Building a Dedicated History

The first time you ever set foot on the University’s main campus, you were probably awestruck by the overall beauty of it; behind all of this, however, the history of the campus remained a mystery to you, the answers lying in wait in the buildings that populate the campus. What did all of these buildings represent? Where did they come from? This article takes a look at several buildings currently and previously on campus and explores some of their origins and histories.

St Eds

Saint Edward Hall, which is currently the main office space for many faculty and staff members, began its construction in 1926. However, at this time, the hall was not meant to be the office space that it is today; rather, it was to be designed as a dormitory – the first ever at the school – for students. It was completed by the Christmas of that year and cost around $250,000 to complete. Each of the offices used to be living spaces for students, and many offices were once used for other purposes; for example, one office may have been used as a shower, and another as a reception room. A library was also once stationed at what is now known as Trane Stop. In 1940, loudspeakers were placed above the building and were used to broadcast the new campus radio station WLEO.The first time you ever set foot on the University’s main campus, you were probably awestruck by the overall beauty of it; behind all of this, however, the history of the campus remained a mystery to you, the answers lying in wait in the buildings that populate the campus. What did all of these buildings represent? Where did they come from? This article takes a look at several buildings currently and previously on campus and explores some of their origins and histories.

Herm

The Stephen Herrmann Mail Center is named after President Stephen Herrmann, the second president of the University. President Herrmann was known mostly for his desire to support his community. Our Community Service Days are in honor of him. Currently, the mail center sends out over 250,000 pieces of mail and receives over 100,000 pieces of mail each year. It was originally called “The University Mailroom.” For more information on the upbringing of Community Service Day and two other interesting pieces of the University’s history, be sure to look out for the upcoming article “The Origins of Three SLU Features.”

St Francis

In 1951, construction on a classroom – a project which cost over $208,000 – had started. In 1954, the building was completed, and was named in honor of retired Abbot Francis Sadlier. This building would become known as Saint Francis Hall. This building houses offices for faculty and staff, including the current President of the University.

Crawford

Father Vincent Crawford, in 1961, contributed to the community beyond his years as a member of the school’s faculty by giving the campus a gift: the funding of a new building that would eventually become Crawford Hall. The building itself was not named after Father Crawford, but was named after his grandfather, Senator George White Crawford, a four-term senator and Civil War veteran. Renovated in 2000, the building had been used as an academic space until its destruction earlier this year. Soon to be in its place is the currently unnamed “Academic Building.” This new building is planned to be completed by the fall semester of next year; however, the quick progress in its development may cause it to be completed much earlier.

mcdonald

In 1962, a construction boom had started; the William P. McDonald Student Center, which is currently known as the Student Activities Building, was created at a cost of $500,000, and, by the end of the next nine year period, three dormitories,two classroom buildings, a science hall, and an activities complex would be created. A cafeteria was also created.

lewis

The Julia Deal Lewis Hall of Science, and Selby Auditorium inside of it, was built in 1967. Julia Deal Lewis, along with members of her family – whom the building is named after – were advocates for Catholic education and, being optimistic for the project, provided many grants to help fund the building. The William and Marie Selby Foundation of Sarasota also contributed to the project, leading to naming of Selby Auditorium.

marion-bowman

The Marion-Bowman Activities Center, which was named in honor of Father Marion Bowman, OSB, was completed and opened in 1970. Father Bowman, who became the varsity coach and athletic director in 1932, was instrumental in the athletic success of Saint Leo’s sports teams during the 1930s and 1940s. The building itself was notable for having working air conditioning.

dome

The Dome, which used to be used as an art studio and classroom space, was created in 1971, and was one of the most inexpensive projects the University ever completed, costing around $7,500 to build. Before its completion, The Dome’s development was put on hiatus for almost 15 years due to the amount of financial troubles the University was facing at the time. The Dome was taken down in 2006 and was located near the Thomas B. Southard Baseball Stadium.

library

The Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library had begun its development in 1986. The project was possible primarily because of Dr. Elizabeth Tousey Cannon, who helped substantially to fund the project in honor of her late husband, Daniel A. Cannon. The building itself cost over $1.9 million to complete.

