All posts by Kathleen De Lara

ASUSF Senate Candidate Bios

College of Arts and Sciences Representative

Diana Fabian



Hello my name is Diana Fabian and I am from Southern California! Participating in student government in high school and being a part of University Ministry this year has given me the experience to represent the students of arts and sciences! I want to give you the opportunity to feel connected and proud of your school! I am here to listen!  What is student government if students are not involved? Remember to vote Diana Fabian for arts and sciences representative to have your voice be heard!


College of Arts and Sciences Representative

Elena Kuhn



My name is Elena Kuhn and I’m running for college of arts and sciences representative!  I’m running for senate because I want to represent and serve the students of the college of arts and sciences. As a senator, I will make it my top priority to hear the needs and concerns of the students and take action. I believe my prior leadership experience as freshman representative and chair of food committee has prepared me with the skills necessary to lead. If you want someone who is ready to serve you and has the experience to do so: Vote Elena Kuhn!


College of Nursing and Health Professions Representative

Nicole Hiroi



Hello! My name is Nicole Hiroi and I am currently a freshman II nursing student. I would like to be a member of senate because I think that senate is a great opportunity to get involved with the school, my major, and with other students. It is my hope that next year, more nursing students will be aware of what is going on around campus and can utilize all the great resources that the school has to offer. I would love to be a school of nursing representative and serve the school body, so don’t forget to vote for me!


College of Nursing and Health Professions Representative

Jayne Yang



My name is Jayne Yang and I hail from Honolulu, Hawai’i. I am running for the college of nursing and health professions representative. I am involved in Nursing Student Association, USF Judo Team, Hui O’ Hawaii’s luau, and a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta. My involvement in various aspects of USF has given me a broader perspective of different types of on-campus students. My broad perspective and ability to communicate with many different types of students will boost my ability to represent my constituents within the school of nursing and health professions. Please make a difference and vote! Thank you.


International Student Representative

Tingting Fei



Hello, my name is Tingting Fei, and I am from Ningbo, a seaport city in China.

Traveling is my favorite hobby, and I am interested in communicating with different people. Besides this, I am an environmental science major, and I care about environmental issues.

I want to become better and regard these experiences as very helpful to help me find out what is the meaning of being a real person. More and more international students are coming to USF. Sometimes students like us will face lots of problems, so they need a voice. Besides this, I want to help them figure out their passion and be proud of being here.


International Student Representative

DooYoung Jung



My name is DooYoung Jung from Korea. Two years ago, I came to the U.S. to look for new challenges and opportunities to grow professionally and personally. I was part of the student government at Cañada College for two years. In student government, I learned leadership skills that helped achieve harmony, positivity, consistency, and responsibility. Moreover, I was a student government liaison of the International Communication Club. I was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society, which has helped me establish relationships with other students, as well as faculties, learn about fellowship and community service events that are planned, and help to serve the campus community. As an ASUSF candidate, I would be able to bring a different perspective for a wide array of students. I would be a spokesperson on behalf of students who may not necessarily feel comfortable confronting issues they face.


International Student Representative

Siqi Xiang



My name is Siqi Xiang, and I am an international freshman from Beijing, China.

I am interested in becoming an international student representative because I want to help other international students. I have been a class leader from second grade until my junior year when I came to study in America. I was vice president of student senate from seventh to ninth grade. I have many international friends at USF. If I get the chance to serve in ASUSF, I will listen, help, and get suggestions from them so that the school can provide a better environment for international students.


International Student Representative

Yemao Zhou



My name is Yemao Zhou, an International student from Shanghai, China. I studied high school in Boston for a year, and now I am a freshman at the University of San Francisco. As an international student, I had many problems when I first came. For example, cultural diversity. I believe many international students had faced the same problem. Therefore, I am seeking this position to share my experience and hope to help other international students.


Off-Campus Representative

Divya Khosla



My name is Divya Khosla, I am currently the on-campus representative for ASUSF senate. During my experiences with senate, I gained important leadership skills that were necessary to effectively lead and improve our school. I was thankful to be able to give back to the school that has provided me with so many opportunities. Working with my constituency has been a great experience. Last year I represented a majority of the on-campus freshman and sophomore students. I hope to continue to support this same group next year as off-campus representative. As the off-campus representative, I will bridge the gap between on-campus and off-campus students, and make the transition from on-campus housing to off-campus housing easier. I would also like to work with public safety to add more public safety shuttles, among other additional safety measures. I hope to represent you next year, thank you for your time.


