Ellie’s ‘The Art of Words’

March 2, 2009

Students Take Back the Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 1:36 am

Photo by Beth Pahl

Students Take Back the Night
By Ellie Corso
The Siskiyou

Students and community members marched and chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, sexual assault has got to go” and made plenty of noise in taking a stand against sexual violence for Take Back the Night on Friday.

Men and women met in the SU where they marched to the downtown Plaza. Women’s Resource Center advocates and peacemakers organized the march. People held signs, banged on drums, blew whistles and raised awareness about sexual abuse as part of the Yell It! Tell It! Stop Sexual Assault Campaign.

Jennifer Garcia, who works for the WRC, helped plan the event. All week, WRC members have presented the Clothesline Project to raise awareness for the campaign. The Clothesline Project allows people who have been affected by sexual assault to design T-shirts, and the shirts are put together in a collection, displayed on clotheslines.

Take Back the Night is thought to have begun in England in 1877 and didn’t reach the United States until 1978. The event is designed to inspire survivors of sexual assault and encourage the local community to take action against sexual violence.

Sociology professor Erika Giesen shared an inspirational speech to all participants before the march took place.

“We are manifesting night and days of freedom when we can play in the darkness and embrace it. Take Back the Night is really important, the moon, the stars, and the night, it misses us, so we need to get back out there,” Giesen said.

“What do we want? Safe streets! When do we want them? Now!” was shouted by all the participants in the march and projected with a loud speaker.

The signs held said, “No, means no,” “Respect women” and “Rape is a violent crime; hold perpetrators responsible.” Cars driving by honked in support, onlookers cheered and people stepped out of their homes to yell in support. “People unite, take back the night!” “Sexist, rapist, anti-gay, you can’t take our night away!”

Associated Students of Southern Oregon University President Monique Teal participated in the candlelight vigil to help protect the community.

“The least I can do is march and hold a sign and hold a candle and hear the stories,” Teal said.

Judy Haas, a nontraditional student, woke up that morning and dressed up because she realized she wanted to celebrate. After years of childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence, Haas decided it was time to recognize what had happened to her and share her story.

“These people, women, survivors, allies coming together and joining and saying we stand here together, it’s very healing,” Haas said.

When the marchers reached downtown, a candlelight vigil was held. People shared personal stories about their own encounters or talked of people they knew who have suffered from sexual violence. Tears were shared as people put their arms around each other, and the crowd cheered in support of everyone in the circle.

“It’s empowering to be able to march. The night and the candlelight vigil is cool because people get to share their stories and experiences,” Garcia said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that as we walk towards this plaza, that women, children and even men are suffering right now at the hands of another person,” Haas said. “We may only reach a couple of people this evening, but that’s how it starts and it builds.”


March 1, 2009

‘Show Some Love’ at the Humane Society

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 12:19 am

With a paw stretched out from the cage, a little dog called out to an SOU volunteer with the hope of being adopted and just looking for some love.

 Friday afternoon ‘Show Some Love’ by the Civic Engagement program introduced student volunteers to the Human Society in Medford. The students worked on volunteer projects and then had alone time with the animals for the last hour.

 Judi Hanstein, volunteer coordinator for the Humane Society explained that their dogs are given to them because they were in neglected homes.

 “We give them a second chance,” Hanstein said, emphasizing the point that they do not euphonize their animals.

 An SOU van drove a handful of students to help the Humane Society paint two rooms that would be used as a quarantine room for sick animals.  The students splashed on the yellow paint in high spirits and sang songs loudly to keep themselves occupied.

 “I liked all of it, I got to know a bunch of people, its just one of those feel good projects,” said Marissa Christensen, a freshmen theater major.

 The students were then able to go into the play yards and interact with the dogs and were given alone time with puppies. They were able to finish off their time in the cat room and finally had to paint one last room of the day.

 Participant Melissa Butkov had volunteered with the Humane Society over the summer and was experienced with how to handle the dogs.

 “I have a great love for animals. I can’t keep dogs in the dorms, so I thought this would be a very fun way to spend time with the animals,” Butkov said.

 Butkov was apart of the ‘Pals’ program, which are classes that train a volunteer how to handle animals and is given one on one time with their assigned pooch.

 “It was amazing, I know its good for the dogs but I loved coming here every day, it was almost therapy for me,” said Butkov.

 Ross MacDougall, a freshman, bonded with a large dog with black and tan spots, sporting a bright orange collar, named Gary.

 “Gary seems to like me the most,” MacDougall joked as he scratched the ears of his favorite dog,  “we seem to be the most mutual friends.”