Highlighting Sister Dorothy

Sister Dorothy Neuhofer, the University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, is currently the longest-running staff member in the Saint Leo community; she has worked for the

University for 49 years as of today, and she has enjoyed those 49 years thoroughly. By next year, she will have worked for the University for half a century – and her many years of hard work for and dedication to the University are a testament to her love of Saint Leo and its history.

“I guess I am excited [to be working at Saint Leo for 50 years]. Did I plan for it to happen? No; it just happened. But I enjoyed it,” said Sister Dorothy. Why exactly did she decide to stay at the University for such a long time? “I like it here,” was Sister Dorothy’s answer.

Over Sister Dorothy’s extensive career at the University, she has seen many changes on the campus; aside from its campus name and physical expansion, Sister Dorothy has witnessed firsthand the transformation of student populations and attitudes both on and off campus, the impacts of an ever-growing faculty and staff, and the increasing potential of the University’s academic programs. Within this time she also witnessed what is known as the charter class graduation – the first true graduation ceremony that ever took place on campus. That year also marked the beginning of bachelor’s degree programs on the campus. Taking place in 1967, the ceremony was held in “The Mall,” which was the original name for the field between Saint Francis Hall and Saint Edward Hall.

Sister Dorothy began working for the University in August of 1965 during the Vietnam War a time of immigration. This was also just two years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As a member of a religious community, Sister Dorothy was sent to the University – which, at the time, was known as Saint Leo College – to work since it was a Catholic school. Before coming to the University, Sister Dorothy was sent to other religious parishes to work; however, she could stay with these parishes for only three years at a time.

Sister Dorothy values the people she works with the most – creating bonds with those she works with strengthens her desire to work. Additionally, the fact that she could stay for more than three years at a time meant that she would have a greater focus on creating meaningful bonds with others. This was one of the strongest contributing factors to her career at the University.

Sister Dorothy’s interest in becoming an archivist originates from her school days. When Sister Dorothy was young, she performed quite well in school – so well, in fact, that during exams, she would almost always be the first to finish. However, always being the one to wait for everyone else to finish eventually led to her becoming bored often; she countered this boredom, however, through reading history books. The information inside of the books that she read fascinated her and led her to develop an affinity both for books and history.

When she had first arrived at the University, she was asked by Father Fidelis Dunlap, who was the library director of the time, whether she would like to work as a librarian or as something else. Sister Dorothy agreed to work for the library, “so long as [she] could work with the people.” Father Fidelis would eventually become one of Sister Dorothy’s most influential friends, primarily because of his personality, dedication to his students, and overall work ethic as a librarian.

“I was grateful for Father Fidelis because of his preferences, and because he was serious about the library; he was always in tune with the students,” said Sister Dorothy.

Since her first position at the University as a reference librarian, Sister Dorothy has also been Director of Reader Services, the Library Director, an Archivist/Librarian, and the Director of Library Services. Each of these positions has been challenging, but equally rewarding, for her.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s work I enjoy.”

Sister Dorothy currently works in the Daniel A. Canon Memorial Library as an archivist. Her office is located on the second floor of the building.

A Half Century, An Entire Legacy

The date is August 15, 1965. A passionate young woman – Sister Mary Dorothy Neuhofer – is starting her first day as Reference Librarian at Saint Leo College. She is thrilled to begin working with Saint Leo’s community; she is ready, willing, and dedicated to perform her best and help the community grow. However, with a small library and an ever-increasing need for resources and space in the face of Saint Leo College’s inevitable expansion, this young woman knows her journey there will not be an easy one.

