State’s New Travel Solution Will Also Help Boost Economy

Downtown Orlando will be the largest area served by SunRail

The Florida Department of Transportation is currently implementing a solution to Central Florida’s notorious traffic problem. The solution is SunRail, a 61-mile stretch of track that will serve Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties and the city of Orlando. The commuter rail has some Central Floridians looking forward to skipping out on long hours on the road.

“Well I travel to Daytona a lot for family so, you know, I-4 can get bad sometimes so hopefully the Sunrail will help. I can just take that and cut my drive in half probably.” Says downtown Orlando resident George Kendenberg.

What George and other future riders may not know is that SunRail is expected to provide large economic boosts to all four counties it will be serving. The money is expected to come in once usage of the rail begins, and the money looks to spread around on multiple fronts; Florida Department transportation officials expect commercial and residential areas to hit high numbers.

“When the cities and other jurisdictions step in and start building stuff around these SunRail stations, these Sunrail platforms and

Orlando's Amtrack station is one of three commuter hubs in the downtown area.

that’s where the private businesses are going to come in. You might even have some residential development and that’s where your economic generation.” Says FDoT spokesman Steve Olson.

Olson says the SunRail is modeled after a similar project used in Utah. There, he says, areas served by the commuter rail experienced significant economic growth, and are continuing to do so.

Expected numbers over the next 30 years vary from county to county, but Central Florida is expected to earn over $981 million in commercial business sales, $295 million in residential earnings and create roughly  11,523 jobs. Out of all the counties served by SunRail, Orange county is expected to benefit the most, with over $200 million in commercial business sales.

Construction on the SunRail will begin later this year and will be worked on periodically through three phases. The final stage is expected to be finished in 2016.

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Move to Big East Would Help More Than UCF’s Athletic Department

Recent conference realignment news has had college sports in a whirlwind of speculation and anticipation as schools look to make moves to better athletic conferences. UCF has not been exempt from these practices, as the Knights are on the verge of moving out of their home in Conference USA and into the Big East Conference. While this has plenty of implications for the UCF’s athletic programs, it means just as much for the school as a whole.

UCF has been a member of CUSA since 2005

The Big East Conference, a Bowl Championship Series conference with an automatic qualifying bid, gives its teams the ability to play for a football nation title. UCF’s current conference, CUSA, doesn’t have a big, preventing its schools from doing the same. UCF Coaching Professor Jeff Duke is familiar with the benefits being in a BCS conference does, as he was a member of Bobby Bowden’s FSU program during its switch from the Metro Conference to the ACC, an AQ conference. Duke says that being in a BCS conference puts fans in the seats, driving revenue up for the school itself.

“If the University of Central Florida is ever really going to have a chance to be on the national stage, they’ve got to be in a conference that’s recognized by the B-C-S. I really applaud them for doing it. ” Duke says.

The Big East invitation will be for all sports, including basketball

BCS conference such as the Big East also carry bigger television contracts that other conferences. These lucrative deals give the school an ample amount of dollars to be used for a wide variety of things. UCF Sports Analyst Carson Ingle closely follows the trends in college football, and he says UCF can expect a massi

ve boost in these contracts if it makes the move to the Big East.

“Well that’s the big thing: T.V. Revenue. Right now with Conference USA I think we generate about a million dollars right now

from out T.V. Package. The new Big East deal they’re going to negotiate with the new members, we’re talking eight to ten million dollars so that’s a big difference in terms of dollars, what UCF can do, upgrading facilities.” Ingle says.

UCF is expected to accept an invitation to the Big East Conference later this week. Other potential invitations are SMU, Houston, Boise State, Air Force and Navy.

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UCF College of Medicine Opens New Outpatient Clinic

Pegasus Health is located on the corner of University and Quadrangle Blvd.

The University of Central Florida College of Medicine is on the verge of opening its first outpatient clinic early next month. The clinic, called Pegasus Health, will open it’s doors to patients in the Central Florida area on November 7th in a move that will prove to not only help the community, but will further the growth and success of the UCF’s program.

