Stephanie Henderson

Stephanie Henderson has written 4 posts for The Digital Bullpen

Campus Dining Trends

USF New Dining Hall Set to Open in Fall 2011

 TAMPA-Campus dining has transformed in colleges around the country and USF’s dining halls are following this trend by providing students with healthier alternatives to fast food and more choices.

“On campus dining has changed tremendously from the one line, one choice venues that many alumni remember,” said Jenna Burns, Marketing Manager with USF Campus Dining. “With our extensive food options including vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and halal our climate on innovation and service ensures that USF students are eating the very best food in the very best venues.”

USF has three dining halls and a variety of locations throughout campus. The food court located in the Marshall Student Center gives students choices in cuisine, which include Moe’s, Sbarro, Chick-fil-A, Miso and Subway.

Mariah Reid, Nutrition Manager with USF Campus Dining said, “I am working to ensure that healthy options are offered all over campus.”

Students or faculty looking for healthier alternatives to fast food can be sure to find them in the Green Zone or Accents at Juniper Dining and the Fresh Food company in the Argos Center.

“We really try to cater to our customers so if you ever see something being cooked and you want it a different way (hold the sauce/butter, light/no cheese, ect.) you can request it and they will make it to your specification,” said Reid.

All of the dining facilities at USF have nutritional information and allergy guides for each menu available on the campus dining Web site.

According to, “A number of Ohio universities—including Cleveland State, Kent State and Ohio State—are making it easy for students to know the nutritional value (and calorie counts) of the food they order in campus dining facilities.” States like New York, Philadelphia, California and Vermont have laws that require schools to provide students with nutritional information about the food that they are being served.  This helps make students more aware of what their eating and make smarter choices.

USF fourth dining hall, which is being built next to the Sun Dome, is set to open in Fall of 2011.  This new facility menu will be focused on providing students with healthier options.

“All of the recipes I am selecting must meet certain nutritional standards,” said Reid. “Cooking methods and menu items will have less added fats and sugars. We truly are trying to meet all of the diverse needs of our students.”

The rise in obesity and other food related health problems has led many Americans to make healthier decisions when it comes to their eating habits.

Patrick Toglia, USF student said, “Eating healthy is crucial to having a healthy life and your food selection greatly determines how you will feel throughout the day.”

Most of the ingredients that are found in modern food, especially fast food, are not healthy for you because they contain too many preservatives and excess sugars.

“Campus dining does promote healthier eating habits, but at the same time they offer salads right next to the chocolate cake,” said Toglia. “So it comes down to the decision you make on your own.”

Other College Campuses around the country are adjusting their dining options to keep up with the current food trends and healthier eating habits of todays students. One thing all of these colleges have in common is the are giving students and faculty more choices.

“The dinning program at UCLA offers healthier choices like whole grains, locally grown foods, organic options and fewer trans fats,” said  “At the University of Miami, you can choice from sushi, Hispanic-Carribbean food or a glatt-kosher deli, amoung other offerings.”

Because most students have busy schedules many schools are developing healthier on-the-go options for students. The Coba Cafe at USF offers students on-the-go items such as sushi, sandwiches and salads.

Also, Virginia Tech created a program called Yes to Go “in response to students request for healthier grab-n-go options,” said Virginia Tech’s website.  “All of the items have fewer than 600 calories and contain heart-healthy fats.”

Not only does USF campus dining offer students a variety of choices, but they also work to accommodate those students with special dietary needs.  USF placed #5 in Peta2′s most vegetarian-friendly college competition in 2009.   They have Meatless Mondays where students can get $1 off vegatarian or vegan meals at several of the dining facilities on campus.  There are brochures on the campus dining Web site that list the vegetarian and vegan options that are available at the different dining locations throughout campus. 

P.R.I.D.E Alliance to host Gay Prom

Tampa-P.R.I.D.E. Alliance will be hosting a Gay Prom on April 25 in the Marshall Student Center ballroom from 7 to 11 p.m.

