Tag Archives: UWF

UWF hosts ‘Raptivist’ Aisha Fukushima

By Taylor Hall
Staff Writer

The UWF Conference Center was filled with energy on Wednesday as Aisha Fukushima rapped, sang and lectured about equality and diversity. Fukushima calls herself a “raptivist” – or rap activist.

Experience the Labyrinth right here on campus

By Elizabeth Gray
Staff Writer

If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Chartres Cathedral in France but can’t quite come up with the funds, don’t worry, because the UWF Department of History is bringing the cathedral to you.

DJ Ziggy becomes first-ever winner of UWF Battle of the DJs

By Mary Jo Gruber


CAB’s first ever Battle of the DJs drew in a large crowd on Thursday night. Photo by Mary Jo Gruber

Staff Writer

The University of West Florida Campus Activity Board held its first-ever Battle of the DJs on Thursday, Sept. 15, and DJ Ziggy walked away with the title of UWF DJ King.

The event featured three DJs from the Gulf Coast region who competed for the title.

Ziggy went up against fellow DJs Mr. Ooowee and J5 in three rounds of music-mixing challenges. The themes for the first two rounds were “old school” and “artist mash-up.” The DJs were given five minutes each to put their best musical mix forward.

The final round, called “a minute to win it,” allowed a final 60 seconds for each performer to win over the crowd in front of a panel of judges consisting of UWF faculty and staff members.

The event took place in the Commons Auditorium and was free to all UWF students. The room was lit with bright neon lights and strobes as attendees danced and sang along to their favorite tunes.

The event MC was B.Rob, a UWF student and aspiring entertainer. He encouraged the crowd to document their experience on Snapchat and to utilize the filters created for the event on the app. Many students did and were able to share videos and pictures of themselves with “CAB Battle of the DJs,” as an overlay to their friends on Snapchat.

“We’ve really never seen an event like this at UWF,” said Jay-Ana Benavente, CAB Co-President. “It’s been really nerve-wracking, but we’re all really excited.”

Benavente said her fellow CAB Co-President Lonsard Dennis found the inspiration for the event in successful DJ battles they heard about from other school campus activity boards. Preparation for the event had been underway since June.

Eryka Wallace, assistant to the dean of communication in University College, was among the staff members selected for the judges’ panel, and said she was excited to participate.

“They have provided with us with a scoring sheet, but what I’m really most looking for is the audience interaction that the DJs can bring,” she said.

Wallace also serves as an advisor to the African-American Student Association and has been a judge for previous CAB events. “I’ve been a part of judging for the CAB Talent Show as well as some pageants, but nothing really quite like this,” she said.

Other faculty and staff members included on the judging panel were Erica Taylor, assistant professor of biology, Christopher Hawkins, graduate assistant for reservations, Allison Dahleen, assistant operations manager of the University Commons and Tilden Whitfield, program specialist.

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.

Double feature showcases theatre students’ summer trip to Ireland

By Nathan Cobb

Staff Writer

Each year UWF theatre professor Scott Hudson leads a group of students overseas for an “Ireland Experience.” It immerses them in a different way of life and helps theirs subsequent performances project Irish culture.

“You’re only as good as what resides in you,” Hudson said about his students’ talent. He said that while he could teach students ways to develop their acting, true talent could not be taught.

With the help of actor and director Paddy Behan, former head of the Carlow Theatre in Ireland, Hudson directed the double feature of “Riders to the Sea” and “A Pound on Demand” The switch from tragedy to comedy was impressive and demonstrated the students’ passion for acting.

“Riders to the Sea” illustrated lives in rocky, ocean-sided Ireland.

The story opens in a cottage scene of a family who recently lost two sons. The aged mother, Maurya, still grieving the loss. With the opportunity of the sea still calling, another son dies. The death of Bartley is first realized by his sisters Cathleen, and Nora, who are sent a package with a curious shirt inside. The scene ends dramatically as Maurya learns the horrible news.

