Saturday, November 6, 2010

Groups hope poverty simulation will increase empathy

How would your family Thanksgiving be affected if you had to live on fewer than $1,000 per month?

By Morgan Meade

Holidays can be a time of plenty or a time of simply doing without.

Thanksgiving is a time when many celebrate a time of harvest and surplus, but many will be making do with less.

Donations are already being accepted by food banks to help supplement this lack.

Students at Ohio University have been doing their part by donating extra meal swipes to pay for groceries going to this cause.

At a local food bank, less fortunate families begin to stock up on the donated holiday essentials many of us take for granted.

(Interview expected with food bank staff and/or patrons.)

America, widely considered the world’s largest economy in terms of spending, is one of the many regions of the globe experiencing alarming increases in poverty rates during these tough economic times. According to the U.S. Census:

“The nation's official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008 — the second statistically significant annual increase in the poverty rate since 2004. There were 43.6 million people in poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million in 2008 — the third consecutive annual increase.”

Ohio is a prime example of this, with more than 1.75 million Ohio residents, or 15.2%, living under the poverty threshold (Athens County Job & Family Services). On the county level, Athens County, home to Ohio University, is currently experiencing one of the highest poverty rates in the state and subsequently in the nation, at nearly 30%.

Students groups on the Ohio University Campus constantly work to raise awareness of this local and global situation among their peers who may have never experienced having to do without, encouraging donations and fostering a passion for volunteer work such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity.

One of the methods used to increase the tangibility of this issue to students is the annual Poverty Simulation hosted by Ohio University in co-facilitation with The Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Banks.

70 participants including faculty, students, and community members had the opportunity to get an idea of what some of their neighbors are going through on Monday, November 8th.

Four fifteen minute “weeks” of living under a newly assumed identity were role-played by each participant to deepen their empathy towards those who are less-fortunate.

The experience was followed by a group discussion of the problems each group-member endured throughout the simulation.

(Interview with organizer and participant in simulation expected)

Organizers hope this experience will spur increased efforts in the greater Athens area to make the holidays everything they should be for the impoverished.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Student campaign aims to reduce binge drinking

By Kendra Wagoner

HPV a silent STI [Lamendola]

By Christa Lamendola

updated version:

original version:

Vegan friendly campus draws students [Goare]

By Aja Goare

With the 5th year of Vegetarian/Vegan awareness upon us, it's time to consider the effect that Ohio University's constant nomination into PETA's competition has on student enrollment. Students explain how the importance of their diet had a considerable impact on their decision to attend, and the campus head chef details the extensive efforts put into a non-meat menu.

LGBT students face challenges on campus [Faris]

By Robert Faris [this is the script for the video, which will be uploaded ASAP]

University is a wonderful place to be for most people, most people go off to school excited to be there. However there are some people who aren’t as confident. Many LGBT students find their skin crawling become extremely stressed out as they prepare for their journey to school.

When most seniors in high school think about going off to college they get really excited however, many LGBT students are anxious about it from day one. Jake, who asked that his real name be withheld, told us that “Going to a liberal college was important to me, it wasn’t the final deciding factor in where I would go, but it was definitely in my mind when I was considering schools.” It is sometimes a hard thing to look at when looking at different schools, because tolerance is not an easily quantifiable thing.

Housing is one of the things that is at the forefront of many LGBT student’s minds. Justin Morris said “I was worried about it a little, but, I mean I didn’t like let it get to me... I mean, deep down it did bother me a little bit”. Ohio University strives to promote a safe, stress, and worry-free living environment for all of its students. It does this through a variety of policies and rules, the main one being that OU makes it extremely easy to switch rooms, and makes it well known to students. Morris said, “I knew that if he made a big deal out of it, I could always just get a new roommate”

Justin Morris’ experience at Ohio University has been a good one so far, he has not had to deal with any adversity yet in his career at OU. Whether or not LGBT students at OU experience discrimination and homophobia can be affected by a lot of factors. Micah McCarey is the Residential Coordinator of the James Residence Hall at OU, he has completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at OU and is now a full time Ohio University employee. “I think that there certainly are a lot of people on campus who are homophobic”.

