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.”

USF Housing Community looks for new resident assistants

The Housing Community of the University of South Florida is choosing the Resident Assistants of the 2016-2017 school year.

USF has multiple open spots for students who want to apply to be part of the R.A. team.

“My favorite part about being an R.A. is the constant interaction I have with residents on a daily basis,” said Aislinn Jolicoeur.

Jolicoeur is a second year USF R.A., and she plans on being one for this school year as well.

She currently lives in Epsilon hall, a USF freshman dorm.

“She’s very helpful, and she helps me a lot with homework because we are in the same major and have similar classes,” freshman Yvette Cheesman said. “It’s my first time away from home and it’s nice to have someone here to watch over you. That’s not overbearing like a parent would.”

Chessman said that R.A. “Ace” has made her transition to college easier.

There is a very selective process when picking the R.A.s, but Jolicouer said they choose a diverse amount of students for the position, and it truly is a life changing one.

R.A.s have an impact by helping students transfer from home to college life.

Final decisions on the students who were selected for the position will be available during the first week of March.

Study abroad but explore locally

This generation of “millennials” has a newfound urge to travel around the world. Wanderlust has been redefined and University of South Florida students have multiple opportunities to study abroad.

Dr. Rick Wilber, a mass communications professor, has been taking students to Ireland for the past two to three decades.

“There are a lot of wonderful places to go and a lot of great people to meet,” Wilber said. “It’s not surprising that this generation of students is taking advantage of the opportunity.”

The trip originally started off as backpacking through Scotland. But over the course of three to four years, Wilber says they started to spend more and more time in Ireland and less time in Scotland that it became the Ireland trip.

The new generation has many aspirations to travel the world but often forgets that there are many wonders in the great state of Florida. Stacie Aviles, a graduate student from USF, has become accustomed to taking any adventure she can fit into her busy schedule.

“I don’t think Florida gets a lot of credit for its nature,” Aviles said. “Lettuce Lake Park and Flatwoods Park are just two of many places students can go within a 10 minute drive.”

If there is one thing that Aviles wants her fellow millennials to remember, it is to steer away from the social media realm.

“Don’t spend so much time on your phones when you’re up there.” she said. “I know the views can be really breathtaking but just remember to take it all in for yourself.”

Tampa Theatre Hosts True West With a Twist at USF

University of South Florida alumni returned to their old stomping grounds on Sunday for the Tampa Repertory Theatre’s production of “True West,” a comedy about two brothers arguing over a screenplay that could change their lives.

Screenplay director Megan Lamasney was excited to come back to her alma mater and showcase her work.

“I was an undergrad here in the theater department and it was cool to come back to home base and see where it started,” Lamasney said. “It was great bringing some exciting work here.”

Although Lamasney was excited for the project, actor Jack Holloway was rather nervous when asked to perform. Rather than sticking to one role, Holloway had to alternate roles between both brothers in the screenplay.

“I was terrified when Megan called me and told me about doing the roles and then switching every night,” Holloway said. “I had never done that before in terms of switching roles, so I was a bit nervous.”

Being back in the Theatre Arts Rehearsal Building brought back several memories for Holloway.

“It was wonderful, but it is strange because a part of the play is about coming back home and it feels like I don’t have to act that,” Holloway said. “It’s honestly surreal because you’re acting in a place where you grew up.”

On the other side of the play is actor Dan Granke, who is a performing arts professor at USF. Granke admitted that getting to perform and being able to teach students was a unique experience.

“This is home for me, this is where I work and it very much feels like home,” Granke said. “I have so many students who haven’t seen me perform, and it feels great to show them rather than just tell them.”

Granke worked constantly with Holloway to perfect the art of switching the roles each night and staying in character. While difficult, Granke enjoyed the challenge and said it comes with good parts.

“It’s a lot of fun because it’s a piece that has its hard moments, but it also has its comic moments. So getting to do both allowed you to feel like you’re not stuck to one role,” Granke said.

Granke moved to Tampa in 2013 to become a professor, meanwhile working with Holloway as an artistic director for the Tampa Shakespeare Festival.

“It was interesting because when I moved here three years ago, I was told that I have a doppelgänger,” Granke said. “We both love working together, Jack and I do comedy, stage combat and we’ve gotten close over the years.”

