Tag Archives: Argonaut

Medical marijuana back on the ballot in Florida

By Kelsi Gately

Staff Writer

 California was the first state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Graphic courtesy of Stonerthings.com

California was the first state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Graphic courtesy of Stonerthings.com





Map from Weiss Law Group

Come November, Florida voters will not just be voting in the local elections for the next President of the United States. They also will have the chance to vote on the legalization of medical marijuana.

Last December, Congress lifted the national ban on medical marijuana when passing the federal spending measure. Shortly after, some states and the District of Columbia legalized the use of medical marijuana. Florida, who did not pass the law in 2014, will have a second chance to legalize it in November. United for Care has made it their mission to make medical marijuana legal for all citizens. In 2014, a similar bill was on the ballot, but only had 58.8 percent of the 60 percent approval needed to be passed. This year, lawmakers believe it is more likely to pass because young voters tend only to vote during presidential election years.

“I believe medical marijuana should be legal because of all the positive feedback it has received from treating different diseases,” said Bianca Salvador, junior international studies major. “It has been proven many times that the proper use of medical marijuana has controlled general physical pain, weak immune systems, migraines, vomiting, some eating disorders and even cancer.”

According to the United for Care website, marijuana has helped patients dealing with medical conditions including: AIDS, Hepatitis C, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain, and other injuries. It claims marijuana has proven to have less side effects than nausea and pain medications that are currently on the market for doctors to prescribe.

“If there is something out there that has been proven to help with the health of those who need it, it should be taken into consideration,” Salvador said.

Legalizing medical marijuana can also bring in additional income for states. Colorado, which has legalized recreational marijuana as well, brought in more than $60 million in marijuana taxes last year. Colorado has designated a total 15 percent of marijuana revenue to go to improving schools and the education of its students.

“I support the legalization of medical marijuana,” said Colleen Puchalski, junior international studies major. “I believe that the state can produce a great amount of revenue off the sale and taxes. Also, it has scientific medicinal purposes, and depriving the sick of a potential alleviation of symptoms is cruel and unjust simply because some people have preconceived judgments.”

The entire text of the 2016 proposed amendment can be read here. The Miami Herald also published the differences between the 2014 and the 2016 proposals in an article.

Tweet me @kelsi_gately what you think about the 2016 proposal and if you are going to #VoteYESon2.



The food truck debate rages on: Council votes down ordinance once again

Tom Moore

Contributing Writer

 Food trucks were voted down again at Thursday’s City Council meeting. Some food trucks, including Nomadic Eats, were temporarily allowed at City Hall on weekends during the month of January. Photo courtesy of Nomadic Eats Facebook Page.

Food trucks were voted down again at Thursday’s City Council meeting. Some food trucks, including Nomadic Eats, were temporarily allowed at City Hall on weekends during the month of January.
Photo courtesy of Nomadic Eats Facebook Page.

The war rages on. The City Council continues to debate. The community holds its collective breath, and at least 50 local entrepreneurs wait to purchase their licenses to open shop and start hawking their respective wares. Now in its third year, the debate about food trucks in Pensacola is still a hot topic.

Thursday night’s City Council 4-4 stalemate vote did nothing to alleviate the tensions between the proponents and opponents to what has turned into one of the hottest, longest-running, most controversial ordinances in the Pensacola City Council.

Randy Russell, the owner of food truck Nomadic Eats that operates at Pensacola State College, said, “This is really a hard business. On a very good day I do $300 to $400 dollars of business. That’s me being busy and working really hard.”

The last time the Pensacola City Council voted in January, it approved the ordinance on its first reading. It needed only to approve it once more in a final vote for the ordinance to be passed. However, the council could not muster the five votes needed.

Many community leaders have weighed in on issue, including University of West Florida’s Vice President for University Advancement Brendan Kelly.

In an interview Thursday with WEAR-TV Channel Three reporter Jackalyn Kovac, Kelly said he would like to see the city adopt a system echoing what other cities with historic cities have done. “Part of the investments we’ve made in downtown Pensacola and our mission as a historic trust, is to preserve what makes the fabric of a historic district special. And that is to have a place that doesn’t have all the trappings of modern day life associated with it.”

Kelly is not alone in his opposition. Many others, including local business owners, oppose the food trucks, because they believe the trucks will cause unsightly traffic in the downtown area.

