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248.370.2533I.C.E FESTIVAL Graduating seniors in the Honors College share their thesis projects.
OUSC 2023 presidential debate overviewJOE ZERILLI Campus Editor
Presidential slates met one last time before voting as vice presidential and presidential candidates debated against each other for election to Oakland University’s Student Congress (OUSC) office. Moderated by Jeremy Johnson, candidates were asked questions on topics like tuition, campus safety, food on campus and the relationship with administration.
The debate included Murryum Farooqi of the Farooqi-Ferguson slate, Josef Gojcaj of the Gojcaj-Mitchell slate and Joshua Kobus of the Kobus slate. Below are their initial responses to the general questions asked.
Gojcaj: “I think my experience started at a young age growing up in an immigrant, working class household. I’ve gone through a lot of things in life, from drug addiction to mental health illness that resulted in the police coming to my home.
“But following that, I think my parents raised me pretty well. I think having that experience of being a hard worker and helping people in a humanitarian way is why I’m here today. Also, I serve as the current director of outreach and events for OUSC. I came into the position very quickly after being nominated.”
Farooqi: “My experience in Student Congress has been, honestly, such an amazing experience. I have been a part of so many huge initiatives, so many huge wins for the students.
“We donated thousands of dollars to the affordable course material initiative, where students are saving upwards of $60,000 unaffordable textbooks. We ended the East Campus Development program, and we diverted those funds back to students. We fought for free menstrual products in every single building on campus, and I’m going to continue to fight for more of those.
“My track record speaks for itself. I started the pronoun pin program — we distributed thousands of pronouns across all of campus. That hasn’t even been a thing before I got here.”
Kobus: “I grew up in a family of seven. I’m the older brother, and then throughout my life, I’ve had more opportunities to display leadership, like becoming a resident assistant in the halls.
“Now, when it comes to my experience at the Student Congress, well, I have none. I am running just purely as a student who has been involved in some clubs, and I’ve heard their problems and their cries and struggles in terms of their involvement with Oakland.
“As the past two years have gone by, I’ve seen that OU Student Congress has kind of hidden themselves from the general population. So I’m coming here from the outside because I know there’s no biases, no conflict of interest issues or student politics that will prevent me from getting done what needs to be done.”
Groups to work with Gojcaj: “Definitely think it’s hard to respond to selecting certain groups of people and certain populations on campus, but some groups of people that I feel compassion for are first generation students, the LGBTQ+ community, anyone who is associated with Greek life in the Greek community, housing residents and anyone who is an athlete.”
Farooqi: “I’ll say this. I’ve made a lot of different connections over my time in Student Congress, and I think every single student is important. I care about every single student, no matter who you are, no matter what your political beliefs are, religion. I’m going to work with you separately.
“We actually already have a faculty rep, we have a liaison, club sports, we actually helped them get more funding. They came to us. We talked to them last year. You can double check it. You can ask ballroom and dance.
“We have grad students in Student Congress and the representatives that you’re talking about in gen body, we contact them every single week and they don’t give us any information, they don’t show up.”
Kobus: “I have many great ideas about who needs to be represented in Congress that is currently not getting representation they need. For example: representative from Greek life, representative from student athletics, club sports who have been struggling getting money.
“I believe our graduate students have also been forgotten — graduate student representative, and then a student representative as a commuter, and then one organization who has definitely been rejected is the
residents’ life associate from housing. They have not been going to any meetings, and I think faculty goes into that, as well.
“I think it’d be great to have a faculty representative, and by having all these representatives at our meetings — and actually meeting at a good time, not Fridays at 4:30 that no one shows up to — I think I could get more people to come, have more representation and I could finally get an idea of what everyone on campus wants.”
Food on campus
Gojcaj: “I think we can all agree that we have some of the same experiences when it comes to food and dining here on campus. It’s pretty disappointing to see the quality of the food here on campus. I think one of the biggest things we need to do is improve on the quality, because from what I’ve known from Chartwells, they buy low cost stock.
“They have a low amount of workers conducting the preparing of the food, as well as charging higher prices for the food even though they are lower cost. So I think one of the biggest things we need to do is improve the quality, lower the expenses, expand dining hall hours and continue to talk to the Chartwells.”
Farooqi: “As a freshman, one of my biggest things was having inclusive options, because that’s something that’s affected me personally, having strict dietary requirements. And so I know as a student, every student deals with and interacts with oncampus dining, and every student deserves food at a decent price and of decent quality.
“We’ve fought to expand dining hall hours in the dining halls that are open, we’ve fought to have inclusive food options, to have labeling for allergies and whatever it may be.
“And most importantly, the thing I’m most excited about that we’ve worked on is a program called Swipe Out Hunger, where we’ve worked to allow people to donate their unused meal swipes to students in need.”
Kobus: “I’ll say for sure that the dining halls aren’t perfect and they do struggle with a lot of issues. Now, I think I’ve learned from the current administration how not to deal with that. And I’m referring to OU Starves.
“OU Starves is honestly immature and honestly very cowardly — it’s basically bullying Chartwells by
showing pictures of gross food.
“Now, the way that it’s supposed to go is, last year I was the resident assistant liaison to RLA. There, they have a Chartwells rep, and you could pair up all the concerns.
“You could say, ‘Hey, this food was really good that we had today.’ And you could also bring up more things to dining halls like, ‘We would prefer more fruits and veggies, for example. We prefer more options.’ Anyone could join these meetings, if everyone just went there and voiced those concerns.”
Gojcaj: “I don’t think Swipe Out Hunger is doing enough, because there are a lot of people on this campus who are students who face lower income issues, financial issues, and I think lowering the cost of the food and telling Chartwells to lower the cost even though they’re buying low cost product.”
Farooqi: “I can say Swipe Out Hunger is something we’ve been pushing for the administration or for Chartwells since 2021, since last year when we talked to the food pantry, they told us about this idea. We got them to do it for one week, and over 300 swipes were donated, because they kept telling us no one wanted to donate.
“I think it needs to be something that’s allowed to happen year round. You should always be able to donate swipes, because you paid for them.
“And, both my opponents here are also kind of giving similar sentiments, but I’m the only one here that actually has a track record of getting Chartwells to do things. So at the end of the day, it’s a matter of who has the track record, who has the proof of ‘I’ve been able to do this in the past.’”
Kobus: “I think it’s a good addition, because now, as someone who eats at Vandy every day, we have a limited number of guest wipes and we can bring anyone non-OU student related or people on campus.
“I know the previous director of Chartwells was an advocate of expanding that in terms of having unlimited number of guest wipes, but you could literally swipe your card as many times for whoever you want until your meal swipes go to zero. And honestly, I think being able to be more flexible with the swipes is a very good idea. I think it helps a lot.”
(Contiune on our website)
OUSC 2023 vice presidential debate overviewJOE ZERILLI Campus Editor
Presidential slates met one last time before voting as vice president candidates and presidential candidates debated against each other for Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC) office. Moderated by Jeremy Johnson, candidates were asked questions about things like tuition, campus safety, food on campus and the relationship with administration.
