Here are wholesome alternatives to that hangover

It’s 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning. College students at Ohio University are sluggish and rolling around in bed. The only thing on their agenda is to get through the McDonald’s drive-through before breakfast is over.

Last night’s wild and outrageous antics are the only topic of conversation for the majority of the day. Happy hour at the bar is the only thing that will revive them from this inactive state. But while these students are allowing a terrible hangover to dominate their Saturday, some students are seizing the day.

The girl who lives next door to these crazy college students woke up at 8 a.m. to make her regular hot yoga class. After, she grabbed a smoothie from a local natural food market. The rest of her day was very productive because of the union she created with her mind, body, and soul.

Students who live this lifestyle in the fast-paced community of Athens often forget to focus on themselves and to keep centered mentally and physically. There are many businesses on Court Street and in Athens that can give students a more wholesome way to live.

Gathering one’s physical self in a calming way can be achieved in a lot of different ways. For example, Court Street boasts Inhale Yoga at 60 S. Court St., a yoga studio located right on the bricks and actually the only one in town.

Yoga is a physical practice that unites the body and mind through breathing and physical poses. This yoga studio offers classes, workshops, and retreats to students and residents of Athens. They also offer training programs for aspiring yoga instructors and myriad yoga classes, and even have children’s and prenatal classes.

“We offer something in the eclectic town of Athens that is very necessary, actually, in a community, which is health and wellness,” said Kristen Wade, a yoga instructor at Inhale Yoga. “There’s a whole community here for you that is very likeminded that you see time and time again. We would like to think of our studio as a gathering place. You can do yoga at home, but here there’s a group of people to support you,”

Inhale not only offers wellness through the mind and body, they also give back to the Athens community. They raise money for My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence agency serving Athens. They also participate in food drives and have a Christmas tree setup for Athens County Children’s Services. Their work within the community reflects their purpose of uniting mindfulness within physical activity.

“With yoga it’s a full mind body connection. You’re not just performing an action like mindlessly running on the treadmill or doing something only for the benefit of your body. You’re focusing on your breath and how your mind is doing. Yoga is not just a physical practice; it is a mindfulness practice,” Wade said.

Inhale offers many different pass options and packages to suit the inner yogi. One single class is $12, and there is a 10-class pass for $100. There are other options, too.

Though it is not typical for a student to participate in yoga on a regular basis while in Athens, Riley Carpenter, a sophomore at OU, partakes in holistic living and the practice of yoga on her own and at Inhale to create an effective, balanced, and centered lifestyle.

“I just really wanted to make time for myself and find other ways to create balance and new ways to stay healthy,” Carpenter said.

She originally began practicing holistic healing the summer after her freshman year of high school to help combat health issues that medication would not fix. She used homeopathic remedies and other natural medicines to boost her health, and the use of those different solutions led her in to learning and practicing yoga. The combination of yoga and holistic living has changed her outlook on life. Instead of looking at a problem for what it is, she looks at it as a bigger issue. If she is feeling stressed, she practices yoga breathing and meditating, and if she is feeling congested, she’ll take a shot of whiskey to clear everything up instead of taking Advil.

“It’s crazy how much that shot can clear you up! I’d rather use a remedy like that than take something artificial,” Carpenter said.

Last year, she started a yoga club at Ohio University so she could spread the benefits of yoga to students. She instructs her own yoga classes and has received her 200-hour certificate in yoga, she also takes classes regularly at Inhale. Students can email her with questions about her club and practice.

There are many different types of yoga one can practice. One of the most popular is hot yoga, Vinyasa, which is Carpenter’s favorite. This practice focuses on coordination of breath and movement and is also a physically active form of yoga. However, there are almost 20 different forms of yoga that vary from simple mediation to forms that are physically demanding. There are also some forms of yoga that help with healing from surgery or help with spiritual blockages.

Carpenter practices yoga two to three times a week and tries to make it to one class at Inhale during the week as well. She practices yoga breathing before bed every night — which is basically the process of inhaling and exhaling through the nose, filling and emptying the lungs completely. She also is in the process of learning a variety of handstand variations to add to her yoga practice. These are the more difficult poses to attain. These challenging poses require a lot of patience and practice and usually are instructed at the end of a yoga class. The goal when achieving these poses is to practice normal breathing and continue the normal yoga flow that was present the entire session.

Not only is the physical side of wholesome living in Athens something important for students, but so is what they put in their bodies.

Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, Wings Over, and Brenen’s are all examples of the quick eating on Court Street that students use as a fill to get through their day. These options may seem fine at the time, however, they are not among the healthiest choices. The fluorides (chemical ion) contained in these foods are very high since these foods are so processed. The more fluorides present in foods, the more processed the foods are. Of course, the more processed foods are, the unhealthier the food is.

Since time is of the essence, using fresh ingredients and cooking generally aren’t at the top of an OU student’s list, but the incredible health benefits can aid the mind, body, and soul.

The Farmacy, an independent natural food market a short distance from Court Street, at 28 W. Stimson Ave., sells ethnic, vegetarian, organic, and special-dietary-needs food.

“What you put in your body is so important,” said Jen Wagner, an employee at the Farmacy. “I’ve always strived to be as healthy as I can be. We strive to keep our products [at the Farmacy] to be natural as possible. Flourides are terrible for your brain.”

The Farmacy was established in 1971 as a place to buy hard-to-find items like brown rice, oats, dried fruits, and nuts. Today it has flourished into a full-service natural food market.

Along with serving natural foods to Athens, The Farmacy also has a café and sells natural beauty products along with herbs, vitamins, and supplements. It uses two main wholesalers, Tree of Life and United Natural Foods Inc. Farmacy also gets fresher foods like produce from local, smaller brands and food auctions.

“My personal favorite smoothie from the café is the spirulina smoothie, which is an algae smoothie. The health benefits in algae outweigh even spinach and kale,” Wagner said.

