Tag Archives: Argo

Martha Saunders selected as next president of UWF


Photo courtesy of UWF

By Tom Moore

Staff Writer

In a 9-4 vote, the University of West Florida announced current Provost Martha Saunders as its newly elected president during its final search committee meeting on Thursday, Sept. 15.

The meeting was held at the UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts mainstage theater, and was also webcast live via WUWF.

The meeting was called to order by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Lewis Bear, Jr. With two board members attending by phone, a quorum was reached and the meeting opened with public comment.

After a half-hour of public comment, it became clear that the race was between Provost Saunders and Senator Don Gaetz.  Frank Ashley and Mike Sherman were not mentioned once in the public discussion.

Marc Churchwell, Chairman of the Military and Veterans Resource Center, said he is in favor of Saunders.  Churchwell said Saunders helped expand services and fund new facilities for our veterans, who make up 25 percent of our student population.

Once the public comments were over, the search committee reviewed the final candidate’s on-campus interviews.

“Each candidate performed exceptionally well and were highly qualified for the position,” committee Chairman Mort O’Sullivan said.  The discussion then went to the “three unranked candidates the search committee would forward to the board.”

Greenwood/Asher and Associates, Inc., search firm made its final evaluation and recommendations moving forward with the selection of a final candidate. After completed, the chairman called for a vote on the amendment, which failed. The board voted to move all four candidates forward to the Board of Trustees for final selection.

The Board of Trustees opened the discussion once again, and several students came forward to speak about the candidates.

Sophomore journalism major Abigail Megginson came forward with a petition entitled “Argos Against Gaetz.”  Megginson managed to get 336 signatures of students who were opposed to Don Gaetz being appointed President.

“Three of the candidates have a PhD., Gaetz does not,” Megginson said. “Three of the candidates have prior university leadership experience, Gaetz does not.  The president of the university should be a ‘hub for higher education’ to meet that position of academic excellence. Candidates need to have at least a PhD.”  Megginson went on to say that the University needs a president who will lead UWF as a small, regional university, not a large central one.

Senior Joseph Jackson said he feels that African Americans, and minority groups in general, are simply disregarded, and said that whomever takes the president’s job should give the minorities back their voice.

Telecommunications student Teremis Boykin said he believes UWF needs a president who really cares about the students.

“I’m just an average guy,” Boykin said. “We understand that money is important, but a true university president should not worry about money. A real president should worry about the needs and concerns of the students.”

Following public comments, the Presidential Search Committee presented its report to the Board of Trustees.

The final votes from the Board of Trustees came in with nine votes for Saunders, four for Gaetz, and no votes for the remaining candidates.

UWF men’s soccer team loses in overtime to Rollins

Brooke Weber

Staff Writer

The University of West Florida men’s soccer team fell to Rollins College 2-1 in overtime at home on Friday night’s matchup on Sept. 9.

After a scoreless first half, the Argos and the Tars were tied 0-0, but it didn’t take long into the second half before Rollins broke the tie. Senior midfielder Tosan Popo scored the first goal of the night on an assist by junior midfielder, Matt Volk.

The Argos redshirt sophomore Alik Morgan assisted Teague Coleman with a goal in the 81st minute. Coleman, a freshman midfielder from Winter Park, tied the game with his first career college goal.

“It was an electric feeling,” Coleman said after scoring the first time as an Argo. “Probably not a feeling that I could have ever again, but it was amazing.”

Rollins took 18 shots in the game, with four of those on the goal, and four saves. UWF made 11 shots, five of those on the goal, with two saves. The game ended 6:17 into overtime, when Volk scored the game-winning goal for the Tars, making the Argos season record so far 0-3.

“It was a well, hard-fought game that was miles better than last week,” Coleman said. “Now were just going to build on it.”

Sophomore midfielder, Kameron Bethell, one of three picked from the Argos for the league’s annual Preseason All-Gulf South Conference team, said team members’ biggest concern is their record, but in the Rollins game that today they didn’t play badly.

“Our concern is what position we’re in, but it’s not all negative,” Bethell said. “We haven’t played a conference game yet. Next week we come in playing a GSC game, and I feel if we play to our strengths we should be able to come up with results.”

According to GoArgos.com, the team lost 17 players from the 2015 season. However, it also gained 17 players, 13 of them freshmen.

“Its always tough to move from a lower level to a higher level, but our freshmen this year seem to be doing it very well,” Bethell said. “They are all coming in and playing to the best of their abilities, and today I was very proud of them.”

