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November 2015

Things To Be Thankful For At TU

IMG_0241Today’s Thanksgiving blog post comes to us from Mercedes V., a senior Education major from Surprise, Ariz.

We are quickly approaching Thanksgiving which just might be my favorite holiday.  My mom always sends me quilted decorations, most of them she’s made herself, and the newest addition to our apartment got me thinking about everything I am thankful for at TU.  So here is my list of my top five things to be thankful for as a TU student!

IMG_01801.  I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made at TU.  I think the best people can be found at TU, and I am so lucky to have met some of my best friends on my first day here. Jennifer, Kerry and I lived in a suite together my freshman year. Now, I live with Jennifer and Kerry is right next door.

IMG_0145 2. I am thankful for our beautiful campus.  My apartment faces a courtyard and I have loved watching the leaves change this fall.  And stomping on all of the crunchy leaves on my way to class is always fun :)

3. I am thankful for my entire apartment, but particularly my kitchen. When we moved in, there was a big burn mark near the stove and a small piece of the countertop was no longer connected to the wall. These were all things we could live with, I mean we each finally had our own room and bathroom so there was nothing that would prevent us from loving this apartment.  However, maintenance came and replaced the countertop and the stove and now our kitchen is wonderful.  We might not cook every night, but we probably cook at least four days a week and that room has become one of my favorites.

IMG_02424. I am thankful for a mom who is generally the best.  She was able to come visit me this week and left me things to help get me to the break and through finals without stressing as much. As a general rule, you can never go wrong with a care package.  It doesn’t have to be the most extravagant thing, Anything can just brighten your day.

5. I am thankful for all of the opportunities TU has given me.  I have had such wonderful experiences here, and I truly believe TU has helped make me the person I am today.  I am graduating in the spring, but I already have a job lined up for next year. I will get to give back to the Tulsa community while working in schools doing what I love.

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Tulsa Time: Get To Know Us

IMG_0618Today’s blog post is from Brittany J., a junior Mechanical Engineering major from Lee’s Summit, Mo.

When I was going through the college selection process my junior and senior years of high school, people always told me that I would “just know” which college was best for me. This totally freaked me out. I was determined to research all of the schools in depth, make lists of the pros and cons and endlessly worry about where my future would be. Little did I know, Tulsa, one of my top schools, offered a unique opportunity to help high school seniors “just know” if TU was the right fit for them: Tulsa Time. 

Tulsa Time is an overnight program hosted by the University during which high school seniors stay the night with a Tulsa student to get a better understanding of what a typical day at TU is really like. The overnight stay offers the opportunity to get a feel for the atmosphere on campus and a personal look into the lives and personalities of the current students. The students who host Tulsa Time attendees are very excited to share their experiences. We enjoy being able to show off everything we love about TU and give others the chance to fall in love with it, too.

Tulsa Time offers a variety of activities. Visiting students have the opportunity to go on campus tours, city bus tours, attend a banquet dinner with other students, sit in on classes, attend a variety of info sessions, and participate in get-to-know-you activities such as “S’mores and More” and “Cane Connections.” I always recommend that students go on a campus tour because (obviously) you need to know what the campus itself has to offer, but I’m also a big fan of the city bus tour and encourage everyone to take advantage of one. I gave the city bus tour at the most recent Tulsa Time and will volunteer to do it at every opportunity in the future. It was a lot of fun to be able to show potential students what the city as a whole has to offer and where around town my friends like to go to eat and have fun (mostly eat).

IMG_5664Many TU students attend Tulsa Time as high school students, fall in love with the university, and then want to be a host the following year to provide the same support to other students going through the same process. One TU student, Abby Kucera, attended Tulsa Time TWICE as a high school senior, and then she hosted her own student at the first opportunity her freshman year. She wanted the chance to share her story about why she picked TU with people who were in the shoes she filled just a year before.

