All posts by Jeannine Abusharkh

Hey man, got any grass? The goats are back on Gleeson Lawn pictured here hanging out with Diana Fabian. (Photo Courtesy of Danielle Maingot).

USF Earth Day Directs Students’ Attention Towards A Sustainable Lifestyle

At USF, the earth means the world to us, and last Tuesday Apr. 22, students, faculty, and community members had the chance to prove that sentiment by celebrating Earth Day on Gleeson Plaza. Nearly thirty tables from clubs and outside organizations promoting a sustainable world attended the event. There were also food trucks, face painting, henna, baby goats, and free tea samples.

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USF PR Class Works with Local Jewelry Designer

Students in the public relations campaigns class are getting hands-on experience in the PR industry by creating their own firms and working with clients this semester. Senior Lani Vaill said that this is an experience “we would never be able to learn from a book.”

Vaill is working with a jewelry company  based out of Oakland. Founder Laura Bruland makes jewelry out of recycled books and according to Vaill, Bruland is the ideal client. “She is so responsive and open to what we want to do with the campaign,” Vaill said. “Having Laura as a client has been invaluable experience to our PR team, as all of us want to enter the PR industry after graduation. It has given us a glimpse into what working with an actual client is like.”

Bruland  started making jewelry just before graduating from University of California, Santa Cruz. She turned to her creative roots instead of going to graduate school as she originally planned. She said, “My goal was to start on a path that would lead me to being my own boss, and doing whatever I wanted.” Bruland is doing pretty well since she quit her day job at a café to focus more on her jewelry-making career. She started creating jewelry a couple of years ago, making flower brooches out of upcycled wool scraps from her grandmother.

Bruland joined TechShop, an organization that drives local innovation by allowing members to create, learn, and use tools in their studios. TechShop allowed her to experiment using a laser cutter and play around with materials that took her jewelry practices into a new direction. Bruland said that after learning the basics she came up with an idea to use book covers because she didn’t want to use materials that would release toxic chemicals when burned. She also liked the idea of using materials that could be repurposed or recycled. Two years ago Bruland got the help of Kickstarter to raise money for her own laser cutter. “Now that I have my own machine I can make so much more product,” she said.

Bruland’s jewelry is exclusively made from the covers of hardcover books. The pieces are all handmade one book at a time by Bruland and her partner, Julien Shields. Using the laser cutter, Bruland says that she can turn a single book into about 12-35 pieces of jewelry depending on its size in a few hours. She also likes to play around and experiment keeping a sketchbook to keep track of ideas. She is currently working on custom wall pieces and wedding items including ring-bearer books, cake toppers, and other fun decor.

Katy Lim, the managing director at Change Communications, is teaching the course under USF’s Communication Department.  The class is divided into three student PR firms, where students are required to come up with a four-month campaign that includes creating pitches to media outlets, bloggers, and potential retail locations for two non-profits and a local designer.

Bruland is very impressed by all the work that the USF PR class has done in helping her business this semester. “So far, they’ve boosted my Facebook and instagram followers quite a bit and I can’t wait to see what else they throw my way,” Bruland said.

Vaill, of the USF PR team, said, “Our main goal is to increase [the  jewelry’s] exposure to the public and we also plan on pitching to local popular retailers about featuring the products in their stores (Books, Inc. and Russian Hill Bookstore to name a few).”

Since working with USF students, Bruland is now making a prototype of necklaces for USF’s social sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, with their Greek letters and 2014 graduation tassels in USF colors that are made from books which add a statement to cap and gowns.  Most pieces from cost between $16 and $50 and can be purchased online, at museum stores, and at many retail locations across the country. Bruland even sells her pieces at Urban Air Markets and festivals that celebrate the crafts of local designers. Bruland’s customized, one-of -a-kind necklaces and products are something Vaill and her team are proud to promote. The collaboration between the USF PR class and local designers demonstrates the strength in community that the San Francisco Bay Area fosters.

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Delicious Meets Nutritious at Tacolicious

There is no better way to celebrate Taco Tuesday than by visiting Tacolicious. This contemporary taqueria with its gourmet tacos and extensive cocktail list has formed a local taco cult in San Francisco, expanding their brand from the meager taco stand outside the Ferry Building into a sit-down restaurant and bar.

Tacolicious has branched out to four Bay Area locations and last week some of my family and friends and I gathered to fiesta at the North Beach location. The playfully named eatery adds a refreshing spice to the otherwise Italian restaurants in San Francisco’s North Beach district. The cement floors and industrial design is a casual yet chic setting to grub and guzzle with friends. The restaurant re-conceptualizes Mexican cuisine staples, serving up classic sides with catchy names like their Drunken Beans and Rice-o-licious.

