Monthly Archives: October 2015

UWF sights & sounds

Video by Jason Dustin.

Get involved in UWF’s Homecoming activities this week


Photo courtesy of

Emily Doyle

Staff Writer

The UWF Homecoming Committee has an exciting week of events and activities planned for the annual week-long event. Here’s your day-by-day guide to all things Homecoming!

Monday, Oct. 19: To kick off Homecoming week, UWF is Transforming the Campus by encouraging students to dress in blue and green to show their Argo spirit. You also can walk around the different departments and see the window panes that organizations are creating to out-spirit each other in the Window Pane Competition. The winner for the competition will be announced at the pep rally on Thursday.

Tuesday, Oct. 20: The Golden Fleece Challenge will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You and a team of up to two more people will embark on an adventure around campus to find clues that will lead you to the Golden Fleece. The Golden Fleece Challenge is held every year to honor the Greek legend Jason, who with his warriors the Argonauts, set out to recover a golden fleece to save Jason’s father’s kingdom.

Wednesday, Oct. 21: The Cannon Fest will be held on the Cannon Green from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Cannon Fest is a campus picnic where UWF organizations set up tents and interact with students. There will be music, Sonny’s BBQ and game booths to get everyone involved.

Also Wednesday, Oct. 21: The Cardboard Boat Races will commence at 8 p.m. at the UWF Aquatics Center. In this event, student and faculty teams will have constructed boats made solely from cardboard, duct tape and liquid nails. Then a chosen team member will attempt to paddle their team’s boat across the UWF pool faster than any other team. It is an exciting and humorous event that you will not want to miss!

Thursday, Oct. 22: The Pep Rally and Concert will be at 7 p.m. on the Cannon Green. The pep rally is a celebration of being an Argo and a chance to get excited and have a blast with your friends standing by your side. To conclude the evening there will be a concert by popular country artist Dan + Shay.

Friday, Oct. 23: The Tailgate event at the Soccer Complex joins together Homecoming Week with Family Weekend. Get together with your fellow Argos before the men’s and women’s soccer teams play a double header that evening at 5. People are encouraged to bring their best tent decorations, grills for preparing favored foods, and a smile.

Saturday, Oct. 24: To end Homecoming Week, there will be a Football Scrimmage at 11 a.m. at the University Park Field to help prepare our football players for their inaugural season in 2016.


UWF Singers and Chamber Choir hit all the right notes in their fall concert


The UWF Singers and Chamber Choir performing “The Road Not Taken.”
Photo by Kenny Detwyler.

Kenny Detwyler

Contributing Writer

The harmonious voices of the UWF Singers and Chamber Choir filled the Center of Fine and Performing Arts on Monday. The vocalists, under the direction of Peter Steenblik, presented their fall concert, entitled “Lullabies, Love Songs, and Requiems: a Poetic Journey.”

The UWF Singers are a group of 30 selected singers, while the Chamber Choir features an ensemble of 10 from that same group. They were accompanied on piano by Bolton Ellenburg.  

The concert featured the vocalists singing verses from a few of the most iconic names in in the world of poetry, such as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Georg Friedrich Daumer, and Ogden Nash, all of which were set to music.

Featured in the concert were five sets of music, each with a different theme. This included songs such as a salute to the cities in the Panhandle and the Star Spangled Banner. An audience favorite was the finale performance of “Jabberwocky,” written by Lewis Carroll.

“The ending was amazing. It was a perfect way to top it off,” student Daniel Stiles said. When talking about the finale, student Eva Duga could only use the word “fantastic” to describe it.

The UWF Singers have spent many weeks preparing for the evening.

“From day one to the present, we learned a lot of music,” freshman Eric Keeton said, of singing his first concert with the group. “Seeing the different ensembles come together was very exciting.”

“Going from rehearsal to performance is always difficult, because the rehearsal space is always more forgiving,” said vocalist Jordan Harell.

