All posts by Randawnique Coakley

I am The Worldly Education Editor for the Lions' Pride Newspaper. I am a softmore and I am majoring in Accounting and Economics.

Key West Center Re-opening After Hurricane

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Key West on Sept. 10 as a Category 4 storm. A month after Hurricane Irma has hit Florida, the Saint Leo Key West Center, the students and faculty recently got readjusted. In fact, according to Alaina Plowdrey, the director of Key West, students returned to classes on Monday, Oct. 2, which was more than a few weeks after the hurricane hit, and only couple days before this was when most of the students were making their way back to the Keys.

“The reopening went very smoothly; the only big issue was the intermittent internet. However, by the first night of classes the internet was consistent,” said Plowdrey. “The students have been great as well as my staff and faculty in working together and being patient with one another and respectful of the process.”

Based on many messages from Saint Leo University and President Dr. Lennox, Saint Leo has made it known that it is dedicated to helping accommodate the students affected by the hurricanes, especially regarding faculty giving extensions and other assistance with class work. With this assistance from Saint Leo and its faculty, many students did not have to withdraw due to the effects of the storm.

“We had minimal withdrawals from students. Those that needed to withdraw either were first responders, that have been working very hard and long hours since the storm or those that lost large portions of their homes,” said Plowdrey. “Both on ground and online faculty have been wonderful in working with everyone for extensions and incompletes. It hasn’t been an easy term for the students, faculty, and staff down here, but the process of working as an interconnected team has helped immensely.”

Key West took a devastating hit from the Hurricane, as they were affected by heavy rainfalls, coastal flooding, and strong winds. According to CBS News, FEMA estimates that 65 percent of homes suffered major damage and 25 percent of homes were destroyed.  Plowdrey confirmed that some faculty and students did, in fact, suffer damages to their properties. The Key West Center is checking on these individuals and making certain accommodations to help them deal with these particular circumstances.

“We did have some individuals and families that did suffer. We have been checking in on them regularly, sending them grant information and welcoming everyone to use the lab for internet if they do not have access,” Plowdrey said. “Since many have only just returned, I am planning on next week, the first week of FA2, to run a can drive to support anyone who is in extra need at this time, as well as create volunteer lists for those who are in need of any help cleaning their properties.”

In spite of some part of the Keys being shattered by Hurricane Irma, the Key West Center only suffered minimal damages.

“We had quite a few ceiling tiles come down from water damage. Those areas are in the queue to be repaired by Public Works. We had part of our railing go down outside the front door, which has been repaired,” said Plowdrey. “When we first came back, the center was in extreme need of a dehumidifier. PW promptly came by after my request with an industrial strength machine. The air quality was better within three days.”

Although the center reopened recently, there are still concerns for the future, as Plowdrey described.

“Well, hurricane season isn’t done and this year has been quite active! My concerns for the weather will end at the end of the season, November. However, those of us who live down here understand it is just part of living in Florida,” said Plowdrey. “And if another hurricane comes, which is inevitable at some point, we will process through, as a united center and university. Teamwork is key, and SLU has the best. Everyone takes care of one another. When you know you have a great team and support, there is no room for concern; you know the only path is to confidently push through strong. The only thing we have any control over is our emotions; I choose to keep mine positive and productive for the benefit of my own psychology and for those around me.”

Plowdrey also talked about ways that the Keys were able rebound from the effects of the hurricane, and she mentioned what the Center plans to do to help its community as well.

“I must say, the National Guard, the Navy, and FEMA have done wondrously in supporting those in need as well as local organizations and ones that have come down from the mainland to help. Most of the garbage and debris has been picked up, so at this time it is about rebuilding. We also lost a lot of trees in our parks, in which we will be looking into donating some Saint Leo University trees to help with the regrowth and show our support in the community,” said Plowdrey.

It is evident that the Key West Center is getting settled after reopening and is able to support it students, faculty, staff and even its community.

 

Corpus Christi Center Standing Strong After Harvey

Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm, affected Houston and other southeastern parts of Texas, resulting in floodings, major property damages, and even deaths. Luckily, the Corpus Christi Center was fortunate since they didn’t sustain much damage, the Center Director, Sara Heydon, described the devastation as “a small amount.”

“Wind-driven rain came in our office and hallway windows. Corpus Christi was spared a direct hit – the full force of Hurricane Harvey came ashore about 30 miles away, where many of our students and faculty live,” said Heydon.