He said the team still has a 100 percent chance of making another run at the GSC Finals, but that the team needs to come out with the willingness and desire to win.

The Argos seek their first win of the season next weekend in their first conference games, Friday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. against Union University at home. Followed by a match Sunday, Sept. 18 at 12:30 p.m. against Christian Brothers University at home.

History demands students Take Back the Night

By Melissa Pisarski

Contributing Writer

It was a Monday night in January of 1993 when 21-year-old UWF student Susan Leigh Morris went missing. On that same foggy night, she was raped and murdered by a man who frequented the same hangouts in the University Commons that Morris enjoyed, and who was sleeping among on-campus residents in the building then known as Dorm 68.

Morris was a commuting Communication Arts student and sister of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority who flaunted the title of Sigma Alpha Mu Sweetheart and lent her time to Campus Activity Board. She was like so many of us.

The pages of The Voyager that week were heavy with outrage, fear and sympathy. Details of the crime colonized the front page while student-submitted editorials demanding campus safety reform awaited readers on page four.

University administrators and campus police responded with plans to tighten security in light of the tragedy. Plans to “consolidate night classes into one area of the school, increase lighting throughout campus, and educating students about safety” were all outlined measures reported in the Jan. 19, 1993, Voyager article written by Robert Powelson and Bob Mason regarding security concerns.

Other ads and articles in the Voyager advertised self-defense classes or encouraged students to sign checks made out to “Adopt-a-Light” that would benefit efforts to illuminate the poorly-lit campus.


This advertisement ran in the Jan. 19, 1993, edition of The Voyager following the murder of Susan Leigh Morris.

At the time, the blue lights that pepper our grounds were a new development. They had only been installed the year before, and technical kinks were still being worked out by campus authorities. The blue light in the area where Morris was attacked had not been working that night.

Though the murder of Morris shocked the university, it demonstrated the severity of a violent trend.

In 1992, just a year before Morris was raped and killed, a fraternity had named one of their parties after a notorious incident of mass sexual harassment of more than 30 victims. Even after the jarring reports of sexual misconduct that characterized Morris’ murder, similar behavior still prevailed in the years that followed.

Stories of sexual assault again stained the pages of the Voyager in 2000. A student was a walking to her car when she was approached by a masked assailant. She was forced into the vehicle at gunpoint and robbed. After telling his captive to remove her clothes, the attacker proceeded to molest the student.

In that same year, a female student reported suffering unwanted sexual advances from two men she knew, which she was unable to resist as a result of intoxication. She indicated that the men had encouraged her to drink beyond a safe limit before assaulting her. Both men denied the use of force described by the victim. One of them went on to say, “She was moving around, talking, never hesitated. If I had ever thought she did not want to do anything, I would have not done it.”

 A quote that appeared in the Voyager from a male student accused of sexual assault in 2000.

A quote that appeared in the Voyager from a male student accused of sexual assault in 2000.

The female complainant eventually stopped pursuing charges after police ruled there had been no crime due to a lack of evidence. It is documented that the “victim [had] decided not to take further action due to the lack of judicial support and general fatigue.”

Both incidents prompted increased security and heightened awareness, sentiments that still echo all these years later as we fight the trend of sexual assaults on university campuses.

Stories like these are why UWF needs to Take Back the Night.

Described in ArgoPulse as “an international event to create safe communities and respectful relationships,” Take Back the Night accepts the challenge of combatting rape culture and embracing hope for victims of sexual assault.

take back the night

A banner hanging near the John C. Pace Library advertised Take Back the Night last week.
More than 450 people attended the event on April 7.

A dessert bar provided by Housing and Residence Life welcomed the more than 450 guests who packed the Commons Auditorium for the April 7 event led by Wellness Services and UWF Peer Educators, with the help of several other organizations. The event boasted a “Hotline Bling” theme complete with a cardboard Drake cutout and free T-shirts embellished with a helpful acronym:

Believe and support survivors

Listen and respect the answer

Intervene in risky situations

Never victim blame

Get consent

Creativity for a Cause performers kept attendees aware of the heartbreaking spirit of the evening. A dance piece by Leonie Dupuis to “If You’re Out There” by John Legend reminded the audience that it was high time to defeat sexual assault.

“John Legend ends this song by saying ‘the future started yesterday,’” said Dupuis prior to her performance. “It has been time to make a change.”

