Sweet Talk

Page 1

February 9, 2023

Editorial Board

Valerie Reyes

Editor-in-Chief & Advertising valeriereyes@stfrancis.edu

Saba Aamir Layout Designer & Assistant Editor sabaaamir@stfrancis.edu

Noëllie Inard Entertainment Editor

Alex Mielcarz Feature Editor alexmielcarz@stfrancis.edu

Hannah Mitchell Commentary Editor hannahmitchell@stfrancis.edu

Mathias Woerner Sports Editor mathiaswoerner@stfrancis.edu

Dr. Scott Marshall Advisor smarshall@stfrancis.edu

Staff Writers

Lissette Perez

Frank Piegari

Layout Contributors

Noëllie Inard

Valerie Reyes

Anahi Rodriguez

Mathias Woerner

UNIVERSITY 4 Letter from the Staff NEWS 6 - 7 Campus News 8 - 9 Local News ENTERTAINMENT 10 WCSF Top Ten & Staff Picks 11 Top 5 Movies to Netflix... 12 Sweet Travels 13 Best Love and Heartbreak Songs 14 A Note to Self FEATURE 16 - 17 Sweet or Sour History? 18 February is American Heart Month 19 Mardi Gras: Beads, Parades and Parties COMMENTARY 22 Black History Month: An Inerview with Black Student Association President 24 - 25 Shoot Your Shot 26 What's So Great About Valentine's Day? SPORTS 28 - 29 Super Bowl 30 2023 Fighting Saints Upcoming Schedule Student led, student written.
PhCover backgroud: www.freepik.com 2 February 9, 2023


The USF Encounter is published by the students of the University of St. Francis, 500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, Illinois, 60435. The newspaper office is located in room S413C of Tower Hall. The USF Encounter phone number is 815.740.3816.

As a member of USF Campus Media, the USF Encounter strives to produce a publication that stresses quality writing and design.By reporting on issues that may be sensitive in nature, the USF Encounter aims to educate, inform and persuade students on topics that affect their lives on and off campus. Editorial pages provide USF Encounter staff with opportunities to express thoughtful views on controversial topics. Letters to the Editor represent the opinion of the author and are not necessarily opinions of the USF Encounter Staff. Publications of letters to the editor are subject to space availability and management discretion. Letters are also subject to editing. Letters to the editor or any other submissions may be dropped off at the USF Encounter office or emailed to encounter@stfrancis.edu. The USF Encounter is printed by RICOH Services on the campus of the University of St. Francis.

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership.


Valerie Reyes Saba Aamir Hannah Mitchell Mathias Woerner Noëllie Inard
usfencounter.stfrancis.edu 3
Alex Mielcarz

Letter From the Editor

Thank you for picking up the February edition of The USF Encounter “Sweet Talk." In this issue, you’ll get some great reads such as tips on how to shoot your shot, the history of Valentine’s Day and an interview with the Black Student Association’s president.

I’m excited to work with the Encounter staff as the Editor-in-Chief for my last semester here at St. Francis. It’s been amazing seeing everyone grow as writers and designers and staff members picking up new roles this semester. I am proud of the amount of work everyone has put into the Encounter and I can’t wait to share more issues with you all throughout the semester.

Over here at the Encounter, we encourage everyone to get involved whether you know how to design or write, we would love for you to join our team! If you have any questions on how to join us, email me at valeriereyes@stfrancis.edu.

Be sure to keep up with what we’re doing by following us on social media! You can find us on Facebook (USF Encounter), Instagram (@usf_encounter), TikTok (@ usfencounter) and Twitter (@usf_encounter).

Again, thank you for picking up our February issue “Sweet Talk," we hope you enjoy!

All the Love, Val Reyes

4 February 9, 2023


Submit a Nomination for the 2023 Sister Clare Award at USF

The Sister Clare Award recognizes “women of vision who have transformed the world of their time.”

The University of St. Francis (USF), is inviting the community to submit their nominations for the 2023 Sister Clare Award. USF presents has presented this award each year since 2013 during Women’s History Month to the university’s founding congregation, the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate.

Previous award winners have been Diane Nilan (2014), Cleopatra Pendelton (2015), Bernice Sandler (2016), Mona Purdy (2017), Petra Jamie (2018), Nancy Economu (2019),

Roxiana Fuqua (2020), Dr. Ngozi Ezike (2021), and Patricia Alvarez (2022).

