Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Students respond positively to economic depression

Rachel Barclay and Molly Lyons serving food at the Oklahoma City Rescue Mission. Barclay and Lyons are two of several girls that volunteer at the City Rescue Mission every Friday.

While the country remains in a lousy economic depression, college students are responding in a constructive way.

Rather than lounging around and feeling sorry for the nation, students are taking the initiative to volunteer. In fact, this year's Big Event, a campus wide volunteering project, had the highest number of participants than it ever has.

OU has seen other numbers increase recently, said Kari Dawkins, assistant director of the Leadership Development and Volunteerism program.

"Big Event went great," Dawkins said. "We also had more students role out for Arbor Day than we ever have before. We were expecting 40 or so students to show up but over 200 did."

According to a study by Corporation for National and Community Service, student volunteer numbers have increased by over 20 percent from 2002 to 2005.

Since then, the number has been estimated to have increased as 43 percent of college students twenty years or older volunteer every year, making them the most active age group, according to Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

These statistics are no stranger to students at OU as they continue to answer the call to serve by getting involved both on and off campus.

OU freshman Rachel Barclay said she felt the call to help other people in their time of need. Earlier in the year, Barclay and a friend got a group together and began volunteering at the City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City.

The girls make the trip to Oklahoma City every Friday to serve food to the lower class, homeless and volunteers at the City Rescue Mission.

"[My friend and I] had been talking about volunteering for a while," Barclay said. "Finally, we got together and actually did it and have been doing it for most of the semester."

The group started with just a couple of girls but now has grown to six or seven, said Barclay.

"I actually found it to be a lot of fun," she said. "I found that I enjoyed helping people and it really made me feel good."

Freshman Molly Lyons said the group went earlier in the semester in January as part of a Bible study.

"After the first time we went, we all fell in love with the City Rescue Mission," Lyons said.

She said the group felt it to be their duty to help other people who are enduring hard times. After going one Friday in January, Lyons, among others, has made it part of her every Friday routine.

"The people really are so grateful," she said. "It makes a world of difference to them and it really makes me feel good to make their day that much better."

Tiffany Webb of the City Rescue Mission said the girls' work has been priceless.

"They have been great, not only them, but all of the students that come here to volunteer," Webb said. "They really do make a world of difference."

Barclay and Lyons both said the City Rescue Mission is always looking for volunteers. Those interested can visit their website at or they can simply visit the establishment in Oklahoma City to see how they can get involved.

Dawkins said her department has many volunteer opportunities for students to get active and get involved.

The Leadership Development and Volunteer office is located on the second floor of the Oklahoma Memorial Union, where students are welcome to walk in anytime from eight a.m. to five p.m.

A comment from Molly Lyons:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Super Six

The Campus Activities Council is moving to prevent the formation of a group who has come to be known as "The Super 6" in homecoming 2009.

The group is a merger of several different fraternities and sororities including Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Phi Delta Theta, Delta Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Beta Phi.

The Greek bodies originally were teaming up as one group to enter homecoming where they boycott building a float and using the money that would be spent on the float to host a philanthropy.

"It is nothing against CAC or anything like that," said Dan McCarthy, president of Phi Delta Theta. "We just want to use the money to benefit people rather than building a float that you just throw away the next day after months of work."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gaylord Ad and PR Agency

Above: The new add agency facility on the 2nd floor of the new wing of Gaylord Hall will allow students the opportunity to work with real clients and get hands on experience with state of the art facilities and a student ran operation.
A new student- led public relations and advertising agency will be on the second floor of the new Gaylord wing next semester.

The PR and ad agency has yet to be named and has been a dream since the Gaylord building has been designed, said professor David Tarpenning. The agency will begin training this summer and will begin operations in the fall.

After a profit is generated, which could be as early as the spring, scholarships could be made available for those involved. While the interview and application process is over, students are still welcome to apply next fall for the spring of 2010.

"It is a great experience for students to deal with real clients from around the nation and get hands on experience," said Andrew Jones, advertising junior. "Working for a student led agency is makes students infinitely more marketable, as employers would rather see students work for an agency as opposed to internships."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oprah's right-hand man coming to OU

Oprah's right-hand man will be coming this week to speak to students about his experiences with Oprah and the future of radio.

Erik Logan joined XM Satellite Radio in 2004 where he became the executive vice president. He joing Harpo, Inco. in 2008 and has been working with Oprah and all around Harpo ever since.

Logan will be lecturing several classes and will also be interviewed by both the "Wake up, Oklahoma" morning broadcast show and the "OU Nightly" evening broadcast.

"It should be very interesting," said OU freshman Rachel Barclay. "I was raised watching Oprah. My mom is obsessed."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sooner Scandals finals

Sooner Scandals came to and end tonight with the victors being Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and the Beta Theta Chi fraternity.

