Archive for the university of san francisco Category

USF Digital Journalism

Posted in digital journalism, university of san francisco, usf, web 2.0 with tags , , , , on April 17, 2008 by lenzbreakr

Over the course of this semester, six Digital Journalism students at the University of San FranciscoAustin, Brigid, Emilia, Jake, Laura and myself– have been blogging about various interests at USF, in Golden Gate Park, and most recently about the city in general.

Led by Media Studies Professor David Silver, the small group has quickly learned new technologies, developed investigative reporting skills, and found our own personal writing voice and style. We are now on the way to becoming expert bloggers. Here is what we’ve found…

CommunityWalk Map – USF Digital Journalism Explorations


USF Artist Showcase @ SF Minna Gallery

Posted in digital journalism, university of san francisco, usf, web 2.0 with tags , , , , , on April 8, 2008 by lenzbreakr

On Monday April 8th, the artwork of former and current USF students was showcased at an event in downtown San Francisco at the Minna art gallery. The house was packed and the music was blasting-a great atmosphere for the opening of an art show. Tons of people turned out to show support for their friends and fellow classmates, and just as importantly, to have a good time.

The work of two artists in particular, Eric Butler and Claudine Lema, was particularly interesting. Butler, a recent USF graduate and former media studies major, uses a style he developed from grafitti art, and also draws on influences from current fashion, taking colors and patterns that catch his eye and transforming them into his own. Eric is an extremely easy going and smooth guy, and his attitude is reflected through the free flowing lines featured in his artwork. Unfortunately, the space Eric was given did not properly accommodate the layout he envisioned presenting his artwork in. The placement and layout of his pieces is essential in order for the viewer to fully understand and appreciate them. However, his work spoke for itself and nonetheless was impressive.

Claudine Lema, a current USF undergrad and media studies major, displayed some psychedelic pieces that got the mind twisting and turning to the beat of the house DJ. Her work is very unique and she incorporates found objects into her pieces as well. Her signature piece featured a naked woman with meaningful words subtly hidden in and around her flowing hair, representing the organic side of humanity. The woman was cleverly juxtaposed against a series of wires and circuitry, representing the mechanical nature of the 21st century. Claudine’s charisma matches the depth found in her artwork, and the messages within her pieces contain elements of her self and entire being that we can all adopt and implement in our own lives.

An event like this just goes to show the amazing work that independent artists and students can create if just given the opportunity and the physical space to display their work. I’m sure Eric and Claudine were very proud of the result, and it was great to see the amount of support and encouragement they recieved from their peers.

Check out the video from the 111 Minna Gallery student showcase below. Then it will all make sense….

USF Media Mob: Bloomsday Rising

Posted in digital journalism, music, university of san francisco, usf, web 2.0 on April 2, 2008 by lenzbreakr


BloomsdayRising, a San Francisco based alternative rock band, recently played a gig at Mojito in North Beach. The band features former and current USF students, and they have played several shows at USF in the past year.


The gig was part of an SF Weekly sponsored event called “Artopia“. Under Artopia, a competition called “Masterminds” was created, which was designed to showcase work from local artists that don’t recieve much attention or recognition, despite their unique and definite talent. A blurb from about the concept reads,

“Any artists demonstrating commitment and a pioneering spirit to their craft are potential masterminds”.


Phil Lang (USF MFA ’06) moved to San Francisco in 2004 to attend the University of San Francisco’s MFA in Writing program. Armed only with an acoustic guitar and a desire to tell stories, Phil composed volumes of songs during his first months in San Francisco. In early 2005, he and bassist Chris Hansen (USF MFA ’06 / USF MBA ’07) set out to create a band that could live up to the potential of these melodic narratives. After the first (and only) performance of the “Unofficial MBA Band” Phil and Chris united with Fernando (USF MBA ’06) and they immediately found a bond. But they did not yet have a band. It was only when they brought the drummer Kiernan (USF undergrad, ’10) into the mix that Bloomsday Rising was born.For an extended bio, visit:


Bloomsday Rising played a lively and energetic set that at the same time was mellow and melodic. This equates to good songwriting-the material was eclectic, and the close-knit vibe of the band showed in the music. It seemed that the band has played many shows and has their live act down pat.


Check out a live video we took of one of their song “Boy Who Rhymes”…


The event was interesting because it brought together artists of many different styles and genres to an atmosphere that felt more like a friendly community rather than a competition. After Bloomsday Rising performed, the stage was opened up to announce the winners of the Masterminds competition. As the winners were announced, you couldn’t help but smile at the jubilant reactions of the artists. While this event was relaxed and stress-free, it was obvious that there was a significant amount of time and hard work invested in the various projects. It was nice to see people so happy.