While the song Dupuis selected for her presentation inspired hope, UWF Peer Educators used the event to draw attention to music that demonstrated an acceptance of forceful sexual misconduct. A video compilation of popular songs that flaunted lyrics with sinister intentions left many students glancing around the room with wide-eyed looks of overdue recognition, likely because, as one Peer Educator pointed out, “you have probably sung some of these songs in your car.”

This cultural acceptance of sexual violence made another painful appearance as poet Lauren Morrison took to the podium. In reference to the common victim-blaming strategy of calling into question a victim’s attire at the time of assault, Morrison revealed in a quaking voice that she had been wearing jeans and a hoodie when she was attacked.

Morrison was forced to pause to compose herself as she was overcome with tears. Upon completion of her recitation, she was met with an auditorium-full of standing ovations as the audience cried alongside her.

Timothy Jones’ story elicited a similarly fervent response. A Navy veteran raped by a fellow serviceman, Jones admitted that he developed substance abuse issues to cope with the discrimination and lack of support he encountered after being victimized. He reported finding a comfort here at UWF.

“I wanted to lend my voice to male victims and male survivors,” Jones said before the event. “I wanted to say thank you to a community that has really been responsible for my transformation.”

Jones credits the availability of resources at the university for the progress it has made as an institution working to eradicate sexual assault.

In a statement of unity, students were given glow sticks and asked to illuminate them if they were victims of sexual assault, knew someone who had suffered from dating violence, or supported those who faced these plights. The auditorium was quickly illuminated by an infectious glow of green.

The event concluded when the Argonettes Dance Team led a parade of students into the darkening night, chanting “We are women. We are men. Together we fight to take back the night.”

The procession fell silent as they reached their destination: the bench dedicated in Susan Leigh Morris’s honor.

some people

Students gathered around the sign and bench near Building 13 dedicated to Susan Leigh Morris. Morris was the victim of a violent sexual assault and murder in 1993.

As is tradition, Sigma Alpha Mu sang their Sweetheart Song in memory of the Sweetheart they lost in 1993. The sisters of Alpha Gamma Delta followed by lending their voices to a haunting tribute song of their own.

The University of West Florida has come a long way since the rape and killing of Susan Leigh Morris, but in the words of Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Bailey: “Taking back the night is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Melissa Pisarski is the editor of Her Campus at UWF, where this article first appeared.

Peter Steenblik: The new face of the UWF Singers

By Sydney O’Gwynn

Staff Writer

 Peter Steenblik is the conductor of the UWF Singers and Chamber Choir. Photo courtesy petersteenblik.com

Peter Steenblik is the conductor of the UWF Singers and Chamber Choir.
Photo courtesy petersteenblik.com

If you’ve been to a University of West Florida Singers concert over the past year, you’ve seen him. He conducts the performance; he might even speak to the audience a little to introduce the pieces about to be performed. But Peter Steenblik is more than just a choir director.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Steenblik is the second of five children. He has been involved in music his whole life, beginning with playing piano since he was a boy.

He said he had no idea when he started playing the piano that it would one day turn into a career. “People ask how long I’ve played the piano and my standard response is ‘I can’t remember now,’” he said.

In addition to conducting two UWF choirs – the Singers and the Chamber Choir — Steenblik is the director of choral activities for the Department of Music and teaches two courses in basic musicianship as well as a music literature class. Steenblik came to UWF in the fall of 2015.

Steenblik graduated from Skyline High School in Salt Lake City and went onto the University of Utah, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music education. He led backpacking trips in the Cascade Mountains in New York when he had summers off during college. After finishing his undergraduate, he left Utah to serve a church in the Philippines where he described some of his living conditions to be dirt floors, tarps for roofs and river water to drink.

“I lived with some of the poorest people in the world,” he said.

After two years he returned to Salt Lake City and taught high school for 10 years at Jordan High School while working on his master’s degree on nights and weekends.

“After 10 years of watching my students graduate and leave, I decided I wanted to go with them,” Steenblik said. “It was finally my turn to graduate the high school and leave.” He went to the University of North Texas and earned a doctoral degree in choral conducting.

“It was cool because he had all this experience, but he was also just out of school,” Rebekah Pyle, a member of the UWF Singers, said. “So he knows what it’s like to be in school and have all the stresses of school. He is very much on our side.”

As to how he ended up at UWF, he cites three conversations. The first was with his junior high school theater mentor. When his mentor asked Steenblik what he wanted to do for a living, Steenblik said he wanted to travel and perform, but his mentor had something else in mind.

