Let Your Voice Be Heard: Student Government Elections Underway

Since freshman year, I’d wanted to be a senator in SGA (Student Government Association), but there always seemed to be an obstacle preventing me from joining, whether it was self-doubt or an overload of clubs and schoolwork. At the end of my junior year, I finally took the plunge, crossed my fingers, and was elected to student government. And I never looked back. Serving on SGA offers numerous opportunities and responsibilities—and each member has a different reason for joining.

2012-2013 members of SGA

“My sophomore year was a really hard year for me,” said Senator Maya Hayes ’14, “and I really wanted to dive into something that was a good cause and would take my skills to the next level (in order) to take my mind off of things… It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Current SGA President Joscelyn Stein '13

Senator Brian Cornelius ’15 joined “because it gave (him) a sense of being involved in the OU community, and because (he) love(s) seeing the politics of how our SGA works.” Fellow senator Jordan Hopps ’16 ran for office because he wanted to be a part of the community that influences OU, and because it’s his life aspiration to be a part of public service.

“Anyone who is creative, comfortable speaking their mind, and wants to make a difference in (their) community should join,” said SGA President Joscelyn Stein ’13. “Any student who cares about the school and (his) peers, and who wants to put all those qualities to work will fit in well with us… Most people assume that our main focus is allotting money, but what we’re (really) doing is trying to meet all student needs.”

Along with voting on changes such as coin-free laundry and issues such as the Good Samaritan Policy, SGA is responsible for planning many of the events on campus. Programming Board Vice-President Heather Smith ’13 says that her most memorable SGA experience was helping to plan the 2012 Boar’s Head after-party.

“I had never been a part of something so much ingrained in OU life,” said Heather. “It was a huge honor to be a part of it.”

Joscelyn also finds her involvement gratifying, especially “seeing initiatives that I’ve worked really hard on come into fruition,” and “seeing other students come and take leadership roles… watching them grow and being part of that process.”

Indeed, Senator Emmanuel Brantley ’15 says that his favorite SGA memory is “when  Joscelyn Stein looked me in the eyes and told me that she saw a leader.” He encourages applicants to remember that “the mission of this university is to serve the students and that the only way they can complete that mission is to hear us… We need to be (the students’) voice.”

Want to be a voice for the student body? Consider joining SGA! Elections for Secretary, Parliamentarian, Treasurer, and Class Presidents run from April 8–11, and Senator elections take place April 15-18. Declaration forms  for each week’s elections are due at 5 p.m. on the Wednesday of the week prior to elections (April 3 and 10, respectively). Even if you aren’t interested in running, be sure to vote for your representatives on Petrelnet! Elections are currently underway for Programming Board, Executive President,  Executive Vice-President, and Vice-President For Programming. Let your voice be heard!

For further information, contact Joscelyn Stein or Kendra Hunter.

The CORE at Work: Oglethorpe Students Present at International Conference

Rebekka Strom '13

During the high school scramble to find a college, I found myself drawn to Oglethorpe for three reasons: it looked like Hogwarts, it was obsessed with community service, and it offered the Core curriculum. The Core, which strives to enrich student experiences with a challenging, cross-disciplinary education, has led to some amazing opportunities for students. Recently, Rebekka Strom ’13 and Samantha Flynn ’13 were among only 40 students accepted to present their papers at the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC) student conference at Shimer College in Chicago.

ACTC is an international, professional association that seeks to advance liberal arts education by developing and promoting liberal arts education programs (and other programs) which integrate core text courses with the most advanced developments in administration, curriculum, student support services, faculty support, and general education assessment and review.

The ACTC conference gave students the chance to share their papers, which reflected upon and integrated various Core texts, with a group of faculty members and fellow students. Rebekka was able to put her English degree to use in a formal environment, and “to see how Core transcends the classroom setting.” Similarly, Samantha was given the experience of  a “dry run at academia,” which is her ultimate career goal.

Samantha Flynn '13

“What really struck me during the conference was the outstanding quality of an Oglethorpe education,” enthused Samantha. “Other participants in the conference were from Great Books schools and top-tier university names, and yet Oglethorpe’s Core had prepared me to understand, discuss, and critique their papers on a wide variety of subjects. When people met me and asked where I was from, almost no one had heard of Oglethorpe, and yet, by the end of the conference, I had several participants inquire about the nature of Oglethorpe’s Core program because they were convinced it must be a Great Books school.”

“The (conference) solidified my choice in selecting and pursuing a liberal arts education,” added Rebekka. “I was able to interact with like-minded undergraduate students and their support faculty members about core texts and their relevance in 21st century higher education—from Aristotle and  Plato to Hobbes and Locke… it was an exciting experience to network with colleges and universities that strive to keep the liberal arts alive.”

Rebekka’s paper, “Remember the Ladies: Individuality, Community, and Equality of Early and Modern Women,” was written for her COR-302 class.

