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.

USF Soccer: Bulls Battle Tigers

The USF Men’s Soccer team faces their toughest challenge of the year on Tuesday against last year’s College Cup runners-up, Clemson.

USF (4-3-2) started the season slowly after a string of injuries and other issues forced key players to miss time. For many teams, this wouldn’t be much of an issue, but Coach George Kiefer loaded the schedule with big names like Maryland and Virginia Tech early in the season.

However, a long stand at home gave USF time to get sorted out and start a winning streak. The Bulls won three games straight at home before defeating UCF on the road Saturday.

“It’s a great boost for us,” said senior Nazeem Bartman. “As you know we started off the season a little bit slow, but we’ve won the last four games now, it’s a great confidence boost for myself and the rest of the team too.”

Players wouldn’t emphasize the game too much, but Coach Kiefer had a bit more to say about the visiting Clemson Tigers.

“I’d hate to emphasize one game more than the next, but I would take my hat off to Mike Noonan,” Kiefer said. “He used to be a Brown [University] so he’s used to teams not wanting to travel to him. So the fact he’s at Clemson, willing to come back to us, I give him a lot of credit for that. We’re very excited to have him here.”

The Bulls and the Tigers kick off at 7 p.m. at Corbett Soccer Stadium on Tuesday.

Singing for Shriners Reaches New Heights, Hospital Shows Appreciation

In 2012, the University of South Florida chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity had a wonderful idea for a philanthropy event that would provide fundraising for a worthwhile cause. The event would also intend to provide incredible entertainment for all involved. Theta Chi focused on the local community and realized that they could help bring funding and awareness to the Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa located on USF’s campus.

Groups, primarily from the Greek community, collaborate in order to select two songs to be performed on the day of the event. This year, the concert had the most registered groups ever, with 10 female performances and 5 male performances competing for the title of champions.

So where does the fundraising come in? That process begins months before the actual day of the event. Each group contributes a registration fee and is expected to make an effort to raise funds from the USF community by encouraging t-shirt and ticket sales. The higher the funds raised, more points are added to the overall performance scores at Singing for Shriners.

When performance day came along, the Theta Chi brothers experienced an unexpected dilemma, as the audience reached maximum capacity in the theatre. Of all the problems that they could have faced this was a welcome one.

Jessica Hill, the Public Relations Specialist at Shriners-Tampa, was front and center for the show, even speaking on behalf of the hospital to the crowd.

“It means so much to have the support”, she said. “Theta Chi, in doing this, is helping to send love to the rescue for so many kids in our area.”

USF student Ally Lindsay has been attending the event for several years and she said that although it’s always nice to have a night full of entertainment, having representatives from the Hospital in attendance, “It'[s] a very important part of the event because you can see these people and see where all the money that everyone’s raising is going to.”

The performances didn’t disappoint and the crowd was enthralled from beginning to end. Perhaps the best part of the evening was finishing off the event with Theta Chi handing over a check to Shriner’s Hospital for $11,000.

USF’s annual career fair looks to bring career opportunities for students

Nearly 3,000 USF students flocked to the Marshall Student Center Ballroom last week for the annual USF Career Fair.

Students from all different majors were able to speak with hundreds of employers across the four different fairs held throughout the week. They were able to discuss future internship and employment opportunities in their chosen career fields.

“I’m excited about Career Fair because it’s a great opportunity to make connections and kind of get my foot in the door at the start of my career,” USF accounting major, Mitchel Geron, said.

The fair has been held twice a year, one in each fall and spring semester, for over 20 years on USF campus. This fair has given many students the platforms they need to learn the opportunities they have with the degree they will earn.

“Many of these interactions will lead to full-time job interviews, internship interviews, and summer employment opportunities,” Assistant Vice President of USF Career Services, Russ Coughenour, said.

USF Career Services will return with another career fair in the fall of 2016 with more employers and opportunities for students to network with major organizations.

Coughenour finished by stating, “These fairs get USF students the valuable out of classroom experience that they so desperately need so each year Career Services is very proud to bring Career Week to USF students.”

