Nov 11

Veteran’s Day Events

Friday, November 11 gained attention as 11/11/11, but it was also Veterans Day. Nov. 11 became a federal holiday in 1938, then known as Armistice Day. The day was originally meant to observe the end of World War I which occurred November 1918 at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,” (

Today, Veterans Day is meant to recognize and remember all veterans of all wars who have served or are serving the United States of America.

“I was surprised that we had classes on Friday with so many students being veterans,” said senior Nate Walters. Yet the University of Tampa is considered a Military Friendly College.

While classes may have been in session on a national holiday, the University of Tampa Student Veterans Organization helped mark the occasion on campus. Members of SVO handed out yellow ribbons and sold red t-shirts to help bring awareness to veterans everywhere.

“We want to remind people on Veterans Day to give thanks to those that have served, not necessarily us but ones that came before us, and remember why we have the freedoms we do,” said Eddie Hoffman, president of SVO.

Hoffman is a junior majoring in Government and World Affairs at UT. In May 2001, Hoffman decided to join the Marines Corps with a friend. After September 11, 2001, his date to go to boot camp was moved forward and he was deployed for the first time to Iraq for the initial invasion. “I was injured by an Improvised Explosive Device during my ‘05-’06 deployment, and was left with nerve damage in my right knee which left me unable to run and was awarded a Purple Heart Medal,” he said. After nine years of service and three tours of duty, Hoffman retired in February of 2010.

“It is definitely easier to be a student now. I have a sense of priorities and know about time management and study habits. I feel I am better equipped to handle it. My military background has been helpful,” said Sarah Turner, a part-time student and veteran at UT. Turner spent six years in the Air Force and separated in 2005. Her husband is currently on active service stationed out of MacDill Air Force Base here in Tampa. “Being in the military has helped in every aspect. I am more disciplined and I pass that on to my kids,” she said.

Turner described SVO as similar to a fraternity or sorority because no matter where you go there will be family. She said that military service gives you connections all around the world so you can never be too far from home.

Unfortunately, many veterans throughout the country are homeless. As part of the Veterans Day activities, the SVO donated half of all proceeds to Liberty Manor, a home for transitioning veterans. Friday evening they held a dinner on campus and invited 10 veterans from Liberty to attend as well as all veteran students, faculty and staff to help bring a voice to the plight of homeless veterans and the conditions they face when they first get home.

Nov 11

One Night Without a Home

University of Tampa students braved what seemed to be the coldest night of the week on Friday, Nov. 11 to come out and support the P.E.A.C.E. sponsored event, One Night Without a Home. They huddled together with blankets inside shelters made of cardboard boxes to stay as warm as possible, preparing to spend the next 12 hours outside in Vaughn Courtyard. Together they would embark on a one-night journey to experience life of a homeless person. “We really want to change students’ perspectives and diminish the stereotypes around homelessness,” said sophomore Shantel Webster.

Since Tampa has the 10th largest homeless population in the country, the student coordinators of P.E.A.C.E. hoped the event would help students realize the seriousness behind this issue, which is increasing at an alarming rate due to today’s economy. “It hurts. It breaks my heart that the government won’t help them,” Ashley Hawley, a student coordinator of P.E.A.C.E., stated concerning many people’s attitudes toward homelessness. “It’s difficult because agencies don’t work with the homeless because you need a mailing address, but to have a mailing address you need a home, but to have a home you need a job, and you can’t get a job without a mailing address.”

Fortunately enough, students felt the same way as Hawley and the cold didn’t stop them from attending. Coffee was provided throughout the night, but as part of the experience, food was not. Students were encouraged to stay the full 12 hours, but it wasn’t required. One group of students, though, made sure they would be there the entire night. Pi Kappa Phi, the only fraternity to participate in the event went beyond what was expected. They brought in their own cardboard boxes, which they intended to build a fort with, and even had 15 to 20 of their members actually spend the night. “It warms my heart that they really cared. They could have been out partying, but they’ve been emailing us wanting to know what they could do to help, and here they are doing way more than what was asked of them to do,” Webster said.

The fraternity men were excited to all come together and help out in any way possible. “We have 100 other Friday nights to do whatever, but we took this night to give back,” Rich Demling, a junior at UT and Pi Kappa Phi’s chaplain, said. “Once we’re done with the fort, we hope to make our way around and have a good time with everyone here while we all try to stay warm.”

Once people were all settled, junior Melissa Montoya  and sophomore Shantel Webster, the student coordinators of the event, brought out a panel of six formerly homeless individuals from the National Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County to speak to the crowd and share their experiences of what it is like to be homeless. Beforehand, Montoya and Webster went to dinner with them to get to know them better. One man told the two UT students how he was sent to fight in Vietnam and when he came back, there weren’t any jobs available for him. Ultimately, he became homeless and his experience is not unique. In 2010, it was reported that 79,000 veterans were homeless. “It’s an eye opener,” Montoya said. “Not every homeless individual is living off the government, but it’s that negative stigma associated with the issue that turns people away from helping.”

