The recovery room

Early one morning in the spring semester of 2016 I confidently walked in to Room 321 on the third floor of Baker University Center. All a part of my “new year, new me plans,” I guess. Those plans lasted for as long as most resolutions do.

The door to Room 321 on the third floor of Baker University Center

You see, Room 321 in Baker Center houses the Ohio University Collegiate Recovery Community called RISE (Recovery to Inspire, Share and Empower). No, I’m not an addict. RISE does not only provide support to students, staff and faculty members who suffer from addictions and addictive behaviors, but also people who have been impacted by the addiction of others. This is where I come in. My father was an alcoholic for as long as I can remember until he died in August, 2012. As one would think, growing up in a home where the person who was supposed to care for you was almost always drunk came with its challenges. Needless to say, I have some issues.

Now let’s get back to the Spring of 2016. I had emailed Ann, the woman in charge of the program, to let her know I was coming in. Before, this my dad’s drinking and how it affected was not something I talked about, but I was determined to do something about it. So, I put on a brave face and told Ann my story. She was super nice and invited me to RISE meetings which happen every Friday at 3pm.

I attended three RISE meetings that entire semester. Don’t get me wrong, the meetings were good. However, it was not easy to open up and get comfortable talking about the things that were so personal to me. I made excuses (mostly to myself) that I was too busy to attend weekly meetings.

Flash forward to last semester: the fall semester of 2016. I was taking a Strategic Social Media class and needed a client to work with on my project for that class. I remembered that Ann had mentioned that RISE needed help with social media. So once again I contacted Ann, this time asking if I can work with RISE to develop a social media plan. She agreed but urged me to attend weekly meetings so that I can keep abreast with what was happening with the group. This was a blessing in disguise.

Students are encouraged to use this area to take a break anytime during the day

It’s funny how it was once so difficult to sit in this room for one hour each week and now it is one of my favorite places in Athens. I just needed to give it a chance. The room is always warm and inviting. Motivational and inspirational quotes cover the walls. There’s always pop in the fridge and coffee in the pot, and there’s a comfy couch that I can take a nap on anytime I need a break from the day.

What I love most about this room, though, are the people who fill it. It is so comforting to have a group of people who understand and support me. They always say at meetings that you can share as much or as little as you are comfortable with. Sometimes our conversations get really deep, but sometimes we just sit around and talk about our week, or whatever is happening in the world at that time. They have helped me to understand addiction so much more, and they also help me to keep my own actions in check since I know that it could be easy for me to also go down the path of addiction.

The Post Newsroom: My favorite place

My favorite place in Athens isn’t a beautiful scenic view, or a place I go to with my friends, or really any of the places that makes Athens unique.

The place that I enjoy most is The Post newsroom in Baker Center, 325. It’s not flashy; it’s a room with rundown chairs and a TV that’s too old without a remote. But I think that’s why I like it so much, it’s just kind of there. It’s not too much, and it’s where I spend essentially all of my days.

When I first came to OU, I knew I wanted to join the paper and become a writer for the sports section. I was just terrified to step foot in the newsroom. I was just 17 when I came to college as an out-of-state student and I didn’t know a single person on campus. The whole process of meeting new people was pretty intimidating.

But in the spring of my freshman year, I had to edit an article with the Editor-In-Chief, Jim Ryan. I was nervous. But during my editing session, he was friendly, calm and just a genuinely good person. All of my fears melted away as I began to spend more and more time there.

Today, I’m the assistant sports editor for the paper, so being in the newsroom a lot comes with the job. I could not be happier that it does.

The newsroom was where I learned to stretch myself, where I learned how to overcome challenges, whether they related to my career or not. It’s where I spend my days doing homework, editing articles with other staff members and sometimes a late night, where I spend the majority of the night in the newsroom posting articles to the website.

When I’m not in class or sleeping, or maybe even sleeping, there’s a pretty good chance that I’m sitting at my desk in the middle of the newsroom. It can be tough, sure. But those tough moments are all worth it.

The newsroom is what I sprint out of because there’s breaking basketball news, or there’s a football practice to go to or a hockey game to broadcast. All of the memories that I’ve created at Ohio, almost eerily, relate back to the newsroom.

But I think most of all, the newsroom is where I met some of my best friends. I met some truly fascinating people in that room, some people that I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life. I get to go rant about sports on our podcast, or talk with my friends about whatever we feel like.

We spend hours together in that newsroom, for better or worse. We have meetings there, watch TV there and talk about life. Each and every day in Athens, I get to spend the day with some of my best friends.

I’m not sure how many people can say that.

Happiness and memories thrive in newsroom

What makes something your favorite place? Do you feel happy when you are there? Does it make you most comfortable? Does it help you achieve your dreams? There are so many different questions that could be asked about someone’s favorite place in Athens?

Every person takes into factor different things but for me my favorite place in Athens is John Calhoun Baker University Center Room 325. This is the location of the place that I feel happy and most comfortable.

Students work in The Post newsroom. (Photo Credit: Eric Walker)

In that room is located the newsroom for The Post, the independent student-run newspaper of Ohio University. There is not much glamour in the room as it is filled with computer and papers lying around.To me happiness is one of the most important things due to events happening in my life that had me have less value in it so know it is what I value over most things. That is why the newsroom is my favorite place as it makes me happy and if I ever am in a bad mood when I go in it will immediately change.

This is the place where I met most of my friends and helped me grow as a person along with some awesome memories. You really do get to know someone after midnight when you work together on editing the paper. One of my favorite memories in Athens happened in the newsroom after 1 a.m.It was my day to do the late night editing with a few others and OU President McDavis announced in the afternoon that he was going to leave OU after his current contract ran out. We had an idea this was going to happen but were not positive so the layout of the paper was changed greatly and meant that all the stories would come in late.

As usual everyone was late on sending in their stories so we all spent the first couple hours of the evening talking as there was nothing to do. Once midnight stories started to come in and as we all became more delirious the more important stories started to come in. Even though it was a lot of work to make sure everything was correct it was fun to edit the stories and see how each person had slightly different styles of writing that all worked.

I do not have a single memory of ever being sad when I walk into Baker 325 as even if you are not “great” friends with some of the people in the newsroom there are always things in common and everyone is in it together.

The place where my friends are and makes me happiest should be anyone’s favorite place but for me it is. Room 325 is my favorite place for many reasons and it has brought me my favorite memories.

Tutus, tango and twelve hours of dancing: How Bobcats raised over $40,000 for charity

For a full 12 hours on Saturday Feb. 13, Baker Ballroom was transformed into a discotheque of giving, receiving and most importantly, fun.

The second annual BobcaThon was held on Saturday (2/13) to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio. Over 180 students gathered in Baker to dance the day away to raise money for the charity.

The orange team does a line dance at BobcaThon
The orange team does a line dance at BobcaThon

This year, BobcaThon raised over $40,000 for the Ronald McDonald house through year-long fundraising ending with a 12-hour dance marathon. Dancers sign up throughout the year and look to raise money. The year-long fundraiser ends with a day of dancing and stories from people who have stayed at the house. The majority of the money is raised by the dancers.

“It’s very empowering to be a dancer,” Meg Sanders, BobcaThon president, said. “It’s life-changing for a lot of people.”

The Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, the largest of its kind in the world, is a charity that looks to give affordable housing to those whose children are in the Nationwide Children’s hospital for diseases and ailments. Without the charity, many families would not be able to stay close to their children while they are in the hospital. The house provides food, shelter and a supportive community to families who are affected by sickness.

Amber Fosler, a 2003 graduate of Ohio University, was the first to share her personal story about the Ronald McDonald House. Her son Elias was born without a bile duct. Because of this, his bile built up in his liver and caused deterioration of the liver. For months, Elias was in and out of the hospital with surgeries and illnesses related to his liver. For the majority of their overnight stays, the Fosler family stayed in the Ronald McDonald House.

The Fosler Family and their son Elias were residents of the Ronald McDonald House
The Fosler Family and their son Elias were residents of the Ronald McDonald House

“Other than having a clean and comfortable place to go, there was another benefit of having access to the Ronald McDonald House facilities,” Fosler said in a speech given to the BobcaThon participants. “Since birth, Elias has racked up more than $3 million dollars in insurance claims. We still had to pay out of pocket for our stay at the house. But, had we been forced to stay in a hotel, I have no idea how we would have been able to afford 60 nights. Because we had the house though, we had an amazingly affordable place to go.”