“He said, ‘I think you will happier educating people in that environment, where the applause isn’t for you, but the applause is for the product of your students,’” Steenblik said. “I took that advice.”

The second conversation was with a piano teacher who encouraged him not only to educate others, but to take his skills to a university level. Steenblik said without that advice, he wouldn’t have ended up at UWF.

“It took me a while to do what she said, but I did it,” Steenblik said.

The third conversation happened while Steenblik was in the Philippines. He asked a fellow peer why he was pursuing a degree in art where there is no money. Steenblik said the peer’s response was that if he studied and worked hard, just like any other student in any other major, there would be work for him.

“I’d never heard that perspective,” Steenblik said. “So when I returned from the Philippines I applied myself in school like I never had before. I saw doors open that wouldn’t have opened otherwise.”

Steenblik was also a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for four years. Composed of 380 singers and more than 150 orchestra members, all voluneteers, the choir goes on tour every other year. Steenblik toured with them twice: in the summer 2011 when he traveled from Norfolk to Toronto, and in the summer of 2013 when he traveled from Cincinnati to Minneapolis.

“It was a thrilling experience,” he said. “It was truly extraordinary.”

Steenblik was also a frequent soloist for the choir.

“I don’t understand why I got so lucky,” he said. “It was such a neat time [and] such a neat experience.”

In addition to the UWF choirs and classes, he is also the chorus master for the Pensacola Opera, where he coaches the ensemble with its music.

Jerry McCoy, one of Steenblik’s mentors when he was a student at North Texas, showed him how to be “a director who strives for excellence yet also is very human and approachable,” he said.

He also said the most rewarding part of his job is one that others might see as the most stressful: the rehearsal process.

“The rehearsal process is my sanctuary,” he said. “And I advise the students that rehearsal should be a place of refuge.”

Though he has reached the university level, Steenblik still has goals for the future.

“I am here to bring the choral program into a place of prominence, locally and nationally,” he said.

So the next time you see him, whether it be in the hallways of the Center for Fine and Performing Arts, in front of class or even conducting the UWF Singers Spring concert “A Prayer for Peace” on Monday, April 18, just know he isn’t just a teacher or conductor. He’s so much more.



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.

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.

UWF handball team competes in national championships

By Kelsi Gately

Staff Writer

 The UWF handball team flew to Minneapolis for a four-day championship last week. Photo courtesy of www.ushandball.org.

The UWF handball team flew to Minneapolis for a four-day championship last week.
Photo courtesy of www.ushandball.org.

UWF handball members do more than just slam a rubber ball off the walls of a handball/racquet ball court. On February 23, the team bundled up and traveled to the University of Minnesota for the four-day 64th USHA National Collegiate Championships. Out of more than 150 players representing more than 25 universities from across the country and Ireland, UWF came in eighth place.

The National Championship is the biggest event the club has attended this school year. On average, the club participates in five tournaments per semester.

“We did pretty good,” said Michael Mathis, senior engineering major and vice president of the handball club. “Average for how we usually compete, but did well for having a lot of new players.”

Alex Grochowski, senior exercise science major and president of the club, said the team as a whole placed eighth overall, and individuals placed runners-up in several divisions. They are still waiting for final results to come in from officials.

“Compared to other sports I’ve played, handball is weird and unique in its own way,” said Spencer Watral, freshman biology major. “I lost in semifinals, but it was a fun and competitive experience.”

Members meet for practice 6-8 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; and optional practice from 3-5 p.m. on Sundays in the HLS building. Team members are willing to help teach the game if you’ve never played before. The team’s purpose, according to its Facebook page, is “to introduce as many students as possible to the ‘Perfect Game’ that is handball.”

First-year international student and exercise science major Orestis Christoforou was expecting it to be similar to water polo, which is what handball is in Greece. He said the game hasn’t been easy to learn over the past week that he has been playing.

“I like it enough to keep playing,” said Christoforou.

For more information on the handball team, email Michael Mathis at mbm15@studnets.uwf.edu. You can also visit the team’s Facebook page.

So many books, so little time: Must-reads for your Spring Break bucket list

By Mackenzie Kees
Opinions Editor


This writer started on her must-read books at an early age.
Photo courtesy Mackenzie Kees.

To paraphrase one of the greats, Jane Austen: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a brain must be in want of a good book.”

