Monthly Archives: September 2015

Pensacola seafood festival kicks off downtown festival season

Emily Doyle

Staff Writer

The 38th Annual Pensacola Seafood Festival kicked off Fall this weekend, giving the community a chance to come together and experience delicious seafood, live music and a variety of original artwork.

The festival is sponsored annually by The Fiesta of Five Flags, an organization that prides itself on celebrating the heritage of Pensacola and building community appreciation through various activities. Their pride was well-deserved, because, according to attendees, the organizers accomplished everything they set out to do. As described by UWF sophomore Quinten Parker: “The Seafood Festival is the epitome of Pensacola’s culture and community wrapped up into one festival. I come every year.”

The festival began Friday afternoon with more than 150 artists and food vendors and hundreds of people. The blue fish portrait by featured local artist local Sarah Turner was featured on every T-shirt and poster in sight. Surrounding the festival were booths from out-of-state vendors with exotic offerings such as gator on a stick and shark meat.

For attendees with children, there were arts and crafts stations. For the foodies, there were local restaurants such as The Fish House, Nancy’s Haute Affairs and Flounders Chowder House providing mouthwatering seafood for patrons to enjoy. Also, musical artists Drake White and the Big Fire, Anders Osborne, and Marc Broussard got everyone on their feet and dancing when they each took stage at night.

This festival appeals to people of all ages, but especially college-age attendees.

When asked if the Pensacola Seafood Festival was a good event for UWF students to enjoy, Ashley Johnson said, “I definitely feel like this is a good place for UWF students to get a feel for what Pensacola is all about.”

When students come to UWF from out of town, they may fall in love with the campus, but it’s events like the Pensacola Seafood Festival that really shows Pensacola’s true colors – and flavors.

 

Nomadic eats

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Photo courtesy of nomadiceats.com.

Tom Moore

Contributing Writer

As the debate over allowing food trucks into downtown Pensacola rages, there is at least one food truck that is already operating in Pensacola.

Nomadic Eats is a vendor truck that caters to Pensacola State College students during lunch hours. Located at the back of PSC, Nomadic Eats is parked catty-corner to Kings Popcorn. Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, their website boasts, “Stuff your face with the best tacos in Pensacola.” This motto is displayed prominently on the sign that is front and center over the window where orders are placed. The tacos are made there while you watch, using fresh ingredients.

“All dishes and recipes will be from scratch,” Chef Randy Russell said. “I go to the local farmers market on Davis, to ensure I am using only the freshest ingredients available in my dishes.”

Russell said he got the idea for Nomadic Eats from his travels around the world, sampling the cuisine from different food carts in Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia.

“In Central and South America, food carts are everywhere,” Russell said. “You can’t go two blocks down the street without running into one. I wanted to share some of that atmosphere by bringing the concept back to the States,” Russell said.

If there is one thing that Nomadic stresses above all else, it is authenticity.  “As long as I have a unique product, quick food, and the freshest ingredients, people will come,” Russell said.

If you can’t get to the PSC campus, UWF also has a food truck on our campus. Bistro Blue is between buildings 12 and 18 and is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can find it on the Cannon Green between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. It is a mobile, outdoor café serving Mexican street food including tacos, quesadillas, nachos, sopapillas and more. While the café calls the main campus of University of West Florida home, on occasion you may spot Bistro Blue at local events. It is closed Fridays through Sundays, and hours of operation may change during inclement weather. Follow the UWF Dining Twitter feed for up-to-date information.

When the craving for fresh food fast hits, try out both Nomadic Eats and Bistro Blue for a unique meal experience.

Madness takes its toll at theatre department’s “Rocky Horror” production

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Audience members participating in the costume contest before the performance.
Photo by Kaitlin Englund.

Kaitlin Englund

Life and Entertainment Editor

Hundreds of people funneled into the University of West Florida Mainstage Theatre Saturday night for one of UWF’s most outlandish fundraising events, the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

The UWF Theatre Department hosts a “shadow cast” of the production, in which theatre students pantomime the movie projected behind them, complete with costumes and props.

Saturday marked the second year for the event at UWF and the 40th anniversary for the release of the movie. This year, the production featured two special guest stars: Dr. Greg Lanier, dean of the University College, as The Criminologist, and local celebrity Lauren Mitchell as Frank-N-Furter.

Mitchell, who has been performing in the area for 28 years, said she was happy to come perform at UWF and help get the word out about the event.

“My favorite part is the second show, with all the rowdy kids,” Mitchell said, adding that her favorite scene to perform is the “orgy.”