Featuring Maris Ferguson of the Farooqi-Ferguson slate and Amir Mitchell of the Gojcaj-Mitchell slate, the debate kicked off with opening statements and then general questions for both candidates. The full debate can be found on OUSC’s YouTube.
Below are their initial responses to the topics.
Ferguson: “First and foremost, I want to say that my experience in SAFB and OUSC together have been really formative in my experience in engaging with the student body. I work with student orgs every single day, which means I interact with students constantly. And so I’m able to be in tune with them, listen to their needs, adapt quickly, and make sure that their voices are heard.
“I’m also aware of how OUSC works and on our slate you have a ton of experience as well. So, I’ve had my hand in writing legislation and that’s something that SAFB chairs hadn’t really previously been engaged in. Really being an advocate through OUSC is something I found a lot of passion for. First and foremost what makes me experienced for this is that I’ve been in touch with students and also I’m an advocate and an activist at heart, and this is a huge part of who I am as a person.”
Mitchell: I am a freshman, so a lot of people say, ‘Why you, why a freshman who comes to Oakland University in his second semester?’ And what I say is, this might be my first college experience, but I had a ton of experience abroad. I’ve lived in the Dominican Republic for over a year. I know Spanish. I’m intact with all different communities.
“I come from a less financial appropriate family that came up and we had our adversities there. And through this school I’ve worked with OUSC on several different initiatives on every single task force. And if I have the time, I work on it and I’ve made sure that I have a very good amount of respect and amount of integrity when it comes to this job. I believe that, you know, I would be a
good solid candidate for this.” Improving legislature/job preparation
Ferguson: “So with my experience at SAFB I’m already managing a staff of my own, also with my experience in human resource management, I’ve been nothing but prepared this whole time receiving my education for managing staff, that’s recruitment, onboarding, mental retention, all those kinds of things. First and foremost, something that I improved when I first got to SAFB was our onboarding. There wasn’t really a structure for how to train people when they get into this job.
“And so that was my number one goal there. And that’s gonna be my number one goal in this position as well. I wanna make sure that the process is smooth because we have a lot of legislators, luckily this era of OUSC has a lot of engagement from students. And so we wanna make sure that the process for getting them in and getting their voices as soon as possible and getting trained to do their jobs. That’s my first goal.
Mitchell: “So I’d like to say first that I have an immense amount of experience, especially with business, managing teams, coordinating tasks and things like that. I’ve been in the restaurant industry for over 10 years now, so I definitely have an immense amount of experience and background with working with people, with getting tasks done.
“How I would be a better vice president I think is to completely stay neutral, to work with our legislature, to not isolate people and to make sure that everyone feels like they are welcome. Everyone feels like they have a space here in OUSC to conduct their initiatives and resolutions and things like that. “
Training new legislature
Ferguson: “Making sure everybody’s equipped to do their job with the tools necessary is incredibly important, if not the most important job of the vice president. And so I would say that to make sure that training is effective, we need to all look at it together as a team and say, what do you need from our legislators and how can we give them the tools to do that? One primary goal and duty of the job of legislator is to read and write legislation and then vote on it.
“And we need to empower our legislative body to give them the tools that they need to know how to write those pieces of legislation so they can make true change. It’s when we talk about it and do things here and there, but if we can make policy and if we can enact this legislation, it really
gives power to our voices. It’s not just us saying wishes out there, it’s getting power to people and putting the power directly into students’ hands.”
Mitchell: “So we had a ton of new fresh faces this year. I came in during the summer along with Ms. Ferguson, and I do believe that over this year we’ve grown a ton. We’ve seen a lot of new people and we’ve had so much new diversity that I’m such a huge supporter of.
“And I believe that I would work with these people to not see differences in anything like that. I would bring everybody closer. I would see ‘Where’s our common ground?’ I don’t care what your political background is or how you feel about things personally. What we’re here for is to change things at this school. And so what I believe is to bring everybody closer and work with them everyday to make sure that we have a stronger legislature.”
Food on campus
Ferguson: “I think we all agree that the quality of food on campus and our dining experience is less than satisfactory, if not downright disappointing.It’s important that we keep these conversations going with Chartwells and holding them accountable and saying that because we’re paying so much to be here and support them, they need to support us just equally, if not superior.
“One of the first things that we need to address here is affordability. The prices for campus food are exorbitant. And not to mention when you pay for a housing dining plan, most of your meal swipes might go unused and expired, and there’s no cost that we get back from that.
“And additionally, the hours need to be expanded so that way we can increase accessibility to food on campus so students aren’t going hungry just because they can’t get there at a certain hour of the day. And finally, we need to enact Swipe Out Hunger to make sure that meal swipes can be donated at the very least to students in need across campus.”
Mitchell: “As an on-campus student, I eat there every day. You’ll never guess where I’m going after this. I’m very passionate about that. That’s why one of the biggest things in OUSC I’ve started is our Chartwells task force, meeting with them biweekly. Bringing their executives in the office saying, ‘how can we do better with this?’”
“I know you guys are losing money or there are alternatives that aren’t exactly practical that we’d like. You know, we would love you guys to have every single amenity here for
food for us, but we understand what is practical for us.
“One thing that we laid the track for is meeting with them, setting those meetings up, getting those people in the room and allowing us to do things such as Swipe Out Hunger, such as expanding dining hours, adding alternative hot food and The Hive and Tilly’s and just getting better alternative situations that are practical and works for everyone.”
Reproductive rights and resources
Ferguson: “I think that Student Congress is responsible for advocating for all student needs across the board, and so I think reproductive rights absolutely falls under this category.I also believe that supporting women goes beyond just what happens in our bodies and our reproductive systems and so this is why I’m supporting the creation of a women’s resource center that is all encompassing beyond just reproductive rights.”
“But also to include things like what women experience in the world, professionally, educationally, socially, and so things like our menstrual product initiative is one example of how we’ve supported so far, we can take this so much further. Supporting women who need mentorship and when they’re experiencing discrimination and sexism and there’s all kinds of social issues we experience as women in particular that aren’t seen on this campus through an institutionalized program.”
Mitchell: “As an advocate for all students here, I definitely see a call for help for people who need reproductive resources. When I heard about Roe v Wade, I just, I’ll be completely honest, I saw somebody screaming at this guy and I said, ‘what just happened?’
“They said, ‘we lost.’ I said, ‘who?’ They said, ‘women.’ And immediately I was heartfelt and that hurt me. I said, ‘what can we do?’ And immediately, I got to thinking and we proposed the plan B issue to make sure you guys understand these resources are available, 90% of the student leaders didn’t know that plan B is available for $15 in the Graham Health Center.
“These resources were just not available and well, they didn’t know that it was. And so we wanted to make sure that everybody understands that these things are here and as far as advocating for things that would help.”
(Continue on our website)
SAFB discourse during 2023 OUSC electionsJOE ZERILLI Campus Editor
During the recent debates for Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC) president and vice president, a big topic of discussion was the relationship between OUSC and the Student Activities Funding Board (SAFB).
Currently, both organizations are separate entities within the Student Activity Fund Assessment Committee (SAFAC). However, the president of OUSC appoints the chair of SAFB as well as OUSC acts as the legislative body for SAFB to hold it accountable.
