STORY IN PICTURES ENDURING THE SUCK WHAT DOES UWF NEED? AND MORE
Spring 2014 / Issue IV
STUDENTLIFE 05 INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE OUT 07 INSIDE THE UNIVERSITY STUDENT EXPERIENCE 09 WHAT IS A GOOD TIME TO YOU? 10 DIVERSITY GROWS AS UWF EXPANDS TOWARDS THE FUTURE 11 UNEMPLOYMENT AFTER GRADUATION THE LOVE 13 FEELING UWF PROFESSORS REACT TO “RATE MY PROFESSOR” 15 WHAT DOES UWF NEED? SPORTS VIEWS VARY ON FOOTBALL 17 STUDENT RECEPTIVE, RELUCTANT, OR WHO CARES? SHINNICK 19 PETER BUILDING A LEGACY WAVES 23 MAKING UWF WOMEN SWIM INTO THE LOCAL SPOTLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT 27 STORY IN PICTURES 30 GALLERY NIGHT HANGOUT 33 THE BEST DIVE BARS IN PENSACOLA MAY 35 LUMON MEET YOUR COUNTY COMMISSIONER MILITARY 37 VETS HELPING VETS 41 EDURING THE SUCK FEATURES SECRETS: UWF ARCHAEOLOGY UNEARTHS 42 SUNKEN THE MYSTERY BEHIND PENSACOLA’S “RUSSIAN FREIGHTER” WASHINGTON STRIKES AGAIN 45 GEORGE THE CASE OF THE MISSING CHERRY TREE VIEWS ON THE NEWS 47 STUDENTS’ ARGONAUTS COMMENT ON CURRENT EVENTS 1. spring 2014 / issue iv
This fourth edition of ArgoVerge is produced by students during a class in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of West Florida, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, Florida, 32514. For more information, please contact Keith Goldschmidt at email@example.com.
PERSPECTIVE(S) SCOTT PAULEY EXECUTIVE EDITOR When I first applied for the executive editor position for this semester’s ArgoVerge, I was really nervous about one thing more than anything else. After my time in the Air Force, I knew I could manage a team of talented writers and designers, and as a writer I’ve always had confidence in my ability to spin a yarn. But, the thought of choosing one word to breathe creative life into the lungs of this staff was particularly crippling to me. So, when the word “perspective” first came up during our unfettered discussions on the topic, I was mesmerized by how it was able to paint a picture of what I had envisioned for our issue of this magazine. In my limited artistic experience, I understood perspective to be a base layer for all artistic creation, and as a writer, the one thing I believe to be more transcendent than any other practice in story telling is the point of view through which a journalist tells his or her story. For this reason, I found “perspective” to encompass all aspects of our journey as a team, to tell these collective stories from viewpoints that not only intrigued the reader but also enhanced the story itself. As you read through this edition of the ArgoVerge, please take a moment to identify the angles our staff have chosen, and most importantly, thank you for reading the fruits of our labors.
JAMIE GENTRY CONTENT EDITOR
When the ArgoVerge staff set to work on this semester’s issue, the hardest decision we made was selecting the theme. As content editor, I knew we needed a direction that would guide such a diverse group of writers along a cohesive path without limiting their amazing talents. Selecting a single, guiding principle took days, but I believe we got it right We chose “Perspectives” as our theme because it is so much more than just the points of view that inform each article. We are the sum of our experiences, and how we perceive the world around us directly effects the person we will be. Everyone experiences things differently, and for that reason, each of us is unique. Our goal was to capture these differences and show the beauty of
From The Editors
Photography by Yvonne LeBrun / Layout by Drew Kennedy that diversity by taking up the eyes and ears of others. And we are better people for it. The creation of this magazine has given each member of the ArgoVerge staff a better glimpse into the world, and this experience has changed me personally. Through the mistakes, mishaps and victories I have gained a new perspective on what I am capable of and who I am going to be. I know the rest of the staff feels the same. It is my sincere hope that the points of view and experiences within this issue of ArgoVerge help you grow and bring a new perspective to your life as well. Thank you for reading.
DUSTY KENNEDY ART DIRECTOR I am a visually inclined individual. When the word “perspectives” comes to mind, I can’t help but imagine a compelling image of some sort of modern architecture. The angles and composition of this picture literally consumes me, pulling me into its aura. What’s so compelling about this visually is the relationship that happens with the different elements of this architecture; here, it’s spatial. In a philosophical sense, though, the same can be said about the relationships that are vital to defining different perspectives from different angles. Every person has an opinion. The answers are different, yet, the relationship that develops when they mingle together in one form is exciting.
DREW KENNEDY ART DIRECTOR
The more I ponder on the term “perspectives,” the more I realize its impact not only to myself, but to society as a whole. As an artist, I tend to view “perspectives” in terms of how it is used in design. Lines, angles—these words come to mind naturally for me. I don’t limit myself to those ideas, however. Rooting from the very basis of its definition, “perspectives” offers an opportunity to shed light on not just one, but as many viewpoints of an idea as there can possibly be.
spring 2014 / issue iv 2.
Warning: the following contains the word ‘perspectives’ far, far too frequently. I’m currently writing this at 2 a.m. for two reasons. The first one being that I was lying here awake in bed when I suddenly remembered we were meant to submit this by tomorrow. The other reason is slightly less academically related and is more to do with the fact that my rather inconsiderate roommate has invited a friend over in the early hours of the morning for me to listen to them discussing orgasms through my paper thin walls. Apparently, we should all be on the lookout for Brian, who it turns out is a very blessed gentleman indeed. My view on this current event is one of, as I’m sure you can understand, annoyance. I would rather not hear about the time Felicity threw up with nerves on her first time. Although even in my grumpy state I admit I giggled a bit at that. It didn’t ruin the mood? Really? Anyway. Yet perspectives are funny things. We’ve all got them; they affect our decision making from so many different ways. Politically and socially, from the way we vote to the friends we keep. If we take the aforementioned scenario about my roommate’s wonderful early morning discussion, I’m sure if I asked her on her
3. spring 2014 / issue iv
Views of Our Staff
Photography by Yvonne LeBrun / Layout by Dusty Kennedy
perspective, she’d say that she was enjoying it, and didn’t think it was annoying at all. This perspective would be a unique one, because I can pretty much guarantee that any other member of the human race would disagree. It’s this division of perspectives, and difference in outlooks where the real joy is found in life though. It’s important for people to have different perspectives on things, and even more important for people to hear those perspectives that differ from their own. It’s how you learn and change as a person. A writer named Christopher Hitchens once said if the entire world shared an opinion with the exception of one man, it would be more essential than ever to hear that one mans belief, in case he had something to offer to everyone else. With our class, we have students from so many different backgrounds. It’s therefore inevitable that we’re going to share different perspectives, bur it’s these different perspectives that are going to shape our magazine, improve our magazine and give it more spectrum (not sorry we lost that name) and diversity (or that one) than possible without it. Should be fun. I’m now going to either burn my own house down or tell my roommate to be quiet, whichever one seems like I’ll get to sleep quicker.
Imagine a person standing on top of a hill overlooking a vista of the seashore, who would see different things than someone standing on the beach and looking across the water. If the sun is high, the person on the hill can look down and see something large looming under the surface. Similarly, the person on the shore can see tiny creatures at the water’s edge. “Perspectives” connotes the idea that the magazine is a representation of things from many different points of view.
For me, “perspectives” means two things. Sure, as writers, we can assume a certain “person’s” perspective for an article or work we take on; however, it is another thing entirely when we can really understand the perspectives we wish to explore. In addition to covering a variety of new and intriguing subjects, writers and editors do some of their best work when it involves something they “know.” By examining subjects they already know well (or by doing quality research on new ones), Journalists and writers can approach interviews and articles about activities, events, and organizations that they understand (but are not connected to) with a more diverse and intuitive mindset.
I read an article the other day written by a former Marine who is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He arranged a meeting in Syria to interview a self-described Jihadi who was fighting in the civil war there, but had also fought in Iraq years before. Over the course of the conversation, they came to find out that they had fought in the same places at nearly the same times, seemingly chasing each other around the country for months. Over lunch, they discussed their families, their fears, and their reasons for fighting. At the end of the day, nothing had been resolved, but they parted ways having formed a new bond of respect and understanding that few sworn enemies ever share. It’s unrealistic to think that simply sharing everyone’s perspectives would solve all of the world’s problems, but by keeping ourselves open to other perspectives, even those of people we don’t agree with, we can at least begin to understand each other a little better.
When I hear the term “perspectives,” the first thing that comes to mind is something that my grandmother once told me after she found my older sisters and I in the middle of a classic Monopoly dispute when we were younger: “There are two sides to every story.” Her words stuck with me throughout grade school and as I grew older, the saying taking on a new light. It seemed that I could apply it to any situation, whether it be the bias reporting of television news sources or discrimination based on things like sexual orientation and religious beliefs (something that was all too common in my small home town). My grandmother’s words taught me that no matter how definitive something might seem at first, there is always another opinion that must be considered in order to further verify the information.
No one sees through the same eyes. No one has had the same experiences and our perceptions of the world are shaped through the experiences that we have had. In society today, we are so saturated with others views and perceptions that it becomes increasingly important to be able to set our own beliefs aside to have a greater grasp on society as a whole. In this issue of the Argo Verge, we are exploring the necessity of understanding each other’s perceptions, and the beauty that there is in seeing something from someone else’s unique perspective.
As of right now there are an estimated 7.138 billion people in the world, all walking, sleeping, or eating. Amazingly no two people are exactly alike. Every one of these 7.138 billion people is living a life different from anyone else’s on Earth, the sum of all of their experiences unique to only them blended with circumstance, and this blend is what shapes how we view the world. In this growing world where no two people are exactly alike, it is becoming increasingly important to understand and appreciate our differences. And so we have decided to honor our differences by sharing just a fraction of those 7.138 unique perspectives in this issue of Argo Verge. We would like to explore the glue that holds us together and the opposing forces that pull us apart.
Growing up in a multicultural family, I had to learn to consider other people’s feelings and beliefs. My mother is Baptist, my father is Rastafarian, and my stepfather is Muslim. Each member of my family does not attack each other on their beliefs. We try to keep and maintain an open mind and see their perspectives. In this day and age being close-minded will restrict you from many things in life such as friendships relationships and even job opportunities. If more people view other people’s perspective in the world, it would be a better place.
Want a closer look? Scan to check us out on Facebook! spring 2014 / issue iv 4.
INTERNATIONAL BY OSCAR STEPHENS-WILLIS
had been in Pensacola for less than 20 minutes. I had jumped into a cab to head to my new apartment with roommates that I had found on Craigslist. Nerves were a factor. As we journeyed on, I saw a store and suddenly thought to ask the driver what I thought was a simple question: “Do you know where I can pick up some fags mate?” The driver turned to stare at me with such shock and horror I felt like I just stabbed his mum. I was only 20 minutes in, and I had already experienced culture shock. For the uninitiated, “fags” aren’t what small-minded people label others in a derogatory fashion, instead they are much more simply: cigarettes.
Photography, Layout & Graphics by Dusty Kennedy
But it is not just language that can throw off foreigners (or “aliens” as American officials delightfully refer to us.). Americans are far friendlier than British people. Talking to each other here in an elevator is far less panic inducing than in London, where sharing pleasantries with someone you do not know is akin to pulling your trousers down and doing jumping jacks. I encountered this friendliness in an odd scenario. I was in Seville’s Rosie O’ Grady’s bathroom at the urinal when the man next to me randomly piped up with a chirpy “How ya doin?” “I’m having a piss mate, what about you?” I replied, stunned. But that is Americans for you, never ones to shy away from conversa-
It is not just in public where Americans get strange. I have seen the movies, I know American parties are meant to give me red cups and have me ‘chugging’ beers, but the phenomenon known as beer pong had always escaped me. It is an interesting concept, you know, to throw a ball in a cup and then drink. Lots of fun and all, that but do you not think it is a bit like putting an obstacle in the way of your beverage? If your mission is to get drunk (and we all know your are not drinking for the taste now are you), then why make it harder for yourself? I have always felt we should lose the cups and focus on the real game, which is of course just drinking itself. It is a simple game, where the winner of which is the person who does not have to drive home.