Sooner Scandals is an annual event that takes place every spring semester in which student groups, predominantly fraternities and sororities, partner up and put on a 12 minutes musical during CAC's Parents Weekend.

This year, six shows made the finals, of which three placed. Placing second was Delta Gamma and Phi Delta Theta, followed by Chi Omega and Delta Tau Delta.

"The shows this year were better than I expected," said OU freshman Katie Piper. "I didn't participate or anything, but now I really want to next year."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Amount of student fees unknown to students

OU student Cole Ford browses the political journals in OU's Bizzell Library. Ford said he uses the journals that are supported by students fees all the time to write essays for classes.

While students pay a long list of fees every semester, some students admit they do not know what these fees support.

According to OU's Tuition Estimator located on both the OU and Office of the Bursar's official website, the average undergraduate student pays $121.10 in fees per credit hour for lower division classes. In addition, each college has a specific technology fee and the university requires all students to pay a list of five fees for every semester.

"I'll have to admit that I really am unaware to all the fees I'm paying and where they go," said Cole Ford, political science and English sophomore.

And while David Boren said tuition will not be increasing next semester, representatives and public relations officers from the Office of the Bursar, OU Libraries and OU Health Services said they were not sure if fees would be increasing next semester.

The technology fees are based per college and range anywhere from $5.00 in the College of Arts and Sciences to $30.00 in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Earth and Energy, according to the Office of the Bursar's fee statement on their website.

On top of credit hour and technology fees, the list of mandatory fees for both the fall and spring semester adds up to $176.50 for each semester. After these fees, there are also certain fees administered by each separate college per credit hour or per course a student takes from that college.

Some students say they are aware of fees, but not the full extent of fees and how many different fees they are paying.

“I knew I was paying fees, but I didn’t know there were so many different ones,” said Jainelle Daniels, University College freshman. “I’ll admit it is probably because my parents handle it all, but I really had no idea, and I think that is wrong.”

In the list of mandatory fees, the “Library Excellence fee” is $11.00 per credit hour. This fee supports library staffing, acquisitions of books and documents, and subscriptions to scholarly journals, both online and physical copies, according to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Bursar's website.

“We have access to more than 250 databases, and these provide access to a wealth of information students may not be aware are available,” said Sarah Robins, officer of public relations for OU Libraries. “We [also] have databases that provide full-text journal and newspaper articles, scores for classical music, and primary sources from the 18th and 19th century as well as streaming theater and dance productions.”

While some students are unaware of these benefits, Ford said he makes use of the journals frequently for political science essays and other homework assignments.

“I probably go to the library on an average of four times per week,” Ford said. “I make use of the library fee. It seems like a bargain to me.”

OU Health Services charges a mandatory fee of $74.00 for both the fall and spring semesters, as well as $37.00 for the summer.

OUHS offers a variety of services to help meet the health care needs of the college-aged student,” said Maggie Pool, OU Health Services promotion coordinator. “The medical clinic staff consists of board-certified, licensed physicians, physician assistants and medical assistants offering a full spectrum of care in family medicine, sports medicine, and disease prevention and treatment.”

Pool also said physicians and registered nurses issue test results, refill prescriptions, give free flu shots and offer a lot of advice on medical questions and there are also registered dietitians who are available by appointment for students. The health fee provides all of this at a cheaper price then around the community.

“I didn’t know about it, but I used Goddard all the time last semester when I got really sick,” Daniels said. “They gave me prescriptions and they did a great job and saved me from having to go to the 24-hour clinic which takes forever.”

Ford said he never has been to Goddard, but is glad that the services exist.

“I really haven’t had anything more than a cold while I’m here and they really can’t help me with that,” said Ford. “But I am glad that I know it is there when I do need it.”

All of these services and many more are available to all students. Both Pool and Robbins said the fees their branch charges provides services for students and do not support renovations to OU’s campus.

“Some of the fees seem alright, but I really wish OU would do a better job of letting us know what we are paying,” said Daniels. “Some of the fee titles sound very vague to me. I wish they would reevaluate all the fees to see if all of them are necessary and make the Bursar website less confusing.”

Ford said he was also unaware of the plethora of fees and does not know if he uses every single one.

“Some of them sound alright,” said Ford. “I have never had them explained to me before though. I honestly don’t really know if they are all reasonable or not.”

Below are some of Ford and Daniels' comments on student fees.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sooners sent off by students to Sweet 16

Men's basketball coach Jeff Capel walks to the buses as students and cheerleaders cheer on the team.

OU students sent off the men's basketball team to Memphis to take on Syracuse this afternoon.

