Senior student athletes reflect on final seasons

new-athletics-logo[1]By Lindsay Fillingim

Many seniors across Division I athletics have recently had their final season come to an end. For some, this marks the end of a long career while for others it is just the beginning of another chapter as they continue their sport professionally. Aside from the chance to play the sport they love, free athletic gear and scholarships, college athletes get much more out of sports than just the sport.

When asked what the single most important thing she will take away from her career at Loyola, senior volleyball player, Laura Purcell, said it’s the relationships.

“I have made so many great relationships with my teammates that I know will last forever,” Purcell said. “Going through adversity and highs and lows really helps to bond you together in a way that nothing else can.”

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Stressing over finals? Take a break with these Chicago holiday events

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo is just one of several free or low-cost holiday events in Chicago that students can visit this season. Photo from Lincoln Park Zoo.

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo is just one of several free or low-cost holiday events in Chicago that students can visit this season. Photo from Lincoln Park Zoo.

By Lindsay Fillingim

The semester is winding down, final projects are being submitted and students are beginning to study for final exams. As everything becomes a huge rush and stress starts to set in, it is very easy to get lost in what for most college students is the busiest time of year. For Loyola students, there are plenty of opportunities to take a break from the stress and enjoy the holiday season. Chicago has many fun events and attractions to make students feel at home during the holidays.

The annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival has come and gone and now the lights on Michigan Avenue shine brightly every evening as a reminder to passersby of the beauty of the season. If you missed out on the parade there are still plenty of opportunities to window shop, see the lights and feel festive without wearing out your wallet.

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‘No dream is too big,’ says Loyola grad, Miss Universe contestant

Photo from Loyola Alumni Twitter account.

Photo from Loyola Alumni Twitter account.

By Lauren Hames

As a young girl, Wendolly Esparza — as well as many other little girls — dreamed of being crowned the pageant queen in the Feria Nacional de San Marcos, an annual fair in her home state of Aguascalientes, Mexico.

This particular dream never became a reality, but instead was a stepping stone to a much larger goal. Though she didn’t win the fair’s pageant, her performance was still impressive enough to earn her a spot in two state and national pageants, both of which she won. Esparza, a 2013 Loyola graduate, will now compete in the Miss Universe pageant in January.

“I’ve learned that no dream is too big,” Esparza told the Loyola Student Dispatch. “I never would’ve thought I was going to represent Mexico in Miss Universe, but hard work, determination and a little bit of luck will take you places you once thought were impossible to reach.”

Esparza lived most of her life in north suburban Waukegan, Illinois. She majored in journalism, with minors in Spanish and Latin American literature. She decided to attend Loyola with the help of the Cristo Rey scholarship, and lived on campus all four years.

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Remembrances planned for Loyola student killed in robbery near campus

Plans are underway this weekend to honor the life of 23-year-old Loyola University Chicago student Mutahir Rauf, who was shot and killed in a robbery near the Lake Shore Campus Friday night.

In an email sent Saturday to the Loyola community, university officials condemned his killing as “a senseless act of violence, and one that has absolutely no place in a civil society.”

The 23-year-old from Pakistan was walking with his brother in the 1300 block of West Albion when an assailant pulled out a gun and demanded their money, according to Ald. Joe Moore’s post on EveryBlock and the Loyola Phoenix student newspaper.

Moore said the student mistakenly thought the gun was a toy and reached for it, and that it went off in the struggle. He was shot in the head and chest and pronounced dead at the scene.

Saturday’s email from university officials also described resources available to the Loyola community, and relayed plans to honor Rauf this weekend:

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Alderman: Loyola student killed in robbery near Rogers Park campus

A Loyola University Chicago student was shot and killed near the Lake Shore Campus Friday night during a robbery after mistakenly thinking the stickup gun was a toy and reaching for it, Ald. Joe Moore said, according to news website DNAinfo:

“Tragically, a Loyola Student from Pakistan was killed in an attempted robbery on the 1300 block of Albion this evening,” Moore wrote on EveryBlock. “He was walking with his brother when an unknown assailant pulled a gun and ordered them to turn over their money. The young victim allegedly believed the gun was a toy and reached for it. During the scuffle, the gun went off and the assailant fled. I’m afraid that is all the information I have at this point.”

Police said the man killed in the shooting was 23.

Read more at DNAinfo Chicago’s website.

Chicago Police spokesman Officer Thomas Sweeney told The Loyola Phoenix student newspaper that there was a “struggle for the weapon,” which resulted in the victim getting shot in the chest and head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Vice President for Student Development Jane Neufeld also wrote to the Loyola community Friday evening. saying:
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Vic Mensa performs homecoming show at Metro

By Nikhil Sequeira

This past Friday, Metro hosted Chicago’s very own Vic Mensa who performed to a sold out crowd. Mensa, a hip-hop recording artist, performed four new songs which will only be released in his upcoming extended play “Streetlights” set to release in July next year.

As part of the hip-hop group SAVE MONEY, Mensa brought out fellow rappers to perform songs with him and after the show, he was kind enough to sign posters and meet with his fans for nearly two hours.

A mere 21-year-old, Vic Mensa caught the attention of Virgin EMI Records and signed with the record label in 2013. Not only is he an emerging artist on the hip-hop scene, but he also has his own clothing line.

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VIDEO: Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus filled with holiday decorations

By Nader Issa

Loyola University Chicago put its students into the holiday spirit last week with the addition of holiday decorations around the university’s Lake Shore Campus.

Tree lights, Christmas trees and red and green spotlights can be seen all around campus as part of Loyola’s preparation for the holiday season.

The campus’s biggest Christmas tree can be found in the Damen Student Center, which happens to be the most decorated part of the campus. Lights line all the trees that surround the student center and red and green lights can be seen shining on the building from across the campus.

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