Florida Schools 2002
Feeding 1,000 hungry Miami residents
with a 10-foot-wide outdoor paella pan (a large, shallow frying pan) may not
be on a biblical scale, but it’s certainly impressive. At Miami-Dade
Community College, that’s just one of the ways students and faculty
celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. At MDCC’s Inter- American
campus—which has a 97-percent Hispanic student population—the students and
surrounding community are invited every year to a block party that honors
Hispanic culture and diversity.
This year’s theme, “A
Salute to the American Spirit,” was celebrated with a marching band from the
local high school, a parade of flags, dramatic performances, songs sung by
the local elementary school choir, and huge paella pans filled with arroz
con pollo (rice and chicken) to feed those in attendance. “It was very
successful because it brought people of from all walks of life to the
campus,” says Cristina DeArmas, assistant to the campus president.
from Miami Senior High cooked the arroz con pollo while local dignitaries,
including the City of Miami commissioner, helped in stirring the food. “The
message we wanted to send was that the students of MDCC’s [Inter-American
campus] feel very proud to be part of the American fabric,” DeArmas says.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate what America is all about.” JL
DeArmas at (305)237-6021.
Forget about your rabbit’s foot. Throw
away that four-leaf clover. The University of West Florida has a
lucky charm that may not be as portable, but students swear by it. On a
normal school day, UWF’s library greens are bustling with students either on
their way to class or just relaxing, with an old cannon in the center of
all the activity. Aside from a small plaque that tells the story of how it
once sat on the Pensacola Bridge as part of city’s defenses, no one really
knew why it was there. During the summer 2001, the cannon was reborn as a
lucky charm, thanks in part to Student Body President Angie Bowler. “I told
incoming students that if [they] rub the cannon before a test or exam, it
will bring [them] good luck,” Bowler says. Most new students are
familiarized with the legend through campus tours and orientations, but
Bowler has recruited resident advisors and campus mentors to spread the
story as well. UWF, established in 1963, is fairly new compared to other
Florida universities. “We need to establish some traditions and legends
while [the school] is still young,” Bowler says. Success is already evident
as students approach Bowler with their lucky tales.
Contact Angie Bowler
Best Leader Training
How many students beg for more classes? At the University of South
Florida, one class, Introduction to Leadership, turned into an entire
minor in leadership studies, based on student demand. "Students helped
create the program because after the one course, they said, 'We want more!'
so we developed the certificate and then the minor," says Laurie Woodward,
co-chair of the Leadership Studies Program and director of student
activities. To develop the new minor, USF went to those who would most
benefit from its graduates: the business community. "Businesses say that
students graduate and don't know how to create, initiate, motivate, set
goals, all those key pieces of leadership, things businesses are looking
for," Woodward says.
And forget about dozing
in class. "All of our classes are based on 'adult transformative' technique,
so you'll never find a professor up there lecturing at you," Woodward says.
"It's all interactive, reflective, based on group activities and
interaction." Over 450 students are enrolled at some level, and campus
leaders such as the editor of The Oracle, SG president, SG senate president,
and sorority and fraternity heads have taken the courses which include
ethics, images of leadership, and practicuum work. The first class of
students who have earned the minor will graduate this May. SRR
Contact Woodward at email@example.com.
When it comes to protecting the planet, there’s no better place to start
than in your own back yard. That seems to be the philosophy of the
Environmental Club at Valencia
Community College’s West Campus.
When environmental club members discovered that the water quality in Lake
Pamela, a spring-fed lake just behind the school’s cafeteria, was
deteriorating and the ecosystem around the lake was being destroyed by
development in and around the campus, they knew it was time to take action.
The club has put in countless hours developing a biodiversity survey—which
lists all the various organisms supported by the lake—and has written a
75-page report that they plan to present to VCC’s president. “We’re going to
ask [the president] to turn the lake into an ‘outdoor classroom,’” says
Andrea Ayala, the group’s president.
If the their proposal
is approved, the lake, while protected and undergoing a long-term
restoration process supervised by the science department, would give science
students hands-on experience in Florida ecological systems.
“Hopefully, next year it will be set in stone that this is a sanctuary, this
is protected, and all these species have a definite home,” Ayala says. JR
Contact Ayala at
Best Greek Alternative
rather go Greek-less, you don’t have to go fun-less.
offers six “quasi-Greek” co-ed organizations. Known as “societies,” the
groups are Arete, Kappa Omicron (KO), Phi Sig, Omega Chi (Omega), Zeta Phi
Epsilon, and Psi Beta Gamma, says Ralph Walker, director of public
Unlike most Greek
groups, Florida College’s have no national affiliations, avoid the
ritualistic hazing, and don’t offer special membership houses. Students
aren’t tapped—they just decide which society is for them, and then pay $3 to
$5 dollar dues. “One night during opening week activities, the society
officers perform a skit to persuade incoming students to join their
society,” says Will Childress, president of Omega Chi, which has 65 members.
“The skits are funny and also revealing of the personality a society
possesses. One society may be geared for athletes, while another toward
students are members, they’re in unless they miss too many meetings without
a good excuse, Childress says. He says the societies usually help out with
service to the campus and community. “In Omega, we’re involved in Coastal
Cleanup and the Adopt-A-Road program. We most recently volunteered at the
Florida State Fair to accumulate 94 hours of service. At the fair, some
members got to serve food, while one Omegan got to wear a cow suit. It was
fun and rewarding. We hosted the Omega Coffeehouse in January, turning our
student cnter into a coffeehouse scene on a Saturday night. We got FC
students to perform songs and poems. We served cappuccino, coffee, and
extremely fresh smoothies.”
firstname.lastname@example.org or Childress at
Copyright © 2006 Oxendine Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved