Nestled in between the busy brick roads of Athens, Ohio and the college crowd is a place where you can take the weight off your shoulders. Located on 2 S College St., First United Methodist Church offers a prayer box that is mounted on a cross beside the church’s entrance.
Paster Robert McDowell joined the church’s staff in June 2015. After reading an article about other churches that have utilized a prayer box, he thought First United Methodist Church had an ideal location to start a prayer box of their own.
“It seemed like the perfect church to do it because of the amount of college students, professors and business people that walk by the church every day,” said Paster McDowell. “I thought that would be a wonderful symbol of our church and an innovation for people to let us know of any prayer needs.”
The prayer cross has a black box mounted on it. Under the black box is a small container with index size cards and pencils for people to anonymously write down any prayer needs.
Every Tuesday morning at 7:30AM, the morning prayer group meets at the front entrance, collects the cards and prays for any needs left in the box.
Due to Athens being a college town, many prayers involve social struggles faced by college students.
“Most of the prayer needs are related to relationship struggles, and dealing with vices like drinking,” said Paster McDowell. “Finding a direction in life is another category of prayers we get, and that relates to things like grades and finding the right major.”
The prayer box is more discreet way for college students to receive spiritual support. Being away from home along with the pressures of college can make a student feel vulnerable. The prayer box is symbol to show a person that they are not alone.
“It lets people know there’s an anchor there, and that there are people pulling for you,” said Paster McDowell.
Located at 27 S Court Street, Bagel Street Deli is home to all things bagel. There’s something for everyone on the menu, and they can even create your own personalized bagelwich. With its cozy brick walls, high top tables and loud music, it makes for a lively atmosphere to enjoy those comforting carbs.
The essence of College Green remains the same despite the changing colors of the leaves each season. There’s always some kind of action going on inside the tree tree filled quadrangle. During the Fall and Spring, you usually can see people laying in their back pack hammocks and reading books. Other times, you can be entertained by watching people try to walk on a tightrope that they have attached between two tree trunks. However, when it’s Winter, most of the action consists of people walking through the Green on their way to class bundled up in scarfs and hats. However, no matter what season, you can always count on seeing a dog, or two, if you’re lucky.
For me, it’s a place that no matter what time of year it is, it always brings me the same feeling. I get a sense of nostalgia when I walk through the Green towards the shops and restaurants on Court Street. It reminds me of who I was when I came to Ohio University, and how far I’ve come.
As a Freshman, I was someone who was amazed by the amount of people in this place. I was excited by the fact that I was only one of five people from my high school in Athens. The campus felt like it was all mine. I had a fresh start to everything. But I also remember being scared. I didn’t know where things were, what buildings were which, and who I would become my new best friends. However, I sometimes miss that nervous, anxious feeling because I had fun with it. I loved getting out of my comfort zone and taking a risk. I loved discovering new things and meeting different people. I loved everything that was new to me. It was a time to experience the world and figure out what I liked while being completely unapologetic about it.
Now when I walk through College Green, along with the nostalgia, I feel hopeful and comfort. I know who my friends are, and I’ve set goals for myself. I look at the brick paths that cut all over the ground throughout the Green, and I realize that I’m on a different one now than the path I started on. I am more excited about my future and preparing for it than what is going on at J-Bar uptown on a Saturday night. I am motivated when I see the Schoonover Center of Communication while I’m walking through the Green because it’s the building that I have the most meaningful and helpful classes targeted towards my major. When I am in the quadrangle lawn, I also can’t help but notice how big the tress are. I’ll look up and see the sunlight peaking through the branches above me. It makes me think about how big the world really is, and that I still have so much more to experience. Athens is just the start of the journey.
College green reassures me that I made the right choice. Ohio University is where I belong.
He sits next to you in class and you can’t remember why he looks so familiar. It’s because you drank until you blacked out last night. And also because he was your bouncer.
Ohio University located in beautiful Appalachian, Athens County, making it feel like it’s isolated from the rest of the world.
For the students lucky enough to have a car on campus most major cities are about an hour away. Unfortunately students who don’t have cars rely on GoBuses, a popular shuttle bus that goes between major cities, with a few detours in between which makes any trip longer.
So it’s no surprise when students pick the bars on Court Street as their main source of entertainment on any given night.
They’re the unrecognized heroes of the night, bouncers.
You see them every night, you just don’t recognize their faces. You don’t care about their names, unless being friendly will get you into the bar quicker.
Bouncers are the underappreciated heroes—or, pesky villains, depending on how bad your fake I.D. happens to be—of the night.
Three brave bouncers came forward and shared their experiences from their time on the job. This is what they had to say.
Julian Pelfrey, formerly at Lucky’s Tavern
It was the summer before senior year and I needed a job if I wanted to live in Athens over the summer instead of going home to work in a factory. I went to most of the bars on Court Street and applied.
It was something I always considered wanting to do when I started college. And I never regretted working there once.
If I wasn’t on a set career path I’d definitely do the job again. It was great while it lasted. You learn people and social skills because you must interact with nearly everyone that comes into the bar.
Every night you deal with at least one overly drunk person but they aren’t usually too bad to coerce out of the bar but it’s like at least once a month there’s someone trying to fight.
Once a patron threw a glass mug at the bartender. This was midday. Another time, a guy sucker punched one patron and ran out of the bar. Once someone even tried to fight the owner.
Every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we would see at least 10-15 fakes per bouncer. Each state has its own holograms to set them apart. Some people would have sailboats on their holograms which no state has.
Other people don’t understand that height makes a difference, one time a guy, around 5 feet 4 inches tall, tried to use an ID for someone that was 6 feet 9 inches tall—someone I personally knew played on the football team.
Gus Oberdick, formerly at Jackie O’s
I found out about the job from one of my mod mates who was working there as well. He said they were hiring so I went in with him and talked to the manager who eventually invited me back for an interview.
The job was weird honestly. I loved the atmosphere but I didn’t enjoy the “bar life.” It was a different kind of world, the people who work jobs like this live a backwards life. You go into work at 8 p.m. and get off around 4 a.m. I’m an engineering major and I couldn’t make it work with my schedule and eventually just quit Jackie O’s.
I did like the job because the people at Jackie O’s are great. There’s not a lot of annoying underclassmen, no obnoxious music, and everyone is generally in a good mood. It just wasn’t the job for me.
At Jackie O’s you turn people away every now and then, it’s an older person’s bar so there aren’t as many underage people trying to get in.
The most uncomfortable I’ve ever been was when I had to kick out one of my TA’s because he had gotten into a fight with another patron. It was weird having that authority over someone who has some kind of “authority” over you.
Benny Lam, currently at Jackie O’s
I’ve always wanted to work at a bar and I knew Jackie O’s was a pretty established one so I called when they were hiring and they told me to apply online. I didn’t get a response until three months later.
Working at Jackie O’s is better than I expected. It’s a laid-back environment and the people who work with me are honestly down to Earth. Jackie O’s has a certain aesthetic when it comes to who works there and the patrons which is why it works so well as a bar.
I’ve had a few people get rowdy but it’s never gotten out of hand.
We do get fake I.D.’s, but fortunately because we have a reputation of not serving underage people like some of the bars on Court Street, it’s not a lot. Their fakes get denied and then it’s up to whoever is working to decide whether they want to take their fake I.D.
Before getting the job I frequently went out but once I got the job I had to cut back immediately. Working closing shifts every Friday and Saturday took a toll on me in the beginning because I had to sacrifice going out with my friends.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.