Ban On Tobacco Smoke Now Includes Entire Campus

After six years of USF’s first tobacco ban, the university decided to spread the policy throughout the entire campus.

USF officials say the policy was made to incentivize people to stop smoking, not to punish them.

“USF Health had previously gone tobacco and smoke free in 2009 and the St. Pete and Sarasota Manatee campuses are also tobacco smoke free,” said USF Assistant Director of Communications Aaron Nichols.

“So, Tampa is the last campus in the system to make this change.”

In 2011 USF President Judy Genshaft created the Tobacco Use Task Force, which consisted in a group of students and employees helping promote the transition of smoke free campus.

“That’s what led to the change of 2012 to restrictive smoking to certain areas. At the time, they didn’t think that the campus community was ready to go totally smoke and tobacco free,” said Nichols.

“And, that’s given us a really good transition period to lead up to this. At the time, I think, there was a lot shock at the policy and now it’s been well received.”

USF students have expressed mixed feelings about this new policy that starts next year which eliminates all 24 designated smoking areas.

“I think it benefits the environment and it also bothers some people because of the smell,” said USF student Nick Ramos. “I know whenever I walk by, I just like to keep my distance because the smell bothers me.”

USF student Ibrahim Aldairem says although the policy will be active next semester, many students have mentioned that they will continue smoking.

USF officials say the new policy will not be enforced by the campus police. They are hoping for peer enforcement.

 

Tennis threatens to make a splash at USF

While football and basketball may be the most prominent sports at most college campuses, tennis threatens to make a splash at the University of South Florida. The men’s tennis team has won back-to-back American Athletic Conference championships, and they’re led by a player who can walk around USF campus almost unnoticed. 

Roberto Cid, a tall, lanky senior who moved to Florida from the Dominican Republic when he was 13, received the honor of All-American following his sophomore campaign two years ago. 

“Since I came here, I had big goals with the coach (Matt Hill),” said Cid. “Hopefully I can continue to make history.” 

What gives Cid his edge over his rivals? His notorious competitive streak would be a good place to start. A favorite story among the tennis team is that Cid was playing the third ranked player in the country at a tournament this past season. The player did something that Cid was not happy with, and it showed in the results. Cid won, and his opponent walked off the court saying “I just can’t beat him.” 

Cid is the fifth ranked player in the country for men’s singles and 982nd in the entire world. He is trying to focus on the present, which includes winning a national championship as a Bull. 

“This year we have a really good team. We can definitely do something special at the end of the year,” Cid said. 

 

Hope for Thanksgiving.

On Nov. 28th I went to feed the homeless and met some amazing people. We started at Sacred Heart Catholic Church where we prepared the food. Then drove it over to St. Peter Claver Catholic School where we served it to hungry people. While preparing the food I met an amazing woman named Kim, who has been coming every Saturday since she got married and even after her stroke, she still lends a hand. Many people were so hungry they came through the line two or three times. They also received a doggie bag that helps them throughout the rest of the day. I went there to give back but in the end I was the one that received the most.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Raises Money Via Delta Sorority

Delta Delta Delta is a sorority at the University of South Florida. They hosted the annual Delta House of Pancakes philanthropy event on Friday, stacking piles of pancakes and raising thousands of dollars for sick children fighting cancer and their families.

Each semester, the USF Greek Life community presents charity events that benefit over 49  organizations. Tri Delta’s national philanthropy is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which provides housing, food and medical treatment for any child diagnosed with cancer, regardless whether their family can afford it.

Most of these children are terminal. Once a year, Tri Delta hosts Delta House of Pancakes, which costs attendees $5 for pre-sale tickets and $7 at the door. The ticket allows them unlimited pancakes and other breakfast items.

Walking into the Tri Delta chapter room, guests are overwhelmed with the aroma of maple syrup, crackling bacon and most importantly, pounds upon pounds of golden pancakes.  Tables and chairs are lined up with eager college students ready to devour something better than dining hall food.

This year, the planning and work paid off, raising over $17,000 for St. Jude’s.  For the chapter president, Mackenzie Reyes, the experience is much more than simply writing a check.

“Every patient we meet, every success story we hear and every time the survival rate improves is possible because of the millions of dollars raised and the awareness generated by Tri Delta members for the past 15 years,” Reyes said.

Reyes, along with 45 other members of Tri Delta, recently visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The sorority sisters were given the opportunity to see exactly where their contributions go and the brave children they affect.

St. Jude’s treats newborns up to 21-year-olds, for brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, infectious diseases, blood disorders, sickle cell disease and solid tumors. Treatment for these diseases is rough, expensive and sometimes hard to watch. For the Tri Delta’s, meeting these sick children face to face made all the difference.

“I had a multitude of the most highly trained doctors in America and the strongest children of our future generation coming up to me and thanking me for all that we do as sorority women,” Reyes said. “We help their families through some of the darkest times of their lives.”

Delta House of Pancakes attracted a crowd of over 400 people to the Tri Delta house in USF Greek Village, not including the five Tampa Bay businesses that sponsored the event. The attendance and sponsorship’s played a big role in helping Tri Delta reach a monetary goal and spread awareness.

“Our goal is to raise $60 million in 10 years, after recently beating our $15 million in 5 years goal,” Lexi Kalantzis said, a Tri Delta member of two years.

Tri Delta holds the largest single commitment by a St. Jude partner, having had a short-term housing facility named after their organization. The housing facility, located in Memphis, acts as a residence for cancer-fighting adolescents and their families for up to a week.

