you," every stranger is Ma'am or Sir until I'm told otherwise, and I know you never, under any circumstances, slurp the bottom of a soup bowl. However, in the presence of Diane Gottsman, modern manners and etiquette expert, and the founder of The Protocol School of Texas, I felt like this:

Each year, Trinity is lucky enough to host Gottsman for a Professional Dining Etiquette event in the Skyline Dining Room. Unlike your typical manners class, Gottsman's workshop is focused on dining etiquette in professional situations, like an interview over a meal or a workplace dinner, which is perfect for a graduating senior, like myself.

I won't lie. When I first walked in I was intimidated by Gottsman's perfectly manicured appearance and elegant poise. However, after two hours with Gottsman I left feeling confident, excited, and ready to take on anything the professional world throws my way. So, in case you missed it, here are the top 10 takeaways from a night with Diane Gottsman:

1. If you get a name tag, wear it on the right side of your chest. 


This way when you shake hands, the person's line of sight will be to your name tag. Also, always introduce yourself with your first AND last name (unless you're Oprah or Madonna). Three shakes and release.

2.  Eat before you go.

You do not want to look starving. Eating beforehand will help you pace yourself and will assure that you don't appear famished. And on the off chance you don't like your food – maybe your steak is cooked wrong? – you won't have to sit there starving because you DEFINITELY can't send your food back.

3. Men: Jacket on & tie down; Women: Purse on the floor between your feet.

You want to look professional throughout the interview, so keep that jacket on. Also, NEVER wear a bowtie. If your purse is on the back of your chair, the server could bump into it or it could fall off into the walkway. If it's small enough you can put it on your lap with the napkin over it.

4. Follow the lead of the host. 

Wait to put your napkin on your lap or touch your place setting until the host does. If the host decides to change tables and your napkin is in your lap, fork and knife in hand, you're going to feel pretty silly. Same goes for reaching for a bread basket or sugar. Let the host initiate.

5. Order smart. 

Don't order something too small, you'll look nervous, and don't order something too large, you'll look glutinous. Do not order spaghetti, salad or anything likely to get stuck in your teeth. Stick to meat and vegetable dishes.

6. Know your table place setting.

Start from the outside and work your way in. Don't touch your napkin before the host touches theirs and if you forget where the drink and bread go remember the "D – B" rule! Make a D & B with your hand and the letter corresponds with the side.

7. Always eat Continental Style.

This means you have to keep your fork in your left hand, knife in your right hand, and cut each bite as you eat it. The tines of your fork should always be facing down. Practice, practice, practice! It feels a little awkward at first.

8. Don't ask for ketchup or other sauces. 

It suggests the food wasn't seasoned well... and if it wasn't, too bad. The last thing you want to do is look high maintenance. If you are at a dinner party where the host cooked the food personally don't even ask for the salt and pepper. Fortunately, since you ate before it won't matter if you don't like the food.

9. Do not ask for a doggie bag or to-go box.

If the host pays for your meal, it looks like your taking advantage of them. So even if you have an entire meal left on your plate, painfully skip the to-go container.

10. Actions really do speak louder than words. 

It seems a little counterintuitive. After all, if it's a business interview you want to impress them with manicured answers about why you're the best candidate for the job. But it you do that with your mouth full it is going to fall short. 

Stay classy, Trinity. 

Look out for Gottsman's future Trinity workshops. In the meantime, for more information on Gottsman's etiquette expertise, visit her social media accounts or check out her blog for some great tips.

By Allyson Mackender – 

Trinity, we've almost made it. Just 48 hours from now we will be free to do whatever we want for an entire month. No more papers, no more tests, no more homework. (Sorry to all the seniors applying for jobs. I feel your pain.) The past two weeks have been nothing short of torturous; finals come every year yet they are always unexpectedly exhausting. As we finish our schoolwork and say our goodbyes, let's take some time to reflect on 15 thoughts you definitely had during finals week.

1. Finals are so far away!

Reading days have arrived, which means it's time to blow off all responsibilities because finals aren't for two whole days.

2. I guess I should start studying... Maybe I'll finally go to the library. 

The library is without a doubt the best place to study. You find your most productive spot and get in a groove. Finals are going to be a breeze. 

3. When did we learn this?!

There is nothing more frustrating than going through your notes and textbooks and not being able to find the material. Maybe you forgot to jot it down while you were "taking notes" on your computer in class. 

