Here at home: the Round Table

Courtesy Photo/The Bison

Nathan Goforth

Contributing Writer

“It’s an informal time for interested students to workshop their writings, get criticism, hear feedback, appreciate the joy of writing, ect.” – Andrew Hill

Originally created in fall of 2016, the “Inklings’ group was the early iteration that would eventually be remade into the Round Table today, the “Inklings” were a group dedicated to fantasy literature such as Tolkien, Lewis, Sanderson, Orson Scott Card and many others. 

However, due to scheduling strain, and the natural business of school life, the group was discontinued in fall of 2019.

However, this year, there was an effort made to draft the spiritual successor “Inklings.” Assistant professor of English Dr. Lindsey Panxhi rewrote the “Inklings” into the “Round Table” creative writing group on campus today. 

Created by Panxhi and supported heavily by assistant professor of English and TESL Dr. Jessica Rohr, the Round Table is a group dedicated to the art of creative writing, storytelling, poem crafting, playwriting and the glories of revision and review in an academic yet friendly environment. 

“I decided to name the group The Round Table this time, because I wanted to emphasize the idea of gathering in fellowship and in the pursuit of embodying virtues and truths in fiction,” Panxhi said.

While the Round Table may have a history of previous discontinuances, this iteration is quickly growing in popularity.

While the club is composed of many creative writing majors, it is not required for any student to have a writing major/minor – only an appreciation of the art and a willingness to help those who attend each meeting. Currently, the club has twenty-two members (Dr.s Panxhi and Rohr included). However, word of the club’s presence has led to most of those members recently having joined and petitioned for it to become a weekly event. The ‘Slightly-Less Round Table’ now meets unofficially, as a gathering of friends with an interest in creative writing, and together form the ‘Entirely Round Table’ when Rohr and Panxhi are able to attend.

Currently, the club is maintained by Andrew Hill and David Goforth, who together manage the shared Google Drive folder that allows the members to share their writings for the week without issue. 

Though, officially, neither claim status as ‘President,’ as the group is not an official OBU sponsored club, and merely just a gathering of friends and writers.

The group usually meets and spends a brief moment talking about their day before beginning with lobbying a story – that is, reading aloud and having a peer review of that story – until every story each member submits has been read. Due to the popularity, though, there is a 500-word limit for each story every week. While it is unfortunate that whole stories can not be read, it does keep suspense and members coming back just to hear more of each other’s works. Elia Tyson, freshman with a major in Creative Writing, spoke about the Round Table’s fellowship saying, “I enjoy hearing stories that the others have written, and getting the fellowship and inspiration from them as well as getting feedback on my own stories. It’s the concept of writing friends helping writing friends.”

COVID has, unsurprisingly, affected the group. Previously, the Round Table would be held at either at Panxhi or Rohr’s home for party games, reading and overall fellowship. However, group dynamics is relatively unchanged, and now the Round Table meets in the GC Gathering room. Panxhi has expressed an interest in returning to those functions, saying “I hope COVID conditions end soon, so we can fellowship more off campus.”

It is encouraged for new members to feel free to write and share their stories during the meeting sessions. Mary Brannon, a freshman with a double-major in graphic design and creative writing, said “It’s helpful to hear different perspectives on my own writing. When I read it yourself, I don’t notice everything, everyone notices and thinks differently about what I wrote. It’s a helpful insight.”

The group is open for new students to join at any time, meeting on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m.. In the GC’s Gathering Place.

Regal Cinema closing; others may follow

Courtesy Photo/The Bison

 Matthew Gower

Assistant News Editor

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, movie theatres have struggled to stay afloat. 

Despite some states reopening their theatres weeks ago, attendance to movie theaters is still down compared to what it once was.

According to The Verge, “Regal Cinemas, the second largest theatre chain in the US with 536 theaters and 7,076 screens, will officially close all its doors in the United States for the second time during the global pandemic.”

The Verge continued, “In response to an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Regal will be temporarily suspending operations at all of its Regal theaters in the U.S. as of Friday, Oct. 9.

 Regal Cinemas’ official statement on their website states, “Regal will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”

The chain has also announced 127 theaters will also be shut down in the United Kingdom leaving over 45,000 people without jobs or furloughed without a plan in place for reopening.

This news comes shortly after many studios such as Disney announced the delay of many films into 2021 like “Black Widow,” “Eternals” and “West Side Story.” The upcoming James Bond film “No Time to Die” has also been delayed until April 2021.

These film delays are not the direct cause of the closures throughout the US and the UK, but with attendance to theaters already down and many showing films that have been out for years (with the exception of films like “Tenet” and “The New Mutants” each film earning over $300 million and $31 million globally, respectively) many would-be audience members are not showing up to Regal theaters for one reason or another.

“We are like a grocery shop that doesn’t have vegetables, fruit, meat…We cannot operate for a long time without a product,” CEO of Cineworld [Regal Cinema’s parent company] Mooky Greidinger said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

However, the closures of Regal Cinemas theaters do not mark the end of movie theaters as AMC and Cinemark have announced that 80 percent of their theaters will remain open. Both AMC and Cinemark have stated that they can only hold out part of 2021 if a change is not made soon enough.

Each theatre chain’s financial records show that “AMC lost “$2.7 billion in the first six months of 2020, and Cinemark lost $230 million.”

Some of the revenue lost was a result of having to throw away millions of dollars of perishable food items and the cost of rent for their theaters.

When asked on CNBC for comment about when reopening may occur, Greidinger stated, “Might be a month, might be two months, until the…COVID-19 situation will be clearer. 

Maybe there will already be a vaccination, but at the end of the day we must have a clear lineup of movies before we reopen.”

The timeline for reopening Regal’s theaters remains unclear. 

For now, the biggest obstacles for the chain are the lack of an effective COVID-19 vaccine and movie studios continuing to delay the release of new films in theaters according to Cineworld’s CEO Mooky Greidinger.

Ring, Amazon takes flight with new drone

Courtesy Photo/the Bison

 Amazon releases a new home security drone.

 Ashlee Ginn

Assistant News Editor

On Thursday, Sept. 24, the online shopping giant Amazon made an announcement for a new indoor- only security camera drone set to be released next year.

In cooperation with Ring, originally a doorbell security camera company that is now a subsidiary of Amazon, both of these companies are working together to create a self- travelling drone called the “Always Home Cam” that has a camera built into the base of the drone.

The blades that allow it to fly are encased in a plastic cage to help avoid injuries, as well as aid the sleek design.

 Users do not control the drone, as it is made to follow premade paths set by the user to fly to specific spots around the inside of the home, as well as to only record when dispatched from its dock, which doubles as a charger.

According to Ring president Leila Rouhi in an interview with Megan Wollerton from CNET, “the path is entirely determined by the customer … you actually walk the device around your home and … train it on that path and can set different waypoints for the camera to fly to.”

Rouhi explained why Ring created the drone in an interview with CNN Business, “We know when something happens our customers want to be able to see exactly what’s going on, but it’s not always feasible to have whole-home coverage,” she said.

Some are concerned with how secure their information is with the drone due to a scandal that included Ring sharing users doorbell footage with law enforcement earlier this year.

Since this product will not only be in the homes of users, but also flying without any controller, privacy is an extremely important issue.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation did some research about the information leak, and reported that it was, “packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Four main analytics and marketing companies were discovered to be receiving information such as the names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers.”

Ring announced that this will not be the case with the new product, as the company is adding new features to the Ring app that allow more security for users and blocking most data from being shared with third- party groups. 

They will also be adding a new privacy settings Control Center, and requiring a two- factor authentication when you sign into the app Amazon devices SVP Dave Limp told Dieter Bohn from The Verge in an interview after the product was announced, “I’d be more worried about the camera on your phone than I would be about a drone.”