It is free of charge because of donations from Tri Delta, so the families can focus on saving their child’s life and lessening the pain that comes with battling such a disease. 

“Who wouldn’t want to play a direct role in raising money for St. Jude’s?” Teagan Fiore said , the Tri Delta philanthropy chair who planned the event.

With the help of the other 48 Greek organizations on campus and the community, Tri Delta members such as Reyes, Kalantzis and Fiore are confident a major impact can be made for participating charities, and countless young lives can be spared.

“We are a part of something much larger than ourselves,” Reyes said.

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.

 

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.

Walk to benefit those with Alzheimer’s Disease

Someone’s parent, child or loved one can have Alzheimer’s disease, and while this disease is prevalent in seniors, it can affect anyone of any age.

Alzheimer’s robs an individual of their memory and other cognition functions and to date, there is no cure.

Participates in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s walk to raise funds for awareness of this disease and for caregivers.

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.

Students protest CWY Hall for name change

Students on the University of South Florida’s campus are petitioning for a name change of the ROTC building on campus. The building’s namesake is former senator Charles William Young. Young had a political career lasting more than fifty years.

He was a member of the Johns committee. The Johns committee’s aim was to remove radicals from the Florida Public University system during the 1960s. The Florida senate chose to seal over 50,000 pages of documents involving the committee until 1992 when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that they fell within the sunshine laws.

Bruce Wright, President of students for a democratic society, said the committee’s goal was less than appropriate.

“It was formed to investigate people’s lifestyles to see if they were compliant with what was perceived to be the way a professor should be,” Wright said.

Students gathered outside of the building with signs chanting “change the name stop the hate”, with the petition currently holding 400 signatures.

While students protest the name of the building there are other students such as Jesse Davidson, majoring in communications, who believe the university should take a different approach and inform students on the matter.

“I don’t think that we should look over all the good things that he did for our community and the reason he had a building named after him in the first place,”said Davidson.

The University of South Florida currently has no plans to change the buildings name.

The healing power of yoga

The co-founder of a new facility is taking a unique approach in helping veterans in the Tampa Bay area cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Janel Norton has served our country as a combat photojournalist for the U.S. Air Force, now she serves in her community by helping other veterans.

“I experienced what I now know was post-traumatic stress when I returned home” Said Janel.

After being stationed in both Liberia and Bosnia, she decided to come back to the United States, but the transition wasn’t easy.

“I got really angry when I came back,” Norton said. “People don’t even know what’s going on over there. I felt very disconnected with everybody and nobody understood anything I had been living through for the last couple of years”

She then discovered the healing power of yoga and had the idea of opening an establishment where local veterans could meet and experience this healing together. After meeting with a prior green beret, they started the Veterans Alternative.

Member and Afghanistan war veteran David Jones is only one of the many veterans that has benefited from this class.

“She’s done wonders as far as you know helping me sleep with this iRest,” Jones said.

iRest is a form of yoga made accessible to everyone. This stress reducing class helps veterans tap into their inner resource.

“We have a small population that we’re serving, but there’s many more,” Norton said.

New drug bags fight prescription abuse

 

Tampa Fla. – The Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance (HCADA) is combating prescription drug misuse in a  unique way.  HCADA is implementing a drug disposal program within Hillsborough County.

HCADA received ten thousand bags this past month and hopes to distribute these to pharmacies and clinics in the county. This is all part of a new national pilot program.

Hillsborough is one of three counties in the entire country partaking in this program.

The purpose of these bags is so you have a proper way to dispose of prescription medicines. HCADA says this is better than throwing them away or flushing them down the toilet, which has environmental effects.

“Different medications and antibiotics are actually showing in fish in the waters, where we obtain some of our food supply.” Ronnie Crescentini from HCADA says.

These bags add another way to dispose of prescription medicine. There are usually two drug take back days in the county where the coalition and members of the community can properly get rid of their unwanted medicine.

Dr. Thomas Towers, an assistant professor with USF says, “One of the benefits too is that there is a privacy to it.”

The bags can hold up to 90 pills and any type of medication can be put in them. The bags are easy to use with clear easy-to-follow instructions on the back. All you need is water. They can be thrown away and they will not harm the environment because they are biodegradable.

The long term goal for the program is that they are used by the public and funding will be awarded to keep the program going on a wider, more national scale.

The bags are free of charge and can be picked up at HCADA. If you cannot make it, HCADA will deliver one to you.

Police, apartment management make properties safer

The Tampa Police Department is teaming up with Meridian Pointe Apartments to make the city safer.

The City of Tampa Police Department presented Meridian Pointe’s property manager, Bob Kelsey, with the first ever “crime free” sign. The community came out to show their support.

Kelsey has been in charge of making the apartment complex safer for residents, which consisted of the installation of new doors, locks, lighting fixtures and securer windows.

“I wanted the residents to know that Richman Properties of Meridian Pointe really cares about each and every one of them and about their quality of life,” Kelsey said. “You can’t put a price on someone’s life.”

The result of the Tampa Police Department teaming up with Meridian Pointe has made residents and the police officers on duty feel protected and safe.

“I love working with the community,” Officer Kay Brown said. “My whole entire career that I have been here at the police department has always been community. That is my passion. To see smiling faces of people living in peace and harmony, without any interruptions from people who want to cause problems on the property, just brightens my day.”

“I know how instrumental the relationship between the police department and properties like Richman is and how important it is,” Kelsey said. “I just look forward to the future. I think it’s going to be a bright one for Meridian Pointe.”