Off-Campus Representative

Adam Yale



With the student body increasing each year, more and more of us are required to shift our residency off-campus. Whether you love or hate the situation, you need a voice. I, Adam Yale, vow to be that voice and provide the courageous representation you deserve.


On-Campus Representative

Allison Smith



My name is Allison Smith, and I am a sophomore nursing student from Ripon, CA. I have lived in the dorms for two years, so I understand the love-hate relationship of living on campus. As the on-campus student representative, I will serve as both a resource and advocate for improvement campus wide. My mission as the on-campus student representative will be to voice the opinions and concerns of all on campus students, and to unite the campus as one. Cast your vote for me so I can represent our collective, on-campus residential communities.



John Chibnall



Students of the University of San Francisco, my name is Johnny Chibnall and I am your current ASUSF senate president. Over this past year it has been my mission to increase the visibility and accessibility of senate as an organization within the realm of Student Leadership and Engagement as well as the greater USF community as a whole. Continuing this work into a second term, I am passionate and dedicated to the initiatives that have already been started and those that have yet to come to fruition. With your support, I am certain that together, we can continue the important conversations that we need to have as a community so that we can leave this institution a better place than when we first arrived. Thank you for your continued support.




School of Management Representative

Alexa De La Torre



Hello Dons! My name is Alexa De La Torre and I am a hospitality management major from San Pedro, CA. I am running to represent the school of management for the 2013-2014 academic year. I would like to be on senate because I have a desire to facilitate positive change in the school of management. If elected, I intend on advocating for the needs of my constituents by making their voices heard and by providing the necessary resources vital to building a stronger community amongst the school of management’s students, faculty, and administration.


Sophomore Class Representative

Michael Mortimer



We survived our first year of college! Now as sophomores we have the experience necessary to make USF even better. That is why I am running for sophomore representative. My name is Michael Mortimer. I am a double major in political science and business. I am hardworking, a great listener, and most importantly, I am excited to represent our class! I know I can make a difference and make sure our voices are heard. I promise to give 100 percent if given this amazing opportunity. Class of 2016, let’s do this!


Sophomore Class Representative

Claire O’Neill



My name is Claire O’Neill and I’m running for sophomore representative. My hometown is Dublin, Ireland, but where I gained most of my leadership experience was in high school on Orcas Island, WA. In high school, I was a class representative for all four years and my senior year I was Key Club president. My main passion in high school was serving my community and I would like to continue this in college by doing my part to support the community at USF. I hope to help make senate even more impactful for all students’ during their time at USF.


Sophomore Class Representative

Kevin Sotomayor



My name is Kevin Sotomayor, representing Queens, NY. I’m interested in the human body, basketball, event planning, and music. If you see me around, don’t be shy. Introduce yourself! As a member of the senate I will speak up about sophomore issues that can be assisted through ASUSF, such as your wi-fi, dormitory problems, and issues that need change. My vision would be to connect students with senate objectives. I was the student body president in high school and of many clubs in the past.


Sophomore Class Representative

Adam Toth-Fejel



Hey, fellow Dons! Tired of slow, cumbersome Internet? How about waiting forever to get some food from the caf? After experiencing these as well as other problems that you may have had for over a year, don’t you think it is time for some change? I, Adam Toth-Fejel, do and plan to make it happen if elected as your sophomore class representative. I have had previous leadership experience in activities such as Boys State and working at ITS. As a result, if you do not want to repeat history, vote for me, Adam Toth-Fejel, for an incredible sophomore year!


Students of Color Representative

Jennifer Echeagaray


Hello Dons! My name is Jennifer Echeagaray and I am from Los Angeles, CA. I am currently part of Delta Zeta and the USF club volleyball team. Through past experiences I have found my passion for student life and race relations. If elected as a student of color representative, my goal is to unwaveringly meet the needs of colored students and continue to celebrate diversity throughout USF. I hope to create an inclusive community where each colored individual constantly feels welcomed and free from bias. You have the power to change the world from here, so don’t forget to vote!