If you know of anyone whose services had made a difference in the lives of others, nominate her today through https://forms. gle/7cTLzmn9R2CynHxy5.

Nominations should be received by February 14, 2023. The award recipient will be notified by March 1 with a reception to celebrate the recognition.

Decisions for the award will be made by members of the USF Women’s History Month committee.

World Series Champion Manager Joe Maddon to Speak at USF Brown and Gold Night

Major League Baseball manager, Joe Maddon, helped the Chicago Cubs organization break its 108-year World Series drought in 2016.

Maddon will be the guest speaker at University of St. Francis’ 44 annual Brown and Gold Night. Maddon is the second member of the Chicago Cubs World Series championship team to speak at USF’s Brown and Gold Night. Former catcher David Ross spoke in January 2017.

The event will take place at the Pat Sullivan Center on the campus of USF on Monday, February 13. The annual fundraiser begins with a cash bar at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7p.m. and the program at 8 p.m.

The event will also include both a silent and live auction. Tickets are available for $65 each or a table of 10 for $650.

For more information, contact the USF Athletic Department at 815-740-3842 or www.gofightingsaints.com.

Photo: www.stfrancis.edu
Photo Courtesy of CNBC
6 February 9, 2023

USF Online Programs Recognized in the 2023 Best Online Program by U.S. News

The U.S. News & World Report recently released its 2023 Best Online Programs rankings and ranked University of St. Francis’ (USF) online business programs (excluding MBA) were ranked the best in Illinois.

The publication also recognized four other online programs offered by USF, including online graduate education programs and online MBA programs named as the best private programs in Illinois.

The recognized USF programs included:

Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA) – #1 ranked program overall in Illinois (36th percentile nationally);

Online Graduate Education Programs – #1 ranked private program in Illinois (18th percentile nationally);

Online MBA Programs – #1 ranked private program in Illinois (36th percentile nationally);

Online Nursing Programs – #3 ranked private program in Illinois (35th percentile nationally), and;

Online Bachelor’s Programs – #4 ranked private program in Illinois (24th percentile nationally)

Visit www.usnews.com/education/onlineeducation for more information on U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Online Programs rankings.

Photo: www.USNews.com usfencounter.stfrancis.edu 7

Giant Guitar Sculpture Artwork Lit at the Illinois Rock & Roll Museum

The Illinois Rock and Roll Museum lit up the largest hand-made Guitar sculpture on Friday, January 20, on Route 66 in downtown Joliet.

The 24-foot guitar artwork nicknamed “Gigantar” was created in New Jersey and traveled across 5 states to reach its destination. To celebrate the museum’s new icon, there was a ceremony featuring Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen where the community was invited to see the unveiling of the sculpture.

The sculpture was commissioned to the world-renowned artist Shannon MacDonald by the Illinois Rock & Roll Museum. According to the press release, the commission came from a grant by the Illinois Department

of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Regarding this milestone event, Ron Romero, executive director of the Illinois Rock & Roll Museum, said, “GIGANTAR will be the museum’s icon. We are thrilled with the work Shannon has done and we can’t wait to show it to music lovers throughout Illinois and the world.”

The Illinois Rock & Roll Museum exists to preserve Illinois rich musical heritage and educate visitors about the musicians and bands by providing educational programs.

To learn more about “Gigantar”, visit www.roadtorock.org/gigantar/.

$1 Chocolate Cake for Portillo’s 1 Year Anniversary

On February 21, the famous chocolate cake from Portillo's, the national restaurant chain, will be available for $1 a slice when you buy any entrée as part of the chain's one-year anniversary celebration.

According to the press release, the promotion will be accessible in Joliet while placing an order via the drivethru, by ordering takeout or delivery

or by using the Portillo's mobile app by applying the promocode JOLIETBDAY at checkout.

Customers who placed an order online at the Joliet location on February 21 – either via Portillo’s website or app – will also be entered in a chance to win a $50 gift card.

Photo: www.cbsnews.com
8 February 9, 2023
Photo: www.portillos.com

McDonough Street Bridge to Reopen

On Monday, February 6, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced that the McDonough Street bridge in Joliet that spans the Des Plaines River will reopen on February 13, one week from today, weather permitting.

