Oglethorpe’s campus was transformed into a festive English town on Saturday, June 2, as people across Atlanta and beyond gathered to celebrate the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee, marking the 60th anniversary of her reign. The event at Oglethorpe, hosted by the British Consulate General in Atlanta, was held on the same day as many other festivities across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Festivities included children’s games popular in the Commonwealth, a hat competition, and a performance by Scottish Pipe & Drum group, which marched the crowd onto Anderson Field to watch a game of cricket.
A “Got Talent” competition held on the quad provided some eclectic entertainment for festival-goers, with performers representing Ghana, Scotland and other member nations of the Commonwealth.
There was plenty of good food available as well, with the lines for the fish & chips and meat pies being the longest. And no British celebration would be complete without an opportunity for some afternoon tea.
Oglethorpe was chosen to host the event in part for its architecture. The campus building designs were originally inspired by Corpus Christi College in Oxford, England–the alma mater of our namesake, James Edward Oglethorpe. It created the perfect setting for the festivities and allowed guests to feel as if they had been transported to England, if only for a few hours.
Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. In the 60 years that she has held the crown, there have been 12 different Prime Ministers, six Popes…and 30 royal corgi dogs. She is the second longest serving monarch in the world.
Since 2006, Oglethorpe University has collaborated with Hands On Atlanta’s AmeriCorps program, which brings its volunteers to campus to help plan civic engagement opportunities for students. Alicia Morris, the most recent volunteer, served at Oglethorpe from August 2011 until May 2012. A 2007 graduate of Philadelphia’s La Salle University, Alicia has a BA in political science and interned at the Carter Center in 2010. With her service complete, she leaves Oglethorpe with a fond farewell:
I would like to thank everyone for an unforgettable experience here at Oglethorpe. As many of you know I have spent the past 10 months as the Hands on Atlanta/AmeriCorps member for Oglethorpe’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCE).
While here, I have had the pleasure of working on several programs and projects on and off campus to provide volunteer opportunities for Oglethorpe students, including Alternative Winter Break in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Alternative Spring Break in Charleston, S.C., college readiness programs with South Atlanta School of Law and Social Justice, afterschool programs with Lynwood Park Recreation Center, and Oglethorpe’s Annual Days of Service.
I have been very fortunate to participate in the Hands On Atlanta Program, which focuses on educating Atlanta’s youth. Some AmeriCorps members were placed in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools assisting in math and reading, while others focused on college readiness, administrative tasks. I am grateful that the Hands On Atlanta and CCE staff saw enough potential in me to know that I could handle the only AmeriCorps position at an Atlanta college or university.
It means so much to me to have the opportunity to be in a field that I love. I look forward to using all that I have learned from this experience to continue my career and education in nonprofit management. Thank you all again for your kindness, patience, and support.
With film cameras rolling and two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses doling out sage advice, the Oglethorpe University men’s and women’s track and field teams enjoyed a rather unusual practice last Thursday afternoon. That’s because Sky Sports, the largest sports broadcaster in the United Kingdom, was in Atlanta to capture some pre-Olympic coverage for the upcoming 2012 London Games, and Oglethorpe loaned their track and athletes to the project.
Moses, who first gained fame at the 1976 Montreal Games where he won gold by setting a world record in the 400 meter hurdles, lives nearby in the Brookhaven area and suggested Oglethorpe to Sky Sports as the locale for the filming. Sky Sports has tabbed Moses to be an in-studio analyst for the upcoming London Games and wanted to capture footage of him in the same city that hosted the 1996 Olympic Games.
After shooting footage of the Oglethorpe entrance and academic quadrangle, the Sky Sports crew descended on the track where members of the Stormy Petrel men’s and women’s track teams greeted Moses. Moses took time addressing the team about the finer points of his career in track and field before giving Oglethorpe 400 meter hurdler Katy Galli some one-on-one instruction on how to best clear hurdles and excel at the event. The Sky Sports team then filmed Galli, who wore a tiny camera affixed to her head, as she ran the 400 meter hurdles while Moses made commentary on specific portions of the race.
“It was an honor to have a track athlete of the caliber of Edwin Moses on our campus giving our kids who love the same sport some great advice,” said Oglethorpe men’s and women’s track and field Head Coach Jan Spiro. “The folks from Sky Sports could not have been nicer and seeing our student-athletes interact with Moses was a real treat.”
After over an hour of instruction and filming shots, Moses and the Sky Sports crew graciously said their goodbyes before the Oglethorpe track and field coaching staff gave the track teams a wake-up call: the real practice was about to begin.