SAFAC controls hundreds of thousands of dollars to spread amongst the eight organizations within it. This pool of money comes from the tuition dollars of students at OU. As it sits, SAFB is tied with the Student Program Board for receiving the most money at 27% while OUSC is third receiving 15%.
First occurring at the vice-presidential debate, the chair of SAFB, Maris Ferguson of the Farooqi Ferguson Slate, said she wants OUSC and SAFB to continue this relationship while Amir Mitchell of the Gojcaj Mitchell Slate said they should be completely separate.
“If there are cases when SAFB is becoming out of control or needs to be
ringed in, this is what OUSC’s job is. The legislative body is meant to hold SAFB accountable,” Ferguson said. “I don’t understand how the separation of OUSC and SAFB would help any kind of bias situation coming in SAFB because frankly, this is what OUSC is meant to do. It can’t be separated.”
While Mitchell agreed there should be someone who holds them accountable, he questioned whether certain organizations receive bypasses and others do not. Another area of concern is having the OUSC president sitting in on meetings.
“What I don’t agree with is having our president sitting in meetings, funding meetings, budget approvals, and having an inappropriate amount of influence towards these organizations who just want to do what their hobbies are,” Mitchell said.
With this, the president is an exofficio member of the SAFB board who is also the supervisor of the SAFB chair. Despite the discussion of separation, Ferguson shared her sentiments with orgs who don’t receive funding.
“My heart hurts for those organizations that are still struggling and I know as a student org leader, how important it’s that we all get this funding because it’s vital to keeping our organizations alive,” she said. “I know that it’s important to keep all organizations on an equal playing field when it comes to funding so that those
that are doing they’re due diligence are getting the funding they deserve.”
She also stated there is more funding available than in the history of SAFB, which sits at $558,917.99 as of March 31, due to current administration. It is important to note SAFB still received funding during COVID-19 and was able to stockpile funding during that time.
The topic continued the following day at the presidential debate, where the point was brought up with the Meadow Brook Ball. Presidential candidate Joshua Kobus asked fellow candidates Murryum Farooqi and Josef Gojcaj their thoughts on the importance of funding long-standing traditions such as Meadow Brook Ball.
Gojcaj said it was important to ensure all students and organizations are equitably funded. Farooqi responded saying the issue with the Ball is it asks for funding and then charges students for a ticket.
“They’re charging students, you have to pay to get into this event, but then they’re asking for funding from SAFB, which is tuition dollars,” Farooqi said. “SAFB has a policy in their bylaws that says you cannot, that’s like a scam at that point you can’t fund an organization, you can’t get funding and then charge people.”
In the end Meadow Brook Ball did receive funding from SPB.
Kobus brought up conflicts of interest for the president of OUSC, who is
the treasurer for Swifties of Oakland University. In a rebuttal, Farooqi would restate the policy where if a member of SAFB is on the e-board of another club they cannot vote.
Later on, Gojcaj asked about the number of denials and whether the rate of denials has increased or decreased. At this point, Ferguson would say the answer from the audience, stating there was a 17% denial rate.
Both Gojcaj and Farooqi said they don’t want complete separation of SAFB and OUSC, with Gojcaj wanting to make the process of hiring the SAFB chair more strict. On the other hand, Kobus said he is for complete separation as he said it is the only way to avoid corruption.
People of OU: Accomplished multicultural storyteller, educator Della CassiaTORI COKER Content Editor
From Meadow Brook Road to Sesame Street, from the newsroom to the classroom, Della Cassia’s passion for storytelling and advocacy for multicultural perspectives has driven her through a storied career in media.
Cassia’s trademark sense of curiosity emerged as somewhat a product of necessity as a teenaged
immigrant from war-torn Lebanon.
“I compare it to being almost deaf and blind, when you start out,” Cassia said. “I was 16 years old, walking the halls of Southfield High School, not speaking a word of English, not understanding the culture, not knowing how to navigate an American school.
“Can you imagine yourself as a junior having to go through something like that? Junior year is the most decisive year of your high school career. So starting there was really tough for me to adjust, to understand what the culture was like and how to adapt.”
Cassia’s early dreams of becoming a foreign correspondent motivated her to pursue journalism fresh out of high school. She enrolled in Oakland University’s “excellent” journalism program in 1991, at a time when campus felt a lot smaller — before the advent of the Human Health and Engineering buildings. Amused, she recalls a class teaching students to use Google.
Though working during the day and taking classes exclusively at night meant opportunities to establish herself in the world of journalism were
limited, Cassia credits OU faculty with amplifying her appreciation and desire to get involved in the field.
“What I loved about OU was the connection I made with all the teachers — small classes, more oneon-one interactions, a lot of support,” Cassia said. “[...] It’s more than a college. It’s a community.”
Cassia cites local journalism greats and OU faculty legends Jane BriggsBunting and Neal Shine as two key mentors who shaped her as an aspiring journalist.
“Those wonderful professors at OU just made me love journalism even more. Even though they warned me every single class about how tough the industry is,” she said, laughing, “it just was a great experience I’ll never forget, and every time I come to OU for one thing or another, I always wish I could take more classes here.”
Cassia spent several years working for Farmington-based community publications and Metro Parent magazine, an opportunity which allowed her to flex her knack for storytelling on multiple fronts.
“I was able to tell those stories and really get involved in various communities, reporting on education,
City Council, crime, writing feature stories, writing obituaries — you name it, I wrote it, and it just was an amazing experience,” she said.
In an effort to be more present while beginning her family, Cassia eventually moved on from journalism to work in the nonprofit sector as a public relations professional. Her seven years at the Engineering Society of Detroit saw her leading the award-winning Technology Century Magazine, interviewing giants in the STEM fields.
Cassia was then recruited to PBS affiliate Detroit Public Television for a three year stint as Director of Communication, promoting national shows like Sesame Street and Downton Abbey, interviewing celebrities like Jane Seymour and working with television greats like Norman Lear and Dr. Henry Louis Gates.
Since 2017, Cassia has been translating her real-life experience into in-class lessons, teaching high school students at the Michigan Virtual Charter Academy (MVCA) and college students at Oakland Community College.
(Continue on our website)
Veteran CNN correspondent describes challenges of covering China during Klein Center lectureJOE ZERILLI Campus Editor
The Klein Center for Culture and Globalization welcomed Mike Chinoy to Oakland University on March 31 to discuss his experience covering U.S.-China relations, the history of journalism within China and to promote his new book “Assignment China.”
Chinoy is currently a non-resident senior fellow at the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California. His experience spans 40 years, including 24 spent at CNN, serving as their first Beijing bureau chief and senior Asia correspondent.
Klein Center Director Chiaoning Su introduced Chinoy and gave those in attendance background for the importance of the event and the book itself.
“In the field of journalism, we often say that it is the journalists who write the first draft of history,” Su said. “This book really elaborates on that draft by providing fascinating insight into the challenges of recording China over the past several decades.”
The first part of the event focused on Chinoy’s experiences on the job and the ever-changing relationship of journalists between the U.S. and China. He highlighted multiple
journalists who have made an impact, such as Joseph Kahn, Fox Butterfield, Melinda Liu and Richard Bernstein.