Pegasus Health is staffed with 15 physicians, all of which act as teachers at the College of Medicine in Lake Nona. The physicians will use the time to not only help the community, but to also to sharpen their abilities as practicing doctors. It is for this reason that many believe outpatient clinics are essential  to the development of med school programs. UCF College of Medicine Spokeswoman Wendy Surabbi says that Pegasus Health will be a crucial element in helping the schools doctors, and reputation, advance.

“This is the opportunity for them to practice their skills, practice their art, and help teach their students because of that practice. It’s really a next step. It’s the next generation of a medical school.” Surabbi says.

The clinic offers its patients a wide variety of services, including sports medicine, radiology, ultrasound and neurology. Not only does Pegasus Health aim to provide advanced services to those that seek it, but the facilities were designed to be more aesthetically pleasing than traditional clinics; the physicians are even worked with Ritz Carlton hospitality training to better the patients overall

Pegasus Health opens November 7th

experience.

“What potential patients will discover is that the facility is not really set up like a doctor’s office,” Sarubbi said to the Central Florida Future. “It’s a very soothing, relaxing, almost spa-like office.”

While Physicians are the only ones practicing at the facility, UCF students are also very excited about the potential Pegasus Health will bring.

“I’m definitely excited about it. There’s so many great things coming” says first year med student Johnny Quick. ” The dean here is excellent and she’s just going out there and getting opportunities for us. Things are happening, it’s wonderful to be a part of it.

Pegasus Health will begin taking patients on November 7th, however the practice will hold an open house on October 25th, giving the community a chance to meet the doctors and see the facilities beforehand.

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UCF Dining Switches To New Eco-Friendly Takeout Boxes

UCF Dining Services decide that Styrofoam has to go.

"green" takeout boxes were available last year, but they weren't mandatory.

UCF dining halls Market Place and Knightro’s have been using the disposable Styrofoam containers for years, but recently decided to make the switch over to new, reusable green boxes that are expected to save the environment from thousands of disposable boxes entering garbage dumps over the next several years. Eden Wetherel, sustainability coordinator for UCF Dining Services, expects the switch to prevent about 145,000 boxes from being dumped into land fills annually.

UCF Dining has offered the green boxes since Spring 2010, however they were not mandatory. This semester is the first time the campus is making it mandatory to use the green boxes at dining halls to takeout food.

“The first semester we started using to-go boxes, we had over a quarter of our meal-plan holders pick them up because they wanted to try them out,” Wetherell said.

The new boxes are made by GET Enterprises, a Houston-based company that specializes in making plastic food service products. The boxes themselves are made from a tough plastic called plastic No. 5, also known as polypropylene. The durable plastic is known for it’s ability to withstand a wide variety of chemical solvents, heat and force. UCF student Jake Powell enjoys the new boxes for their usability just as much as their sustainability.

“It’s really easy to use, it’s easy to clean, the pot has this pot seal so it all stays fresh and you can just hose it right out and put in the

Boxes are available at Market Place and Knightro's

dishwasher; it’s dishwasher safe.” Powell said.

The new boxes are free with a purchased meal plan, however anyone can purchase one with a $5 deposit, which is redeemable at the end of the semester when the box is returned. Students keep the boxes with them until returning back to the dining hall for their next meal, where they trade in their dirty box for a clean one. Dining services cleans the boxes for students daily.

According to the Central Florida Future, 1,584 green boxes were purchased for an undisclosed price for the dining halls.

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UCF Students Rally at Boston College Game to Remember Fallen Hero.

Welles Crowther

UCF fans arrived at last Saturday’s football gaming donning the usual black and gold, along with a not so usual red; Students, alumni, and fans wore red bandanas in memory of 9/11 hero and Boston College alumnus Welles Crowther. What started as an idea between two UCF students on Facebook eventually grew to a movement involving thousands. Neal Surrena and Garrett Weiss got the idea from watching a video telling the story of Crowther on ESPN.

Crowther was a Boston College lacrosse player who would go on to work on Wall Street, despite having ambitions to pursue a life as a New York City firefighter. Crowther was known for his red bandana, a gift that was given to him from his father at age 8. Crowther continued to wear the bandana through college and into his professional career, right up to his final moments in Tower 1. There, he rescued about a dozen people from the collapsing building before he himself lost his life in the ensuing destruction.

