Monthly Archives: April 2016

A tiny house can be a big step toward being debt-free

By Kelsi Gately

Staff Writer

 University of Texas design major Joel Weber designed and built his 145-square-foot tiny house for less than $15,000. Photo courtesy of Tech Insider.

University of Texas design major Joel Weber designed and built his 145-square-foot tiny house for less than $15,000.
Photo courtesy of Tech Insider.

 Tiny homes have become a social movement that has spread across the country recently. “Living small” has been featured on television shows and in blogs and stories on the internet. This new style of living could be a key to college students saving money and graduating with less debt.

Housing on campus and off can be expensive for a full-time student. This new alternative, basically homes on wheels, allows students to have financial independence and to move freely when they get a job after college.

“Tiny houses,” as they are called, have 500 square feet or less in living space and include everything required for comfortable living, including electricity, plumbing and basic, though small, appliances. Many tiny home owners install solar panels and decomposition toilets to make their homes completely off the grid.

“Tiny homes are a great option for people who are working with limited funds,” Colleen Puchalski, UWF junior international studies major, said. “If more college students made the financially savvy decision of lowering their costs of living by saving thousands of dollars on rent or housing costs, maybe we wouldn’t be known for maintaining an existence off of Ramen noodles. It provides students with a home that would last long beyond graduation, and also provides great life experiences in the construction process.”

In May 2014, David Friedlander published an interview with Jay Shafer in Life Edited in which he attributes Shafer as the inventor of the tiny house in the late nineties. Shafer said he wanted something more suitable for year-round habitation than the 100-square-feet Airstream he had been living in for two years. His design was awarded the “Most Innovation Design” in Natural Home Magazine’s 1999 House of the Year Contest. Soon afterward he began making a living designing and building tiny homes. He later drew up the first plans for the mobile houses on wheels.

Today, as founder of Four Lights Tiny House Company, Shafer provides not only plans for tiny homes, but also compact furnishings. Workshops are also available to those who wish to build their own tiny house. The tiny house movement has grown out of a reaction to homes in the United States growing exponentially in size over recent years.

In an interview with Tech Insider, University of Texas student Joel Weber said, “The return on this kind of investment is one of the best choices I’ve ever made.”

Weber built his tiny home from scratch for $15,000 and plugs into a house where he exchanges babysitting services for electricity.

Weber isn’t the only person building his own tiny home; others across the nation are learning to live small and saving money in the long run.

After graduation, the tiny home can be moved easily to any city where you find a job. A simple Google search will turn up many listings all over the country, as well as websites from bloggers about their experiences with living in tiny houses. For starving college students, this small movement could be a big thing.

New item to add to the UWF Campus Master Plan: Tiny House Park.

 

A whirlwind of service in just three days’ time: How UWF students give back through ASB

Mackenzie Kees
Opinions Editor

 A group of UWF students from the 2014 ASB trip to Memphis, Tennessee enjoyed their Spring Break by giving back to the community. Photo courtesy of the UWF ASB Facebook group.

A group of UWF students from the 2014 ASB trip to Memphis, Tennessee enjoyed their Spring Break by giving back to the community.
Photo courtesy of the UWF ASB Facebook group.

While most UWF students spent their Spring Break relaxing at the beach, a group of service-oriented students did the opposite: They volunteered. Earlier this month, The Voyager covered a story about one group of students who worked with Habitat for Humanity in Boca Raton. However, another group of students went a bit more north – to North Carolina.

“The [North Carolina] trip was mainly focused on environmental concerns,” said Janine Velez-Vazquez, a senior trip leader double majoring in International Studies and Biological Anthropology. “But [we] had a mixture of different components.”

The UWF students spent their jam-packed three days volunteering by cleaning up parks and roads, working with a no-kill animal shelter and helping to organize a crisis center.

The crisis center, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM), helps clothe people in the community. Brother Wolf, the animal shelter, provides refuge for animals by providing resources and programs aimed at creating a no-kill community. The volunteers also worked with Riverlink to help clear the roadways by two major rivers, as well as cleaned up two parks at their housing location, Christmount Christian Assembly, a retreat nestled in the North Carolina mountains.

Both the Boca Raton and North Carolina groups shared more than just their drive to volunteer; they also shared the method through which they volunteered: UWF’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program.

ASB2

A group of UWF students from the 2014 ASB trip to Memphis, Tennessee enjoyed their Spring Break by giving back to the community.
Photo courtesy of the UWF ASB Facebook group.

