Tag Archives: UWF Students

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

Mackenzie Kees
Opinions Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.





Amtrak is a possibility for Pensacola, but would it benefit UWF students?

By Sara Agans
Staff Writer


Pensacolians might get another choice for transit in the near future.
Graphic courtesy of https://nextcity.org

All aboard? An Amtrak train stopped in Pensacola on Friday, Feb. 19, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina (2005) to gauge the interest of reopening the stop.

“Amtrak, which is a company that owns and operates passenger trains, is considering the possibility of passenger trains again,” said Rick Harper, assistant vice president for UWF’s Office of Economic Development and Engagement. “Amtrak would run trains along Central Gulf Coast and Northern Florida, including Pensacola. These trains would allow passengers to connect to other train services in places like New Orleans and Jacksonville.”

Harper also said this could benefit UWF students who live in areas close to where the trains will stop.  For instance, it might be convenient to ride a train back home from Spring Break instead of driving. However, Harper said most students might still find it more convenient to drive, whether to save the expense of a train ticket or because driving is usually faster.

“Amtrak has to figure out whether they can attract enough passengers to make it profitable to run the trains in our area,” Harper said.

A couple of students shared their responses when asked how many trips they would take over the next 12 months on Amtrak if the fares for a round trip were $50, $75 or $100.

Nicole Mills, a UWF senior majoring in telecommunications, estimated she would take three to five trips by train, because she said it would be a nice experience. If the fare for a round-trip was $50, Mills said she would take maybe five trips; if the fare price was $75, then three trips; and for $100, maybe only two trips.

David French, a UWF junior majoring in journalism, said he might take between five and 10 trips over the next 12 months. If the fare for a round-trip to Orlando was $50, French said he would easily take more than 10 trips; for $75, at least five trips; and for $100, probably no more than three.

Stephen LeMay, UWF visiting associate professor in the Department of Marketing and Economics said in the 1970s, when Amtrak first started advertising, they oversold their service – meaning they promised luxury performance the system could not provide.

“Consequently, they attracted a large number of one-time riders,” LeMay said. “They promoted luxurious cars and pleasant conditions, not to mention on-time arrivals and departures. They delivered rail cars that smelled like bad gas station bathrooms, 15-hour late arrivals, and other problems.”

LeMay said that this time around, the problems seem to be fixed. The big issue for UWF students will be whether the service fits the needs of the students. If the schedule does not work, LeMay said students are likely to ignore the service. If the schedule does work – the train will depart from Pensacola at 9 a.m. on Friday, arrive in Orlando sometime in the early afternoon, and return around 9 p.m. Sunday – students could visit Disney World or Universal Studios for the weekend.

“Personally, I would like to see the service succeed, but it will depend on frequency, time of day and reliability,” LeMay said.

For more information on current Amtrak routes, schedules and services click here.

UWF Community Garden continues to blossom in its seventh year of operation

By Kenny Detwyler
Contributing Writer


About 40 volunteers, including UWF faculty and students, show up to work on Saturday work days at the UWF Community Garden.
Photo by Kenny Detwyler.

The UWF Community Garden recently has been growing more than just fresh food and flowers. It has been growing at a rate that is allowing it to develop more than the members may have thought possible when it first began in 2009.

Nestled in the woods, behind the water tower and adjacent to parking lot B, students can find the garden, which is run and maintained by UWF students and faculty. It provides a place for students to get in touch with the world that surrounds them.

“I think that students who should go to the garden are people who enjoy the environment or love gardening, and even people who have never tried it in their lives,” Garden Club officer Shawnee Doling-Tye said. “A lot of people found that they love the sunshine, and that the fresh food is even better.”

On any given work day at the garden, you can find as many as 40 volunteers from many different backgrounds coming together to grow and maintain something “all natural” in a world that is becoming increasingly artificial.

“No matter what you study, no matter what your religion, your heritage, your gender, your age, the one thing we all have in common is that we require nutritious food to survive,” said Earth and Environmental Science instructor Chasidy Hobbs. “We have become so far removed from our food system that most of us could not provide for ourselves should the grocery store disappear. We want to do our part to teach people about just how easy it is, with the proper tools and a willingness to get a little dirty, to grow your own food.”

As the number of students who come to the garden continues to grow, so must the garden itself. The garden has a wealth of future developments planned for the site.

“We will be building a shade teaching pavilion this semester thanks to funds we received from SGA,” Hobbs said. “We also have our fingers crossed that we will receive funds for a request we put in for the Student Green Fee. If awarded, we will be building a rainwater collection system and doubling the amount of growing space available to anyone interested in getting involved with UWF Student Community Garden.”

Doling-Tye teased other upcoming additions including a grapevine, strawberries, and a pomegranate tree.

To find out more about the Community Garden and how to get involved in work days this spring, visit the website or ask to join their Facebook group, UWF Student Community Garden.