Daily Archives: March 27, 2016

UWF Relay for Life sprints toward a brighter future

By Kenny Detwyler
Contributing Writer

relayUWF’s 2016 Relay for Life hit the ground running long before anyone stepped foot onto a track.

This year’s Relay is different from years past, as event organizers have taken Relay for Life into uncharted territory by becoming a registered student organization (RSO).

Becoming an RSO provides UWF Relay a seat on the Campus Collaboration Board, easier access to venues, access to SGA funding and a presence on campus that extends beyond the one-night-only Relay for Life event.

“Last year and the year before that, it was very hard to reserve things,” event co-lead Nicholas Barrios said. “Ten percent of what was fundraised went back into being able to pay for pizza, police officers, and for the property that we were going to be on. We’re not just some outside source anymore, we’re a part of the university.”

Becoming an RSO was only the first step in the rebuilding process that UWF Relay took on. The event was plagued with fundraising troubles, a decrease in sponsorship support, and a need to revamp the UWF Relay experience.

“In order to rebuild this Relay, we took it apart over the summer and looked at why we weren’t being successful,” event co-lead James Hebbel said.

The UWF Relay committee looked at all aspects of event. This year they focused on changing the closing ceremonies as a possible way to enhance the participant experience. Relays normally last 12 hours, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. However, UWF Relay is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. and end at 2 a.m. instead.

“We realized that in the past, we never had a true closing ceremony,” Hebble said.

Hebble and the rest of the Relay staff noticed that students didn’t enjoy staying until 7 a.m. So, in order to ensure that participants stay at least until closing, the end time was moved up in order to keep the event more condensed.

“Going forward, if everyone stays until 2 a.m. and is still excited about Relay, maybe we can progressively change the time, and get back to a 12-hour relay,” Hebble said.

Also, the Relay staff is hoping for fairer weather than they experienced at last year’s event.

“Last year I was the logistics chair, and we made the decision, three days out, to come inside. It was hectic and crazy,” Barrios said. “It’s going to be a lot more exciting outside. We’ll actually be allowed to do the laps that are inside the American Cancer Society rule book.”

In addition to the changes in schedule, UWF’s Relay will also feature a new Snapchat filter, which will be available for participants sharing their experience on social media. Also, with the aid of SGA dollars, the Relay staff will be able to provide more of their own merchandising.

Even with all the new additions and changes to Relay, the committee has not lost sight of what this event means to the survivors and participants who look forward to Relay for Life each year.

“Everyone always associates cancer with old people, but on our campus our committee is comprised of 19 members. At one point we had seven committee members that had been affected by cancer,” Hebble said. “It really brings together the community that you go to school with. It’s one night that everyone can come together and have fun,” Hebble said.  “We’re all coming together to essentially end the fight against cancer.”

UWF’s Relay for Life 2016 event will be held on the UWF soccer fields on Friday, April 8. For more information on how you can donate to Relay for Life visit the website. To keep up with events leading up to Relay for Life, follow the Facebook Page.

Graffiti Bridge: Pensacola’s voice for the people

By Mackenzie Kees
Opinions Editor


An historic look (circa 1935) at the 17th street underpass fondly known as “Graffiti Bridge” by locals.
Photo courtesy of Florida Memory.

The purpose of a landmark is essentially straightforward: to mark the land. This is done for several reasons, but mainly landmarks are used as navigational points. However, in this modern age, landmarks have become more and more passé with the spread of technology. Google Maps and other apps now are considered the norm for getting directions. So where does that leave landmarks?

Pensacola’s “Graffiti Bridge” is one such landmark, but it refuses to grow obsolete. It’s true that CSX Transportation has been using the bridge’s rails for many years, but that is usually more of a hindrance to locals than a help. If that were the bridge’s only purpose, the interest would likely be nonexistent. But it does have another purpose: aesthetics.

The 17th Street underpass is more than just a bridge; it is a way for people to communicate, to share ideas, hopes, fears and everything in between through the use of artwork. Some people abuse this gift to spread hate, but the general goodwill of most Pensacolians always overwhelms the haters.

Graffiti Bridge is not only a palette for artwork, either. It also inspires it.

