Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Get Your Sexy Back"

WINTER PARK, Fla. - The Peer Educators of Valencia Community College support safe sex. The students of the Winter Park campus came together Thursday, to bring awareness to the student body about the consequences unprotected sex may reap.

There were tables set up, laden with finger sandwiches and information packets. The girls even made a bouquet of roses out of unopened condom wrappers.

Some of the event goers held passionate beliefs on the uses of condoms and being careful with sexual partners, in general.

David Ives, a sophomore, said, "Sex is a very relative issue. It's better to show condoms and make them available, for health reasons, than to hide the fact altogether."

Having unprotected sex may lead to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in women, and all sorts of other dismal acronyms. Not to mention, unexpected pregnancy.

"A lot of girls are uneducated. [They] disuse birth control. They think that's all they need," a student admitted.

The active ingredient that serves as a spermicide in birth control is nonoxynol-9. Although it is designed to serve as a barrier between the sperms' interaction with ovaries, it can't prevent bacteria from entering the body and wreaking havoc with the organ systems there.

The truth is, 90% of women infected with STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, have little or no symptoms. But, if treated promptly, antibiotics can help combat these diseases from spreading throughout the body.

The Peer Educators came up with the entire idea behind "Get Your Sexy Back" on their own. This is the first year that an event has been arranged to engage and encourage students to be aware of their decisions with sex.

Nikki Arnold, who was the head organizer, attributes most of her ideas for this event to the recent Bacchus conference for Peer Educators.

She and Sylvia Martinez, in charge of Student Development on campus, added a more Valentine's Day feel to the decorations and overall theme. The concept of the holiday mixed with all of its implications-relationship wise-seemed an appropriate approach, Nikki says.

Though, one freshman said he didn't attend the event necessarily for informational purposes:

"I like the candy, or edibles, that might be around," he said. "Free candy, that was the puller."

Previously published in the Valencia Voice

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Campus Crusade for Christ

ORLANDO, Fla. - A little known group of students and staff members gather around for weekly meetings for the Campus Crusade for Christ, every Tuesday.

On the afternoon of Feb. 2, 20 students attended the 1 p.m. showing of "Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution."

Dr. Jobe Martin, the key speaker throughout the film, said, "There is no way a slow, graduated process could produce this little bug." He is referring to the evolution of the African Bombardier Beetle.

The film questions the validity in choosing to believe only in the idea of creationism or the theory of evolution. In putting his own perspective into the film, Dr. Jobe Martin is saying that animals can't develop certain parts of their bodies, over time, because they would need those defense mechanisms and eating tools to survive in the first place. "You can't evolve, if you're dead," Martin said.

To begin the afternoon, student Michael Levins sang "How He Loves" and "Amazing Grace," all while playing his electronic piano. By the end of the second verse of the first song, an eclectic string of different tonalities came together to form an impromptu chorus of young voices. A few students were even swaying to the music.

When asked about the driving force behind Levins' performance, he said, "God has just blessed me with these talents and I must respect them."

Larry Nieboer, the head representative for the group, gave his own perspective on the group as a whole: "Campus Crusade is made up of different denominations. We believe that the bible is God's unchanged word. That's what unites us. We're not tied to any one denomination."

The Campus Crusade for Christ began in 1992 on the West campus of Valencia. Members now hold weekly bible studies, service projects, and club socials such as trips to the Holy Land Experience, Downtown Disney, and Universal Boardwalk. There are currently over 150 countries in the world that have colleges and universities where the Campus Crusade for Christ is thriving and growing.

Anna Gabriel said she goes "for fellowship," and "To support and to encourage other believers."

Next week, Nieboer will lead a lecture focusing on the teachings of the Bible and hold a discussion group. There may even be a little music to listen to, as well.

The SGA Elections

ORLANDO, Fla. - Positions for the Student Government Association will soon be up for grabs. By this time in November, votes will be rolling in for the future leaders of Valencia Community College.

"There are spots available for positions as the president, vice president, secretary, chief of staff, and treasurer," says Edwin Harvey, the current student president of the Winter Park campus.

Several events and promotions are being scheduled in order to bring awareness of the SGA elections to the student body.

Student president of the West campus, Robert Stio, admits: "There are currently students who are getting nominations." Already, there are more students participating in the elections this year, than there were last term.

Every year, the SGA holds a holiday bash in the month of November, which usually takes place right before polls open up for new positions in the White House, as well as for the government of each individual state.

There was free miniature golf last year on the Osceola campus, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Raffle tickets were given away at the door, giving the students a chance to win a free vacation at the Gaylord Palms Resort. This package included a room for two, for two nights, and tickets to an "Ice" show. The prize was worth over $600 total.

There was also a holiday dinner from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., which included ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and more, for all who attended.

SGA does more than host fancy celebrations, though. The members also meet four times a year to discuss issues that affect both the school and the students, in the realm of finances, funds, and supplies.

The presidents of SGA are also taking a trip to Tallahassee, in April, to lobby a few bills and really analyze the candidates for the government of the United States. Valencia Community College even has its own personal lobbyist, Bill Mullowney, who may be attending.

"We want to look into each candidate and see if they have the same goals and ideals as we do," said the student president of Osceola campus, Frank Velez.

The student government hosts two job fairs per semester, to enlighten the students as to what careers are booming or dying. "We're going to touch upon each separate degree program," said Velez, referring to next year.

Applications for candidacy have already gone out to each respective campus, as well as to the education board of Valencia. Students can obtain them from SGA advisers, as well.

Some parting words from the Osceola student president, regarding the students who are looking to be nominated:

"We're looking at the ones who would like to step up and take our place, next year."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Visions and Voices Presents Poet Stephen Dunn

WINTER PARK, Fla. - Poet Stephen Dunn was the guest of honor for Thursday afternoon's Visions and Voices presentation.

Room 226 on the Winter Park campus was packed with enough students that the maintenance crew took down the air wall that usually separates the room into sections. This second room filled up just as quickly as the first.

Dunn's poems touch upon such topics as the philosophy of the urban teenager, clowns taken out of context, and the science behind dead words. The lines of his poetry ring with stories of day to day events and the different ways that average things can be seen.

Between readings, he told the crowd a little about himself. Dunn said he earned his first degree from Hofstra University, using a basketball scholarship and that he was a very quiet student.

He didn't realize that he was different from the other players on his team until they went to see the movie The Misfits (starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe.) When his friends asked him to explain the movie, afterward, he discovered that he understood more about story and literature than the average jock.

Before the event, Valencia student, Andrea Ribeiro, said "My professor said great things about him," and that she "used to listen to a lot of poetry in Brazil, but this will be my first time listening to an American poet."

Matt Gregor, who is currently enrolled in Dr. Kusnetz's creative writing class, said "I liked the ones that were sort of about everyday things."

After reading such poems as "Odysseus' Secret," "What Goes On," and "Burying the Cat," Dunn listened and advised a private group of students on their latest poems. Professor Dr. Ilyse Kusnetz organized a small session of, no more than, 12 students to gather around and talk to Stephen Dunn about his tips and suggestions for writing poetry.

One tip he gave was to cross out everything that doesn't advance the poem during revision, such as repetitive words and unnecessary metaphors. "You may need to startle yourself into saying that which you didn't know you were going to say," he said.

Stephen Dunn is now a professor of creative writing at the Richard Stockton College in New Jersey. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Washington, University of Columbia, New York University, and the University of Michigan. He has written 16 books, including Pulitzer Prize winner Different Hours.