The product was also made to be noisy so users will know when it is in use, as well as recording.

An Amazon spokesperson referred to this in an interview with CNET as, “Privacy you can hear.”

Some are curious about where the video footage goes, and if they can access it other than the live feed when the drone is activated.

Users can access the recordings by paying for a subscription for one device, priced at $3 per month or a subscription for all their devices priced at $10 per month.

The amount of battery life the drone has is also something of concern.

The drone can fly for up to five minutes, then must return to its charger where it will take at least an hour to be fully recharged.

Rouhi said that the short runtime was intended so that way it is more of a “purpose- driven security camera,” according to CNET.

Food pantry provides food security to university students

 Kenny Day

Public Relations

Food security is a major issue on college campuses around the country. 

While it may come as a surprise to some, this is no different on Bison Hill. 

Many students hit times during the week and during the semester where they may need a little help with extra food to get through a weekend or bridge gaps between meals on their meal plan. 

That’s where the “Good Things Food Pantry” comes in. 

The Good Things Food Pantry provides OBU students with needed food items in order to promote success inside and outside the classroom. 

The food pantry is located on the second floor of the Geiger Center behind the information desk and is open to all OBU students. 

The Good Things Food Pantry opened in February 2020. 

It was launched by Cynthia Gates, director of events, conferences and camps at OBU. 

The idea for the food pantry began when she learned of a student who was working as summer staff on campus and who had not eaten for three days, prompting her and others to provide some aid. 

However, the help they could provide was limited due to NCAA regulations. So, she began researching food pantries for colleges and found a national organization of pantries at college campuses. 

During her research, Gates contacted Mary Hardin Baylor University, which had recently opened a food pantry, to ask questions and inquire about best practices in running a campus food pantry. 

Student usage and response to OBU’s Good Things Food Pantry has been extremely positive from the very beginning. 

In the few weeks leading up to spring break 2020, the food pantry served 146 students. 

These students came from all backgrounds and majors, including international students, MKs (missionary kids), first generation college students and athletes. 

The food pantry is open to all OBU students and is run on a simple points system. Every food item in the pantry is assigned one point. 

Students are allowed ten points per week and can get food from the pantry once a week. 

“Nationwide, food insecurities on college campuses touch about 40 percent of students,” Gates said. 

“OBU conducted a survey last fall and found out that 32 percent of our students had experienced some type of food insecurities. That’s a significant number, and if we can help students not worry about food, they can be more successful in the classroom and other areas of their lives.” 

This year, the food pantry’s mission is being aided by volunteers, spearheaded by Enactus, a team of OBU students who aspire to serve local and global ministries by promoting entrepreneurial action and sustainability. Prospective volunteers may help with tasks like taking inventory and packing student boxes. 

When asked about modifications made to the pantry due to COVID, Gates said, “The biggest difference now is how we distribute the food. Before the pandemic, students were able to choose items like a grocery store. Now, we have an online order form and volunteers fill the orders, much like if you ordered groceries online at Walmart.” 

Another difficulty posed by the pandemic is food supply. 

“Before quarantine, The Community Market used OBU as a satellite and provided food for the pantry,” Gates said. “Since the pandemic began, however, they have been hit hard.” 

As a result, Gates launched a fundraising effort through the the OBU development office, sending out several thousand letters to alumni asking for donations to support the food pantry. 

A restricted fund is set up for donations for food purchases, creating a source of revenue that can support the pantry in the future. 

Good Things also accepts food donations. 

Items that are most needed include shelf-stable products, such as canned meat, pasta and canned vegetables. 

Gates added that some of the most in-demand items from students include Ramen noodles, soups, canned tuna or chicken, Hamburger helper-type meals, pasta, spaghetti sauce, ravioli, cereal, juice, peanut butter and jelly. 