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.

 

 

 

 

USF Spring Game Introduces Block Party, Concert

 

Whether USF fans cheered on the White team or the Green team, a new experience was ushered in at this year’s spring football game.

Billed as the Bulls Block Party, the event started two hours before kickoff as 4,418 fans made their way through the Corbett Stadium gates.

“It’s creating the feel of the tailgate party we have in front of Raymond James stadium, but bringing it here to the spring game on campus,” said Leni Baga, USF Director of Event Marketing and Licensing.

The Bulls Block Party included bounce houses, food trucks, and a student tailgate section. Bulls Radio resident DJs provided music before the game. A student band performed during the post-game football autograph line.

“The spring game has been fun on campus,” said USF student, Taylor Sanchez. “But I think this is really the first year that they made it its own event.”

USF’s campus soccer stadium has hosted the football preview for three years, providing an opportunity for the athletics department to build new traditions.

According to Assistant Director of Athletics for Marketing Adam Schemm, one of those traditions was the Create Your Own T-shirt Station. Fans narrowed down 12 design options to three that they could choose to get printed on a T-shirt.

“The fans really like them,” Schemm said. “It’s something different from what you would be able to get at your normal retail store.”

Regular football season begins for the Bulls on Saturday, September 3 against Towson University at Raymond James Stadium.

NFL hopefuls show off their skills at USF pro day

Football is no longer just a game for a group of former Bulls turned NFL hopefuls, it’s a business. And these 14 prospects participated in their first job interview March 21 at the Frank Morsani Football Complex during USF’s annual pro day.

For this interview, a button-up shirt and tie were not required. Instead, skin-tight gray shirts with neon green lettering stretched over the bodies of these young, ambitious athletes as they attempted to leap, run and muscle their way into an NFL camp.

Photo by Jacob Hoag. Participants Eric Lee, Sean Price and Marlon Pope slip in a few jokes and memories before drills commence at Monday's pro day. This was the first time all of the 14 attendees had been together since their loss to Western Kentucky back in February.
Participants Eric Lee, Sean Price and Marlon Pope slip in a few jokes and memories before drills commence at USF’s pro day. This was the first time all of the 14 attendees had been together since their loss to Western Kentucky back in February.  Photo by Jacob Hoag.

 

Photo by Jacob Hoag. Former USF defensive end Eric Lee runs the cone drill at Monday's combine shortly after running the day's third-best 40-yard dash at 4.56 seconds. Lee weighed in at 254 pounds of solid muscle.
Former USF defensive end Eric Lee runs the cone drill at USF’s pro day shortly after running the day’s third-best 40-yard dash at 4.56 seconds. Lee weighed in at 254 pounds. Photo by Jacob Hoag.
Photo by Jacob Hoag Wincing in fatigue, son of a former 1986 first-round draft pick, guard Thor Jozwiak, has far more obstacles in his path to an NFL job. Jozwiak is slated to go undrafted in May's draft.
Wincing in fatigue, son of a former 1986 first-round draft pick, guard Thor Jozwiak, has far more obstacles in his path to an NFL job. Jozwiak is slated to go undrafted in the upcoming NFL draft. Photo by Jacob Hoag.
Photo by Jacob Hoag. Arguably USF's top NFL draft prospect, safety Jamie Byrd looks on as he was unable to participate in most of Monday's drills due to a nagging hamstring injury. Byrd will attend a local workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 15th. His times and drills will be recorded there.
Arguably USF’s top NFL draft prospect, safety Jamie Byrd looks on as he was unable to participate in most of USF’s pro day drills due to a nagging hamstring injury. Byrd will attend a local workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 15. His times and drills will be recorded there. Photo by Jacob Hoag.
Photo by Jacob Hoag Former USF defensive lineman James Hamilton lunges at the pads during a slew of positional drills. Weighing in at 308 pounds, Hamilton was one of the heaviest participants.
Former USF defensive lineman James Hamilton lunges at the pads during a slew of positional drills. Weighing in at 308 pounds, Hamilton was one of the heaviest participants. Photo by Jacob Hoag.
Photo by Jacob Hoag. Former backup quarterback for the Bulls Steven Bench throws a scripted sequence of passes for NFL and CFL scouts on hand. Bench had arguably the most impressive showing at Monday's pro day running a 4.55 40-yard dash and leading all participants with a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump.
Former backup quarterback for the Bulls, Steven Bench, throws a scripted sequence of passes for NFL and CFL scouts on hand. Bench had arguably the most impressive showing at USF’s pro day running a 4.55 40-yard dash and leading all participants with a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump. Photo by Jacob Hoag.
Photo by Jacob Hoag. Tight end Sean price shows athleticism after being medically cleared to resume physical activities three weeks ago afollowing a PCL injury in USF's February bowl game. He ran a 4.7 40-yard-dash in Monday's pro day.
Tight end Sean price shows athleticism after being medically cleared to resume physical activities three weeks prior following a PCL injury in USF’s February bowl game. He ran a 4.7 40-yard dash at USF’s pro day. Photo by Jacob Hoag.