The goal of ASB is to involve students in social justice issues by “training them in an active way in the areas of citizenship and common purpose within diverse cultures and environments,” according to their UWF website page.

“I highly recommend participating in the ASB program,” said Marianna Autrey, a senior majoring in health science with a concentration in allied health, about her experience volunteering in Boca Raton. “I made friendships I hope last, enjoyed my break in a positive way and came back with a better mindset.”

Autrey said she already has a few ideas for next year’s trip, and she plans to apply for a leadership position to implement them. “I like to work with building public health and attacking community health disparities through change initiatives,” Autrey said. Students who apply to become a Trip Leader have the chance to choose the type of volunteer work in which they would like to participate.

In order to partake in next year’s Alternative Spring Break, a few requirements must be met: Participants must be enrolled in at least six credit hours; a fee of $75 must be paid prior to departure; and a cumulative GPA of 2.00 must be maintained. If a student is interested in participating, the application is due by Feb. 3, 2017. Applicants will be interviewed and notified of the final selection by Feb. 13, 2017. The volunteers also must attend all three pre-trip meetings as well as one post-trip session.

Another Boca Raton volunteer, SGA University Outreach Chair Zac Laczko, said, “I plan on participating again. I would be interested in a public health campaign or environmental conservation, but as long as we are doing service, it really doesn’t matter too much to me.” Laczko is a graduate student at UWF working toward a degree in Early American Studies.

Students interested in learning more about the ASB program can find all the pertinent information on the program’s homepage. A link to the application for becoming a Trip Leader within the program is also provided on their website’s homepage, but it can also be found directly on ArgoPulse.

GrooveBoston provides beats at CAB After Dark

By Sara Agans
Staff Writer

CAB

GrooveBoston brings “electro-awesome” show to CAB After Dark.
Photo by of Sara Agans.

Friday’s CAB After Dark event was highlighted by GrooveBoston, an “electro-awesome” experience that creates large-scale events on college campuses.

“GrooveBoston really isn’t an artist or band – it’s an experience,” said Chris Dutton, brand director for GrooveBoston. “For the past seven-plus years, we have combined in-house, resident talent with world-class production to create legendary events on college campuses across the country.”

According to the website, www.grooveboston.com, “Our mission is to make people happy by delivering the most intense, engaging event your campus has ever seen. To pursue our mission effectively, we realized that the traditional concert model would need to be completely reinvented. A concert needs to be an EXPERIENCE, not a spectator sport.”

The current tour is the Ethos Tour.

“While traditional ‘concerts’ tend to focus on a single artist, we’ve found that it takes a lot more than that to create sustained, widespread engagement at a college concert in an era where we all have Spotify and decent headphones,” Dutton said. “Our approach is to eliminate those musical limits and focus on the experience as a whole – creating something uniquely authentic, engaging, and powerful. What that means is that we don’t prepare a specific track list built around a particular genre or artist, but dynamically adjust the flow in real-time based on what we think will hit the hardest.”

“At first I was really unsure as to what GrooveBoston was,” said Jordan Ference, a UWF senior majoring in nursing. “If it’s a DJ, then the music was as good as any DJ. The atmosphere was good, the lights made the aesthetic. They played popular songs and edited versions. It was good.”

Bria Bellamy, senior psychology major, said, “Though I didn’t get a chance to catch the musical side of the show because of working at the Commons for CAB After Dark, it seems as though students really liked the musical guest. Snapchat doesn’t lie, and from the different stories that I saw, it seemed as though everyone that came out to the event really enjoyed themselves.”

“I’ve been working with GrooveBoston for almost five years now as one of their live artists,” said Jay Nightride, one of the two headlining DJs at Friday’s event, along with Dutton. “I spend a lot of time with our music team assisting in track preparation and selection and live theatrics.”

“The GrooveBoston production model is designed to focus on the total integration of all individual parts that comprise a great event,” said Bianca Mauro, the Production Director for GrooveBoston. “Beginning with the initial concept phase, and continuing throughout the designs of the staging, lighting, audio, video, and special effects, we are always searching for the best ways to synthesize our mission with the spirit of the school and, most importantly, the students. Every show is built for and inspired by you.”

For more information on GrooveBoston and a better sense of what they are all about, check out www.grooveboston.com or their Facebook Page.