If the thunderous standing ovation the singers received at the end of the show was any indication, the UWF Singers and Chamber Choir handled their transition from rehearsal to stage with perfection.

While the event was free to the public, the music department still operated under a ticket system. This was partly to gauge interest in events like this being held on campus.

“I think it’s important to support the arts, because music is one of those things that communicates to everyone,” student Meredith Stemen said. “The singers were being expressive and showing their emotions, and I could understand what they were singing about.”

The musical journey presented in the concert did not end on Monday. A highly anticipated continuation of the show will be performed on at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Old Christ Church in downtown historic Pensacola.

For a schedule of concerts and events in the Department of Music, visit their website.


Back Porch Comedy gives out free laughs


UWF senior Ben Neergaard performs at The Big Easy Tavern for open mic comedy night.
Photo by Cassie Rhame.

Cassie Rhame

Staff Writer

In a tiny, hidden venue called the Big Easy Tavern, you’ll find free entertainment each Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m., in the form of an open mic comedy night.

The weekly night for laughs is hosted by a network of Pensacola comedians called Back Porch Comedy, and the unlikely venue is inside the Days Inn hotel at Palafox and Cervantes streets in downtown Pensacola.

The dive might be small, but it is described by patrons as having a laid-back and friendly environment. “I’m not much of a club guy, so this close-knit and relaxed bar is exactly my speed,” UWF junior exercise science major Madison Reid said. “Everyone is chill and just wants to have a good time.”

“The drinks are super cheap, and they always have specials going on,” communication arts sophomore Courtney Randall said. “I mean honestly — what more could you ask for as a broke college student?”

Each Tuesday’s show consists of special guests along with the open mic volunteers, some of which have been performing at the Big Easy Tavern for months. Being an open mic event, anyone is welcome to perform a brief set, as long as they are signed up by 9 p.m..

UWF senior studio art major Ben Neergaard has taken the stage a few times at the Big Easy Tavern, and advises any student interested in comedy to give it a shot.

“Being a comedy bar, people are prime and ready to expect to laugh,” Neergaard said. “It makes the nerves easier because most of the time, people are focused and not disruptive.”

Back Porch Comedy also hosts free comedy (not open mic) on Fridays at this same venue with headliners on tour as well as comedians from the Florida area. The headliners on Fridays have boasted an impressive list of names, including Ben Kronberg and Dave Stone.

Comic Wiley Farrar Jr. said the weekly event once suffered from an “identity crisis,” and went through a lull until Tony Burkett and Zach Van Gestel took over as hosts. Burkett said he took on the job because of his love for comedy and the lack of passion from past hosts.

“I’m just happy this is here in the last place you would expect — the Days Inn in Pensacola,” Gulf Shores comic Cris Fowler said. Fowler has been performing for the venue for several months now.

“Open mic is different because you get a lot of different types of people,” Fowler said. “Some people are just happy to have a mic in their hands to get the voices out of their heads.”

The comics, described as one big family, see the crowd as what makes the comedy special. There is said to be a rewarding quality to making people laugh, which is the fundamental purpose behind these comedy nights.

“For students, I think there is a chance to see amazing headliners and professionals,” Farrar said. “It is amazing comedy, especially being free.”

Farrar said he has been performing at the Big Easy Tavern weekly for about eight months, and calls it “an outlet for creativity for an art that is truly underappreciated.” “Each room has a separate energy and vibe… You get a real chance for magic moments here.”

To learn more about Back Porch Comedy, and to keep up with events, visit their Facebook.

TED Talk Tuesdays expose students to new ideas


Photo courtesy of

Amanda Gerow

Staff Writer

UWF Service and Citizenship kicked off the bi-weekly occurrence of TED Talk Tuesdays on Tuesday in the Argo Galley.

TED stands for technology, entertainment and design. The TED Talks are designed to incorporate these idea platforms and spread ideas through powerful talks by various individuals. The talks typically only last a maximum of 18 minutes.