The P.R.I.D.E. Alliance web site said, “We welcome all people from all walks of life to come enjoy a night of peace and tolerance.”

P.R.I.D.E. Alliance was started in 1974 and according to their web site they are “the oldest continuously funded gay student organizations in the state of Florida.”  

P.R.I.D.E. stands for People Respecting Individual Diversity and Equality.  Because discrimination and hate crimes against same-sex couples still exist today, many teens don’t feel comfortable attending prom as a same-sex couple. 

Some of the reasons teens might not have attended prom as a same-sex couple can be attributed to the fear of being harassed or they were told by their school that they could not attend with a same-sex date, said  “If you go to public school in the United States then you are legally allowed to bring a same-sex date to prom because you are protected by the First Amendment right to expression.”

According to reports done by the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island  in 1980, Aaron Fricke sued his principal Richard Lynch because he would not let him attend prom with a male companion Paul Guilbert.  Fricke won the case and helped pave the way for same-sex couples acround the country.

P.R.I.D.E. Alliance is giving same-sex couples a second chance to attend prom and not be afraid to be themselves.  P.R.I.D.E. Alliance is part of the multicultural community on campus and works with the Office of Multicultural Affairs to provide LGBTQ students on campus with an environment that they feel safe in.  The groups works with the Safe Zone, which is a diversity certificate program that educates individuals about the LGBTQ experience.

Muslim student group responds to Terry Jones’ Quran burning

Tampa-The Muslim Student Association is an organization at USF who’s purpose is to spread knowledge of what Islam is and what Muslims believe.  They host a variety of events on campus to educate others about the basics of Islam and how Muslims live.

Roshdyna Ahmad, vice president of the Muslim Students’ Association said, “We want to show others that despite the various claims that the media makes against Muslims and Islam, at the end of the day we are normal people, normal students just like everyone else, who has our own religious beliefs.”

Last month, Pastor Terry Jones held a mock trial in Florida that lead to a burning of the Quran.  The incident recieved little attention in the press until a United Nations compound in northern Afghanistan was atttacked by an angry mob of people who were protesting the burning of the Quran.  As a result, seven United Nation employees were killed and their office was destroyed.

“The idea of the Quran burning perhaps stemmed from the ignorance of what Muslims stand for, what Islam is, or what the Quran preaches,” said Ahmad.  “For me, it was a huge hate crime against us, although it wasn’t intended to hurt any lives, it hurt many hearts.”

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Multicultural Affairs explores diversity on USF campus, offers training

With 40 percent of freshmen students and 36 percent of transfers to USF being non-white, it’s no wonder that the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the university takes on a great importance.

The purpose of the multicultural clubs at USF is to create cultural awareness while eliminating negative stereotypes associated with different groups and encouraging diversity while improving relationships between various ethnic groups.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs offers learning opportunities to students, faculty and staff in order to develope multicultural competencies.

Multiculturalism is a critical educational strategy that provides student with the knowledge and skills to be successful in the global society.  It builds student capacity through diverse co-curricular experiences enabling them to live and work with people of all backgrounds and build strong communities.

There are 28 different multicultural organizations on campus that USF students of all cultures and backgrounds can join.

Through its clubs and organizations, the USF Office of Multicultural Affairs shows its value of diversity, excellence, success, education and community.

Hiram Ramirez, multicultural community advisor said, “Multicultural student organizations are important because they support the education of their peers concerning multicultural issues and help raise sensitive topics related to diversity.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs esssentially works with all of the multicultural organizations here on campus to educate and diversify the experiences of students here at USF.

The groups can also function as a support system for students here at USF and act as a stress reliever as well.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs has a welcome week that brings students from a variety of backgrounds together and gives them an opportunity to meet and network with other students.

Ramirez said, “Students can experience different multicultural programs on campus that will help make them a more well-rounded individual.”

The Office of Multicultural Affairs gives students and teachers a venue to explore their own diversity or to learn about other groups.  They offer various training programsand initives through out the year to further educate the USF community.

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