Student leaders may have been wondering where Orgsync went, but there is nothing to fear because Jacksonville University has a new student network connecting campus organizations. DolphinLink is the new Orgsync on campus, where student leaders can book rooms, post upcoming events, update organization rosters and request a space to hang a banner. All of these tasks were previously done through Orgsync but the new system is more personalized to JU students, said Ashlea Quitter, student involvement and leadership office associate. “Dolphinlink is more customized to the university and to the student. That’s where we feel like Dolphinlink can grab a bigger audience,” Quitter said. “We feel like organizations will have a better voice when using DolphinLink as opposed to Orgsync.” Quitter, along with graduate assistant for student organizations, Melissa Kastner, have been working to update DolphinLink so it is readily available to the students. “A student came in yesterday to have a one-on-one training with me and she picked it up right away,” Kastner said. “We’re working hard to make sure that all students know how to use Dolphinlink. That’s one of the main reasons why we’re having the training sessions.” The Jacksonville University Student Association has also been heavily involved in the process of establishing DolphinLink, even co-sponsoring the software with surplus money from last year’s budget. “We have committed to a fixed amount of contribution each year,” said Will Baxley, JUSA president. “Dolphinlink boasts lots of benefits as far as integrating multiple facets of our university. It utilizes one single master calendar for campus events. It also has more stringent event approval system that will help to prevent different organizations from conflicting with their programming. The interface is more user-friendly and customizable, and it is highly compatible with social media. Overall, we are excited to launch it on our campus in a fresh, inviting way.”

Dangerous Downloads

Movies. One of the world’s most frequently used forms of entertainment. Starting with timeworn black-and-white theatre with the ineffable projection, movies are now capable of being viewed on the convenient screens of individual computers. Through the speckles of computer screens, some decide to take the road less traveled and pay for these streaming services. On the other hand, some elect to stream videos illegally. At Jacksonville University, more and more students download and stream videos illegally through peer-to-peer sharing software. The JU students have joined the staggering numbers of individuals who choose to use these services. In response, JU students received an email from Information Technology Director, Charlie Ulezelski, informing all students that this action is a violation to the university’s IT policies. Specifically, section 300/2.3 under copyright material. It is prohibited to distribute any copyrighted material not created by you without the permission of the author over the university network, according to the IT policy. Ulezelski has sought out to inform students of these file sharing softwares and has notified all students that increased monitoring practices will begin to take place. “The emails that I get are mostly concerned with the distribution of this copyrighted material,” Ulezelski said. “Because if you run one of these file sharing softwares, it puts it into this folder that makes it available to the world that others can come to your computer and get this material. This is making a lot of companies upset because of the illegal distribution of the material on peer-to-peer software.” Another issue raised is that many students are beginning to have issues streaming their legal content from sites like Netflix and are beginning to experience slower loading times. “It eases up our bandwidth,” Ulezelski said. “The sharing programs will target and eat up every bit of bandwidth that we have causing all other computers on the DophinNet network to experience slower loading times.” In light of this situation, if students are caught having file sharing software they will be given a warning. If they are caught a second time, students will face loss of network access and will be sent to student life for disciplinary action. “One of the roles of student life is to uphold all students accountable for all state and federal laws,” said Luke Morrill, assistant director of student life. The IT helpdesk points out that torrent software, along with Limewire and Ares software are among the most utilized peer-to-peer sharing sites. The helpdesk reminds students that these sites are illegal but sites such as Netflix, Xfinity and iTunes are all acceptable for use on the JU network.

Speaker Series

This fall the Jacksonville University community can look forward to an assortment of guest speakers presenting on subjects ranging from Spiny Lobsters to Lender Processing Services.

“I’ve always believed that a university’s obligation to the community at large and to its internal community is to be a place in which experts in various fields develop ideas or expose people to ideas,” said Douglas Hazzard, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

This semester, the Marine Science Research Institute presents the Marine Science Seminar Series. From now until December, JU welcomes visiting experts as well as JU faculty speakers.

For example, on Oct. 10  we will hear from Michael Childress, Ph.D, a visiting associate professor from Clemson University. His seminar is titled “Losing Interest: Are Spiny Lobsters Becoming Less Social?”

“As an evolutionary behavioral ecologist, my goal is to understand the relationship between the ecology and the behavior of the individual,” Childress said in his Clemson University profile. “My research seeks to understand the importance of behavioral variability in the success of commercially important crustaceans such as blue crabs, lobsters and crayfish.”

