Monthly Archives: December 2014

UWF students share winter holiday traditions

Ashley Seifert
Staff Writer

The winter holidays are often associated with family togetherness, the exchange of gifts, and celebratory feasts, but it’s the traditions, both unique and shared, that truly set them apart.

Senior Selena Lamont, a nursing major, said that this year she and her family plan to visit her grandmother, who currently resides in Jamaica.

“I normally celebrate Christmas by being with my family,” Lamont said. “We’re very big on family, and since we all live in different areas of the world, we try to get together in one place during the holidays. Last year, we chose to spend Christmas in Washington D.C., but this year, we’re heading to Jamaica. At least that’s the plan.”

Lamont added that rather than embrace the possibility of a white Christmas, they enjoy the nice and warm climate.

“I’ve also never had a Christmas tree while there. We’re not all that big on presents,” Lamont said. “It’s more about togetherness.”

Changlena Delpe, a pre-professional major and a sophomore, agreed on that point.

“Usually when I’m home for the winter holidays, I’ll spend it with my family,” Delpe said. “We’ll cook. We’ll have other family members over. We’ll play games. We’ll share stories. We just like being together.

“As a Haitian, one of the big things we do is attend church on the last day of December. We’ll get there at eight that night and won’t leave until three the following morning.”

Delpe said her church puts on concerts and plays in celebration of the winter holidays.

Sophomore Betina Frederic, a psychology major, noted the importance of church attendance as well, especially on Christmas Eve. She said the service usually lasts until midnight.

“But for New Years, to commemorate our Haitian culture, we make Soup Joumou, which means either pumpkin soup or squash soup in English,” Frederic said. “I really like it.”

Thick and savory, Soup Joumou is generally made of pumpkin, beef, and rice. It’s traditionally eaten on New Years Day as a commemoration of Haitian Independence Day.

Soup Joumou along with chocolate and ginger tea, which is said to possess many health benefits, are among some of the traditional Haitian foods Delpe’s church offers during its festive service.

“I go to Haiti every year,” Delpe said. “In fact, I was just there in July and up until recently, we would travel there for the winter holidays.

“When I was in middle and high school, we would leave for Haiti as soon as school let out for winter break, and I would often miss that first week of school in January. Now, not so much.”

Autumn Runyon, a freshman psychology major, said her own family never has the opportunity to get together until the winter holidays, so they try to take advantage of that every year.

“We’re just like other families, in the sense that everyone sits down at the table to eat Christmas dinner,” Runyon said. “We also pray before we eat. I’m a vegetarian, so my family substitutes the customary ham and turkey for something I can eat, but my absolute favorite thing would have to be the homemade pumpkin bread. It’s so good.”

Runyon added that her family does, in fact, have a rather “wacky” tradition.

She said they choose one day in which all members are free to shop for Christmas gifts, and then they will spend the better part of the day running from store to store, all the while hiding the gifts from prying eyes and warning the children not to peek.

“When we were younger, we would jokingly sneak looks into the bags,” Runyon said. “Of course we were scolded for it.

“It’s weird, I know, but it’s something we’ve always done.”

FSU shooting highlights need for stricter gun control

Ian Hamilton
Opinions Editor

Did you know there was a school shooting in Washington on October 24, where five students eventually died?

I didn’t. Not until I started browsing news sites for topics to write about. I had a few different emotions upon seeing the headline and reading the article.

Anger, confusion, sadness and fear all bounced around in my head. Those are all reasonable and expected reactions to have about school kids being shot. The emotion I had initially, however, was the scariest of all.

When browsing the articles I read the headline about five dead in a school shooting and I kept reading headlines. My first reaction was not horror, but complacency.

I am, along with probably everyone else in America, so used to hearing about school shootings that I barely give them a second thought when they happen.

I wrote this piece before the Florida State University shooting early Nov 20.

It is understandable why I did not hear about a shooting happening in Washington, but this shooting happen three hours away, at one of the biggest schools in Florida.

I spent almost all of that day on campus and besides an email about UWF safety and quick conversations with my fellow editors, I did not hear anyone talking about it.

There was more talk on Twitter than I heard in person.

Whether school shootings are more common or not is not the issue.

The issue is our seemingly indifference to the situation.

If you are old enough to remember the 1999 Columbine shooting in Colorado, you will remember that the country almost shut down trying to give and receive news about what was happening.

It was a national tragedy.

Now, shootings are happening often enough that it barely makes the front page. If they do happen to make the national news circuit, the coverage will probably only last a week.

