Cookout held at CETES Center


Alex Rosa-Figueroa

Staff Writer

The department of Criminal Justice and Sociology met for this semester’s Student and Faculty Luncheon.

Starting at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 14, students and faculty alike gathered in the Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES) Conference Center for a cookout luncheon. The department holds this get-together every semester, and according to Tina Alley, Administrative Assistant for the department of Criminal Justice and Sociology, the event is a hit with students.

“Students absolutely love it,” she said. “We usually do barbecue and give away door prizes.”

Alley went on to explain that the event is one meant to foster camaraderie, as students dined on hamburgers and snacks alongside the faculty and staff they learned under while in the classroom. The Luncheon is held once every semester and before a break — in this semester’s case, it was just before Spring Break.

“We want to give the students a relaxing environment outside the classroom with faculty and staff,” she said.

As Dr. Su Lee, Associate Professor in the department, grilled the burgers just outside the conference center, students and instructors were able to eat to their liking while mingling. A table was set up near the front of the room filled with lettuce, tomatoes and other dressings, as well as the various kinds of condiments expected of a grilled meal; that way, hungry attendees could customize their lunch as they saw fit.

Eating food and meeting with peers was not the only order of business for the afternoon — throughout the luncheon, various prizes were handed out. Those in attendance of the meal received a ticket as they entered the conference center; as they ate, Assistant Professor Dr. Sherri Keenan — who helped organize the event — would draw from a bag the potential twin of any given ticket, which corresponded to one of a number of prizes. The prizes included coffee mugs, stress balls, salt and pepper shakers and full textbooks. The big prizes of the luncheon were t-shirts emblazoned with the logo for Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice organization. Only those within the department were eligible for the prizes, and the raffle continued through the full of the lunch.

Also present at the luncheon was a booth representing the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network. The table was covered in fliers, posters and paperwork containing information on the network.

According to Jennifer Ward, Regional Prevention Coordinator Project Specialist, the network has a series of programs meant to cut down on underage drinking and substance abuse in the county. The booth, a combination of Ward’s efforts and a welcoming invitation from the department, was at the luncheon to recruit volunteers for its various preventative programs.

“I was here last year for the cookout,” she said. “We wanted to give students the opportunity to volunteer and make a difference in Comanche County.”

Ward said that the Prevention Network has programs for volunteers for all ages, including a secret shopper program meant to keep an eye on alcoholic beverage vendors and ensure they are checking customer identification thoroughly. The programs, she explained, are meant to curb the concerning level of underage drinking in the county.

“We know from the research that this is an issue in Comanche County,” she said. “The alcohol-related crash rate is much higher than the state level.”

Those seeking more information on the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network can contact Jennifer Ward at or 580.355.5246 x 101.

More information on the Criminal Justice and Sociology Department can be found cj_sociology/, and for more on-campus events students can turn to the Calendar of Events at eventcalendar.

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