Mitchell’s sparkling corset outfits were a hit with the crowd, eliciting rowdy responses from the audience members upon her entrance to the stage.

However, it wasn’t just Mitchell’s extravagant costumes that got the crowd going wild.

As anyone who has been to a “shadow cast” of the movie knows, the actors on stage are not the only ones participating. Audience members often come dressed up as their favorite strange and scantily-clad characters.

Before the show started, costumed audience members were asked to come to the stage to compete in a costume contest. Audience applause determined who had the best costume, and the winner was not only given a “Miss Transylvania” sash to wear, but was brought on stage during the show to dance the “Time Warp” with the cast members.

The audience also plays a large role in the production, as they shout out various phrases that have become tradition since shortly after the film’s release, and even throw different novelties around the theatre, creating a unique, interactive film screening.

Unlike most theatre performances, the audience was also encouraged to use their phones throughout the show to take pictures and post them to social media using the hashtag #RHPSUWF15.

This year, the theatre department had an 8 p.m. and midnight showing, which together raised approximately $5,000 to help the department with production costs for this school year. The theatre honor fraternity Alpha Psi Omega also sold goody bags to the audience with the novelties to participate, to raise money for their organization.

Jerre Brisky, director of the Center for Fine and Performing Arts, said the theatre department, similar to many other organizations, faced a 25 percent cut this year in funding from Student Government Association fees. It is that cut that makes “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” such an important fundraising event for the department.

Campus gun bill

Josh Hart

Staff Writer

In a controversial move, Florida lawmakers earlier this month pushed forward a bill that would allow people to carry guns on college campuses. Reactions have been heated, with one reporter saying “the logic couldn’t be worse” for a bill of this kind.

Others are supportive of the bill. Marion Hammer, an NRA lobbyist, said the campus gun ban creates an environment where “murderers, rapists and shooters can commit crimes without fear of being harmed by their victims.

The polarized opinions are not surprising. The topic of gun violence on college campuses is hot on the lips of Americans and has been since the shooting at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966.

What’s surprising is that, for a subject that is so divisive, there are few statistics supporting either side of the guns on campus debate.

A cursory Google search reveals, well, nothing but opinion pieces.

Digging a little deeper, I found that of the 19 fatal, on-campus shootings in America since 1966, nine of the firearms used in the shootings were obtained legally; five of the firearms were obtained illegally; and five were obtained through unknown means. In exactly one case, a firearm was used in self-defense against the shooter.

What does this one use of a firearm in self-defense say about their effectiveness on campus? Not much at all. One might cite firearm statistics for areas off campus as evidence of the applicability of certain laws at a university, but that would be a mistake. A college campus is primarily occupied by the young and potentially reckless, the new and uninitiated. Like it or not, this demands different rules from the real world.

This lack of relevant statistics, in a rational world, would mean that the reaction to the proposal of this law would be significantly less polarized, but apparently we don’t live in a rational world. If we’re to formulate discourse, we need to be acutely aware of what we know and what we do not know.

Potential loss in funding creates a dark cloud over university success

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Photo courtesy of http://news.uwf.edu/

Iqueena Hollis

Staff Writer

University of West Florida President Judy Bense highlighted the success of the previous school year in the annual State of the University address on Thursday in the UWF Field House, but also expressed concern for a potentially significant loss in funding.

The university has accomplished a number of things over the past year, including being recognized as a “Purple Heart University” for its service to veterans, exemplary student recognitions and five sports championships. However, there is a dark cloud that looms over recent success.

During the 2012-2013 school year, lawmakers created a metrics program that provides funding to colleges and universities based on their performance in 10 specific benchmarks. These benchmarks include retention rates, enrollment hours and graduation rates that are scored six years after each incoming class.

During the first year, UWF scored a 21 on the 50 point scale, which resulted in the loss of $3.8 million in funding. Last year, the score shot up to 37, which restored $3.8 million in base funding.

“This is the best news of any university in the state, but the problem is that we went up so high that we have to get higher every year in order to get points,” said Bense. “I have to tell you the truth, no surprises – we are concerned. The 2009 freshmen class (the group that will determine this year’s score) was not very strong.”

Although this year’s score could potentially cost the school millions in base funding, the university did receive a total of $24.2 million in new funding for programs, not to mention generous gifts to the university by family and business organizations.

“The situation with the points for state funding is a little scary,” said Danielle Malone, president of the W.E.B. Dubois Honor Society. “But the school has been in situations where we lost money and gained other funding, so I think we will have no problem bouncing back.”