On average, it costs from $50-$100 per night for a family to stay at the house, according to Sanders. But families who stay are asked to make a donation up to $25 a night or do not have to pay at all.

“Not everyone can pay,” Fosler said. “But that’s ok; no one is ever turned down from Ronald McDonald house. And it’s only made possible by amazing people like all of you.”

With the exact amount raised being $40,473.01, families can spend over 400 nights at the Ronald McDonald house without having to pay. All thanks to the dancers and supporters of BobcaThon.

“We really all share one common goal: to put on the best dance marathon we can, and raise money for an amazing cause.” Sanders said.

Vagina Monologues open dialogue on the female experience

Ticket sales from the the sold-out opening night of The Vagina Monologues will benefit My Sister’s Place, an organization helping victims of domestic violence locally. In addition to ticket sales, profits made from the sale of t-shirts and buttons also went to Athens-based charity. According to the Facebook page for the Vagina Monologues, the opening-night show raised over $1,100.

The monologues, showing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Ohio University’s student center, are sponsored by the Ohio University’s Women Center and the Senate Appropriations Commission.

The first act of the show is a collection of monologues written by Eve Ensler in 1996 about female empowerment and ending certain stigmas associated with the female anatomy.

While the women performing stuck to the script of the Vagina Monologues in the first act, the second act was less traditional, although the entire show could hardly be called that. In the last half, members read various poems, some written by the cast members themselves, relevant to the struggles of women in society.

Marianne Dodson, a freshman with several appearances in the show said that while the concept of speaking freely about such an intimate concept initially terrified her, she came to realize that it was something that she desired to do.

“I heard about the show tryouts when the director posted about them on Facebook,” Dodson said. “At first, I was apprehensive because it’s just not something that I normally talk about. But as a feminist, I realized that there was no reason to keep the reality of the female body a secret. The show has helped me change the way I feel about talking about myself, and I hope it does the same thing for the women in the audience.”

Vag mons cast and crew loving themselves! Baker 3rd floor!

A photo posted by Ohio University Women's Center (@ouwomenscenter) on

Cast members from the Vagina Monologues pose for a picture before their opening performance.

Before audience members even purchased their tickets, they were warned that show contained graphic language and at some points nudity. The show also contained stories of rape and sexual violence. During the second act, one of the monologues involved one of the cast members stripping down to nothing but her underwear.

A message placed at the box office, warning viewers of the show's content.
A message placed at the box office, warning viewers of the show’s content.

Many audience members enjoyed the show and the message that came along with it. Kyra Cobb, a freshman who went to the performance said the show offered a message that far exceeded the $5 price of admission.

“The show was very empowering,” Cobb said. “I feel like there are so many things that we are not allowed to talk about in our everyday environments, and it’s great that they are trying to cultivate a safe community where women can express their day-to-day concerns openly.”

The Women’s Center puts on the monologues each year at Ohio University with new cast members and new poems and stories about the female experience. According to show director Ellenore Holbrook, the money that the monologues raises is the largest donation My Sister’s Place receives each year.

Comedian Julie Goldman brings laughs and energy to OU stage

Arms flailed and feet flew as she screamed on the stage. Wild-eyed and red-faced, Julie Goldman was a ball of energy on a roll.

Julie Goldman visited Ohio University on February 9, and left Baker Center Theatre rolling on the floor. Goldman is both Jewish and a lesbian, aspects of her life that she focuses on heavily in her comedy. Jokes about growing up in a Jewish family, eating Chinese food for Christmas and feeling like the black sheep for her sexual identity were all fair game.

Julie has fun with the OU audience
Julie has fun with the OU audience

Goldman is extremely conversational, pulling the audience in and making them feel like they’ve known her for a long time. She told stories of growing up with her family, including the time that her brother burned their house down. “When you’re the lez in the family your brother burning the house down is the best thing that could happen,” quipped Goldman.