Do you know where I can pick up some fags mate? tion. They are always happy to share their views, so it is not surprising to understand why they are so happy to preach on the street. On my first day in town, I was walking down the street (I was trying to walk to the university and ended up walking past the hospital, you do the maths…sorry, math), and a man approached me. Perfect, I thought, I could ask him for directions. The following was the basic gist of the dialogue we shared; please note that words in capitals represent volume: “HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE WORD OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD?” “Erm… have I heard of him? Yea… bloke in the Bible isn’t he?” “YOU DON’T KNOW JESUS CHRIST!?” “Well, not personally but I read a bit of his book?” I never got any directions. Well, unless of course you count the direction to go to Hell, repeated over and over like a feral baboon going mad with a crucifix.
Being in America has provided me with more differences that I ever anticipated. After all, there are GUNS here. I am quietly confident a man could take over England and remove the queen from the throne with a mildly powerful catapult. People here swap different names and labels of guns, but I am just left calling them ‘rootytooty point and shootys’.
But sure, if we get past the fact that Americans are all so bloody cheerful, and that they have to tip far too much (believe me, I have had one too many occasions of staring at a pizza delivery guy wondering why he has not left yet), I’m glad I came here. I have learned that talking to strangers is not actually going to result in the apocalypse. I have learned that just because you have a drink in your hand does not mean you have to consume it as soon as possible. I’ve learned that you do not have to use the ‘F-word’ in every sentence, (and to try and save the ‘C-word’ for special occasions only). Basically I have learned that despite what us Brits are taught in London, that life is not actually grey all the time and as long as you are not a an arsehole all the time, you can have more fun, more laughter and more of a pleasant time than you would have ever thought possible.
spring 2014 / issue iv 6.
INSIDE-OUT: THE UWF STUDENT EXPERIENCE BY CHRISTIAN PACHECO
Photography, Layout & Graphics by Ali Hayes
string of classes, a quick bite to eat, a game of Frisbee on the grounds and then off to the latest party or study session at the dorm. Sounds like a lot of the popular portrayals of college life out there, but what is the student life experience really made of at the University of West Florida? What shines and what can be improved in the eyes of campus residents and commuter students alike?
FACTS, FIGURES, DOLLARS AND SENSE There are 12,588 students currently enrolled at UWF. Of them, 10,158 are classified as undergraduates. Most of these students included in the tally are Florida residents, with 5,113 coming from Escambia County and nearby Santa Rosa County. With so many Argonauts coming in from close by and with the cost of room and board, the question arises if they are actually wasting money by living on campus. “I think, when it comes to living closer to campus, they’d spend less money overall,” said Jaztin As-Siddiq, an off-campus student. Michael Bennett, an Argo Link Liaison who lives on-campus, said that while living on-campus provides a more in-depth college experi-
7. spring 2014 / issue iv
ence, only freshmen and sophomores should definitely live at UWF, evaluating off-campus options when they become upperclassmen. The rental rates for on-campus housing are projected to climb higher next year. According to the UWF housing webpage, semester rates for double rooms in all-inclusive residences like Southside Village and Pace Hall will increase from $2,425 and $2,855 to $2,550 and $2,900 respectively. These prices include all utilities as well. Nearby apartment complexes offer several amenities like fully-equipped kitchens, fitness centers and swimming pools as well as competitive rental prices. One-bedroom apartments at The Fountains just outside the university start at $610 a month, while single units at Jasmine Creek on East Nine Mile Road are in the $670-$815 range. “[Students] should always be looking around for different options because they could find they have a cheaper living solution somewhere else,” As-Siddiq said.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Photographyreally / Layouthelps by Ali Hayes “I would say that I feel that the on-campus experience aid their overall college experience if students are able to live on cam-
pus,” said Krista Boren, associate director of Housing and Residence Life. Boren lived on-campus all four of her undergraduate years. While she went through the usual growing pains new residents usually go through with roommates and the like, she learned to establish healthy boundaries and relationships in a college setting. When it comes to optimal focus and success at the college level, solitude can be a person’s best friend, As-Siddiq said. “I feel that way only because I live alone,” As-Siddiq said. I actually have a lot of space as opposed to living on-campus with a roommate.” He lives in the Pensacola area.
purpose statement, Argo Link is a UWF organization dedicated to helping all “First Time in College” students adjust to UWF, meet people by getting connected at campus events and have fun. “My favorite events are what we call Argo Link Takeover,” Lynn said. New students can come to these special events, grab some food and ask any questions they may have about the university. Argo Link is currently working on gearing its events toward more commuter students, Lynn said. The Campus Activity Board stages many fun events during the year, including comedy shows, karaoke contests, and movie screenings. CAB activities are great for freshmen students and people who can’t get off of campus often, Bennett said.
Despite several differences in the experiences of onand off-campus students at UWF, there are programs designed to help everyone get better in-touch with the university. However, there is always room for improvement. The university trolley system is one area of concern for some students. While the three vehicles provide transport to the University Plaza and nearby apartments (for those who are not campus residents), the route does not extend much further. In addition, the trolleys run on a limited schedule on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays. Extending the hours and better promoting the service would improve the experience, Bennett said.
For those living in UWF resident halls, resident assistants, or RAs, are always developing small programs to help residents get to know one another better as well as each other. RA programs center around a variety of topics including sexual health, personal safety and psychological wellness. “A lot of our programs have an educational underlining, but we try to make it social and fun,” Boren said. “Anything from just developing those relationships, getting the students comfortable with one another, and then you can kind of build upon the programming.”
Introducing new life skills seminars will also enhance on-campus living for students. For example, a Dining Services-led class that teaches residents how to cook their own meals would give them a better sense of independence away from home. “I know a lot of students come from families whose parents take care of everything from the cooking to the laundry,” said Ashley Lynn, an Argo Link Liaison and a participant in the Southside Community Council. “They don’t really get a chance to learn any of that stuff from moving onto campus and straight into an apartment of their own.”
UWF 2014-2015 DORM PRICES
GETTING INVOLVED Jon Rodriguez, a chemistry major from Fort Walton, said he finds it hard to really get involved with student organizations and campus activities due to the hour-and-a-half drive from his home. He also has a job in Destin, making it more difficult to spend more time on-campus. While some off-campus students do not get very involved with on-campus events and organizations, they are committed to doing well in their coursework and in other activities. For example, fellow off-campus student As-Siddiq does contract programming projects when not working to complete his computer science degree. Despite several differences in the experiences of on- and off-campus students at UWF, there are programs designed to help everyone get better in-touch with the university. Take Argo Link, for example. According to the organization’s
TRIPLE OCCUPANCY spring 2014 / issue iv 8.
WHAT IS A GOOD TIME TO YOU? ASKING STUDENTS WHAT THEY DO FOR FUN T
he University of West Florida is notorious for its small class sizes and resides in a city that doesn’t exactly have the feel of your traditional college hometown. So what do UWF students in Pensacola do for fun? What is their idea of a good time? The ArgoVerge set out around campus in an attempt to answer that question by speaking to as many students as we could from as many different backgrounds as possible.
WHO IS SAYING WHAT
Luke Jossa, 21, is a senior accounting major and the former president of Kappa Sigma fraternity.
“Most of my good times come with my fraternity brothers. We just held a week-long philanthropy event to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and had fun there, and of course, hitting downtown when I have the cash. Going in and out of those bars can take a toll on your bank account.” Marie Bisson is a senior foreign exchange student from France and majoring in business. She is here for four months.
“Hanging out with friends, going to the beach when possible, sometimes go out downtown. I also want to travel, see as much as I can while I’m here.” Ture Skinner, 20, is a junior majoring in business. He is a member of the UWF men’s Tennis Team.
“I like it when our whole team goes to the beach. On campus I like to play basketball, soccer. Sometimes I canoe.” Robert Saint John, 21, is a junior and currently studying music, specializing in vocal performance.
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BY CHRISTIAN GRAVES
Graphics by Ali Hayes / Layout by Drew & Dusty Kennedy
“When I’m not doing music, sitting back, hanging out with friends and just having a beer. Honestly just relax, not get really drunk or anything. Just sit and do nothing.” Jeremy Daw, 21, commutes every day from Perdido and is majoring in legal studies with a psychology minor. He is a fifth-year student and works in Dining Services on campus.
“Going to a rock show, anywhere from alternative rock to ’80s rock or super hard rock, doesn’t matter to me. You know “Breaking Benjamin” all the way up to “Of Mice and Men” and anything in between.” Chris Johnson, 18, lives in Village East and is a junior science education major.
“I’m a bit of a nerd, so tabletop games I love, like role-playing games. [I am] getting ready for a Star Wars game today.” Courtney Radcliffe, 18, is a freshman living in Heritage Hall on campus and a member of Alpha Chi Omega.
“I like to go to the beach, layout and play volleyball. You know, maybe go to Flounders. I don’t eat their food--just for the beach volleyball.” The responses were gathered from all around campus and include input from both commuters and residents, part-time and full-time students, Greeks and geeks, jocks and gamers. The most common responses were hanging out with friends, relaxing when you can, hitting the beach when the weather is right and going downtown for some drinks and some fun once in a while. It seemed that no matter what your major is or who you choose to hang out with, every student finds something to relate to as a member of the UWF community.
DIVERSITY GROWS AS UWF EXPANDS TOWARDS THE FUTURE BY TIANNA REESE Layout & Graphics by Dusty Kennedy
he University of West Florida is a growing university that continues to become more diverse.
In fall of 2007, there were 10,358 students enrolled, and about 23 percent were minority students. Today, with about 12,000 students, the minority population has increased to about 31 percent. Darius Perkins, a Student Government Association senator and a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc, said that he has noticed that diversity has increased since his arrival on campus in 2011.
• Improving retention, recruitment and graduation among the under-represented populations. “We want to provide every thing that these students need to be successful,” LeDuff said. • Improving the cultural environment to include everyone. “We want to have an environment that everyone feels comfortable,” LeDuff said. • Increasing recruiting, hiring and retaining faculty. “We want to hire faculty that students can relate to and form a bond with,” LeDuff said.
“I think that’s good for UWF to continue to diversify itself,” said Perkins.
• Teaching how to interact multi-culturally. “We want to prepare our students for the real world, because you will deal with different kinds of people through your life and career,” LeDuff said.
Stephanie Pelonia, senior, agrees.
• Improving community relations.
“It has a good mixture of different cultures from what I have seen,” Pelonia said.
“We want to let the community know that we are here and we want to be a part of the community,” LeDuff said. “We are becoming more involved in the community, becoming sponsors for different organizations, and we also are involved with churches helping upand-coming college students with applications and financial aid.”
Diversity isn’t just about skin color or ethnicity, however. It also includes gender, and there are more females attending UWF than
We want to prepare our students for the real world, because you deal with different kinds of people through your life and career. males, a percentage that has changed little since 2007 when 61 percent were female. Today, women comprise 58 percent of the student population at UWF. UWF has recently increased its diversity efforts with the hiring of Kim LeDuff as the chief diversity officer in September 2011. The university has established five goals for the upcoming years to increase diversity, LeDuff said.
Luis Sepulveda, junior, wants to see more diversity at UWF. “As a minority who went to a public school in Escambia County, the demographic definitely seem less diverse than what I was expecting. Although there are ethnic school organizations, unfortunately they don’t leave as much of an impression as Greek life.”