“If the trucks proliferate, they will damage the brick and mortar, property tax-paying restaurants and be a blight on the great streetscape and charming ambiance we now have,” said Wilmer Mitchell, president of Seville Quarter.

“Those of us who have worked for years developing the area and taken the financial risks necessary to buy the land and build the buildings, and who pay major property taxes and license fees every year, should never have to face an ordinance which would permit competitors with little stake in the game to drive up, park near us and compete with us from a free space on the streets we helped make popular.”

In defense of food truck operators, Russell said, “I don’t think we pose much of a threat to the brick and mortars. Not at $300 to $500 a day.”

“I don’t like any hasty decisions and sometimes important decisions take time,” Kelly told the Pensacola News Journal. “So whatever time it takes to make the right policies for this city and where we are trying to go makes the most sense to me.” (Taken from a PNJ story on Feb. 11, 2016.)

Councilwoman Sherri Myers did not go along with the views of the opponents. She was particularly opposed to the idea that local business owners and residents somehow needed “protection” from the food trucks.

“I don’t think that it’s the role of the government to guarantee businesses success,” Myers said.

Johnson and Myers both also called out the University of West Florida Historic Trust for its last-minute objections to the ordinance.

“As much as this has been in the press, it concerns me,” Myers said, referring to the concerns raised only last week by UWF officials.

“I don’t think anyone is opposed to the business per se,” said Mike Guildy, who lives in the historic district downtown near Seville. “I think the ultimate goal of the council should be to find a place for the food trucks to operate and dedicate that place where they want to come.”

No Valentine? No Worries! There are plenty of fish on campus

By Kaitlin Lott

Staff Writer


Graphic courtesy of dreamstime.com.



Valentine’s Day appeared in full force this year, with giant teddy bears, bouquets of flowers and massive candy aisles at the grocery store.

While many students will be indulging in the traditions of Valentine’s Day, a select group will be waiting until midnight to stock up on the massive candy sale.

Fortunately, while waiting around for midnight, students can explore their love lives on dating sites or apps. Before the social media revolution, dating websites targeted a more mature crowd, but as social media has expanded over time, online dating has become more prominent for young adults looking for the love of their life.

Lauren Burroughs, a graduating psychology major at UWF, explained how a dating app led to her finding her one true valentine.

“Steven and I met on Plenty of Fish (POF),” Burroughs said. POF is a free online dating site that connects individuals looking to find love or simply friendship through descriptions of themselves, hobbies and who they are interested in.

“Anytime I’m thinking about wanting to get back out there or dating I use POF, because it’s free and you can get a feel for people before actually going on a date with them,” Burroughs said.

Burroughs said using a dating app is an easier way to find love in 2016. “I feel like we are in a time now where it is difficult for anyone to meet people they can have long-term relationships with,” Burroughs said.

However, Burroughs’ fiancé used POF for a different reason.

“I went on POF looking for friends, because I just moved to the area and did not know anyone,” said Steven DiMartino, a military cyber security trainer.

Besides POF, many other dating sites exist, such as Match, Zoosk, Christian Mingle, Black People Meet and more. However, unlike POF, these sites require upgrades in order to experience the site in its entirety, which costs money.

DiMartino had used eHarmony, and said it “was horrible, and it was a paid website so I thought it would be better.”

The process of making friends and establishing relationships from preschool through high school is basically set up by itself due to circumstances. As time progresses, dating and meeting friends becomes harder because dating in the workplace is discouraged, and dating on college campuses can be intimidating.

“I would never date at UWF,” Burroughs said. “UWF guys are immature, they’re not someone to expect anything more out of for the future. Now if they are almost done with school and have their head on straight, I’m not going to tell anybody to segregate themselves from a good person.”

On the other side of the fence, Ashley O’Brien, a single, graduating social work major, does not agree that UWF’s dating scene has lost its touch.

“I usually meet people through groups of friends, which is how I met my past two boyfriends,” O’Brien said.

But online dating is not completely out of the question for O’Brien.

“If I was out of the college scene, I would consider online dating,” O’Brien said. “I think there are a lot of opportunities for relationships with people on campus.”

Ashleigh Moss, administration major at Pensacola State College, offered some advice to eager singles. “A big part of dating in college and work is finding people who are into the same thing you are, even if that’s a class,” Moss said. “Join clubs that interest you, find events on campus that you may like, and be social! You can’t find love without getting to know someone.”