Students with Disabilities Representatives

Kevin Bachar



Greetings Dons! My name is Kevin Bachar and it would be my honor to serve as one of your ASUSF Senate students with disabilities representatives for the 2013-2014 school year. I am passionate and committed to serving a student population’s voice that is so often silenced. My goal in my term is to bring together students with disabilities and the greater USF community together as one to show that the University of San Francisco is a trailblazer when it comes to serving a diverse community. The betterment and the advancement of the livelihood of students with disabilities is the spark that lights my fire and the reason it would be my pleasure to serve as one of the two students with disabilities representative. Together we can and we will “change the world from here.”


Students with Disabilities Representatives

Jordan Hartsinck



Hey, my name is Jordan Hartsinck, and I’m from Temecula, CA! I am currently the students with disabilities representative in ASUSF Senate. I have had the most rewarding experience in this position that I am running again for another year! I have learned so much about myself with this position, but more importantly, I have learned how to best help my constituents and represent their best interest in all affairs. The main reason I want to continue these efforts is because I have bipolar disorder and know what it’s like to feel as if you are alone in your disability. As your representative, I will make sure you never feel this way. We all deserve to thrive in this community and I am here to make sure that happens! Vote for me as your students with disabilities representative!


Vice President of of Business Administration

Madeline Meininger



I’m Maddy Meininger and I’m a sophomore politics major from Portland, OR. I would make an excellent vice president of business administration because I understand the logistical requirements of the position and I care about the students who are impacted by where these funds go. This year I was an on-campus representative on senate and sat on the finance committee, which is chaired by the vice president of business administration, so I understand the job. However, I also know what it is like for organizations applying for funding, as I was the vice president of campus activities board and managed our budget this year. I hope to continue to be a part of senate next year and to serve you, the associated students of USF. Don’t forget to vote for Maddy!


Vice President of Internal Affairs

Eva Long



Hey everyone! My name is Eva Long and I am a sophomore majoring in politics and minoring in public service. I am pursuing the position of vice president of internal affairs. Thus far, I’ve been in senate for two years. As a freshman, I was the students with disabilities representative and continued on to become the sophomore class representative. As I continue on senate, I begin to learn more about myself and my potential of being a student leader on campus, truly touching lives and creating change. Although one of the biggest responsibilities is chairing meetings, I am passionate about an even greater need that can be met. I want to be able to bridge the relationship between senators, the student body, and the upper administration so we are able to learn about their roles and resources at the university because it’s a rare occasion when we get a chance to speak to them.


Vice President of Mission

Sascha Rosemond



Hi! My name is Sascha Rosemond. I am a current sophomore at USF! I am from Pasadena, CA.  I am a communication studies major. I love USF and I love San Francisco. Moving to San Francisco from a Southern California suburban city was a big change for me. San Francisco has become my home and I have been given so many great opportunities in this city and at this awesome university. I would like to be a member of senate because I care. I have served as the ASUSF Senate student of color representative for almost a year and a half and I have learned so much about this campus, my constituency, and advocacy for others. On senate, I have the opportunity to be a voice and advocate for students and their concerns. I take this responsibility seriously and I have done, and will continue to do, my best to serve the interest of my constituency and advocate for USF students in what I do and what I say, if elected. Remember to vote! In addition to senate, I serve as the human resources director for Kappa Alpha Theta and I serve as a member of USF’s Student Philanthropy Committee. Next year, I hope to see senate work together to accomplish their goals and focus on advocating for all students. If elected as vice president of mission, I hope to not only uphold the mission of USF through communication with campus organizations and their community action projects, but also serve as a liaison for the constituencies which fall under the executive positions, including students of color, international students, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students. I hope to work closely with the student life and diversity departments on campus, including but not limited to, the Intercultural Center, the Gender and Sexuality Center, the Office of Diversity of Community Engagement, and Student Leadership and Engagement.


