Knights Participate in Third Annual
Student Philanthropy Week


It takes many hands to smoothly and effectively run the second-largest university in the nation. Busy students often don’t realize where our school’s resources come from, so the UCF Student Philanthropy Council started spreading the word of philanthropic giving with Project ’63.

The mission of Project ’63 is to remind students of the importance of philanthropy and its impact on higher education. To accomplish this, the SPC is hosting its third annual Student Philanthropy Week, bringing the spirit of giving back to campus.

This year’s celebration takes place Feb. 22-25, and includes the following daily events to inspire tradition:

Monday – Education Day
Students host a table outside the Student Union and play educational/trivia games.

Tuesday – Appreciation Day
Students sign a “Thank You” banner for young alumni donors, which helps stewardship with donors and gives students a better appreciation for and understanding of how philanthropy impacts their education.

On both Monday and Tuesday, the Student Philanthropy Council also introduces Philanthropy Cab, like the TV show “CA$H CAB,” where members pick up students and drive them to their classes on a golf cart, all the while testing their knowledge and school pride!

Wednesday – Participation Day
Students focus on peer-to-peer solicitation to cultivate donations in anticipation of launching a senior giving program.

Thursday – Celebration Day
The week concludes with all of the previous days’ activities, plus the Student Philanthropy Symposium, featuring a panel of some of the UCF Alumni Association’s 30 under 30 award winners.

“Student Philanthropy Week is one of the first opportunities many students have to learn about the impact of philanthropy on their education,” says Danielle Warren, coordinator of the UCF Fund. “Facilitating experiences through which students might recognize that many academic, scholarship and programmatic opportunities are funded by donations cultivates the spirit of philanthropy on campus — an important step toward assuring the future of private support at UCF.”

For more information about the Student Philanthropy Council and Student Philanthropy Week, contact Danielle at 407.882.1254.

Events Honor National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

(PHOTO: Nick Russett)

By Aileen Perilla

The UCF community will remember the lives of domestic violence victims during its 8th annual Light Up the Night event Monday, Oct. 12, at 6 p.m. in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union.

The event, which coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, is meant to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of domestic violence and get a better idea of the impact this crime has not only on the victims, but the entire community.

“Relationship abuse affects everyone,” says Sarah Laake, assistant director of UCF Victim Services, which sponsors the event each year. “It could be a professor, someone in your study group, a relative, the person next to you in the library. We encourage anyone and everyone to join us at Light Up the Night to learn how abuse impacts our community and honor Knights who have lost their lives to intimate partner violence.”

During the program, attendees will see a ceremony called “An Empty Place at the Table,” set up to honor at least seven people with UCF ties who have died as a result of intimate partner violence. It’s meant to shine light on the deadly effects of abuse and memorialize domestic violence victims, Laake says.

Attendees also will hear from two survivors of domestic violence, as well as from Tomas Lares, founder of Florida Abolitionist. The organization’s mission is to end all forms of human trafficking in the U.S. Lares will speak about intimate partner violence and its close relation to human trafficking. Orlando Police Officer William Powell will speak about the use of technology in relation to stalking and how police respond to domestic violence calls.

More than 13 campus and community organizations that serve victims of domestic abuse will also have tables at the event to answer questions and provide resources.

UCF Light up the Night is just one of several events planned this month to keep the conversation about domestic violence going. Others include:

  • The Clothesline Project, a national effort to give survivors of domestic abuse an opportunity to express their emotions by decorating a T-shirt. Everyone is encouraged to decorate T-shirts as a way to show their support of domestic violence prevention. Tables with decorating supplies will be available at Victim Services’ Market Day booth in front of the Student Union every Wednesday this month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the shirts will be hung inside the Student Union throughout October.
  • Paint it Purple, hosted by UCF Victim Services and SafeHouse of Seminole, will take place Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Student Union. A “Purple Party” booth will be set up to provide information and freebies to students, as well as to raise awareness about intimate partner violence.
  • My Costume is Not My Consent, also hosted by UCF Victim Services, is happening Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Student Union. This event is intended to start a conversation with students and to remind everyone that, no matter how revealing a Halloween costume may be, it’s not an invitation to skip out on consent.

UCF partners, Harbor House of Central Florida, SafeHouse of Seminole and Help Now of Osceola, also are hosting domestic violence awareness month events across our community. Visit their websites to learn more.

UCF Victim Services provides 24/7 support for those impacted by crime or abuse. Speak with an advocate at any time by calling its hotline, at 407.823.1200.