Among the family stories, Goldman was not afraid to tackle big issues with her comedy. She joked that according to television women love getting proposed to, going out to lunch, cleaning, taking stripper pole classes and relaxing by themselves in lingerie.

Goldman did get a little serious later on in the evening, a welcomed change of pace. In a Q&A after the show, Goldman did not shy away from pointing out that comedy is more like a frat house than anything. This makes breaking out in a big way more difficult for women, especially a lesbian woman who doesn’t gain appeal from straight men by making heterosexual jokes.

“I think that the entertainment industry is extremely sexist,” said Goldman. “[Comedy] is like a frat house, within a bowling alley, within a football field. It’s super sexist, even though there are a lot of women in it,” said Goldman.

Despite this disadvantage, Julie Goldman has been a part of “The Sopranos,” “The Big Gay Sketch Show,” “The People’s Couch” and more.

Julie Goldman is fast, funny and high energy. By the time she is done with a joke you don’t know what hit you. I expect that we will see more of Julie in the future, and I would personally love if she came back to do another show at Ohio University.

Bacon, cheese, and Chinese food: the non-kosher loves of Julie Goldman

Looking back at when Julie Goldman’s brother burnt down her family’s house after throwing a cigarette butt beneath the porch, she claimed it was the best thing that ever happened to her.

“I could dyke around all I wanted after that!” she said, kicking out her leg as the audience laughed.

Julie Goldman, a comedian  who has performed on Comedy Central, Bravo and E!, brought bold and snappy humor to Ohio University’s Baker Center Theatre Tuesday night (February 9th). Although her act, sponsored by the LGBT Center, Campus Involvement, Performing Arts Series and Hillel at OU, was filled laughter and prancing around the stage, Goldman tackled bolder topics– lesbian stereotypes, what it means to be feminine or masculine (or, as she put it, “mascu-lean”), and breaking through the glass ceiling of the comedy world– with a serious tone.

Julie Goldman, who is described by ____ as "Part Jewish, Part Lesbian, All Parts Funny," posed with audience members after the show.
Julie Goldman, who is described as “One Part Jewish, One Part Lesbian, All Parts Funny,” posed with audience members after the show.

 

But not too serious.

Goldman told of the dilemmas and joys that came with growing up in a Jewish family. She described her mother, Phyllis, as being “four feet tall and full of disappointment,” as well as high-strung, intense, and commanding. Phyllis was a key figure in the comedy act, and Goldman impersonated her loud, fast-talking voice throughout her routine.

“She’s not angry,” Goldman said. “She’s just Jewish.”

Goldman also described the troubles of kosher living. She admitted that, like many other Jews, she loves Chinese food and looked forward to every Christmas when her family would “break the rules,” and get take-out.

“It’s literally made from pork and Christians!”

After that statement, one member of the audience whispered, “She’s like a Jewish Ellen.”

Goldman highlighted her loves for cheese, bacon, cheese and bacon, and cheese and bacon in croissants, as well, and she discussed the other taboos of the Jewish home: nudity and privacy.

Although much of her comedy act centered on her Jewish heritage, Goldman also discussed sexism and how it plays into her career.

“I’ve learned a lot about women by watching TV,” she said. After all, women love to go shopping, talk about lunch, clean the house for their husbands, get proposed to, attend pole dancing classes, unwind in their favorite lingerie set, and erotically eat by themselves. “I think sexism is the root of all evil.”

She ended her comedy bit with “the power of lesbian folk rock music,” singing a song she created herself: “Pro-Choice.”

delfin bautista of the LGBT center, whose laughter could be heard above everyone else’s during portions of the show, said they identified with Goldman because their “Cuban mother was very much like her mom.” They were worried the show’s attendance would be affected by the snowy weather, but the theater was nearly full.

“There’s so much power in her story, ” bautista said. “She tackled issues that matter, but no one wants to discuss.”

 

 

 

 

 

Women of Appalachia event aims to change stereotypes

There are a number of stereotypes that exist about women within Appalachia; however, a small group is working to change those views.

For the seventh straight year the Women of Appalachia Project has events on the campus of Ohio University that focus on the work of female artists from the region.