Following the hit of Hurricane Harvey, there were many parts of southeast Texas that suffered due to property damages. Those who had limited resources, such as water and power suffered greatly, as well. However, despite this affecting some parts, the Corpus Christi Center was able to reopen on Sept. 5, only couple days after the hurricane hit.

“After delays due to lack of electricity and running water, reopening went well. Our building was intact, we had internet access, and the staff was able to return,” said Heydon.

Along with staff, faculty and students were able to return to continue with the academic year.

According to Heydon, “Despite some having to find alternate living arrangements and not having power, all the faculty and most of our students came back.”

As Heydon said, there were some students who were not able to continue with classes.

“At least 17 students withdrew due to the hurricane. Instructors helped many other students by giving them extended time to complete assignments,” said Heydon.

Saint Leo has been able to encourage its faculty to make extensions for the students’ accommodations, which was reported on the Saint Leo website when Hurricane Harvey was projected to hit the area. The students’ ability to perform in classes is still a concern, particularly for Heydon.

She states that “Cell and internet service are still not fully restored in some areas, so we are worried that some students won’t be able to complete their classes, or perhaps haven’t been able to contact us.”

There were many persons from the center who suffered damages to personal property. Despite their issues, the center’s employees’ sense of community has been going strong, as efforts to assist the center are underway, notwithstanding the students helping each other.

“Some of our students’ and faculty members’ homes and vehicles were destroyed, while others suffered major property damage,” said Heydon. “We are collecting items, like clothing, and are helping them connect with resources. Our students were amazingly generous towards each other – offering the use of chainsaws, generators, RVs, and their time/help to those in need.”

“Home Again” is Charming and Heart Warming

Home Again pic 3 - @ZettiesMMMM
“Home Again” came second in the domestic box office in its opening weekend after the horror film, “It.” Credit:@ZettiesMMMM

“Home Again” released Sept. 8, is a dramedy about a recently separated mother, whose life gets shaken up when she allows three aspiring filmmakers to live with her and her two daughters. The movie stars Reese Witherspoon as Alice, Nat Wolff as Teddy, Jon Rudnitsky as George, and Pico Alexander as Harry.

The film is very entertaining, and it excels mostly because of the charming, realistic multidimensional characters. In fact, “Home Again” well-written script reveals distinct characteristics about the main characters, which make them rather layered, relatable, and multi-dimensional.

The main character, Alice, struggles with internal conflict throughout the movie. She is dealing with separation, a recent move to Los Angeles, and a new career choice. Alice’s struggles make her relatable to the audience, as she is viewed as a venerable and likable character. As she journeys through this new chapter in her life, the audience connects with her and feels compelled to root her on.

The three aspiring filmmakers are very distinct from one another, each having their own quirky personalities. Alice’s estranged husband (played by Michael Sheen) is introduced in tidbits and the movie reveals interesting characteristics to portray him as a flawed character, who makes questionable decisions. The movie excels at character development because the audience can understand their underlying motivations, even if they take disagreeable actions.

The actors play their roles well, Witherspoon shines while playing with interesting quirks and idiosyncrasies. She truly brings Alice to life and makes her feel so real and relatable. The three actors really embody the filmmakers distinctly while managing to show sincerity and genuineness.

There is great chemistry between the main actors: Witherspoon, Wolff, Rudnitsky, and Alexander, and this makes the relationships between the characters more vibrant. The audience can relate to the characters because these characters genuinely go through ups and downs together. Also, the relationship between adults and Alice’s daughters, Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield) add comedic value to the drama with great jokes, and their interactions add more dimension and development to the storyline.

The premise of “Home Again” revolves around the aspiring filmmakers attempting to make studio produced film and Alice getting her life and new career settled; both of these main plotlines are not only entertaining but also relatable. The audience can understand their motivations and their passions; the audience can also connect with the characters and root for them to accomplish their goals. The movie’s plot may be predictable at times, but it still manages to offer layers and turns that allow the audience to enjoy and go along the ride. The music and score does an excellent job of setting the right atmosphere for the dramatic and comedic scenes by playing with the emotions.

Overall, “Home Again” is very charming, with likable characters. The film offers several great jokes but pulls off the bigger feat of being a heartwarming, sentimental movie that keeps the audience’s interest throughout the entire showing.

Understanding Different Avenues For Financial Assistance 

Do you want a job, but don’t know where to start? Do you know what the requirements for some jobs are? Do you know the difference between work-study and non-work-study?