Whether looking for a serious relationship or a friend to Netflix and chill with, remember that true love can be found around campus, in the office or online.

For those looking to the internet for new relationships, check a dating website — you never know what fish you may catch.


de Paula twins travel more than 4,000 miles to make a splash at UWF

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

 Mariana de Paula, left, and Ana are one of three sets of siblings on the UWF Swim and Dive teams. Photo courtesy Mariana de Paula.

Mariana de Paula, left, and Ana are one of three sets of siblings on the UWF Swim and Dive teams.
Photo courtesy Mariana de Paula.

Most siblings are accustomed to sharing clothes. But for a few student athletes at the University of West Florida, sharing a uniform also has become routine.

UWF is home to 15 different sports teams, and a few have pairs of siblings who have excelled at a shared sport. These athletes owe their success in sports not only to their parents, but to their siblings who may have had the greatest influence on their achievements in sports.

The women’s swimming and diving team has three sets of siblings. Mariah and Marissa Constantakos are freshmen divers from Tate High School. Julia and Karisa Kostecki are now in their junior year on the swim team from Lithia, Florida. Lastly, juniors Ana Christina and Mariana de Paula are twin sisters who came all the way to Pensacola from Santos, Brazil.

For the de Paula twins, coming to the United States together meant everything for their swimming careers. They began swimming together when they were 11 years old and have not separated since. The sisters attended the Colegio Universitas in Santos where they excelled on the swim team.

After a stellar high school swimming career, they knew they wanted to pursue swimming even further for a university in the United States. The twins knew that if they wanted to reach college coaches in not only another country, but another continent, it would be up to them to contact coaches. They sent more than 100 emails to college coaches that included their times, their strengths, and often a short video.

Their freshman year of college was spent at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. After their first year at UNF, the twins heard about the new swimming program at UWF, a program that would be able to offer them more scholarship money.

They contacted Head Coach Andrew Hancock, but he was only able to offer one spot on the team. But the de Paulas were a package deal and refused to split up. Luckily for them, a second spot opened up on the team and they were able to come to UWF as a pair.

“We have a lot of strength from coming to the United States together,” Ana Christina said. “It is not like I came here by myself, I came with family.”

They explained that while being more than 4,000 miles away from their family is hard, having each other makes it all worthwhile.

While Mariana’s strengths are in freestyle sprints and relays, Ana is best at backstroke and breaststroke distance.

“We get asked a lot about which one is better, stronger – even though we swim completely different events,” Mariana said. “That in itself is a funny aspect, because we have the same body type and went through the same conditions of training our whole lives, and still, race in very different events. But I believe that, as an athlete, you will be successful in whatever you dedicate yourself to.”

While some siblings have their own individualities such as the events they prefer to swim, they also embrace their depiction as a “dynamic duo.”

Next week, read about Jason and Josh Laatch, two brothers from Birmingham, who are both spending their collegiate basketball careers at UWF.




Get your folk on with Grizfolk at Vinyl Music Hall this Thursday

By Mackenzie Kees

Opinions Editor

 Alternative band Grizfolk, whose name is based on Adam Roth’s nickname (“Griz Adams”), saw success on the Internet after their demo for the song “The Struggle” went viral. Photo courtesy of Grizfolk’s Official Twitter Account (@grizfolk)

Alternative band Grizfolk, whose name is based on Adam Roth’s nickname (“Griz Adams”), saw success on the Internet after their demo for the song “The Struggle” went viral.
Photo courtesy of Grizfolk’s official website.

Vinyl Music Hall in downtown Pensacola showcases a diverse assortment of talented bands from all genres of music, and this week it will provide music lovers with an exceptionally gifted array of musical geniuses.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, Grizfolk, a band that defies traditional genres, is set to perform at Vinyl. The show is for all ages and tickets are on sale now for $15.

Grizfolk has produced many songs in its three-year-long career, but online buzz really started to surge after “The Struggle” was released in 2013, increasing their renown early on. The California-based band consists of five members – singer Adam Roth, bassist Brendan Willing James, keyboardist Sebastian Fritze, drummer Bill Delia and guitarist Fredrik Eriksson – who hail from all corners of the globe.

