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2012-2013 Student Senate Updates

Tuition Survey:

Available online until the end of the semester. Students are encouraged to take the survey at outuition and can be entered to win a $75 Chipotle Gift Card.

The One Card System:

The last Women 2 Women event of the Semester on December 6th 7:30-8:30 in the Women’s Center. The topic is how to dress for success and all are welcome.

The One Card System will serve as a one stop shop for all of students’ needs including food, laundry, dorm access, and potentially banking and off campus meals.

New Senate website:

740.592.5262 or 740.591.6498

18 Blick Ave.

21 Herrold Ave.

Like new! 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath townhouses featuring spacious open 30 Blick Ave. & 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.

Letter Writing Campaign:

We will be taking a tour of Central Kitchen in early December to see how food at the university is prepared.

375 Richland Ave. Apts. A & B

3 bedrooms, central air, large open kitchen/ dining/living area, onsite parking for all residents.

16 Blick Ave.

22 Blick Ave.

28 N. College St.

Incredible central uptown Athens location! 15 person occupancy, parking included, perfect for Greek organization.

Black Affairs:

University Life:

80 Mill St. Apts. 1, 2 & 3

4 bedrooms, central air, onsite parking for all residents, private back patio, close to everything.

Predawn Toys-for-Tots on Nov. 29th

The new site will be a central location for students looking to get involved not only in Senate, but on campus.

Senate will be delivering letters to the legislators in December. The letters will discuss rising tuition.

Contact Alecia Moquin

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.

Providing quality residential rental properties to the Athens Community for over 25 years!

Like new! 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 19 Herrold Ave. 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.

5 Atlantic Ave.

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

Floor plans, photos and more information at







Happy December— Even though we all dreaded the change to semesters, one good thing did come out of the switch: The First December. Ohio University students will be able to enjoy the holiday festivities in Athens for the first time this month and Backdrop wanted to showcase the best events around town. Check out page 18 for 10 of the best December events around town to get ready for the holiday season, and don’t forget to join us this Thursday, Dec. 6, at 10 p.m. at Red Brick for this issue’s release party—we’d love for you all to join us. Although the holiday season is a time of joy, Backdrop also wanted to shed light on a few social issues. In this issue, explore the problem of being homeless in Athens (pg. 14), the movement behind educational revolution in the United States (pg. 16) and the reasons behind why today’s universities are perhaps much less politically active than in the past (pg. 22). In some ways, you could view this issue as the “Social Issue”— something that Backdrop has dabbled in before, back in the Spring 2009 issue. (Shh! We like this issue’s cover a lot better than the one in 2009.) Our photostory is especially heartwarming (pg. 36). Photographer Daniel Owen stepped into the life of 19-year-old Nathan Tilley who suffers from severe scoliosis, in addition to other ailments. Despite Nathan’s health and setbacks, he continues to exemplify hope and friendliness at all times—something that we could all embrace a little more. Speaking of hope, as a follow-up to last issue’s spread about Bobcat basketball dominating the MAC, Backdrop’s Chris Longo looked further into how the team is working with new coach, Jim Christian, in hopes of making it to the big dance again (pg. 24). As always, Backdrop would love to hear from you. Send us your letters to the editor, ideas for improvement or your favorite stories from this issue or past issues to


Stop being a political slacktivist and make your voice heard.


24 Starting Point


After a winning season, OU’s new basketball coach hopes to power through this year’s MAC conference.

Sara Portwood


Kelsi Bowes & Nick Harley ASSISTANT EDITOR

Stephanie Fisk

CONTRIBUTORS Kelsi Bowes, Lindsey Brenkus, Andrew Downing, Nick Harley, Tim Howard, Chris Longo, Margaret McGinley, Kaitlyn Richert, Mamie Silver, Rebecca Wagner, Olivia Young

28 The Vine

These nine Athens residents thrive at The Vine, living without a landlord.


Julianne Mobilian




Emilee Kraus

b FALL 2012

Cassandra Sharpe DESIGN DIRECTOR

Happy Holidays,

FEATURES » 22 Actively Numb



Olivia Reaney




Morgan Decker



DESIGN TEAM Lindsey Brenkus, Cassandra Fait, Tasha Gardone, April Lander, Emily Pignatiello, Karlee Proctor, Jessie Shokler


18 28









Amanda Puckett CONTRIBUTORS Kasey Brooks, James Conkle, Emily Harger, Daniel Rader


backdrop | Fall 2012


Cover photo by Emily Harger Cover design by Emilee Kraus & Cassandra Sharpe

Follow us on Twitter @Backdropmag


You have the power to change things.


• All mAjors and career interests encouraged to apply • Full salary ranging from $25,500 to $51,000 plus benefits


• AmeriCorps education award and federal student loans deferred

Angela Ignasky

• Exclusive scholarships and benefits from graduate schools and employers

Jared Looman

Next Application Deadline: Friday, January 11, 2013


Open Hearts, Open Homes

Katie Mefferd Adrienne Krueger

• opportunity to earn a master’s degree

Comfort Food



• Placements in 46 urban and rural regions across the U.s, including ohio.



MARKETING TEAM Kelsi Bowes, Jess Carnprobst, Morgan Decker, Virginia Ewen, Alyssa Keefe, Alyssa Pasicznyk, Rose Troyer, Rebecca Zook


The First December


The Learning Curve


Kerry Crump


James Conkle


Chris Longo Colin Brown



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 Scripps Hall 111.

New expanded menu featuring locally produced items! 592-9686


Through Teach for America, one OU alumna was given an opportunity that changed her life and many others.

H4T » Freshly Brewed


Sounds Like » Fathers of the Revolution

Take your hot cocoa a step further and make a chocolate cake in your coffee mug with Backdrop’s latest recipes.

Diet Dilemmas

Students with food allergies struggle to find food in the dining halls, but OU Culinary Services won’t let any student go hungry.

These hot teachers profess their love for coffee, travel and the local farmer’s market.

March to the beat with the new “Fathers” of the Athens music scene.


Photo Story » Enduring Spirit: Nathan’s Story

19-year-old Nathan Tilley battles severe scoliosis and undergoes surgery that will remove and replace most of the bones in his upper body.


On The Web » Foiling Around


Exhibit A


For Fun » Photo Hunt


RR&R » Instascam

Cup Cuisine



Instead of grieving over semesters, celebrate the First December in Athens!




With the cost of living increasing and lack of local jobs, more people in Athens are experiencing homelessness.



For more details about Teach For America, compensation and costs in each of our 46 regions, visit

Go outside the Athens’ bubble and get a feel for The Plains at GiGi’s Country Kitchen.


Is there a right way to eat a Chipotle burrito? Backdrop blogger Andrew explores the different plans of attack for your next Mexican meal.

Take a peek inside Backdrop’s very own art gallery.

How well do you know Court Street? Can you spot all the differences between these two photos?

Sick and tired of questioning the authenticity of her photofeed, this Backdrop writer calls out the fakers.



FRESHLY BREWED You may not be able to pinpoint it exactly, but these professors must be doing something right. Judging by their answers, we’re thinking it’s either the coffee or their world trotting that keeps them hot.


What is your favorite website or publication and why? My favorite actually is a place called Green Car Congress. It’s all about new technology and automotive segment, and it links to all sorts of stuff about energy.

What is something that your students would never guess about you? Students in most of my classes would never guess that when I was in high school, I was voted “Most Shy” in my graduating class. Now I teach 300 students in a classroom.

What can you not live without? Coffee.

What do you think the hottest quality about someone can be? A really striking command of classical rhetorical figures.

What is your greatest weakness? My extraordinary inability to quickly name a greatest weakness.

Can you tell me a little about your cats? I have two cats: a 12-year-old and a kitten. The grande dame is named Tiramisu. She’s a long-haired tori with very appropriate bobcat ear tufts. The kitten is probably going to be a medium-haired tori. Her name is Trifle. I’m still not sure whether that’s a noun or a verb.

So is she a little sassy? How would you describe their personalities?

Well, I was “Most Shy,” which means I don’t know anybody from high school!

Yes. Tiramisu got her name partly for her coloring but also because as a kitten, she constantly wanted to be held. Tiramisu means “pick me up”. Trifle is a squirmer and a pouncer, and finds all cat tails, including Tiramisu’s and her own, to be the most entertaining toys in the world. She’s unbelievably cute. Although, she’s developed a kind of stoicism since my 4-year-old likes to carry her around.

Traveled to Europe and to the Caribbean. To the Bahamas, I was teaching a class in the winter intersession when we had one. I’ll be doing an education abroad class to Panama, the real Panama—not what Ohio University students say spring break in Panama.

What can’t you live without? My garden. My wife will say “Hold on! How did your garden get in there at the top of the list?” My family, and then my garden.

Pepsi or Coke? Coffee. Black coffee.

When life gives you lemons you... Make some hummus. You put lemon juice in hummus; it’s part of the recipe.

If you could pick a literary character who would you be? I think I would like to be in The Canterbury Tales. I would be the narrator. His name is Geoffrey Chaucer.

CONTACT Beth Quitslund: Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies for English

Arthur Trese: Associate Professor of Plant Biology backdrop | Fall 2012

I have traveled in most of Western Europe, except the Iberian Peninsula. And Russia, and of course Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, for the western hemisphere. Where would I like to travel? Probably Greece and Turkey are the highest on the list at the moment.

Do you tell your high school classmates that you’re a professor?

Where have you traveled, and where would you like to?


Where have you traveled, and where would you like to?

Homeless children are sick four times more often than other children.

