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INSIDE THEVISTA University of Central Oklahoma • Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 2 • Column . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 3 • Bicycle Bill . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 4 • Graduates . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 6 • Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 8 • Sports . . . . . . . . . . . PAGES 9 & 10 Vista Sports takes a look at two more future MIAA Rivals PAGE 7 THURSDAY • April 26, 2012 The Student Voice Since 1903 WWW. UCO360.COM Funeral Services A MAJOR NOT EASILY EXPLAINED Ben Luschen Staff Writer UCO student Emily Armstrong has a hard time explaining her major to other people. “I usually get an ‘Ohh,’ and then they try to find the nearest exit,” Armstrong said. “Either that, or they ask a thousand questions.” If people react strangely to Armstrong’s area of study, Funeral Services, it’s likely because they’ve never heard of anything like it. It is a program so rare that only 55 other schools in the nation offer anything similar to it. UCO currently has the only Funeral Services program in the state and is one of four schools in the nation that awards a Bachelor’s degree in the field. Often labeled as grim or even sadistic, funeral service is more science than sinister, department chair John Fritch said. “The embalming procedure is very surgical,” Fritch said. “There’s no ‘Eww, you’re draining blood.’ Yeah, you are draining blood, but you’re making a very small, precise incision.” In addition to being an informed and methodological process, funeral service is also highly technical and requires sufficient knowledge in a variety of sciences, as student Dustin Nugent explained. “You don’t realize how much chemistry is in this stuff,” Nugent said. “People are like, ‘Oh, it’s just a trade school craft.’ No. Come take our classes.” Students in the major must also be familiar with biology, anatomy and pathology, all of which culminate into the science of embalming, the process of temporarily preserving human remains. Though the study of science usually brings to mind a lot of book work, the Funeral Services department takes a much more hands on approach to learning. Jackie Garmon, administrative assistant in the department, says Funeral Services has three cadavers delivered to the school every semester for use in their restorative art and anatomy classes. For some, cadavers have a creepy reputation, but Garmon says their In this September 17, 2010 file photo, Funeral Services majors Carolyn Smith and Darrell Potter stop to show The Vista a Native American style casket in the Max Walters Memorial Selection room where Funeral Services students learn about casket merchandising. Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Vista presence in the department’s anatomy class has made it one of their most popular courses. “It’s very similar to any other anatomy class because you’re really learning about the body and how it works and how it processes and how it decays,” Garmon said. “However, we have a lot of medical and nursing students take this class because it is so thorough and because it’s such a small class size.” In the restorative art class, cadavers are used to learn facial reconstruction and to practice fixing a body’s hair, makeup, or clothing. It may be important for Funeral Services majors to know the science of the science of death, but Fritch says it is important to remember that they are serving the living, not the dead. “We don’t really work with the dead people that much,” Fritch said. “We work with the families, and that really is the truth.” Funeral service is as much about marketing and grief counseling as it is about chemistry. The department also has a mock selection room, which is stocked with a variety of coffins, urns and other funeral supplies. Recently Funeral Services was awarded a $10,000 grant, which they will use to refurbish the room, adding a flatscreen television and more technology in general. According to Garmon, this is to better replicate the modern funeral home experience, something the department goes to great lengths to do. “They do some mock family interviews in here, they bring the drama students in sometimes and they’ll act as the family,” Garmon said. “They kind of mess with them a little bit. They like to challenge them.” Though those in funeral service are supposed to help families deal with their grief, it is also a very personal thing for them as well. Armstong says she chose the major because it helps her come to peace with past loss. “For me, it’s a healing thing because of my past experiences with personal death,” Armstrong said. “I feel it helps to fix that.” Fritch says he entered the field for a similar reason. “When I was young, when there was death in the family, I was always included in it, so as I little kid I was always interested in what was going on and the emotions surrounding death,” he said. As Fritch says, death can bring out the best and worst in people, and he has seen his fair share of both. Working with homicides, suicides, accidents or the death of a child usually brings out the most raw and aggressive emotions in families, he says. This is in direct contrast to his experience with deaths that have occurred after a long and happy life. Families tend to treat these as occa- sions to celebrate their loved one’s time on Earth and try to forget how or why they left. Fritch said working with families like there usually lead to some of his best experiences. “The best part of being a funeral director is getting a letter from the family saying, ‘Thank you, I don’t know how we could have done this without you,’” he said. “And