Making a Difference in South Africa

cprebil_1369271904_600Oglethorpe’s mission to “make a life, make a living, make a difference” affects not only its students, but also touches lives in the global community. Last fall, Oglethorpe extended its global reach, becoming the new academic partner of Global LEAD, a purpose driven summer study abroad program. And this summer, students from more than 30 universities nationwide traveled to Greece, Ecuador, and Cape Town, South Africa to experience Global LEAD’s unique combination of “Leadership, Education, Adventure and Diplomacy.”

Children in the Sir Lowry's township of Cape Town

Children in the Sir Lowry’s township of Cape Town

Oglethorpe’s Dr. Kendra Momon, associate professor of politics and director of the Rich Foundation Urban Leadership Program, led 81 students on their month-long journey through Cape Town, South Africa. She served as the academic director for the group, instructing two courses: “Leadership in Action” and “Global Citizenship & Engagement.”

What sets Global LEAD apart from other study abroad programs? The program combines academic curriculum with two weeks focused on service projects that expand upon the classroom learning. Living and serving in these underprivileged communities allows students to apply the principles they learn in classes and creates an immersive atmosphere that often transforms the lives of the students, as well as the members of the community they serve.

Oglethorpe’s objective to make a difference is enriched by the Global LEAD program. “There is no doubt that we (made a difference) in Cape Town this summer,” said Momon. “…Two weeks of the program, in rotation for the two student groups, are spent in local townships serving poor and disadvantaged children and teenagers.”

Dr. Momon and Janine in Cape Town.

The partnership opens up possibilities for Oglethorpe to spread the word about the school and its mission to create global citizens throughout the countries that Global LEAD serves, universities nationwide, and with the non-OU students who are exposed to the Oglethorpe curriculum and teaching. Students receive six Oglethorpe credit-hours while studying abroad with Global LEAD which are transferred to their home university. Oglethorpe’s dynamic faculty are the perfect ambassadors for Oglethorpe. Dr. Momon, who showed her love for OU through her apparel and anecdotes, told me a story about Janine, a 13-year-old South African girl whom she got to know during their two weeks of service. “Janine asked me to give her something to remember me so I gave her my beloved black OU fitted cap which I’ve had for five years.”

This year alone, Global LEAD and Oglethorpe will potentially change the lives of hundreds of students and people scattered around the globe. The partnership creates exciting possibilities for the future of Oglethorpe study abroad and global leadership opportunities.

Dr. Momon agrees. “I think the partnership is a great opportunity to extend our brand internationally as well as extend the scope of our motto to make a life, make a living, and make a difference.”

To keep up with the experiences of students and Oglethorpe traveling with Global LEAD, visit their blog, which is updated frequently.

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.

Omicron Delta Kappa Taps 2012 Inductees, Launches Fundraising Campaign

As the holiday season approaches, your thoughts may turn to buying gifts, decorating your homes, or celebrating break with family and friends.   But for me, one thing comes to mind before any thoughts of winter vacation: there is a pig raring to be kissed, and some of you may see me kiss him.

Boar’s Head is an annual OU event centered around the annual induction ceremony of Omicron Delta Kappa, an esteemed leadership society that serves to recognize students, faculty, staff, and alumni for their service in at least one of five key areas.  On November 30th, 17 new members will be inducted into OΔK, including Oglethorpe Trustee Arnold Sidman.

Trustee Arnie Sidman

“Arnie Sidman deserves this honor and we are very happy to recognize him,” says Jef Palframan ’13, current President of Oglethorpe’s OΔK Circle. “(We) are trying to move beyond just students to more faculty, alumni, staff, and trustee members… This shows that leadership doesn’t just start in your junior or senior year. It’s for a lifetime.”

Also being inducted are Dr. Mario Chandler and Dr. Nicholas Maher, alumni Eli Arnold ’06 and staff member Katie Paden.  There are also 12 student inductees: Brittney Blalock ’14, Tirzah Brown ’14, Kirsten Glaeser ’14, Krista Gray ’14, Justin Munson ’14, Corey Ray ’14, Kate Siess ’14, Kendall Burke ’13, Jeet Budha Magar ’13, Marisa Manuel ’13, Caitlyn Mitchell ’13, and Lindsey Mitchell ’13.

In addition, through the end of November, you can assist the OΔK Circle by donating to their fundraising campaign.  The campaign’s purpose is to help Oglethorpe’s OΔK Circle become self sufficient for at least the next five years.  More than half of the $5000 goal has already been achieved, and OΔK hopes to double this goal. OΔK aspires to become self-sufficient and not require SGA funding, because membership is exclusive and extended beyond the student body.


 

If you would like to come to the Boar’s Head Concert & Celebration on November 30th, don’t forget to reserve your ticket by calling 404-504-1074 or visiting the Conant Performing Arts Center box office.

Omicron Delta Kappa National Conference Gathers Student Leaders

Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) is a national leadership honor society. Jef Palframan ’13 is the current student president of Oglethorpe’s ODK Circle, which was founded 36 years ago.

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about attending the 2012 Omicron Delta Kappa National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. this past summer. I, like probably every conference attendee, was intimidated about how I would fit in with some the best and brightest students in the United States. The ODK conference was replete with the future innovators, scholars and leaders who will make a difference in the world for decades to come. Fortunately, I can report that the 2012 ODK National Conference was an engaging, motivating event that showcased the quality of leadership that ODK as an organization embodies and fosters.

In all, more than 200 delegates from almost 30 states attended the conference. The national convention is required every two years in order to ratify any changes that the National Board of ODK has approved. ODK National President Betsy Holloway reported that ODK initiated 15 new circles, and 2800 new members. These increases represent the largest growth in the organization’s history. As well, ODK set a new record in fundraising for scholarships for student members, and announced a new partnership with Nationwide Insurance.

Most exciting, the national branding initiative was announced. In the past, national guidance on official representation of the ODK logo has been undefined. The new logo, seen below, is sleek, simple and dignified. We are looking forward to implementing the new logo anywhere we can.

Besides the new initiatives and announcements, the greatest benefit of attending the conference was the opportunity to share the challenges that our respective circles face. Participation, fundraising, and member selection are some of the common challenges for circles across the country. It was invaluable to hear how others have implemented creative and innovative solutions to these challenges. This experience will allow the Oglethorpe Circle of ODK to improve our effectiveness and make our circle even more vital to the leadership culture on campus.

The conference concluded with a celebratory awards dinner that rewarded those members who had made inspiring contributions to their respective communities and ODK at large. This year’s recipient of the Crown Laurel Circle Award was Col. Ralph Hauenstein who was given the award on the eve of his 100th birthday. Col. Hauenstein served his nation in the European theater under General Dwight Eisenhower as head of intelligence. His service to ODK and his nation was rousing and exemplifies the values of our organization.

For those who are unfamiliar with our organization, ODK is the only national leadership honor society in the United States that focuses specifically on leadership. Induction into the ODK circle is considered one of the highest honors that a student can attain while at Oglethorpe University. ODK is highly selective and only the top 35 percent of students based on GPA are permitted to compete for membership. ODK inducts only one to three percent of the student body per academic year. Initiates are drawn from all pillars of campus life according to the ODK charter; those pillars are scholarship, athletics, campus and community service, journalism, and creative and preforming arts. If you are interested in ODK membership feel free to contact me at jpalframan@oglethorpe.edu to learn more.