Vice President of Public Relations

Makenzi Brown



I am Makenzi Brown from Fryeburg, ME. This past year on senate has challenged me to grow past thinking solely about myself, and see what I can do for all my constituents within the USF community. I would like to further my experiences on senate by running for vice president of public relations. I feel my previous experiences being an executive in other organizations has given me the leadership skills it takes to help accomplish my vision of making senate more accessible and represented on campus. Being vice president of public relations, I can help contribute to this vision by connecting with students through social networking, through Fall and Spring Summit, through Senate Week, and through other positive programing. It’s important for everyone to vote during spring elections to help establish a strong Senate so we can start changing the world from here.


Vice President of Sustainability

Madeleine Shelton



Hey Dons! My name is Madeleine Shelton. I am a sophomore earning my degree in entrepreneurship and innovation at the school of management. In my USF experience thus far, I’ve been involved in on-campus organizations that promote community and environmental sustainability. Last year, I served on the Residence Hall Council as co-program director of Gillson dorm. Our council created social activities for residents to build camaraderie within the building. This year, I joined the Environmental and Outdoors Club. As an EOC member, I participate in meetings about environmental issues, both globally and locally. As vice president of sustainability, I envision creating a community of USF students of all majors who are open to learning about environmental issues. I plan to host more on-campus events that tie eco-education with entertainment. Through these programs, I wish to communicate how simple and inexpensive it can be to incorporate eco-friendly choices into one’s daily lifestyle.

Pope Benedict XVI Announces Resignation

Pope Benedict XVI announced on Monday he will be stepping down from his position at the end of the month, citing advanced age and health concerns. The news comes two days before Ash Wednesday, the start of the church’s Lenten season.

“Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” said Pope Benedict XVI  in a statement from the Vatican.
During a meeting of Vatican cardinals, the pope, 85, announced his decision in Latin to resign from the Papacy. When he was elected in 2005, he was already the oldest pontiff to be elected in nearly 300 years, according to CBS News.

“I admire the pope’s courage in resigning most especially as it has been so long since this happened in history. It is a very big deal in terms of who will become our next pope. This person will have a huge effect on the direction of the entire Roman Catholic church, and this has implications that go beyond even our church,” said Donal Godfrey, S.J., the University Ministry associate director for faculty and staff spirituality.

The 265th pope will be the first to resign since 1415, when Pope Gregory XII left his position in an attempt to end the Western Schism during which three rival popes claimed the title.

Cardinals will meet in Rome to choose a successor shortly after his departure, which is scheduled to be on February 28, said Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, at a news conference. Lombardi said they will have a new pope before Easter, March 31.
After Feb. 28, Pope Benedict XVI will be addressed as his eminence, or Cardinal Benedict XVI. He is spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, according to the 2012 Annuario Pontificio, the annual yearbook of the Roman Catholic Church.

Dons Helping Dons, a Mentor Program, Brings Real World Closer


Whether or not the post-grad life has yet to manifest itself into something tangible (and scary), USF students are now able to connect with fellow USFers who are already out there.

Dons Helping Dons (DHD) is a mentorship program that connects USF students with alum who share advice, guidance, and information. The program works through the LinkedIn group of the same name, which is open to past and current USF students.

“The ultimate goal is for students to have someone to talk to about what they want to do, and to hear it from someone who really does it,” said Alex Hochman, assistant director of the Career Services Center. Hochman created and manages the site along with student assistants Khadijah Powell, Diana Guardado, and Veronica Palafox.

As a freshman studying exercise sports science, Powell often found herself surrounded by fellow students who discouraged her from attending medical school after graduating from USF. “They’d say that it was too hard and that it would take too long,” she said. Her mentor suggested she should “just go for it,” which has given her a more positive, motivated outlook on her next three years of college.

“This program has many benefits for students such as developing a support system, networking with professionals, and receiving advice from those who have been in your shoes before,” said Guadardo, a freshman media studies student. “It’s the perfect chance for a student to be ahead of the game!”

Of the approximate 1,060 DHD members, about 820 are alumni and 240 are students — and the numbers are quickly increasing. DHD started in October, but has since gained a large, loyal following of active users posting almost daily. The alumni come from a range of degrees, including business, communications, and nursing, and job experiences vary between managers, directors, and executives. Students can narrow down their search for a mentor by location, type of work, and organization.