Fritze describes their music as “folk, not as a genre, but as in the idea of a community of people working together.” The laid-back quintet prides itself on being able to produce songs successfully by combining several divergent musical styles.

“It started off as a fun experiment to see how we could bring in different musical styles and make something that we all love,” Eriksson said. “But then it worked within the first few songs, so we kept going with it.”

Fellow labelmate Knox Hamilton announced that they would be accompanying Grizfolk on their Troublemaker Tour. Knox Hamilton is an indie pop rock band from Little Rock, Arkansas, best known for its title track “Work It Out,” from their debut EP “How’s Your Mind.” The band consists of brothers Boots and Cobo Copeland, the band’s lead vocalist and drummer, respectively, Brad Pierce on the keyboards and guitarist Drew Buffington.

The show’s venue, Vinyl Music Hall, dubbed simply “Vinyl” by locals, offers a unique experience for those who enjoy being up close to the band. Built in 1897 as the Escambia Masonic Lodge No. 15, this three-story building in the heart of downtown Pensacola is the perfect spot for today’s clubbers.

“I like attending shows at The Vinyl, because the venue is small enough to allow the band to provide a more intimate performance,” said Nadeem Moukaddam, a UWF senior majoring in business management.

“You’ll always have a good view and it’s connected to a bar,” said Nadine Barragan, a Pensacola State senior majoring in hospitality. “The Vinyl has a different vibe than the other bars I usually frequent, and I like that about it. The Vinyl’s a breath of fresh air.”

See Grizfolk, featuring Knox Hamilton, Dinosaur Daze and Young Natives, at 7 p.m. Thursday. Follow this link for more information on Vinyl Music Hall and its upcoming schedule. Follow these links for additional information on Grizfolk, Knox Hamilton, Dinosaur Daze and Young Natives.

Watch Grizfolk’s video “The Struggle” here.

Find out more about Knox Hamilton in their introductory video here.

‘Oklahoma!’ comes sweeping into UWF theater


 Oklahoma! will be the first production the Department of Theater will put on this semester. The second, “On the Verge” will open in April. Photo courtesy of UWF.edu/music

Oklahoma! will be the first production the Department of Theater will put on this semester. The second, “On the Verge” will open in April. Photo courtesy of UWF.edu/music

By Sydney O’Gwynn
Staff Writer

The University of West Florida’s Department of Theater is kicking off its 2016 season with “Oklahoma!” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb 19, at the Mainstage Theater in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

The show features an all-student cast and is directed by Sara Schoch, assistant professor of Musical Theater. Schoch performed in regional theaters across the nation before joining the department in the fall of 2015.

“Here at UWF we have some of the nicest, kindest, most hardworking young people in the industry,” Schoch said. “They are very open to the creative process, they are kind, they are generous in their performing, and they like to have a lot of fun, and it makes the production all the better because of it. We have an enormous amount of talent here at UWF.”

“Oklahoma!” follows cowboy Curly McClain and his love interest, Laurey Williams. It is set in Oklahoma territory in the year 1906.

Schoch, who has bachelor’s degree of fine arts in theater from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a master’s degree of fine arts in acting from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass, said she loved this musical in particular and believes it is one of the best love stories ever created.

“This show is so unbelievably American,” she said. “It is the story of us. A lot of people consider this musical to be old; I consider it to be timeless.”

Jerre Brisky, director of the CFPA, said this production is important because the release of “Oklahoma!” was a milestone in the world of musical theater.

“‘Oklahoma!’ was really the first show within musical theater where the songs helped advance the plot and helped advance the story,” Brisky said. “It’s not often that you get to see what was probably one of the greatest influences on the history of musical theater.”

Schoch said she thinks there are a lot of challenges performers face because the production is a musical.

“I think the challenges in musicals are to create real characters – real characters who happen to be larger than life,” she said. “I think that is a challenge for any young actor, how we make these people believable and relatable at the same time.”

Schoch also said that the actors in the production range from freshman to senior students.

“We have people who have had many years of experience on the stage, and we have people who have not much experience on the stage,” she said. “So we have all levels, and they are all so enthusiastic and the show, in my opinion, is really beautiful.”

She said the people working behind the scenes- controlling the lighting, changing wardrobes and setting props –are just as vital to the production as the actors, and that the whole department works together in preparation for the production.