Associate professor and co-chair of biology, Daniel A. McCarthy, Ph.D, sees importance in students understanding what types of research are being done in the field, from spiny lobsters to global processes.

“That’s why we try to put this series together, so students will learn more about the field and what it takes to do good science,” McCarthy said. “They get to interact with a number of these professors or researchers and once again, get to learn something from them. And it also helps faculty, too. We learn things when we go to some of these presentations.”

At the other end of the academic spectrum, students will hear a variety of experts hosted by the Davis College of Business. Don Capener, Dean of the Davis College of Business, believes the CEO series will give students exposure upfront and personal opportunities to hear from leaders of large organizations.

“They do everything from ask questions to be able to get contact information, and of course, they get the leadership philosophy and insights that speaker brings. A lot of times they talk candidly about their company’s future direction and [give] a sense of some of the challenges. They’ll put those out to the students and say ‘here are some of the challenges. We don’t have all the answers. We’re looking for some great people who can solve these kinds of problems.’”

Next month’s guest from the dean’s speaker series is Dan Scheuble who will be discussing Lender Processing Services. Scheuble is Chief Operating Officer of LPS with 25 years-experience in the financial services technology area, with the last 11 being devoted specifically to the mortgage industry. Mortgage Banking Magazine selected him as a 2004 Mortgage IT All-Star for having helped the mortgage industry adopt and integrate technology, according to the dean’s speaker series announcement.

“We bring leaders from entrepreneurial organizations,” Capener said. “They have somehow gotten through all of the barriers that government, banks and lending institutions put in front of people who don’t have a lot of capitol and want to start their own business. They provide their stories and ideas for students who have the idea that they want to start their own company and want to realize their own dreams in whatever area they are either passionate about or they want to be involved in.”

Students interested in attending the presentations can find the dates on the university’s website.

Johnson and Botts

What was once an energy-filled dormitory is now a ghost town. Not a soul lives there. After complaints last year from sororities that the water was too cold and there was no heat in Johnson Hall, Residential Life decided to move the girls for the 2013 and 2014 school year to McGehee Hall, which was an all-girl dormitory last year. “We had some facility issues in Johnson last year, primarily issues of hot water and things that are your basic needs,” said Kristie Gover, chief student affairs officer of Jacksonville University. “The students met with us and explained their concerns.” The sororities were given some options as to where they could move, including Oak Hall, the Village Apartments or Mcgehee Hall. Mcgehee is very similar to Johnson in layout and has a community space, chapter rooms and the ability to have private rooms. “I think what we learned from our conversations with the women is that they really value that community space,” Gover said. “This fits into the university’s mission to create a residential community that focuses on community development.” Although Johnson Hall is closed, Botts Hall, which is a part of the same building as Johnson, houses approximately 100 male students. These residents are a result of an almost unheard of retention raise in higher education of 11.5 points. “We have more students living on campus and a larger incoming class than we had last year,” Gover said. “All of that combined just created more students on campus.” The 100 males in Botts is a product of switching what was the all-male dormitory, Williams Hall, to co-ed. The third floor houses male residents while the second and fourth floors house female residents. This rendered leftover males that are now in halls B and C of Botts. Due to the fact that Johnson and Botts are a part of the same building, students have been assuming that it has the same facility issues as Johnson. However, as Gover notes, location is key of the two building’s functions. “Botts, where the men are housed now, is almost on top of the water heater and the mechanics of the building, so the water gets to Botts much faster. It is just simply the location of the building. That’s why we are not experiencing the same mechanical issues that we were in Johnson last year. It is absolutely livable.” The male residents seem to be happy with living in Botts Hall, according to Luke Morrill, Assistant Dean and Director of Residential Life. “I’ve had some really good conversations from residents and they are enjoying their roommates, hall mates and actually enjoy living in Botts, which is great to hear. That’s what we want.” Although many residents are content with living in Botts, the goal for Residential Life is to move all of the males out and into Williams or Oak once spaces begin to open up. The freeze of moving and changing roommates was lifted on Monday, Sept. 9. Residential Life is now in the process of making these changes. “As spaces open up we will reach out to students based on their contract date, which is when they applied for housing, and offer them the opportunity to move,” Morrill said. Both Gover and Morrill note that moving all of the students out of Botts will be a process that could last through the spring semester. “In an ideal world, everyone would get to live in the nicest building on campus,” Gover said. “We’re not even certain if it would be a renovation in Botts and Johnson or build new housing. Both options are on the table and up for discussion, but the discussions have not moved very far at this point.” As for next year, Residential Life is beginning to prepare for more growth at JU. Some changes may be put into place, such as limited upperclassmen permitted to live in single dorms. “I think that as our enrollment continues to grow and our retention continues to rise, we have to look at our options,” Gover said. “We might have to look at how we assign students to housing.” There might not be a definite solution at the moment but there is a long-term goal in place, according to Gover. “In an ideal world, we will have new residential facilities and very modern amenities and I genuinely believe that will happen. I can’t give you a time-frame but I know that President Cost is highly committed to creating an exceptional student experience. I don’t doubt that at all. I know that it is in the long-term plan.”

