Florida Studies nature writing series planned at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

USF St. Petersburg Associate Professor of English Thomas Hallock, Ph.D., is organizing a series of public readings and discussions at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve this spring focused on nature writing. They will read selections from their non-fiction work.

Associate Professor of English Thomas Hallock, Ph.D. | Photo by Aaron Alper, '12.

Associate Professor of English Thomas Hallock, Ph.D. | Student Photo by Aaron Alper, ’12.

Titled “Writers in the Preserve,’’ this three-day series is organized around the theme, “How Do We Find Nature in the City?”

The series is co-sponsored by the USFSP Florida Studies Program, the College of Arts and Sciences and Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. It is co-organized by Boyd Hill ranger Andrea Andersen.

On February 21, Hallock joins award-winning Tampa Bay Times writer Jeff Klinkenberg, journalist Cathy Salustri, a USFSP Florida Studies graduate, and Wendy Joan Biddlecombe, a staff writer for Hernando Today/Tampa Tribune and a USFSP journalism master’s graduate.

On March 28, poets Gianmarc Manzione, Gloria Muñoz and Brian Duncan will lead a poetry night hike through the Preserve.

The series concludes on April 11 with “13 Ways of Looking at a City: Community Gathering,” as writers, environmentalists and community advocates celebrate the natural and built environment of south St. Petersburg.

“This lecture series demonstrates the extraordinary talent at USF St. Petersburg and our commitment to engaging the community with provocative programming,’’ said Frank Biafora, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I commend Dr. Hallock for his creative leadership.”

Each event is free and open to the public and starts at 7 p.m. For more information contact Thomas Hallock at thallock@usfsp.edu or (727) 873-4954. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (727-893-7326) is located at 1101 Country Club Way S. in St. Petersburg.


New baseball club kicks off season at Al Lang Stadium

USF St. Petersburg’s new student baseball club kicks off its exhibition season against USF Tampa at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Mayor Rick Kriseman will throw out the first pitch in what is being dubbed the “Battle of the Bay.” It is free and open to the public.

“We are very excited to have Mayor Kriseman participating in this history-making event for USF St. Petersburg,’’ said baseball club co-founder David Stern.

The USFSP Baseball Club was formed by Stern, fellow senior Tyler Thomas and sophomore Jeremy Burger. They are students in the College of Business.

“We all have a huge passion for baseball,” said Stern, an Entrepreneurship major. “I’ve always had the vision to start a club here and when I bumped into Jeremy, we decided to pull it together.”

Student government donated uniforms and the Division of Student Affairs will help cover costs of the game at Al Lang, including free food and t-shirts for students.

The club practices at city parks Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and will play the rest of its home games there. It has scheduled home games with clubs from Kansas, Iowa and Canada, among others this spring at city parks.

“We have a no-cut policy,” noted Stern. “But that said, we’re pretty competitive.”

For more information about the USFSP Baseball Club or the “Battle of the Bay,” email dstern@mail.usf.edu.

First student exchange program is a bridge to Belgium

USF St. Petersburg’s first student exchange program began with an unexpected phone call from Belgium three years ago.

Erika Greenberg-Schneider, a visiting instructor at USF St. Petersburg’s Graphic Design Program who is such a renowned printmaker she was honored by France as a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, was at her studio in Tampa when the phone rang.

Would she agree to be the keynote speaker at a major art event in Liege, Belgium? The caller was a professor at École Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc de Liège, so before she said yes she asked if the acclaimed art school would be interested in a student exchange program with USF St. Petersburg.

And so began a long journey that ended last fall with USFSP graphic design seniors Carmela Zabala and Maria Cuahutle living and studying in Belgium for the semester and continues this spring with Belgium student Laurent Baarslag living and studying here.

“I think the students are gaining an immense amount from this,” said Greenberg-Schneider. “This is a real occasion for them to go out and explore. It’s really good for them to experience other countries and cultures.”

Zabala said the semester in Liege had a profound impact. “I learned a lot,” she said. “I became a better designer through it. I’ve seen my work mature. Looking at my work now and looking at it before, it’s just very different.’’ She wrote about her experiences in ‘burg Blogs.

