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.

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.