Oglethorpe junior Joseph White was recently awarded a GAIN Scholarship by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to study abroad. He’ll use the award to spend his spring semester in Seoul studying South Korea’s culture, language and politics. Joe will be the first Oglethorpe student to study abroad in the politically tumultuous country.
GAIN scholars are selected for their dedication to internationalizing their education. While in South Korea, Joe will fulfill the study abroad requirement for his international studies major, and will study North Korean politics as part of his politics minor. He plans to work in politics with an emphasis on Korean affairs, an interest that began several years ago.
Joe first got the opportunity to travel the summer after he graduated from Stars Mill High School. Most of his friends visited Europe for their pre-college travels, but he wanted to try something a little more adventurous.
“I went to Korea for about two weeks to visit a friend that was teaching English there. I toured around the area, didn’t do a whole lot of stuff I wanted to do, but did some of the major tourist highlights. But now I really want to get involved with their culture, their language, and even potentially some of their history.”
When he got the opportunity to study abroad at Oglethorpe, it was this location that called to him. As assistant to OU Study Abroad Director Dr. Jeffrey Collins, Joe spent this semester helping other students abroad.
“I make sure that their classes are going well, that they’re integrating into society, stuff like that. If there’s something wrong personally with them it’s easier to talk to a student than it is to talk to a teacher. I’m that buffer between student and teacher.” Now, though, he’s ready to be in their shoes.
“The school [in Korea] is ranked one of the ivy league in the Asian Pacific. And it’s the only one that offers North Korean politics. That’s the reason I want to go there– to study Korea’s relationship with its fellow Koreans up north and how North Korea affects everything in that area. Especially because, South Korea being one of our main allies, if anything happens to (them) we’re obligated to engage and support them.”
He’s been preparing for the trip by studying the language on his own and working with his martial arts master, a fluent Korean speaker. His study of martial arts influenced his study abroad decisions tremendously. “I’ve been doing [Taekwondo], which is the Korean national martial art, for over 11 years now. When I went to Korea the first time, I got to visit the place where it all started. I want to spend more time understanding the theory and philosophy of Taekwondo.” It’s this familiar, but exotic, culture that Joseph is excited to immerse himself in.
Joseph’s course load will be heavy on Korean language, which he hopes to speak by the time he graduates. His language classes will have a cultural immersion element that will give him the chance to speak, write and read Korean as well as visit with native speakers. “I want to work with the State Department with Korean affairs, because I love the country and I love the people and I respect them very much. So wherever I go, either DC or a national hub like Atlanta, I want to be able to work closely with Korean culture and maybe even business…and possibly be an ambassador to South Korea for the United States.”
“Joe White winning this scholarship to study in Seoul is a great honor for both to our university and to Joe,” said Dr. Collins. “The program is highly competitive, and it is the first time for an OU student to win a CIEE scholarship to study in Seoul. It only indicates how global OU has become, and how we are now known and respected across the world for our academics and student engagement. I am terrifically proud of him.”
Joseph will leave for South Korea in the spring, and wants to encourage all interested OU students to consider having a study abroad experience of their own!
In early October, the Oglethorpe sophomore class gathered for the inaugural Thornwell Jacobs Legacy Celebration, a new annual tradition for the sophomore class. The event celebrated Thornwell Jacobs, Oglethorpe President from 1915-1943, who fulfilled a lifelong dream of restoring Oglethorpe to its present location on Peachtree Road in Atlanta.
Sophomore students gathered to learn interesting history and facts about President Jacobs and his mission from award-winning author and historian Dr. Paul Hudson ’72 . Later over dinner in the Great Hall of Hearst, students heard from Sophomore Class President Kurt Reynolds, Alumni Association Vice President Austin Gillis ’01, and Georgia State Representative Dar’Shun Kendrick ’04, an Alumni Association Board member who spoke about her OU experience and how it helped to shape her career and future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Oglethorpe University’s chapter of Chi Phi fraternity raised more than $600 to benefit the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center at their annual charity event, Greekapalooza, on Friday, September 14.
Donations increased almost 100% over last year’s event, in part because Chi Phi offered a free benefit show played by local musicians, the Critty Upchurch Band, who played covers of popular songs at the Greek Row block party.
Edmund Smith, a sophomore brother of Chi Phi, says that donating to support the cause is important, but the bigger goal was to raise awareness for the DRCC. “Though we hope OU students never need it, we want people to know that there is a place they can go for help.”