The date is August 15, 2015. 50 years since her first day at what was once known as Saint Leo College, Sister Dorothy Neuhofer, Order of Saint Benedict (O.S.B.), Ph.D., takes a seat in her private office – the office of the University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian – in the Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library: Saint Leo University’s ultimate resource center. The seat she takes – a hand-crafted wooden rocking chair – is engraved with the words “Saint Leo College: In Appreciation of Thirty Years of Dedicated Service;” and outside her office: thousands upon thousands of books. With an accomplished smile on her face, Sister Dorothy confidently asserts that “you’d better believe” that, for 50 years, she has never stopped standing by Saint Leo’s side.

Since 1965, Sister Dorothy has helped build the Saint Leo library in six positions: Reference Librarian, Catalog Librarian, Director of Reader Services, Library Director, Director of Library Services, and Archivist and Special Collections librarian. Even after 50 years of service, Sister Dorothy still remembers her first day as Reference Librarian.

“I can tell you the exact date because I was furious that day: August 15, which was (and still is) the Feast of the Assumption. It was the day that we weren’t supposed to be working; but it was the day the monks were starting their new year. So, I had to show up – and I did,” said Sister Dorothy.

Regardless of her true feelings that day, Sister Dorothy did not keep herself from enjoying her new position and providing Saint Leo College’s library with her fullest potential: a potential first discovered when Sister Dorothy was only four years old. Sister Dorothy developed her own appreciation for books and reading while going on trips to the library of the Saint Leo Abbey with her father, a German immigrant with a penchant for reading in both English and German. Fascinated by the euphoric nature of the library as well as her own father’s interest in books, Sister Dorothy’s newfound passion found its way into her studies, where it flourished.

“When I was in grade school, we had a library in the classroom, although really, all it was just a small shelf of books; I read them because I was too smart for the rest of the kids – I didn’t have enough to do. So when I had all of my work done, I would get some books to read,” said Sister Dorothy.

As a Reference Librarian first, Sister Dorothy said she could perform in a manner she described as “double-dipping,” allowing her to assist the library and its visitors through reference services half of any given day, and cataloging services the other half of the day.

“When I got the combination of reference and cataloging – that’s a perfect combination – I got to talk to the people who were using the library…and teach people how to put entries in the catalog,” said Sister Dorothy. “Being a reference librarian was ideal…because you had direct contact with [the students and staff].”

Sister Dorothy’s tenacity in assisting others transferred well into several of her next positions – including Director of Reader Services, Library Director, and Director of Library Services – as they allowed her to be in charge of circulation and reference operations in the library. Under her leadership, Saint Leo College’s library had expanded tremendously, despite the library’s small size.

Unfortunately for Sister Dorothy and the library as a whole, the library’s small size would lead to problems in the college’s future. Sister Dorothy’s time as Library Director in particular – which began in the year 1975 – was near the high point of this problem, in what Sister Dorothy described as being “one of the more interesting parts of [her] 50 years.”

“Over time, the library got smaller and smaller because the school’s population grew. By the time we got into the 70s, Father Fidelis [the first Library Director] was already writing a letter to the president saying that we needed more library space – and it didn’t happen; and it didn’t happen,” said Sister Dorothy.

The small size of the library was, at this time, a consistently ignored problem for the campus and a major problem for the library; according to Sister Dorothy, there was so little room in the library that surpluses of books where placed anywhere they would fit.

“[Because the library was so small,] we had books in Lewis Hall, in the basement of Saint Francis, in Saint Leo Hall, and even more in storage. That’s how cramped we were,” said Sister Dorothy. “The original building…was built for a student body of 300 or 400.”

Even more, the small size of the library eventually became a detriment to the College itself. In 1980, Saint Leo was the subject of an accreditation visit; if the accreditation was approved, it would turn Saint Leo into a respected, reputable, and more widely-known college. Unfortunately, one thing was stopping Saint Leo from being awarded the accreditation: the library’s small size, which undoubtedly could not sustain the college’s perpetually growing populace.

“The library staff wrote the library report [during the accreditation visit], and in that report, we stressed that we needed more space in the library…The people on the committee for the accreditation review agreed with us. They made a recommendation that the college had to increase the library space, and that if the college didn’t do it, it would lose its accreditation. Well, things began to happen fast after that,” said Sister Dorothy with a smile.

