Just months ago, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro seemed like a dream for senior Eric Oberwise. On Aug. 12, at 19,341 feet, it became a reality.
After spending 10 weeks in Malawi in southeast Africa as part of UD’s ETHOS program, Oberwise was joined by Katie Taylor as they literally climbed their way back to health after facing life- and lifestyle-threatening circumstances. Above sea, land and clouds, preconceptions of restricting disabilities were shattered.
Oberwise’s journey benefits May We Help. The organization’s project director, Chris Kubik, joined the cause, and they climbed as a testament to the perseverance of those, like Taylor, who have been touched by May We Help.
Despite a slow, rainy start on Aug. 7, the trio hiked 12 hours per day – nearly double the average time of other climbers. By the fourth day, they had reached 15,000 feet. The ever-increasing altitudes caused exhaustion, splitting headaches, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
After four days trekking up a steep and sandy slope, they reached the final ascent. The trio completed a “day summit,” leaving at sunrise and reaching the peak around midday.
After nearly nine hours, they reached the Uhuru point. With tears in his eyes, Oberwise dropped to his knees with relief.
“Seven months of my life went into this, and we finally reached it together,” he said. “The trail we took had a 50 percent success rate, and there was a lot of perseverance by everyone to make it happen.”
Oberwise met his personal goal, and predicts to soon meet his fundraising goal for May He Help. Kubik will create a documentary of their climb, which they hope will encourage further donations for their cause.
The promotion efforts for May We Help will continue with a refreshed perspective on teamwork and supporting one another in life’s many journeys.
“Any of us could’ve climbed individually, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as special,” Oberwise said. “Ninety percent of the journey is about who you’re with, not about what you’re doing.”
Major supporters of Oberwise’s Raising Kilimanjaro campaign include Matrix Service Company, Pasta Chips, Cincinnati Rivers, Roads & Trails and the Rhodes Foundation.
School of Law professor Staci Patterson Rucker smiled as she surveyed the audience of first-year students and parents, along with supportive faculty and staff gathered for lunch in Kennedy Union ballroom Friday, Aug. 22, less than a week before the start of the fall semester.
“It’s nice to see the excitement on your faces, to know of the possibilities ahead for all of you,” said Rucker, assistant dean of student affairs for the law school.
Rucker’s speech was part of Transitions, an Office of Multicultural Affairs pre-orientation program for incoming first-year multicultural students. During the lunch, students and their parents had the opportunity to interact with upperclass students, faculty and staff to learn more about opportunities at UD, as well as academic and social support services.
This fall, the University welcomed its largest incoming first-year class in school history, one marked by a significant increase in the number of African-American and Hispanic students. Many of those students attended Transitions, and heard Rucker’s insight on the possibilities available at UD.
Have a dream and a plan, she said. “If you can imagine it, and prepare for it, it can become a reality.
And, be prepared to let those plans drift off campus — away from Dayton, away from Ohio and even outside the United States. Experience the possibilities of learning in a global community and taking advantage of UD’s study abroad programs.
By attending college, Rucker said, they’ve already set themselves apart. Now, it’s time to be fearless, reinvent oneself and embrace what lies ahead.
“Be excellent at whatever you do,” she said.
How do we classify what is news — and what isn’t? How do we determine how long a news story remains relevant? What does it mean to be bombarded by news updates from the moment we wake up until the time we go to sleep?
According to artists Matthew Burgy, Seth Wade, and Christopher “etch” Weyrich, these are the questions raised by Hypermediacy: The Obsession with 24/7 Media, a live art event taking place at ArtStreet over the course of 64 hours, in which the three artists complete works based on current events. A curated exhibit will follow its completion on Thursday, Aug. 28.
The concept of the exhibit mimics the onslaught of news our society faces by forcing the artists to follow current events while responding as quickly as possible with their art. Because there are no rules for their presentations, they don’t know how the end product will look, which also reflects the unstable nature of our world today.
Appearing most prominently in the artists’ work this week was the Michael Brown case from Ferguson, Missouri, the California earthquake, the Ebola outbreak in Africa and even a mass jellyfish-sting incident in Florida. While the artists don’t aim for their works to be political, they do seek to convey the emotions, implications and deeper meanings behind these events — and how we have become desensitized to them through our constant exposure to media.
ArtStreet Director Brian LaDuca said the idea for the exhibit came after a conversation with Wade about artists’ and art galleries’ delayed reactions to current events compared to the pace of media and social media.
“Going into it, we knew the process wouldn’t be easy. This has been a challenge for the artists. But our goal is to get the viewers, especially first-year students, to think differently — perhaps for a long time,” LaDuca said.
Participants are asked to suggest news topics to the artists via twitter using #hypermediacy. For more information, visit the Hypermediacy website.
Bedspread? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Desk lamp? Check.
Once students move in and unpack their bags, there’s still a few things left on the list, and they can be found at the UD Bookstore.
What’s next? Textbooks.
