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.

Lights! Camera! Campus MovieFest!

A five minute film is not easy to create, but according to the winners of Oglethorpe’s Campus MovieFest competition, those five minutes of film are worth all of the time and energy put into making them.

“This is my life,” said Christian Hartnett ’14, director of the Best Comedy winner, The Screenplay. “Videos, editing, everything that goes into film. That is what gives me purpose… this (competition) was something I really had to do.”

Campus MovieFest is the world’s largest student film festival and a premier outlet for the next generation of filmmakers. Oglethorpe’s Offices of Campus Life and and Student Government Association were integral in bringing the competition to OU, which began on January 23 and lasted barely a week. During this time, students were supplied with tripods, camcorders, and computers that were essential in bringing their movies to life. Then, after countless hours of writing, acting, filming and editing, students submitted their five-minute movies to CMF officials.

Best Picture director Hillary Heath '13 and writer Weatherly Richardson '13.

“It was a lot of fun and I think we learned a lot from the experience,” said theatre major Hillary Heath ’13, who directed the Best Picture winner, Getting Brain. “I’ve never shot a film before, (and) it was interesting to switch from theatre to film… I hope OU keeps doing this.”

On Thursday, February 7, 16 teams had the unique opportunity to screen their films in front of their peers. The overall winners (Trinity Pond Productions for Untitled Love Story, the Best Drama winner; Team Awesomesauce for The Screenplay, winner for Best Comedy; and Doing Stuff Badly for Getting Brain, Best Picture) are moving on to the next round, Hollywood!, where they will compete with winners from other colleges and universities around the country.

Best Comedy Director Christian Hartnett '14

“All of a sudden, my movie pops up, and I jumped three feet in the air,” said Christian. “All the hard work was worth it.”

The competition has had a tremendous impact on its winners, who are grateful for the experience and for those who offered help along the way.

“(Adjunct professor) David Patterson taught me everything I know,” said Christian. ”He’s a great mentor.” Weatherly Richardson ’13, the writer of Getting Brain, similarly credited adjunct faculty Jessica Handler and her screenwriting class, which introduced her to the idea of professionally pursuing film.

“(Hillary and I) started our own production company and we’ve been wanting to do these films for a while,” said Weatherly.  “I found out we’d won on Twitter, because I had to work. We kind of weren’t expecting this at all.” 

All of the competitors interviewed expressed a desire to produce more films in the future and I, for one, am excited to see them. Congratulations to our winners, and best of luck in Hollywood!

Watch all Oglethorpe students’ film entries here!

Oglethorpe Magazine Examines “The Art of Critical Thinking”

Attention all OU alumni, parents, students and friends—the latest issue of Oglethorpe’s award-winning Carillon magazine is here!

This issue delves into the role of liberal arts and sciences in the 21st century and features articles written by senior Foss Baker and Dr. Brian Patterson, assistant professor of computer science & mathematics, President Schall, and our new provost, Dr. Denise von Herrmann. 

Read stories about Oglethorpe alumni using their liberal arts education—sometimes in unusual ways!  Did you know an OU alum wrote the 2010 CMA Song of the Year? Or, that an OU alum’s thriving business was featured on HGTV, and that another alum is the editor of a top magazine?!

Get a sneak peek into the plans for a new student center. Learn about the freshman class’s new What the Dog Saw common reading program, and hear from the newest additions to the Office of Campus Life—Danny Glassmann, Kendra Hunter and Bre Berris—about the plans they have for student life at Oglethorpe.

Alumna Chloey Mayo’s “Oglethorpe in Lights” offers a glamorous twist on some campus events of Hollywood proportion with a review the TV shows, movies and commercials that have used OU as their backdrop.

 Read the Carillon here or look out for the magazine at your home—and let us know what you think!

Gaining Perspective

Incoming Freshmen

During an OU Passport orientation during the summer, incoming freshmen and first-year students competed in a scavenger hunt. The winners, pictured here, won copies of What the Dog Saw---required reading for the entire class.

As the class of 2015 prepared for its first semester as college students, the undergrads had more in common than just their freshman status. All first-year students shared a cross-major reading of Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw: and other adventures as part of a new common reading program at Oglethorpe.

“Several colleges and universities have established common reading programs over the years,” explained Kendra Hunter, director of student leadership and activities. “By introducing this program at Oglethorpe, Campus Life wanted to incorporate an academic component to New Student Orientation that would create a common experience for new students to begin the development of community among them as well as help prepare them for the academic and intellectual experiences they will have.”

Far from the ordinary textbook, What the Dog Saw is a compilation of 19 features written by the Canadian journalist, all of which were first published in The New Yorker magazine. In this collection, Gladwell explores the “back story” of society’s everyday stories, and makes an effort to find a larger meaning in them. The book is divided into three parts which examine: “minor geniuses” (those who find ways to do ordinary things in extraordinary ways); the theories or ways of organizing experience (such as the controversial program found in some big U.S. cities designed to tackle the problem of homelessness by giving the chronically homeless their own apartments, while less severe cases stay on the streets); and lastly, the assumptions and predictions we make about people (“How do we know whether someone is bad, or smart, or capable of doing something really well?”).

“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade,” says Gladwell in the book’s preface. “It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.”

Indeed, Gladwell’s book was selected with the input of first-year instructors for its direct connection to first-year curriculum and its potential to encourage debate and real-life application.

What the Dog Saw is composed of essays and themes which appeal to a variety of students and can be connected to multiple disciplines,” said Hunter. “Resulting discussions ranged from their thoughts about the book to having a ‘pitching’ contest in which students took an ordinary object and pitched new and unusual uses for it. Currently, we are looking into visiting a homeless shelter and then discussing or debating the ideas from one of the essays, ‘Million Dollar Murray.’”

Throughout the year, students and faculty have found other ways to incorporate the book’s theme, turning what started as a summer reading assignment into a year-long intellectual discussion about the importance of perspective. Hunter said that three freshman classes took a trip to Dialog in the Dark, an exhibition that forces guests to “see” through the eyes of the visually impaired, using a series of darkened galleries created to replicate everyday experiences. “During that trip students gained a different perspective on everyday life with a visual impairment, encouraging them to be open to ideas and viewpoints other than their own,” explained Hunter.

Not surprisingly, others at OU have found ways to adapt the book as well. The OU Theatre department has plans to modify it for the stage. To be created and performed by students, the play will be presented exclusively at Oglethorpe by special permission of the author on April 12-14, 2012.

What the Dog Saw encourages its readers to think counter-intuitively and to question experiences and the assumptions they make,” said Hunter. “This is exactly what we want our students to do; critical thinking is such a large part of their education and individual development.”

This article first appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Oglethorpe’s Carillon magazine.