Campus safety event with USFPD encourages awareness

The University of South Florida hosted a brand new event, National Campus Safety Day, on Sept. 28 that highlighted campus safety awareness.

Multiple organizations such as the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department and the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue came out. The idea of the event was to demonstrate awareness to the citizens of Hillsborough County.

“What we hope is that the police alone, the fire alone, the first responders can’t be always everywhere they need to be all the time,” said USF Police Chief, Chris Daniel. “By educating our community, that makes everybody part of the solution.”

The event lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and was full of students looking to participate. Demonstrations such as CPR with just your hands and how a police K-9 takes someone down were just a few on scene.

“This way there’s an incentive to listen to the information and to meet different people that you ordinarily would not meet,” Daniel said.

For more information regarding campus safety, visit USF’s annual security report and safety guide.

Paralympic Sports Program Motivates Locals

 

Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay is a program of Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation with the mission to promote health, independence and personal growth through sports for people with physical disabilities.

Andy Chasnoff started the program 15 years ago and he, with the help of this staff, focused his time helping people reach their maximum potential in sports.

“We focus on their ability and not their disability,” Chasnoff said.

Logan Krepop, 14, is a student at Manatee School of the Arts and has been a member of Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay for the past two years.

“It’s a great experience with kids with my disability to throw the discus and do a bunch of sports with the kids that are like  them,” Krepop said. “It’s really nice.

Travis Leigh, 33, has cerebral palsy, but feels like everyone else. He is grateful the paralympic events in the area, because they were not around when he was young.

Members of the Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay are competing in local and national competitions. Over 300 athletes participate in at least one PSTB program or event each year.

“Well first I’m going to try and go to the Adaptive Sports National Championship and then once I get older, going to train up for the Paralympics,”said Krepop.

Girls on the Run Empowering, Educating Life Skills

In its criss-cross through the nation, the Flavor Run 5K has left its mark through Girls on the Run in Tampa Bay.

Founded on a drive to create an affordable, fun and family-friendly event, The Flavor Run has transformed into a means of supporting local charities and businesses across the country.

“We have about 1,800 participants, and I’d say there are approximately 30 percent of first time runners,” said John McMahan, the event director and founder of the Flavor Run. “We focus on family, quality, and we also focus on partnering with local charities.”

Girls on the Run is a personal enrichment program for young girls that help to teach young girls life skills through a physical activity-based curriculum.  The program was established in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has since grown to over 200 councils in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Laura Moore serves as the director of Girls on the Run Greater Tampa Bay.  She said for the volunteers and runners of the 5K that designates Girls on the Run as their group during registration, a donation will be made to the program.

“For every volunteer that we bring, they can raise money for charity,” Moore said. “And for every runner that is in our team, they can donate a certain amount. There was about $2,000 that was donated last year, and all of those funds goes directly to our scholarship program, so that every young girl can be part of Girls on the Run.”

Over the course of a few years, the Flavor Run has become a vital piece in allowing Girls on the Run the opportunity to offer scholarships to members.

“We were a small part three years ago and then last year we were the exclusive charity partner, and we’re back again as the exclusive charity partner.  Moore said.  “We love the Flavor Run.”

The goal for Girls on the Run is to empower young girls in developing a strong sense of character, and feel confident in who they are and make connections with their peers.

McMahan said what motivates him in his role at the Flavor Run is being involved in a family-friendly atmosphere.

“It has to be the people that I surround myself with,” McMahan said. “The organizations that we work with, Laura, including Girls on the Run in Tampa Bay, it has been unbelievable.”

Tampa Pride Rises Strong Again

Live entertainment, influential guest speakers, and the waving of rainbow flags dominated the streets of Ybor City during the second annual Tampa Gay Pride parade and festival.

With the legalization of same-sex marriage passed in all 50 states since June of 2015, supporters and newcomers in the LGBT community are thrilled with the return of Tampa Pride, and vow for continued efforts to end discrimination in Florida.

“I think it’s a big influential part of the LGBT community,” said Achilles, an LGBT supporter. “You know it’s phenomenal. So, why not share it with the world?”