Freedom is great, and it is what makes this country better than others.

However, freedom can go too far. I am fed up with gun rights advocates constantly fighting for a right that has the potential to kill people.

There is absolutely no reason why a civilian needs an automatic weapon. There is no need for a civilian to need a literal weapons cabinet of various guns.

The evil liberals who try to pass legislation to restrict gun sales are painted as unpatriotic and haters of America by the National Rifle Association and its proponents.

Yet, these same America haters are the only ones willing to compromise. They are not trying to ban every single weapon, just to limit what kind of guns can be purchased and by whom.

Over the summer in Texas, the organization Open Carry Texas took assault rifles, shotguns and handguns into local businesses as a form of protest.

This was met with mixed reviews. Of course, gun advocates loved the form of expression. On the flip side though, customers of restaurants like Chili’s and Sonic were terrified by the armed men showing up, and for good reason.

These gun nuts arrived at these establishments unannounced and uninvited.

To most people, even in Texas, if you see groups of people with guns, which are not in a hunting situation, something bad is going to happen. I’ve had some tough steaks at Chili’s but cutting through it never required automatic weapons.

The lack of compromise is an indicator of the irrationality shared with gun proponents.

Any time that a new gun control law is proposed, the NRA and associates get up in arms, and complain about their rights being encroached on by the federal government.

How many more kids need to die until everyone realizes that making unnecessary guns illegal is a good idea?

 

Fall sports wrap-up

Iqueena Hollis
Staff Writer

Last year was record breaking for the University of West Florida athletics. In total the university received eight Gulf South Conference championships, an accomplishment never met by any other school in the conference Director of Athletics Communications Matt Rowley said.

The fall season consisted of men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country and women’s volleyball.

The volleyball season came to a close when the team lost to Palm Beach Atlantic University 3-1 in the first round of the NCAA Division II South Regional tournament. They ended the season with a record of 24-8.

The men’s soccer season ended with an overall record of 6-9-2 and 4-4-1 in the GSC. The season came to an end on the road at Shorter University with a loss of 4-0 in the GSC Tournament quarterfinal match.

The women’s soccer season ended with a record of 12-6 and a GSC record of 9-3. The women made it to the GSC Tournament, but they were eliminated by Valdosta State University 2-1 in the semifinal match.

The men’s tennis and golf team, as well as the women’s volleyball, basketball, golf and tennis teams helped set this eight-championship record in the 2014 season.

“Although we are not likely to reach those heights this season, we have high hopes for our teams and expect success from them all,” Rowley said.

Although the soccer and volleyball seasons have came to a close, the men’s and women’s cross-country teams participated in the NCAA Division II South Regional Championship on November 22. The men ran a 10k at 9 a.m. and the women completed a 6k at 10 a.m.

“Kelley Bahn has really been a standout for the women’s cross-country team,” said Rowley. “She has broken records for that no one has been able to touch in the past.”

Bahn, a member of the women’s cross-country team, was the individual winner at the GSC Championships and NCAA Division II South Regionals, an accomplishment that is first in UWF history for the men’s and women’s teams.

Bahn also set the school record for fastest time in a 5k and 6k this season with a time of 17:58.80 and 22:18.74, respectively.

As the fall sports season comes to a close at UWF, the spring teams are gearing up to begin their 2015 season next semester.

The men’s basketball team kicked off the season Nov. 22 with win of 78-66 against Spring Hill. The swimming and diving, baseball, softball, golf and tennis seasons will all compete next semester and are expected to do well.

The men’s tennis team is currently ranked number one in the country according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II preseason poll.

For in-depth stats for all UWF sports and a full schedule for next semester’s lineup visit goargos.com.

Is college worth it?

Emily Gonçalo
L&E Editor

For the majority of the student population student loans are a very harsh reality to be dealt with in the adult world. You work your way through 13 years of schooling where you’re treated like a child and the minute you graduate you’re signing contracts that could haunt you for the rest of your life.

There are a lucky few students that are offered a full ride scholarship or have parents with enough income to support their college career without borrowing a dime.

The rest of us have spent the last four years racking up an average of about $30,000 in student loan debt and wondering if the degree is even worth it. Is it really worth it to start out after graduation with an enormous debt that could end up being more than the salary of your first job?

College is worth it. People with a four-year degree, statistically, end up with better jobs that pay more than the jobs of people with only a high school diploma. They also earn significantly more in their lifetime than their high school diploma counterparts.