One-Man Show: DP Brings Circus Act to JU

A unicycle, a jump rope, and fire. Michael DuBois uses all three simultaneously, shocking the audience with his abilities. DuBois is Solo Circus, a “fast-paced, audience interactive and technical skills variety show featuring an all-original presentation magic, juggling, circus and sideshow stunts all wrapped in a blanket of comedy,” according to his website.

Dolphin Productions will bring Solo Circus to the Jacksonville University Kinne Center on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.

“I tried to look for something that was a little different than just a comedian act,” said Brittany Bush, comedian coordinator for DP. “I wanted to have something interactive and exciting that JU has not really ever seen.”

DuBois has been performing for more than eight years and has had appearances on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” “Jay Leno” and the “Late Night Show with David Letterman.” He has performed at more than 500 colleges and universities across the U.S. Audiences of the Solo Circus can expect an exciting show from DuBois.

“I would go if I can because it’s something I’ve never seen before,” said Sarah Pamplin, sophomore aviation operation and vocal performance major. “I like the circus. I like how it transports you and allows your mind to fly free.”

DuBois became interested in the circus when he was 4-years-old when his grandparents took him to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey The Greatest Show on Earth.

“After that, I was in love with the circus,” DuBois said in a 2010 Campus Activities Magazine article. “I went to a Montessori School, which was itself a very hands-on and interactive experience and that trained me to use my hands and dynamic thinking in life.”

DuBois’ one-man show gives him the opportunity to be the ring master, the juggler, the magician and the comedian.

“I think if we can get more attractions to come to our school it will get bigger and better if more people attend,” said Lexy Plummer, sophomore animations major.

“It sounds fun and entertaining. It gives people something to do other than sit in their room or go out to a party.”

Like Plummer, Bush hopes that events like these will help JU embrace their community and have exciting memories on their campus.

“It is important to have events like this on campus to get students involved at JU and to create memorable, exciting experiences,” Bush said. “Events like this will make them want to stay on campus instead of going off of campus for entertainment.”

“Who’s Watching You?”: JU PPI To Host Panel Discussing Drone Usage

On Oct. 24, Jacksonville University’s newly formed Public Policy Institute will host a panel discussion tackling the issue of Unmanned Arial Vehicles.

The panel discussion was set up by students in Professor of Political Science Stephen Baker’s, Ph.D., Political Institutions, Processes, and Public Policy class. The discussion is done in conjunction with the United Nations Association, which sponsors a program each year at JU, Baker said.

“The UNA gives us the opportunity to choose our own topic,” Baker said. “We wanted the students to choose a topic of public concern that also impacted international affairs. I think they made a good choice here.”

Josh Cockrell, a first year masters of public policy student, said that the topic of drone usage is important for the JU community
to discuss.

“Technology is rising and will be dominant in the future,” Cockrell said. “Educating ourselves about the technology and its uses can help decide our tolerance of policy regarding UAVs and what we will accept as usage.”

The panelists that will be in attendance for this event are Nancy Sodderberg, alternative representative to the United Nations with the rank of ambassador from 1997 to 2001,  Erich Freiberger, associate professor of philosophy, Brian Foley, Esq., professor of law at Florida Coastal School of Law, Brent Klavon, program manager of Aviation Systems Engineering Company Inc., and Stephen Dare, publishing partner at

The discussion will be moderated by Richard Mullaney, director of the JU PPI.

“The panelists represent diverse perspectives that will elevate the conversation and provide well-rounded information,” Cockrell said. “The program will appeal to any level of knowledge or opinion that students have.”

Cockrell said that the range of topics that will be covered on UAV’s will include the ethical use of drones in military and private settings, the degree of responsibility for those that misuse them, and the regulations private users should be subject to.