4. Forget it, I'm dropping out. 

Let's face it, we've all considered this more than once. But we know our Trinity degrees are invaluable and the suffering will be worth it. 

5. Time for my daily emotional breakdown. 

So inevitable you might as well schedule it. 

6. Did my professors plan for everything to be due on the same day? 

I legitimately had six essays due on the same day. There's no way that is a coincidence. 

7. Maybe I'll be more productive working in my room. 

You will NEVER be more productive in your room. Chances are you'll end up taking a short 10 hour nap. 

8. I bet a small snack would help. 

Your famous last words before you drain all of your Bonus Bucks on junk food from the POD.

9. I'm just going to take a short nap.

Followed by: "HOW DID I SLEEP FOR 10 HOURS!"

10. When was the last time I showered?

There is no time for hygiene, obviously. 

11. I inconveniently forgot how to read and write. 

You have two pages of your ten-page paper left and then you remember that OOPS you can't write anymore. How sad. 

12. Wait, my test is TOMORROW?

The never-ending week actually flew by and finals are almost over. But chances are you're still not ready for your test. Keep studying! 

13. Hallelujah, I'm done!

There is no better feeling than walking out of your last final. No matter how your grades turn out, at least you never have to look at that test/paper again. 

14. I'm actually going to miss Trinity.

Saying goodbye to Trinity is hard, even if it is only for a couple weeks. But, on the bright side, you can tell all your friends, "See you next year," which is never not funny. 

15. Goodnight! See you next year, world. 

Nothing compares to the post-finals hibernation. Two days of uninterrupted sleep without having to think about school at all. Sleep soundly, my friends. 

About Allyson

Allyson Mackender is a senior English major from Denver, Colorado. She is the author of Trinity's Experiential Learning Blog and the editor of the Trinity Perspective.  Allyson is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and Phi Sigma Pi. In her free time, Allyson enjoys reading, volunteering, and searching for the best coffee in San Antonio.
By Allyson Mackender – 

On February 9, 2014, Michael Sam, a defensive lineman at the University of Missouri, spoke confidently about his sexual orientation in an interview with the New York Times. After being drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Sam became the first openly gay NFL player, setting a precedent for generations of athletes to come. "I'm coming out because I want to own my truth," Sam said in the historic interview. Two years later, Sam once again told his story but this time to a captivated audience at Trinity University.

Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community joined Sam in Laurie Auditorium on Monday, October 24 for an inspirational and moving presentation. Beginning with a story of his turbulent childhood, Sam explained his triumphant journey to the University of Missouri and eventually to the NFL. Despite numerous setbacks and challenges, Sam remained resilient and true to himself, which he demonstrated during his amazing speech.

The event, hosted by four Trinity groups, PRIDE, Student Government Association, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and Trinity Diversity Connection, was a huge success. Representatives from some of these groups provided insight into why Michael Sam's lecture was so impactful:

Callum Squires '17, Student Athlete Advisory Committee President 

"Michael Sam was impactful due to his personal and honest story. His assessment of America and the problems contained within its borders was simple, but brutally honest and highlighted how hypocritical some aspects of society can be. Our organisation is determined to promote greater equality and respect, which comes from our TIGE&R campaign we did a couple years back (Tiger Initiating Greater Equality & Respect). This was coupled with a passion for supporting all student athletes on this campus, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion. This was an obvious progression following the talk we helped organise two years ago when Hudson Taylor, leader of Athlete Ally, spoke here and taught us about allyship.

Sam was chatty and friendly, and managed to display both a sense of humour and how seriously he takes his message. To me, it seemed he was definitely bitter and disappointed that the NFL didn't take to him as he thought they should, which is understandable given his level of talent in college. He interacted nicely with most people and students and it was clear, considering some of the emotional conversations I witnessed, that his visit meant a lot to many on our campus, both LGBTQ students and others alike."

Lena Dennington '18, Student Government Association Junior Senator

"Michael Sam's talk was an important discussion to open to the campus of Trinity. I believe his impact forwarded the opportunity to continue open discussion and related to many of our students at Trinity. He maintained a very conversational style of speaking, which I appreciated a lot. In terms of our organizational mission, Michael Sam represented a very important initiative we try to cultivate here at Trinity, which is: his conversation pressed forward the fostering of community and diversity, specifically as he represented the gay community. Overall, Michael Sam was engaging, and I believe his talk left a very positive impact on our community as we continue to grow in diversity and understanding."

