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PIXAR Comes to USF

The Center for the Pacific Rim brought the magic of PIXAR to the USF community on Nov. 16, with a visual presentation of PIXAR film animations, such as Finding Nemo, Car, and Up.

The event presented behind the scenes footage of the work that goes into producing PIXAR animated films.

Dr. Patrick L. Hatcher moderated the event.  According to Hatcher, “The goal of the event was to introduce this talented organization to the campus community.” PIXAR Art Director, Tia Kratter , provided additional commentary.

The event highlighted that the films are a form of representation of U.S. soft power. Films like Wall-E, Up, and Finding Nemo  were produced to visually influence citizens in recognizing everyday issues. This aids in crossing generations and racial barriers, the impact that human place on the environment, and the protection that is needed to sustain life.

In Finding Nemo, for example, the film brought attention to the Australian Great Barrier Reef, which is filled with coral that is threatened by a warming Pacific. In the film, the reef is where Nemo lives and swims.

Likewise, the film Wall-E is about a robot that compacts trash from a toxic Earth that has been left behind by humans.

Bridget Schuborg, a senior majoring in International Studies, is obsessed with PIXAR and attended the event. Schuborg said, “I wanted to come to learn about the company, because I would love to work there. I also think that PIXAR is a beacon of hope for movies.”

Hatcher said, “The event was very successful we had over 189 people there to include three USF classes from Computer Science and Media Studies.” This event was geared towards students in both the Computer Science program, and the Media Studies Program.  The usual sizes of the events are between 120 to 150 attendants.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

News Editor: Ericka Montes

Graduation Ceremonies May Move to Senate Briefings: Highlights from ASUSF Senate Meetings: Memorial Gym, USF to Film Television Commercial

New Regulations for Financial Services

According to Susan Murphy from Financial Aid Services, the government has implemented new regulations for financial services at universities.

Changes include the PELL Grant Program shortfall, which will provide funding to students with the highest need. There is a strong need from students on an annual basis, and close watch will be given on this change.

Murphy addressed concerning issues with the CAL Grant, verifying there is a large government deficit for the coming year. According to Susan Murphy, “The changes are harmless to current recipients, but it is the new students who will receive a lower reward.”

Murphy said, “Currently $40 million is given to undergraduates.”

Murphy also addressed various questions from Senate. According to USF Financial services, intersession is not a term, and therefore no financial program is provided. Yet, Financial Services can assist students in place of extra money from one semester to the next in order to compensate for the cost.

President Halimah Najieb-Locke asked whether donations were helping in make up for the federal deficit, or is USF still in the down slope due to the economy. Susan Murphy explained that, gifts such as donations come from endowed accounts. The majority effect was two years prior, and some accounts are still unable to achieve their original value; in other words they are not allowed to be spent. Murphy said, “Sometimes we have a surprise donation but right now I can’t count on that to make up for the federal loss.”

USF Graduation Ceremonies

ASUSF Senate has begun to address the issues of capacity limitations of the USF commencement ceremonies. By adding a more ceremonies in the church or by relocating the ceremonies to the school gym, more space will be provided and fewer limitations will have to be placed on the number of tickets handed out to graduates.

This issue is focused on the spring ceremonies, which has a larger number of graduates. The gym will allow more space and tickets for families. The gym will also allow the audience to have a better view of the graduating class.

During the presentation of the proposal, conditions were outlined. If the gym became the replaced location, 10 tickets could be handed out to graduates. The School of Arts and the School of Sciences could be combined.

The goal is to find out what is most valued, whether it is tickets, venue, or location of the ceremonies.  Additionally elements are being considered such as parking, shuttles, and extending the length of the ceremonies.

According to Vice Provost of Academic & Enrollment Services, BJ Johnson, and Vice Provost for Student Development, Peter Novak, there are 1,400 to 1,500 guests able to fit in the church. The gym allows space for 4,800 guests. Both Johnson and Novak have expressed that they want as much feedback as possible from students. ASUSF Senate members have been encouraged to collect information.

USF tv Commercial

During a meeting with Vice Provost Novak, President Halimah Najieb-Locke noted the announcement of a TV commercial. USF is currently filming a commercial to bring awareness to the university.

The commercial will be aired on a number of channels and during a USF basketball game. According to ASUSF Senate, there are opportunities for students to participate in the USF commercial. If interested please contact Sue at 415-422-2823. The commercial is a two-and-a-half hour commitment on Wednesday at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 p.m. and on Thursday at 6:30, 8:30, and 9:30 p.m.

Athletics and Senate Christmas Caroling at USF

ASUSF Vice President of Internal Affairs Kelsey Jones presented that the Athletics Department has asked ASUSF to join them in Christmas Caroling around campus, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. The caroling is scheduled for December 3, and will conclude with hot chocolate and cider in the front of War Memorial Gym.

