Oglethorpe Uses Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Grant to Help Protect and Promote Students’ Well-Being

Since 2008, Oglethorpe University has been awarded an annual grant from the The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The grant promotes and raises awareness for highway safety issues, and thanks to Leanne Henry-Miller, director of counseling services, Oglethorpe has continued to benefit from this grant in some amazing ways.

Four Oglethorpe students participate in a banner competition about bullying at the Bacchus conference. Their participation was made possible by the grant from The Governor's Office for Highway Safety.

In 2008, the grant was fundamental in establishing the OU Alcohol and Drug Task Force. Members Gaby Pierce ’16, Zena Stephens ’13, Lukas Strasser ’14 and Katie Galli ’15 have been integral in tightening the alcohol and drug policy on campus and making sure students are more informed about sanctions. For example, this task force helped to establish the Good Samaritan Policy, which protects a student from being punished if he seeks help in an alcohol or drug-related emergency.  In general, the Task Force stresses a need for uniform, clearly defined policies in regards to alcohol and drug sanctions.

Similarly, the grant is a primary sponsor of Peer Education training, which is a program targeted toward leaders on campus. This spring, nine students completed the training, and learned how to respond to dangerous campus situations and how to lead through positive examples.

“Anyone who’s interested in being a leader on campus should (consider) this training,” said Leanne. “RAs, RHs, group leaders… it’s important for all gate keepers.”

Additionally, the grant provided funds to take students to the Bacchus Network Area 9 Conference. These students (Everett Jackson ’15, Gaby Pierce ’16, Brian Cornelius ’15 and Precious Goto ’16) participated in a banner competition about bullying, as well as a contest to see who could make the best Iron Chef “mocktail” (a cocktail without alcohol).

The grant also covers the cost for Alcohol e-CheckUpToGo, an online test for students who are concerned about their alcohol intake or who have been sanctioned.

Finally, the grant covers portions of speakers’ visits, such as Elaine Pasqua’s Orientation Presentation: “Sex and Excess: Surviving the Party,” which discussed how alcohol is usually a factor in sexual assault.

“The speakers are targeted towards freshmen because we know those first six weeks have high-risk behavior,” explained Leanne. “(We also) bring in speakers who target Greek life and athletes.”

Thanks to this grant, our campus has become better educated about drug risks and sanctions. Our student leaders have learned how to help their peers during moments of distress, and online tests have become available for those who are concerned about their alcohol consumption. Thanks in part to the Highway Safety Grant, Oglethorpe is becoming a safer, more informed campus, with students who are better prepared for emergencies and ready to lead their peers by example.

The Counseling Services at Oglethorpe is always ready to listen. If you have any alcohol or drug-related concerns, contact Leanne Henry-Miller at 404-364-3415.

Clinton Global Initiative University Selects Four Oglethorpe Students to Attend 2013 Conference

Last year, Awet Woldegebriel ’14 was selected to be a presenter at the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), founded by President Clinton to bring together students, youth organizations, topic experts, and celebrities to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Awet, an international studies major, was invited to attend CGIU again this year to discuss his nonprofit Knowledge Aid—this time accompanied by three more Oglethorpe students: Mon Baroi ’15, Jacob Tadych ’14, and Carolina Duque ’13, selected to attend based on their own impressive projects.

Mon, a politics major and nonprofit management minor, and Jacob, a business major, have been working on Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes Project since September 2011, with the help of other members of the Oglethorpe community. “The mission of Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes Project is to build a $400 home that is sustainable and environmentally-conscious on the campus of Oglethorpe in 2013,” explained Mon. “After we build the prototype, our first home, our plan is to raise $5,000 so that we can build five homes that are endorsed by the city of Atlanta for homeless or low-income individuals.”

Mon Baroi '15 and Jacob Tadych '14 happily at work on their project

The team plans to share their plans and research online, so that it may be improved upon and replicated around the world.

“I’m excited (to attend CGIU),” Jacob said. “I’m hoping we can get networks, get more people involved… plus we get to hear all the ideas from other people.”

One of those ideas is Carolina’s nonprofit, Mas Luz, which provides services and aid to help women in Colombia who have been physically and mentally abused.