then a few years later they call back and say, ‘We’re only dealing with you.’” Fritch keeps a stack of such letters in his desk as a reminder of why he got into the business. Though he doesn’t currently work for a funeral home, as it would be a conflict of interest, he still handles some funeral service duties when a family directly requests him. For Fritch, it is this service to the living that is his greatest reward. He said, “When someone can actually say you made the most difficult time in my life a little bit easier, does it get any better than that?” Campus Organizations Prescription Drugs STUDENTS USE ADDERALL PARANORMAL ACTIVITIES TO FOCUS, STUDY, CLEAN Charlie Giles Contributing Writer The nationwide increase of the abuse of Adderall, an amphetamine salt-based drug prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and similar drugs, may be just as bad at UCO. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual number is higher,” Dr. Mike Herschel, coordinator of services of the UCO Drug Prevention office, said in response to the 2011 National College Health Association survey. “The big thing about Adderall abuse is that when people are taking it non-prescribed, they aren’t looking at the label for the dosage and side effects. Also, they don’t know what not to mix it with, like alcohol.” Business sophomore Jeff Cameron is prescribed the drug. “A lot of people take it during finals,” said Cameron. “I never take it because I don’t want to be reliant on it.” Mass Communications student Casey Hudson thinks that the drug helps her concentration. “I think it’s really useful. After taking it, I’ll study like crazy,” she said. “I’ll usually clean my entire room and get everything else done too because I’ll just be super focused.” The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has classified adderall as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse. Other drugs in this classification include cocaine, methadone, morphine, and phencyclidine (PCP). Drew Dodd, a broadcast junior, was afraid his Adderall prescription would lead to taking other drugs. “I was afraid of what it would make me do. It made me want to try other things and I realized it was getting out of hand. I just had to stop,” Dodd said. Despite the growing number of students using the drug, the Edmond police department is not trying anything new to curb the trend. “We are aware of the studies about this kind of substance abuse,” Sgt. Chad Langley said. “Right now we would prosecute anyone possessing Adderall without a prescription as we would any other illicit drug. We are aggressively trying to accomplish a diversion of this kind of use. It is usually handled by campus police.” Lieutenant Shirley Lanning of the UCO Police Department said she is aware of student abuse. She said the department is limited to what they can do proactively to limit the abuse. “If we know about it when it comes up in an investigation, we work it,” Lanning said. “It’s a bigger problem than what people want to accept.” Lanning said that while the problem is out of hand, the department is limited in what they can do. “We are extremely short-handed,” she said. Canada recently made the extended release version of Adderall available after banning it in recent years, according to Health Canada, a Canadian government public health department. The drug is legal only in the United States and Canada. Madeline Rainwater Contributing Writer Wandering through darkened buildings, UCO student Micah Highfill grasps for any feeling or hint that there may be something beyond what is tangible. Her pen in hand, she marks ones, twos, threes and fours until she reaches the last apartment—then fear sets in. Highfill, 32, is a senior psychology major from Okarche. She began the UCO Paranormal Society last year as a project for her Transfer Leadership Counsel scholarship group. The idea sprang from her skepticism for the paranormal and her fascination with the metaphysical. “I’m a skeptic. A skeptic should never tell you to accept something they say without first finding out for themselves,” Highfill said. She and several members of the society work through an Oklahoma based group called GHOULI to spend time investigating historical sites around the state that have been known for unusual or paranormal activity. “What better way to discover the truth than to explore it on your own?” Highfill said. GHOULI— Ghost Haunts of Oklahoma and Urban Legend Investigation-- is based in El Reno, Okla., where the Paranormal Society recently visited the historic Masonic Templea building from the late 1800s that houses several empty apartments above a old theatre. The students were given maps of the building and were told to explore. Participants weren’t given any background information about the building and its rooms. “We were supposed to rate each room as we went. A zero being that we didn’t feel anything and a 10 being that we were about to pee our pants,” Highfill said. After the investigation, participants gathered to exchange information on how they felt in each of the different rooms and what they scored. After their experiences were shared, the full history of the building was given. “People had some interesting feelings. There were a lot of similarities. For me it’s more learning about the history of the buildings that was kind of cool,” Highfill said. The Paranormal Society has gone on several investigations around the state in the past year. Their next destination-- Guthrie, Okla. The trip is still in the planning process, Highfill said, but she plans to continue the organization’s investigations beyond her graduation in May.

The Visit - April 26, 2012

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