With the expansion of the college’s library and the accreditation of the college itself hanging in the balance, a committee for a library expansion project was created – and Sister Dorothy readily became a chairman for the committee. Sister Dorothy admits that she believes her time as a member of this committee, as well as her duty to help plan the expansion of the library and achieve accreditation for the college, was very fulfilling to her. Considering both her pursuit of her Ph.D. at the time, as well as the amount of work that needed to be done in comparison to when she had first started working at Saint Leo College, it was a difficult task.

“When I first arrived, Father Fidelis showed me the books and the library, and as I was looking…I thought to myself: ‘And they think they’re going to have a college?’ They had only 14,000 books – which is peanuts. [Now,] because the books were very few and the college was very anxious to have early accreditation, there was a challenge to add books very quickly. I would catalog about 500 books a month,” said Sister Dorothy.

Critical difficulties arose for a second time when plans for the expansion could not go forward due to a lack of funds. According to Sister Dorothy, the board’s lack of insight into this situation made her furious, as she understood the value of the possible accreditation and the expansions she and the library committee had planned; she also didn’t approve of the board not having a “plan B” if something like this were to happen. Fortunately for the library, however, someone else was willing to step in and help, ending an essential chapter of Sister Dorothy’s 50 years and earning the accreditation of the college.

“The person who saved the day was the wife of Daniel A. Cannon. He had died, and she wanted to give enough money to the library in honor of him. That’s why it’s called the Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library,” said Sister Dorothy.

Today, Sister Dorothy, despite the incredible effort she and her fellow librarians have placed into expanding the library, believes that more expansion of the library, particularly in the face of the current University’s expansion, is desperately needed once more.

“It [the library] really needs to be expanded again; when we finished the plans for it…we figured it’d be good by the year 2000, which was true – today, we don’t have the kind of room that we should have,” said Sister Dorothy.

While the expansion of the library was, according to Sister Dorothy, “a significant achievement” and a crucial component in her 50 years at Saint Leo, her interactions with people – including students and staff – were what ultimately kept her going for 50 years. A kindred spirit, Sister Dorothy found a natural peace in helping others, learning from them, and teaching them. Sister Dorothy said that, before she started working at Saint Leo College, she was asked by the library director of the time, Father Fidelis, if she “had any preferences or if [she] cared about what [she] did.” Her answer to him was: “I don’t care what I do, as long as I got to work with the people.”

Following the library’s long-awaited expansion, Sister Dorothy became a Reference Librarian for a second time, with a softer workload allowing her to work on her dissertation. After successfully earning her Ph.D. and once again helming the library as Library Director until 2006, she became the University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian: her current title.

Aside from her positions in the library’s arduous yet fulfilling 50-year history, Sister Dorothy has been an important asset in many other endeavors. Her love for books guided her when she became a principle for a school and built a library within that school in the 1960s; she started and became the first editor of Saint Leo College’s Academy Newspaper, Holy Name Academy; she assisted greatly in providing off-campus Saint Leo military bases and schools with libraries; and even created the idea for library instruction, the program in which one course hour a year is dedicated to teaching its students how to use the library and its resources. In short, it’s clear that Sister Dorothy has had a remarkable 50 years with Saint Leo.

Currently, in addition to being the University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, Sister Dorothy is also in charge of the Marien Library, the library at the Monastery on Saint Leo University’s main campus. Specifically, Sister Dorothy oversees the library’s growth and book collection, which has been a challenge since the Monastery’s relocation. This secondary position – which has required the help of several people alongside her – gives Sister Dorothy the belief that she will need at least another year or two at the University before she retires.

“I would like to leave the stuff in the archives in pretty good order; right now, it’s not in pretty good order. In my thinking, it would be stupid to retire from here now, because if I’m not here, then I’m not getting the advantage of keeping up with what’s going on here; [that’s important,] since the [Marien] Library is built upon what we do here,” said Sister Dorothy.

