Drinking and playing arcade games wouldn’t be the same anymore in downtown Melbourne.
Quarters Brewery, a local bar in downtown Melbourne, announced on their Facebook page on Oct. 15 that profits were not enough to pay their landlord to keep the business running.
On their post titled “A Letter from the Owners…”, the company stated that they have found themselves at a crossroads.
“The ‘for lease’ sign is up, but we’re not done fighting yet,” mentions the post.
Quarters Brewery was created by best friends Tyler Griffiths and Brock Turner as a hobby project from homebrewing and creating game cabinets for people to enjoy.
The brewery opened on June 29, 2018 in downtown Melbourne, and attracts many adults to play arcade games while playing the arcade games such as Pac-Man and Galaga.
Brock, an alumni of Florida Tech and co-owner of the brewery, explained the reasoning for the announcement.
“Quarters has been having some issues staying afloat due to staggering prices of downtown rent,” Brock said. “Even though downtown has high foot traffic, Quarters’ customer base is more geared towards craft beer fans, video game enthusiasts, and the like.”
The Facebook post came as a shock to many of their customers, with supportive comments from customers and hundreds of shares throughout the site.
The brewery is a popular hotspot for the local community, including Florida Tech students and alumni.
“I’m upset that it’s [potentially] closing down,” said Faisal Ahmed, a graduate in business administration. “Every time I’m with my friends, we play the hockey game that they have as well as Pac-Man. I thought they were doing pretty well.”
The news was passed around through word of mouth for those that didn’t see the post on Facebook, such as Ahmed.
“I also heard the news through my friend Kevin,” said Siomara Nieves, a graduate in computer science. “I liked the place and its atmosphere was very cool and amazing. When I just wanna hang out and not stress about anything, I would go to Quarters and play.”
Quarters is currently a brewery that exclusively sells beer and a couple of wines.
Even if the majority of downtown establishments are full liquor bars, Brock has stated that they refuse in becoming one.
“We have expanded our offerings to include both hand crafted hard seltzers and more recently the introduction of a food menu as of September,” said Brock. “We also have events six times a week, such as trivia and beer bingo.”
The company also stated that they do not intend on closing down and will continue their regular business to their best of their abilities.
“We appreciate all the support that we’re getting from folks as we try to make this work,” said Brock. “We’re optimistic about what the future holds for Quarters and as things progress, we hope to have positive news to share.”
The company posted an update on their Facebook page on Nov. 5 mentioning their audience’s support in their journey of staying open.
“We are working day and night on a plan that will allow us to not just stabilize Quarters,” but to make it bigger and better than before,” the company stated.
New plans in their campaign of saving the company, #SaveQuarters, include distributing to local vendors, like The Broken Barrel Tavern.
Future updates and current events of Quarters Brewery can be found on their Facebook page, Quarters Brewery and Arcade.
This year’s carnival offered free beer, food and entertainment to the Florida Tech community.
Food trucks gathered in front of Crawford Green on Oct. 26., offering SMAC and El Cubanito, frozen chocolate bananas, and Meg O Malleys, a new addition to this year’s carnival.
Cat Nanney, director of student involvement, said she was pleased with the turnout of the event.
“It was the best year of homecoming we’ve ever had, even with the new beer garden for parents to join in on the fun,” said Nanney. “We decided this year to put more money toward merchandise that students can walk away with but still wanted to bring those fun carnival games.”
A homecoming shirt and a cloth bag were given out to students for free, as well as food tickets for the food trucks on the field.
Other than typical carnival games run by Residence Life, a new addition was a laser tag tent across from the beer garden.
“A lot of people showed up at this event this year,” Nanney said. “There were over 700 students that checked in, and we had to stop for a while due to the overflow of people.”
Families and parents were invited to the carnival due to Florida Tech family weekend occurring.
Alexandra Abova-Volkova, homecoming chair, said she had a good experience organizing the event, as well as the other events that occurred during the week.
“This is a larger turnout than it has been in the past years and the addition of a beer garden might have contributed to it,” said Volkova. “Although the activities at the football game were rained out, all the other events went smooth, even the talent show.”
The homecoming royalty winners were announced near the end of the carnival, as well as winners of a raffle.