“A Pound on Demand” however, had a far lighter subject.

The first scene opens on the opposite side of the island, in a post office that has a lively receptionist. Two men who have apparently spent some time at a pub enter seeking a form to claim “A Pound on Demand.” After stumbling through the office, Jerry and Sam finally get the form, but are too impaired to fill it out correctly. Inevitably, the police are called and the two men leave. The scene closes as Jerry and Sam hilariously come back to the office and find a policeman flirting with the receptionist.

The Theatre Department chose the two different pieces to show the rich variety of Ireland. “The thing I took most from the experience was the vast terrain,” said stage manager Eleanor Sweeney. The opportunity to visit the living situations similar to those of the play’s characters helped the actors get deeper into character and noticeably brought Irish culture into their performance.


UWF Presidential Search moves forward

By Juliana Liévano Uribe

Staff Writer

The Presidential Search Committee continues its work to select the next president of the University of West Florida. The minimum qualifications for the position, as posted on the presidential search website, are:

  • The next president should be someone who possesses academic credentials that inspire respect among the student body and community at large.
  • Commitment to scholarship, learning, and discovery.
  • Strong leadership qualities.
  • Business, government, and political acumen.
  • Ability to work within complex, multifaceted systems.
  • Vision to deal with dramatic challenges of the ongoing transformation of higher education.

Megan Gonzalez, executive director of University Marketing and Communications, said the committee narrowed down the list of candidates from 83 applicants to 19 by examining their resumes. Of those 19 candidates, three withdrew from the application, and 16 chose to come for the interviews. Those who were accepted were invited to UWF to get interviewed by the Presidential Search Committee on August 29-31. The committee conducted a one-hour interview with each candidate.

After reviewing the candidates on August 31, the committee asked on additional references for eight of the candidates “as an indicator of a higher level of interest without a formal vote,” Mort O’Sullivan, chair of the committee, said. Those eight candidates were: James Applegate, Frank Ashley, Ronald Elsenbaumer, Don Gaetz, Bahman Ghorashi, Martha Saunders, Mike Sherman, and Alan Utter.

“I am extremely pleased that 16 people of the 19 that were invited, chose to take two days out of their life to come spend an hour with our committee,” O’Sullivan said. “It tells me that this opportunity at this university is very attractive to many people. That is encouraging.”

The committee met again on Sept. 6 to discuss the eight candidates and to look at additional research by the consulting firm on each candidate. The firm looked at all of their history and reports, and spoke to supervisors and co-workers. After the search committee evaluated the results, it narrowed the list of candidates to four:

  • Frank Ashley, The College Board senior vice president, Texas A&M former vice chancellor for recruitment and diversity
  • Don Gaetz, former state senator
  • Martha Saunders, UWF executive vice president and provost
  • Mike Sherman, vice president for Innovation and Economic Development at The University of Akron

Those four candidates will come to UWF for a second round of interviews that will be carried on Sept. 11-14.

On Sept. 15 the Presidential Committee will present three candidates to the UWF Board of Trustees, which will select the next president.

The Sept. 15 meeting will be held in the Music Hall of the UWF Center for Fine & Performing Arts, building 82, room 224, at 9 a.m.

Students, faculty, staff members, and members of the public are welcome to attend the meetings held Sept. 11-15. For more information on the presidential search as well as schedules for meetings, go to: uwf.edu/presidentialsearch.

Confirmed, Trump to return to Pensacola

By Cassie Rhame

News Editor

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is set to return to the Pensacola Bay Center for a campaign stop at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9.

Trump sold out the stadium just eight months ago, leaving for promising results when it

comes to predicting the turnout. But taking into account Florida’s history as a swing state,

a sizable crowd will not guarantee anything for the nominee.

According to an article on CNN’s website, the close to three million independent voters in Florida are what create its unpredictable stance. It is precedent that Trump win over the Florida Panhandle in

order to acquire the state’s vote.