Aside from the great role and being able to perform in front of students, Granke said his first priority was and always is to entertain.

“I go out as an actor, I’m also a director and a fight director,” Granke said. He directs the combat onstage during scenes.“My goal is always to entertain people. I want to challenge people and just let people have a good time so they want to come back and see more.”

Granke holds theater performances close to his heart because in today’s age of digital streaming and technology, the art of live theater seems rare to him.

“Any time there’s a chance for live theater I think it’s great, and with everything becoming live streaming it’s kind of hard to appreciate it,” Granke said. “I just think theater is just one of those places where you can’t do it any other way.”

 

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Jack Holloway and Dan Granke alternated roles between Austin and Lee in the Tampa Reportory Theatre’s rendition of “True West”

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.

 

Students not ready to kick the habit on campus

 

At the beginning of the new year, the University of South Florida implemented a tobacco ban across campus. After nearly two months, however, the university is having trouble enforcing it.

“Any time you change policy, or you change anything, you’re gonna’ have a few people that are maybe resistant to change, or are not ready to change just yet,” said Adam Freeman, USF Media/Public Affairs manager.

There is no law enforcement involved or surveillance used. Instead, the policy is peer enforced. The idea is that students and faculty hold each other accountable.

“If you see somebody on campus smoking using tobacco, if you feel comfortable, you can approach them and simply tell them this is a tobacco and smoke free campus and politely ask them to stop,” Freeman said.

Students and staff at USF have not exactly jumped on board with this concept yet. Instead, smokers have been gathering in the places that were designated smoking areas and sparking up just as they have in the past.

For a student who wishes to peer enforce, the process involves first asking the smoker to stop. If that doesn’t work, then reporting the smoker to the nearest building manager is the next step. The building manager then could turn them in, subjecting the smoker to either the student code of conduct or disciplinary action, which depends on the position of the offender.

A protest was held Wednesday by several smokers, but USF is not budging on its tobacco policy.

The Truth Behind the USF Seal

The USF seal is a significant icon to USF history. It’s the first landmark you see on Collins, and in the middle of the Marshall Student center.

But what does it mean?

Jacob Stephenson, a freshman at USF, voices his opinion on the based on the myth he’s heard.

“Yea, I heard that if you step on it you won’t graduate. That’s a given. So pretty sure no one actually steps on it. I’ve seen people step on it, but I’m sure they’re not going to graduate,” Stephenson said.

Fahad Al Raee is also a freshman, and he heard the same rumor from advisors.

“They told me you should not step on the logo because if you do you will not be able to pass,” Raee said.

The Seal was created by Henry Gardner and was first used in the USF Catalog called Accent on Learning. But besides the myth going around campus about the seal, John S. Allen, the USF’s first president defined its meaning.

“President Allen, he knew a lot of the programs here were studying the earth, everything happening on the earth. He by trade was, by his academic background was an astronomer,” Andy Huse said, from Special Collections. “There’s the sun symbolizing knowledge, light, heat, life. The lamp symbolizes enlightenment. The Green corresponds with the Earth, and the Gold corresponds with the Sun.”

 

Education abroad, not so foreign anymore

The University of South Florida is more globally connected than ever before. This year, USF Education Abroad ushered in over a thousand international students. With 25 programs to choose from, more and more USF students are going overseas.

“We have grown in our diversity of programs and our diversity of students in participation, and we have also just simply grown in number of students we’re sending,” said James Pulos, the Associate Director of Education Abroad.

The Education Abroad office was not always the big program that it is today. Before the 1980’s, international programs were singularly organized by professors and staff. Over the decades, the independent programs unified to become what is known today as Education Abroad. Prior to this, the office was called Study Abroad. Before that it was International Programs, and earlier Travel Study.

Today, USF is sending and receiving students from all over the globe. This semester there are students from universities in England, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, and Spain.

International students choose USF for multiple reasons.

Danish exchange student, Aske H. Muller chose USF for the weather and academics. “I wanted to live in a warm place, and a nice climate so I looked up Florida and California. Actually, USF was my first priority. I didn’t know it before I started looking into it, but it just seemed like a cool university.”

The exchange experience is different for each student, but the ultimate reward is creating global citizens within USF.