Federal Work Study (FWS) is a program implemented by the United States government that subsidizes paychecks for undergraduate and graduate students working part-time. Domestic students can qualify for work study by applying for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and indicating on the application their interest in FWS. Also, FWS eligibility is reviewed each year and whether or not students receive it is determined by their FAFSA.

Although domestic students can apply for FAFSA and qualify for work study, this does not apply for international students.

“International students are not eligible to get FWS (Federal Work Study),” said Paige Ramsey-Hamacher, the executive director for Student Success. “This is because this is awarded by the US federal government to US citizens or permanent residents who have filled out the FAFSA form and have shown financial need. Not all US citizens get this award either.”

In fact, domestic students, who apply for FASFA, are granted FWS on a first come, first served basis until the allotted funding is exhausted. FWS is also granted based on financial need, and FWS is intended to help fund some of students’ educational expenses.

“Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance (COA) at a school and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  Need is reduced by the total amount of all scholarship and/or grants; if there is remaining need and there are remaining allocated funds, a student will be awarded,” said Nisa Harrelson, the financial aid technical advisor.

When awarded FWS, a student is given a certain amount for the semester and the student cannot earn more than the amount awarded. Also, FWS awards can decrease during the year due to extra funds awarded through grants or scholarship. This is why it is imperative that students are aware of the amount awarded.

According to the 2017-2018 Student Employment Handbook: “If a student is awarded Federal Work Study, it is that student’s responsibility to keep track of cumulative FWS earnings and to advise the supervisor monthly of the balance. Once the FWS limit for the semester is reached the department will terminate employment.”

FWS money is limited because the allocation from the federal government is a limited amount and the amount changes annually. There are common reasons why students are denied funding for FWS.

“The most common reason that a student is denied funding is due to (a) the allocation granted to the University has been exhausted and/or (b) the student has no financial need as determined by the Department of Education once the FAFSA has been completed,” said Harrelson.

Students who are awarded FWS would then apply for a FWS job on campus to earn the federally funded income. According to Melinda Clark, associate vice president of Financial Aid, everyone who is awarded FWS can get a job on campus, if each student is willing to work where the jobs are available.

“The most common positions for students on campus are positions in the Admissions, Athletics, Library, Newspaper and Student Services departments,” said Harrelson.

Sometimes, students may not want the jobs that are in certain departments. However, if students aren’t willing to work and they have been awarded FWS, it is important they report to the school that they decline the FWS money awarded.

“If a student is not interested in Federal Work Study, they should email student.employment@saintleo.edu as well as finaid@saintleo.edu to ask that Financial Aid remove the award and it will be awarded to a student on the waitlist,” said Harrelson.

Seeing that FWS is limited, it is important that if a student is no longer interested in using it, they should say so to ensure that another student can receive the award.

Although there are limited FWS opportunities, there are other opportunities for financial assistance. Those who are not eligible or don’t qualify for FWS at Saint Leo are still able to apply for another type of job, which is supported by school funds. These types of jobs are known as non-FWS jobs or Institutional Funded Employment, which is open to both domestic and international students.

In past years, there had been complaints among the student body about the limited number of jobs of available and that the number of FWS jobs heavily outweighs the non-FWS jobs. However, during the last academic year, 52 percent of the jobs on campus were FWS, and 48 percent were non-FWS, according to Clark.

“In 2016-2017, there were 290 federally funded positions and 263 institutionally funded positions,” said Clark.

And if this does not seem like enough jobs for the student population, there has been an increase in jobs on campus for this year.

“Federal allocation for work study has increased slightly year over year. Institutionally funded allocations have increased for the 2017-2018 academic year as well,” said Clark.

To get employment information to the students, a Student Employment Fair that was held on Aug. 21 in the Student Activities Building (SAB). This is the first time the event was held and it was hosted by Career Planning, and decision to hold followed a meeting with First Year Experience.

“The idea came about as a way to help students find employment on-campus, especially first year students who are new to Saint Leo University and not sure of the opportunities available to them,” said Deanna Bullard, the Assistant Director of Career Planning.  “We also wanted to highlight Saint Leo’s awesome departments and offices and the positions they have available!”

The event had a great turnout. In fact, according to Bullard, Career Planning is planning to hold this event each semester from now on.

“The On-Campus Student Employment Fair was very successful.  We had a lot of students come out and a good amount of representation from on-campus offices.  In the future, we are hoping to expand on this great turnout even more,” said Bullard.