IDOT officials claim that the bridge was shut down in November as part of ongoing efforts to upgrade the movable bridges in downtown Joliet so they can be controlled from a single location. It created a more effective system of lifting

Dari Delite Listed for Sale

Dari Delite is an ice cream shop located at 718 Theodore St. Joliet and has been listed for sale at the price of $375,000.

It's a family owned and operated ice cream shop that sits next to the St. Joe’s Baseball Park, where it brings in thousands of people throughout the summer and fall.

On January 26, the property was listed on the

real estate website www. realty.com.

A Facebook post was shared on the business account saying, “We have been in the ice cream business for over 35 years it is time for our family to retire.”

They will reopen in March and will continue to run their business until they find a buyer.

and lowering the bridges and improving safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and marine traffic.

Following the reopening of the McDonough Street bridge, the Jefferson Street bridge will be closed so the remote-control system installed last year can undergo its final testing.

The Jefferson Street bridge will be shut down until February 17 in the evening.

Photo: www.bridgehunter.com Photo: Dari Delite Facebook
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The USF Encounter Staff "Monthly Staff Picks" playlist.



1. “Gigi's Recovery” THE MURDER CAPITAL

2. "I Wanna Dance With You” [Single] ROYEL OTIS

3. “Not At This Time” ANIMA

4. "Really Really Light” [Single] THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS

5. “Beddy Rays” BEDDY RAYS

6. “Lay Me Down To Rest” THE STACKS


8. “Insomnia” [EP] THE MOSS

9. “I Need Ya” [Single] SOMEBODY'S CHILD

Week Ending January 30, 2023 RORY RICHARDS RORY 4-5 PM Fridays

Gotta Get Back (feat. Pink Sweat$)


bet u wanna

Sabrina Carepenter


Peng Black Girls Remix

ENNY, Jorja Smith



What am I Why Don't We





Listen On

10 February 9, 2023



Zack Tabudlo

Forever After All

Luke Combs

If you want more USF Encounter discovery

Artwork courtesy of WCSF
Gold Survey

Top 5 movies to Netflix &...

Dirty Dancing

Still a classic

Though I don’t like romantic movies, I grew up watching this one. Little TMI, this is my mom’s favorite movie, which explains why I watched it so many times. It is a great movie with a lot of famous quotes you would find in today’s pop culture. The story follows “baby” who falls in love with a dance instructor while she is on vacation with her family. Don’t let the fact that it came out in 1987 scare you, it is a nice classic to put on at night to just shut off your brain and enjoy.

Someone Great

Hearbreak and Alcohol

This one, I really liked it. Other than the two main actors that I really like, this story feels rawer with its portrayal of emotions after a breakup. We follow the main character trying to cope with it in different ways and with the help of her friends. This movie is a mix of sad emotions while also being fun and entertaining to watch. From sadness to anger, without forgetting acceptance, you see all the phases that someone could go through after a breakup. This one is to enjoy with a little glass of wine during a cozy night.

Sweet and Sour

Good twists

This movie might not be the most romantic but I liked the twist and turn of the plot. This 2021 South Korean movie follows Da Eun and Jang Hyuk as they are managing their new long-distance relationships. Compared to the other movies I mentioned, this one feel more like a portrayal of a real-life and down-to-earth type of love. It’s a good watch, it may not become your favorite movie but you’ll have a good time for sure.


Do yourself a favor

Malcolm & Marie

Just watch it

This one is also a piece of art. This movie is all in black and white and was filmed in one place as we follow the character over the length of one night. It would be an understatement to say that Zendaya and John David Washington did a great job, they are magnificent in this movie. They portray raw emotions and a more passionate type of love. It may not be the funniest of the selection but watch it, you won’t be disappointed!

I might be cheating with this one since technically it is a miniseries. However, since it is still hard for the South Korean entertainment industry to give full length episodes to the LGBTQ+ community, one episode is only 14 mins and there are a total of only 11 episodes. From the visuals to the acting, this mini-series tackles subjects like bullying, obsession with social appearance and of course, love between two different people but also between family members. This one will make you think but trust me you’ll like every second.

