Porsche Care Network Awards Grants to Three Student Groups

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Oglethorpe has a long-standing relationship with Porsche. Eight alumni currently work at luxury car company—a number of whom started as interns.

Congratulations to three Oglethorpe student groups who came in first with Porsche!
In 2015, three Oglethorpe student organizations were awarded a total of $1500 (of the $5,000 available) from the Porsche Care Network, the community service organization of Porsche Cars North America, headquartered in Atlanta.  Environmentally Conscious Oglethorpe Students (ECOS), Heifer International, and the Outdoors Club, each received $500 to support their initiatives after submitting an application essay describing their organization’s goals, and how the donation would be used.

Each year, the Environmental Committee of Porsche Care Network helps to promote and support organizations devoted to the environment and sustainability. As part of this, student groups at various Georgia colleges and universities are identified and rewarded for their efforts with a chance to compete for a donation.

All three organizations provide an opportunities for Oglethorpe students who are concerned about our earth to make a difference. ECOS shares weekly tips and tricks for students, organizes a Greek Row clean up, and volunteered with Trees Atlanta. The Outdoors Club frequently hosts Atlanta-area excursions for members, with events ranging from hiking at Tallulah Falls to rock climbing at Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Center. The Heifer International club hosted a International Food Fair to raise donations to help buy honeybees and a “flock of hope” (chicks, ducks, and goslings).

ECOS will use the grant to create an off-campus compost plan for leftover food in the dining hall. The Outdoors Club used their grant to plan a day trip for 15 students to Appalachian Ski Mountain. Heifer International plans to use its grant to help increase awareness about the club on campus and to support a women’s empowerment event.

Read more about the connections between Oglethorpe and Porsche!

The Art of Living and Learning

Holly Bostick ’15 sat on the porch of her small cabin drinking a cup of coffee, watching toucans fly before the most breathtaking sunrise she’d ever seen. There was no electricity, air conditioning, or hot water—just a small wooden cot where she slept. And somehow, that was more than enough.

An art history major and Spanish minor, Holly was among a small group of volunteers who traveled to Belize this past summer to assist in archeological excavations at the Maya ruins. She pursued this “life-changing” experience after another—an Oglethorpe-sponsored short-term trip to Greece in 20Belize archeological dig 213. As part of her studies on ancient art and architecture, Holly had visited an active archaeological dig in Corinth and was captivated. She wanted to find a way to relive that experience.

Holly researched similar programs and discovered the Maya Research Program, a nonprofit that sponsors archaeological and ethnographic research in Central America. Holly and approximately 35 other volunteers, including fellow OU student and art history major Emily Prichard ’15, trekked to Blue Creek, Belize, where they joined archaeological digs. Each morning, they jumped into the back of pickups and navigated to the excavation sites—usually Xno’ha, an “elite residential complex” discovered in 2013. There, they were “hands on,” organizing remains and piecing together skeletons. Having no experience in anatomy or anthropology, Holly admits she had a bit of a learning curve, but that it was “absolutely incredible and a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Back in the U.S., Holly was determined to continue her journey. Oglethorpe art professors Alan Loehle and Dr. Jeffrey Collins recommended that she apply for an internship at The Carter Center, which holds an extensive art collection. Given the competitiveness of any opportunity at Center, Holly felt honored to be selected for the art internship, and credits her academic and global experiences for setting her apart from other applicants. Holly has gained insight into museum operations and experience with fine art, a compliment to her work with artifacts.

“The Carter Center’s art collection is very eclectic, with no specific genre,” Holly said. “Many of the items are donations from countries around the world in thanks for the Carter Center’s worldwide efforts in peace. So, a general knowledge in many different art mediums and cultures was crucial for the internship.”

Holly graduates in 2015, and while she’s yet undecided about her career path, she knows her options are endless, crediting her ventures while at Oglethorpe.

“When I would tell people where I was going and what I was doing, they would always give me a look and ask ‘why?’. My response, of course, being ‘why not?’” she said, laughing. “[My experiences] broadened my sense of the world, and my personal world, specifically. It showed me that there aren’t limitations and I don’t have to settle for any one career. I have options and places to explore and that is what I intend to do.”

Heather Johnston ’17 is a communication & rhetoric studies major, with a minor in business administration. She is currently an intern for Pegasus Creative, the student communications agency in the University Communications department, and writes for the Stormy Petrel student newspaper.

Exploring Cultural Crossroads

Dr. Herschler pictured at the Library of Celsus, an ancient Roman building in Ephesus, now part of Selcuk, Turkey.

