[UTA Magazine]


The good life
One glimpse of the frenzy surrounding Everclear lead singer Art Alexakis is all it takes for Misty Aguero to vacate her front-row balcony seat near Tolentino’s. She heads downstairs to join hundreds of head-bobbing, fist-pumping students who have formed a sea of humanity near the Texas Hall stage.

Everclear in concert at Texas Hall
Students at last fall's Everclear concert get an up-close view of lead singer Art Alexakis. Many of the more than 1,000 attending charged the Texas Hall stage when the rock band was introduced.

“Everyone rushed the stage as soon as Everclear came out,” said Aguero, a 21-year-old senior from San Antonio. “We wanted to get closer to the action. Everyone was waving their arms and singing the songs. They even pulled people on the stage during the encore. It was awesome!”

The Everclear concert was sponsored by EX.C.E.L., a student programming group that plans cultural, educational and social events for the campus and surrounding community. Like the Greek organizations, EX.C.E.L. membership has also spiked, says Student Activities Director Mardie Sorensen.

"Lots of high school students are now choosing UTA because they can get a traditional college experience."
-senior Misty Aguero

“The first month of school we not only brought in additional chairs, but people were sitting on the stairs,” she said of the 40-seat Student Congress chambers where the group meets. “As the campus has become more residential, we’ve seen a more active membership. We retained more members last semester than ever before.”

Senior Misty Aguero eating lunch at J. Gilligan's
Misty Aguero eats lunch at J. Gilligan's Bar & Grill, one of the most popular student hangouts in Arlington. Owner and alumnus Randy Ford opened the restaurant 23 years ago to serve the UTA and downtown communities. "We always have specials geared toward the UTA crowd," Ford says. "Our UTA connection is just invaluable."

EX.C.E.L.-sponsored performers and speakers have included filmmaker Spike Lee, poet Maya Angelou, actor James Earl Jones and comedians Carrot Top and Jimmy Fallon. Events featuring high-profile entertainers create a buzz on campus, Aguero says.

She attends most of them as Ms. UTA, who also serves as co-president of the Ambassador Program. In addition to being official University hosts, the Ambassadors promote campus traditions. Long-running events like Homecoming, Activities Fair Day and the bed races are designed to appeal to students seeking the total university package.

“Lots of high school students are now choosing UTA because they can get a traditional college experience,” Aguero said. “I’ve talked to a lot of freshmen from the Metroplex, and they’re coming to UTA not because it’s convenient but because they want to live on campus and experience the campus life.”

Since arriving here in 1999, Aguero has done both. She has lived on campus in Centennial Court Apartments, Trinity House residence hall and Timber Brook Apartments, one of two new complexes that opened last fall. In addition to being Ms. UTA, she’s a mentor to new students, an orientation leader and a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority.

A first-generation college student, Aguero chose UTA after reading about the nursing program on the University’s Web site. She has since changed her major to public relations, perhaps a fitting pursuit given the high-profile, all-about-campus nature of her Ms. UTA duties.

Her life revolves around UTA, and that’s why she makes it her home.

“There’s an excitement about living on campus that you don’t get by living elsewhere,” said Aguero, who rented an apartment off campus her junior year. “There’s so much activity now. When I drive through campus, I’m afraid I’m going to run someone over. People are out walking, jogging, doing their daily activities.

“Living on campus is just a lot more convenient. Everything’s within walking distance.”

Like the Everclear concert—and oozeball.

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