The event not only attracted new festivalgoers, vendors were also drawn in by the large crowd.

“It’s my first time, and I’m kind of loving it,” said Kara Wroblewski, owner of Happy Place Tie Dye.

While her company earns a profit from hand dyeing plain white t-shirts into any color the customer wants, Wroblewski said she also favors meeting new people at the festival.

“The people are sweet, I love it,” Wroblewski said. “Any time you can get a group of like-minded people together, it’s the way to go.”

The Pride celebration not only aims to usher in newcomers and supporters, forming a family with the LGBT community is another goal.

“They may have not have had the best past, they may have been thrown out or kicked out or lived on the street,” said Lindsey, a festivalgoer. “So they find a place to fit in, and be a part of a family because they want to be loved.”

 

Baseball league creates lasting friendships for special needs children

Baseball can be more than just a sport. America’s pastime has this unique ability to bring people from all different walks of life together. This is especially true for Buddy Baseball commissioner Russ Oberbroeckling.

“My sister has a league in Illinois,” Oberbroeckling said. “ Once I saw how well that league was going up there I figured we should have this here in Tampa. We started in the fall of 2009 and we have two seasons a year, we’re just finishing up our fourteenth season.”

Based in Temple Terrace, Buddy Baseball is a non-competitive league for boys and girls with special needs. The players are each paired with a buddy that they will spend the entirety of the season with.

“For typical kids, they don’t have a lot of chances to interact with kids with special needs,” Oberbroeckling said. “But now they do. They want to volunteer their time and get to know these kids. Not only that, but when they see them out in the general public, they are a little more receptive to them.”

Thanks to Buddy Baseball, players like Zach Mueller have been given the opportunity to break down social barriers.

“I like to play baseball with my focus kids,” Mueller said.

Mueller has been involved with Buddy Baseball for its entire existence. His mother, Kim, has seen the effect the league has had on her son and his teammates.

“Once the buddies come out here, I think they see that life isn’t always about being able to run the bases like an average kid can,” she said. “I’m hoping that if at least just one buddy of the hundreds that have come through in the last 14 seasons, take away from it that life isn’t always so simple.”

This league isn’t about the results. Simply put, it’s about the memories and the experiences that will last forever.

“No matter what, win or lose,  we are baseball winners,” Mueller said.

USF’s Solar Energy Fair

On Saturday Mar. 26, the Solar Energy Society at USF held their annual Solar Energy Fair. It is an event created to help teach the Tampa community about the latest innovations and technologies offered around the city. At this year’s event, there were Question and Answer panels with University professors and specialists; however, the true heart of the event lies with the students who make it all possible.

This year, two USF graduates presented their research to the public in order to share their new ideas. “I have always been a solar enthusiast,” said Arun Kumar. “I hope that these technologies and my research can be used in Third World countries to help other people.”

New breakthroughs are also coming from female students, such as Francesca Moloney who said: “From an early age I knew I wanted to focus my career on something in the environment.”

Both of these students hope to take their research and implement them at the university and across the Tampa Bay area. If their research and innovations succeed, they hope to apply them around the world. They aspire to build awareness in the community about the research being conducted, so that people can make wiser choices in their everyday lives.

African Infused With Caribbean Dance Shakes Up Wesley Chapel

The founder and CEO of Tampa Bay AfroFit, is aiming to spread the influence of African culture into the Tampa Bay community by infusing it with dance and cardio.

Natacha Zamor was raised by Haitian parents in Montreal.

Zamor grew up learning Haitian folk dances with her grandmother.

“When we would dance, we would sweat, we really did sweat and I remember always thinking this is such a great workout,” Zamor said.

Before starting Afrofit in 2015, Zamor—who was been a registered nurse— saw the need for an exercise program like this in the community. She noticed many programs, such as Zumba, and thought that there  was something missing for the people of African decent.

“It’s not just exercise, we dance, we laugh, and also she (Zamor) educates people,” Roberte Francios, an AfroFit participant, said.

Since starting AfroFit, Zamor has made it her mission to educate those around her about what they are really doing during their time with her.

