Why Your Instagram Feed Shouldn’t Cause Fear of Relapse


Article originally published on Feminspire: http://feminspire.com/why-your-instagram-feed-shouldnt-cause-fear-of-relapse/

Trigger warning for discussion of eating disorders

#selfie #smile #picoftheday

Instagram has taken over my life.

You wouldn’t know that if you followed me, as I rarely add any new images, and I haven’t used its embedded video feature.

But any chance I get between my internships and freelance work I’ve been spending on Instagram.

It has sort of replaced my teenage obsession with celebrity magazines.

Now, instead of flipping through glossy pages of Photoshop-manipulated images of J.Lo, I tap through photos and videos of “real-life” women who meet what I’ve always considered the ideal body type: super curvy, but still slim.

But similar to the way corporate media aided my eating disorder as a middle-schooler, photo-sharing social media like Instagram are making relapse an arduous feat to beat.

I’m starting to wake up with what my partner calls “powerpuff” eyes, caused by tears that dropped till 2 a.m., 3 a.m. or even 4 a.m.

I love the term, but there’s really nothing powerful about the way I feel. Those familiar voices screeching, “you’re inadequate,” “you’re a joke,” “look how disgusting you are” are making a comeback, and it’s been really difficult trying to quell the thoughts of purging.

After choosing recovery three years ago, I, like all of us, have had tough days. But lately my anxiety has been rushing over me like a tidal wave.

Brushing my teeth has become a war. “It’s so simple. You’ll feel better. Just do it” battles “You’ve come so far. That person has no power over you anymore. Stop.” So far, the latter has been able to block the jabs, but it’s no easy fight.

Then there’s my other adversary: over-exercising.

Because “working out” and “health” are almost always written side-by-side, I sometimes forget (or ignore) the dangers of obsessive fitness.

But four days ago, when I was lying on the bathroom floor after my knees, moist and trembling, finally gave out, I was reminded of all the times I had awoken to different tile patterns.

Passing out from over-exercising had – at one time – become the norm. A week without at least one blackout meant I didn’t push myself far enough.

But I’m a feminist and body positivity advocate now. I’ve read the literature. I’ve seen the stats. I know what’s up.

Still, social media, like all forms of media, is powerful.

And although mediated images don’t cause eating disorders, they can, and often do, negatively affect body image, which can lead to disordered eating.

The same is true for the images posted on social networking sites like Instagram.

Studies show that 93 percent of teens are on the Internet, with 11 percent of them on Instagram. Young adults make up the social networking site’s largest user base, with 28 percent actively taking and sharing pictures on the app.

Women, as with most photo-sharing platforms, are more likely than men to use Instagram.

As they gape at images of the Internet’s young, cyber celebrities, it’s likely that they don’t know that, though not as extreme as the Photoshopped-photos of mainstream celebs in magazines, these “real-time” photos are often altered too.

As digital natives, numerous teens and young adults have and use photo-altering apps and filters and have even mastered the “art” of posing for a camera. But even if it takes 20 snaps to get the perfect picture, all users see once it’s published is another flawless face or kick-ass body on their feeds.

Although it still stings like hell when you can’t “measure up” to a celebrity who has a team of makeup, hair and digital experts perfecting their look, you sometimes do feel a little better after seeing their original, unaltered photos. These images show that celebrities often do look a lot like we do.

But in the world of social media, where everything is supposed to already be real, the self-hatred and body-shame that spurs for not measuring up to “real-life” people can almost seem validated.

If hundreds of teen girls and young women around the nation naturally look like Hollywood’s beauties IRL, then what’s wrong with me?”

If this is you, then I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with the way you look. And considering that 90 percent of girls between the ages of 15 and 17 are unhappy with their bodies, it’s likely that those you hold up as an ideal are spending the same amount of time gawking at your images as you do theirs.

But this doesn’t make it OK. Spending hours flicking through images can still be damaging.

Last year, multiple public surveys commissioned via Facebook took place in an effort to understand how social media affects body image. The results showed that just looking at photos on social media made users more conscious about their bodies and also illustrated that young girls who use social networking sites have higher rates of depression.

Social networking sites like Instagram have definitely been contributing to my fear of relapse, and they’re definitely causing body image anxiety among countless other users.