Dance club brings Argentine tango to USF

 

The Argentine Tango Club at the University of South Florida is bringing the intimate form of the tango to students on campus. Meeting every Tuesday night at the USF Campus Recreation Center, the class is open to both beginners and experienced dancers.

“With Argentine tango, it’s really cool that you’re always dancing with someone so close that’s also really a stranger,” Ryan Mack, Argentine Tango Club president said.

Lessons brought by the club focus on enjoying the experience of the tango, with partner switches and new activities every time.

“I find it one of the classiest dances,” said Miriam Mijares, who has been dancing with the club for over a year. “At the same time, it can be either fun, or formal, passionate, seductive, or just plain silly.”

The tango can be an intimidating dance, especially to students who do not have any experience. However, the club is welcoming to people of all experience levels, regardless if they come with a partner.

“I say close your eyes, pretend like you’re inventing this dance, and according to the music, just do what you feel,” Mijares said.

The club meets in room 033 at 5:00 PM every Tuesday. Admission to the recreation center is free for students and $15 for guests.

MSC SkyPad gives students a place of escape

The University of South Florida has one of the biggest buildings called the Marshall Student Center, open from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and varies on Saturdays and Sundays.  It would be very difficult to escort students out when closing time happens because students enjoy themselves in the SkyPad on the 4th floor assisted by Jennifer Hernandez, the Associate Director for Operations of the building.

“Based on some feedback from the students we did not provide enough relaxation space and gaming space,” Hernandez said. “So there were two meeting rooms that were in existence in that space when we first moved in, so it was a minor construction project that we brought online to add that gaming area and the place for students to study.”

The SkyPad is a place where students can have fun by plugging in their video games and play all by themselves or with friends, forming a group together to study and many other things to do.

The Video Game Club President of USF, Adham Hessen, has his experiences at the SkyPad by making friends.

“I particularly enjoy the SkyPad myself, because it’s a place where I actually met my friends and now I continue to meet them up here playing video games together,” Hessen said. “It’s tons of fun. We laugh, made a lot of jokes, but it was fun.”

The SkyPad was created in September 13, 2011 and founded by Joe Synovec, the previous director of the Marshall Student Center. It features a total of seven LCD screen televisions with multiple ways to connect electronics, two dry erase boards for multiple purposes, vending machines for refreshments, plenty of tables to work on studies, couches to recline on and a large studying space that is close to the railing of the building.

 

Bulls for Kids dances for dollars

William Purkey said, “You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching.” Bulls for Kids President Tiffani Torres and over 1,300 participants embraced dancing for charity during Dance Marathon at the USF Marshall Student Center.

“All the hard work that I’ve done, and all the tears and all the stress is worth it because no matter what I’m going through right now it could be a lot worse,” Torres said. “What I’m going through is making what they’re going through a lot easier.”

Dance Marathon has members shake it for 12 hours while raising money for the All Children’s Hospitals across the country. What began as a small fundraiser 13 years ago has now turned into USF’s largest student-run philanthropy. Dance Marathon has continued to grow with every donation amount higher than the year before.

