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Hip-hop, jazz and furry friends

Flying eagles and exotic reptiles. A roundtable of hip-hop artists rapping about culture and politics. Genocide, homosexuality and Billie Holliday songs.

This semester USF will host different speakers on a spectrum of topics, from animals to the arts, in the University Lecture Series program.

Highlights from the roster of speakers include “An Evening with Jack Hanna and his Furry Friends,” a panel of hip-hop artists, a Darfur refugee, a gay rights activist and a jazz singer.

The first of the semester’s big-name speakers, Hanna, is scheduled to appear Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Sun Dome.

“There are speakers from all different topics,” said Michelle Davis, graduate adviser for ULS. “A classroom can’t give you that experience.”

Student activity fees pay for the speakers brought in by ULS, a division of the Office of Student Programs.

“The mission of ULS is to bring diversity to campus,” ULS Director Mike Dolinger said. “If you look back at previous years, we tackle issues that the students deal with in their own lives.”

Aside from the fact that students fund the guest lecturers with their tuition, it is also important that students attend to enhance their cultural and academic experience, said Lindsey Grossman, student director for ULS.

In years past, ULS has featured speakers such as Jesse Jackson, Ann Coulter and Desmond Tutu.

“This year we’re trying to feature a lot of bigger acts. A lot of students, though they may not know the speech, know the name,” Dolinger said. “We want to use the name to draw the students in and have them leave

with a message.”