It costs far more to execute a person than to keep him or her in prison for life.




Seth (Drums): I started actually playing music in fifth grade. I tried trumpet for a year, but it wasn’t really my thing. Then, I decided to go into the family business of drumming. I was the only one [in my family] who ever really learned how to read music. For some reason, in high school, I got into orchestral music and that is when I decided I wanted to make it my life.

So what is the meaning of your band’s name? Daniel: Oh, we were going through a mildly red phase. Lukas: It isn’t like I had a communist flag in my basement, or anything.

We have covered personal history, so give me some insight into the history of your band.



The incredibly versatile Fathers of the Revolution have jumped genres and styles, while solidifying their sound. Grab your fellow comrades and head to Donkey for a show to remember. BY MAMIE SILVER | PHOTOS BY JAMES CONKLE

SOUNDS LIKE ›› The Pixies, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Brian Setzer Fathers of the Revolution is one of Athens’ new rising musical acts. With the catch phrase “We are The Fathers, and we have come from another planet to save you all!” and an energetic sound somewhere between swing music and punk rock, Fathers of the Revolution has been knocking out tunes since 2008. Last year, the band came to Athens ready to rock with a seasoned stage presence and their home-recorded EP in hand. The band consists of lead vocalist and bass guitarist Daniel Spencer, guitarist Buddy Smith, percussionist Lukas Chaffin and drummer Seth Alexander. After a quick, midweek show at Donkey Coffee, Fathers of the Revolution sat down with Backdrop to talk about their style, success and plans to take over the world.

as cabaret dark-folk music before. The term “genre” is malleable. It can change at our will, to our own discretion.

How would you categorize Fathers of the Revolution’s music?

Lukas (Percussion): There was no defining moment when I was like “You know what? I like music.” My parents were in a band growing up and I was around a lot of music as a kid.

Daniel (Vocals/Bass): We have sort of advertised ourselves


backdrop | Fall 2012

How did you discover your love for music? Buddy (Guitar): It was an interest of mine when I was about nine years old. I got into a lot of horrible music; I used to be a Juggalo. And then, around age 13, I started listening to Ozzy Osborne, because everyone wore T-shirts of metal bands. It was more of wondering why everyone was so interested in music that got me into music. Daniel: For me, it was over a period of a couple months in my early- to mid-teens when I consciously decided to become a serious musician.

Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004.

Daniel: Buddy and I have been playing music on and off since the seventh grade. And for a long time, we played in a rock outfit with a couple friends of ours. There were a lot of Zeppelin covers. I cringe—I love Zeppelin, but they were bad covers. We got interested in a lot of metal music and things coming out of the ‘90s. We got into things like Soundgarden and Tool and Rage Against the Machine. Buddy: We [made] a MySpace page and were officially Fathers of the Revolution. And it was just the two of us writing songs on two guitars, and that was in early 2008. Our first show as Fathers was the end of our freshman year of high school. We played a local festival and got paid $350, so that was pretty sweet. We just kept on writing, got a nice catalog of songs and we decided we should record. We recorded grungy stuff; grungy as in the way we recorded it.

Do you guys have a single show that you consider to have been your most exciting? Daniel: I would say the Union show hit a strange peak, because it was our first electric show. But it was also one of the bigger shows we have ever played, and one of the more well received shows we have ever played. There was more dancing at that show than I think I have ever seen in my life.




We are going to switch gears, now. Tell me a little bit about your songwriting process. Daniel: When I write music, I don’t do it because it’s easy. Dear God, writing music is probably the hardest thing I ever do. It is hard to find that perfect blend. We will have a tune and let it sit and we will love it, and then we will come back to it maybe a year later. Buddy: I personally wonder how the audience takes some of our music. We have this really sad ballad and a year later in the middle of the song we add some surf rock, which is one of the most crowd interactive things we have done. I like to play with people’s expectations.





What are your plans for the future?

Daniel: Hopefully we will start that recording with the record label [Brick City] soon. They talked to us and they want to record us. I also want to find more electric shows, write bigger, more theatrical tunes, and definitely paint our faces more often. Oh, and start world domination.



Scan to listen online

Buddy: We came down to Athens and decided to really try to become something. We decided to hit every open mic night to take over this town. We had this one show at the Front Room that was packed and we had their attention the second Daniel opened his mouth. This year was a little different, because we had a drummer and decided to do a little more and play an electric show. We got an opportunity to play at the Union and thought, “Let’s play electric.”

Marijuana is the most common illegal drug in the United States.






Travis Brand received his degree from Hocking College and then left his small-town roots. However, the allure of Athens County beckoned him home to open his very own restaurant. 15-minute drive into the florid autumn leaves of the A Plains, GiGi’s Country Kitchen is situated comfortably behind a dilapidated f lower shop and accompanied

by a sign proclaiming ‘It’s Just Plain Good.’ A downhome country eatery, GiGi’s is fully maintained and operated by Travis Brand and his wife, Kendra. Brand is a baseball cap wearing man with a firm handshake and eyes that crinkle when he smiles. The ranch-house style restaurant emits the comfort-


backdrop | Fall 2012

ing smell of warm apple-cinnamon. Taped to the wall above a rough-hewn wooden sign proclaiming ‘Friends Gather Here’ is a high school football schedule for the Athens Bulldogs. The above-grill TV is perpetually set to scenes of Shania Twain belting out classic songs about moonlighting men and lonely nights. Country accents and assorted twangs drift in and out of earshot as various blue-collar locals gather and converse. In a town where everyone knows you and your mother, a close-knit

Approximately 100 million Americans have tried marijuana at least once.

community huddles here fering help if needed. The letaround omelets and heapter was warmly received by the ing stacks of homemade Brands, who felt very welcomed sweet potato fries to exinto the community. change small-town gossip. “It was a great experience. Brand studied restaurant We got a lot of positive support management at Hocking from the community,” he says. College after moving back “It’s a small town and people to Athens 10 years ago. treat it that way. We get along Working in hospitality at with everybody.” the Ohio University Inn With the small-town aesthetic Travis Brand, Owner of Gigi’s managing a “little bit of evcomes a steady f low of regulars. erything,” he discovered GiGi’s lease was up for grabs. GiGi’s is a definitive stomping ground for token locals While filling out forms for a children’s birthday party with colorful stories and perpetually refilled cups of cofin a flower shop, he saw it as a sign and took the plunge. fee. A good chunk of their profits are generated from “The restaurant’s always been a dream. It’s by God’s these allegiant patrons, some of whom show up five days grace, I guess, we’re here,” Brand says. a week. Everyone knows everyone. It’s “like Cheers in Only two months after being in operation, GiGi’s enhere,” Brand says, whose favorite part of work is getting tered into Habitat for Humanity’s Taste of Athens Battle out and talking to people. of the Chefs. The Brands were both excited and terriGiGi’s enjoys steady business and copious amounts of fied, but emerged victorious. Their chicken dumplings craziness. A regular day is “busy, extremely busy,” acand homemade mashed potatoes swept the competicording to Brand. GiGi’s is open exclusively for breaktion, landing first place in both the People’s Choice and fast and lunch seven days a week. Even without a dinJudge’s Choice. ner crowd, the hectic population can be hard to keep up Post-competition, the Brands received a handwritten with. Stress aside, GiGi’s gracious welcome into the Athletter from Sean Kiser, owner of local Athens favorite, ens community and their unwavering dedication to cusKiser’s Barbecue. In the letter, Kiser congratulated Gitomer satisfaction is encouraging enough. The Brands Gi’s on their awards and offered them genuine advice are ready no matter what. about advertising, where to spend their money, and of“‘Expect the unexpected’ is our expectation.”

The restaurant’s always been a dream. It’s by God’s grace, I guess, that we’re here.”

The United States currently leads the number of its residents residing in our prison systems.




Open Hearts,

OPEN HOMES Homelessness in Athens is on the rise, but some locals are doing everything in their power to help. BY KELSI BOWES | PHOTOS BY DANIEL RADAR AND KELSI BOWES


ucked away at the end of Central Avenue, the Timothy House is more than it first appears. Despite its deceptively small appearance from the outside, it is actually a homeless shelter that houses 15 residents year-round—the only such shelter in nine surrounding counties. Its warm and inviting atmosphere is a reflection of those that live and work there. “They are not homeless. They are a person that is experiencing a situation called homelessness,” Keith Wasserman, founder of Good Works Inc., stresses. “And [Good Works] thinks it is important to separate what is going on in someone’s life from who they really are.”


backdrop | Fall 2012

The Works

Good Works was founded by Wasserman in 1981 and has developed into a parent organization which branches off to include 20 other projects including the Timothy House. It provides housing for anywhere from 150 to 225 people each year. There are full-time staff members and roughly 60 people who volunteer throughout the year to help keep the shelter going. “There is a deep sense of caring that goes on with the people in this community,” Wasserman shares. “. . . This community provides almost 100 percent of [Good Works’] meals, over 21,000 meals this year—primarily from donations.” Athens’ mayor, Paul Wiehl, also thinks the local community does much to help. “[Good Works] is the only [homeless shelter] in eight or nine counties,” Wiehl points out. “So, therefore, in one sense we are probably doing more than any other county in this location.” In order to guarantee that Wasserman and his staff run Good Works in the most caring and supportive way possible, he uses an unconventional training method; Wasserman actually chooses to live in homeless shelters. In over 20 years, he has

According to the 2010 Census, 46.2 million people in the United States live below the poverty line.

lived homeless 10 different times, in 10 different cities. “Each of these experiences, I’ve done them intentionally because I want to see what it’s like to be on the other side,” Wasserman says. “It completely revolutionizes how we do things, particularly how we treat people.” He adds that it replenishes the compassion he and his workers show toward those they help. This is important to him because he wants Good Works to be as humane as possible. “The most significant thing about humanizing is are we loving people? Are we respecting them? Do they feel honored?” Wasserman clarifies. “ . . . Do they feel a sense of dignity?” Wasserman also emphasizes that homelessness is really an experience of loss. “Not only have you lost your housing, but you’ve also lost your support system,” Wasserman says. “Then you’ve lost your source of income, and you’ve lost your sense of sanity, and you’ve lost your sense of identity. And all these combine to create a great deal of instability.”

