Poetry fights against black on black crime

 

Andrea Little and Hector Angus are not your typical college students. They are owners of a grocery store, 1 Apple Grocery.

The University of South Florida students put their money together to help a low-income neighborhood thrive in this “food desert.”

Phil Scott has been president of Black on Black Rhyme Tampa for the last three years.  The poetry troop is the longest running in the Tampa area.

The troop assembles every third Friday of every month at Joffrey’s Coffee House. Their aim is to help the people in the poorer side of the community be able to express themselves in a healthy way.

When asked, “is it worth it,” Phil Scott answers, “Undoubtedly. From the neighborhood that I come from, it’s vital to our survival as a community, in order to have these outlets for us”.

Located at the corner of 8th and 15th street in downtown Ybor, Joffrey’s Coffee House hosts the Black on Black Rhyme shows every third Friday of each month.

Phil Scott is FAMU graduate, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Music. He is currently the band director at Van Buren Middle School.

He says, “I didn’t choose Black on Black, Black on Black really chose me.  It was kinda like they just welcomed me with open arms”.

Black on Black Rhyme Tampa show times are available on the Tampa Bay Poetry page on Facebook. Be sure to check out there show this Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m.

Rugby pitch cultivates leadership

 

On the USF men’s rugby team, every player has their own story, but team captain Adam Gimbel —a fourth year biochemistry student from Miami— explained the dedication and bond that is unique to rugby.

Gimbel feels that being captain of the team has helped him get the confidence to take on other leadership roles in life.

“I’ve played sports all of my life. I just fell in love with rugby immediately. Physically, emotionally and mentally, it is the most challenging sport I’ve ever played. And because of that it’s the most self-satisfying sport, I’ve ever played.”

In the middle of October, Gimbel suffered a hamstring injury. Unlike in many other sports, he experienced something that is special to rugby, from the player who caused the injury on the field.

“The next day, he messaged me on Facebook, he found me then messaged me. And says ‘hey man, I hope your hamstring gets better bro, I really want to play you in a month.’”

Gimbel explained that Rugby has a great social atmosphere, where players genuinely respect everyone who takes part in the sport.

“This is the culture that’s special to Rugby,” said Gimbel. “Despite how violent and aggressive the game is, at the end of it, it’s all just gentlemen playing the sport.”

Special Olympics Form Passionate Friendships Personality

The Special Olympics is defined as “A non-profit organization that provides year-round sports training to children and adults, with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Hillsborough County programs offer 17 sports to over 800 athletes, with the assistance of 75 coaches and over 1,000 volunteers throughout the year. These programs are free to athletes.

The Special Olympics also offers various programs such as Unified Sports, which joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team, and Healthy Athletes, which has become the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities.

However, for Special Olympics athletes and their families, the importance of the organization goes far beyond athletic training and offered programs.

“My favorite part about Special Olympics is playing different sports, make new friends, demonstrate courage, show friendship, and most importantly, to have fun,” athlete Thomas Shervington said.

Thomas plays basketball, soccer, golf, and softball, and just became a part of the Athletes Leadership Program, where he will help spread awareness on how to get involved with the Special Olympics.

“Him being in the Special Olympics has affected our lives so greatly,” Thomas’s mother, Buffie Shervington said. “He’s not only playing sports, but able to make new friends. My son got to thrive, grow, become confident and do all the things kids do.”

“He’s just a completely different person than he was before the Special Olympics. He’s my inspiration.”

Running for the homeless: Trick or Trot 5k Costume Fun Run

Hope for the Homeless at USF organized their first Trick or Trot 5k Costume Fun Run on Oct. 24. The goals for the 5k were to have people have fun while running the trail and to raise as much money as possible. The money collected supports local homeless people with care packages for the holidays. The organization had a raffle drawing with prizes and a costume contest. Winners received prizes from local supporters.

 

Tarpon Springs High School Marching Band achieves success

Tarpon Springs High School’s marching band program is a National Pilot Program that focuses on building leadership skills through the arts. The marching band has won many state and national competitions as well as a world competition. Two years ago, the marching band had the honor to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Poetry highlight of USF German Day

This year’s German Day theme was “25 Years of German Unity.” The event was held on Oct. 23rd and was sponsored by the German Embassy in D.C.  The German Section at USF and the German Culture Club presented the event, which consisted of a poetry slam and a poster contest. There were also free refreshments, raffle prizes and other items given away. 

Trick or Trot brings donations, holiday spirit

As they approached the finish line, it was unclear whether Superman or the Ninja Turtle would get there first.

Eventually Superman edged to victory over Michelangelo, closely followed by Minnie Mouse, a pumpkin and a 6-foot Viking. This was all part of the Trick or Trot 5K Fun Run, which was held Oct. 24 by Help for the Homeless at the University of South Florida’s Fitness Trail.

“I think a lot of people had fun, and it was great with the music and with the raffle,” Stephanie Radu, president and founder of Hope for the Homeless at USF, said.

Radu, a biomedical sciences major, founded the organization in January of this year, with this being its first event. Each runner paid a $15 fee that was donated to the Ybor Youth Clinic.

“The money is going toward care packages that will all go to the homeless,” Radu said. “We will put a lot of effort into making and distributing them.”

Cameron Purvis of Florida College won the race with a time of 16:27 and was awarded a Halloween-themed trophy in the shape of a skull, despite not wearing a costume for the event.

“I actually kind of forgot about dressing up,” Purvis said. “Once we were on our way we were like ‘wow we forgot our costumes.’”

Purvis said he had not been training for this race in particular but decided to sign up when he saw the money raised was going to a good cause.