Students are the future, and we came to college to prepare for the future and to be able to handle different situations that may come in our field of expertise. We will soon be in a workforce that will have many people from different backgrounds and countries. While the university grows we hope that the university’s diversity and culture grow as well.
spring 2014 / issue iv 10.
UNEMPLOYMENT AFTERGRADUATION BY DUSTY KENNEDY
Photography by Ali Hayes / Layout & Graphics by Dusty Kennedy
he alumni of the University of West Florida have mixed results when they graduate and leave the university in search of employment. Take the example of Britni Armstrong, a spring 2013 graduate with a degree in public relations. “My dream always was to become an event planner,” said Armstrong as she tinkered with the overhead projector, preparing for the latest Career Services event. “I guess things just worked out.” Armstrong’s road to job security was far less treacherous than some. She found employment almost immediately after graduation, landing a spot as the event specialist in the career services department at
Affairs] counselor has had my back the entire way.” The point de Sousa made is a good one. There is plenty of help to go around in these trying times. She spoke of her experience with Jobs Plus, in addition to the helping hands of her VA counselor. “Just walk right in, and they will set you up,” de Sousa said. “They offer classes to help update your resume, and that is awesome because your resume should be constantly tweaked to fit the employer’s desires.” She added that employer meetings are held with members of the local workforce to explain exactly what they are looking for in a new member. Job fairs are held on a regular basis as well, according to de Sousa.
It’s a scary experience. Fortunately, my [Veteran Affairs] counselor has had my back the entire way. UWF. She has held the position since August. According to NACE Journal, 56 percent of college graduates age 22 were unemployed in February 201. It seems like an understatement to say that Armstrong fared well in this economic state. Yes, things definitely worked out for her. On the other end of the spectrum stands Andreia de Sousa, 37. She earned a degree in graphic design the same year that Armstrong graduated. After four interviews around the Pensacola area, this Air Force veteran has yet to find employment in her field of expertise. “It’s a scary experience,” de Sousa said. “Fortunately, my [Veteran
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As de Sousa stated, the path to employment can be a scary experience. Some of this data does not help matters either.
It is definitely a comfort, though, to know that resources are there to give a hand. Just take full advantage of the college experience, gaining any sort of hands-on experience there is to offer. No matter the degree obtained, these choices make the largest impact on one’s future. Statistics may tell one story, but a single person can tell a completely different tale—a successful one. ACS 2009-2010, pooled sample. Recent college graduates are 22-26 years of age, experienced workers are 30-54 years of age. Graduate degree holders are limited to 30-54 years of age. Percent unemployed are computed based on total employed and unemployed. Earnings based on full-time, full-year workers
RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATE EXPERIENCED COLLEGE GRADUATE GRADUATE DEGREE HOLDER
7.3% 7.1% 6.0% 5.6% 6.2% 4.1% 4.1%
7.5% 4.9% 3.4%
COMPUTERS AND MATHEMATICS
COMMUNICATIONS AND JOURNALISM
5.4% 5.3% 4.4% 3.9% 1.9% spring 2014 / issue iv 12.
FEELING THE LOVE
UWF Professors React to “Rate My Professor” BY DREW KENNEDY
Photography, Layout & Graphics by Drew Kennedy
o, you’re pissed about the final grade you received from your professor. In a rage, you go online and visit Rate My Professor and leave some choice words about this unpleasant experience. It’s not like your instructor is going to go on there and read it, right? Well, what if they did? How would our very own instructors here at UWF respond? Here is what a few of them have to say.
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THOMASASMUTH - DIGITAL ART 12/2/09 - “Good god.... If you have a choice to pick either him or a monkey to teach you Digital Studio then pick the freakin’ monkey at least it’ll entertain you for the 2 1/2 hours! Nothing in the syllabus he teaches you besides the first project! And building a webpage with codes. That’s it. If you knew that then it’s a waste of time...”
“I didn’t know I was here to entertain you.”
NICKPOWER - PHILOSOPHY 1/14/11 - “Very nice, active talks with the class. HILARIOUS. Veryyy cute ;) and really knows his stuff. Did I mention he’s cute? cuz he definitely is.”
“It’s really demeaning and embarrasing when students mention any prof ’s appearance. I could have genuine reasons to complain about this, but I’ll put it down. I can brush it off. But, It’s not cool to comment on a prof ’s body and appearance. I wanna be known for my ideas, and my course and my lectures...but not for my freaking looks”
SUZANNETUZZEO - ADVERTISING 4/09/09 - “Two words: take anyone else.”
“Two words. Take. Anyone. Else. That’s three words, and if this is how you follow directions, I can only guess what your work must have been and the grade that you probably got that was deserved! Umm, two words: take anyone else...I wish I could make that a positive, but it says it all! Two words: take anyone else.”
THOMASWESTCOTT - PSYCHOLOGY 8/5/09 - “As funny as George Lopez but way hotter! Can a student ask a professor out?”
“Gosh...I don’t think that’s a really good idea, but I’m really flattered!”
spring 2014 / issue iv 14.
WHAT DOES UWF NEED? 17. spring 2014 / issue iv
Photography by Ali Hayes / Layout & Graphics by Dusty Kennedy
BY TIANNA REESE
he University of West Florida will be going through many changes in the upcoming years, such as the addition of UWF women’s swim team or the up-and-coming UWF football team, but we have yet to hear what UWF students want. UWF President Judy Bense is pushing for an expansion, hoping to add such things as more restaurants, parking garages, conference centers and a bigger presence in cultural tourism in downtown Pensacola. With enrollment reaching 12,000 students, it is time to finally to see what the students think UWF needs. We interviewed 70 students at random, and their responses were often similar. All 70 people said parking was an issue.
WHAT DOES UWF NEED? 70 students took part in our survey to provide their opinions on exactly what this campus needs.
“More parking for commuters [is needed],” Elva Carter, junior, said. “I don’t think students that live on campus need to have as many spots for parking, or at least have assigned spots for faculty only.”
Another common response was better food options on campus. Of those interviewed, 25 mentioned food.
Nicholas Flies, sophomore, mentioned better priced and tasting food. “All the food on campus seems very frozen and not ‘fresh,’ and then the choices are limited and overpriced,” Flies said. Many students, 35, vocalized concerns about the lack of activities and school spirit on campus. Of those, 15 specifically mentioned a football team. Keyana Floyd, sophomore, was one such student. “More activities like parties of the fraternities and sororities and football games [are needed],” Floyd said. Avy Cress, sophomore, agrees. “[We need a] better rally of school spirit,” Cress said. “I feel like I know nothing going on, and I live on campus.” It seems that many of these concerns could be resolved by the expected changes. With all the growth Bense has proposed, it will be interesting to see how the needs of future UWF students will change.
MORE STUDENT ACTIVITIES spring 2014 / issue iv 16.
Photo Courtesy of University of West Florida
Layout & Graphics by Kathleen Hicks
STUDENT VIEWS VARY ON FOOTBALL
RECEPTIVE, RELUCTANT, OR WHO CARES? U
nless you have been living under a rock for the last six months, you have probably heard that football is coming to the University of West Florida. The team will not take the field for another two and a half years, but it’s already a hot-button issue among students on campus. Since Judy Bense took over as the president of UWF in 2008, she has made bringing college football to Pensacola a top priority. It’s a part of her vision for improving campus life and bringing the traditional college experience to the UWF campus. That vision officially became reality last September when she announced that the university would be adding football to its athletic program. In order to get the students’ perspective on the issue, we decided to conduct a survey. We handed out a small survey to 106 randomly selected UWF students around the campus, asking them a few questions about their opinions on the impact of adding a football team. While the response was mostly supportive, some of the concerns raised show that Bense still has some work to do to convince UWF students that the overall impact will be positive. One of the most common worries was over potential increases in tuition and fees to help fund the football program. “It’s ridiculous to have a football team at a school and raise tuition just to have the football team when it’s mostly an academic school,” said Dwight Lamar, an electrical engineering major. This is a common assumption held by students, however it is incorrect. Florida state law actually prohibits schools from using tuition
17. spring 2014 / issue iv
BY AARON JACOBS
revenue to fund athletics. Bense has often stated that there will be no fee increases associated with football and that they are working hard to secure private funding, but many students expressed some skepticism over whether private funds would be enough to cover all of the associated costs. Some were even concerned that the football team would not be able to turn a profit. There is some merit to that argument. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Revenues/Expenses Report, Division II football programs operated at a net loss of $83,800 in 2012. In fact, very few football programs actually generate revenue for their schools, even at the Division I level. Another concern raised by many students was parking. Some expressed concern that having a football team, especially once a stadium is built on campus, would exacerbate the existing parking problem. Others felt that the money being used for the football team could be better spent on additional parking lots and facilities. Parking has long been a frustrating issue on campus for students. It’s worth noting that the campus master plan, updated in 2011, calls for 6 parking garages to be built by 2021. Two of those garages would be located in the University Park area, where the on-campus football stadium would be built. Currently, UWF is the only university in the Florida state university system that does not have a parking garage.
However, the majority of students surveyed felt that the football program will be a good thing for UWF and even more so for the Pensacola area. The general sense from talking with students is that having a college football team will have a positive economic impact on the school and the downtown area where the team will play their first games. “I think it will get the word out on the Pensacola area,” said Josh Sackman, a psychology major. “It’ll get people to know us better.” He also noted that while Pensacola is typically seen as a military town, the additional exposure of having a football team would diversify outsiders’ view of the city.
What kind of impact, if any, do you feel the addition of a UWF football team will have on...
26% Student life at UWF?
Not everyone felt that the impact on academics would be negative. While the largest portion of students felt the football team would have no impact on academics, 36 percent felt that the overall impact would be positive. “With the addition of football we’re going to have more majors and more opportunities for academics,” said Lonnie Minton, an exercise science major. Other issues that students expressed concerns about included the loss of the small “nature trail” college environment, football players putting a strain on the existing athletic training facilities and staff and decreased support and scholarships for other sports.
Despite the concerns, there is a noticeable excitement among most students when talking about the football team. Of those surveyed, 61 percent said that the football team would increase their support for UWF athletics as a whole. That’s exactly the kind of school spirit that Bense and athletic director Dave Scott said they are trying to build.
Academics at UWF?
Somewhat Positive None
The Pensacola area?
5% Decreased Support
Of those interviewed, 75 percent said they would attend at least one game, with 50 percent saying they would attend three or more games, and 17 percent indicated they would attend every home game. That number could increase as the first game draws closer. According to those numbers, when the UWF team does take the field, they should easily be able to fill the 5,000-seat Bayfront Stadium.
“My concern with adding any sports team, especially at the Division II level is compliance with Title IX,” said Dakota Lee, a sports management major. “If you add a football program, it’s obviously going to take scholarship opportunities for women and our other men’s sports programs.”
Another concern expressed by students was that having a football team would divert funds or focus from academics. Nearly a quarter of the students surveyed felt that there would be a negative impact on academics.
What effect, if any, will the UWF football team have on your support for uwf’s athletic teams?
How many UWF football home games would you likely 17% attend during the season? Every home game 0 games
3 or more games
spring 2014 / issue iv 18.
PETER SHINNICK BUILDING A LEGECY
BY AARON JACOBS
Photography by Ali Hayes & Kathleen Hicks / Layout & Graphics by Ali Hayes
t’s a Friday afternoon in February, nearly two and a half years before the University of West Florida Argonauts football team officially takes the field for the first time, but newly hired head coach Pete Shinnick is already at his desk, hard at work. The football coaches’ office looks like it was quickly thrown together. There is no staff in place yet, no assistant coaches to fill the office chairs that are scattered around the room. The only décor is a row of promotional helmets and a jersey hanging from one wall. There is also a lone black leather couch with accompanying coffee table. Like the football program itself, the office has only the few basic pieces necessary to get started.