UWF Singers to perform songs of hope and rejoicing for final concert of semester

By Sydney O’Gwynn
Staff Writer

 Many guest artists will join The UWF Singers in the spring concert on April 18. Photo courtesy of uwfsingers.com

Many guest artists will join The UWF Singers in the spring concert on April 18.
Photo courtesy of uwfsingers.com

Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” will be the focal point of The University of West Florida Singers and Chamber Choir’s spring concert “A Prayer for Peace” at 7:30 p.m. on April 18 at the First Baptist Church of Pensacola.

“The program features a number of songs written in circumstances of oppression or circumstances where there is no hope,” said Peter Steenblik, conductor for the UWF Singers and Chamber Choir. “But they are songs of hope and rejoicing.”

The concert will also include African-American spirituals; John Lennon’s “Imagine”; “Hope for Resolutions” about the South African movement with Nelson Mandela; and an Academy Award winning piece from the 1980s film about feminism, “Working Girl.”

Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” was written about the Holocaust and are all in Hebrew. Senior UWF Singers President Rebekah Pyle said learning how to sing Hebrew wasn’t as difficult as one might think. “Dr. Steenblik made it really easy,” she said. “We learned it very specifically in a way that would make it successful when we put it back to the music.”

The movements in the piece are dancelike, but also hold raw emotion.

“The concert carries a powerful message,” Steenblik said. “I am so excited about the concert.”

The Pensacola Children’s Chorus also will join The UWF Singers and Chamber Choir. UWF faculty members also will be involved, including the chair of the Department of Music, soprano Sheila Dunn; voice instructor Hanan Tarabay, mezzo-soprano; and visiting artist Corey McKern, baritone. Other featured musicians are Nicholas DeMeo, tenor; the Pensacola West Percussion Ensemble; Christopher Powell, organ; and Bolton Ellenberg, piano.

“This is a huge collaboration effort,” Pyle said.

Pyle said that, while the “Chichester Psalms” was written as a commentary on war, she said she believes the piece could also be a commentary on humankind’s struggle against evil. She also said that without the percussion, the piece would not be as successful. “The percussion adds such a huge element to the piece,” she said.

This will be the final concert for the seniors in the choirs, including Pyle.

“I’m really glad that this is the stuff we’re singing for my last concert as a UWF student,” she said. “The last three years have flown by, and we’ve gotten to sing some incredible music, but I think that this concert — the entirety of it — is my favorite.”

“I hope it’s a concert they can be proud of,” Steenblik said. “Things we learned in August are being displayed next week. I hope it’s one that will display the best of what we all can do.”

Pyle said she is excited not only to perform the concert, but for the concert to be heard.

“People are going to come and they are not going to walk away unmoved by the performance,” she said. “It’s impossible; even if you come in with your mind and heart completely closed, it will be opened and you will be moved by what you hear.”

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information about the concert or the Department of Music, visit the website.

My experience with dual enrollment: a head start on college credits

By Sydney O’Gwynn
Staff Writer

 UWF offers high school students the opportunity to be dual enrolled here and at their high school. Photo courtesy of WVTF.org.

UWF offers high school students the opportunity to be dual enrolled here and at their high school.
Photo courtesy of WVTF.org.

I can still remember my first day of college. I packed my books into my backpack and trekked across campus, struggling to find my classes and not understanding why buildings of similar numbers weren’t always right next to each other. I felt like a small fish in a big pond, but I also felt a newfound independence.

My first day in college sounds like a lot of other students’ except for one difference: I was a dual enrollment student.

“Dual enrollment is an opportunity for qualified high school students to take college courses that will enable them to not only meet the requirements for high school graduation, but it’s also a way for them to earn college credits early,” Eddie Rogers, associate director of Enrollment Affairs at the University of West Florida, said. Rogers acted as my connection to UWF. He helps students register for classes, something he has done for the past four years.

“They have to meet certain requirements,” Kelli Lowe, a guidance counselor at Pine Forest High School in Pensacola, said. “You have to have at least a 3.0 GPA for Pensacola State College and UWF, and you have to have certain test scores.”  The test scores I had to have, since I decided to dual enroll at UWF, were those of the ACT.

Lowe was my adviser when I attended Pine Forest and helped in ensuring the classes I signed up for were not only meeting my college requirements, but my high school ones, as well. We would pick out the classes together and then, after the paperwork was signed by her, my mom and I, she would send it off to Rogers and he would register me for classes.

There are several advantages to being a dual enrollment student, the arguably biggest being that the student does not have to pay for tuition or books.

“It’s free college,” Lowe said. “You can’t beat that.”

