ArtDesignCulture

Posts Tagged ‘uf’

Things that lasted we didn’t think would make it

In Other on April 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Everything about college is designed to be temporary. At the same time, everyone plays their role in a giant scheme to make it appear that everything from college lasts forever. (Hello Gator Memory Book. No I will not be filling you with photos of the french fry statue and Century Tower.)

Everything about college is just an acquaintance. You get acquainted with a subject, and then forget it. Same with most people. You see someone at a holiday party and realize it’s Tim, the friend of Kevin, who you met in your first class of the semester a year and a half ago when you asked to borrow a pencil. You spent six consecutive Mondays meeting them and their group of friends at Boca Fiesta for movie nights, the most memorable of which was the showing of Arachnophobia. Seeing Tim at the holiday party makes you realize that you used to call and/or text a certain group of people during a certain chunk of time and then it just stopped. And though this does happen in real life, it happens in college life ALL THE TIME. Things finally came full circle when Kevin saw you in the library studying for finals on Monday and asked to borrow a pencil.

Few things are designed to last the entire four years of the thing that is college except for maybe a sturdy pair of rubber boots. If you are a transfer student, like moi, you have two years to participate in the farce that is everlasting friendship and knowledge. (My journalism degree is already six years behind the times.)

So without further ado for a post that is actually supposed to be humorous, here are the things that actually lasted two years that we didn’t think would make it:

Fake Cheese!

When I first got to Gainesville, I had me a craving for cheesy Ramen because who would judge me for that in a college town. I proceeded to buy a stack of individually wrapped slices thinking that somehow I would find uses for the seemingly appropriately portioned fake dairy. Though I knew it was fake cheese, Claire confirmed this with Science by noting that it’s melting point is too low for it to actually be dairy as it began melting to our counter at room temperature. Alas, after a couple cheesy Ramens, my craving was satiated for a few years and we still have tons of fake cheese.

200 square feet of aluminum foil!

Decorating our apartment with aluminum foil seemed like an AWESOME idea around the holidays. I spent a few hours making aluminum foil and tissue paper bunting chains AND aluminum foil wreaths. But still, I had aluminum foil. We wrapped ham in it. We wrapped cookies in it. We baked a bunch of shit with it spread all over cookie sheets. And still, we have aluminum foil. Crazytown, I know.

TOMS!

Most of my friends have busted holes in their TOMS by now. Clearly, I have tried to break these stinkers down, but they keep holding on and smelling bad.

Condoms!

And this is not because I condone unsafe sex. I’m just not that good at that part of college, which in the end, is a good thing(?). Thank you Alachua County County Health Department for giving me massive quantities of little reminders of this fact.

“You’re in college, you must take these.” “Nope, really, it’s fine. Save ’em for the sorority girls.”

Kitten calendar!

I got my roommate this calendar in 2010 to make her happy. We liked it so much that when our friend got us an almost equally awesome zen calendar, we just decided to make the kittens last for two years.

Roomies forever!

While many roommateships don’t last, Claire and I have a real love that transcends “many roommateships.” Seriously, I’m not quite sure what we would have done if we didn’t carpool to visit UF together, only to end up co-signing a lease with a fingers-crossed, “you seem unpsychotic” naive gleefulness. I would have either been a total recluse and driven four hours each weekend to Tampa to visit friends and my mamma. Or I would have made a big ole messy party, courtesy of alcoholism. Claire would have had a more severe mental breakdown during second semester and only talked to chem students. Thanks to me, we talked to a whole variety of batshit crazy, narcissistic journalism students.

But seriously, Claire has become one of my best friends and confidantes, listening to a litany of problems, real or imagined, on a relatively daily basis. We also like to do our make-up together and listen to music. And I shall be a bridesmaid in her wedding this September.

Advertisements

You passed, Chuck Klosterman!

In Other on April 7, 2011 at 1:09 am

Chuck Klosterman passed the beer test.

The beer test was invented (to my knowledge) by Professor Mike Foley who uses it most often as a yardstick to judge whether or not a profile is adequate. The test is: “Based on what you have read, would you know whether or not you want to have a beer with this person?”

If you did a skillful and professional job of conveying that someone is, for instance,  an eloquent public official and porn-hater, a person sharing his views should want to have a beer with him and a person who does not share his views would not.

At the same time, the subject of the profile should not be offended when he reads it but should find it rings true, at least to some degree.

ANYWAY, I digress. The point is, I wanted to have a beer with Chuck Klosterman after I read his books, and now that I have heard him speak, I really want to have a beer with him.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure that Klosterman was going to pass the beer test. I had seen videos of him during interviews, and he seemed bored and boring. Also, in his books, he talks about being resistive to interviewers, as he is a professional interviewer himself, knows what they are after and is not really into being on the other end of the deal. What I came to realize was that Klosterman sort of absorbs the mood or tone of his interviewer.

This, however, was not an interview. It was a talk. To a bunch of college kids. I thought I would see more j-students. But it was really just the bar crowd from the Toplantic. We can never really get away from each other short of moving (t-minus 24 days).

BUT that meant that he had free reign to do or say as he pleased. Chuck dissuaded all my worries and put on a bully show.

My notes are as follows:

Bad-Acid (He talks about bad acid, which he has never himself had. The cool thing about him saying “bad acid” out loud is that it sounds like “badass-ed.” So it sounds like, “That’s some badass-ed shit.” I’m not sure if this is funny anymore. Now it just seems like an inside joke with myself.)

1) technology fluency

2) humor

3) networking

(Chuck’s tips to me for surviving post-grad.)

Ha, Care Bears! 1:08:08

1/2 sports questions

1/2 journo questions

2 snobby literary reference “questions”

and hipsters murmuring snark for the entire hour and half

The last words he spoke to us were:

“It’t not the quality! It’s the size!”

Punished for drinking water

In Environment(al) on March 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Fresh from Spring Break, I returned to the good ole Reitz Union for a cheeseburger and fries from Cheeburger Cheeburger, possibly the least well known but most fun to say burger joint around.

Though I’m clearly not a health freak, I do try to stay away from soda, particularly its high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). So I like to pair my cheeseburger with a water.

On this day, I had reason to require a bottle of water for portability reasons and couldn’t order my usual cup of tap water. When I asked for a bottle of water with my combo, to my surprise, the cashier told me she would be required to charge me an extra $1.

“So if I get a soda, it’s included, but if I want a bottled water, it’s a $1 extra, and if I want tap water, it’s free?”

“Yep.”

In hindsight, this is probably due to the cost of the plastic bottle vs. the paper cup. But because I’m cheap, I felt that I was being ripped off and immediately ordered a Dr. Pepper.

But I felt completely punished for trying to be just slightly healthier and avoid some sugar.

In fact, I am not crazy. There is a push for sugar.

The corn refiners association has recently launched an entire website devoted to defending HFCS and promoting a name change to “corn sugar” to dodge the negative connotations now associated with HFCS.

Corn refiners industry "corn sugar" website

Though there are studies, such as the one from Princeton that found that HFCS did contribute to weight gain, I’m not here to nitpick HFCS vs. sugar.

The point is that refined sugars in general aren’t super healthy. Weight gain is one issue. Dental decay is another. And a depressed immune system yet another negative effect of the tons and tons of sugar consumed annually.

And what is with all of this flavored water crap? It is insanely sweet and tastes like a headache. I don’t want a FlavorSplash Splenda-infused water. I just want to hydrate.

You have the right idea Wyoming, Montana, parts of Alabama and parts of Idaho, where this beverage is not available. (Look for part 2 where I figure out why not.)

So that’s what I get for not carrying a reusable bottle, I guess: Dr. Pepper and the sniffles.

