Here is something that may surprise you: Athens has a lot to do! But not every student makes the effort to check out some unique spots in-and-around Athens. So we decided to take you to a few places beyond Court Street that students may not think about when they explore Athens.
Athens Farmers Market
Make sure to check out this market on Saturdays from 9am-12pm on Saturdays, 9am-12pm Wednesdays (April-December) and 4pm-7pm Thursdays (May-September). Athens favorites such as Jackie O’s and Casa Nueva have booths where they sell some of their best foods (such as bread and salsa). Check it out though to see all the vendors, you can even grab a slice of pizza or a vegetable taco for lunch!
The Athens Farmers Market is located on 1000 East State Street, inside the parking lot of the Athens Mall. Here is the map if you want to find it. Starting in the fall of 2016, there will be a bus that will take you to the farmers market if you do not have a car.
Strouds Run State Park
About 15 minutes outside of Ohio University is a state park that stretches over 2,606 acres and includes hiking trails and a beach for anyone to enjoy. On a perfect day, this is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the weather. At Strouds, there are almost 80 campsites and 35 miles of trails that you can hike on (25 of those miles can be open to bikes).
The park is located on 11661 State Park Road in Athens, here is a map for directions.
In an age where video stores close in favor of websites like Netflix and Amazon, Premiere Video serves as the exception that video stores cannot compete against the Internet. This store has hundreds of movie titles (both DVDs and VHS tapes) and offer great deals on a regular basis. So if you have a DVD player and/or a VCR, look no further than Premier Video for your movie needs.
Premiere Video is located on 284 East State Street.
ReUse Thrift Store
ReUse is located on 100 Columbus Rd. On a nice day, enjoy a 40 minute walk from Campus taking W Carpenter St. all of the way until you hit Columbus Rd. There is also a bus that you can take for that costs a dollar per trip. Honestly, this thrift store has character. They have everything from clothes for 25 cents to cheap silverware and the occasional Hula girl. If you want to pull together a complete look for under five dollars while simultaneously getting a taste of real Athens county, ReUse is a must-go.
The Antique Mall
Make a day of thrifting on the West side of Athens. Just down the road from ReUse at 180 Columbus Rd. rests an AMAZING antique mall. The Athens Antique Mall is two floors of Appalachian gold. They have vintage clothing, mirrors, old books, records, trinkets and boxes galore. Even if you don’t have the money, making a trip to look around and see artifacts and history is well worth it. Plus you never know what you will find …
Planned Parenthood has been in the news a lot this year so far. Last summer, controversial videos surfaced which showed, according to Vox, “Planned Parenthood [employees] discussing how the organization provides fetal organs and tissues to researches. The emergence of these videos resulted in backlash, both from the right and left side of the abortion debate, and the issue made it all the way to Congress. Since then, though the Senate voted against defunding the organization, some states have stripped Planned Parenthood of federal funding.
In February, Governor Kasich signed a bill into law that would defund Planned Parenthood and any other clinics that perform or promote abortions in the state of Ohio. Advocates for the health organization held protests and took to social media to voice their dissent. Still, many from the anti-abortion crowd supported Kasich’s decision, and those who stand against Planned Parenthood have made their voices heard as well. Some have even gone as far as to vandalize or set fire to clinics across the nation, from California to St. Louis and, recently, Columbus.
Students both for and against abortion have utilised #plannedparenthood and #istandwithpp in recent months, but how many students know what services Planned Parenthood really provides? The Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio (PPGO) serves 68 of the 88 counties in the state, according to Marketing and Communications Director for PPGO Nicole Evans. The Athens location offers “a whole gambit of services,” Evans said over the phone, and the clinic is staffed with doctors and medical professionals who meet with all kinds of patients on an individual basis to talk about their own reproductive health. There is even a student organization, Generation Action, that works with the center to spread awareness on campus.
“We work really closely with them, we have advocates in Columbus and in Athens, and we help fundraise,” said junior and OU Generation Action president Cecilia Ellis. “They give us condoms and swag to give out to students on campus to spread awareness about safe sex, as well as all the services that Planned Parenthood provides for men, women, transgender individuals—just so people are informed.” Here are a few things you should know about the Planned Parenthood here in Athens.