Not only did Greekapalooza raise money to help the victims of rape and sexual violence, it was also the first event of OU’s Fall 2012 Greek Recruitment/Rush. All of the Greek organizations at Oglethorpe attended to show support and to meet potential pledges.
“Greekapalooza is basically a great way for OU’s Greek organizations to come together, fraternize, and unite behind a great cause,” said Chelsea Reed ’13. “It is the perfect kickoff for recruitment because it shows that Oglethorpe Greeks value community and philanthropy—both on campus and beyond.”
Photos by Robert Findley.
After 27 years of ranking colleges, the U.S. News list continues to be one of the most respected, with their many categories that help prospective students find the perfect fit for further education.
In addition to being ranked overall, Oglethorpe was also named by U.S. News as:
One of the top 40 National Liberal Arts Colleges for “ethnic diversity”
Among the best National Liberal Arts College in the nation, according to high school guidance counselors, experts in helping students to find where they will excel
Among the top National Liberal Arts Colleges in the category of best “A-Plus Schools for B Students”, where “spirit and hard work could make all the difference in admissions offices.” Oglethorpe’s commitment to providing the most “relevant, rigorous education” possible ensures that even non-A students thrive.
In 2010, Oglethorpe was spotlighted by U.S. News in “Roadtrip: Oglethorpe University,” an article that profiled the university’s “stories of community spirit.”
Dr. Schall first posted the article on his personal blog, My Own Stormy Petrel Words, reflecting on the question “why do people cheat” in response to the news of a data reporting scandal at Emory University. He says that cheating starts because people are acting to attain the unattainable “when so much is at stake and the wrong thing is being measured, even good people will bend the truth.” Dr. Schall’s article was picked for publication in the August 24th edition of Huffington magazine and will reach more than 115,000 iPad readers worldwide, with more users downloading every day.
The free weekly iPad magazine was launched mid-June 2012 as a part of a HuffPost “slows news movement” initiative, a way for readers to dive more deeply into stories than is possible online. iPad users can download the app to read Dr. Schall’s article in the iTunes store, and other readers can read the article directly on his blog. Consider subscribing to get his latest blogs delivered directly to you.
The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art has opened the doors for its newest exhibition, “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. The exhibit will run through December 9.
Artists Dinh Q. Lê, Sheila Pree Bright, Keisha Luce and Kirk Torregrossa are featured, as well as Northern Vietnamese propaganda posters from The Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection. The exhibition was inspired by the campus-wide reading of Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried, a fictionalized account of the author’s time as an American soldier in Vietnam.
“The cultural, physical, and emotional dissonance explored by these artists raise many questions regarding the burden of war,” said Elizabeth Peterson, curator and director of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, “It’s a legacy that crosses borders and is carried through generations.” Peterson joined the museum in August 2012.
Bright’s Young American series features photographs of young adults in various poses with the American flag. Bright wants the body language of the models and the different positions of the flag to raise questions about what it means to be an American in Generation Y. Each photo is named after the person photographed and is accompanied by a personal statement which reflects the person’s ideas about being American.
Lê’s large-scale photographic collages contrast photos of the Vietnam war with iconic Hollywood imagery to contrast the realities of war with the Western perspective of it. Lê was born in Ha-Tien, Vietnam, emigrated to Los Angeles at age 10, and now splits his time between America and Vietnam. His collages are made up of photos woven together using traditional Vietnamese techniques and are inspired by his own memories of the war, both real from his childhood in Vietnam and imagined, inspired by American war movies.
Luce’s sculpture series Sum & Parts depict the malformed bodies of Vietnamese people living with the effects of long-term exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide used in the Vietnam War. In an interview with Vermont Public Radio, she says, “they are difficult bodies to look at. Part of what I was trying to do is to bring this type of body—the war body—into the public sphere.”
Torregrossa’s photographs help to achieve this goal by allowing viewers to see both the sculptures and the people that inspired them. They document every step of the two month long Sum & Parts journey, and Torregrossa says of his series, “my intent is to craft a story that illustrates not only the horrible long-term effects of chemical warfare, but with resiliency and bravery, how the people involved soldier on.”
This summer’s short term, for-credit trip to Italy made an enormous impact on the students who participated. Following up on the original post by Dr. Jeffrey Collins, we now hear from three of those students, in their own words. [Part III] [Part IV]
When people ask me “how was Italy?” I simply respond with “amazing”. The fact is, though, it was more than that. It was life-changing. I learned so much, saw so much, and had such a fantastic time that telling it all to someone like a story is simply impossible—there’s too much to fit in.