Sister Dorothy’s impact on both Saint Leo’s community and its library is extraordinary; contributing 50 years’ worth of service to Saint Leo, she is not only one of the longest-running members of the community, but one of its best. Before she leaves, Sister Dorothy wants to make sure everything is in good order –  to ensure that her library will always be organized, easy to use, and above all, helpful to its visitors.

“My limit is two more years after this. I hope I make it – because I don’t like to leave messes behind,” said Sister Dorothy.

A Shining Light, Even in Death

Metal%20Gear

The “Metal Gear” franchise, brainchild of video game designer and director Hideo Kojima, may have finally come to its dramatic end. “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami, is credited as the final game in the popular stealth franchise. Promising true, open world espionage action, “The Phantom Pain” allows for players to plan and execute their own stealth adventures. The game, released on Sept. 1, is available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC platforms.

“The Phantom Pain” takes place nine years after “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes,” the separately released prologue to “The Phantom Pain.” Players control Big Boss, commander of the former military nation “Militaires Sans Frontières” (French for “An Army Without Borders”), who has just awoken from a coma as the result of a secret attack on his army. Now with a missing arm, shrapnel embedded in his brain, and the loss his comrades weighing him down emotionally, Big Boss, now known as “Venom Snake,” must venture out into the field again, regain his skills, rebuild his army, and embark on a quest of pure vengeance against the forces who took everything from him.

Gameplay in “The Phantom Pain” excels. Players are allowed to freely explore two massive, open world environments – an Afghanistan desert and Central Africa – during the course of the story. In these open worlds, the player is free to do anything he/she pleases; if the player sees a base in the distance, the player can travel there. If the player sees some plants, he/she can scavenge them for materials. If the player sees a prisoner about to be executed by an enemy soldier, the player can save the prisoner. Nothing is scripted, or predetermined to happen, in most cases, allowing for true freedom in the game, similar to other open world games such as “Grand Theft Auto V” and “The Witcher III.”

The open world also allows players to become creative in their infiltration techniques. If, for example, a player sees a truck heading to his/her objective, the player can tail the truck, climb into it, and be taken to the objective unseen. Or, if the player wishes, he/she could run into that same enemy base, guns blazing, and leave no one alive. The openness of the gameplay allows players to truly make their infiltration experience their own – a concept that is sorely missing from most games in recent memory.

Another new aspect to the franchise is the game’s dynamic time and weather system, which allows for varying organic benefits and detriments to gameplay. Infiltrating during the day makes it easier for enemies to see the player, but easier for the player to see them. If the player wishes, he/she can wait until the sun sets to sneak under the guise of darkness, when security is more lax. In Afghanistan, randomly occurring sandstorms may impede the enemies’ sight. In Africa, thunderstorms muffle the player’s footsteps. Any of these events can happen at any time, making each mission, trip, infiltration, and exfiltration a completely different experience. This is a departure from older “Metal Gear” titles, which usually confined the player to a single timeframe, with a single type of weather. It’s a welcome change that makes the game world feel very alive.

In addition, the game’s AI, or artificial intelligence, will dynamically adapt to the player’s playstyle. Perform too many headshots, and guards will start wearing helmets. Infiltrate too often at night, and guards will start using night vision goggles. Adaptability is key in “The Phantom Pain,” allowing multiple playstyles to be used.

The game’s central hub – Mother Base – is the main base of operations for the player. This ever-expanding base can be fully customized, allowing players to choose the color, emblem, and soldiers of their army. As the player progresses and more soldiers are recruited, Mother Base will expand.

Mother Base can perform a variety of functions, such as the research and development of new weapons, items, and uniforms, and the dispatchment of soldiers to conflict zones around the world as a source of income. Income in the game – represented as GMP (Gross Military Product) points, are used to perform these functions, and can be earned by completing various tasks in the game, such as completing missions.