Going through history, Chinoy summarized the peaks and valleys of journalists’ ability to get into China. He cited the Beijing-held 2008 Summer Olympics as ushering in the country’s most open era and the reign of Mao Zedong its most restricted — and indicated things may be headed back in that latter direction.
“Xi Jinping has really dramatically tightened the controls — he’s reimposed much stronger ideological criteria on everything,” Chinoy said. “But now, this is kind of hunkering down, closing the doors, and the diplomatic goal is not to be part of the international system, but to reshape the international system.”
“Assignment China” is preceded by a documentary-style film series of the same name, available to view on the USC U.S.-China Institute’s channel.
Chinoy concluded the Klein Center event by taking questions from the audience on ways to counter propaganda, whether there is scrutiny on what information can be taken out of China and how the people of China are able to access truthful information.
After the event, The Post was able to sit down with Chinoy to discuss current events and issues — such as
the ongoing debate surrounding the movement to ban TikTok. Chinoy said a ban may be tricky for legal reasons, but he is unsure about the solution.
“There is no question that if the Chinese security services want to target a specific person, they have the ability to lean on TikTok’s parent company, which does not have the ability to push back,” Chinoy said. “The potential for abuse by the Chinese authorities is real, but I don’t think it’s everywhere, or not everybody has to be afraid all the time.”
Chinoy discussed the consequences of the Chinese Communist Party rewriting history, whether it be doctoring photos or refusing to acknowledge historical events. This is where he said he feels his new book is an important step, as it provides accounts from eyewitnesses to all of this history.
An extra layer of this is the dissonance between generations who recall events officials attempt to strike from the record and those raised in the era of the propaganda doing all the striking. He provided an example of a Chinese student whose parents were present for the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre in 1989, though she had no idea it ever happened until hearing
about it while visiting the U.S.
“It doesn’t mean the history didn’t happen, it just means people don’t know about it,” Chinoy said. “I’m a journalist turned historian, and so I believe very strongly in documenting history — letting the people who were there tell their story.”
As for aspiring journalists looking to continue the coverage of China, Chinoy said it is getting tough, and journalists must find new methods to put the pieces of the puzzle together. (Contiune on our website)
OPINION: Graduation, a lesson in patience
LETICIA CEZÁRIO SANTOS Marketing Director
We’re here. Our last issue of the semester. Our last issue of this volume. But for many of us, myself included, the last issue of our time at The Oakland Post.
In less than a month, we’ll walk across the stage, and everything will change. We will graduate. What now?
For me, big life moments always make me reflect back on all the experiences I lived through up to now.
Remarkable moments are the trigger for a detailed internal summary and reflection. From my graduation-themed reflection, I want to share what stuck out the most to me: patience.
“Graduation from college marks an important milestone in life. It is a time to celebrate achieving a seminal life goal while leaving behind a formative stage in life,” Joshua Wilt, Wiebke Bleidorn and William Revelle said in their article “Finding a Life Worth Living: Meaning in Life and Graduation from College.”
While we go through our college years knowing graduating is the final step, we don’t spend time thinking about what graduating will truly mean.
“Graduation marks the ending of a structured period in one’s life,” a Montana State University article said. “During the past four+ years, students experienced some certainty in their lives.”
College years sum up life in schedules, syllabi, community and a life dynamic we get quickly used to. Struggles we know — happy moments we certainly can expect.
“College can be similar to a utopian society: Its inhabitants are not really aware of the struggles that may await when that utopian world vanishes the day after graduation.”
After graduation, a lot changes. While for now, I can only guess what this might look like, I know for sure it will be a moment with a lot to unpack.
“With the close of university life also come new beginnings and challenges associated with taking on a more adult role in society,” Wilt, Bleidorn and Revelle said. “Graduation, when conceived of as a developmental task, also can be seen as a transition to adulthood.”
Wilt, Bleidorn and Revelle emphasize how society “explicitly and implicitly urges young adults to get
a life,” and here comes my first observation.
Be patient with life. While having plans and dedicating time and effort to make them happen is needed, don’t lose yourself panicking because ‘everyone’ is doing something you’re not.
Be patient with the time of your life. Time is not the same for everyone.
“[Graduating students] have a sense that everyone has it together but them, which causes them to further isolate themselves.” Sheryl Ziegler, a Colorado psychologist and licensed professional counselor, told The Washington Post.
While it might sound cliche if you’re doing your job of planning, dreaming and working, you are on the step you are meant to be — just wait.
Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez shared her postgraduation experience with The Washington Post. For her, it was the period she learned about “post-graduation depression” and how life needs new passions.
“Although it’s not an official diagnosis, ‘postgraduation depression’ is commonly used to describe the extreme sadness and impaired functioning that recent grads report after they leave behind the world they created in college,” Meadows-Fernandez said.
This takes us to my second observation: Be patient with your emotions.
“While most people think of graduation as an exciting and wonderful marking event, many fail to recognize the other emotions evoked by this transition time,” the Montana State University article said. “Graduation not only can bring up feelings of excitement, pride and anticipation, but also those of loss, discouragement and fear.”
(Continue on our website)
Letter from the editor: Graduating Posties send their farewells
Gabrielle Abdelmessih, Editor-in-Chief
As with any organization, team, or corporation, collaboration and a respectful exchange of ideas is essential for the success of that group. I am so grateful for the honor that serving as the editor-in-chief of The Oakland Post has brought me. While, hopefully, my tenure at OU continues for years to come, I feel truly blessed for having had the opportunity and privilege to have worked alongside, what I believe, is one of the best Oakland Post newspaper staff rosters to date. Because of my respect for and gratitude to my fellow graduating colleagues, I would like to dedicate this final letter from the editor of Volume 48 to the class of 2023. It has been a pleasure working alongside and learning from you all. I wish you the best in all of your future endeavors. And while it is uncharacteristic of me to leave a page blank and allow others to write on it, that is exactly what I’m going to do. Before I do that, however, I’d like to take this opportunity to profusely thank Garry Gilbert and Don Ritenburgh, The Oakland Post advisors, for their mentorship and patience throughout this year.
Alright, cue the “Pomp and Circumstance…”
Emily Iatrou, Graphic Designer
It has been so much fun designing for the Post this past year! I loved challenging myself to come up with fun graphic ideas and ways to represent all the great stories. It was also always awesome to come into the office and chat with everyone about their classes and projects they were working on for the week. I’m going to miss seeing everyone and designing for the Post!
D’Juanna Lester, Arts Reporter
It has been really fun getting the chance to work for the Post. I enjoyed that I got to write about what I want. The best part is that I got to combine my love for reading and art with my passion for writing. I’m really going to miss doing my book reviews every week!
Leticia Santos, Marketing Director
I’ve always wanted to work on a publication, and working at the Post fulfilled a big part of that wish. Through this year and a half, I was amazed by the talents I met throughout the way! It was fulfilling to see our weekly collaboration! I was always impressed by our thoughts and our ideas working together toward the same story! Writing for the OP was a meaningful achievement for me. It nurtured a passion I didn’t know I had and encouraged me to achieve more. Seeing my name in different stories, still feels like a dream. I’ll cherish with happiness what I lived and learned! I’m grateful I was part of The Oakland Post! Thank you for reading!