Many students and people of the Norman community gathered at the south end of the Lloyd Noble Center to cheer on the team as they got on the buses to head to Memphis to play in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

The Sooners will be playing the Syracuse Orange, a potent three seed team led by two guards; sophomore Johnny Flynn and junior Eric Devendorf. The Orange also bring an effective 2-3 zone defense to the court, which will most likely be focused on stopping OU's Player of the Year candidate Blake Griffin.

"I think that there wasn't a good turnout because it wasn't advertised as much," said Kristen Crabtree, accounting and finance freshman. "But it was really cool seeing the players and getting to send them off towards victory."

Click play to hear Crabtree's thoughts on the Sweet 16 matchup

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New grant to benefit College of Education students

A new grant program created by Congress could give significant financial assistance to students who plan to become teachers.

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program can permit grants to students for up to $4,000 per year.

The grant is intended for those students who plan to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary education schools that serve low-income families. In order to receive the grant, a student must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high need field.

"The TEACH grant is nice," said Lauren Appleyard, elementary education sophomore. "But, to me, it just isn't worth the the commitment to teach in a low-income area."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jewish fraternity to join IFC

A traditionally Jewish fraternity will now be available for young men to pledge through formal rush.

Alpha Epsilon Pi is currently not a part of any Greek council and will become the eighteenth fraternity of the Interfraternity Council by the end of the semester. The international fraternity is based on Jewish platforms and participates in Jewish life on campus.

"We typically have a hard time finding Jewish students," said Isaac Freeman, chapter president. "Hopefully we will gain publicity by joining IFC so that Jewish students can find us."

Incoming freshmen and current OU students will be able to apply for Fall Rush 2009 beginning June 1. Those interested may sign up at once enrollment opens up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Safe break emphasizes Spring break safety

A social event will take place this week in order to inform students about how to stay safe during Spring break.

The event, Safe Break, is sponsored by the Panhellenic Association and has been held annually since the death of OU student Lisa Weider while she was on Spring break several years ago. Weider's parents attend the event to speak of their own experiences and how students themselves can stay safe.

"I feel that it is important for students to come to Safe Break," said Sarah Williams, political science sophomore. "I think that [students] kind of forget that there is a reality outside of Spring break there are consequences for their actions."

Safe Break will take place Wednesday at 6:30 in front of the Delta Delta Delta sorority house. It is a free event and will offer refreshments and music as well as the speaking by the Weiders.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

New building offers a lot to students

The brand new Lissa and Cy Wagner Hall offers a nice study area among other things to students. The building is located dead north of the Oklahoma University football stadium.

The new Lissa and Cy Wagner Hall addition to OU's campus is providing students with many valuable assets.

"It has quickly become my favorite place to study," said Emily White, psychology sophomore.

The new building has been specified as the official University College building and replaces the old building across from the Oklahoma Memorial Student Union. The new building was completed earlier this year and has become available to students for the first time this semster.

Wagner Hall offers counselors and private study rooms that can be reserved ahead of time among other things. The study rooms are luxurious and even have keypads that let a person know if the room is occupied, said White.

Click play to hear White go into more detail about her thought of the new Wagner Hall.

Parking at OU among cheapest in Big XII

While parking permits at OU may seem expensive, they are actually the cheapest in the conference, with students at other universities paying over $600.

UOSA has discovered OU's parking permits for the 2008-2009 school year are the cheapest in the Big XII and are not expected to rise in the future.

Currently, OU's commuter parking passes are $73.20 for a permit that will expire on May 15th. In comparison, a garage permit for commuters at the University of Texas is $602, while a similar permit at Kansas State will cost a student $150.

"It really is good to know," said Tiffany Stimson, elementary education sophomore. "A lot of people get frustrated about parking, and it is just nice to know that we have it better than other places."

Better yet, the permit prices are estimated to not being raised next year, according to Kris Glenn, public relations for the Parking and Transportation office.

To hear more on Stimson's views, press play.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

OU Entrepreneurship program among best in the nation

Entrepreneurship Freshman Evan Spencer studies for his Business Communications class. Spencer feels that OU's program allows him to remain on the cutting edge and get hands on experience in the field.

OU entrepreneurship students are getting their money's worth as OU's entrepreneurship program has been ranked as a top ten program, according to the latest edition of The Princeton Review.

The program was officially ranked number eight in the most recent edition of The Princeton Review. The prestige of the program is of no surpris, according to Jim Wheeler, the executive director of the program.

"It is a reflection of all the hard work that the students and faculty have put into making such a strong program," Wheeler said.

For OU entrepreneur students like Evan Spencer, the quality of the program is very important, as it allows them to receive the best education possible.