“Our mission, our culture, doesn’t just rest on that, it rests on the younger generations, older generations, re-appropriating what has been lost,” Zamor said. Afrofit is located in Wesley Chapel Florida.

To learn more about AfroFit group classes, events and workshops please visit their website Tampabayafrofit.com or email them at Tampabayafrofit@gmail.com.

 

My Daughter’s Keeper Of Tampa Bay

Donna Welch has made it her mission to educate young girls about their worth and their choices.

“We have learned that girls can have so many challenges in their life,” Welch said. “So having a program where they can come—it’s a platform open to the young ladies to discuss all the issues that relate to them…we cover it all.”

Welch established My Daughter’s Keeper of Tampa Bay, Inc. (MDK) in 2007. The St. Petersburg mentoring program aims to encourage and empower young women ages 10 to 18. The girls meet weekly to discuss anything from school to relationships to aspirations. The program also organizes workshops for the girls on etiquette, personal development, and any other needs the girls may have.

“I think that a lot of what is being talked about now is self-esteem issues and being confident in who you are and in your own skin,” mentor NaKeena Cromartie said.

There are currently 25 to 30 girls enrolled in the program. When Welch is not working with them, she is touring the Bay area, giving speeches and offering her services. Welch has an open door policy and loves when previous mentees like Cromartie come back to help out with the program.

“That’s the rewarding part,” Welch said, “to be able to see the young ladies that go off to school, or you know the military or whatever they choose to do in life, but they don’t forget the program that helped them get there.”

“I’ve known Ms. Donna for a very long time,” Cromartie said. “And she’s not only been and instructor from the MDK perspective…but also like a godmother to me.”

Welch hopes to continue to influence young girls by expanding her program to Tampa.

Energy fund looks to use oil waste as fuel

In 2011, the University of South Florida Tampa campus launched the Student Green Energy Fund (SGEF) in order to help make the campus more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

In its few years at USF, the SGEF has already set up various projects throughout the university such as electric vehicle stations and a campus bike-share project. This year, SGEF plans on creating a bio-diesel fuel in order to replace fossil fuel as an energy source for vehicles on campus.

“It would be used for the Bull Runner buses that travel around the campus,” SGEF Chair, Harold Bower, said. “The goal of the bio-diesel project is to take waste oil from cooking function on campus and process it so it can be burned in the bull runner vehicles as fuel.”

The SGEF plans for the bio-diesel to be made from oil waste collected from campus eating facilities in order to be reused.

“The bio-diesel project I think, in my opinion, one of the best projects you can think of, because we are really being able to mitigate the carbon footprint that we create as a school,” SGEF Inspector, John Pilz, said. “We are able to utilize wastes that would just be going to the trash can.”

The bio-diesel project was awarded $100,000 in funding and is currently in the final stages of its research before implementing the new fuel. If the research shows great results, then students and faculty can expect to be riding bio-diesel buses as early as next fall.

 

Author James Morrow gives lecture at USF

On Monday, March 21, 2016 renowned science fiction author, James Morrow, will be visiting USF to discuss his new novel, “Galapagos Regained”.

Morrow will be giving a lecture on the fourth floor of USF’s library at 6:00 p.m. where he will discuss issues of science, religion, and pop culture. Joining Morrow will be fellow science fiction author and USF professor, Rick Wilbur.

“I’ve been in the science fiction community for a long time,” said Wilbur. “Getting Morrow to do this lecture was as easy as some scheduling and making phone calls to a comrade.”

After a small amount of aligning schedules between Wilbur, the university, and Morrow, the author is set to discuss his latest novel as a part of USF’s humanities institute’s lecture series.

“I urge all students who can make it to attend Morrow’s lecture,” said Wilbur. “He’s an incredible author and this is a great opportunity to discuss contemporary issues with a knowledgeable professional.”

Morrow, a self-proclaimed scientific humanist, is an author famous for his unconventional historical novels, which often examine the intertwining concepts of religion and science. His latest novel, “Galapagos Regained” plot centers on a Victorian adventurer who decides to repeat the voyages of Charles Darwin.