They also supply muffins and sandwiches to Court Street Coffee, a local coffee shop at 67 S. Court St. Students can have their coffee and eat Farmacy too!

“We really want to expand the herb section of our store and move some things around so we can make that area a lot bigger. Herbs are very underrated and we want to make this change so people can be more aware of their benefits,” Wagner said.

Herbs actually provide many health benefits. They help protect against heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. One might not think about herbs when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but they really can help the body.

Escaping from the normal college town health habits is quite the task. Taking Chipotle runs and the occasional McDonald’s hangover fix out of the routine can be a challenge. However, it is not impossible! There options in Athens that allow for a wholesome lifestyle  in a convenient way. Take one week to make this change. Take a yoga class or pick up some fresh ingredients and cook something on your own. Living healthy will help your mental health, which is vital to have as a college student. See what happens just after one week, and it might become a change that lasts a lifetime.

***

Michelle Sebastian is a junior at Ohio University majoring in strategic communications at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She is a social media junkie and hopes for a career in the industry one day. She enjoys coming up with clever Instagram captions and drinking iced coffee. In her spare time she can be found practicing yoga and reading Man Repeller blog.  

Starstruck in Athens: 12 love stories of the Zodiac

God created 12 constellations, and each of them has a sign. Every sign has a special meaning and relationship between its image and the people who are born during that sign’s period. Twelve constellations represent 12 characteristics of humans. Simple keywords define the distinct characteristics of each constellation. Twelve people, 12 constellations, 12 kinds of love are illustrated here by 12 Athens love stories.

All constellations are distributed into four categories, wind, fire, earth, and water. Each category has three star signs, and they all have common characteristics.

Wind
Wind never flows to a destination because flowing is its destination. What you can do is enjoy the wind’s gentle touch when it flows to you, and let it go when it flows away. Wind keeps flowing, comes to you gently, leaves you softly, and leaves you perplexed.

Aquarius
Keywords: Free mind, aloof, focus on self, make friends

Kayley Achilles and her ex-boyfriend had a one-year relationship. They met at a mutual friend’s party in her freshman summer. He lives close to her hometown, which is far from Athens. “I think he liked me at that party because he only talked to me,” she laughed. She went to that party to meet more people, but at last she found out that he was the only one she talked to. They started to text each other and hang out frequently. He was really nice to her, listened to her ideas, and took her to places she wanted to go. However, when considering the answer of the question whether to be his girlfriend, she could not make her decision and gave him a clear answer. They went out like boyfriend and girlfriend, talked like boyfriend and girlfriend, and acted as if they were dating, but did not officially admit their relationship. After that summer, Kayley came back to Athens and they started a long-distance relationship. “I don’t want to give up my chance to find a boyfriend here in Athens, and I don’t want to lose him, too.”

After one year of this vague and ambiguous relationship, texting failed to bind them. They faded out of each other’s life.

Gemini
Keywords: social, gets bored easily, scatterbrained.

Annie Drew’s longest relationship lasted eight months. The guy’s name was Matt Waldman. She met Matt, who was several years older than she was, at her friend’s birthday party. Annie and Matt started to “hook up” from then. They would text each other and “kinda hang out.” During that young and blossoming season, a lovely young lady started her first love story. Both of them had a great and memorable time when “dating.” After several months, she felt bored with the relationship. “Definitely, I liked him at that time,” she said, dropping her pen and picking it up. “But I don’t want to commit to him, and I don’t want the next step.” She knew she was going to Ohio University and Matt was going to serve in the military. They would not have a future. Annie did not want to get hurt from a relationship. She chose to protect herself by leaving him.

Thus, she stopped texting him first and did not reply to his message. She ended this relationship, but also, she felt hurt.

Libra
Keywords: ambiguous, difficulty making decisions, hard to refuse others, equal

Steven Yates just ended a painful relationship when he met Miss. X, a positive person who is like sunshine, bringing laughs to friends. She is an enthusiastic person. Steven said he felt so comfortable when they talked. When they went to a restaurant, he always had a hard time choosing what to eat. However, Miss. X knew him well and could always help him to make the right decisions. “She is definitely not a careful girl, but she cares for all the things related to me,” he said. He thought that might be because she loved him. He liked to be with her, but he could not start a new relationship, an official relationship. He could not give her a title, his official girlfriend. She had already paid too much attention to him and the relationship was out of balance. Her enthusiasm created pressure. The last painful relationship was still in his mind, bothering him, depriving his power of love. “I liked her, but I was not sure if I could take care of her. I can’t make a decision. And this time, she can’t help me out.”

He felt that he could not shoulder the responsibility of being a boyfriend, so he decided not to tie her up. He stopped contacting her and did not reply to her, just let her go.

Water
Love, or emotion, is the most important thing water signs value. In their mind, a romantic love relationship is worth putting your life on the line for. However, in a relationship, the more you care, the more you pay, the worse you get hurt.

Pisces
Keywords: emotional, sensitive, dreamy, gentle, girly, fragile

Hanna Wyman dated her boyfriend for four years. They had numerous fights, numerous apologies, but only one serious breakup. At first, they were like other couples, indulging themselves in romantic love. She had done a lot of sweet things for him, cooked for him, sent sweet handmade gifts to him, and accompanied him as long as she could. “I was too nice to him,” she says. Because it was a long-distance relationship, they could not see each other every day. “I didn’t live in his circle. I was not his surroundings.” She started to doubt him, and she found out that a new girl appeared in his life. That girl texted him, hung out with him, had dinner with him, and watched movies with him. He said the girl was just a friend. He went out with her just because she was a fun girl. Hanna started to fight with him because of that girl, sometimes acting like a crazy woman, because she was afraid of losing him. However, he felt Hanna was no longer gentle and nice. Finally, they broke up.

She said she probably will never let herself fall in love this deeply again.

