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Contact Alecia Moquin 740.592.5262 or 740.591.6498

January 2014 Occupancy 18 Blick Ave.

Learn more at

30 meals per semester *Cost: $235 per semester

Flex Block 45 45 meals per semester $150 Flex Points per semester *Cost: $534 per semester

Destination Dining $450 Flex Points per semester *Cost: $419 per semester *2014-15 (proposed) price

I live uptown and have a meal plan. I love eating

77 N. Congress St.

4 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house. Great uptown location, large front porch, central air, washer/dryer, onsite parking for all residents.

Like new! 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath townhouses featuring spacious open & bright floor plan, onsite parking with garage, deck and much more. Close to everything…bike path, OU, O’Bleness Hospital, easy access to all major highways.

28 N. College St.

Incredible central uptown Athens location! 15 person occupancy, parking included.

375 Richland Ave. Apts. A & B 3 bedrooms, central air, large open kitchen/ dining/living area, onsite parking for all residents.

19 Herrold Ave. 22 Blick Ave.

• Prices as low as $235 per semester

Block 30

16 Blick Ave.

• Change Meal Plans to fit your schedule each semester

15 meals per semester $150 Bobcat Cash per semester *Cost: $295 per semester

30 Blick Ave.

• Alleviate the stress of finding a time/place to eat on campus

Block 15 Plus 21 Herrold Ave.

Culinary Services offers Meal Plan options specifically tailored to students living off campus. Available to upperclassmen, commuters and the entire off-campus student population.

Like new! 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath townhouses featuring spacious open & bright floor plan, onsite parking with garage, deck and much more. Close to everything… bike path, OU, O’Bleness Hospital, easy access to all major highways.

3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house located at the end of a quiet southside street, central air, washer/ dryer, plenty of offstreet parking.

5 Atlantic Ave.

80 Mill St. Apts. 1, 2 & 3 4 bedrooms, central air, onsite parking for all residents, private back patio, close to everything.

at Nelson because of the large variety of healthy options and multicultural foods. — Tony Abi-Rached, Ohio University, Junior

Providing quality residential rental properties to the Athens Community for over years! There is no 25 “original” fairy tale.

Floor plans, photos and more information at 3


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR It’s official: My four years at Ohio University are coming to an end. The beginning of the end is publishing the fourth issue of Backdrop magazine. It’s bittersweet handing this magazine over to the next executive staff. I have been with the magazine since I was a freshman, so Backdrop is a staple of my Athens experience. I’d be lying if I said it isn’t hard to give up.

This year, Backdrop has come so far. We have successfully integrated a publishing cycle that allows four magazines to be published without 4 a.m. library nights the day before we go to the printer. We have published more online content than we ever have in my four years on staff. The collaboration between the content, design and photo departments has created some of our best spreads to date. (Yes, I’m biased.) All of these things demonstrate to me that as hard as it is to move on, Backdrop is in good hands. The staff that works on this magazine refuses to settle. They were the magazine’s toughest critics this year because they demanded a standard of excellence for our readers. I know they will continue to enhance our magazine after I graduate. They know our readers deserve the best. I’m truly proud. Thank you for making “being Editor-in-Chief ” my answer to the question: What are you most proud of in your college career? Thank you for putting up with my meticulous ways and unwavering deadlines. Thank you for stepping up when I was out of town competing. Many people thought it was impossible for a studentathlete to run our organization. They would have been right had it not been for all of you. You stepped up in ways I could never have imagined. “You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss Until Homecoming,



Melissa Thompson



FEATURES » 20 Moving

Forward OU is known for its beautiful, aged campus, but it can become a serious challenge for those with disabilities.


Chris Longo & Sara Portwood


Nick Harley


Zak Kolesar & Kaitlyn Richert

24 they, delfin Meet a Two-Spirit individual on their journey to change university perceptions when it comes to the LGBT community.

CONTRIBUTORS Zachary Berry, Cheyenne Buckingham, Andrew Downing, Kyle Ellis, Brianna Griesinger, Michelle Jacobson, Anna Lippincott, Carly Maurer, Emily McIntyre, Alyssa Pasicznyk, Kira Remy, Dillon Stewart, Jake Zuckerman


Julianne Mobilian


COPY TEAM Colette Whitney, Cortni Dietz, Jacob DeSmit




Melissa Thompson Editor-in-Chief

Olivia Reaney ADVERTISING DESIGNER Morgan Decker MARKETING DESIGNER Karlee Proctor DESIGN TEAM Katelyn Boyden, Victoria Prichard, Jessica Shokler, Cassandra Fait, Alexa Hayes, Billy Anneken, Natasha Ringnalda, Kaitlyn Richert



Brice Nihiser




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Cover photo by Amanda Puckett Cover design by Karlee Proctor & Victoria Prichard

Follow us on Twitter @Backdropmag








River Park

River's Edge

River Annex

Come Tour the new Pool & Resident Life Center at River Park Today!

It’s a No-Brainer. 3 Great Properties Equals 1 Great Living Experience!

Kerry Crump





Becca Zook

MARKETING TEAM Alyssa Keefe, Jake Zuckerman


Jacob Betzner



Chris Manning


Daniel Rader

Virginia Ewen

Rose Troyer

Want an advertisement in Backdrop? Simply send an email to backdropadvertising@ to get started.

Interested in working with us?

Stop by one of our weekly meetings, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in Copeland 112.






The accepted tuition plan could affect current and prospective students who plan on graduating under or over the standard four-year course.

Bulls, Bears and Bobcats A selective internship prepares students for a future career in finance by trusting them to move millions of dollars in university investments.


Zak Kolesar



Angela Ignasky


Thursday, April 17th 8-10pm


Death of the Victory Lap

Visual Activism

One graduate student is on a mission for change as he arms at-risk youth in urban areas with cameras and inspires imaginative art.

Pranking Ohio

These two sophomores know how to ruffle the feathers of unsuspecting Bobcats with their antics.


Taste the Mediterranean

Discover the inspiration behind Salaam’s Arabian atmosphere and the festive cuisine that makes the restaurant an Athens favorite.

QUIZ » 30

What’s on Tap?



Living Together


Threads of Kula

From courting to cohabitation: These couples explain what it’s like to live in an unconventional arrangement. Balinese culture is brought all the way to Athens through an alumna’s collaboration between community and clothing.


Hot for Bartender » Roommates

These sexy bartenders bond together long after last call.


Sounds Like » Indigo Wild


Photo Story » In the Woodwork


Venture into the wild with Backdrop as the members of Indigo Wild discuss the rhyme and reason behind their style of music. Follow this photographer as she meanders through one sculptor’s breathtaking studio.

On The Web » Metal to the Petal

Embrace spring with these projects that blossom into artistic therapy for those with disabilities.


Exhibit A » Non-Malfeasance


Rant & Rage » Not Majoring in Mrs.

Read the creative work of a fellow student on campus and take the chance to submit your own. Brought to you be the letter “F”: Why this Backdropper is a strong, independent Feminist who challenges the idea of needing a man to succeed.

Which brew are you? Find out with our quiz!


Rub Some Dirt On It

In the shadow of football’s silent epidemic, dangerous consequences threaten players of all ages.







Left: Nick Wood Right: Scotty Russell



What’s the best prank you have ever pulled on your roommate/coworker? Scotty Russell: I walked in on Nick doing something in the kegger one time. I went upstairs. I came back down and told him, “Hey, Don’s pissed, I don’t know if he is going to have you working here much longer.” After that he worked his butt off the rest of the night. What was Nick doing? Nick Wood: I was with a woman downstairs. That’s all I want to say about that. What drink is your favorite to serve? NW: Mine’s a new one I made up. It’s called “The Mountain Dewy.” SR: I like making anything generic, like vodka Sprite, whiskey Coke [or] rum and Coke because they are real quick and easy. NW: Kind of like your girls. If your roommate were a drink, which would he be? NW: Scotty would be a Jäger Bomb, ‘cause he always blows shit up.’ SR: Nick would be more of a Ninja Turtle, specifically Michelangelo. What’s the best tip, besides money, that you have ever received? NW: I got a sour apple sucker and I really enjoyed it. I love candy. Didn’t you get a condom once? SR: I have received a condom, yes. I think it was from a guy though. How does your girlfriend feel about you being a bartender? SR: She’s typing right now, so… No, but seriously, both my relationships ended quickly because they were insecure.


Know an attractive bartender?

Email us at with your hot bartender suggestions.

Left: Alli Kelsey

THE C.I. What’s your favorite bar? Susie Rainier: We [my friends and I] usually go to “the triangle” — Stephen’s, Pawpurr’s, and JBar — but I’ll still end up at Pigskin!

Right: Susie Rainier


Do you have a favorite drink you like to make? SR: I guess I should say Black Widow, but I just recently started making The Red Death. Alli Kelsey: It’s, like, Soco Amaretto, Triple Sec, peach schnapps, and then orange juice and either cranberry juice or Grenadine. So, you guys live together. What’s it like, two bartenders living in the same house? How long have you guys been roommates? SR: Actually, last semester I was a student teacher and she would be gone at night. The C.I. is different because she works the floor serving, and we don’t have shifts like that. We’ve gotten on a similar schedule this semester. AK: We have different schedules, but it’s fun. We did a fundraiser for My Sister’s Place where we did a female bartender shuffle, and we hung out and talked the whole time and nobody knew we were roommates. The rest of the C.I. and Pigskin staffs were like, “How do you guys know each other?!” And I was like, “She’s my roommate!” Do you throw out more guys or girls? AK: We kick more guys out. But when we get girls to leave, it’s a scene. Like, if a girl’s resistant to leave, then the floor guy comes and gets me, since I’m a girl. There was this one girl: She didn’t pay for her shots, and, you know, she was just really drunk, and I told her, ‘Hey girl, your night’s over, you need to go home.’ And she was arguing with me and just wouldn’t leave. She put her hand on my wrist and I went nuts on her and made her cry. What’s your favorite bar? AK: The C.I. is definitely my favorite, but Pawpurr’s and The Crystal are second runners up. It’s funny because The C.I. is the first bar I ever went to; it was my first Thursday night out! Ever see people try to get together? AK: At closing time when the lights come on, you see all the drunken people and it’s like they’re searching for the last human being on Earth; it’s hilarious.

NW: Let’s just say I’m single for a reason now, but I used to have a girlfriend when I started bartending.


In the French “Cinderella,” she forgave her stepsisters and found good husbands for them.

In Grimms‘ “Cinderella,” both stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to fit into the shoe.



INDIGO WILD Sounds Like: Fleet Foxes, Local Natives

Your lyrics are both profound and symbolic while remaining simplistic. Could you explain how you write them? Chris Carter: That might actually be a question better suited for Garet. They are definitely very reminiscent of his personality and his personal experiences. Jason Winner: Garet’s very much a storyteller. When he’s writing songs, he doesn’t just want to convey some catchy tune, he wants people to feel something really tangible from the song. Garet Camella: We’ll write the music and get a feel for what it might represent thematically. And then we’ll kind of go off of that vibe and relate it to something that is actually real in our lives. It comes from real stuff, stuff that is actually happening, cause we’re trying to keep it pretty honest. There seems to be a tribal, natural atmosphere inter-


backdrop | Spring 2014

Besides The Ridges, what are some other bands that you have enjoyed playing alongside?

Seeing as you all have spent substantial time in both Cincinnati and Columbus, which city do you prefer?

Chris: Pomegranates. Desert Noises was an awesome show. We got to play with them in Cincinnati. We had a huge privilege to open up for Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s early on in our career at the Basement in Columbus.

Chris: Columbus. When we play a show in Cincinnati, we always get a ton of support. Really, it is a truly great city for music. But just as a city itself, I know me and Jason aren’t too fond of it. Michael: Both cities are amazing. But when we play shows in Cincinnati, I’m not trying to be biased, it’s a lot more audience reception. You can see people are really into it, more so in Cincinnati, and I don’t know why. Garet: Columbus is kind of a place of origin for us, for our music. So I think for me, it’s there where we can definitely grow. So your band has spent time with both Buckeyes and Bearcats, but what is your opinion of Athens?