I came with my appetite and decided that I would order their signature Marina Girl Salad. Despite the skinny girl connotations of its name, the salad arrived in a bountiful bowl. The bowl was filled with crisp chopped romaine, cucumber, radish, and salty cojita cheese. A few pieces of avocado were scattered on the salad as well but the roasted pepitas really gave the salad texture. .

To balance my light salad and make up for my lack of calories I ordered three tacos($3.95 each, four for $14). I ordered two bbq chicken tacos, a weekly special reminiscent of a summertime cookout. The simple tacos were delivered on a clean white platter and garnished with chopped white onions. My third taco was their signature guajillo-braised short rib. The short rib taco sparked my senses with its light texture and savoriness. My brother and his fiancé shared the mushroom empanadas—stuffed with green garlic, oregano, oaxaca cheese, and tomatillo salsa—but found them to be salty and lacking mushrooms.

Quench your thirst with their crafty margaritas, using 100% agave Tequila. Tacolicious serves up 9 to 10 different margarita-esque cocktails. Their most popular margarita is the Passion. Holding up to its name, the drink has habanero infused tequila with a passion fruit puree, fresh lime juice, agave nectar and a splash of orange juice. Although I didn’t sip on their drinks, I was eying their pumpkin flan and pleasantly tacky throwback to the choco-taco.  Their tempting drinks and desserts are all reasons why I would return.

Tacolicious is definitely the most sophisticated taqueria I have ever been to and its just about the only Mexican restaurant where it is okay to order a salad. I left my heart in the Mission District when it comes to authentic street tacos but I ate my meal with satisfaction and comfort knowing that Tacolicious buys locally and uses organic ingredients. My family gasped when receiving the bill, since Mexican consists of such simple ingredients it seems absurd to spend almost $4 per taco. The service was fast but the bar stools were a pain;  however I am definitely willing to come back and try their brunch menu that features a breakfast of champions—an Austin-style breakfast taco (similar to the breakfast burrito), and sparkling sangria.

Tacolicious has a young and modern vibe and would be a smart place for all you seniors looking to spend your last Taco Tuesday as college students.


Busted! Campus Speakeasy Loses its Spirits

The top secret USF underground nightclub Downstairs Dons was shut down last Saturday night. The on campus speakeasy, nightclub, and silent rave was becoming a college rite of passage and tradition. A total of six employees from the nightclub were escorted off the campus for questioning.

Speakeasy2.jpgDownstairs Dons was founded in 2010 when a group of club crazed seniors wanted to create a nightclub that was ultra exclusive and closer to campus.

Since they began running the speakeasy—where the code word changed weekly—the club was hot and trendy. It also inspired many other college-student run speakeasies across the nation.

The nightclub was rumored to be located in an underground tunnel that connected the main campus to Lone Mountain and had a secret entrance on Golden Gate Ave. The club had VIP members that paid a total of $1,000 a semester to have a key and guaranteed access on special event nights. Students without membership were required to make reservations months in advance.

Every weekend, guests would enter the spacious venue, and listen and dance to music using wireless headphones rather than a speaker system. This ingenious idea made it even harder for authorities to shut down the spot.

Guests at Downstairs Dons were required to check in their cell phones at the door because the club had no tolerance for photo taking and texting while partying. Despite the tight policies, Downstairs Dons still remained to be the swankiest spot on campus. The nightclub was also known for their surprise performances from Bay Area rappers and pop sensations like Bruno Mars and Lorde.

All that underground fun finally came to an end this weekend when Public Safety and SFPD moved to shut things down. With the help of investigator Marty Killjoy and the San Francisco Fire Marshall, Downstairs Dons was closed immediately.

Killjoy said, “The fact that the club was able to go on all those years without being caught is remarkable. I am really glad they called me in on this and the raid turned out to be a success.”

Students were shocked by the discovery and closure of Downstairs Dons. Senior Jason Klein said, “I can’t believe this. It’s not like we were doing anything wrong.”

USF administration and authorities beg to differ, finding the club to be dangerous and beckoning for trouble. It’s the end of an era and  Downstairs Dons will go down in history as being the first underground campus nightclub.

DISCLAIMER: This piece was printed as part of The Foghorn’s April Fool’s Day issue on April 1st, 2014. This article is intended to be satirical.

A mile walk from USF is Beautifull, a restaurant that uses local and organic ingredients and promises a healthy and quality meal. Photo Courtesy of James Zamora

Beautifull! Restaurant Review: Full of Freshness

While studying for midterms I couldn’t help but crave a warm meal,  and while all I wanted to do was scarf down a burrito, I resisted and went for a more balanced meal that wouldn’t make me crash into a food coma. One of my favorite places to get a healthy meal on the fly is Beautifull on California and Laurel St.

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