“In [class], we talk a lot about modernity,” she said. “I (looked at) the women of these time periods and contrasted them with what it means to be a modern working woman in 2013.”

Samantha’s essay, “Libido Dominandi: Fulfilling the Presence of the Absence of a Reality,” was written for Dr. Orme’s Human Nature and the Social Order class.

“(My topic) was something I saw in a lot of texts…’The Lust for Power,’ ‘The Will for Power… I tried to link all these (phrases) and make them part of the same dialogue.”

For anyone interested in a similar opportunity, Samantha had the following advice: “Take Core seriously… It was one of the main reasons I came to OU, and this is an example of Core paying off.”

Samantha was extremely thankful to have had this opportunity, and feels indebted to Dr. Knippenberg for sponsoring her and to Dr. Orme and Professor M. Smith for advising her on the content of her paper. Likewise, Rebekka expressed gratitude towards Dr. Knippenberg, Dr. Baube, and the entire Core Committee, as well as to her academic advisors Dr. Chandler and Dr. Hornback. Without their support, and without the Core program, Samantha and Rebekka could not have had this experience.

 

CNN News Editor & OU Alumnus Welcomes ‘Pegasus Creative’ Behind the Scenes

Joe Sutton '09

Last semester, I made one of the best decisions of my undergraduate career: I became a part of Pegasus Creative, Oglethorpe’s student communications agency, launched in the fall by the University Communications department. Thanks to Pegasus, I’ve gained hands-on experience, internship credit, and the confidence that can only come from a supportive, skillful team. (For those students out there, with summer internship orientation around the corner, why not consider applying to Pegasus?)

One of the (numerous!) great things about Pegasus is that we are offered field studies—we’re required to complete at least one—to enhance our skills and learn about other real world communications careers. Recently, my co-workers and I ventured on one such trip: a behind-the-scenes tour of CNN, courtesy of Joe Sutton ’09 (an alumnus of Oglethorpe’s program for adult students), who generously took time out of his busy schedule to show us around his workplace. Joe has quickly climbed the so-called ladder of success, earning numerous promotions, and is now a news editor and journalist for CNN. He oversees the editorial direction and news gathering for 13 states and serves as the liaison between the Washington, D.C. bureau and CNN headquarters. He credits much of his early success to Oglethorpe.

“The least I can do is stay in contact with the institution that has made me who I am and the education that has allowed me to take on any damn thing I put my mind to,” said Joe. “Being at school late at night and taking some weekend classes helped me fully prepare to take on more complex, time-devoting career positions. I understand how to manage time effectively and juggle multiple projects simultaneously, and I love being under pressure and deadlines… What I set my eyes and mind on, I usually get! That’s the stormy petrel in me.”

“It was a great opportunity to see things up close and in person,” said Zach Kevorkian ’13, Pegasus’s graphic designer. “The exclusivity of it made us feel like we were part of the excitement. The fact that our tour was personalized by an alum made it all the better, and I was grateful for the fun afternoon with my friends at Pegasus!”

Caitlyn Mitchell '13 in CNN's Command Center.

Joe showed us numerous offices including International Headquarters, the Command Center, and his own workspace, which he called “the heart of CNN.” We were given the opportunity to sit across from an anchor as she delivered her news report (live!), and to ask questions about Joe’s daily life at CNN. Between that, watching the process of a breaking news report, and posing with the majestic Lady Rainicorn (of the Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” series), I can’t decide what I most enjoyed!

“My favorite part of the trip was seeing the control room,” said Chandler Anderson ’13, web content developer at Pegasus. “The director analyzed the various camera shots to determine which one was the most effective, and relayed that information to his crew. It was incredible seeing all of this important behind-the-scenes work done before my eyes.”

“I was impressed at how fast it all is,” added Caitlyn Mitchell ’13, former magazine features writer for Pegasus. “You know that news is speed, and that the turnaround time has to be near instantaneous, but you don’t realize until you’re seeing it that there are stations across the United States…ready to leap at a moment’s notice. My favorite part of the trip was definitely sitting in the command chair in the “Command Center”—yes, they really called it that! I was doing my best…not [to] touch any of those incredibly tempting buttons.”

“Joe Sutton gave us a tour that was unlike any tour I’ve ever gotten,” added Rebecca Williams ’13, editor of the adult degree program’s newsletter The Nightcap and friend of Pegasus. “We were able to see important procedures—like filming the news—that we would otherwise never see. (Joe) is widely respected by everyone there. It’s undeniable that he will continue to do great and amazing things for CNN!”

This opportunity would not have been possible without Pegasus—and would not have been possible if I had not pursued an internship at Pegasus. It is not enough to be supplied with opportunities, but to take them as they come. Pegasus showed me an exciting career choice that I had not previously considered, and internships like Pegasus can make all the difference in paving the path to your future.