Along with the speakers, media services set up a projector and screen in the courtyard to show the feature-length documentary, Easy Street. Easy Street follows the lives of five homeless individuals over the course of a year in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Overall, the hard work and dedication that the student coordinators and volunteers of P.E.A.C.E. put into this event paid off. From the banners hanging in Plant Hall to the emails sent out through Global email, they had a great turnout.

Webster believes believe, “If one person can help out 10 people, then each of those 10 will help another 10, and before you know it, 10 million people will have been helped.”

Hawley hopes that through awareness events, such as One Night Without A Home, there is hope that one day homelessness will not be a problem for our nation.

Sep 11

UT’s Improved Website

On June 6, the University of Tampa launched their newly modified website,

According to an article on the UT website,The Office of Public Information and Publications and
the Office of Information Technology began the redesign over a year ago with the help of
Chicago-based firm WSOL. This is the first update to the website after six years.

Eric Cardenas, the Director of Public Information and Publications, explained the reason behind
the update in the article posted on the UT website where he says, “We recognize that the
website is many people’s first impression of UT, and that an attractive and functional website is
critical to maintaining our competitive position and spurring interest in the university.”

According to the article, some of the goals behind the changes were to make the
website “attractive and functional” through: breadcrumbs, PDF boxes, image galleries
throughout, related news stories box, call out boxes for feature information, custom menus for
each section and a searchable online faculty directory.

Christine Goodwin, Web designer from the UT Office of Public Information, stated that the goal
of the redesign was to update the look to give the schools official website a “modern design,
streamlined navigation and vibrant imagery of the campus.”

One can see this attempt with the updates in the navigation bar, quick links and gallery where
one can link to the school’s YouTube channel and view live video feeds of the campus.

When asked about how the new website compares to other university and college websites,
Goodwin said that the new design has had positive feedback. She also believes that the new
website shows how vibrant and diverse UT is and shows a sliver of what the experiences are

Both faculty and students have noticed the changes to the website and are happy to see them
taking place.

Assistant Professor of Communication, Paul Hillier, commented, “the old UT website was
overdue for an overhaul.” After seeing the changes he agrees that the layout is “sleeker” and
more “intuitive” than the old one and that overall, “the website is more visually appealing and
[the] content is where you’d expect it to be.”

Junior Casey Foster believes that the update has definitely made navigation easier. “You don’t
have to click a ton of links just to find out basic information thanks to the new scroll over drop

Although Foster approves of the new features on the website, she does give one suggestion for
improvement: “The search bar should give suggestions instead of the ‘no results’ message,
similar to search engines like Google. For example, it should ask if you meant ‘spartans’ instead
of ‘sparrtans’ if you misspell a word.”
Over a year ago, UT decided that they needed to create a more modern and user-friendly
website for the school and as of June 6, 2011 the results can be seen with the newly updated

More information can be found at

Shivani Kanji can be reached at

Sep 11

Leaders of the Pack: Q & A

Want to read all the questions that didn’t make it into print? Click on the links below to read even more about these stand out seniors.

Koryna Felt: UT Diplomat/ Kappa Alpha Theta

Mikey Angelo Rumore: Quilt Editor

Ryan Griffin: Men’s Soccer Team Captin

Nick Chmura: SG President

Angielique Ramirez: Spanish Dance Club

Kassie Monsees: The Moroccan Editor

Colleen Itani: President’s LEadership Fellows/ UT STAND

Deanna Henriott: Women’s Softball Pitcher

Robert Jarosh: APO President/ Pianist

Heather Rtak: P.E.A.C.E.

Sep 11

Leader of the Pack: Ryan Griffin

First I just need some basic information, like your age, hometown and major.

I’m 21 years old and a Government & World Affairs major with plans of going to law school. I’m from Brandon, Florida.

What was it like being selected as team captain? How important was it to you to have played every minute in last year’s Sunshine State Conference Finals game, while contributing on the field with, statistically, an assist, but also everything else in general?

I’ve been captain since the spring of my sophomore year and that has been a lot of fun. As a captain, you play every minute and you grind it out when the going gets tough. I’m expected to come up big in big games, and I challenge myself constantly to rise to the occasion. [An] SSC title game is a game for big time players to step up and take what they want. Goals, assists, defensive tackles, transition, and keeping everyone focused are all important in my game and you have to treat them all equally important.

What has been your biggest accomplishment on the field as a Spartan?

I would say it was lifting the conference tournament trophy with my team after the 2010 final last season. It was a magical run to get there and we beat three great teams to win the tournament.

What would you like to accomplish in your last year as a Spartan?

I want the regular season crown, the conference tournament crown, the regional title and, ultimately, the national title. I think my teammates share the same dream and we want to make it a reality this year. It’s all about seizing the moment and I think we will give it everything we have. As captain, I want to do everything in my power to keep everyone on the same page and focused on the ultimate goal of a national title. The coaching staff is more motivated then I’ve ever seen and I love the atmosphere that we have on the training field.

How important are all the awards and accomplishments to you (second team all-SSC, first team ESPN the Magazine, etc)? Do you pay attention to those or is it just an added bonus to what you do on the field?

Post-Season accolades are nice, but no one remembers them. People remember titles and the times you spent with your brothers on and off the field.