 Cerrisa Payment, civic engagement coordinator, felt the Humane Society was popular among students.

 “During Civic Engagement Day the Humane Society was one of the first to fill up, students just loved it,” Payment said.

 “It felt good to do something with my Friday,” confirmed MacDougall.

 Hanstein was glad that the students came on a Friday to help paint the new rooms for the animals.

 “I think the best thing we can do for our community is have the involvement of all age groups, including students at a college level,” Hanstein said, “we’re making them change their lives, that’s what we did today.”

 Even through the smell of cat litter and the echoes of the barking dogs, students still enjoyed themselves.

 “It makes you feel good about yourself when you’re done cause you feel like you helped. Painting was kind of like the work part but then we got rewarded by seeing all of the dogs, cats and puppies, that was really neat,” Christensen said.

 After all the hard work and relaxed time with the animals, the students returned to SOU, after a long goodbye with the animals.

 “My favorite part was the doggie I met – she was a sweetheart,” Christensen said.

SOU’s part of the ‘AIDS Quilt’

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 12:16 am

A huge patterned quilt is soon going to be displayed on campus in remembrance of victims of AIDS and spreading awareness about the disease.

 It is the 3rd year that the Names Project ‘s ‘One World, Many Voices, One Quilt,’  will be displayed on the SOU campus. The giant SOU quilt, which is 12×12 feet, will be on campus from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3 and a celebration will be held  Dec. 1. The national quilt is over 1,293,000 square feet long and hasn’t been shown all together since 1996, because the quilt is too large.


 Grace Weil has been working on the project for seven months and is glad a lot of people are paying attention to the cause.

“This is a really dark time of year and it’s important for us to remember the people who have passed away, but it is also really important for us to celebrate the life that we still have,” Weil said.

The candlelight vigil and celebration will be held on World AIDS Day, Weil wanted to make it a celebration of life. The vigil will be led by Janelle Wilson, which will start at 5 p.m. Afterwards Rev. Shepard from United Church of Christ will speak. There will also be performances by the Rouge Valley Ensemble, NASU singers and drummers and Dulcet.

 “I really worked at this of making it a celebration of life evening as well as remembering our past,” Weil said.

Three panels of the quilt was made by Hands Around Quilting Group from The First Methodist Church and has been held on display ever since.

 “It symbolizes hope for future generations,” Kitty Calhoun said who helped out with the project since the beginning.

All of the Rocky Horror Picture Show proceeds went to the Quilt celebration, as well as man other donations including a generous $500 from the Abdel-Ellis Center. Various other campus organizations such as the Health and Wellness Center also went to the cause.

 “It was a wonderful contribution,” said Calhoun.

 Katherine Gohring, a QRC volunteer, helped table for the quilt and kept an eye on it.

“I think it’s really amazing, I have done some study of the quilt and to have part of it here is a really unique experience,” Gohring said.

According to Weil some people have certain stereotypes about the disease and she says the rising age group being affected by AIDS are females between the ages of 18-25.

“It’s scary, it’s really terrifying and having a tool like the AIDS quilt, to bring that home, to make that emotional impact is a really good way of reaching people,” Weil said.

 Gohring thinks it’s important to take notice of the disease that claims a lot of lives each year.

“It is really important for us to understand that this is an epidemic and sometimes it takes a personal view to truly understand how much impact AIDS has had on our community,” Gohring said.

There will also be two art projects going on while the quilt is displayed.  Students can make collages out of magazines, which will be put in the library. There will also be construction papers, in which students can make their own paper quilt square, which will be stitched together with ribbon.

Weil said the main point of the quilt is to bring awareness and hopes that one-day a cure could be found.

“I’ve known people who have lived 15 or more years fighting this disease and that needs to be acknowledged, that there has been strides made even if it’s not a perfect world, it’s better than it could be,” Weil said.

For more information on the quilt check out: http://www.aidsquilt.org

“It symbolizes hope for future generations,” Calhoun said.

Gonzo Piece: First Time Snowboarder!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 12:08 am

NOTE: This piece was written for my feature writing class. Our assignment was to do something we’ve never done before. We were experimenting with Hunter S. Thompson’s style of the Gonzo piece. Luckily my teacher didn’t make us join Hell’s Angels, or anything that extreme!  Here it is: 

                                    First Time Snowboarder

I reluctantly decided to go snowboarding but fears arose in my mind immediately. On the way up to the mountain I had hoped that somehow the mountain would be closed and we were forced to go home. Everything was fine. There was even a fresh patch of snow and we found a good parking space in the front of the lot. I took a deep breath.