Photo Courtesy of Netflix Photo Courtesy of Netflix Photo Courtesy of KT Corporation, KT Hite Photo Courtesy of KENAZ Photo Courtesy of Great American Films Limited Partnership
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Sweet Travels

The long-awaited March week is quickly approaching and I know many of you are excited to get time away from the daily semester grind. But first, you need to pack. Whether you're going to the beach, taking a road trip or exploring a major city, these are some must-have travel items you should bring with you to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.


This is an everyday use item, so remember to bring sunscreen wherever you go. Especially if you are going to the beach or where you will be exposed to the sun for a long time, bring sunscreen to prevent the UV rays from harming your skin. I promise you will thank me when you come back without ruining your skin.

Small First-aid kit

When traveling, you never know what can happen so be prepared with a small first-aid kit in case of common medical emergencies. Some of the supplies that may be helpful include bandages, gauze, surgical tape, small scissors, antiseptic wipes, painkillers or patches and antibacterial creams. Of course, you can modify or include any more items based on your travel requirements.

Cosmetic Case

Not only will they keep things organized but they will also keep your toiletries from breaking or damaging your clothes. So, invest in a highly functional waterproof cosmetic case to prevent accidental liquids explosions or other products. Some cosmetic cases also provide space to hold your jewelry, which is a plus!

Luggage Tags

Bags frequently get missing while traveling but luggage tags make it easy to find your bags if it happens. Include your name, email address and phone number on all luggage tags. Additionally, they help customize and quickly find your bags at the baggage claim. This can prevent your bags from getting mixed up with someone else’s bags.

While these are the few items I picked as travel must-haves, you can add more based on your travel necessities. Create a list before packing to remember what you need to bring on your week-long vacation.

Sweet and safe travels!

Photos: www.freepik.com 12 February 9, 2023


Heartbreak Love BEST SONGS

All of Me - John Legend

A classic that will have you confessing your love to someone and letting them know that they have all of you.


para Ti - Camila

A love song that describes what it’s like when you finally realize that you have found the person that is only for you.

A heartbreak so bad that it destroys all your hope of ever finding love again and locking the door on love.

Here With Me - d4vd

The start of a new relationship when everything is new and the future seems so easy. All you need is the person you love next to you.

Only Exception - Paramore

After shutting out your heart and finally giving up on love, that one person comes along and breaks down all your walls.

Serendipity - BTS

That feeling of meeting someone and finding love by chance. Only for you to realize later that maybe it wasn’t random but fate.

Love Scenario - iKON

Some break ups might end on a mutual decision but you still need a song that you can relate to.

Why Don't You Stay - Jeff Satur

Missing the person you thought was the one and all you want to do is forget the past and ask them to stay.

Amnesia - 5SOS

A failed relationship that broke you and hoping that one day you wake up with no memory of them.

Dile al Amor - Aventura
Photo Courtesy of Roc Nation Photo Courtesy of Sony Music Latin Photo Courtesy of YG Entertainment Photo Courtesy of Warner Music Thailand Photo Courtesy of Capitol Records Photo Courtesy of Photo Courtesy of Interscope Photo Courtesy of Fueled by Ramen Photo Courtesy of Big Hit Music usfencounter.stfrancis.edu 13

A Note to Self

February is the month all about love. But it doesn't have to be just about being in relationships and valentines, it can also be about self-love and self-care.

When it comes to self-love, there are many ways to go about taking care of yourself. Now is a great time to make yourself a priority as we are still fresh into the new year. www.bbrfoundation.org says, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness.” This is a journey that may be easier for some and harder for others.

A good way to start is by setting small goals for yourself that you know you can accomplish. Once you start seeing those goals being made, it will motivate you to keep pushing yourself.

As you’re making your goals and working towards them, take baby steps to practice self-love such as saying words of affirmation to yourself every day. A big part of your self-love journey is changing how you talk to yourself because it can be easy to be hard on yourself. If you don’t know where to start, there are many self-love books out there that can be used as a guide.

During your self-love journey find things that will bring enjoyment, whether it would be journaling about your days, meditating, exercising or disconnecting from technology for a few minutes. See what is working for you and what isn’t, then, from there start incorporating these things into your daily life. “Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, increase happiness and more. It can help you adapt to changes, build strong relationships and recover from setbacks.” says www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org. There are many things you can do to practice self-care; you just have to test different things out and find something that you look forward to doing every day.