TED Talk Tuesdays are the brainchild of staff and interns in the Student Involvement Office who wanted to focus on issues involving citizenship for students and, more importantly, issues that made students think about what they can do to help.

The event also stemmed from the Student Government Association event called “Write It Out Wednesdays” in the Commons. Students are faced with a topic on a whiteboard, and they can add their views and read the opinions of other students.

“We were asking questions on the whiteboards about issues that students may not be educated about,” said Tara Kermie, assistant director of University Commons and Student Involvement. “We thought TED Talks would be a great passive way as an opportunity to educate students on citizenship issues so they can become more informed citizens.”

The TED Talks for the rest of the semester will be at noon on Oct. 27, Nov. 10, and Nov. 24. To see the full calendar and more details check out the description on ArgoPulse.

“TED Talks are short. We knew we’d have a captive audience at lunch. Even if they aren’t completely paying attention, they are still absorbing the information,” Kermiet said.

Currently, staff in the Service and Citizenship office chooses the topics for the videos shown. The goal of the videos is to focus on citizenship to spark interest in students.

“Service and Citizenship picks the topics based on prevalent community topics and would love some student input,” Service and Citizenship Graduate Assistant Katie Cutshall said.

The videos from Tuesday were Human trafficking is all around you. This is how it works by Noy Thrupkaew and How we can make the world a better place by 2030 by Michael Green.

“It was really cool that the school is doing this,” sophomore Malcolm Griffith said. “I didn’t know what was happening, but TED Talks are great, and I learned a lot just because I decided to come to the Galley for lunch.”

Students are encouraged to stop by the Service and Citizenship office, Room 246 in the Commons, to submit video ideas or to talk about ways to get involved with the right resources to go out and make a difference in the community.

“We can help students find an avenue to make a difference no matter what their passion is,” Kermiet said.

Start-Up Weekend 2015 selects finalists

Start-up weekend.tom

Tom Moore at the 2014 Start-Up Weekend.

Tom Moore

Contributing Writer

This weekend, in conjunction with the Greater Pensacola Chamber and the Pensacola entrepreneurial community, UWF’s School of Business plays hosts to Startup Weekend 2015, a 54-hour event allowing participants to vet and pitch their business ideas. The participants’ goal is to be a finalist, and ultimately the winner, gaining support to make their idea a reality.

But it’s not all work. There is fun involved too. The sound of handclaps and cheering could be heard from the crowd Friday night in Building 76A, UWF School of Business. It was the kickoff “Rock Paper Scissors,” social mixer that whipped the crowd into a frenzy of shouting, stomping, clapping and finally chanting at a volume that would rival a Jerry Springer show.

This was just one of the many social mixers designed to raise the crowd’s spirits and help people get to know each other. Dean of UWF’s School of Business, Timothy O’Keefe, said it best when he took the podium.  

“The purpose of Start-up Weekend is to give students a taste of how what they are learning in the classroom can be applied to the real world,” O’Keefe said. “When we are sitting in a classroom, we often lose sight of the real world applications of what we are learning and why we are learning it.”

Once the crowd quieted down and everyone returned to his or her seat, it was time for the 60-second idea pitches. The criteria to pitch a business was very specific. The participants begin by stating their project number, their name, who they need on their team and what purpose their business will provide.

Within the first eight hours, 34 potential businesses were pitched, explained and voted on. After the final votes, the following six business are the finalists:


  1. “Dr. Know” – a database matching recent medical school graduates to the best hospital for their residency.
  2. “Level Up” for real-life – a mobile app listing businesses having community acclivities. App participants receive points from the businesses.  
  3. “Virtual Closet” – part database keeping inventory of closet contents and part algorithm matching cut, color, and summer or winter wear.
  4. Similar to “” – mobile app helping people find activities they would find enjoyment in participating.
  5. “Virtual Eats” – database of healthy foods and virtual menus so meals can be perused virtually to allow for easy planning and purchasing of budget-wise healthy meals.
  6. “Item Return” – mobile app providing return information and refund status through the company database.