“We have all kinds of people,” Schoch said. “It’s not just the 22 actors on stage, it’s a hundred people that touch this production.”

Charles Houghton, chair of the Department of Theater, is in charge of lighting and scenic design for the production. He said he feels optimistic about the production from what he has seen in rehearsals.

“The show is going really well,” Houghton said. “It’s a very great energy with the cast. It’s going to be a fantastic production.”

He also said that Schoch is doing well with the actors and said he sees this production as the “complete package.”

“It’s one of those shows that, if you like musical theater, you are going to love this show,” he said. “If you haven’t been to see a show at UWF, I think it would be a great one for you to come and see what amazing talent we have here with our students.”

Brisky said he believes it is important for fellow students to come show their support for the student performers because of all the hard work they do.

“Seeing live shows is a completely different experience than going to a movie,” he said. “Students may or may not have ever seen a show before, this is a great introduction.”

Schoch echoes Brisky’s thinking about theater performances, calling what is done in the theater “magical.”

“Live theater is incredible. It’s an experience that hundreds of people share at one time, and I think that’s really rare,” she said. “It will never happen that way again, those people will never be in that room at that moment ever again.”

Tickets for current UWF students are free when they present their Nautilus card either at the Service Desk and Ticketing Center in the University Commons, or at the CFPA box office between the hours of 1 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets for the general public can be purchased at both locations for $16 for adults, $12 for senior citizens/active military, $10 for faculty/staff and non-UWF students, and $5 for youth. The production will run Feb. 19-21 and Feb. 26-28.

For more information, or to see the department’s full spring schedule, visit the website.



Lead prosecutor in Bundy trial gives lecture at UWF

By Claudia Carlson

Staff Writer

 George R. Dekle Sr. discussed the investigation, prosecution and execution of the serial killer Ted Bundy on Wednesday. Photo by Claudia Carlson.

George R. Dekle Sr. discussed the investigation, prosecution and execution of the serial killer Ted Bundy on Wednesday.
Photo by Claudia Carlson.

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, the lead prosecutor in the Ted Bundy murder trial spoke at the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at the University of West Florida about the trial and his experience.  The audience nearly filled the 309-seat Music Hall.

George R. Dekle Sr. worked for the State Attorney’s Office of the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida, where he served as an assistant state attorney from 1975 through 2005. After he retired in 2006, he became a legal skills professor for the University of Florida.

UWF senior Maura Little, a communications major, was ready to hear about the Ted Bundy trial. “I’m in a newspaper reporting class this semester, and I am here because I think this case is a very interesting part of Pensacola history,” Little said.

Dekle used PowerPoint to take his audience on a journey 38 years in the past. In the presentation, he used a timeline to describe the events that transpired and led to the investigation, prosecution and execution of Ted Bundy.

Bundy escaped from jail twice before heading to Florida to be near the water and in warmer weather. He killed two young women at the Florida State University who were living in the Chi Omega sorority house.

“I was a student at FSU in 1978 when Bundy terrorized our campus,” said Jack Williams of Pensacola. “He had previously been seen at this local bar that I regularly went to, which is something I still have not been able to process. What Bundy did while at FSU was unimaginable and horrific.”

Bundy stole a white FSU van and headed to Jacksonville, where he attempted to kidnap 14-year-old Leslie Paramenter, but was unsuccessful when her brother interrupted their conversation. This led Bundy to Lake City where he abducted 12-year-old Kim Leach, who descriptively could have been Paramenter’s twin sister. Bundy raped and killed the girl, leaving her body in the Suwannee State Park under a makeshift covering. She was reported missing for seven weeks until her body was found by investigators.

Bundy then headed to Pensacola in a stolen orange Volkswagen. Pensacola police officer David Lee pulled Bundy over around 1 a.m. when a “wants and warrants” check showed the car was stolen. Bundy made for a difficult arrest, kicking Lee and running away. At the time, the Police Department did not know with whom they were dealing, due to Bundy giving them a false name. Bundy’s true identity finally came to light when the student, whose identity Bundy had been using, reported it.

Authorities started putting pieces together when they realized the white van Bundy stole from FSU had been left around the area the Volkswagen was stolen, and also where Leach was abducted.

The two vehicles were filled with evidence that helped prosecute Bundy. Once Leach’s body was finally located, the fibers found in the carpet of the white van and on Leach’s clothes made it an evidence gold mine. A blood stain in the carpet of the van also matched Leach’s blood type.