Something as simple as adding filtered water to the drink menu and not serving it in ridiculously small lidless cups could go a long way in supporting water as a healthy option when ordering in a lunch line.

Instead of browbeating water into a position as a second-class beverage, it needs to be elevated to the status of a full-class drinking option.

Just give me the drugs please, ma’am

In Other on February 16, 2011 at 2:00 am

Considering I live in a petri dish of a college town, it’s not surprising I got sick about a month ago. Sore throat, swollen glands: the works.

Vitamin C, garlic-packed multi-vitamins that seemed sized for horses instead of humans, and Zicam weren’t doing the trick. I did not feel better.

After two weeks, I visited he Student Health Care Center hoping for an easy prescription for antibiotics. The symptoms were all the same as an earlier upper respiratory infection, thus I felt almost assured of a Z-pack.

I arrived at 3:55, ten minutes after my scheduled 3:45 appointment.

“Hi. I have an appointment.”

“You had an appointment,” the receptionist said.

“What?”

“You’re more than ten minutes late.”

“It’s 3:56.”

“Exactly. You’ll have to make another appointment.”

“Seriously? And is there a charge for this appointment?”

“Oh, just a moment, looks like I can pencil you in for 4:15. There would have been a charge if I had canceled your appointment, but now you’ll just need to fill out this form.”

And so I pouted my way to the waiting room where it was clear that my odds of recovery were better if I had decided not to expose myself to the kids who were really getting it taken out of them and subsequently hacking all over the walls and furniture of that tiny, tiny room.

At 4:05, I was called into the back where I was asked a battery of standard questions and told to wait for the doctor.

I was clearly in the wrong place. People behind the curtains were dying. I was just dragging ass a little bit.

Overheard conversations:

Nurse: “I was trying to draw blood doctor, but I can’t get any.”

Doctor: “You’re clearly dehydrated son. You’re blood is dry.”

Nurse: “I’ll just keep trying. I know I’ll get it soon.”

Patient: “Unnnggghhhh.”

—–

Nurse: “Just spit as much mucous as you can into this tissue, and we’ll test it. I know you can feel a bit silly, but just go for as much as you can.”

Patient: “Waooocccchhhhh...”

—-

Finally it was my turn.

“Do you still have your tonsils?” the doctor asked.

Expecting a diagnosis of tonsillitis, I quickly answered that I did.

“Oh, haha, I can’t find them. They’re small.”

Relieved that I didn’t require any major or minor surgeries and please that I had small tonsils, which I took as a compliment, I figured I was overreacting. The doctor told me my throat wasn’t that pink, but I could take Tylenol for the pain if I wanted. I explained that I had the same thing a year ago, and I got antibiotics. She said she would test me for strep (even though I told her I had an infection). A nurse tested me for strep. I didn’t have strep.

The final solution of the day: “Would you like a Gatorade.”

Why, yes, I would. Thank you Gator Nation.

But unfortunately I will have to turn to Canada for my antibiotics as it’s now been four weeks, and I am still not fully recovered.

Damn you, Albert.

—-

But seriously, it’s annoying that with an extensively systematized operation like we have here at UF, I can’t get properly treated. While I know how annoyed doctors are these days with self-diagnoses and an app for every symptom around, there’s also something to be said for being familiar with one’s own body and the types of illnesses that it is prone to.

To me, modern medicine shouldn’t let treatable conditions linger.

UF grad’s piano bar offers musical variety

In Journalism on February 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Take a step into Rockeys Dueling Piano Bar downtown and enter the world of Billy Joel. And T-Pain. And Garth Brooks.

Brad Heron shares a toast with the crowd at Rockeys Dueling Piano Bar in downtown Gainesville. (Photo by Britt Perkins)

Rockeys, 112 S. Main St., opened New Year’s Eve but is already one of the few bars downtown that can pack in a crowd by 10 p.m. And, unlike other spots in town, variety is not lacking here.