Anyone, whether a student, faculty or community member, will be able to attend both Morrow’s lecture and the event’s reception and book signing free of cost.

USF alumni eats like a caveman

 A young entrepreneur has taken her passion for eating healthy and combined it with her passion for cookies to create her own company Base Culture. This company is not like any other sweets retailer that sales brownies and banana bread; all of the products are paleo friendly, meaning they follow the popular Paleo Diet.

“The Paleo Diet is nicknamed the caveman diet for a reason” says Base Culture founder Jordann Windschauer, “If you were to follow the Paleo Diet, you eat meat, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and fruit.” Windschauer praises the diet and even goes on to say that she felt “more alive than ever and had more energy than she had had in years.”

While the Paleo Diet did have its ups it also had its downs. Windschauer enjoyed the new found energy boost, but she also missed all the sweets she used to eat.

“You know it got really hard not being able to just grab banana bread on the way to work in the morning. I looked for products that could satisfy my sweet tooth but would also satisfy paleo requirements but there were none” said Windschauer. It was that same day she took matters into her own hand and stated creating “sweets” that were made solely from seeds, nuts, and fruits.

She then took her paleo friendly sweets she baked to her local gym to share with her friends and they became an instant hit. People soon began offering compensation for her products, and overnight the company Base Culture was created.

Many customers have claimed to not even taste the difference between paleo friendly brownies and regular brownies. “I just tasted it and it’s actually really good and it’s awesome that it’s really healthy” said satisfied customer Lexi Ashby.

The idea of paleo friendly products has taken the market by force. Since the company’s beginning in 2013, Base Culture products are now available in over 50 stores nationwide and will soon be available in Walmart.

 

 

 

 

CSDS responds to the refugee crisis at USF

The University of South Florida Tampa campus has been developing its 5 year Strategic Plan in order to create a more “universal” university that provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful. The USF Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies (CSDS) hosts conventions to introduce this plan, with distinguished scholars and professionals on matters of international significance.

On Apr. 20, 2016, CSDS hosted a conference to discuss the Western responses to the refugee crisis, and migration from the Middle East and North Africa.

Cassandra Kenning, an undergraduate intern at the Center says, “The Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies hosts these global conferences on USF campus for the students, and unfortunately a lot of students don’t know about the conferences that are happening. We try to hold them all day long starting in the morning till the late or midafternoon so students have the opportunity to come in between their classes. The conferences right now do a really great job at gathering community members to the university to participate.”

At the conference, speakers present their research on specific topics and all the attendees have the opportunity to ask questions. However, the conference isn’t just educational; it also helps bring the community together.

Tiffiany Portacio a student assistant at USF World says, “, I love seeing probably all of the different people that come from all different walks of life.”

Students and faculty can expect new conferences starting Fall 2016, with and new speakers and conference topics. Furthermore, the Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies reminds the community that entrance to these conferences is free and open to the public.

Safari Wilderness Ranch offers a wild time

Lakeland, FLA.- Safari Wilderness Ranch welcomes people to take a tour to see a variety of animals from around the world and to be educated about these animals through personal interactions. The Ranch’s family friendly atmosphere and interactive activities provide visitors with a hands-on experience aimed at raising awareness about the animals both at the ranch and in the wild.

“We really want to see people come out here, and see these animals and make the connection.” said J.J., an employee at Safari Wilderness. “And then whenever it’s time to protect these animals in the wild and keep them from disappearing, they’re more apt to do that if they’ve come out here and made a connection themselves.”

Children are an important audience for the ranch. During the springtime, many field trips are brought to the Safari for tours and to educate the children about the animals.

“They seem to really enjoy it. We are very kid friendly.” J.J. said.

The employees at Safari Wilderness also continue learning more about the animals by observing them in their natural habitats and by sharing information with each other.

“It was a first time experience for me, out here with the water buffalo.” said Devon, the newest employee at Safari Wilderness.

Tours are given through the visitor’s choice of vehicle, horse-drawn carriage or camel rides, according to the website.

Private tours are also available for a more one-on-one learning experience. All tours are reservation only and tours run at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. Reservations can be made on the Safari Wilderness website.

