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The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions presents a new and unique design for civic dialog with its first Speed Date Your Local Leaders program on Dec. 3. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on the Clearwater Campus, Room ES-104. The event is free and open to the public, but participants are required to register in advance.

SPC’s policy institute is dedicated to elevating civic engagement through public forums that offer in-depth exploration of today’s critical issues. The Speed Date format gives community members a special way to connect with community leaders in an informal setting.

This is an opportunity to meet face to face with representatives from government, business, not-for-profit and education arenas. The leaders will rotate from table to table every seven minutes, offering each group of participants an opportunity to ask questions or offer ideas that might never have prompted a phone call, email or public testimony.

Eighteen local leaders have committed to participating. They are:

  • Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos
  • Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne
  • Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter
  • SPC Clearwater Provost Dr. Stan Vittetoe
  • Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce President Bob Clifford
  • TechData Director of Human Resources Marian Morlock
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal Publisher Bridgette Bello
  • JWB Director of Public Policy Debra Prewitt
  • AARP Florida Associate State Director of Advocacy Laura Cantwell
  • Pinellas County Administrator Mark Woodard
  • Pinellas Education Foundation Vice President of Development Robin McGowan
  • Pinellas Sports Commission Director Kevin Smith
  • Platinum Bank Senior Executive Vice President James Ray
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium Chief Operating Officer Frank Dame
  • Pinellas County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair John Morroni
  • Pinellas County Board of Commissioners Member Janet Long
  • Morton Plant Mease Hospital Foundation President & CEO Ernestine Bean
  • Pinellas County Schools Deputy Superintendent Dr. William Corbett.

Speed Date Your Local Leaders is modeled after a program by the same name offered by the Institute’s partner organization, The Village Square Tallahassee. And following the Tallahassee template, free pizza and soft drinks will be provided.

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March, Rafael Rivera, Mohammed Shaker, Chris Clark.

Pictured above are: Brenton David, Karen Donovan, Jacob Lurvey, David Creighton, Jeffrey Schultz,Jason Hoven, Madeline Rondo,Kristina Phillips, Jeff Thomas, Representative David Jolly, Bill Fleming, Earnest Gant, David Weatherspoon, Tina March, Rafael Rivera, Mohammed Shaker, Chris Clark.

When the new Pinellas Bayway Bridge opened Oct. 17, members of St. Petersburg College’s Student Veterans Association (SVA) and Males Achieving Excellence (MAX) were on hand as volunteers. Festivities included a 5K run, a paddle board flotilla, a pool party, a beach party and a ceremonial lighting of the bridge.

The SVA and MAX volunteers helped set up the beach bash, provided water at the aid stations for the runners, helped with traffic flow, distributed safety lights to the spectators and moved the equipment from the starting line to the finish line before and after race. The race was so successful that plans are already in the works to do it again next year.

The activities were captured by volunteer photographer Charlie Harris, an SVA member from the Clearwater Campus. Check out all the photos in the SVA Facebook gallery.

Fees from the race topped $15,000 and were donated to the Associated Marine Institute Kids, a program that supports troubled children, and to Tampa BayWatch Marine, an organization that protects and restores the Tampa Bay estuaries.

Article courtesy of Rafael Rivera Nieves, CPO, USCG, (ret.)

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St. Petersburg College student peer advisors participate in a radio interview about the college's peer advising program.

St. Petersburg College student peer advisors participate in a radio interview about the college’s peer advising program.

Three St. Petersburg College student peer advisors accepted an invitation to speak about their experiences in the college’s peer advising program on Tampa Bay Tomorrow, a local radio show that airs on 970 WFLA. The segment aired Oct. 19 and 20.

Listen to the peer advising radio interview on the WFLA website.

“It’s great to be a part of something that sets SPC apart from the other state colleges in Florida,” said Adam Bailey, a student veteran and peer advisor at the Seminole Campus.

Since it began in Fall 2013, the peer advising program has enjoyed great success. In addition to being able to assist other students, peer advising also gives students an active learning experience.

The program, which originally was funded by the Student Government Association, began with two students and has since expanded to include five student peer advisors. Each peer advisor goes through a month of intensive academic advising training before they can start helping other students.

Some peer advisors assist up to 20 students a day, said Malena Buck, Student Life & Leadership Coordinator at the Seminole Campus.

