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Jesse Jackson highlights semester of Diverse Speakers

The Office of Student Programs had one word in mind when it chose this semester’s guest lecturers: variety.

“You can see, through (this semester’s) speakers, plus the speakers we had for the fall, what we’re trying to provide: as much diversity as possible,” said Michael Dolinger, Program Coordinator for the Office of Student Programs.

This semester the University Lecture Series’ (ULS) answer to Ann Coulter is Reverend Jesse Jackson, who is scheduled to speak at the Sun Dome on Jan. 18. “Making the American Dream a Reality” corresponds to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations. The ULS has a tradition of choosing speakers to highlight the ideology and work of King around the holiday.

Featured speakers this spring include Michael Franzese, hailed as “The Prince of the Mafia,” and Anthony Rapp, an AIDS activist and actor who portrayed filmmaker Mark Cohen in the rock opera Rent.

Other student programming, such as the kind the Campus Activity Board (CAB) has scheduled, also strives for diversity.

“Basically, CAB’s overall mission is to program the best in diverse entertainment,” said Cindy Greenwood, senior program director for CAB. “Last semester was hip-hop. This semester is rock-n-roll for Bull Stock. We’re even looking at doing another Country Western concert.”

CAB programmed many activities for this week.

Patio Tuesday at the MLK Plaza will be held Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dressed in a basketball theme to bring in the season, the event offers novelty activities and free food.

Wednesday welcomes the return of Movies on the Lawn, held every Wednesday, with Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Keeping with diversity, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing follows next week.

On Friday, students can choose from Club USF, a popular student dance party at the MLK Ballroom with an old school theme, or go to the basement of the Phyllis P.Marshall Center for the Basement Band Series with Tony Passavanti and November Foxtrot Whiskey, a Tampa Bay independent band favorite.

The Basement Band Series continues throughout the semester every Friday. On Jan. 19, Jezebel with Feedback Forever will play, followed by Letter Perfect with Proval on Jan. 26. But there will be more than music to bring the Marshall Center to life.

The Centre Gallery in the Marshall Center – the only 100 percent student-run exhibition space in Florida – opens a new show “Conversations” today. A reception starts at 7 p.m on Friday.

According to the Centre web site, “Conversations is an exhibition of paintings and drawings by BFA senior students Motoko Hunting and Daniel Mantilla. The works develop around a series of conversations or narratives that deal with personal experience and imagination.” An exhibition by Chelsea Goodwin takes its place on Jan. 22.

Bulls Night Out – a popular late night event in the Marshall Center – transforms the basement on Jan. 26 with decorations, usual and unusual activities and a theme yet to be announced. All events are student-centered, designed and executed.

ULS relies heavily on student input. Students are encouraged to request speakers they want at USF and to demonstrate the benefit to the campus community. With the exception of Aaron McGruder and Reverend Jesse Jackson, students and faculty proposed all of this year’s speakers.

ULS has also scheduled author Edwidge Danticat, novelist Peter Straub and physician, anthropologist and writer Paul Farmer.

CAB is planned by students, with student officers in charge of its events. Suggestions and ideas for activities can be e-mailed to or dropped off at SVC 259.