French Professor Jay Lutz and I designed a First Year Seminar course called “Eyes on Africa.” The seminar explores the culture, literature, people and current events related to the African continent. In addition to our focus on the continent, the seminar makes relevant connections to the African Diaspora—the manifestation of African culture outside of the continent. This manifestation includes Africa’s indelible impact on the United States through the influence of black Americans.
In exploring the rich contribution of Africans on the United States, we thought it appropriate to take our class on a journey to Charleston, South Carolina, the historic city many call “ground zero” of African American culture in the United States. Charleston has this designation because as the fifth largest city in late 17th century colonial North America it was a major slave port, receiving tens of thousands of African men and women destined to toil in South Carolina plantations, rice fields, and urban centers. Moreover, it is estimated that more than half of all African Americans, no matter where in the U.S. they reside, had at least one ancestor who was trafficked through the Charleston port.
Our FYS had the privilege of being escorted throughout much of our Charleston tour by South Carolina historian and author Wayne Anthony O’Bryant, who was generous enough to give the entire FYS an autographed copy of his book, In the Footprints of a Giant: The Vesey Connection, which traces Denmark Vesey’s life and legacy through the author’s childhood recollections and revelations.
Our seminar group visited and learned about the domestic and international slave trade at Charleston’s Old Slave Mart Museum. Originally, Ryan’s Mart, this very building held slave auctions where men, women, and children were bought, sold, and traded. The museum has sobering exhibits focused on the institution of slavery and its importance to the economy and general development of colonial South Carolina. The black population of colonial South Carolina frequently equaled or exceeded that of whites, which permitted a thorough diffusion of African culture, art, music, dance, architecture, craft, cuisine, spirituality, and even language in the region and beyond. Some of the most significant slave insurrections in colonial America, including the Stono Rebellion of 1739 and the Demark Vesey’s famous revolt of 1822 occurred in or around Charleston.
We also toured the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. Founded in 1865 by the American Missionary Association as the Avery Normal School, this institution, for nearly a century, groomed Charleston area African Americans for professional and academic careers until its doors closed in 1954. Today, the Avery is not only a research center, but also an archives and a museum containing valuable historical documents related to local African American culture as well as to the African diaspora.
Our group also traveled to Columbia, S.C., where we visited the African American Monument, the first and only monument dedicated to African American culture built on the grounds of a state capitol. The granite and bronze monument sculpted by Ed Dwight opened in 2001 and uses a series of expressive panels to trace African American culture from the arrival of Africans to South Carolina shores to the present.
Before returning to Oglethorpe, our FYS explored Sullivan’s Island, a place with significant historical significance despite its relatively low-key status as a Charleston-area landmark. A major battle of the American Revolution took place at Fort Sullivan (now Fort Moultrie). However, prior to becoming a Revolutionary-era battleground site, for much of the 18th century, Sullivan’s Island served as a “quarantine station” for Africans arriving in the United States before beginning their new lives as slaves. It is estimated that 40% of African Americans can trace an ancestors through Sullivan’s Island, making this sacred site akin to an “African-American Ellis Island.”
Dr. Mario Chandler is Associate Professor of Spanish. He received his B.A. from Iowa State University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from The University of Georgia.
OU student Paige Williams recently had the chance to meet 91-year-old WWII veteran Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima that helped to turn the course of the war. Paige, who is the vice president of the Oglethorpe Veterans’ Club (OVC), met the American hero at a gathering of the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association, where he was a guest speaker.
Paige was able to meet Mr. Van Kirk as a result of an invitation from an OU faculty member Dr. Chris Benton, who is the director of accounting studies at OU, the faculty advisor for the OVC, and a Vietnam veteran. Dr. Benton is a proud member of Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association, an organization that brings together metro Atlanta professionals who share the bond of serving their country in Vietnam. The association meets monthly and celebrates a special guest speaker during each meeting.
According to Dr. Benton, some speakers are Medal of Honor winners—and they all represent the face of American history. Each provides their own personal account of events and sometimes even unveil a humorous side of history.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to meet the people who lived and wrote the history that we all study in classrooms.”
The Oglethorpe Veterans’ Club is always looking for ways to honor and remember American veterans. In just a few weeks, on Saturday, April 7, they’re planning a day trip to the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Ga., billed as “the greatest museum in the U.S. designed first and foremost with the Army Infantryman in mind.” The trip is open to everyone. To sign up for trip or to learn more about OVC, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
In early March I had the honor of being invited to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Policy Conference 2012. The Policy Conference is held each year to educate men and women from around the country about the importance of a strong Israeli-American relationship. The conference is three days of big speeches, breakout sessions, and opportunities to lobby one’s representatives to ensure that a strong Israeli-American relationship is one of America’s continuing priorities.
