OU Museum of Art Joins Blue Star Program, Offers Free Admission to Members of the Military & Their Families

Oglethorpe University Museum of Art has joined the ranks of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and a record-breaking 2,000 museums across America.

The Blue Star Museums program provides free admission for the nation’s active duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve, and their families to any of the participating museums from Memorial Day (Monday, May 27, 2013) through Labor Day (Monday, September 2, 2013). These military families have an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and, in some instances, to learn more about their new communities after completing a military move.

The Blue Star Families organization is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserve. Blue Star is dedicated to supporting, connecting and empowering military families. Working in concert with fellow nonprofits, community advocates, and public officials, they raise awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life and work to make military life more sustainable.

“Oglethorpe University was named as one of the 2013 Top Military Friendly Schools and a Yellow Ribbon institution, with a focus on welcoming returning servicemen and women as they transition to civilian and academic life, “ said Elizabeth Peterson, director of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. “Joining the ranks of Blue Star Museums to offer complimentary access to our museum is one small way in which we can continue to assist in that transition and to honor military personnel and their families.”

Oglethorpe has a long history of supporting members of the military and their families. Most recently, in fall 2012, Oglethorpe, together with the on-campus OU Veterans’ Club, devoted a week to honoring our veterans. “Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans” offered lectures, a clothing drive, and forums about such topics as what it means to be an American. OUMA hosted many of these events, with its then-exhibition “Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War” as a fitting back drop.

Currently, the OU Museum of Art is exhibiting “Jiki to Hanga: Japanese Porcelain and Prints,” on view through August 25, 2013.

Oglethorpe Helps Veterans Transition to College

“Challenges of Going from the War Zone to the Classroom”, a recent story on NPR News, addressed the challenges faced by former service members as they transition from military life to college life. Oglethorpe University is proud to be named to the 2013 list of Top Military Friendly Schools and to be a Yellow Ribbon institution. Oglethorpe has designed programs and services to help make veterans’ transition seamless and to help build a foundation for a successful education and career.

Oglethorpe’s Adult Degree Program is the perfect fit for returning service members. The flexibility of the Adult Degree Program allows veterans to pursue their education at their own pace. Classes are available during the day, evenings, and on weekends, with no minimum course-load required. Students may easily transfer college credit earned at other institutions.

Attending college as an adult and veteran can include a mixture of emotions and Oglethorpe’s family atmosphere allows students to form personal connections with their professors and their fellow students. Small class sizes provide the opportunity for adult students to benefit from thought-provoking discussion and have their voice heard. Adult students bring unique life experiences and skills to class, and they will find an atmosphere conducive to sharing and learning.Veterans can expect to share their class time with other adults who take their education seriously.

Oglethorpe’s Academic Success Center provides support services for all students, and its staff members are there to answer questions and help with any academic needs Services include academic advising, disability accommodations and writing assistance. An on-campus counseling center provides a variety of individual, group, emergency, and outreach services designed to meet the specific needs of every student.

Oglethorpe’s commitment to veterans extends beyond the classroom, and our student-veterans and their supporters are active on campus. Here are just a few examples:

  • During the week of Veterans’ Day, Oglethorpe is hosting a series of events called “Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans.” These events, including lectures, panel discussions and a movie screening, give veterans and the community the chance to learn more and share their personal experiences about serving.
  • The student-run OU Veterans’ Club is an active group that provides support and advocacy for former service members and sponsors numerous events to honor veterans. Recently the club constructed and installed huge yellow ribbons to display at Oglethorpe’s front gate during the period around Veteran’s Day.
  • The fall 2012 exhibition at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War” which explores the juxtaposition of the American and Vietnamese experience of the Vietnam War and its aftermath.  Jef Palframan ’13, the founder and president of the OU Veterans’ Club and a veteran himself, discussed “Violence, War and Culture: One Soldier’s View” as part of the lecture series in conjunction with the exhibition.

 

  • “War, Peace and Security” a special topics course, was recently taught by politics professor Dr. John Orme.
  • Oglethorpe welcomed the family of fallen soldier U.S. Army Sargeant Lakeshia Bailey for the unveiling of her “hero portrait”, one of over 2500 oil paintings by Utah native Kaziah Hancock. In 2003, Hancock founded Project Compassion, a nonprofit devoted to helping families heal by offering them hand painted oil-on-canvas likenesses of their loved ones.
  • Oglethorpe is proud of alumna Carlissa Carson ’05 who earned a spot on Diplomatic Courier’s “Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders” list for her “creativity, determination, and passion in tackling the world’s critical global challenges.”