As a Tulsa Time attendee, Abby loved how it provided her with an inside perspective of the school from both an academic and social perspective. Through Tulsa Time, she had the opportunity to sit in on classes and talk to professors. She said it’s one thing to hear about small class sizes and phenomenal professors, but it takes it to another level to experience that as a high school senior. Tulsa Time gave her confidence in her college decision because she was able to draw on her own experiences when making her pros and cons list as opposed to just relying on what she had heard about other’s experiences.  Overall, Abby says her favorite thing about Tulsa Time is that she met some of her future best friends through it.

IMG_0303And I would have to say that’s what Tulsa Time is truly about. When you pick a college, you’re not just picking a place where you will earn your degree; you are deciding on a community where you want to live for the next four years. Tulsa Time gives you the opportunity to “just know” like nothing else can.

NOTE: The next Tulsa Time Overnight Visit Program will be held November 12-13, 2017. 

Reflections From My Study Abroad Program At TU

8Today’s blog post comes to us from Callie Burrows, a senior Sociology major and Women’s and Gender Studies minor from Tulsa, Okla.

In 2014, I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in New York City, Chile, Jordan, and Nepal—all in the course of just 16 weeks. My program was one of six IHP/Comparative programs that SIT Study Abroad offers—Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy. Rather than attending an international university or simply studying in one country, we were, quite literally, globe trotters and, if you’ll forgive the cheesy cliché I am about to type—the world was our classroom; we learned through experience. Even in sitting down to write a basic summary of my study abroad experiences I am overwhelmed—how can I possibly condense 16 weeks, four countries, and such a vast wealth of knowledge into a few paragraphs? While I could quite literally talk for days, I will attempt to keep it as short and sweet as Jordanians’ beloved sugary milk-tea, but bear with me—

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We began in NYC in order to critically examine the United States’ relationship to human rights and to better understand historical perspectives, as well as gain insights into the contemporary practice of human rights organizations internationally. We learned about grassroots movements and met with local advocacy organizations, city officials, and activists working to advance human rights causes within New York. After two weeks of staying in a hostel and finally getting the hang of the subways and directions, we were off to Chile.

In Santiago, Chile, we were given a comprehensive history of the Pinochet regime, and the overall historical context that frames modern Chile. We visited and toured many places like Villa Grimaldi—one of the many detainment facilities used to interrogate and torture prisoners during Pinochet’s dictatorship. We focused a great deal on transitional justice in order to understand how Chile’s society moved from an oppressive dictatorship to a democracy that is still entrenched in profound inequality.

10In Santiago we were placed in diverse homestay families—mine was a small family of two; one of my host dads was originally from Santiago and my other host-dad was from France. They were both certified yoga instructors and one was in the midst of a huge life change, transitioning to a new job where he could use his law degree to help immigrants.

In Chile, we were not confined solely to Santiago—we traveled to Temuco, Mehuín, and Curarrehue (where we had another host family). For a week we lived in the Mapuche territories of southern Chile on farms in the Andes where we were immersed in indigenous communities that have been fighting to retain their land, culture, history, and autonomy. Curarrehue is the most beautiful place I have ever seen; we walked all over my host family’s land to greet the cows and sheep and take in the incredible view. We hiked a dormant volcano and drank from the ice-cold streams. Just before we (myself and the three other girls living with me) left, my host-mother gave each of us a wool hat—wool that came from their sheep, that she had made into yarn, knit into a hat, and then dyed with yellow onion peels.

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In Jordan we focused mostly on refugee rights and women’s rights. For decades, Jordan has become a temporary “home” to thousands of refugees and we had the indescribable opportunity to actually go to Palestinian, Iraqi, and Syrian refugee camps and talk to many of the families living there. Additionally, we visited Jordan University and talked about a myriad of topics with the students there—many were elated at the chance to practice their English and Spanish with us. We traveled to Petra and the Dead Sea, and camped out and rode camels in the desert sands of Wadi Rum. One night in Amman, before my three host-siblings went off to bed, we sat in the living room and played “Go Fish” for hours because they loved helping us learn Arabic and loved giggling at our awful pronunciation even more.

 

#1Nepal. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty that is Kathmandu, Nepal. It is impossible not to get sucked into the vortex of the fast paced and chaotic atmosphere and become part of the magical mayhem. We learned about Nepal’s caste system, indigenous rights, refugee rights, squatters’ rights, and even learned to make traditional Nepali dumplings called momos—a delicious dish that I miss every single day.

