Oglethorpe Students Help With Campus Clean-up

Last week Michelle Hall, OU’s Vice President for Campus Life, was preparing for students’ arrival for the new semester and noticed a few areas around campus that could use a little sprucing up before the incoming class was the first to arrive on Saturday.  She challenged Oglethorpe RAs and orientation leaders who were already on campus, to beautify their home-away-from-home in just over 24 hours.  The students then challenged each other to see which group could collect the most trash.

With that, they got to work.  The crews completely filled 40 heavy duty trash bags with their finds, and discovered a number of (rather peculiar) items in the process, including tiki torches, old furniture, traffic cones, and even a car tire. 

“I honestly did not think we’d need as many trash bags as we did,” said Dona Kiosef ’14, a rising sophomore at OU. “We found some weird stuff, too. The coolest thing I found was the face of a CPR dummy. I was proud of it [and] showed it off during the pick up…Who doesn’t like sprucing up the place where we all live? It was tons of fun in the end and even served as a bonding experience between us all.”

Even after sorting through piles of trash and proudly sporting numerous mosquito bites, it’s safe to say that these Petrels clean up well.

“[They] really went above and beyond the call of duty to ready our campus for the newest Petrels,” said Dean Hall.  “Their teamwork and willingness to help truly reflects the spirit of Oglethorpe.”

Photos:  (1) Two teams of OU Residence Assistants and Orientation Leaders take a break from beautifying their campus. (2) Part of the campus clean up included bamboo removal near the Emerson Student Center—now the Conant Performing Arts Center and a small creek are visible from Emerson. 

Oglethorpe’s New Athletic Conference to be Named Southern Athletic Association

With the new academic year, starting in less than a week, comes the announcement of the name of Oglethorpe’s new athletic conference that will launch in 2012-13: the Southern Athletic Association (SAA). 

The new conference is truly southern, in that all eight member schools represent six southern states, its territory reaching from Georgia and Alabama over to colleges in Kentucky and Arkansas.  The geographic focus will result in reduced travel time and fewer missed classes, while still allowing for a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the whole of the student’s educational experience.

In a statement released today, the SAA announced its commitment to “fostering athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, residential liberal arts colleges located in the southeastern region of the United States.” 

The SAA member schools are Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, Centre College in Kentucky, Hendrix College in Arkansas, Millsaps College in Mississippi, Oglethorpe University and Berry College in Georgia, and Rhodes College and Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee.

Jay Gardiner, athletics director at Oglethorpe, will serve as the Southern Athletic Association interim commissioner. Oglethorpe president Lawrence Schall will serve as convener of the conference’s Presidential Council during the 2011-12 academic year while Brian Chafin, athletics director at Centre, will serve as convener of the Athletics Director Council in 2011-12. 


OU Alum Michael Rowe Makes a Difference One Dog at a Time

Each year 10,000 abused and neglected dogs are brought to Atlanta’s Fulton County Animal Control.  Though half of those animals are adopted out to loving families, nearly 5,000 dogs become casualties in the most populated animal shelter in Georgia.  That’s where people like Michael Rowe ’95 come in.  Michael works for the Barking Hound Village Foundation Rescue, a non-profit that rehabilitates and find homes for dogs that end up on the shelter’s death row. Their mission is to save the lives of lost, abandoned and unwanted pets in Fulton County.  And that mission, according to Michael, falls right in line with his life course. 

Back in June of last year, three pit bull puppies found Rowe as he walked his pit-pointer mix, and through his search for a good home for those pups, he stumbled on Barking Hound.  This wasn’t the first time Matt had found himself seeking help for a misplaced canine in his community.  After spending some time with the organization, Michael seized an opportunity to carry out this work full-time. 

“[People] have always said, ‘Do [for a living] what you like to do anyway,” says Michael.  “Well, I’ve always taken the dogs in…I’ve done that all my life.  This is something I really love doing…and I think I’ve found my niche.”

There are only a handful of full-time associates at BHVFR, so Michael shares a number of different responsibilities—but his main job is preparing 60 dogs each month for a new home.  Unlike most other animal shelters, Barking Hound guarantees a home to the 60 dogs they take in each month, relocating them through other rescues  in the northeastern U.S.—where strays are fewer and sterilization laws are stringent.  Each month, Michael selects the dogs he is confident  the foundation can place, and spends the entire month rehabilitiating, socializing, and nursing sick dogs back to health.  After placing the dogs on their website for other reputable rescue organizations to see, the dogs are then transported to the partner rescue, where a loving family meets the dog.  In less than two years, Barking Hound has saved the lives of over 1,500 animals.

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OU Senior Helps the Atlanta Track Club Run Smoothly

Most people could only dream of having a job that is the perfect blend of business and pleasure, but this summer rising senior Beth Cleary ’12 got to experience just that.

Beth just finished a one-of-a-kind internship with the Atlanta Track Club, a job that seemed made for her. An avid distance runner, Beth worked at the ATC as an all-around intern, attending to hundreds of runners and helping to organize the ATC’s flagship event, the Peachtree Road Race.

It became obvious that this was a match made in heaven when, during the beginning of her internship, she witnessed people literally “running into work.”

“You have no idea how thrilled I was to find out that they had two full bathrooms with showers,…so you could run into work or run with your coworkers before the office opened and then just get showered up there,” recalled Beth. “I was immersed in a culture and group of people that lots of [others] look at like it’s crazy…but for me, it’s a dream.”

At this year’s Peachtree Road Race, Beth had the opportunity to meet some of the world’s most elite runners. She attended the pre-race press conference, picked up invited athletes from the airport, and readied the athletes for the post-race awards stage.

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Oglethorpe Helps Blue Heron Nature Preserve to Protect Local Flora

Oglethorpe’s Buckhead neighbor, the  Blue Heron Nature Preserve,  recently received a $12,500 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help eliminate non-native plant species that have settled in the 25-acre preserve.  The Five Star Restoration grant, provided in part by Georgia Power, is one of the most notable wetland conservation grants in the country, and OU biology professor Dr. Charles Baube and his students were not only instrumental in securing it, but will play a large part in seeing the project through. 

To secure the grant, Dr. Baube and Blue Heron used data that Oglethorpe biology students collected to understand the problem of invasive species and to write the proposal.  Now Blue Heron and Oglethorpe University will work together to tackle the project.

As unbelievable as it sounds, some 100 years ago, there was no such thing as kudzu or Chinese privet in the state of Georgia.  Flash forward a century-plus later, and kudzu is the unofficial state flora—growing up to a foot a day and wrapping its roots around seemingly every thing in its path.  But according to Dr. Baube, this species— along with several others—have no natural enemies in the area to limit their reproduction, and are a threat to biodiversity and the survival of domestic plants and animals in the area.  Continue reading