“I’ve been putting in a lot of mileage this season and was looking for a good race to sign up for,” Purvis said.

Over 100 people signed up for the race, which raised over $2,500 via donations and raffle ticket purchases. Radu’s goal was $3,000, but she was pleased with the result.

“I’m a little optimistic so I’m happy with $2,500,” Radu said.

Radu believes that not enough was being done for the homeless in Tampa, which is why she set up this organization.

“I feel very passionately about helping the homeless community,” Radu said. “We’re trying to get rid of that bad stigma that’s around them. There’s a lot of homeless youth in Tampa.”

After their first event, Radu is optimistic there will be many more. “We hope to hold another event in the spring and to make this event an annual one,” Radu said.

Some of the sponsors of the event had representatives at the race handing out free treats to participants. Amazon representatives, for example, were at the event giving out water bottles to runners after they had completed the race. They also donated items that were used as prizes in the raffle that took place.

There were many volunteers at the race who ensured everything went as smoothly as possible. The DJ, the referees and the event managers all volunteered to set up and run the event.

The DJ gathered a lot of attention after the raffle took place, playing “Cupid Shuffle” that made around 20 of the runners join in with the dance.

Even some of the adults dressed up. Photo by Connor Vice
Some of the adults even dressed up. Photo by Connor Vice.

Tailgating with Golden Brahman Tailgate Club

USF Bulls tailgate with the Golden Brahman Tailgate Club

Channeling true USF spirit, the Golden Brahmans Tailgate Club gets set for another Saturday of USF football.
Channeling true USF spirit, the Golden Brahmans Tailgate Club gets set for another Saturday of USF football.
USF Alumni Connor Davis and his some Jake share time playing cornhole before the game.
USF Alumni Connor Davis and his son Jake share time playing cornhole before the game.
Brats are a classic Saturday afternoon tailgate snack.
Brats are a classic Saturday afternoon tailgate snack for any football fan.
These Bulls have herded up under the tent to keep cool in the fall heat.
These Bulls have herded up under the tent to keep cool in the fall heat. Staying “hydrated” is half the battle.
The grill, and the Brahmans are fired up for the game against SMU.
The grill, and the Brahmans are hungry and fired up for the game against SMU.
The Bulls flag flying on a beautiful day over the Golden Brahman.
The Bulls flag flying on a beautiful day over the Golden Brahman and the Bulls Nation.

Tailgating and football are such cultural passions in this part of the country and this is some of what a real, organized tailgate looks like. Also, I wanted to dispel the fact that football fans and tailgaters are unstoppable drunks. The Brahmans are a family friendly group that encourages families and children of USF alumni to join them in their festivities. I took various photos of the event itself, the food being cooked and served and some of the various activities people were doing at the tailgate.

USF offers outreach with autism program


 

TAMPA, Fl– The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities has been established at the University of South Florida for 23 years.

“We were the first C.A.R.D. center here in the state developed by families who really saw the need to have these direct supports and services that links with our resources,” said C.A.R.D.’s Program Coordinator Christine Rover.

The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at USF is one out of seven sites across the state providing free services, resources, and training assistance for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder across the area.

C.A.R.D’s very own Program Assistant and Social Media Coordinator Adrian Ruiz has her own very personal connection with the non-profit organization.

“Well I’m a unique situation, I actually work here at C.A.R.D but I’m also a parent of a child with autism,” stated Ruiz, “I’ve seen the impact of C.A.R.D first hand, they’ve been to my home and they’ve been to my child’s school. They work one on one with her teachers and her trainings and just providing those resources and assistance to me directly with her education.”

“We know that our families become more engaged in their community and more successful in school and in employment through our training initiatives,” explained Rover. “The impact has not only educated our community, but with the families with individuals with autism spectrum disorder can be really successful.”

If you want to learn more about C.A.R.D, visit their Facebook page or visit their center located at the University of South Florida.

More Than Meets the Eye At Office of Orientation

The University of South Florida’s Office of Orientation has a reputation around campus for being peppy tour guides.

While this isn’t a bad reputation to have, it also isn’t what they truly stand for.

If you visit this office on campus you’ll find that the students who work there care a lot more about the university and its students than you think.

Office of Orientation office staff member and former Orientation Team Leader, Brooke Aronow, loves the feeling of giving back.

“I love orientation because it gives me the opportunity to talk to students and make them feel comfortable about coming to USF. I love being able to be an input and give them guidance on this transition.”

The office has been around for about 20 years now and each year, they are working to improve their programs. Right now, their office consists of office staff workers, orientation leaders, family leaders and transition mentors, each playing a key role in the orientation process.

In previous years, the school handled orientation differently but since this office came to be, students have been able to feel better prepared for the next four years of their lives.

The two programs that are now offered through the office are First Year programs and Transfer programs, each catering to a different student population.

Each year, the senior staff works to develop more innovative programs and ways to keep the students engaged.

It is safe to say that this office is the first point of contact for many students, and without them, the USF experience might be very different.

 

A rising club at USF: Eudaimonia

Eudaimonia is a new and rising club at USF giving out free hugs to all who want one every Nov.14.

Jonathon Burroughs, the founder of Eudaimonia, began the club to commemorate a friend who committed suicide on the same day four years ago.

“I started this doing this to commemorate my friend who lost his life to suicide,” Burroughs said. “I do this for him, but some of the other members do it to just spread joy.”

Burroughs started giving out free hugs without the University’s approval, but soon got the go-ahead to continue when he received positive feedback from students.

“Sometimes you do things and you perpetuate events, and you don’t see the results,” Burroughs said. “But the results are there and it’s powerful. For me, it is about believing in the idea that what I’m doing has results that are powerful, even though I don’t see them.”