A food drive is being held Sept. 28-Oct. 2, featuring a campuswide competition among academic colleges. Students and employees are encouraged to bring the following items during the drive, divided per college: 

Business: Breakfast items, such as granola bars, breakfast bars, Pop-Tarts, cereal and instant oatmeal 

Fine Arts and Undecided Majors: Pasta and sauces 

Humanities and Social Sciences: Peanut butter, jelly, crackers and canned fruits 

Nursing: Canned veggies, dried rice and dried beans 

Science and Mathematics: Boxed dinners and canned meats 

Theology and Ministry: Grab and go style snacks (nuts, fruit snacks, crackers, cookies) 

Food donations may be brought to GC 209 or dropped off at collection bins in the lobby of Bailey Business Center. Financial donations may be made at okbu.edu/give. 

OBU triumphs at debate tournament

Courtesy Photo/The Bison
(Top): From left to right: Junior Varsity top eight finalist Violet Webber, Varsity top sixteen finalist Emma Busby and Novice top eight finalist and number one speaker Caitlin Hurlbut. Courtesy of Scot Loyd. (Bottom): An example of the virtual debate, Scot Loyd vs J.J. Thompson of LSUS with the three-judge panel listening to the debate “Woodward was wrong to place his thumb on the scale.” Professor Loyd representing the negation lost this final round in a 2-1 decision. 

 Public Relations

Release

The Oklahoma Baptist University debate team finished in second place in its first ever virtual debate tournament hosted by Lee College in Houston, Texas. 

Twenty-one programs participated from across the country including programs from Alaska and California. 

The annual Medoza Debates hosted by Lee College opened the International Public Debate Association season, this year the competition was virtual due to concerns over the spread of Covid-19. 

The Debate team is grateful to the OBU Business School for use of the Bailey Business Center on Saturday and Sunday. 

The competition consisted of six preliminary rounds of individual debate which started at 10:30 am Saturday and concluded at 8:30 pm. 

And then elimination rounds on Sunday morning and afternoon concluding at 4 pm. 

The Debate Team fielded 13 competitors across four divisions of competitive debate. In the novice category freshman Caitlin Hurlbut was first speaker and finished in the top eight out of twenty-nine individual competitors. 

Syndney Collier also received a fourth-place speaker award in the novice category. 

In the Junior Varsity division, Junior Violet Webber finished in the top eight out of twenty-seven individual competitors. 

In the Varsity division, Junior Emma Busby was fifth speaker finishing in the top sixteen out of forty-eight competitors. She also posted a perfect 6-0 record in preliminary rounds. 

Scot Loyd finished as a finalist and fourth speaker out of field of twelve in the professional division. 

Collectively the team narrowly missed first place to Mississippi State University but beat out a perennial favorite Louisiana State University Shreveport to take second place in tournament sweepstakes. This is a great start to our season as we pursue a National Championship. Thank you all for your support. 

Coin shortage: Lincoln to be killed again?

Courtesy of Jayden Milton/The Bison

 Zoe Charles

News Editor

The United States has used the same billing and coinage system for many centuries; however, due to the COVID pandemic and national coin shortage occurring simultaneously, economists and average consumers are wondering just how necessary some of these coins are. 

Is it time for the penny to no longer be produced?

The U.S. mint, which is responsible for the production of coins, found themselves adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic just as many other businesses were.

According to USA Today, staffing at the mint has decreased, which many believe to have contributed to the coin shortage.

 While this perspective does have some truth to it, according to the Federal Reserve’s website, “[b]usiness and bank closures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins. 

“While there is an adequate overall amount of coins in the economy, the slowed pace of circulation has reduced available inventories in some areas of the country.”

In other words, the coin shortage is not a result of the decreased employment within the mint, but rather caused by decreased employment from many entities that makes for less efficient business.

The Federal Reserve also stated on its website that, “[t]he Federal Reserve is working with the U.S. Mint and others in the industry on solutions. As a first step, a temporary cap was imposed on the orders depository institutions place for coins with the Federal Reserve to ensure that the current supply is fairly distributed. 