The Impact of the University

For people without homes in Athens, the OU community can provide some benefits due in large to the amount of support from the student population. “The OU students are great. Student clubs, they raise a lot of money,” Nicolas Claussen, community relations coordinator for the Athens County Job and Family Services, says. “. . . And there’s a whole Community Involvement Center in Baker where they send students out to help with different things.” But experiencing homelessness near the university also has some consequences. Because of the high demand for housing, lessors are able to maintain steep rent prices. Most of the residents of the Timothy House that are working fulltime are unable to afford the price of rent in Athens.

By the People, for the People

The state of the economy in Athens is also a significant reason that people become homeless. To soften the blow, Athens County Job and Family Services is responsible for many different types of assistance such as welfare, cash assistance and food assistance. In addition, they refer people to Good Works. Claussen says that there are about 2,000 people a month on cash assistance and about 11,000 on food assistance in Athens. But the assistance Athens County Job and Family Services is able to provide just isn’t enough. “Assistance needs to be expanded. A lot of people aren’t even eligible for assistance,” he notes. “If you’re single and you don’t have any kids, you’re not going to get cash assistance.” Claussen adds, “If we just provided more money for assistance, it would alleviate a lot of problems because people meet their basic needs.” Another fundamental problem the community faces while attempting to aid people without homes, aside from funding, is shelter. Because of the lack of available housing, Good Works has been forced to make some very tough decisions. In 2011, they had to turn away 142 people seeking shelter. This year they have turned away over 248 people,

including families with children. And the year isn’t over yet. “It’s very difficult to operate a 15-bed shelter as the only place for people without homes in nine counties,” Wasserman confesses. “We have maximum capacity all the time.” In 2007, Good Works applied for a variance in order to renovate the house next door to the Timothy House. Wasserman says they had wanted to use the property to focus on providing shelter and for families, while under the supervision of Good Works. But the variance was denied. “The official reason? It’s not in the code,” Wasserman explains. “We knew that. That’s why we applied for a variance. But we were denied the variance because it’s not in the code . . . it’s a circular argument.” When applying for a variance, the cases are brought to the Board of Zoning Appeals, a citizen board that decides what is acceptable and what is not. “[Wasserman]’s been given many variances and he’s been denied some variances as well,” Wiehl says. “. . . To change the code, it’s easy to say that. But the fact is, when you change the code there are unintended consequences. Changing the law is a broad brush there to dealing with the problem. That’s why the Zoning Board of Appeals exists.” In January of this year, several people spoke at a public meeting voicing their concerns about the problem of homelessness in Athens. After a six-month commitment to addressing the issues, Wasserman went to the June meeting and Wiehl’s responded, “We talked about it.” Wiehl says that the main focus of the meeting was to “get all the resources together and make sure everybody is talking to each other.” “The city has a very specific role, whether they like it or not,” Wasserman says. “They have enormous power, and they have a role to play. The question is: will they do their part?” However, the city’s part is complicated. “We do as much as we can, but there’s not a lot we can do in many cases,” Wiehl says. “ . . . But what is the role of government to do in these things? Do we apply dollars for homeless? Do we let the private non-profits do it? Do we let the church groups, the volunteer groups do it?” he asks. For the time being, the Athens community must work with the resources that are available to them in order to help those who need it most. “I’ve said from the beginning [that] homelessness is not a Good Works problem; it is a community problem,” Wasserman states. “It’s against the law to do more than we’re doing now. There is something wrong with that.”

In 2010 more than 30 percent of Americans dropped out of high school.







The disturbing statistics of children in low-income schools changed this alumna’s career path.


hio University alumna Brianna Savoca never planned on Savoca grew up with her younger sister, Kali, and her parents, becoming a teacher. She certainly never planned on land- neither of whom attended college. Because of their lack of secing a managerial position at one of Fortune’s “100 Best ondary education, Savoca’s parents were of little help when it Companies to Work For” just three years after graduating. In came to the college admissions process— forcing her to rely fact, the young broadcast journalism major always had dreams heavily on the advice and support of high school teachers and of becoming a famous news anchor. coaches when applying for colleges. However, by a random turn of events, Savoca’s plans changed “I had this revelation that my teachers were the ones that got when she stumbled upon Teach for America (TFA). me here,” Savoca says. “If I hadn’t had those teachers, I don’t TFA is an organization that works to eliminate educational think I ever would have accomplished even going to college.” inequity by placing passionate and adequate teachers at the Cue Ohio University. heads of classrooms. According to its website, TFA recruits While attending OU, Savoca majored in broadcast jourcommitted recent college graduates and professionals of all nalism. She kept herself busy serving a brief stint on Stubackgrounds to teach for dent Senate, working at Ohio two years in urban and ruSport Zone and reporting for ral public schools. They then When you have good teachers it WOUB’s Newswatch, where train and develop those corps makes such a difference. I could she got her first taste of the members so that they have an low-income side of rural areas. immediate positive impact on “Athens is very nice but unbe that teacher for kids.” their students. less you go out and explore ApSavoca first learned about palachia, you don’t realize that Brianna Savoca, Teach for America Recruiter TFA while researching a paper there’s low-income all around she was writing for a “Critical Race Theory” class during her fall us,” Savoca says. “Reporting those news stories definitely quarter of graduate school at OU. The question on the prompt sparked my interest and made me open my eyes and realize that asked, “What is one area of society that we could improve that not everything is picture perfect.” would make for a more positive future?” The downward spiral of the economy, coupled with news After discovering the statistic that one in 12 children in a low- station hiring freezes and low-paying salaries deterred Savoca income school will graduate from college, the answer to Savoca from her original dream of becoming a news anchor. Howseemed easy: education. ever, her newfound interest in education reform propelled her “I argued that education is the one thing we can fix because to make an effort to “pay it forward” to all of the children clearly without an education, you have very limited options in from low-income backgrounds afflicted by the inequalities in our society and lack of choices,” Savoca says. the public education system. While conducting research for her argument, a Google search “When you have good teachers it makes such a difference,” brought her to the TFA website. Savoca says. “I could be that teacher for kids.” That was when Savoca realized her true calling. Upon completing the time-consuming application and in“More than anything, the education reform movement is my terview processes for TFA, Savoca was accepted in January of newfound passion,” Savoca says. 2010. Just one week after graduating grad school in June, she A native of North Royalton, a suburb outside of Cleveland, went to Tulsa, Okla., for six weeks of intense corps training

where she was taught how to lesson plan effectively, how to organize a classroom and how to handle issues that students from low-income backgrounds may be facing, such as abuse and malnutrition. Post-training, Savoca received a job at REACH! Partnership School in Baltimore, Md., where she taught seventh grade English and language arts. Shock set in when Savoca learned that her students were not only reading much below the seventh-grade level, but that they actually had no books to read at all. “This school existed long before I ever got there so the fact that when I arrived there was no novels for the seventh graders to be reading, I was absolutely appalled,” Savoca says. Essentially starting from scratch, Savoca did whatever she could to design an appropriate yet challenging curriculum for her students. She prepared worksheets and exams, and she also bought the class a set of novels to read. Due to Savoca’s unbridled determination to make a difference, each year, on average, her students’ reading skills im-

proved over two grade-levels. “My students grew more than they should have,” Savoca says. “And it was simply just getting books in their hands and setting a really high expectation.” However, Savoca became more than just a teacher to her students; she was a role model and a trusted ally. One student confided in Savoca that her mother’s boyfriend had raped her. Another student confessed that she had been cutting herself. “She said to me, ‘It’s because of you that I’m still alive,’” Savoca says. Those problems weren’t all Savoca’s students had to deal with. Police officers were often stationed at the kids’ bus stop, a hot spot for drug deals. People carrying knives or other weapons were also commonplace. “It’s just a different world,” Savoca says. “For a child to have to be so hard and put up such a front just to protect themselves, it’s not the childhood that most people get the pleasure to grow up with and enjoy.” Savoca plans to spend her life improv-

ing those disadvantaged childhoods. “Remember those kids from your two years in the corps and from now on be a leader, give them a voice and change the future, because we can,” Savoca says. “That’s what TFA has inspired me to do.” In the future, Savoca hopes to start an urban authors league where she could write books with urban or low-income protagonists. These protagonists would be more relatable to students like the ones she taught in Baltimore. Ideally, part of the profits from her books would be put towards low-income scholarships for kids. For now, however, Savoca is still involved with TFA working for the non-profit side of the organization as a recruit manager. In addition to OU, Savoca also recruits at the University of Pittsburgh, Oberlin University and Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. “Those kids changed my life forever,” Savoca says. “I will forever want to do something that helps them and gets them to college.”


WHERE THEY WORK WEST Bay Area Colorado Hawaii


Las Vegas Valley Los Angeles Sacramento Washington

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SOUTHWEST Dallas-Fort Worth Houston New Mexico

Oklahoma Phoenix Rio Grande Valley San Antonio

MIDWEST Chicago Detroit Indianapolis

Kansas City Milwaukee Northeast Ohio-Cleveland South Dakota

High school dropouts have a life expectancy 9.2 years shorter than high school graduates.