“Watching a student return from that and say, in the most positive and life-changing way” Pulos said, in regards to his favorite part of working with Education Abroad. “I have been changed and transformed, and I will carry this experience with me not for the remainder of the summer, not for five years, but for the rest of my life.”

Video Hayley Phillips Project 3

USF St. Petersburg Campus Celebrates 50 Years

Hayley Phillips

The USF St. Petersburg campus (USFSP) is wrapping up an entire year’s worth of memories and celebrations as its 50th anniversary comes to a close.

Located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, the institution opened its doors in 1965 and was originally intended as a temporary home for ‘overflow’ students that the Tampa campus could not house.

USF Special Collections librarian and alum, Jim Schnur, said that it came to be a fully functioning extension of the university several years after it was built.

“John Allen, in 1968, made a decision and it was a pretty risky one,” Schnur said. “He decided to open this campus up and create the first branch campus in the state university system.”

Today, the USF St. Pete campus is a learning center for nearly 4,000 students, and current USFSP students are getting the opportunity to take a glimpse into the past.

Throughout the year, the university has put on special programs and events to commemorate and celebrate the decades.

“Yesterday I went to a panel they had, a talk, just showing some movies about what USF St. Pete and like just Florida in general was like 50 years ago and the whole environment,” USFSP student, David Thompson said.

Old and new students alike are proud to be USF Bulls.

“I love going here,” USFSP student, Kent Buska said. “It’s a beautiful place, it’s always nice and sunny, and uhm it’s nice and close to the water.”

Schnur said it doesn’t matter which campus you go to or when, all that matters is the connection you share.

“You’re a bull,” Schnur said. “Whether you’re a Pinellas County, USF St. Pete student or USF Tampa student, you’re a USF student.”

 

LeRoy Collins remembered for role in USF’s creation

Tampa, Fla.–Gov. LeRoy Collins signed the bill in 1955 that allowed the University of South Florida to begin its development.

“He believed very strongly in access of a wide variety of people, regardless of income, to education,” Dr. Susan MacManus said.

But Collins was reluctant at first to build USF.

“He was a little leery, I think, to start a new institution from the beginning,” Andrew Huse said.  “But at the same time, we had such a large population explosion here in Florida after World War II.  It was just a matter of, are you going to put more money into the universities that already exist or are you going to start something new where the people actually live?”

Despite his initial reluctance to building the new university, Collins was involved in the early developmental stages of USF, including naming the school.

“When it was called the University of South Florida, it was called that because this was pretty far south for Florida,” Huse said.

Collins dug the first golden shovel into USF grounds in a short ceremony.  He spoke at the opening convocation in 1960.  He also gave a silver replica of the USF seal to John Allen, USF’s first president.

“So he laid the foundation for a lot of educational improvements in the state,” MacManus said.

USF named LeRoy Collins Blvd. after the former governor. Now a permanent fixture at USF, Collins is remembered for his vision and leadership.

Students Escape Stress at USF Botanical Gardens

Located just steps from some of the most popular spots on the University of South Florida campus lies a hidden gem, the USF Botanical Gardens.

From whimsical plant displays and breathtaking views of the water to educational facilities, the gardens have been offering a wide variety of services to USF students for over three decades.

The gardens were established in 1969 and were used primarily as a research and education facility. Throughout the 1970’s the biology department was the only educational group to conduct research within the gardens.

It wasn’t until the mid-1980’s that the area was expanded, incorporating the palm garden, wetland forest and many of the other displays seen today. During this expansion period university staff aimed to create an area that all students could use. Garden Director Laurie Walker says that today almost every college utilizes the space.

“We have classes from the college of fine arts, arts and sciences and engineering,” Walker said.

However, as the gates opened to the public in the 1990’s the gardens shifted to incorporate aspects of relaxation and recreation.

“We also have picnic tables, benches, beautiful places to sit and relax and study or have lunch drawing in the public for a unique look at Florida’s natural beauty,” Walker said.

University of South Florida sophomore Mack Galdames says it is the perfect place for him to take a break from the stress of school work.

“I usually come out here by the lake and sometimes just stare or I’ll read a book or play guitar,” Galdames said. “It’s just a wonderful peaceful place. It’s isolated and it’s not isolated, it’s got a balance to it.”

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.