There are three components to the Women of Appalachia Project, said Kari Gunter-Seymour, founder and curator of the project.

One part of the project currently occupies a quiet spot on the second floor of Baker Center. The Women of Appalachia Exhibit continues through April 30 at Ohio University’s Multicultural Center Art Gallery.

The goal is to showcase the art of women from the Appalachian region. This year’s exhibit includes the work of 20 artists from Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

The art show has developed a reputation as being a place artists can submit their work without getting a response that is overly critical, Gunter-Seymour said.

Each of the women is able to represent the women of Appalachia in her own way, she said.

The art show has already been displayed in Parkersburg and after finishing its run in Athens will then be displayed in Chillicothe in May.

This piece is part of the Women of Appalachia exhibit currently being shown at the Multicultural Center Art Gallery in Baker Center at Ohio University.
This piece is part of the Women of Appalachia exhibit currently being shown at the Multicultural Center Art Gallery in Baker Center at Ohio University.

“Each year I say I can’t believe the quality of the artists,” Gunter-Seymour said. “But each year it keeps getting better.”

The idea for the project came when Gunter-Seymour became frustrated with having to look all over for places to display her artwork, she said.

“I had always heard it’s easier to create a job than to find a job. I thought it might be the same way with events,” she said. “I thought it might be easier to create an event than to find one.”

The project started seven years ago. Since then the effort has gotten bigger and bigger each year, Gunter-Seymour said.

Each of the seven years has been based in Athens and at Ohio University. Gunter-Seymour said when she was putting together the show she contacted Winsome Chunnu-Brayda, strategic director for diversity and inclusion and multicultural programs and initiatives, to ask about space and has worked with Chunnu-Brayda ever since.

“The Muticultural Center is proud to have hosted the Women of Appalachia Project every year since its inception in 2009,” said Chunnu-Brayda in a statement. “This project is distinctive in that it brings together a combination of seasoned and emerging artists that never fails to please. Ohio University is unique in that it serves a very large population — students, faculty and staff as well as Athens and contiguous county communities. This event serves as one of Ohio University’s outstanding town/gown events. Approximately 3,000 guests visit the WOAP exhibit in our gallery each year.”

In addition to the exhibit, there are other events that surround the Women of Appalachia Project. Friday (Feb. 10) is the opening reception for the exhibit from 5 to 8 p.m.

At the event local activist Sandra Sleight-Brennan will be presented the inaugural WOAP “Appalachian Advocate Award.”

“There are so many women who want to help, but aren’t artists,” Gunter-Seymour said.

This award helps to recognize all the other women who help with the events and make things better for women in Appalachia.

The other portion of the project is the Women Speak events, which include poetry, songs and stories. These events take place all over the area, Gunter-Seymour said. However, they have an event planned on April 22 at 6 p.m. at the Multicultural Center Art Gallery in Baker Center.

For more information about the Women of Appalachia Project or to see a full schedule of the events you can visit their website or Facebook page.

9000 miles: how distance gave two international students a new outlook on their homeland

 

 

Eye-catching view from a comfy chair

Nothing is better than a comfy chair, a striking view and an outlet.

As timid freshman with nowhere to go, I made Baker Center my hangout spot between classes. Despite there being a cozy coffee shop nearby and adequate dining space on the bottom floor, I chose a single chair as my getaway.

Baker Center overlooks a crosswalk and pathway to West Green.
Baker Center overlooks a crosswalk and pathway to West Green.

Just past the nosy escalators and typical shuffle of people, I sit near the large windows overlooking the pathway to West Green. Students trudge to their classes and cars wait patiently at the crosswalk while I am comfortable and have access to power.

The chair in the corner, right next to the outlet, is the most ideal. It allows for a view of Baker and the scenery outside. The outlet is just within reach and a table is close for placing coffee cups, computers or even a meal. If someone were to bring a rose, a vase and a white tablecloth, the space could also be transformed into an elegant dining spot.

Regardless if it’s the peak of winter, the blooming spring or heated summer, I am content in the perfect place. A leather seat, a threaded back and wooden arm rests make the chair the spot perfect for reading, doing homework and composing this post.