February 2024 Newsletter


Hey, Highlanders! Can you believe that we’re almost halfway through the spring semester? In a little over a week, Spring I will be finished and we’ll all (hopefully) be resting for a week of break! This month’s theme is community service, and we hope you’ll feel inspired to get involved at McLennan or in the community.

A little note: CREW is committed to improving the student experience by alleviating non-academic stressors you might face, and we’re constantly assessing how we can best serve the McLennan community. This semester is no exception! 

There are a number of ways you can connect with us and offer feedback or imagine creative partnerships. Subscribe to our Google calendar for real-time event updates and connect with us in person. Schedule an appointment to connect with one of the CREW staff members. Or email or call us at 254-299-8561 — any time!

Spotlight: On-Campus Resources

The Student Life Center has been hitting record numbers of weekly visitors this year, and we want to make sure you know about this awesome space! The SLC hosts a variety of events each month, including karaoke, tournaments, and our Third Thursday Thoroughfare (pizza + resources). Check out the SLC calendar and Instagram page for all the updates.

Not only is the SLC a great place to decompress between classes, but it’s also the place to get connected with Student Organizations. Student orgs can help you find connection and community, contribute to a cause that’s meaningful to you, hold the potential for leadership experience, and provide something to talk about on your resume or during job interviews. Stop by the SLC or send them an email to get connected!

Spotlight: Off-Campus Resources

Instead of highlighting a resource that serves you, this month we want to offer ways for our Highlander community to give back to the many organizations that faithfully show up for our students and employees. There are SO many ways to get involved in the Waco community, so this list highlights just a few of the organizations that we know need volunteers.

If you want to volunteer with other organizations, try browsing the list of organizations that have come to campus for Third Thursday Thoroughfare or the resource fairs to see if any of those are of interest. Every organization on the CREW website is linked to their landing webpage.


We’re so grateful for EVERYONE who helped make the Thanksgiving meal distribution a success last week! From the athletes who helped pack the bags, to the student workers and success coaches who helped run bags to cars, to the Physical Plant folks who transported hams from storage all over campus to our building, to the McLennan Police who helped direct traffic—this was truly a team effort, and we could not have pulled it off without y’all literally jumping in to help. Thanks for loving and serving our community so well!

Self-Care Tip

I, personally, am really excited for the chance to slow down over winter break—especially since I had a taste of that during Thanksgiving week. I hope to disconnect from technology quite a bit since I spend hours and hours each day in front of my laptop doing homework and my desktop doing things for the CREW. So I wanted to offer some tips for changing the way we interact with technology.

Complete overhauls rarely work, so choose ONE habit from the following list and try your best to implement it over break.

  • Leave your phone inside the house when outside with your kids
  • Leave your phone in your car or jacket pocket (in another room) when you go to a restaurant to eat or into a holiday party
  • Keep your phone in another room or across your bedroom at night so you’re not tempted to scroll before falling asleep or first thing when you wake up
  • Set time limits for yourself for apps that are particularly distracting (e.g., 1 hour/day for social media). Here’s how: iPhone; Android
  • Delete apps that you no longer use or that you find yourself turning to when you need a distraction from the task at hand
  • Set up “do not disturb” to automatically turn on at certain hours. If it’s important for certain people to still be able to reach you, you can create exceptions to the DND rule. Here’s how: iPhone; Android
  • Stop interacting with your phone at least an hour before you plan to go to bed

Your efforts won’t be perfect because it takes time to change a habit. However, the small changes you make this break will set you up to have a healthier relationship with your phone in the new year so you can focus more on the things that matter to you.

Easy Recipe

I’ve been seeing chicken spaghetti recipes all over the place, so I figured that was a sign to include an easy recipe for this month’s newsletter! You can make this casserole without dirtying a lot of dishes, and it’ll feed your family for a few days (especially if you double the recipe). It’s also pretty easy to whip up for a holiday party/potluck. And, there’s a good chance you already have most of the ingredients in your home!

Need any ingredients? Swing by Paulanne’s for some non-perishable goods, frozen meat, fresh fruit, cheese, and/or milk! There’s a good chance we’ll have most of the ingredients for this meal when you stop by to shop the pantry!

Chicken Spaghetti (Budget Bytes)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time:
 50 mins
Total Time: 60 mins
Servings: 6


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lb total)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt (for the pasta water)
  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 10oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained (Rotel)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using a sharp knife, carefully fillet each chicken breast into two thinner cutlets. Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the four chicken cutlets to the skillet and cook on each side until golden brown and cooked through (about 7-10 minutes total). Remove the chicken to a clean cutting board, and allow it to rest.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1/2 Tbsp of salt to the water then add the spaghetti pasta and boil until the pasta is tender (or al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, start making the sauce. In the same skillet that the chicken was cooked in, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  4. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and stir with the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flour starts to turn golden brown.
  5. Slowly pour the chicken broth into the skillet and stir to fully dissolve the flour from the bottom of the skillet. The flour will start to thicken the sauce when it returns to a simmer. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and the heavy cream to the skillet. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  6. After the chicken breasts have rested, chop them into smaller ½ inch pieces.
  7. Turn the heat off the skillet and add the drained diced tomatoes with green chiles, the chopped chicken, and the cooked spaghetti to the pan. Mix until combined.
  8. Add the chicken spaghetti mixture to a 9x13” casserole dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and cheese is melted.

NUTRITION (per 1 serving)

Calories: 572 kcal | Carbohydrates: 37 g | Protein: 24 g | Fat: 37 g | Sodium: 843 mg | Fiber 2 g

CREW This Month

Every Thursday, 1–5 pm @ LTC 321 || Greater Waco Legal Services

Reach out for legal advice—FREE to all students, faculty, and staff! Consultation is free, but students are responsible for costs associated with applications or court fees.
*Note: Will not occur over the winter holiday break

Tuesday, 12/5, 4–8pm @ Extraco Events Center || HEB Feast of Sharing

Head to the Extraco Events Center for some holiday fun and a good meal!

Thursday, 11/9, 3–4pm @ Parking Lot R || Shepherd’s Heart Food Distribution

Swing by Lot R for FREE food from Shepherd’s Heart! Free and open to anyone in the community!


More events are available on the  CREW calendar! Be sure to save the calendar so you never miss an event!

View past newsletters here:  https://www.mclennan.edu/campus-resource-guide/newsletter.html

*Composed by Emma Cartisano*