University has $4.5 billion impact on South Florida’s economy

The University of Miami has a $4.5 billion economic impact in South Florida, a 2007 study conducted by The Washington Economics Group revealed.

“That’s a lot,” David Creech, a UM law student, said upon hearing the number. “It seems like a bit more than I’d expect, but I guess with the hospital and everything, it makes sense.”

Last December, UM purchased and launched the University of Miami Hospital, formerly known as Cedars Medical Hospital. The university will spend $37.5 million in renovations on the facility.

Overall, UM’s construction program totals nearly $1.5 billion.

The study went on to say that the university employed 11,700 people who earned a total of $875 million. Independent Colleges and Universities of South Florida figures from March stated that UM spent $1.6 billion.

In addition, more than 70,000 academic visitors have come to UM to teach or conduct research, and they have spent approximately $71 million.

– Chelsea Kate Isaacs

ACS a large presence at Relay for Life

Every team member showed support with giant Q’s displayed across their T-shirts, but it was two Association of Commuter Students sophomores, Alex Leon and Jose Obregon, who took their support to an extreme and won the costume contest dressed up as the superhero Quailman.

At the Relay for Life event April 5, ACS had a large presence with 35 members that stayed for the relay’s duration, from 2 p.m. to midnight. Many of the members also brought family members and significant others to enjoy the event and took turns walking around the track.

The two team captains for the event, Caro Tejidor and Kassandra Perez, based their theme on the Nickelodeon classic Doug. The captains collected $5 from every member who wanted a T-shirt with a large Q, which stood for Quailman, Doug’s superhero alter ego.

To raise more money for the event, ACS sold baked goods, grilled cheese and drinks at Relay for Life. The student organization charged $2 for session of Guitar Hero, which went along with their Doug theme, since Doug idolized the fictional rock band The Beets. Members were also able to donate through the official Relay for Life Web site when they registered for the event.

“Relay for Life has always been an important event for ACS. Over the years, many of our members have been directly affected by cancer, either a family member or themselves has been diagnosed,” said Perez, an elementary education and psychology double major. “The support demonstrated by the members this year is a sign of the kind of family that the club has become when times are rough.”

-Sarah Silverman

The tagline for the Association of Commuter Students recent charity date event was enticing enough. It read, “If you just got paid, it’s time to get lei’d,” a play on the paradise on campus theme, which included a Hawaiian luau and flower leis.

The seventh annual auction, which took place April 2 at the Rathskeller, was one of many events during Commuter Extravaganza, three days of commuter student awareness.

The purpose of the event was to bid on students who would be potential dates. The person who received the highest bid for the night won a special dinner to share with the auctioned date.

Students were “sold” and the entire event raised $2,005. Some of the auctionees included new student government executives Brandon Gross and Claudia Medina. The highest bids were $220 for senior Justin Tuttle, $170 for junior Alexandra Ford and $105 for Sebastian the Ibis.

Many University of Miami alumni came to the ACS-sponsored event in addition to approximately 50 non-ACS students. The auction also had participants from Pi Kappa Alpha, Delta Gamma, Zeta Tau Alpha and Spectrum.

“The event was very successful. I won a date with a hot South African guy,” said Kaella Stephenson, a junior studying psychology and member of ACS. “I think it was a great night, but ACS hopes everyone can make it to next year’s auction.”

All the proceeds from the event were split between the family of an ACS and a UM alumnus whose mother has cancer and the “House of Blue Hope” Project in Tanzania, which is building an orphanage and educational complex for 36 local orphaned and homeless school-aged children.

-Sarah Silverman