A social media detox could do anyone good from time to time. But as a digital media professional (and a total social media nerd), just giving up social media is not reasonable.

Luckily, other photo-sharing forums like Tumblr and Pinterest are homes to a host of body image coaches and body positivity activists who counter #thinspo, #fitspo and all body and self-esteem issues with hourly, sometimes up-to-the-minute, posts of images, articles and videos of body love and self-acceptance.

Whenever I’m feeling low, I turn to blogs like Recovery is Beautiful or vlogs like Actively Arielle: A Voice with a Commitment for digital support.

Some days it works, while other days I wake up with “powerpuffs.” But for the past year, I haven’t made myself hurl – and that alone is a reason to both celebrate and remain ED-free.

Whitewashed Journalism: Why Do Only White-Passing Latinas Make it To Our Screens?

Whitewashed Journalism: Why Do Only White-Passing Latinas Make it To Our Screens?


Article originally published on Feminspire: http://feminspire.com/whitewashed-journalism-why-do-only-white-passing-latinas-make-it-to-our-screens/

The embarrassingly low number of Latinas hosting shows on English-language news networks or leading mainstream cable news programs can intimidate any Latina hoping to make a career in news media. But realizing that the bulk of these women could pass as white can deter interested and talented Afro-Latinas from even pursuing a job in the field.

Chicana scholar Gloria Anzaldúa regularly reminded readers that Latinas are mestiza, a mixture of races and cultures. But the diverse range of features that Latinas posses because of their mixed ancestry is repeatedly ignored, with only light-skinned Latinas “graced” with strong European genes capturing the media’s attention.

Colorism, a form of discrimination where one group is treated more favorably based on the color of their skin, is often discussed in its relation to dark-skinned African-American women in the media.

It’s rarely mentioned, however, that this same problem plagues Black Latinas.

Although there’s a dearth of Afro-Latinas in television (Hey, La La!), film (Thanks, Zoe, Christina and Rosario) and advertising (Yay, Joan!), it’s the whitewashing of Latinas in the news media that’s most prevalent.

Last year, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced that Hispanics make up 7.8 percent of the television news force, while the American Society of News Editors’ (ASNE) records showed that the group makes up just 4.1 percent of staff members at daily newspapers.

While representations of Latinas in the news media have increased over the past decade, the images viewers see when they flip to their favorite local or cable news stations are often the same: white.

Although the Latino culture and identity is a mix of its Spanish, indigenous and African roots, the Latina anchors are typically lighter skinned with more European phenotypes.

Does this just mean that Black Latinas aren’t really interested in broadcast journalism?

Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill, an Afro-Latina of Barbadian and Panamanian descent, is a moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and senior correspondent for The PBS NewsHour.

I don’t think so.

And there are several Afro-Latina bloggers and citizen journalists on my Tumblr dashboard who could confirm that.

So why is it so difficult to find dark-skinned Latinas in the news media?

My theory: colonial ideas of power and beauty.

In the U.S., Latinos in power are rarely dark-skinned. In fact, studies and articles repeatedly show that skin tones and racial features frequently determine who gets ahead and who doesn’t.

Cristina Saralegui, one of the most influential Latina talk-show hosts, and Jennifer Lopez, one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, were both able to break barriers that Black Latinas have not even been close to shattering.

Also worth noting is the fact that lighter-skinned Latinos in the United States make $5,000 more on average than darker-skinned Latinos.

From media, to business, to politics, Latinos in positions of power are predominately light-skinned. The phenotype of these women, and men, resemble the most powerful, revealing that whiteness still prevails.

The mainstream beauty ideal, which is almost exclusively white, I believe, also inhibits Afro-Latinas from making strides in broadcast news media.

In a 2001 study done by the University of Florida, researchers found that the greatest barrier facing women anchors was the “overemphasis of their physical appearance.”

In other words, writing and editing abilities, ethics, journalistic content and newsgathering skills are all, according to the 246 local news anchors surveyed, second to image and beauty.

We inhabit a society that idealizes light skin tones, straight hair, thin bodies and European facial features, meaning that Black women – including Afro-Latinas – with their dark skin, kinky hair and African phenotypes, don’t fit the dominant idea of beauty that news directors are looking for.