Isabella Limbert, SciTech Reporter
Writing for The Post has given me the opportunity to share my love of science with the Oakland University community. A goal of mine in life is to explain science on a level that all can understand – science is for everyone! I hope that I achieved that in my stories that I wrote this year. Seeing my name in print was definitely a perk and something that I will miss – not only did The Post give me an opportunity to show how science can shine, but it allowed me to sit in the spotlight for a bit, and for that I’m grateful. Thanks for reading!
BellaJavier, Arts Editor
My first and final year working for The Post has been an absolute pleasure. While I’m not a trained journalist, I’ve been very happy to be able to report about current issues in the arts in-andoutside campus and give student artists a platform to be heard. I’m especially thankful to have worked alongside my fellow editors and my reporters, all of whom I learned a great deal from. My experiences with The Post have shaped me as a writer in the best possible ways and for that I am eternally grateful.
Joe Zerilli, Campus Editor
Whether it be where I started writing feature articles about things to do during the winter, writing opinions and a weird array of movies, or what I’ve been doing this past school year of trying my best to get the most campus news stories out there, my time at The Post has been nothing short of spectacular. Preparing for my next chapter as I try to get ready for graduate school, The Post has made me feel more than ready that this is what I’m meant to be doing. I want to shout out to all those who I’ve worked with this year for making it such a great year to be a student journalist. Seeing my name in each issue always brings me joy, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity I was given. But I’m not done, so be sure to look for my name in many more publications to come.
Tori Coker, Content Editor
That pinch-me-moment of seeing your name in print for the first time really sticks with you. I have no doubt the fondness and appreciation I have for all of the extraordinary people I have met through this paper who I now cherish as longtime friends and mentors will stick with me far longer.
My college experience has been made so much sweeter with every late night editing session, every fascinating interview or event covered, every morning spent laughing with my colleagues as we produce our passion project. I arrived to this paper with a love for writing and a curiosity about the world — both of which burn brighter than ever now as I depart (this time with an enriched nerdy obsession with AP Style accuracy in tow…)
Sam Poudal, Distribution Director
My experience working for The Oakland Post as a distribution director has been a great. I enjoyed my walks every wednesday mornings around campus while I did my routes. It was really relaxing as I was able to enjoy the views as I did my route. The distributors I worked with were very pleasant to have and made my time as a distributor even better. I felt my role was important as I had to manage the papers all throughout the campus to make sure all the students and staff have access to the physical copy. Working with the chief editors made my experience even better. I enjoyed working for the Post and will definitely miss being here on campus.
Graduating Grizzly by our Graduating Graphic Designer Emily Iatrou
The Posties:Gabrielle Abdelmessih, Editor-in-Chief Emily Iatrou, Graphic Designer D’Juanna Lester, Arts Reporter Leticia Santos, Marketing Director Isabella Limbert, SciTech Reporter Bella Javier, Arts Editor Joe Zerilli, Campus Editor Tori Coker, Content Editor Sam Poudal, Distribution Director
Farewell to Special Lecturer Katherine Roff, Solutions Journalism extraordinaire FEATURES
AUTUMN OKUSZKA Features Reporter
After almost four years at Oakland University, Special Lecturer Katherine Roff will leave OU at the end of the winter semester to return to her native home of Australia.
Growing up in the small town of Geraldton, Western Australia, Roff says her experience there was far different from living in America. As places were more accessible, Roff felt connected to the rest of her community.
“Things felt a lot smaller than they do in our big suburbs here in Detroit,” Roff said.
Roff first recognized her passion for journalism while attending Curtin University in Perth, Australia. Initially pursuing a degree in cultural studies, Roff added journalism to her major after working for Curtin’s student newspaper as an editor.
After receiving her B.A. in Journalism and Cultural Studies, Roff hit the ground running. Crediting her experience as an exchange student in Thailand for her wanderlust, Roff began to work for publications worldwide, including in New Zealand.
“I ended up doing some travel writing for the New Zealand Herald, which was fantastic,” Roff said. “It allowed [me] to travel to report on these fascinating places that I wanted to travel to anyway.”
After receiving her M.A. in Political Science at the University of Canterbury, Roff helped develop Peace News with colleague Dr. Babak Bahador. Aiming to
tell stories from the other side of war, Peace News hones in on those who take risks for peace. Roff says that her work with the publication was both humbling and eye-opening.
“I learned a lot about conflict reporting and about peace journalism,” Roff said. “I got to connect with journalists in conflict zones all over the world, which was very rewarding.”
Roff moved to Michigan with her family in 2016. As her husband grew up in the state, Roff wanted her children to experience life as Michiganders.
After gaining experience as a tutor during her studies at the University of Canterbury, Roff began working at OU as a visiting assistant professor in 2019 and later as a special lecturer.
“[Teaching is] a vocation,” Roff said. “I really wanted to get back into teaching, and [OU] was a perfect fit.”
Roff says she’ll never forget the first class she taught at OU. Through the experiences she shared with her students, she remembers thinking, “the next generation is going to be okay.”
Senior Joe Popis is one of those students. After taking his first class with Roff, he knew he would enjoy her classes and what he would learn from them.
“I learned to expand my writing abilities in various areas within journalism,” Popis said. “[Roff’s] assignments allowed us to tackle diverse writing projects and talk to many sources from all walks of life. I will miss the knowledge she has given me to improve as a writer.”
Of the courses she has taught, Roff believes she
is most fond of the Solutions Journalism News Bureau. Rather than focusing on doom and gloom news reporting, Roff revitalizes students’ interest in journalism by teaching them to report news from a problem-solving perspective.
“I’ve really loved seeing the way that the students that we have respond to Solutions Journalism,” Roff said. “I can see this re-engagement with the news and this increased interest and love of reporting come back to a generation that I think is very disenchanted zwith their media consumption.”
Holly Gilbert, adjunct instructor and senior adviser for journalism and public relations, cotaught the Solutions Journalism course with Roff during the winter 2022 semester.
“I’ve been [at OU] almost 30 years, and that is my favorite teaching experience,” Gilbert said. “We had chemistry together. We knew intuitively what we were good at, and we gave each other space to do that.”
Roff is most excited to further establish Solutions Journalism in Australia upon returning. Though she will miss the supportive environment of OU, she is thankful she was allowed to grow and learn there.
“I’m going to miss the people at OU,” Roff said. “My department and program is amazing, and I’m not naive enough to think that I will find that anywhere else. I’m very grateful for the welcome that I had here.”
SCITECH: Put Your Phone AwayISABELLA LIMBERT SciTech Reporter
Your mom isn’t overreacting when she tells you to put your phone away before bed.
The Vision Council, an optical research organization, states that more than 80% of Americans use their digital devices more than 2 hours a day. While your weekly screentime report is probably a bit higher than this number, this is still a significant amount of time that you shouldn’t ignore. That is 1/12th of your day – how much time have you wasted on a device, and what kind of cost are you expending on your eyes?