“In addition, a U.S. Coin Task Force was formed to identify, implement, and promote actions to address disruptions to coin circulation.”

The website continues saying, “[s]ince mid-June, the U.S. Mint has been operating at full production capacity, minting almost 1.6 billion coins in June and is on track to mint 1.65 billion coins per month for the remainder of the year. 

 “As the economy recovers and businesses reopen, more coins will flow back into retail and banking channels and eventually into the Federal Reserve, which should allow for the rebuilding of coin inventories.”

While the US mint is on the path to financial recovery, the coin shortage did bring more attention than ever to the movement to discontinue the penny. 

According to usmint.gov, it costs $0.0168 to produce a singular penny, or almost double its monetary value.

In addition to the production costs, according to retirethepenny.org, “[. . .] Walgreens and the National Association of Convenience Stores [found that] using pennies wastes 120 million hours of time per year in cash transactions with customers and retailers. While ousting a part of American economic tradition seems ill-advised, the United States would not be the first country to get rid of their smallest coin unit.”

According to retirethepenny.org, “The US would join a growing list of post-industrial countries that have eliminated the penny including Canada, Denmark, Australia, and Ireland. 

 The United States Department of Defense discontinued use of the penny at all overseas military bases more than 30 years ago.”

Military bases overseas now round up to the nearest nickel at base-exchange stores.

One country that ceased production of their version of the penny was Canada back in 2012.

According to the Canadian Mint’s website, mint.ca, “[t]he decision to phase out the penny was due to its excessive and rising cost of production relative to face value, the increased accumulation of pennies by Canadians in their households, environmental considerations, and the significant handling costs the penny imposes on retailers, financial institutions and the economy in general. The estimated savings for taxpayers from phasing out the penny is $11 million a year.”

It is important to note that the phasing out of the penny does not affect electronic transactions, only cash and  coin based purchases.

 Mint.ca also stated, “pennies can still be used in cash transactions indefinitely with businesses that choose to accept them,” meaning that while the pennies ceased to be produced, their value will still remain.

While Canada has proved successful without the use of the penny, many are still questioning the possible ramifications for the United States and its monetary circulation.

 When asked about the possible effects on U.S. consumers, Dr. Craig Walker, Wheeler Professor of Economics at Oklahoma Baptist University said “[e]liminating production and use of the penny would have almost no effect on the U.S. financial system. 

“The handling of currency is a cost to the financial system. In dollar-value terms, most transactions in financial markets are electronic so elimination of the penny would have no effect on those transactions.”

 Walker continued, “[t]here are a large number of transactions that involve the use of coins or currency but the total value of those transactions is relatively small compared to the total value of all the transactions in the financial system. 

 “With no pennies, the coin and currency transactions would cost less for the financial system to process with little to no negative effect on consumers.”

 In terms of other benefits,  Walker also said that, “If [the United States’] eliminate[s] the usage of the penny [. . . consumers] would be able to round down half the time.” And while there are “transaction fees and infrastructure costs associated with cashless transactions,” it would ultimately lead to a decrease in theft and an increase in convenience for most people.

 While this seems to be in the best interest of most consumers, Walker does acknowledge the fact that groups with a lower purchasing power could be more negatively affected by the discontinuance of the penny.

“As with many changes like this, the distribution of the costs and benefits of the reduced use of coin and currency would be unequal. High and middle-income households already use relatively little cash. 

 Low-income households often do not have banking relationships so they rely on cash transactions and might face higher costs as the acceptance of cash decreases,” Walker said.

To learn more about the penny visit http://www.usmint.gov.


OBU Student Government Association elections

Zoe Charles

News Editor

This past Wednesday, Sept. 9, elections were held for Oklahoma Baptist University’s Student Government Association, often known as SGA. 