Venom Snake has many new abilities at his disposal. In addition to being able to pilot vehicles for the first time in the franchise, Big Boss is able to use his new bionic arm for a variety of tasks, including climbing cracked surfaces, enhancing his close-quarters-combat attacks, and creating distracting noises to lure enemies. Through research and development, the player can upgrade the bionic arm further. One upgrade, for instance, allows Big Boss to fire his bionic arm as a controllable, rocket-propelled projectile at enemies.

The controls of the game are more accessible than previous entries in the franchise, combining elements of many third-person games of this generation with classic “Metal Gear” control schemes. The result is a fluid, almost buttery-smooth gameplay experience.

“The Phantom Pain” is a technical marvel. The Fox Engine, the game’s graphics engine, allows the game to be run at 1080p resolution and at 60 frames per second (on consoles), allowing for fluid animations in game assets. The sound design is extremely realistic, the music direction is emotional, powerful, and memorable, and the graphic fidelity of the game is top-notch. “The Phantom Pain” has arguably some of the most beautiful lighting effects in any game to date.

Facial animations and character movements are true-to-life, and the voice acting in the game is also outstanding; for the most part. Kiefer Sutherland does a fantastic job as a war-torn and emotionally strained Big Boss; Robin Atkin Downes performs superbly as the revenge-driven Kazuhira Miller; and Stefanie Joosten convinces players to fall in love with the super-powered heroine Quiet. Troy Baker, the new voice actor for Revolver Ocelot, however, is unable to capture the true essence of Ocelot’s enigmatic nature. His performance, while excellent, consists of an uncharacteristic southern accent for the character, an unfamiliarity for fans.

Story-wise, “The Phantom Pain” is a satisfying send-off to the “Metal Gear” franchise. The game’s ending will leave players in shock, but will answer many fans’ questions about Big Boss. It is an emotional, dark, and compelling tale that touches on heavy themes, such as revenge and loss, as well as the significance of community, language, and identity.

“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” is worth every penny of its purchase price. It is filled to the brim with content that will keep the player coming back again and again. It’s addictive, emotional, and above all, fun; and it is a satisfying conclusion to a fan-favorite franchise. It may be the last in the “Metal Gear” franchise considering Kojima’s departure from Konami, but it is destined to always be “a shining light, even in death.” “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” receives a score of 5/5.

A Minute on the Lips, Forever on the Hips

Obesity.png

Obesity has become a rising concern in recent years. It affects anyone with poor dietary habits and a lack of physical exercise. Overweightness and obesity can cause many future health complications, which is why it is important to learn how to take care of oneself.

So then what constitutes as obese or overweight? Both of these terms refer to when one’s body weight greatly outnumbers one’s height. This is referred to as the body mass index or BMI. You can find a simple equation to calculate your BMI and what weight you should be at or you can google the chart that tells you. Either way, knowing your BMI and what parameters your body in particular should be in is a great tool in keeping track of your health.

Some of the health complications that arise from poor health due to obesity are coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers according to nutrition.gov.

There are many other factors to weight as opposed to just poor dietary habits. Family history, environment, genetics and metabolism. Despite the fact that you can’t change some things like genetics, other factors such as eating habits and lifestyle choices can be changed.

The damages of obesity are not only physical but mental as well.

“People can lose self-esteem, isolate themselves, and even face depression,” says Patti Dempsey, the school’s licensed practical nurse.

The older we get, the more we are held responsible for our choices – whatever they may be. No one is going to tell you not to eat the extra slice of pizza or the last piece of chocolate cake. Being able to set healthy standards for yourself as you grow is critical for a healthy life. Sometimes having a partner or including your family in your quest for health is a great way to make sure you have a support system. Making healthier food choices, controlling portion size, being active, and reducing screen time are some of the suggestions on nutrition.gov.

“Reduce screen time. Limit the use of TVs, computers, DVDs, and videogames because they limit time for physical activity. Health experts recommend 2 hours or less a day of screen time that’s not work or homework related,” says nutrition.gov. This can be the most difficult for students who get most of their entertainment online.

Stressful times, such as midterms and finals, can cause overeating. However, prevention isn’t impossible and comes in a few different ways.

