Part IV: An Oglethorpe Journey

This summer’s short term, for-credit trip to Greece made an enormous impact on the students who participated. Following up on the original post by Dr. Jeffrey Collins, we now hear from three of those students, in their own words. [Read Part II: An Odyssey of Learning, Part III: Study Abroad Creates ‘Momentum’.]

Greece 2013 - Chelsea Reed (13)c

Chelsea Reed ’13

When I began my Oglethorpe journey, I never could have anticipated everything I would both gain from and give to this incredible community. As a freshman, I vividly remember studying The Return of Gilgamesh in Dr. Shrikhande’s Core class, Narratives of the Self. The epic tells a tale known as a bildungsroman, a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education. Retrospectively, it seems that these past four years have been something of my own bildungsroman, and I couldn’t be more grateful for Oglethorpe’s key role in the person I have become. Following graduation this past May, I embarked on a study abroad trip in June, spending 20 days touring Greece with two of my favorite professors, fellow alumnae, and students earning academic credit in art history or studio art. The trip was a serendipitous way to end my time at OU, celebrate graduation, and solidify my entire college experience.

Although I’ve been back in Atlanta for a couple of weeks, I am still trying to fully process the amazing journey through Greece. We began in Athens, island hopped, ventured back to the mainland for a land tour, and then ended up back in Athens, full circle, before heading home. In Athens, we were blown away by the historical value of the Acropolis and the majestic Parthenon and entertained by the hustle and bustle of the busy Plaka where we ate and shopped. When we left on a ferry, I could feel the vastness of the Aegean Sea begin to settle my soul as we voyaged toward the islands.

Parthenon - Chelsea Reed (2)cor

The group listens to Dr. Collins at the foot of the Parthenon.

Our first stop was the beautiful island of Mykonos. We felt like we were in paradise at our quaint resort. A maze of streets lined with crisp white buildings with blue accents, Mykonos was as lively as its famous Don Quixote-esque windmills. I would’ve gladly stayed, convinced that it couldn’t get any better aesthetically—until we arrived on the island of Santorini.

Santorini, the remnant city, is re-established in optimism after one of the largest volcanic eruptions of all time wiped out the entire Minoan civilization and devastated the island. The desire to remain here despite fear of another natural catastrophe was much easier to understand after seeing Santorini’s beauty and grandeur in person. We hiked Nea Kameni, the burnt island, feeling empowered as we stood on the basalt of a dormant volcano. The view from the winery, where we sampled local wines, was absolutely breathtaking, illustrated with shades of blue I thought could only exist in my imagination. One night as we walked back to the hotel from dinner, we paused to gaze upon the charming town on a cliff, lit up against the dark sapphire sea. In that moment, I understood why so many people from all over the world find Santorini so special and appealing—it is certainly the most gorgeous place I have ever seen.

Greece 2013 - Chelsea Reed (1)cReluctantly leaving behind Santorini, we made it to the island of Crete, with its unique combination of metropolis, oceanic and mountainous scenery. We spent much of our time in the old port of Hania, characterized by a beautiful lighthouse and an animated town. There we saw the Phaistos Disc, one of archaeology’s great mysteries, engraved with some of the first known hieroglyphics.

We finally made it back to the mainland of Greece, where we recuperated in the serenely quiet coastal town of Nafplio. We had become fairly well acquainted with Greek cuisine by this point in the trip, and were thrilled to have a great feast followed by lessons in traditional Greek dancing. I will never forget Dr. Collins doing a flip or proposing a toast to Professor Loehle for his tireless efforts in challenging us artistically.

Greece 2013 - Chelsea Reed (12)cAfter much anticipation, we got to the mystical town of Delphi, which felt like another plane of existence with its astonishing view of mountainous landscape for miles. A cozy town with a main road of shops and cafes, Delphi seems ordinary, but the spiritual feeling it evokes in its visitors is anything but. One morning, we arose early with the roosters and went for a run along on what was once known as the sacred road to the Castalian spring. Mystics before us had cleansed and hydrated themselves with its healing waters, and I gained from our ritual an awakening I will never forget.

Everyone in our group seemed to be on the trip with an objective. Whether we realized it beforehand or not, we were all searching for something… education, mental retreat, vacation, spiritual awakening, perspective (albeit personal or anthropological), or maybe a little bit of all these things. What we would all manage to find throughout our journey in this fascinating, ancient place—and also within ourselves—far exceeded our expectations.

Chelsea Reed graduated this past May with a major in Communications and Rhetoric Studies and a minor in Studio Art.

Hermance Stadium Gets the Thumbs Up as Colosseum Double

You never know what you’re going to see at Oglethorpe. Yesterday I watched the incarnations of Roman gladiators—yes, gladiators—roam around our campus.

Oglethorpe’s Hermance Stadium took the form of Rome’s Colosseum for the filming of a contemporary jazz music video shot by Twelve Media Group, which has Oglethorpe connections. 