Hundreds of students placed their orders to be shipped early and they brought their books to campus. The thousands of others chose to brave the lines during move-in weekend and shop in-store, which made for a busy day for customers and employees.
But thanks to a little patience and a lot of caffeine, the long waits in line and the long shifts at work ended with success.
Starting in 2012, any student who toured campus and submitted a FAFSA by the deadline was awarded a $500 scholarship, renewable each semester for four years. Students from three classes are currently eligible to receive the scholarship, and that accounted for a lot of the transactions over the weekend.
While the cost of textbooks can be steep, the bookstore has taken steps to help students prevent paying out of pocket. Scholarship funds can now be used on rental textbooks, a potential savings of 30 percent.
I usually work part time at the bookstore but worked full time this weekend, and noticed about 25 percent of scholarship-eligible students chose to rent at least one book. Several were able to stay within the $500 limit because of it.
Now, cross textbooks off the list, and think of what’s left. It may be a student’s first day on campus, and they want to show off their Flyer pride. Or maybe a senior has some worn out clothes and wants to update their wardrobe. What better way than with a new UD T-shirt or hoodie?
Among the baskets full of books, there was usually a pair of arms full of new red and blue gear too.
Cross the last thing off that checklist, and relax. No matter the year, the first day of classes is always the start of something great.
Sleepy first-years dressed in their Sunday best sauntered into the unfamiliar RecPlex for an inspirational start to their morning, thanks to the wisdom of notable students and faculty.
President Daniel J. Curran kicked off the Convocation speeches at 9 a.m., Aug. 26, with a simple encouragement: be a leader.
“It’s easy to love being a member of the University of Dayton community, but the only way this great community will become better — and address its challenges — is that we all contribute. This means you have to be leaders in many ways,” Curran said. “Be a leader here, during your time at the University. And when you leave, be a leader for the world.”
Convocation not only welcomes new students to be leaders, but also new faculty into their academic careers at UD. New dean of the School of Engineering Eddy Rojas, senior civil engineering major Vincent Spahr and English professor John McCombe gave a testimony on each of their academic careers and UD experiences, insisting that a commitment to learning in all aspects ensures a worthwhile four (or five) years at UD — and for life.
“You all have a story, even though most students don’t think their story is very interesting. Share that story,” McCombe said. “Talk to us. That emotional connection might not change that ‘D’ to an ‘A,’ but when you’re making an argument, and the audience connects with you a little bit, that can be a good thing.”
The students and faculty pledged their honor and pinned their newfound Marianist pride, completing their orientation.
With best wishes and good luck from all corners, new students exited the RecPlex, finally able to experience just what’s so special about UD as the newest generation committed to learning, leadership and service.
As the marching band’s upbeat music reverberated throughout UD Arena at Saturday’s new student orientation, cheerleaders led the largest first-year class in school history through the cheer they’ll chant the next four years — and beyond.
“Go, Dayton Flyers. D…A…Y…T…OOO…N! Dayton Flyers. Go UD!”
Changing tempo, the band performed the UD anthem, the words rolling slowly across big screens.
The four-day orientation is as much about tradition and pageantry as it is about new beginnings. It culminated today with students reciting the academic honor code and participating in a pinning ceremony at a formal convocation presided over by faculty donned in caps and gowns.
At Saturday’s kick-off welcome event for students and their families, Father Jim Fitz, S.M., talked about UD’s oldest tradition — the Marianist philosophy of education that found its roots in the French Revolution.
“Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (founder of the religious order that sponsors UD) lived in a time like ours of transition and turmoil,” said Fitz, vice president for mission and rector. “It would not be hard for me to prove that we still live a world much like that of Blessed Chaminade — Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Ferguson, Missouri.”
Fitz encouraged students, in the Marianist tradition, to search for truth, think critically and imaginatively, and work for the common good.
“We believe in building community across diversity. In a world that experiences violence and hatred, we need people who can build community and bridge differences,” he said.
“If we are at our best, you will learn to be a community builder and you will be stretched to identify and use gifts you never knew you had.”
While many members of the Class of 2018 moved to campus from a few hours away, some come from much closer — or farther — than others. This afternoon, as a part of New Student Orientation, both commuter students and international students participated in meet-and-greets, each complete with icebreakers and ice cream.
Joe Milton ’17, a student leader for the NSO Commuter Student Welcome, said that commuter students comprise about 28 percent of this year’s first-year class.
“Our main goal for the commuter student welcome is to get students to interact with each other and to encourage them to seek on-campus jobs and clubs. We want them to know that conversations with their on-campus peers don’t have to stop at the topic of housing,” Milton said.
As a commuter student and a music therapy major, Jennifer Meier ’18 said participating in marching band has helped her dive into the UD community.
“I’m most excited about getting involved with more musical groups on campus. I play five instruments, but I’d really like to join a vocal group here,” Meier said.
Similarly, NSO leaders also encourage international students to find clubs and groups that interest them. International students can also visit the Center for International Programs and participate in trips sponsored by the International Club.