The elections welcomed six electors for senator at large, two international senators, five freshman class senators and a freshman class president and vice-president. 

The senator at large position is targeted at candidates looking to represent the entire OBU population, rather than a specific class. 

According to an email sent out by OBU SGA, “the roles, responsibilities, and privileges of Senators-at-Large are identical to that of the Class Senators,” meaning that their duties are not vastly different overall. 

 In regards to the international senator position, OBU’s SGA email went on to say that “[t] hey shall serve as full and equal members of the Senate. [. . .] [t]he roles, responsibilities, and privileges of international senators are identical to that of the Class Senators. 

Students eligible for international senator seat must either hold an F-1 visa or be a child of an international missionary.”

Freshman class senators and freshman class president and vise-president are elected to represent the freshman class respectively. 

In terms of the overall SGA organization, it is branded in its constitution as an organization “existing to serve those on Bison Hill.” 

This comes with a responsibility to promote change and growth throughout the Bison community. 

Even if OBU students are not involved in SGA, it is still very important for students to be aware of their candidate options in order to vote accordingly. 

When asked about why SGA is important for all students and not just those who are members, SGA student body president, Gavin Yoesting said “[t]he Student Government Association allocates a portion of each individual’s tuition, called a student life fee, that funds events, initiatives, and services for students. 

“Through SGA elections, students are voting for leaders who will determine where their money goes and a number of issues that affect campus life.”

 Yoesting wants to remind students “[t]o make effective, tangible change on Bison Hill, I encourage you to vote for the representative that reflects your vision for our campus!” 

When asked about what changes and opportunities are to come through SGA in the Fall 2020 to Spring 2021 school year Yoesting said, “Our Administration is excited to have an SGA that is open and transparent, foster community and compassion, and seek progression over perfection,” he said. 

“We plan to expand SGA’s influence and create physical, visible changes on Bison Hill. Hopefully in the fall, you will see White Fox Scooters coming to campus for an eco-friendly, sustainable form of enjoyment and events that will pique your interest!” 

 Elections results will be revealed soon. 

To learn more about OBU SGA go to https:// http://www.okbu.edu/student-life/organizations/sga.html or follow their Instagram @obu_sga 

Hurricane Laura hits Louisiana, Texas

Courtesy Photos/The Bison

Matthew Gower

Assistant News Editor

Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana and Texas early Aug. 27, leaving destruction and devastation to the residents in its wake.

The Category 4 storm impacted much of southern Louisiana and southern Texas with power outages, flooding and evacuation orders.

The death toll is currently 22 in Louisiana and five in Texas, with search efforts still underway.

 Prior to Hurricane Laura, Louisiana and Texas prepared for the storm by activating members of the National Guard to be ready for relief efforts.

 This is the first time Louisiana’s entire 3,000-member National Guard would be activated in eight years, last since when they assisted with the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.

According to CNN, “people need to heed the warnings they have been given to evacuate,” Louisiana Gov.  John Bel Edwards said.“We do believe there will be extensive search  and rescue after this storm.”

By Aug. 26, around 1.5 million Texas and Louisiana residents were told to evacuate through mandatory and voluntary orders.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived to assist, evacuating residents while following safety precautions for the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with CNN, Mike Steele, communications director at the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said, “What’s being done on a state level, instead of picking them up and taking them to state-operated shelters, they’re being picked up and taken to hotel rooms because of COVID concerns. We’re trying to avoid congregate sheltering.”

In Houston, Texas, similar efforts were taken with some evacuees moved to hotels instead of state-operated shelters.

Some are being told they can no longer stay at the hotels and to call a 1-800 number to make other arrangements in different areas of Texas for the time being.

With many homes  destroyed and some still intact but without electricity or water, evacuees and their families are trying to figure out where they can or should go next.

As of Sept. 4, more than 183,000 customers remain without electricity, according to the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

FEMA and Red Cross are working with The Texas Division of Emergency Management to assist evacuees moving forward.