Every year, AIPAC brings out hundreds of student delegates to attend the Policy Conferences. This year, I was one of 217 student government association presidents invited to spend the weekend in Washington D.C. learning about AIPAC’s mission and all of the ways in which I—as a student, as a member of a community, and as one of the youths that is going to propel our country forward—can make a difference.
The theme of this year’s Policy Conference was “Shared Values, Shared Vision” and the majority of the speakers used this theme to highlight all of the ways in which Israelis and Americans have continually worked together to ensure the safety, health and vitality of our nations. We heard tons of stories about how Israel and America have worked together in the past, and we heard pleas for this continued relationship to stand strong against Iran, making sure that Iran is unable to make a nuclear weapon.
That was the big picture AIPAC experience: major speakers, heartfelt stories and calls to action. In the smaller picture though, I had some amazing experiences:
- I got to hear President Obama, Israeli President Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and countless other politicians speak. All of them took the stage and their first remarks all made a point about how many students, especially SGA presidents, were in the room.
- I sat in a breakout session about Arab Spring and got to see what I’ve learned in Core in action. The speakers were discussing “being on this side of history,” and I was able to see what they were saying in the context of what I’ve learned in Core.
- I got to meet 216 other SGA presidents and spent the weekend learning from them. We shared stories of our experiences with each other, and gave each other advice for how to make changes on our campuses.
- I spent a beautiful spring weekend in Washington D.C. and was able to squeeze in a little bit of amazing sightseeing. My favorite part, outside the conference, was going to the Newseum. As a media studies major I walked through a museum dedicated to chronicling the changes to the news media since its inception. It was like walking through a textbook, in all of the best ways imaginable.
As I was leaving D.C., I thought about everything I’d done and learned over the weekend. I had definitely figured out what AIPAC wanted me to walk away with from the experience. I’d learned about the importance of staying informed, making sure that I used my voice, and staying involved. As cliché as it sounds, I walked away with a renewed understanding of how I can make a difference. And whether or not I choose to use my abilities for furthering American-Israeli relations—or for making sure other students have the same Oglethorpe experience I love—as long as I am fighting for something I’m passionate about, I’m doing everything in my power to make a difference. And that is what is truly important.
It’s exciting when the Core curriculum and what Atlanta has to offer come together.
Last semester I took my Narratives of Self class to an exhibit sponsored by the Consulate of Japan. The exhibit was called Stand Strong Japan and was held at the Wimbish House in Midtown. It showcased the culture of Tohoku, the region that was hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami. I was looking for a way for my students to connect with Japanese culture because they were writing an essay on Ran, an adaptation of King Lear by the director Akira Kurosawa. This exhibit provided the perfect opportunity for students to connect with the culture and it also allowed us to show our support for the people of Tohoku.
“I like studying Japanese culture,” said OU student Cayla Austin ’15. “I got to touch and feel authentic Samurai Gear and practice the bit of Japanese I learned in class.”
The highlight of the event was the introduction of the Soma Noma Oi (Soma Wild Horse Chase), one of Japan’s foremost festivals. Held every July in Soma and Haramachi on Fukushima Prefecture’s east coast, the festival features horseraces in full samurai regalia, a Bon Dance, a parade, a contest of sacred banners, and a horse chase where riders catch wild horses and then ride them bareback. In 2011, the festival, which has a history of more than 1,000 years, became a symbol of Tohoku’s resolve and recovery when the people of Soma and the surrounding area joined forces to hold the festival despite the devastation sustained by their town just four months prior.
Mr. Satoshi Tachibana of Soma City, one of only five people remaining in Japan with the skills and knowledge to create and restore the Heian Period (794 to 1185) yoroi armor used in the festival, came to Atlanta all the way from Soma to demonstrate his artform at the Tohoku exhibition. Two suits of authentic samurai armor, video, and photographs of several famous Tohoku festivals, including the Soma Noma Oi were also on display.
“This exhibit truly showed the nature of a culture that survived one of the worst storms in our lifetime,” said Heather Burgess ’15. “The ability for so many people to stand together and keep a cultural existence is inspiring.”
Dr. Robert Steen is Associate Professor of Japanese. He received his BA at Oberlin College and his MA and PhD at Cornell University.
Dr. Mario Chandler and Dr. Viviana Plotnik, together with President Schall, led a group of OU students on an educational trip to Cuba over winter break as part of a course focusing on Cuban history, politics and culture. This is the first Oglethorpe University educational trip to this country.
The course, taken for academic credit, included extensive lectures, readings, films, homework, and other requirements. The trip focused on hands-on exploration of Havana’s extensive Asian heritage, the historical and contemporary importance of Cuba’s tobacco industry as well as the island’s economic importance. After the trip, each student had to turn in a journal and each are required to write a reserach paper due later in the semester.