Peer advisors have met with more than 800 students since its beginning. The program is expanding into different departments, with peer advisors now assigned to Veterans Services and Career Services. They also provide assistance with the My Learning Plan in the Learning Commons on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 pm.

Being able to share about their experiences during the radio interview was an exciting learning experience for the peer advisors.

“It was such a privilege to represent SPC and share about a program that enhances the college experience,” said Melissa Joy Petrescue, student peer advisor.

“The peer-to-peer experience is what I’m going to hold onto for a long time,” said Melissa Dabydeen, student peer advisor at the Seminole Campus. “The leadership skills and experience gained will assist me with future endeavors.

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From left: Former Rep. Ed Hooper, Sen. Jack Latvala, Dean Susan Demers, and students Mecca Bellmore and Adriana Hulland.

From left: Rep. Ed Hooper, Sen. Jack Latvala, Dean Susan Demers, and students Mecca Bellmore and Adriana Hulland.

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, St. Petersburg College hosted its sixth Public Policy Leadership Speakers Series luncheon on the Seminole Campus. About 100 people attended the event, including bachelor’s degree students in the Public Policy and Administration program.

SPC President Bill Law introduced guest speakers Sen. Jack Latvala and former Rep. Ed Hooper. The legislators stopped by to discuss collaborative leadership within the Florida Senate and House of Representatives as well as within their own districts.

“Our Public Policy Leadership Speaker Series luncheons are exciting, interactive and on-point. We have had the good fortune to bring in highly acclaimed professionals from all three branches of state government, from local government and from national/international disciplines,” said Jeff Kronschnabl, Instructor in Charge, Public Policy and Administration. “For our students to be able to reach out and engage these leaders within an intimate setting is a very special opportunity.”

Sen. Latvala and Rep. Hooper participated in an unscripted, candid discussion about their experiences through years working as public officials and answered questions from the audience.

At the conclusion of the event, Sen. Latvala and Rep. Ed Hooper met and spoke with students individually, answering questions about career choices, public policy and relationship building.

“Public policy is exciting and promising,” said Adriana Hulland, a student in the Public Policy and Administration program. “It’s collaborative diplomacy at its best, with good people, good food, and opportunities of a life time. I love what we do. Public Policy and Administration is the right career for me.”

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ZalupskiAwards

Nearly 700 people attended the annual Dr. Vilma Fernandez-Zalupski Academic Excellence Awards ceremony on the Clearwater Campus on Oct. 23.

The ceremony recognizes the academic success of Latino high school students who have a grade point average of 3.0 and higher. Six hundred twenty students were eligible for the award. Of those, nearly 200 attended with their family members.

“We had a phenomenal community turn-out and the event was a huge success,” said Student Support Advisor Joe Benavides.

The annual awards honor Fernandez-Zalupski, the first woman in Florida to serve as a community college provost. A native of Ybor City, she worked as provost of the Clearwater Campus for 16 years before retiring in 1995.

As provost, Fernandez-Zalupski helped develop the first International Center and Women on the Way, a program that guides women through the college experience. The Tampa Hispanic Heritage Foundation for outstanding service to education has honored her.

The Master of Ceremonies was Robin Gomez, auditor and Hispanic-Latino Liaison for the City of Clearwater. The keynote speakers were: Saby E. Guidicelli, Workforce Manager/Human Resources, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County; Maria Hernandez, parent of student Teresa Hernandez; and Jose Godinez-Samperio, Gulf Coast Legal Services – Law Graduate, Pending Bar Admission. Godinez-Samperio will become the first undocumented immigrant admitted to the Florida Bar on Nov. 20.

 

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On Tuesday, Oct. 21, Men Achieving Excellence, the African-American and Latino Male initiative in partnership with Student Life and Leadership hosted the Student vs. Staff Basketball game at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

This event consisted of faculty and staff members from various campuses taking on the students in a friendly game of basketball. This event allowed students and faculty and staff members to come together in an informal session and have a fun.

The event kicked off with a ceremonial jump ball with Provost Karen Kaufman-White. At the end, the faculty/staff team limped away with a 45-37 win.

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Ben Montgomery, Tampa Bay Times award-winning reporter, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and author of the New York Times bestseller, “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail” will speak on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus in room LA 106.

Ben will share his insight and wisdom into the art of writing and how he came to write his book.

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