How bad is blue light? Let’s shed some light on the matter
Blue light is a wavelength that is most beneficial during the daytime, as it stimulates better attention and mood. However, exposing your eyes to this late at night or when you’re trying to go to bed is not in your best interest. Before conventional artificial lights, when the sun went down, that was it in terms of light exposure. With digital screens keeping us up later and later, this much light is bound to catch up with us. Potential damage to our retinas, reduction in REM sleep, and mood changes…the list adds up when it comes to the dangers of too much blue light. If your screentime reaches an alltime high regularly like the rest of the world, consider some of the changes you can make below before it’s too late.
Why are my eyes so tired?
Have you ever experienced tiredness even after you’ve had your full 8 hours? In most cases, it’s your eyes. Our eyes play a huge role in how alert we are to our surroundings and how we go about our day. If we neglect them, it will reflect in our ability to feel like ourselves during daily tasks.
Digital eye strain is something that has become more prevalent as lengthy exposure to screens is normalized. Do you notice how we mostly never use pen and paper in school anymore, with professors pointing us towards digital assignments and presentations to take notes? If you look around your classroom, you’ll see more iPads than notebooks. Yes, this is normal as we progress towards a society that is more electronically driven, but our eyes are paying the price.
What is digital eye strain? If you experience headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and neck or back aches after using your device for an extended amount of time, you can say that you have it. Almost 2 out of every 3 Americans report symptoms of eye strain, with ages 10-17 stating that they experience itchiness and burning sensations of the eye after using a device for too long.
How can you help the symptoms?
• Use the 20-20-20 rule: look 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes
• Make sure you’re blinking (yes, really)
• While it may make you look mysterious and cool, keeping yourself in total darkness with only your screen lighting up your face is not proper lighting is key, even if it means that annoying big light in your room has to stay on
• If you notice that you experience eye strain regularly, not just after using digital devices, consider going to the eye doctor - blue light filters have become the norm in new glasses prescriptions, and this may be the best choice for you
Prolonged exposure to blue light before bed may actually delay the release of melatonin, as this clinical study investigates. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body in response to darkness, helping with the production of your natural sleep schedule, also called your circadian rhythm. While supplements can help if you’re experiencing occasional insomnia, this can’t last forever. If you want better sleep, consider shutting off your phone at least 30 minutes before you plan on finally hitting the hay. Still having trouble quieting your mind? Pick up that book that’s been collecting dust on your dresser – there are ways to satiate your need for knowledge before bed without making your sight suffer.
Blue light glasses – are they worth it?
As previously mentioned, some glasses can actually have a blue light filter added to their prescription (I speak from experience!). How much of a difference does it make, really? Some doubleblinded studies report that participants experience less-severe eye strain, but the results aren’t that statistically significant. In most cases, it is merely a combination of reduced screen time and the addition of the filters – as these two factors work in tandem, the best outcomes of reduction are as a result of the combo.
If you’re unable to get blue light glasses for yourself, your device’s “nightshift” can do wonders. While an orange-ish glow to your screen may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, your eyes will thank you in the long run. As our society shifts to an even more digital environment, it is important to remember the costs we pay for our benefits, including the additional strain we put on our eyes to keep up. Reduce your screen time when you can – even if that means deleting the app, as timelimits never really seem to work out in the end. If you have the means to add a blue filter to your life, whether it’s through glasses or an addition to your device, do it! You may (and very likely will) experience better sleep and a new outlook on life with well-rested eyes. Last but certainly not least, thank your mom – she’s just looking out for you!
Better sleep is in sight
Yes, your mom is correct for getting after you. While it may be tempting to scroll through TikTok or Twitter, or even binge-watch the latest episodes of Bridgerton late at night, if you’re wanting to sleep soon after, kiss that idea goodbye.
My anticipated summer reads
It’s that time of the year again to build my TBR (to be read) list for the summer. From fantasy to rom-coms, I’m really excited for what’s on the way.
“Foxglove” — August 22, 2023
Adalyn Grace is a very talented young adult (YA) author. The first book of hers that I read, “Belladonna,” was one of, if not my favorite read from last year. With the cliffhanger it ended on, I’m very excited for the sequel. This Gothic story picks up where the last left off.
“A duke has been murdered. The lord of Thorn Grove has been framed. And Fate, the elusive brother of Death, has taken up residence in a sumptuous estate nearby,” Grace’s website reads.
I’m intrigued to see the relationship between Death and Signa. I also want to see more of Signa discovering more about and developing her powers.
“You Bet Your Heart” — May 30, 2023
Debut author Danielle Parker will be hitting the shelves in May with a YA rom-com about two academic rivals fighting to be their high school valedictorian. Two ex-best friends named Sasha and Ezra are tied for the job.
“This outcome can’t be left to chance. So, Sasha and Ezra agree on a best-of-three, winner-take-all academic bet. As they go head-to-head, they are forced not only to reexamine why they drifted apart but also to figure out who they’ve become since,”
Parker’s synopsis said.
Academic-rivals-to-lovers is so much fun to read about, and I’m expecting this book to be another favorite. I’m really looking forward to binging this debut.
“Something More” — Jun 6, 2023
Jackie Khalilieh’s book sheds light on a young girl starting high school. She creates a list of goals, such as being in the school play. All of this while recently being diagnosed with autism.
“A contemporary teen romance novel featuring a Palestinian-Canadian girl trying to hide her autism diagnosis while navigating her first year of high school, for fans of Jenny Han and Samira Ahmed,” Khalileh wrote.
This is one of the books that I’ve personally been waiting for. Getting the perspective of a newlydiagnosed character trying to reinvent themselves for high school is one that needs to be seen. I’m also a sucker for autism representation in romantic novels.
“Tilly in Technicolor” — Aug 13, 2023
Two neurodiverse characters in one rom-com? Yes, please.
Mazey Eddings’s debut YA novel follows Tilly Twomley, an intern for her “perfect” older sisters’ business, and Oliver Clark, a lover of color theory and a fellow intern. Through a series of events, the two end up having to spend the entire summer together.
“As the duo’s neurodiverse connection grows, they learn that some of the best parts of life can’t be planned, and are forced to figure out what that means as their disastrously wonderful summer comes to an end,” Eddings wrote.
I’m really excited to see a book that features not one, but two neurodivergent characters falling for each other.
Reflecting on ‘This Is Us:’ How TV shows help us grieve
It’s been one year since NBC’s hit show “This Is Us” last graced our television screens. It’s also been one year since my grandmother passed away.
I still remember the first time I watched “This Is Us” when it premiered in 2016. My family gathered in the living room with our eyes fixated on the TV. We knew right then this would be a show unlike any other.
Centered around the fictional Pearson family, “This Is Us” featured storylines that felt all too real and matched experiences I had been going through at the time. Specifically, the storyline in season one when Randall — played by Sterling K. Brown — lost his biological father, William — played by Ron Cephas Jones — to stomach cancer. It’s something I went through with my grandfather only months prior.
Though my grandfather died at 82, he had a passionate zest for life and was taken from this earth before he was ready in a way no one can prepare for. My grandfather’s loss paralleled Randall’s relationship with William, who barely got to build a connection with his biological father before it was time to say goodbye.
