Jamie Lewis

Jamie Lewis has written 3 posts for The Digital Bullpen

Sun Dome renovations hurt USF’s sport clubs

Due to the Sun Dome’s renovations, USF’s women’s volleyball club and other sport clubs lack sufficient time and space for practice sessions at the Campus Recreation Center, according to Sports Clubs Graduate Assistant Joshua Gianitsis. This scheduling conflict has resulted in decreased membership and limited interest in many of the school’s sport clubs, said Volleyball Club President Kayla Cormier.

USF’s sport clubs – including indoor soccer, club basketball, badminton, men’s volleyball and women’s volleyball – use the two indoor gyms at the Campus Recreation Center for weekly practices. Intramural practices and women’s basketball games take precedence over sport clubs, and campus recreation has canceled the frequency of club practices by up to 300 percent.

Campus Recreation hosts women’s basketball home games in the North Gym this semester while the Sun Dome continues to be renovated.

During the spring semester of 2011, the women’s volleyball club hosted three two-hour practices and an open gym session every week. This semester the club was granted one two-hour practice session a week and no open gyms.

According to Cormier, membership in the club has declined over the last two semesters. Turnout at the spring try-outs was low. Without an open gym students cannot participate if they do not make the team.

The club plans to compete tournaments at the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida this month, as well as host a tournament at USF in April.

The lack of practice time makes it difficult for the club to compete with teams at schools such as UF, which practices three times per week, according to Cormier. The lack of available gym space has also made it difficult for Cormier to schedule the home tournament in April.

“It also hinders the teams’ ability to bond, which also affects our tournament play,” Cormier said.

The Sun Dome renovations were approved on June 8, 2011, and were originally expected to conclude in November of last year. However, in November project manager Stephen Lafferty told the Oracle that the Sun Dome would reopen after April 15.

“It is our expectation that we’ll be able to get some of our space back in the fall,” Gianitsis said.

According to Gianitsis, Sun Dome construction will continue into the summer.

Quran burning reverend Terry Jones makes appearance at USF Republican debate

Photo credit: James Lewis

As the four Republican presidential candidates participated in a nationally televised debate inside Theatre 1, a controversial Florida pastor who supervised a Quran burning last year marched outside with his followers.

The Rev. Terry Jones walked the sidewalks of Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza wearing jeans and a leather jacket.  His followers surrounded him carrying signs declaring the president a Muslim while shouting “Deport all illegal immigrants! Obama deserves prison! Impeach Obama!”

Occupy Tampa protesters shouted back, “Shame on you!”

Jones made international headlines when a Quran was burned in March 2011 at his church, Dove World Outreach Center, in Gainesville, Fla.  One of his supporters carried a sign that read “Koran burner for president.”  Jones announced his candidacy for president on October 27, 2011 in Gainesville.

Jones supports balancing the budget to eliminate the national debt, bringing the troops home and deporting all illegal immigrants.

“Illegals are costing America $540 million a year, plus they’re illegal,” Jones said. “Do you not understand the word ‘illegal’? I cannot rob a bank, run a stoplight. I cannot do something and say, ‘well I have a family here, I had a reason’.”

When pressed about the implications of separating natural born citizens from their parents, Jones said the parents will take their children with them.  He later conceded that an exception could be made, but he would also advocate rewriting the law to require natural born citizens to be of legal citizen parents.

Students voiced their disapproval of Jones. Jordan Myers, a junior majoring in political science, said, “We pay too much tuition for these guys to even be allowed on campus.”

Ben Johnson, a senior majoring in creative writing, said, “I support their right to be hateful, close-minded, bigoted, backwards thinking scum of the earth. This is America; it’s a great thing.”

Jones also defended the burning of the Quran at his church. “It’s not hateful, it’s not un-American, it’s in compliance with the First Amendment. We by no means deny Muslims their rights in America. They can practice their religion, they can build their mosques, but they must be willing to be governed under the constitution not under Sharia.”

Jones registered for the Presidential Election as an Independent. The Florida Republican Party will not place Jones on the ballot for January 31.

After delay, USF Marshall Student Center SkyPad opens for gamers

A crowd of excited gamers gathered on the fourth floor of the Marshall Student Center in anticipation of the SkyPad student lounge unveiling on September 13.

Most of them spent their time playing video games on their laptops.  When the curtains opened, the crowd cheered, but when Joe Synovec, director of the Marshall Student Center, did not begin the ceremony at exactly 1:30 p.m., some of the nearly 50 students began chanting, “Rabble, rabble, rabble,” a line from the Comedy Central show South Park.

Alex “Pudge” Santa Maria, a senior majoring in creative writing, said he skipped class to attend the opening ceremony.  Santa Maria is vice president of the Video Game Club, which will host meetings every Friday night in the SkyPad. He predicts most students won’t use the lounge to study. “Everyone can have high hopes, but I know who goes to this school. They’ll play video games,” he said.

Within minutes of taking over the room, which quickly acquired the odor of sweat and unchanged socks, students synced laptops, organized FIFA tournaments and declared that they might just stay forever.

The recently finished SkyPad gaming area features five gaming pods with large LCD screens, sound cones, one Xbox, and one Playstation 3.  The study lounge, separated from the gaming area by a glass wall, has futuristic tables and seating, including two study pods equipped with two LCD televisions.  There is also a vending area with a coffee machine and a microwave.

Synovec said the lounge cost approximatProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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y $500,000, and was funded by student activities and service fees collected from tuition and appropriated by Student Government.  Most of that money was used to buy and install electronic equipment.

The SkyPad was scheduled to open during the Week of Welcome. Due to Hurricane Irene,
shipping delays with a furniture parts manufacturer in Italy and a port in Savannah, Ga. forced Synovec to delay the grand opening.

The SkyPad occupies an area that once was two meeting rooms and a hallway.  Synovec said he is having trouble finding room for student organizations but there is a high demand for lounge space.

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