Daily Archives: November 8, 2015

Seeking a second wind: How to make it to the end of the semester without having a breakdown

Emily Doyle

Staff Writer

With the end of the semester in sight, University of West Florida’s students are relying more and more on caffeine and hope to make it till the end of finals.

UWF Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) recognizes the slowdown of motivation in students toward the end of the semester, providing services such as counseling for stress, puppies to play with, and the gift of caffeinated drinks in every vending machine.

College is no cakewalk. I don’t think UWF would provide free services such as counseling to help propel us forward if it weren’t completely necessary. So maybe if you find yourself cowering under your covers in an attempt to make all responsibility go away, like many of us do, you should consider taking advantage of these programs.

But, even you – yes, you – can survive the last crippling month of the fall semester. Here are a few testimonies from people who needed a little extra morale boost, and one brave gentleman who managed to conquer college, and his advice.

When asked what helps her get though the semester, junior Madison Murphy said, “Coffee. Lots of coffee” – confirming the idea that without coffee, many of us wouldn’t be where we are today.

When asked how she manages to stay motivated, senior Kady Meyers said, “What keeps me motivated is the end goal.” She said she also looks to her pets as support. “I also have animals that I have to support, and taking care of a horse, dog and cat isn’t cheap … If I fail, I fail them as well. So knowing that when I finish I get to move on to the next step of going to vet school is an amazing feeling, and that’s why I stay so motivated.”

Recent UWF graduate Evan Bernard advises, “You just have to keep going, day after day. The end will come eventually. Find what energizes you and use it to your advantage.”

Students, listen up — these wise words came from someone who has overcome the finals, papers, and overall overwhelming energy that looms over the UWF campus and has come out the other side alive.

So if you need that extra shot of espresso in your morning latte, take it. If you need that energy drink, take it. If you need a nap to help cleanse your mind and get you ready to take on the day, take it. Do what works for you. Look at that assignment in front of you and tell yourself that you can do it, because you are awesome.

CAPS is located in Building 960, Suite 200-A, between the tennis courts and the Fine and Performing Arts building. You can contact them at 474-2420 or email counselingservices@uwf.edu.

UWF Football holds last scrimmage before 2016 inaugural season


Coach Shinnick hugs freshman linebacker Martes Wheeler after the post-game huddle.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

Grier Wellborn

Contributing Writer

The University of West Florida football team played its final intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday at University Park Fields. Because there are so many injuries within the team, Head Coach Pete Shinnick switched up the roster so that Team Blue was entirely defense and Team White was entirely offense. Each turnover still resulted in a fresh lineup on the field.

The defense again dominated this game, only allowing each offensive team to score twice. The first touchdown was scored by freshman running back Joylon Hamer with only six seconds remaining in the first half. The second touchdown was scored on the final drive of the game. Of the five UWF intrasquad scrimmages, the defense controlled a majority of the game for four, while the offense has struggled to score.

Coaches recognize freshman linebacker Andre Decombe for exceptional play and sharp defense, particularly during the past two scrimmages.

“There is a big difference between high school and college,” Decombe said. “At the beginning of the fall at camp, I started thinking I could do certain things, but I learned to tighten up my technique, my aggressiveness, and with improvement in the weight room, it all came together.”

Both the offense and defense look forward to improving in the next 10 months to prepare for the 2016 inaugural season. Preparation for their first official season will take a lot of team-mandated training and individual training during the offseason.

“Like coach said, we have nine weeks of lifting to get stronger,” said freshman quarterback Gunnar Ballant. “So we’re all going to get better then for sure and come back ready next season.”

Staying strong is important to lock down a spot on the UWF football team seeing as they began the season with more than 120 players and are now down to less than 100.

Although Shinnick says he is extremely proud of the vast improvements the team has made throughout the season, he says he does not believe that the team is ready for Gulf South Conference play just yet.

“The guys who are here have been fantastic, and the guys who are here, they have grown, most of them at a level that we need them to,” Shinnick said. “We are going to add some major pieces to this puzzle, which will give us the depth that we need, the strength that we need.”

In the post-game huddle, Coach Shinnick reminded the players that everything they do, even in the offseason, is a representation of the football team, in hopes that the players will uphold an admirable reputation for UWF football in between seasons.