The university recently received more funding to complete the Florida Military program and partnered with Gulf Islands National Seashore to build the National Park Service Resource Learning Center.

The nursing program opened a new state-of-the-art nursing lab, and a group of engineering students won second place in an international design competition. Biochemistry major Jini Curry was named National Honor Student of the Year by the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Last year, the swim team, as well as the men’s and women’s golf and tennis teams, brought home new trophies, making the grand total 84 conference championships in school history. The football team will also begin scrimmages this semester, and a new competition field is currently under construction.

“For 21 years in a row, our student athletes have a higher GPA than the general student body,” said Bense. “They are winners in and out of the classrooms.”

University staff and employees received a 3.8 percent raise in salary. The university also experienced a 2 percent increase in student enrollment, 12.6 percent increase in graduate enrollment, and the freshmen class entered with a record breaking 3.61 GPA, up from a 3.58 last This address marked one of the last for Bense as she will retire as president in December 2016. The Board of Trustees will be having a meeting on Sep. 30, during which, there will be an update on the search for Bense’s successor.

For more information, the entire address can be watched on WUWF’s Youtube channel and the presentation can be found here.

Trump continues to gain following

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Donald Trump as he announces his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Gregory/Getty Images.

Cassie Rhame

Staff Writer

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has stirred up a lot of controversy over his candidacy, but does he really have a chance at getting the party’s nomination come time for the primaries?

For UWF students, the recurring response to this question was, “Oh God… I sure hope not.”

As faith fades for other conservatives such as Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, Trump’s following only seems to grow. According to a poll from the New York Times/ CBS News, 39 percent of the Republican primary voters now view Trump as the most likely to win the spot as their nominee, as opposed to only 26 percent in August.

While this may be a terrifying thought for some voters, others are not so shocked.

“For Donald Trump, there is no such thing as bad press,” sophomore computer science major Chris Rohrer said. “He spins every media interaction to his favor.”

Rohrer has a point that is shared by several publications, including Catholic Online, which stated: “Trump has said many things that have gotten him a lot of attention – and the resulting news coverage, especially from the left, who hates him – has given him untold millions in free publicity.”

The more we hear about Trump, the more lucrative his brand is. Steve Strauss from USA Today, in a response to a reader regarding bad publicity, said on their website: “I think there is a point where you can unfortunately discover how far you can go, because you finally went too far.”

There could be an argument here; a poll released last weekend by CNN claims that Trump’s points dropped from being up by 15 to a mere 10 after he ignored a man who called President Obama a Muslim in New Hampshire on Thursday. Though not enough to make a huge difference, this could foreshadow Trump eventually taking things too far and losing his lead.

His lashing out at Carly Fiorina in the second GOP primary debate was perhaps the cause of her ratings to spike immediately following the second Republican debate. Trump may need to watch that his comments do not continue to backlash causing another candidate to beat his ratings.

“Trump is anything but stupid,” Rohrer said. “He realizes he is not dealing with powerful people when he goes on stage, and sees that he is actually just performing for a crowd of inflated egos.”

Even as Trump leads the polls for whom Republicans would most like to see as the GOP candidate for president in 2016, his detractors still fail to see him as a real threat.

“The only way he has a chance is if the entire country takes all of his words for granted,” criminal justice sophomore Shawn Winchester said. “If you look into any of his claims, they don’t have any backing.”

The accuracy of Winchester’s statement is not up for debate for many, but there is a fair chance of Trump being the candidate that the GOP chooses.

Junior communications major Diamond Hadley agrees that Trump’s claims do not have backing, but also said she feels he may end up winning the party’s nomination.

“I feel like he will stay in for a while, and might even be the candidate that the GOP chooses, but I don’t think he has a chance of actually winning the election. I sure hope not,” Hadley said.

When asked about potential candidates who could beat Trump in the primaries, junior international studies major Emma Ryan said, “I can see Carly Fiorina jumping ahead of Trump pretty soon. I hope someone can pass him up.”

According to the most recent polls, Trump’s only real competition, as of late from the Republican side, is Ben Carson. This could be why more Republicans are finally viewing Trump as a serious candidate, as opposed to the start, when most execrated his straightforward style and focus on entertainment.

“I think it’s time to start taking Trump seriously, because he isn’t going anywhere soon,” said global marketing senior Jeremiah Luger. “I definitely think he has a chance at being their candidate.”

The Exchange displays vocal range

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Photo courtesy of Jasmine Romano.

