One Body United provides avenues to serve

By Mikaleh Offerman, Editor-in-Chief

Despite the stress of finals and end of semester project, twenty plus students participated in One Body United Sat. Dec. 1.

“One Body United is an opportunity for students to engage with organizations in the Shawnee area so that they can encounter places they can plug into and serve long-term,” junior family science major Abigail Corff said.

Corff is the head of the Volunteer Action Committee for SGA, which is the committee in charge of organizing the event.

“We sent people to two organizations, Community Market and Cargo Ranch,” Corff said.

Traditionally, One Body United is the spring version of Serve Shawnee.

“This year we broke One Body United up into two separate events, one that happened Saturday and the other that will happen in Spring 2019,” Corff said. “It gave One Body United the opportunity to be a little bit smaller and more geared toward two service projects that were a little different speed and range than Serve Shawnee.”

Breaking it up into two events also helped further the ultimate goal of Serve Shawnee and One Body United: establishing long-term service relationships.

“There are a wide variety of places that students can begin to serve in our community, and we want students to be exposed to those ministries so that they can establish long-term volunteer relationships in the Shawnee area,” senator and committee member Jon-ny Ball said.

The work for organizing it was divided up among the Volunteer Action Committee.

“Organizing One Body United required a lot of teamwork and a lot of communication with people outside of OBU,” Ball said.

Senate members part of the committee are seniors Jonny Ball, Casey House, Dakota Carrington, juniors Luke Fornea, Noah DeMoss, Andrew Joyce, Grace Harvey, Casey Jackson, and Grace Hill.

“Different members of the Volunteer Action Committee contacted churches to find transportation for students, contacted different ministries so that we could see where to send volunteers, and even contacted the Gathering place to get everyone who volunteered a nice cup of joe,” Ball said.

Ultimately, the purpose of the event is to serve the community, which is an embodiment of both OBU’s mission statement and Jesus’ commandment in Matthew.

“Every one of us has had moments where we needed to be assisted and poured into and loved on and encouraged and served,” Corff said. “Each of us experiences these needs regularly and each of us has the ability to meet these needs for our neighbors. This is what serving the community is. This is what serving the community does.”

Like Corff, Ball also emphasized the importance of serving.

“God has placed us in this place for a reason, and we need to make sure that we honor Him by serving our surrounding community,” Ball said.

SGA encourages students to vote

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Features Editor

Two weeks ago, SGA manned a table in the GC for students to register to vote for the general elections coming up in November.

The table was set up for an entire week but is no longer available to students, although the link is still available to register, said SGA President Clayton Myers.

“All you have to do is text ‘TOGETHER’ to 40649,” Myers said.

The table was present for students to register and ask questions, as well as have conversations with the SGA members running the table.

“[Students] talked to us about registering, what that civic duty looks like and how to get an absentee ballot,” Myers said.

The event was also brought about because of a partnership with the ‘Because I Care’ campaign.

“We believe it’s our responsibility to vote, not because we love politics, but because we care about our faith and applying proven Biblical solutions to our nation’s problems,” according to becauseicareinc.com.

The ‘Because I Care’ campaign is a non-partisan, Christian movement which encourages students to vote.

The organization has plenty of reasons on their website for why students should vote and vocalize their opinions in the upcoming elections.

They even have a table for on-campus resources so that students can learn even more about their impact not only as a voter, but as a Christian.

This registration table is new as of this academic year and is a part of Myers’ and student vice president Nathan Floyd’s plans for improving students’ campus experience.

“We thought of this idea at the beginning of the semester,” Myers said. “There was no specific place we got the idea from, just knowing that we want to make sure students have a voice in our government.”

Plenty of students visited the table to talk to the SGA officers and to register for this year’s elections.

“The impact we want to have is actually just to get students to vote,” Myers said. “This is in a non-partisan movement, as in we aren’t working for any specific party. We just want to make sure students are encouraged to vote.”

In light of the registration table’s success in its first year, the officers said they are hopeful that the table will be a continual part of SGA’s presence on campus.

