Team Cronkite

These past few weeks have flown by. As our last assignment, in Media Convergence, we had to do a group project. For our group project we had to write a six hundred word story together and then each of us had to write a side bar of three hundred words.

For the six hundred word story we decided, as a team, that we would write about students who were having problems graduating on time because of a lack of appropriate classes at UWF. I interviewed our Communications advisor. I learned that she is working with students to make sure that they the students meet their class requirements and their graduation date.

I was worried about my story the most because for the last month I have not been feeling well. I’m ok. I went to my doctor, received antibiotics and I am on the way to recovery.  So, to keep on top of things, I started my story right away. I did interviews, and took pictures. Sadly, my pictures didn’t come out the way I wanted them too, and I am sure that I will pay a price when my grade is reduced.  My story was on student housing and I feel like I learned a lot about how the housing system works. I met with the director of management for housing and I learn that housing costs go up because of utility and maintenance costs, and also because of the areas around town that offers other housing options for students.

One thing I learned from the group project is to not interrupt people while they are talking! I am so sorry guys. It’s something that I need to work on and the next time I have a group project I will do better. I also wish my photos where better. I am still learning how to take better photos and what to look for as far as lighting goes.

All in All, I feel that this was a good group project and I think that we did well with this. Go team Cronkite: Kevin, Amanda, Alejandra, and Carole! We made it through the term!

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

Word count: 370

Housing Rates for 2012-2013 school year

So you are thinking about your living arrangements for the next school year and you can’t decide if you want to live on campus or off. Well, take a look at the pros and cons of both worlds and then decide for yourself. Living on campus can have many advantages such as living close to the classroom buildings, and being close to friends.

“I like the convince of living on campus,” said communications major Kaylea Todd. “For example, I forgot a paper in my apartment and did not realize it until I got to class. I still had time to run back to my apartment, grab my paper, and make it back to class.”

Another student agrees.

“My favorite thing about living on campus is being so very centralized,” said music education major Gwendolyn Hernandez. “The long I have to walk to get to classes or anywhere else is ten to fifteen minutes. It’s easy to get things done, because it isn’t a tedious hassle to get from place to place.”

Here’s the drawback: Next year, housing rent will be going up.

“Well, we’re going up by about six percent.” said Daniel J. Motherway, who is the business manager of The University of west Florida housing and residence life. “It’s not six percent straight across the board, over all it’s about six percent. We do a market study every year where we go back and look at the apartment complexes and the immediate area. We go back and look at all of the housing complexes for all the major universities in Florida and some in Southern Alabama because we consider them our competitors and competitors for students.”

After housing looks at how the rates for the competitors are doing they look at other factors such as what new buildings are being built and other bills that need to be paid, such as utility bills and then they look at how the future is looking as far as what building need to be built and what mortgagees need to be paid.

“We used to set our rates and then we come up with a rate schedule and we have Argo, Martin, and Pace is one rate and the Heritage hall and Presidents hall is going to be another rate and the apartments are a different rate and then we compare the market, compare what we want to do, with what is happening out in town and the other universities and normally we try to go up about around six percent, even though, university as a whole is usually going up about like fifteen percent, something like that. But we try to keep it a little bit less than that because we need to stay competitive with the surrounding community. If we go up to high then we kind of price ourselves out of the market where students don’t want to stay with us anymore so we kinda are doing a balancing act.” said Motherway.

But all in all, it’s up to the board of trusties to make sure the rates are balanced, and that the university will be able to meet the university’s  needs.

What about living off campus? There are many different types of options available. UWF has a website that is on hand to help students find affordable housing nearby.

Living off campus does have advantages and disadvantages.

One student explains why he likes the advantages of living off campus.

“Well, being off campus, you know I get to have an apartment I get to choose my own roommates,” said master program student Carlos Fabre Estrada “There’s more freedom as far as, I am of drinking age for example; so I can have alcohol if I so decide I can actually do my thing.” said Estrada.

My Passion Blog: Only five more weeks left in school!

Hi Blog world,

we are in the home stretch, only five more weeks to go.  However, I still have a lot of work to do, I still have textbooks to read, papers to write and more coffee to drink. I know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for me; it’s just about getting there.