“Internships are essential to determining who you are as a person,” said Joe. “In media, there are plentiful internships in various departments. Be flexible, be savvy, be astute in global news, (and) be committed. Generally, I find that saying ‘yes’ is a good thing…it opens many doors of opportunities in the business.”

Attention Oglethorpe students! For me, Pegasus opened the door, and it can provide many opportunities for you as well. If I’ve persuaded you to join our team, or if another internship opportunity calls to you, contact Debbie Aiken in University Communications.  Opportunity is knocking, and you only have to answer!

New Oglethorpe Journal of Undergraduate Research Showcases Students’ Work

Like most college seniors—whether they’re budding writers, scientists, researchers, economists, artists, etc.—I want people to read and see my work, to ask questions, to challenge it. In other words, I want to be published. Thanks to Oglethorpe, I now have that chance.

The new Oglethorpe Journal of Undergraduate Research is a scholarly, peer-reviewed publication that promotes undergraduate research by preserving and making available the academic and creative inventions from our campus. The Journal serves as both a digital repository of scholarly output and a platform for publishing inventive and original works. Various types of submissions are accepted, including research articles, photography, book reviews, conference posters and more.

“It is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I’ve done since starting at Oglethorpe,” said Ashley N. Dawson ’16, one of the first students to be published. “I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was a little girl, and the Journal and its supporters made that dream a reality. It truly is an amazing feeling to see your thoughts on the screen, and to know that people are reading them and sharing them with others.”

The Journal was started thanks to the efforts of Anne Salter, university librarian and director of Philip Weltner Library, and Laura Masce, university archivist. While attending a conference at Kennesaw State University, they learned about the idea and the possibility of partnering with the institution. Kennesaw would host the site, and Oglethorpe students would be able to send submissions to their own, separate journal for their alma mater.

“We began getting the faculty on board…and there was a lot of interest,” said Anne. “We were determined to do this.”

Being published is incredibly helpful for a resume, and the process for publication is simple: write your thesis, talk to your advisor, and then submit!  A team of editors review the work and inform those who submit of any changes or problems before the work is published. The editors are David Evans, dean and assistant vice-president of library services at Kennesaw, and Oglethorpe faculty: Dr. Charles Baube, professor of biology; Dr. Michael Rulison, professor of physics; and Dr. Linda Taylor, professor of English.

Five freshman honors students, Derek C. Wolter ’16, Ashley N. Dawson ’16, Tali M. Schroeder ’16, Tabitha Clark ’16 and Grace B. Djokoto ’16, have already taken advantage of this opportunity, and the Journal is continuing to take submissions on a rolling basis.

“My article is about Inuit mythology and its influence in a children’s film,” said Tali. “Ms. Salter makes the publishing process very easy, and I would definitely recommend it to those who are unsure of submitting an article.”

“If you are seriously considering graduate school and doing original research,” added Anne, “coming to [Oglethorpe] is a great place to begin that research.”

Attention Oglethorpe students!  Why not take advantage of this opportunity? There are many ways to learn more: contact Anne Salter, visit the Journal’s website, or you can even watch Weston Manders’ “This Week in Oglethorpe Arts” video episode that features interviews about the new Journal.

Setting the Record Straight: Petrels of Fire Winner Mark Olas ’01

Mark Olas '01, the Petrels of Fire record holder

Last month, our campus celebrated Oglethorpe Day with the annual Petrels of Fire race around the quad in an attempt to beat the 12 chimes of the carillon bells. Another year went by without a “winner”, but unbeknownst to this reporter, there has indeed been someone who achieved this feat, and it’s time the story of this overlooked legend is told to all.

In 1998, Mark Olas ’01, who was a member of Oglethorpe’s soccer team and still holds the school’s record for the 400m, accomplished what many considered impossible: he crossed the finish line within 30.5 seconds, becoming the first and only Petrel to ever win the race.

Mark Olas '01 in his soccer jersey

“It was the only other time the race was run at 1:00 p.m. rather than at noon,” explained Cross Country Coach Bob Unger, who hosts the race each year. “The clock had not been properly reset as it was this year to ring twelve times at 1:00 p.m., (so) a former music instructor of the university (rang) the chimes manually.”

Coach Unger also had his stopwatch ready to ensure that the race lasted a full 30.92 seconds, which was the time allotted in previous years. But the manual ringing finished in less than 28 seconds, meaning that racers had nearly 3 more seconds to run after the bells had stopped ringing.

“As the crowd counted down the chimes and reached twelve—and no one had finished—a moan went up,” said Coach Unger. “I looked up to see Mark Olas leading the group to the finish. When he crossed the line, I stopped my watch at 30.5 seconds. He had beaten the bells!”

Sadly, few people realized Mark’s achievement that day, as most spectators assumed the race was already over.  But Mark’s victory is certainly worth remembering and acknowledging—the only time in Oglethorpe history that the feat has been accomplished.  It might be 15 years late, but congratulations, Mark! May your win inspire other students to attempt the impossible, to compete with their hearts, and to soar into victory.