ON THE MOVE AGAIN
The Shinnick family is no stranger to packing up and moving across the country. In 2005, Shinnick left Azusa Pacific University, a small college just east of Los Angeles, and accepted the head coaching job at University of North Carolina at Pembroke, an even smaller college in rural North Carolina. “California to North Carolina was a tough move,” Shinnick said. “My brother lived in town there and so cousins were close. My daughter’s best friend lived next door, and we were pretty tied into that community. So that was … a tough move.” It was a move that paid off. Shinnick built the Pembroke program from scratch and led it to the Division II playoffs in its third season. Eight years later, he is preparing to do it all over again. Tasked with building another program from scratch, he hopes the lessons he learned at Pembroke will lead to even better results.
“At UNCP [in the first year], the guys we hit on were very successful for us,” he said, recounting the short recruiting period he had when he took over. “The guys we missed on hurt us. So to have this much evaluation time, to have this much lead time, I think it’s going to be phenomenal.” Making this kind of move every few years is not the only way Shinnick’s career has an impact on his family. The reality of life as a college football coach necessarily means being on the road for away games and going out on the recruiting trail for long periods of time. “Recruiting is difficult,” Shinnick said. “That’s the harder time because it’s usually out and back, out and back … or out and stay someplace. So that December -- January time -- that’s always where we’re just trying to find some time together and do things.”
GROWING UP IN FOOTBALL
Pete Shinnick has been around football all his life. His father, Don Shinnick, was a professional linebacker for the Baltimore Colts and went on to a successful assistant coaching career with a number of National Football League teams. As a boy, Shinnick grew up around the NFL. His father would often bring him and his brothers to training camp in the summers. It’s a privilege that few children ever have. “So you’re playing catch with Ken Stabler, and Otis Sistrunk is getting you a drink in the cafeteria at lunch,” he said, recounting his most memorable experience – getting to hang out at training camp with the Oakland Raiders in the early seventies. “Dave Casper paid me ten bucks to wash his car. I can say it now, I
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didn’t use soap, so it was a great deal.” It wasn’t all playing catch with future hall-of-famers though. There was adversity too. In the eighties, the elder Shinnick coached with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX, a loss to the Chicago Bears. “The memory of that game was that it was brutal,” Shinnick said. “And it was one-sided. And it was a miserable day to be a New England Patriot,” But Shinnick doesn’t dwell on the negative. He focused on what went right that year: the American Football Conference championship game the week before, and being on the sidelines and in training camp with his father. “He really tried to carve out family time, and he really tried to be with us and be involved with us,” he said. “I’ve talked to a lot of NFL kids who their dads didn’t do those things. Their dads were always absent. They didn’t enjoy the experience.”
Photography by Christian Graves
The idea of balancing football and family is not the only thing Shinnick learned from his father. He said his father’s former players would tell him how much Don Shinnick cared about them not only as players, but as people too. Perhaps more important, he learned the importance of getting and accepting the best out of everyone who plays for him. “I want your best, whatever that looks like,” Shinnick said. “If your best is only good enough to be a third team guy … that’s fine. We can live with that as long as that’s your best. Each guy giving his best for the betterment of the team, that’s how we’ll define success in everything we do.”
BUILDING THE UWF BRAND
The new football team is supposed to be an integral part of the university in the future. It’s supposed to make UWF a more traditional public university and also improve the student experience, but in order to succeed, Shinnick has to do more than just field a winning. As the man at the forefront of what is supposed to be the center-
UWF SPORTS TIMELINE
STUDENT LIFE IMPLIMENTATION TEAM
TITLE IX REVIEW
SPRING 2011 SUMMER 2010
FACILITIES MASTER PLAN
WOMENS SWIMMING AND DIVING
21. spring 2014 / issue iv
FUNDRAISING STUDY TITLE IX REVIEW
PRESIDENTIAL DECISION ON FOOTBALL
2017 AND FORWARD WOMENS SPORTS
FOOTBALL FEASIBILITY COMMITTEE
ATHLETICS VISIONING COMMITTEE
FALL 2016 FOOTBALL
piece of UWF athletics, he’ll play a key role in building the brand. In an area dominated by South Eastern Conference football, it won’t be an easy task.
to attract that level of talent, but he’s confident that talented local players will see a Division II school as an attractive option. He has a pitch for that.
“I think that’s the beauty of being a Division II program,” Shinnick said. ”We’re not trying to take on the SEC at this point in time,” he said. “We still want you to be an Alabama fan. We still want you to be an Auburn fan. That’s great, but we want you to come out and watch us play.”
“Do you want to go and maybe play your senior year at a bigger school?” he asked. “Or do you want to come right now and have an opportunity to impact your hometown, be able to do it in front of your fans … and be able to be a part of something great?”
The way he sees it, UWF football doesn’t have to directly compete with the bigger schools for its fan base. It’s enough to see UWF hats and t-shirts in stores right next to Gator and Seminole gear. That and putting a good enough product on the field to get 5,000 people to show up at Bayfront Stadium on Saturday afternoons is enough, Shinnick said. For now, Shinnick’s main focus is on putting a team together. Historically, there’s been no shortage of football talent coming out of the Pensacola area. Emmitt Smith and Derrick Brooks, both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, are just two that come to mind. Shinnick is under no illusion that a Division II school is going
As someone who has been down this road before and been able to attract talented players to other small schools, he’s had ample opportunity to perfect his recruiting pitch, but at UWF, he’ll have one more weapon that he’s never had before. “First play of the game, you’re going to be the career record holder in something,” Shinnick said. “If I hand the ball off, you’re going to be the leading rusher. Whatever you do, the first time you do it, you’re going to have an opportunity to make history.”
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MAKING WAVES UWF WOMEN SWIM INTO THE LOCAL SPOTLIGHT 6. spring 2014 / issue iv
Photography by Christian Graves / Layout by Kathleen Hicks
BY CHRISTIAN GRAVES
olden rays of afternoon sunlight refracted through the wall of windows and onto the glimmering surface of the University of West Florida Aquatic Center’s Olympic-size pool. Butterflies swarmed inside the stomach of UWF’s 23-year-old team captain, Cheryl Corvo, as she made her way to the 500-meter freestyle area. This was the last meet of the team’s debut regular season, as well as Corvo’s senior night, an emotional moment for any athlete. The Fort Walton Beach native scanned the audience and locked eyes with her smiling mother, flashing her a toothy grin and a wave before she took her position on the dive block next to the other swimmers. The nervousness fluttered away at the sounds of her teammates’ cheers of encouragement, replaced by a rush of excitement that coursed through her body. At the sound of the buzzer, Corvo launched herself off of the block with an audible grunt and into the frenzy of kicks and splashes below. “I’m sad that this is my last one,” Corvo choked out after the historic meet. “I wish I could swim another two years with all these girls, I’m also really excited because I was able to swim the 500-free, which isn’t my normal event. I don’t think I’ve swam it since freshman year of high school, but coach just let me do it for fun, and I had a blast!” UWF’s Women’s Swimming and Diving team would out-swim three of the four schools on Corvo’s Senior Night and would earn a close second-place-finish to New South Intercollegiate Swimming/Diving Conference rivals Delta State 159-133.
BUILDING THE FIRST PROGRAM
Although UWF lacked a swimming and diving team until it was officially announced on May 30, 2012, the Pensacola campus houses one of the nicest facilities in the state. UWF Aquatic Center recently underwent a $4.5 million renovation in 2011 and is no stranger to housing competitions. The center has been the stage for swimming events ranging from high school and club level championships to Junior and Special Olympic competitions.
Already having a newly renovated facility jump-started the process of building a program from the ground up. The next step was deciding what conference to join. This divergence from the usual Gulf Coast Conference in which UWF athletic teams normally compete, was due to the fact that the GSC does not sponsor swimming and diving as a championship sport. Fortunately, prior to the start of the 2013-2014 season, the members of the NSISC unanimously voted to accept UWF as a member. The debut team started to break records before even getting in the pool for their first race, becoming the first Florida university in the NSISC. The NSISC is one of the most prestigious conferences in NCAA Division II and has produced 12 of the last 13 women’s Division II National Champions. “It’s important for our institution to become part of an established conference in swimming and diving that will provide our student athletes with a quality experience,” UWF Athletic Director Dave Scott said in a press conference. “After a careful review of potential conferences, we decided to pursue the NSISC because of its history of success and its potential for a strong future.”
MEET THE COACH
Andrew Hancock was appointed as the team’s inaugural head coach on July 31, 2012, two months after the school announced the addition of the Women’s Swimming and Diving program. Hancock is a former ten-time college swimming champion for Cleveland State University, leading them to four consecutive conference titles and earning six individual championships. One of his best individual events was the 1650-meter freestyle, which his former head coach Wally Morton referenced in an interview about Hancock’s adoption into CSU’s Hall of Fame. “The obvious event he should have been in was the mile, the 1650,”
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Morton said. “And once we put him in there starting his sophomore year, he never lost the mile in a conference championship.” After graduation, Hancock accepted an assistant coaching position at CSU where he worked with both the men’s and women’s swimming teams. In his five years with the university, the women he recruited broke every record in the program’s history, and he was referred to as one of the best assistant coaches in the country by CollegeSwimming.com in 2011. When asked about his past success in recruiting at CSU and if there were any different qualities he was searching for when having to build a team from scratch, Hancock replied that chemistry was vital. “In the first year, it’s so important to get the right mix of personalities,” Hancock said. “And so I turned away some excellent, well-qualified athletes because I thought they would have trouble or didn’t think they would have the values I wanted in the team. “I don’t care how good the athlete is. If they’re not a good fit for our group, it’s just probably not going to work out. So I think we’ve done a fairly good job at that, and we have a good group. They’re all great kids.”
RECRUITING THE FIRST ARGONAUTS
Despite being a first-year program, the team packed a surprising amount of experience and talent into the squad. Three foreign countries were represented on the team in the inaugural season, including South African International Peggy De Villers; German Junior National competitor Anna-Marie Macht; and Polish International Paulina Szydlo. Hancock mentioned in a pre-season interview for swimming world magazine that he had assumed there would be local talent when he moved to Pensacola and wanted to try and incorporate them into his program. There would be a total of 13 swimmers from the state of Florida, most of them freshmen. Cheryl Corvo is one of the local talents. She transferred to UWF before the start of the 2011-2012 academic year from Gulf Coast
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University, where she was part of a championship team. In late November 2012, Corvo accepted a scholarship to become the first signee for the UWF Women’s Swimming and Diving team and the only senior on the team. Corvo is originally from Fort Walton Beach and attended Choctawhatchee High School, where she was a named Most Valuable Player all four years and CHS Female Athlete of the Year in 2010. “[Andrew] was a genuine guy, and you could tell he wanted to give the best impression of the first women’s swimming and diving team,” Corvo said, reminiscing about the first time she met Coach Hancock. “He asked if I wouldn’t mind helping out with the recruits. I got to meet just about all of the girls before they joined the team.” Most of the other recruits to UWF had stories of their transition to the university, and in almost every instance, Hancock was their deciding factor. Sophomore diver Josie McGee was aware of the coach’s reputation at CSU and was originally interested in the school for that reason, but after her first year in college she wanted to move further south. So she chose UWF. Anna-Marie Macht, who previously attended Dartmouth State College for two years with fellow swimmer Emily Mitchell, also transferred to UWF after visiting the campus and meeting the coach. “Coach Andrew came to our school for a visit to look at some swimmers, and that’s when I first heard about the university here,” Macht said. “Then me and Emily, who also swims here, took a recruiting trip to see the school, and I really, really liked it from the first moment on after I saw the campus, the pool, the first team ever ... and I really liked how Coach Andrew was as a person.” Macht, a junior pre-medical major, is originally from Markkleeberg, Germany. She attended the Gymnasium Leipzig from 2004-2011. While at the prestigious sports academy, Macht competed in the German Championships every year and was named to Germany’s junior national team in 2007. Mikaela Aponte is one of 15 freshmen out of 22 total athletes on the squad. She credits Coach Hancock with her decision to begin her college career with the Argonauts.