His first visit brought discussion on immigration, gun rights, the proposed border wall, and a man who allegedly blocked a bullet with his pocket-sized bible.

“He made very engaging arguments pertaining to foreign affairs and the United States relationship with both Mexico and the Middle East,” said construction management major Jake Craft, who attended Trump’s January campaign stop. “I am convinced that if there is anyone that is economically savvy enough to ameliorate our current financial standing, it’s Trump.”

Craft also said that Trump could lose trust from his tendency to “crowd please.”

Other students, like junior art history major Madison Murphy, are disgruntled by Trump’s return.

A wide variety of Trump promotional items were sold in the parking lot at his January Rally. Photo by Cassie Rhame.

A wide variety of Trump promotional items were sold in the parking lot at his January Rally. Photo by Cassie Rhame.

“I wish he wasn’t coming here. I wish he didn’t visit anywhere. I wish he wasn’t running for president,” said Murphy who will not be attending the event.

The USA Freedom Kids, who performed during Trump’s last visit to the Bay Center, will not be returning.  The manager of the group, Jeff Popick, is said to be planning on suing the Trump administration regarding empty promises for future performances by the girls, according to the Pensacola News Journal’s website.

“I remember there being way more people than I thought there would be (at the January rally),” said Pensacola local Freddie Haydn-Slater. “I don’t have a strong opinion on Trump, but I will be going on Friday just to see what all goes down.”

Lines were wrapped around the stadium for his January visit, so plan to arrive early if you attend. Tickets are free, and available for reservation here.

New and established campus clubs abound, but must be renewed each fall

By Mackenzie Kees

Opinions Editor


Instructions on starting a new club on campus can be found on the UWF Student Organizations page.

As the spring semester draws to a close, the deadline for renewing student organizations for the fall semester of 2016 draws nearer.

Registered student organizations, or RSOs, are the clubs that do not fall under one of these categories: Departmental Student Organizations, Sports Clubs and Recognized Fraternities and Sororities. RSOs are organized by one or two students who believe starting a new organization is necessary, usually because there is not a club of the same type already in existence. These students simply recognize a need and strive to fill it.

Stacey Lee Field, a UWF junior majoring in psychology, is a Student Involvement Navigator and founder of a new club, Eating Disorders Anonymous. In regard to registering a new club, Field said new organizations can register any time. “They just need to fill out a request on ArgoPulse, then have a consultation meeting with the Assistant Director of University Commons and Student Involvement, Tara Kermiet, and then go through the final step…which is to meet with the Campus Collaboration Board.”

However, the last Campus Collaboration Board meeting for this semester was held on April 22, which means any new organization hopefuls must wait until the fall semester to register a new club.

For clubs that are already active, the renewal process is a bit different. Using ArgoPulse, an organization officer can renew his or her club by selecting the “Update Now” button at the top of his organization’s portal. In order to remain active in the fall semester, this process must be completed before the Sept. 2 deadline of 5 p.m.

Several new organizations have been formed in recent months and should be fully operational in the fall. Some of the more recently formed organizations students can expect to see in the fall include a Creative Writing club, a Brunch and Cinema club, UWF College Democrats club, and the Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement. More information on each can be found on ArgoPulse.

Eating Disorders Anonymous, or EDA, is a 12-step support group, Field said, for “any students who are looking to recover or have recovered from an eating disorder.” The fledging club has not set a meeting schedule yet, but interested students should expect to meet at least once a week. “I feel that it is filling a need on our campus that has never been met before,” Field said. “Eating disorders are on the rise on campuses nationwide.”

Another relatively new organization, the Creative Writing Club, “is an author-focused group that offers a space for writers of all kinds of craft to gather and share their work,” according to Lexus Deen, the group’s co-president. “We write from a variety of prompts brainstormed by our members…We encourage discussion about not only our own writing, but that of other authors who provide inspiration for us.”

Students are encouraged to check their ArgoPulse portal frequently to keep up to date with new student organizations. For students interested in forming a new club, check out the video on UWF’s student organizations page to find out everything one needs to know about registering a new club.