The red bandana was later used to identify Crowther as survivors described the man that saved their life. It was this symbol that UCF students used to support Crowther, his family, the Boston College community and all those lost in the attacks on September 11th, 2001. UCF Communications Coordinator Courtney Gilmartin spoke on behalf of the university, commenting on how impressing it was seeing the large and relativity young community come together for such a cause. “We’re real proud that our students did something so completely unselfish and are supporting not only another school but an American hero” Gilmartin said.

Crowther’s family and Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo all reached out to the UCF community to comment on the

UCF Fans at Saturday's game wearing their bandanas. Photo credit: Katie Dees/Central Florida Future

movement, with Defilippo tweeting before the game “Hats off to UCF and their fans who are urging peers to wear red bandanas to Saturday’s game in honor of 9/11 hero and BC grad Wells Crowther.” Both of Welles Crowther’s sister’s, Hope Fagan and Paige Crowther, both attended the game and were brought in front of the black, gold and red crowd at half time. They were welcomed with a standing ovation.

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Knights Plaza Businesses Still Without Help, Some Struggling.

Tailgaters Bar & Grill, nearly empty during lunch hour. The resturaunt has been apart of Knights Plaza since it opened.

The idea of having a centralized locale that draws a crowd, from both on and off campus, was a vision UCF had since 2007. By building Knights Plaza UCF attempted to realize that vision, but it wasn’t perfect. Constructed next to the university’s new athletic facilities, Knight’s Plaza played home to several unique store fronts and businesses, however most of these locations struggled financially.

Realizing these problems existed, UPI, the company responsible for maintaining the area, said they were going to make some changes to address these problems. Over a year later, many of the businesses have closed, and the ones that are still there, say they have received little help.

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Rumored Move to Big East Would Provide Money, Benefits That May Push UCF to Next Level

UCF Soccer plays rival USF in the NCAA tournament. USF joined the Big East in 2005.

The Big East is looking to expand, and rumor has it that UCF is one of the schools being considered. According to media outlets such as ESPN and the Orlando Sentinel, the Knights are at the top of the running to acquire one of the two new spots in the Big East. TCU and Villanova have also been mentioned, as well as CUSA rivals ECU and Houstan.

For a lot of fans, this has been a long time coming. Tyler Mancuso is one of those fans. He is the vice president of the Rowdy Knights, a student run organization that is committed to the fandom of UCF sports. Mancuso says that if the school wants to take the next step and challenge the name of Florida stalwarts such as FSU and UF, they need to join a larger conference. “Since we’re the second largest university in the nation we’re laughed at for our football and our athletics programs.” Mancuso says. “We need to grow in every aspect of athletics and I think jumping up to a new conference would be the start of it”

UCF beating SEC opponent Alabama: one of the many accomplishments Wackadoos Bar & Grill showcases on their wall.

Mancuso may be correct. Joining into a larger conference such as the Big East has its benefits, and many schools look at joining the BCS as the final step in being a elite university. Jeff Duke is a professor at UCF who coached under Bobby Bowden during his years at FSU. He says that before FSU joined the ACC, they were hardly on the radar. After going from an independent school to an ACC member, FSU grew quickly. Duke says it simply comes down to money. “What you’re joining into is a series of contracts that are usually contracts with major networks with cable programming” Duke says. “And so these fund enable more dollars to be generated for the conference members.”

Sara Nagger agrees. Nagger is a communications representative from the Big East conference, and she says that conferences like the ones she works for are able to provide more money than non-bcs conferences because of their television deals and exclusive bowl contracts. “All of our schools get a cut of our television deals” She says.

Even with these benefits on the table, it is still hard to guess when, if at all, UCF will join the Big East. Illiana Limon has been covering Knights Athletics over the past two years for the Orlando Sentinel. She believes that UCF will benefit greatly from the financial boost of a bigger conference, but she can’t tell when that will happen. “It’s just the school covering it’s bases. They want to handle this business behind closed doors so it makes it hard for journalists like us to find out what’s going on.” She has hope though, that one day UCF will get there.

“I think in the next few years we’re going to see UCF in the BCS. It may not be this year, or it may not be in the Big East, but it will happen soon.” She says.

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