Author of “The Selfie Vote” Speaks Out About 2016 Presidential Election

Author and Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson stopped by to talk about polling, millennials, and what could seemingly be labeled the most interesting election yet. Here is her seven second take:

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Second 1: Anderson is a millennial herself, though she is hesitant to admit it. She carefully placed space between her age and ours while she spoke. Anderson never anticipated falling into her current line of work. A graduate thesis and a passion for Washington D.C. put her on the path of polling, political contributing, and a book deal among other endeavors. A strong voice for the millennial generation.

Second 2: As for her take on young voters, they care more than you think. Anderson recalled comments made that millennials are unreachable when it comes to politics. For Anderson these comments do not ring true. Instead she sees 80 million millennials, one force that can reshape an election.

Second 3: So how does one reach these lucrative voters? Anderson does not think that the Democratic party has hit the nail on the head just yet, frustrated with the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton campaign. Anderson referenced her frustration in the article Stop trying to make Chillary Happen. She recalled Clinton’s requests for young voters to “Pokémon Go to the polls” and explain how their student debt made them feel in three emojis or less. Anderson’s advice to Clinton:

“Quit trying so hard,” Anderson said. “Just be yourself.”

Second 4: As for the Republican nominee Donald Trump’s efforts, Anderson considered them to be either non-existent or counterproductive. Though, she did give a nod to Trump for being the more technologically savvy out of the two.

“The medium does not trump the message,” Anderson said. “No pun intended.”

Second 5: So how do the candidates tip the scale and reign in the millennial vote this year? Speak to young voters at the level they are currently at. According to Anderson, this includes understanding their moral lens, distrust of big institutions, adversity to labels and pragmatism.

Second 6: The real question is what does this election come down to? For Anderson, it is numbers and certain states. Trump needs 269 electoral votes to push the decision to the House of Representatives. This is easier said than done according to Anderson’s analysis.

“Trump needs everything to go right in that one narrow path to win,” Anderson said.

Second 7: In the end, Anderson is optimistic that Trump will not win this election cycle.

“Democrats fall in love,” Anderson said. “Republicans fall in line.”

Clinton does not have an easy fight either in Anderson’s eyes.

“Young women are not giving bonus points based on someone’s gender,” Anderson said.

This year’s election is up in the air, causing Anderson’s closing statement to never ring more true:

“Your vote matters.”

USF student conquers fears with help of YouTube

A former dream pushed to the side because of fear has now taken form for USF student Jade Lopez. Her channel “Mrs. You’re Welcome” is a reminder for her that she is done letting fear run her life and is prepared to share her story and her talents with those on the other side of the screen.

“I’m so done with fear telling me that I can’t do it or people are going to laugh at you or it’s not going to be good enough, no one’s even going to  watch it,” Lopez said. “I’m just like how ‘bout you shut-up and I’ll prove you wrong.”

Tucked away in the USF library Lopez finds herself fiddling with equipment and editing software while she works between their green room and the Digital Media Commons learning as she goes.

“I don’t know what I’m doing, I literally said that in the first video,” Lopez said. “If the video is crooked I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Though this does not stop her from pursuing her goal, it rather encourages her to make this channel the one that stays. To make this channel the one that is true to her personality and her style. To make this channel the one that inspire others. Stating that she wants her viewers to:

“Realize that they are enough.”

Which is something her friend Briana Brown already finds she is accomplishing.

“She has a bright future with this channel,” Brown said. “She is kind of filling that void in the YouTube community where there needs to be a positive energy or a refreshing light.”

Only time will show what impact Lopez’s channel will leave, but for now her possibilities are seemingly endless.

If you want to see more from Jade find her here at: Mrs. You’re Welcome

Drawing inspiration from art

What do you want to do before you die? Is a question that one public art project is asking people daily.

Located in Downtown Tampa, the Before I Die Wall stands on Tampa’s Riverwalk serving as a means of expression for those in the Bay Area due to the work of Leadership Tampa Bay’s Class of 2016. A program that teaches those involved how to become more involved and better stewards for their communities.

According to Todd Edwards, a Leadership Tampa Bay 2016 class member, this project came to life by an artist named Candy Chang as a coping mechanism for her depression, though to her surprise it gained the attention of others. Now years later that wall she created for herself has produced 1,000 boards that have spanned 70 countries and 36 languages giving countless people the gift of personal expression.

“To be able to express oneself in a public forum, without being judged, you can’t put a price on that,” said Edwards.

Which is an idea that Dawn Federspiel, a woman who visits the wall almost every day understands and enjoys. Sitting along the wall for hours Federspiel creates and re-creates others words by smudging the chalk into beautiful messages and images.

“Life is a value. Love is a value. People are a value,” said Federspiel. “So this is why I come out here and do this, just to be an inspiration”

Federspiel uses the wall not only to inspire but to also help her cope with her own past.

“Let me tell you it’s been a long journey, okay,” said Federspiel.

The Before I Die Wall can be visited at any time and will stay downtown until January 2017 when it will be relocated to a permanent location at Tampa’s Armature Works.

USF study works to prevent firefighter injuries

The University of South Florida is showing progress in a firefighter based exercise study they funded this May. The study spans four departments, including St. Pete, Temple Terrace, Tampa and Hillsborough County.

This study utilizes five exercises to strengthen firefighter’s lower backs and core in hopes of reducing the risk of injury.

Firefighters carry approximately 75 pounds in gear alone, though this number can rise to over 100 pounds when additional gear is needed for a call. This weight in addition to the need to respond quickly puts firefighters at a higher risk for back injuries and chronic back pain.

St. Petersburg Division Chief of Safety and Training, Joseph Bruni has seen his fair share of these injuries throughout his work in the department.

“We have about 50 to 55 injuries a year in a department of this size of 350 personnel,” Bruni said, “and the leading injuries that we see are back and knee injuries”

Bruni who completes the exercises himself speaks highly of the study and what it has accomplished for him.

“It’s helped a great deal as far as my back feels and at the age that I’m at now and the years that I have on the job,” Bruni said. “The exercises that I’ve been doing here in the study has helped substantially.”

While the potential for the final Fall 2017 results are too soon to tell Principal Investigator, John Mayer can attest that what they have accomplished so far is working.

“Anecdotally we have some evidence to support that the exercises are indeed helping the firefighters with their job and to prevent back injuries,” Mayer said.

The next installment of this study can be seen later in this year as the research team pushes towards the potential for national implementation.