Last Friday, the crowd la, la, la’d along to “Crocodile Rock” and didn’t miss a beat during the transition to “Low (Apple Bottom Jeans).”

Two pianos back-to-back and a drum kit fill the raised stage where crowd requests alone determine the set list Thursday through Saturday. Local live music reigns on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

A $6 bid can get your request bumped to the front of the line, but an opposing $7 wager can make sure the first chords of “Party in the U.S.A.” are also the last.

It’s all about interaction at Rockeys. The players banter with one another and are not shy about talking directly to the crowd. And sometimes, they do more than just talk. While on stage, each player has a hand-held spotlight, ready to select volunteers for games and serenades. Recently, Rockeys hosted an impromptu “booty-shaking” contest with participants ages 21 to 61.

Brad Heron, owner and house piano player, said the “ageless” factor where everyone checks their egos at the door is one reason people can have a good time at Rockeys.

After graduating from UF in 2004, Heron toured the U.S. playing professionally, building his repertoire. But Heron, a self-proclaimed diehard Gators fan, said each college town reminded him of his alma mater.

“I missed Gainesville,” he said. “And I had such a good time here, and I was having such a good time in other college towns, I thought, ‘Man, I’d really like to do Gainesville.’”

Heron partnered with Scott Schmailzl, owner of Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar in West Des Moines, Iowa, and longtime friend from the piano circuit.

Tim Buie of Savannah, Ga., also joined Heron in Gainesville as a house player.

Although there are regular appearances, the lineup doesn’t always stay the same.

Every week, a guest player from another town joins the regulars on stage with a different background and different skills, which helps keep things interesting and fresh, Heron said.

After going through “a million” names, Heron said they settled on the combination of the words “rock” and “keys” to brand the new piano bar downtown, but that’s often how people still refer to it.

However, naming was not the biggest challenge people said they would face. The 21-plus, non-smoking requirements, on the other hand, were. But instead of being a problem, Heron said those two factors are what he gets complimented on most, besides the friendliness of the staff.

And as for Heron’s favorite song to play?

“I probably wouldn’t sit in a room by myself and say, ‘Oh, I feel like playing some Lady Gaga right now.’ But in front of a crowd of people that want to hear it, I mean, there’s nothing more fun than Lady Gaga.”

Story in the Independent Florida Alligator on Thursday, Feb 10.

Alissa Walker tackles the questions of a student journalist

In Design, Journalism on February 10, 2011 at 10:30 pm

In my search for footholds of advice in the upward climb of building a career in journalism, I reached out to to one of my favorite journalists Alissa Walker, an L.A.-based writer with passions for design and gelato.

She replied with speed and friendliness and allowed me to ply her with the nuts-and-bolts questions wracking my soon-to-be-graduated mind. Not to be greedy, I’m sharing her answers with you.

Thanks Alissa!

Alissa Walker (Photo by Cicilia Teng)

Q: Many of us students don’t get paid for the pieces we write when we are building up our portfolios. How do you transition to getting paid to write, and how do you figure out how much to charge?

Alissa Walker: That’s a great question, especially since I can’t really remember how I made the transition. I think at first I just wrote for whatever the publication said they would pay me. Every publication is different so you really have to figure out what each piece means to you. Are you going to meet your hero, report on something close to your heart, be exposed to an audience drastically different than your own? Are you going to have fun? These are all the things to consider. Now, of course, I know the exact dollar amounts attached to each of those things and I’ve been able to make my own rules. But back then it was all about experimenting, and sometimes, really messing up!

Q: How do you feel about blogs and social media? What have you found to be the most important or effective practices when it comes to these types of media tools?

AW: Blogs and social media are my best friends. I think that getting the word out about my stories through various outlets is part of the job of being a journalist now. I also think there’s an art to it and it’s just as important as honing your voice. I also like the short-form nature of social media: Twitter and Flickr are two of my favorite ways to tell stories because doesn’t take very long to “publish” something you’re proud of. I also like the ability to be very, very personal in my writing so I look forward to writing on my blog—if that could be my only job I think I’d be really happy. Next I’m launching a Tumblr, just for fun!