The importance of reading cannot be overstated. When a student is assigned a book to read by a teacher, it can sometimes be a miserable experience. It also can inadvertently steer students away from reading more for pleasure’s sake.

This is an atrocity.

Teachers are not to blame for this unfortunate side effect of assigned reading, and school-assigned books are important for their own reasons. Sometimes, they can even be interesting.

So, yes, all books are marvelous in their own right for their individual reasons, but there are some novels that unequivocally transcend the others. (Some of these books may even be on your reading list for next semester.)

I have narrowed down my list of countless beloved, life-altering and thoroughly magnificent books to a nice, round number of five. These books and/or book series have been chosen in the hopes that they might change the perspective of those students who only read when they must. With Spring Break approaching, finding a good book to read while lazing about in the sun is paramount.

For these five books I will briefly touch on the plot, but I will mainly concentrate on the writing style of each and whom I believe would most likely enjoy it. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite novels in no particular order:

The ODD THOMAS Series by Dean Koontz


Short-order cook Odd Thomas has a peculiar life. In his seven-book series, author Dean Koontz takes his readers along for quite a ride with Thomas in the driver’s seat. All of the books in the series can be read as stand-alone novels, because they each describe a different adventure that hero Odd Thomas must face.

This series is perfect for a bit of easy reading and some light fun. When school’s stressful and work’s miserable, coming home to Thomas is a sweet relief. He doesn’t make you think too hard while offering up a mystery to solve, and along the way he provides you with an endearing sense of humor to keep you smiling. Koontz has made a relatable hero in Thomas that will keep readers coming back for more.

THE MAGICIANS Series by Lev Grossman


One of the best series I’ve read since leaving the world of Harry Potter behind is Lev Grossman’s trilogy about a group of young adults who discover they can perform magic. This series is incredibly engrossing and will have your eyes glued to the page until the very end.

The trilogy revolves around Quentin Coldwater and his friends as they navigate through life, starting as naive college freshmen and ending up as a group of mature adults. The way Grossman chooses to depict magic gives the story a more realistic feeling than most fantasy novels. Coldwater has to work very hard every step of the way to learn how to properly wield magic. It’s not as easy as just waving a stick around in the air and calling it a wand.

I’d recommend this book for readers who enjoy immersing themselves in a world full of magic, as I do, and who as a child fantasized about receiving their Hogwarts acceptance letter in the mail.

ALICE by Christina Henry


The stories we read as children are special to us in a way that can never again be felt by reading them as an adult. However, some of the best novels I’ve read have been based on some of those childhood stories. These types of stories provide a different adaptation to classic tales such as “Cinderella” or “Alice in Wonderland.” The novel “Alice” is based on the latter, but it shares none of the lighthearted, whimsical aspects of the original novel written by Lewis Carroll.

This novel is darker than its original counterpart. Its pages are filled with more sinister characters than the likes of Carroll’s Queen of Hearts, who simply pales in comparison to Henry’s villains. She takes the traditional tale of Wonderland and twists it into a terrifying nightmare that is sure to thrill.

THE ROAD OF THE DEAD by Kevin Brooks


Kevin Brooks is one of the most prolific writers I’ve ever read, and that includes J.K. Rowling, which, believe me is a compliment coming from me. (All hail the queen of fantasy! We are not worthy! We are not worthy!)

Brooks has penned many novels, all just as well written as the last, but his fifth novel, “The Road of the Dead,” is my favorite. The fluidity with which he writes to describe what the protagonist is seeing or thinking creates a breathtaking visual that even the blind could see. I’ve never before felt so transported into a story until I started reading the various novels written by Brooks. He primarily writes novels for teens, which I was when first reading the book, but in the years since I’ve come back to it several times to re-read. The worn dog-eared pages are yellowing with age, but I will never get rid of such a wonderful book.

This particular novel by Brooks is about a half-gypsy boy named Ruben who follows his older brother Cole on a journey of discovery and self-actualization. People with an appreciation for other cultures will enjoy the dynamic between the brothers and their mother, which is somewhat different than relationships are in most American families. As someone who was always fascinated by the gypsy lifestyle, I enjoyed what this novel let me do, which was live vicariously through Ruben. I recommend this book as a quick, easy read for visual readers who enjoy novels that paint the perfect picture for every scene.



The more recently published book out of the previous four, “City of Savages” by new author Lee Kelly, has a different type of story to tell than the rest.