Cancer
Keywords: nostalgic, family, suspicious,

Carl Rypien continued his education after leaving the Marines. He had been single for a long time and wanted a stable relationship. One of his friends texted him and wanted him to meet a special girl. He went to see her. “Yes, she is special,” he said. “She was exotic that night and was so attracted to me.” Carl got her number and started to text her. She was conservative and traditional. Compared to him, her tempo was slow. Carl was four years older than she and was going to graduate that year. He tried to move to the next step in the relationship, but she was not ready. “I think probably she does not like me, otherwise, we should be together very fast,” Carl explained.

One day, the girl texted him and asked him a question about his plans of recent years. He answered that he wanted a wife, a house and kids. After that, the girl never replied.

Scorpio
Keywords: concentrate, secretive, sacrifice, controlling, insistence

Jess Rowe and his girlfriend, Sara Terrell, went to same high school. One day, he met Sara and was attracted to her. He told himself that this girl would be his girlfriend. He followed her, changing his way to class in order to see her a lot. They went from “barely knew each other” to talking frequently. She probably will never know how hard he tried to find her favorite topics to talk to her and her favorite things to do with her. They have been together for two years, since his senior year in high school and her junior year in high school. After that, it was a hard year because they started a long-distance relationship. They saw each other only once a month — torture for young people in a relationship. Now, Jess has transferred to Ohio State University and Sara’s home is in Columbus, so they see each other every week.

When recalling that long-distance year, Sara smiled: “It was hard, but it was worth it.”

Fire
Fire brings warmth to people and brightens their lives, but it also can burn them. They prefer to solve things by intuition, going straight to results. Positive energy, enthusiasm, and optimism are three things that you can always feel from a fire sign. When you fall in love with a fire sign, ask yourself, are you ready to get burned?

Aries
Keywords: impulsive, direct, positive, easy-going, concentrated, brave

Archur Ren, a Chinese sophomore major in engineering at OU, is 20 years old. He is shy and does not talk much, especially in front of unfamiliar people. He is Aries, a very typical Aries. The most obvious characteristic of an Aries is that they are impulsive. For instance, when you tell something that he is interested in, he will go for it in the next second. Immediate. Brave. Execution. He has a long-distance relationship and his girlfriend, who is a junior at a Chinese university. Her name is Ariana, and she is a Virgo. They’ve been dating for two and half years. Right after they started dating officially, Archur came abroad to Athens. He said he had hidden his love for her during years in high school. He was afraid to break that balance of pure friendship. However, when he decided that he was going abroad, he told her about his feelings. And he was surprised she said yes and wanted to be his girlfriend.

As Archur said, “Once we graduate and if we are still dating at that time, I’m going to marry her.”

Leo
Keywords: dignity, responsible, loyalty to lover, trustworthy, pure hope of love

Lindsey Z (she prefers not to use her full name), a Chinese sophomore, had a crush on one guy for a long time, but she hid it and tried to impel him to pay attention to her. Smart Leo girl, she got what she wanted. That guy chased after her for a while and passed her “test.” She said, “At that time, I thought I am going to start my romantic love life.” However, after she spent a lot of time on him, even lost her virginity to him, she found out he had a girlfriend. He told her he didn’t love his girlfriend much and she was in their country, not here in Athens. She could not make her decision. On one hand, she loved him. On the other hand, she did not want to put her pride down and become his second choice.

After discussing it with him, she decided to cut her losses. Thus, leaving him was the best way to protect her dignity.

Sagittarius

Keywords: freedom, brave, honest, adventure, gamble, challenge

Molly Tucker’s story is like a movie. They met each other in Cancun, Mexico, this summer. At first, she didn’t pay attention to him. It was her mother who saw a cute guy with a hot girl. Her mother told her that she should go and talk to him. And she found out the hot girl was his sister, not his girlfriend. The most comedic thing was that they actually live very close, a one-hour drive, here in the United States. She felt this probably was destiny. She decided to take the adventure and started to text him and hung out with him. Her parents like him very much. However, they are in a  long-distance relationship. He is at Indiana University. She said: “Both of us are cool with long distance.” They actually see each other once a week because her home is halfway between Athens and his college.

So far, they have never had a fight and “I trust him 100%,” she smiled.

Earth
Earth leaves the feeling of solidity and reliability. These three signs are trustworthy. Concentration and persistence are the most obvious characteristics of earth signs. Sometimes they are too logical and make people feel that they don’t care about emotions at all. They do care about love and families. However, they emphasize career and work more that enjoying life.

Taurus
Keywords: reality, money, family, nostalgic

Kelli Oliver met her Mr. X in a student organization. She had a crash on him, but she knew they would not make it because he was going to graduate and would move to a faraway city. “We won’t have a future. I knew it,” she said. She decided to tell him about her feeling but did not expect it to go further. The most memorable thing was that he took her to a dinner, Valentine’s Day dinner. Surprisingly, he bought her a rose. However, the story did not develop the way people might expect. He still did not accept her. In her mind, he was the one who taught her to be an activist. They were very close to each other, but she knew what she wanted. Probably, too logical was the reason that she had never had an official relationship. “I actually lost my virginity to him,” she laughed. “I trust him a lot and wanted it happen.” She just wanted to enjoy the moment. However, as time flies, they do not contact to each other as frequently as before.

Even if he comes back, she would not be with him. “It’s just right at that moment.”