Q: What do you do to alleviate the “Holy shit, I need a job RIGHT NOW!” anxiety?

AW: Well, I have regular gigs now with publications so that feeling has largely gone away (only to be replaced by different anxieties!). But I’ve been there and that feeling is pretty awful. I think writing helps, quite honestly, doing a fun essay on your blog that you can share with the world and feel like you’re contributing to society. The other thing to do is just get away from the computer since staring at it will only remind you of money. Take a long walk and you’ll come up with new story ideas that you can pitch.

Q: The temptation to write about everything is strong, but it seems that many employers are seeking someone with a specialty. Sometimes specializing in journalism doesn’t seem to be enough. How do you brand yourself as an expert in certain areas while still remaining able to write about so many different topics?

AW: I think specialization is both very important and a bit overrated. I very early on became “branded” as a design writer which was great for people to remember me for jobs. But now, I think people are more likely to remember you, as a person, and all of your interests, since it’s so easy to get a picture of you from looking at your blog, or Twitter, or Facebook page. A focus is great, but many focuses, or passions, is really smart.

Q: How do you become an expert at something you have an interest in covering but may not have formal training within that field?

AW: Enthusiasm! I am in no way a design expert, or a transit expert, or really even a gelato expert. But I am a highly-qualified nerd in all those areas. Go to every conference and event, ask lots of questions, meet everyone you can. Write about your topic as if its the most important thing to you in the world, and you’re instantly an expert.

Q: How can I can get an internship/job at GOOD magazine? What are skills or qualities do you feel editors are looking for that they may not often find?

AW: We’re currently looking for staff writers and we look for interns at different times during the year. When you apply for any edit job, I’d recommend first and foremost reading the publication—you have no idea how many people just don’t take the time to get to know it. The other piece of advice I’d have is to come to the table with ideas. Have ideas for new columns and areas of coverage that shows you’ve thought critically about the publication. And finally, if you have other strengths like photography or party planning, mention that. We don’t need more writers who cower behind computers. We need people who can get out there and pitch in on any project.

Q: I read in another interview you say you’ve “only” been in L.A. for nine years. Where did you move from? What advice do you have for a brand new transplant to the city? When do you feel you will drop that “only” from your explanation of your time in Los Angeles?

AW: I went to journalism school at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then to an advertising school called Portfolio Center in Atlanta. After school I was desperate for a job during the burst of the dot-com bubble, and then took a freelance gig in Sacramento. It was there that I realized I should actually move to a city I liked, and worry about the job later. So I ended up in LA. My advice for transplants (to any city, really) is the same advice I have for myself: Move to a very dense, diverse neighborhood where there are people who are different than yourself, and try ditching the car and walking as many places as you can. As for the “only” nine years, ha! I always joke that when I hit my 10th anniversary I’m going to make buttons that say LAX. Maybe then!

Q: Anything else you would like to say to almost-graduated students embarking on their careers?

AW: Don’t worry too much about job titles or even jobs for that matter. Work on building your own brand, meeting a mentor, and creating a body of work that you’re proud of. The money, and the work, will follow.

Stars still aligned: horoscopes the same, experts say

In Journalism on February 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Social media sites were ablaze last week with outraged updates after news reports said the horoscope we knew and loved was all wrong.

“I am not a Cancer!” one outraged Leo wrote online.

This recent astrological discovery is attributed to Parke Kunkle, astronomy professor at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College and board officer at the Minnesota Planetarium Society. In an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Kunkle said not only were there actually 13 constellations in the zodiac but also that the dates assigned to each sign were off by about a month.

“I was startled to see it in the news,” said Peter Barnes, assistant scientist of astronomy at UF. “It’s not new at all.”

This isn’t a discovery in the field of astronomy, which is the science that studies celestial bodies.