“When I met Andrew there was kind of this connection,” she said. “He really inspired me to keep swimming, and the facility is gorgeous as well. It’s one of the best pools I’ve ever seen, so it seemed like a great opportunity to take.”
The Argonauts rebounded after a defeat in the season opener to Florida State University and Tulane University and preceded to win the following six matches, including placing first in the Birmingham Southern Relays. Aponte would name those three days as the highlight of the regular season. “We started doing the wobble right before, and then we played sharks and minnows as a pre-warmup,” Aponte said as a grin spread across her face, “We were just all over each other, cheering each other on behind the box or the other side of the lane. There was just this immense team spirit going on for one another. It was amazing.” Corvo said that the most important accomplishment of the season was succeeding in the goals that she and Coach Hancock had discussed in detail. “Definitely the main goal for me and Andrew, most of the coaches, was to build the team up and make sure we are a team because we’re starting from scratch.” Corvo said. “I think that’s one of the main goals that we nailed. “I feel like I’ve known these girls my entire life. That’s how close we are, and that’s how close our bond is. A lot of the girls really stepped up their game. Some of them were doing maybe O.K. times. Now their busting out their personal best times and breaking records at other pools.” The Argonauts would carry on to end the historic regular season with a winning record of 10-9. Five members of the team succeeded in making national-qualifying times: swimmers Peggy De Villiers, Paulina Szydlo and Anna-Marie Macht, as well as divers Josie McGee
and Meghan Zets. McGee thought that traveling with the group was the best part of the season. When it came to competition however, she would have to choose the Delta State Christmas Invitational, in which the Argonauts placed third, as the best of the season. “I know for the divers our best meet was at the Delta State Invitational in December,” McGee said. “We both got personal best scores, and I broke a pool record. My teammate also qualified for nationals. “We had a really good competition, lots of tough divers that were there, but me and Meghan just try to support and talk to each other through every dive. So as long as we keep each other laughing we usually do pretty well.” Coach Hancock agrees with McGee, saying that the team performed at their strongest and gained the most out of the Christmas Invitational. “Our performance, competitively speaking, was something we targeted and actually succeeded in bettering our swimmers and divers times to get them up in the national rankings,” Hancock said. “I think that’s where people said, ‘Oh wow, OK, this is their first year but these guys aren’t too bad.’” When asked what two words she would use to describe everything they have accomplished this season, Corvo thought for a while and then answered, “ground-breaking.” The phrase could not be any more applicable to the Argonauts first program. They succeeded in staying in the top 25 nationally-ranked teams the entire regular season “Every woman on this team has the right to say, ‘I was a part of the first team at UWF Swimming and Diving,’” Corvo said. “We all have swam our hardest this season, and some girls have broken Conference records while others have established records for the team here that are going to be difficult to beat.”
spring 2014 / issue iv 26.
DOWNTOWN PENSACOLA THEN AND NOW HISTORIC LANDSCAPE EVOLVES OVER TIME
BY KATHLEEN HICKS
Seville Tower, c.1905
27. spring 2014 / issue iv
Brent Building, Date Unknown
T.T. Wentworth Museum, previously City Hall, c.1909
spring 2014 / issue iv 28.
Seville Quarter, c.1978
Palafox Street, c.1910
29. spring 2014 / issue iv
BY OSCAR STEPHENS-WILLIS
ne night a month, Downtown Pensacola closes the roads, relaxes the rules and lets floods of people fill the street to enjoy music, art and drink. Gallery Night is a combination of exhibiting local artists and musicians in the daytime before the night falls. Then the streets fill with people who gather to drink and party with each other. It’s almost a self-sustaining system. Lots of people attend Gallery Night, so it becomes the night that no one wants to miss, which in turn means it’s always a busy evening. Tony Gugino has been employed at World of Beer since its inception in June 2012 and has worked more than 15 Gallery Nights.
For more information and a list of Gallery Night dates, go to www.downtownpensacola.com. Photography by Ali Hayes & Kathleen Hicks / Layout by Drew Kennedy
Images provided www.downtownpensacola.com. “I think it’s a collaborative thing,”byGugino said, “I think a lot of people look at the art stuff in the day time, but the majority
of the business is definitely when it comes to party and drink.”
And what about when it comes to the artistic side of things?
When it comes to extra income, Gugino estimated that World of Beer brings in close to double its usual business when a Gallery Night takes place.
“I think that comes with age,” Stove said, “I think the older crowd go to see the activities in the day, but as it gets a bit later, maybe around seven or eight in the evening, you see more young people come out. I would imagine as those younger people get older, they’d go out earlier and leave earlier.”
Not that businesses can put their eggs in the basket of one busy night a month. “It’s hard to say,” Gugino said. “The weather is such a big factor. January’s Gallery Night could have been really busy, but ended up being quiet because it was freezing cold.”
Walking down the street on Gallery Night is an experience. Throngs of people stand outside the bars, and with drinks being sold on the street, people can make the decision to avoid going into the heaving buildings and stand outside talking to their friends.
I think a lot of people look at the art stuff in the day time, but the majority of the business is definitely when it comes to party and drink.
With this option available, the streets become packed, and people mill around from group to group, their inhibitions relaxed by the drinks. This provides a friendly atmosphere and the sense that people have all come together to have a good time.
Pensacola isn’t renowned for its nightlife, but that’s why Gallery Night is so popular. Speaking to people on the street, you get a sense that Gallery Nights are the ones you don’t miss, that they’re the evenings you save money for. Charles Stove, 24, has lived in Pensacola for 14 years and considers Gallery Night to be the pinnacle of Pensacola nightlife. “There aren’t many options in Pensacola if you want to go out and experience a really busy night,” Stove said. “Realistically, you have the beach in the summer, and then maybe Seville gets busy on occasions. But with Gallery Night, you know it’s going to be good fun pretty consistently.”
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Gallery Night recently made the switch to taking place every month.
For more information and a list of Gallery Night dates, scan or go to www.downtownpensacola.com.
Photography Courtesy of www.downtownpensacola.com
spring 2014 / issue iv 32.
THE BEST DIVE BAR(S) IN PENSACOLA
AZALEA COCKTAIL LOUNGE
BY ALI HAYES
ive bars are a different breed of bars. There is no club music playing through the stereo system, no girls wearing skirts so short you can see all the things that you never wanted to see. Pensacola has no shortage of bars. But not everyone is made for the club scene, and you don’t have to pay eight dollars for a beer on Palafox to have a great time with friends. These grungy and dimly lit bars with their mostly red décor are charming and impressive. Every one of these bars is full of interesting people from all walks of life and going to one is an experience you will never forget — unless you drink too much.
The gravel parking lot sits in front of a white-washed building with light-blue accents. We got out of the car and nervously walked up to the front door, fighting the wind and the bitter cold. “Wow,” we gasped as we walked in to the sound of Arcade Fire and the red glow of, well, everything. Though there is no specialty drink, all drinks “are made with tender love and care” at the Azalea, according to Scott, the jolly and helpful bartender. It feels like we have walked into the 1920s and prohibition is happening. The Z-pour is an unmeasured amount of liquor in a drink, and when I tasted my whiskey-coke, I knew exactly why it was famous. “You will never be short changed or under poured on a z-drink,” says owner Larry B Johnson. Though we didn’t know it when we sat down, we were sitting only a few feet away from the brand new owner of the Pensacola landmark. “Everyone is welcome as long as they are respectful,” Johnson said. When asked if he was going to change anything about the bar he said that nothing needed to be changed, though he did just have a brand new security system installed. “Atlanta is the mecca of dive bars,” said Andy Marlette, a regular at the Azalea. “And when I tell people I am from Pensacola, all they ask me is if I’ve ever been to the Azalea.”
SIR RICHARDS This bar may seem boring upon first entrance, but it is one of the best neighborhood bars I have ever been to. The regulars all sit at the bar and talk to each other we sit on the long and comfortable red bench seat on the other side of the room. There is a lifetime movie on the TV and blues coming out of the jukebox. Sitting there, we couldn’t imagine a better place to have a quiet drink. The bartender is a middle aged man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sporting the best hair cut I have ever seen on a bartender. I won’t spoil it; you’ll just have to go see it yourself. The clientele as an ‘eclectic’ group where no one tells the same story twice and everyone is just happy to be there. This is the kind of place that you can wear coveralls to and no one blinks an eye.
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ELBOW ROOM We thought that the Azalea had a very red décor, and then we walked into Elbow Room. Elbow Room is a bar, pizza pub, and dork safe haven on West Cervantes, and when I say red, I mean RED. The walls, the floor, the ceiling and even the bathroom lights are red. Despite the ominous lighting, the atmosphere in the bar is fun. It’s one of those places where you can easily talk to strangers. Food at Elbow Room is served all night and you can sit at either a table or the bar. There is a shelf full of board games at the entrance and trivial pursuit cards every couple of seats at the bar. “The owner is obsessed with Star Trek and Schlitz,” said Jess Cormier, the assistant manager, as she explained the Star Trek memorabilia that covers the spots on the walls that are not covered with Schlitz gear. There is an anagram hanging on the wall, welcoming guesses from clientele as to what it stands for. And if you ask nicely, you can see a notebook with others’ guesses.
GOAT LIPS There is no other bar in Pensacola where the conversation can so quickly evolve into talking about the meaning behind and the anatomy of words. Goat Lips was described as the “anchor” point of the area by Larry Cowan, the owner, because it is near both UWF’s campus and West Florida Hospital.
circle makes it so that you are forced to have a conversation with the people around you, which is actually very nice. For a trailer in the middle of a neighborhood, the beer selection is excellent. All in all, this is a great place to hang out and one of my favorite places in Pensacola.
THE ISLANDER To get into the Islander you have to walk through a dark hallway with wood paneling and posters, but when the hallway empties out you are immediately welcomed into the best bar on Pensacola Beach. Pool, shuffleboard and foosball are featured in the back room while the bar attracts an older crowd. This is the only bar on the list where the patronage changes as the night goes on. Most people know about the Islander but choose to go to the bars on the boardwalk instead. The bartenders are some of the friendliest in Pensacola, and you can count on seeing the same people there week to week. For such a small bar the entertainment space is incredible. The upstairs deck has an elevated space for bands and DJ’s. There is also a bar upstairs so that you don’t have to keep running downstairs to get a fresh drink. The Islander is always a good time. It’s a great place to be.
Goat Lips first opened as a coffee shop, then became a deli, and then started serving beer and wine. “We’re a restaurant first, secondary is fun and brew,” says Cowan. The bar consists of a main restaurant area and a huge covered back porch where the stage is. The best part is that there is always a quiet corner if you want to have a conversation. The best nights to come are Wednesdays and Thursdays. Wednesday nights are trivia nights and Thursday night are music nights, where local bands come and perform. Those nights the bar stays open until “the ducks quit flying,” says Cowan.