Combining deep lyrics with satisfying rhythms, Indigo Wild’s stylized sound is a fascinating example of what a young talented band can accomplish. Producing a unique and vibrant sound is a goal that bands constantly strive toward. For some, it takes years to achieve. Even so, the members of Indigo Wild have been able to synthesize their own original sound, all while attending separate universities. With hypnotizing beats and insightful lyrics, each of Indigo Wild’s songs is a separate story. Backdrop was able to talk about the band’s sound, lyrics and experiences with its members, who each proved to be as interesting as the songs they develop together.

our instruments, and we’re applying that to the songs, breathing in new life.

woven into your music. How do you implement these exotic sounds into your songs? Michael Norris: I think that’s unexplainable. We don’t try to sit around and write something tribal. Chris: Once you add in a drum beat or some chanting vocals, a lot of the songs do give off that tribal feel that you’re talking about. Jason: I think it’s something that sort of turns out naturally. It’s all very organic. I just think it kind of happens and comes out as a certain natural atmosphere from all four of our personalities. How do you think your music has changed or evolved since you first began playing? Chris: Over the last three years, that’s something we’ve really strived to do with every song we write. How are we going to make this better than we were last year, better than we were a few years ago? Jason: We’ve done a couple of 180s. I found a CD the other day in my parents’ basement. One of the first few things we recorded, ever. I heard it in my car on the way home, and I was, like, amazed. Listening to that definitely taught me how far we’ve come as a band. Michael: We’re just now going back to the songs and using all of our life experiences and all the things that we’ve learned on

In Grimms’ “Cinderella,” doves pecked out the stepsisters’ eyes.

Garet: I think it is maybe even better than Cincinnati or Columbus. Everyone’s super nice and super supportive. We always look forward to going to Athens, probably more than any city. Michael: And people dance and they smile. They sing along. It’s really pretty cool. Jason: We played there for the first time a couple of years ago for The Ridges release show up at Donkey. We had never been to Athens. But we played that show, and people really seemed to have liked it. I feel like whenever we go to Athens, people are excited to see us and people are excited to have us there. Since the band is good friends with The Ridges, how did you meet them, and how would you describe your relationship?

“Pacific” is your first big release since 2011. Could you shed some light on the song’s meaning and development? Michael: We were originally going to do a three song EP. But we kind of decided we wanted to hold off on that, so we released “Pacific” by itself. Garet: Me and Michael wrote the song. And then one day we decided, “Okay. If we’re not going to release a full length CD, maybe we can release some new material that we can afford to record ourselves.” Just try to make it a really beautiful, simple song. So can we expect your next album anytime soon? And what can we expect from it? Michael: Once the writing part is done, it will be a couple months of refining the shit out of everything. Get it to a point where we’re happy with it. Jason: Essentially, where we are at right now is [where] all the ideas are there, the structures are there. It’s just now working on the songs and getting them exactly where we want them to be to make sure they are the best they possibly can be.

Michael: We met them at one of the first shows we ever played. That was at Clifton Heights Music Festival. They came up to us and we talked for a while. We just became good friends. Chris: Victor is the head of The Ridges. I met him in high school. We hung out a lot and talked about music and bands and stuff. And then we kind of grew apart. And then randomly in Cincinnati years later, we’re both part of our own bands, doing our own thing. It’s kind of a weird twist of fate that we’re both friends now and from our past together before. Garet: We all started off in a similar place. And now they’re at a point where they are going to break through to something super exciting.










Also in Grimms’ “Cinderella,” a hazel tree Cinderella watered with her tears provided her with the ball gown.



Death of the

Combined four-year total (2010-2014)



Is OU’s fixed-tuition plan the beginning of a new dawn in college affordability, or is it simply a way to end the “victory lap” and cut some students’ college marathon short? BY CHRIS LONGO, CHRIS MANNING AND ANNA LIPPINCOTT


s the saying goes, there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. But for many Ohio University students, there are two overwhelming uncertainties: graduation and the cost of attendance. OU isn’t alone. Universities across the country are looking at new ways to offer a rewarding college experience, one that won’t severely mortgage the future of the middle and working class. The latest trend in the ongoing battle with college affordability is a fixed-tuition plan, a pricing structure that guarantees first-year students the same annual tuition costs throughout their four years at a university. As of the 20122013 school year, more than 320 colleges and universities across the nation had switched to a fixed-tuition structure, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Ohio Governor Kasich More government funding John proposed a new plan looks ideal, but when more in 2012 that would tie half of taxpayer than one-half of students to statestay more than four years, subsidies aided universities the university continues with a school’s rate. to cash in on “victory lap” graduation Instead of schools tuition checks. getting funding based on the number of enrollees, funding is now an incentive linked to academic success. Governor Kasich’s commitment to changing how Ohio allocates its education funds has put universities across the state on notice for one simple reason: The amount of money colleges receive from the state is directly related to the number of students that graduate in four years. If the university could entice more students to graduate on time, funding will increase; however, that comes at a cost to the university. More government funding looks ideal, but when more than one-half of students stay more than four years, the university continues to cash in on “victory lap” tuition checks. OU President Roderick McDavis’ plan has been instituted and is branded under the name of improved college affordability, but the question remains: Will the plan do anything more than price out some of the lingering fifth and sixth year students?


backdrop | Spring 2014

OU has the third-highest six-year graduation rate amongst public schools in the state, yet within a four-year timetable, the university graduates 45 percent of its students. While OU’s four-year rate is comparatively well above other Ohio institutions, there’s clear room for improvement. Those students staying for more years won’t reap the benefits of fixed tuition because their rates will stay stagnant for only a four-year period, thus creating an incentive to graduate on time. To make up for the loss in finances per class, following years will see a higher tuition, and so goes the cycle. Additionally, the more government grants that are offered, the more that universities can get away with raising tuition. University officials tout the fixed-tuition plan as the first step toward fixing the problem. Others claim it’s too little, too late. Economics Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard Vedder has extensively studied the financial burden universities are putting on their students. While Vedder asserts that the fixed-tuition model is a commendable attempt to tie classroom success to state funding, the fundamental problem remains unfixed. “I think [fixed tuition] is a sensible idea. It does nothing, though, to deal with the fact that the tuitions are so high in relation to anything,” Vedder says. “Especially to your ability to repay those loans when you graduate.” For OU’s 2014 graduating class, if a fixed-tuition structure were in place at the start of their freshman year, the total tuition cost (not factoring in room and board or food expenses) would have been $38,148. Those students would have saved $1,855 off the price they actually paid, which, depending on how you look at it, is a game-changer for some and merely a small dent in a massive bill for others. The biggest boon for the fixed-tuition structure is giving students the privilege of knowledge. Before starting at OU, students will now know exactly what they will pay for the next four years. According to Vedder, “it gives certainty to students.” “They want kids to stick around for five, six years because that’s more tuition for them,” Vedder says. “If they structure it right, there may be an increased incentive for students to get out of here in four years rather than five or six.” Spencer Cappelli, a freshman studying journalism, has covered the tuition debate for OU’s student-run political In some versions of “Rumpelstiltskin,” he escapes on a flying soup ladle.



4 6 5



If OU had implemented the fixed tuition system in 2010:


For 2014 graduates, this would have made a difference of

$1,855 outlet, The New Political. In his coverage, he sees the fixedtuition model as a system that has the potential to favor the university and ultimately dispel the students the school is trying to help. “When people enter [college], they will be paying the same highly-inflated rate all four years,” Cappelli says. “So, even if it may balance out in the long run if you stay for four years, you are kind of paying a lot more upfront if you drop out after two years and don’t graduate. The university walks away with a lot more money and the student walks away with nothing.” While Cappelli says the university is making this move to be more transparent about its finances, he does note that this model will mostly affect students who are at a higher risk of leaving early. Those students just happen to already have a statistically lower graduation rate and come from poorer households. The median household income in the nation is roughly $50,000; OU in 2013 and 2014 costs in-state undergraduates $20,600 for tuition and room and board. When factoring in food expenses, an Ohio family making the median household income is paying almost half of their income in order to send one child to college. That makes loans a necessity if a middleclass student wants to receive higher education. In the last decade, the largest leap the average rate of annual growth of tuition, after being adjusted for inflation, is among public two-year institutions — colleges that are often gateways to higher education for the lower-middle and working class. When you factor in room and board, the growth rate for annual tuition among public four-year institutions has steadily risen to more than 4 percent over the last three decades. To address the possibility of schools hiking up tuition costs, Governor Kasich proposed a 2 percent cap for instate tuition increases. A potential drawback in Governor Kasich’s attempt to

stymie in-state tuition is that universities could choose to enroll more out-of-state or international students and raise their tuition costs. The university remains optimistic, though, and sees the program and additional government interest as a positive transition. Fixed-tuition committee members have designed the system to encompass not only tuition, but also university fees, room and board and any other charges. This way, a student’s costs remain virtually flat and free of surprises. Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Craig Cornell claims it will be one of the first programs to go beyond tuition, and he hopes it will be “precedent-setting in the nation.” “Everyone is very concerned about affordability. I think long term, the way that schools can offset that is the programs like we’re creating,” Cornell says. The university understands the affordability issue and acknowledges that fixed tuition is only a start. Cornell suggests other alternatives such as e-learning, improved focus on regional campuses and bachelor completion. These suggestions work as pathways to making OU more affordable. “Part of this is to get out ahead of [tuition increases] and create that bridge for students and families to be able to see that right up front: what those costs are, how the financial aid programs are going to hold their value through that process so they can make you know better decisions about borrowing, and preparing effectively for the costs,” Cornell says. Students want to have a great four years, but it comes at a hefty price. If they need to stick around for a fifth year, it becomes even more difficult when that victory lap has a $25K tag attached to it. After the system is implemented in 2015, it will be doing every potential student a favor. And if not? OU might be talking about another new tuition model designed to save students money in just a few years. b

In Grimms’ “The Frog King,” the frog is transformed when the princess hurls it against her bedroom wall.




s t a c Bob

Wall Street meets Court Street with the Ohio University Equity Group, where students are managing real money on the stock market while investing time in real work experience. BY DILLON STEWART | PHOTOS BY OUSEG GROUP


tudent organizations have always been the suggested method for students trying to build their resumes. Today, it is a necessity, as prospective employers want to see more than just a respectable GPA. Yet, the majority of groups on campus provide nothing more than empty qualifications. These organizations have fancy titles, hold weekly meetings and look good on paper but do little to provide members with useful knowledge or experience in their desired field. The Ohio University Student Equity Management Group (OUSEMG) is not one of these. Members of this organization do not just gradually gain real world experience—the group smacks them in the face the day they start applying. As one of the most prestigious and selective student organizations on campus, this particular organization catapults its members into the world of finance. Students expedite the curriculum and receive hands-on professional training. “They’re managing real money,” says Dr. John Stowe, finance professor and faculty advisor of OUSEMG. “Their education is real, it’s not out of a 10-year-old textbook.” OUSEMG began 12 years ago when the Ohio University Endowment Fund granted $100,000 to fund the group’s initial stock investments. Since then, the group has outperformed the stock market, based on the S&P 500 , 10 out of 12 years and grown a stock portfolio worth roughly $2.6 million. This feat is even more impressive considering they faced the great recession of 2008 in their seventh year. Though a faculty advisor and other entities oversee student actions, the group is largely independent. Allowing students the freedom to manage such a large amount of the university’s assets requires an enormous amount of trust between the students and faculty. But why should the university trust a group of college students with such a large amount of money? The answer lies in the rigor of the process and consistent diligence.


backdrop | Spring 2014

“They’re managing real money. Their education is real, it’s not out of a 10-year-old textbook.” Dr. John Stowe, finance professor and faculty advisor of OUSEG.