Other organizations are working on relief projects and donations to aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, including Project Hope, Samaritan’s Purse and many others.

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief teams are also currently assisting in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with a group of 60 volunteers.

According to Don Williams, Oklahoma Baptist’s Disaster Relief state director, they hope to increase the number of volunteers to around 100 for these efforts.

According to their website okdisasterhelp.org, “this team of volunteers has received 75 work orders, involving cleanup with tree limb removal, and 15 of the orders have already been completed.”

“We are bringing our large generator to bring light to the church, which seems so fitting. We have a partnership with Red Cross and will be feeding those impacted,” Williams said.

The team is making thousands of meals a day for residents. To follow COVID-19 safety precautions the residents stay in their cars and the meals are brought to them as they line up around the church.

The Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief team was the first of many teams sent to Lake Charles with others in the Southern Baptist Convention joining the relief efforts as well.

According to their website, Oklahoma Disaster Relief, formerly the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), formed their disaster relief ministry in 1973 with a plan  that included “financial aid, immediate emergency assistance and repairing/rebuilding as necessary and requested.

The first response given  financially was in North Central Oklahoma (Enid area) when flash flooding destroyed much property.

A free-will offering was taken in churches throughout the state and over $25,000 was divided among all victims (individuals and churches). [The organization has] over 5,000 trained members and are organized into five geographic zones throughout the state.”

“Volunteers also can provide water purification, mobile showers and laundry, chain saw debris removal, mud-out, ash-out, child care and medical assistance,” according to their website.

 To donate to the Disaster Relief effort or undergo volunteer training to join the project, visit their website okdisasterhelp.org.

Volunteer training takes place Sept. 12, Oct. 17 and Nov. 7.

Pre-registering for training is required.

OBU welcomes Winkler as Green and Gold Gala speaker

green gold gala_courtesy.jpg

Courtesy Photo / OBU

Actor Henry Winkler is well known for his role as Fonzie on the TV show

Koal Manis

Assistant News Editor

Tuesday, Mar. 3, OBU hosted its annual Green and Gold Gala, in downtown OKC at the Bricktown Events Center.

The keynote speaker was Henry Winkler, an Emmy award-winning actor and author known for playing Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzareli on the show “Happy Days” and as a guest star on Arrested Development.

Additionally, Winkler has been working on a children’s book and has already published 35 other books.

Winkler was originally scheduled to attend the Green and Gold Gala of 2019 but was unable to attend, so OBU TV and other students were excited to hear from him as he spoke this year.

Senior journalism major and marketing minor Olivianna Calmes attended the Gala this year with OBU TV to cover the event for campus news.

Calmes noted that be- sides Winkler, OBU had others speak throughout the night, including John Holcomb.

OBU senior Misael Gonzalez prayed during the event for all attending, and Dr. Smallwood and OBU President Heath Thomas both spoke.

The Bison Jazz orchestra and the OBU a cappella group True Voice performed for the gala’s guests.

A silent auction was one of the gala’s main events.

The audience was given an opportunity to give donations at the end of the evening as well as through donation slips on the tables.

“The whole event is geared toward getting money for student scholarships,” Calmes said.

The audience was made up of mostly OBU alumni, but also a lot of prominent people in the Shawnee community and others interested in helping OBU’s mission.

The event helped show how impactful OBU students are.

The event showed a spotlight video of McKenzie Reece, a theatre major graduate who has since gone to New York and auditioned for theatre work there.

Reece was in attendance at the Gala. OBU showed through her story just one example of a successful OBU graduate.

“Henry Winkler talked about his struggle with dyslexia and his full journey of an acting career and he gave a really meaningful talk as well,” Calmes said.

Specifically, Winkler discussed the struggle of growing up with unsupportive parents and how he didn’t learn until later in life that dyslexia was part of that struggle.

He talked about getting bad grades and how hard it was for him to take tests as a child. Since then, Winkler has taken a stand for those who struggle with learning.