WISTERIA Wisteria is the oldest bar in Pensacola. It is situated in a neighborhood in East Hill, and its out-of-place nature adds to the charm. The patrons at Wisteria are usually the same from night to night. The bartenders know most people by name, and they know their favorite beer. “If you’re going to go to a bar where you want to meet interesting people, come to a bar like this,” says Andrew Powers. The inside of the bar has one main room with the bar and several tables and a side room with arcade games. Out back there is a circle of lawn furniture where the smokers can hang out and talk. The
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Photography Courtesy of Pensacola Young Professionals
LUMON MAY L
umon May, chairman of the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners, stood in the doorway with his arms draped over his young son’s shoulders, listening to his questions about geometry homework regarding perpendicular and parallel lines. May wore a velvety maroon dress jacket and black shirt. He looked as if he should be waiting off of the set of “Anchorman” instead of outside his office. The well-polished, rich mahogany furniture that was arranged throughout the fourth floor of the Escambia County Government Complex didn’t detract from the illusion. May received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of West Florida. May says, a lot of his political experience came from when he was a member of the Student Government Association and the president of the Black Student Union, which he revived after it was inactive for five years. When asked what one thing UWF taught him that had been most helpful to him during his career, May said that he believed it was the fact that you have to get involved to make a difference. “UWF, although it’s had its challenges, is a great institution and helped me in my personal development, helped me learn the art of compromise, and the art of understanding different people and
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Layout by Ali Hayes
MEET YOUR COUNTY COMMISSIONER BY CHRISTIAN GRAVES
different cultures,” May said. “Because when I was at UWF, we had SASA, Spanish American Student Association; AASA, African American Student Association, and I learned to work with different people. “When I was in SGA, I learned to work with Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, gays, Hispanics. And I learned that skill set and then developed relationships with people who came from different backgrounds and different cultures than me, and I learned to respect their culture and respect what they did different. And I think those are the things that today allow me to be the chairman and allow me to represent the most diverse district in Escambia County.” According to his Facebook profile, Commissioner May has lived his entire life in District 3. May was born in the Morris Court community, and when he was 8 years old moved north, toward the Airport Road area. Chairman May, 44, and his wife Tammie May have two boys together, Lumon Jr. and Armoni. May is the son of the late Reverend Theophalis and Mary May. Rev. Theophalis held a strong position in the community and originally built Friendship Ministries Baptist Church using material from the demolished YMCA he helped tear down. He subsequently became pastor at the church for 38 years, after having already started
the successful May’s Construction Company which was known for its assistance with renovating local historic buildings. “I grew up playing little league sports in community centers such as Fricker Center and Salvation Army, the places that probably had the most profound effect on me,” May said. “My church was also right there. My father was a minister—very active in the community—and so I kind of grew up promptly with the church and youth sports as my greatest influences.” Commissioner May’s roots run deep in Pensacola. Before he became the District 3 Commissioner in 2012, he had already become well known and respected in the city. He took over the family construction business in 2005 after his father became terminally ill, and at the same time, he started the Southern Youth Sports Association. May was offered a job at the Salvation Army at the age of 15, after spending so much time volunteering there and at Fricker Center watching over his brother. He would stay at the same job for 21 years. In his time with the Salvation Army, May worked his way up from sweeping the floors and keeping score during games to Director of Youth Development and Delinquency Prevention.
west by 9th Avenue and Mobile Highway—he campaigned with the promise to clean up our district and provide safer neighborhoods for everyone in Pensacola, and he said he is constantly pushing for those things. “Every day I wake up I’m fighting for, if nothing else, to keep our neighborhoods safe. I want the little old lady over in Morris Court to sit on her porch and be safe, and I want the lady in the motel to be safe. And I think that’s only fair, and if you don’t feel safe in your neighborhood, then there’s a problem.” Commissioner May is also a strong supporter of economic development and believes that anytime the county provides local money on local projects that there should be local inclusion. Recently, however, the County Commission approved $8 million of local options sales tax to be put toward a $37 million dollar agreement to bring ST Aerospace, a completely new industry, and 300 potential jobs to Pensacola International Airport. But the deal did not require that any of the jobs be local. May proposed an amendment during the decision that would make local procurement for 51 percent of the jobs mandatory, but it was not passed. May said he was disappointed in his fellow commissioners for not supporting him on the amendment.
Life is about balance and to be a positive contributor to society you have to be a balanced person: you got to love God, have a lot of work in academics, you gotta have a lot of play--you have to balance all these things to be successful. “When I was 14, I ended up going back to the community center because I had a younger brother who wanted to play sports, and my dad was very, very conservative, very strict,” May said. “And when he went to pick up my brother from the community center, he saw it was in total chaos so my daddy said ‘ya can’t go back,’” May said. May returned to the center and eventually organized the SYSA. “So I wound up just hanging there and ended up with all my friends who played there who were coaching and were all good athletes— Emmitt Smith and us had all played against each other in grade school—and I said, ‘Come on guys, we need to get a team. You need to come coach.’” May sees the Southern Youth Sports Association as more of a delinquency prevention program. He lays out the SYSA’s four main principals, the “Four B’s”: Bible, Book, Ball, and Balance. He said, “To develop the whole person, you have to have some ethical and some moral character.” “We want our kids to be respectful—yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am. We know that unless we deal with moral character and spiritual well-being, we can’t address their other needs,” he said.
“I initially wanted all of the jobs to be local.” May said. “But in terms of compromise, I said let’s get 51 percent of the jobs here because we have one of the poorest districts in Escambia County, one of the highest levels of poverty, one of highest levels of infant mortality rate.
“We have a graduation rate of 62 percent in the whole of Escambia County, which is a D. In terms of African-American males, we have a graduation rate of 50 percent, which is an F. And when you correlate economic development and economic attainment, they are in direct correlation with educational attainment. “If we’re going to invest $37 million into an infrastructure or company, why wouldn’t we require them to have local procurement and local contracts? I think that’s just a common sense deal. I don’t understand why I wouldn’t have support on that.” Despite being the chairman of the County Commission, May finds time to work his construction job, be a father and a husband at home and be involved on multiple committees. He credits all of his task-juggling skills to balance. “I gotta balance picking my kid up, making sure he does his homework, balance my construction job, being a county commissioner, and going to this interview. [I’ve] Got nine meetings today,” May said. “Life is about balance, and to be a positive contributor to society you have to be a balanced person. You got to love God, have a lot of work in academics. You gotta have a lot of play. You have to balance all these things to be successful.”
When May was elected in 2012 to represent District 3—the area of Pensacola that stretches from south of West Nine Mile all the way to Government Street downtown, and is roughly bordered east to
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VETS HELPING VETS
BY SCOTT PAULEY
Layout & Graphics by Drew Kennedy
e stands in the woods behind his brother’s trailer, holding the same knife that he’s held every day for the last month since he first began staying with him.
Today is different though.
It’s not fair to subject his family to this appalling act and to cause his brother the same strain and stress that he has dealt with since that fateful day when his shipmate and friend took his own life in Japan.
Today is the anniversary of the day that his life was forever changed. Today is the day that Timothy has decided to give in, to end his suffering and stop fighting his seemingly inevitable fate. He’s come to this place full of quit. He’s tired of running from himself, tired of seeing the same thing night after night when he closes his eyes and slips away to his inescapable past. His memories haunt him. It might be selfish, but Timothy is tired of fighting himself. But then, in a moment of clarity, Timothy thinks back to the face of Christopher Torres, his good friend and shipmate. Torres’ face was lifeless, tired and full of anguish the last time he saw him. Torres gave him a hug, insisting that Timothy go out and have fun in Hiroshima. So he went. He never saw Torres alive again. Torres took his own life that night. The fight for his life was too much for him, and ever since that day, Timothy has been fighting
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Timothy decides that it’s not fair.
“Fear is what stopped me,” said Timothy Jones, 34, who was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2000. “The fear of what it would do to my family.” That was the day that sparked Timothy’s reclamation, as he began his journey on the road to recovery.
PTSD Jones didn’t know it at the time, but he had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder since his time in Japan. “PTSD is a beautiful word to me,” Jones said. “PTSD saved my life.” After that day behind his brother’s trailer, Jones finally accepted responsibility for his actions, and he turned himself in on charges of credit fraud. While in jail, Jones was connected with a Veterans Af-
fairs representative for the first time since his discharge. That’s when he found out about PTSD and discovered that with medication he could finally start to move forward. “Traumatic events are emotionally shocking events that overwhelm a person in a variety of ways,” according to the Institute for Traumatic Stress, Inc. “These situations may involve interpersonal abuses, war experience, or disasters.” “Many Americans have had a trauma,” according to a pamphlet from the VA on PTSD. “About 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women experience at least one traumatic event. Of those who do, about 8 percent of men and 20 percent of women will develop PTSD. For some events, like combat and sexual assault, more people develop PTSD.” According to the VA, some of the common reactions to a traumatic event are: fear, anxiety, sadness, depression, guilt, shame, anger, irritability and behavior changes. With the added stress of combat experience for most veterans who have served since 2001, the transition from military to civilian life can be difficult. Although Jones’ experience is probably on the extreme side of the spectrum, more and more veterans are having to deal with the difficult adjustment to civilian life, coupled with the
challenge of overcoming a traumatic experience. According to a Pew Center study in 2011, 32 percent of veterans believed they have had a traumatic experience, bumping up to 43 percent with those who’ve served since Sept. 11, 2001. Of those, 46 percent said they had suffered from PTSD.
THE MILITARY AND VETERANS RESOURCE CENTER Officially opened in October of 2011, the University of West Florida Military and Veterans Resource Center offers veterans, active military and dependents of military members a “one-stop-shop” for all schoolrelated assistance. “The primary reason we opened this center is to help veterans apply for benefits using VONAPP and register for classes with the GI Bill,” said Marc Churchwell, director of the MVRC. “That’s really become one of the smaller things that we do now.” The MVRC aids veteran and military students in a variety of ways, providing help with tutoring, computer access, career counseling and academic progress monitoring.
PTSD Among Americans
Experienced Traumatic Events
From these figures, 8% of men & 20% of women will develop PTSD.
Experienced Traumatic Events
*Data provided by Veterans Affairs spring 2014 / issue iv 38.
Churchwell, who graduated from UWF in 2007 after retiring from the U.S. Navy after 28 years , describes the MVRC as a “refuge” where veterans and military affiliated students can come to be around others who understand their unique experiences.
“When you come here, you’re going to see a vet. When you call, you’re going to talk to a vet, because that’s who works here. You don’t really have to motivate vets to help vets.”
“One of the best sights is when a guy or a girl comes in and they start talking, and they start helping each other,” Churchwell said. “As a veteran, it’s very different when you’re by yourself, or when you can walk in, and you have fellow veterans that you know you can count on. Because that’s what you do in the field.”
In 2013, Churchwell hired recent UWF graduate Lori Milkeris to serve as the center’s first counselor.
The MVRC employs 19 VA work studies, veteran students who are trained to assist students in the process of applying for benefits using the GI Bill and to help enroll in their classes. “The MVRC gives veterans a place for like-minded individuals to gather and connect,” said Pete Goldsberry, UWF’s chapter president for the Student Veterans of America. Combined with the SVA, it gives veterans a better network. “There’s nothing better than vets helping vets,” Churchwell said.
VETERANS COUNSELOR Milkeris, 38, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from UWF, and she served in the U.S. Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base in N.C. prior to coming to the school. “I counsel for personal and academic issues,” Milkeris said. “I track GPA for veterans and call them in when they are in danger of losing their benefits due to low GPA. I also contact them when they achieve a 4.0 GPA to congratulate them.” When Milkeris first started at the MVRC, there were close to 100 veterans with continuous GPA issues in danger of losing all of their VA benefits for school. Now the number is less than half of that. In addition to GPA tracking, Milkeris offers general counseling, including help with some simple breathing exercises and anxiety relief practices. Also, she assists in applying for VA assistance with all counseling needs past her abilities.
As a veteran, it’s very different when you’re by yourself, or when you can walk in, and you have fellow veterans that you know you can count on. Because that’s what you do in the field.
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“I try to be an advocate for veterans as well,” Milkeris said. “I won’t just send them to another office if I can’t help. I’ll go with them and help keep them calm. A lot of veterans that come in are older, and they beat-up on themselves. So, they can come in here and relate to others that are going through the same thing as them.”
