Tag Archives: Facebook

UWF students sacrifice their Spring Break to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity

By Mackenzie Kees

Opinions Editor

 UWF students traveled to Boca Raton over Spring Break to help Habitat for Humanity in South Palm Beach County. Photo courtesy of HFHSBC Facebook page.

UWF students traveled to Boca Raton over Spring Break to help Habitat for Humanity in South Palm Beach County.
Photo courtesy of HFHSBC Facebook page.

Many organizations exist to help the underprivileged, one of the more well-known being Habitat for Humanity. Rather than just donate money to marginalized communities, Habitat for Humanity does something more tangible: It builds homes for those most in need, and it takes more than just monetary contributions to do this successfully. People willing to volunteer their time to help build the homes is imperative.

Over Spring Break, March 13-19, several UWF students heeded the call to service and joined Habitat for Humanity in South Palm Beach County (HFHSBC) for week four of the 2016 Collegiate Challenge. UWF’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program made this outing possible through the efforts of trip leader Stacey Lee Field.

“Each ASB trip leader chooses a social justice issue that they want to work with; I chose to work with poverty and homelessness. It was through that decision that we decided to work with Habitat,” Stacey Lee Field, a junior majoring in psychology, said.

UWF teamed up with students from Indiana University to help repaint the homes of two families. Both of these homes were constructed by Habitat for Humanity back in 2004. “None of us knew that they would go back to [upkeep the homes]. It was nice to see that they helped keep the places looking good,” Field said.

In order to be considered as a potential Habitat homeowner, a long process must take place. A family must complete 400 hours of volunteer service, called sweat equity, which Mike Campbell, president and CEO for HFHSBC, told the Sun Sentinel “is [like] the down payment to their home.” Families also must complete 75 hours of classroom workshops to prepare for the financial responsibility of owning a home. The workshops also provide information on food and nutrition, as well as homebuyer education courses. So, Habitat for Humanity does not give houses away for free; instead, it provides people with the tools they need to better support their families, as well as a roof to sleep under.

Volunteers are the backbone of this nonprofit organization, and without the hard work of the UWF and Indiana University students who decided to sacrifice their Spring Break to help out those in need, these homes may have fallen into disrepair.

For more about UWF’s participation in the 2016 Collegiate Challenge, check out HFHSBC’s official Facebook page. To find out how to get involved with Pensacola’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, visit their website. More information on UWF’s ASB program can be found here.





Protect yourself online: Center for Cybersecurity hosts self-defense workshop

By Kelsi Gately
Staff Writer

cyber self

University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity hosted guest speaker Glenda Snodgrass, president and lead consultant at The Net Effect LLC, on March 9. In her presentation, “Cyber Self Defense: Protecting your online identity,” she urged participants to take steps to prevent being a victim of cyber crime.

Snodgrass has been the lead consultant for The Net Effect since the company started in 1996. Her presentation covered everything people forget about when using the cyber world.

More than 16 billion computing devices exist in the world today. By 2020, this number will grow to 40.9 billion.

Cyber crime is now more profitable than the drug trade, Snodgrass said, and organized criminal gangs are even joining the cyber world. An entire underground economy is devoted to hacking.

These new cyber criminals are after everything: medical records, student academic records, email, Netflix and Uber accounts. Snodgrass encouraged everyone to take steps to protect their online accounts. This includes: Stop and think before you post something; check security settings every couple of months; do not use “login with Facebook” on other sites.

She also suggested that you lie on security questions. Come up with a place, person, pet, and school, but those answers should not relate to you at all. Someone should not be able to find the answers of security questions on your social media accounts.

Snodgrass said that laziness with reusing usernames and passwords for everything is the easiest way to be a victim of cyber crime. She also said when using the World Wide Web, users need to be aware of what is going on around them, just as when they travel to a foreign country.

“People over the age of 40 are more concerned about security,” Snodgrass said. “Those between ages 25 and 40 are less secure online, and those under 25 know and understand because they have grown up with the cyber world.”

Pay attention to what is in the background of your selfies. Your photos contain geo-tracking that can tell hackers your location accurate to within one meter. What you put on social media will be there forever.

Snodgrass mentioned that the new smart TVs also record everything that is said within range.

“I have a smart TV, I didn’t think about the microphone constantly getting information and recoding,” said Jeramey Lacey, cybersecurity major. “Should have known better.”

Snodgrass also advises to never use open Wifi. When you leave the house, turn off Wifi and Bluetooth on your phone. In just 20 minutes, a hacker can get into your device and retrieve private information. You are safer to stay on your cellular network until you can get connected to a secure, password-protected network.

And those “zombie apps,” the ones you haven’t used in months, delete them every couple of months, she said. Constantly check for updates, and if it is no longer in the app store, get rid of it.

“I need to be better about getting rid of my zombie apps,” said Niel Barbon, Pensacola State College freshman majoring in computer science.

Take the time to clean up social media accounts and update your security options. Check location settings on your phone.

Follow Snodgrass on twitter to stay up-to-date on the best ways to protect yourself. If you are interested in cybersecurity, email Eman El-Sheikh, director of the Center for Cybersecurity and professor of Computer Science, at eelsheikh@uwf.edu. For more information about the different computer science programs UWF offers, click here. Also, UWF Cyber Club is open to any student interested in learning about cybersecurity.

He creates, he laughs, he scams: Be like Bill no more

By Kaitlin Lott

Staff Writer


Facebook is no stranger to social media fads that come in like a hurricane one day, flooding your timeline, only to leave like a gust of wind the next.

Currently, Bill, a stick figure cartoon, has contributed to the users of the social media world regressing to kindergarten arts and crafts with elementary class topics.