Campus Activities Board and Phi Sigma Sigma won the royalty in first place, Alpha Phi and Baseball Club won second place and Delta Tau Delta and Residence Life came in third place.
Students such as Ivan Hernandez, a sophomore in computer science, won a Nintendo Switch for winning in the raffle.
“I didn’t even know how to react about it because I never win anything like that,” Hernandez said. “I had a really fun time hanging out with my fellow drumline members, and by far the best moment last night was the picture booth since we got to keep those memories.”
Even with the variety of food stations, some students like Erisa Hasanl, a Florida Tech alum, said they wanted more activities to take part in.
“It was much better last year,” said Hasanl. “There were more bouncy houses and games, but now there’s a lot of food for a lot of people. It felt like an actual carnival before.”
Hasanl also mentioned that the grass on the fields were very wet and difficult to walk across due to the rain earlier in the day.
Despite the mixed reaction, Volkova said it was a great experience for her to help run the homecoming events this year.
“Even though I’m graduating next semester and won’t be able to stay on the committee, I’m excited to see what Sam will do for next year,” Volkova said.
With over 60,000 alumni scattered throughout the globe, the Florida Tech Alumni Association has made it a priority to honor and recognize the legacy past students have left behind.
On Oct. 26, more than 500 people—including professors, faculty, alumni, and organizations that play a vital role in providing aid to Florida Tech—gathered at the 2019 Alumni Awards Gala to recognize outstanding alumni in various majors.
Award recipients included those with vast experience in their career fields as well as a continuous commitment to their alma mater.
Bino Campanini, vice president for Alumni Affairs, served as master of ceremonies and introduced the especially distinguished alumni of the evening.
“This event is a fantastic opportunity to catch up with colleagues, and a brilliant way to instill the spirit of the school and reinvigorate interest in each program,” said Robert Salonen, a 2019 Florida Tech graduate and the current director of Government Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at the university.
Others in the crowd agreed with Salonen that this was a special night that allowed individuals to return proudly to their alma mater and reminisce on past memories, but also learn about the future of the school and the growth it has seen in recent years.
After cocktails, photoops and dinner, Campanini continued as MC with lighthearted jokes as he welcomed each award recipient to the stage.
The first of five recipients was Jason Terreri, a 2001 Florida Tech undergraduate, awarded on behalf of the College of Aeronautics.
“The best advice I can give is to find someone who has the same desire and passion for your industry, and take them under your wing,” said the previous senior executive director of Syracuse Hancock International Airport. “Become a mentor, and give them an opportunity to be successful.”
While all award recipients mentioned how honored they were to be given recognition for their work and thanked the university for what it provided to them, each took on their own unique twist for their speeches.
One of the quirkier speeches came from the College of Engineering and Science awardee, Don Woodrow.
Woodrow is a distinguished 1986 Florida Tech undergraduate who is the president of Woodrow Construction LLC and also an advisory board member of civil engineering and construction advisory board at Florida Tech.
After cracking jokes about Bill Jurgens’ gray hair and poking fun at Campanini for his British accent, Woodrow concluded by asking the audience to stand up, enjoy the night and give their best impersonation of Elaine dancing from Seinfeld.
Others that received awards at the alumni gala were Monique Picou on behalf of the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, Sherri Acanfora Ruohomaki on behalf of the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts and Gretchen L. Kelly on behalf of the College of Engineering and Science.
Picou, the senior vice president of flow and fashion for Walmart, compared Florida Tech to an ivy league university, and put emphasis on the fact that “it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”
Acanfora Ruohomaki, a former Florida Tech cheerleader and now the owner of K9 Kampus—a luxury dog daycare and boarding facility—concluded her speech with words of reflection: “Look at the growth and development that Dr. T. Dwayne McCay, and previously Dr. Catanese, have cultivated,” Acanfora Ruohomaki said. “It makes me want to come back here as a young collegiate and enjoy all the amenities that they have now that we didn’t have before.”
President T. Dwayne McCay stated that the alumni are “our strength” and “prove that the university did a good job.”
“Florida Tech teaches our students to work with people in teams, and in collaboration,” T. Dwayne McCay said. “Curriculum such as the senior design prepares our students to enter the workforce after graduation in a few weeks, whereas at other schools, it’s six months.”
