Among a list of hundreds of student organizations on campus, one feels its message is especially life-changing. The USF Navigators are a non-denominational community of students with a mission to grow in their relationship with God and to impact the world around them.
“It’s bringing you into fellowship more, helping you grow in your faith more and teaching you how to dissect the Bible and understand the overall meaning,” Monica Pritchard said.
The group achieves this fellowship in a few ways. This past spring break, the USF Navigators went on a service trip to Atlanta, Ga. On a more local scale, they meet Wednesday nights in room 3707 of the Marshall Student Center for Nav Night.
Additionally, they host different Bible studies throughout the week, participate in intramural sports together and share in fellowship through different extracurricular activities.
“Bible studies are just a great way for students to grow closer to the Lord and closer to each other as they pursue the Lord together,” said Luc Lawrence, a USF Navigators staff member.
Most recently, the USF Navigators held a night of worship, where a student band played songs of praise. Those in attendance were welcome to come and worship as they felt called to. In the fall, the group will be transitioning to a new campus director, Andrew Duran, as the current director Chris Gatlyn moves to Virginia.
“It’s a good atmosphere, it’s good people and it’s a good purpose,” Pritchard said.
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.
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.
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.”
Tampa, Fla. – Phyllis P. Marshall is the backbone of the University of South Florida. She was there from the very beginning in 1960.
Marshall lived in the first student union called the University Center. She was essentially the first resident assistant on campus. The girls’ dorms were on the fourth floor of the building.
President John Allen wanted the focus of the school to be on academics and merits, not any social aspects.
“He and the other deans and the other students did not want beauty contests, popularity contests and they didn’t want Greek organizations either,” Andrew Huse, associate librarian at USF said.
Huse said Marshall was an advocate for students. “If she didn’t go to the event, they might not have been able to have the event.”
Marshall is known as “Ms. USF” for her involvement with students. Among many ideas, she helped advocate for students to bank at the credit union. In her mind, it was not fair for students that did not have transportation.
“I think she was an advocate for integrating students with the university.” Huse said.
The University Center was later named the Marshall Student Center in 1994 to coincide with Marshall’s retirement.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs helped spread the word about Women’s History Month in March.
The office set up a booth in the atrium of the Marshall Student Center with stacks of blank cards for students to fill out with their reasons for why they support women. Free pins were also handed out to help spread awareness around campus.
According to Caitlin Jones, a coordinator for the LGBT programs and services for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the objective of the event was for students and other passersby to understand the importance of the movement.
“Why does this matter?” Jones said. “Why do people support women? Have people even thought about why they support women? So, we’re using this to start that thought process.”
Throughout the event, many people stopped by to offer their thoughts. At the end, all completed cards were hung up along the office’s window on the third floor of the Marshall Center.
“Supporting women is more than wage equality,” Jones said. “It’s more than saying, ‘Oh, yes, women are important to me,’ but actually looking at class and race and some other pieces to be able to say, women matter.
“They deserve the same rights. The same equality. The same equity. And I’m willing to stand up and do that.”