Nor is it a discovery in the field of astrology, which is the practice of interpreting and predicting information about life based on celestial bodies and their movement.

Astronomers and astrologists acknowledge they have known about these phenomena for some time.

But the primary reason this science doesn’t affect your horoscope is the astrological zodiac is seasonal.

“From the outset, it was clear that the zodiac signs were not meant to be constellations,” said David Cochrane, curriculum director for the Avalon School of Astrology in Gainesville.

According to Cochrane, ancient humans knew about the constellation Ophiuchus, in addition to many other constellations. But, intentionally, they created a system based on 12 signs.

Therefore, the dates of zodiac signs haven’t changed at all. So Capricorn, fear not: You are still the ambitious and responsible character you always were. And Gemini, your talkative duality was never and will never be in question.

This story originally appeared in the Independent Florida Alligator on Thursday, Jan. 27.

Not easy being green? With help, planting made simple

In Journalism on January 26, 2011 at 2:15 am

If you’re looking to revamp your home decor and your attitude, the resolution could be simple: Liven up your living space.

Adding living things to an apartment or dorm makes people feel better, experts say, and it’s no question that they add something personal as well. And if cleaning dirty hamster cages and fish tanks isn’t your thing, try something simple. Get a plant.

”[Plants] can give people a sense of purpose to know there is a living thing depending on them,” said Jeffery Hubbard, UF greenhouse manager.

Even if you’re not an expert gardener, there are only a few simple things to remember. First, Hubbard said, there are certain varieties that are best suited to dorm and apartment life.

“You want to get something that’s been grown in shade and is already adapted to those conditions,” Hubbard said. “The harder to kill the better.”

Hubbard advised going to a small, local nursery to select plants. Generally, he said, employees there will have a deeper knowledge of the needs of each type of plant and can do a better job of matching you with a suitable green friend. In Gainesville, Hubbard recommended Garden Gate Nursery and Harmony Gardens.

After selecting a plant, the next step is finding the right place to put it.

There is a “recipe” for each plant, according to Garry Trafford, who has been selling plants at farmers markets across the state for 20 years, including at the Union Street Farmers Market, which is open every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in downtown Gainesville.

Lucky bamboo,  a variety that’s actually not a bamboo at all, flourishes in low-light environments, Trafford said. Bonsai is another plant that’s good for plant keepers who are limited by space constraints, such as students and office workers. Plants that are also easily maintained in small areas include the bromeliad, orchid, ficus, aglaonema, sanseviera (or snake plant), dracena and chamaedorea palms.

Price also makes these “pets” suitable for any budget, as they start at $6 each.

Just keep in mind, it’s not always “the wetter the better,” Hubbard said.

“Over-watering probably kills more plants than anything else,” he said. To avoid this, test the soil with your finger. If it feels moist to the touch, it’s finished drinking.

Original story.

Innocent bystander of war

In Spring 010 on April 7, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Masses of students bearing banadas on their biceps and foam suckers in their Nerf guns crawled over the lawn toward Weimer Hall.

They obsessively panned their vision, sweeping left and right with every step.

Suddenly, one broke from the group and jogged toward the brick safety zone.

“Thanks guys!” he shouted to his escorts.

They shouted their goodbyes as they slunk backward toward the Reitz Union.

I smiled from my vantage point in the grass, amused at their faux war.

Zombies vs. Humans is in full swing at UF.

The editors at the Alligator made their distaste for these nerdy gamers clear in a recent editorial.

While there definitely may be a few sporting gamer-geek chic, the crowd seems more diverse than they let on, instead sharing a certain sense of humor. “Hey, your inner child is showing!”

It’s only a few weeks to finals, and I applaud those who can split their seriousness between study and defending themselves from being targeted by stalkers bent on imminent death. And with balled up socks no less.

The lone human clinging to his safety gun while he limps around in a leg cast is one of the cute-like-a-three-legged-puppy sort of examples that I really enjoy. A zombie (note the bandana on the head, not the arm) even gave him quarter in acknowledgment of his pathetic odds.