The ceremony came to a close with the presentation of the Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest award bestowed upon by the Alumni Association.
Honored with such an award that remarks a reflection of a legacy of excellence was Chip Perry.
A former design engineer for Texas Instrument and founder of a top tier internet streaming service later bought out by Yahoo!
Perry was portrayed as a highly successful and memorable student from Florida Tech.
He took the guests down memory lane and recapped his journey from Florida Tech to where he is now.
Perry gave a special thanks to Ed Jonas, the designer of the Keuper statue in front of the President’s Office as well as the designer of all of the gala awards for the past five years.
“It was a true honor for Florida Tech to involve me in the design process,” Jonas said. “Although I am not a Florida Tech alumni, Brevard will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the hometown of the love of my life and it was one of the places where the last thing my father saw me accomplish was the sculpting of the Keuper statue.”
The night wrapped up with dancing and a continuation of celebrating Panther pride.
Hundreds of runners gathered outside Meg O’Mally’s Irish pub in Downtown Melbourne on Oct. 24, setting a record for the number of participants in Florida Tech’s homecoming 5k.
“We’ve been doing this area, Downtown Melbourne, since 2012,” said Stephanie Bacon, the race director. “I am proud to say that we are going to have probably over 600 runners, which represents the largest race we’ve ever had.”
The route of the race ran through Downtown Melbourne with several turnarounds to minimize the blocked off area.
Bacon said the route has stayed the same through the years, with runners beginning at Waverly Place, moving down Melbourne Avenue, Bignonia Avenue, and them coming back to Waverly.
While a look at Florida Tech’s admission data shows that undergraduate admissions have steadily increased year by year, this does not necessarily mean that student participation has increased overall as the race remains open to the public.
Many non-students and faculty members also participated in the race. Ryan Schwieterman, a non-student participant, said he ran for his team, and that he expected to be exhausted afterward.
Team competitions, although informal, account for some of the increase in participation.
Yet, much of the 5k’s participation comes from members of Brevard County.
“I came here to win,” said Grant Poirier, a Florida Tech student and experienced runner. “I am going to win first 100 place.”
Poirier said he has been running since he could walk.
“Most of it was not of my own free will, but I learned to love it eventually,” Poirier said. “I’ve loved it and hated it for most of my life. Mostly hated it, but still loved it a little bit.”
Poirier went on to say that he ran for three years in middle school and one year in high school.
“After that one year in high school, I realized that running distance in high school was a terrible life decision,” Poirier said. “So I re-evaluated my life and played golf.”
While Poirier has an “unusual” liking for running, others were spotted crossing the finish line with smiles due to personal bests, or looks of fatigue, celebratory highfives with friends, teammates, professors and more.
If anything, Florida Tech’s homecoming 5k showcased all levels of runners, various types of participants, but all united for one fun event.
After being pushed back a day due to heavy rain, Halloween came early at Florida Tech and for the whole community with Treat or Treat.
With a large turnout in the hundreds, Florida Tech’s ResLife hosted the annual event on Sunday, Oct.20 with attractions ranging from haunted houses based on popular movies, bounce houses, a pumpkin patch and a costume contest.
With the previous day having a downpour of rain during the event’s time from 2:00–6:00, the last-minute decision to send out an email detailing the delay on Friday, Oct. 18 proved to be the right call.
Compared to the dour and dreary Saturday, the event itself benefitted with a sunny day and nice breeze as attendees stood in lines for the haunted houses.
Five haunted houses were set-up in the residential quads with the following themes: Enchanted Forest, Blue Genie, Men in Black Suits, Jurassic Land, and Scary Clown.
While the houses went by other names, they followed themes of popular movies such as “Aladin,” “Men in Black,” “Jurassic Park,” and Stephen King’s “It.”
“We’ve actually been working on all of this for the last two months,” said Alex Smith, a student volunteer. “With the logistics phase, designing, planning and getting the volunteers all together, it took about two months.”
Smith said that all of the RAs on campus volunteered during the event, helping out with every component of Treat or Treat.
“We were looking out for the safety of the people in the community,” Smith said when asked about the delay. “We wanted to make sure that it was nice, safe and fun for everyone by pushing it back a day.”