Southwest Ohio St. Louis Twin Cities

SOUTHEAST Eastern North Carolina Alabama Appalachia Charlotte

Greater Nashville Greater New Orleans Louisiana Delta

Jacksonville Memphis Metro Atlanta Miami-Dade

Mississippi Delta South Carolina South Louisiana

Young people who bully are more likely to drink alcohol and get into fights.

EAST Baltimore D.C. Region Delaware

Greater Newark Greater Philadelphia New York

NEW ENGLAND Connecticut Massachusetts Rhode Island


The First


After the change to semesters, Ohio University students will be experiencing the holiday festivities in an Athens winter wonderland for the first time. BY OLIVIA YOUNG ILLUSTRATIONS BY EMILY PIGNATIELLO

1 Pick a name from the Santa Tree

Horse-drawn carriage rides across the bricks of Court Street, handmade gifts from the Nelsonville Historic Square and a holiday trail of lights are just a few things that make up the Athenian holidays. However, most students missed out on the fun when they used to head home each December for their beloved sixweek winter break. This year, for the first time since the late 1960s, Ohio University students will spend at least a fraction of the holiday season in this neck of the woods—and there is no doubt that Athens can be a pretty merry place if you know where to look.

Hundreds of local children wouldn’t have gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning without the help of Athens County Children Services’ Santa Tree Christmas Project. The tree that sits in the middle of the Market on State is covered in 1,200 to 1,500 paper ornaments, describes Sherri Oliver, public relations and community events coordinator at Athens County Children Services. She thinks the project will benefit from OU’s new semester system and that she has already received calls from service learning projects offering assistance. “It has eclipsed the last four years that I’ve done this project,” Oliver says. “And I think it gives students a nice feel for what’s going on in the county.” The project will run until December 14, the last day of fall semester.


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Watch local renditions of Christmas classics Hearing Ebenezer Scrooge scream “bah humbug” around Christmas time is a holiday tradition, but Athens offers its own rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Stuart’s Opera House hosts “An Appalachian Christmas Carol” every year, except this version features Ebenezer Scrooge as a blue-collar coal miner. If fairy tales are more your style, the ABC Players will perform Hansel and Gretel this year at ARTS/West, where the Local Girls will also be performing classic holiday tunes.

2 Cut your own Christmas tree If you’re looking to deck the halls of your college apartment this year, John Hutchison, operator of the carriage service for Uptown Athens festivities, has about five acres of White Pine to choose from. He’ll even usher you through the farm on a horse drawn carriage to find the perfect tree for $15. “How could you have more fun than riding a horse drawn wagon around?” Hutchison asks. After selling so many trees last year, he doesn’t have as big of a crop this year as he would have hoped, but he said he welcomes bonfires and other festivities at his winter wonderland to make up for it.

About 8 percent of eighth graders stay home once a month to avoid a bully.



Ride in a horse-drawn sleigh down Court Street For decades, Athenians have gathered on Court Street in early December to light the town Christmas tree. Percheron horses gallop up and down the sides of Court Street, offering jovial wagon rides for up to 20 people at a time. Uptown retailers stay open late into the evenings and offer hot chocolate and other treats for holiday shoppers. This year, the courthouse and college gate will host carolers on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Ron Lucas, deputy service safety director for the City of Athens, says. The horse-drawn carriages will be trotting through town on those days too, looping around College Street and down sorority row. Don’t forget to snap a photo with Santa inside his makeshift workshop on the corner of Court and Washington Streets.

Shop for one-of-a-kind artwork in Nelsonville’s Historic Square Put a handcrafted pottery piece or a pair of oneof-a-kind earrings under the tree this year from the holiday edition of Final Fridays on the Square. You’ll find books, pottery, paintings, handmade jewelry and holiday treats to wrap up and take home.

Revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.



Take a ride on the snowy side: Athens style The snow doesn’t often fall in Athens in December, but when it does, you’ll certainly find folks sliding down the slippery hills of campus and other secret spots. In years past, Jeff Hill has been prime location for sledding on a snowy day, but now that it allows car traffic, Athenians instead flock to the Ridges and the mini-mountain on which Athens High School sits. Students have been known to hijack food trays from the dining halls for this particular winter activity, but stick to store-bought car tires, baby pools and plastic sleds to avoid being tracked down by OU officials.


7 Take a trip to the North Pole 15 miles north of Athens is a village of elf houses and giant candy canes that surround Athens County’s only outdoor ice skating rink. Each December, the Nelson Commons Park in downtown Nelsonville is transformed into a local North Pole. Check out this winter wonderland on the first day of December to watch the Nelsonville Christmas Parade pass by. The “North Pole” is open Thursdays through Sundays during December.


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Host a winter wine tasting at Shade Winery

Holiday Trail of Lights at Lake Hope Each year, more than 75,000 lights are spread throughout the trail of Lake Hope State Park. This December, Lake Hope will host a light show throughout the whole park, which spectators will be able to view from their warm vehicles, Lake Operations Manager Coy Lehman says. He is unsure of whether the Friends of Lake Hope, a nonprofit group, will string lights along the trails again this year. However, you can still cruise through a real-life enchanted forest for free.

77 percent of students are bullied mentally, verbally or physically.


In the grassy hills of Shade, Ohio, Shade Winery has been turning grapes into wine for about eight years. But students better hurry to winemakers Neal and Oui Dix’s comfy cabin to try one of their 13 vinos before January, when they close for two months. While the winery is open on Fridays and Saturdays, it is also available to rent. The winery, however, only sells cheese, salmon and olive trays. So you may want to take along a pre-Christmas feast to complement a night of wine.


Tour the Hocking Valley on a vintage train What’s a better way to spend a winter day than to take a train ride through the Appalachian hills with a glass of wine in hand? Hop aboard the Winter Wine Express this month for a tour of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Proceeds from the Wine Express’ $25 tickets go toward Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville.

22,000 children around the world die everyday due to poverty.





n um b BY TI M H OWA R


Facing similar issues as students from 50 years ago, today’s scholars can’t seem to find the motivation to roll out of bed and onto College Green, with picket signs in tow.


fter May 4, 1970, news of the Kent State shootings had settled into universities across the nation. Students began to band together and mirror the actions of Kent State students by protesting the National Guard’s violent reactions and the presence of ROTC programs on campuses during the Vietnam War. Students of Ohio University responded to this violence with more violence. From destructive protests on College Green to the firebombing of the ROTC supply center at Peden Stadium, OU made the decision to close on May 15 and canceled the class of 1970’s graduation ceremony. The actions of these students have been burned into history, but the same cannot be said for today’s generation and political correctness may be to blame. Today, society intimidates the public into being politically correct. Speech is never black and white. Words can be misconstrued, misused and misinterpreted to fit

nearly any meaning that the speaker or listener wants to impart upon it. Being politically correct can be for the benefit of a potential eavesdropper, or it can be a tool for tyrannical governments to oppress their citizens. The lack of political upheaval on college campuses seems strange, especially considering the same issues that gripped the nation in the 1960s are staring down the current generation of scholars today. Civil Rights for African Americans five decades ago has transitioned into the battle for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender equality today. While a controversial war in Vietnam waged throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, an equally inflammatory war is taking place in the Middle East. And President Nixon’s Watergate Scandal in the 1970s has led to general distrust of the government in the 21st century. In the 1970s, Athens was going through as much upheaval as any campus in the country. On October 9 of

this year, The Post ran a story told by a former editor, Andy Alexander who presided over the paper from 19691970. During 1970, a series of protests took place, one of which was a sit-in that occurred in Cutler Hall—a protest against a fee increase. But the inflammatory gathering resulted in the National Guard being called to watch over on- and off-campus activities. After the May 4 massacre at fellow Mid American Conference school Kent State, students at Ohio University became increasingly enraged with the war and the way their fellow Americans were being utilized to squelch their first amendment right. The protests turned violent, and a firebomb was used at the ROTC building. On May 15, OU closed its doors, sent students home and canceled all classes until summer quarter 1970. Director of Veterans’ Affairs, in OU’s Student Senate, Eric May, believes that perhaps one reason there is a difference in political protests is because of the absence of a draft. “It starts with recognizing that compared to Vietnam, where there was a draft, this was different. Part of it stems back to the fact that when we went to Afghanistan in 2001 and 2003 when we went to Iraq, the majority of Americans agreed with the wars,” May explains. “When it doesn’t affect you, it’s a lot easier to be apathetic or support something that just doesn’t have an affect on you.” Pressure from college administrations could also be to blame. Yesteryear, when campuses were flooded with protestors, academia was as outlandish as the Wild West. Then, the student-professor relationship was so blurred that professors marched out of their classes to join their outraged younger comrades in the picket lines. Ideas flowed freely; professors didn’t mind sharing their opinions and took an active interest in molding young minds to think outside of just the curriculum that was required of them to teach. But after prestigious institutions like the University of California at Berkeley began receiving reputations as havens for hippies and ne’er do wells, and the tragedy at Kent State University occurred, college administrations started feeling pressure. They decided to muffle the student body’s protesting efforts. College classrooms became a much more vanilla place, decorum became the word-ofthe-day, and the only arena that a well-mannered, heated debate about the military industrial complex could take place was in a political science classroom. Dr. William Lamb, a professor in the college of business, summarized the way that one of his professors