Departments that attended the employment fair encouraged students to apply online, which is the most common way for students to look for and apply for jobs on campus.

“All student employment jobs are posted online,” said Clark. “Students may utilize the normal student employment process to review the jobs available.”

Despite the fact that there is an increased number of jobs on campus, there are still not enough jobs to support the entire student population. However, there are other options available to students, for example, getting an off-campus job.

“If a student doesn’t secure a position on campus by either federal work study or non-federal work study positions, if they have transportation, they check local area businesses for possible positions,” said Harrelson.

So, there are numerous opportunities for students to be employed, whether it is through FWS, non-FWS, or off-campus jobs. However, international students are not allowed to work for off-campus jobs, except under certain circumstances.

“International students, in general, are restricted by their F1 student visa to work in on-campus jobs only,” said Ramsey-Hamacher. “But for the most part, international students, regardless of how long they are in the present in the United States on an F1 visa, are not entitled to work off campus unless they are applying for special work authorization such as severe economic hardship; CPT or OPT.”

International students also have opportunities to work for internships as well.

“After one full academic year on-status, students can do internships (CPT – curricular practical training) which allows the student to work off campus for an internship provided they are registered in an internship class and this internship is approved by their academic advisor and then added to the I-20 by the MISO (Multicultural and International Services office) ,” said Ramsey-Hamacher. “This is authorized on the students I-20 for the term in which the student is enrolled in the internship class.”

Internships are great opportunities to get more experience in a field, but also paid internships are great for financial help for both international and domestic students.

Also, there are other opportunities for financial assistance through financial aid and from scholarships. Despite many student’s perceptions that the school has very few scholarships available, the number of scholarships offered has actually increased over the years.

“I’d like to clear up any misperception that Saint Leo University is offering fewer scholarships.  Three years ago, we offered 150 privately funded scholarships, and now, thanks to many generous donors we offer 350,” said Denny Moller, vice president of University Advancement and Communications. “The number of available scholarships fluctuate year-to-year, because if a student is awarded a renewable scholarship as a freshman and keeps up their grades, that scholarship is not available to another student for the next three years.”

Also, Saint Leo offers help by awarding students financial aid to help ease the burden of tuition for students.

“Additionally, we offer institutional aid in the form of merit (such academic and athletic scholarships) and need-based awards.  Saint Leo University is quite generous in comparison to other schools with similar profiles nationally,” said Moller.

Overall, there are numerous avenues for financial assistance, including FWS jobs, non-FWS jobs, off-campus jobs, paid internships, scholarships, and grants. Students can take advantage of these opportunities, whether it is to help with paying for tuition, a savings pool, or spending funds.

Saint Leo WorldWide Stands Strong After Hurricanes

In a matter of weeks, both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma has caused major damage in the United States, affecting Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina. These hurricanes caused significant damages to properties and even resulted in numerous deaths. The storms also affected the Saint Leo main Campus and Centers. About 8,000 students were impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, according to University Communications.

Following Corpus Christi being impacted by Hurricane Harvey in early Sept, there were numerous initiatives on the University Campus helping out those affected. In fact, in a message to students, President Dr. William J. Lennox Jr. suggested ways to assist the situation, such as helping students who may call or email for help, keeping victims in one’s prayers, and donating to an organization that are on the ground giving aid. There were also efforts from individual organizations on campus, including the TKE fraternity, who held a pie-throwing fundraiser to raise money for Red Cross to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Only days after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc in Houston and other parts of Texas did Hurricane Irma follow suit, bringing chaos to the Caribbean and multiple southeastern states. In spite of the storm, there were many initiatives from the Saint Leo community banding together before, during, and after the storm.  In fact, Lennox commented on this in another message to the student body.

“The devastation hit us first in the west as Hurricane Harvey landed in Texas, including Corpus Christi. Then Irma’s impact began this past Sunday at our southernmost location in Key West and continued north through Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina with 27 of our locations impacted,” said Lennox “It is at moments like these that the vast reach of our university becomes very clear. In addition to our outreach to faculty, staff, and students at these locations, the huge network of our online students and adjunct faculty was a concern. And finally, our thoughts also turned to the tens of thousands of alumni in the paths of these two storms.”