“The way we maintain that trust is by getting interns that we know we’ll be able to teach these things to and will be dedicated to the group,” says Srdjan Demonjic, a member of the OUSEMG executive board. Demonjic, a junior studying finance and business economics, is a clear example of the upward mobility the group offers its members. In just two years, he has worked his way up to a seat on the executive board, the highest position in the group. Before that, however, he went through the strenuous process of the Ohio University Student Equity Management Group (OUSEMG) Internship. Students interested in joining the group as an intern must first complete a paper application. The point of the paper application is to allow applicants to display an unwavering work ethic and a basic understanding of finance. Based on the paper application, the executive board invites the applicants that impressed the executive board to an in-person interview.

In the end of “The Frog King,” the princess is confronted with a handsome prince and the two instantly go to bed together.

Upon acceptance into the group, students begin a rigorous seven-week internship process, which prepares them for the work they will do as an analyst within the group. “We have our interns do the full report of a company, which an entire analyst team would usually do, completely by themselves. It’s tough and intensive, but it’s really rewarding,” Demonjic says. A full report, when not being completed by a sole intern, is constructed by a team of three to four members led by a head analyst. Each group begins with an assessment of the economy as a whole and look into each industry to see what is thriving, surviving or demising. Next, they narrow their scope by studying specific companies that they feel have potential for growth. The report highlights promising areas, as well as any areas for concern. With these initial findings in mind, they will pitch a company to the rest of the group as a prospective purchase. If the pitch sounds promising, the group sends the team on the more daunting task of completing a full report. Full reports can often comprise anywhere between 12 and 20 pages. This full report is a prediction of where the company will go. Each report constructs a target price. If a stock were to reach that target price, the group would then reassess to see if it is worth continued investments. Once the full report is complete, the group gives a final presentation of their conclusions. As an intern, like the full report, the presentation is given solo. This task can be disheartening, but Demonjic stresses that presentation skills are one of the most important things an intern, or any professional, can learn. Peter Rousseau, who completed his internship with the group last semester, remembers putting between 20 to 30 hours into his first presentation and still feeling unprepared. “My first presentation was a disaster. I had never presented something like that before in front of such well-informed

people,” Rousseau says. “I knew that no matter how much info I could cram in during the week, the people questioning me would know much more.” The entire process may seem intense, but it breeds professionalism in the students. Members learn skills that cannot be taught in a classroom, and they essentially learn the finance curriculum before other students in the college of business even take their first class. These are “soft-skills,” as Srdjan calls them, like business etiquette, proper business attire and, most importantly, presentation skills. Because of this expedited learning curve, the group expects its members to become leaders within the College of Business (CoB). Students know when equity group members are in their class, because they are engaged participants, and apply the knowledge they have to take advantage of each class they take. These skills prepare members for one of the most daunting semesters in the CoB: the infamous Integrated Business Cluster. “We expect our members to be leaders within their cluster class and within their cluster groups,” Demonijic says. “We pride ourselves on the fact that our members take the initiative to be out there and use their skills to lead within the College of Business.” The saying goes, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Members of the group recognize the benefit of being in a room with people that are pushing themselves to their maximum potential on a daily basis. “Honestly, what surprised me the most was how much I grew up in a short amount of time,” Rousseau adds. “Being around all people who take their education seriously, both in the classroom and outside of it, really helped me set a goal to be as successful as possible.” b *S&P 500 is stock market index of U.S. equities. It is designed to reflect the risk and return characteristics of wealthy businesses in the large capitalization universe. (

Nazis tried to appropriate Grimm’s “Children’s and Household Tales” for their own ideological purposes.




activism VISUAL


Camilo Perez gave the disadvantaged a voice in his hometown of Medellín, Colombia. Through his use of critical storytelling, Perez hopes to inspire change and community activism in this college town.


he Spanish meaning of the name Camilo is “attendant for the temple.” For one Ohio University activist, this definition holds true. Camilo Perez, a first-year doctoral student at the School of Media Arts & Studies, has dedicated half of his college experience to visually giving a voice to the voiceless. Growing up in Medellín, Colombia, the second-largest city in the country, Perez turned his undergraduate thesis at the University of Antioquia into an exposé of violence in his hometown. Perez’s work with the youth in Medellín, which resulted in the creation of the visual representation project called Pasolini en Medellín (PEM), has also transposed with his work at Ohio University. But before making his way to Athens, Perez and his work with PEM started to catch wind. He and his close friend, PEM co-creator Lucas Perro, rounded up a staff of 16 diverse minds to push the boundaries of the collective experience that is PEM. Artists, communications and anthropology students, community leaders and the involved youth made up the Pasolini thinkers. Although the team produced over 60 videos, Perez never lost sight of whom they were working for: the children. “Even when the outcome seems to be the video, that’s not the ultimate outcome of the process,” Perez says. “It’s about the ways in which the participants can become actively engaged in not only the social construction of reality, but by being transformational actors within their community.” Even though Perez had no idea he was about to cross his anthropology final over to an innovative communications project, he quickly figured out PEM was arming the young people of Medellín with a media outlet of their own. He agreed with the youth that their struggles in the neighborhoods were going unnoticed by the elders. That anthropological way of thinking combined with vi-


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sual representation had Perez immersing himself in communications: exactly what brought him to Ohio University for his master’s and doctoral degrees. By interviewing the kids and challenging them to ask new questions about their daily lives in front of a camera, Perez was unknowingly doing the work of a journalist. “It’s all related to how the media was representing the young in the ’90s and the beginning of the century,” says Perez, co-creator of PEM. “So, for instance, we inherit the whole stereotype of the drug cartels, so the young people were considered violent; all of them were bad people, so to speak.” In an area full of neighborhoods guarded by different gangs, children are often targets but get little to no clout when presenting their thoughts to the elders. Perez’s vision to have the kids rethink their everyday lives, put it on film and show it to the senior leaders in the community moved an idea rooted in anthropology to one sprouting in the field of communications. “If there’s no resistance, then what’s the point? We have to keep active and try to resist that kind of violence symbolically,” Perez says. “The violence that is happening is why we keep doing it. The kids, at some point, can become targets.” And they have. Perez eerily recalls violent, everyday situations in Medellín that occurred during and after the production process, making his videos “full of ghosts.” The main cause for the youth becoming unnecessary targets stems from the territorial gangs presiding in the neighborhoods of Medellín. The kids know the risk they are taking when they cross over from one district to the other, but they also realize that nothing will change unless they speak out through PEM. The slogan for PEM, “Disarming the minds,” grew from Almost all 210 fairy tales end in “happily ever after.”

the premise that if violence exists on the outside, it exists in the mind. To neutralize this engrained thought, Perez proposed to those participating in PEM to think differently by becoming active storytellers in their communities and doing it across a new medium. The result of the organization crossing visual anthropology with video production was a diverse way of communicating a message that had started to become recognized worldwide. Perez found his way to OU in 2011 because of the appeal of the Communication and Development Studies program, which he thought would provide him with an answer as to why his methods in Medellín were successful. Without the necessary funds to attend college in another country, OU helped Perez financially with multiple scholarships. Upon earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, Perez was determined to earn a master’s in communication at OU. Much like his work as an undergrad, it didn’t take long for Perez to make his mark with a camera on campus. Upon teaming up with Jenny Nelson, an associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies, for the Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis (PD/MS) Narrative Project in 2012, Perez applied his storytelling tactics in front of a camera once again. “He does have a real presence, but the way that he can disappear behind the camera and let people talk…there’s just something about him that makes people talk,” Nelson says of Perez. Bringing light to a situation that doesn’t receive the exposure it needs to be heard and corrected is something that Perez has …The exception being “The Children Who Played Butcher With Each Other.”

been doing for over a decade. Joining forces with Nelson has given Perez another opportunity to spread a positive message through the lens of a camera. Their relationship produced meaningful rewards in the form of their progressive work. At the 13th Global Fusion Conference in November, an annual competition that promotes academic excellence in global media and international communication studies, Perez and Nelson submitted two PD/MS narratives, “Jenny’s Radar” and “Chuck’s Truck,” for awards in the video portion of the competition. This time, Perez’s broadminded work elicited praise in a tangible form. Eleven videos have now been created under the PD/MS Narrative Project, and Perez, along with Nelson, has been at the head of them. “When he gets his Ph.D, he’ll be the most marketable human on the planet,” Nelson says with a laugh. While studiously working through a tough Ph.D. program, Perez is still looking to positively change the way people look at the world by continuing to work with Nelson and find other ways to get the youth involved in Athens. “I’m a doer. I like to do things,” Perez says. In the end, there is no glory that Perez seeks. His passion for critical storytelling brought him to one of the top communications schools in the country, and his goal of bringing communities together with activism still hasn’t changed. “Trying to work collectively and come back with something is meaningful in the sense that it will restitute this idea of sharing, of working together,” Perez says.





some that it became a reality.” The crew of the show currently includes only seven people. A handful of editors and cameramen make up most of the crew who accompany Conrath and the main prankster, Bobby Levine, who is also a sophomore. Infamous for having held a whole “prank week” as a freshman, Levine is clearly no stranger to pulling pranks on unsuspecting victims. “It was great. I got one of the kids on my floor to think he got arrested,” says Levine, as he recalls a prank that still makes him proud. Since the well-known Miami prank, the group has filmed a handful of others. Another popular prank had Levine astonish fellow students around campus when he posed as a psychic and claimed he could “read” them. After reciting the other students’ names, hometowns, birthdays and the occasional interesting fact, Levine left the students in bewilderment and shock. How’d this prank work? Facebook, of course. “We walked around until we saw somebody we knew the name of, and I would pull out my laptop,” Conrath boasts. “We would search their name, and then we would have Bobby approach them and act like a psychic.” Having shot several episodes, the crew must now decide how to appeal to a wider audience. Contacting and planning pranks to attract greater Internet figures and groups is on the agenda for Pranking OHIO’s crew moving forward.

Social media plays a large role in the marketing and distribution of the crew’s hard work. Pranking OHIO is on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The crew also has a website where people can view the show’s content and upcoming pranks. Its members are developing a new facet of the site called the “Prank Bank,” where students around campus can submit a request for a certain prank and even request a prank be done on people they know. The Pranking OHIO team is really hoping that this idea will catch on so that they can perform pranks for others as well. Whether it’s their love of pranking people or the technical work that they are getting to experience behind the scenes, the crew behind Pranking OHIO is always working hard. Weekly meetings are held to discuss possible new pranks that could be pulled, as well as ways to improve the quality of the show. Feedback from students and audiences across the web has been extremely positive and motivating for the crew. Nevertheless, with the popularity for Pranking OHIO on the rise, the crew hasn’t gotten away from the most basic element of it all. “We’re just a group of friends pulling pranks, wanting to make people happy,” explains Dalton Steinbrook, a crew member who helps with editing and filming. “We just want people to smile.”

Why so serious, OU? These merry pranksters are catching Bobcats off-guard and mining the reactions for maximum laughs.


t was no surprise that late in the fall semester — when Equipped with a bucket of water balloons and learned hatred, two Miami students set up a table of RedHawk pro- the students fired away at the table where the Miami students paganda on the campus of OU with the sole intention were sitting. The two students were soaked with water, as was of getting students to transfer to Miami — they were every piece of Miami décor on their table. To any normal met with resistance and confusion. Within minutes, OU onlooker, it seemed as if Ohio had won this particular “battle students flooded social media with tweets and posts about of the bricks.” However, if anyone cared to stick around, they the Miami students who were insulting their school. More may have noticed something quite interesting: The two Mistudents flocked to the site of the table, ami students were, in fact, OU stuas if they couldn’t believe it until they dents who were incognito, and conwitnessed it with their own eyes. What sequently the show Pranking OHIO type of college student could be crazy was born. enough to step foot on the rival univerAlex Conrath, a sophomore at OU, sity’s turf — and to persuade them to is the producer and original creator transfer schools, no less? of Pranking OHIO. The show is Theresa Wilson, a sophomore at OU, sponsored by AVW Productions, a was one of many who were stopped by group on campus that works to inthe Miami students on their way to spire and organize student run video Dalton Steinbrook class. The two Miami students pitched projects on the Internet and televiPranking OHIO Member their case for Wilson to take a trip sion. After not being selected as projust under 200 miles away to Oxford, ducer of another show on campus, Ohio, where Miami University resides. Conrath decided to go out on a limb “They tried to say that we copied their campus and that and pitch a show about pulling pranks around campus in they were helping us by trying to get us to go there,” Wilson the spring of last year. says. “I didn’t understand. Why would I go on a trip there “I honestly didn’t think that they would take it, but they when OU is the best?” did,” Conrath explains. “I was completely surprised. My Eventually, the two Miami students were met by a group of buddy and I in high school had a little prank channel going. Bobcats who decided to take matters into their own hands. I always thought it would be fun to do, and it’s pretty awe-

We just want people to smile.”


backdrop | Spring 2014

Originally, Snow White made her mother wear red-hot iron shoes that forced her to dance until she died.