I don’t feel it’s my role as the teacher in this case to be partisan one way or another.” Ryan Lombardi Interim Vice President of Student Affairs

taught him to broach a sensitive subject in the classroom. He stated that if a student left his classroom clear on his stance about a particular subject, that he hadn’t done his job properly, that day. Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, Ryan Lombardi echoed an eerily similar sentiment. Referring to politics, Lombardi stated, “I don’t feel it’s my role as the teacher in this case to be partisan one way or another, because I want to make sure that students of all angles feel comfortable having a discussion with me about the politics or this and that.” Political correctness takes many forms. It can be good, such as when an individual’s feelings are spared because the correct term to identify their gender, race or sexual orientation is used. But it can be abused as well. Such as when a person’s first amendment right to free speech is infringed upon, when a community’s right to have a free press is obliterated, or when a student’s right to an education is hindered because his or her classroom discussions are curtailed so as not to offend. Some, like 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer, lament the current class of scholars, referring to them as “the coddled generation.” On November 11, 2007 he did a piece for 60 Minutes titled “The ‘Millennials’ are Coming.” He pointed to the deluge of participation trophies and plaques adorning the new generation’s childhood bedrooms and said that the new breed of college student doesn’t understand what it’s like to lose. He and many his age believe that the new generations parents’, and Barney, spent so much time making sure that each child felt special, Scan to view that they’ve never actually grown video of Professor up. Perhaps this idea has permeated Frederic Cady because of the general malaise that talk about the new generation shows when conpolitical protests fronted with a difficult topic.


INTEGRATION AT ALABAMA Alabama Governor George Wallace blocks African Americans from registering for classes.


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AUG. 28, 1963

MILLION MAN MARCH ON WASHINGTON Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech.

MAY 14, 1970

KENT STATE MASSACARE Ohio national guard opens fire at Kent State University.

An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.

MAY 15, 1970

OHIO UNIVERSITY CAMPUS CLOSURE Protests at Ohio University turn violent resulting in campus evacuation.

SEPT. 17, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET Protests over what the masses viewed as an uneven playing field for America’s elite.

Every year there are 350-500 million cases of malaria and 1 million fatalities as a result.

FALL 2011

OCCUPY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA Protests break out at University of California branch schools.






Ohio returns a plethora of talent from a record-breaking season, but it lost the linchpin to their success. What it found is the man poised to take the Bobcats to the next level, new head coach Jim Christian.


fter the final buzzer, after all the magic wore thin, there was still a sense of nervous anticipation during the final week of March. It wasn’t the same hands-on-your-head, crossing-your-fingers eagerness that OU fans had gotten used to throughout the month. It wasn’t the feeling in the pit of your stomach when an alert DJ Cooper found the ball at mid-court and launched a last-second prayer against North Carolina—the kind of shot that lingers in the air forever. As the calendar shifted to April, Bobcats fans were fearful they would lose the man who brought all this madness upon them. Rather than return to Athens and try to replicate the Bobcats’ March run, head coach John Groce was offered an opportunity he couldn’t walk away from. When Groce, well known as a player’s coach and fan-favorite, landed in Illinois during the ensuing week after OU’s overtime loss to North Carolina in the Sweet 16, he left a void in Athens. His most prized recruiting class, including seniors DJ Cooper, Ivo Baltic, Reggie Keely and redshirt senior Walter Offutt, remains on the roster to embrace life under new head coach Jim Christian—a task not impossible, but uncomfortable for a team that blossomed together under their former leader. Despite the fanfare of the Sweet 16 run, the media attention during the first week of practice was limited. With so many players returning, the vibe of shoot around was loose and familiar. In a small circle under the left basket, Offutt and Cooper joked around before a Wednesday afternoon practice. Noticeably missing was the raspy voice of the man who brought the duo to Athens. His echo that once filled an empty Convocation Center is now gone, but

not forgotten. “I’m sure he’s thinking about me and I’m thinking about him too,” Offutt says. His relationship with Groce started in middle school when the Indianapolis native was in his basketball infancy. He was recruited to play at Ohio State where Groce was an assistant. When Groce left Colum- PHOTO BY EMILY HARGER bus for a headgo far if they embrace the man brought coaching gig in Athens, Offutt put his in to continue what Groce started. Just trust in a man that always believed in two weeks into the preseason, he found him and transferred to Ohio University. out that Jim Christian’s coaching style “I grew up with him and he instilled a picks up right where they left off. lot of confidence in me,” he says. “[Coach Christian] is really passionThe recruitment process wasn’t as ate,” Cooper says. “He wants to win. important for Cooper as the success He comes to practice like it’s a game he had from the start. As a freshman, every day.” the centerpiece of Groce’s first recruitChristian admired the team’s willing class, Cooper impressed in the 2010 ingness to buy into Groce’s defenseMid-American Conference title game first approach from last season. Their and NCAA tournament first round, work ethic is something that has imscoring 23 points versus both Akron pressed him from the start, but it’s the and Georgetown, respectively. Groce senior leadership that has helped ease gave him free reign, allowing the play- the transition. making point guard, once thought to “The thing about this group that be too small to play against Big Ten I’ve really enjoyed is the maturity with competition, to flourish. His trust in which they do things and their ability Cooper paid off, as he saw impressive to take things from the video room and returns on the player who would come put it on the floor,” Christian says. “That to define his tenure as OU’s coach. makes you move a little bit quicker.” Both Offutt and Cooper remain in Statistically one of the best defensive contact with Groce and emphasize that teams in college basketball last season, their non-basketball relationship with it was the Bobcats offense that strugtheir former coach is and will always be gled at times during the regular season. strong. But Cooper, ready to start his To capture the elusive MAC regular fourth full season as the catalyst for the season title, Christian will have to get Bobcats, knows that the team will only the most out of his two best offensive

The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among developed nations.


weapons, Offutt and Cooper. As head coach at Kent State from 2002–2008, Christian’s half-court offense was considered the best in the MAC by former Miami University coach and longtime rival Charlie Coles. “That was pulling a rabbit out of the hat when [OU] got him and it will prove to be that way as the season unfolds,” the recently retired Coles says. In a sport where coaches often leave teams in shambles for their successors, Christian was given the rare opportunity to take over a team set up to win right away. For all the talent that he inherits, Christian will have to shoulder the weight of high expectations and get the Bobcats to buy into his system if a return trip to the big dance is in order. “There’s probably as much that can go wrong as can go right,” Coles says. “You’re dealing with expectations of the fans and of your team and now

you’re kind of at a disadvantage because everybody knows you’re supposed to be good.” OU’s newfound prominence led Athletic Director Jim Schaus to make the call to then Texas Christian University (TCU) head coach Jim Christian once Groce said his goodbyes. Recognizing the opportunity to bring in someone with a proven track record in the

University basketball. If Christian’s past is any indication, he’ll fit right into the winning atmosphere fostered over the past three seasons. Like Offutt and Cooper, Christian is no stranger to crashing the big dance in March. A hardworking guard from Long Island, Christian was originally recruited by Rick Pitino to Boston University but transferred to Rhode Island where he played his senior season under legendary coach Tom Penders. Rhode Island, a team that never won a tournament game in its history, advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 1988 NCAA tournament before losing a heartbreaker to Duke. With one of the best backcourts in the country on his team, Christian struggled to get playing time his senior year but possessed the basketball knowledge that Penders thought would pay off down the road. “I could tell he was interested in being a coach,” Penders remembers. “He

always knew the plays and was well respected by his teammates.” After taking over a Kent State team that had reached the Elite 8 in the previous season, Christian didn’t waste any time in winning the MAC East division in 2002–2003—his first season as a head coach. He’d go on to win more than 20 games in all six seasons as coach of the Golden Flashes, including two MAC championships and two NCAA tournament appearances. Consistency at Kent State led to the TCU coaching job, a school with a bigtime football program but little tradition in basketball. Three losing seasons followed by a winning season would be all for Christian in Texas as TCU athletics prepared to move to the Big 12 conference where they’d be all but buried in the bottom of the standings. “It was a great move by Jim to get out of TCU,” Penders, who most recently spent six seasons coaching at Houston, says. “In the Big 12, you have to think hard about who the hell you might beat.” The marriage of Christian and OU made enough sense to make him, at the time, the highest-paid employee at the university—an investment in the present, as well as the future of the program. A return to the MAC brings lofty expectations, giving Christian more pressure to win now. “We’ve talked about what we’re trying to do and not worrying about what anybody thinks,” Christian says. For a senior-laden team, the only thing that could prevent OU from reaching its potential is looking too far

ahead. As the Bobcats prepare for the season, Christian looks to take the advice of his college coach and keep the same up-tempo style that Groce was known for. “Embrace the old coach,” Penders warns. ““It’s hard to sell a new system to kids who have been successful.” A week before the first regular season game, the Bobcats took to the Convocation Center floor for an exhibition against Mercyhurst. Play opened with a couple of sloppy turnovers and missed shots on both ends of the floor before OU’s leader took control of the ball. Cooper, eyes seemingly everywhere at once, noticed the Mercyhurst guard playing him tight. He stepped back with ease and drained a deep twopoint shot, silky smooth, like last season never ended. “It doesn’t make a difference who is standing on the sideline,” Christian says. “They have certain things that they want to accomplish individually and collectively and that has never changed.” For Cooper, not having Groce, someone he’s regularly referred to as a father figure, in Athens for one last run is bittersweet. He has little time to dwell on missed opportunities or missed coaches—that’s all in the past. He’ll be the Bobcats’ floor general under a new commander, a relationship that will define the most highly anticipated season in program history. “It’s a different transition,” Cooper says. “But life is about changes and how you adapt to them.”

