Week of Welcome marks the return of students and the start of a new semester.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM Week of Welcome set for students

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: August 19, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2016) USF Sarasota-Manatee is set to welcome thousands of returning and freshman students with a series of activities designed to make students feel at ease and engaged with campus life.

Week of Welcome, a USFSM tradition, will officially kick off Monday with a pancake breakfast in the rotunda. More than 2,000 students are expected on campus this semester.

“We typically provide a lunch, but thought we would try something different this year,” Darren Gambrell, coordinator of Student Engagement, said. “Not only are we offering pancakes, but we’ll have a variety of gooey toppings, peaches, strawberries, whipped cream, all that good stuff.”

Senior administrators, including Regional Chancellor Dr. Sandra Stone, are expected to join the line of servers doling out pancakes, syrup and toppings. The breakfast runs 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Also planned next week is a “House Party” featuring house music, Lee Roy Selmon’s barbecue, non-alcoholic party drinks, a photo booth and house giveaways.

A newcomer to Week of Welcome, the House Party kicks off 6 p.m. Tuesday in the courtyard.

Other WOW events include a Wellness Expo – noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday in the rotunda – where students can get health check-ups; a “Lawntopia” party – noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday in the courtyard – with live music; and two evening events at Selby Auditorium: Trivia Night, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, and a Comedy Hypnotist Show, 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.

“We’re always trying to think of different creative ways to welcome students to our campus,” Gambrell said. “The idea is to come up with new and different ways to engage students and that’s what we’re doing.”

USFSM students to see new technology investment

Thanks to $271,050 in System Technology Fees recently granted to the campus from the USF System, USF Sarasota-Manatee students will see technology upgrades across several platforms throughout the school year.

Among the changes, classrooms will be upgraded from analog to digital, technology will be improved to reach remote students and video captioning software will be installed to help hearing-impaired students, though the technology may benefit other students as well.

Additionally, the School of Education will receive a three-year license to use qualitative research software, which will be available to students and faculty alike.

System Technology Fees are paid by students across the university system and returned to campuses in the form of grants. Last year, the campus received about $60,000 in tech fees.

“We were very pleased to hear about the fees,” said Brian Mudd, co-chair of the I.T. Executive Council, which is comprised of 10 to 12 USFSM faculty and staff members. “It’s a substantial increase over last year. This year we got close to a quarter of a million dollars.”

USFSM to host candidate forums Saturday

USF Sarasota-Manatee will host candidates for the Florida House of Representatives and Senate at four political forums on Saturday sponsored by the Observer Media Group and Manatee Educational TV (METV).

The events include Democrats and Republicans competing in Senate District 23 primaries as well as Republicans in the House district 73 and 72 primaries.

Similar to a debate, responses will be timed and rebuttals will be permitted in some cases. The event is free and open to the public. Observer Media Group Publisher Emily Walsh will serve as moderator.

The forums are set for Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Frank Alcock and Frank Cirillo, Democrats in the Senate District 23 primary, will tackle questions first. Senate District 23 consists of parts of Sarasota and Charlotte counties.

After that, Republicans in the House District 72 primary, John Hill and Alex Miller, will give their responses. District 72 generally encompasses parts of Sarasota County east of U.S. 41 and west of Interstate 75.

Following that forum, Joe Gruters and Steve Vernon, Republicans vying in House District 73 primary, will field questions. District 73 consists of parts of eastern Manatee County, areas along Interstate 75 and parts of northern Sarasota County.

The forums will conclude with a crowded field of Republicans in the Senate District 23 primary – Doug Holder, Rick Levine, Nora Patterson, Ray Pilon and Greg Steube – tackling questions.

The forums are part of a continuing series of candidate events to be hosted at Selby Auditorium as part of USFSM’s Institute of Public Policy and Leadership, which advocates community outreach. Other forums through the general election will be announced at later dates.

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