Amanda Gerow

Staff Writer

The University of West Florida Campus Activities Board turned up the volume on Thursday when acapella group The Exchange took to the auditorium stage to kick off the first of the scheduled fall semester events.

The Exchange is the all-male acapella group that shot to fame during its time on NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” Now, the group has just completed its fourth world tour and is soon to release their newest tour dates.

The event, held by CAB, began at 8 p.m. Thursday with a live performance from The Exchange and then a showing of the movie “Pitch Perfect 2.”

CAB members and student volunteers welcomed guests at the entrance.

“Tonight I am volunteering,” said Cayla Miraglia, a freshman health science major and SGA member. “It was really easy. I went on the CAB page and they gave me information on how to get involved through Argopulse.”

Students who are interested in hearing about upcoming events and getting involved as a volunteer can visit the CAB page.

As the audience filled the auditorium, the excitement was apparent. People from all over campus and the community took time out of the long week to come see the performance.

“I heard about it from my residence hall, and I’ve been studying all day so I was ready to get out of the library,” said Quiton Leith, a junior exercise science major.

CAB Vice President Brandon Wood and Co-Sponsorship Chair Kishane Patel took the stage to introduce The Exchange and make sure the crowd was ready to enjoy the night.

The five members of the vocal group come from different areas and make up the different vocal parts. Aaron Sperber, first tenor; Alfredo Austin, second tenor; Christopher Diaz, bass singer; Jamal Moore, baritone; and Richard Steighner, primarily percussion (aka beat-boxer), make up the rich sound of The Exchange.

Diaz could be seen checking his phone periodically throughout the set. However, instead of it being for an important text or two, it was for professional reasons.

“When I pull out my cellphone, it is not to check my texts,” he said. “I’m using this as my pitch pipe, because it’s 2015, and who uses pitch pipes anymore?”

Having just arrived back in the United States after their last overseas tour, The Exchange expressed a genuine happiness to be home. The group said multiple times how happy they were to be able to spend the night performing at UWF.

“Tonight is awesome for a couple reasons. First being because tonight is about acapella, which is what we do,” Diaz said. “A movie about acapella is good for all of us, because now you know it’s a real thing, not just something you do in college. We get paid, believe it or not, to do acapella, which is pretty cool.”

 

UWF women’s soccer confident after win against Montevallo

Grier Wellborn

Contributing Writer

Student athletes filled the University of West Florida soccer complex bleachers Tuesday night, Sept. 22, to support the women’s soccer team in its home opener against the University of Montevallo Falcons.

The Argonauts won 2-0, but it did not come easy.

The Argonauts took the field with confidence, following victories against No.1 ranked Rollins College, 5-1, and Spring Hill, 5-0.

“I try to take it game-by-game and do my best regardless of games before,” Kaley Ward, a junior who scored three of the Argos’ five goals against Rollins, said. “I take a lot of confidence knowing I have such a solid team behind me.”

The first goal was scored 12 minutes into the first half, on an unassisted shot taken by Daryl Bell. It was the sophomore’s fourth goal of the season.

The Argos did not score another first half goal, despite taking 17 shots. Their dominant first-half performance was marked by ball possession and a defense that was quick to force turnovers, which prevented the Falcons from taking a shot.

At halftime, the Gulf Coast Texans Club Team stormed the complex field to show off their skills. A few players from the men’s soccer team joined the young, aspiring soccer players on the field. After their 15 minutes of fame, it was time to start the second half.

Another six shots were taken before the Argos scored the final goal of the night. Bri Young scored, and was assisted on a corner kick by Ward. It was Young’s first goal of the season.

The Argonauts’ ball control continued in the second half, and resulted in a lopsided 29-3 shots-on-goal advantage for the game.

“I know the score could have definitely been more than what we put up,” Bell said. “We had 29 shots—the most we’ve ever had in a game. I still believe we played a good game, possessed the ball, and our defense didn’t give them any chances.”

The UWF women’s soccer team is now 5-1. Its lone loss of the season came against rival University of Tampa.

The Argos next home game will be Friday, Oct. 2, when they host Lee University at the UWF soccer complex.

For a complete schedule, visit goargos.com.

 

UWF Men’s soccer remains undefeated

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Marteinn Urbancic.
Photo courtesy of GoArgos.com

Iqueena Hollis

Staff Writer

The UWF men’s soccer team continued its undefeated season with a win against Spring Hill College on Thursday with a final score of 1-0.

The Argos were able to keep control of the game, despite not scoring until the end of the first overtime period. Marteinn Urbancic, a junior from the Commercial College of Iceland, shot the winning goal.