For more information on Lectures and Visiting Scholars please visit Trinity's webpage.

By Allyson Mackender –

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, Donald Trump was officially announced the President-elect of the United States. Winning 279 electoral votes, Trump beat Secretary Hilary Clinton, ending what has been perhaps the most contentious campaign in history.

Photo Source: Business Insider
Regardless of who you cast your ballot for, the mood on campus was noticeably different following the election. While some students excitedly celebrated a victory, others solemnly embraced one another. However, what has been most impressive is Trinity's continued encouragement for civic engagement and open discourse regarding the results. 

In the days following the election, Trinity University professors encouraged candid discussion in classrooms, some taking an entire session to debrief the results. 

Sociology professor, Sarah Beth Kaufman, took time in her Social Justice First Year Experience (FYE) class on Thursday to complete an activity surrounding the election. 

Some student responses from Professor Kaufman's FYE. 
"In my FYE, I teach the writing section and have used a "free writing" exercise periodically throughout the semester to allow students to grapple with tough issues from their own beliefs," Professor Kaufman explained, "Today the students wrote about how the election is impacting them personally." The students were then asked to share a couple key points from their writing on the whiteboard. 

"I was struck by the depth of the emotions, the generosity of the thoughts, and the tremendous spectrum of issues the students are dealing with...I learned a lot today, and I plan to keep on learning."

Professor Kaufman's students were certainly impacted, as well.

"There was a lot of emotion around this election specifically and it was the first time a lot of us voted," Kali Wilson '20 said about the debriefing in her FYE class. Classmate Andrew Moore '20 added, "I think it surprised us all that Trump won so I'm glad we talked about it."

"It was great to see [Professor] Kaufman as a person extending her support, not just a teacher," Lily Sorrentino '19 said about the activity, "I was having a conversation person to person, not student to professor."

Trinity senior, Aileen Domann '17, had a similar experience in her classes, where she and her peers were given the chance to engage in discourse about the results of the election.

"Our professor came to class with a box of donuts and said that he would like to facilitate a discussion about the election results to see how we were feeling, whether is was excited or upset," Domann said. "All of my professors were extremely open and supportive in the days following the election and it’s that sense of community between students and faculty that sets Trinity apart."

In addition to the class sessions devoted to debriefing the election, Trinity's administration provided numerous resources for students looking to engage in a conversation, despite their political views. 

Sheryl R. Tynes, sociology professor and Vice President for Student Life, invited all Trinity students to a post-election conversation on Wednesday, providing yet another forum for discussion. 

Perhaps most notable, though, was President Danny Anderson's letter to students entitled "Moving Forward Together." In this thoughtful email, President Anderson challenged Trinity students to reflect on five key values that are crucial to remaining grounded in turbulent times: discovery, excellence, impact, the individual, and community.  These values encourage Trinity students to explore an unknown world, one that may make them uncomfortable, to constantly strive for success, to continue fighting for a better future, to hone their individual strengths, and to engage in diverse communities. With these goals in mind, President Anderson hopes students will begin to address "the aspects of our collective identity that we have failed to recognize or understand." 

President Anderson, sent students an email regarding the election results on Thursday.
"Civility has been the foundation of our conversations at Trinity University, even when we deeply and passionately disagree," President Anderson writes, citing the overwhelmingly constructive discourse that has occurred on campus during this election. And this civility must continue as we move forward. President Anderson reminds students that "understanding is a process and doesn’t happen immediately," and, "that faculty and staff want you to speak up with suggestions if you need support."

As a Trinity senior, I am proud to be a member of an inclusive, diverse, and understanding community and the University's reaction to the election has continued to amaze me. I am grateful for the faculty and staff's willingness to allow students to speak candidly about relevant and pressing issues. The community of support at Trinity, built by the administration, faculty, and staff, can only be strengthened if we, as students, come together despite our differences. 

In a time of division, Trinity has proven that unity and solidarity foster success. We have been encouraged to think critically about the issues facing our world and to address these without hesitation. I hope that in the coming months we remember the Trinity values that unite us. These values will persevere, even as the world around us changes. 