Some of the students and I visited Pashupatinath Temple—one of the most sacred temples of Hindu faith, where they hold cremation ceremonies on the banks of the Bagmati river. We attended a traditional Shaman wedding reception and danced at many of my host brother’s shows—both of my host brothers were musically inclined, one was a member of the famous folk roots band Kutumba, and the other’s band was one of the top five bands in Pepsi’s music competition The Voice of Nepal.

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My host mother gave us all Newari nicknames and would constantly persuade us to eat more dal bhat and drink more Raksi with her, and then laugh hysterically when we started sweating after eating too much spicy cauliflower. After dinner, we would often climb up to the roof of our family’s six-story home with our host brothers and their friends to watch the stars and talk for hours about anything—from our oldest brother’s approaching wedding to dating between different castes—just everything.

Overall, my experiences abroad were incredible and completely invaluable to my academic education—I was given the opportunity to learn about issues on a global scale, but I was also able to actually apply the many frameworks and theories that we are all far too familiar with from our coursework and textbooks. But even more importantly, the knowledge I gained and all of my experiences from my time abroad continue to impact so many facets of my life today.

Homecoming Festivities Bring the TU Family Together

Today’s blog post is from Katie Snyder, a junior Communication major from Des Moines, Iowa.

Last week, we celebrated TU’s homecoming, one of the most active times of the year for student organizations and alumni. It is our chance to take a break from the stress of mid terms and have fun focusing on our pride for The University of Tulsa. Each residence hall, fraternity, sorority, and a number of independent organizations compete throughout the week for points, and the coveted prizes and bragging rights that come with being named Homecoming champs. This year, our theme was “Oklahomecoming.”

On Saturday night, the festivities began with the Kick-Off Party, where students got their 2015 Homecoming shirts and free food from local food trucks. Each event has attendance goals that organizations achieve points for meeting, but the events are also a lot of fun.

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On Sunday night, Student Association sponsored a “Hurricane Hypnotist” show, and students got the chance to get hypnotized or watch their friends. Whether you buy into hypnotism or not, the show was hilarious and a great start to the week.

Monday night was a competitive game of Capture the Flag, with a few twists. Hurricane flags were hidden all around campus, along with Tiger stuffed animals (because we played the Memphis Tigers for our Homecoming football game) and a stuffed animal version of our campus ambassador Goldie! My building was lucky enough to discover plush Goldie and earn five extra points for the hall.

Tuesday night was street painting, one of my favorite Homecoming traditions at TU. Sections of the street outside Chapman Stadium, the same street used for pre-game tailgating, are marked off and each organization claims a space. Groups work for weeks in advance on their designs, incorporating the year’s theme, the game day opponents, and Golden Hurricane pride. Hardesty’s Hall Government worked together on a concept for our space, and came up with a Route 66 Post Card. Along the road drives Goldie, passing a Memphis Tiger swept up in a golden hurricane of dust, Tulsa icons like the Golden Driller, and ending her voyage home at The University of Tulsa. Every group takes a different approach to the theme, and the street stays bright and painted throughout the next couple weeks.

We celebrated Homecoming with parents and family in attendance on Thursday night by lighting the huge annual bonfire. Even rain couldn’t stop the festivity, and the fire was lit and fireworks displayed despite the weather. The bonfire is a great photo opportunity for students, parents and friends with the bonfire flames, the fireworks and McFarlin library as a backdrop.

The culmination of the week is the football game. This year we played Memphis, and though the game was a loss, the energy in the stadium was so much fun. The game was broadcast live on ESPN, and the student section was filled with face painted, dressed up TU fans. Our team even made the number one spot on Sports Center’s Top 10 with a miraculous catch in the second quarter. We all cheered on the Golden Hurricane until the very end, and joined the team in singing the alma mater after.

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Homecoming is the best opportunity of the year to show our school spirit and celebrate all the things that make this place great. It is a time to come together as students, welcome family, and embrace TU traditions, and I can’t wait to do it again next year!