All of the houses were set up over the course of the week prior while the day of the event drew closer and closer.
“When it comes down to that last week of setting up, it’s all hands on deck with everyone running around,” said McKenzie Stack, residence life coordinator.
Stack said that with how much work it takes to get the event up and running, there were many last-minute trips to Walmart and decisions made to ensure the event’s success.
She also said that this was the first time Treat or Treat utilized the SUB area for the event and included food trucks, both of which worked out great in her opinion.
“It was a whole lot better than I thought it would be,” said Yajing Liu, a graduate student. “The settings were incredibly amazing. I can see the efforts and the students trying their best to present a good show.”
Liu said his favorite haunted house was the one in Evans Hall, called “Scary Clown.”
This house was based on “It” and was Liu’s favorite mainly for its scares.
The “Scary Clown” house was also the favorite for Kendall Willwerth, a freshman studying genomics and molecular genetics.
“There was actually a person standing in a yellow coat that I thought was a mannequin and when I walked by, they started following me and I was really scared,” Willwerth said. “The clowns were also very creepy.”
She said it was a lot of fun and she had a great time attending.
Despite the setback due to weather, many attended Treat or Treat and inspired Liu to celebrate in the future.
“Maybe next time I’ll try to put a costume on for the very first time and celebrate Halloween,” Liu said.
Maria Clara Melo waved a rainbow flag proudly over her head.
The crowd was decked out in everything from shiny spandex shorts and tiny tops to overalls and rainbow striped crop tops.
She was surrounded by people of all colors, genders, shapes and sizes, and she was proud.
On Saturday, Oct. 12, Orlando Pride colored all of Downtown Orlando rainbow, just 50 years after the Stonewall Riots and one day after National Coming Out Day.
Orlando’s Come Out with Pride event aimed to remember the events and lives lost during the riots and celebrate how far the nation has come, according to the event description on Facebook.
Melo, 21, an Orlando resident, said she feels like Pride has always had a positive atmosphere.
This was her third time at Pride, and the first time she brought along her sister, Ana Bentim.
Melo said it’s important to be around people in the same community who get where you’re coming from.
“I think it’s really nice to be around people in the queer community that feel comfortable expressing themselves and their sexuality,” Melo said. “It’s really cool and validating”.
Bentim, 29, said her first Pride was a cool experience as she watched everyone come together in one place.
As an Orlando resident, Bentim said she has seen the parades from her home before, but that being at the event was an entirely different experience.
“It’s good to walk around and see everyone show a different part of them and who they are,” Bentim said.
Melo said Orlando Pride is bigger and more developed that other Pride events she’s been to before, and that there are a lot more physical structures and stands around.
“It seems like it gets bigger every year,” she said.
The event had everything from food, clothing and flag vendors, to information stations about staying healthy and safe.
While Pride is an event that’s able to take place now, the signs present at the event addressed the memory of the events at Stonewall in 1969.
Jacob Chesslo is the president of Rainbow Alliance, Florida Tech’s LGBTQ student organization.
He said, “Historically, Pride was important due to acting as a protest against anti-LGBTQ prejudice, and acted as a way to support each other in the fight for equality.”
Chesslo went on to add, “It’s a way to celebrate the steps we’ve made in equal rights, and a way to show the community love and support.”
Chesslo has been involved in Rainbow Alliance ever since starting at Florida Tech, and has been to Space Coast Pride parades, St. Pete Pride and now Orlando Pride.
Chesslo, a junior in physics, said that he believes that the country is supportive of the LGBTQ community.
“Many more allies are coming out to events and celebrating the gains we’ve made in the fight for equality,” Chesslo said.
Still, those who oppose LGBTQ rights are present in 2019.
At Orlando Pride, three protestors stood outside of the fence that separated the event from the rest of Downtown Orlando at about three p.m.
They held signs saying, “Jesus saves from God’s wrath” and “Turn from Pride to Jesus.” This is not the only opposition.
According to the New York Times, the Supreme Court met last week to decide whether the current civil rights legislation allowed employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status.
Title VII outlawed discrimination of race, religion, national origin and sex, and the specifics of “sex” have not been explicitly written to include sexuality and gender identity, according to the New York Times.