Virgo & Capricorn
Virgo Keywords: careful, pressure, unsociable, verbose, captious, perfectionist, mysophobia, judgmental,
Capricorn Keywords: insistence, rigorous, polygamous, concentration, career is first

With the same interests, same group of friends, Maddie Kubazewski, a typical Virgo lady and Jake Stovall, a Capricorn, knew each other for a while. Jack chased after Maddie, but at that time, she did not want an official boyfriend. She was very young, 16, and tried dating other boys. However, one night Jake went to her house at 4 a.m. and told her that he loved her. She was chasing someone else but finally surrendered to him. He treated her very nice, bought flowers, cooked breakfast, played soccer with her. She had a very sweet time with him. Nevertheless, he had to go to college. She thought they should end this relationship because she did not want a long-distance relationship. However, Jake begged her to not leave. After he went to college, they still dated for two months. One day, he came back. “It was like a normal date. Everything was normal,” she recalled. At that day, he told her that he had a new girl and he proposed to stop dating her. It took her six months to get over it.

“I am mean, and I know it,” she said. When I asked her how she felt now and what about that new girl, she said: “I was sad, but it’s OK, cuz she is fat.”

 ***

Sisi Zhao is a super senior majoring in Strategic of Communication at OU, which is her third bachelor degree. She gained the other two degrees in China, which are Advertising and double major in Business English. She is passionate about constellations and any method of destiny prediction.

Passion Works around Athens

Click any image for a larger version …

Passion Works artists blossom in Athens

Paint-covered tables and chairs fill the room. Paintings, drawings and more hand-painted flowers than you can count line the walls. The studio itself is bright, warm, and welcoming. But it is the artists who really bring the studio to life.

Passion Works Studio is more than the average arts studio.  It is a central part of the Athens community that gives everyone who walks through its door a place to express themselves, no matter their physical or mental limitations. It holds a special place in the hearts of its artists, Athens residents and local businesses.

Passion Works Flowers come in all different colors and each is unique
Click the Passion Works flower to see examples of the studio’s work around Athens.

Passion Works was first started in 1998. It began as a workshop between a few artists and members of the Athens community with developmental disabilities. The program continued to grow and now serves as a day program for about 35 adults with developmental disabilities in the Athens community. The studio and its retail store are located at 20 East State St. Passion Works is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Passion Works strives to inspire and liberate the human spirit, enhance quality of life, and strengthen communities through the arts. Their mission is to provide a creative and inclusive atmosphere in which artists with and without disabilities thrive. They accomplish this by focusing on the ability of artists to change perceptions, raise awareness, and beautify our communities through outstanding works of art.

The artists at Passion Works make one-of-a-kind paintings and drawings on paper and canvas. Some also make jewelry and the studio is currently working on a totem pole carving. Some of the artists spend all day at Passion Works. Others come three days per week, while some come for only one hour per week.

“Passion Works is all about choice. People who come here come because they want to and choose to,” says Wayne Savage, Passion Works Studio coordinator.

Noah Hogan, one of the artists at Passion Works, spends his Tuesdays and Fridays in the studio.

“I draw my favorite animals and plants and nature things,” he says. “Predominantly crabs.”

Hogan, 26, also goes to ATCO, a work-training center for adults with disabilities in Athens. He will greet you at the door when you arrive and walk you out when it’s time to leave even though he has difficulty moving his legs and uses a walker. Hogan has also taken his artwork out of the studio by publishing his own set of children’s books featuring his own writing and computer artwork. He has been running Crabby ArtWorks with his mother since he wrote his first book, “Crabby Bakes a Cake,” in 2011. Hogan held a release party for his second book at the Athens Community Center in 2012.

“The Athens community is very supportive of the Developmental Disabilities population,” says Leanne Krul, a senior studying social work and intern at ATCO. Krul helps the clients learn life skills and how to advocate for themselves in order to help integrate them into the community.

ATCO and Passion Works Studio work together and many of the same individuals spend time at both. According to Savage, many of the artists come from their families’ homes, group homes and institutional settings in Athens.

The artists at Passion Works are also able to sell their artwork and get paid for any art they help to create. The artists sell their work through the retail store connected to the studio as well as online. Not only can the flowers and works of fine arts be purchased online, but Passion Works also sells greeting cards, jewelry, mugs, mouse pads, ornaments and cutting boards.

“Paintings, drawings and sculptures are sold through our retail store and gallery, and when it sells the artists that work on it get paid for it,” Savage says. “So Passion Works, whether it’s working on our projects or working on one of a kind artwork, provides artistic economic opportunities.”

Passion Works is most known for its handcrafted flowers. The Passion Works Flower is the official flower of Athens County. The idea began with a Passion Works artist who was always drawing and painting flowers. With the help of other artists, a three-dimensional flower was created based on the drawings. The flowers are made out of recycled newspaper printing plates from The Athens Messenger. The flowers used to be hand cut but are pressed out now due to demand and the difficulty of hand cutting them.

“We had to streamline the process to keep up with demand,” Savage says. “People see the flowers and they want one.”

Brittany Rios, a first year graduate student studying education, received a Passion Works flower as a graduation gift last year.

“I wanted a Passion Works flower because of what they stand for. After touring the facility where the flowers are created, I had to have one!” Rios says.

It takes about three weeks to make a flower from start to finish and typically about six adults with developmental disabilities will work on one flower.

A Passion Works Flower typically costs about $60, while other artwork from the studio ranges from $6 to $45. Passion Works has sold more than 21,000 flowers and continues to create new designs. Some of the designs include an OU flower collection as well as a scarlet and gray OSU collection.

The flowers can be found all over Athens in doctor’s offices, healthcare facilities, coffee shops, restaurants, academic buildings, and the Athens County library and at the Athens County Recreation Center. Rios also says that many of the teachers whom she works with have Passion Works flowers in their classrooms.

Court Street Coffee is one of the businesses that supports Passion Works. Passion Works flowers add a burst of color to the shop and Court Street Coffee sells the flowers as well.

The owner of Court Street Coffee, Debby Fulks, says Court Street Coffee sells Passion Works flowers mainly to promote Passion Works retail store and studio.

“We’re very proactive in the community. We work with the Athens News and right now we are in the process of painting all the Athens News boxes,” says Savage, the studio coordinator. “We also work with the city at Christmas time. We do tree toppers. This year I think we are going to do more for the city for Christmas.”