Dina Marto ’05 is the co-founder and President of Twelve Media Group, an Atlanta-based boutique label and publishing entity which discovers and cultivates creative talent. Dina identified her alma mater as the perfect setting for the production of the music video for the single “State of Mind” by electric violinist Ken Ford, the company’s first signed artist.

Ken Ford

Ken Ford on the set of his "State of Mind" music video single

Ford is currently on tour and will play the Buckhead Theatre on Roswell Road in Atlanta on Saturday, August 20.

Oglethorpe’s Unofficial [Ogle] Mascots

I’ll never forget the first time I spotted the “Ogle-turkey” on campus through my bewildered freshman eyes. “A turkey!?” I thought to myself. “He’s strutting around like he owns the place.”


The elusive Ogle-turkey perched on the deck outside the student center.

I’m now about to enter my junior year and not much has changed. The other day I drove onto campus through the side gate, but not before yielding to the beloved Ogle-turkey who had insisted on crossing as though the stop sign didn’t apply to him. (I guess it didn’t!) I chuckled to myself and thought fondly about how this pretentious bird has evolved into an unofficial mascot for Oglethorpe. No one really knows for sure how we ended up with a stray wild turkey, but this affectionately regarded addition to our community has become legend and ingrained in the student sub-culture.

Or should I call it Ogle-culture? The practice of adding “Ogle” as a prefix to all things Oglethorpe has become a consistent language pattern among students, faculty, and staff. Here in our “Ogle-bubble” we even have our very own vernacular. In fact, the Ogle-turkey is not the only representative of our unconventional campus pets. The felines that live in the woods adjacent to campus are dubbed—what else, but—Ogle-kitties. For the most part they are rather un-socialized, quickly thwarting the domesticating efforts of the occasional student who tries to confine them to their dorm room.

Puppies on the Quad

Joscelyn Stein '13 and Patrick Day '13 enjoy quality time with these rescued pups.

But, if you’re that kid who misses their pet that badly, or even if you’re just an animal lover, there are always animal-friendly events as well. During last semester, students got a little “doggie therapy” when Animal Rescue Savers brought some adorable puppies to the campus quad. Animal Rescue Savers adopts dogs who are on death row at the pound. Even finals couldn’t get us down after a study break with these furry friends. Special thanks to Joscelyn Stein ’13, then Student Government Association President-elect,  for arranging that playdate with rescued Ogle-doggies!

Seniors Ring in the Fun

Posing w/ Pops

Seniors indulge in frozen treats from King of Pops.

The time of year to say a bittersweet farewell to our seniors is upon us once again.

In less than 24 hours, the graduating Class of 2011 will make their way across that stage, a ceremonial action that reflects the fact they are indeed moving onto the next stage in their lives. 

The seniors have made the most of their last week on campus, taking this last opportunity to spend time together as a class.  They sounded off the week of Senior fun with monster mini golf, on a glow-in-the-dark course. They celebrated Senior Night at nearby Noche restaurant, where they devoured free tapas and drinks. They mingled on the quad during a picnic, complete with games, music, and most importantly, King of Pops, the infamous Atlanta popsicle-maker.  In the popular tradition, Seniors lined up to climb the winding stairs to the top of the historical Lupton Hall bell tower to ring the Carillon bells—a symbolic gesture and privilege shared only by Oglethorpe alums.  Many last minute memories were made throughout the week to add to those from past four years.

Congratulations, Seniors—we’ll miss you! But, we have no doubt you’ll represent your alma mater well, and like true petrels, Make a Life. Make a Living. Make a Difference.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon & Chi Omega Take Greek Week

The Greek Week Chariot Race was fast and furious.

Once a year, tradition beckons the Greek community to commence for a series of competitions that ends in glory (for the winners). Last week, the heated endeavor known as Greek Week brought out every sorority and fraternity chapter, each with pride in their organizations and one collective desire: to win.

Last year’s winners, Alpha Sigma Tau and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, emerged to defend their envied title of Greek Week Champions. Sports day kicked off the competition on Monday with ultimate Frisbee and kickball, dominated by Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Chi Omega, who also continued on to win Greek Bowl Trivia, Board Games, and Field Day. Tri Sigma and Chi Phi stepped up their game and swept the skit and singing events.

Members of Chi Omega, Tri Sigma, and Alpha Sigma Tau come together during Greek Week.

Greek Week not only provided an opportunity for some healthy competition, it also was a chance to unite with alumni, in honor of Greek custom. At the end of the week, many Greek alums arrived back on campus for the 2011 Alumni Weekend and joined in the fun. The singing competition was judged by alumni members from all three sororities and attended by many more Greek alumni.  Chi Phi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon both hosted events at their houses, where they were able to mingle with their alumni members.

Dine 'N' Dash gets messy.

The points have been tallied — and the overall champions have been announced. Congratulations to Sigma Alpha Epsilon (which successfully defended its title) and Chi Omega for prevailing!

And, for those who faced defeat… there is always the prospect of Greek Week 2012!

The tug-of-war contest could have gone either way.