It’s a different transition, but life is about changes and how you adapt to them.” DJ Cooper, Point Guard


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MAC, Schaus offered Christian the chance to take over the program. On April 3, Christian left TCU and was named the next head coach of Ohio

Africa accounts for 90 percent of malaria deaths.


I don’t know if there are too many coaches in the country I have more respect for than [Jim Christian]. Anytime you get ready to play one of his teams you know you’re going to play against a team that plays extremely hard.”

Sean Miller, University of Arizona Head Coach

He’s at Ohio University, which is the finest basketball school in the league because of its crowd and all the enthusiasm down there. I think that will really get him going.”

Charlie Coles, Former Miami University Head Coach

For more Ohio basketball coverage, including a story on the O-Zone, scan the flare code. One in every five children in the United States is living in poverty.







backdrop | Fall 2012

At 23 Elliott Street, a progressive housing movement has grown and flourished into the community. The Vine, as it is colloquially known, expects open communication and cooperation among its residents. Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide to kill women.

t’s an unusually warm autumn evening in Athens. Leaves dance across Elliott Street, and the brushing of foliage across the pavement breaks the silence of the quiet Sunday evening. The majority of the windows that are overlooking the street from the houses are dark, and the humid air and blustery breeze give discernible tells of a coming storm. At the end of the road, light radiates from a front porch that is cloaked and blanketed by emerald vines. The stairs to the porch and the foundation of the home all lay comfortably wrapped and cradled by the beautiful vegetation, and in the center of all the landscape lays one sign that reads, “The Vine.” “Our meetings haven’t been starting right on time,” Erin Swift, a non-student and resident at 23 Elliott, the Vine Co-op says as she tidies the room. The walls are painted dark blue and gold, both collegiate and cozy. Draped on the wall directly opposite the door is an enormous map of the Mediterranean Middle East. Bookshelves line the other nearby walls of the living room, stuffed full of various texts spanning genres and decades. No doubt that the collection has expanded since the inception of The Vine Co-op in 1994, with former residents leaving traces of them behind, adding to the character and personality of the home. “It’s hard to get nine people in the same room at the same time,” Swift continues as more of her roommates, who happen to be home this evening, descend the stairs. They join in sporadically throughout the conversation, adding their own insights and experiences. The roommates exchange warm, friendly smiles as they pass, and get comfy on the jumble of mismatched furniture that fills up the room. The 9:30 p.m. start time of the house meeting has been missed, but no one in the room seems concerned or anxious. They will gladly sit and talk while they wait for their remaining roommates to arrive. The comfortable, familial atmosphere is the essence of what The Vine is all about.

The Vine Co-op is a cooperative living experience offered in Athens. This home is owned by the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), an organization that “organizes and educates affordable group equity co-ops and their members for the purpose of promoting a community oriented cooperative movement,” according to the NASCO website. Members join NASCO by applying through their website and hold their membership by paying dues. Three different membership opportunities exist inside NASCO for those looking to actively participate in the cooperative movement, those looking to help organize and support NASCO, and those that associate with the cooperative movement, but do not qualify to be active members. Membership is available to all students and community members who are committed to cooperative education and values. Formed out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1968, NASCO promotes the cooperative way of life, instilling the values of self-help, self-responsibility, equality, and democracy through a communal living experience. NASCO members live in NASCO owned properties across America and these members maintain and control their home without the interference of a landlord, allowing occupants to have an adaptable living experience with few limitations.

Tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world.

“Technically the house is owned by NASCO,” Kevin Green, Vine Resident/Maintenance Director and student explains, “but everybody who is a member of the co-op is a member of NASCO, so basically when you live here you’re a partial owner of the house.” Green is no stranger to co-ops and NASCO properties. When traveling the country and living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Green was exposed to NASCO and the idea of cooperative living. “There’s a huge co-op scene,” Green enlightens. “I guess there’s about 10 different NASCO co-ops in Ann Arbor. The first one I lived in was very old, it was Michigan House, originally called the Michigan Socialist House, which started in the ‘30s, and it’s just been a continuous co-op house since then.” Green, an Athens native, enjoys the freedom that is unique to the coop experience. “Basically they don’t tell us what to do or how to run the co-op,” Green states. “It’s all democratic.” The Vine almost works as its own form of government. There is a constitution, regular meetings of members and all decisions are based on votes. Each member of The Vine is issued a job with unique responsibilities that range from “food buyer,” responsible for buying the communally shared


I think the kind of people that want to move to a place like this are the people who kind of want a sense of community in their house and actually want to interact with their housemates.” Kevin Green, Resident of The Vine

food items, to NASCO Properties Board Representative, responsible for attending national NASCO board meetings and checking in with the NASCO Correspondent for The Vine. These jobs are issued by the membership coordinator based on the interest of the member, expressed by a rating of each perspective job on the resident’s application. Normal house chores are divvied up between the housemates via a neatly made chart, where each person rotates through the designated necessary chores. “It’s not super tightly policed or anything like that,” Green says. “There are some jobs that kind of need to be done and it’s helpful if there’s a specific person to do that job.” Attending weekly meetings is also an obligation of the occupants of The Vine. At these meetings, members discuss vital matters of the house, but also talk about how they are doing, or how their weeks went. “Throughout the week if there is an issue that comes up, this is the time to discuss it as a community,” Swift explains. House meetings typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. “We’ve had some more lengthy meetings, either because we’ve had a lot of things on the agenda or because they are important issues and we can’t come to an agreement on something,” Swift describes. The cause of these disagreements are usually summed up in one word. “Food,” Swift states. “Food has definitely been a point of


backdrop | Fall 2012

contention in the house, just what we want to be purchased.” Most food items are bought individually, but as part of the cooperative element of the home, some items are bought and shared communally, using funds from the house accounts. These accounts are managed and maintained by treasurer, Avery Tucker, a senior here at Ohio University. “When people have to pay their rent each month, I’ll deposit that, or if people need money for food, I transfer money to their account,” Tucker says of his position. “I keep tabs on everything and balance the accounts.” Using the account money, the housemates decide what items to purchase, but these items can be harder to agree upon than one might think. “There are nine of us, so of course we have different needs and tastes,” Swift says. “Last week it came up that some people wanted to buy coffee as a house thing, those of us who don’t drink coffee were like, ‘well that kind of sucks,’ because we don’t use that. It’s kind of like going back and forth.” Though it may take some time, the group is always able to make decisions. “Our problem solving bounces back and forth between consensus-based decision and then sometimes straight up voting,” Swift explains. “It just depends what the issue is. I think in one of our meetings where we had a lot of dialog about the food we basically decided that since we spent this long talking about it maybe we just shouldn’t buy it, you know?”

Each person throws away approximately four pounds of garbage a year.

The key aspect of communal living is the community, and at The Vine, the housemates all take the time to build the collective atmosphere. “It’s not rare to find five or six of us at the dining room table talking,” Swift says of her interaction with her roommates. “I feel like I see everyone pretty regularly and usually it’s more than just a, ‘hi, bye,’ sort of thing. Usually it’s more of a detailed conversation.” The group also participates in stirring projects, like using the namesake of the house to have a little fun. “We actually had grapes growing on all of those vines,” Green describes. “Earlier actually, around the time we all moved in, we decided to make some wine out of it, also some jelly. There’s some wine downstairs, so it will be ready in about a month and a half.” The housemates have also brewed beer. “We’ve got Pawpaw trees on the side,” house gardener and OU junior Evan Fenstermaker reveals, “they had a lot of fruit this year so we made some beer.” If there’s no home brew available at the house, it’s not uncommon to find all nine occupants of The Vine hitting Court Street together. To apply to be a member of The Vine, applications are available on The Vine’s Facebook page, but the shy and withdrawn need not be hesitant to apply. “Not everybody has to be a social butterfly, but you have to be comfortable being around people and interacting with them,” Fenstermaker states. “People who are open communicators too is a big a thing,” Swift adds, “and willing to be really honest and

open and open to constructive criticism or hearing things that maybe could be sensitive, those are the kind of people who definitely would thrive in this type of environment.” For Green, it’s all about the community. “I think the kind of people that want to move to a place like this are the people who kind of want a sense of community in their house and actually want to interact with their housemates,” Green muses. Tucker finds the arrangements available at the Vine as a comforting aspect. “I like this kind of living style, it has a little bit of structure to it and it’s kind of built into the house,” Tucker says. “I just remember last year there [weren’t] established guidelines or rules in my house and we didn’t have a good sense of community. The house was kind of empty and it really didn’t feel like a home. It’s like a family [at The Vine].” As the evening grows later, even more of The Vine’s family begins to arrive. Every roommate who enters through the door is enthusiastically and warmly received. At the end of a long day, it’s comforting to return home to a family, and though slightly untraditional, The Vine’s family takes solace in the comfort that its housemates provide. The communal and cooperative spirit of the house wraps residents in like the vines that wrap around the front porch. Back on Elliott, the winds are rushing and the street is dark and lifeless, all except the light and voices flooding from The Vine. A lone black cat races from across the street and up the stairs of the porch. The cat is instantly let in through the door, just another family member escaping the storm, with a warm welcome home.

14 billion pounds of trash are dumped into the ocean every year.

THE HOUSE POSITIONS AVERY TUCKER: TREASURER The treasurer collects the rent from each member, deposits money into the house account and distributes money to house necessities.

STEPHANIE FISK: SECRETARY The secretary takes meeting minutes, checks the account books and updates the Vine’s website.