I had to get my books through the UWF bookstore, but once I picked out the books, all I had to do was sign paperwork and I received my books at no cost to me. The only thing I had to pay for was the parking decal and the transportation to get to the college.

“The biggest benefit to dual enrollment is certainly getting that head start in earning college credits,” Rogers said. “Financially, it’s a way to get college credits without coming out of pocket.”

Not only did I have to have a 3.0 GPA, but I had to maintain it every semester I was in college. From that moment on, I had to have the mindset of a college freshman, not a high school junior.

“You always have to make sure that the students understand that they have to prioritize,” Rogers said.

When I decided to dual enroll, I decided to stop going to high school altogether and spend my days fully at UWF. I remember having to really think about it, since this would mean I would miss out on some high school experiences.

“You’re not actually attending high school,” Lowe said. “You might miss some of the things that go on, especially in senior year.”

But students do have the option of dual enrolling part time, where you spend half the day at your high school and half the day at the college. This way, you get the college experience while also holding onto high school memories. This also allows students in high school programs, such as band, ROTC and chorus, to stay in the program while still being able to get exposure to a college campus.

“There are pros and cons, but I think if a student really wants to get both they can go part time and still get both sides of it,” Lowe said. If a student decides to go full time, however, he or she has the ability to receive the associates degree at high school graduation, Lowe said.

Some high schools offer dual enrollment courses at the high school to go along with their Advance Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, but Rogers said that UWF courses can only be offered at the university.

“For those students who don’t have those accelerated methods, sometimes dual enrollment students are ahead of the game,” Rogers said. “They are also more comfortable in the college environment.”

Unlike when I dual enrolled, where the program was only open to high school juniors and seniors, students as early as freshman can now start taking dual enrollment courses.

Once you complete registration and step foot on campus, you are a full-fledged college student.

“The instructors really don’t know the difference between who’s dual enrollment and who’s a regular student,” Rogers said.

And that was true. Though I registered differently, I was at the same level as every other student on campus, just like when I walk across that stage April 24, I will be walking across that stage with my peers.

When I signed up for this program, I had no idea just how it would impact my entire life. It wasn’t always easy; I saw my high school friends slowly disappear and there were times I felt alone. But I wouldn’t trade my time college experience for any high school memory. I might have missed out on a part of my life, but, in the process, I developed a better future for myself.

And some people may think they are missing out on too much by dual enrolling full time, and there is nothing wrong with that. Dual enrollment, especially full time like I did it, isn’t for everyone. I certainly believe that if you have the opportunity and are considering it, dual enrollment is definitely the way to go; because I may be two years younger and my beginnings may be different, but my degree will be the same.

Does a traditional college degree give students the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century?

By Tom Moore
Contributing Writer

 Graphic courtesy of http://college-education.procon.org/. Source: Project on Student Debt, “State by State Data,” www.projectonstudentdebt.org (Oct. 14, 2013).

Graphic courtesy of http://college-education.procon.org/.
Source: Project on Student Debt, “State by State Data,” www.projectonstudentdebt.org (Oct. 14, 2013).

SATs, ACTs, GEDs and high school diplomas … navigating the road to life’s success can be quite the challenge. Especially when you are only 18.

The terms “success” and “The American Dream” have been used to describe the age-old definitions and expectations placed on high school graduates all across the country. “Go to college, get a degree, and get a good job with benefits, buy a home, live the dream” – this has been the advice of parents to their teenagers for decades. But what do those words really mean, and is a college degree the best way to find your own flavor of “success”?

“It really depends on what you want to do with your life,” Sky Braswell, a University of West Florida junior, said. “I have a friend who always hated school. She just wants to be a waitress for the rest of her life.”

A lot of people think that the earning power of a bachelor’s degree has been diminished in recent years, but, according to the Wall Street Journal, someone with a bachelor’s degree will make, on average, nearly $600 to $1,000 more per week than someone with a high school diploma. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree is likely to have about $45,000 to $60,000 dollars of student loan debt that goes with that higher earning potential. After graduation, an initial six-month grace period allows students time to land their career job and get financially situated. When the monthly payments start, the average college graduate may be paying from $375 to $450 a month to service student loans. To support this cost and live a comfortable, middle class, American life, the average college graduate may need to find a job with an annual salary of about $67,000.

“It depends on what area of study you want to go into,” Kaitlyn Helton, a psychology major, said. “There are simply some degrees that aren’t worth the payout, and there are others where you can start making money immediately, such as computer science [or] most STEM-related degrees,” Helton said.