“Getting lots of sleep and making sure you manage your time right is really important. Meal preparation can be a great way to make sure you don’t end up overeating, too. Because students are always on-the-go, it’s so easy to just grab a bag of chips or a candy bar. Keeping healthier snacks around can be a major help when trying to avoid stress eating,” says senior student worker Mary Grace Salinas.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be difficult, especially when everyone lives such busy lives. However, making a small conscious effort to make healthy choices can have a greater positive effect in one’s life overall.

Let’s Swoodle; The Future of Group Project

Swoodle

Imagine being able to do group projects without ever having to leave the comfort of your own room. Well, now there’s an app for that. Kris Nixon (Content Crafter) and his team at DisplayNote Technologies have created Swoodle, a completely free messaging app that allows for document sharing, voice calls, and video communication all in one place.

DisplayNote Technologies itself creates collaborative education software. The idea for Swoodle came about when half of Nixon’s team was in Belfast and the other half was in Spain. In order to communicate and work on projects they used a variety of different mediums to stay in touch. That is, until they decided to create an app that does it all.

It was created with the idea of real time collaboration in mind and took roughly a year to create. Instead of using traditional email, students and creators are able to upload and share pictures and documents instantly, making edits and sharing opinions in real time. It is a great resource when doing group projects and everybody has different schedules and are unable to meet at one place and time.

“Real time means real time,” Nixon said. “With Swoodle, the fuss of meeting is taken away.”

Students can import and share files from a variety of sources such as Dropbox and Google Drive. The document then synchronizes across the multiple devices which have synched up to the app. It is then that the students can go in and write their comments and share their opinions, completing assignments that would have normally taken a few hours or a day in just a few minutes.

Swoodle is also a potentially great tool for teachers, as well. With the Doodle feature, teachers are able to share lectures and notes with students that are connected with the app. The doodle page acts as a white board where teachers could potentially lecture and post notes for students that are unable to attend class.

The app does a great job of connecting those not only a few hours apart, but countries apart as well.

“A father on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean could connect with the app and help his son all the way home with his math homework,” says Nixon.

The app is available for download on the App store for iPhones. The tentative release date for Androids is September 18. By the end of the year, DisplayNote Technologies hopes to have a desktop version available.

Swoodle is available now on the Apple App Store for those interested in giving it a try.

Imagine being able to do group projects without ever having to leave the comfort of your own room. Well, now there’s an app for that. Kris Nixon (Content Crafter) and his team at DisplayNote Technologies have created Swoodle, a completely free messaging app that allows for document sharing, voice calls, and video communication all in one place.

DisplayNote Technologies itself creates collaborative education software. The idea for Swoodle came about when half of Nixon’s team was in Belfast and the other half was in Spain. In order to communicate and work on projects they used a variety of different mediums to stay in touch. That is, until they decided to create an app that does it all.

It was created with the idea of real time collaboration in mind and took roughly a year to create. Instead of using traditional email, students and creators are able to upload and share pictures and documents instantly, making edits and sharing opinions in real time. It is a great resource when doing group projects and everybody has different schedules and are unable to meet at one place and time.

“Real time means real time,” Nixon said. “With Swoodle, the fuss of meeting is taken away.”

Students can import and share files from a variety of sources such as Dropbox and Google Drive. The document then synchronizes across the multiple devices which have synched up to the app. It is then that the students can go in and write their comments and share their opinions, completing assignments that would have normally taken a few hours or a day in just a few minutes.

Swoodle is also a potentially great tool for teachers, as well. With the Doodle feature, teachers are able to share lectures and notes with students that are connected with the app. The doodle page acts as a white board where teachers could potentially lecture and post notes for students that are unable to attend class.

The app does a great job of connecting those not only a few hours apart, but countries apart as well.

“A father on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean could connect with the app and help his son all the way home with his math homework,” says Nixon.

The app is available for download on the App store for iPhones. The tentative release date for Androids is September 18. By the end of the year, DisplayNote Technologies hopes to have a desktop version available.