BEST COLLEGE FOR MILITARY
Every year, “Military Times” puts out a list of the best colleges for military members and veterans. In 2014, the University of West Florida was ranked No. 22 on its list, with a reported 1,517 military students enrolled in the school. UWF reports their total enrollment to be 12,588 students, so that makes military enrollment roughly 12 percent of the total student body at UWF. According to Churchwell, that number doesn’t reflect all military affiliated students though, as it leaves out several of the dependents and veterans or active members that aren’t using the GI Bill. Churchwell says the actual military student enrollment numbers are closer to 3,050 students, bringing the percentage to nearly a quarter of the student population at UWF.
University of West Florida Student Body 2014 Military Civilian
“Come to the MVRC,” Churchwell urges. “If we could get every military affiliated student to come here to sit down and let us help them with the process, I think that would help a lot.” “See me for my future, not my past.” Four years after his road to recovery started, Jones is finally starting to “recognize me again.” In February 2014, Jones became the first graduate of a program ran by the Volunteers of America to help homeless veterans to get back on their feet and find stability. “I finally looked in the mirror and said, ‘I love you’,” Jones said. “But it became not just about me. It became about the veterans I was in the program with. I started to believe in myself again, and that gave them something to believe in.”
Jones’ process has not been without difficulty though. He remembers waking up in the house the VOA let him stay in with horrible nightmares of the traumatic events he experienced in Japan. “But one day, I woke up with excitement,” Jones said. “They told me I would have the nightmares when I started counseling, but I was working my way through it for once. I was facing my fear. “I didn’t just put myself together though. I discovered the resources. Every decision I’ve made, at the time they were very difficult, but there was always support for me.”
Total enrollment of 12,588 students Approximately 3,050 students are military
When Jones’ transferred to UWF from Pensacola State College in 2013, he faced another hurdle and began to feel himself step backwards. “I withdrew into myself due to fear,” Jones said. “I was worried about losing my support from the VOA when I graduated the program. I was actually afraid of success.” But Jones attributes the family environment of the MVRC and Goldsberry reaching out to him through the SVA to helping him overcome that hurdle. Jones is on track now to graduate in the spring of 2016 with a business marketing degree. “People have to be brave enough to share their story,” Jones said. “You are not your mistakes. A mistake is only a missed take, but you have a second take.” “Don’t be afraid to use it.”
*Percentages reflect all military enrollment including dependents, veterans, and active members not using the GI bill. spring 2014 / issue iv 40.
trained almost a decade ago, said, “Initially, we started out with the bare essentials, and then nothing. I ate anything I could catch, which turned out to be a rabbit and a couple of squirrels. Water was the biggest issue. You had to collect it when you could, and treat it with iodine tablets.” However, the lack of food and resources remained a secondary problem to the more prominent one: being a prisoner of war (POW).
BY SARAH RICHARDS Layout & Graphics by Ali Hayes
itting at a desk in the front of an empty University of West Florida classroom, he ran his palm over his handlebar mustache and began to recall the days when the U.S. Navy trained him to evade and survive becoming a prisoner of war. When the training began, a group of 50 people were handed two live rabbits and a small basket of vegetables. These items would only temporarily fill the bellies of 50 men. During the next eight days of training, they would not only have to find food on their own, but they would withstand beatings, torture and humiliation. The U.S. Air Force established SERE, which stands for survival, evasion, resistance and escape, after the Vietnam War ended. SERE was designed to train military personnel to endure capture and triumph over the enemy with nothing but the dirty clothes on their backs, a few ropes and food, if they could get it. Wayne Abrahamson, a 24-year Navy engineer who served aboard supply ships and destroyers, is now an adjunct instructor of anthro-
“There was lots of psychological torment, sleep deprivation, degradation and some beatings,” Billups said. “Digging in and hiding from the enemy was nerve-racking,” Billups said. “It was January. It was cold, and there was lots of snow. My partner and I land-navigated our way around the hardest areas of the mountains to avoid capture, and it worked. But at some point, we all got captured and had to ‘endure the suck,’ as we say.” Abrahamson and his partner had to make it from one area to a marked point that was being patrolled by a simulated Russian guard. “If you successfully evaded your pursuers and got to the designated point, you and your buddy were given a hotdog to split,” Abrahamson said. A half of a hotdog may not sound appetizing, but after days of scrounging for tubers and grub worms, a hotdog provided a few moments of serenity. Access to food became a mind game the guards used against the SERE trainees. “The guards would line us up and scoop rice into our hands,” Abrahamson said. “We would stand there and lick every bit off of our palms. After everybody was done, the guards asked who wanted more. A bunch of us raised our hands. Then they tipped the pot onto the ground, stomped on the rice and said, ‘Alright, go ahead and eat.’ “When some people went to eat the rice, they were punished because everything you do in a POW camp is a group effort. If I made a mistake, they would select another individual for a beat down or water boarding.”
pology and maritime archaeology at UWF. Abrahamson’s experiences in SERE and traveling the world guide his teachings in culture, which allow his students to gain one man’s insight, apart from a textbook.
Both Abrahamson and Billups said the guards would try to break group unity, but morale was important to protect because it provided the SERE trainees with strength to continue.
Abrahamson’s SERE training, which took place near the end of the Korean War, lasted for eight grueling days.
“You had to keep faith in your fellow inmates and know that we all have a breaking point,” Billups said.
“When we got there, there was a large box of old, torn-up uniforms. We had to pick out a shirt, a pair of pants and a pair of boots in about two seconds,” Abrahamson said. “The shirt may have had no pockets. It may have been ripped out in the back, or the pants may have had a leg missing. The idea was that you just jumped out of an airplane or your boat was just shot up, and you were not wearing a pristine uniform. You were wearing rags.”
“The last few hours of the last day were the hardest because we didn’t know when we could leave,” Abrahamson said. “When the American flag raised and the national anthem played over the speakers, that is when we knew we were finally done.”
Current SERE training information is classified. Therefore, Air Force Master Sgt. Michelle Wilson, who provides mental health support for one of the SERE schools, declined to comment. Air Force air battle manager Maj. Kevin Billups, who was SERE
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The men and women who go to SERE training all share one thing: a new outlook on life. It makes time with family and friends more valuable, makes food seem magical and reminds them that health and happiness are of utmost importance. “Returning home from SERE training was one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment I’ve had to date,” Billups said. “I get the same feeling every time I return home from a deployment.”
UWF ARCHAEOLOGY UNEARTHS THE MYSTERY BEHIND PENSACOLA’S “RUSSIAN FREIGHTER” BY ALISON WALTON-WOLLNIK
own, down, down through the clear green sea I sank. All the way down to the bottom, 85-feet below the surface, that has been my home for a very long time now. Fish and occasional divers are my only companions. There is no sparkling sunlight like there is on the surface, only a glassy green light seeping down from above. I lie here now, off the coast of Pensacola, because I was part of a secret government operation during World War II. Many divers who have explored my wreckage over the years have called me the “Russian freighter,” but the truth is something vastly different. I set sail for the first time on a sparkling sunlit day in 1915 from Belfast, Ireland. I was one of the first of my kind, a new refrigerated cargo ship built to carry bananas from the Caribbean and Central America to those in latitudes north who eagerly awaited my bounty. Painted a proud, gleaming white, I was destined to join the “Great White Fleet” of the United Fruit Company. Weighing in at 3300 gross tons with a single stack and measuring 300-feet-long, I am not so overly large as refrigerated cargo steamships go. However, I could generate 2300 horsepower and sail as fast as 15 knots.
The SS San Pablo is a shipwreck which lies nine miles offshore from Pensacola that was known to local divers as the “Russian freighter.” The ship was not a Russian freighter. It was actually involved in a secret government project called “Operation Campbell.” Stewart Hood, a graduate student at the University of West Florida who is investigating the shipwreck for his thesis, said that the ship was brought to Pensacola by the Office of Strategic Services, which became the Central Intelligence Agency after World War II. “It was used by the OSS as a target ship,” Hood said. They blew a hole in the side of the San Pablo 60-by-40 feet in diameter and sank it into the Gulf of Mexico. The ship sank intact. The test conducted on Aug. 11, 1944 at 7 a.m. had gone off perfectly. Recently declassified material about the San Pablo was found and linked to the “Russian freighter” in the Gulf of Mexico. An OSS presentation explaining the project and a video of the test have been released.
Now I lay at the bottom of the sea for the second time in my life, covered in barnacles and coral.
“‘Operation Campbell’ was looking at using unmanned radio and TV controlled ‘missile boats’ to sink enemy shipping in areas that were too difficult to manage for conventional warfare,” Hood said.
The first time I was sunk was the night of July 3, 1942. There was war raging everywhere. I was docked and innocently unloading supplies in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. A German U-Boat which had been trolling the area unseen fired a torpedo at me, ripping a gaping hole in my side. The water rushed in overwhelming me. I could not fight it, and down I went into the dark, tropical night.
“The project basically called for a motor boat to be filled with explosives, disguised as a fishing vessel and piloted via radio and TV from an airplane. The operator would use the TV and radio control device to pilot the speed boat into the side of an enemy vessel. The motor boat would lock into the side of the target ship, scuttled, so it would be below the target ship’s water line for maximum damage.”
I was raised sometime not long after that and brought to Tampa, Florida. My hopes soared as I was first repaired, then brought to Pensacola, ostensibly to be restored to glory. Then, one day as I sat off Pensacola on the brilliant emerald waters, I saw a small fishing craft making a beeline for me. The explosion when she hit me was violent and devastating. The whole, terrifying experience came back to haunt me as I went down once more. I was in safe territory, so how and why could this have happened to me again?
To facilitate the disguise, the sound of the modern motor had to be muffled while a recording of a native engine was broadcast, and smoke was blown out of an exhaust pipe in synchronization with the sound of the native engine, according to the OSS document. There was even a moving dummy placed in the helm with the tiller in its hands. The “missile” used in the test with the San Pablo was disguised as a Danish fishing boat.
Layout & Graphics by Dusty Kennedy
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“There was a gentleman down here that used to work at MBT Divers by the name of Jim Phillips, and he had been doing some research into the Russian freighter,” Hood said. “A friend or a customer of his went to the Spy Museum up in Washington D.C., where they had a video of this recently declassified OSS test on the San Pablo that was on loop. “This man came back and told Phillips about it. That is how they found out about the video and linked it to the San Pablo here in Florida.”
Some of the mystery surrounding this vessel harkens back to its first sinking during the war. “She was part of what they called the ‘Great White Fleet,’ which was United Fruit Company’s shipping fleet,” Hood said. “United Fruit Company was a Boston-based fruit company that had huge land holdings in Central America and throughout the Caribbean and for a long time really dominated the banana market throughout the region. “I think at one point they controlled about 90 percent of the region’s banana output. Their shipping fleet was at one time the largest private-owned fleet in the world. They had all the vessels painted up white.” “A lot of United Fruit’s fleet was lost during the Second World War at the hand of U-boats ,” Hood said. “There were German and Italian interests operating in Costa Rica as well that would have been competing with United Fruit for business. United Fruit acted as a practical monopoly down there for a while.” Why would a German U-Boat sink a privately owned fruiter that was docked and offloading supplies? This and other questions are what drives Hood in his research of the vessel. “The ship is listed at present on the Florida Shipwreck Trail,” Hood said. “What I would really like to do is just see if we can get some archaeology completed on it and get some attention to it. “I think it’s kind of a unique piece of Florida history. It’s a really cool site given its kind of shady history and some of the dynamics that have gone around that. It’s a very popular dive spot around here and a really big fishing spot as well, and I think it will probably continue in that capacity.”