While UWF students, fans and especially the football team wait in anticipation for the new on-campus football field to come together, the team continues to play at University Park Fields, which could be a major contributor to the many injuries on the team.

“What that is doing is building ankle strength,” Shinnick joked about the indentations in the dirt field. “Now when our players run on a flat surface, they’re going to fly down the field.”

Until the football facilities are built, the team will continue to practice at the fields and will play at Blue Wahoos Stadium for the next few years. The Argos were able to play at Wahoos Stadium for one of their scrimmages this season and say they are excited to make the bayfront stadium their temporary home field until construction is finished.

International Student Services seek hosts for Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving table 2014

A dinning room table set for a Thanksgiving feast.
Photo by Geri Battist.

Amanda Gerow

Staff Writer

International Student Services is looking for students, faculty, and staff from the University of West Florida who are willing to host international students for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Some of the literature we were reading says that 80 percent of international students that come to the U.S. never step foot in an American home,” said Rachel Errington, director of International Student Services.

In order to improve the cultural understanding of international students and to allow them to reach a higher level of understanding about the new world around them, students need to have the opportunity to engage in American traditions.

The 450 international students at UWF represent 98 countries, each of which has a different set of cultural norms and practices than those of the United States. Though some international students may choose to travel during the holiday break, many stay around campus, while most American students return home for their own Thanksgiving traditions.

The invitation to host the international students was sent out on Monday, and since then, a dozen students and eight faculty and staff members have responded. Many of these are willing to host more than one student for their Thanksgiving meal.

Hosting an international student requires two simple things: be associated with UWF as a student, faculty or staff, and be able to offer the students transportation to the host’s home, if needed.

“It’s kind of unfair for them to miss out on what is a very important tradition to Americans because they don’t have access to it,” Errington said.

Though this is the first time that the initiative has been advertised, faculty and staff have been called upon to host students for the holiday before.

This is the second year that retired faculty member Eileen Perrigo will open her home to international students. She says her family will be serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal and making the students feel welcome.

“There are many reasons why we enjoy having international students in our home for a Thanksgiving,” Perrigo said. “We like sharing our culture and American traditions with the students. When I taught in Japan and Ireland, my colleagues opened their homes to me to share their customs and culture.”

Perrigo says her family enjoys cooking for the students that would most likely just spend the holiday in residence hall rooms.

Errington said, “This isn’t just about giving the international students a place and a home that day, but it’s also to let our own faculty and staff know that there is diversity on our campus. We’re trying to create an environment of global education on campus, and this is one little way we can do that.”

Students, faculty, and staff members who are interested in hosting an international student for the Thanksgiving holiday can contact Errington in International Student Services at 474-2479 or by email at rerrington@uwf.edu.

UWF Portfolio Night review

portfolionightTom Moore

Contributing Writer

Graphic design students had the opportunity to network with local business and advertising professionals at Portfolio Night on Tuesday in the Communication Arts Building.

Officially kicking off at 5:30 p.m. with pizza and drinks, the event brought in professionals from nine local businesses for one-on-one reviews of students’ portfolios. As they introduced themselves, professionals imparted words of wisdom, such as: “Generalize, but also specialize. Take a class outside your field, social media, computer-aided design, then pick a specialty that you are passionate about.” “Never stop learning.” “Build solid, long-term relationships with people you look up to.” “Learn to collaborate.”  “Get out of the classroom and experience life.”

Graphic arts faculty from both UWF and Pensacola State College also attended the event, which is sponsored by the American Advertising Federation Pensacola and the Pensacola Designers Group.

Like speed dating, each student had five minutes to talk to one of the representatives and demonstrate his or her passion and interest. Each student then had 15 minutes to have their mentors review their portfolios and offer suggestions or corrections.

Crystal Yu Barrineau, event facilitator and founder of Angri Bunni Studios, graduated from UWF in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Pen Air Federal Credit Union hired her as the sole graphic designer for 18 branches, from Northwest Florida to Brewton, Alabama. She worked at Pen Air for five years before gaining the experience to strike out on her own.

