[UTA Magazine]


The good life
As Aguero watches from a splatter-safe distance, she spies sorority sister Jennifer Stilley, one of 370 participants from a record 65 teams at the 13th annual oozeball tournament. A broken ankle suffered on the first day of classes has made Stilley literally a stick-in-the-mud at the event billed as “mud volleyball at its finest.”

A muddy team huddle at the 13th annual oozeball tournament.
A record 65 teams and 370 players wallowed in the mire of the 13th annual oozeball tournament. The mud volleyball event is one of the most popular campus traditions.

“I tried to play but my foot kept getting stuck,” said the freshman from Copperas Cove.

From a handful of teams at its outset, oozeball has grown into one of the most popular events on campus. Each fall, hundreds of students frolic in the ankle-high muck created from tons of bagged dirt and frequent hose-downs from Arlington Water Department employees.

“This year’s event was the most successful ever,” said junior Ricardo Lopez, president of the Student Alumni Association, which co-sponsors the tournament with Campus Recreation. “The 65 teams were by far the most we’ve ever had. We raised more than $3,000 for scholarships—the most we’ve ever raised in a single event.”

Getting stuck in oozeball mud is the only thing that has slowed Stilley since she arrived on campus in August. She needs five calendars to keep track of her schedule.

Freshman Jennifer Stilley in the University Center
Brazos House resident Jennifer Stilley is a short walk from the E.H. Hereford University Center, one of the primary gathering spots for students.

Much of the activity revolves around Brazos House, the oldest and smallest residence hall on campus. Built in 1935, Brazos House is divided into A, B, C and D ramps. Stilley represents A Ramp on the Brazos hall council, which plans social activities and provides a forum for the 96 residents.

"Campus life is awesome. Everyone who's involved in something wants everyone else to be involved."
-freshman Jennifer Stilley

While many students are wowed by the newness and conveniences of Arlington Hall, Stilley chose Brazos for the intimacy. “It’s a family atmosphere. You can get to know people here. I like everything about it.”

Apparently, so do most residents. Brazos consistently posts the highest return rate of any residence hall. The popular first floor features a bustling lobby, TV lounge, washers and dryers, a 24-hour study lounge equipped with two Internet-access computers, and a community kitchen.

Brazos even has a mascot—the Bulldogs.

“The Brazos Bulldogs are very proud and protective of each other,” said Zemmin, UTA’s housing director. “It’s a very tight-knit community.”

Aside from supporting her fellow Brazos Bulldogs, Stilley serves as co-chair of the community service committee for the Freshman Leaders on Campus. Established last fall, FLOC promotes freshman participation in campus organizations and activities—something the 18-year-old aerospace engineering major is thoroughly familiar with.

“Campus life is awesome,” said Stilley, who also attends EX.C.E.L. and UTA Volunteers meetings and is a member of the Homecoming Committee. “Everyone who’s involved in something wants everyone else to be involved.”

Included in her involvement last fall: donning angel’s wings and a halo as a member of her sorority’s bed race team.

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