I have learned a lot this term, from learning about the environment, to learning about my self and what type of direction I want to take with my career. It’s still going to take a lot of work on my part to get to where I want to be.

There is still a lot of things to be learned yet too, like how to update my resume, and how to ride a bus when it comes to my White Cane Lessons.  I know these things take time, but sometimes I feel like they aren’t happening fast enough.  I guess one thing I need to learn and no class is going to teach me this is that I need to push myself for my future. No one else can do something for me;it has to be me.

When I am done with this semester I can breathe a sigh of relief because I will be a senior! I can’t wait. It will be worth it in the end.

well, blog world, here’s to the next five weeks of the term,

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

A day in the life: Richard Tabor Resident Assistant

So you are thinking about applying to become a resident’s assistant (RA)  next year but you’re still not sure about what to expect or how your day is going to go? Take a look at Richard Tabor’s life as a RA and find out.

Tabor is a sophomore studying Bachelor of Fine Arts; he is also the resident assistant of Southside 35, the fine and performing arts dorm.

Tabor decided to become a RA after his first year of college.  He got the suggestion from his former RA who believed that he had what it took to be a good RA. So Tabor applied and he went through all the necessary interviews and training.

Your life as a RA is going to be a heavy load, but you have to balance your life.

“Crazy, very fulfilling, but very crazy, “Tabor said. “I have a very intense work load.  My residents are typical.  I see them every single day, problems happen every single day, and you pretty much one on one with a lot of individuals.”

Tabor has to start his day early; he gets up and has breakfast and then goes to class.  He may run into his residents on his way to class or maybe in class. He also tries to keep an upbeat social life by hanging out with his friends.  He tries to get lunch but sometimes it doesn’t work out. After class and lunch, he goes to the gym where he also sees his residents. Then after a hard day, its dinner time, where Tabor hangout with his residents while they eat.  Bedtime is usually very early in the morning.

Even if you have a busy day, you must help the residents in your care grow and adjust to dorm life.

“I love my RA. He’s my best friend.”  Anne-Margret Reilly, freshmen, said. “We all went kayaking once and that was a lot of fun.”

Another student agrees.

“Personally, I love our RA,” Monica Parker, sophomore, said. “He’s my best friend in the world, like I can go to him for anything. He’s a great RA; he’s good about keeping us in line-so he’s cool.”

You have an important role to play as an RA.

“My favorite part of being a RA is making a difference,” Tabor said “It might be a small thing but in the end, it matters.”


My Passion Blog: my 24th birthday

Hi Blog world,

Today is my 24th birthday. This day has been so special. I got a call early from my grandparents to wish me a great day. After breakfast, I went to my mailbox and I got birthday cards from both my grandparents. Then when I got back to my dorm, my best friend and I hung out.

My classes also went well. We went on a hike. I got to see an eagle; it was so pretty. I was a little nervous about my hike because I was worried about falling, but my friends were there to help me out, and also a little teasing didn’t hurt either.

Taking a walk on the Nature Trail

Lunch was good too, I had soup and salad which is one of my favorites.

Soon, it was dinner time, some my friends from my hall and I went out to dinner, but before that, three of my friends did my hair and makeup. I looked awesome, and I feel really special. Dinner was tasty. I had a burger and fries. yum! I also had some cake. Little did I know that there was a surprise waiting for me at my dorm. There was chocolate cake! Everyone also sang “Happy Birthday”

My birthday dinner

I would like to take this time to thank my South Side Family for making this day so special. I love you guys!

I would also like to take this time to thank the people, who gave me a chance at life 24 years ago, Thank you NICU staff, Doctors, and Nurses, without you I would not be here today.

Thank you for a great day,

Blog  soon,

Amanda Gene

My Passion Blog: Walking into the darkness

Hi Blog world,

Well, for the past two O and M lessons, my teacher has been taking me around campus at night with my eyes closed, yep, no cheating my eyes closed. This is because of my night blindness (

The first time she took me out we went all the way from my dorm down to the cafeteria. This lesson proved to both of us that even though I do great in the day time with my skills I really don’t have a grip on them at night. (

It’s going to take lots of practice and training for me to get my confidence. This is important for me because when I become a reporter I will have to go out on any assignment that my editor gives me. I can’t say, “um, I can’t because I can’t see well.” Nope! I am going to learn these skills.