Self-love doesn’t have to always be about eating healthy, getting enough rest and skincare, it’s okay to go out and treat yourself

to some new clothes, shoes or even as crazy as getting a tattoo or piercing. If we take care of how we look physically, it can help us boost our confidence and feel great about ourselves.

University of St. Francis, Sophomore, Darcy Ancel says “Selflove isthe best kind of love because it helps us to take care of ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally. Self-love has an impact on how we see and treat ourselves."

While working on yourself during this journey, you want to make sure you have a great support system that you can rely on. It’s important to surround yourself with good people who will also push you to do your best or even take part in this journey with you because sometimes it can be hard to go through this alone. Be sure to know your worth and set boundaries within these relationships so you can be treated with respect.

You don’t just have to practice self-love during the month of love. Use February as the start of your journey to focus on how you can create a more confident and powerful version of yourself. Before you know it, you will reach your goals and feel


14 February 9, 2023




February is National Heart Health Month and we are featuring ingredients that bring wholesome benefits and a heartfelt smile to the faces of our students!





Leading up to the Big Game, Quest will serve a scratch made soup selection to warm the hearts of our students and fuel up to support their favorite team!




On Valentine's Day, Quest will feature desserts that are handmade with love and prepared with simple, quality ingredients like butter, eggs, flour, sugar and vanilla.





On National Sweet Potato Day, Quest is serving variations of this healthy spud, loaded with vitamins for improved heart health and natural energy!

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Sweet or Sour History?



The first legend about Valentine is a fable about a Saint who was a rebel under the reign of Claudius II. When Claudius II decreed that men couldn’t get married since they were better soldiers when single, St. Valentine continued to marry lovers in secret. Kind of romantic, I guess?

or Hopeless Romantic?

The second legend is about another Saint, named Valentine who helped Christian prisoners escape Toman jails until he was caught. The story says that, while in prison, he fell in love with his jailor’s daughter who came to visit. One version says that he healed the daughter before his death, thus converting the whole family to Christianity, though that sounds a little dry. The other one says that before dying, he left her a letter signed “From Your Valentine,” which is what we use today, or at least what we used to use, when sending letters for Valentine’s Day. Who really does that anymore, anyways?

Photo: www1.cbn.com
16 February 9, 2023


According to www.rd.com, Valentine’s Day has its roots in Paganism. A Pagan fertility festival called “Lupercalia” was celebrated in February and was dedicated to the God of Agriculture, Faunus, and the founders, Remus and Romulus. The festival was far from the cute love we know today and was mostly about whipping young women to make them more fertile and giving them away to men. However, according to www.rd.com, Pope Gelasius I wanted to wipe out the Pagan festival, so he integrated Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day in the fifth century. This is how, with the help of writers such as Shakespeare, a bloody festival became the sweet lover’s day we know in pop culture. How romantic for us



We all know the cute baby-looking angel with his bow and arrow that goes around creating couples with a swift arrow to the behind. However, Cupid is actually not a baby. According to www.rd.com, he is the interpretation of Eros, the Greek God of love. He was first portrayed in early art and poetry as young and handsome but morphed into a chubby-winged child after 31 B.C.E. His name “Cupid” was given to him once he was adopted by Roman culture and is derived from the word “desire”. Though he is now portrayed as pretty and cute in pop culture, the myths say that he used to play with God and mortal’s emotions, which, in my opinion, seems to be a good representation of love in our generation, no?

Photo: www.mycutegraphics.com, www.kerrikeberly.com
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American Heart Month

The month of February is largely dominated by the glitz and glamor of Valentine’s Day, a holiday dedicated to gestures for the ones you love. Along with this, February is also known as American Heart Month, meaning that this month is the perfect time of the year to start building healthy habits that will make your heart happy.

But where can we start with this?

Well, to answer that question, we need to look at something we do daily and that is eating. Fast food has become a staple around America because it’s cheap, convenient and easily accessible. Look outside and you’ll notice that the streets are flooded with fast food chains on every block. While the options provided may be tempting,

Fish such as tuna, salmon and trout are a great source of omega-three fatty acids. These omega-three acids are essential when it comes to regulating the risk of blood clots. In addition, they promote relaxation of artery walls. So next time you are looking for a tasty meal, make your choice with your heart in mind and try one of these tasty fish!