As citizens and as Christians, students are motivated to take a stand for what they believe in, especially when it comes to elections.

“We encourage students to vote to make your voices heard,” Myers said. “The time to speak out about who are leaders isn’t 20 years in the future; the time for that is now.”

Myers and Floyd talk campus reforms

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Features Editor

This 2018-2019 Academic year, SGA elected a new president and vice president into office: juniors Clayton Myers and Nathan Floyd.

The new inductees are still at the very beginning of their presidency, and the duo has big plans for the school and some changes they want to bring about.

“We are going to start improving homecoming by implementing new [activities] each year which will make homecoming more enjoyable for not only alumni, but current students as well,” Myers said. “This year we will have our First Annual Homecoming Parade sponsored by SGA.”

By adding this new and exciting event to the roster for homecoming weekend, they are hoping to extend their reach to a wider audience.

“We want to be able to bridge the gap between students and alumni,” Floyd said.

Along with the new additions to homecoming, chang-es involving communication between the SGA staff and students are being implemented as well.

By reaching out and connecting with their immediate audience, they can have a better grasp of what the students are asking of SGA.

“We also want to make sure that the students at OBU have a more open relationship between the SGA and the student body as a whole,” Myers said. “We have an office in the lower GC that people sit in a lot of the times. We want students to stop by and talk to us and to hear of what we are doing on campus.”

Not only do Myers and Floyd want to make connections with the students and alumni, they also want to specifically reach out to the student-athletes here at OBU and show them some appreciation for their hard work.

“Whether that be through going to their games or becoming their friend off of the field/court, we know that athletes deserved to be treated like students, too,” Floyd said.

With all of these changes in the works, students may wonder what drove Myers and Floyd to pursue their presidency with these ideas and why they’re so passionate about them. The two connected fairly easily when it came to their campaign.

“I approached Nathan last semester around February just to discuss with him ideas I had and asked what his thoughts on running with me would be,” Myers said. “We’ve known each other since freshman year, and I knew that he was someone who had vision for this campus as well.”

Myers and Floyd said they have big plans for their year of presidency on Bison Hill and are both confident and positive about what’s to come for the community around them.

“I am so excited about the diverse group of students we have in SGA this year, and I can already see great things brewing this year on campus,” Floyd said. “As chief of staff, Tyler Koonce, would say ‘Our future is so bright, you’re gonna need to your shades on.”

SGA presents Seven Who Care awards to faculty

By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor   (Courtesy photos/PR Department)

With impending deadlines and looming assignments, tensions will rise. Having faculty who care can make a major difference.

Student Government Association handed out the Seven Who Care Awards Wednesday, April 11 during Hyde Park Chapel.

The award recipients were Dr. Christopher McMillion, assistant professor of political science, Dr. Lindsey Panxhi, assistant professor of English, Dr. Michael Dean, associate professor of music, Benjamin Baxter, assistant professor of animation and motion graphics, Dr. Alan Bandy, Rowena R. Strickland associate professor of New Testament, Megan Smith, assistant professor of nursing pediatrics and Melissa Stroud, assistant dean of students.

“The purpose is to recognize faculty and staff who have made an extraordinary contribution to the campus community and have greatly impacted students/left a last-ing impression,” Hunter Doucette, president of SGA, said.

Over 30 people were nominated and some had even been nominated up to five times. After the student body nominates a staff or faculty member, SGA then votes on the nominees during a senate meeting.

“While there is not a set criteria, we usually consider first those nominated multiple times, and those nominated by a wide array of students,” Doucette said.

“For example, if an English professor is nominated by students who are math or science majors, and is also nominated by English majors, it is clear this professor has made a difference in several students’ lives. Their impact goes beyond their immediate sphere of influence.”

The Seven Who Care awards are a way for the student body to recognize the OBU staff and faculty that have made an impact.

“It is incredibly difficult to narrow the list down to seven,” Doucette said. “If it was called the 70 Who Care Award, we’d have 70 nominees that deserve recognition.”

“Fantastic.”