Participants and finalists spent the remainder of the evening forming teams, brainstorming ideas, devising strategies, and formulating the “game plan” for the rest of the weekend.  Sunday afternoon will be the deciding factor for six finalist teams, when they present their project to the judges.

Death isn’t a unianimous decision: Florida’s jury dilemma


Timothy Hurst.
Photo courtesy of

Josh Hart

Staff Writer

On Oct. 13, the U.S. Supreme Court will have begun hearing arguments in the case of Timothy Hurst, a Pensacola man convicted of tying up his former manager in the freezer of the Popeye’s in which they both worked and stabbing her to death. In 2012, a jury recommended 7-5 that Hurst be executed, but Hurst is challenging the process as unconstitutional.

Florida’s policy goes against a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the stated that juries should decide when the death penalty will be imposed and what made the decision appropriate. Florida is the only state where the jury doesn’t need to explain its decision to condemn someone to death. Florida is also the only state where a unanimous decision is not needed to recommend execution.

Hurst’s dilemma represents a serious problem with the inaction of the Florida death penalty. Namely, the fact that there is one.

Here’s some background: Florida was the first state to reintroduce the death penalty after the Supreme Court temporarily ended the execution process with the Furman v. Georgia decision of 1972, executing the first prisoner since Furman in 1979.

Since 1979, the state of Florida has executed 90 prisoners. Florida has the fourth-highest execution rate in the country, right behind Oklahoma, Virginia, and Texas.

In Florida, defendants must be found guilty by unanimous vote, whether they steal or murder. Yet, when it comes to deciding on the ultimate punishment, a simple majority is all that is required.

The state is saying that sentencing a person to prison time requires more careful consideration than sentencing a person to death. Human life is, for a reason that I simply can’t fathom, considered an afterthought.

Execution often is excused by supporters of the death penalty who often tout it as being a deterrent. This is widely refuted. Countless statistics, most of which are collected and published by Amnesty International, show that murder rates in states which do not enforce a death penalty are lower.

Obviously, I’m not implying causation regarding instances of crime, but if the death penalty really were a deterrent, it would show in the statistics.

The idea of using state-sponsored murder to deter crime makes little sense logically, anyway. Considering that America is a place in which ethics are, in the general public consciousness, determined by the state, showing the populace that some murder can be rationalized would only inspire civilian murderers to rationalize their own killings.

Returning to Hurst, we find that his case shows other discrepancies. The most glaring one is that, in Hurst’s initial trial in 2000, the trial that led to his death sentence, the defense was not allowed to present evidence showing that Hurst was significantly mentally disabled as a result of acute fetal alcohol syndrome.

This Supreme Court case offers a chance for Florida to treat the Hurst murder case with a shred of competence and to potentially revise their disturbing execution system.

There is no doubt in my mind that Hurst deserves life in prison. He committed an absolutely indefensible act, but his appeal is a chance for the Florida justice system to rectify a glaring omission in their sentencing.

I think Pensacola lawyer Nick Ortiz said it best: “A person’s life shouldn’t be cast aside as quickly as it can be in the Florida justice system. It’s fairly obvious. A car thief facing time in jail shouldn’t receive more consideration then a person facing death.”

UWF soccer set to anchor Homecoming Week

Jason Dustin

Sports Editor

At the centerpiece of the University of West Florida’s Homecoming Week will be the men’s and women’s soccer games, which will be played back-to-back, on Friday at the Pensacola campus’ Soccer Complex.

Beginning at 2 p.m. is “The Tailgate,” which is touted by the Homecoming Committee as a good reason to “grill your favorite game day grub, and socialize with past, present, and future Argos.”  

This year’s opponent will be Delta State University. The men’s game begins at 5 p.m. and the women’s is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Head coach Bill Elliott’s men’s squad opened the year with five straight wins and appearance in the national rankings. Following a four-game stretch of alternating wins and losses, the Argonauts have strung together consecutive wins once again.