The Safari also hosts special events like birthday parties, baby showers, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Christenings, graduation parties and more that can be booked on the website.

Capture

Photo courtesy of Safari Wilderness

USF Week: Embracing A Brighter Tomorrow

 

 

Honoring the history of the University of South Florida, and showing school pride is what makes USF Week a special time for students to celebrate.

By having USF Week pay homage to the accomplishments that the institution achieved in its 60 years of service, the college community at USF expects to see 60 more years of prosperity in the future.

“These reasons are what make USF Week so important,” said Athena Bressack, Coordinator of USF’s Center for Student Involvement.

USF Week began as USF Day in 2010, which was declared by former mayor of Tampa Pam Iorio, on April 9. Two years later, the day expanded to a week-long celebration of all things green and gold.

“USF Week is a celebration on what it means to be a Bull,” Bressack said.

USF Week was created by the students, for the students. The planning committee and departments that organize the events during the week, are almost composed of students, staff and volunteers.

USF Week also provides an opportunity for students to meet new people, and learn about their experiences with one another.

During the USF KickOff, students from dozens of organizations, including fraternities, sororities and cultural clubs mingled with one another as two DJs from Bulls Radio were on the ones and twos. One DJ even performed a Caribbean Dancehall, which was infused with electronic dance music to please a mixed crowd.

The Kickoff began on April 4, which includes events like the Working Bulls Bag Breakfast, and the Mr. and Ms. USF Pagent. On Tuesday, Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton lectured a packed house of students and community members. USF Week continues until April 9 with a concert, appropriately titled Bullstock, as well as sporting events and a birthday party for USF’s famed mascot, Rocky D. Bull.

Malik Waters, a student assistant in the Center for Student Involvement, said the collaboration of multiple campus partners at USF make the week-long festival a success.

“I make sure that our vendors are paid,” Waters said, as he gestures to an arm full of USF Week wristbands. “Without us, there is no promotional stuff that everyone loves.”

Inaugural Carolina Sled Hockey Classic

 

From Mar. 11 to Mar. 13, 2016, the Polar Ice House of Wake Forest in Wake Forest, North Carolina was home to The Inaugural Carolina Sled Hockey Classic. 

The Carolina Sled Classic featured 50 disabled athletes from five different teams from throughout the southeast United States. 

The teams featured in the photo essay are the Nashville Sled Preds and the Virginia Beach Hockey Club Sled Team. The game was dominated by the Sled Preds, who eventually went on to play in the championship game.

 

Different perspectives on USF’s Tobacco and Smoke Free Policy

USF has implemented a new Tobacco and Smoking Free Policy. Tobacco and smoking are now prohibited from the Tampa campus, which means that the university’s 24 designated smoking areas no longer exist.

“USF made this change because the university is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for people to learn in and for people to work in,” USF media and public affairs manager, Adam Freeman, said. “By going tobacco and smoke free for the entire campus, we’re hoping to promote a healthy lifestyle and a lifestyle built around wellness for all members of the community.”

The policy went into effect Jan. 4 before the spring semester started. The university is aiming for the policy to be peer enforced. This can be done by asking people who are smoking to stop or by contacting the building manager nearest to where the smoking is taking place. Students caught smoking can be taken to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities to face disciplinary action. Staff and faculty can be brought before their supervisors. However, the consequences do not seem to be a deterrent.

“I think that it’s definitely a good idea, absolutely,” USF junior Nick Salsone said. “I see that a lot of people don’t follow the rules, but I think that they should.”

There are still plenty of people smoking on campus. The word “free” was scratched off of one of the tobacco and smoke free campus signs.

“I think if people want to smoke, they should be able to,” sophomore Madeline McKeever said. “People are going to do it regardless, so the signs don’t really stop anyone.”

USF’s St. Petersburg and Sarasota campuses already have tobacco free policies. USF Tampa has been working towards a tobacco free campus for the past four years.

Getting social with the USF brand

Social media has never been more prevalent in college and professional sports than it is today. At the University of South Florida, Mike Farrell is the man behind the computer screen.

