Global LEAD Ecuador Beckons OU Students

More than 130 students from 30 universities are traveling to Ecuador, Greece and Cape Town, South Africa this summer with the official launch of Oglethorpe’s partnership with Global LEAD. Each will participate in Global LEAD‘s unique study abroad experience, which connects leadership, service-learning curriculum, adventure and local culture to help students better understand their role in a larger, global context.

Among the group heading to Ecuador later this week are Oglethorpe senior Bri Mongerson, a communications and rhetoric studies major, and junior Emmanuel Brantley, a business and Spanish major. Dr. Mario Chandler, associate professor of Spanish at Oglethorpe, is serving as academic director for the Ecuador program.

Dr. Chandler has an extensive background in study abroad trips, and will lead the academic curriculum for the group of 25 students in Ecuador. In addition to the core elements of leadership, service learning and personal development, Dr. Chandler will weave in Ecuadorian history and context into the class to further connect the curriculum with the host country.

Before they leave on their adventure, we asked Bri and Emmanuel to share how they were feeling.  Check out what they had to say below and in the video above…

Bri Mongerson

Bri Mongerson ’14

“I decided to go on Global LEAD after meeting (Global LEAD staff) Caro, Joanna, and Lauren at the study abroad fair at Georgia Tech,” said Bri. “When I met them, I had no idea that OU was going to partner with GL. Once I found that out, it made my decision that much more easier. I wanted to go to Ecuador for the different environment and culture. I am so excited to meet the people and learn more about their community. One thing that makes me nervous is the fact that I will be gone from my family and friends for five weeks but I know that this experience will be life changing!”

EB Photo 1

Emmanuel Brantley ’15

“The chance to stand on the equator, breathe the Amazonian air, tour the Galapagos Islands and mix with a distinct culture while exploring a new side of me in this capacity made Ecuador seem like it a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Emmanuel. “However, I was hesitant to apply and not sure if I would want to go through with it. This would be my first experience abroad… After a conversation with my Spanish professor, Dr. Mario Chandler, I was completely sold on the idea of going to Ecuador. He reminded me that I would have my awesome Global LEAD family (how could I forget that?) and made me realize that sometimes it is okay when things do not go as originally planned and that I have to continue growing in my academic career… Today, I am most excited to visit some of the smaller towns in Ecuador like Tena and Otavalo. There I expect to gain a true feel of Ecuador’s hidden treasures.”

Find out more about study abroad opportunities through Global LEAD!

The Miracle League and OU Volunteers Score a Home Run

I recently had the chance to lead a group of eight Oglethorpe University volunteers at the North Metro Miracle League, where we provided assistance and motivation to special needs children and adults while playing the game of baseball.

As we arrived at Hobgood Park in Woodstock, Ga. on a rainy Saturday morning, we all hoped that the weather would cooperate long enough to play ball. With only a few drops of rain escaping the clouds, the games were on! First up were the little tikes. This game was played with children ranging from 6-10 years of age and the Oglethorpe volunteers were in charge of maintaining morale. During the second game for older participants, we paired up with the Miracle League players that needed assistance and we were able to provide individual attention and build relationships with them. Together with other community volunteers, we helped the players with their hitting and base running, and provided encouragement to these determined children and adults.

The service project with the North Metro Miracle League was more than just a project for me. It was a chance to revisit a type of project that renewed my passion for volunteering. During Oglethorpe’s Alternative Spring Break 2012 in Charleston, S.C., I volunteered with the Charleston Miracle League. This was special to me because I had volunteered with a similar organization throughout high school, and it was a great chance to dive back into something that I love doing. Volunteering with the North Metro Miracle League also gave us a chance to see Oglethorpe alumni in action. OU alumnus Robert Strozier ’86 founded NMML-Cherokee and now serves as coach for the team. I later found out that Mr. Strozier also had been a basketball coach at the high school I attended and where I played basketball. What a small world!

This service project gave students the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone and make a difference in our community. A few of the student volunteers had never worked with special needs individuals, but said they would be ecstatic to do it again. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to coordinate and lead such a fun volunteer opportunity!

Making My Difference: Being A Part of Oglethorpe’s Online Strategy

Chandler Anderson '13 shown in one of his favorite spots on campus, the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art.

One of the best things about a small school like Oglethorpe is the potential for students to contribute in a big way to the campus, either through student organizations or by working for the school itself. When I returned for my senior year after a year of studying in Japan, I wanted to make sure that I left my mark on the school before graduating and going into the real world; I took every opportunity I could find to be more involved, which initially included taking a more active role in my fraternity, Chi Phi, and joining SGA as a Senior Senator.

In August 2012, I met fellow student Mon Baroi in the university’s café. We immediately connected based on our interest in technology and web start-ups, and through Mon, I learned about Pegasus Creative, Oglethorpe’s student communications agency. Mon, who at the time was working for Pegasus on a Test Drive ad campaign for adult students, sold me on what sounded like a great opportunity: the chance to work with a talented group of people whose job was to make this university look good.

As a Pegasus web content developer, I was responsible for helping to maintain Oglethorpe’s websites. This included co-planning the design of the new summer and special events sites on WordPress, making timely edits to out-of-date web pages, and editing images and videos to be put on Oglethorpe’s websites. Also, I got the opportunity to look at Oglethorpe’s Google analytics statistics, which gave me tremendous insight into the kinds of traffic Oglethorpe attracts online on a regular basis.