There is a new kind of energy that I feel now when divers come to see me. There are many more of them, and when they come they spend more time. They carefully dredge away debris and attentively measure and record information about me. Lovingly, they unearth my secrets and treasures and record them on film for posterity. I am not forgotten after all. They have discovered the secret of what happened to me. I played an important role, on the side of good, during a time in which the whole world seemed to be on fire. I went down in honor, for the future of many, and now everyone will know. If I had known the reasons behind why I had to suffer such terror for a second time, I would have done it willingly.
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Photography by Alison Walton-Wollnik
UWF’S CLIVE CUSSLER H
is office is exactly what you would expect for a marine archaeologist, a comfortable and masculine treasure trove of artifact look-alikes. The walls are adorned with traditional English fox-hunt paintings and a Persian rug covers the floor. An eclectic book collection fills glass-fronted bookcases, beckoning one’s imagination into the vast realm of possibilities and ancient civilizations. John Bratten, however, is not exactly what you would expect as the chair of the department of anthropology at University of West Florida. Although stacks of papers surrounding his desk await him, he smiles and welcomes unexpected visitors into his office. He apologizes when his phone rings and helps the person on the other end. His soft-spoken voice never changes or seems to reflect any stress. He is 56 years old and married to Dana, who is responsible for decorating his office to remind him of the things he loves in life. He lists among his favorite hobbies playing with his 7-year-old daughter,
Bratten teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in nautical and shipwreck archaeology, underwater archaeology field school, and artifact conservation and preservation. His artifact conservation class is a hands-on lab course that allows students to be involved in experiments while learning to conserve actual artifacts. During his underwater archaeology field school, students dive and investigate a historical shipwreck. Included in his classes are intriguing stories of ancient shipwrecks and amusing stories of dubious chemical experiments in high school chemistry lab. Before seeking his doctorate in nautical archaeology, Bratten taught high school and middle school chemistry, physics and biology. One day in 1985 while he was eating lunch in the high school lunchroom, one of the teachers asked what he was going to do over the summer. To his own surprise he replied, “I think I might find an archaeological project to volunteer on.” A fellow teacher had an uncle that was an archaeologist who directed him to some archaeological digs and that summer he ended up at the site of Lachish. Lachish was an outpost of Jerusalem that was destroyed in 701 B.C. by Sennacherib, a Syrian king. Then, while he was overseeing a study hall period in 1989, he read a new nonfiction book titled “The Sea Remembers,” which spawned his discovery of underwater archaeology and Texas A&M University’s nautical archaeology doctoral program. He enrolled the following year. Bratten’s favorite shipwreck, designated Emanuel Point II, is very old and is a local treasure.
The first, Emanuel Point I, was discovered by the state archaeologist in 1992, but Emanuel Point II was discovered by UWF archaeologists and students in 2006. It is still under investigation. “I like the unexpected artifacts, the ones you don’t expect to find,” Bratten said.
Beneath the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico and off the shores of Pensacola lie the remains of the colonization fleet of the Spanish conquistador Tristan de Luna which sank in a 1559 hurricane. Two of those ships have been found.
going to his 15-year-old stepson’s football games and reading books. Bratten first started working at UWF in July 1996, when he started out as a temporary hire. He became the interim chair of the anthropology department when Judy Bense became the interim president of the university, and eventually, he became the department chair.
According to Bratten, the most exciting artifact he has found was on the first Emanuel Point shipwreck, an obsidian cutting blade made by the Aztecs. It was sent off for a neutron activation analysis at the University of Missouri, which revealed the exact valley in Mexico where the obsidian was originally collected. “We knew that the Aztecs were included in this colonization effort here in Pensacola, so it really confirmed the connection between the Spanish, the Aztecs in Mexico, and Pensacola in one fell swoop with that one artifact,” Bratten said. “Archaeology is important because the possibilities are endless for new discoveries. It allows us to make a direct connection to the past.”
Scan for more declassified information about the SS San Pablo. spring 2014 / issue iv 44.
GEORGE WASHINGTON STRIKES AGAIN THE CASE OF THE MISSING CHERRY TREE 6.
Photography & Layout by Dusty Kennedy
BY JAMIE GENTRY
he discovery was completely accidental. Walking to class in a rush when suddenly, it tripped-up my feet. It was a seemingly pointless dedication plaque. The plaque was a concrete block with a bronze face that read: “This tree planted to honor President George Washington by the Pensacola Chapter Sons of The American Revolution February 22, 2000.” But there was no tree. Some weeds grew up the left side of the block. To one side there was a parking lot; to the other, there was the road. There was only this grassy, flat median surrounding the plaque. A dip in the ground suggested that there might have been a tree once, no bigger around than a man’s fist. Once. Who put this dedication here and planted the accompanying tree? Why? And what happened to the tree? The search for answers started with the University of West Florida Visitors Center, just a few feet from the spot. Employees of the UWF Visitors Center on their way to work walked past the plaque every day. It could be seen through the glass front of the building, but none of them had even noticed it. Surely the members of the Pensacola Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution had to know about the plaque and its missing tree. The SAR is a nonprofit organization that focuses on historical preservation and education on the era of the American Revolution. The SAR has made many such dedications in the past. Its name was on the plaque, but Pensacola Chapter President Frederick Bowers III was perplexed when asked about the tree. “I know absolutely nothing about it,” Bowers said. The subject of the tree was brought up during an SAR Pensacola Chapter meeting, but no one knew anything about a tree at UWF, much less what happened to it. Bowers said that he and most of the current members were not a part of the SAR in this area in 2000. Even the university archivist Dean DeBolt was stumped. DeBolt searched the Pensacola News Journal archives and found nothing. Apparently, no one seemed to know anything about the tree or where it had gone. But DeBolt had one last idea. The SAR’s sister organization, the Daughters of the American Revolution, kept scrapbooks in the UWF archives in the basement of the John C. Pace Library. After a quick computer check, Debolt disappeared to the back where towers of books and document rested in their shelves.
The bright blue pages are filled with photos of smiling faces, yellowing newspaper clippings, lists of names and pamphlets from events. The first scrapbook had nothing. Nothing about a tree at UWF. But in the second, six photographs showed smiling SAR and DAR members posed in front of two barren twigs sticking out of the ground, young cherry trees in the chill of February. In front of each cherry twig a plaque was place. The same plaque that remained unnoticed for so many years. The photos were taken outside of the UWF Visitors Center on Feb. 26, 2000, four days after the trees were originally planted. Finally, some answers. According to a pamphlet from the event that was glued in the books, the trees were planted to honor the country’s first president on the 200th anniversary of his death. The cherry trees were planted on Washington ’s birthday. “It is interesting that they chose cherry trees,”DeBolt said. “The old story is that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree, and his father demanded to know who chopped down the cherry tree. [George] said ‘Father, I cannot tell a lie. It was I.’ “It’s kind of a folklore legend of the truth and honesty of our first president.” So what happened to the other cherry tree? Across the road from the plaque, a cherry tree grew tall and healthy. Fresh foliage grew, and the suggestion of future blossoms speckled the branches. Beneath it a plaque still names the tree in honor of Washington, though it has been hidden by bushes over time. But some questions still remain. What happened to the cherry sapling planted in front of the SAR plaque 14 years ago? And will it be replaced? Some, including Bowers, speculate that the tree may have fallen victim to a car jumping the curb. DeBolt had some theories as well. “From the picture, they are very young trees, and it could very well be that they just didn’t survive,” DeBolt said. “We sometimes have cold snaps in March. Colleges are also notorious for pranks.” Another strong possibility was that the tree in the photo was one of the many trees uprooted during Hurricane Ivan just four years after it was planted. The answer may never be known.
The only sounds were hushed whispers and the steady tick, tick, ticking of the wall clock. So many questions, all waiting to be answered, and the clock just ticked on and on.
As for being replaced, Bowers said there is a process that must be followed before a new tree could be dedicated, but he said he would like to see a new tree planted.
Then DeBolt emerged, two pizza-box-sized scrapbooks under his arms. These books contained the chronology of the Pensacola DAR’s legacy, hand-made by DAR members.
Many hope that a cherry sapling will again grow there in honor of the man who “cannot tell a lie.”
spring 2014 / issue iv 46.
STUDENTS’ VIEWS ON THE NEWS
ARGONAUTS COMMENT ON CURRENT EVENTS
Political battles, destructive weather, planes going missing and a dog in Wisconsin learning how to skateboard. Every year has different dramas and narratives throughout our news. In this article, we take five significant news events from the past year and have asked you, the University of West Florida students, what you thought.
BY OSCAR STEPHENS-WILLIS Graphics by Kathleen Hicks / Layout by Kathleen Hicks & Drew Kennedy
SOCHI WINTER OLYMPICS PROBLEMS
During the 2014 Winter Olympics there was significant news coverage of the process involved in construction and use of the hotel and facilities in Sochi, Russia. Al Mirabella, 19, advertising: “If the Olympics had taken place anywhere else, a lot of the issues being had in Sochi would have been overlooked. It’s not that the problems weren’t totally ridiculous, but some of it seemed like it was blown out of proportion by the media.”
RECORD COLD TEMPERATURES NATION-WIDE
Felt a bit cold this year? You’re not the only one. Temperatures plummeted across America, breaking records in more than 50 major cities as well as causing more than 21 deaths. Rodell Pittman, 24, information technology: “It’s been horrible. I always look forward to when the weather starts to warm up, but this year it’s just been dragging on and on. I have friends in other states, and they said they still have snow and stuff. It just sucks because there are businesses down on the beach that need the weather to pick up to make money, you know?”
47. spring 2014 / issue iv
THE CHRIS CHRISTIE BRIDGE SCANDAL
Chris Christie is the governor of New Jersey. In early September, he allegedly closed George Washington Bridge crossing the Hudson River causing significant traffic jams in a suspected political maneuver to “get back at” Democrat and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who endorsed Christie’s running opponent. Fred Rock, 25, environmental science: “It’s typical political crap. Probably just another thing in the game [politicians] all play to get ahead of each other. Imagine the amount of stuff that happens that we never get to find out about.”
PENSACOLA’S POLICIES ON HOMELESSNESS
Last summer, the Pensacola City Council passed new laws commonly called the “homeless ordnances.” Anyone, namely the homeless, will be criminalized for various things including sleeping outdoors while “adjacent to or inside a tent or sleeping bag, or atop and/or covered by materials such as a bedroll, cardboard, newspapers, or inside some form of temporary shelter.” The laws also ban the preparation of food and washing up in public restrooms. Samantha Shields, 18, telecommunication/film: “I understand why they put the law in, but it just seems a little heartless to make it a crime to have nothing. If they had a way to get to shelters and such at night that would be better for them and everyone, but it just feels kind of dirty and heartless to tell someone it’s against the law to curl up and sleep in the only place they can find. It doesn’t really seem like there’s exactly a right answer unless more is being done to get them into safe places at night. “I’ve met a lot of the homeless community, and my friend even interviewed a lot of them for a global veteran project he was working on. And their stories broke my heart. I would hate to think that those guys would get in trouble for surviving the way they have to.” Authors note: After this law came into pass, it has since been rescinded after a huge amount of Pensacola citizens came together with a petition to repeal the controversial decision.
The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” has brought with it huge controversies, making the president hugely unpopular with Republicans. In 2013, Congress ground to a halt due to both sides being unable to make a compromise with spending bills after Republicans demanded alterations to “Obamacare” and Democrats refused to make a concession. Derek Bibeau, 19, political science: “It was complete and total bullshit. Why can’t the two sides agree on something to help save our nation and stop screwing the military? It’s too bad they don’t know what it’s like to lose a day’s pay. People rely on that to live their lives, and because of people in suits out of touch with the country, it’s the people they’re meant to represent who get screwed over.”
spring 2014 / issue iv 48.
The Department of Communication Arts at the University of West Florida 11000 University Parkway Building 36 / Room 178 Pensacola, FL 32514 850.474.2874