“I’m looking forward to show everybody what we are doing in Colombia to help,” said Carolina, who is from Colombia and is studying business at Oglethorpe. “I wasn’t expecting (CGIU) to choose me. I am stunned.”

Carolina also hopes to network and to hear about other people’s projects. As Awet experienced last year, CGIU gives students the chance to grow their ideas and to make them a reality.

“The thing about (Tiny Homes) is that a lot of people think that it’s just about a house,” said Mon, “and the thing is, it’s not just about a house, it’s about a state of mind and a lifestyle. We’re advocates of a certain type of lifestyle, a lifestyle of lifelong learning.”

Congratulations, Carolina, Mon, Jacob and Awet—may your ideas continue to flourish!  Learn more about Oglethorpe’s business majors, politics major and nonprofit management minor.

Day of Service Celebrates Extraordinary Alumnus Fred Agel ’52

Mr. Fred Agel '52 (center) is surrounded by Day of Service volunteers, gathered in his honor.

Chances are that you’ve met Fred Agel ’52, a devoted alumnus, loving family member, and incredibly generous personhe is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and the Board of Trustees, and you can often find him volunteering his free time in the library archives.  November 19th was a special day for Fred, who celebrated his 85th birthday with friends, family… and a big surprise.  To honor Fred and show how much they love and appreciate him, his entire family planned a Day of Service volunteer event with the OU community at Books for Africa.

“I hoped that we could find a way to work through OU since it has been, and continues to be, such an important part of my father’s life,”  said Laurie Agel Amerson, Fred’s daughter. “I believe that my entire family has watched my father’s community service, and each and every one of us finds a way to be involved in our communities. He taught by example the importance of giving back, and three generations later, he is still teaching.”

The volunteer event on February 16th brought together more than 40 students, alumni, Center for Civic Engagement staff, and friends of Mr. Agel. Members of the newly established Thornwell Jacobs Society were especially excited to join in, as the project not only highlighted their goals of integrity, initiative, and perseverance, but took place during Thornwell Jacobs’ birthday weekend.

“Celebrating Fred Agel is celebrating Oglethorpe,” said Ruwa Romman ’15, historian of the Jacobs Society. President Antonio Mantica ’15 said with a smile that, if Fred were a sophomore, he would be a prime candidate for membership in the Society. 

In addition to the Day of Service, several departments have sent Fred thank you cards, and the baseball team (of which Fred is a former member) has given Fred a baseball, signed with all of the players’ names.

“This is a great way to celebrate his legacy,” said Heather Staniszewski ’02, assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement, who helped plan the event. “It’s exciting to see family, alumni, and students working together in his honor.”

“The day was a huge success,” added Laurie.  “My dad spent a lot of time just looking at everybody working and sorting books with a big smile on his face.  The most wonderful thing for me was seeing all four generations of my family working side-by-side with OU students.”

If you would like to participate in future service projects, contact Heather Staniszewski.

Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans

Photo: David Dixon

November 11th is Veterans Day.  It is an occasion to honor the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served our country, to recognize the families who have stood by them in service, and to reflect upon all of the freedoms that these men and women have fought to preserve.

This year, Oglethorpe University, together with various campus organizations and departments, will host a series of events throughout the week to honor our veterans called “Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans.” The events are in conjunction with the OU Museum of Art’s current exhibition “Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War,” which runs through December 9, 2012.

Sophomore Antonio Mántica (left) and senior Jef Palframan, president of the OU Veterans' Club, form sheet metal into large "ribbons." Photo: Krista Palframan

On November 4th, the OU Veterans’ Club launched a yellow ribbon campaign to increase awareness of the day’s significance. Club members constructed and installed 10-foot high sheet metal yellow ribbons at the front entrance of campus. They also plan to hand out 1000 personal ribbons on campus and will host a remembrance event, “Lest We Forget,” on Friday, November 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in Lupton Auditorium. (Find out more about their efforts on their Facebook page.)

Usually closed on Mondays, the OU Museum of Art will open its doors to host a Veterans’ Open House, with free admission to all veterans on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, 12 noon-7:00 p.m.. Various veterans’ assistance groups will be onsite throughout the day. Plus, the OU Veterans’ Club will be accepting donations for their clothing and coat drive for homeless veterans, and a giveaway of gift items from area businesses will benefit veterans’ services.