"You are a creative generation with the ability to make your dreams become reality," President Anderson wrote, "You are a transformative generation with the ability to make an impact in our world. You are a generation of active citizens, members of a community of diverse individuals." 

From my experience, this is certainly true. Trinity's student body is indeed special. So, let's continue to celebrate one another, differences and all. We must continue to listen to our peers with open minds and open hearts. And, most importantly, we must remember the unifying foundational principles Trinity has provided as we go forth and take on the world. 

If you would like to further discuss the election, please take advantage of the many University resources, including ResLife. Further forums will be held in the near future and will be announced via email. 

By Katie Farrell –

They say life is what you make it, and that’s no different in the theatre department here at Trinity. When I learned at the end of the Spring 2016 semester that we would be producing Good Kids, I was thrilled. Theatre, at its roots, is about representation. If you think about it, we as humans have been producing theatre and attending theatre throughout history because there’s something wonderful about seeing stories on stage, something that makes you feel connected to your fellow man, something that makes you think. This is what makes theatre so powerful. Good Kids, a play purposefully written to create more roles for women and to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault, is perfectly suited to start conversations and represent one of the most silenced groups of people: sexual assault survivors.

Being in a show is not easy. Those involved in producing a performance at Trinity rehearse 4 hours a day, 6 days a week, at least. We give up on sleep, homework, and social lives because we love it. It’s a labor of love, and here at Trinity, as in any endeavor, the more you love it, the more opportunities you will find.

During my sophomore year, I took a class called Theatre for Social Change. This class, based on work pioneered by Augusto Boal, explores the idea of a performance’s impact on social issues He identified three forms: Image Theatre, Invisible Theatre, and Forum Theatre.
  • Image Theatre uses still images created by the actor’s bodies of the current situation, the ideal situation, and the transitional action to get there
  • Invisible Theatre creates a scene based on research that is then performed in a public, non-theatre setting, encouraging people to interact with the performers. 
  • Forum Theatre involves a scene based on research that is then performed twice for the same audience. The second time the audience is invited to intervene as bystanders, before engaging in a discussion. 
Now, during my senior year, myself and a fellow theatre major have, with the help of the department, created a company called 180 Shift that uses these approaches to educate communities and address their issues. We started this in the Trinity community last spring addressing the issue of the aftermath of sexual assault.

When Good Kids was announced for this fall, it seemed a good fit for 180 Shift. With the director Kyle Gillette‘s blessing, 180 Shift was allowed to work with the show. As Liz Metzger, a fellow cast member, and I began thinking about what that involvement might look like, we asked ourselves how we could reach the community to create meaningful conversation. Realizing the range of challenging questions this play touches, we decided talkbacks led by panels of different students and working professionals would provide an avenue for the community to process the issues addressed in the play. The three panels included representatives from Greek Life, Trinity Athletics, the Rape Crisis Center, and the administration. We also encouraged the actors to research this topic—180 Shift worked closely with the cast, even performing a Forum Theatre project during the rehearsal process. In addition, we hosted a screening of the new Netflix documentary, Audrie and Daisy, that was open to the public. We created a photo series with Derek Hudson, another theatre student, based on Yana Mazurkevich's photo series It Happens. We posted it on social media and the conversation started. We contacted Texas Public Radio, Channel 4, the Trinitonian, and TigerTV. Each organization did a piece for us. More people came. More people talked. The show has now closed. People are still talking, the Facebook page still receives a lot of traffic, and the photos are still being shared. The conversation is just starting.

Theatre has this ability to start conversations and as I mentioned before, the more you put into it, the greater the reward. These opportunities and this success did not come to us randomly. I and my fellow cast members, theatre students and faculty worked very hard, to great success. Here in the Trinity Theatre department, we labor side by side with brilliant theatre educators who are willing to throw their experience and support behind us when we approach them with our passions and dreams. I now have a company that is already doing important work in the Trinity community. I have been given the chance to work in many different facets of theatre. Essentially everything I have asked to learn, I have been given the opportunity to learn. While a theatre major at Trinity is time consuming, it will reward the time you put into it. More than that, you will be surrounded with caring, educated people who will nurture your passions and interests.

About Katie

Katie Farrell is a senior Theatre major from Houston, Texas. She is a co-founder of 180 Shift, a social theatre company, and directs for Trinity University Players. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and fostering cats for San Antonio Pets Alive.