He also discussed achieving dreams through perseverance and dedication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students reflect on Holocaust & World War II J-term Trip

holo trip2_ courtesy dr spillman.jpg

Daniel Spillman / OBU

Several OBU students toured sites related to World War II and the Holocaust. They were led by Dr. Daniel Spillman and Dr. Christopher McMillion, both of whom have a passion for the era and hoped to share that with their students.

Loren Rhoades

Contributing Writer

This past J-term 20 OBU students took to Europe with assistant professor of political science Dr. Christopher McMillion and associate professor of history Dr. Daniel Spillman.

While on the study abroad trip, the students visited different sites heavily affected by World War II and the Holocaust.

“These are the kinds of trips that can be transformative,” Spillman said. “You can have classroom experiences like that, but these are transformative experiences where you encounter the physical space where major world events happened. Events that involve the moments where you connect your faith to how you live in a complicated world.”

To get the full experience of the history of World War II, the group toured different concentration camps as well as the homes of different historical figures, such as Anne Frank.

Their first stop was in War- saw, Poland, where they visited the site of an important 1944 uprising. Next, they traveled to Krakow, which was the highlight of the trip for most students due to the city’s vast architecture.

“It’s a magical city in a lot of ways, but it’s a city that has a very painful history,” Spillman said.

Krakow was the home of Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of over 1,000 Jews by employing them in his factory. During their time in Krakow, the group toured this factory, as well as the museum dedicated to Schindler.

Before leaving Poland, the students stopped by the infamous death camp known as Auschwitz. During the Holocaust period, this camp was designed to slaughter Jewish people en masse.

“I think Poland was really significant in this experience,” communication studies major Emily Boyne said. “Not only did it hold most of the concentration camps and the death camps, but it has so much of a significant part of the second world war that I never realized.”

After their journey in Po- land, McMillion, Spillman and the students took an overnight train to Prague, which is in the Czech Republic.

Prague is a city that wasn’t heavily bombed during the war due to Hitler wanting to keep it in an undamaged condition. His goal was to make it a location where he could host retreats.

From Prague, the group traveled to Munich, Germany, which served as Hitler’s home base. The city was also home to the first of the Nazi concentration camps, Dachau.

During their time in Munich, students had the option to take a day trip to either Salzburg, Austria or what is known as the Fairytale Castle, located in the Alps.

Next they headed toward Berlin, Germany, where they spent a couple of days touring a variety of museums and concentration camps.

“Berlin was utterly destroyed in World War II,” Spillman said. “So, it’s not like Prague and it’s not like Krakow. Berlin, Munich and Warsaw were cities that were just decimated.”

From Berlin, the professors and the students took a train to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, they had the opportunity to tour the homes of Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Boom, both of whom were influential figures during the Holocaust.

Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch Christian who believed that God had called her to shelter Jewish people in her home at the risk of her own life. Ten Boom, her father and her sister built a fake wall in their house that created a hiding place for Jewish refugees.

“Because she was a Christian woman acting out of her own convictions, it’s just a powerful story,” Spillman said. “So for the students to be in this space, it was just a fantastic experience.”

Before going on the trip, the students were required to read books related to the places they would visit, such as Anne Frank’s diary and ‘The Hiding Place’ by Ten Boom. The goal was for the students to tie what they had read to physical spaces they would visit.

Spillman and McMillion also held office hours in the hostels they stayed in each night in order to give students time to reflect on and discuss their experiences. Students said these discus- sion times were what really tied the trip together.

“This trip helped me realize how resilient and courageous people can be,” Boyne said. “Whether hiding in a two-foot-deep hidden room in Corrie Ten Boom’s house, a victim of Auschwitz, or a part of the Warsaw uprising, people were so courageous to risk their lives and protect others and their country. They would stand up for the sake of life knowing that they would die. That kind of courage and resilience is incredible and inspiring.”