How FGCU's Mr. Green Became An Inspiration To All

How FGCU's Mr. Green Became An Inspiration To All

We all can take a little something from this man's contagious smile and attitude, but who is he really?
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We all know the man who brightens your morning as you drive onto FGCU’s campus welcoming your day with a warm smile and a friendly wave.

That man is Mr. Green. Whether it’s rushing to that 8:00 a.m. that you were contemplating staying in your comfy bed instead or grabbing a quick bite at Einstein’s, you can’t miss him.


I was intrigued by Mr. Green’s positivity and I wanted to know more about him. I thought, “This man must have some interesting and inspiring words to share” and he did.

Mr. Green made his way all the way from Oil City, Louisiana to Fort Myers, Florida. He received a full ride to Morris Brown College in 1973 as a star football player, then due to injury, he left and attended UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbra). He earned a Master’s degree, volunteered in less fortunate areas to enrich lives in need, and served in the U.S. Air Force.

One day, in 2003, he received a phone call while living in Texas to teach 7th Grade Geography at Bonita Springs Elementary School. This ultimately led him to the Information Booth at Florida Gulf Coast University where we see him today.

“I got a master’s degree, military experience, I’ve traveled the world, and I ended up here.”-Mr. Green

You must wonder, “Why?”

Originally, UCSB wanted Mr. Green to attend their school but it was too expensive for him. He told them, “Man that’s a lot of money. I’m not all that bright, but I got a lot of common sense.” UCSB ended up giving him scholarships and grants because of his display of fortitude and ambition.

I asked Mr. Green what his favorite part of his job was, and he responded, “The people. Any kind of person. My history, culture, and experiences have introduced me to be all these types of people. Computers and technology are just tools, but people are the focus.”

His mother, Mattie Green, recently told him, “You know the streets and the other side.”

No one tells him to stand out there at 7:00 a.m. each morning and he doesn’t get paid extra for it either, so why does he do it?

His reasoning was that each day prior to doing this, he would watch as people drove onto campus and they passed the Information Booth with frowns on their faces.

He wanted to be the one to turn their day around. So one day, he decided to be the reason someone may smile. He waves to each individual that passes, not overlooking one person.

We talked about his family back home in Louisiana. His Grandmother would say to him, “You must always do right and have a good heart. Never let the devil stay too long.”

Grandmothers always seem to give the best advice, right? He listened to his Grandmother's advice and displays her words through his acts of selflessness for others.

Part of his inspiration for this gesture is his reminiscences of his times in Oil City, Louisiana. The houses were on dirt roads where he lived. People sat outside on their porch each morning and waved as cars and people passed through.

It was a tradition in his town and it’s the best display of Southern hospitality if you ask me. As he shouted and clapped with enthusiasm, he mentioned he told his parents when he was about nine-years-old, “I just need to be happy and ice cream makes me happy.”

We ended up sharing our love for ice cream together (his favorite being Butter-Pecan, yum) and also bonded over our favorite music. He showed me his favorite Classic Jazz artist, Paul Hardcastle and I showed my favorite artist, being John Mayer. (Watch out, John Mayer’s got a new fan now!!)

He said proudly, “The kitchen is the most important place in my house."

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Green. There’s always room for dessert even if your belly is screaming no.

Numerous people passed through as I sat in the booth with him. All the way from bike riders going for their morning ride through campus, to people in need of assistance. Some people he referred to by name, but most were strangers.

Stranger or not, he acted as if they have been friends for a lifetime. He did so while introducing me to each person as well and made me feel appreciated.

Ed Nolan pulled up to the Information Booth in his car and was eager to add his two-cents in about Mr. Green. He said, “He’s my favorite person to see when I get off the plane.”

“It’s not about how you live, it’s about life. We try to make our livelihood better but we need to make life better.” Mr. Green said.

His uplifting attitude should remind everyone that passes him during their daily commute to our beautiful campus to take a step back and appreciate today. Having compassion and a kind heart towards others will ultimately bring you good things in your life.

I firmly believe that what you put into this world you will receive. We all need to be a little more like Mr. Green, have good intentions for your actions and love each other and life without limit.

Mr. Green said, “When I get a voice telling me to do something I believe it’s from upstairs, and everything always works out.”

Trust that voice in your head and do what makes you happy, whether it may be a big leap or not, you never know until you try.

So go and apply for that leadership position, take that internship, study abroad in your dream country, do whatever that makes you happy. Happiness isn’t defined through materialistic items, but rather the moments we share with others.

His philosophy is, “Putting righteousness before me, history with me, and the wind at my back. As a warrior, you always want the wind on your back, because when you fight you want victory but never the wind in your face because it knocks you down.”

In the short amount of time that I spent with Mr. Green, I got to see a little of what his day is like “behind the scenes”. I came to discover that this is a man with a huge heart. He showed me this through his personal experiences and amusing stories.

Enjoy the little things in life and take a step back once in a while to reflect on what you are grateful for.

We tend to always yearn for more but we will never be satisfied if we don’t learn to appreciate what we already have. Remember, you can do anything if you are kind and mindful of others. Life is measured in part by the joy you bring into lives other than your own.

Everyone has had their fair share of hard times, but what is important is that you overcome them with clarity and share what you have learned to help others. Give more than you receive.


Tell the people you hold near and dear to your heart that you love them because there’s no better feeling than accreditation and appreciation.


I can gratefully say I have made a new friend after this encounter. I suggest you all do the same, even if you don’t attend FGCU! It’s as easy as rolling your window down, saying hello or giving a little honk as you pass by. His charisma and heart will inspire you.

I promise if you’re feeling a little down one day, this is the man to go to that will turn grey skies blue.

A smile and a wave goes a long way. The FGCU student body appreciates you, Mr. Green, for spreading love and positivity every morning.

Thank you for your service. Keep doing what you do by keeping the spirit of FGCU and its students alive!

“You know you my friend.”

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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7 Apps That Make It Easy To Stay Close With Your College Friends Over Break

"We should totally hang out over break!"... and then you never do.

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One of the best parts about college is all the joy you get from being on campus. There's that newfound sense of independence you get if you move straight from your family home into your own apartment.

You get the freedom to choose things like what you're going to eat and when you're going to study. But the best part could arguably be the people you meet. Professors and mentors could potentially change how you're shaped as a person and what you end up doing, but so will your friends.

Most of what happens on college campuses is about engaging students with each other. You're meant to make friends that stick with you through graduation and beyond.

They become your support system when you're struggling with school stress or sickness, and the happiness they bring you could be what gets you out of bed in the morning to face that difficult class one more time.

But what happens when you go on break? Most students end up going home to visit with family or work at their old jobs while they aren't in class. This time might mean that you're going to have to leave your friends for a bit or that they'll leave you.

Don't panic about not being able to see them every day! Check out some of these great apps that will make it easy to stay in touch with your best friends.

You may even continue to use them after you're back to meet up at the cafeteria for dinner.

Whether you want to be able to hold long-term conversations as a group, binge watch movies together or even compete at games, an app will let you do exactly that. Get ahead of the curve and try some out before your next break so that you don't have to be without them.

Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

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