When asked what she felt was the most important gem of wisdom she would impart on her younger self, Yu Barrineau answered, “Always keep your options open. In this economy, in this area, never turn down any opportunity. No matter what, even if you have to take up a job as a waitress, which is fine, keep passing out your business cards, talk to people, network and develop your contacts.

“Other than that, do business locally, spend locally, and develop local connections. All the businesses I have out there are local graphic design businesses, and all are actively hiring local designers, offering internships and providing students with co-op opportunities.”

Senior graphic arts major Christy Highers attended the event and said she received valuable feedback. “It’s really important for me to have my portfolio reviewed by someone other than my peers so that I can get insight as to what I need on a professional level for post-grad.”

Highers said one take-away from the event was to always apply for the job even if you don’t meet the requirements. She plans to do freelance work and was greatly inspired by this quote from a mentor: “If you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re not growing.”

“You basically have to create your own inspiration,” Highers said.

Wal-Mart bomber could face life in prison

Cassie Rhame

Staff Writer

Marshall Leonard, 61, faces life in prison after allegedly bombing a Mississippi Wal-Mart on Sunday, angry about the retailer ceasing sales of Confederate flag paraphernalia.

Leonard ran up to the store around 1:30 a.m. and is said to have thrown a small package at the entrance, according to the New York Daily News. A nearby employee on his break was the only victim to face any injury from the explosive.

The Mississippi man now faces charges for possession and detonation of a homemade bomb.

Leonard has advocated on social media for the Mississippi state flag, which has a Confederate flag in the top left corner. He recently made comments on his Facebook page threatening Wal-Mart and several other “anti-American crooks,” as he called them, according to the Inquisitr website.

Leonard was ticketed shortly after the attempt for running a red light, and was detained after police received word on the bombing. The flag flying out of Leonard’s sunroof is said to have made law enforcement suspicious.

According to Mississippi Code 97-37-25, Leonard could face up to life imprisonment for this unlawful activity, with a minimum of five years.

UWF students’ reactions on the event are mixed.

“I was just thinking about what this guy would be charged with,” sophomore computer science major Chandler Boyd said. “I don’t know if I fully agree that he should face life in prison, because it’s not like he really hurt anyone.”

Many state laws, including Mississippi’s, have made it illegal to create any homemade explosives.

Police say the device made by Leonard contained enough explosive to cause extensive damage if built correctly.

“Any guy crazy enough to even try to make a bomb needs to face life in prison,” sophomore theatre major Logan Rausch said. “The law makes sense. We don’t need someone with that potential to be given any opportunities in the future to really do damage.”

Faisal Shahzad, who pleaded guilty to 10 counts in 2010 for attempting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in New York City, was to face a minimum of life imprisonment, to which he was sentenced later that year.

Shahzad was charged for almost precisely what Leonard faces charges for, because both were attempts to use a weapon of mass destruction. The difference comes with motive, and with Shahzad’s more direct correlation to terrorism.

With Shahzad automatically going in with life in prison, one can only wonder what the courts will decide to do with Leonard. The two are certainly not the same, but it is a close example when it comes to the seriousness of charges faced related to explosive devices.

“I remember hearing about Shahzad’s case, thinking about the life in prison charges, and wondering if it was because he was classified as an Islamic terrorist, or if it was just the attempt at the use of explosives that gave him life in prison,” UWF visitor Amanda McAdams said.

“I think it’s definitely interesting to compare the two cases, but I think the courts will look less at Leonard, unfortunately, since his motivations were different,” McAdams said. “Personally, I think he should face life in prison, but I almost doubt that he will, even though he would be a future threat.”

Read more on Shahzad’s case here.

Leonard is set to have his first appearance in court on Tuesday and is still being investigated on prior criminal charges. His car and home are also still being searched.

UWF alum’s record label spins up

anevningin_coverJosh Hart

Staff Writer

There’s an old adage about the dangers of going into business with your friends or your family. But Al Mirabella, a Pensacola-based UWF alumnus, is ignoring this advice with as much umbrage as he can muster.

In the humble tradition of DIY music, Mirabella’s record label, Drive Through Funeral Home, is made for his friends, is staffed by his friends, and distributes music made by his friends.

Like many other record labels, the origins of Drive Through Funeral Home were humble.

