USF Sarasota-Manatee students and faculty will participate in November’s Bacchus on the Beach food and wine festival, Nov. 4-6, on Longboat Key after a successful Bacchus event last November.

Campus Insider: USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, Resort at Longboat Key Club to partner on annual Bacchus event

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: March 09, 2020

SARASOTA, Fla. (March 09, 2020) – The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus and The Resort at Longboat Key Club are strengthening their ties through a new agreement that enables students to work alongside resort professionals during the resort’s annual Bacchus on the Beach food and wine festival.

Approved last month, the agreement provides College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership (CHTL) students with an unparalleled hands-on instructional experience. Students will learn to plan and execute upscale food and wine events, from marketing and menu planning to setup and staging.

“We are truly fortunate to have a teaching hotel of this high caliber continually engage with our students,” hospitality management instructor Joe Askren, PhD, said. “This opportunity will provide many of our students with helpful insights into various careers associated with resort and event management.”

This year’s Bacchus on the Beach is scheduled Nov. 4-6 and marks the event’s 10th anniversary. Askren said he and the CHTL students are eager to meet with resort personnel to help with early stage planning or in any other capacity.

Students Megan Fedorczyk and Tyler Williams greet guests.

The Resort at Longboat Key Club, 220 Sands Point Road, Longboat Key, has long partnered with the CHTL through internship opportunities, onsite student visits and classroom instruction by resort managers. And as a top resort destination, the club offers unprecedented instructional opportunities for students to learn from seasoned and knowledgeable resort professionals.

Bacchus on the Beach began nine years ago as a single-day event but has since evolved into a highly-anticipated, three-day food-and-wine festival with elegant wine dinners and tastings by winemakers and sommeliers.

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Joe Askren, PhD

An elaborate stone crab festival and auction highlights the festival’s final day when guests are invited to sample and taste hundreds of wines and spirits from across the world, enjoy mounds of stone crab claws and visit a variety of chef-attended food stations. The evening concludes with music, dancing and a live auction.

At the most recent Bacchus in November, Food and Beverage Director Bob Weil invited students behind the scenes to assist with check-in and food and beverage service, which paved the way for the CHTL’s current relationship with the festival.

As a bonus, the resort made a generous $11,000 donation to the college last month, proceeds from the wine auction. The funds are much appreciated and will assist with programming and equipment purchases at the college, Askren said.

“It was a privilege to see our students work alongside true professionals at this high-profile event,” he said.

Rick Benninghove

Resort General Manager Rick Benninghove said he welcomes the opportunity to further engage with the students.

“We are passionate about our long-standing partnership with USF’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership and look forward to continuing to expand our role as the college’s official teaching hotel,” he said.

For more information about The Resort at Longboat Key Club, visit

For more about Bacchus on the Beach 2020, visit

To learn more about the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus, visit

Davis-Cotton named to Manatee County School District Arts Task Force

Denise Davis-Cotton, EdD, director of the Florida Center for Partnerships in Arts-Integrated Teaching, has been appointed to the Manatee County School District’s new Arts Task Force to promote the arts in public schools.

Denise Davis-Cotton, EdD

“I am delighted to serve on the Arts Task Force to position the arts as an integral subject in Manatee County schools,” she said.

Davis-Cotton will help augment the district’s strategic plan to include the arts alongside science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), creating a new STEAM curricula.

“Arts-integrated teaching in the pre-K through 12 school curricula is a critical paradigm shift for educational leaders. This makes the arts academic,” Davis-Cotton said. “I am delighted to contribute ideas that intentionally focus on arts access, equity and equality in Manatee County schools. The Arts Task Force promotes inclusion of the arts in school curricula in order to provide Manatee County students with a well-rounded education.”

‘Go for Gold’ registration info session set March 23-24

Allison Dinsmore, assistant director of student success; Glenna Schubert, assistant director, Records and Registration; biology major Josh Ghansiam, a junior, and Briana Byers, an academic advisor, at last year’s registration info session.

NOTE: Due to continuing concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus), the following campus event has been canceled.

Student Services will be on hand to answer students’ questions about course selection, summer and fall registration deadlines, financial aid and more at “Go for Gold,” a registration info session scheduled Monday, March 23, from 1 to 4 p.m., and Tuesday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the FCCI Rotunda. 

Go for Gold promises to take the guesswork out of registration and comes as registration for summer and fall classes is set to begin on March 30.

“Our goal with this event is to help students prepare for when they are able to register for the upcoming semesters,” said Glenna Schubert, assistant director of records and registration at USF Sarasota-Manatee. “We highly encourage students to register as soon as their registration time allows to secure a seat in their preferred courses and remain on-track for graduation. Registration will be opening for both summer and fall 2020 at the same time, so planning ahead is very important.”

The event includes free refreshments. Go for Gold is co-sponsored by CraftaBull and USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Student Government Association.

Employers: Register to recruit talent at the 2020 CCA Reverse Career Fair

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Last year’s Reverse Career Fair was held at the Selby Auditorium. This year’s fair will be at New College and includes USF Sarasota-Manatee, New College and State College of Florida.

NOTE: Due to continuing concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus), the following campus event has been postponed until further notice.

Employers, don’t miss an opportunity to be part of the first-ever Regional Reverse Career Fair for local college students from the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, New College of Florida (NCF) and State College of Florida.