Follow Pranking OHIO on... PrankingOHIO @PrankingOHIO PrankingOHIO In “Sleeping Beauty,” the prince’s mother was an ogress who ate children.






People with disabilities in Athens face hardship daily, but varying disabilities create unique obstacles to overcome. Meet a few of OU’s own who face an uphill battle far greater than Morton or Jeff Hill.




he handicap symbol — most able-bodied people see this white stick figure in a wheelchair as another familiar icon they’ve come across repeatedly in the background of their lives. However, this isn’t the case for the disabled. They are reminded each time they see this symbol, whether in a wheelchair or not, that their disability will most likely be prevalent their entire life. Though there might not be any chance of the symbol changing in the near future, one thing that can be changed


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is the perspective of those without a disability. In the eyes of professor Dr. Carolyn Lewis and sophomores Shanti Epp and Christopher Martin, who each live with different disabilities, “handicapped” does not always mean “confined to a wheelchair.”

Overcoming the Unexpected

Lewis, who is director and general manager emerita of WOUB Public Media, as well as an instructor in the School The name “Cinderella” is actually a kinder adaptation of the original, “Cinderwench.”

of Communication Studies and School of Media Arts and Studies, has experienced firsthand the exponential improvement of accessibility on campus since she came to OU in 1997. Lewis suffered from a spinal cord tumor in the 1980s that left her unable to walk normally on her own. She now uses a power wheelchair. “I started having terrible back pain and arm pain in the ’80s. I just thought it was overwork or not sleeping enough,” Lewis explains. “I woke up one morning and had been back and forth to the doctor for about a month, and I just hit the floor in the bedroom; I was paralyzed.” After conducting an MRI, her doctor came across the unthinkable: a tumor in her spinal cord. Lewis’ only chance at putting an end to the excruciating pain in her back and arms was an 18-hour surgery. If she made it through surgery, she would be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. “My physical therapy doctor there said he did a search and there were only 20 people in the world at the time that they knew [who] had this kind of condition,” Lewis says. For Lewis, it was a lengthy and arduous two months and two days in rehab. She had to relearn everything, including bodily functions: how to go to the bathroom, how to walk and how to pick things up. Lewis fell a year later when coming out of a building and felt her leg starting to slow down again. After strolling the OU campus bricks during her job interview in July 1997, she was hired. With the start of the school year, Lewis had grown weak again and required a wheelchair. Today, not much holds her back from living and loving her life to the fullest. But as buildings on campus claim to be accessible, they do not always provide adequate space to accommodate her wheelchair. For example, the family bathroom on the first floor of Schoonover Center has a door that swings the wrong way. “I’ve got to figure out how I’m going to close the door, you know? So I have to go back out, and kind of pull back in,” Lewis demonstrates as she spins around her office, pushing a series of buttons on the arm of her automated wheelchair. Another issue In the original “Little Mermaid,” Ariel doesn’t end up with the prince. Instead, she becomes sea foam and then a spirit of the air.

exists because of how some soap dispensers in the Baker Center bathrooms are on the back wall and especially hard to reach. The curb cuts and cracks on campus are difficult to navigate around as well, particularly the one between Lasher Hall and Central Classroom Building, which Lewis crosses frequently. Generally, elevators are more efficient for her because ramps require significant arm strength on the days she uses her manual wheelchair. Above all, time seems to be an eternal enemy and one of the greatest inconveniences. “I know at 15 minutes before it’s time for me to get the van to leave my house. I know at what point I need to be dressed and everything. If I’m not at that point in 15 minutes, then I’m going to be late — any little thing might throw me back. You just really have to have vision and plan everything that you do.”

More Than a Canine Companion

Shanti Epp faces different challenges with a Medical Alert service dog, named Noble, at her side. “People don’t [always] know what a service dog is or aren’t used to it. You can get a lot of backlash,” Epp says. “I’m lucky to have not gotten any to my face, but I’ve heard people who knew my friend and asked, ‘Is she allowed to have a dog in here?’” Epp, a French major who lives off-campus, has the golden retriever at her side as often as she needs. Despite the fact that Noble has learned over 100 commands during training, he does have his “bad” days and is not always on his absolute best behavior. Service dogs need a break every once in a while in addition to playtime. In fact, Noble loves to cuddle with his owner and is a proclaimed “lovebug.” Most people assume that service dogs are associated with the blind, but Epp insists, “It’s not always physical. It’s not always a guide dog, or you’re not always mobility-impaired.” Getting around campus isn’t as serious of an issue with Noble, because Shanti doesn’t require the use of a wheelchair or crutches. Fortunately, he tolerates escalators and elevators well. “I usually rely on Noble, just because usually only my close friends know about the details of my disability,” Epps says. However, the road to attaining a reliable service dog wasn’t




Having a disability only impacts a person if they choose to let their disability impact them…” Christopher Martin Sophomore Broadcast Journalism and Sports Management Major

He approaches some of the more challenging places accordingly. “A minor inconvenience associated with the handicapped accesses on campus is that they are actually farther from the main entrance to the buildings,” Martin says. “Since these entrances are often further away, I frequently take the steps — that can be frustrating at times — simply because it is faster than walking around to the handicap accessible entrances.” On the bright side, Martin has yet to experience a problem that could not be fixed when it comes to asking for assistance when needed.

Resilience Remains

One of the common struggles Lewis, Epp and Martin share is with weather conditions such as heavy rain, ice and snow. “You just can’t maneuver in mud and rain; it’s hard,” Lewis stresses. “That’s why it’s so important that the street departments of the university keep the streets clear, because otherwise you’re just stuck, and you can’t have accessibility in the snow and the ice. Fortunately, coming down the hill here between Lasher and Central, it’s always clear.” With a service dog, Epp must help protect Noble’s shaggy coat and paw pads. “If it’s super snowy or super icy, then I have to watch out for him and [myself],” Epp says. “When it’s super rainy outside, when I first got him, I didn’t have a raincoat for him, so I would be walking through the rain with a wet dog. Then, walking into class with a wet dog is not always the best.” Martin says that although he still trips and stumbles on campus during the summer, the icy state of sidewalks and hills are especially troublesome in the winter. “The many hills on campus, like Morton or Richland, definitely are the most challenging. When conditions are harsh, I usually just walk slowly and cautiously and hope for the best,” he says.


easy, considering all the training Noble had to complete. The amount of time it takes a dog to be trained and certified can vary depending on its age and temperament. Puppies can take up to two years to complete this process because they must be socialized, trained on the basics, and must take a temperament test. Between puppyhood and adulthood, a dog’s temperament fluctuates a great deal. “If you get them around 2 years of age or older, from what I’ve heard, they’re past their ‘teenage phase’ where they act out a lot,” Epp says.


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Determination: From Steps to Strides

20-year-old, he still trips and falls occasionally. When this happens, he laughs it off, hops back on his feet, and keeps moving. Martin accepts his cerebral palsy and refuses to let it get in the way of anything. “Having a disability only impacts a person if they choose to let their disability impact them,” Martin says. “I personally choose to not place any special emphasis on my disability. I view myself like everyone else, I just happen to use crutches.” Fortunately, getting around campus has become much more manageable as Martin has grown accustomed to the Athens area.

In the Italian version of “Pinocchio,” he throws a hammer at Jiminy Cricket because he was sick of hearing Jiminy’s unwanted advice.

The apple Snow White was poisoned with was red and white.

Christopher Martin, a sophomore broadcast journalism and sports management major, was born three months premature and diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. To compensate for the difficulties he has with maintaining his balance, Martin has used crutches since the age of three. Despite how he can walk fine without his crutches, he chooses to rely on them because they make him feel more at ease. Although using crutches has become second nature for the

The most important thing that the disabled community in Athens wants able-bodied people to know is that they are still just like everyone else, regardless of their mental or physical differences. “One size doesn’t fit all. Everyone’s disability has a different degree or variation. Don’t lump everybody into the same category,” Dr. Lewis emphasizes. “Be sensitive; it’s people first.”



they, delfin Meet delfin bautista, the director of the LGBT Center at Ohio University, who is on a mission of inclusion, acceptance and celebration. BY COLETTE WHITNEY | PHOTOS BY AMANDA PUCKETT Editor’s Note: delfin chooses to use the pronouns they, their and them, instead of using singular pronouns. They also choose to lowercase their name in an effort to challenge what people perceive as professional in terms of names and to focus the attention on the work the LGBT Center does. However, Backdrop magazine has chosen to capitalize the name at the beginning of sentences.


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edged at the end of one of Baker Center’s mysterious, artificially lit hallways, you’ll probably need to ask for directions the first time you visit Ohio University’s LGBT Center. But as soon as you cross that threshold into the office, it’s like another world. Bright bursts of color cover every blank space on the wall. Coloring book pages, “I Y Gay Love” bumper stickers, a graffiti poster that says “COEXIST,” the letters each a symbol from a different religion or spirituality, an Uptown Dog T-shirt screaming “MUCK FIAMI,” and red, green and blue strands of papel picado all decorate the walls. And in the midst of this

In the 1957 version of “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle’s jealous sisters conspire to have her eaten alive by the Beast.

explosion sits delfin bautista, director of the LGBT Center. Ten minutes with delfin is a luxury. As director, their time is valued. Among meeting with students, planning Pride Week and organizing the various events sponsored by the LGBT Center, delfin works to make OU a more collaborative, inclusive community. Delfin uses their spiritual and loving foundation to enhance the place to which they so excitedly moved last year. The history of the center is what drew delfin, a Miami, Fla., native, to Athens. The Ohio University LGBT Center is the first in the state, having opened its doors in 1998 as a parttime operation. In fall 2003, the center went full-time. “As an LGBT person, our movement has focused predominantly on what happens on the coasts... so the whole middle of the country has been neglected,” says delfin, who was hired by OU in the fall of 2013. “To be able to come to Appalachia and learn about queer narratives here and how to share those narratives beyond the Midwest was really exciting.” The LGBT movement’s emphasis on America’s coastlines is noticeable. When the gay liberation movement had its heyday in the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, San Francisco, New York City and other metropolitan areas were buzzing with anticipation and excitement. Gay parades and riots occurred more frequently, and leaders, such as Harvey Milk — the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California — and Craig Rodwell — a gay rights activist known for opening the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop (the first bookstore devoted to gay and lesbian authors)—gained public recognition. Since then, 17 states have granted samesex couples the freedom to marry, almost all of which are located on either the East or West Coast (with the exception of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and New Mexico). The Midwest has been largely absent when it comes to gay legislation and rights. But that doesn’t mean this entire chunk of the country is blind to progression. The places where you can see the greatest marks of change are college campuses, and in 2006, the Advocates’ College Guide for LGBT Students ranked Ohio University as one of the 100 Best LGBT Friendly Colleges and Universities. That was a big reason delfin came to OU. The LGBT Center had made significant strides involving gender-neutral housing and same-sex partner benefits by the time delfin was hired. These substantial steps forward in LGBT rights were important for finding a place to continue advocacy efforts. Delfin needed to go somewhere progressive, but which still needed some work. “I do identify as a trans person. I identify as a Two-Spirit person,” delfin reveals with a grin and open hands. “To have a trans-identified person in this position has brought a lot more trans people to the center. People have been encouraged and feel that there is space to have these conversations around gender and how to be supportive and how to be an ally.” The phrase “Two-Spirit” comes from Native American indigenous tribes. Two-Spirit people were those who could understand both the feminine and masculine world, despite how they were presented physically. They were often viewed as the holiest members of the tribe because they could understand both sides, so they tended to be the religious Because the family was starving to death during a famine, it was their mother’s idea to dispose of Hansel and Gretel.