The trip coincided with Delta Airlines’ adding direct flights from Atlanta to Cuba in December 2011. The decision allows for flights for passengers with close relatives in Cuba, for those who are involved in the medical or agricultural business sectors, or for education or religious activities. OU’s group was on one of the first flights to Cuba, just a few days after Christmas. Dr. Chandler shared his thoughts on the trip with the OU Blog.
OU Blog: How did the trip to Cuba come to fruition?
Dr. Chandler: The idea for the OU trip to Cuba was inspired, in fact, by President Schall, who has great interest in the Spanish language and Latin American issues. The President approached me and my colleague in Spanish, Dr. Viviana Plotnik, and shared with us his desire to see such an opportunity come to fruition for our students. Dr. Plotnik and I designed the itinerary and course, which received an enthusiastic and immediate response from the campus community. We were able to put all of the organization pieces together during the Fall 2011 semester.
OU Blog: Why was this trip important?
Dr. Chandler: For me the trip to Cuba symbolized one important, but all-encompassing notion: opportunity. This trip constituted an opportunity for Oglethorpe students to engage Cuban culture, history, and society on that country’s terms rather than through a five-decade long filter of misunderstanding and distrust between Cuba and our country. Unfortunately, the average American students’ views about Cuba are often imbued with misunderstanding, so an opportunity to challenge popular opinion by allowing students to meet Cubans and engage issues from an internal perspective is a powerful and potentially transformative educational experience. As Spanish professors, Dr. Plotnik and I couldn’t be more proud than to have had the chance to shepherd our students in their navigation of this wonderful opportunity, an exercise that takes place, ideally, in the people’s language…Spanish.
OU Blog: How was the Oglethorpe group received by the local people?
Dr. Chandler: Our OU group members were consummate ambassadors throughout our Cuban journey. We were proud to see our students using the Spanish language for engaging in daily contact with Cubans, for holding conversations and maintaining discussions, and for cultivating acquaintances that extended beyond the typical tourist demarcations. Frequently, throughout our Cuban travels, we used public transportation alongside Cubans going about their daily tasks or ate peanuts while strolling the country’s prados and malecons, in small but significant ways bringing us closer to our Cuban hosts and erasing barriers on both sides whether real or invented.
If you would like to learn more about this trip, Dr. Chandler, Dr. Plotnik, and Oglethorpe students will give a presentation about their experiences as part of tomorrow’s OU Day celebrations. Join the conversation, “OU Student Reflections on Cuban Culture–What Happens in Cuba Doesn’t Stay in Cuba,” on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 12:10 p.m. in the Conant Performing Arts Center. For more photos from the Cuba trip, check out Flickr. For more information about Oglethorpe’s study abroad program, check out OUSA’s page.
A new exhibit opens at the OU Museum of Art on February 5, 2012. “The Secret Round: Mandalas by the Patients of Carl Jung” features 40 original mandalas created by the famous Swiss psychoanalyst’s patients during their treatment between 1926 and 1945. This first ever exhibit is courtesy of the C. G. Jung Institute in Switzerland.
Mandalas were used during therapy to help patients express both the conscious and unconscious. Included in the exhibit is a handmade book containing one patient’s dream descriptions and drawings, hailed as the feminine version of Jung’s famous The Red Book.
The exhibit is accompanied by a series of guest lectures, presented in partnership with the C.G. Jung Society of Atlanta, and featuring top Jungian analysts. Each lecture will unveil a different aspect of the mystery that is the mandala.
The Public Opening will take place on Sunday, February 5, 12 noon – 5 p.m. A special lecture by exhibit curator Vicente de Moura, C.G. Jung Institute archivist and Jungian analyst, will start at 3:00 p.m. As always, OU students, staff and faculty have the amazing opportunity to visit the exhibit for free with a Petrel Pass. The exhibit will run through May 6, 2012.
Join us and immerse yourself in the inner world of mandalas!
The OU French Club organizes exciting French experiences and culinary adventures for their club members and the rest of the Oglethorpe community.
“The French Club is here to benefit anyone who is interested in being exposed to French culture,” said Alexus Whilby, club president. “You do not have to speak the language to have French fun! We share French food, fashion, language, and hospitality with all who come to visit our group.”
Events organized by the French Club include a French cuisine cooking class, a Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans, and regularly scheduled French movie nights. Last semester the club took advantage of having the exhibit Chagall: The Early Etchings of the 1920s on-campus at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, by hosting French arts-themed event in the museum.
OU French Club encourages everyone to join in the fun. “You do not need an invitation to any of our meetings,” said Whilby. “They are held every Thursday from 5:00-6:00 p.m. in Hearst 101. Come one and all and experience the journey of the true “French life”, right here on the Oglethorpe campus!