Eating Disorders Anonymous is a group dedicated to helping students support one another through their shared struggle from eating disorders.
Photo courtesy of Stacey Lee Field.







A UWF student’s guide to summer in Pensacola

By Claudia Carlson

Staff Writer

 Pensacola Beach is just one of many options for summer fun. Photo courtesy http://www.destination360.com/.

Pensacola Beach is just one of many options for summer fun.
Photo courtesy http://www.destination360.com/.

If you will be staying in Pensacola this summer, whether it’s because you live here or are staying for classes, a job or an internship, this is the guide to help you have a fun-filled summer.

Pensacola has always been known for its beautiful beaches, but recently, Pensacola has been expanding and becoming so much more. Of course, during the summer, the beach is the No. 1 attraction, but unless you’re a mermaid, you are going to want some other activities to fill your free time.

Here is a list of the 10 things I would recommend for you do this summer to ensure that you spend it doing the best things Pensacola has to offer.

  1. The beach – You’re living in Pensacola during the summer, so take the opportunity to soak up the sun and have some fun. There are tons of places for you to eat or just hang out. You can go play volleyball at Flounders, eat at Casino Beach Bar (the food is amazing), or simply go to 17th Avendia park at the church and lay out on the beach with no tourists.
  2. Blue Wahoos games – Something that makes Pensacola so special is that we have our own minor league baseball team with a beautiful stadium right on the water. There are multiple games a week and the tickets are reasonably priced. Get a group together and you will have the best time. For tickets and more information go to: http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t4124.
  3. Dine Downtown – Downtown really has the best food in Pensacola. Two wonderful sushi restaurants — Nom and Khans – are delicious; Union Public House just opened up with fantastic burgers; Carmen’s Lunch Bar has the best eclectic tapas that you won’t get anywhere else; and Hub Stacey’s is the place for hearty, delicious sandwiches with a great atmosphere. There are so many places for any kind of appetite.
  4. Naval Aviation Museum – Pensacola is known for being a Navy town, and we have the best museum to prove it. It’s perfect for a rainy day, or one of those too-hot days. You don’t have to have a love for airplanes or the Navy; it really is just an interesting and fun attraction for all types and ages. And it is free! http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org.
  5. Historic Tours of Downtown Pensacola — Pensacola is an historic town with so much activity. The Pensacola Historic Village has multiple tours where you can see how Pensacola was during the 1700s. During the tour, guides are dressed up and doing activities that were done in the 1700s (like churning butter and cooking over a fire), recreating early living in Pensacola. There is also a ghost tour that takes you to all the haunted places of Downtown Pensacola. http://www.historicpensacola.org/plan-your-visit/tours-exhibits/
  6. Thursday nights in downtown – If you go out on a Thursday night, you will find many deals and places to go. Wild Greg’s and Seville Quarter offer admission for 18+ (instead of the usual 21+), O’Rileys has drink specials, and just in general everyone seems to go out in Pensacola on Thursdays.
  7. The forts – Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas offer tours, or a place to go fishing or have a picnic. It’s a little bit of a drive into Pensacola Beach, but it’s beautiful and full of history. https://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-pickens.htm  and https://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-barrancas.htm.
  8. Scuba diving – Experienced scuba divers will want to visit the Oriskany, which is a former aircraft carrier that was sunk 12 miles offshore to become an artificial reef. http://www.ussoriskanydiver.com
  9. Tubing in Black Water River – This technically isn’t in Pensacola, it’s in Milton, but it is so much fun to leisurely float down the river on a hot summer day. My favorite place to go is Bob’s Canoes: http://www.blackwatercanoe.com.
  10. Florida Wildlife Sanctuary – For animal lovers like myself, I would highly recommend visiting or volunteering at the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, a nonprofit organization that provides care to injured or orphaned indigenous wildlife at 105 N. S Street. They have owls, bald eagles, turtles, etc. After they have rehabilitated the animals, they are released back into the wild. http://www.pensacolawildlife.com.