It’s not an abortion clinic
The Athens Health Center does not offer abortion procedures—though, upon request, they can refer patients to other clinics that do—but does offer a number of health services, including testing and treatment for Urinary Tract Infections. “It’s annual exams, it’s birth control … they’ve got everything,” Evans said. Cecilia Ellis agreed that STI testing and birth control are two crucial services that Planned Parenthoods nationwide offer men and women. “You can go in and talk about the different kinds of birth control; there’s the pill but there’s also all these alternate methods,” said Ellis. The OU junior said the clinic offers tons of information. “It’s also, like, a health clinic. So, you can just go in for, like, regular gynecological checkups or anything. Basically, anything you can go to the doctor for you can also go to Planned Parenthood for.” For a full list of services the Athens Health Center offers, click here.
It’s not that far away
The Athens Health Center is located at 1005 E State St, which is a two-hour walk from Chubb, but “it’s easy to get to,” according to Evans, and she’s right. The Athens Public Transit (APT) has a route that goes all the way down State Street to the Super 8 motel which, for those who don’t know, is pretty far from campus. Today, students can pay $1 to ride any APT bus and starting in July, all staff and students will be allowed to ride for free with their OU ID card.
All are welcome
“We service men and women. About 50% of our patients are men at the Athens Health Center,” Evans said. Although the center is not a free clinic, it is a space where students can go and find free condoms and lots of information. The clinic offers services to people of all genders and sexual orientation. “We really work with all our patients no matter where they are,” which includes people of varying economic statuses and education levels, Evans said. The clinic accepts a number of insurance providers as well, and even has a payment plan for qualified low-income individuals, so patients have access to “a myriad of services” from cancer screenings to testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. According to Evans, the Athens Health Center is a place where patients receive high quality care at low affordability, as well as a safe space. “We make it convenient for students to come,” Evans said. “And bring friends, bring a partner, bring whoever.”
It’s easy to get involved
Generation Action is the student organization on campus that advocates for planned parenthood. “[The organization] has been on campus, long before I got here,” said Ellis who got involved with the group two years ago as a freshman, “but it’s always been kind of small and under the radar. We’ve grown so much over the last year and with all the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood, it’s been something that’s on people’s minds a lot and we’ve just naturally taken advantage of that.” On the cloudy Monday evening of April 11th, members of OU Generation Action were stationed outside of Baker Center signing people up for free STI tests.
“Every year, we have this event called Get Yourself Tested [GYT],” Ellis said. This was only the second year the group has held the event, but already GYT has grown considerably. “We have a health official here actually conducting the tests and helping people through the paperwork, tons of free condoms, cookies and tons of swag.” April is National Get Yourself Tested month, and the group’s first event just last year was a slow start to a promising tradition. “Last year we tested nine people in four hours and this year we’ve tested 40,” Ellis said. “We’ve done some hard core promotion in the last month and it’s been incredible!”
In the middle of her interview, Ellis turned her attention to a smiling woman in dark blue scrubs.
“We are out of tests!” the healthcare official from Planned Parenthood said.
“OH MY GOD! CAN I HUG YOU??” Ellis squealed, jumping out of her folding chair to double-high-five the nurse. It was 5:47pm, just three minutes before the end of their event.
“You all are amazing,” the nurse said. “Last year we did ten [tests], and then this year—”
She was cut off by unintelligible squeals, but they’d tested 45 people, more than four times the amount of last year’s event. The students really were passionate about their cause. “A big tip I would offer to freshmen is to get tested at least every six months, and not to be afraid of the results,” said Junior and group member Kayla Meader. “It’s always safer to know [you’re healthy] then to go on living without the knowledge.”
The group members stood in a circle, put their hands in, cheered “Generation action!” as they rose their arms, then settled into an energetic group hug.
“There’s a lot of support on campus for us,” Ellis said when she returned to her seat. “It’s really inspiring and heart-warming to see how much support there really is. [Sexual and reproductive health] is definitely something people are paying attention to right now which is great for the club because people are showing up to events like this.”
Greek life is often associated with multiple different stereotypes, but that shouldn’t stop students from rushing a fraternity or sorority. To clear up the labels and confusion, I chatted with five fraternity members here at Ohio University about what it’s really like to rush and what guys can expect from being in Greek life.