By the end of the day, Bulls for Kids collected over $130,000. That’s $27,000 more than last year’s record. Torres knows it’s not just about the money. The event’s real purpose comes from the emotional stories of the miracle children.

Alyson Schuch served as the director of family relations and was able to work hands-on with the miracle families throughout the year. Although the donations are great, Schuch said her satisfaction comes from seeing the children’s smiling faces.

“Not everyone realizes the huge impact that we have on the families,” Schuch said. “When they do come and they speak and they give their thanks, it’s like very eye-opening to everyone.”

With such a large total collected this year, Bulls for Kids hopes to raise over $200,000 next year.

Education Abroad makes international study a reality for USF students

Study abroad is an experience that few students are taking advantage of. Approximately 10 percent of undergraduates in the United States study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity that so many students bypass just because of so many common myths like it’s expensive, or it’s not for me, or it’s not for my major,” Chris Haynes, student program coordinator for USF Education Abroad, said. “I feel like if they can come in and talk with me or talk with some of our GloBull Ambassadors who have been there and done that, we can really make this experience a reality. They also see the value in it.”

Education Abroad is working to improve the number of students who study abroad. They have teamed up with USF Career Services to inform people about the benefits.

“For an employer standpoint, we generally look for the whole person,” USF career consultant Doug Meyn said. “Yes, they may have had an internship, yes they may have had study abroad, but more importantly, what do those experiences mean? In other words, on a resume, I don’t like to just see, ‘I did this study abroad.’ OK, what did that mean to you? What did you learn from it? How does that make you a more well-rounded person?”

USF offers a wide variety of programs for its students, with over 100 Education Abroad trips in over 25 countries. Each program’s itinerary has a mix of scheduled activity and free time to explore. The aim is for students to be able to take away a unique cultural experience.

“The whole point is to get students onto the next level, whether that be in their professional careers or in graduate school,” Haynes said. “Study abroad is really a great stepping stone to make their resumes and their applications as competitive as possible. I think that’s something that I hope one day all students consider.”

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.”

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.”

 

 

 

USF Oracle finds way to coexist with the online world

Print is not dying for The Oracle, USF’s independent student-run newspaper. It is evolving.

The paper has reduced their publication days from four times a week to two. Multimedia editor Adam Mathieu said the staff has to remain quick when delivering the news, but he felt relieved to print less frequently.

“We don’t have to worry about having a print product out by 12:30 (a.m.) four days a week,” Mathieu said.

Grace Hoyte, the editor-in-chief during the change, published a letter to the readers in December. In it, she wrote The Oracle “must accept” that readers are turning online for their news.

“The Oracle welcomes students from all majors to contribute,” she added, “and with a greater online presence, we will remain a forum for diverse voices and opinions.”

One of those areas includes social media. The newspaper’s sports section Twitter account conducted a poll in March to survey how their followers received from The Oracle. While print edged out the website option by five percentage points, 61 percent of those who responded said they received information through social media.

“We’re seeing more people comment and more posts shared. Just a very active Facebook account,” Mathieu said. “And then active hits on our website and more people heading to the website.”

While the new schedule reduces the quantity of newspapers circulated each week, Matthieu said the amount printed for each day remains unchanged at 8,000.

Not everyone settled in with the switch when they first found out. Sports editor Jacob Hoag said he liked being able to read the news on a physical copy.

“I wasn’t too happy with it,” Hoag said. “I thought it was going to hurt our production but it really hasn’t. We can do more feature stories in the paper and more hard news online.”

More Than Plants Inhabit USF’s Botanical Gardens

changer

A flash of orange slinks inside a small greenhouse. It passes an array of orchids and other green plants but pays them no mind. To this colorful character, home is where your dinner is.

The cats that reside at the University of South Florida Botanical Gardens seem to have no interest in who comes to visit them and admire the flowers. Even so, they do show an interest in time. Every day around 4 p.m. they come to the greenhouse for a meal, provided by director of the gardens, Laurie Walker. While Walker enjoys their company, she is troubled by the fact that some of the cats once belonged to someone else.