This year Passion Works hosted a family ornament-decorating event for the Athens community. Children were invited to decorate ornaments to put on the City of Athens Christmas tree at the Courthouse. After the event, the community came together on Dec. 4 to decorate and light the tree and place the Passion Works tree topper on the tree.

Passion Works recently received a grant from The Athens Foundation for $5,000, which will allow the studio to expand its programming. The money will be used to buy a kiln, glass, clay, and a potter’s wheel to kick-start a fused glass and ceramics programs.

“It’s going to very much widen the variety of the arts that we teach here and the arts that are available in our retail outlet and gallery. That’s going to produce more income for the artists and more income for the studio and it’s going to expand greatly the experience that the individuals we serve have here at Passion Works,” says Savage.

Going to Passion Works can be a life-changing experience for these artists. Savage says the artists are influenced by the chance to make money, and they also experience higher self-esteem, better manual dexterity and are able to give them a better identity.

“When someone first comes to Passion Works, they are typically shy and quiet. After they have been here for a few weeks, when a tourist or local dignitaries come in they will shout out welcoming our visitors and they will start showing off their artwork,” Savage says. “When they first start coming here they identify themselves as a disabled person, but after a short time they identify themselves as Passion Works artist.”

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Hayley Ross is a junior double majoring in Dance and Journalism at Ohio University. She someday hopes to combine her passions for dance and journalism by working for an arts or entertainment magazine or in communications for a dance company. For her resume and work samples visit http://hayleyross.weebly.com/

 

 

 

Homecoming: The biggest social event at Ohio University

Homecoming is one of those annual celebrations by Ohio University to welcome back alumni. It is by far the biggest social event at OU with thousands of attendees, including alumni, current students, friends and families. From a football game to countless fun competitions, a parade to a band performance, and award-giving gatherings to massive rallies, Homecoming exhibits enthusiasm, cooperation, inspiration and pride in the Bobcat community.

Perhaps, the meaning of this event can be summarized into this wonderful saying, “Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain in Athens, Ohio.”

The video below captures beautiful scenes during Homecoming Weekend on OU’s iconic Court Street and other parts of the campus. Enjoy.

Court Street taken to court with international students as judges

It is almost impossible to ignore how important Court Street is at Ohio University. While just a downtown area to a lot of people, Court Street is so much more to Ohio University students in general. Not only is it a central place for them to mix, meet, eat and shop, but it is also very culturally rich and probably deserves to be called a third home for most students after their apartments and classes.

Among more than 22,000 students at Ohio University, around 10% are a diverse group of people from outside the United States, and these people have interesting encounters with Court Street when coming to live in Athens and study at Ohio University. Whether it is a surprise, a satisfaction or a disappointment, it is definitely worth telling the story of Court Street from the perceptions of international students.

While acknowledging positivity of Court Street, a graduate student from Ghana, Henry Boachi, views it as a bit too American-oriented, culturally speaking. All kinds of social and educational events and activities occur at Court Street – which is convenient and highly symbolic for a street – but the majority of them are primarily tailored to American culture and way of life.

“I find it boring sometimes. Other than international events such as International Street Fair and International Week, I don’t particularly get excited about anything else,” explained Boachi. This is not to say he is anti-American culture; he does appreciate the opportunity to dive deep into American culture that Court Street delivers. He laughed and made a final comment, “I came here to also learn about America, anyway.”

Boachi makes a good point for many international students. Athens is a small college town with local culture at peak, so it is sometimes hard for international students to have a sense of belonging. Court Street has yet to be diverse enough to accommodate everyone, culture-wise.

Talking about a small town, a graduate student from Kualar Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, has a lot of nice things to say about Court Street as a central location. Wailing Fong points out the uniqueness of the small town and that there is a high chance for everyone in the community to meet each other. “I like this communal feeling that I get whenever I am on the street, and this is something we probably don’t get in a big city,” noted Fong.

Communal feeling is definitely a key advantage of a small town. Since the population is small, the town residents tend to know each other well, and Court Street does play an important role in bringing everyone in the community together. As Fong notes, the idea that there is a high chance to meet a friend, an acquaintance or even a familiar face makes Court Street a very attractive place to spend time.

“Court Street is like a giant coffee shop in your neighborhood,” added Majd Mariam, a graduate student from Syria. Of course, people go to a café because they want to get fed, get some work done, and also get to meet people they know. On this note, Court Street has just about the same characteristics as a coffee shop, and communal feeling is what makes it special.

Fong praises Court Street for its convenience. As the heart of downtown Athens with a number of small shops, banks, offices, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, clubs and a movie theatre, Court Street is also home to all kinds of important events that take place at Ohio University throughout the year, and is the lively place until late at night. For a lot of students, it is one-stop for everything.

She explains that students, especially those who just migrate to Athens not knowing much about the town, can pretty much get all the basic needs and amenities there. It’s just several blocks from classrooms, and it is certainly convenient for an international student like her who doesn’t have a car. Having said that, basic is not enough, and some other students still indicate things Court Street could offer beyond what it already does.

Leakhena Sreng and Sophyrum Heng, both from Cambodia, desperately hope that a functioning grocery store comes to Court Street. They like to cook, and every time they need to pick up fresh vegetables, meat and other cooking ingredients, they have to travel to Kroger and Walmart, which is around 15 minutes on a bus or a taxi. They complained, “It’s really tiring and time-consuming for us to go grocery shopping at stores this far from campus, not having a car.”

For local and international students who have been living in Athens for a long while, Court Street means more than just convenience. It’s a place full of meaningful memories. Samantha Rommel, an American junior at Ohio University, stresses that she generally feels pretty happy when she thinks about Court Street. It has so many of her favorite places like Donkey Coffee, Fluff Bakery, and Brenen’s – where she had her first date with her boyfriend. There is so much going on along that street, and she loves it during the holidays especially because it’s beautifully lit up with lights and decorations.