“They were doing pretty good, but I was afraid the game would never end,” said Amanda O’Beid, a senior majoring in hospitality, who frequents soccer games. “The game was so intense, but I’m really happy we won in the end.”

The Argos finished the game with 22 shots, seven shots on goal, one save, five corners, four offsides and 7 fouls. Spring Hill finished with five shots, one shot on goal, six saves, three corners, two offsides and 14 fouls.

The men’s soccer team will travel to Mobile to play against the University of Mobile at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 21. The team will kick off the start of the Gulf South Conference competition by traveling to Jackson, Tennessee to play against Union University at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 25.

The women’s soccer team defeated Spring Hill 5-0 on Saturday after losing their first game of the season to Tampa by a score of 2-1 on Sept. 13. The Lady Argos will play Montevallo next on Sept. 22.

For all game schedules, locations, and stats, please visit GoArgos.

Runner’s vision leads to UWF

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Renee Cox, a 28-year-old freshmen, who runs on the UWF cross country team, took an unconventional and uncertain path to her athletic scholarship. She said that if she could talk to her 15-year-old self, who quit high school track after one meet, she would say, “Just wait, don’t give up.”
Photo courtesy of UWF Athletic Communications.

Jason Dustin

Staff Writer

Renee Cox did what runners do—she ran.

“I was on the track team my freshman year (of high school) for two weeks,” the 28-year-old UWF first-year student and cross country team member said. “I went to one meet, and it was a relay. I did so bad that I cried and I never went back.”

The pattern of resistance followed by an about-face repeated itself when Cox, as a 20 year old, dropped out of Tallahassee Community College. Hiding, as Cox described it, was only made easier by the habitual use, and abuse, of alcohol.

Eventually, the boundaries of her emotional encounter with running appeared to get smaller, converge and reach their vanishing point.  They had dipped below the limits of her sight and the constraints of her sickness.

“I just cared about drinking,” Cox said. “It got worse, it got better, it got worse. I had a really bad drinking problem.”

The progression of that problem led Cox to seek help. When she was 21 she entered a Tallahassee detox.

“When I got out, I tried running,” she said.

Cox was not finished drinking, but her perspective began to change, and the value she placed upon alcohol depreciated in light of running.

“Slowly I found out that I could be going out to the bar, or I could be out at the track,” Cox said. “And the nights I was out at the track I felt like a totally different person.”

The tug of war between Cox’s old self and new self, as well as drinking and running, continued.

“Then I decided in 2011 that I was going to do the Tallahassee Half Marathon,” she said. “So I trained, and trained, and trained really hard for it. And I stopped drinking for like 40 days.”

Cox, in her first competition since her high school freshman track experience, placed eighth among women and second in her age group.

“I was so excited,” she said. “And I was so sad that I had never pursued it in high school.”

A sequence of life-changing situations, which she chooses to keep private, began to unfold in Cox’s life. Circumstances that brought into focus the gravity of the effect alcohol had upon her. She stopped drinking again.

“I had been praying, ‘God, somehow I need you to save me from going back to being who I was,’” she said.

Still uncertain of her direction, and riddled with self-doubt, Cox decided to enter a race, part of the Springtime Tallahassee celebration. Cox finished ninth among women, and said her life “lit up” once again.

At the urging of one her mother’s friends, she entered another race, which she won.

“That’s when I was like, ‘I’m not going back to drinking, this is amazing,’” she said. “And I was hooked. I did like 30 races that year and ended up winning like 19 of them.”

The male winner at one of those races was UWF cross-country coach Caleb Carmichael.

“I think he Facebook friend requested me and we talked a couple times,” Cox said. “He said, ‘I think you have potential.’”

Cox said she and Carmichael became friends on Facebook and communicated from time to time. She recalled asking Carmichael about UWF, but stopped short of bringing up the possibility of becoming an Argonaut runner. She said their conversations slowed until she received a surprise message from Carmichael earlier this year.

“He said that he would have me on the team if I was eligible,” Cox said.

It was materialization of a vision Cox had treasured in the midst of her difficult times.

“I’d run around the track at Florida State University and I would literally just picture myself on a team,” she said. “It would bring tears to my eyes.”

“When you run, you put scenarios in your head to help you. That was always my scenario: I would be wearing a uniform and I would be running with a team, and my family would be there and they would be cheering me on. It sounds stupid, but it would bring tears to my eyes.”

Hope and opportunities that had resonated deeply with Cox had not vanished. They had passed from her sight and emerged, as she did what runners do.