As Lennox mentioned, Hurricane Irma caused damage in the states of Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, affecting numerous centers. The first Center impacted by this storm was the Key West Center. Hurricane Irma was a Category 4 storm when it made landfall in the Florida Keys, according to ABC News. The Keys took a brutal hit from the Hurricane; according to CBS News, FEMA estimated that 25 percent of homes were destroyed due to the strong forces of the hurricane; however, not all buildings took a major hit, including The Key West Center. According to the Key West Center director, Alaina Plowdrey, there was only minimal damage suffered by the hurricane; the damages include a soaked rug and an office tile leaking minimally. However, some students and faculty’s property did not fare so well.

“For the most part, they are doing well, respectively. Some faculty members have lost large portions of their homes, vehicles, and boats. I am currently calling all students I haven’t spoken to already this week to assess their conditions post-Irma and abilities to continue on in their courses. Many of the faculty, students and staff are still away,” said Plowdrey.

Reentry to Florida Keys began Sept. 17; however, there is limited resources, such as clean water, electricity, and food, according to Plowdrey.

Before, after, and during hurricane Irma, the Center was able to stay in touch with the students, faculty and staff for the hurricane, with 90 percent of the student population evacuating the area.

“The faculty members in Key West have been amazing in making sure their students are doing well, keeping them informed and granting them enough time to finish assignments while we wait to return. Online faculty has also been extremely helpful in granting extensions,” said Plowdrey. “We still have students without internet and most of our faculty, staff and student body just regained phone service a few days ago. Consistency in outreach, emails and phone calls, has been applied in this situation to ensure safety and contact for all.”

Following the storm, the priorities are to ensure the safety of the people at the Center and to ensure students continue with schooling.

“First and foremost to know my students, faculty and staff are safe, second to begin an estimated plan of re-opening and make sure students that want to continue their courses for FA1 have adequate extensions, support and resources and those who want to drop due to their homes being damaged or the demands of work are able to and have a successful plan for the next term,” said Plowdrey.

Other than the Florida Keys, Hurricane Irma struck numerous places in South Florida, such as Miami and Naples. Central Florida was anticipating the storm to cause destruction as well. In fact, according to WFLA, to prepare for the storm, about 28,000 people were in shelters in the Hillsborough County, which is the county that Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg is in. When the hurricane arrived in the Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg area, according to The Washington Post, the storm was merely a Category 1 storm, and didn’t cause any significant damage. Nevertheless, during and after the storm, many people in the area lost power. This was a part of the 6.5 million Florida residents without electricity on Monday, Sept. 11, which was around the time the storm was leaving Florida, as reported by NBC News.

Other than University Campus, the Hurricane Irma also past Centers, such as Tampa Center and the Ocala Center, which all were closed due to the storm.

Then, Hurricane Irma moved more up north to affect the Lake City Center, which is located in North Florida. The center has a total of 132 students and one full-time faculty member. This Center has not sustained damages to the office, but host college sustained some damages.

Like many of the centers that prepared for the storm, the Lake City Center closed the Center days before the hurricane arrived to ensure that students and faculty to prepare for the storm.

“We closed the center at noon on Thursday 09/07 to allow time for our students, staff, and faculty to be able to get their homes prepared, buy non-perishables, water, and fill their gas tanks since, at that point in time, those things were already running low in Lake City.  The extra time allotted allowed us time to get the things we all needed to make sure we were fully prepared to be without power for a few days,” said Jessica Markham, the director of the Lake City Center.

And to keep in touch with students, the Center posted on the Facebook page, and Markham was able to personally call the staff members to keep them updated as well; however, she faced some difficulty due to power and internet being lost. Nevertheless, after the hurricane passed, the main priority for the center, according to Markham is to “get back to normal as quickly as possible and make sure students feel comfortable about catching up on their coursework.”

“The students are my main concern, and I want to make sure they are aware that we are communicating with faculty and making sure they understand the hardship our students are facing since many are still without power/internet, and this will definitely impact their ability to get assignments caught up and completed on time,” added Markham.

Lake City Center, which is located near the Florida-Georgia Border, was the last Center in Florida to get hit by the storm before the storm left Florida on its way to Georgia.

By the time Hurricane Irma reached to Georgia, the storm still was able to cause damage. About 450,000 people had to evacuate from Savannah and the from the coast, according to ABC News. Also, the storm surge and rains resulted in property damage and even flooding to the coastal areas. The winds also resulted in trees being ripped from the ground and hurling toward many homes, causing property damages and even resulting in at least three deaths, according ABC News.