The schedule included monuments, museums, gardens and segway tours, but the best times of the trip were unexpected. We’d be tired after a day of walking, or hungry for lunch, or too full of information to handle another bite and then suddenly, out of nowhere, there’d be magic.
From the Medici-offices-turned-art-museum Uffizi, to the towering bronze-doored Duomo, Florence is magical. Walking the cobblestone streets overlooking the Arno, where Leonardo DaVinci walked, staring through glass at Galileo’s right hand, strolling through the market where old, weathered men hand-sew buttery leather pouches like their families have done for centuries, everything about Florence is interesting, beautiful and amazing.
There are, of course, some standout moments. At Reginella’s, a family-owned restaurant Dr. Collins found that became “our favorite” the first night, my pizza was delivered in the shape of a heart! (I think red hair is a novelty in Italy, haha.) It doesn’t matter what age, what major, or what you’re expecting, seeing Michelangelo’s David in person will stop your heart. When I saw it, I understood. He’s alive in the marble, and as you walk around him his brow seems to furrow, his chest heaves, his eyes flicker. He looks so alive that I half-expected his fingers to twitch around his sling. In Art and Culture, I learned that when the David was first shown to the public, people were scared because they thought he was alive. Now that I’ve seen it in person, I finally understand. It’s the kind of lesson you can’t learn from a textbook.
I’ve never had a formal art class, but having Professor Loehle on the trip was better. He took the time to explain the beauty in art and how it relates to what I’m studying. He showed us the elegance of Caravaggio, helped me realize my love for Giambologna, and inspired me to find beauty everywhere—from the most heavily-guarded painting in the Uffizi, to the faces of the people in the Piazza Navona. He became part of the trip family, always helpful, always upbeat, always “just here to help.”
My favorite part of Florence was the church of Santa Croce. I thought, when I walked in, that it was going to be another church in the line of churches we saw, all amazing and beautiful. But it was so much more. There are marble tombs in the floors with bas reliefs of the people in them. There are winding hallways that go to rooms with floor to ceiling cabinets full of centuries-old books with illuminated lettering. I went through a little door that was slightly ajar and found a tiny room with stone water fountains in the shape of lion heads lining one wall and a door in the floor beside a porch that led into a tiny garden. I took pictures and snuck around until I realized that it was an employee-only area. Restricted sections make the best adventures, and Florence was a beautiful adventure.
But it’s Rome that has my heart. When we walked around Rome with Collins and Loehle, it was a constant surprise. Dr. Collins is a walking encyclopedia, and many times I’d look around to find people from guided tours had ditched their neon-shirted tour guide in favor of listening to him speak. He had a way of making every topic we covered interesting, funny, and memorable, even if it was something I would never have cared about before. Once, he stopped us in front of side street and said “I’ve got a surprise for you!” We walked into an unassuming church and then one by one fell silent as we looked up at the most amazing ceiling I have ever seen, with frescos that seem to jump off the ceilings at Sant’Ignazio.
At the Vatican, we were again struck mute by the towering, frescoed ceilings, the light filtering through the windows onto Michelangelo’s Pieta, and the sheer number of people, all silent, all staring upwards.
Then there were the random days. A small group of us took a side trip to the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, miles and miles of tunnels where people have been buried for centuries. Being underneath Rome, walking by tombs with frescoed ceilings and still-intact ancient pots of oil is like being inside of history. There’s graffiti on the walls dating back to the 3rd century (Peter was here, 1989. Peter was here, 1771. Pietr was here 900. Petri was here 256.) The church above the catacombs has floors made of some of the oldest marble in Rome. I stepped on snail fossils bigger than my hand that date back to the Cretaceous period (65 million years ago! WHAT???)
(On our last day in Rome, Professor Loehle, Adrienne Findley, and I worked out my plan to move to Italia. I’ve already picked my apartment. By—ahem— COMPLETELY unplanned, TOTALLY accidental coincidence, it’s on the same street as the best gelato in Rome. Yes, you can visit.)
In a word, it was amazing. I used that word a lot on the trip, but astonishing, fantastic, extraordinary, unbelievable, no word can really capture the feeling of being so utterly swept off your feet by beauty, by history, by culture, by Italy. In Florence, we lived like Italians. When we returned to Rome, we walked like natives. When I go back, it will feel like I’m home. This experience was more than I could have ever hoped for, and I can’t wait to study abroad again.