One’s gender does not dictate one’s orientation; one’s orientation does not dictate one’s gender.” delfin bautista Director of the LGBT Center

leaders or healers. Now, many non-Native Americans, like delfin, use Two-Spirit as a way to identify themselves because it reflects who they are. People, LGBT-affiliated and otherwise, seem to have responded well to delfin, whose office is plastered with birthday cards, pictures and notes expressing thanks and gratitude that they are a part of the OU community. Taylor Huffard, one of two Student Senate commissioners of LGBTQIA affairs, is about to finish her first full year working with delfin and the LGBT Center. “Delfin’s door is always open and ready to lend a hand or brainstorm ideas,” Huffard says. “Delfin is a reminder that you don’t have to let society place you in a box and put a label on you; they’re going to try like hell, but you can be your own person.” One of delfin’s goals as director of the LGBT Center is to spread trans awareness, education and inclusion to a society and culture that doesn’t totally recognize the validity of a trans lifestyle. “Delfin has helped to create a close-knit team environment in the center that truly enables us all to work toward a more inclusive campus,” Megan Villegas says, who is a graduate assistant in the LGBT Center. Society tends to think of transgender people as those who have undergone some sort of medical procedure to change their genders, although that is identified as transsexual. It’s a cultural misunderstanding that often goes uncorrected. “People, such as myself and many trans people, don’t fit within that clean-cut box. People sort of know what to do with gay and lesbian — unfortunately, no one knows what to do with bisexuality — and the T [transgender] often gets thrown out or neglected completely,” delfin says with a sigh. A mission of the center is to help people understand gender and orientation and what transgender actually means. For a long time, it was reduced to simply being born biologically wrong, but transgender often means much more than that. Like the Two-Spirit identity, it can mean feeling and understanding both feminine and masculine attitudes, so defining it as just being trapped in the wrong




body does not really suffice. “One’s gender does not dictate one’s orientation; one’s orientation does not dictate one’s gender,” delfin says confidently. “We’re starting to embrace the messiness and not limit people by their boxes, but it’s a challenge.” Delfin’s coming-out journey was riddled with the hardships that LGBT individuals often face: familial-acceptance, selfacceptance and the struggle to find a way to identify. But delfin had something else to figure out during the coming out process: the part religion should play in their life as an LGBT individual. When asked about their coming out, deflin laughingly asks, “How many hours do you have?” Raised in a conservative, Cuban Roman Catholic household, difference was not welcome. Certain actions and attitudes were expected from Catholic boys and girls in delfin’s community, and any diversions from those were frowned upon. “I knew from an early age that there was something different about me, but in my environment different was not something that could be explored, so I became the poster child for good Catholic boys and did everything that was expected,” says delfin. “Then behind everyone’s back, I would dress up in my mom’s clothing and play with my sister’s dolls and would sort of have this secret double

life as a 5-year-old.” Delfin eventually entered the seminary to be a Catholic priest, which is where they came out as gay. Delfin went home, told the family and received harsh reactions. Their mother sent them reparative therapy to be cured of their homosexuality. In retrospect, delfin and their mother realize that this was a bad choice, but they’ve both moved on. It seems that strict religious doctrines occasionally tend to dictate people’s actions to an intense degree. In terms of the LGBT community, these actions are sometimes harmful. “There is a lot of religious rhetoric that is harmful, and many people, LGBT and non-LGBT, turn away from religion because of it,” delfin says. Delfin, raised a Catholic, became used to hearing those sorts of religious beliefs. But in July 2013, a glimmer of hope appeared. The newly appointed Pope Francis made a shocking stance in regards to gay people in the church when he said, “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?” And many people were pleased with the statement, as he recognized that gay people should be respected and not judged for their homosexuality. But for some, this wasn’t enough. “I’m not satisfied,” delfin says of the pope’s statement. “At the end of the day, he still made believe that people

are disordered and can be cured, and that homosexuality is going to bring the downfall of society. But, at least, that’s not the first thing that’s coming out of his mouth. Kindness and compassion have been coming out, so we’ll see.” This almost-contradictory stance on homosexuality is one that can be seen amongst many different religions. It is not strictly limited to the Catholic church, which is something that delfin recognizes. Last year, delfin traveled to Brazil for World Youth Day to participate in and lead a queer delegation. They went to a Catechesis session with an Australian bishop who said one man and one woman are to be together and that homosexuality is wrong, but should be respected. “This archbishop was telling me that we don’t discriminate, yet we’re denied the ability to be who we are and to express who we are. So [we’re] really challenging the church to rethink what it’s teaching,” delfin said in an interview with the BBC at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. It’s a frustrating cycle to be caught in, especially for LGBT individuals who were raised in a religious home and are still avidly spiritual, like delfin. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. Emily Connor is a sophomore at OU and serves as education chair of the Newman Catholic Community. “It’s hard to find a balance,” Connor says. “I do feel like there is the stigma of the Catholic religion that the church isn’t ever going to make progress, but I don’t feel like that is necessarily true. They’ve had reforms; there are always ways to reform.” Connor, like many practicing Catholics, hopes to see the LGBT community and the Catholic religion intersect in the future. At the heart of the Catholic faith is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor. She hopes to see that sentiment directed at the LGBT community, but realizes that progress takes time. “There are always going to be people, like Pope Francis, ... who shift the focus,” Connor says. “I feel like people are trying to find a happy medium, but it’s hard.” Delfin’s goals as an LGBT director and individual are vast and encompassing, but essentially simple. “We’re no different than everybody else and getting the university to recognize that so that maybe one day we can close our doors [is the goal],” delfin says. “We’ll see. We’re getting there.”

There is a lot of religious rhetoric that is harmful and many people, LGBT and non-LGBT, turn away from religion because of it,” delfin bautista Director of the LGBT Center

timeline of the gay rights movement











The Society for Human Rights in Chicago became the country’s earliest known gay rights organization.

Gay Rights Movement went widespread after the Stonewall Riots in NYC, when police violently raided an unlicensed gay bar.

First gay pride parades occurred in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Homosexuality is no longer considered a mental disorder under the American Psychological Association.

Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man ever elected into office, was assassinated.

Gay advocacy groups form to deal with the AIDS Crisis with slow government response and the linking of the disease with gay men.

President Bill Clinton enacts the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy for the U.S. military.

The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy was repealed on September 20.

17 states have legalized same sex marriage and Barack Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to support marriage for same sex couples.

backdrop | Spring 2014

In the original “The Pied Piper,” the town doesn’t pay him for his service of ridding the rats, so he drowns their children as payback.

In an 1837 version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” Goldilocks doesn’t escape. She’s torn apart and eaten by the bears.




Mediterranean Taste the


Find peace by whipping up a salacious dish courtesy of Salaam. Co-owner Hilarie Burhans explains to Backdrop the hard work and magic that goes into creating an Arabian oasis. Why did you open the restaurant? Hilarie Burhans: First, we opened a hookah cafe with food and beverages at the location where Sol is now. That was about eight years ago, but then [Athens] passed the smoking ban and [we] discovered we weren’t in favor of the hookah bar business, but did like the food aspect of it. I had a lot of food experience, but not so much restaurant experience. In a way, we kind of reinvented the wheel by opening Salaam. We started with

our little training restaurant at the other location, and it became apparent to us that what we really wanted to do was food, and the kitchen we had there was really inadequate: it was, like, 11-by-15 on a stove without a hood. So, we decided to go and dive in. Could you explain the decor in Salaam? HB: I really enjoy doing the decor. At the beginning, it was kind of on a shoestring, but it was still really fun to do. In here, all of the tablecloths are Indian hand


backdrop | Spring 2014

block print; there are textiles on the walls from Pakistan, quilts from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. We have all kinds of interesting rugs, Turkmen robes on the wall and brass accents. My husband and I were in India earlier this year to arrange for more tablecloths to be made, and brought back a lot of pottery — the Jaipur Blue vases on the tables we made into lamps. It’s kind of an ongoing, fun project to make the decor as inviting and interesting as possible. We like it to look as if you have just left Athens and gone somewhere else — we can’t always take those big vacations, but you can take a little vacation just at lunchtime. How does Salaam strive to make its meals affordable to college students? HB: Sometimes students have the misconception that everything is really expensive here. We have lots of items that you could come in and have dinner for under $15. In fact, for $5 you can have a nice big bowl of tomato-lentil stew and our house-made bread. We serve salads with all of our main courses, which we’re really known for. All of our dressings are homemade and use a lot of local stuff as well. In what way does Salaam appeal to its “locavore” customers? HB: We use a lot of local stuff in here. All of our microgreens are local. Our dairy comes from Snowville Creamery. From our local pastry flour that we use, our locally roasted coffee beans, to our local feta from Integration Acres, and local microgreens from Greenwich Gardens, we buy a lot of things locally. We also only use sustainably harvested seafood. As my guideline, we go with products that are either a best choice, or a good alternative on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Guide list, which is a great resource.

When the prince learned Rapunzel had been shorn and exiled, he tossed himself out of her tower and fell into a thorn patch, where he was blinded.

Our chicken all comes from Gerber —an Ohio-based Amish company. Our lamb mostly comes from New Zealand and Australia, where it’s entirely pastureraised. Most of the lamb you get in the US is pastured, but is grain-fed, too. I am perfectly happy with lamb from New Zealand and Australia. I kind of picture the little lambs just frolicking around in the Shire, and leading an okay little life. In Australia and New Zealand they’re not allowed to use any growth hormones or routine antibiotics. What do you want people to know about the restaurant? HB: Our employees are like family here; we really value each and every one of them. In general, I think that’s reflected in how well our employees take care of us by valuing their jobs and taking them seriously and trying to do the best job that they can. We recently quit our membership in the National Restaurant Association and Ohio Restaurant Association despite the fact that we get good information and help from them in various ways because of the fact that a lot of the money that we pay in subscription fees goes towards lobbying against our purposes — that is to say, they lobby hard to keep the minimum wage where it is (artificially low), and we think that the minimum wage should be raised. We would love to be the restaurant that pays our employees well above minimum wage and guarantee healthcare. Call me “maternalistic,” but I want to make sure that all of my employees can go see a doctor if they need to, but it’s just because I care about them; I’d want the same for any friend. How did this dish come about? HB: This is our Mediterranean pasta with chicken — you can also have it without chicken. Basically everything is just tossed together, it’s kind of a greater-thanthe-sum-of-its-parts-dish, if you ask me. The way it occurred initially is that I used to make something for catering (I still do) called Feta Torta, which is a layered spread for bread or crackers that has a feta-cream-cheese mixture, sundried tomato, and basil pesto layers. Well, I would make it in bulk, and most of the time would have leftovers. So, what do you do with those leftovers? Well, I had the bright idea of just tossing the leftover crumblings with hot pasta — and I was like, “Oh yeah.” So now we do that, without the cream cheese, but the feta still gets all melty and awesome. It’s a very popular dish here, but there’s not much to it. It’d be a great dish to make if someone was having their boyfriend or girlfriend over for dinner and wanted to impress them. However, once Rapunzel and her prince were reunited, her tears healed his sight— somewhat similar to Disney’s adaptation, Tangled.

Mediterranean Pasta 4 servings

Ingredients 2 tablespoons of olive oil 4 chicken breasts 4 cups of penne 8 teaspoons of pesto 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes 1 cup of feta parmesan fresh basil

Directions 1. Boil a pot of water and cook the penne. 2. While the penne boils, heat a grill-top skillet with olive oil. Then add the chicken and cook until golden browned and seared on both sides. 3. Drain the fully cooked penne. 4. Toss the hot pasta with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. 5. Slice each chicken breast. 6. Serve pasta and top with sliced chicken, shaved parmesan and fresh basil.





