USFSM students will return to class next week to start the spring semester.

Bulls Notebook: USF Sarasota-Manatee welcomes students as semester begins

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: January 05, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. (Jan. 05, 2018) – Magic, LARPing and personalized sundaes.

USF Sarasota-Manatee students return to class next week amid a raft of usual and not-so-usual extracurricular activities to greet them. Among the highlights will be Comic Con Dmax, scheduled Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the E-Learning Commons, and Psychic Magic Mayhem, set for Friday, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Selby Auditorium.

Comic Con Dmax will provide students with Google glasses to decorate while introducing members of the local “LARPing” community. LARP stands for “Live Action Role Playing.” LARPing typically sees participants donning Victorian or Medieval garb to take part in warrior-like battles or other epic challenges.

On Friday, students can get spooked with a presentation by magician/mentalist David Hall. Hall will perform magic in an entertaining blend of mystery and comedy.

Called Week of Welcome (WOW), the spate of off-beat campus events is a twice-yearly tradition across USF to help students feel at home – and amused – as a semester kicks off. The activities, organized by the USFSM’s Office of Student Engagement, change each semester.

For this semester, the fun starts Monday in the USFSM courtyard with the BBQ Bonanza. Later that day, students can make sundaes in the rotunda. Other WOW events include: getting cozy with doughnuts and make-your-own stuffed animals; a night of pottery painting; a showing of “Toy Story”; a house party; and a sandwich social.

USFSM students give back to honor MLK

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

USF Sarasota-Manatee has honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for years, but the past few years have seen a larger and more organized effort to celebrate the civil rights icon.

Next Saturday, Jan. 13, USF Sarasota-Manatee invites students, staff, faculty and the public to “The King and I: Lecture Series and Community Celebration.”

Scheduled 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Selby Auditorium, this event focuses on the life and message of Dr. King includes lectures, break-out sessions, service projects, family friendly activities and food. The event is free.

Speakers include, among others: The Rev. Shawn Thomas of the Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, the largest African-American congregation in St. Petersburg; attorney Patrice Featherstone, vice president of human resources at St. Petersburg-based Modern Business Associates; and Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, founder of the Detroit School of the Arts and coordinator of the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-integrated Teaching (PAInT), based at USFSM.

New to the event is a service component where students will bring soap, shampoo and other personal hygiene items to local homeless organizations. More than 2,000 items were donated by hotels and other groups to help in the effort.

Also new, USFSM has invited several local organizations to campus to join in honoring Dr. King, including the Supervisor of Elections, Sarasota Library services, State College of Florida, Manatee Technical College, Newtown Farmers Market, Newtown Alive, UnidosNow, Florida House Institute, Humana, and the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program.

USFSM sets Open House for future biology students

Students perform an experiment at USFSM’s classrooms at Mote Marine Laboratory.

USF Sarasota-Manatee will hold a Biology Open House on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, at the USFSM teaching labs at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

The event is open to all high school and transfer students interested in biology or considering careers in health care or scientific research. Prospective students can meet with professors from USFSM’s College of Science & Mathematics while learning about the admissions process.

The Mote Marine Laboratory is located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Florida 34236. The teaching labs are located in the Mote building across the parkway from the main aquarium.

For more information or to register for the Open House, visit

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