This story was published Oct. 9, 2015, on UCF Today. It has been edited. See original article. 

UCF Students Provide Linens for the Homeless

(Photo: Central Florida Future/Courtesy of Shakera Quince)

By Shanae Hardy
Central Florida Future

Blanketing the city with compassion and comfort, the White Linen Project at UCF is leaving its mark around Central Florida in the form of sheets.

Students at UCF formed the White Linen Project, a volunteer initiative that provides linen to homeless families, to leave an imprint on their community.

Shakera Quince, a junior management major, was influenced to begin the nonprofit organization when she began volunteering for the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, one of the largest homeless shelters in Central Florida. After volunteering twice a week and witnessing several families that slept in the cold, Quince said she felt a deep connection with the children and families she served. She decided to challenge herself on what she could do to further provide resources to the families at the mission.

“I was able to find out that one of the major needs was linen, specifically white linen at the time,” she explains. “So, I stayed up late at night for a couple of weeks trying to figure out what can I do. Lo and behold, the White Linen Project was born.”

Quince paired with four other students who shared her passion for wanting to change some of the circumstances of the homeless, including her former roommate, Katrina Poggio, a senior journalism major.

Poggio said she is currently working on a photo project for the White Linen Project’s website to bring awareness to the homeless community.

“I got involved because Shakera and I have a mutual interest in making a difference,” she says. “My favorite part about the volunteer initiative is that I have an opportunity to give a voice to those who go unheard.”

After developing the program for almost a year, Quince and her team introduced the White Linen Project on campus in April. By partnering with several community-wide volunteer initiatives, such as Volunteer UCF, Straight Street Orlando and the Mustard Seed of Central Florida, the White Linen Project has beckoned attention for the immense demand for linen donations.

In order to provide students with opportunities to donate, members of the White Linen Project tabled outside the Student Union every Monday in April, allowing students to either drop off linen directly to them or at other designated areas around campus.

For the summer, Quince and the rest of the team have obtained two options for students to continue to donate to the White Linen Project: the UCF cubicle located on the second floor of the Student Union and the Knights Pantry.

After their first month on campus, Quince, Poggio and their team collected more than 150 pieces of linen.

Poggio and Quince are looking to expand the team with more volunteers so the organization can eventually grow into a registered student organization.

“We have so many ideas as we grow, and one of them is maybe even handing linens out downtown to people who sleep on the ground outside. Coming with a box of pizza and some linen and just saying, ‘Hey, have a nice night,'” Quince said.

In the future, Quince is hopeful that her initiative will expand beyond the UCF proximity.

“Hopefully one day we can go outside of Orlando,” she says. “One day, maybe we will collect enough linen to send over to other countries.”

More Info

White Linen Project

This article appeared in a May 13, 2015, edition of the Central Florida Future online. It has been slightly edited for style. See original story.

UCF Community Honors Lives of Eternal Knights

The Pegasus seal in the Student Union is decorated with golden roses and candles during the annual Eternal Knights ceremony, which honors the lives of students who passed away during the year.
The Pegasus seal in the Student Union is decorated with flowers and candles during the annual Eternal Knights ceremony, which honors the lives of students who passed away while enrolled. (PHOTO: Bernard Wilchusky, Central Florida Future)

On Thursday, April 9, at 4 p.m., fellow students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered in the Pegasus Ballroom at the Student Union for the annual Eternal Knights ceremony, during which they honored the lives of 11 Knights who passed away during recent academic terms, and observed 22 seconds of silence — two seconds for each student we lost.

Those named as Eternal Knights at the 2015 ceremony included:

  • Marc Abrams | Health Services Administration, College of Health and Public Affairs
  • Adam Bee | Biology, College of Sciences
  • Lauren Bonn | Nursing, College of Nursing
  • Santiago Diaz | Psychology, College of Sciences
  • Brandon Dickerson | Film, College of Arts and Humanities
  • Kuistin Gaskin | Film, College of Arts and Humanities
  • Shayne Ivill | Interdisciplinary Studies, Office of Undergraduate Studies
  • Melanie Kaprocki | Computer Science Ph.D., College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Crevan O’Ceallaigh | Criminal Justice M.S., College of Health and Public Affairs
  • Melissa Ostrom | Nursing, College of Nursing
  • Jasen Stone | Health Services Administration, College of Health and Public Affairs
  • Dara Wells | Exceptional Student Education M.Ed., College of Education and Human Performance

“Gone yet not forgotten, although we are apart, your spirit lives within me, forever in my heart.”