Oglethorpe’s Debate Council Competes in Piedmont College’s Mayflower Classic

Don Warden '16 leads Oglethorpe's Debate Council

Do you know about the new Oglethorpe Debate Council? After being approved in February by SGA, the Council prepared for and competed in its first tournament at Piedmont College’s Mayflower Classic in early April. The experience was as educational as it was enjoyable, and the team members left with enhanced skills and a deeper desire to continue and improve their team.

“The purpose of the Debate Council,” explained Council President Don Warden ’16, “is to embrace the art of persuasion and the sport of debate through regular meetings and practices, in addition to state and regional competition… and to encourage a love of political and philosophical rhetoric in its members and the greater community.”

Don, along with council members Luise Hessing ’16, Shanice Lover ’16, Barry Rowan ’14, Tony Adamson ’16, John Kontoghiorghes ’16, Maddie McIntosh ’16 and Ty Murphy ’16, met many times before the competition to learn theory and hold practice rounds. The type of debate they studied is called Parliamentary or “parli” debate, and it involves two sides: the Opposition (con) and Government (pro), each of which have 15-30 minutes to prepare their arguments after a topic is randomly chosen.

“My favorite part about being a member is the community (that) debate creates,” said Don. “The debate community extends beyond just the Oglethorpe Team. Everyone at this tournament was nice and friendly, and once you debate against the same schools enough you learn to be vicious to a team in the round, but best friends with them out of the round. It is also a wonderful way to connect to high school students who either currently debate or want to do collegiate debate.”

Don stressed that anyone can benefit by joining debate, and the council has many things to offer in the upcoming semesters.

“We plan to meet regularly every week,” said Don, “and we plan on competing 2-3 times a semester. Moreover, we will judge local high school tournaments in an effort to improve debate quality and recruit for OU… We are also looking to work with other new collegiate debate teams, and perhaps have mock/skirmish debates on campus about pertinent issues. Oglethorpe Debate will be a member of the Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association (GPDA) whenever we compete at their annual tournament next year, and we hope to join the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) next year. Our long term goals are to sustain the program and eventually host a collegiate tournament.”

The Debate Council is well on its way to becoming an Oglethorpe staple, and you can become a part of it! If interested in joining or learning more, you can contact Don Warden via facebook or email.

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!

Night of the Arts: A Masterpiece

As an editor of The Tower literary magazine, I would normally hesitate in writing about Night of the Arts.  As much as I love the event, there is the possibility that my praises are biased. But this year, my “bias” seems to be shared by the OU community at large.

NOA, as we’ve started calling it, is an annual event held by The Tower to showcase the artistic talents of the OU community.  In the past, we’ve held the event in Emerson; this year, with the new campus center construction underway, we moved to Lupton Auditorium, and students welcomed the change.

“It was bigger than ever,” said audience member Bethany Booth ’13. “The change of venue made it much better and clearer and the performances were lovely.”

“Night of the Arts is one of my favorite Oglethorpe traditions,” added Tes Beals ’13. “It was the first event I was able to take my family to as a freshman…(and) it really showcases our student body’s unique talents and the creativity that we all possess.”

As always, getting everything ready for NOA was an ordeal, but my fellow ‘tri-editors,’ Caitlyn Mitchell ’13 and Lindsey Mitchell ’13, agree that the results made the hard work worthwhile.

“This year was really encouraging—the biggest turnout we’ve ever had—which is a really positive indication of The Tower‘s growth,” said Caitlyn. ” After resurrecting The Tower two years ago, it’s been an uphill battle to get (it) back on its feet, and it’s good to know hard work is paying off and that people are getting more involved with and aware of the arts.”

Also celebrating this increased awareness is Dr. Hornback, who spoke about how essential the arts are, and how we are in danger of losing many potential great artists because of funding cuts for art programs across the country. It was a sobering moment among the festivities, but a crucial one, highlighting the importance of those performers on stage.

People of various backgrounds and interests joined together to create a stellar array of acts. Some of their performances included spoken word, piano performance, and vocals. Audience members really seemed to enjoy what they were watching—some even chose to participate!

“My favorite thing about this Night of the Arts was the involvement that we were able to enlist from the audience,” said Lindsey. “This year we really hit on a theme that many people could enjoy.  We had our first impromptu dance routine and people from the audience actually joined in!”  That dance, The Time Warp, was a perfect fit with our theme of Cult Cinema.

Out of everything that night, there is only one thing I would change—there were so many people attending that we ran out of cake pops (a complimentary snack for attendees) before I had the chance to eat one!

Night of the Arts is becoming a true work of art in its own right, and it’s thanks to the OU community, that the arts are allowed to flourish. Thank you to SGA for funding this event, to our advisor Dr. Taylor for supporting us, to The Tower staff for all your hard work and dedication, and to everyone who performed, assisted, and watched. It’s all thanks to you that Night of the Arts was such a success.

If you are interested in being published by The Tower (the literary magazine responsible for Night of the Arts), send submissions with your name, email, and phone number to Secretary Caitlyn Mitchell at oglethorpetower@yahoo.com or to cmitchell@oglethorpe.eduThe cut-off for submissions is tomorrow, October 26th!