That’s the word that came to mind when Professor Baxter found out he was a recipient of the Seven Who Care award.

“It means a lot that students picked me,” he said. “I don’t get nominated for much.”

Baxter has been at OBU for two years and has used his time in the classroom and on the field to connect with students.

By teaching photography, Baxter has had the opportunity to meet students that are from a wide variety of majors. He has also uses intramural sports, like ultimate frisbee and ping pong, to meet the students on Bison Hill.

“It’s nice to be able to connect with students in another kind of way,” Baxter said.

SGA hosts third Let’s Talk event

By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor    (Photo by Jonathan Soder/The Bison)

Anxiety for an upcoming test, an awkward eating schedule, or depression over a relationship are common issues many college students face.

However, these issues also impact a student’s overall mental health.

OBU students gathered Tuesday, March 13, at 3:30 to discuss the topic of mental health. Throughout the night, students were able to ask questions to a board of panelists who spoke from their areas of expertise.

Panelists included Dr. Paul Donnelly, assistant professor of criminal justice, Dr. Tara Signs, director of Marriage and Family Therapy Clinical, Dr. Christopher McMillion, assistant professor of political science, Dr. Robin Brothers, assistant professor of nursing, and Mr. Mason Phillips, an adjunct professor and OBU alumni.

“Let’s Talk at OBU should serve as a model for our country in how to have these conversations,” president of SGA Hunter Doucette said. “I find one of the hardest things to do, is to make others care about something that doesn’t directly touch them. Let’s Talk opens the eyes of students in many regards, to issues that they may never have been familiar with. Let’s Talk has the potential to create advocates.”

Mental health covers the emotional, psychological and social aspects of life. How one feels, thinks, acts and responds to stress, all relate to mental health. A variety of factors can contribute to the state of someone’s mental health, whether it’s brain chemistry, life experiences or family history.

“I think if we can begin to talk and understand it, people can make informed decisions about things they do in their life and how they respond to the stressors of life, I think everyone’s better served,” Donnelly said.

“As Christians, I don’t think we recognize, and are sensitive enough, to what goes on on campus. There are kids who are really struggling to a variety of issues. If we can talk about it and not make it a taboo subject, in that it’s okay to admit that you have a problem, that you have an issue and know where you can get help.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 50 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their life.

Mental health has always been looked down upon throughout American history and has had a negative stigma attached to it.

“I’ve seen over the years how mental health has been increasingly criminalized,” Donnelly said. “For example, the largest mental health facility in the state of Texas is the Harris County Jail. In other words, there are more people receiving mental health treatment in jail than in any place else in the entire state,” he said.

“My direct experience is seeing the criminalization of mental health. My concern, however, has grown because of experiences with family and friends who’ve wrestled with some serious mental health issues and how that impacts on families and their life [structure].”

OBU’s Student Government Association started the Let’s Talk sessions last semester and hopes to have another one before the spring semester is over. The hope is to not only discuss more issues in the future, but revisit some covered in the past.

“It is important for student government to sponsor these events because we represent a diverse population and the issues we discuss affect particular groups differently,” Doucette said. “Therefore, it is vital firstly, for the sake of community at OBU, to understand how these sensitive subjects are viewed through various lenses,” he said.

“Secondly, it provides students with the necessary knowledge to engage in public discourse and effectively communicate with those outside of OBU. Christians need to be on the frontlines seeking justice. These events better equip students to do just that.”

Donnelly said he enjoys the Let’s Talk sessions because he sees the power behind students who are becoming not only educated on these sensitive issues, but also are motivated to take action.

“The greatest impact I’ve seen as a result of Let’s Talk is OBU students being able to have civil discourse on issues that usually divide our nation,” Doucette said.

“Students are more prone to listen to one another and by doing that, are able to see that there is much more in common than what separates. These conversations do not end once students walk out the door. Issues are being discussed in the dorms, in the GC, in the caf, in the classroom.”

OBU offers free therapy sessions to all OBU students, staff and faculty. The OBU Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic is located on the first floor of Shawnee Hall. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.