Grocery shopping at the Ohio University markets

For those students at Ohio University struggling with grocery shopping, the markets are the equivalent of a Kroger that is actually within walking distance. Grocery shopping is one of the many struggles that college students face, and at Ohio University it is made a little easier with the markets.

There are three markets around campus (Boyd, Jefferson, and Nelson), one on each of the residential greens. On week days each market is open late into the night, with Nelson and Boyd Markets closing at midnight and Jefferson Market closing at 10 p.m. This makes life as a college kid a little easier already.

Why not just make the trip to Kroger or Wal-Mart? First off, the markets are a lot closer. But in addition to that, Ohio University has designed a nifty way to tie in the students’ meal swipes and the markets. If a student has one of the Flex meal plans, they can use their swipes at the markets if they don’t end up using them at the dining halls. Each swipe counts as $6.25 at the markets, and some grocery shopping can be done.

What about the students without Flex meal plans? They aren’t completely out of luck. If they want to, they can use their own cash to buy things at the markets. However, there are some students who work around this. As a student with one of the standard meal plans, having friends with Flex meal plans is advantageous for me. Sure, some students like to keep their swipes to themselves, but some don’t mind sharing. As an example, freshman publication design major Becca Ryan and her friends make deals over their swipes. She has a Flex plan, and she offers that if one of her friends with a standard meal plan swipes her into the dining hall for a meal, she’ll take the $6.25 worth of swipe that she would have used there and buy her friend groceries from the market later in the week. No meal swipes are wasted in the process of those deals.

As a student living in a dorm without a car on campus, the markets make any grocery shopping I need to do insurmountably easier. The markets are accessible, convenient, and offer most things a student would need. More importantly, there are ways, even if they have to be discovered by the students themselves, that the markets can be utilized by everyone.

Three musicians and a giraffe: a portrait of Near Hills from Athens, Ohio

Jamie Moriarty, Ben Leeson and Maddy Ciampa of Near Hills are just as authentic as the trio’s raw music style would suggest. I popped in to listen to a rehearsal at Moriarty and Ciampa’s home. Flopping down on the big futon couch in their twinkly-lit and bulldog-paraphanalead living room, Moriarty, who already had water boiling on the stove, offered me a cup of tea. Leeson, who does vocals, guitar and piano for the band, soon joined us. Ciampa, cellist and vocals, got held up at work. But that didn’t stop the guys from enjoying their tea:

Photo courtesy of Near Hills Facebook page.
Maddy Ciampa on the cello at Folk Fest, 2015. Photo courtesy of Near Hills.

Moriarty set a big mason jar of honey on the coffee table. The honey was, of course, made by none other than his uncle’s own honey bees. I spooned a big helping of the sweet mess into my heart-decorated mug of spiced chai, and chatted with Moriarty and Leeson about their music and why it matters to them.

The guys echoed each-other’s love of collaborating in a small group to create something new. Moriarty said, “I think I get my drive out of … being able to have that connection with each other, and being able to come up with something that just us did, that just we, ourselves did. And I think in that sense we’re simple, because it’s not that we’re not ambitious, we just wanna keep it holistic and keep it real. Just the three of us …That’s way more special.

Leeson, Ciampa, and Moriarty celebrating New Years in January, 2015. Photo courtesy of Near Hills’ Facebook page.

As we talked, a giant, 6-foot stuffed-animal giraffe, sitting on the sofa to the left of Moriarty, kept falling on him, its plush hooves wrapping around the musician, trapping him in a giant, giraffe embrace.

You might think that these musicians sound like your typical brand of Ohio University hipsters living in west Athens, but they exude a sense of humility and enthusiasm for their work that makes them not only likable musicians, but great foster parents to a slightly-creepy, 6-foot giraffe.

When I asked about what artists influenced them, Moriarty shared, “We bonded over our individual inspiration from Bon Iver.”

Leeson added, “He [Bon Iver]’s … from Wisconsin, [and] he recorded an album in a log cabin, when he was super sick, one time, and it became super famous. He just recorded it all himself and it’s just this really different kind of folky, soul — awe, I don’t even know how to describe his sound — it’s just so unique.”


“Super rustic and creaky. He captured a lot of the location, and I don’t think a lot of artists do that,” Moriarty piped in.

Near Hills describes themselves as “alternative musicians with folk instruments.” They use a lot of harmonies to create a simple, yet evocative sound. They played a little demo for me, Leeson shredding up the piano, and Moriarty strumming his guitar and stamping his Teva-clad foot to the beat:


Not bad, right? They call it “Fear of Anomoly.” I think Bon Iver might even like it.

If you’re interested, you can check out more of Near Hills’s music on SoundCloud.



Ohio University graffiti wall layers hold years of memories

The graffiti wall near Bentley Hall has weathered many storms … and students. For years, messages ranging from student organization marketing, to artistic murals to marriage proposals have been painted and repainted on the old mass of cement (although it is made more of layers of paint than cement at this point). Each layer holds another message and another memory.

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Chipping away at the top layer reveals many more layers on the OU Graffiti Wall.





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The OU Graffiti Wall is a way for students to express their opinions. When brought to social media, this pro-Romney message started a debate.


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The wall provides an outlet to bring attention to social issues, such as these messages bringing awareness to the subject of cat-calling and sexual harassment.



Learn more about the Wall here.