Chesslo said the judicial proceedings are necessary, and that without a judicial ruling, the actions against the community will continue.
“It’s a necessary process to, hopefully, solidify the human rights that the LGBTQ community has,” Chesslo said.
Melo said that the importance of Pride is to provide an event where LGBTQ people can feel proud to be who they are.
“I love seeing all the people dress up and be happy and gay,” Melo said. “It’s nice that they can feel safe and comfortable because there aren’t that many spaces where they can be.”
The Human Rights Campaign stressed that this is the importance of National Coming Out Day, according to their website.
The day is a time to celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or another orientation.
The Human Rights Campaign website states, “Every person who speaks up changes more hearts and minds, and creates new advocates for equality.”
Teresa Rago, a junior in mechanical engineering, was one of many who celebrated National Coming Out Day.
To celebrate, she created an Instagram post. “Posting it online gave my friends from back home a chance to support me if they wanted,” Rago said. “It really shows how much I’ve grown and how confident I’ve become and how comfortable I am being myself in front of everyone.”
Rago said in high school, she was much less comfortable with her sexuality. However, she was still able to participate in National Coming Out Day during her senior year of high school.
“I brought rainbow-themed treats to my teammates for Coming Out Day,” Rago said. “Even though I wasn’t really out back then, I wanted to help form an environment where other potentially closeted teammates could feel safe, which is something I wish I had back in high school.”
When coming out is a concern for many young people, Orlando Pride took the opportunity to make a space where all members of the community could feel safe, especially when LGBTQ members haven’t been so safe in the past.
Pulse Nightclub, a gay nightclub, had representatives walk in the parade.
They held a banner with the faces of those who died in the shooting on June 12, 2016, with the hashtag #wewillnotlethatewin across the front of the banner.
Equality Florida, a civil rights organization for the LGBTQ community, walked as well.
The group was led by a man with a megaphone who walked in front of their banner.
Through the megaphone, he called towards the crowd following him, saying, “What do we want?” The crowd behind him replied, “Equality!” “When do we want it?” he continued. “Now!”
Jeff McGuire — aka “Cowboy” — was a beloved grounds worker that unfortunately left the Florida Tech family Wednesday, Sept. 18, after a sudden cardiac event while at work.
The 55-year-old father of nine was described as “a friend to everyone.”
Fellow grounds worker and best friend, Jeff Adkins, was with McGuire in his last minutes. “It was very sudden and tragic,” Adkins said. “I think all the students would want to know that Jeff was a friend that would support you and protect you no matter what.”
Sunday, Sept. 29, a celebration of life was held at the Pantherium where friends, family members and others in the Florida Tech community shared memories and jovial words to reminisce his passing.
In between prayers, gospel music and other songs that reflected the best of McGuire such as Old Town Road, Car Wash and To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees, people strode up to the microphone to share the impact McGuire had in their lives and the legacy he left behind.
“Jeff knew this campus was all about the students and that’s why he came to work with a smile on his face everyday,” said ground worker Cheryl Cornwall.
To conclude the celebration that more than 50 attended, McGuire’s wife, Lori McGuire, thanked everyone for showing their immense support and coming out to remember the man that she had been married to for the past 28 years.
“I know Jeff is looking down on all of us right now and if he were still here, he would want to say that he is with you forever and ever,” Lori McGuire concluded.
Thousands of Brevard residents gathered in Downtown Eau Gallie with rainbow flags, colorful makeup and balloons to attend Space Coast Pride’s annual parade on Sept. 28.
For the first time, Florida Tech’s LGBTQ group, Rainbow Alliance, marched in the parade.
For many members of Rainbow Alliance, this was not their first Pride. Jacob Chesslo, the club’s president and a senior in physics, said he attended his first Pride during his freshman year at Florida Tech.
“I was honestly overwhelmed at everything and wasn’t sure how to act or what to do,” Chesslo said. “At the end, I felt somewhat isolated. However, this year, it was very much the opposite. I’m much more open to the experience and enjoyed myself much more during this year’s Pride.”
Chesslo also said being in the parade gave him a mix of “anxiety and pride.”
“It is always an amazing feeling to be a part of something greater, and this was the perfect time to do so,” Chesslo said. “The other members of Rainbow Alliance made the anxiety lesser, and the overall experience was worth it.”