Ohio University’s housing preference forms that all students living in residential dorms fill out before the start of each school year ask a lot of questions, however they do not ask about a students sexual orientation. Some universities, including Rutgers University in New Jersey, the site of the high profile suicide of LGBT student Tyler Clementi, do ask this question on their forms. They also take it a step further by asking whether or not student would feel comfortable with the possibility of living with someone of an opposite sexual orientation. However, Micah McCarey believes that even though it may seem like a good idea to some to ask these questions, we shouldn’t. “I think that these questions are too akin to allowing someone to state their preference to not live with someone of the opposite race”. Justin Morris disagrees though, as an openly gay student who lives in a residence hall, he thinks that “if someone clearly does not want to to live with someone who is gay, then i think that would be a good thing to say on your application so you don’t get put with someone you don’t like and then conflict happens”. This is an interesting twist, the students would like the preference to be on the form, while Residential Housing’s view on the issue is the opposite.

The Department of Residential Housing at Ohio University does strive to make itself as tolerant as possible. Residential Housing staff are encouraged to take workshops such as “SafeZone”, which provides training and information to anyone who wants to know more about LGBT issues, regardless of their sexual orientation. It helps people to become walking resources about LGBT issues for when someone may want to talk about them. It can train people to become peer counselors for when someone needs help with an issue in their life.

Simply promoting tolerance is not all Ohio University does to create a good environment for its students, it also has very strict disciplinary policies in place to deal with discrimination on campus. At OU, if a student is found to be discriminating against another student or person, they will be charged with either “A-4 Violation: Mental or Bodily Harm to Others” or a “A-5 Violation: Discrimination” code of conduct violations. An “A” level offense is the most serious violation in the student code of conduct. The punishments for being found guilty of this level of violation can include expulsion on the very first offense.

One of the main groups that works to promote tolerance and provide support for students at Ohio University is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center located in the heart of OU’s student union building. <--WAITING ON INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR AND STUDENT EMPLOYEES-->

Going to University is by far one of the most important factors in getting ahead in life; this is true for almost everyone, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Universities strive to make themselves tolerant, and some there is no magic formula that can create tolerance, but Ohio University seems to have an effective one in place. Justin Morris had this final thing to say, “I love being here, I don’t act any differently than I did at home, I wouldn’t change a thing”.

Mixed martial arts fighters argue for sport [Parks]

By Bradley Parks

Mixed Martial Arts has become a global phenomenon. Fighters from all around the globe have taken their unique fighting styles, combined them, and pitted them against each other to create one of the most dynamic art forms on Earth. However, now with the National Football League looking into the head injuries surrounding big hits, MMA--a sport focused on big hits--could soon be fighting to stay alive.

Banning public smoking on a college of campus [Judy]

By Ryan Judy

Many colleges in the United States have put smoking bans on campuses. Ohio University's health promotion department has started a campaign called The Smoke Vote of 2010, which surveys college students about smoking on the college campus. The survey informs students of the health risks, current restrictions, quitting smoking, and the possibility of banning smoking on the campus. Students at the university feel very strong about the campaign, but recognize the reality of smoking on campus

Women work to give back to Appalachia [Conner]

By Kaity Conner

This story is a look at the efforts OU students are making to end “generational poverty, abuse, and dysfunction through [the] empowerment” of Appalachia’s young women. Brit Wolverton, Shea Daniels, Shannon Moore and others like them mentor middle school girls in low-income communities in Athens County to help prepare them for high school and improve their chances of acceptance into a university. Interviews are scheduled with Brit and Shea for next week and I will be attending the FWA meeting and activities for the week. Almost all of the b-roll will be replaced with actual footage of the girls at work and higher quality video of the campus. Audio and video of the interviews with Brit and Shea will be added, as well as their motivations in creating the organization and their hopes for it's impact on Appalachia's young women in the future.

And the link to my video:

YouTube seems to be having issues because both Kate and I had clear video on FinalCut, but pixellated videos online.

Peter: I would really like to have a discussion with you on Skype at some point this weekend. By the time everyone else was done talking with you in class, I didn't figure I would have time to both upload the video and really get into the details of my story (my YouTube account is especially finnicky).