Hurricane Irma caused further damage in Georgia, with reports that 1.5 million customers of Georgia Power and EMC being without power. Following the storm, the Georgia Power Company tweeted it is working to repair the damaged power lines and poles to help residents restore power and, according to Fox News, with the help of Army National Guard, local police had plans in progress to remove trees and downed power lines from the area to clear roadways.

The Saint Leo Savannah Center, which has 700 active students and 50 instructors, did not sustain major damages, according to Stephanie Stinski, the director of the Savanah Center. However, some of the students and faculty has faced damages: some without power and some with tree or flood damage. The powers are trying to be restored and the damages from flooding and trees are being assesses.

To prepare for the storm, like many Centers, the Savanah Center was able to close the Center early to ensure that students and faculty were able to prepare adequately for the storm.

“We closed the center starting on Friday, to give our students, faculty and staff time to make a plan that was best for their family; to either evacuate or make the decision to shelter in place during the storm,” said Stinski. “The majority of the city evacuated, which meant that our students, faculty and staff would need time to find shelter and to get to their destination (through hours of traffic) before the storm approached our area.”

The Center was able to keep in touch with faculty members and students through emails and Regroup phone messaging to ensure the safety of the people from the center.

“We were able to keep in contact daily with our students, faculty, and staff to relay information regarding the closure of the center, during the storm, assessing damage after the storm, and the reopening of the center. Many of our students and faculty lost power, so we wanted to be sure to reopen the center as soon as conditions were safe and the building was safe so that students could come into utilize our air conditioning, computer lab/internet, and student lounge area,” said Stinksi.

Also, the Center’s main priority is to ensure the safety of the faculty and students and help students to be successful in their classes, which may include allowing students who aren’t in the local area or has sustained damages, to have additional time to submit their work or have excused absences.

“We have some students and faculty that have not made it back to the local area, so we are contacting the students in classes that will not meet due to the storm and relaying information to both students and faculty on the availability of classrooms to make up missed class sessions, or to be utilized for study groups to prepare to return to class,” said Stinski. “We want to support our students and faculty in any way that we can, which may result in delayed class meetings. We are staying in contact with our students and faculty to ensure their safety and assisting them in getting back to the local area and getting settled back in.”

Hurricane Irma caused damage to South Carolina as well, with the city of Charleston getting 4 feet of water as the eye of the storm was 250 miles ways. The North Charleston Center was closed for a bit as a result of the storm.

The Center Directors of the center affected were able to prepare the center’s students and faculty and remain in touch to ensure the safety of it students. In fact, Lennox attributed not only the staff on campus for their tireless work but also the WorldWide staff as well, including the center directors.

“While no one was looking, our center directors managed through each circumstance with grace as they balanced the need to provide services with the concern for their staffs’ and students’ personal safety and well-being,” said Lennox. “Our WorldWide staff worked to keep students informed and did their best to keep classes going throughout both events.”

Also, the University had many initiatives to ensure that the students who remained on campus as well. In fact, there were many faculty members and staff from multiple departments staying on campus to assist students, who stayed on campus. Also, there were volunteers from people outside campus assisting with the dining hall to provide food as well. Following the storm, there were volunteer opportunities for students as well; for example, some students helped Frogmore Farms to replant blueberry trees on Saturday Sept. 16.

Along with showing his appreciation, Lennox, in his message to the students, also gave advice on how people, who want to help, can help as well.

“Many of you have reached out offering to help in any way possible. Not unusual for the Saint Leo community! We expect there may be students and their families with additional financial burdens, so I have asked the staff to generate a separate appeal for those who may wish to donate to a scholarship fund to allow affected students across the university to remain in school,” said Lennox.

Lennox expressed his gratitude for the community for banning together to offer help. With the support, some Centers that were affected, like Gwinnett Center and North Charleston Center, were able to open on Wednesday, Sept. 13 but all Centers were able to reopen by Monday, Sept. 18, with the exception of the Key West Center.

 

Caribbean Braced Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma, the once Category 5 storm, has wreak havoc in the Caribbean, leaving at least 28 people dead across the region, according to Reuters. The storm left a trail of destruction, leaving many islands with damaged infrastructures and loss of water, food supplies, and power.