Sarah Edwards, a sophomore in aerospace engineering and Rainbow Alliance’s vice president, was another member to march in the parade.
“No Pride can ever truly compare to the first one,” Edwards said. “This one, however, was the first time I got to march in the parade. It was fantastic getting to watch the excited faces as they cheered you on, and getting to look out onto the endless line of rainbows.”
Edwards, who grew up in the suburbs of Nashville, said her first time attending a Pride event was at a previous Space Coast Pride event.
She said it was an experience she will never forget and something that helped her to see the acceptance around her.
“After spending most of my life in an area where homosexuality was the unspoken evil, I cannot even begin to describe to you the feeling of seeing so many supportive people in one place,” Edwards said. “It was so overwhelming I was almost brought to tears. It was very hard for me to grasp the idea that for the first time in my life, every soul around me was okay with this thing I was ashamed of and felt like I had to hide.”
Patrick Futch, Rainbow Alliance’s secretary and a junior in marine biology, also attended his first parade last year at Space Coast Pride.
“It was very overwhelming,” Futch said.
He went on to say he cried at one point during the parade because he had never been surrounded by so many accepting people.
Attending Space Coast Pride in 2018 helped Futch gain the confidence to come out.
“Pride is really, really important, especially for the people who haven’t come out,” Futch said. “I know from personal experience that having that support is really helpful, for if you want to come out or if you need support if maybe your family and friends aren’t so accepting.”
Helping people find support and acceptance is why Cortney Thompson, the president of Space Coast Pride, helps organize the Pride events every year.
Thompson, who attended his first Pride in New York in 2005, said the organization works in various ways to help the local LGBTQ community.
“Our biggest goal is to always represent our community by helping it grow, defending our community against attacks and spreading the message of love and acceptance,” Thompson said.
He went on to say their most recent goal has been to establish a community center, create scholarships and grow financially.
While Thompson is moving to Kentucky with his husband, making this his last Space Coast Pride, he said he is happy with the impact they have made.
“We’re so proud of this community and all that Pride represents,” Thompson said. “We encourage everyone to get involved. It really helps and makes a difference.”
While many Melbourne residents spent Labor Day weekend hunkering down for Hurricane Dorian, others had a different agenda.
On Wednesday, September 4, around 3:13 a.m, an unidentified individual broke the front windows to the Railroad Emporium in Downtown Melbourne, according to a Melbourne police report.
According to another Melbourne police report, there was an unrelated shooting on NASA Boulevard that same night.
These are just a few examples of crimes that tend to occur during storms.
Joshua Livasy, a senior in physics and a Melbourne native, said this issue needs to be solved.
“These storms have the potential to bring catastrophic damage to our communities as it is, but then you have people who use these disasters as a way to loot and vandalise local businesses,” Livasy said. “I think local law enforcement needs to find ways to keep a closer eye on the communities during these storms.”
Livasy also said he thinks keeping Downtown Melbourne safe and clean is very important not only to the city, but for the students of Florida Tech as well.
“Downtown Melbourne is not only a historical landmark here in Melbourne, it’s a place where many students here at Florida Tech go to enjoy themselves,” Livasy said. “But if the city of Melbourne doesn’t do a better job at keeping these communities safe, I think over time students won’t feel safe going there.”
However, other students, such as Jacob Mondoro, a sophomore in business management, think that regardless of what law enforcement tries, these kinds of crimes will continue to happen during hurricanes.
“Law enforcement can only do so much once the storm actually starts to affect us,” Mondoro said. “Once we start feeling the major effects of the storm, most of the local law enforcement does what we do and hunker down until it passes. It’s not until things calm down that responders start patrolling the communities again.”
Mondro also mentioned that the last thing business owners should have to worry about during a storm is whether or not their businesses are trying to be broken into.
“As a business owner, your concern in this time of crisis should be on whether or not the storm is going to cause damage, not if another person is going to damage your building,” Mondoro said.
With just a little over two months still left in the hurricane season, there’s still potential for more storms to come, and Livasy and Mondoro said they believe that local law enforcement needs to find better solutions for protecting these businesses and making the community a safer place to live.