In the 1970s, state governments supplied nearly 75 percent of funding for public colleges, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. In 2012, researchers found that tuition exceeded state funding at public colleges, according to The Washington Post. State funding fell nine percent during this time. The 2008 collapse of financial markets forced the government to make cuts. Higher education took a hit with a sharp decline to state contributions. To pick up the slack, universities have had to hike tuition in order to cover operating costs.

Free federal aid for low-income students hasn’t kept up either. In 1980, the Pell Grant program awarded 77 percent of four-year public university tuition costs to qualified students. By 2011, the grant amount had fallen to 36 percent. A decrease in government support to state universities leaves colleges few options but to increase tuition; a decrease of available aid makes paying for college an ever-increasing burden on students and families.

I say no, it’s not worth it,” Bridgette Rockette, UWF alumna who graduated in communications, said. “I believe it was a mistake for me to go through college, even though I made it through without any debt. All of my career advances, in a field totally different from my degree, have come from networking and the technical skills I learned in the National Guard, not my degree.”

“The technical skills I learned” – maybe she is on to something. Today much emphasis is placed on high school students to enroll in college, get a degree and aspire for that corner office leaving fewer and fewer people with the skills needed to construct that coveted corner office. Carpenters, contractors, electricians, welders and pipefitters are just a few of the skilled people our workforce is sorely lacking. Not only can you learn these skills at a fraction of the cost of a bachelor’s degree, but also you can be certified in six weeks to nine months, as opposed to the four to five years it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Dellotte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute reported that in 2011 alone, 80 percent of manufacturers were unable to find enough skilled workers. This shortage of American skilled labor left 600,000 highly paid, blue-collar manufacturing jobs unfilled. According to the report, “The workforce segments that are hardest to fill are those that impact operations the most, and require the most extensive training.”

Back in our parents’ and grandparents’ day, the company would find a promising young worker and groom him or her for the position, training them to have the necessary skills for the position. Unfortunately, these days companies and workers alike have a much more short-term approach to company and worker loyalty. Companies are no longer willing to spend thousands of dollars and six months to a year to train their workers to do these highly specialized jobs. They want to hire workers who already are equipped with the necessary skills. Unfortunately, this shortsighted approach on the part of our nation’s corporations has left a worker shortage that we as a country are hard-pressed to fill. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 27 percent of all jobs between 2014 and 2022 will require a college degree. The other 73 percent of all jobs will not require any more than an associate’s degree. Skilled manufacturing jobs are good, middle-class, well-paying jobs worth $50,000 a year or more. (See sources cited at end.)

Reflect back to the original question, does “success” require a college degree? The answer depends upon your definition of “success.”  If success means becoming a doctor, scientist, engineer, or business person, then pursue the college degree. However, if success is a bit broader – to make enough to live comfortably, buy a home and support a family – then pursue an alternative career choice and learn a skilled trade.

 

Sources:

  1. “Recent grads are doubting college’s worth.” Douglas Belkin, WSJ.com, Sept 29, 2015

 

  1. Is College Worth It? Clearly, New Data Say.” David Leonhardt, New York Times, May 27, 2014

 

  1. Is college worth it? Goldman Sachs says not so much.” Brooke Metz, USA Today, Dec. 10, 2015

 

  1. “Is college worth the money?” http://content.time.com/time/interactive/0,31813,2072670,00.html

“Job U: How to Find Wealth and Success by Developing the Skills Companies Actually Need.” Nicholas Wyman, Crown Publishing Group, 2015

America, the ‘Land of the Free’?

By Tom Moore
Contributing Writer

chart

“O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

For the last 85 years, these famous words from our National Anthem have exemplified the foundation that America has been built on since our forefathers “brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived of liberty, and in which ‘all men are created equal.’”

But are they really? And is this truly the land of the free? On the surface, it certainly looks like it. The Constitution and Bill of Rights seem to offer the average citizen sweeping protections, from the right to free speech, the freedom to assemble, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, the right to keep and bear arms, protection of illegal search and seizure, the right to a public trial, and possibly the most quoted one of all: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Yes, that is the Miranda Rights, over quoted and often misquoted on nearly every cop or law show in the country. That is the good news. The bad news is that even with all these protections in place, the United States has the highest level of incarceration in the world.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, as of 2015, 2.2 million people, out of the total 323 million people in the United States, are incarcerated. That is a staggering number. That means that one out of every 100 American adults is behind bars. That’s a scary figure. When broken down into demographics, the figure gets even scarier. According to a 2008 study reported in the New York Times, one in every 15 black adult males is incarcerated, and one in every 100 black females (“1 in 100 Adults Behind Bars,” Adam Liptak).

