STORIES BY NIKKI SCHOENBECK

Final Project: Financial and Mental Health Benefits of Cooking

Published: December 13, 2020

Yes, Phone Banking is Helpful During Elections

Published: Nov. 21, 2020

Jacksonville, Fla.- Have you ever wondered about the purpose of those annoying phone calls during the election season? 

Gillian Castillo, the engagement director at Americans For Prosperity (AFP), believes phone and texting banking is crucial for higher voter turnout. 

“Americans For Prosperity is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that works to inform, educate and empower voters to make a difference in their community,” said Castillo. 

Castillo believes phone banking is helpful for voters to make informed decisions about who and what they’re voting for. Phone bankers call voters and ask questions relating to bills being passed, policies going through and politicians running for office.

 Voters will be asked what their thoughts or opinions are about the bills or policies and if they’re familiar with the politicians currently running. 

AFP does not discriminate against voters and will call voters of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. 

Voters waiting in line to vote during the Presidential election. Photo By Nikki Schoenbeck.

Although AFP is nonpartisan, engagement directors can coordinate with various political groups to encourage more phone banking. 

Currently, Castillo works with UNF College Republicans to reach more voters by phone banking in exchange for free food at College Republicans meetings. 

Michael Aparicio, the president of UNF College Republicans, believes that AFP can benefit both conservative and liberal voters. 

“There’s a lot of issues that I think both parties want to get behind and I feel that AFP pushes a lot through phone and text banking,” said Aparicio.

While some people may not agree with phone and text banking, AFP believes they are doing their part to increase voter turnout. 

Student Teachers at UNF

Published: Oct. 16, 2020

As the fall semester brings new freshmen to UNF, junior Chloe Lopez is helping younger students adjust to university life.

Lopez has been a teaching assistant for six months. She says it has also helped her become a better student. 

“It’s helped me as a student by giving me a network of other peers that are all working toward the same thing in the honors college,” said Lopez.

Lopez is currently teaching Honors Colloquium, a required course for all incoming honors freshmen. Honors Colloquium is designed to help students excel in their future classes. Lopez says taking this class her freshman year gave her the tools she needed to be successful in other classes.

Alexandria Crotts teaching. Photo by Nikki Schoenbeck.

“My freshman year I had to take this class,” said Lopez. “My teaching assistants were really helpful in getting me started and getting me interested in the honors community.”

In Honors Colloquium students learn strategies to better prepare themselves in college. This includes, how to properly write an email, how to address your professors and how to work in groups. 

Alexandria Crotts, a freshman at UNF, also believes Honors Colloquium will help her be a better student.

“This class has helped me to be more open-minded and not as close-minded as I sometimes might catch myself being,” said Crotts. “I feel like this will help me in my future classes.”

Crotts will have the opportunity to teach when she’s a sophomore, but Lopez didn’t start teaching till her junior year. 

Lopez said it can be hard to juggle both teaching and being a student, but believes it is worth it in the long run. 

“My favorite thing about teaching is interacting with my students,” said Lopez.

Lopez hopes to be the best role model possible for her students – who she fondly refers to as “her kids.” 

Being a teaching assistant is not for everyone, as it can be a big responsibility. Although the job can be stressful at times, Lopez is prepared to be the best.