Tian Tian ’18, a business major from China, said she’s most excited about the intramural sports on campus.
“I’m looking forward to getting involved with sports, because I didn’t have time to participate in sports at school in China. I’d like to learn how to play lacrosse, but volleyball also sounds fun,” Tian said.
Whether students come from near or far — or somewhere in between — the UD community welcomes them.
There is no better time to be an engineer.
“The Class of 2018 is the most accomplished incoming class in the history of the University of Dayton,” said the new dean of the School of Engineering, Eddy Rojas, when he addressed students and their families on Saturday, Aug. 23.
Rojas, previously the director of the Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was appointed this year to continue 103 years of education in the School of Engineering, succeeding Tony Saliba ’81.
He gave families an overview of the school their students are about to enter. With five undergraduate engineering degrees, four undergraduate engineering technology programs, 13 master’s programs and five doctoral programs, the School of Engineering was recently re-accredited in 2011 by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), commenting on the school’s “excellent faculty and students, quality and innovation of teaching and scholarship and outstanding facilities.”
In addition to holding 25 percent of the undergraduate population, the School of Engineering has increased in diversity in the last two years by 4 percent and had been ranked second among Catholic institutions, third in the state of Ohio, and 63rd in nation. The school welcomes 664 new students this academic year.
Just by statistics, it is clear that UD wants its students to succeed. Rojas offered advice on combating the rigorous undergraduate programs to the incoming first-years: study seriously, make wise decisions and don’t be afraid to ask for help are just a few.
“We are on your team, and will be your best support system. We want to take advantage of all the potential we see in the incoming class,” he said. “What we do in the next few years will set the course for the next 100 years.”
This evening, students, faculty and staff gathered at UD Arena for New Student Orientation festivities. The Class of 2018 got a taste of the UD community with a pep rally and a performance of the UD Anthem, but President Dan Curran welcomed them with a challenge to build that community even stronger.
“You have a responsibility in the community to make it better. You are all now community builders. It’s a commitment: You’re part of something bigger,” Curran said.
Curran reflected on this past basketball season, when coaches, players and fans represented the University by showing their pride respectfully during the Elite 8. With an emphasis on respect, Curran challenged students to look out for themselves and one another, including stepping up when someone needs help and making the right choices throughout the next four years.
But the President didn’t forget about the most important part of the UD community. The students were guaranteed four years of fun, with a support system of faculty, staff and fellow students to give them guidance.
“You come in with many questions. It’s not our job to give you the answers. We will work together to come up with answers. And I guarantee you’ll have fun while you’re here,” Curran said.
After convocation this morning and ice-breaker games this afternoon, this year’s freshman class is ready to step up to the challenge.
Devin Joss ’18, an undecided science major from Youngstown, Ohio, said he chose UD for its sense of community, but also for the opportunity to grow here.
“I’m excited to meet new people and find out what the UD experience is all about. All of the upperclassmen have been welcoming so far. I also want to broaden my horizons and take advantage of all the opportunities here,” Joss said.
Cars lined the parking lot, bags and boxes filled the rooms, a mix of excitement and nerves filled the hearts. This was the sight around 10 a.m. on Saturday when thousands of first-year students arrived on campus, their new home away from home.
The University welcome an estimated 2,205 first-year students this year, the largest first-year class in our history.
Walking through Marycrest, this writer saw plenty of new faces, but I recognized the familiar Flyer Spirit right away.
One family traveled more than 12 hours from Fairfield, Connecticut, to settle their daughter in early that morning.
Another first-year engineering student, Cory Heatwole, sat quietly alone in his room reflecting on the next four years — what by popular opinion will undoubtedly be the best four years of his life. He arrived at campus on Friday to take part in the honors student welcome, prepared with an open mind.
“We did some ice breakers, toured campus, played jeopardy in Kennedy Union, and did a picture scavenger hunt,” he said. “It’s been great so far, but I don’t feel like I know enough about campus to have a solid UD bucket list just yet.”
That’s okay, he still has plenty of time for first hellos and new experiences. However, an important goodbye will come before the weekend’s over.
“My parents have done well so far since we’ve gotten here, but my mom cried a few times before we even left home,” he said.
As hard as it may be to watch families drive away on Sunday morning, there are plenty of resources that first-year students can turn to for support.
Camp Blue, a group specifically made to help first-year students adjust to campus life, is one of those resources. Many blue shirts could be seen in Marycrest as they welcomed families and helped unload cars.
There was also a red shirt, a blue shirt and a grey shirt. Those belonged to seniors Tim Skillen, Ryan Saul and Griffin Lineham, who just wanted to lend a helping hand.
“We have a friend who is in Camp Blue (a leadership camp for first-year students), but we’ve helped out on our own almost every year,” they said. “We see a lot of confidence, a lot of nervousness, a lot of excitement. But we also see a lot of new students just grateful for our help.”
Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, they’re in good hands.