“This Is Us” allowed me to grieve my grandfather in a way I hadn’t been able to in
the prior months. Though Randall and William are fictional characters, their story helped me recognize that there are real people out there who have gone through or will go through the same thing. It reminded me my father had lost a parent and my grandmother had lost her best friend.
Married for 58 years, my grandmother grieved for my grandfather until her last breath, much like how Rebecca — played by Mandy Moore — mourned the loss of her husband, Jack — played by Milo Ventimiglia. However, no similarities between my
life and the storyline of “This Is Us” hit quite as hard until my grandmother was diagnosed with Dementia and Rebecca with Alzheimer’s.
My grandmother’s bout with Dementia began quite similarly to Rebecca’s battle with Alzheimer’s. She often felt confused, would misplace items and talked of my grandfather as if he were still alive. As my grandmother neared the end of her life, Rebecca and “This Is Us” were also about to say goodbye.
Just as “This Is Us” had grabbed and held our attention when it first premiered, the show had my family gathered in the living room with bated breath. We watched as the Pearson family bid farewell to their matriarch, and we felt the pain they were experiencing through losing our own. When Rebecca reunited with Jack in the afterlife, we felt my grandmother had reunited with my grandfather.
While I am grateful to “This Is Us” for helping me grieve the loss of my grandparents, I am also thankful it has reminded me of the importance of family and to appreciate my loved ones while they are still here. When they one day leave this world behind, their memory will live on through me.
The Pearson family and my grandparents were only in my life for a short time. However, the lessons they have taught me will last me a lifetime.PHOTO BY EMILY LATROU
‘Shadow and Bone’ season two: A chaotic rollercoasterD’JUANNA LESTER Arts Reporter
Calling all Grishers! The second season of Netflix’s hit Fantasy show “Shadow and Bone” is finally out after almost a year of anticipation.
Where do I start with this season? It was chaotic, emotional and extremely entertaining.
We finally got to see the character backstories of the Crows, Baghra, Genya and David, and some iconic book moments from “Siege and Storm,” “Ruin and Rising” and even “Crooked Kingdom” made an appearance in the show.
While many fans are divided by the writers adapting the last two books from the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy — “Siege and Storm” and “Ruin and Rising” — into one season, I personally think it worked. The last two books in the trilogy were slow in my opinion, so putting them in one season upped the stakes in terms of action and plot.
I do think the pacing was a bit off. It might’ve helped if some scenes were flipped, but others could’ve been completely rewritten.
I think the Alina/Darkling/Shadow Fold plot was done fairly well, considering how most of the fandom agrees they’re the weakest of the trilogy.
That Genya scene with the Darkling definitely should’ve been given at least one more episode to add to the tension and drama. I think they rushed Genya’s plot a little bit. In the book, Genya is virtually hidden until that moment.
I also think Zoya deserved more screen time with
the Alina plot, not so much with the Crows. She’s not introduced to the world of Six of Crows until much later in the series, and I think the writers could’ve waited to integrate her with our favorite
band of thieves.
Speaking of, let’s talk about the Crows. Once again, they stole the season for me. I spent more time pining for Kanej scenes and Wylan’s character growth than I did for the Sun Summoner plot, even though the show is called “Shadow and Bone.”
With rumors of a “Six of Crows” spin-off on the horizon, I was worried about how the Crows would be integrated into the season. While I wished they waited on some of the “Crooked Kingdom” scenes, I understand why they made the changes they did. We finally got full-on book Crow action. The best part of the series hands down is the backstories of the Crows. (I’m biased, because the Crows are the best part of the show).
Book Kaz Brekker came straight off the pages and onto my screen, and I have never been happier. Getting his backstory so soon was something so awesome. Kaz’s actor, Freddy Carter, killed it in every scene, but especially the backstory scenes.
Jesper’s backstory was a huge shock for me. I didn’t expect the showrunners to go through with not only Kaz’s backstory, but also Jesper’s. Our fun loving gunslinger got his time to shine this season, and I’m thrilled.
Overall, I enjoyed this season. While there were lots of changes to the show, it made sense considering the fact that there were several books the writers decided to cover. I have to give respect to the costumes and the actors, especially.
Brooke Quarles-Daniels wins Horizon League Freshman of the Year
Oakland University guard Brooke Quarles-Daniels was named the 202223 Horizon League Freshman of the Year in women’s basketball.
She made history as the first player in program history to receive this award and is also the only freshman on all three All-League teams.
Playing for the Michigan Crossover as a high schooler — which is a Nikesponsored team — helped prepare her for this level at which she has prospered. Quarles-Daniels is one of a kind — a prolific scorer who can do it all and is very consistent at doing so. She is always a player who ends up on the stat sheet in all categories.
As a freshman that transitioned so well coming from high school, she has handled all the pressure and done everything Oakland University has asked of her, adding a new element to the team’s offense. Her physicality and the fire that she brings to get the team going and hyped up, whether she is out there playing or off the court, are big parts of the team’s culture.
“The fire comes from me just wanting to be involved and wanting to be there,” Quarles-Daniels said. “It’s just like the
hunger that I have for the game.”
Coach Jeff Tungate has always followed her game and knew he wanted her as an addition to the team when she was only in the eighth grade. Now, with her on the team, he trusts her and has so much confidence in her to make a play.
“With the ball in her hands, she’s going to make the play,” Tungate said. “She is very capable of doing that. She’s a great player and hopefully will win freshman of the year.”
That was a mission accomplished with ease. She has performed so well throughout the season and has checked everything off the list as to why she was the perfect person for this award. It was very deserving, to say the least, and a remarkable accomplishment to be Oakland’s only Freshman of the Year in program history.
“It feels great to represent myself and Oakland University as well,” Quarles-Daniels said. “You know, I came in and my coaches told me they were happy for me. My mom always told me to count my blessings, and she always stressed the fact that God has a plan for me, and I just know that Oakland is a part of my journey.”
Quarles-Daniels still has three years left in her collegiate career, and all of
the hard work and hours that she has dedicated to the game have already paid off. Her variety of skills should not be taken for granted. Brooke Quarles-Daniels is built differently.
“I felt bad that way,” Hovland said. “Personally, hey, a lot of accolades have come my way, and I’ve had a chance to work with some really
great athletes and stuff, and so my cup’s overfilled.”
The streak wasn’t meant to end this year, though, as Hovland’s group stormed back on the fourth day to steal the league title from IUPUI.
A legendary career ended in dramatic fashion for Pete Hovland.
Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren big keys for Detroit Pistons’ future
SUMMER WEATHERS Sports Reporter
The newest assets to the Detroit Pistons are a lethal duo that has what it takes for an exciting next season.
This year, Ivey has shown his potential in all areas as a firstyear player, recently setting rookie franchise history. He is one of only three rookies who has accumulated at least 1,000 points, 200 rebounds and 200 assists.
With his 10th point in Friday night’s game against the Houston Rockets, he set the franchise record with 34 consecutive double-digit scoring performances. He has made astounding steps in learning how to optimize his quickness, and he’s always in attack mode.
He gets to the rack very easily through contact and has shown great flashes of passing.
He is even adding to his game by shooting more behind the arc, taking step-back 3-pointers and pulling up off screens and knocking down shots, which makes him a threat to guard.