One Pensacola resident harnessed this inspiration to create a book consisting of Graffiti Bridge images, taken over the span of a year. “What [the naysayers] taught me was that even though somebody’s story is covered up and changed, it’s really never gone, and that’s the same with people,” said Rachael Pongetti, the photographer behind the 365-day project. “People’s lives and their stories are written on that bridge, and they tell something important, and even though it’s gone in a matter of a few hours, it’s really not gone; it simply became a layer.”

Pongetti, a UWF graduate, has been an art instructor at both Pensacola State College and UWF. She’s also worked with PACE Center for Girls and the Pensacola Museum of Art. Pongetti’s book “Layers” is expected to come out sometime in the next few months, but no official date has been confirmed.

“I consider spray painting the bridge a right of passage,” said Cody Lonon, a UWF senior majoring in Health Science. “It’s something that everyone does at least once in high school or in college. If you haven’t, you’re one of few.”

“Tagging” Graffiti Bridge has become a tradition for locals, so much so that the Pensacola Police Department does not interfere when the bridge is being painted. They have been known to show up to supervise, but overall they are encouraging. It is the only place in Pensacola where graffiti can be painted legally.

The bridge is in a constant state of flux, because it is always changing. Pongetti said she feels that this is one of the best aspects about Graffiti Bridge. It allows for freedom of expression through the use of images and words. Pensacola residents are encouraged to leave their own mark on the beloved Graffiti Bridge and add to the multiple layers already there.


Another day, another version of the Graffiti Bridge.
Photo courtesy of Pensacola Graffiti Project.

“Graffiti Bridge serves as a platform for expression. It is a stage to express political views, a billboard to inform of upcoming events, and a canvas for street artists,” Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward III said in a statement to First City Art Center, which hosted an exhibition of the book’s photos in April 2015.

The Graffiti Bridge has its own Facebook page where you can keep up with the new artwork on a daily basis. You can see a time-lapse video that Pongetti made on YouTube. For more on Pongetti’s project, visit her website.


This puppy is welcome on campus

By Kelsi Gately
Staff Writer


Marty at nine months.
Photo courtesy of Melissa Pisarski.

Guide dogs have a big responsibility, helping their owners get from place to place and accomplish daily tasks. But before guide dogs go through formal training, they live with puppy raisers who help socialize them and teach them basic obedience.

Currently two UWF roommates living in Pace Hall are volunteering with Southeastern Guide Dogs to raise a guide dog, Marty.

“As puppy raisers, our official role consists of basic training, exposure to different environments and people, and encouragement of critical thinking and confidence from the dogs,” said Abbie Kellett, sophomore communications major. “Our unofficial role is that of public educator and advocate for not only Southeastern [Guide Dogs], but all service animals in training.”

Marty is a yellow lab who came from Palmetto, Florida, and has been with the roommates since the Fall 2015 semester. Puppies stay with their trainers for about one year before going on to formal training.

Southeastern Guide Dogs is a non-profit organization that raises and trains guide dogs in Florida and neighboring states. According to the website, their mission is: “To create and nurture a partnership between a visually impaired individual and a guide dog, facilitating life’s journey with mobility, independence and dignity.” Anyone over the age 18 can apply to be a puppy raiser.

Puppy raisers are legally required to be treated the same as someone who has a service animal. According to Florida Statue 418.08: “Any trainer of a service animal, while engaged in the training of such an animal, has the same rights and privileges with respect to access to public facilities.”

This means that if you see Marty around campus, she is a working dog and needs to be focused at all times. A notice has been posted at the residence hall asking people not to whistle, call to her or otherwise distract Marty from her work.southern

Currently there are no rules in the UWF Housing Handbook concerning guide dogs living in residence halls. It is done on a case-by-case basis.

“Raising Marty has taught me more about patience than any other experience has,” said Melissa Pisarski, sophomore journalism major with a minor in forensic studies and psychology. “She empowers everyone she works with. I’m empowered because I’ve learned about myself. Her partner will be empowered with freedom and independence.”

Guide dog organizations are always looking for volunteers to help love and raise puppies. Besides Southeastern, another such organization is Guide Dogs for the Blind. Just know that when it comes time for your puppy to receive formal training, between 14-20 months, it may be difficult to let go.

To read more about Marty, click to visit Kellett’s blog.

Kevin Hurley entertains, amazes and hypnotizes UWF students

By Sara Agans
Staff Writer

 Image courtesy of the UWF Campus Activity Board Facebook page.

Image courtesy of the UWF Campus Activity Board Facebook page.

