The fall semester lineup for the University Lecture Series (ULS) was announced Friday night at the Round Up: Comedy Show. ULS will kickoff on Sept. 26 with a speech delivered by Jackie Cruz, most known for her role as Flaca on the Emmy Award Winning Netflix series Orange is the New Black.
Cruz is not the only member of Hollywood set to speak to students as a part of ULS.
Ian Harvie, a stand-up comedian and actor with roles in shows such as Transparent and Mistresses will also be speaking. Harvie is known for openly discussing his life as a transgender man in his performances on screen and does not shy away from doing so in person.
R.L. Stine is also in the lineup. The author has published a number of novels, most notably the series turned 2015 film, Goosebumps.
“We are looking for a little bit of everything in a speaker,” Joshua Wilson, the associate director for the Center For Student Involvement, said. “We want it to be educational, we want it to be entertaining and at the heart of everything we like to say that we want experiences to be co-curricular. Meaning, our experiences are designed with a curricular experience.”
Wilson also said ULS is an easy way to showcase the learning that takes place in different aspects of student life on campus. The students who plan these events have the potential to learn business management practices, and the students who attend the lectures have the opportunity to gain knowledge from the life experiences of others.
“At the core, when students attend a lecture, they are learning from people’s individual experiences, learn from their work experiences, learn from their life experiences and that’s always present in every lecture that I have been to, especially the ones here at USF,” Wilson said.
Wilson also said he enjoys the idea of ULS because it gives the student population a different learning experience than they will most likely be exposed to in a classroom setting.
“Speakers are chosen in part by examining current events, and how the speakers will best relate to the student body and what is going on in the world today,” Margaret Merryday, the student coordinator for the Center for Student Involvement, said.
Cruz will cost the Center for Student Involvement approximately $18,000 for her time.
“Our department is financed through fees, which are designated by Student Government,” Wilson said.
Prices for each speaker are determined individually.
“Typically, the agents will share with us what the speaker is looking for in terms of pricing before the contract process has even begun,” Merryday said. “From there, we determine whether or not we can actually afford to bring that person to speak on campus.”
In light of recent events, there is some controversy that comes with bringing certain speakers to campuses.
“With the lineup, we try to be respectful to the student experience as much as possible,” Wilson said. “Our lineup is one that will be deemed as reflective of the USF community and will still engage in some really cool topics. But, I think the lineup that was selected by our students will be well received by the student body.”
A June survey was distributed through social media platforms with a list of potential speakers, as well as what topics most interest the student population.
“We may not have a name that gets a big draw, but we will get someone who can come and speak on that topic that students are interested in discussing,” Merryday said. “I think that having that student input and interest is really going to help us have a big draw in our lecture series this year.”