“I wanted high-quality recordings of my friends’ music. I had a tape-dubber left over from the last time I ran a label, and I decided to just go ahead and do it,” Mirabella said.

In less than a month, Mirabella had assembled a dedicated staff, all of which are UWF alumni.

“Internally, we have a publicist, a media specialist, and we have two people that do the recording, we have people for the production of the tapes,” Mirabella said. “It’s harder work for an individual person on our label than it is on any other DIY label. We expect everyone to contribute.”

It’s this dedication to individual responsibility that has allowed Drive Through Funeral Home to already have two releases in the pipeline, despite existing for such a short time.

“Our first releases cost us $74.20 in total to record. All of us contributed to keep everything cost-effective,” Mirabella said.

The first release is an album entitled “An Evening In,” by Pensacola’s own Dalton Wright, a piece of decidedly vintage blue-eyed soul in the vein of Bowie’s “Young Americans.”

The second is a self-titled LP by hook-heavy punk act Worst Case Ontario, describing themselves as “St. Louis’ bastard child of pop punk.”

Mirabella maintains a decidedly simple outlook when it comes to deciding what music he will and will not put out.

“I just think there’s a lot of people who are really good. I like good music. I put out what I want to hear.”

Drive Through Funeral Home is simply a slightly more visible documentation of the thriving Pensacola underground music scene, an addition to the growing cultural fabric of Pensacola.

Listen to a preview of an upcoming release here.

Veterans share their stories and struggles at “Telling: Pensacola”

Iqueena Hollis

Staff Writer

The UWF Military and Veterans Resource Center partnered with “Telling: Pensacola” to bring awareness of the real-life struggles veterans face on and off the battlefield.

This event was free to the public and put on by the Florida Humanities Council. The first showing was 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts and brought out dozens of civilian and veteran supporters.

The second showing was 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Pensacola Little Theater.

According to Lisa Powers, program director of the Telling Project, the goal of the project is to bring to light what is most often swept under the rug.

“We want to bring awareness to these issues because they affect the people that protect and serve our country,” Powers said. “We are telling.”

Six veterans from different branches of the armed forces were chosen by a committee to tell their stories, and over the course of three weeks, prepared to expose the demons that once, and sometimes still do, haunt them. The event also featured a talk back segment at the end of the performance where the audience could ask the directors and vets questions.

Timothy Jones, a two-year Navy vet and student at UWF, was sexually assaulted by a fellow serviceman, and as a result of being outcast and ignored, was discharged and led a life filled with alcohol and drug abuse and homelessness over a period of 10 years.

“I share this story so freely because it’s not my story,” said Jones. “It’s the world’s story, and everyone needs to hear it.”

Tabitha Nichols, an eight-year Army National Guard vet, suffered from PTSD after being injured and bedridden in a rocket-propelled grenade attack and outcast because she was no longer a “good solider.”

Patrick McCrary, a six-year vet of the Marine Corps, served in the Vietnam War and also suffered from alcoholism.

Scott Satterwhite is a nine-year vet of the Navy and Marines and currently teaches English at UWF.

“Reality hits home when you’re 18 years old and writing your will,” Satterwhite said.

Debra Russell served 13 years in the Navy and suffered from sexual trauma as well as health issues. She was discharged after injuring both knees and a shoulder during a routine morning run and told that her injuries would be too difficult to heal. Russell also attempted suicide but rethought her actions after she pulled the trigger and the gun didn’t go off.

Elliott James Smith served two years in the Army as a machine gunner and was discharged after losing his right leg while trying to help a fellow serviceman guide a large truck.

“We’ve been rehearsing together for three weeks now, and you can tell that we have gained a special bond with each other because we have so much in common,” Satterwhite said. “Everyone on this stage has tried to kill themselves at one point either passively or actively.”

Support groups such as the Pensacola Vet Center and Team RWB were in attendance at the event, handing out helpful information for civilians and vets who experience PTSD and develop abusive relationships as a result of service.

For more information on the Telling Project and how to get involved in helping veterans, please visit the Florida Humanities website. There is also a public television documentary titled “Veterans: The Telling Project” that aired on Nov. 5 on PBS that tells the stories of six military vets.