What isn’t worth it is the crippling debt. Why should I, or anyone, be penalized for furthering our education? Higher education is a right that everyone should have access to, but because of the cost that continues to rise, it becomes more and more unattainable.

Typically there is a six-month grace period after graduation before the bills and payment notices start rolling in. Then, assuming you have the average debt to repay at an interest rate of 6.8 percent over the next ten years, it’s going to cost you roughly $345.24 each month. In interest, you’re paying an extra $11,000.

You’re encouraged to pay interest while you’re in school, but they should really be encouraging you to pay toward the principle amount so that the interest is based on a lower amount.

Paying for college is like buying a 1999 Honda Accord with a few dents, a bad paint job and a crappy stereo for the price of a brand new 2014 Ford Fusion. You need the car to get yourself anywhere, but you hate driving it and you definitely didn’t get your money’s worth.

Luckily for the students at University of West Florida, we have one of the lowest costs of attendance in the state. If we aren’t charged as much, we don’t have to take borrow as much, and we don’t end up owing as much.

Since 1999, student debt has increased over 500 percent, while the salaries of young people have decreased by 10 percent. We’re paying more and more for a degree that everyone is telling us we need in order to be successful, just so we can maybe find a job in the field we studied, so we can maybe earn enough to start the repayment process.

If you can’t find a job in enough time to start payments you have to default on your loans, which means trashing your personal credit. Then, when you apply for a job, your potential employer is likely to run a credit check and decide not to hire you, making it impossible to get a high enough paying job to pay off your debt.

There’s a lot of bad news associated with student loan debt, but the good news is that although you can’t see it now, it is worth it. Higher education results in higher paying jobs and an easier time paying off loans. It may not happen right away, but as long as you’re diligent and frugal in spending and borrowing, student loan debt is not the end of the world.

Chartwells contract extended

Kyle Treadway
Staff Writer

Chartwells, the company controlling the dining services at the University of West Florida, is set to remain   with the university for nearly another 20 years after signing a new contract last summer.

Chartwells has been with UWF since June 2006, and the current contract runs until June 2033. Chartwells is also partnered with several universities around Florida and is a part of Compass Group, the largest food service management company in the world.

The prices of the various dining locations are planned to remain the same and were decided based on a Chartwells policy.

The policy involved researching the restaurants off campus and in Pensacola.

The price for dining locations on-campus was established once Chartwells and UWF agreed to an average price based on the areas off campus according to Paul Taylor, senior director of dining services.

“We do market research on all the pricing to make sure we’re competitive in the area,” Taylor said. “We base it by individual campuses, it’s not done corporate-wide.”

The price for restaurants that are just off campus range from $6-$9 per meal.

Disregarding any discounts and including tax, the Subway on 9 mile road charges about $9 for a foot long sub sandwich and a drink. The Chick-fil-A charges about $6.50 for a chicken sandwich with french fries and a drink. The Publix deli will cost about $8 for a foot-long sub sandwich.

The price of the Argo Galley remains similar to off campus locations, costing students about $8.50 for a chicken sandwich with fries and a drink.

Students originally disagreed with the pricing from the galley pricing until it was compared to off-campus restaurants.

“I thought the prices here were too expensive,” sophomore Benjamin Strutchen said. “But I guess when you compare them to everywhere else, its reasonable.”

Someone visiting UWF with Strutchen agreed.

“Even though I’m not from here, the price for this food wasn’t too bad,” Stephen Dixon said. “It is actually somewhat cheaper than I’m used to paying.”

Another student continued to disagree with the prices.

“I don’t even eat on campus anymore,” junior Jonathon McKeon said. “I work at Whataburger, and I know I can get food there and other places for cheaper.”

Chartwells implements the same policy for dining location prices and for the Nautilus Market and the cafeterias at other Florida universities.

“It is a matter of what the cost of living is in different areas, and you have to be sensitive to that when deciding on cafeteria pricing,” Taylor said.

The price for the Nautilus Market will cost about $7-$9.50. That price is the same for the cafeteria at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

However, the cafeterias at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and Florida International University in Miami are both about $11 according to a poll with students from those universities.

UWF and Chartwells are also limited to what they can sell at a couple of the dining locations on campus.

The Papa John’s on campus is limited to only personal-sized pizzas and a small assortment of menu items. This limitation is because of an agreement between Chartwells and the corporate members of Papa Johns.

“In order for Chartwells to have Papa John’s operate on campus, it had to be with the understanding that we would only do the personal size pizzas,” Taylor said. “They do that in order to offer some type of protection from infringement on a territory of their local franchises.”