Feeling the pressure to fit this unattainable, colonial idea of beauty, more and more Afro-Latinas are resorting to dangerous measures like using daily skin bleaching creams and chemically straightening their hair.

But the white ideal even affects Latinas in the journalism field who are closest to the standard. Light-skinned Latina journalists like Cecilia Vega, Natalie Morales and numerous others regularly straighten and lighten their hair, making them appear almost indistinguishable from their white female colleagues.

Highlighting these Latina journalists is not an attempt on my end to pit dark-skinned Latinas and light-skinned Latinas against each other. In fact, I’m a light-skinned Latina with naturally straight, light hair and relatively European features trying to make it into news media.

My point is to spotlight the unearned privileges afforded to women with more European aesthetics and to remind media critics that Black Latinas, like all Black women, are impacted by colorism, too.

Latinos are the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. It would seem that now, more than ever, we’d have diverse newsrooms with writers, anchors and news directors reflecting the country’s racial and ethnic makeup.

As a Latina and young multimedia journalist, I am overjoyed each time I see Latina journalists like Cecilia Vega, Natalie Morales and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera make strides in news media. But knowing that Afro-Latina Soledad O’Brien’s major cable news show was recently kicked off of CNN while the network’s new white, male hire Jake Tapper became “the face of the new CNN” reminds me of how much more needs to be done for all Latinas trying to make their mark in journalism.

I want to see more Latinas like Elizabeth Vargas, as well as Mimi Valdes and Gwen Ifill writing and presenting the news.

I want to see blonde, faired-skinned women like my cousins, olive-skinned, straight-haired women like me, and dark-skinned, thick-haired women like my mother representing the spectrum of Latinas in all areas of the media, especially in the influential and inspiring field of news media.

Are you an Afro-Latina journalist or journalism student? If so, what do you think about colorism in journalism?


Why Aren’t We Talking About the Curvy Latina Stereotype?

Everyday Feminism

Article originally published on Everyday Feminism: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/06/curvy-latina-stereotype/

(TRIGGER WARNING: Eating disorders.)

The year is 1998.

Big Pun’s “Still Not a Player” music video is playing from my 13-inch TV. I’m only eight years old, but I know that one day my “baby fat” will vanish, and I’ll go from“la gordita” to one of the “chula” Boricuas that Pun is rapping about.

To prepare for this day, I put on some stretchy floral leggings, the ones that make my behind look the roundest, and move my hips like the girls in the video.

Who knew that I’d still only wear jeans that “help” me fit that curvy Latina ideal at age 22?

You know which one I’m talking about. It’s the only body type Latinas in the media are allowed to have.

Big breasts, toned arms, small waists, thick hips, and thighs that touch.

Think Sofía Vergara. On second thought, think of any Latina actress, singer, or video vixen you’ve ever seen.

Although I technically pass Pun’s “fat ass and breast” test, I still don’t exactly look like the chicas in his video. I still don’t measure up to this curvy Latina stereotype.

As a teenager, it never mattered how many hours a day I’d spent exercising, my belly would never be as ripped as J-Lo’s. Regardless of all the meals I’d skip and the times I’d waste over a toilet bowl, throwing up the salad I wasn’t “strong” enough to resist, I was never able to get rid of my arm fat.

And now there’s cellulite. Ay, Dios. ¿Por qué yo?

I’ll be honest, I love not having a thigh gap. Pero Jennifer Lopez no tiene celulitis.

Or, at least, she and all of my other thick sisters don’t in their Photoshop-manipulated images and edited videos.

Oh, snap. Did you just catch that?

Curvy women of color are Photoshopped, too.

Here’s a thought. You know how the mainstream media is suddenly concerned with how manipulated images of size-0 models (you know, the ones that they’re publishing) are affecting our young girls (“our young girls” being synonymous with “white young girls”)?

Well, I think other young girls and women of color are experiencing something similar.

Except, they’re not starving themselves in an attempt to look like Kate Moss (though many girls and women of color are affected by that white beauty ideal, too, and do go to extreme measures to meet that ideal).

But rather, they’re adopting unhealthy exercise regimens and going on extreme diets to look like Salma Hayek and Kim Kardashian.