If you or a loved one has served our country, or are still serving, and would like to further your education, Oglethorpe has joined forces as a Yellow Ribbon institution. Get the support you need to succeed at one of the 2013 Top Military Friendly Schools. For information on admission, visit our website for adult students or call 404-364-8383.

Heifer International and Stormy Petrels Unite

Heifer InternationalLater this week, Oglethorpe University will be the first college campus to host the annual meeting of Heifer International, a nonprofit focused on “helping others help themselves.” The Heifer Sustainability Summit will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 12-13. It will showcase leaders in the field, and showcase Oglethorpe’s growing involvement in Heifer’s mission.

The idea behind Heifer International is simple: rather than raising money and donating it to the needy, Heifer uses raised funds to buy and donate livestock (cows,  chickens,  sheep, etc.) to  groups of people in need to help to increase their self-sustainability. Not only can they rely on the animals for renewable resources like wool, eggs or milk, but when the Heifer-gifted animal reproduces, the  resulting livestock provides even more possibility for income.  The self-sufficiency people gain from having their own source of income also helps to improve quality of  life. Suddenly, a family can go from surviving to thriving; a village can go from impoverished to self-reliant. The independence that comes with a Heifer gift is often even more valuable than the gift itself.  Heifer operates in more than 50 countries and has been a driving force against poverty worldwide since 1944.

The summit will focus on the needs of a world stricken by hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation, and Heifer’s current and future plans to help. Special guest speakers will include National Center for Civil and Human Rights CEO Doug Shipman, Heifer International President and CEO Pierre Ferrari, and Oglethorpe University’s own First Lady, Betty Londergan, the wife of Oglethorpe’s President Schall.

Betty and children in a Heifer-assisted country

Heifer International has gained quite a following at Oglethorpe, due in part to  Londergan’s involvement with the nonprofit. She is on a mission to showcase the benefits of Heifer’s work through Heifer 12×12, a blog project launched by Heifer International, which is taking Londergan to 12 countries in 12 months. Since January, she’s traveled to 11 Heifer-assisted countries, including Uganda, Haiti and Rwanda, and has shared her experiences through blogs and photography.

Heifer 12x12

Betty Londergan's blog highlights Heifer's accomplishments around the world

Thirty of Londergan’s photos will be on exhibit in Oglethorpe’s Lowry Hall in honor of National Photography month. The exhibit, titled “Unforgettable Faces,” will debut during the Summit’s opening dinner reception on Friday, October 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art and remain open through December 9, 2012. The photographs will be available for purchase to benefit Heifer International.

But, Londergan isn’t the only Stormy Petrel hoping to make a difference through Heifer. Sophomore Ruwa Romman and a small group of OU students were inspired by Londergan’s involvement with Heifer and decided to get active. They are starting the OU Heifer Club, the first on a college or university campus in the Southeast.

“Oglethorpe’s a good place to have a grassroots initiative [like Heifer],” said Romman. “They focus on self-sustainability, on passing on the gift… We hope to get a movement going. We can’t donate huge sums of money, but if we can donate $10 for chickens and help send someone’s kid to school, that’s still huge. It’s all about giving back.”

The OU Heifer Club will officially launch during the Heifer Sustainability Summit.

OU Sophomore Folds Origami “Cranes for Cancer”

According to ancient Japanese legend, folding 1000 paper cranes will bring good luck, and might even grant the folder a wish. Kevin Summerlin, the OU sophomore behind the new on-campus charity initiative Cranes for Cancer, definitely has a wish—that his paper-folding will “[raise] awareness about the importance of thoughtfulness and goodwill in helping people through hard times.”

Students can learn the Japanese art of origami while giving back by folding cranes to sell as symbols of hope and support for those suffering from cancer. Although origami is an ancient art, the idea that 1000 cranes bring luck is still popular around the world. From the paper crane-draped Ueno Toshogu Shrine in Japan, a monument to advocate peace between nations, to the true story of Sadako, a girl who folded cranes to be granted her wish for life after battling leukemia, the symbol of a paper crane is a harbinger of peace and luck in hard times.

Paper cranes hanging at the Toshogu Shrine in Tokyo

Kevin hopes to generate enough interest and awareness to form an origami club on campus, and eventually to raise money to aid cancer patients. His goal is not just to fundraise, but to be a call to action. Oglethorpe students trying to “make a life, make a living, make a difference” can support the Cranes for Cancer initiative by attending meetings every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Phase II lobby. All interested students are encouraged to come—from the newest beginners to the paper-folding masters—everyone is welcome!

Those who can’t make the meetings can help out by donating something a little out of ordinary—paper. Come fold cranes—for good luck and for a good cause!