Their overall record is 8-2, which is significantly better than DSU’s record. The Argos’ .500 record in their four Gulf South Conference games is only one game better than DSU in conference.

Steve Bartlinski’s women’s team opened the season with five road games and compiled a 4-1 record during that stretch.  They have gone 4-2 since then, bringing its season record to 8-3.

Earlier in the season, Elliott said his team was young once again, but more experienced than last year’s team and described the team as balanced.

The women’s team is in a similar situation.

“We only have two seniors on the team, so it bodes well for the future,” Bartlinski said. “We’ve got a bunch of new faces. I like that grit and the fight.”

Spread the news: UWF volleyball is dominating opponents

Jason Dustin

Sports Editor

Following her team’s second game of the season, which it lost in the fifth set, Melissa Wolter answered questions with a furrowed brow and a slightly clenched jaw.

When it was mentioned that her University of West Florida volleyball team matched up well against its opponent, 2014 national finalist and current No. 3 Southwest Minnesota State University, she made note of the victorious program’s experience and pedigree. She then paused, remained physically disconcerted with the loss, and turned to address the question and briefly revealed the tiniest hint of a smile.

“But definitely,” the coach said, “we can play.”

She was right.

The Argonauts would lose again a week later to Ferris State University, a team that was ranked No. 5 at the time, at the Colorado Premier Challenge. They have not lost since then.

The latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II poll ranked UWF 18th in the nation, following a three-win week in which the Argos had defeated Gulf South Conference rival, and previously undefeated, Valdosta State University. Wolter’s team is now 17-2 on the season, and 10-0 within the GSC, a record powered by a current 13-game winning streak.

Since losing to Ferris State University, UWF has won 39 of 41 sets. For the season they have won 53 sets and lost only nine. It is ranked 11th in the country in kills per set, averaging 14.3. The Argos also rank favorably in assists, averaging 13.2 per set, good for 15th.

Within the GSC they rank first in assists, blocks, digs and kills, and second in hitting percentage.

Here is a closer look at some of the reasons why the Argos were selected as preseason GSC favorites for the fifth consecutive year and thus far met expectations.

Melissa Wolter

This is Wolter’s 13th season as head coach. She recorded career win number 300 at UWF on Sept. 19, in a win against GSC rival University of West Georgia. She is now the fifth-winningest coach in GSC volleyball history.

In addition to her win total, the three-time GSC Coach of the Year award winner (2008, 2010, 2011) ranks second in GSC career winning percentage.

Autumn Duyn

The senior from Venice, Florida, has recorded 10 or more kills in 10 matches in 2015. This impressive production includes a team, single-game, season-high of 20 kills during a Sept. 11 win against Missouri University of Science and Technology. She also logged single-game totals of 15 and 16 kills.

The two-time GSC Tournament MVP (2011, 2012) also ranks second on the team in digs.

Tori Martella

Martella, a junior from Jacksonville, established the UWF single-game, four-set record with 34 digs against Shorter University. As a result, she was tabbed GSC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Her season total of 295 digs leads the GSC and outpaces any other Argo by more than 100.  She has had four matches, to date, of 20 or more digs.

She also ranks third on the team in assists.

Corisha Smith

The UWF Field House fan favorite, known for her thunderous kills, has recorded three games of 10 or more. The junior from Inwood, West Virginia, saved her best match for the most important win of the season against Valdosta State University. She recorded 18 kills in the first-place clinching win.

“People can see that she hits the ball really hard,” Wolter said, following the VSU victory. “But what people don’t know, until you watch her in a match like tonight is that kid thrives under pressure.”

Monique StCyr

Wolter refers to StCyr as the “quarterback” of the team.

The sophomore from Williamsburg, Virginia, recorded a season-high 53 assists and has had seven games of 35 or more.