In 1979 Bundy was convicted guilty of his crimes and sentenced to death.

Dekle said his job was not done until he saw the case all the way through. “You don’t win the case until the defendant is led into the death chambers and is executed,” Dekle said. “It’s a long haul, not a pleasant path, but you must be invested in it the whole way through.”

Bundy admitted to murdering 30 young women from 1974 through 1978, but Dekle said he believes the number to be much higher.

The now-retired Pensacola police officer Lee was in the crowd, where he received a standing ovation for his work in arresting Bundy and potentially saving more lives here in Pensacola.


Think your pet is the cutest? Enter the Voyager’s contest and find out

By Claudia Carlson

Staff Writer

Attention all pet lovers. Do you think you have the cutest pet out of all of the UWF campus? If so, we have some fun news for you. The Voyager staff is excited to announce a competition to find the cutest pet on campus.

If you think you have the most adorable pet and would like to share their cuteness with the rest of us, please email a picture of your pet to voyagercutestpet@gmail.com with your pet’s name as the subject line. In your email, include your name, UWF email address, phone number, year and major, or if you are faculty or staff, where you work on campus.

The contest will be held on The Voyager’s Facebook page, so before you send your email, be sure to “like” us on Facebook so you are able to keep up with the competition. We will make an album on Facebook titled “Voyager’s Cutest Pet Competition,” and will determine who wins by which photo gets the most likes. The contest will run Sunday, Feb. 7 through Wednesday, Feb. 17, with the winner announced in our Sunday, Feb. 21 edition of The Voyager.

The winner of the most liked photo will get two movie tickets to a Carmike Theater, and will be interviewed for a follow up story as the winner of the contest. The winner can pick up the two Carmike passes in the Communication Arts building main office the week of Feb. 21, and will need to show ID.

Remember to submit your photos to voyagercutestpet@gmail.com no later than Thursday, Feb. 11, and then check The Voyager Facebook to see all the cute pets in the contest and “like” the picture of your favorite pet to submit your vote. Share with your friends on social media too.

Your email should look like this:



Contest email address: voyagercutestpet@gmail.com

The Voyager Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/uwfvoyager/?fref=ts

Email deadline: Thursday, Feb. 11

Facebook voting deadline: Thursday, Feb. 17

Winner announced: Sunday, Feb. 21

If you have any questions please tweet me, @claudcarlson, or email the contest email address. Good luck everyone, and may the cutest pet win.

Switch out your pencils for pixie dust – spend a semester at Disney

By Kaitlin Lott

Staff Writer


 The Disney College Program offers students opportunities to work in many different areas, from park greeter, Photo Pass photographer, resort guide and transportation. Photo courtesy of Disney College Program.

The Disney College Program offers students opportunities to work in many different areas, from park greeter, Photo Pass photographer, resort guide and transportation.
Photo courtesy of Disney College Program.

Let’s face it, college is not the most exciting place on earth. Sure, there are a few epic parties here and there, and there’s always that one professor who will make a giant impact on his or her students’ lives, but overall college is college. A place where books and homework haunt you until graduation day.

Fortunately, the University of West Florida offers alternatives. Instead of wooden desks and long lectures, imagine working at the happiest place on earth, making dreams come true and wishes come to life.
Tamara Marmol, a UWF international studies graduate, was a Kilimanjaro Safari driver in Animal Kingdom Park at Disney.UWF’s Hospitality Department offers the Walt Disney World Experiential Learning Program, which is a full semester filled with magic. The program is partnered with the Disney College Program, connecting students from all over the world and teaching them the tools of the trade of being a cast member.

“When spring came last year, I knew I needed to get my internship and field study credits out of the way, and I was craving a bit of a break from school,” Marmol said. “My whole application to the acceptance process took about two weeks.”

Yes, you do have to work, students have the option to pick from multiple roles as a Disney cast member. A few of the roles include being a park greeter, convention guide, photographer or even working the attractions.

Students also can work as housekeepers in Disney Resort Hotels. Perhaps even in Cinderella’s Castle.

Although the program caters to hospitality majors, students of different majors should not be discouraged. The program offers a wide variety courses at Disney including corporate communications, leadership, human resources and interactive learning.