JEFF FLETCHER & KEVIN GREEN: MAINTENANCE DIRECTORS The maintenance directors are responsible for any maintenance that the house may need.


The NASCO representative keeps contact with the larger co-op organization as a whole. She keeps the NASCO updated in addition to attending regular NASCO conferences.

SEEDER CHAMBERLAINWHALEY & EVAN FENSTERMAKER: GARDENERS The gardeners are responsible for maintaining the front and back gardens and for planting and harvesting the many vegetables at The Vine.


The social coordinator is responsible for scheduling social gatherings and maintaining full membership at The Vine. The grocery buyer is responsible for buying the groceries that are available for all the members of the house.





BADASS BROWNIE BITE Ingredients 4 tbsp. flour 4 tbsp. sugar 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 2 tbsp. vegetable oil 2 tbsp. water ¼ tsp. vanilla extract (optional) Dash of salt


The holiday season is nearing and you can undoubtedly feel the chill in the air. It’s time to warm up with a cup of Backdropinspired recipes that provide the perfect opportunity to skip the soup and fight the frost with a toasty treat. So bust out your stolen dining hall cup or favorite mug and be prepared to snack on something scrumptious!

Prep Microwave the brownie batter for 60 to 90 seconds, depending on microwave. When it is done, let cool for an additional minute. Then it is ready for nomming.





2 tbsp. cocoa (don’t be afraid to use different flavors. They work just as well!) 4 tbsp. sugar 4 tbsp. flour 2 tbsp. vegetable oil or olive oil 2 tbsp. milk (or water) 1 egg

Prep Make sure to thoroughly mix eggs and milk. Microwave on high for 45 seconds and then give it a stir. Microwave again until eggs are almost set, 30-45 more seconds. Next, top with cheese and your cup will be filled with fluffy, cheesy goodness.

Prep Mix until batter is smooth. It’s okay to get creative—add some Hershey kisses or M&M’s to mix it up. Microwave the batter for three minutes and voilà! Your cocoa masterpiece is ready for munching.


backdrop | Fall 2012

People at home use more than 1/3 of all energy.

2 eggs 1 tbsp. milk 2 tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese Salt and pepper as needed for taste

*Adapted from Incredible Edible Egg

At least 50 million acres of rainforest are lost every year.






Food allergies eliminate several food options from a student’s diet. However, Ohio University Culinary Services employees go to great lengths to ensure the well-being of each and every campus resident with dietary restrictions.


verybody has a favorite food—but imagine not being able to consume it. And even worse— imagine your body losing its ability to sustain entire food groups. How would you get by, especially in the midst of a busy college schedule? Chelsea Csuhran, a sophomore studying French, experienced this horror at the start of her freshman year at Ohio University. In a matter of 12 months, she was obligated to cut gluten, dairy, egg, nut, soy and yeast out of her everyday diet. “I couldn’t do it anymore,” she says. “The upset stomach, the horrible headaches. I was sick all of fall quarter. I didn’t know what to eat; I didn’t know what was safe and what wasn’t.” Being a vegetarian since late 2007, she was used to having a selective diet. But she started noticing signs of gluten intolerance in September 2011 because of frequent abdominal pain. “I considered cutting it completely out of my diet, but going to the dining halls meant that there was a limited supply of what I could have,” she explains. “So I just continued to


backdrop | Fall 2012

eat gluten, dairy and everything else.” After a rough quarter spent with a constant upset stomach, Chelsea had her blood drawn to detect any unknown allergies. Doctors explained that not only did she have gluten intolerance, but she was also sensitive to 33 specific foods. To top it off, they discovered a reoccurring stomach yeast infection in her system. Shocked and reluctant to continue eating in the dining halls, Chelsea sought help. Although Chelsea’s situation is extreme, there are a few dozen underclassmen at OU who are also battling diet sensitivities every day. They’re continuously struggling to eat at dining halls because they’re either sensitive or allergic to the common ingredients in the foods they’re expected to consume. For these students, Ohio University Culinary Services is here to help. Matt Rapposelli, the former executive chef of Culinary Services, says that they can provide special diets for students of all needs. In severe cases, the students can have custommade meals cooked to meet their dietary necessities. Rapposelli says there are about six to eight students at

40 to 45 percent of households in the U.S. contain a gun.

OU who have custom-made meals built for them on a daily basis. That number more than doubles when factoring in those who have approached Culinary Services for help, but have decided to deal with their dietary needs independently. Any OU student can be granted access to a nutritional consultant by contacting Culinary Services. Rapposelli says he initially meets with those students to discuss any specific dietary restrictions, as well as what the student is seeking in his or her individual meals. Chelsea approached Culinary Services in March of 2012. Because of the personalization and availability of the custom-made meals, her culinary situation turned around. Since then, she has been working with a nutritional consultant who cooks her custommade meals for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday. “They’ve been pretty accommodating,” Chelsea says. “Although there’s only so much I can eat because there’s a limited access to those items, they’ve done a very good job.” While Chelsea does not have allergies to specific foods, she does have sensitivities, which are less severe food intolerances. This means that when she consumes food she cannot have such as milk, pineapple or corn, Chelsea gets a migraine or an upset stomach instead of a severe reaction. For every student receiving help from Culinary Services, gluten, a protein found prominently in wheat, rye and barley, is the culprit. “We always have some ingredient issue to deal with. Right now, gluten is number one. Hands down,” Rapposelli says. While sensitivity allows a little room for tolerability with the popular ingredient, an allergy doesn’t provide any wiggle room. Celiac disease, a condition where consuming gluten causes a damaging reaction to the small intestine, is becoming more and more prevalent in the United States. John Demsky, a freshman studying English, was diagnosed with Celiac disease approximately two years ago. But because he hasn’t yet arranged to have custom-made meals cooked for him, he’s been living off dining hall salads and fruit for every meal.

Contact Culinary Services

740.593.2970 for a nutrition consultant

“It’s the little things that can get me,” he says. “Like at the salad bar, if someone accidently puts a crouton into the lettuce, I’ll have a reaction to the breadcrumbs. It’s all really frustrating.” John says that having Culinary Services make him gluten-free meals is the only realistic way for him to get through his two years on a meal plan. Culinary Services’ providing nutrition consultants for these students is nothing new, but Rapposelli says he thinks the gluten issue has shed some light on what they have to offer. He knows it can be confusing for glutenfree students to know what is and isn’t safe. “Things like processed meat and soy sauce have gluten in them and it’s like a hidden ingredient,” he says. “So if there’s any question about it, a lot of them will just steer clear.” Of course, annoyance must ensue with this type of diet situation. ®QA0Gluten is included in almost any standard dining hall entrée option from pizza and pasta to tacos and soups.

The cost of autism over a lifespan is 3.2 million dollars per person.

“Really following it is a challenge every day,” John says. “People who choose to become gluten free forget about cutting out starches and sauces. Just recently, I found out that the dining hall’s balsamic vinaigrette has gluten in it, and I knew because I had a reaction to it. I’m still learning too.” Despite the frustration and cravings, both Chelsea and John have accepted their diets with open arms. “There are foods that I miss, but when I look at pizza or cake, all I do is think of having those really bad reactions,” he admits. “It’s just not worth it.” With Culinary Services backing those students’ dietary issues, sensitivities and allergies can be set aside and stomachs can finally be filled. Chelsea says that in the end, that’s all that matters. “I love the way I eat,” she says confidently. “I’m blessed to eat the way I do. I’m blessed to know what’s going on in my body because not many people do.”







athan Tilley is not your average 19 year old. Sure, Nathan is not the only person out there dealing with a serious physical disorder, but his positive outlook on life makes him unique in many ways. Nathan has debilitating Scoliosis, Neurofibromatosis and Severe Restrictive Lung Disease—all of which have left him with many scars and physical restrictions, plus a life story of trials, pain and hope. In early spring of this year, Nathan had corrective surgery, which resulted in him suffering many complications. What was meant to be a nine-hour procedure lasted over 17 total hours. With his vertebrae removed and replaced, spine straightened and ribs removed, Nathan would face 44 days in Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. The issue of healthcare is an important one in the Tilley home in rural Jackson, Ohio, as Nathan’s bills had not been covered under the health card program in Ohio, he would have faced staggering medical fees. His hospital stay alone cost over $5 million. Through his pain and physical limitations, Nathan shows the world what is really important: keeping a smile on his face even on the bad days. He spends time with his friends and enjoys life, always having enough hope and humor to go around.

Through the pain of his disease and the worry about the upcoming operation that may leave him paralyzed or even take his life, Nathan remains a joy and inspiration for others.

LEFT The procedure lasted over 17 hours due to complications with Nathan’s non-responsiveness to stimulus in his left leg and left arm.

BELOW Nathan hugs his father and says goodbye as he heads off into surgery. After an unexpectedly longer operation than anticipated, Nathan recovers in the ICU.

ABOVE Nathan reviews X-rays of his spine with his mother, Lisa, at their home. Nathan mentally prepares for his upcoming surgery, which will remove his ribs as well as replace vertebrae with hopes of straightening his spine, easing his breathing and relieving some of the pain caused by his severe scoliosis.

RIGHT Nathan shows an X-Ray of his spinal deformity on his iPhone. Though you wouldn’t know it by his constant smile, Nathan suffers from severe pain due to his debilitating condition, as well as from tumors throughout his body.

Fun fact goes here Fun fact goes here Fun fact goes here


ABOVE Nathan’s recovery in the ICU at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital spanned over a period of 44 days.