On Thursday night, March 24, hypnotist/magician Kevin Hurley performed in the Commons, and, among other things, made a UWF student honestly believe that the number six did not exist at all.

Hurley, star of “The Kevin Hurley Show,” was brought to UWF by the Campus Activity Board (CAB), which presents many events each semester for students to enjoy free of charge. During Hurley’s 70-minute performance, he hypnotized students who volunteered in front of an audience of more than a hundred UWF students.

About that young woman who was hypnotized to believe the number six doesn’t exist: Hurley talked to her on stage and asked her personal questions such her name and where she is from. Hurley also asked her how many fingers and toes she has, answering 10 to both. Hurley then had her count her fingers as she held them out in front of her, one to 10, and then backwards from 10 to one. Hurley placed her under hypnosis, touched her shoulder and told her that once he snapped his fingers, the number six would not exist. Fingers were snapped and she opened her eyes. Hurley once again asked her how many fingers she has and she said 10. Hurley had her count her fingers as she held them out in front of her. “One, two, three, four, five, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11?” she was confused when the last finger ended with 11. She then counted backwards, “10, nine, eight, seven, five, four, three, two, one,” confused again when there was an extra finger after she got to one. Hurley asked her what three plus three was, and she could not answer. She could not give the answer to eight minus two, or even four plus two.

“I think a lot of people are going to come in here not thinking that hypnotists are really what they say they are, but I think that they are going to be believers,” said CAB Public Relations and Marketing Chair Michael Krueger, a senior majoring in public relations. “I think the students that come are going to be very surprised at this event and really have a lot more fun than they originally anticipated.”

“I think this event brings a different aspect to the types of things we do on campus, and the fact that Kevin Hurley brought his own DJ with him adds more flair,” said Brandon Wood, a UWF senior majoring in information technology, before the show. “I think that this is going to be a good event, some people are going to be hypnotized, some people are probably going to see something crazy happen.”

Speaking of seeing something crazy, have you ever wondered what it would look like if a guy thought he was nine months’ pregnant? Yes, one man was told under hypnosis that he was going to feel like his stomach was really big and that he was nine months’ pregnant once Hurley snapped his fingers. Another man and woman were told under hypnosis they were going to be doctors. Once Hurley snapped his fingers that is exactly what happened. The “doctors” walked over to the “pregnant” guy and brought him over to a chair as if they were in a hospital and he was about to give birth. They told him it was time to push, and he did just that. He made noises as if he were pushing and his legs were open with the doctors ready to grab the baby once it came out. Once the baby arrived, it was placed in the “dad’s” arms. Hurley asked what sex the baby was, and the female “doctor” said excitedly, “It’s a boy!” Hurley even asked the “dad” what the name was, and he said “Nick Jr.”

Typically, when these shows are over and the hypnosis has ended, the students hypnotized say they feel like it only lasted about five minutes, when in reality they were hypnotized for about an hour.

But there still are those who are skeptical. Kharas Denson, a UWF sophomore majoring in communications and public relations, said she does not feel that hypnotism would work on her. She said she thinks that hypnotism is something that a lot of people fake, as far as how people react to what is being done to them.

Not only did one guy think that he was pregnant and a girl think that the number six did not exist, but another woman actually believed she was in a club giving her boy crush “Colton” the “dance of his life.” Hurley’s personal DJ played a T-Pain song that fit her mindset perfectly.

The event had a great turnout, with 128 students filling up most of the auditorium, said Jan-ana Benavente, CAB vice president. Hurley’s DJ did a great job matching the music to the hypnosis being performed for each scenario, and Hurley threw in some comedy to make the hypnosis that much more entertaining.

For more information regarding future campus events, be sure to sign up with ArgoPulse or download the OrgSync app.

UWF baseball shaves heads to save lives

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

 The UWF baseball team gathers for a picture after shaving their heads to support the Vs. Cancer Foundation. Photo courtesy goargos.com.

The UWF baseball team gathers for a picture after shaving their heads to support the Vs. Cancer Foundation.
Photo courtesy goargos.com.

Teammates who work together on the field are strong. Teammates who work together off the field are stronger.

The University of West Florida baseball team shaved their heads Friday, March 18, at Jim Spooner Field to support national childhood cancer research. The event, while short, has had a lasting impact on the team.