Getting active and managing stress is also crucial to the health of your heart. All too often does stress overcome us which can lead to high blood pressure. To combat this, start working out (if you haven’t already). All it takes is 30 minutes a day and it can come from anything including weight training or cardio. In addition, yoga and meditation are great ways to help manage your

Photo: rawpixel (www.freepik.com), Işıl Agc (www.pexel.com)
February is 18 February 9, 2023

Beads, ParAdes and Parties Mardi Gras:

Mardi Gras. A time where people enjoy their favorite fatty foods while running down the streets in colorful masks and beaded necklaces alongside festive parade floats. Have you ever wondered what this festive party down in New Orleans is all about?

Mardi Gras is the french translation for “Fat Tuesday." Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is a widely known Christian holiday that celebrates the last Tuesday before the season of Lent. Mardi Gras will be taking place on Tuesday, February 21 this year. It's celebrated to recognize the last opportunity for many to joyfully eat meat and unhealthy foods before they give them up for the season of Lent. According to www.USCCB.org, Lent is a “40-day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It's a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter.” Christians practice fasting and penance during this time demonstrating their love and commitment to their Lord, Jesus Christ. Committing to Lent can help strengthen individuals' faith and relationship with God.

Carnival, another word for the season of Mardi Gras, is celebrated by many, but according to www.history.com is a legal holiday only in Louisiana. Individuals all around the

world still find ways to show their festive spirit through costume and food.

I asked one of our more humorous writers on the Encounter staff what experiences he’s had with Mardi Gras. “Me and my friends got together one year and had a little Mardi Gras celebration and made a shrimp boil,” Frank Piegari said. “We put shrimp, sausage, corn and a bunch of spices together just to see how it would turn out. It was really good!”

Mardi Gras originated in Medieval Europe. www. mardigrasneworleans.com says that “French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans. Bienville also established 'Fort Louis de la Louisiane.' In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America’s very first Mardi Gras.” Individuals dress up decked out in purple, green and gold. These colors represent certain aspects of the festival. “Purple Represents Justice. Green Represents Faith. Gold Represents Power”

Mardi Gras’ rich history just makes the festival just that much more exciting. With the season quickly approaching, it’s time to make plans of your own for this year’s Carnival.

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Photo: www.freepik.com

Valentine's HAPPY FROM THE

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An Interview with BSA President Daniel Mclaurin

February is dedicated to celebrating Black History Month (BHM), it’s an annual celebrationto acknowledge the achievements made by African Americans in the United States. This years theme for Black History Month is "'Black Resistance,' explores how African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing opression, in all forms..." says www.history.com

In honor of BHM, I interviewed Daniel Mclaurin, President of the University of St. Francis (USF), Black Student Association (BSA). Daniel is a junior here at USF and is studying social work. He has plans to own a private practice, create youth football leagues and camps to support communities. Daniel was willing to share what BSA has planned for the semester and his perspective on BHM.

Valerie Reyes: “What made you want to join BSA and what is your favorite part about being in the club?”

Daniel Mclaurin: “What made me join the club was the alumni of the organization. Also, I really value the relationships that are built throughout the club. It’s always a family environment when attending the events. If students are interested in joining BSA, they can attend an E-board meeting to ask and/or receive a position on our team.”

VR: “Do you have any upcoming events that students can look forward to throughout the semester? “

DM: “I am excited for our karaoke night, visiting Governors State University, Food for the Soul and a roller-skating event that we are currently planning.”

VR: “Who are some black figures that inspire you?”

DM: “Black figures that inspire me are my father and my two brothers. They have provided me with wisdom and knowledge about the adversities of being a black man. They also, have shown me the perseverance that is needed as life challenges arise.”

VR: “What does BHM mean to you?”

DM: What BHM means to me is another step of progression towards eliminating the cruel oppression that we have faced throughout history. Also, BHM means that black people get to exhibit their hard work and dedication of becoming the best version of themselves while fighting through barriers.

VR: “What can people do to support the black community?”