Later that evening, veterans of WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan will discuss their experiences and struggles in a panel discussion, “Transitioning to Civilian Life,” at 6:00 p.m.  Many skills learned in combat are not applicable to the workforce, and veterans are generally required to go through an arduous process of re-qualification in order to get work.  Plus, many veterans feel isolated or out of place, unaccustomed to their new lives at home. In addition, policymakers in Washington recently failed to approve a bill that would have eased veterans’ reintegration into the civilian workforce, and recent reports estimate that 88% of veterans will drop out of college.

“It would be wrong of me not to make people aware of this,” said Jef Palframan ’13, president of the OU Veterans’ Club and a veteran himself.  “Our military size is going to decrease… Now starts the work to take care of the guys coming home.”  Admission: $5; free for veterans, OUMA members or with a Petrel Pass. Co-sponsored by OUMA, the Office of Admission and the OU Veterans’ Club.

Other events to commemorate Veterans Day include:

Open Forum/Open Mic: “Empower to Inspire Progress,” Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
What does being American mean to you? What are you doing to make your voice heard? Do you feel you have patriotic obligations? Which American alive or dead inspire you, and why? All are welcome to join this open forum and share your opinions, ideas or a story, song or poem. Admission: $5; free for OUMA members and with a Petrel Pass. Co-sponsored by OUMA and Epsilon Iota Psi.

Lecture: “On the Downstream Biological Effects of Agent Orange,” Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
Dr. Karen Schmeichel, associate professor of biology at Oglethorpe, will present about the hotly debated and complex subject of the widespread use by American troops during the Vietnam conflict of the defoliant called “Agent Orange” and its far reaching effects. Admission: $5; free for OUMA members and with a Petrel Pass.

Movie Screening & Discussion: Agent Orange: 30 Years Later, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
OUMA and ECOS (Environmentally Concerned Oglethorpe Students) will co-host a screening of the award-winning 2009 film by John Trinh with open discussion to follow.  Reel Earth – Environmental Film Festival of New Zealand said, “Despite the horror, the film is at times intensely moving and beautiful, showing also the better side of human nature—qualities like kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.” This event is free and open to all.

Oglethorpe Alumna Organizes Relief for Hurricane Sandy Victims

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which left millions of northeastern residents struggling, it’s hard to know what to do to help. With so much damage—and the resulting delays in travel and transportation, and subsequent delays in relief in the form of volunteers and supplies—the question that comes to mind is, where do we start?

Alumna Sharon (Rudy) Moskowitz ’82, who is the special events manager at Oglethorpe, has jumped right into the effort of organizing relief for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Originally from the southern Jersey shore area (Atlantic City, Cape May, Margate), Sharon is determined to get materials and supplies where they are most needed. She’s started an initiative to get the Oglethorpe community involved in “making a difference” by organizing a drive for victims of Sandy.

“Oglethorpe was really involved with Katrina—and this is a completely different situation—but I want people to know this is happening,” said Sharon. “I want to get students involved in bringing the community together. I have this opportunity to embrace the students and get their response. We can’t sit back and not do anything.”

“It’s closer to home when you’ve grown up there,” she continued. “I want to hit the initial need, and then we’ll see what might be required beyond that. We’re seeking to help childcare centers and the Salvation Army in particular. The goal is to help the many families who have great need while restoring their homes and businesses ravaged by the storm. I have several friends who own businesses that are just not sure if they can re-open. Friends that have older parents that have huge clean-ups. So it is a bit of a nightmare.”

Students and staff members have already jumped on this chance to reach out to these hard hit communities. The Center for Civic Engagement and OU students will help with the packing and shipments of the items going to South Jersey.

You can help, too! The greatest needs are blankets of every size, toiletries, tarps, and rebuilding supplies. Donations may be dropped off at Sharon Moskowitz’s office on the second floor of Lupton Hall. The collection will be shipped Friday, November 9th at noon, with help from Brookhaven UPS shipping store, which is offering discounts and help to get the boxes on their way. You can also help by spreading the word about the drive by visiting and joining the effort’s Facebook page.

Questions? Contact Sharon at smoskowitz@oglethorpe.edu or call 404-364-8467.