Group members are advised to not view the site as a resource for immediate internship or job opportunities, unless specified. Alex Hochman said that students who build a relationship with their mentor may find it appropriate to eventually ask the big question. “If you’re looking for a place to find an internship by tomorrow, this isn’t it,” he said. “But if you’re a senior who’s built a relationship with a mentor, go for it. Just not right off the bat.”

This is how it works: Mentors post their job industry background on the

LinkedIn DHD discussion board. Students interested in learning more can comment on the post and send a personal message to the mentor. From there, students follow up however they choose, whether it be through email, meeting up for coffee, or talking over Skype. There’s no obligation to stay connected with mentors, but it probably wouldn’t hurt. Jobs are nice, right?

For more information on Dons Helping Dons, visit

Which Study Abroad Program is Right for You?

Short Term Programs

If your need to explore runs deeper than your pocket, perhaps a short term experience is best for you. What’s more of a dip-of-the-toe than a full-on plunge, a short term study abroad program allows for students to become global citizens at a lower cost. According to Sharon Li, director at CGE, most short term excursions occur in the summer and last around six to eight weeks. Costs vary depending on location.

Shorter time abroad means less courses to pay for and less money spent.
According to Li, sometimes donors cover mission programs or specific service learning trips for students. “It’s not a certain thing, but it’s been happening most years, and we hope it continues to happen.”
Study in the summer if your major courses are only offered in fall or spring semesters.

Financial aid does not transfer for short term trips, not even USF-sponsored ones.

There are two types of short term excursions: USF-sponsored programs and external programs.

USF-Sponsored Programs
The interdisciplinary trip: Students take both    academic and culture classes.
The study tour: Students travel to a location specific to a class they have taken the semester before.
• The immersion trip: Students don’t take courses, but instead focus on service learning (usually done through Arrupe Immersion Programs or the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good).

External Programs
•  A study abroad through another institution  such as Boston University programs or outside education programs

If summer is time to work and not play, perhaps you’d prefer an even shorter short term program. “Intersession and spring break are becoming more popular study abroad times for majors who can’t afford to leave,” said Li. If you’re looking to spend January outside of the country, you have several options: USF sponsored immersions for service learning, external programs, and the occasional faculty-led study tour.

ª   Quick trips means even less cost.
•   Good for nursing students and other students
with a demanding curriculum.

ª   Less options.
ª   Faculty led trips are usually a last minute.

Long Term Programs
If you’re in it for the long haul, you have the option of a semester long program or a full academic year abroad. Again, there are the choices of USF sponsored trips and external programs. “If you’re taking a USF sponsored trip, it translates as if you’re here—so courses, financial aid, and units transfer easily,” said Li.

•   All financial aid does transfer to USF sponsored trips (except for work-study).
•   Room and board abroad are usually equal or less to USF tuition.
•   You don’t have to pay for MUNI fees or technological fees, which saves you about $250.

•   Generally more costly as a whole because it is a longer time.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Aryan Azizian is currently enrolled in Keble College’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies semester-long program. Keble College is one of 38 constituents of the University of Oxford in England. He reports: So far, so good — “Harry Potter”-esque dining room halls, friendly locals, an extensive wine selection and a DIY sundae bar at the neighborhood Pizza Huts. When he’s not keeping up with his homework, Azizian hosts his own show on the university’s radio station called “The Rock & Roll Hour with Aryan Azizian” and writes for their satire newspaper, The Oxymoron, which he said is no competition to USF’s The Humbugger, and their weekly paper, The Oxford Student. The only hitch he’s run into was understanding British humor. “Figuring out what made them laugh took forever, but once you get it you’re set!”

Azizian’s classes, called “tutorials,” are one-on-one meetings with professors to discuss a specific topic, like character and plot analyses from selected readings. Once a week, Azizian meets with a professor and is assigned three books and an essay due for the following week. “The teachers challenge you but are very kind and usually work with you to find the right answers,” he said. His favorite tutorial is the Study of Comedy, in which he reads writers including Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and Kurt Vonnegut. He’s also encouraged to study films of Mel Brooks and Monty Python. As part of a field trip, this week Azizian is watching Python’s “Spamalot!” at London’s Broadway, which is just an hour-long bus ride from Oxford.