Chandler (far left) shown with other Pegasus members during their behind-the-scenes tour of CNN, courtesy of alumnus Joe Sutton '09.

The most interesting thing about working at Pegasus was integrating what I have learned in my business courses with the work I was doing with online media, which would usually be stereotyped as communications field work. As a senior business administration major, I have pretty much gotten a taste of everything the business division at Oglethorpe has to offer, from management courses that evaluate business strategies, competitive advantages, and internal and external forces, to economics courses that analyze the relationship between supply and demand and satisfying needs in the free market, and marketing courses that look into how producers attempt to read consumers and shape products for a target market that will encourage transactions and customer satisfaction. When I decided to take this internship in my last spring semester, I saw it as a great opportunity to apply what I had learned in these courses to online media.

At Pegasus, I got to work with an awesome and fun group of people that made me look forward to coming into the office for work. My experience with Pegasus was a great way to give back to Oglethorpe, and being involved behind-the-scenes at Pegasus has given me technical and analytical skills that will no doubt prove invaluable in the business world after I graduate.

 

 

My Internship: Curating an Exhibit at the OU Museum of Art

Chris (center) pictured with other Oglethorpe arts students during a short-term trip to New York City, led by Professor Alan Loehle (in background).

I’m a senior at Oglethorpe, with a double major in history and art history. During the spring 2013 semester, I interned at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art (OUMA) and had the opportunity to curate an exhibit that had a very special purpose.

You might not know that Oglethorpe’s art museum has a large permanent collection of precious and rare works of art that has been acquired over the years (and continues to grow). Not many universities can claim to have original works by artists such as Henri Matisse, Joan Miro or Salvador Dali. OUMA has also exhibited original artwork in exclusive exhibitions that are not shown anywhere else. Elizabeth Peterson, who became the museum’s director last summer, believes that the museum is a valuable and essential institution from which students of Oglethorpe should be able to benefit and learn. I’m one example of that.

Chris pictured with library staff member Toni Zimmerman during an exhibit opening reception for the OU community.

The exhibit that I had the chance to curate was dedicated to pieces of art from OUMA’s permanent collection that tied in neatly with two art classes offered this semester, printmaking and figure drawing. I included OUMA’s early sketches of figures from the estate of Delacroix that showed an artist’s analysis of human facial expressions. A beautiful chalk drawing of a nude by Renoir showed the rich color and detail a drawing can demonstrate. Sketches and prints of Parisian streets by Pierre Bonnard displayed how artists can find inspiration around them.

At Oglethorpe, you can study and have firsthand access to genuine artwork that could potentially serve as sources of inspiration for your own art or as a topic for a research paper. The museum also is the setting for concerts and educational lectures—and potential internships. The advantages that Oglethorpe’s museum provides both students and faculty are endless. I know I received an opportunity that I can’t imagine having anywhere else.

Read more about the Oglethorpe Art Department’s short-term trip to New York City to study art in February 2013 (pictured at top).

Sophomore Embraces Risk and Reward at Oglethorpe

Mon Baroi '15

If you looked at the list of colleges I considered going to, Oglethorpe was number eight…out of a list of eight that included St. John’s University, Gonzaga University, Wabash College, Guilford College and Earlham College. I chose to come to Oglethorpe because of its proximity to Atlanta and its small classes. And, living up to its motto, Oglethorpe has helped me figure out how to make a life, make a living, and make a difference in society.

When I came to Oglethorpe my freshman year, all I wanted to do was “fast-forward” through the next four years. I wasn’t expecting to begin the process of starting a nonprofit called Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes, and to work at Pegasus Creative, an on-campus student communications agency.

Two friends and I were sitting around a table during lunch, and after telling them that I wanted to build prototype tiny house that was sustainable, their response shocked me: “Yeah,” they said, “Let’s do it. We can help!” We went to the university administration about our idea and they asked us how they could help us. Oglethorpe shocked me with its spirit of encouragement.

Mon, Cartrez Wilson '15 and Jacob Tadych '14 discuss the Oglethorpe Tiny Homes project.

Although I knew that I wanted to build a house, and had an idea of how it would look, I was lost on what purpose the house would serve. Some of my classes in my major (politics) and minor (nonprofit management) actually helped me realize the purpose of Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes.

It’s not about building houses, but rather, reinventing the philosophy and people’s perception of what a house should be. One of my politics classes, “New American City,” was focused on the political history of the city of Atlanta. Without this class, I would not have understood the dire need for affordable housing in Atlanta. Many of my politics classes have helped me understand who gets what, when and how in society. Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes is all about creating affordable homes that increase people’s self worth without jeopardizing their net worth.

Mon with fellow Pegasus Creative member Caitlyn Mitchell '13

One of the most important things I have learned at Oglethorpe is that if you want to make a difference you must take risks and not be afraid of failure. Working at Pegasus Creative, Oglethorpe’s student communications agency, has helped me get better at taking risks and learning from my mistakes. At Pegasus, you are given responsibilities and tasks that the whole Oglethorpe community (and everyone else) can see and be affected by it. For example, I have helped build websites for Oglethorpe that potential students and current students will use. My responsibilities and the risks I’ve taken at Pegasus have helped me not be as afraid of failure.

Coming to Oglethorpe has helped me figure out how I want to live and what I want to do.  Looks like my lucky number is eight.

Editor’s note: Both Mon Baroi ’15 and Jacob Tadych ’14 were recently selected to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in recognition of the Oglethorpe Tiny Homes project. Read about it here.