            There I was in borrowed snow clothes, the only thing I was wearing that was my own were my undergarments and jacket. I picked up the snowboard, which wasn’t mine and started to face my fears.

            I am from California, which has some really good mountains for skiing, but I have barely been to the snow. The mountains in California are a long distance and one would have to be dedicated to their beloved sport. I have never met skiing or snowboarding so I never had a strong desire to partake in the journey.

            However, now in Ashland, the drive to the mountain is about a half hour and the expenses doesn’t add up to a monstrous amount. The lift ticket is very cheap if you go to the bunny slope and that was the only slope I planned to do.

            I climbed up the mountain dressed in my snow gear and I found myself getting out of breath just by walking to the lift. I was terrified about what was to come.

            I went with my boyfriend, Clark, who has been snowboarding for two years and works at Mount Ashland for every winter season. He felt perfectly fine because for him this was just another day.    

            I was finally outside the lift and was already having trouble attaching my boots to my snowboard. After help from Clark, I hobbled over to the lift and looked helplessly at the lift attendant. The chair quickly came my way and I froze. Clark grabbed my arm and forced me on the chair. I looked behind myself as the ski attendant became distant.

            I tried not to look down, I finally remember my small fear of heights and started to complain. I yelled at Clark for brining me here and told him I did not want to get off the lift.

            I accidentally looked down and saw how high up we were. I felt like someone’s hand was on my chest, making it difficult for me to breathe. I started to then bite my fingernails as I saw our final destination approaching.

            I had no idea how to get off the lift! I’ve never done this before! Clark instructed me to face the snowboard to the hill and just slide down. He told me I would probably fall.

            I aimed the snowboard for the hill, balanced my boots on top and just slid down. Well, mostly, I fell.

            I made it down and I stumbled over to the side so no one would fall on top of me. I then secured my other boot to the board and was ready to do my first run. I listened to Clark’s instructions but he talked very quickly and then made his way down. I was supposed to follow him but I didn’t even know what he said.

            I aimed my board and I gulped very deeply and hoped for the best. I was in motion for about a few seconds when I felt like I was going way too fast. I was afraid of losing control so I put down my hands and forced myself to fall in the snow.

            I sat there for a few moments trying to get up but whenever I tried to pull myself up, my lower half stayed on the ground. The board was hard to control and I was down in the snow for about five minutes. I finally found courage and lifted myself up, after many attempts.

            I aimed the board again, bended my knees slightly and took off. I was boarding for about a few more seconds when I made myself fall again. I spent the whole time on the bunny slope in motion for a few minutes and forcing myself to fall. Clark had already completed three runs while I was still on my first.

            I finally made it back to the lift where Clark was waiting for me. I told him that I didn’t want to do it again but he talked me into going on the lift. I sat back down on the lift but this time I didn’t gulp a lot. I didn’t have to bite my nails and I wasn’t afraid that I was going to fall off. I didn’t yell at Clark, this time I was telling myself not to fall.

            I got off the lift smoothly and I slid off with only a tiny fall at the end. Clark congratulated me and I smiled. I was ready to go again.

            Standing on the edge I stared at the end of the mountain and I took a deep breath. I glided down and was amazed that I hadn’t fallen yet. I was sliding down for almost half a minute. I did fall to the ground and my head was faced down in the snow. Somehow, I had fallen forward and I didn’t even know how I did that.

            I kept lifting myself up even though all I wanted to do was lay back into the snow and give up.  I kept going but I went at my own pace and saw everyone speed past me. Children that were as tall as my knee would ski right in front of me and not fall.

            At some point, during one of my runs, I tried to aim away from the orange net fence but I didn’t succeed.  I fell on top of the net as the guy who worked for ski patrol was taking it down. I got up and he pulled me away from it so I wouldn’t run into it again.

            Clark took off to ski at a different slope that could challenge him. I was left alone at the bunny slope. As I was boarding down, I hadn’t fallen yet and my heart was beating fast. I then saw this woman sitting on the ground and I screamed, “MOVE! I CAN’T STOP!”

            She looked up at me with confusion and I forced myself to fall so I wouldn’t touch her. She was with another woman and a man, as I apologized they simply laughed and forgave me. During the same run I ran into a little boy and his skis. I looked at my unmarked hands, back at him, and he took off down the mountain. I gulped and made my way down the mountain back to the lift.

            As the sun went down, I saw Clark in the far distance and I knew that the mountain was closing for the day. I looked behind myself and saw how small the bunny slope actually looked. I took off my boots and put the board back in the car and smiled as I sat in the front seat, waiting to finally go home..

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