He could be happy to simply consider himself to be an established expert in international affairs. But for Dr. Stephen Herschler, no amount of “book knowledge” can substitute for immersive experiences when learning about a culture or society. He easily “walks the talk,” engaging in the same real-world learning he encourages his students to pursue.

Dr. Herschler has lived on four continents, speaks three languages, and has taught comparative politics at Oglethorpe for 12 years. “I’ve spent time in Europe, Asia, and Africa, but the Middle East has always been a gap for me,” he admits. And, with the modernization of the Middle East and Islamic culture a vital part of the current global political conversation, it was a poignant time to gain a personal perspective.

This past summer, Dr. Herschler spent 10 days in Turkey with The Atlantic Institute, absorbing the rich culture, historical abundance, and political eccentricity of a country that is suspended between two very different worlds. Turkey has always found itself in an Turkey 20140614_095515identity crisis between the East and the West, creating a unique (and often confusing) cultural climate. This is why The Atlantic Institute, an Atlanta-based nonprofit, strives to bridge the gap between the Middle East and West by facilitating dialogue and fostering understanding. The organization is a derivative of the Istanbul Center, which bolsters the same goals to embrace diversity and build tolerance. This annual excursion of educators and civic leaders from the southeast is an opportunity to inform those who are in a position to share knowledge with students and citizens, hopefully spreading a better understanding of Turkey. Dr. Herschler joined other educators representing Atlanta-area institutions, including Agnes Scott College, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and Morehouse College. The educators’ differing perspectives were a compelling part of the journey and, according to Dr. Herschler, reminiscent of the interdisciplinary conversations he witnesses in his Oglethorpe classes. “Hearing questions and comments from the varying disciplines made every day more interesting,” he said.

Indeed, the travelers’ diverse interests sometimes made for spontaneous adventures. While staying in the city of Sanliurfa, a fellow educator expressed interest in Turkish music, prompting their guide to arrange for an outing to a local university. The group was treated to an impromptu concert with classical Turkish instruments.

Turkey 20140612_112519During the 10-day trek, the crew also visited the cities of Istanbul, Gazi Antep, Ankara, Izmir, and Mardin-each of which contains stunning historical sites and manmade marvels. Greek and Roman ruins are scattered throughout the the land, sites of Biblical significance (such as the house of the Virgin Mary and the landing site of Noah’s Ark) are abundant, and of course, monuments such as Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are “must-see” edifices. According to Dr. Herschler, one particularly striking site was Gobekli Tepe, the world’s earliest known place of worship, which outdates Stonehenge by approximately six millennia.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESEvery day, Dr. Herschler and his peers took part in discussions on topics ranging from social reforms in Turkey to interfaith dialogues, and even learned about traditional Turkish carpet making. Each topic was presented from a uniquely Turkish perspective which opened the travelers’ minds to a side of the story they may have never before have heard. Their excursions were led by Turkish guides who were eager to share their knowledge, culture, and history. As Dr. Herschler learned more about the politics and current issues of Turkey, he started to form connections with the course material of the classes he teaches at Oglethorpe, especially Comparative Politics. This course—famous among OU politics majors—surveys a multiplicity of theories on the development and stability of international governments.

Upon his return, Dr. Herschler decided to add a series about Turkey to his syllabus, citing his trip as the impetus. “Before this experience, I possessed ‘book knowledge’ of Turkey and of Islam,” he said, “but I did not understand it fully as a living community. Now I know I can address the topic fairly.”

But, this experience affected much more than the content of his courses, he says. “My new knowledge facilitates connections with students who are interested in that Turkey 20140610_040619 1part of the world.” In fact, even while still in Istanbul, he connected with Oglethorpe student and advisee John Yager ’15, who was interning abroad for through Koç University in Instanbul. The two were able to catch up and talk Middle Eastern politics over an authentic Turkish dinner.

“Now, Turkey is a part of my life,” says Dr. Herschler. “And, I have become more attuned to Turkish culture here in Atlanta.” Asked about his plans to return, he admits he would love to go back to Turkey, but as always, has his sights set on even more international horizons. “I want to go back to Asia. It has been a decade since I’ve visited, and that is quite long enough.”

Christie Pearce ’15 has always had a love affair with the written word and—more recently—political science. She hopes to continue her post graduate education by studying political marketing and campaign strategies for female candidates in the United States.

“STEALING BASE: Cuba at Bat” Explores Baseball, Culture, Politics and More

STEALING BASE: Cuba at Bat is a visual exploration of baseball through the varied perspectives of Cuban-born artists, and will be on view at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art through December 7, 2014.