Below is a slideshow of the gig.

To view more photos from the gig on Flickr, Click here

The Wyclef Experience

Posted in about me, university of san francisco, usf, wyclef jean concert on March 25, 2008 by lenzbreakr

When I first heard that USFtv would be shooting Wyclef’s new music video for “If I Were President“, my first response was simply, “cool!”. I wasn’t starstruck or nervous initially-I honestly couldn’t believed (based on some of my cynical views of USF) that we were even going to be given this amazing opportunity.

When the idea sank in and it came time for the shoot, my “cool” attitude began to subside a bit, and I began to realize what a tremendous task this would actually be. Fortunately, I wasn’t responsible for many of the stressful tasks involved in the process, such as dealing with University policies or Wyclef’s management. USF students James Kilton and Alex Platt spent many hours tying together loose ends and making sure that the shoot was even able to get off the ground.

The day of the shoot, like most shoots, didn’t exactly go as planned. It was interesting to observe the conflict management that went on between the student run crew. I believe the entire crew did an excellent job handling the crowd that showed up to participate in the shoot, handling Wyclef’s requests and his not too great time management skills, and making sure to maintain a standard of professionalism that would make for an MTV-quality video while complying with University standards and concerns about displaying a positive image of USF.

As the video shoot commenced and the night rolled along to the concert, the time seemed to fly by. I suppose I was having a bit of fun, and my adrenaline was pumping as well. It was awesome to be behind the lens of a camera shooting an accomplished artist performing amongst many of my screaming and jumping peers. I had to take a step back and soak it all in to fully realize and appreciate the opportunity I was given. It was surely an experience to remember.

Below is a link to the final version of the USFtv produced video for Wyclef Jean’s “If I Were President”.

Tahoe ’08: One Last Time

Posted in about me, snowboarding, university of san francisco, usf, USFtv Board with tags , , , on March 25, 2008 by lenzbreakr

4 a.m. wake up calls. McDonald’s for breakfast. Five, six, even seven hours cramped on a bus. Extreme, total body exertion for five to six hours. Back on the bus. Five more hours on the road. Maybe a bathroom break. Maybe a hamburger. Back to San Francisco by 10 p.m. Wake up Sunday morning and try to do homework, if you’re not too sore to get out of bed. School on Monday.

This is the life of USF snowboarders. For the last 4 years, this is how I’ve spent nearly every Saturday each and every winter with some of my best friends and fellow boarders here at USF. It’s not glamorous, it’s not pretty. We are smelly and crude and at times hung over. We are loud and obnoxious. However, we all come together, every Saturday at 5 a.m., to do something that we love, something that sets us free.

To some, snowboarding is just a fad that will soon die out. It is just an annoyance that after years skiers all over the world (unlike as recently as 5 years ago) are being forced to accept. To some, snowboarders are just punk kids that ride too fast, crowd the mountain and ultimately represent what many middle aged people hate-young cocky kids with no regard for anything around them except the ipod blasting some screaming gibberish into their ears.

To others, like myself, snowboarding goes way beyond that. It is not a trend or a fad that we follow to be cool. It represents more of a cathartic experience in which whatever negativity or unrest that may lie on one’s subconscious is washed away. In its place you are left with amazing visuals (360 degree views of snow capped mountains from the summit of Lake Tahoe), the sounds of nature, fresh and clean air, brilliant blue skies, friends, and clean, white, beautiful snow.

There is something about being 7,000 feet in the air and looking around at the mountains and trees surrounding you. It is a humbling feeling that you don’t often experience because you get lost in the hustle and bustle of a city like San Francisco. You look around and realize that nothing matters. You could die out here and nobody would even know it. It’s human vs. nature, and at times braving the elements can be dangerous and scary. Lucky for us, the weather was great for our trip; we had sunny skies throughout.

When I went on my first USF snowboarding trip, it was like Christmas when you’re five years old; the fun just doesn’t end no matter how early you wake up in the morning. I was tired and unsure of what was to come as we navigated the winding two-lane roads through the treacherous storm, but I quickly realized that the experience was something that I would soon embrace like a scared child clinging to their mothers’ bosom.

The draw of going on a USF snowboarding trip is that 1) the cost of the whole trip is only $45, which includes your ride to the mountain and your lift ticket (compared to at least $60 alone for a lift ticket and $100 on gas if you make the trip on your own), 2) you get to share the experience with fellow classmates and 3) it is a day trip, making it possible to fit the trip into your often hectic weekly schedule. Over the years at USF I have made many friends and have had great memories that I will never forget. Riding down a mountain at 30 m.p.h next to your friends on a clear sunny day is something that cannot be adequately described in words. It is feeling that you must experience to understand, a feeling that hits you as you look left and right and see your hall-mates from freshman year cruising by you, spraying fresh powder through the air. There is something very unique about that feeling-I’ve only experienced it in other forms once or twice in my entire life. The feeling brings us together, and the camaraderie that we developed over the years will never be forgotten.