“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law-enforcement reason,” United States Attorney General Eric Holder said. On Aug. 14, 2013, Holder made this statement before Congress, demanding this situation be addressed and immediately corrected.

Between 1995 and 2009, America saw the biggest growth of imprisonment in U.S. history. Probably the biggest driver of this growth has been ever-harsher drug penalties. In response to the crack epidemic of the 1980s, Congress and state legislatures began passing laws that meted out mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related crimes. These were intended to help nab major traffickers, but the sentences were triggered by the mere possession of tiny quantities of drugs. Just five grams of crack resulted in a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Conspiracy laws made everyone involved in a drug-running operation legally liable for all of the operation’s activities: a child hired for a few dollars a day to act as a lookout at the door of a crack house was on the hook for all the drugs sold in that house, as well as all the crimes associated with their sale. These are the sorts of laws that have kept America’s prison population growing, even as the overall crime rate has gone down.

Since his statement, Holder and Congress have been putting into effect measures to counteract the drug laws of the 1980s.

Once marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington, state attorneys were instructed to bypass mandatory minimums by simply not recording weight of amount of marijuana under 20 ounces.

Of course, this is only one case in two states, and with just one drug, but, maybe, just maybe, it might be the point where we finally turn away from the horrible trend of locking people up for nonviolent crimes.

“There should be no sentences, let alone mandatory minimums,” said Peter McWilliams in his 1993 bookAin’t Nobody’s Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in our Free Country.”

McWilliams advocates legalizing all drugs, prostitution, gambling and pornography (except for child pornography). In his book he advocates personal freedom, personal choice and personal responsibility, something he says our society is sorely lacking. “Criminalizing these so-called ‘consensual crimes’ is not only unconstitutional, it’s also counterintuitive from a law-enforcement prospective,” McWilliams claims. “Catching the ‘criminals’ involved in victimless crime is an expensive affair, and this pursuit draws funds manpower away from crimes that do hurt innocent parties. Crimes like murder, rape, human trafficking and domestic violence. Meanwhile, the enforcement of these laws are not consistent enough to be an effective deterrent,” he said.

Only when these pursuits are decriminalized and fully legalized can America once again truly be the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”

New coach has high expectations for 2016-2017 cheerleading team

By Sara Agans
Staff Writer

 The 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team had tryouts and was announced April 9. Photos courtesy of Kathleen Mills.

The 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team had tryouts and was announced April 9.
Photos courtesy of Kathleen Mills.

Tryouts for the 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team, which were held on Saturday, April 9, involved a lot of hard work, dedication, and even tumbling and flying.

Kathleen Mills, head cheer coach, said she had high expectations for tryouts this year because the women had already done well in the clinic. Mills said they were at the same level, if not better, than the past team was when she came to UWF last fall.

“I’m expecting this to be a much better team right off the bat than UWF has probably seen before, which is pretty exciting,” Mills said.

“I expected there to be a wide variety of talent,” said Mallory Webb, a judge at the tryouts and a former cheerleader for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “I did expect Kathleen would find the individuals she was looking for to represent the university. I love getting to see all the talent that comes in to the school each year. It also brings back bittersweet memories of when I went through the process myself.”

Kaylee Scott, a UWF junior majoring in pre-med and a returning UWF cheerleader, said, “Before tryouts, my expectations were that this team can only get better from here. Our previous team had already come so far from where we started. I knew we had a long way to go, but we were getting there with time.”

Many factors came into play for the judges when selecting the team members. “We first went through all the scores to see who had the highest raw scores,” Webb said. “We also had to go through and make sure there was a good ratio of top girls, bases, backspots, and guys. You can’t have a team with all top girls or all bases. Someone has to be at the top of the pyramid just like someone has to hold it up. We also took tumbling, grades and overall appeal into consideration when making a final decision.”

“After hearing what the coach is expecting for next year and knowing what it takes to accomplish the coach’s goals, I made my final decision based on who has the overall package,” said LaToya Williams, head cheer coach at the University of Montevallo, a former cheerleader for the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a judge at tryouts. “Grades, skills, versatility, attitude and drive to succeed.”

cheer leaders

The 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team had tryouts and was announced April 9.
Photos courtesy of Kathleen Mills.