Swoodle is available now on the Apple App Store for those interested in giving it a try.

Volunteering in Faith: Grotto Restoration Project

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The Saint Leo Abbey Grotto is a place for prayer, the expression of faith, and relaxation. Under nature’s comforting warmth, the Grotto’s intricate shrines, brilliant statues, calming trails, and overall atmosphere invite both members of the Saint Leo community and strangers alike to worship in a beautiful, outdoor environment. However, the Grotto, when left unchecked, just might find itself overwhelmed by the nature surrounding it. This has happened.

Imagine the Grotto now overtaken by nature – how does it look? Are statues covered in dirt, moss, and grime? Have streams stopped flowing? Are walkways completely concealed by dead leaves? Does an abundance of spiders and their massive webs make some, including yourself, afraid to visit the Grotto after sunset? Unfortunately, all of these aptly describe the Grotto in its current state; and each of them just might be a sign that the Grotto may not be as important to people as it used to be.

All of this, however, is currently being changed. Enter: the Saint Leo University Ministry. In a restoration effort headed by Ministry members and volunteers both on and off campus, a single goal has been made: to restore the Abbey Grotto back to its former glory, encouraging volunteers to work together and understand the value of community. This group of dedicated volunteers took the first step to reaching this goal on Sept. 19 – a step which resulted in a successful cleaning marathon that lasted from 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

“I have more reasons than one for why I wanted to help clean the Grotto. The most important reason is that I wanted to do something for Jesus…having a nice environment and setting can really help you hear what God is trying to say. I would definitely volunteer again,” said Ashley Brown, Senior, who volunteered.

The idea to clean up the Grotto had originally started as a simple observation made by a simply faithful individual. Jahiedy Vinas, Senior and recently-appointed Ministry Mentor, is currently in charge of community service performed by the Ministry. Realizing the importance of the Grotto in its history – as well as the potential importance of a restored Grotto – Vinas made it her priority to get permission to go through with the project.

“I saw it as an opportunity for the students to come together; I saw it as an opportunity for us to work with the monks and the nuns – to create that identity of community and responsible stewardship,” said Vinas. “The Grotto is our responsibility; it’s a place that we definitely have to take care of… I want to make sure it visually represents who we are. Saint Leo’s a beautiful University; the Grotto should be just as beautiful as well.”

The project, which in its first day was an immense success, has sparked inspiration among the volunteers who participated. It is expected to continue once every three to four Saturdays as a result. With each session, pathways are expected to be cleared out, statues are expected to be repainted, and spider webs are expected to be removed, among many other renovations.

“At first glance, it didn’t seem like a lot of work, but when we really started getting into it, we really started to care about that place. We realized there was so much we had to do,” said Vinas. “I think that having these students go out there and wash statues, care for the grounds, pull out weeds – get dirty – y’know, they were happy to get dirty. It’s not like you’re just cleaning someone’s house; you’re taking care of a place that’s meant for prayer.”

Regardless of the progress made so far, however, the project is not expected to be finished anytime soon; a lot of work still needs to be done. According to Br. Clement Rees, OSB, who also volunteered, the committed efforts of the volunteers made all the difference in the first day’s success. They proved to him without hesitation the dedication and leadership skills they possessed. Inspired by the hard work the volunteers demonstrated, Brother Clement is determined to continue to assist in the restoration project until its completion. “My experience working with the students was very enlivening. They came to the job on short notice but came with a willingness to do a good service…We are very short handed here at the Abbey and so it was wonderful to have the skills and energy the students brought to the task. The grotto is in much better condition now but still a long way from tip top,” said Brother Clement.

In addition to the Grotto restoration project, the University Ministry plans on hosting even more volunteer opportunities in the future, such as charities, clothing drives, and food drives. If you would like to participate in these projects, the Grotto’s restoration project, or have other volunteer work ideas, please contact Jahiedy Vinas at jahiedy.vinas@email.saintleo.edu.