A Sept. 13 United Nations pamphlet of the special rapporteur provides several viewpoints on the topics that will be addressed along with several others. For example, the UN article points out Drones are expected to become more sophisticated and compact as they become more available, according to the pamphlet, therefore, they are seen as a possible intrusion into the life of a private citizen.

“Drones are going to be able to eliminate privacy,” Baker said. “They can be very small and go almost anywhere.
You might be unaware that you are watched.”

Baker also believes that the question of drone usage dates back to the founding of the United States.

“Most assume that regulations have to be in place in regards to these UAVs,” Baker said. “To what extent we wish to regulate is the question, the more intrusive they are the more controlled they will become giving the government a bigger role in our lives. This is the same question that the framers of the Constitution deal with.”

The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in the Gooding Auditorium.

“I think students can expect to leave informed about the positive issues of UAV’s versus the negative perception often portrayed by the media,” Cockrell said. “After this event I think students will be able to assist in forming future policy decisions on the use of UAVs.”

Weekly Wrap Up

President Seeks Support on Syria

President Obama and his administration have begun a campaign in hopes of gaining the approval of Congress to advance with the strike on Syria.  President Obama’s decision to seek Congress’ decision on Syria came as a surprise to many after many closed meetings held in Washington D.C.  Secretary of State John Kerry has been in contact with Arab diplomats and has held many talk shows to announce new evidence that the neurotoxin sarin was used to kill over 1,400 people.  A statement has been issued saying that Syria was fully responsible for the chemical weapons attack.  Syria’s response to this is that it is a sign of weakness by President Obama.  Mr. Kerry said that if Congress were to pass the measure to use force, then it would send a clear sign saying that the Unites States would not tolerate the use of nuclear devices, and it would help Israel’s security.

11-Year-Old to Start College

Carson Huey-You is about to start his freshman year at Texas Christian University.  The only difference between he and normal freshman starting college is that he is 11 years old.  Huey-You made a 1770 on his SAT and is hoping to major in Physics and become a quantum physicist.  He is one of the youngest students ever admitted to TCU and could not even apply online because the software does not accept students born after 2002.  Huey-You is not the only gifted one in the family. His brother, Cannan, who is only seven, is practicing at the eighth grade level and is expected to graduate from high school by the age of thirteen.

Man on Trial for Nazi War Crimes

92-year-old Siert Bruins has been recently put on trial in Germany for executing a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944.  Bruins, who is a Dutch-born German, is being put on trial because he is “medically fit for the proceedings” according to The New York Times. Bruins has already served previous time in jail after being found guilty in the wartime killing of two Dutch Jews.  He is now said to have killed resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in 1944.  Bruins and his now dead accomplice were accused of executing Dijkema and deriving a story about how Dijkema was an escaping prisoner.

Swimmer Makes Progress of Florida Straits

As of Sept. 1, Diana Nyad has swam farther than anyone has, without a shark cage, across the Florida Straits.  Even though she has been swimming for more than thirty hours, she has been over 63 miles since where she first started in Cuba on Aug. 31.  Nyad, who is 64 years-old, wants to become the first person to swim 103 miles without a shark cage, flippers, or wetsuit.  The only protective article of clothing she has on is a prosthetic face mask to guard her from jellyfish stings.  The only person to make it even close without a shark cage is Penny Palfrey, who swam 80 miles then was forced to quit because of currents.  Nyad has a 35 member crew alongside her in two sail boats that monitor her health and update her progress onto social media.

College of Health Sciences: Adapting to the Future of Healthcare

Photo By: Alyssa Stevenson

Each day, the once steady ground between Jacksonville University’s Lazzara Health Sciences Center and Davis College of Business moves. Under the transformative forces of metal and mind-power, the earth is carefully sifted, molded and re-imagined.

The end result will be a two-story, 30,000 square-foot symbol of JU’s future, the expanded College of Health Sciences building. The $8 million facility is part of a $ 20 million phased plan to expand, develop and modernize the college to meet the needs of a changing health care landscape.

The project has been allotted to Perry-McCall Construction, the same Jacksonville based firm which built JU’s Marine Science Research Institute, which was unveiled in September 2010 as the university’s first “green building,” according to an August university press release.  Dasher Hurst Architects of Jacksonville will provide design services.

The building’s ground breaking ceremony occurred on Friday, July 26. It’s scheduled for completion in July 2014 to be ready and fully functional for the fall semester.

“We are thrilled,” said Jennifer Lewis, sophomore nursing major. “Finally. It’s happening.”