“Telling people that you live in San Francisco is basically a green card into any group here. They are equally as curious to know about the US, and what college kids do there for fun,” he said. This semester, he hopes to improve his writing skills and take advantage of visiting the surrounding areas, but he insists that students shouldn’t mistake a study abroad trip as an opportunity to slack off. Azizian spends 30-40 hours each week completing schoolwork.

“Oxford is such a beautiful city with incredibly rich history,” he said. “It’s pretty mind boggling to live in a city that influenced Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” and to sit in the same pub that J.R.R Tolkien used to write some of his timeless stories in.”

In 2011, Chelsea Sundiang worked for Disney World, which not many students can say after leaving college. Her duties as a student intern for the Disney College Program included performing in the theme park’s shows and parades, meeting and greeting families, and sometimes gearing up in costume as a Disney character.

Sundiang went through a month of training in customer service skills and character choreography before being able to work in the park. Initially, she planned on staying for a semester, but later extended her internship to a year. Sundiang recalled the tough experience of her first Thanksgiving away from family, Orlando’s frequent, intense thunderstorms, and not getting along with her five roommates, but nothing stopped her from having a memorable time. It is “the happiest place on Earth” after all. Besides being able to call Disney World her backyard for a year, Sundiang also learned how to line dance in a nearby country music club and was introduced to the sweet life of Southern hospitality.

“I wouldn’t call it studying abroad. I did study, but that’s not what the experience gave. It was an escape from the California life because it was another world,” she said. “When you go to a place other than your home, you’ll realize there’s so much more than what you’re exposed to. You can learn so much more about yourself.”

Since leaving Disney World, Sundiang still keeps in touch with the myriad of friends she met living in places like Puerto Rico and the U.S. South and East Coast. Last year, MTV contacted Sundiang after viewing “It Gets Better with (365) Days of Disney,” a YouTube video montage of her life at Disney World. Sundiang is affiliated with It Gets Better, an Internet-based project working to promote optimism and hope among LGBT teens bullied for being gay or suspected of being gay by uploading videos created by users with one simple, positive message: Life after high school rocks.

“I’ve learned that if you want to do something, just do it. It’ll teach you so much more than what you expect learn,” she said. “Before Disney World, I used to think that life changes fast, then I realized the only thing that changed was myself.” Once a self-described “party animal,” Sundiang said being surrounded by students focused on their future careers helped transform her own goals. Her dream job is to work as the creative director for Vogue magazine.

Thanks to the glory of the southern hemisphere, Natalie Abbene spent her fall semester…in spring. But eternal sunshine wasn’t the only perk she experienced as a student of the semester-long media studies program at the University of Boston Sydney campus. “I went bungee jumping, camping in Byron Bay, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and road tripped to New Zealand,” said Abbene. “I was living the life.”

Though don’t be fooled, dear reader; actual studying did take place on this overseas exchange. Abbene took four courses at the University of Boston Sydney campus: Australian Culture, Australian Literature, and Australian Cinema. Her fourth course—media internship—included an actual intern position at one of Australia’s prestigious media production company’s: Fox Studio’s Spectrum Films, which has helped create such legendary movies as “Dead Poets Society,” “Mission Impossible: 2” and “Little Women.”

When Abbene wasn’t busy braving the outdoors or working with the Australian film industry, she spent her time simply getting used to a new home. She shared an apartment style dorm room with four other girls—two of which were fellow USF-ers. Living with Americans didn’t make it any easier adapting to a foreign country, however. “There are small things with the accent,” she said, “but really it’s a totally different English language.” Wearing a tank-top? In Australia, you’re wearing a ‘singlete.’ Thanking someone? All you have to say is ‘ta.’ And if you hear someone say they’re ‘fangin’ a duzzie’—according to Abbene, they’re just looking for a cigarette.

Indeed, it appears weather wasn’t the only thing Abbene found topsy-turvy in the land down under. “Things that are ‘iced’—like iced coffee—come with a scoop of ice-cream in it,” she said. “And you don’t have to tip.”

One final thing Abbene found flip-flopped: her opinion on Australia. “At first, I was upset not to be in Europe,” she explained, “but the trip was absolutely amazing; I wish I could go again.”