Bill, our sardonic, sarcastic, negative Nancy, has become somewhat of an inspiration to social media fanatics, becoming their voice of opinion. Instead of actually using their words in a class discussion or progressive political debate, “Bill” seems to have grasped their inner thoughts.

But the question is, does Bill get it right every time? Of course not. The computer generates what it thinks you might think or feel and hopes it lands on the moon. For me, it was way off on Jupiter.














For the record: I’m on level 645 of Candy Crush.

Haphazardly, Bill has made controversial topics relatable without being harmful.

It also seems that people have taken the “power of Bill” into their own hands. Bill tends to generate harmless memes that suggest that people should actually look like their Facebook pictures, not annoy their friends with stupid questions or take gym selfies.

However, recently individuals have created “Be Like Bill” memes for more “pressing issues.”

“I have some interesting adaptions using the current political race for the Be Like Bill memes,” said Carol Britton, communication liaison at UWF.

“In a weird way, ‘The Be Like Bill’ meme has allowed people to express how they feel about their political, social or cultural issues without hurting someone’s feelings,” said Troy University student Brittany Tate. “Many people today are afraid to simply say how they feel, but somehow Bill has made it OK for individuals to express what they do and don’t like without consequence.”

Bill is not supposed to be taken seriously in a world ruled by social media. Bill is merely a source of entertainment while cruising the World Wide Web, but there are some individuals who are critical of this craze.

“Of course I’ve seen Bill, but he is not an area of attention that needs to be focused on,” Amanda O’Beid, UWF hospitality major, said. “Social media has become something to occupy their time with instead of doing something important. So instead of paying their bills they decide to play with Bill.”

Bill just might be a little more dangerous than the average Joe assumed. Cyber scams now have a mask that appeals to the general population. Online credit accounts are no longer the only way to steal someone’s identity. Deceptively humorous memes that occupy our time in between class could be planning their own futures with our accounts.

“Several of the third-party sites that generate content like this have proven to be security risks for the computer users, so I tend to stay away from them personally,” Britton said.

Even more so, the Better Business Bureau has been investigating the popular app, as reported by Brett Molina, in USA TODAY on Jan. 24.

From this side of the fence, my best advice would be to stay away from Bill and find ancient ways to occupy your time, like reading a book. I know it is hard to believe, but there once was a time when memes didn’t exist and instead actual human interaction did.

If you feel like taking a gamble with Bill find him on Facebook at Official Be Like Bill.


Free speech, protest movements and your ‘Friends’ list

Tristan Lawson

Staff Writer

Campus protests, marches and acts of civil disobedience like the ones happening now at universities and colleges across the country have not been seen since the 60s. A lot of things have changed since then, while other things seem to be stuck in the same spot. The demographic of our country, the Internet, smartphones and the nature of the media has changed… a lot. Every aspect of our lives is up for debate with the click of a button, and freedom of speech has gone from a soapbox to a worldwide audience. The next Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez or Eleanor Roosevelt could be on your Friends list right now… or, you might have blocked them already.

This country seems to be more polarized than ever, and so are the American people. There is a lot of discussion about how easily people are offended, and how every issue seems to invoke strong feelings as well as strong anger towards anyone who opposes our views. There have been many examples in the news lately of people lashing out at others for doing exactly what they are trying to do themselves: exercise their First Amendment right – the right to free speech.

Millennials are masters of technology and of using social media platforms to enrich their lives. It is easier than ever to engage with people from around the world on many issues. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are quickly becoming the chosen format for young people to get news and information. But there are some striking differences between your dad’s newspaper and your favorite newsfeed.

There are pages, independent groups and social media personalities sharing news and opinion on every issue you can imagine. Many of these are large news organizations and independent journalists trying to enter into a new arena of journalism and provide interesting and informative stories and news to keep you in the loop, while others are misinformed or just unethical people with an alternative agenda… and sometimes they are just people who just enjoy “stirring the pot.” All of these are protected as free speech.

But the great thing about Facebook and Twitter is, if you don’t “like it,” you can just “block it.” We all do it, and we all “like” and “share” the things we “like” and agree with… that is kind of the point, right?

The only problem with this is that we are only engaging in one side of the debate. With some media outlets becoming increasingly biased and polarized, and web-based news outlets fighting over “click-bait,” it means you are really only getting one side of the story – the side you agree with.

Whether we want to hear it or not, free speech means all speech, and alternative opinions and points of view are essential to the democratic process. A healthy society must be able to settle differences with conversation and reason instead of violence and intimidation in order to survive and prosper. Many of us are immune to the negative side effects of this one-sided overload of information, while others are extremely vulnerable.

But the “media” has played a part in their perception by Millennials. Many people have commented and observed how the media can “spin” the narrative of an extremely complex event or subject to fit nicely into a 1-hour show with 15 minutes of advertising. We saw examples of this during the Occupy movement, the protests in Ferguson, and the Black Lives Matter movement; many in these movements and their supporters complain of misrepresentation by the media.

All of this has led to a shift of attention away from large news organizations with a responsibility to report the news and which also carry the burden of accountability, to small “fringe” news organizations, with less than reputable credentials and no accountability.

However, millennials should keep in mind that politicians, police, universities and local governments are also struggling to maintain their composure under the microscope of social media. Many of these “fringe” news organizations are doing important work and taking risks to hold authorities accountable in a way that the mainstream media cannot and never has before.

College students and young activists should also remember that the success of a movement is reflected in the polls, not a 15-minute news segment. So far in the last decade we have seen the first black president, the first Latina Supreme Court justice, marriage equality for LGBT Americans and Facebook going public on the New York Stock exchange. Who knows what will happen next? You might read about it first on your newsfeed… or maybe not, if you’ve already blocked it.