Cuahutle agrees. “It was a growing experience personally,’’ she said. “It made me question what I wanted to do. It was eye opening.” It also gave her a new appreciation for the USFSP Graphic Design Program “The program is really good here,” she said. “It’s top notch.” And it bolstered her confidence and independence.

For Baarslag, the decision to spend this semester at USF St. Petersburg has been one of the best he has made. “It’s a big opportunity to be here,” he said. There is a spirit of teamwork in the program, he says, a lot of energy and focus. “Here it is more intense,” he said. “We work a lot more here.”

Zabala and Cuahutle stayed in private homes and Baarslag is staying with a couple of fellow USFSP graphic design students. The living arrangements are one of the best parts of the exchange program, the students say, because it immerses them in the culture and helps them learn the language and local customs.

While this is the first USFSP’s first student exchange program but likely not the last.

“This inaugural exchange program shows the extraordinary efforts the university is taking to prepare global citizens for the 21st century,’’ said Frank Biafora, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This is a model for other programs that could develop out of this.”

Vision 20/20 strategic planning process reaches major milestone

The Vision 20/20 strategic planning process reached a major milestone this week with the successful completion of a series of Input Forums designed to broaden the conversation about the future of USF St. Petersburg.

Six input forums were held between Monday and Wednesday for students, faculty and staff. A special online forum was also held for distance learning students. Last month, the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership participated in an Input Forum during its quarterly luncheon, held at the University Student Center Ballroom.

“Through these forums, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing some very thoughtful conversations about the future of our institution,’’ said Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska. “I am excited about the possibilities and pleased at the level of engagement and enthusiastic participation during the forums.’’

The ideas generated during the forums will inform the final product of the strategic plan, which will be completed by the end of the 2013-14 academic year. The Vision Team will meet again Feb. 28 and March 1 and will discuss the feedback generated at the Input Forums.

Psychology Professor and Vision Team member V. Mark Durand, who helped lead the Faculty Input Forum, said the plan will help guide the university as it moves forward in the coming years. “I am convinced that the Vision 20/20 process will lead to concrete changes that will make USF St. Petersburg stronger,’’ he wrote in a blog post. “I observed a diverse but united group excited to help craft the vision for the institution and identify important next steps to help us be a distinctive educational institution that we can be proud of, one that produces successful students and that in some way makes meaningful contributions to our surrounding community.”

Vision 20/20 moves into a new phase beginning next week with the launch of a series of Learning Journeys for members of the Vision Team. The Learning Journeys are designed to be structured experiences that allow Vision Team members to explore key questions at the heart of the strategic planning process. Participants will visit a diverse group of institutions, including C1 Bank, HSN, Midtown St. Petersburg, the University of Tampa and All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Traffic is restricted along 6th Avenue S during a city sewer line installation project.

6th Avenue S parking garage entrance will close temporarily

A major public works project by the City of St. Petersburg will force the closing of the 6th Ave. S entrance to the parking garage starting later today and continuing for the next few weeks. Traffic into the parking garage will be rerouted to the 5th Ave. S entrance.

Meanwhile, the south lane of 6th Ave S will be reopened today for eastbound and westbound traffic. The intersection of 6th Ave. S and 2nd St S will remain open. All crosswalks at 2nd St S and 6th Ave S will remain open.

The project, which involves the replacement of a 30-inch sewer line, is expected to be completed by mid-March. The city is redirecting the traffic as necessary.

Other impacts from the project:

  • Street parking along 6th Ave. S between 3rd Street and 1st Street S is prohibited.
  • Vehicles travelling west on 6th Avenue S cannot turn left into parking lots 2 and 5 and vehicles exiting the parking lots must turn right only. Utilization of the 1st Street S entrance is strongly encouraged.
  • U-Turns are prohibited in the construction zone.

All motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are urged to be cautious during this period of construction.

Please check back for further updates.


David Hendry

Director of University Police Services