“A lot of it is one, developing a voice for our social channels and then two creating content that’s going to engage our fanbase,” Farrell said.

As the Director of Digital Content, Farrell is in charge of churning out vines, tweets, pictures and more across all of USF Athletics’ social media platforms every day.

“One of the things we want to do and want to push is to create stuff that is engaging, stuff that people want to consume, share, retweet and help spread the brand,” Farrell said.

One of the most important days for any athletic department each year is National Signing Day. Student athletes from all over the country officially sign with the school of their choosing. The content created by Farrell and his team made waves on a national level, including an appearance on Yahoo! Sports Dr. Saturday blog.

“This year in particular we had a couple national organizations, blogs, write about some of the things that we did,” Farrell said. “It was a lot of hard work, a lot of people put in a lot, a lot of hours for what’s really just a glorified morning. But I do think that it pays dividends in the end.”

The work Farrell puts in on a daily basis is critical to the growing online presence that is USF Athletics.

“For a large subset of our fans, if you don’t have that presence, you’re irrelevant,” Senior Associate Director of Athletics Andrew Goodrich said.

Even though Farrell is fully focused on the day-to-day task of enhancing USF Athletics’ presence online, he doesn’t lose sight of the big picture.

“When one person leaves, somebody else can come in and there’s no drop,” Farrell said. “That’s the USF brand. That’s the USF Athletics brand. That’s the USF football brand. There’s no change. That needs to be a constant.”

 

 

 

Service dog helps paralyzed student come full circle

For most college students, having a pet of their own would seem like a luxury, but the responsibility of animals mixed with a hectic class schedule could be overwhelming.

For Elizabeth Jernigan, however, her dog Carina was a necessity. Even with aspirations of physician assistant school and a seven-class course load, she can’t imagine doing it without Carina by her side. But perhaps that’s because without Carina, she really couldn’t do it.

After facing unexpected paralysis from the neck down due to her auto-immune disease in 2012, Elizabeth explained that she “needed someone to help [her] with basically everything.” After deciding that a personal aide wasn’t the ideal choice, she applied for a service animal through New Horizons Service Dogs, and waited six long months to get Carina.

Michele Reese has been a puppy raiser for service and guide dogs for several years and has raised over half a dozens dogs. She knows first hand how beneficial and therapeutic these animals can be to the human companions they’re placed with. “They don’t judge,” Reese said. “They love you for who you are, it doesn’t matter if you have a disability.”

Elizabeth has since come full circle in her illness, now able to play and run with Carina whenever she wants. It just goes to show the healing power of these service animals is an amazing thing and now the duo is able to bond on an all-new level, providing equal support for one another everyday.

Spicing up Valentine’s Day for our veterans

 

Love is in the air, and it’s also in the alley.

Zephyrhills resident Tami Beverlin has started a campaign called Valentines for Veterans. The effort focuses on making valentines for wounded veterans at James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa. Beverlin’s idea culminated in this event at Pin Chasers. Kids of all ages were invited to participate.

“I wanted to do something for the older vets that are at the nursing homes and the ones that are coming back, the ones that are in the hospital,” Beverlin said. “Just to say, you know, ‘we appreciate you.’”

Each participant received a free game of bowling for taking part in the initiative. Beverlin was encouraged to have the event here by her daughter Aubrey Ogilbee, who’s also the bowling center’s general manager.

“There’s no better person to work with than family that you love and care about,” Ogilbee said. “You know each other. There’s, you know, no communication issues because you already know exactly how you each communicate and what your strengths and weaknesses are.”

Beverlin collected over 800 cards throughout the month-long campaign. She hopes the event becomes annual so veterans can continue to feel this love for years to come.

“You don’t feel like you can do anything,” Beverlin said. “You can do something. You can just get involved in your own community. You can start changing the ‘I’ thinking to the ‘we’ thinking.”

Trump rally creates chaos among attendees

Donald Trump made his first appearance in Florida since winning Super Tuesday when he appeared at the University of Central Florida in front of a 5,000 person crowd. Trump’s speech was more of the same rhetoric, talk without any substance. The speech, however, did cause approximately 30 attendees to erupt in protest.