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Arlés del Rio, Untitled from the series Esperando que caigan las cosas del cielo or Deporte nacional (Hoping That Things Fall from the Sky or National Sport), 2012. Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection.

The exhibition, part of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Exhibition Series, features works by 16 established and emerging artists: Jesoviel Abstengo-Chaviano, Alejandro Aguilera, Carlos Cárdenas, Yunier Hernández Figueroa, Duniesky Martín, Frank Ernesto Martínez González, Bernardo Navarro Tomas, Juan Padrón, Douglas Pérez Castro, Arlés del Rio, Perfecto Romero, Reynerio Tamayo, José Angel Toirac, Harold Vázquez Ley, Villalvilla, and Quisqueya Henríquez.  Mr. Rubin is a 1956 alumnus of Oglethorpe University.

The exhibition is curated by Rachel Perera Weingeist, director and curator of The 8th Floor in New York, and Elizabeth Peterson, director of the OU Museum of Art, with an exhibition essay by Orlando Hernández, a Havana-based curator. The original exhibition concept was the result of a long collaboration between Weingeist and Hernández that culminated in the summer of 2013 at The 8th Floor Gallery in New York.

Baseball is today, without distinction of classes, age and sex,
the preferred diversion of all [Cubans].”
– El Sport (Havana), Sept. 2, 1886

The arrival of baseball in Cuba coincided with the emergence of the independence movement in 1868. The sport quickly became a collective emblem of national identity. A love for baseball connects Cubans across race, religion, politics and geography. Pop-flys, stolen bases, and home runs provide meaningful and accessible imagery for Cuban artists. Responding not only to the sport as national pastime, their work has further sought to convey larger complexities within Cuban society. Stealing Base presents the work of a diverse range of contemporary artists, living in Cuba and in the U.S., who have found potency in the imagery of the sport.

“Without question, baseball is a great generator of meanings,” writes Orlando Hernández in his exhibition essay. “The game can and should be used as a grand metaphor to express or to understand not only art but the very reality in which we live.”

“Baseball has played an important role in the impugning, critical, and revolutionary spirit that Cuban artists have demonstrated when faced with acts of dogmatism, official intolerance, and censorship,” Hernández concludes. “Thanks to these brave artists, we realize that the game is not over yet.”

A series of events celebrating baseball and Cuban culture will accompany the exhibition:

  • September 17, 7:00 p.m., “Art, Activism & Social Justice,” by Elizabeth Peterson, Director, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. Ms. Peterson who is also an adjunct professor for a CORE Art & Culture class at OU, will explore the use of art in propaganda and protest in both Cuba and elsewhere.
  • October 1, 7:00 p.m., “Ideas & Inspirations,” by Atlanta-based artist Alejandro Aguilera.  Mr. Aguilera is an Atlanta-based artist creating a special installation in Stealing Base.  He will talk about his personal connections to the island and how his memories play out in his art.
  • October 15, 7:00 p.m., “Baseball:  A Bridge for Reconciliation” by Hoji Silva Miret, a freelance consultant in leisure travel and tourism.  Mr. Miret immigrated to the U.S. recently and is living in New York City.  He will be talking about travel and tourism and U.S./Cuba relations.
  • October 22, 7:00 p.m., “From Peter Pan to Atlanta,” by Jorge Fernandez, Vice President, Global Commerce, Metro Atlanta Chamber. Mr. Fernandez came to the U.S. via Miami at the age of 10 through Operation Peter Pan.  He was a command pilot for the United States Air Force for 22 years, a Vice President for Delta Air Lines, and is now a Vice President for MAC.  He will discuss his personal story.
  • October 29, 7:00 p.m., “Snowplows in Havana: Irony in Cuban Art,” by Dr. Gail Gelburd, Professor of Art History, Eastern Connecticut State University. Dr. Gelburd curated Aijaco: Stirrings of the Cuban Soul. Her research projects focus on socio-political discourse, environmental issues, global perspectives and non-Eurocentricities.
  • November 5, 7:00 p.m., “Rundown between Spain and the USA: Cuban Independence and National Identity,” by Dr. Nicholas Maher, Associate Professor of History, Oglethorpe University. Dr. Maher will lecture about the late 19th century Cuban Independence Movement and the background to Cuban national identity in navigating a path between Spanish and U.S. cultures.

OUMA is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 12 noon – 5 p.m. General admission is $5 or free with a Petrel Pass and for OUMA members and children 12 and under.