DM: “Actions that people can take to support the black community are by joining diversity and inclusion groups, continue to support black owned businesses, have difficult conversations with friends and family, continue anti-racism learning, check on your black friends and family, and reflect on your own problematic actions. As for students, staff and the University they can either host or attend events that celebrate BHM.”

22 February 9, 2023
Student EmploymentRecognition Luncheon Save The Date W E D N E S D A Y , A P R I L 1 2 1 2 : 0 0 P M - 1 : 1 5 P M L O C A T I O N : S A N D A M I A N O C o n t a c t E v e r a I v y , e i v y @ s t f r a n c i s . e d u f o r m o r e i n f o usfencounter.stfrancis.edu 23

Shoot Your Shot

It’s February, you know what that means. It’s time for your social media feeds to be flooded with images of couples giving each other cute gifts or going out to fancy dinners all in the name of love.

This is a very divisive time of the year for most people simply because there are a fair amount of people who spend Valentine’s Day alone. This could be due to a multitude of different reasons but maybe it’s just because you haven’t taken your shot yet with that special someone. I can see you shaking in your shoes right now. I know, it’s a big step. But take it from someone who has suffered enough failed shots, it could form a list that would make Santa’s own gift list jealous due to the sheer size of it. Shooting your shot can be quite a nerve racking process but the first major thing you must consider is: is this person into you?

Simple enough, yes, but this is without a doubt the most important factor to consider before you confess your deepest, darkest feelings to that special someone. Be sure to pay attention to how conversations flow with this person. Are they invested and actively showing more of their personality or are they being passive and dismissive in a way to just get through an awkward conversation. After all, this could be

the main difference between you having someone to spend Valentine's Day with or you being the main topic of that evening's group chat discussion. For this next piece of advice, I’m looking to the guys specifically. Admittedly we are sensitive and confused creatures at times. Often thinking, that the higher the production value of your gesture, the less likely that special someone is to say no.

Remember, you aren’t directing a Marvel movie. Sure, if the person is into grand gestures then by all means throw them a massive parade that the town will talk about for years to follow. But in the likely event that this is not their thing, why not just take a simple approach. Gifting someone with flowers might seem cheesy and out of style but it sure beats organizing an entire concert's worth of show, only to be turned down because you look too silly. And then you’re just left standing there looking kind of sad while your friends record you because everyone thought this would be your big moment.

“No bro, I’m not okay.” you whisper silently.

“I’m not okay.”

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Next up, we have a tactic that is pretty specific to this day and age but shooting your shot via text is a big issue. There are some cases where doing this can absolutely work out, however, let's look at this from a mathematical perspective. When shooting your shot, you more often than not have a fifty fifty shot that the person will share the same feelings as you, but again this can vary between situations. Deciding to text a person your feelings can lower that further to have only a quarter of a chance.

Okay, yes, texting does make things a lot easier and convenient. On top of that it is a great way to get all of your thoughts out there in a more organized way without awkwardly saying “um” and “like” twenty three times. But there is an undeniable confidence that comes with shooting your shot in person and above everything else confidence is

key when it comes to this. Make no mistake about it, being vulnerable and open with someone is no easy task. And there are hundreds of different approaches you can take when doing this. Take it from me. I’ve done texts, in person and embarrassingly enough even a poem (but go easy on me, eighth grade was a strange time).

In the end, the best thing to do is to let things play out and organically fall into place. Be confident and be prepared for any sort of answer and make sure to take all of this as one big learning experience. You could be trying to shoot your shot on one person but maybe it's just not your time yet. I mean look at someone like Rob Schneider. He’s been married three times and he looks like a skunk. So clearly there is at least someone out there for everyone, just make sure when you find that person you shoot your shot with no regrets.

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What's So Great About Valentine's Day?

Ah, yes. The February issue of the USF Encounter. An issue full of positive articles and listicles about everyone's (least) favorite Hallmark holiday: Valentine’s Day. Let’s establish this now. I don’t hate the holiday; I just wish it didn’t exist. I’m going to sound like such a boomer when I say this, but just go with me for a second. Aren’t there better things to spend your money on? Christmas was two months ago. My partner and I just spoiled each other with gifts bought with our hardearned money, and now we’re expected to do it again? Make it make sense!