Taylor Fields, a film and television major at Savannah College of Art and Design – Atlanta, applied and never wanted to leave.

“I participated in The Disney College Program the summer of my sophomore year,” Fields said. “I applied, chose my top three roles and waited for my phone interview. After that, I waited to get accepted, and I did. Once accepted I found out I got my third desired role, merchandising.

“I found out I would be working at EPCOT, Towers and Glow,” Fields said. “That included working the two stores in front of The World Showcase, and glow carts selling light up merchandise for the fireworks show at night. They trained us in the most effective way possible, and I finally felt a part of the Disney Family.”

On days off, students participating in the program are allowed to enter the parks for free.  From time to time they use their magic as undercover cast members to make guests’ experiences the best they can be.

“I learned so much about how to be magical on stage and off stage,” Fields said.

Marmol’s stay at Disney lasted eight months, longer than the average semester, but she, like Fields, had a chance to experience life after college, both good and bad.

“There were tons of times when I was exhausted or wanted to give up or cried in the break room, but I had to suck it up, put a smile on, and remember that I work in the most magical place on earth,” said Fields.

Despite the rainy days, both women shared how magical their lives became and how Disney prepared them for aspects of post-graduation reality.

“Applying for this program was the best decision I ever made,” Fields said.

For more information on finding a more magical classroom contact the Hospitality, Recreation and Resort Management Department or directly apply at Disney College Program.

Barbie gets new look after 57 years, but was it necessary?

By Sara Agans

Staff Writer

barbie 1

The 2016 Barbie Fashionista Line introduces three new body types and seven different skin tones.
Photos courtesy of Time Magazine.

barbie 2

The traditional Barbie doll has had the same generic look for 56 years – so why change it now? That’s what I thought about when I first heard of this new Barbie Fashionista 2016 line by Mattel (Barbie’s parent company).

I will be honest and say that I thought adding three new body types to the original Barbie doll line was a bit ridiculous. However, after doing some research, I may have changed my views about it after all.

At first, I did not understand why Barbie’s original look needed changing. I feel that no one looks at a Barbie doll and says, “I want to look like Barbie.” There are real-life people for that kind of inspiration, as well as commercials, such as the Lane Bryant “Plus is Equal” commercial, advertising that having curves are just as beautiful as having no curves.

The hashtags #Barbie and #TheDollEvolves are currently trending on Twitter with several different opinions about the new 2016 line. As I was scrolling through tweets with these two hashtags, one post from @JulieBorowski really caught my eye because I had a similar viewpoint: “These new #Barbie changes are more for moms with body insecurities than their daughters.” Borowski then tweeted again, stating that she had no real opinions on dolls, considering she never played with them, but she feels “blaming them for body image issues is a stretch.”

As a kid growing up in the ’90s, I played with several Barbie dolls, but the image of the dolls was never a thought that crossed my mind. Unfortunately, for today’s generation, looks and body image seem to be a huge double standard for girls everywhere, young and old.

After a little research, I found out a few things about the new Barbie doll line that has actually given me an entirely different perspective. There is a promo video on the official Barbie website, and it gives you a look at why Mattel made this change. Having kids voice their opinions in this video is what really struck me and opened my eyes about the reason for this change. The first words in the video are from a little girl, and she says, “It’s important for Barbies to look different. You know, like the real people in the world.” The video also shows the design team and they explain the reasoning for this inspirational change.

After watching the video and reading several tweets about the many people inspired by this new change, it now makes total sense to me. It is important for girls to feel comfortable in their own skin, and making Barbie have several different looks lets girls know that it is OK to be different and it is OK to have your own look.

According to an article written by Heather Libby on Upworthy.com, this Barbie Fashionista 2016 line includes seven skin tones, 18 eye colors and hairstyles and four body types: petite, tall, curvy and original. Some of the dolls will even be able to wear flat shoes.  Libby said, “I’m delighted to see Barbie starting to look more like a person, like me, like you, and like the people we love. And I’m hopeful that with these changes, we’ll see even more inclusivity from Mattel in the future – like trans Barbie, or elder Barbie, or veteran amputee Barbie, or pierced punk Barbie with a shaved head, among so many others.”

Libby also said something at the end of her article that sums this up perfectly: “No mass-produced doll, in whatever shape and with whatever ethnicity, can be fully represented of the multitudes in all of us.”