Instead of revolving around magic and fairy tales or gypsies and mysteries, this novel illustrates a dystopian future that has been devastated by the fictitious (for now, anyway) Third World War. Sisters Sky and Phee Miller live with their mother in a prisoner-of-war camp located in a derelict version of Manhattan, in which they are fighting to survive. The novel switches back and forth from each sister’s point of view throughout the story, giving readers a unique perspective that is not offered when there is a single narrator.

For a story of survival against all odds, similar to “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” series, Kelly’s “City of Savages” delivers with a punch. Readers can expect non-stop action, drama and a little bit of romance within the pages of this book. I recommend this novel for people who enjoy reading books set in a distant war-torn future that are full of action and adventure.

UWF events bring Black History Month to life

By Kaitlin Lott

Staff Writer


Although many individuals may disagree in the rationalization of celebrating Black History Month, UWF continues to show support and engage in celebrating growth and change by hosting a series of events throughout the month of February.

UWF caters to a multitude of diverse organizations and events, from historically African-American sororities and fraternities to the Miss Multicultural Pageant.

“I feel that UWF is slowly getting better at acknowledging Black History Month,” said Ronnie Williams Jr., an exercise science major. “Organizations like AASA [African American Students Association] and W.E.B. DuBois Honor Society have been putting on events throughout the month of February.” The W.E.B. DuBois Honor Society, of which Williams is vice president, hosted a Black History Month showcase Thursday night in the Commons Auditorium. The event included enactments of past historical events, poetry/dance performances and speeches.

“I believe this showcase displayed some history of what black people went through and acknowledged the achievement that many black people have endured over the years,” Williams said. “I gained a lot of information from this event, and I truly appreciate my culture more.”

UWF will welcome Freeman Hrabowski III as the keynote speaker for Black History Month at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, in the UWF Conference Center. Hrabowski is the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He was also named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME magazine in 2012.

Also, Susan Jans-Thomas, professor in the Department of Research and Advanced Studies, presented “2015: An Anniversary Year in U.S. Civil Rights,” hosted by the UWF Historic Trust on Feb. 18. The presentation was part of the Voices of Pensacola sharing a year of events throughout the South, recognizing historical events in Civil Rights history. In 2015, Jans-Thomas completed the 50th anniversary march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery.

However, not everyone on campus feels the university and its organizations are doing enough.

“I feel that UWF could have done a better job representing Black History Month,” said Pernell Beals, business major at UWF. “We should have highlighted the contributions blacks have had on the world everyday this month… showed black movies every week like ‘Dope,’ ‘NWA,’ ‘The Jackson 5’ or any movie that highlights what blacks have done.”

Beals also said black organizations on campus should have put on the biggest events of the year this month, since it is aimed at black excellence. “We have to do better,” Beals said.

Many areas on campus have advertised Black History Month events, including residence halls, major-specific building and the Commons.

“As a graduate student, I think UWF has been doing a better job of representing Black History Month,” Allie Ford, a criminal justice graduate said. “When I went to UWF there was a noose hung outside of my residence hall, so it is nice to see that UWF is working to highlight African-Americans without putting others down.”

For more information on the Office of Equity, Diversity and International Affairs, check their website.

Buddy wins Voyager’s Cutest Pet Contest by a landslide

By Claudia Carlson
Staff Writer


The Voyager Staff would like to thank all the students, faculty and staff who submitted a picture of their pets to our first-ever Cutest Pet Contest. There were 12 great submissions: three cats and nine dogs. We had a wonderful time going through the pictures and admiring all of the cuteness. After 10 days of the competition, a winner has emerged.

Buddy, a 13-year-old terrier mix, won the competition with 243 likes on his picture in our Facebook album. We couldn’t wait to contact his mother, junior Brooke Tanswell, and learn more about Buddy.

“Buddy has been a part of my life since I was 6 years old,” Tanswell said in an email interview. “He lived with my grandfather for nine years, so I was able to see him every day. Buddy is very special to me because he was my late grandfather’s dog that in inherited four years ago.”

Sharing the picture on Facebook helped Buddy win the competition. Tanswell, who is majoring in public relations, said she enlisted her family’s help to share Buddy’s picture on Facebook for maximum “likes.”

Tanswell said she is looking forward to seeing “Deadpool” with the two movie tickets she won from the contest.

Coming in second place with 110 likes was junior Adriana Viadero’s pup, Willow, an Australian shepherd.

The Voyager would like to thank Carmike Cinemas on W Street for donating the movie passes for our contest.