To Rommel, Court Street is particularly special to Ohio University because it’s such a central location for students. It bridges the gap between campus and the community, so much so that sometimes it feels like they are one and the same. She said, “To me, Court Street is a signature feature of OU and Athens. I can’t imagine Ohio University without Court Street.”

Associating Court Street to Ohio University is such an obvious notion. After all, one end of Court Street is directly linked to Baker Center, the heart of student life at OU and home of the multicultural center. Further, the whole street is paved with bricks, which are sort of a distinguishing characteristic of the school. In fact, a number of students have made stealing bricks as souvenirs before graduating a tradition at OU.

Personally, I am an international student who has lived in Athens for a little more than a year, and I definitely understand why different students, either national or international, have deep feelings for Court Street. Their experiences with it vary, depending on their backgrounds, but what I am sure they would agree on is the fact that Court Street is every bit an icon of Ohio University and the city of Athens.

Honey for the Heart puppets give HallOUween family flair

Honey for the Heart puppet infographic
The anatomy of a Honey for the Heart puppet

Giant creatures with purple skin, long, stringy yarn hair and billowing clothes dance with the rooftops. Smaller creatures glide along the streets with multicolored faces and clothes adorned with bells and shiny objects while they weave in and out of the crowd. Children watch, mouths agape, eyes wide, as creativity and passion take over Court Street.

Halloween in Athens has a new reputation emerging — a reputation for 15-foot-tall puppets making their way down Court Street on the day of the big block party. Honey for the Heart entices people from around the country to see and partake in the making of the puppets.  Local artists drop everything to assist  in creating the masterpieces that ensure a family-friendly atmosphere.

It can be hard to find things to do in Athens that don’t take place around the “party school” atmosphere. Honey for the Heart offers a haven for students to expand their creative minds and see what’s beyond the walls of their classrooms and college parties.

Camille Jones, a student at Ohio University, said, “It’s a place to create and use parts of your brain that don’t get put to much use normally.”

Jones is a learning community leader for first-year students at Ohio University and brought her students to participate in Honey for the Heart. They helped the local artists make their giant puppets and had the satisfaction of seeing them during the parade when they attended as a group.

Learning communities have played a key role in Honey for the Heart’s success. The learning community leaders are encouraged to bring their learning communities to the parade and get the students involved to show them how much Athens has to offer outside of classes.

“I love that it brings students close to the citizens of Athens in a way that isn’t really possible in other mediums,” Jones said. The Athens community supports the university in every way it can. The learning communities view this as a way for the university to support the community as well and change the reputation of HallOUween.

Children flock to watch the spectacle every year, mouths agape and eyes wide in shock and maybe a touch of fear as the 15-footers get closer and closer. Each puppet is different and has its own personality that reflects the artists and community members who contributed to it. A distinct style represented is that of Passion Works Studio. Passion Works helps mentally handicapped artists make beautiful pieces of art year-round. Many of those artists take up residence in 29 East Carpenter St. weeks prior to share materials and work together to make the best puppets.

The puppets are made completely out of recycled or donated objects consisting of newspaper, balloons, fabric and many other earthy materials. Students are able to just walk into the workshop and are immediately welcomed by the artists.

The Air Force ROTC detachment helped make a puppet this year and saw how much work was put into each one. The puppet takes weeks to make, and afterward, it’s donated to different organizations or businesses or recycled for next year’s parade. Riley Carpenter, a member of the Air Force detachment, said they were given a puppet to play pranks on each other with throughout the remainder of the year.

“The fun is just prolonged that much further,” Carpenter said.

The puppets don’t just attract students who want to make the Halloween festivities more family friendly, but also artists from across the country. Janie Arriaga made the journey from Houston, Texas, to make a puppet and march down Court Street. Her puppet was among the tallest, with a glittery purple face, shaggy purple felt hair and bright pink eyelashes. Its hands were larger than the average person’s head and it donned a cloak of brown patterned and lace shreds of fabric. Arriaga plans to become a regular for the Honey for the Heart parade.

The funky town of Athens did not just come up with the idea of giant puppets on its own. It was inspired by the puppet parades in the 1960s and ’70s to protest the Vietnam War. The puppets took over the streets of Manhattan to show one of the busiest cities in the world opposition to the war. Athens took its own angle, making them more playful as a means to provide something more to do on Halloween than the typical block party or trick or treating.

Ellie Bostwick, a student at Ohio University, attended the Honey for the Heart parade for the first time this year and was blown away by the creativity and time put into each puppet.

“It was so cool to see things that I would have normally thrown away being used to create these giant figures and making them look awesome,” Bostwick said. The puppet whose height danced along the rooftops and multistory buildings had old film tape for hair and was constructed completely out of old newspapers, balloons and old clothes. “It was my favorite because it just showed what people can do when they all work together to try to make something that wows people,” said Bostwick.

Patty Mitchell told WOUB, the local news station, that the parade is a spectacle of joy that shows the spirit of Athens. It is something that draws students, children, professors and artists to the streets to see the displays. Each puppet can appeal to the different viewers of the parade.

The balloon lover will see a man wrapped with balloons. A large extension coming from his back with bright colors and twisting lines, forming the weirdest balloon animal one can imagine.

The papier-mache lover will see figures lasting blocks and blocks. Almost every puppet in the parade has an element of the gluey, modge podge technique. Modge podge is a craft supply artists use when making papier-mache. Whether it enhances a nose or makes a giant head for a green Martian, Modge podge is all over Court Street for the parade.

Maggie Rush, a student and contributor to the event said she loves how she can go to the parade and not know what to expect year after year. The general style is the same over-the-top type of thing, but each puppet gets bigger and better throughout the years as the artists become more comfortable with the idea of making larger-than-life art.