Still, regardless if the goal is to lose your butt or lift it, the desire to fit an ideal is the same – just with a different pant size.

They’re both problematic. They’re both unattainable.

In fact, the women we look up to as thinspiration, whose images are retouched and sometimes composed of body parts from different photographs (seriously – read this), often don’t meet the ideal either.

But unless you’re trying to meet the white ideal, you don’t really know that. Latinas are often left out of the body image conversation because it’s assumed that curvy bodies are healthier and more easily attained.

But that’s not true.

And ignoring body image issues among Latinas forces us to think disordered eating is okay.

After all, we’re not trying to look emaciated. No, we just want to lose our bellies and our arm fat while somehow hoping our beloved breasts and backsides swell – which is not exactly possible, naturally, that is.

But if we don’t know that, we end up thinking there’s something wrong with us if this doesn’t magically occur.

If we truly believe the only photos being edited are those of white women and that the images we see of curvy Latinas on TV are real and untouched, then we think that’s obviously an attainable body type and that there’s something wrong with us for not fitting it.

But that’s not true.

So, I have some things to tell you, hermanas.

Photos of our favorite Latina celebrities are Photoshopped, too.

Latinas of all shapes, sizes, and ages suffer from disordered eating.

Latinas are not immune from messages in the media telling us how to look.

We may not be subjects in the mainstream body positivity conversation, but we’re certainly being told how we should look – and I bet we’ve all formed the same mental image.

And, finally, regardless of how the media tells us we should look, Latina bodies – like all bodies – come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors.

Surprise, surprise, America. The bodies of Jenny, Chelsy, Kristina, and Stephanie can all be found on the block.

We’re sharing this message with young white girls across the nation. We’re teaching them to become media literate, which is great.

But it’s time we do the same for Latinas.

Pues, esto es para ti.

1. Surround Yourself with Positive People

Our friends, peers, and, in the Latino community, our familias can all have a big influence on how we feel about our bodies, so it’s important to spend time with people who aren’t critical of themselves or other girls’ and women’s bodies.

At the same time, do your best to stop saying negative things about your body out loud.

When a friend or family member makes a negative comment about her body, remind her that she’s beautiful. Set a goal with her to recognize when you’re saying negative things, and stop yourself by replacing it with a compliment for yourself or someone else.

2. Go on a Media Fast

Choose a day, a week, a month, or longer to steer clear of as much media as you can.

That way, you can see how your life is different without all of those messages and images.

And when you return to viewing and reading popular media, you will be more sensitive to the messages that hurt you and those that are unrealistic.

Tuning out of media will help you better recognize what real bodies look like all around and the wide variety of bodies that are considered attractive and desirable in your own life.

You’ll notice that it looks a lot like yours, and not so much like our Latina pop stars.

3. Be Critical of the Media, Not Yourselves or Others

Next time you’re flipping through a magazine or watching a movie, train yourself to ask important questions about what you see.

If you don’t like the answers you find, remember you can turn away from the messages that hurt you.

Ask yourself:

Do you feel better or worse about yourself when viewing or hearing this media? Do you believe the females in your life would feel better or worse about themselves after viewing or hearing this media?

Who is advertising in these pages or on this screen? (Look for ads and commercials, and you’ll see who is paying the bills for your favorite media messages.)

Who owns the TV show, movie, magazine, video game, or website you are viewing? (Research the company and its owners and you’ll find out who the powerful decision-makers are behind the scenes of your media of choice.)

Are the media you read and view promoting real health or impossible ideals meant to make you spend money and time? Who are those messages promoting impossible ideals usually speaking to?

How are women and girls presented here? Are they valued for their talents and personality? Do they look like the females in your life? Which body types are presented as beautiful or desirable?

And remember: If you’re a fan of hip-hop music or Big Pun, he also talked about “intelligent bachelorettes.”

So, question it all, chicas.


* Note: All of the original research in this article came from a piece by the author for Latinitas magazine.

Multimedia: An Eye for Gaming

Knightly News

Multimedia project originally published on Knightly News at: http://knightlynews.cos.ucf.edu/?p=12187

Munawar Bijani, a senior computer science major at UCF, talks about the challenges he faces as a blind student, businessman and audio game creator in this 3-minute multimedia project.”