Hurricane Irma causing significant damages on the many islands across the region, including Cuba, Barbuda, Antigua, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

St. Thomas and St. John, two islands a part of the U.S Virgin Island took a major hit from Hurricane Irma, with many homes being ripped apart. According to CNBC, out of 52,000 that live on St. Thomas, 40,000 are homeless. Also, in an interview with CNBC, the Governor of the U.S Virgin Islands, Kenneth Mapp, also said that 90 percent of St. Thomas and 50 percent of St. John of the power lines are done. Although there may be worry from some islanders about access to food, clean water, and power, the governor has indicated in the interview that the islands are reaching out to get help, with him speaking to Trump twice and members of Trump’s Cabinet as well. According to Reuters, Trump did increased federal funding to assist U.S Virgin Islands.

“I am telling my citizens and my residents that this is going to be a long haul, but we are going to make it happen,” said Kenneth Mapp.

So far, The U.S Virgin Islands were assisted by three vessels from the US Navy, providing recovery and humanitarian assistance, according to the US Navy Institute’s website. The website also reported that more than 1,900 people were evacuated, as stated from the Pentagon.

Also, the US Virgin Islands delate to Congress, Stacey Plaskett, also reported that islands took a big hit with the only hospital in St. Thomas being crippled with the roof of the hospital being ripped off by the storm winds of the hurricane, as reported by  USA Today. To help patients, Plaskett was working on evacuating them to St. Croix via helicopters. According to CNBC, The CEO of the hospital, Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas, stated that the patients in critical condition were airlifted to Croix and even in Puerto Rico.

St. Croix, the largest of the U.S Virgin Islands have faced power outages and downed tree but have faced less damage the St. Thomas and St. John. In fact, a student on campus from St. Croix, Shaquanee Fenton, a junior a Criminal Justice major and Psychology Minor, confirmed that there were numerous patients being airlifted to St. Croix.

Besides helping patients, St. Croix also assisted St. Thomas, in particular by proving resources to the island after the devastating hurricane. She stated that residents from St. Croix were providing packages of water to island affected; however, this negatively affected the island becasue as she mentioned with Hurricane Maria, St. Croix is low of the hurricane supplies as a result. With Hurricane Maria heading the islands’ way, she worries that the island won’t be prepared for the storm.

This territory of the United States is getting federal help; however, similar resources may not be available for other countries in the Caribbean, like Antigua and Barbuda, which has taken a brutal hit from the storm as well.

In fact, residents of Barbuda, which is one-half of sovereign country of Antigua and Barbuda, have all been evacuated after the Hurricane. Therefore, for the first time 300 years, the island is inhabited since the population of about 1700 people, were evacuated to Antigua according to CNN. According to Business Insider, the Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, reported that upward of 90 percent of the island’s structures were destroyed.

Anguilla, which is a British territory, suffered major damages as well, and military personnel arrived to assess the damages, according to Business Insider.

“In Anguilla, officials reported extensive damage to the airport, hospitals, shelters, and schools and said 90 percent of roads were impassable,” according to NY Daily Beast.

St. Martin and St. Barts also faced significant damages as a result of the Hurricane Irma. These islands, which are located east of Puerto Rico, are territories of France, with part of St. Martin being a territory of the Netherlands as well. St. Barts faced some damages, such as damages to homes and power outages but other than that no deaths were reported; however, St. Martin got hit even worse by the hurricane. According to the LA Times, about 60 percent of homes were destroyed, along with other properties, such as stores, boats, and cars; and water supplies and power were cut as well; the French government also reported that the damages are estimated to be more than 1 billion dollars. Also, a total of 14 people were killed in St. Martin, according to LA Times.

Also, in Puerto Rico, the governor reported that at least three people were killed, according to NBC News. The island also faced damages to infrastructures, such as roadways, light posts, and trees. The island had a big problem with power outages as well, with more than a million people were to be out of electricity reported by NBC News days after the storm; however, even more than a week and a half following the storm about 80, 000 people were still without power, according to the Daily Beast.

The Hurricane also managed to hit Cuba as well. Despite the country evacuating about a million people from the vulnerable areas before the storm, at least ten people were killed, according to Business Insider. Cuba faced other significant damages, with trees and buildings being ripped apart and flooding, as reported by CNN.

The other islands that were affected were Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, Hispaniola, with these island suffering minimal damages

As mentioned by Fenton, the Hurricane Maria is on its way to hit the Caribbean, heading to Dominica, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands as well. Therefore, this Category 5 storm, can wreak havoc in the Caribbean again after Hurricane Irma did only days before.

Movie Pass – Hidden Truth Behind the Price Decrease

For the avid movie-goers, a handy app has just became handier. Movie Pass, the theater subscription service, drastically lowered the subscription price to $9.95 a month on August 15 2017.