Using green, sustainable building practices, the structure is designed to offer the latest in active learning environments, according to a July university press release.  It will include advanced technology, dedicated classrooms, offices, meeting rooms, and a multidisciplinary simulation learning center.

“It offers students mechanisms to learn in the classroom but also learn out of the classroom, as part of the digital age,” said Christine Sapienza, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Program Director for Speech and Language Pathology.

The additional building will also offer a welcome relief as students and faculty within the increasingly popular college begin to itch for space. As they await the completion of the new facility, the approximately 1,600 nursing majors and exercise science majors enrolled in the college for the fall 2013 semester work within one major building and a string of small annexes.

“It’ll be nice to walk into in a new building with formal classrooms and be able to feel as professional as they want us to look and dress and act,” said Shelby Ingalls, sophomore nursing major.

With the growing room offered by this structure, the college will stretch out, further developing its programs, faculty and partnerships within the medical community, according to a July press release.

“The college is expanding rapidly but selectively,” Sapienza said.  “Because we’ve had such an incredibly successful nursing program, we know how to do it. We believe that we should use their platform of success and continue to develop the CHS programs to do the same.”

Enrollment in the college is expected to rise to approximately 2,300 students, according to a July university press release. This close to 40 percent increase is expected to stem from continued grown of the existing nursing and exercise science programs as well as the addition of degree programs in speech-language pathology, health executive leadership, occupational therapy and health information management.

Spaienza says that the sheer size of the city of Jacksonville places the university’s health care education programs in a good position to grow and meet local health care needs.

“We will be on the forefront of training specialists that are needed in the community,” Sapienza said. “We want to be on the forefront with regard to policy making. We want to be on the forefront with regard to health care needs and serving health care disparities.”

Handpicked to lead the vision of the future of the College of Health Sciences, long-time Dean Judith Erickson was at the central core of its development

“JU provides much freedom to lead,” Sapienza said. “They trust their leaders.”

The first of these new programs to come to fruition will be through the college’s new Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, in the form of undergraduate and graduate offerings in the field of Speech-Language Pathology.

Spearheading the development and operation of the department will be Sapienza. Recruited from the University of Florida, she directed UF’s Speech Pathology program for eight years.

“I like to think I know what I’m doing,” Sapienza said. “I know how to run a good program and be competitive in terms of what to offer the students. Having the opportunity to do that in a contemporary environment that knows what their students want and what their students need is very refreshing.”

This will mark the first and only speech-language pathology degree program in Northeast, Fla. The closest institutions to offer speech-language pathology are the University of Florida in Gainesville and Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Additionally, it comes at a time when the profession is seeing faster than average job growth. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts speech pathologist jobs to rise 23 percent between 2010 and 2020. The national average rests at 14 percent.

“I think this is really going to snowball in our future,” Sapienza said.

Undergraduate coursework offerings within the new Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders began at the start of the fall 2013 semester with approximately 10 students. This number is expected to grow in the spring.

“Word has only been out a couple of months and program directors in the state already know about it,” Sapienza said.  “I have calls coming in from potential students asking when our masters program is rolling out.”

In Fall 2014, the first cohort of students will begin the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program.

“I’m going to keep it small and tight and high quality since we’re just getting started,” Sapienza said.

It is anticipated that the two-year master’s program, over the next several years, will develop into a cohort of approximately 30 students each year, overseeing approximately 60 students at any given time, Sapienza said.

The planned growth of the College of Health Sciences is designed not to compromise the small university feel that made the original programs so enticing. It is not to outgrow itself. Class sizes will remain small and the student experiences will stay interactive and personal.

“JU is absolutely hands down the best school, “ said Meghan Degado, junior nursing major. “I would never go to any other school. I like the small classes. I like that I know my teachers, that they know me. I like that I can be somebody not just, you know, student 106.”

The vision of an expanded College of Health Sciences is a centerpiece of the university’s $85 million ASPIRE campaign.

Most well branded schools, whether they are private or public, have certain colleges that become the center focus of the university educational system, Sapienza said.They are usually stong in health sciences, business, or liberal arts and sciences.

“We have them all,” Sapienza said. “It gives us that prominent spoke in the wheel that you need to have a university setting that really offers the students the full breadth.”

Derby Days Raises 10k for Cancer Research

Photo By: Taylor Fisher

The weather in Jacksonville is finally starting to brighten up and the students are enjoying it more and more. But while many of the students enjoyed the pool, sorority women of Jacksonville University and the International Student Association were hunting for the coveted Golden Derby.