The khaki-trousered, tucked-in-shirted student who calmly and cautiously proceeded behind a group of bushes upon spotting three zombies in the distance chose the underground entrance to the Reitz–and survived.

So don’t underestimate the social good you do through simple amusement. You crazy kids you!

Anti-abortion group uses genocide, trys to change minds at UF

In Self-Publishing on February 24, 2010 at 9:06 pm

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Orange and blue signs reading “Warning: Genocide Photos Ahead” and “Genocide Awareness Project” lined the perimeters of the Plaza of the Americas and the Reitz Union North Lawn at the University of Florida Monday and Tuesday.

But students expecting depictions from the Holocaust and Rwanda may have been surprised when they discovered the majority of photos were of aborted fetuses.

The traveling exhibit consisted of about 10 double-sided panels reaching about 8 feet high. It is known as the Genocide Awareness Project and is run by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, an internationally active group opposed to all forms of abortion.

Stephanie Gray, 29, a staff member at CBR, said the ultimate goal is to “make abortion unthinkable.” Initially, the group is trying to strike up discussion and debate.

“These pictures can move women out of denial and into recognition,” Gray said.

She used a specific example of a CBR staff member who had an abortion three years ago.

“She can’t go back and resurrect her child,” Gray said, “but she can save other babies.”

Though she acknowledges there are differences among all instances of genocide, Gray said the definition of “genocide” CBR is using, which some may consider broad, is the systematic extermination of any group, whether distinguished by race, culture or age.

Abortion has polarized many people for decades. Using the elements of genocide and graphic images galvanized some people to speak on both sides of the issue.

About a dozen protesters from Planned Parenthood gathered opposite the display holding hot pink signs that read “Pro-Choice” and “Women’s Rights.”

Megan Frazier, 22, a senior majoring in business at UF and a member of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood at UF, did not want to address the assertions of the Genocide Awareness Project specifically.

“We’re just here protecting every woman’s right to choose,” said Frazier. “It’s a legally protected right, and we just want to keep it that way.”

Natalie Muniz, 25, the director of education and communications for Planned Parenthood North Florida, said that a common misconception is that they are “pro-abortion.”

“No one is ‘pro-abortion,’” Muniz said. “I think we can all agree on that. [The display] is meant to shock people. We’re here to give medically accurate, fact-based information.”

The majority of the work of Planned Parenthood is preventative, said Muniz. Their goal is preventing unplanned pregnancies through education and access to health care that enable people to make good decisions for themselves and their families.

Some appreciated the anti-abortion message of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform but didn’t categorically agree with the displays.

“I don’t mind this actually at all. It’s reality, and it’s part of life,” said Matthew Powers, 19, an engineering sophomore. “Most people will say it’s a little ‘out there.’”

Amaya Kulkarni, 24, a second-year graduate student in computer engineering, felt that the displays didn’t touch the root of the problem.

“I’m against abortion for sure,” Kulkarni said. “But it’s not required to have such a graphic display. It’s all about consciousness and culture. I come from India. Free sex is not prevalent in the East as in the West. If people are married and have a baby, they have no reason for abortion.”

In India, abortion is legal and occurs about 2 million to 6 million times per year. Abortion there, however, has been frequently used to abort female fetuses. This spurred the government to enact legislation in 1994 outlawing gender testing for the purposes of selectively bearing male children.

According to the U.S. Census, abortion rates have declined since 1990, when the peak was about 1.6 million nationally. In 2005, there were about 1.2 million abortions.

This statistic could be considered a victory for all sides.

And among the many varying views, some were supportive of the displays.

“I think that it’s very important to educate people about why abortion is wrong,” said Sharon Parker, 20, a sophomore majoring in mathematics at UF. “The emotional aspect of the pictures gets people talking where otherwise they wouldn’t talk about it. They are just as human as us and have the right to life.”