My Tasks: I shot all of the video and took all of the photos. I edited the audio, which was recorded by Stephany Nagy, and I combined, edited, sequenced and paced the audio, photos and video to create the final project via Final Cut Pro. 

Multimedia: Student Body Squeeze

Knightly News

Multimedia project originally published on Knightly News at: http://knightlynews.cos.ucf.edu/?p=10815

With a student population of more than 60,000, the University of Central Florida is beginning to get a bit crammed. The overcrowding has forced diners at the Student Union to either guard their tables hours in advance, or take their trays to any bench or floor available elsewhere. Some students have even given up studying at the library because of computer and outlet shortages. Instead, they’re hitting the books on the upper-level floors of the Student Union—a place where discomfort can buy them silence and a power source. However, with upcoming renovations to the library and All Knight Study II expected to open this month, it seems that UCF has recognized the problem and is attempting to resolve it.

My Tasks: I took the majority of the photos in this project (a few were taken by Wes Goldberg). I edited, cropped and resized all of the photos that needed work via Photoshop. I helped Goldberg edit the audio that he had recorded via Audacity.We both worked together to sequence and pace the project on Soundslides. 

Photos: Amendment 8 Protest Rally

Central Florida Future

Gallery originally published in the Central Florida Future at: http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/multimedia/pictures-amendment-6-protest-1.2786545

The president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) atUCF, Nicole Elinoff, and the president of UCF’s chapter of Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX), Alexa Nelen, joined forces in front of the Student Union Monday to protest Florida’s Amendment 6. After a swift sound cannon, both presidents, along with some group members, informed students of the contentious measure, while asking them to take the Vote No on Amendment 6 pledge. If passed, the measure would ban state tax money from being used for abortions or for health insurance coverage of abortions, except in rare circumstances like rape and incest.

Leader in feminism hosts rally on campus

Central Florida Future

Originally published in the Central Florida Future: http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/news/leader-in-feminism-hosts-rally-on-campus-1.2781516#tabs_article_comments_tab1

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem made a stop at UCF’s Pegasus Ballroom Friday to lead a discussion on women, politics and the importance of voting in the upcoming election.

The rally, which was sponsored by UCF’s women’s studies program and the National Organization for Women at UCF, brought more than 200 students, faculty and local women’s rights organizations together.

Steinem opened her discussion by encouraging everyone to forget about party labels and to examine the issues that are at stake. For Steinem, that includes equal pay for women.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man in an equal position. Though pay equity has been discussed by both presidential candidates, Steinem said she believes both candidates have not realized that “equal pay for female human beings of the United States will be the single greatest, most powerful economic stimulus this country could possibly experience.”

“Just equal pay for comparable work would put $200 billion more into the economy every year,” Steinem said. “We are not going to take that money and put it into a bank account in the Bahamas. We are not going to send it to Switzerland. No, we are much more likely to spend it in a way that creates jobs.”

Steinem also emphasized the importance of another women’s issue: reproductive rights. Though the case for abortion has created an even greater division between partisan lines, with liberals generally for it and many conservatives against it, Steinem believes reproductive freedom defies political ideologies. She said reproductive freedom is just as important for people who do not wish to have an abortion as it is for those who do.

“It means what it says [and] it says the power of the government stops at our skin,” Steinem said.

The issue of reproductive freedom is particularly important to many Florida voters because of a contentious amendment on this year’s ballot: Amendment 6. The measure would ban state tax money from being used for abortions or for health insurance coverage of abortion, except in rare circumstances like rape and incest.

To president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, Jenna Tosh, who also spoke at Friday’s event, the amendment would put women’s health in jeopardy.

“If Amendment 6 passes, it could mean that a pregnant woman who needs access to cancer treatment would be denied health to end her pregnancy even if it’s what her doctor recommends. If Amendment 6 passes, it would leave a woman and her family struggling to figure out how to pay for medical care, even in the case of a severe fetal abnormality. Denying a family help in these cases is unconscionable,” Tosh said.

UCF’s women’s studies director, Maria Santana, said issues like reproductive rights and pay equity make this election crucial for women. However, she fears that young women who lack interest in politics may not exercise their right to vote, risking the gains that Steinem and her contemporaries fought for.