The week of April 1, Sigma Chi presented their annual philanthropy week, Derby Days to raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. According to their website, Huntsman Cancer Institute is a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center, which means it meets the highest national standards for cancer care and research and receives support for its scientific endeavors.

Sigma Chi has been supporting Huntsman since 2005. A brother of the fraternity, Jon M. Huntsman Sr. founded the organization and now challenges his brothers to do the same. To support Huntsman, Sigma Chi nationally came up with Derby Days as a weeklong philanthropy event.

The entire week is filled with events such as a brother-auction, dinner, concerts, and of course, hunting for the golden derby. Each team in participation decorates a derby and hides it on campus, but the golden derby is the one that everyone is after. One clue goes out at midnight every night and the hunt is on.

“Looking for a place was hard because if it were hidden in central campus someone would have found it the first or second day,” said Ethan Wellhausen, the brother that put the entire week together.

By the end of the week participants were getting frustrated with the clues, but the search continued until Alpha Epsilon Phi announced they had found the golden derby. Some people were mad while others were relieved it was all over with.

“It’s actually a really stressful week so when we heard the derby was found I was upset it wasn’t us but relieved it was all over and I could finally go to bed early,” said junior Tala Farah, member of Delta Delta Delta.

Although finding the golden derby is important to some people, no one forgets the real reason they are all participating.

“Finding the golden derby was a huge accomplishment, but I think donating the amount of money we did for the reason we did was even better,” said sophomore, Rachel Kaslow, member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. “We all pulled our money together to reach a goal that was not only important to us, but is important to the world as a whole. We all just helped fight cancer.”

During the brother auction, Sigma Chi raised almost $2,500 and people still left ready to donate online.In total, Sigma Chi raised $10,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

“The more people realize that we are all coming together for one goal not to win individually, but win as a group, there will be a betterment of society,” said Wellhausen. “You can find out info about it on the Huntsman site and on the Sigma Chi headquarters page.”

The editor-in-chief of the Navigator is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

The Pond: 2013 Class Gift

Photo Courtesy of: University Advancement

The sunlight glistens off the meditating pond, mere feet from the multitude of green robed graduates and teary-eyed parents. That is the vision, at least, of Katherine Thomas, a graduating senior and chairwoman of the Class Gift of 2013.

“We will walk past our class gift at graduation, something that graduates in the past haven’t done,” Thomas said. “That’s something new this year.”

The class gift of 2013 will be a meditating pond, which is the choice that won out over several other options. Seniors were invited to a group on the Blackboard web site where they were presented with multiple choices, but the prevailing opinion was that the Jacksonville University campus needed another water feature. Past class gifts have included the infamous J’s, the swing benches and the circular benches found around campus. The President of the Green Key Honorary Leadership Society will present the class gift on May 4 at the commencement ceremony.

Thomas says that the pond will be added on to eventually, turning it into a “park-like area.”

According to the brochure detailing the giving options and soliciting donations, “this beautiful addition to our campus will be a great place to study, chat, read or have lunch.”

“The class gift is a great way for graduating seniors to say thanks and say goodbye to their university,” said Karen Jackson, the faculty advisor for University Advancement. “It’s a tradition on a lot of college campuses.”

University Advancement is the department in charge of organizing the class gift, and was behind the appointment of Thomas to the position of chairwoman.

“She’s Miss Class Gift,” Jackson said.

Donating to the class gift is very important for several reasons. The first is that it is a sign of appreciation from the graduates and it also contributes to the value of the university. The U.S. News and World Report school rankings look at the rate of alumni giving. They look at the amount of alumni that donate, not the amount of money that is donated, so it is more important to the ranking if a lot of alumni donate small amounts, rather than a few alumni donating large amounts.

“It’s the idea of giving forward and paying it back,” said Jackson.

Current alumni have already donated matching gifts, so if someone donates the minimum of the class year, $20.13, they are really donating $40.26.

There are three different levels of giving, green, gold and platinum. The green level is the minimum donation of $20.13. The gold level is $50. The platinum level is $150. Donations above $150 are welcome and accepted.

Individuals can donate the minimum to have their name on the pond, and organizations can donate at the platinum level to be included on the pond.

Thomas encourages everyone to donate, not just seniors.

“People who are not seniors have already donated.”

Donations are possible online at

Thomas says that in order to have the pond built in time for graduation, more donations need to be sent in, and encourages people to tweet about the gift using “#thepond.”

“You need to donate now.”

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