Two weeks ago many of us took the last USF snowboarding trip of our lives, as we will soon be graduating. We will continue to ride after graduation, but in a sense it marks a sad point in our lives, as we will we never experience those same things with the same people under the same circumstances again. Thankfully we have amazing technology to capture it all, so the memories will live on forever.

Thanks to Eva Erickson, Christoph “Tito” Huber, Raja Iliya, Michael Marshall, and Hunter Patterson for all the good times, and for making all the pics and video possible.

Check out the slideshow and episode of USFtv Board from Northstar-at-Tahoe below, and click here to view the extended flickr set.

Thanks to Raja Iliya for helping out with photography.

USF Garden Update

Posted in organic garden, university of san francisco, urban garden, usf, usf organic garden on March 18, 2008 by lenzbreakr

In my previous post, I omitted a very point piece of information. I forgot to mention that a staff member in the Architecture department, Seth Watchel, is also contributing a great deal of time and knowledge to the project. He is actually working side by side with Melinda Stone as the faculty adviser to the garden project. Thanks to Valeria for pointing this out.

USF Organic Garden Project

Posted in homestead, Kevin Koonz, organic garden, university of san francisco, urban garden, usf organic garden on March 11, 2008 by lenzbreakr

At the University of San Francisco, a communal effort is underway to “go green”. For starters, the University has begun a new recycling effort dubbed “recyclemania“, aimed at reducing waste and converting anything possible into compost.

In addition to going green, there is also an amazing effort underway to go organic. This year, 11 freshmen students-all women-connected through a living-learning community at USF, are growing a number of organic fruits and vegetables on a small plot of land next to the University’s Education Building. Check out their blog here.


The land is available for gardening due to it’s odd shape, which would make it difficult to build on, and the strict building codes in the city that would make building extremely expensive, if a proposed plan was ever even approved by city regulations and neighborhood committees.

The young women that work in the garden live together on the same floor in Gillson Hall, and on Fridays they meet with media studies professor and organic farmer Melinda Stone. Together they spend half the day learning about organic farming and half the day putting that learning to practice out in the garden. The students completely operate the miniature farm, from planting to watering to turning over soil to weeding, with professor Stone guiding the way.


The students all have a great attitude and eagerness to be outside under the sun and to be participating in this community effort to grow organic food in an urban setting. They were so friendly, upbeat and weren’t at all afraid to get their hands dirty.


The variety of food that is being grown is incredible. There is broccoli, arugula, swiss chard, almonds, grapes, avocado, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, pears-you name it, they’re growing it. At the moment, it has yet to be decided where all the food will go once it is fully grown. Melinda Stone says that she offers it to those not involved in the project that come to visit the garden such as media studies professor David Silver, and she also eats some herself. Eventually a joint decision will be made as to what will consistently happen to the harvest.

Working alongside the freshmen women are students within the architecture department, who by the end of the semester will have built a greenhouse, toolshed, benches and an outdoor kitchen for the garden.

Students involved in the Environmental Science program at USF are also involved in the garden. They have a small plot of the garden set aside for an experiment that is being run to see whether plant’s that are native to the bay area can grow here at USF, which was once a huge series of sand dunes.

Here are some more pics and a link to the complete flickr set.




While the organic garden on campus is relatively hidden, it is quickly drawing a great deal of attention. Kevin Kunze and Chet Bentley (below) are both freshman at USF and are making a documentary about the organic garden project for a Canadian HDTV show.


They’ve been out in the garden with the girls on several occasions to gather interviews and film them at work. The film team is also working with professor Melinda Stone on a series called “How To Homestead”, which is worth checking out.

While hanging out with the documentary team, I ran into Curtis (see above), the mystical and elusive “secret gardener”. Once I actually met him, the legend and lore began to wear off and I began to see that Curtis is just a normal guy who likes organic gardening. He explained that he is affiliated with the dance department at USF, but he is not officially employed by the University. He comes to the garden 3-4 times a week and cares for a large portion of the garden all by himself. Curtis was soft spoken but had some very interesting thoughts about the earth, human relationships such as his relationship with the student gardners he shares his land with, and the future of the garden, which he envisions as a community project that anyone can participate in and benefit from. Check out a short interview with Curtis below.