The second time she took me out we went from my dorm to a classroom that I had never been in before. The reason we did this was to show me how to explore a new environment with my cane.

While I was in there I found out what it’s like for a blind person to be pulled and pushed. It hurts! Please click on this link to find out more about how to use the Sighted Guide Techniques. (

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene


Jessica and Diesel: the freedom continues

Jessica Woods is an amazing person who continues to inspire any person she comes in contact with.

Woods was born legally blind due to an eye condition called Coloboma. This eye condition is caused Woods’ retina to be deformed and her octave nerve to be damaged.

At the age of eight, the retina in Woods’ right eye detached and surgery was performed to reattach it. This surgery did not work. There was another surgery that was performed to try to fix the surgery from last time.

This time the surgery worked and Woods regained some sight. From this point on, Woods slowly began to lose the regained sight that she had.

By the age of 17 the eye condition took her sight completely.

Raising someone who is legally blind and then going blind at the age of 17 was.

“An Adventure,” said Pam Woods, who is Jessica Woods’ mother, “There were challenges in the school systems, trying to get her an education. Watching her struggle, I guess you can say we celebrated when she succeeded, we cried along with her when she didn’t but it was an adventure.”

From the time she was little, she was in Orientation and Mobility Training.   She was given her first cane when she was seven years old, and she would continue to use this cane for the next 12 years.

Many people with perfect sight really take for granted what it means to walk independently; but when you are blind, being able to walk independently really is a miracle.  At the age of 19, Woods knew it was time for her to have that independence and freedom just like any other person, so she applied for her first guide dog.

Her first guide dog was a yellow Golden Retriever /Labrador mix named Bristol. Woods had to go through a month long training process before she could bring Bristol home.

During this training process, she was taught how to work with Bristol while he was in and out of harness.  The training was well worth it all. They worked together as a team for five years.

But sadly, last year, Bristol started showing signs that he didn’t want to work anymore.  Woods thought it was time to retire Bristol, and was ready to do so, until, one night he developed a severe nose bleed. Woods took him to the vet the next day and sadly, the news was not good, Bristol had cancer.  Last summer, Bristol peacefully died in Woods’ arms when he was put to sleep.

Woods knew it was time to get another guide dog. She and Bristol made such a great team that she decided to go back to Bristol’s school for her next dog.  But, after her application was completed, she was put onto a waiting list and told that there was not a good match for her. Since she was starting her next year of college in August, she approached the Pilot Dogs, Inc.  She told them about her situation and that she would need a new dog to help her live independently on campus.

A month later, she got the phone call she had anxiously been waiting for.  The school had a match for her.  For Woods, this was a new adventure because she had to leave her family behind and she had to fly to Columbus, Ohio, to receive and train with her new dog.

Her freedom and independence would continue with a two year old black Labrador, named Diesel.  Since Woods was in a different city, she received a different kind of training than she had received with her first guide dog.

“I got more city training in Columbus, Ohio, than at the previous school, which was more of a small town, which I found very beneficial,” said Jessica Woods.

She returned home and to her dorm mates at her school.  Once at her school, she had to teach guide dog etiquette to her dorm mates.

“No, I had no idea until they came here, “said Grace Eadie, who is a member of the residence hall were Woods and Diesel live, “I thought that you could just play with the dog and really you can’t do that.”

Many of Jessica’s dorm mates feel happy that Diesel is around to help her.

” I feel that Jessica is very lucky to have Diesel,” said Ashlee Ballew, “I am glad that Jessica has the extra help. She is a very sweet girl and Diesel seems to help her out a lot.”

Many of Jessica’s friends have seen her grow with Diesel, who is still a young puppy.

“It’s very interesting because I knew Jessica when she had Bristol and they were a pretty good team,” said Becca Hill who is a friend of Jessica and Diesel in an interview, “and then she got Diesel who is very hyper, and it’s kind of like the opposite of Bristol, but it’s pretty cool watching them learn and watching Diesel mature. “

Jessica and Diesel: The freedom continues