RIGHT Nathan analyzes the before and after photos taken from his successful spinal operation that helped realign his vertebrae from the effects of severe scoliosis.

TOP TO BOTTOM Nathan poses with his neck and back brace along with the screws and rods that were removed after his successful operation to straighten his spine, which lessen the effects of his severe scoliosis. The medical costs that accompany major diseases can be as large an obstacle as the disease itself. Nathan has had millions of dollars in medical bills over the years for corrective surgeries and hospital stays, which have helped him stay alive and healthy.





Gorging on a magnificent concotion from Chipolte Mexican Grill can prove to be a trying task, but these students take on the challenge with talent, style and dedication. “I like to attack my food, you know like primal instincts. at the rate of 100 a day, and over 1,000 a month. It gets all over your face and all over your clothes, but But how were those customers eating their wrapped that’s how I like it. That’s how you know it’s a good bur- tortillas? On each and every Chipotle napkin there are rito,” Ben Witosky, a freshman studying business at Ohio three illustrations that depict the “proper” way to eat the University says as he recalls the previous times he ordered massive burritos. The first etched picture shows a burrito the humongous filled wrap. that has been tightly wrapped with foil being held by two A burrito from Chipotle isn’t for the faint of heart, nor hands. The next scene reveals the same set of hands peelis it for clean freaks. ing back a sliver of the foil, only “Especially the sour cream to reveal the burrito sitting graand the hot sauce… it drips ciously in the shimmery pocket. out of the bottom,” Ben adds. The final step is accompanied by Well, that’s the result of a picture that shows the same burcommitting the rookie misrito, this time with a bite taken take: tearing off the foil comout of it. The anonymous hands pletely. Anyone that has fallen are still holding the treat as they victim to this decision certainwere in the beginning step. ly has asked himself or herself, One can assume that this is the “What’s the best way to eat best way to eat the burrito, seeing this calorie-packed, Mexican as the actual company sponsors Ben Witosky delight known as a ‘burrito?’” the message on each and every Freshman studying business at OU Going back to 1993, Chipotle napkin. But is it really? Of course, was started by Steve Ells, an Inthe peeling of the foil is correct; dianapolis native, in an old ice cream shop in Denver, Colo. that’s the easy part. The difficult part comes when one As a chef in San Francisco, Ells observed the popularity of must make the decision of how to continue to eat the burritos and sculpted his knowledge into the Mexican Grill burrito. This is the point when one can be creative, use known today. Within just the first month of business, the imagination, have style, be flashy, and dare it be said, original restaurant was handing out hand wrapped tortillas have swagger. Yes, swagger while eating a burrito is per-

I like to attack my food, you know, like primal instincts. It gets all over your face and all over your clothes.”


backdrop | Fall 2012

Only 11 percent of the earth’s surface is used to grow food.

fectly acceptable as long as it’s done right. The two most popular variations seem to be the two-handed method and the ever more dangerous one-handed grasp. Using two hands is classy, saying, “I know what I’m doing and I’m confident in my approach to the meal in front of me.” But it also gives off the assumption that the consumer is totally aware of the conditions that the burrito can leave their favorite shirt in if they’re not careful. Understandable. What about the one-handed method? “When I get a burrito I prefer eating it with one hand so I can unwrap with one and take a bite with the other,” Dominique Barnett, a sophomore studying nursing explains. This brings about the many perks that come with the one handed approach. While eating, you can easily use your offhand to take a sip of the drink that you most likely ordered, to wash down the black beans you so happily asked for in the assembly line minutes prior. You can also text. Yes, think about it: what’s better than Instagramming a picture of yourself at Chipotle? If you do decide to post a quick snapshot of yourself, the caption on that photo would most surely say, “I’m an interesting character. I don’t mind a little adventure in my life—even it happens to come in the form of going to the Laundromat to get a salsa stain out of my shirt.” The one-hander is an experienced eater and he or she

knows the consequences may be serious, but the benefits outweigh the risks. “I must admit I have a strange way of doing it. I like to unwrap it all the way and lay it in a bowl and then eat it with a fork and knife,” Jillian Hill, a Chipotle company representative says. “In the old days, when we only had one restaurant, Steve didn’t want there to be any utensils available so people had to hold their burritos… luckily he changed his mind!” Without this change of heart, the question at hand would not be so heavily debated, but that’s the beauty of it all. There is no right or wrong way to eat a Chipotle burrito—it all depends on what kind of person you are. When you order, make sure you do so with confidence. And if you should ever find yourself asking, “How should I eat this Chipotle burrito?” Just take the time to look into the shiny foil that protects it—what’s reflected there will most likely be your answer.

See the burito-eating tactics of fellow OU students here.

The U.S. has less than 4 percent of its forests left.

Celebrate the upcoming apocalypse Athens style DANCE LIKE IT’S YOUR LAST CHANCE



12.6.12 Red Brick Basement 10 PM — 2 AM

21+ $1 18+ $4





To Mother






Father tells me to be strong when I start to whimper. To be rigid as the ironwood bracing against the swirling flakes glossed roseate by the setting sun.

These stars bear too much weight, And this sky presents too many questions, These trees seem to deflate, When the wind is not around to protect them.

He brings home the fallen doe, her legs twisted and frozen, the arrow wound visible just above the armpit. Her eyes are closed and each lash ends in a droplet of melted ice.

This ground seems to shake, As these buildings slowly crumble, These steps are all erased, So the wicked are forced to stumble.

Father unslings his compound bow. His knife works smoothly as if driven by a secret compass, and we’ll have my favorite soup tonight instead of the usual peanut butter sandwiches made from stale bread.

These light posts are quick to break, But still the shadows somehow dance, This cliff tries but cannot relate, to how the bridge screams romance.

He kisses my forehead and I feel the prick of his whiskers. He tells me to be brave as I board the bus to school, chased past its mechanical doors by the whispered threats of the frigid breeze.

The owl is doomed to fate, The moon seems to remind him, Now his hollow is where he lay, Before the sun peaks over the horizon.

What Once Was

Father tells me to be strong, but one afternoon, I catch him crying alone in his room; his head bent over your picture. And I come to him, holding his big rough hands in my small smooth ones, and tell him that it’s okay; no one can be strong all the time.





backdrop | Fall 2012

One out of every three homeless people is under the age of 18.


Athens Sky

When words are not enough To save what once was A closeness, a bond, Created by two joined at heart, Their souls intertwined, becoming one. When the foundation on which the fabrication cracks And the walls start to deteriorate, When the comfort you felt starts to fade away. Time is a funny thing, Like the autumn leaves Changing right on cue, As if they weren’t falling leaves at all But actors in a Broadway show, Playing their parts to perfection, Not waiting for anyone who fell behind. The memories in the back of your mind play a film As they seem to slowly disappear, Like staring out the back window of a bus, Your face pressed against the glass, Watching everything you became familiar with Blend together Until it finally vanishes, Leaving not a trace as to what once was. And I can feel the path beneath my feet Twisting into the unknown, But hope filters through my body, Praying that I will find you there in the end; Reviving what once was.

Check out more artwork by Ohio University students.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability.





Insta SCAM

Think you know Court Street like the bottom of your glass? Take another look and try to find all the differences between these two pictures.

When a picture is worth a thousand words, how many more does a filter add, or in this case, subtract? Instagram has removed quirky truths of reality and has replaced them with synthetic perfection.

Write the differences next to the circles.


1 2 3 4 5 6


picture is worth a thousand words. An Instagram, however, is a waste of time for both the picture taker and the picture viewer. Pictures are supposed to capture a memory, whether it is a person, a place or an event, as it actually looked at the time it occurred. Instagram gives one the power to change virtually everything about a photo, from the color scheme and the focus, to the border and the lighting. In addition to capturing memories, pictures are also meant to tell a story. The unnatural filters and effects employed by Instagram completely botch the story that a natural photograph is supposed to tell. To be blunt, Instagram is nothing more than a forum for people to make their lives look more exciting and glamorous than they actually are. With other

The first person to submit the correct answers to will win a prize!

social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which allow our generation to brag in words about everything from accomplishments to vacations, why not add one where we can brag about such things through a slew of edited pictures? The truth of the matter is, Instagram allows people to show off what they want others to see, not a moment as it actually was. Don’t get me wrong— Instagram is a major technological advancement, not to mention a great artistic outlet for many people. Furthermore, it is only an application for devices such as cell phones and tablets; professional photographers are still opting to use a camera over an iPhone for those truly high-quality photos—for now, at least. But as far the social aspect goes, Instagram is taking over. I see multiple photos of various landscapes, fancy drinks and happy couples posted on Facebook

or Twitter daily that have been “Instagrammed.” I do admit: they’re pretty cool. Although I know such photos may be aesthetically pleasing, they aren’t entirely real. If the landscape is so pretty, your drink is so good or if you and your boyfriend really are the cutest couple in the world, why go through all the trouble of editing the picture? Maybe it’s because we can, or maybe it’s because we have nothing better to do. Whatever the reason, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Instagram doesn’t escalate to anything more than the fad it is now, or eventually all of our photographed memories will be nothing but a collage of out of focus embellishments. So for those of you addicted to the craze, maybe you should think twice the next time you share a photo on Instagram. After all, who are you trying to kid?

Agree or Disagree with Maggie? Tell us what you think! Tweet us at @backdropmag


backdrop | Fall 2012

70 to 80 million Americans own guns.

Mississippi receives the most food stamps in the U.S. at 20.8 percent.


Fall 2012 (Vol. 6 Issue 2)  

With the change to semesters, students will stick around to ring in the holiday season.

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