Universities debate cost of athletics [Westerh]

By Alex

Across the country athletic programs are spending more money than they're making, passing a big portion of the cots back on to students. This leaves students and fans to debate the true cost of intercollegiate athletics.

Election means education cuts [Pappas]

My video is about the budget cuts that will be made due to deficit in state funding. I'm going to look at how the election will affect the budget, when will the budget cuts be put into affect, and how will they impact the school and students. I have an interview with the dean of the library and the vice president of finance and administration. I'm also going to interview students affected by the budget cuts to get their opinion. I'm going to say what will be cut but then focus on the library because that affects all students. I just decided to do this story yesterday which is why I haven't done too much with it yet.

[video was set to "private"; will add when Carli changes that]

Little Monsters spread understanding through Lady Gaga [Sklar]

By Lincoln Sklar

Hookah bars showing up around college campuses [Ianni]

Here is my REAL rough story. I know as of now that I need to get some sources to back up that smoking hookah is as bad as regular smoking. I also need to get some lighter images of people smoking and explaining why they like to smoke hookah. I will work on getting some new and better b-roll. I also need to get the name of the worker that I interviewed (bad mistake not getting it at first, I know).

Theresa Ianni

Marijuana in rural Ohio could lead to economic growth [Davis]

By Drew Davis

Getting sick at college [Eastman]

By Morgan Eastman

University balances sexual assault treatment and school's image

By Hallie Gebel

NOTE: There are some shots that I need to fill in on certain places. I want to do a stand up, transition narration to an interview, and an interview with a Women's and Gender Studies Professor. Depending on her interview and information I will add shots and commentary accordingly. With all of this said, the story- hopefully- will outline the program that OU has that helps survivors, but also highlight the cases and situations where people have not gotten the help they needed, or the justice that they hoped would be served. I will hopefully get some stories from my professor, and another interview with a survivor or two to get their first hand accounts.

Exercise generates electrical power

By Kate Irby

Gender-neutral dorms becoming more common in U.S. [Bunce]

By Brooke Bunce

[Krista, please see below]

Prof Stewart-

I am having some technical difficulties trying to get this video to work and upload. I will have it to you ASAP. I think I may just need to re-edit it from a computer in the multimedia lab in the library. I have one more interview and will need more b-roll. I would like for my text to include the bulk of the information and for my video to include mainly testimonials, opinions, and experiences of students, seeing as this is quite an abstract concept to catch on film. Here is a basic script:

Gender-neutral housing is a practice that is becoming increasingly more common throughout colleges across the United States. As conventional definitions of binary gender and sex continue to blur, so too do the boundaries of traditional roommates. With the help of Student Senate, Ohio University recently passed a resolution to enact optional gender-neutral housing in two years, tentatively. OU is just one in an increasing amount of campuses that are implementing this residential policy. Popular since 2004, some of the first colleges to incorporate gender-neutral housing were Oberlin College in Ohio, University of Southern Maine, and Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Now, 55 campuses nation-wide have decided to opt for the gender-neutral residence option.

Supported heavily by the LGBT community, gender-neutral housing creates a safe and inclusive environment for those that may not feel comfortable in the traditional confines of gender. The option for this type of housing is in most cases completely optional, just as a female-only or substance-free hall would be. Abuse is highly unlikely and has not been reported by any college that has enacted the policy, says Sean Martin, commissioner for LGBT Affairs on Ohio University's Student Senate. Those opposed to this type of housing argue that it opens up many opportunities for abuse by heterosexual couples, and creates an uncomfortable bathroom situation. Lindsey Cohen, an openly gay freshman at OU, states that she chose to live in a single due to her fear of possibly having a roommate that was not comfortable with her sexuality. Cohen expresses that gender neutral housing would alleviate both anxiety and cost for her and many other LGBT students.

Ohio University hopes to implement a pilot for gender-neutral housing within the next year. These test models would include a mod-style dorm on the South Green campus and a more traditional style dorm on the East Green campus; one with a community bathroom and one with an individual bathroom.

Diabetes in Appalachia foreshadows global epidemic

By Caleigh Bourgeois

[new and improved: 11/10/10]