Even though the puppets change every year, one thing stays the same — an oasis for families in Athens and an escape from the craziness that is the block party. There is a juxtaposition of the family friendly atmosphere of the Honey for the Heart parade and the block party that revolves around drinking and partying. The parade takes place earlier in the day so families can be a part of Halloween in a good way and can change the reputation of Halloween, even if it’s one puppet at a time.

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Sarah Erickson is a junior Publication Design/Infographics major with a minor in Journalism. She has a passion for design and art and tries to live every day to the fullest. Check out her design portfolio. 

 

Barber shops overpower hair salons in Athens

Barber shops often seem like a thing of the past. Especially when chain haircut salons come into town, offering high fashion styles for half the price of those locally owned businesses. But Athens is a goldmine for high quality, locally owned, and professional barber shops. Here is a list of all the barber shops in Athens and where you can find them!

Carsey’s Barber Shop

72 N. Court St.
Athens, OH
(740) 592-2915

Don & Steve’s Barber Shop

40 W Union St
Athens, OH
(740) 592-2913

Smart Barber Shop

23 W Washington St
Athens, OH
(740) 594-7557

Varsity Barber Shop

2S S Court St
Athens, OH
(740) 593-6545

Chop Shop Barber Shop

20 S Court St
Athens, OH
(740) 243-6772

Red Barbershop

9133 Rock Riffle Rd
Athens, OH
(740) 594-8140

Court Street’s historical gem: Carsey’s Barber Shop

Court Street has become an extension of the quintessential college town that is Athens, Ohio. Students of Ohio University have turned this historical street into an avenue for partying. As more bars take the place of old shops and restaurants, the locals have had to establish their “townie” hangouts elsewhere. But, despite the party culture, one business has managed to preserve its historical presence on Court Street and offers a glimpse into the past.

The iconic red and white pole seems to swirl from a distance, and can be spotted from several blocks away on Court Street. When you walk into Carsey’s Barber Shop it’s like walking into the ’50s. Black, brown, white and red hair is scattered on the floor. The sound of electric blades wrestles with chatter about the holidays, the game, and the wife and kids. Old advertisements for Coca-Cola and Marlboro cigarettes plaster the walls. University letter jackets hang next to a businessman’s coat on the rack by the door.

This is a man’s world, and it’s obvious that no matter where the customer has come from, he expects nothing less when he walks through the door.

Four proud barbers line the mirrored wall. On the end, you’ll find Mr. Carsey himself, well his son that is, standing behind a leather seat, meticulously combing his customer’s hair. Max Carsey has been a barber his whole life. His father, Jesse Carsey, who still lives in Athens, started the business in 1942 when Max was just a baby. Max grew up in the shop and watched his dad cut men’s hair until one day, he would be old enough to do the same.

“I had so much fun in there, I decided I wanted to be like him,” Carsey said.

Carsey has seen the transition of Court Street’s businesses from a window shop’s view. He reminisces about “the good old days” when he could take a sack of coins to Woolworth’s Five and Dime and fill his pockets with candy. Now, he says, there is nothing but bars and restaurants.

But Carsey has made a point to maintain a high level of tradition in the shop. There is no music playing, no flat screen televisions lining the walls and no selection of flashy hair products. Carsey’s is the real deal. Men go for a good haircut, not the special treatment.

“I’ve been to several of the barber shops,” said Todd Wilson, owner of Sol restaurant. “They have the best haircuts here.”

The regulars at Carsey’s aren’t just Athens’ locals, they are students as well. Matt Watts, a junior at Ohio University, is a regular at Carsey’s.

“I like the vibe here, it’s quick, cheap and easy,” said Watts.

Carsey’s also prides itself on truly knowing their customers. Alan Trout, barber at Carsey’s for 19 years, has many regulars and he considers them his friends. On the off chance that Trout doesn’t recognize the next guy to walk in, he will make a point to learn their name.

“You just don’t get that kind of interaction anywhere else,” Trout said. “It’s a lot of the reason I have this job.”

All four barbers at Carsey’s are trained to use a straight blade, which is hard to find these days. A straight blade is considered dangerous and technique must be mastered before a barber is qualified to use one. Brian Muschott, barber at Carsey’s for three years, said he wouldn’t shave his customer’s hair any other way.

“I know when I walk in here, I’ll walk out with a good cut,” said Watts.

Carsey’s never has a slow day. Customers are in and out all day long, each one of them leaving satisfied with a clean, new haircut. And it is the combination of good conversation, a good haircut, and a sense of tradition and pride in their work that Carsey’s has managed to overcome the flood of students on Court Street and withstand the test of time amidst the chaos of modern life.

***

Cassie Kelly is a student journalist at Ohio University. She is working toward a certificate in environmental studies and hopes to pursue a career in science journalism. You can find her hiding out in Village Bakery, typing away on her beloved MacBook. 

 

Religion finds its place in Athens

Like it or not, Athens, Ohio, has earned the reputation as a metropolis of bars, parties and good times.

Nineteen bars, to be exact, can be found within walking distance of Ohio University’s campus, but 47 different places of worship and religious organizations are located within 20 minutes of campus.

However, it’s safe to say that thousands of Ohio alumni do not return to Athens on homecoming to relive old memories from their favorite places of prayer and repentance.

Yet, keeping the faith carries on, even in the midst of an environment of free-thinking and a natural tendency to deviate from one’s embedded ideals. Spreading the word of God requires a new approach when playing to a college crowd.

First Presbyterian Church, located smack-dab in the middle of Uptown Athens at the corner of Court and Washington, reaches out to students from their first days on campus through handing out literature at the university’s involvement fair. The church also offers complimentary lunches to students each Wednesday afternoon.

Being located within such a close proximity to campus allows the church’s administration to reach out to a new crop of freshmen every year. Its location, however, also comes with some disadvantages.

