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The Village Square, an initiative of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College, will host Same-Sex Marriage: Saying ‘I Do’ Does Not End the Debate, a forum that explores the implications of same-sex marriage on Thursday, March 26. The forum will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. in the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center, 9200 113th St. N. Advance registration for the dinner event is required.

Although the U.S. District Court ordered county clerks to issue marriage licenses to couples regardless of gender, that neither settles nor ends the debate. The U.S. Supreme Court in January decided to hear appeals from four states where gay-marriage bans have been upheld. That creates the possibility that a majority of justices could vote to uphold same-sex marriage bans in Florida and the 30 other states that have formal bans – or to end such bans and legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

A panel of experts will explore these undetermined implications:

  • Ben Diamond, attorney, Williamson, Diamond & Caton, P.A.
  • David Liebert, professor and department chair for Social and Behavioral Sciences, St. Petersburg College
  • Nadine Smith, CEO, Equality Florida
  • John Stemberger, president, Florida Family Policy Council
  • Craig Kopp, station manager, WMNF FM, will serve as moderator

About the Institute: The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College is a resource for academic enrichment, a non-partisan venue for civil, objective debate of topical public issues, a center to promote better government, and a resource for sustainable economic development. Its mission is to support a broad array of research, training, educational and policy analysis and support activities at the local, state, regional and national levels.

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“How many of you in here aspire to be rappers or musicians?” asked Holloway in his opening remarks. “If you can recite a rap lyric, you can study. How about ballplayers? If you can remember the stats of the pros, you can tackle math.”

Holloway spoke at length about choices and delved into seven aspects of making them: guilt, excuses, fear, blame, stress, chaos and defeat.

“It all comes down to choices. Do you want to see me or the judge or do you want to be the judge, the doctor or the lawyer?” said Holloway, himself raised by a single mother.

“I’m looking at a lot of leaders in this room,” Holloway said. “You’re here because you made that choice and you want to make a difference in the world.”

The daylong Keys to Manhood conference included breakout sessions aimed at motivating and supporting male students, who are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to attend or graduate from college than their female peers (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).

Topics at the conference included:

  • Overcoming Legal Obstacles
  • Workforce Degrees
  • The Endangered Male
  • How to Get an “A” in Class
  • Money Management
  • Social Media (How to Get a Job Using Social Media)
  • Second Time Around (non-traditional students)

“This is a great event to hold for young men,” said SPC student Kezra Johnson. “It gives us all these great lessons and morals they can take with them. They may not know where to find certain resources. Here, they don’t have to feel embarrassed about asking for resources or help.”

Past keynote speakers at the event have included Jimmie Lee Solomon, former executive vice president of Major League Baseball, and Florida House Rep. Darryl Rouson.

In his closing comments, Holloway encouraged audience members to always keep others in mind.

“When you succeed, you have to reach back, grab someone and put them on your shoulders so they can pass you,” he said. “If you’re not doing that, you’ll see them on your way down.”

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St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway will give the keynote address at St. Petersburg College’s third annual Keys to Manhood – A Seminar for Men. The event will be:

8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 6
Seminole Campus, Conference Center
9200 113th St. N.

The free seminar is designed to offer male college students tools and resources to help them succeed academically, personally and professionally. Men are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to attend or graduate from college than their female peers (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).

Over the past three fall terms at St. Petersburg College, male First-Time-In-College (FTIC) students had 8% lower success rates than female FTIC students. Success is defined as earning an A, B or C in a class. During that time, male students had a success rate of 66.3%, while females had a 74.7% success rate in their courses.

Keys to Manhood features a variety of breakout sessions designed to address issues that may inhibit academic success for male students. They include:

  • Overcoming Legal Obstacles
  • Workforce Degrees and Pathways
  • “The Endangered Male”
  • How to Get an “A” in Class
  • Money Management
  • Social Media (How to Get a Job Using Social Media)
  • Second Time Around (non-traditional students)

Past keynote speakers at the event have included Jimmie Lee Solomon, former executive vice president of Major League Baseball, and Florida House Rep. Darryl Rouson.

The event is presented by Transamerica. Download the program.

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A conversation about wide-ranging issues faced by women and families, facilitated by state Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-Dist. 69) will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 at St. Petersburg College, Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N, UP-303. Advance registration is requested. The event is free and open to the public.

The event is part of a series of conversations taking place across the state that started in September and will continue through the month of December. The events are hosted by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. The commission will submit its findings in a comprehensive report called “Your Voice Matters: Conversations With Florida Women and Families.” The report will be released at 2015 Florida Women’s Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee on March 24.

For more information, visit the commission’s website.

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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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The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College will host a forum featuring local candidates seeking public office and information about key issues that will be on the Nov. 4 ballot. The free event is open to the public and will be held:

5:30-9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2
Digitorium UP 160
Seminole Campus
9200 113th Street N
Seminole, FL 33772

The debates are presented in an effort to dispel voter apathy and to honor the importance of an informed electorate. Facing off will be candidates for Pinellas County Commission from Districts 2 and 4, and candidates for the eight most highly contested seats in the state legislature. Also up for debate will be three proposed amendments to the State Constitution.

Admission is free but advance registration is requested.

A distinguished panel of experts will question the candidates and provide background on the issues. They are:

  • Frank Alcock, associate professor of political science, New College of Florida, Sarasota
  • Adam Smith, political editor, Tampa Bay Times
  • Roy Slater, social science professor, St. Petersburg College
  • Noah Pransky, investigative reporter, WTSP 10 News, St. Petersburg
  • Moderator: Joni James, deputy editor of editorials, Tampa Bay Times

The debates will be split into three one-hour sessions, with the first two combining state legislative races whose district borders are relatively contiguous, for the convenience of voters interested in their home district candidates. A brief discussion of the three constitutional amendments will precede the candidate debates. The schedule is:

  • 5:30-6 p.m. – Constitutional Amendments 1 2, and 3
  • 6-7 p.m. – House Districts 65, 66 and 67
  • 7-8 p.m. – Senate District 22, House Districts 68 and 69
  • 8-9 p.m. – County Commission Districts 2 and 4

The event is co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times.

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