A. You’re the life of the party. You know every word to every pop song, and whether or not there will be dancing isn’t even a question. B. Off in a corner talking with a few other wallflowers, taking notice of everyone’s clothes and the music you haven’t heard before. C. Seamlessly transitioning between different groups of people: talking, laughing and having a great time. D. On the edge of the center of attention, wondering why more people aren’t paying attention to you and judging them the whole while. E. I can’t remember; I was blacked out.

B. A big city with lots of art museums and other forms of entertainment. C. Somewhere you haven’t been before to explore new things. D. A tour of several European cities while staying in pricey hotels. E. My life is a vacation.

A. Something unique with lots of energy that you need a license for, like a monkey. B. Something quiet and somewhat mysterious, like a cat. C. Something loyal and fun, like a dog. D. Something nobody else has, like an exotic bird. E. A goldfish floating upside down.

Pick a color:

A. On your phone texting friends or checking social media to plan your night. B. Striking up a discussion with the professor that may be a little off subject, but you’ve been curious… C. In the first open seat you saw, taking notes on important things but mostly daydreaming and people watching. D. Sitting in the front row, smiling every time the pro- fessor looks your way, taking detailed, organized notes and giving a nasty look to the person on the laptop next to you checking Facebook. E. Dude, I haven’t been to class since high school.

A. Orange. B. Yellow. C. Blue. D. Green. E. Red.

A. Somewhere hot with lots of good-looking people, like the beach.


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A. Something loud, like drums! B. I think the bass guitar sounds nice. C. The guitar. D. I’ve been playing the violin since I was three years old. E. Does my iPod count?

A. Snooki. B. Johnny Depp. C. Justin Timberlake. D. THE BIEBS. E. Lindsay Lohan.

A. Fresh juice. B. Coffee. Black. C. An ice cold pop. D. Fiji water and/or tears of angels. E. Gatorade pairs well with regret in the morning

Pick a song: A. “Timber” – Ke$ha feat. Pitbull. B. “Royals” – Lorde. C. “The Man” – Aloe Blacc. D. You wouldn’t know it. E. “Turn Down For WHAT?!” – DJ Snake & Lil Jon.

Pick a type of weather: A. Hot, hot, hot. B. Overcast and rainy. C. Sunny and 75. D. Chilly so I can wear my duster. E. As long as I pass out inside, it really doesn’t matter.

Pick a pet:

Sitting in class, you’re:

Pick a vacation spot:

Pick a celebrity to hang out with:

Pick a drink (non-alcoholic):

Just like how everyone has their own style, everyone has their own brew that suits them. Crack a cold one and take the Backdrop Beer Quiz!

You’re at a house party. How are you most likely interacting with the other partygoers?

Pick an instrument:

Pick a Best Picture nominee from the Oscars: A. Wolf of Wall Street. Hell yeah! B. Her. It was artsy and not weird at all that he fell in love with a computer. C. American Hustle. Cool actors and a nice mix of comedy and action. D. 12 Years a Slave. I knew this one was going to win in, like, January. Of last year. E. Animal House was nominated right? Flynn Rider’s name was originally going to be “Bastian” in Tangled.

Mostly A’s is CORONA: Did someone say party? You’re the life of the party and always ready to have a good time. The music sucks at this party? On to the next one. This place is out of booze? Fret not, there’s another shindig a few blocks away. Friends are always texting you to go out, and you never fear a 7 a.m. walk of pride.

Mostly D’s is HEINEKEN: Let’s face it: You found out about the party by creeping on Facebook. But now that you’re here, people should notice you and your green bottle glowing like a beacon of light in a stormy sea of less important people. I mean, you are dressed better. Drink up, kid.

Mostly B’s is BLUE MOON: You go against the grain a bit, or at least claim to. Even though Blue Moon is brewed in Denver, it looks European, right? Trés fab! A little dark, a little mysterious—you prefer craft brews—but a Moon will do if it’s all that’s available, and hey, it’s a slight upgrade from PBR.

Mostly E’s is NATTY:

Mostly C’s is BUDWEISER: Congratulations, you fit in almost anywhere. You’re comfortable in almost all situations involving beer and always seem to have a good time. People tend to gravitate toward you throughout the evening because you’re smooth as a baby’s bottom. You don’t take yourself too seriously and always go with the flow.

A lot of people go to college for seven years! Sure, it’s usually to earn a graduate degree, but that’s more of a suggestion than a rule. You love the song “I Love College” by Asher Roth and claim to have done almost everything in the song while actually having done maybe half.

In Tangled, you will find Pinocchio in the rafters of the Snuggly Duckling, right after Cupid is swung to the right of the screen.




The Problem These concussions produce devastating results that tend to manifest themselves over time. According to a 2012 article in the Journal School of Health, concussions can cause deficits in attention and concentration, reaction time, processing speed,


backdrop | Spring 2014

Right in our own backyard It’s tempting to assume that Athens High School (AHS) has figured out something to circumvent such an epidemic. Especially considering the school’s team having not adapted Heads Up Football. Unfortunately, that’s wishful thinking. AHS has clung faithfully to the pitfalls of disproven concussion prevention methods. According to Athens High School Athletic Director Craig Robinson, AHS has

As many as 80% of concussions go unrecognized, leading to its infamy as ‘the silent epidemic.’”

memory and executive function. The health complications related to concussions are especially problematic for children. Children are much more prone to the injury, take longer to recover, and tend to report longer lasting symptoms than adults. Perhaps the most difficult aspect to deal with is the fact that a majority of these symptoms are not clinically observable. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, as many as 80 percent of concussions go unrecognized, leading to its infamy as “the silent epidemic.” It is notable that concussions are a natural function of how the brain protects itself when it is shaken around inside the skull. According to Ohio University Sports Management Department Chair Norm O’Reilly, it is not necessarily the concussions that are the problem, but the aftermath that they cause. One such condition, known as second impact syndrome, while fairly rare, occurs when another concussion is sustained before the victim has had time to recover from an initial one. But what is the likelihood of receiving two concussions in a single hit? “Sometimes the athlete will get one [concussion] from the hit, and the second one when their head hits the ground,” O’Reilly says. J. R. R. Tolkien’s wife, Edith, was reportedly jealous of his friendship with C.S. Lewis.

In Frozen, when the gates finally open, there is a cameo of Rapunzel and Eugene (Flynn) from Tangled.

From high school to the professional level, football players are sustaining concussions at alarming rates. Football has always been dangerous, but what can be done to stop it from becoming deadly?


safety coach), and the last is to ensure that helmets fit properly (equipment fitting). In short, Heads Up Football will not get the job done.

Recognition and Reaction More substantial, albeit possibly misguided, steps have been taken in managing post-concussion protocol. In August, the NFHS posted a press release supporting Heads Up Football, a coaching system intended to promote concussion-preventing play in young players. Thirty-two high schools in eight states are piloting the program, which focuses on emphasizing heads up tackling, coaching certifications to recognize concussions, improved concussion recognition and response, having a player safety coach, and better equipment fitting. While a step in the right direction, evidence suggests that Heads Up Football has missed the mark with its Return To Play standards. The first issue is fairly simple: RTPs are after the fact. Having one concussion raises an athlete’s chances of receiving another — a fact largely ignored by the RTP protocol, which only deals with when the athlete can return. That being said, in following RTP guidelines, an athlete must stop play immediately if a head injury is sustained and not be allowed to return until he or she is symptom free. However, concussion symptoms can linger for up to three years, and are difficult to detect. Thus, it is likely that a concussed athlete can return to playing before ever really being symptom free, again raising his chances of sustaining more concussions. The Heads Up RTP program is largely inadequate. Of its five guidelines — the “heads up” tackling method, coaching certification, concussion recognition and response, player safety-coaches and equipment fitting — only the first is viable. Also, coaching certification and concussion recognition and response rely on untrained medical staff to be able to accurately recognize concussion symptoms after a 20-minute online course. One guideline is a liaison to the program who sees to it that the program is correctly implemented (player


n January 2014, a U.S. district judge rejected a $765 million settlement between the NFL and more than 4,500 of its retired athletes. The settlement was intended to cover brain damage the retirees sustained during their time in the league, which stemmed primarily from numerous concussions. The judge deemed the amount insufficient to cover the damage. As the nation’s eyes are on the NFL, the massive potential payout is raising questions about the culture of football in youth and high school level leagues across the nation. Football has traditionally been a sport inextricably tied to cultural machismo, a game won by the biggest, roughest and toughest. For years, what is now known as a concussion was considered “getting your bell rung.” Players, coaches and officials were unaware of the hazards of concussions, and little was done to prevent or treat them.

Preventing Concussions Given the alarming after-effects of concussions, it seems that in order for football to continue, there must be a way to prevent these injuries from happening. There are two general routes to ensure this happens: change the equipment or change the game. Attempts have been made by biomechanics to create better helmet systems to protect athletes’ heads. According to O’Reilly, these attempts have been in vain. “If your helmet is thicker…it doesn’t make a difference,” O’Reilly says. “You got guys all diving into a pile headfirst all trying to get a fumble, it’s not hits to the head, it’s the shaking to the brain. The head isn’t injured, there’s no scar, but the brain is what’s shooken [sic].” If making better helmets won’t do the trick, then perhaps changing gameplay could. According to a press release made in February before the 2013 season, the National Federation of State High School Associations ruled that players must sit out one play if their helmet comes off when the ball is live. They also ruled it an illegal personal contact foul to initiate contact with an opposing player whose helmet has come off, as well as it being a foul for a player to continue to participate beyond immediate action in the play if his helmet has come off.

National Center for Biotechnology Information

been taking a few familiar strategies for concussion management: better equipment, coach, referee or trainer diagnosis of concussions immediately leading to the athlete’s removal from play, and a ban of Return to Player (RTP) until the player receives a doctor’s approval. All three bear the same problems of misguided protection, potential conflict of interest or lack of recognition, and premature return while still symptomatic, respectively. “Every person is not involved in high school sports for the money,” Robinson says. “They’re there for the athletes, for the kids, and they want to do what’s best for the kids.” Moving forward? The research being done on the effects of concussions raises a few questions: Should we let our children play football? Should there be youth football? With such a large potential NFL settlement, can the NCAA and high school organizations afford such settlements if they occur? Will the programs just shut down? The answers to these questions are still up in the air. Meanwhile, an average of 25,376 football players diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries are reported annually, according to the Center for Disease Control. Until football adequately reacts, its future is uncertain. “If a large number of young kids are getting brain damage from a particular activity associated with the school, that’s against the whole mission of the school,” O’Reilly says. b






efore the Fall Quarter of 2010, incoming Ohio University students Kyle Harner and Carina Belles did what a lot of anxious undergraduates do before entering their first year of college: They took to Facebook to meet the hordes of other clueless freshmen. Within the comforting cushion of the “Ohio University Class of 2014” group, Belles met her future first year roommate and, coincidentally, her roommate for senior year, too. Fed up with posts about drunken shenanigans and Thirsty Thursdays, Belles wrote on the group’s wall, “Anyone weird, add me as a friend.” After receiving a decidedly non-creepy message from Harner, which read, “hi,” the two sparked a friendship that evolved into an almost four-year relationship. “Sometimes when you’re dating someone, you’re like, ‘I don’t know what to say about them, and I have to hide this about myself and I don’t know what they think about me,’ but it was never like that with him,” Belles says. “We were really good friends first. Then we were dating.” Belles and Harner have always lived in close proximity to one another. Throughout freshman year, they both had rooms on South Green in Armbruster House; sophomore year, Belles lived in Bryan Hall, while Harner lived just a stone’s throw away in Scott Quadrangle. They lived on the same block on


Cohabitating with a romantic partner before marriage still seems taboo, but these Bobcats couldn’t be happier living together under one roof.