"I think [the program] gives me a great opportunity," said Spencer. "Its such a young field and OU's program allows us to be on the cutting edge of the field, is going to be really helpful in the future."

OU's entreprenuership program, like most around the nation, is still young. The program is developing every year and continually offering new curriculum and hands on experience, Spencer said.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

HSLC gives back to OU students

Counselors interact with high school students during a team building exercise in the Oklahoma Memorial Union on Saturday.

The annual High School Leadership Conference took place on campus this past weekend and left many OU student counselors with good memories and new friends.

HSLC is a conference for local and out of state high school students to attend on OU's campus where they are tended to by OU student volunteers. Many OU student counselors say that the experience is rewarding and allows them to share their wisdom with younger people.

"For me personally, I just enjoy teaching leadership skills," said OU junior Bryan Brown. "I really enjoy helping other people, it brings me self fulfillment, and for me this event is perfect because I get to combine that with my passion for leadership."

While not all of the high school students attend OU, many of those that do find them involved with HSLC in their years at OU. The conference takes place every February and is open to any high school student from Oklahoma and Texas. Any OU student can apply for a counselor or an executive staff position.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

City moves to reduce underage drinking

A sign outside of Thunderbird Liquors in Norman
warns people that they will be carded.

Police move to crack down on underage drinking

Local law enforcement is cracking down on underage drinking in Norman and more students are being caught with fake IDs.

Bars, clubs, and restaurants on Campus Corner alike were contacted by the city over winter break and told that the venues would be watched more intently on their acceptance of fake IDs.

Jeff Stewart, manager of O'Connell's, said his bar is taking up anywhere from 10-15 fake IDs a weekend now and he noticed more officers doing nightly inspections than before.

"I catch several kids a week," said Joey Andrews, the night manager at Thunderbird Liquors. "It isn't anything personal, it's just there are more cops sitting outside now and it isn't worth losing my job over."

According to Lt. Bruce Chan of OUPD, law enforcement plans to continue taking the matter seriously. Students should watch out because if they are caught, they will be cited and possibly could receive a felony charge, he said.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Freshman guard suspended after DUI

Freshman guard Ray Willis did not suit up for the Sooners' game against Colorado on Saturday after being charged with a DUI early Saturday morning, said Norman police.

Willis, a 19-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, was pulled over for a minor traffic violation at 3:16 am on Saturday morning on Asp Avenue, said Lt. Blake Green of Norman PD.  He was then arrested for a DUI and taken to the Cleveland Count Detention Center where he was released after bond was posted.

Earlier this year, Willis and Sooner football player Frank Alexander were both stabbed at a night club in Norman four hours after the Sooners' defeated Tennessee-Chattanooga. According to police, a brawl erupted in which guns, knives and tire irons were used.  

While he didn't suit up, Willis was on the sideline for Saturday's game.  After the Sooners' 77-72 victory, coach Jeff Capel said that Willis was "suspended indefinitely", but refused to offer any additional details.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gov. Henry seeks aid for research endowment

The state research fund, Economic Development Generating Excellence, needs additional financial support to reach its account goal and to generate more job
opportunities, according to Gov. Brad Henry.

EDGE, if successful, would pay $4 million to OU over the next two years. The research funds would be distributed among the engineering, weather and wind energy programs over that the two year time period.

"Through EDGE, [Oklahoma] will be able to spin off more high paying jobs and form new corporations," said Paul Sund, Gov. Brad Henry's communications director.

The EDGE research endowment is currently worth about $150 million, but lawmakers hope to see the fund eventually accumulate to $1 billion. The program funded five research projects last year, including two that were on OU's campus.

Funding from the state will supplement the grant if the state legislation passes the bill this year. If the bill does not pass this year, then EDGE will continue funding the current projects that it is supporting, but the expansion of EDGE to other research projects would be hindered.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Middle Eastern-inspired major soon to be available

The OU Board of Regents approved the creation of the Middle Eastern studies major within the School of International and Area Studies in their meeting on Wednesday.

The new major has been in the works for nine years. The school has secured $1.5 million in federal funding to begin the program, but the university will
have to support the program itself in two or three years.

Students will be required to study one of several different languages, including Hebrew and Arabic, take classes on the history, culture and politics of the
region, and will be required to study abroad in a Middle Eastern country.

"We wanted to see how students reacted to Middle Eastern studies, and they came flocking," said Joshua Landis, international
area studies professor. "So few people can speak Middle Eastern languages fluently, and there are a lot of job opportunities in this field."

Student will be able to enroll in the major once the School of International and Area Studiea finalizes the degree plan of the major. In the meantime, a new
summer study abroad program in Turkey will be available in 2010.