For some, studying abroad is a long awaited and carefully planned out trip. For others, it’s more of a shot in the dark. David Yount, who spent his past semester in Africa, falls under the latter. “I didn’t really know much about where I was going,” he said. “I liked the idea of doing something spontaneous.” Yount’s spontaneity landed him at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, a country in East Africa.
As an international studies student learning French and Swahili, Yount felt right at home in his African and International Politics course and his Swahili lessons. His environment, however, took a little more adapting. Besides getting used to a new culture, the extreme heat, and a standard diet of rice and beans, he also adapted to being, in his own terms, the guinea pig of his group. “I was one of the first kids from USF to go on this program, so I had to rely on improvisation,” said Yount.
Indeed, it was spontaneity that got him there and spontaneity that got him through the semester—especially when he was asked to assist in teaching French class at a local Jesuit high school. “There were no textbooks and no course materials,” he said, “but we made it work.” More than making it work, Yount helped to make the classroom a community.
In an area with over 70 spoken languages, it’s not surprising that no one really calls themselves ‘Tanzanian,’ explained Yount. But by establishing “bridges,” homerooms for teens of all ages, where the students participated in talks and activities, Yount hoped to create a community. “The principal and I focused on bringing the kids together by making learning a celebration,” he said.
When he wasn’t busy studying for classes (or teaching them), Yount spent his time on the soccer field with the local teams. “I travelled all over the city with these guys,” he said. “I even won a goat.”
Yount left the goat in Dar es Salaam, but he did bring back something more: a new place to call home. “Africa will always be a part of my heart,” he said, “and I will definitely be going back.”


*Written by Kathleen DeLara and Allison Fazio

If You Build It, They Will Come: Campus Bike Locking Structure Forthcoming

Students at the University of San Francisco are constantly on the move. Whether it be the hustle between classes or a two-wheeled ride to campus, Dons of the latter variety will soon experience more accommodations for bikers at USF.

In the works is a roofed, secure bike storage structure to be built in the upcoming years. While the final design and location have not yet been determined, USF Facilities Management will be working with junior architecture student Bryce Costley to develop the bike shelter.

“As biking has become a more popular mode of transportation to the USF campus, the amount of secure bike parking must increase…a covered shelter offers more security and will also keep bikes out of the rain,” said Robin Kuehn, the transportation sub-chair of the sustainability committee and a senior history student.

Costley’s model recently won an architecture and design student competition hosted by facilities management, USFpedals, and the ASUSF Sustainability Committee. His design can house up to 72 bikes on a two-level locking fixture, and includes lockers and a changing space, all of which can only be accessed with a USF ID. The outside of the structure features an open area for educational sessions and meetings. According to Liz Miles of facilities management, the final design components will implement a roofed structure with secure racks in a space of 600 square feet, which is about the size of a large living room.

The fear of theft and weather damage are the top factors deterring USF community members from biking to campus, said Steve Zavestoski, an environmental professor behind the Bicycle Transportation Plan. “The promise of covered and secure bicycle parking would attract people who otherwise do not bring a bike to campus. When people feel respected for their choice to use a bicycle for transportation, they are more likely to continue making that choice,” he said.

Of 127 bike rack spaces available throughout campus, only 73 of them are being used, according to the USF Bicycle Transportation Plan headed by USFpedals. The plan hopes to create more amenities for USF’s cyclists in order to better adapt to San Francisco’s prevalent bike culture. One of these amenities includes doubling the number of campus bike racks to 20, and including covered and secure parking options for 250 bikes before 2016.

Bikes are often improperly parked in areas like the bottom of the Lone Mountain stairs or at the entrance to the Kalmanovitz amphitheater because most of the current racks are in inconvenient areas located away from where riders can keep watch of their bike, as stated in the plan. In a 2011 USFpedals survey, nearly 500 of the 620 students, faculty, staff, and USF community members said that a free, covered, secure bike parking area would persuade them to ride a bicycle to campus.

Kuehn said, “Hopefully the new bike shelter will be a place where cyclists and non-cyclists intersect to form new friendships, share stories, exchange biking tips, and brainstorm ways to make USF a more sustainable campus.”

For more information on the USF Bicycle Transportation Plan, visit