The Vs. Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization that uses a half-and-half model to fund the cause; they donate half of their proceeds to cancer research, and the other half directly to children battling the life-threatening disease. The Vs. Cancer Foundation empowers athletes and communities to come together in efforts to save lives.

First to step up to shave his head was senior catcher Ben Emery. Emery battled pediatric lymph node cancer as child and has been cancer-free for the past five years.

“As a five-year pediatric cancer survivor, I am constantly motivated to raise awareness, fundraise, and support the fight against cancer, especially in children,” Emery said. “When we were told that we would be fundraising for and working with kids battling cancer, it hit close to home.”

When they learned they would be raising money for cancer, Emery and a few other players decided to shave their heads to provide moral support for the children. The decision by a few players turned into an event for the entire team.

Even Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat got in on the action and shaved his head with the team as well as the entire coaching staff.

“Fighting for something bigger than baseball has given some perspective on the importance of cohesion to achieve a common goal,” Emery said. “Each member of the team shaving their heads signifies that we are all in this season together and will always have each others’ backs.”

Emery’s battle with cancer inspired his teammates to follow in his footsteps. The players also plan to visit Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital to show their support.

So far, the baseball team has raised more than $2,200 for the Vs. Cancer Foundation.

After shaving their heads, the Argos went on to win the series against the University of West Georgia while also recording the fifth shutout of the season on Sunday’s game. UWG Wolves had not been shut out since spring of 2013.

The Argos recorded the sixth shutout of the season when they traveled to Memphis to face Christian Brothers this weekend. After winning both games in the doubleheader on Friday, the Argos swept the series on Saturday when they shut CBU out 5-0. The Argos now lead the Gulf South Conference in shutouts.

Maybe the Argos successful streak is all thanks to those team head rubs for good luck.

For more information on how to contribute to the Vs. Cancer Foundation, visit vs-cancer.org.

For the complete UWF baseball schedule visit goargos.com

15th Annual Women’s Studies Conference encourages change

By Kaitlin Lott

Staff Writer

 Jamie Snyder, assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, was presented with the Mary F. Rodgers Women’s Studies Faculty Award at the 15th annual women’s studies conference on March 21.

Jamie Snyder, assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, was presented with the Mary F. Rodgers Women’s Studies Faculty Award at the 15th annual women’s studies conference on March 21.

As doors opened for the Mary F. Rodgers Luncheon and Award Presentation Ceremony during the 15th Annual Women’s Studies Conference, students, alumni and presenters engaged in talk of feminist issues, change and campus awareness.

The conference was held from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, March 21, in the Commons Conference Center. Forums from “Women in the Early Americas” to “Male Privilege” were in full swing, as well as student art and poster presentations covering sexual violence to women’s rights. Awards were presented to both students and staff at the conference, which concluded the night with keynote speaker Anne Fausto-Sterling.

The Mary F. Rodgers luncheon is named in honor of a Women’s Studies faculty member who taught classes in feminist theory, social change and reform, social justice and inequality, and qualitative research. Rodgers first position with UWF was in 1976 as an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She later she served as chairperson two years for this department prior to serving as the acting dean for the College of Arts and Sciences from 1984 to 1986. Rodgers died unexpectedly at the age of 64 on February 27, 2009. Colleagues and friends remember Rodgers as an inspiring, brilliant success, a “champion of the underdog and the underprivileged” who remains an inspiration to students, colleagues and administrators at UWF.

As guests took their seats, Steven F. Brown, dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, congratulated and introduced Jamie Snyder, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, as the annual faculty recipient of the Mary F. Rodgers Women’s Studies Faculty Award. The recipient of this award receives a $500 award, speaks at the annual Women’s Studies Conference and is selected for his or her significant contribution to the Women’s Gender Studies.

“I heard someone once say the important things in life are the ones that happen in the margin, that happen sometimes between the lines. I think nowhere is that more true that UWF’s campus,” Brown said. “What is important are the things we experience outside of the classroom.  But truthfully, the things that restructure, reform, redirect society and culture are most often those things that take place outside of the classroom, allowing us to congeal, develop and to apply the truth and the facts that we’ve picked up.”

Brown continued to explain the value of how the Women’s Studies Conference, in lieu of Snyder’s efforts and studies, may not line up with typical classroom norms, but disrupt and challenge the minds of students.