Along with the cheerleading tryouts, warm-up stunts with groups, and standing and running tumbling warm-ups, there were also mascot tryouts for the next Argie.

“The way the mascot tryouts are going to work this year is that they are going to be more laid-back,” Mills said. “I have a couple people trying out for it, so while the girls are warming up and doing their dances and everything, we’ll have each mascot got through and interact with the cheerleaders so that we can see how Argie is going to interact with people.”

A new Argie was selected and the team is still in search of two more candidates for the position.

A lot of people think it is an all-female team, Mills said, but the tryouts were for both male and female, as in previous years. This year they had several men try out and make the team, so the team will be co-ed this upcoming year.

Scott described this year’s tryouts as being very organized. “Kathleen had everything set up like it should have been from the very beginning. Prior to tryouts our team hosted a college prep clinic where any potential people who wanted to try out came and attended the clinic to learn what our team is all about. It was a great turnout and very beneficial to those who had come and tried out because everything we taught from a dance and stunts was used in tryouts.”

“Kathleen and the judges made it a comfortable environment throughout the entire tryout, which was very appreciated,” Scott said. “Since the atmosphere was not as intense at tryouts, everyone was helping and encouraging each other. Don’t get me wrong, though; everyone was still nervous.”

“After judging UWF tryouts, I witnessed a lot of the new members show determination and excitement,” Williams said. “I hope they use that to be the best they can throughout the year and grow together as a team.”

Mills said the team will be more involved in the community and the university events next year. “People that have never seen us before will definitely see us at something, whereas we haven’t done too much in the past, so that’s exciting,” Mills said.

Scott said a lot of things have changed since the last year. “Our team received a new coach. Before Kathleen became our new coach, we did not have a coach, and our team was patiently waiting for one. We were not going to all the events on campus and we almost felt like the cheerleaders were not wanted. A lot of things were unorganized and not up to college-level expectations.”

“Since Kathleen has taken over the team, we have been introduced to endless possibilities. We get invited to all the events on campus, people know that there is a cheer team here at UWF and we perform at college level.”

The team usually cheers at basketball games, some volleyball games, and at least one soccer game, Mills said. With the inaugural football season fast approaching, the cheerleaders will now also be cheering at all the home games, which will definitely be something new for them.

The evening of tryouts, the names of the students who made the team were released through Mills’ Facebook and Instagram page. The team consists of: Shelbie Andrews, Emalee Bush, Taylor Carrington, Zach Devore, Alexis Downs, Faith Doyle, Collin Edwards, David Franklin, Ashlyn Howell, Abbie Huff, Kirsten Hunt, Alexia Kenney, Nicole Morrill, Rachel Neal, Dewanna Norton, Kennedy Porter, Kendal Rosebrock, Kaylee Scott, Rebecca Slattery, Ashley Stefka, Crystal Thompson, Shaina Thompson, Marissa Walker and Alex Wallerstein.

Their first practice as a new team was held on Sunday, April 10, in the Pedagogy Gym. “I think UWF has potential to be a great team,” Webb said. “I hope to see the program grow because I know they have a great leader in Kathleen.”

“The new 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team has incredible talent,” Scott said. “I know as a returning cheerleader, it makes me happy to see how far this cheer program has gone and how it continues to keep building. Kathleen as a coach and the new additions to the team are going to take UWF cheer to a whole other level. There is amazing potential throughout the team this year, so I am very excited. Go Argos!”

Graphic Design seniors showcase portfolios at ‘Resolution’ exhibit

By Claudia Carlson
Staff Writer

 The UWF Innovation Center hosted the students’ “Resolution” exit show last week.

The UWF Innovation Center hosted the students’ “Resolution” exit show last week.

UWF Graphic Design graduating seniors got to showcase their work in an exit show, “Resolution,” April 11 through 14 at the UWF Innovation Institute in downtown Pensacola.

The exhibit showcased 14 students’ designs they have worked on throughout the year, for businesses, movie posters and artwork, as well as their business cards and resumes.

“‘Resolution’ started off by deciding on a name that would represent us as a whole,” said Michelle Le, student website designer for “Resolution,” said in an email interview. “From there we created teams that would handle different areas (the exhibition identity, the print catalog, the website, social media promotions, fundraising and environmental design) that would come together to make this exhibition happen.”