The Starbucks on campus is limited by a similar agreement.

“I can understand certain limitations,” freshman Tabbitha Manzanet said. “I would just prefer they didn’t exist.”

These agreements are also found in the other universities in Florida. The Burger King on the UCF campus is limited to only selling Whopper and Whopper Junior sandwiches.

Dining locations around campus also change their menu each year based on surveys in an attempt to make the menus more favorable to students.

The Argo Galley and Bistro Blue both changed their menu from last year.

“A lot of the menu changes we implement come from student feedback,” Taylor said. “With Bistro Blue, we changed from a Cajun-type menu to a Mexican and south-west type deal which has gone over well with students.”

A couple years ago, Chartwells changed the Sub Generation to Sushi with Gusto.

Changes to the menu and restaurants are made to offer as much as dining services can to accommodate the variety of tastes on campus according to Taylor.

For the menu recipes, Chartwells does not limit UWF to serving a particular food.

“There’s some guidance that we get corporately through our dietitian,” Taylor said. “She’ll review our menu cycle just to make sure that there’s a lot of balance to avoid it being loaded up with fats and fried foods.”

The buildings for the East Campus Complex are still under development, and the restaurants to fill those buildings are still under negotiation.

A Starbucks is the only location that has a signed letter of intent, which confirms a plan to build one.

Two other restaurants currently have letters of intent being negotiated between them, Chartwells and UWF.

“We are confident we’re going to move forward with those two,” Taylor said. “There are also four to six other entities we are in negotiations with.”

There is currently a plan to build between six and eight restaurants in total at the East Campus Complex and students can also make suggestions for restaurants they would like to see dining services build.

“Students can certainly get in contact with us to discuss the name of a restaurant they’d like to see on campus,” Taylor said. “I can make no promises, but we would welcome suggestions from students.”

Students can email dining services at dining@uwf.edu to discuss possible restaurants to build at the East Campus Complex.

Once homeless veteran speaks at Sleep Out for the Homeless

Timothy Jones spoke about being homeless, his drug addiction and his eventual recovery during Sleep Out for the Homeless. Photo by Kenneth King

Timothy Jones spoke about being homeless, his drug addiction and his eventual recovery during Sleep Out for the Homeless.
Photo by Kenneth King

Kenneth King
Staff Writer

The Beta Beta Phi Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, INC hosted a Sleep Out for the Homeless Friday night, Nov. 21, on the University Campus Green to raise awareness for homelessness in Pensacola.

The organization took donations in the form of pillows, blankets, and more to donate to local homeless shelters.

Approximately 15 students attended the event, bundled up in sweaters and hoodies to endure the dropping temperature from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Former homeless military veteran Timothy Jones spoke to a handful of UWF students who were willing to brave the chilling winds to hear his story.

“Being homeless was reality slapping me in the face,” Jones said. “And for so many other people who have hit rock-bottom it is a sober reality of their failure, and I have failed.

“But I knew that it wasn’t going to stop me. I entered a transitional veterans’ program. And the way I needed to reclaim my life was through higher education and college.”

Jones underwent harsh experiences in the navy. After his service, he suffered from depression, drug addiction and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) He survived three suicide attempts.

Jones was homeless from 2009 to 2014. Despite the hardships, he was able to find shelter, defeat drug addiction and begin his education with the help of Volunteers for America. He is also an advocate for Student Veterans of America.

“In that homeless veterans program I was paired with 30 other homeless veterans,” Jones said. “Six people [in the program] died because of their addiction to alcohol and drugs. I was the first person to graduate in the 2 years that I was there.

“For any student that is facing an adverse situation, I just say speak up and speak out because there is support here,” he said. “When I spoke up and shared my story I was showed nothing but support, nothing but love.

“We have to take care of each other. We are one UWF family.”

Jones is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in communication arts at UWF. He plans to use his degree to continue his work as a motivational speaker.

“I want to inspire change and give back to the community that has given so much to me,” Jones said. “I want to go out there and continue to inspire veterans, kids, anyone that needs to be inspired. People need to hear the story and narrative of hope. I believe in hope.

“Two years ago I was a homeless veteran. Today I am a veteran with two homes, one of which is UWF.”

Volunteers of America was launched in 1896 to support America’s most vulnerable groups including veterans, at-risk youth, people with disabilities and more.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 633,782 people were homeless in 2012. Homelessness in the veteran community declined by 7.2 percent.

In a 2012 study by HUD, Florida was included among 5 states that account for nearly half the nation’s homeless population.