“The disruption of the normal, of the traditional, of the status quo, if we can’t do that, of what benefit are we to society?” Brown said. “How do we hope to ever have a positive impact on the growth and the development of society? So really what you’re involved with here is to an extent a disruptive activity, and I congratulate you on that.”

Snyder said she was “excited and humbled to receive the award.” She said she wanted to be a psychologist or psychiatrist, but ultimately took a different career path. “In my sophomore undergraduate year of college, I had the opportunity to work for the National Institute for Occupation of Safety and Health,” Snyder said. She began to change her focus to workplace violence, and soon became heavily interested in victimization of college students. After narrowing her focus, she remained on the same topic of study throughout her graduate and doctorate studies. Currently her specialization is victimology.

Her presentation focused on factors for sexual victimization from intimate partner violence to sexual violence. Snyder covered in-depth factors that increase victimization in college students, such as their social habits, whether or not they are in a sorority or fraternity, their sexual orientation and whether or not they had ADHD. Her presentation was a summary of data collected and reviewed from a case study of 26,000 college student representatives nationwide.

After answering the audience’s questions, Snyder stressed her appreciation for the award and the Women’s Studies Program. “It’s not every day that you get to stand up in front of a room of people and talk about what you’re passionate about,” Snyder said.

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies interdisciplinary specialization focuses on educational excellence, personal growth, civic awareness and unique learning opportunities besides the everyday classroom curriculum. Students involved in the program learn how raising questions, creating new knowledge and problem solving can be mastered from different disciplines and various directions, in regards to a wide range of majors and minors regardless of their focus.

Erica Miller and Brittany Hammock, co-presidents of the Women’s Studies Collective, and Katherine Romack, coordinator of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, dedicated this year’s conference to Women’s Studies program supporters. The conference would not be possible without the generosity of its sponsors and continuous help from all of the organizations involved.

For more information regarding the Women and Gender Studies Program, contact Romack at kromack@uwf.edu or the program advisor, Rebecca Steward, at 474-2672, or visit the Women’s Studies page.

Bowling for Food to raise awareness and donations for homeless students

By Tom Moore
Contributing Writer

social justice

In Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, more than 1,000 people were documented as homeless in 2015, according to the EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless.

But what people might not realize is that a large segment of the homeless population is college students. This is because there is no established organization or government agency that keeps a homeless student census. The only records of homeless students are kept on the Federal Application for Student Aid (FASFA). According to the FASFA application form, 56,000 college students around the country are below the poverty line, if not outright homeless.

The Bowling for Food campaign is the University of West Florida’s latest attempt to address this problem. As part of instructor Gloria Horning’s social justice movements class, this project involves raising awareness of the homeless student situation through a food drive and a bowling event tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m. April 7 on the Cannon Green.

“I hope to instill in my students the importance of giving back to the community and inciting social change,” Horning said. “I believe this is where a majority of future communications art majors will end up — working for nonprofits, or starting movements of their own.”

The goal of Bowling for Food is to raise between 25 and 100 pounds of canned food for the Argo Pantry, a campus organization committed to helping UWF students who are in need of assistance through the distribution of food and other basic supplies.

“We are extremely grateful to the dedication and hard work of these students,” said Lusharon Wiley, director of Argo Pantry. “We here at Argo Pantry have worked really hard to provide the basic necessities for the most vulnerable students on campus. So far we have been able to keep up, but the demand for our services continues to grow. The Bowling for Food campaign is helping us expand as well, and to meet that growing demand.”

By collecting food from all the departments and organizations on campus, Bowling for Food is raising awareness for homeless students one building at a time. With each box that is set up in the various buildings on campus, a flyer is attached. These flyers provide information about the problem of student homelessness and the project to raise awareness and boost food contributions to Argo Pantry.

At the Bowling for Food event, participants will get an opportunity to bowl and purchase a slice of pizza for 25 cents. Participants can bowl as many times as they like, and all proceeds will go to Argo Pantry.

Non-food items, such as toothbrushes, soap, toiletries and socks, also are welcome. Click here to view Argo Pantry’s suggested item donation list. A small first aid kit and a copy of the EscaRosa Coalition’s Street Survival Guide also will be provided to place in the packets for students in need of assistance. The Street Survival Guide booklet has all kinds of information about the current services available to homeless individuals locally and how to apply for them. Food, clothing, healthcare, shelter, childcare and much more is included in the guide.

For more on UWF Social Justice, visit the Facebook page.