According to the accompanying information booklet, written by the students, “‘Resolution,’ the University of West Florida Graphic Design Exit Show, brings together the works of 14 accomplished graphic arts graduates to showcase our efforts in gallery setting. The world is filled with amazingly talented and creative individuals who produce works that touch hearts, excite minds and motivate others in ways that nothing else can. When we began our journey in this field, anticipation and uncertainty filled our minds. Now, as we graduate, we enter that world of talented and creative individuals, well prepared and firmly resolved to become successful designers and make impact in the design community.”

 Fourteen graphic arts students’ works were showcased at the “Resolution” exhibit last week. Photo courtesy “Resolution” website.

Fourteen graphic arts students’ works were showcased at the “Resolution” exhibit last week.
Photo courtesy “Resolution” website.

A closing reception was held at the end of the exhibition, on Thursday, April 14. Family, professors, coworkers and friends were in attendance.

 Jessica Vermeire’s portfolio was one of the 14 displayed at “Resolution.”

Jessica Vermeire’s portfolio was one of the 14 displayed at “Resolution.”

“The reception turned out better than expected. We had local designers come visit us to see our work, and the students from the first previous Graphic Design BFA exhibition visited as well,” Le said.

To find out more about the students of “Resolution,” visit the website.

Project Clean Plate yields results, but might not inspire long-lasting action

By Kenny Detwyler
Contributing Writer

clean plate

Project Clean Plate yielded 211 pounds of food donated to Argo Pantry by Chartwells.
Photo courtesy UWF Dining.

Just as students are starting to clean their plates, the Nautilus Market is going to start piling more on them this fall.

It might not seem surprising to hear that hungry college students are not throwing their food away. However, when Project Clean Plate began earlier this semester, students discovered that they were wasting up to 200 pounds of food in a single day.

According to a report from the Campus Kitchens Project, the average college student generates 142 pounds of food waste in a school year.

During Project Clean Plate, the Nautilus Market challenged students and staff to work towards the goal reducing daily food waste by 20 percent. Upon successful completion of the initiative, the Market honored its pledge to donate food to the Argo Pantry.

“Overall, Chartwells has been incredibly supportive of not only the Argo pantry, but efforts that we do here in the Dean of Students office,” Lusharon Wiley, senior associate dean of students, said.

Chartwells donated about 211 pounds of food to the Pantry, which essentially matched how much food waste was reduced in the market.

“The Argo Pantry was really excited when we brought over the items, because it helped them restock their shelves,” Chartwells marketing director, Danielle Rudd, said. “It was very rewarding to head over there and say that this donation is from Chartwells.”

Because Project Clean Plate was a success, Rudd said the initiative will return in fall. However, some changes to UWF dining might shake up Project Clean Plate.

dining dollarsIt has been confirmed that UWF Dining will be offering two new and larger meal plans. This includes the “Argo Unlimited Plan,” which will guarantee a student unrestricted access to the Market, regardless of meal periods and swipe history.

The second new plan is for 19 meals a week in the Nautilus Market. In addition to the new plans, the existing 15 meals a week plan will increase, placing the three largest meal plans just above $2,000. First-time-in-college students living on campus are required to choose one of the four plans: the Unlimited, 19 meals, 15 meals or 12 meals.

Students, having access to that much food, could be a potential hindrance for food waste projects in the future. “I don’t know if that’s going to help reduce students’ waste, knowing that they can come back if they’re hungry in an hour,” Rudd said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

The most common concern of parents and new students to any university is usually, “Will I have enough to eat?” That thought alone may make having an unlimited meal plan seem like the most attractive option to new students, even though it has been stressed to incoming freshmen that 15 or 12 is plenty.

With only $109 difference between an unlimited amount of food and the 15 meal cap, it could mean the Market’s food waste woes could stick around for a while.

Chartwells also has no plans to change any market operations as project food waste concludes. Just like before the initiative began, the market staff will continue being trained in portion control and will be monitoring their own waste. No changes will be made to menu, either.

“As far as the menu items go, we didn’t have a ton of waste with one particular item,” Rudd said. “We didn’t go into huge discussions, we really didn’t find anything that stuck out, I think it’s really about reminding students to be mindful about what they eat. “

Project Clean Plate was a success in reducing waste and helping the Argo Pantry, but this initiative will face an uphill battle this fall, when students will have access to more food than they’ve ever had in the history of UWF dining.

“It’s a message that we need to be more thoughtful about what we are doing,” Wiley said.  “We’re all guilty of letting our eyes be bigger than our stomachs.”