The subscription allows for users to see one movie a day at any participating theater and is accepted at over 91 percent of theaters nationwide. The movie has to be a standard 2-D movie, as the movie pass doesn’t support special screenings, such as 3-D or I-max showings. The other restriction for movie pass is that the subscriber can’t watch the same movie more than once. The pass is only meant for an individual user, who is 18 years and older, and not for couples or families.

Nevertheless, simply paying $9.95 a month to watch a movie a day is steal. Ever since the beginnings of the service in 2011, the price of subscription fluctuated. The price went from $14.95 to nearly $50, according to Variety, and the price is at an all-time low at $9.95 a month. The day of the reduction, the amount of website visitors increased drastically from an average of 10,000 users a week to 500,000 unique users within 6 hours of the announcement of the price cut, according to Screen Rant.

The subscription service operates via phone connected to the movie pass card, which essentially functions as debit card. The service works as the subscriber uses the app on their phone to select a desired movie and a desired show time at a desired theater. The card is loaded with the necessary cash to buy a single adult ticket and the user must pay for the ticket using the card within 30 minutes. Essentially, Movie Pass pays the full price of the ticket every time the card is used to buy the tickets.

Prior to the price cut, when the subscription price was originally $50, the company could make profits with some subscribers who didn’t frequent movie theaters, such as subscribers who visit a movie theater less than four times a month. However, with the price cuts, if a subscriber watches at least two movies a month, the company suffers a loss. Therefore, the low subscription price has baffled a lot of people, as this business model does not seem profitable.

However, this business model comes after Movie Pass sold majority stake to a big-data collection firm, Helios and Matheson Analytics, for $27 million, according to Variety. Therefore, Movie Pass is receiving a large cash infusion and, although it may seem unlikely, both companies seem to benefit from this deal.

The CEO of Movie Pass, Mitch Lowe, who is also co-founder of Netflix, said the movies pass goal is to make it easier for film fans and causal movie-goers to see movies in theaters and to make it more affordable and enjoyable for subscribers, hence the drastic price drop. Along with that, Lowe talked about movie pass being able to change the way consumer think.

“Today’s acquisition by Helios and Matheson is a huge step towards making our vision a reality by allowing us to introduce a new $9.95 nationwide subscription service that completely disrupts the movie industry in the same way that Netflix and Redbox have done in the years pass,” Lowe added in the press release.

Movie pass also allows subscribers to see a wide range of films they would not normally see. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the company gives subscribers the chance to see lower budget movies and also plans to use the app to promote smaller films, as 10 to 17 percent of subscribers see the movie due to marketing, benefitting the film industry as a whole.

Helios and Matheson also benefits by fulfilling their company’s mission to continuously innovate, as CEO Ted Farnsworth said in the press release. Farnsworth also said that the goal is to collect data from an assortment of people, which can then be used to target advertisement and to help in marketing strategies to subscribers, as Bloomberg reported.

“It’s no different than Facebook or Google,” Farnsworth told Bloomberg. “The more we understand our fans, the more we can target them.”

Regardless of the motivations behind the subscription price decrease of Movie Pass, there will surely be an increase in attendance to movie theaters. In fact, a 2016 independent report by Mather Economics found that Movie Pass members showed a 100 percent increase in move going and a 123 percent increase in concession revenues. Yes, Movie Pass helps to revenue for concession stand as well, which is a 80 percent profit margins for theaters, as Lowe told the Hollywood Reporter. The price decrease will possibly increase the number of subscribers and increase the rate of movie attendance tremendously, which would do wonders for theaters as the attendance is relatively low. In fact, Bloomberg reported that top four theater chains, including AMC theaters, had lost a total of $ 1.3 billion in market value in the earlier in the month of August due to decreasing ticket sales.

Despite the increase in movie attendance, there are major theater chains that are opposing the new movie plan subscription cost. According to Business Wire, AMC spoke to lawyers days after the price drop, stating that the model is not sustainable gives audiences an unrealistic expectation of the price for movies. Theaters are concerned that movie-goers will still expect low prices for movies even after Move Pass is no longer able to operate.

Despite AMC’s concerns, Movie Pass is still able to function with the chain because, as Lowe said, the Movie Pass is essentially a MasterCard debit card. So long as AMC accepts MasterCard, they can’t block the Movie Pass reported Business Insider.

Movie Pass has caused a lot of buzz in the past week and will surely continue to be a revolutionary game changer in the film industry in the months to come.