“I love staying in Pensacola for the summer,” Juliann Laird, UWF junior, said. “I am taking one summer class and I will be working a lot, but I will be relaxing on the beach as much as I can. That is what I love about summer. Even though I am still taking a class, it doesn’t feel like it. It is a lot more laid back and enjoyable.”

Pensacola is so much more than just a college town, which is what makes UWF so special. Most college towns are just that – a college town – but with Pensacola you get a really up-and-coming downtown area, the beach, as well as a lot of beautiful nature. It is the best of all worlds, which is why I believe staying in Pensacola this summer is the best way to go.



The rumors are true: Southside Villages to close

By Kaitlin Lott

Staff Writer


The 15 Southside Village residence halls will be closed for HVAC renovations and might not ever reopen.
Photo courtesy of uwf.edu.

Rumors have been circulating lately about the UWF Southside Village residence halls being closed down. The iconic 1960s-era residential halls that surround various administrative and academic buildings in the heart of campus will no longer serve as a home for UWF students – at least not in the foreseeable future.

“We have identified maintenance issues related to the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems due to their age in all 15 buildings,” Megan Gonzalez, executive director of University Marketing and Communications at UWF, said. “The repair will involve removing ductwork and replacing the HVAC systems. We are currently assessing the feasibility of this repair in terms of timing and costs.”

All Southside Village residential buildings include a private courtyard to encourage social interaction among the residents, which other halls do not have. Many also have been Special Interest Halls, which were dedicated to housing residents with similar interests, hobbies, passions and academic goals.

“Southside definitely has its perks as far as location and privacy are concerned,” Tilden Whitfield, a UWF graduate pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership, said. “The Nautilus Market felt like my kitchen because it was so close, but a remodel is definitely in order because the service was always horrendous and the setup was very 1973.”

The closing of Southside Village residence halls will mean some changes on campus. One concern is the reduction of occupancy on campus. Current Southside residents will have to look elsewhere for housing.

“The Department of Housing and Residence Life (HRL) is working hard to manage this decrease, and we feel confident we can meet the majority of requests for Fall 2016,” Gonzalez said. “Overall, the housing system will still function in the same way, continuing to offer a variety of unit types for students who choose to live on campus.”

Even with all the changes, Gonzalez said she doesn’t know the future plans for the buildings. “A general contractor is helping to assess cost, and HRL will then conduct a cost benefit analysis,” Gonzalez said. “The Campus Master Plan calls for Southside buildings to be replaced, but there has never been a specific date associated with taking them offline.”

The summer months would not be long enough to complete this type of extensive work, which is why Southside Village residence halls will be closed for the 2016-2017 academic school year. HRL will be evaluating what upgrades and renovations will need to be addressed to ensure the buildings are safe and meet the needs of student residents.

The Southside Village residence halls have a large population of fraternity and sorority residents, who will now need to relocate.

Gonzalez said HRL conducted several meetings with Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) leadership to understand their needs. “HRL provided options, and they chose to be relocated to Village East for the 2016-2017 academic year,” Gonzalez said. HRL will work on a long-term plan with FSL to consider options for future years.

“As an exchange student I would be excited to come back to campus and see what the new and improved halls look like,” George Meadows, an exercise science graduate student, said. “When I lived there [in Southside], the conditions weren’t great, and the rooms were small, but I enjoyed living in the midst of all the action and near a majority of campus activities.”

Every year HRL schedules renovation and upgrade projects for all campus housing. This summer HRL will be completing several projects, including adding more security cameras, replacing flooring and all exterior doors in Village apartments.

HRL will launch the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Living and Learning Communities for Fall 2016, as well as two other Living and Learning Communities including the Delphi Exploratory LLC and Delphi Leadership LLC.

For more information on Southside Village and Campus Housing contact Megan Gonzalez at 474-2658 or visit UWF Southside Villages.