Expanding Los Locos at USF

According to ASUSF President Halimah Najieb-Locke, Los Locos is now beginning the process of becoming a funded account.

Los Locos is a student organization focused on school spirit. They work to enhance connectivity amongst students and the university, through active support through sporting events, and other events.

Najieb-Locke said, “This is an exciting step for the organization as well as for students in general, because it will foster even more student connectivity and spirit at USF. “

Go Team’s New Leadership Announced

New team leaders have been announced for Go Team, for 2010-2011. Director of Student Leadership & Engagement Greg Wolcott announced:
Carmen Fernandez (returning)
Adrianne Batiste
Alexa Mealer
Alyssa Micciche
Sheila Connelly

Go Team profiles are available at  www.usfca.edu/sle/meetgoteam.
According to Wolcott, Go Team works 10 hours a week, throughout the fall/spring semesters. The work includes Go Team recruitment, orientation evening events, Go Team staff training, and other general support for the new student orientation program.

Wolcott said, “All five team leaders bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to the position as well as exceptional experience as student leaders.”

ASUSF Fall Summit 2010

ASUSF Senate held their annual Fall Summit in the McLaren Conference Center on Nov. 9. The event consisted of various activities to get clubs and senate connected. Fall Summit included a presentation by Dean Shahideh and Dr. Francis King for “Get connected through the mentorship program. ”

The final part of the night was a ‘Get Heard Brainstorm,’ in which one senator sat at each of the 20 tables set up and assisted in facilitating conversation with all of the attendees. The opportunity was for club leaders to get in touch with senate leaders, and to bridge a gap for better communication, planning, and achieving set goals.

Senators asked a set of questions during the ‘Be Heard Brainstorm’ which included: How would you rate your work-study, financial aid, and grant opportunities on campus? What has been your experience?

Student Rewards Program Encourages Participation

Businesses create loyalty programs to retain customers, and USF is no exception to this rule. For the last three years, the university has used the Student Rewards Program to increase student turnout at events. It is an incentive-based program for students to attend events in exchange for points and prizes.

The Athletics Department originally created the program exclusively for sports games, however, the program has been recently undertaken by Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) this year, broadening the types of events that students can earn prizes for.

Kyle Janzen, director of Ticketing and Promotions said, “We reached out to Student Leadership Engagement and proposed the idea of taking this from an athletic-based program, to a university-based program and everyone loved it and got on board.”

Since, the program has received additional funding to purchase student ID swiping machines and prizes. “If you’re going to open it up to more events, you’re going to need more prizes to support those events,” Janzen said.

The program works by creating a record of each time a student attends an event, such as sports games, concerts and shows. Student ID cards are swiped into a machine, which then allows for students to accumulate points. The more points students have, the more chances to earn better prizes.

Currently, SLE provides all of the support for non-athletic events, which includes staffing and execution for the program. At the beginning of the year, SLE, The Athletics Department and Kyle Janzen collectively mapped out the all events and the amount of points each event was worth.

Once students begin to attend events, weekly emails are sent to them, outlining the schedules of upcoming events, the point’s values for each event and where students can claim their prizes.

The point-value of events are weighted according to popularity. The more “popular” an event is (such as a sports game), the fewer points it is worth. Respectively the less popular, the more points it is worth.

Janzen said this set up of point value was designed specifically to encourage participation. “For example, this year women’s basketball games are worth 300 points, and men’s basketball games are worth only 100 points.” According to Janzen, more students attend men’s basketball games than they do for women’s. The Student Rewards Program aims to bring students to sporting events that are lacking attendance.

The Student Rewards Program has grown since it started. During the first year, the program had about 1500 students, and now the program serves over 2000 students.
In the second year, an information board was placed at every event next to the card swipes. The information board is an info center for students to see a breakdown of points, upcoming events, and a listing of top 20 point totals.

Janzen said, “The board helped increase communication to the students, and answer the prominent questions of who many points have been accumulated.”

Hillary Kigar, a junior business hospitality student, is an active participant of the Student Rewards Program and has used it since the program has been established. Kigar said, “I think that this is a great program to have on campus, and I have seen more students attending various events on campus over the years. I actually was not aware that there was a way to track my points, and have not seen an information board at any event.”

Weekly print outs of the membership database are made available for review at tables located at athletic events. The print out gives students an updated readout of their total points.

he prizes distributed include- tee-shirts, back sacks, seat cushions and water bottles. The program also offers raffle prizes, for anyone who gets over 5000 points. The prize in- cluded in the grand raffle include a semester worth of books, $500 to spend at Bon Appetit, an electric scooter, as well as many other prizes.

Janzen said, “We wanted for more students to come out, but we also wanted to increase student retention, and increase participation on campus, this is what has been the driving forces of the program.”