“Today, as young and perhaps single women, they don’t feel the necessity or the urgency, but we see it as an urgency because we understand the political path of change and the political path has ramifications,” Santana said. “It’s important for them to understand what’s happening today, right now, because it will be history.”

Santana remembers the agency created by second-wave feminists like Steinem. She admires that they did not just organize to complain about gender disparities, but that it moved them to action, something she hopes today’s generation picks up.

Steinem’s discussion imbued a similar sense of agency in junior finance and marketing double major Lauren Mulvihill.

“I’ve never been so empowered by hearing someone speak. I’ve never wanted to act out and go out and do something to perpetuate these feelings before,” Mulvihill said.

For senior political science major Paul Thurston, the conversation helped him recognize something about himself.

“As somebody who is obviously a man, I never really classified myself as a feminist, even though I believe in a lot of the same stuff. It’s good to see that maybe I have been this whole time, but I just didn’t know it,” Thurston said.

Steinem has been traveling around the country and the world advocating for women’s rights since the late 1960s. Her visit to UCF was the first of six stops she’s making in Florida this week. She’ll take a trip to St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale and Miami to continue her talk on women’s rights issues as related to the 2012 election.

Victim Services holds workshop on sex under the influence

Originally published in the Central Florida Future: http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/news/victim-services-holds-workshop-on-sex-under-the-influence-1.2773524

In celebration of College Safety Awareness Month, UCF’s Victim Services sponsored a workshop Thursday in the Key West Ballroom that shed light on the dangers of having sex while under the influence.

Stephanie Spies and Michael Freeman of UCF’s Wellness and Health Promotion Services, which trains students on sexual violence prevention and offers workshops on healthy living strategies, informed students of rape myths and offered them useful tools. 

To Freeman, one of the most problematic rape myths is the thought that having sex with someone who is under the influence isn’t rape. But under Florida law, a person who is inebriated is unable to give consent. 

“For us, this issue of consent is absolutely at the center,” Freeman said, the coordinator for violence prevention, HIV testing and STI risk reduction. “One of these rape myths is that, ‘well she’s drinking a lot so let’s go ahead and let her keep drinking,’ but if that’s happening, there’s no way she can give consent.”

According to Freeman, 47 percent of sexual assaults, which includes rape, attempted rape, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse and other sexual activity that one does not agree to, can be prevented if bystanders intercede. 

“To our 18-year-old, 90-pound student who has never drunk a day in her life, one drink or Four Lokos or something is probably the end of any abilities to make decisions,” Freeman said. “What I want our young men to do is when they see that, the first thing they think of is ‘what if that were my sister, what would I do? What would I want for her?’ And what I want the young women to do is think, ‘what if that were my sister, or me? What would I want them to do?’ ”

Though Freeman has advocated for social justice since his teenage years, the notion of bystander intervention particularly hits home because of the rape of his daughter during her freshman year of college.

“She was date raped, and there were people standing over there that did nothing,” Freeman said. “That is what happens in our campuses and that is not acceptable.”

To Freeman, intervening isn’t exclusive to an individual physically stepping into a situation. He believes that just calling 911 and informing them of the circumstances is an effective bystander intervention. 

Victim services’ Senior Victim Advocate Coretta Cotton believed Freeman’s ideas on bystander intervention got students thinking.

“I think it got the students engaged and thinking and talking, and that’s what we want to do: make students aware of what’s out there and how to protect themselves,” Cotton said.

Junior psychology major Lauryn Golemme agreed. 

“He’s very inspirational, it’s good to see that someone has those ideals,” Golemme said. “This was very successful and it was good to see.”

Wellness and Health Promotion Services don’t subscribe to an abstinence-only approach to alcohol; they just want students to drink wisely. 

Spies, the coordinator of campus health promotion, provided students with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) card to help them monitor factors such as sex, weight and hours spent drinking, which all affect one’s BAC. 

To avoid driving or walking home while drunk, she also advised students to utilize KnightLYNX, UCF’s late night bus service that travels throughout the UCF community Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. The trips are free to all UCF students who show their UCF ID Card. If a student’s home is outside the UCF region, Spies suggest they obtain a Safe Ride voucher from the SGA Ticket Center, which provides students with one free cab ride every 61 days.