“When I try to describe where we’re located, (people) immediately think we’re the Pita Pit or a bar,” FPC Pastor Rob Martin said.

It hasn’t always been that way. As a matter of fact, the church predates any Athens watering hole or gyro hub by several decades.

The church first opened its doors in 1809 and played a “vital role in the development of the city and university,” according to the church’s website. Seems likely, considering the university’s first president, Jacob Lindley, also served as the church’s pastor. Three of Lindley’s four presidential successors also assumed the role of FPC pastor.

The widely beloved town and university were built upon religious ideals. The marker near the university’s Alumni Gateway reads, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, school and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

[metaslider id=785]Two Latin phrases are engraved on the 99-year old arches of the gateway. They read, “So enter that daily thou mayest grow in knowledge wisdom and love,” and “So depart that daily thou mayest better serve thy fellowmen thy country and thy God.”

The university’s motto “Religio, Doctrina, Civilitas, Prae, Ombinius, Virtus” translates to “Religion, Learning, Civility, and above all, virtue.”

Though religion has its roots in Ohio University lore, Martin admitted that a shift towards secularism means the church no longer assumes a central role in society, even if his church is in the middle of the action.

Martin’s assertion is not necessarily supported by statistics. The Pew Research center conducted a study in 2012 in which over 2,500 censuses from more than 230 countries were analyzed. The results: 84 percent of the world associated themselves with a religion, with 31.5% of the world following Christianity. Any shift Martin may have noticed could stem from how deeply involved people are in religious activities. The study did not address how frequently people attended religious services.

To combat a lessening demand for the religious part of the church, Martin placed an emphasis on serving the community, especially with the economic hardships faced by many residents of Southeastern Ohio. The church works hand-in-hand with other churches and religious organizations to assist the community, despite a popular trend of churches slipping into survival mode and rationing resources with regard to community support.

“They had a saying here: ‘A heart for the heart of the city,’” Martin said with a chuckle.

That heart shows affection for a diverse community, regardless of background.

The Presbyterian Church has been open to homosexuals since the mid-’80s, Martin estimated, and it is evidenced by a small gay pride decal on the glass of the building’s welcome sign.

“It’s nice to not have that be an issue,” Martin said. “We keep a flag there as a signal to anybody that if you feel, if you have an alternative lifestyle and you want to be part of a church, this would certainly be a church that would welcome you and not judge you.”

The Presbyterian Church is right at home in what senior video production major Joel Hafner described as a progressive community.

“A lot of churches are afraid to discuss the issue or talk about it because they don’t want to be ridiculed,” he said. “It’s really following the Bible. Jesus says that the greatest commandment of all is to love your neighbor and to love each other.”

The sexual orientation of a potential church-goer should play no role in deciding an individual’s acceptance into a church, in Hafner’s opinion. Well, his opinion is based off of what he read in the Bible, a piece of literature by which he has led his entire life.

The word of God knows no discrimination: If somebody wants to hear it, the church should open its doors and guide whoever strolls in the nearest pew, in Hafner’s eyes. For him, getting an individual to want to listen to the good word is victory enough.

Hafner does not identify himself as a Presbyterian. He attends Central Avenue United Methodist Church, but his beliefs line up with the motto of the Presbyterian Church: Seffer Reformanda – always reforming. Tradition is important, but so is maintaining a connection to the modern world.

It’s what do we have to say for the time that we’re in right now, because it’s the only time we’re given,” Martin said.

Holding on to tradition can prove to be difficult within a world of “sinful” actions. The church sits only 20 yards from the bank wall where two intoxicated students engaged in sexual acts, eventually resulting in a sexual assault investigation. Martin wouldn’t support something of this nature, but he understands the nature of the town’s most colorful street.

“I’m all for a good time,” Martin said, followed by a grin.”Within limits.”

Within the Bible, there is nothing that strictly forbids Christians from consuming, but as Martin stated, there are limits.

Ephesians 5:18 reads, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with spirit.”

The problem with a college town: many drink to get blasted, inebriated, drunk, whatever the choice word may be. Martin can’t condone drunkenness, but accepts that students will drink. He just prays for their safety.

“That’s what it means to be a student,” he said. “A chance to get your mistakes out of the way.”

Before attending Ohio, Hafner knew he wanted to maintain his faith, but acknowledged the difficulty of staying on that path with an environment which encourages self-discovery and change. To do so, he sought out a Christian community, joining Campus Crusaders right away.

“If you’re a big video game person, you’ll seek out a community of gamers who you can relate to,” Hafner said. “I think it takes a certain mindset to pursue it yourself.”

That community is continuously looking to expand. Campus Crusaders for Christ, commonly known as “CRU,” continues to recruit new students and will send out student representatives to talk religion, school and life with anybody who shows interest. The organization seeks to build faith through weekly Bible studies and extracurricular community gatherings, such as camp-outs, intramural sports and attending concerts.

For Hafner, the best way to spread the word of God is associating with people who do not share similar beliefs. Christians should love chronic party-goers just as much as they would love somebody in their Bible study group, according to Hafner.

“Through that, if you’re interested in getting to know what you believe and hear more, I’d love to tell them about it,” he stated,” I’m not going to avoid people who are Christians because they go party. That’s not right.”

It’s a good thing that the partying is tolerated because it’s safe to say Athens’ bar culture is here to stay. Martin and Hafner agree that everyone is a child of God, regardless of how many church services they have attended or their blood-alcohol concentration levels.

It’s about rising above differences and “loving thy neighbor,” just as the Ten Commandments states. As for Hafner’s favorite Bible verse, Proverbs 28:1. It lines up perfectly with what he believes.

“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

***

Brad Friedman is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. He is a student employee with the Ohio University athletics department, working in video production and media relations, in addition to writing about the Blue Jackets for “The Hockey Writers.” In this past, Brad has worked with WOUB Public Media and the Columbus Blue Jackets digital media team.