West Washington Street during junior year. By their senior year, they decided to just close the gap altogether by sharing a one-bedroom apartment on East State Street. Cohabitation isn’t as taboo as it used to be. It isn’t assumed that marriage is necessary for a couple to live together — many people think it is a good test to see if a couple is ready to tie the knot, and it can be financially viable as well. According to an op-ed in The New York Times, more than 7.5 million unmarried couples lived together in 2012, as compared to only 450,000 in 1960. In a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics between the years 2006 and 2010, about half of women between ages 15 and 44 lived with a significant other for the first time. That number was just 43 percent in 2002 and 34 percent in 1995. On top of that, public sentiment about cohabitation before marriage is starting to shift. A Pew Research Center Report found that 46 percent of Americans said it made no difference to society if unmarried couples lived together, and nine percent even said it’s beneficial. It’s harder to nail down exact numbers for couples who shack up together while still in school, but that situation presents a whole new batch of factors to consider. Belles and Harner never had “the talk” about moving in together — it was just a natural segue for their relationship

We understand each other’s needs.” Kyle Harner, Ohio University Senior thateliminated the hassle of running home to shower or change clothes. Plus, as Belles puts it, when they lived with others but stayed over together, they had to pay bills for utilities it felt like they never used. This was also the case for Talor Smith and Connor Hunt, a recent OU graduate and a senior, respectively, who met in high school and have lived together for two of the five years they’ve been dating. When Smith lived in a River Park and River’s Edge apartment her junior year, Hunt helped pay for utility bills occasionally because he was over so much. For them, it wasn’t much of a step to make the move to be roommates. “We just kind of did it,” Smith says. The couple has never lived exclusively with one another, but has always had other roommates and both have had their names on a lease. Last year, they shared a house with multiple roommates on East State Street, but now share a house on Walker Street with one additional housemate. If it hadn’t been for the concern that their parents wouldn’t consent to the living situation, Harner and Belles might have moved in even sooner. “My parents were just like, ‘Thanks for letting us know,’” Harner says. “So many people don’t even consider [moving in] because they think their parents would be upset.” “I was surprised when my parents didn’t care,” Belles adds. Her father’s one stipulation was that she be a permanent sublessee if she were ever forced to move out. It wasn’t entirely simple, though; some family members required just a bit more creativity. “I think at some point we’ve told her grandma 10 different stories,” Harner says. Smith and Hunt had a similar situation, with parents who have complied with their living situation, regardless of judgment. However, it’s not as simple to explain their living situation to their peers. “I get judged when I tell people that I live with my ‘high school sweetheart,’” Smith says. “They think I’m not experiencing life. It’s always super condescending until they hang out with us and see that it’s different.” Smith and Hunt have always had roommates who doubled as friends, so having other people around has worked both as a buffer and as another way to strengthen their relationship. The key, she says, is verbal skills. “Just straight up tell them if they’re pissing you off. It’s all about communication,” Smith says. “We haven’t gotten into a real fight in a year or a year and a half. There’s nothing to fight about because we communicate.” Jacob Bowman, a senior at OU, is the third roommate to Smith’s and Hunt’s Walker Street abode. Bowman has been a good friend to the couple for over a year, and a summer spent in Athens “sponsored by Cobra Malt Liquor,” as he puts it, Originally, Queen Elsa was intended to be the villain of Frozen, but once producers heard “Let It Go” they changed her character entirely because it was a positive song.

made signing a lease with them effortless. For Bowman, living with a couple hasn’t been very different from any other roommate situation. “They [Smith and Hunt] identify as two different people, which is a large perk,” he says. Chores at their house are divided by a system of whoever gets to it first, he says, though Smith and Hunt will team up on some tasks to get the job done quicker. He would be willing to room with a couple again, as long as he’s as close to them as he is to Smith and Hunt. “Talor and Connor are the kind of people who depend on each other and love each other by actively doing things for one another, rather than groping and spreading rose petals and having petty ‘take out the trash’ arguments.” Belles and Harner divide household tasks evenly as well, each doing their own laundry and taking turns when buying basic items such as paper towels. They agreed to try to keep clothes off the bedroom floor, though sometimes a small pile can accumulate from time to time. “We understand each other’s needs,” Harner says. “We’re not afraid to tell each other if something is gross and needs cleaned.” What both couples have in common are unbreakable foundations of friendship, as well as an absence of the need to do everything together. In college, especially, it’s easy to get wrapped up and overwhelmed with the obligation to do everything required of you. As Belles and Harner have learned, being alone together is something they can relish. “I honestly feel like we have more space now than we ever did before,” Belles says, since one of them can be in the bedroom while the other can be in the living room. Plus, they have a secret weapon for cohabitation. “You should have a video game,” Belles says. “We both have played video games all our lives. I think if I lived with someone who didn’t like that, we would hate each other.” Harner agrees. “If I weren’t able to continue my hobby that would definitely be a very serious issue.” Hunt and Smith have capitalized on the extra room in their house, turning it into a study and relaxation den for when they need space. Additionally, Smith has a brilliant view on how to encourage a long lasting, fulfilling relationship, especially when it develops under the same roof. Her “triangle model” looks at relationships as camaraderie first, romance second. “At the bottom is a solid foundation of being best friends. You have to be best friends with someone to be in a serious relationship with that person. And then, on top is the intimacy and the relationship. A lot of people approach with the top at the bottom with the point down, where it’s supposed to be the foundation, and … that’s not stable.” As for their plans to live together after college, both couples think it’s a pretty solid bet. Hunt and Connor have re-signed their three-bedroom lease on Walker Street. Belles and Harner hope to find a suitable living arrangement after one or both of them land a job. Would they ever do it differently? A resounding “never” comes from all parties, as Smith proclaims that she and Hunt will always be living together, and Harner couldn’t really see it any other way. Harner says, “It’s more annoying living without each other than with each other.”




THREADS OF KULA Using the community of Athens and the exotic spirit of Bali for inspiration, Emily Good is crafting threads and inspiring artists. BY ANGELA IGNASKY | PHOTOS BY LEAH WOODRUFF


he concept of community has the ability to get into your mind, your spirit and your soul. There is comfort in a tight-knit community, a feeling that you don’t think you can get elsewhere. The people in your community can nourish your development as a person and change your life. They are your home — but a community isn’t a singular entity. They are universal. They exist all over the world, and some are far more similar than you would expect. Emily Good, who now lives in Carbondale, Colo., was born and raised in Athens. She grew up surrounded by the small, but lively, community to which she credits her development in the arts. After graduating from high school, Good began to explore her love of traveling and eventually landed in Bali — an island province of Indonesia — which led to the creation of her own yoga clothing line called The Samadhi Collection. “Athens is actually much like the community I spent time in when in

It’s really rewarding to be able to empower those women. That really is my goal. Emily Good Creator of The Samadhi Collection

Bali,” Emily, now 25, says. “The town is called Ubud, and it’s a small art and yoga community in the hills, much like Athens. In a way, it’s the Eastern version of Athens. No wonder I love it there.” Ubud is an art community that Good says is full of creative energy. She is drawn to places that allow her to express herself both in art and in spirit, like Athens and Carbondale. Good says that Ubud is filled with creative people; she remembers when she first met the woman who first inspired her collection and helps with its creation to this day. “[When] I peeked into this shop [in Bali] that was about the size of an average Western bathroom, she [was] sitting on the floor with all of these colorful fabrics around her,” Good recalls. “She’s got all of her sewing equipment out and she’s stitching together these pieces, and I walked in and started talking to her in the little English that she spoke. We started to communicate about some things that I might have designed by myself and made by her. I would go and see her periodically and watch her work.” What began as a visit to a tiny shop evolved into Good drawing designs in her sketchbook and testing the way that these pieces moved and flowed in different yoga postures. Once the opportunity to create the clothes manifested in her life, Good couldn’t deny the chance to provide yoga communities, including that of Athens, with her designs. Before leaving for Bali, Good was still working toward earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ohio University while she traveled to and from Colorado during the winter. The scenery and outdoor experience of the Rockies called out to her. Good even spent a few years waitressing at restaurants she would have to ski to. “I was inspired by Inhale Yoga Studio,” Good explains. “That’s where it all began. My studies at OU in the art department and having the support of local artists and the artist community…those two things really collided in a nice, beautiful way, and that’s how [the] Samadhi collection blossomed.” In Bali, she was able to further her interest in the arts and study yoga, which she previously practiced at Inhale Yoga Studio — now located on 63 S. Court St. after moving from its original location on East Carpenter Street. She was able to combine her lessons in the arts with the art of body movement in yoga. Now, in addition to launching The Samadhi

The characters of Hans, Kristof, Anna and Sven from Frozen are all named after Hans Christian Andersen. Say the names quickly in sequence and hear the similarity.

Collection, Good teaches at Kula Yoga on Main Street, a studio in Carbondale. “Kula’ is Sanskrit for ‘community,’” Good says. “In my own yoga teachings and with Samadhi, it’s really important that I be nurturing the community.” Good does not simply mean to nurture only yoga communities, as her collaboration with the Balinese women to make the clothing in her collection goes beyond just cutting and sewing fabrics. Good pays them fairly for their work and places a high importance on the idea of giving back to their community, because, without these women, The Samadhi Collection would not be possible. In addition to aiding the economy of Ubud, Good also donates 10 percent of the earnings from every sale to the nonprofit Bumi Sehat Foundation, which aims to make healthy pregnancy and birth a possibility for Balinese women and their newborns. The foundation also has a branch in Indonesia. Good feels that her contribution can help make a difference in a community that has been mutually beneficial to her in both a personal and yogic sense. Good believes that The Samadhi Collection allows the talented Ubud women to showcase their designs and share their gifts with the world. Because the women were a driving force behind the yoga clothing, Good says she intends to support their Balinese community. “It’s really rewarding to be able to empower those women,” Good says. “That really is my goal. To help empower women to share their skills and talents.” As for the pieces themselves — which Good currently sells on — they represent Bali. Good calls Bali “colorful” and “expressive,” and the pieces reflect that idea. They are not the typical black and grey tights gracing mainstream shelves. They are brightly hued, flowing, unusual, and unique. She hopes that they bring bliss, which is the meaning of Samadhi, to her customers. In the coming months, The Samadhi Collection will also be available in some small boutiques and studios, including Inhale. “Everything that you do in life, from teaching yoga or what kind of work you do and the kind of art that you create, in my case...have it be what you embody, what you believe in,” Good says. “For me it’s just totally creative, wild, colorful, flowing pieces.” The collection is growing in popularity each week, Good says. Still, the project is most fulfilling for her when she is able to inspire the people who wear the clothes to partake in the celebration that is their bodies. That’s what the clothes are to her: a celebration. She is looking forward to the opportunities to come with Samadhi, but she doesn’t have overreaching expectations. In the end, Good credits the motivation for her goals to Athens. It’s where she grew up, was inspired, and was introduced to the practice that would bring her where she is today. It comes back to community, which has followed Good throughout her travels and landed her, quite literally, in a Kula that mirrors what she has always known: art, beauty, energy and life.





David drums on a wooden sculpture from 1996. Behind him is “Club Dave,” a Friday night concert venue.


Inside the shipping room, sculptures wait to be sent to buyers or to the Hostetler’s Nantucket gallery. David’s wife Susan brags about her birthday presents this year: a new shipping truck and hearing aids for David.


According to Susan, “We added these additions to showcase David’s work and to live with it.” The farm silo, also an addition, came via flatbed truck from a farm in Amesville.


Lying in a hospital bed at the close of World War II, David Hostetler began talking to the man next to him — an artist. He was fascinated by the excitement of art and decided to pick up the trade. 70 years later, Hostetler is still sculpting and printmaking from his Athens home, which also serves as a workshop, shipping hub and gallery. Hostetler is nowhere close to slowing down and his goddess-inspired sculptures epitomize the spirit of Athens.


backdrop | Spring 2014

“The Ugly Duckling” was based from Hans Christian Anderson’s personal experience — he was considered unattractive.





David screws a frame together for one of his “maybe 500” completed prints. A completely self-taught framer, he turned their basement into a frame shop.

The Hostetler’s home resides on approximately 40 acres in Athens. What was once about 100 acres, David says, “I gave my kids part of it in the spirit of the ’60s, and later they sold it in the spirit of the ’80s.”


The colors inspired by his time in New Mexico, a collection of David’s pieces are unique paintings with sculptures. The idea stemmed from a man who bought a painting and sculpture to display in front of it.