According to Janzen, the idea to include faculty, staff, and alumni rewards program is in consideration. However, there is no funding to execute such an advancement.

Janzen said the overall success of the program has been seen from one year to the next. Prizes have increased and the communications between students and administrators of the rewards programs has improved.

Lindsey Pappas, a senior hospitality major only found out about the event two weeks ago when she attended Midnight Madness. Pappas said, “I never saw any advertising for the rewards program, but when I went to Midnight Madness they were swiping everyone’s cards, I thought it was to verify I was a student, but I came to find out it was for the rewards program.”

Janzen said, “We want to make sure that there is belief in the pro- gram, we want to always stay cre- ative, and execute on our promises with prizes.”

For more info, visit www.face- book.com/studentrewardsprogram

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

News Editor: Erick Montes

Dead Hour Comes to Life as Activity Hour

In the fall of 2009, USF made big changes to class scheduling: more classes would be offered on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday timetable in addition to the regular Tuesday-Thursday format. This change called for more subtle adjustments; what students formerly knew as “Dead Hour,” a one-hour time block in which most students didn’t have class, has been renamed to “Activity Hour.” Dead Hour originally reserved 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for a student break in between classes, but the time has been shifted to 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this semester.

As with Dead Hour, the purpose of Activity Hour is also intended for students to participate in various activities on campus; hence the name change. Although Activity Hour designates a break time for students, the goal is more so to encourage student participation.

BJ Johnson, vice provost and dean of academic and enrollment services, said, “I believe that the change in Activity Hour has contributed to the general success of the new class meetings schedule.”

However, this hasn’t happened on its own; it was with the collaboration of the new class schedule that Activity Hour has become more promising.
“The change in time allowed the university to create a schedule that increases the number of course sections,” Johnson said, and “still have a block of time set aside for student activities, which has definitely contributed to a more successful use of time.”

Some students still have not heard of Activity Hour on campus. Junior and international studies major Tara Peitham said, “I was not even aware that we have an Activity Hour on campus, or even what time it [is.]”

The decision to change the previous class schedule format came from a long stream of negotiations and meeting with various deans, USFFA Policy Board Members, the ASUSF Student Senate, Registrar Archie Porter and academic faculty members. The revised format addressed all of the inadequacies of the old schedule.

Johnson said the changes will be monitored over time to ensure its success. The overall changes are proposed for a long term adoption, but will be adjusted when necessary.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

News Editor: Erick Montes

USF Offers Weight Watchers to Students

School and work can make it hard to keep up a healthy lifestyle. To cope, USF has offered Weight Watchers to employees and students looking for a little help in the health department. Weight Watchers is an international company that supports weight loss through dieting meals plans.

According to Brenda Jaquith, assistant in the Office of Publications, Weight Watchers has been available on campus for several years now.

Jaquith said the Wellness Program brought on Weight Watchers initially for staff and faculty only. After two years, however, the program became open to students.

Weight Watchers is made available on campus as long as a minimum of participants sign up. At least 15 participants are needed from semester to semester. The average cost per meeting is $12, with the full series being paid in full at the first meeting. Weight Watchers has extended a discount to USF.

According to Kelly Kirk-Nissen, a coach in the Weight Watchers program, USF is giving 20% back to the first 15 staff, faculty, or students who join. This semester, the program will run for 12 weeks. The main requirement is a ‘minimum joining weight’, which indicates that all participants must be 5 pounds or more above Weight Watchers minimum weight.

Weekly sessions at USF are facilitated by Kirk-Nissen. She has been a Weight Watchers member herself for nearly 25 years and has been a Weight Watchers leader for a year and half now.

This is the fourth series being offered on campus. Kirk-Nissen has led sessions since September 2009. Weight Watchers fits easily into people’s already busy lives, and that is one of the main reasons the program was made available at USF.

Kirk Nissen said, “At Weight Watchers, we feel that if the meeting is brought to you, rather than having to schedule it into your already-busy day, your success is that much more likely.” The meetings provide weekly books and weekly mini-magazines that cover various topics discussed. Kirk-Nissen also brings various products to the session  that are offered in regular Weight Watchers meetings.

Although Weight Watchers runs under the Wellness Program, USF Wellness has been renamed the WellCall Program, accessible to USF employees and their dependents only. Jaquith said, “There are several  benefits, including learning about eating healthy foods, making smarter choices, changing habits, moving more, eating less unhealthy foods, getting and staying healthy for a lifetime.”

Also, she said, Weight Watchers provides “a great support team and we can do it on our lunch hour instead of taking time on the weekend or after work or classes.”

