Oglethorpe Takes Up White House Campus Challenge

This year Oglethorpe University will participate in President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, which challenges more than 300  colleges and universities around the country to promote intentional interfaith dialogue and community service. Oglethorpe will focus specifically on the issues of health and hunger.

To work toward meeting the challenge, OU students and staff created COEXIST Oglethorpe, an effort open to all Oglethorpe students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are interested in this interfaith initiative. Staff from the offices of Admission, Campus Life, and Center for Civic Engagement have met with students Clair Carter ’12, Jimmy Comerford ’13, Emily Sharfstein ’14, Awet Woldegebriel ’14, Zach Robinson ’15 and Ruwa Romman ’15 throughout the summer to pave the road for the next two semesters.

“COEXIST helps us create a culture of understanding and in doing so, allows us to reach out to the community and work towards progress in health and hunger,” said incoming freshman and committee member Zach Robinson ’15.

Heather Staniszewski ’02, assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement, recalls that when she first started working at Oglethorpe, she was impressed with “the Interfaith Council and collaboration between faith groups to keep the dialogue open and ongoing.”  She joined COEXIST Oglethorpe because it “gives [her] a chance to work with students and fellow OU staff members of different faiths to not only educate the community, but educate [each other].”

The fall semester’s inaugural event, to be held September 11, 2011 in Emerson Student Center, will combine service projects with an educational interfaith dialogue. The day will consist of three different service projects including a healthy nonperishable food drive, a blood drive from 1:00-6:00 p.m. hosted by the American Red Cross, and an opportunity to write letters to soldiers and veterans. From 2:00-4:00 p.m. a panel of various community faith leaders will answer questions and lead discussions with participants.

Please direct any questions or interest in volunteering for these events to the Center for Civic Engagement staff via email at hstan@oglethorpe.edu or call 404-504-1978.  We hope to see you in Emerson on Sunday, September 11.

Why did the Petrel cross the road?

Clair Carter '12 (far left) and Sean Lovett '12 (second from left) ran this year's Peachtree with Sean's family as...(you guessed it!) a Quidditch team ala Harry Potter.

To start the race, of course!

For most Americans, July 4th is a time for cookouts, family, and fireworks.  But here in Atlanta, Independence Day is also about challenging the world to the largest 10K on the planet.  And this year, there were plenty of Petrels in the Peachtree Road Race—from students, to staff, to alumni. 

Michelle Hall, OU’s Vice President for Campus Life, was among the Oglethorpe staff who ran, as well as Admission Counselor Jeremy Sale and Director of Finance/Controller Amy Rentenbach

“This was my fourth race that my wife and I ran together,” said Jeremy.  “I love all the spectators on the course and this year the Atlanta Track Club outdid itself with the number of entertainers on the course as well… It’s great that so many from the OU community run the Peachtree, it shows our commitment to Atlanta and being healthy.”

Of the Petrels that ran, rising senior Beth Cleary certainly had a lot to be proud of.  She has run the Peachtree eight times, finishing her first race at the age of 11.  Beth has improved upon her time ever since, clocking a respectable 44:18 this year—a major jump from her 70-minute race time back in 6th grade.

“I LOVE the Peachtree! My goal time is always faster than the last time. [This year,] once the final results came in, I found out that I missed the Top 1000 by a little bit ….[but] I want that Top 1000 mug. So next year, it’s gonna happen.”

All competitiveness aside, Beth reveals why the race keeps calling her back year after year. 

“I love road races,” said Beth, who is interning with the Atlanta Track Club, the nonprofit that organizes the Peachtree each year.  “I consider myself a pretty serious runner, but I consider Peachtree more of an event and an experience than an honest to goodness race. It’s a reminder of the community that running can provide…The atmosphere is fantastic and I feel as though I’m surrounded by hundreds of my best friends.”