The UWF Field House Crowd

The 835-person crowd at the VSU showdown was the 10th highest total in GSC history.  It was the highest total of any GSC contest this decade.

“I always feed off of the crowd,” Smith said. “It instills confidence in all of us too, that they trust what we can do and know that we’re a pretty good program.”  

For the full volleyball schedule, visit the volleyball schedule page on the GoArgos website.

UWF athletics weekly roundup

Jason Dustin

Sports Editor

The swimming and diving team debuted, amidst accolades the streaking volleyball team swerved before righting the ship, and the women’s soccer team swept the week and have now strung together three wins as they head into Homecoming week.

Swimming and Diving

The University of West Florida swimming and diving team opened the 2015 season at home, in a four-school meet.  

The Argonauts finished the two-day meet with a record of 2-4. UWF’s three opponents were all Division I schools.

The highlight of the meet for the host Argos was provided by All-American Monica Amaral, a junior diver from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Amaral set a new school record in the 3-meter springboard, breaking her own mark, according to a UWF Athletic Communications press release.  In doing so, Amaral qualified for the NCAA national tournament.

The swimming and diving teams next compete on Friday, Oct. 30, in Sewanee, Tennessee, at the Sewanee Invitational.

Women’s soccer

The women’s soccer team heads into Homecoming Week having found some rhythm.

Head coach Steve Bartlinski’s team defeated the University of North Alabama 3-2, on Sunday, Oct. 11, in Pensacola.  The Argos were fueled by senior Amber Pennybaker, who had two goals.

UWF’s second win of the week came against the University of Alabama in Huntsville, on the road, on Friday, Oct. 16.  Sophomore Daryl Bell paced UWF with two goals in the 4-0 shutout win.

UWF now has three of the top seven goal scorers in the Gulf South Conference. Kaley Ward is tied for second in the GSC with eight goals, while Bell and Pennybaker are tied for third with seven.

The Argos’ schedule for the week includes a Sunday, Oct. 18 tilt in Livingston, Alabama against the University of West Alabama and a Homecoming matchup on Friday, Oct. 23, against Delta State University at the UWF Soccer Complex.

Men’s soccer

The men’s soccer team narrowly missed riding a three-game winning streak of their own into Homecoming Week.

On Sunday, Oct. 11, the Argos defeated Concordia College 3-0, in Pensacola. Chandler Castleman, a sophomore from Pace, scored twice.

UWF pushed the University of Alabama in Huntsville to overtime on Friday, Oct. 16, in Huntsville.  Jorge Chirinos scored his second, second-half goal of the contest in the 86th minute, on an assist by Marteinn Urbancic.

The men play next on Sunday, Oct. 18 at the University of West Alabama, before their Homecoming match against Delta State University, on Friday, Oct. 24, in Pensacola.


The UWF volleyball team surrendered its 13-game winning streak in its first match in Carrollton, Georgia at the South Region Crossover, which was hosted by the University of West Georgia.

The Argos finished 1-2 at the tournament after falling to nationally-ranked programs No. 14 Florida Southern College, 3-1, and No. 17 Palm Beach Atlantic University, 3-0, before defeating Barry University 3-1.

The team is now 18-4 on the year.

Earlier in the week the GSC had named UWF junior middle blocker Kathryn Torre, and junior outside hitter Corisha Smith conference Defensive and Offensive Players of the Week, respectively.

The Argos will remain at UWG on Sunday, Oct. 18, to face its GSC rival. The three-match week will continue on the road on Tuesday, Oct. 20 in a rematch with Valdosta State University, and at the University of West Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 24.

In other news, the UWF men’s tennis doubles team of senior Kenny Brasil and junior Alex Peyrot placed fifth at the 2015 USTA/ITA National Small College Championships on Friday, Oct. 16, according to a UWF Athletic Communications press release.  The pair entered the tournament seeded third.

The men’s and women’s cross-country teams continue to prepare for the GSC championships, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Oakville Indian Mounds Course in Danville, Alabama.