The whole point of Valentine's Day is to show your partner how much you care about them. But is that not what a relationship is? Going above and beyond for each other every day? Doing things that show them that you love them? Whether that be getting them their favorite candy, a box of chocolates, or just a simple flower. I shouldn’t have to do it just because social construct says to do so. Especially not on a day where they're expecting it.

Every year you show up with their gift and your partner acts so surprised. “Are these for me?” “You didn’t have to get me anything!” Meanwhile, I knew damn well that I did have to. If I didn’t, we all know that I’m getting a swift kick to the curb. Why can’t we just treat our significant other to surprises whenever we want? I shouldn’t have to do it on a designated date.

This is all very “Old man yells at cloud”-ish but I’m getting closer to the point. I promise.

The point to all this nonsensical complaining is that I would like to treat my partner like it’s Valentine’s Day every day. Yes, I know that’s cheesy. I apologize to all our readers who just threw up a little bit (or a lot). My point being, you shouldn’t show love or passion for your significant other just because some holiday says you should. You also shouldn’t be scrambling to find a date so you’re “not alone” on Valentine’s Day. What’s the point? You go on one meaningless date with some guy from Tinder just so you weren’t alone on a Hallmark holiday? We should be searching for deeper connections than that.

I don’t mean to pass judgement on you for how you are going to celebrate the holiday this year. But maybe these are some things to keep in mind as we approach the holiday next year?

Anyways, Happy Valentine’s Day. And, for what it’s worth, I did get my partner what is, in my opinion, a pretty sweet gift.

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Photo: Kristina Paukshtite, Karolina Grabowska (www.pexels.com)
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Aside from the always loving conversations that go on between defensive backs and wide receivers, the National Football League's (NFL) sweet talk highlight of the year happens tonight, February 9 out in Glendale, AZ, the site for this year’s Super Bowl. The NFL Honors Event recaps the year that was and recognizes some of the most noteworthy moments and stories of the NFL season. The event is just one of many that the Super Bowl and its anticipation bring to fans of the sport around the world.

This past weekend the NFL began their Super Bowl festivities with a new take on the Pro Bowl. Rather than having a normal exhibition football game played, the league decided to skimp on the sport and opt for entertainment with the Pro-Bowl skills competition.

The Super Bowl mania will of course end with the actual game, held this Sunday, February 12 in Glendale, AZ at the State Farm Stadium. The game will mark the end of a tumultuous and high profile year for the NFL and football as a sport. This is because the main storyline of this season in

the national spotlight was not rookie quarterback (QB), Brock Purdy taking over for the San Francisco 49ers. Or the galling season put up by most valuable player (MVP), favorite Patrick Mahomes, but something much more serious to the health of the sport, according to www.legalsportsreport.com

The hard hits and regulated violence in football are some of the very things that have drawn fans to stadiums and televisions everywhere since its inception. This year that draw took on a different feeling with the stories of Damar Hamlin and Tua Tagovailoa. Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills’ safety, had commotio cordis on the field during Week 17’s road game in Cincinnati against the Bengals. While he went on to make an extraordinary physical recovery in Cincinnati and was able to attend the Bills’ second round playoff game in the Divisional Round against those same Bengals, his cognitive recovery continues.

Also in the crosshairs of this NFL season was Miami Dolphins QB, Tua Tagovailoa. If not for the Hamlin story, the concussion saga that was Tagovailoa would be more in the

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Photo: www.azcardinals.com


foreground. Tagovailoa went through three notable head injury incidents including one in week four that resulted in visible hand fencing on the field just days after one of the other incidents in week three when the league’s independent neurologist failed to place Tua in concussion protocol, according to the NFL. These stories bring many questions to the surface for the future of the league and the sport of football.

Peter King, an NFL Insider for NBC Sports, says, “It’s time for the league to invest more and more into position and maybe even player specific helmets. The neurological danger areas for a quarterback are different than those of a nose tackle. Football is a dangerous game, we can’t change that but we can try to take steps to make it safer.” These issues will most likely take a backseat to the festivities and people will be swept away by Super Bowl LVII. It should be a great watch for fans worldwide, but once that aura dissipates, the spotlight will be on the NFL to take measures and there won’t be a whole lot of sweet talk going around Park Avenue when those conversations arise.

Photo Courtesy of Doug Murray AP
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Photo Courtesy of Timothy Ludwig Getty
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