First Year Feature- Jon Mark Bernal


Jon Mark Bernal || Tech Activities Board

Jon Mark

Meet Jon Mark Bernal, the next person in our #FirstYearFeature series. Jon Mark is the Associate Director of Student Union & Activities.

“Our goal is to bring students into our building to not only use it as an eating facility, but also as a place to connect and meet with one another, study, and participate in student activities and events we put on. We have a lot of different tenants in the building they can take advantage of, different student services, the book store, the game area, etc. We hope that students come here for more than just a one stop shop. We want them to come in here to actually enjoy being a part of what we offer as a full Student Union & Activities department and not just see it as a building.” –John Mark Bernal

Q: What services does your office have for First Year Students at Texas Tech University?

Student Union & Activities oversees the actual Student Union Building and Student Activities including the Tech Activities Board (TAB) here on campus.  Our department’s goal is to provide first year students an opportunity to come to our building and enjoy the food, community and activities that take place here daily.  We hope that students will use our facility to meet with their student orgs, play ping pong and pool and come here to study as well.  We also provide students with numerous FREE events all throughout the year.  We host events like Homecoming, movies on campus, Arbor Day, RaiderGate: A Student Tailgate Tradition as well as various off campus events like a Mr. Gatti’s Night, free bowling and an evening at Adrenaline City.  We also partner with various departments and student organizations to host events like our annual Corn Maze event with RHA and our Drive in Movie at Stars and Stripes with TAB & Pike.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

One of the most exciting things about my job is being able to work with such a diverse group of students on our programming board (TAB) and knowing that every day is something new and exciting.  We have such an eclectic group of students who plan, execute and lead our campus events that it’s fun to see all their personalities work towards a common goal of making Texas Tech a fun place to be.  No one day is the exact same and we have the chance to work with so many campus partners to make some great things happen here at Texas Tech.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Texas Tech and why?

Being an alum of Texas Tech and now being able to work for the university is one of my most favorite things.  Texas Tech afforded me so many opportunities in my time as a student that being able to give back as a staff member now means a lot to me.  I love how much I have seen our campus and city grow in the time that I’ve been here and it’s awesome to see the pride that so many people have when they say they’re a RED RAIDER!  Anywhere I go, I’m usually wearing something with a Double T on it or something that says Texas Tech and people who know what it means to be a Red Raider will give me a Guns Up and that’s something that’s pretty cool.  I’m proud to be a Red Raider and I hope that anyone that has decided to come to school here will graduate and carry on that feeling as well.

Q: What is your favorite spot on campus?

One of my favorite places on campus is Memorial Circle because when I came to visit I walked through there on my own just to see what it felt like and people were so friendly and said hello I felt like this place was home and now that I’ve been here for so long, that place is like the center of campus to me and we do so many great events there that it brings back some good memories.

Q: What advice would you give first year students?

My biggest piece of advice is to get involved in something and make the most of your time while you’re here.  Take a chance on a flyer you saw you about getting involved in a club or group, maybe it was a conversation you had with someone on the bus on the way to class or maybe you saw something on social media about joining a group, whatever it is, go for it.  Don’t let it pass you by.  You never know what the leap of faith will lead to next.  Being involved on campus makes your college experience that much more enjoyable and memorable.

Q: Looking back to your first year, what would you change? What would you do the same?

I’m not sure that I would change a lot other than I might have joined a few of the groups I wound up being a part of earlier.  I look back and think, if I had joined earlier how much more would that have affected me in a positive way.

As far as what I would do the same, I think I would continue to just talk to as many people as possible wherever I was.  Again, you never know where a conversation is going to lead you to.  Don’t get stuck looking down at your phone every time you walk to and from class, take in your surroundings and the people that are a part of it.  Those people can lead to a pretty cool future.

Q: What is your favorite place to eat in Lubbock?

Two places that I enjoy eating because of the atmosphere are Spanky’s because it’s one of the first places I ate when I came to visit and their cheese sticks are awesome!  It’s a campus staple and people know it so you have to try it out.  The other place is Cagle’s Steakhouse.  I like that fact that it’s on the outskirts of town and they have a cool place to just hang out with a group and you can go with friends, family or your campus group.  It’s a good steak place not too far from Tech yet far enough that you can watch the infamous Lubbock sunsets and not be in the mix of too much traffic.

Q: What are some hobbies you have?

I love being involved in the Lubbock community so I volunteer a lot and help out with the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and some other community groups.  I’ve also been an active participant in our local triathlon community here as well and I enjoy playing tennis when I can.  Whenever I get the chance to travel I really enjoy that too and going with friends is a lot of fun because I never know when I’ll get to see some of the places I’ve been to so I try to go to as many new places I can each year.

Q: What is your favorite Tech Tradition?

My favorite Tech Tradition is Homecoming.  I love that it’s a week-long event and there’s so many things that happen leading up to our Friday night pep rally and then our bonfire.  I think it’s pretty cool that we still do a bonfire and that the Lubbock community comes out in big numbers for it.  So many alumni come in to town for the week and then for bonfire and the game on Saturday.  It’s a great time to catch up with friends who you haven’t seen in a while.  The entire campus comes together to celebrate a long standing tradition.  I really enjoy that fact that our office also coordinates the event and now I get to be a part of it from that side of things too.

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