“I don’t want to be a repository for unwanted pets,” Walker said. “Unfortunately, people have a tendency to dump animals here and that is not good.”

Most of the six cats living on the property are feral and not socialized. Through the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, all known cats on the property have been spayed or neutered and vaccinated. But one cat named Rafters, who passed away a year ago, held a special place in the hearts of staff members at the gardens. Walker believes she was once a pet because of how social she was.

The recently deceased feline even had her own Facebook page with about 500 likes. Walker speculates that more pictures had been taken of Rafters than any of the flowers in the gardens. Rafters was well known to even the children who visited.

“I would look out and there would be little kids running through the garden carrying her,” Walker said.

Kevin Slaughter, senior groundskeeper at the gardens, also admired and enjoyed the company of Rafters while she was around. However, he stands on the fence with the issue of feral cats living on the property.

“Having feral cats is not really an environmentally friendly thing, especially since we have so much wildlife,” Slaughter said. “They’re part of the garden and having them as part of the character of the garden is a good thing, but then there’s the other side of it.”

The other side involves the issue of the cats hunting and killing native animals that also call the gardens home. Despite this, rescue organizations like Second Chance Sanctuary say that feral cats exist because they have been abandoned. If they’re going to live, they must find food. These feral garden cats find their needs being met at USF.

Staff provide for the felines, which is ritual by now. Walker bangs tin bowls together and calls out. Cats dash underneath plant stands, avoiding the footfall of any nearby human being. A grey male known as Bat Kitty slinks towards a tin of fresh cat chow, glaring at a woman who picks up a hanging plant across the greenhouse.

While these feral cats may be king of the jungle at the botanical gardens, people have dumped unwanted pets of other kinds there. Slaughter mentioned one embarrassing event in which he had to chase down a rooster and some hens. All of the birds were successfully found a new home, but were not easily caught.

“Here’s this grown man chasing a chicken around with a rake,” Slaughter said. “It was embarrassing but we finally got rid of them.”

Pet rabbits were another of the animals left to fend for themselves in the gardens. Their fate was unknown, but Slaughter could only assume what happened to them.

“I saw them hopping around and I couldn’t catch them,” Slaughter said. “And I’m sure the hawks got them. If not, the alligators. If not, they just couldn’t make it.”

Staff at the gardens do not recommend or endorse the notion of dropping off unwanted pets. But there are still hungry feline mouths to feed. The money spent on keeping the cats from going hungry comes right from Walker’s own wallet. To help staff keep up with taking care of the grounds as well as feeding the cats, volunteers are always welcome to apply and attend orientation.

According to USF’s website, the gardens take up about 10 acres of land at USF. The gardens are open every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days. Keeping up with maintenance is essential, but difficult without extra help.

“We have wonderful volunteers that help us,” Walker said. “Many of them are from the community, but a lot of them are students and we really encourage students to come out and volunteer.”

Trump Rally Sells Out Sundome

With the Florida primaries just four weeks away, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump made his first visit to the Bay area.

Trump held a rally at the University of South Florida’s Sundome in front of a sellout crowd of 11,000. Many of those in attendance were students.

Mark Stutzman, a graduate student at USF, was one of the first in line at the rally, arriving nearly eight hours before doors opened.

“We’re here to see the next President of the United States.” Stutzman said. “I like the excitement he brings to the political process. We’ve had the same type of people running over and over again that make empty promises.”

Trump’s visit came just three days after his win in the New Hampshire primary. He focused on many of the issues that have kept him atop the polls in nearly every state.

His visit was met with opposition, however, as hundreds gathered outside the venue in protest of Trump’s visit. One protester made their way inside and briefly interrupted the rally. They were quickly removed from the building at the direction of Trump.

Trump spoke for nearly an hour. He concluded with a signature Trump message.

“We’re gonna make America great again. We’re gonna win all the time. We’re gonna bring our country back and we’re gonna be proud, once again, to be citizens of this great country.” Trump said.

The Florida primaries are March 15.