The fair is set for March 26, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., at New College’s Harry Sudakoff Conference Center, 5845 General Dougher Place, Sarasota.

The event turns the tables on traditional job fairs by making students the stars of the show. Instead of employers setting up booths to tout their organizations and recruit students, students create displays to promote their skills, life story and accomplishments to attract recruiters.

USF Sarasota-Manatee held its first reverse career fair on Nov. 8, 2018, and the event surpassed expectations. In a post-event survey, 17 of 22 students who responded said they were offered at least one job and/or internship, and 14 accepted.

As a result, organizers from USF Sarasota-Manatee are now partnering with nearby institutions to create a larger regional reverse career fair.

“We received extremely positive feedback from employers who participated in our inaugural event,” said Bart Stucker, a reverse career fair co-organizer and coordinator of orientation and recreation programs at USF Sarasota-Manatee. “A big piece of feedback that stood out is that they wanted more students and a bigger venue.”

“Attending a traditional career fair can be an unsettling, high-pressure experience,” said Ben Hyland, co-organizer of the event and coordinator of internships and career readiness at USF Sarasota-Manatee. “Here, it’s the opposite: Students and employers are more relaxed and excited. They get to know one another without rushing the conversation.”

Research Roundtable with William Elwood of the NIH set for March 23 at USF Sarasota-Manatee

NOTE: Due to continuing concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus), the following campus event has been postponed until further notice.

The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus will host the Spring 2020 Research Roundtable on Monday, March 23, with William Elwood, PhD, coordinator of the National Institutes for Health Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network, which develops funding opportunities on the underlying mechanisms and processes that inform health behaviors in emerging topic areas.

The meeting is free and open to students and faculty from USF Sarasota-Manatee and other nearby colleges as well as the general public, but registration is required.

Elwood will provide an overview of multiple federal agencies that fund academic research and more detail on the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s agency that funds research that seeks fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.

2020 Spring Resource Fair and Supply Drive set this month

NOTE: Due to continuing concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus), the following campus event has been postponed until further notice.

Join USF Sarasota-Manatee on Monday, March 30, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Selby Auditorium for the 2020 Spring Resource Fair and Supply Drive to learn about food and housing programs and to make a donation to the Support-A-Bull Food Pantry.

Yolanda Woody

The pantry, which opens later this month, is accepting contributions of non-perishable foods, toiletries, baby food and other hygiene items for students.

The Spring Resource Fair is designed to provide information about public services related to food and housing insecurities. The event comes with free refreshments and is open to all local students as well as the general public.

The event is sponsored by the Food and Housing Insecurity Committee, which was created two years ago to address students’ basic life needs. For more information, contact Yolanda Woody,

Spring Commencement set for May 12

The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus will hold its Spring 2020 Commencement on Tuesday, May 12, at the Bradenton Area Convention Center at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit the Commencement page.

However, the March 26 Grad Stampede, where students can pick up their cap and gown if their regalia was pre-ordered, has been cancelled due to concerns about coronavirus. More information will be forthcoming as to when and where those items can be picked up.

Free rape defense classes offered

NOTE: Due to continuing concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus), the following campus event has been postponed until further notice.

Students, alumni, staff and faculty from USF Sarasota-Manatee and New College of Florida are invited to attend Rape Aggression Defense (RAD), a basic self-defense class for women offered Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The training is free; participants must attend both sessions. The location of the RAD training will be shared later with class registrants.

‘HospitaBull’ set for March 24 at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota

USFSM’s ‘HospitaBull’ draws crowd at Ritz-Carlton
This year’s HospitaBull, which benefits students and faculty, will mark its 10th anniversary.

NOTE: Due to continuing concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus), the following campus event has been postponed until further notice.

“HospitaBull 2020,” the elegant dining event organized, prepared and served by students from USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, is scheduled for March 24, at 6 p.m., at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Drive.

Tickets start at $175 for individuals.

HospitaBull was created in spring 2011 as a way for students to gain hands-on experience while also raising funds for scholarships, faculty development and equipment purchases.

Students work closely with USF Sarasota-Manatee faculty and Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, staff to plan and execute the elegant menu.

The upcoming event will be the 10th HospitaBull.

Bulls Bistro returns to Culinary Innovation Lab

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A special dinner to benefit USF Sarasota-Manatee hospitality programs is set for April 9.

NOTE: Due to continuing concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus), the following campus event(s) has been postponed until further notice.

The Bulls Bistro is back with a new menu and theme nights. Presented by USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, the popular dining event pairs students with faculty chefs in an exploration of world cuisine.

Patrons receive two glasses of wine (red or white) or two glasses of domestic beer, along with a tasting of three hors d’oeuvres and one sweet tapas inspired by regional dishes. Tickets are $30.

Unless otherwise indicated, the Bulls Bistro is held most Thursdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Culinary Innovation Lab, 8130 Lakewood Ranch Main St., Suite D104, Lakewood Ranch.

On April 9, a special Bulls Bistro will be held in partnership with the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Powel Crosley Estate, 8374 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. The event, “Taste of the past, flavors of today,” set from 5:30 to 9 p.m., will present a contemporary twist on classic American cuisine.

The Bulls Bistro was created in October 2016 by Pat Moreo, PhD, dean of the CHTL. To learn more, visit

For more information about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit

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