Seeing this is all so exciting for the rebuild of the team.
In addition, Jalen Duren has exceeded everyone’s expectations and has been thriving this year. It’s trouble for the defense if Duren gets the ball
close to the basket or even rises up for a lob for an extreme throwdown.
Duren, who is the league’s youngest player, also hauls in plenty of rebounds with his 7-foot-5 wingspan and has shown that he is very capable
of locking down the paint, serving as a great rim protector and blocker. There are no easy baskets when he’s around.
In his near future, it wouldn’t be surprising if he made the AllDefensive Team. There is more to the big man’s game, though. Duren is also known as someone who reads the game well and is always looking for a shooter or cutter to set up. He has all the tools in his toolbox to help with the Pistons’ extremely bright future.
When paired with Jaden Ivey, it is clear that they have bonded not only as teammates on the court but have also exhibited chemistry when it comes to pick-and-roll action. The combination of Ivey’s passing and Duren’s ability to play high above the rim make for a powerful duo, and Pistons fans can count on the fact that they will use that same chemistry going forward.
The Pistons are so lucky to have gotten these two players from the draft to help them get into the playoff standings for next year’s comeback season. They are now packed with a powerful punch.PHOTO COURTESY OF OAKLAND UNIVERSITY The women’s basketball team in a huddle against IU. PHOTO COURTESY OF OAKLAND UNIVERSITY
Pete Hovland: A career to rememberBROCK HEILIG Sports Editor
A typical career lasts about 40 years.
Oakland University Swimming and Diving Head Coach Pete Hovland’s career lasted just about that long — 44 years, to be exact — but it was anything but typical. It was extraordinary, actually.
Hovland’s coaching career was one of incredible amounts of success. His first two seasons at Oakland (1979-81) were spent as the women’s head coach and the men’s assistant coach.
In 1981, he gave up his duties as the women’s coach to take over as head coach of the men’s team. The men’s swimming and diving team has won 45 consecutive conference championships, meaning Hovland never lost as head coach of the men’s team.
Hovland recouped his duties as the women’s head coach in 2001, and the women’s team also never lost a match during Hovland’s second stint of tutelage.
Hovland recalls things looking much different when he first arrived on campus in 1979 than they do now.
“The university in 1979 isn’t anything like it is today,” Hovland said. “My alums from way back then, in the early ‘80s, that have come back to campus for the first time can’t even find their way around.”
Hovland shared a story about when he first came to Oakland back in 1979, after completing his graduate work at the University of Northern Iowa.
“The day I drove from Iowa to Michigan — I got to Woodward and Square Lake, and there was a gas station there,” Hovland said. “I pulled into the gas station, asked the guy, ‘do you know where Oakland University is?’”
Hovland said the man replied, “‘No. I think I’ve heard of it once or twice, but I think if you go over here
and go up I-75 a little ways, you might run into it.’”
Now, though, Oakland University is exponentially larger than it was back in the late ‘70s, and local residents have a better understanding of where the school is located, too.
Hovland has had an opportunity to grow alongside the school for 44 years, and he said it’s been a really cool experience.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Hovland said. “I wouldn’t do anything different, if given the opportunity. I had opportunities over my career to maybe move and change positions, [but I chose] to grow with the university — a small, Division II program trying to find
its place in the world of the NCAA, able to grow with the program and build a program.”
Just as he originally hoped, Hovland has grown with the program over the years. Although there isn’t much room for improvement when your team is winning championship after championship, Hovland has kept his teams consistently at the top of the conference for the entirety of his tenure.
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some close calls, though. In fact, this year’s Horizon League Championships came down to the final day, and the pressure was on the Golden Grizzly swimmers.
The Oakland men were trailing IUPUI heading into the fourth and final day of the Championships, and the 44-year streak was on the line.
Hovland had already announced the 2022-23 season would be his last, which put many of his career streaks in danger on the final day of the meet. Although Hovland called his worries about his streak “human nature,” he was quick to assure the bulk of his worries were elsewhere.
“[I was] kind of more worried about my athletes,” Hovland said. “I hope it’s not them [who end the streak], because I don’t want to have them carry that burden around with them. But it’s going to happen soon. It’s going to be somebody.”
“I felt bad that way,” Hovland said. “Personally, hey, a lot of accolades have come my way, and I’ve had a chance to work with some really great athletes and stuff, and so my cup’s overfilled.”
The streak wasn’t meant to end this year, though, as Hovland’s group stormed back on the fourth day to steal the league title from IUPUI.
A legendary career ended in dramatic fashion for Pete Hovland.
Oakland names Mitch Alters new head coach of swimming and divingBROCK HEILIG Sports Editor
On Friday afternoon, the Oakland University Athletic Department announced its next men’s and women’s swimming and diving head coach will be Mitch Alters.
The announcement came not long after the season’s end. Alters will take over as head coach for the 2023-24 season.
Alters is set to replace longtime and legendary head coach Pete Hovland, whose last day is scheduled to be May 7.
The associate head coach swam at Oakland from 2012-16, and his efforts were greatly appreciated by Hovland. In his four seasons at OU, Alters was a two-time team captain, and his career peaked when he won the Horizon League in the 200 Fly.
“I would like to thank Steve Waterfield and John Ciszewski for selecting me as the next Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Head Coach at Oakland University,” Alters said in a press release. “From the beginning of the interview process, it was clear that Steve and John valued the future of Oakland Swimming and Diving.
“I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of all the legendary Oakland coaches before me, especially my coach, mentor and friend, Pete Hovland. I am
looking forward to this opportunity to continue to build upon the tradition of success in the pool, classroom and community. OU is a special place and I could not imagine being anywhere else.”
As Alters mentioned, Hovland had a legendary career, and the longtime head coach will leave behind big shoes for Alters to fill. It won’t be an easy task, but for someone who swam under Hovland’s tutelage, Alters will have a good foundation to build upon as he looks to create his own culture.
“Mitch’s greatest strengths are his ability to communicate and the positivity that he brings to every task, every day,” Hovland said. “Since Mitch left Oakland, he has been doing everything possible to position himself for this day, and I am truly excited and happy the university has embraced him with [this] announcement.”
Director of Athletics Steve Waterfield offered his thoughts on Alters, and what he did well throughout the hiring process.
“I am excited that Mitch will be leading the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs, and I look forward to watching him build upon Coach Hovland’s decades of championship success,” Waterfield said.
“Throughout the interview process, Mitch articulated a vision for the programs that valued the traditions that make OU swimming and diving unique while positioning the programs for
continued success amidst the evolving landscape of Division I athletics,” Waterfield said. “As Mitch starts creating his own head coaching legacy, I am confident the future of OU swimming and diving remains bright.”
Alters will officially take over as head coach on May 8, the day after Hovland’s tenure ends. There’s no way of predicting how long Alters’ tenure will last, but if it’s anything like his predecessor’s, it is bound to be one full of success and championships.PHOTO COURTESY OF OAKLAND UNIVERSITY Coach Peter Hovland was inducted into Michigan’s sports hall of fame in 2016. PHOTO COURTESY OF OAKLAND UNIVERSITY
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