Senior and entrepreneurship major Anna Katrina Belda is one of the few students in the know about the program on campus. Belda said, “I first heard about the program last year. I think it’s great that USF is offering a support for those that need it, I believe that to be successful you need to be fit, healthy and on top of your game. Losing weight is not easy and a program like Weight Watchers could be a real help in boosting the process for some.” Belda noted that she has known of others who have participated in the program outside of USF and the effectiveness of the program, from helping others to shed many pounds to making it a life changing experience.

With people having busy schedules, the ability to have a program working on campus really eliminates the effort of getting to a center at another location. Sophia Martinez, a senior business administration major, was informed of the program via the school email. Martinez said, “If there is a large percentage of a student interest in this program, why not? I think it’s great that the program is located on campus, it’s so convenient. I believe that weight and being healthy is very important, so I do think that this program would be a great and accessible way for students to learn how to gain a more healthy and active lifestyle.”

Delayed Tuition Payments Lead to Canceled Classes

Students who failed to pay tuition by the Aug. 1 deadline this year may have got a slight surprise from the One Stop Enrollment and Financial Services—having their entire class schedules canceled prior to the first days of school.

“It is not fair to have students who’ve not met their obligations sitting in class while students who have made their payments may be wait-listed for that same class,” Senior Associate Dean of Academic and Enrollment Services Susan Murphy said.

To be fair, One Stop sent out two emails to all USF students notifying them of their financial responsibilities on July 2 and July 11, clearly stating  the payment due date. According to Murphy, all students who did not pay tuition by Aug. 1 were contacted with a reminder email and were given a courtesy extension until Aug. 13.

For those who still fell short of the courtesy extension, Student Accounts dropped their class schedules following obligations from the University. This left students the burden of paying immediately and re-registering for class. However, this is not the first time One Stop has taken such measures.

Joanna Li, senior business administration fell under this predicament for the second time. Last year, Li missed an entire semester due to having all of her courses dropped, and not being able to re-register. This fall, Li had all of her classes cancelled again on Aug. 14 for not paying her tuition and fees. Li said, “I had to pay the full tuition right away in order to re-enroll in the university, and was told I had to find all new classes for the fall semester. I have been waitlisted for several classes and am trying to get into as many as possible.”

Murphy said Student Accounts and One Stop are responsible for implementing University payment policies and various procedures. Their goal is to treat all students equitably, yet assure that all is collected in regards to fees, room and board and more, to meet University obligations.

Students were encouraged to contact One Stop counselors with any questions about meeting outstanding obligations. Murphy said, “The majority of students did follow up and take care of their balances. It is only after the extended deadline given by One Stop that classes are canceled for those that do not make payments.”

Murphy said that this is not a new policy or practice, and that they are still shocked from one semester to the next at how often this occurs. Murphy said, “We find it interesting that many of the students canceled for non-payment this fall had been canceled for non-payment in previous terms.”

The average number of students who have their classes dropped for non-payment varies from one term to the next. For fall 2010, One Stop canceled an average of 550 registrations across all the schools and college degree programs.

Once courses are dropped, the obligation falls upon the student to pay the full tuition amount or enroll in USF’s payment plan. The payment plan enables students to break up the payments across the semester.

Chris Carson, a junior studying media studies and journalism, enrolled in the payment plan upon finding out that his tuition was late, and his courses might be dropped on him. Carson said he received the email from the university stating his classes would be dropped on Aug. 13 if he did not pay tuition, or sign up for the payment plan. Yet, in Carson’s case it came as an empty threat. His classes were never dropped and he was able to get a student loan in order to pay for his tuition for the semester. Carson said, “They offered me the payment plan, but the amounts were way too high, around $3000 a month, or pay $12,000 all at once. I felt that they just made empty threats, since none of my classes were ever canceled.”

Once a student does initiate payment, the registration hold is lifted and the student can then re-register online. However, with three weeks or less prior to the first day of classes, students were left with whatever they could get into.
Katie Fendick, a junior design student, had this situation happen last semester. She was dropped from all of her courses due to non-payment. After signing up for a payment plan, she was waitlisted for many of her classes, and had to get approvals from deans, teachers and advisors. Fendick said, “It was a very frustrating situation, and I was running around campus trying to get back into the classes I needed. I even complained about One Stop and what they put me through in regards to paying tuition and re-registering via a campus survey.”

One Stop noted that there are many reasons why students end up in this situation. Murphy said, “Some students simply do not pay attention to the deadline and make no effort to make payments by the due date.” There are also students that either forget or do not complete their financial aid offers, which are awarded each year, and are available for students to view on the USFConnect website.

Juanita Rebong, the director of One Stop Enrollment and Financial Services, said that along with colleagues in Student Accounts and  Financial Aid, she has been working closely with students and their families. Rebong said, “We have been working to help them satisfy their payment requirements which enables us to lift holds and allow students to re-register for classes.”

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
New Editor: Ericka Montes