After selling 17 pieces to a Texas oilman, David built his dream studio, he boasts of building out of recycled materials Ohio University tried to throw away while he was a professor there. David’s property now hosts OU siding, roofs and even hundreds of Athens blocks.


David uses wood from all over the world, each log individually marked with its “Belize,” “Mexico,” or other nation’s stamp. In pieces that use roots as the base, Susan says they simply pick them up from around the property.


The mold for a commissioned piece, the 13-foot finished bronze “IKON” now sits on New York City’s W. 57th St., between 8th and 9th avenues. Also outdoors in New York is David’s “Duo,” which resides at Trump International Hotel and Tower.


backdrop | Spring 2014

*He once taught a class at the university called Art in Your Life, which included things like tattoos and motorcycle design. It got so popular it had to be held in an auditorium. Susan beams, “he was ahead of his time.” The horse heart Khaleesi ate in Game of Thrones was actually 7 pounds of a gummy bear-like mass.

The Chronicles of Narnia can be read multiple ways. They were written out of chronological order for the universe in which they happened.




Palmer Place - The Place To Be

METAL TO THE PETAL Colorful flowers often adorn walls throughout our town, but the story of the Passion Flower is brighter than readers can imagine. BY CHEYENNE BUCKINGHAM | PHOTOS BY JILLY BURNS


magine walking into a place full of bright, sensational colors. People with warm smiles greet you at the door and the sound of laughter fills the room. The laughter originates at a table not too far from the front door, which displays an extraordinary group of diverse people. People of all different shapes, sizes and abilities work diligently together towards the same goal: to inspire and liberate the human spirit through art. Creativity is innately a part of all people. Art enhances the quality of life and strengthens communities. This is the vision that the members of Passion Works Studio have been abiding by ever since its establishment in 1998. Passion Works is not a typical art studio: It provides opportunities for adults both with and without disabilities. The artists of these intricate pieces are not professionals, but rather people with hopes and dreams of making something of themselves. So, what makes their artwork in particular so admirable and unique? The answer is in the process. The production of the various forms of artwork in the studio creates employment for people who, prior to coming to the studio, identified themselves solely by their disabilities. Wayne Savage, Studio Coordinator at Passion Works, explains this further by sharing the purpose of the studio. “The arts impact us all; they impact our life, our identity,” Savage says. Passion Works enables adults, ranging from ages 18–70, to feel like they are accepted for who they are and worth something greater than they ever imagined. After working at Passion Works, they no longer feel the need to say, “Hi, my


backdrop | Spring 2014

name is and I have cerebral palsy.” Instead they say, “My name is and I am an artist.” Mallory Valentour, sales and production aide at Passion Works, had a yearning to work alongside these artists from when she was just a little girl. She remembers walking through Passion Works and not only being drawn to the beauty of the artwork that was displayed before her, but the underlying meaning behind the process of creating these pieces that drew her in. Valentour emphasizes that working with the artists is a two-way street when offering instruction. “It is not just me teaching them,” Valentour explains. She learns something different from the artists every day and is merely an assistant to the masterpieces that are created at the studio each day. “You don’t want your hand in their art,” she says. Everyone has bad days, she explains, but as they begin to draw and express themselves through their art, that is when the smiles and laughter come; they are truly happy here. “This place is not just an art studio … it is almost magical. You feel free,” Valentour says. The vision of Passion Works Studio explains it all. The studio truly enhances the quality of life for both the artists and the members of the community, as well. Passion Works serves as a liaison for the community, because it helps the citizens of Athens learn about others in the community who have disabilities. “We all have special needs. We all have limitations,” Savage says. “They are so much more than their limitations.”

There is a Game of Thrones-themed burlesque show.

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Because of World War I and II there were no Olympic Games in 1916, 40, or 44.

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IT’S BACKDROP, Beach! Volleyball Tournament

Peanut, BACKDROP and Jelly A portion of proceeds go to The Peanut Butter and Jelly Project

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tournament starts at 4 p.m. | Teams of 6, $5 per player email to sign up





WRITER MELISSA GAJEWSKI Bug’s a son-of-a-bitch little lizard and you’ve lost him again. You assumed he learned a lesson last time, when you found him licking air under the TV stand while Poem watched from her perch on the armchair, with not hunger but a willingness to kill in her yellow eyes. You had been partially to blame that time. You know you left half of his habitat’s ceiling open, and, you can deny it to Lou if he asks, but you did it on purpose. You thought Bug would appreciate more direct air, whatever the hell direct air is. You imagined it must get pretty dank inside the habitat, the same-old Sahara glow coming down from the heat lamp, charring the same-old pebbled dust and the same-old cricket stubs until the whole thing turned into familiarized disgust. He’s just this green thing, the length of a cigarillo and just as useless without a little heat. You never imagined he could leave so quick and so unobserved, out past the lamp and into the new company of couches, cats, and cold floors. His escape vindicated you, it made you feel humane. If he wanted to be free, you were right in showing him the way. But the bog of social commitment stymies freedom at every turn, for all the lizards of the world, and so you hunted Bug back to his habitat. Social commitment and cold blood. This time, though, you know you kept the ceiling shut, because you’re not a stupid lizard and you learn lessons about what’s best for you. You look at Poem, lying on her armchair, napping and at ease with her head on her paws. You wonder if those paws could open the habitat’s ceiling because you know nothing of the intelligence of animals. To you, anything is possible. And everything is Lou’s fault. You vet all the low-spaces in the living room and come up empty: no Bug. What was it you said that made Lou think you’d enjoy babysitting his lizard for the week? Had it been something in your eyes that begged, Lou, Lou, please lend me your lizard? You don’t think so, not even subconsciously. You hate Bug. You hate taking the time to refill his water. You hate how quiet his crickets are as they wait to be eaten. You hate the weird red shimmer in your dining room at night. You hate the drive to Lou’s. “Just for the week,” Lou had asked. “Then nothing more. I promise.” You said something that made him feel okay about leaving you with the lizard, like Poem’s lonely, or maybe I’ll make a documentary of it, it’ll be fun. I’ve never had a lizard before! You haven’t, and that was on purpose. You’ve never wanted a lizard,




backdrop | Spring 2014

and as you kneel in front of your refrigerator, trying to lower yourself into the tile floor far enough to see beneath, you remember why: because lizards do nothing but take up time and survive. You resist to urge to call out to him, Bug! Bug! C’mere, Bug! It’d be ridiculous. Poem doesn’t even come when she’s called. She’s evolved to a state where she can not only produce her own body heat, but she can know when she is wanted and choose if she will answer. That is a good pet, a good thing to keep around. You need to find Bug. Lou will think you did it on purpose. You left the ceiling open on purpose. You forgot to feed it on purpose. Why do I bother with you? Lou will think. Good. Maybe he should think that. Maybe you don’t care. He can have fun backpacking in West Virginia because you don’t care about his lizard. You crawl to the oven and slump your cheek to the tile again. Here, Buggy Buggy Buggy. Nothing but half a hamburger bun and miscellaneous crumbs. You leave them and crawl on, to every leftover-riddled cavern of your kitchen, back out into the living room to comb the furniture once more, careful not to wake the napping natural-born killer. Safer if she’s out of it. Who are you kidding, Bug’s probably in her gut right now. The sun coming in through the slits of your blinds isn’t enough to light the apartment any more, and you’re reminded of reptilian Bug and his cold blood. How long has he been out of his heat lamp? How long can he survive without the nurture of ninety degrees? There’s a bone-cracking urge in your wrists and fingertips that makes you wring your hands together. There’s just no way to imagine all the places he could be. There’s nothing you could have done to prevent this. You did enough. You hear a chirp from the habitat, the first one all week. The crickets were so quiet, you assumed they were drugged up: lazy, undead food for a lazy, undead pet. The red of the heat lamp gives enough light to the dining room so you don’t need to grope your way to the habitat. Another chirp sounds, and you look closely through the glass to search for the survivor, the one who thinks he’s worth the grass outside if only he hadn’t been born in a pet shop. You’ll free that one if you can spot it. You think it’s pretty cruel of Lou. It’s pretty cruel to detain half-dead crickets as stupid lizard snacks, to keep something alive through periodic, half-hearted bait. That seems pretty cruel to you. Seems like, why bother? At that point, why bother? You look closely into the glass for that first singing critcket. Now that Bug’s dead, Lou may as well stay with his backpack in West Virginia. Maybe you’ll call to let him know. You look closely through the glass. You can’t find him.


Why are people so afraid of the f-word? No, not that one, the other f-word — Feminism.


all the above questions just demonstrates lack of knowledge about women’s history (Insert joke from a-holes about how there isn’t any women’s history worthy of mentioning. Again, watch Iron Jawed Angel). The next time someone tells me that having a Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) Certificate is not relevant to my resume, I’m probably going to flip them off. Have you seen some of the pointless facts people place on resumes? I’m pretty sure my commitment to studying an area that I believe has completely been skipped over within any other realm of education is impressive. My WGS professors have been my favorite teachers at this university because of their passion for the subject matter. Learning about issues within communities that I was not as familiar with has expanded my mind. Did broomball teach you any of that? I don’t believe there is a singular definition that can fully encompass what it means to be a Feminist. But I do believe that all Feminists demand equal political, economic and social rights for women. That statement is something I am proud to support. To me, this means I support every woman’s right to opportunity. I respect her voice. I respect her opinion. More importantly, I believe that her voice and her opinion matter. I’m a senior journalism major. I have a certificate in women’s and gender studies and a minor in business. I’m a cross-country and track athlete; I have worn Ohio across my chest for the past four years. I’m the editor-in-chief of Backdrop magazine. And this, friends, is what a Feminist looks like.

Stories should be around 1,000 words or less. Submissions are open to Ohio University faculty and staff and the top submission will be featured in our upcoming issue and online at Second and third place submissions will also run on our website.

When I was in sixth grade, I was a cheerleader. I can remember getting into the car after spending my afternoon cheering for the football team. My dad seemed sad as he looked at me and said, “Don’t you want to be the person people cheer for?” It was a genuine statement of concern. Why would he want his daughter to stand on the sidelines? He wanted me front and center. I think that moment is when I first latched on to the idea of being a Feminist. Yes, I said Feminist. Enough with the flower power or girl-power bologna. I grew up and now use the fword: Feminist. Capital “F” for emphasis. I’m a Feminist. I’m proud of it, and I’m sick of society’s negative connotation with the word. The next time someone apologizes after hearing that I came from a women’s and gender studies class, I’m going to apologize for the fact that they don’t care about the wage gap between men and women. Don’t believe me? Look up the stats; women get paid 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. Women within the same position as men do not get paid as much as their male counterparts. The next time someone asks me if I shave my armpits, don’t wear a bra, or am a lesbian after hearing I’m a Feminist, I’m going to tell them to watch the movie Iron Jawed Angel. That’s a piece of feminist history that is far less known than the bra burning incident. The other two questions are just ignorant. It’s none of your business if I shave my armpits. Does my sexual orientation change the validity of my opinion? Also, asking

Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) is Charles Dickens’ great-great-great-grandson.

The 1400s’ War of the Roses inspired Game of Thrones largest plot device: the fight over proper succession.


Please email a short author bio, written piece and ideas for artwork to



Students Now, Alumni Later, Bobcats Forever Your Ohio University Alumni Association isn’t just for grads. Get involved today!

… attend Student Alumni Board (SAB) sponsored events: • Dinner with 12 Strangers, in January • Bare on the Bricks, in February … get yourself, or a friend, a Finals Week Survival Bag at the Bobcat Store. … join the conversation on Social Media Photo of SAB President Jackson Lavelle BA ’14

backdrop | Fall 2013 46by Karissa Conrad BSVC ’15

Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) also played Hermione Granger’s mom in the wdwxsvqseries.

Nicolaj Coster Waldau (Jaime Lannister) loves the 10-minute video on YouTube where Joffrey is slapped by Tyrion.


Spring 2014 (Vol. 7 Issue 4)  

Meet delfin, the new director of the LGBT Center, learn the benefits and drawbacks of OU's fixed tuition plan and find out which beer fits y...