INR4931: Final Exam Antonina (Nina) Mangiola

This photo was taken at TB McPherson Recreation Complex located in East Gainesville. I used to assist Aces in Motion (a non-profit) with project management strategies. This non-profit provided an after-school care service for East Gainesville children - where they could play tennis, complete homework, and partake in leadership development courses. Actually coming out to this center is what inspired the "expanding bus route proposal". One day my car was having work done, but I still had to attend an event at this complex. I decided to take the bus, only to soon realize that it would take me 3 different buses and 2 1/2 hours to reach a destination that was 15 minutes away from my apartment. When you drive out to this recreation complex, it seems like you are a world away from the Gainesville that centers around UF. It is secluded and appears to be located in a run-down neighborhood. To be completely honest I felt a little uncomfortable coming out for the first time by myself, but my ridiculous fear went away as soon as I got to know the kids in this program. That being said, during my time volunteering with them, only East Gainesville residents would come to this beautiful park! Growing up I used to play tennis and I have played tennis with other UF students, yet they never wanted to come out to play here. It seems ridiculous to me because the courts are maintained better, but I know it is because they didn't want to come out to this area. This persistent seclusion limits the interaction between UF students those in East Gainesville!
My hometown of Wellington, Florida is well-known as being the "Polo and Equestrian Capital of the World". Which is strange, since it is very small town (I think it might still be considered a village!). My parents are two very social artists that have a lot of Equestrian/Polo clients, so we often get tickets to watch a Polo Match or an Equestrian show! This is definitely a place of exclusion because people are not allowed near the vicinity of the polo fields if they do not have a ticket/know someone. In fact, you can't get a ticket unless you know someone who works for the polo. As you can tell from the people in the background, the people who attend these matches tend to be white and affluent. The last time I was there, I decided not to wear a dress and wedges (like the other women pictured) and I couldn't help feeling out of place.
This is a place of both inclusion and exclusion! I wish I could post a picture of this building's exterior, but I would be violating a confidentiality clause. This location is secret, underground facility to ensures a safe environment for women who have escaped from human-trafficking. I choose this picture because it mainly features myself and the other volunteers, while not picturing the women or making them identifiable. The home in which they live is a place of exclusion since no one else besides the executive director of non-profit and the women know what is inside. We didn't even know the exact location of this house until the executive director led us there the day we began volunteering. From the outside it seems like an ordinary house, but on the inside it houses about 20 women. It is a place of inclusion because inside the home they feel connected to the other women who went through the similar, unordinary circumstances. Through bible study and therapy, these women are able to recover together and share their progress with the other women. The women that we met in this facility came ranged from all different age groups, races, and life backgrounds, but the love and care they had for each other was like nothing I have ever seen. These women came together in order to grow and empower each other from a horrible and traumatic circumstance.
I am a big concert-goer/music fan! Last week, I went a small indie/alternative music festival in Gainesville. It was hosted at new live music venue called Heartwood Soundstage. I included pictures from this music festival because I believe that music is inclusive and has the power of creating this sense of inclusivity in most unexpected places. As much as I come to realize the division between West and East Gainesville, music halls have no boundaries or divisions. Throughout the night I came into interacted with people of all ages and ethnicities and we bonded over our love of good music. Normally I would not come to realize that importance of these interactions or that there was anything unusual about them. However, after taking this class, I realize the importance that the arts hold in contributing to spaces of unity and coexistence.
As ridiculous as it may seem, I believe that Starbucks is a place of inclusion. I spend a lot of time at this Starbucks and every time that I'm there I take notice of the influx of people that come in and out. As expected, there are a lot of students that come here to study, but I have also seen families, large groups of friends, and local Gainesville residents that congregate here. In fact, I always run into Dennis, an older gentlemen who comes to edit a movie he is working on. He's always eager to tell me the progress of his movie and take to me about politics. The amount of languages I hear circulating the cafe is astonishing as well! Whenever I'm there, I have small interactions with people from my table about small things, but I think it's definitely a point of inclusion for many Gainesville residents. It's a place to meet and gather, it's a place to study, it's a place to take advantage of the free wifi and decent coffee.
I would say that fraternity and sorority houses all tend to have an exclusionary quality to them. However, this fraternity appears to be more exclusionary them most. They have a reputation for being "southern", as depicted by the cannon they display in their yard. They also have an annual "Old South" ball in New Orleans every year where they invite dates to dress in old colonial/plantation-style dresses. Not to say anything against the fraternity, but one of my friend's sorority sisters was actually denied entry to one of their parties. Not to say anything against their fraternity, but this girl believed that it was because of her ethnicity. I don't know if that is true, but I think it's reasonable to think that fraternities are exclusive places since you cannot enter the home or brotherhood without going through some kind of process. Personally, I have only been there once for a tailgate and I almost immediately left. Although I did not necessarily have a bad experience, I didn't feel comfortable there.
Unlike Starbucks, I think Pascal's is more exclusive in nature. Although it inclusive, since it is a coffee shop right next to campus that offers plenty of available seating and free wifi, it is also a Christian study center. A gay friend of mine confessed that he didn't like going to Pascal's because he felt as though he received strange looks from people because of an equality sticker on his laptop. I have also heard many people say they were uncomfortable going there due to the many religious conversations and bible study groups they would overhear. I haven't witnessed this myself, but I can imagine how both these situations would be uncomfortable. A friend of mine works there and he told me that all the baristas and most of the customers are involved with the Greenhouse church. Therefore, I definitely see truth to what some of friends have experienced while at Pascal's.
I have not "gone out" in a very long time, so I wasn't able to get a picture at night. But on weekends and even some weeknights, midtown is packed beyond capacity! Especially near The Swamp (pictured) and across the street in the UF Plaza many people pile into the streets, on the stairs, outside of bars. With it's close proximity to bars, restaurants, and campus, it allows both students and other Gainesville residents to get together to drink and dance. Since the bars in midtown are small, it gives people more of chance to interact with people they otherwise wouldn't.
Since taking this class, I realize that I associate home with two places: the town I grew up in, and the town where my parents are from and where spent all of my childhood summers. These pictures were taking at my aunt's summer home in Calabria, Italy. I included pictures of this place because to me, it has always have strange inclusionary/exclusionary nature to it. My aunt owns a home in a beach-front community. As you can see from the pictures, each home shares a front porch with each other (the far back orange wall is her neighborhood's home), yet each home has it's own enclosed front yard (top right picture). Some neighbors have chosen to put up fences/tents/other barriers, while others, like my Aunt, have not. During the summer time, we would spend a lot time outside in the patio eating, playing cards, reading, talking at the same time as their other neighbors. This allowed us to grow close to the neighbors, as we frequently interacted with them in close proximities. In this community, the vast of majority of the residents were from all over Italy and just came to Calabria for the summer. There were two communal pools right in front of the yard (bottom right), but during certain hours of the day, we could not speak loudly or go near the pools. Because of this limitation, all the kids and I would have to find other spots to hang out and play. We then created other little spots hidden by bushes and flowers in the community that were undiscovered by our parents, but magical to us. Since many resorts and hotels were built alongside the beach, this was the only gated community of it's kind in the area. Reflecting back on my memories of this place, I realize how secluded it really was. I only interacted with other children that lived in this community, and I just recently discovered that the beach we went to was exclusive just for those living in the community. This is was incredibly conflicting for me because as a young child, this was always a place of inclusion and community, but from an outsider's perspective I realize that it is really exclusive.
Created By
Nina Mangiola


Created with images by johnomason - "Freedom Tower"

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