The hubbub and action that surrounds the old campus post office every work day is hard to miss. The building’s appearance has changed considerably in the last few weeks and is set to change even more before the summer is over.
One rainy day in May, I braved the mud to have a firsthand look. What used to be a quiet, humble and tiny building is now a crowded workshop full of lumber, tools, tables and workers.
These workers, even through rain and mud, are completing a full renovation to transform the building into a campus heritage center.
The building’s doors are gone, providing a full view of the interior that shows how roomy the old post office really is. It should fit a good number of people inside to share memories and stories of UD.
I talked with Mike Lyons of Kendell Construction as he directed his fellow workers. He said that the construction company will provide all new mechanicals, electrical work, heating, an exterior paved patio and a completely refinished inside.
Quite a lot of work for such a little building.
The Memorial Day spirit sprayed from the hoses of the UD grounds department as they watered not the UD grounds, but the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park on this sunny Wednesday.
This was the first time UD has helped with cleanup at the park, located between Patterson Avenue and the Great Miami River. Twelve volunteers watered, mulched and trimmed back tree limbs at the park, which includes a memorial plaque listing 402 names of Vietnam veterans from the Miami Valley. Chuck Shelley of UD grounds department, as well as park board member, suggested the service project.
The president of the park board, Mark Kucharski, said that he is “looking ahead to build a long relationship with the UD organization, hoping that they continue to help with the cleanup project annually.”
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is preparing for the Memorial Day service on Monday at 11 a.m., during which a tomb of Vietnam memorabilia will be buried at the POW MIA tree.
Two UD students, T.J. Graham and Zachary Fogle, also worked on the cleanup. Although they usually work at the Arena, they said that they enjoyed this work, especially on such a beautiful day.
Paraphrasing George Washington, Kucharski said, “The willingness with which young people will serve their nation is in proportion to how the veterans of the previous generation were treated.”
Mary, how does your garden grow?
Bright and colorful, thanks to last weekend’s volunteer crew.
Twelve gardeners, coordinated by Pat Detzel, got their hands dirty Saturday planting annuals and perennials, many of which the volunteers dug from their own gardens. The forget-me-nots are currently nodding their delicate blue heads at passers-by, with the yellow clusters of stonecrop and bold, tall zinnias set for exhibition later this summer. The Mary Garden is located in the courtyard between St. Mary Hall and the Immaculate Conception Chapel.
Eight UD students doubled as actors with the campus as their stage last Thursday. USA Funds, an education loan lender, selected UD as one of four universities nationwide to highlight in its financial aid commercial.
The students and commercial crew gathered at locations such as the library lawn and the courtyard by St. Joseph Hall to film the commercial. Makeup artists prepped students before their shots and choreographers directed students’ interactions during the scenes.
The students chatted for the camera and walked about campus while toting textbooks and computers as a videographer and still photographer captured the action. The commercial’s producer and director, Todd Gould, said that this was the first USA Funds commercial shot at UD.
Once upon a time a lady named Cele went on a vacation. She left an out-of-the-office message on her computer. While she was gone, her computer, abetted by electronic oddities, sent 250 messages to each member of the discussion list cue-l (College and University Editors).
Now, every year the Cele Garrett Award honors cue-l users “who inadvertently send personal messages over cue-l, turn on their e-mail reply function or otherwise make technical (or tasteless) errors over the Internet.”
This past year one such user was the editor of UDQ , who sent to the list a message (asking for printer suggestions) addressed to the editor of another magazine.
So this year Cele graces my office.
It’s hard to tell whether such a honor was a high or a low point for the year.
A high point certainly was just hearing from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) that UDQ has won two awards: a gold medal in the tabloid publishing category, a silver for resource management.
So in early June you will have delivered to your mailbox a university periodical that can claim to be one of the best of the cheapest or one of the cheapest of the best.
Take your pick. Just keep reading about UD.
It’s been a good couple of weeks for some current and former Flyer athletes:
• On Saturday, Senior Luke Trubee became the first baseball player in Dayton history to record 200 career strikeouts as UD beat Charlotte 6-2 at Time Warner Cable Stadium.
• Across the street at UD Softball Stadium, graduating senior Melissa Myher struck out 11 batters in two games on Saturday to finish her career with 408 strikeouts, second all-time at UD.
• This week, former UD soccer player Mark Schulte was featured in a Sports Illustrated story. He is the first American to play professional soccer in Uruguay and one of only a few Americans ever to play in South America.
• Chris Rolfe, also a former UD soccer player, was named this week as an alternate to the U.S. Men’s National Team playing in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany in June and July. Rolfe, the leading scorer for the Chicago Fire and runner up for MLS Rookie of the Year, is one of three forwards named as alternates to the 23-man roster.
• At the end of April, current UD student John Pastorek, president of the UD Men’s Lacrosse Club, was named to the Italian National Lacrosse Team and will play in the 2006 World Lacrosse Championship in London, Ontario, in July.
• Not to be outdone, Rudy Flyer was named a top-10 “Hot Mascot” by Sports Illustrated in April.
1,546 University of Dayton students — 1,143 undergraduate, 303 graduate and 13 doctoral — received degrees Sunday, May 7, at UD Arena.
Two years ago, Michael Vehar tromped through the sweltering Amazon rainforest, vegetation lashing at his calves, mosquitoes circling in attack patterns around his head. He had traveled two days by bus, then microbus, then canoe to hike the last hour into the tiny Bolivian village to show people how to harness the energy of the sun to help save their lives.
This June he heads back for at least six months, bringing with him donations to help even more.
“I believe that engineers should be fighting indoor air pollution and we should be doing it at UD,” said Vehar, who will graduate with a degree in industrial engineering technology in May.
Vehar and senior Collin Whelley, who will graduate with degrees in political science and psychology, are raising funds to spread solar cooker technology in Bolivia with the help of partner company Sobre la Roca, run by Bolivian native Ruth Saavedra in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Two facts keep Vehar motivated: Worldwide, 1.6 million people die each year of respiratory illness, and indoor air pollution is the No. 1 killer of children under the age of 5 in all developing countries around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
In past years, Vehar traveled with the UD program ETHOS — Engineers in Technical, Humanitarian Opportunities for Service-learning. This year, he organized his own venture and recruited several alumni and current students to join him for part of the summer. All are paying their own way so every dollar they raise can support classes where women learn about and build their own solar cookers, reducing air pollution indoors where the family meals are usually prepared.
Every $100 raised will support courses for two families. Every $500 raised will pay for the course’s transportation to a remote area.
“I love telling people that,” he said of his post-graduation plans, “because I get to explain what I’m going down to do and the problem we are helping to fight.”
Vehar and Whelley have raised $1,700, with the goal of $13,000 to fund transportation of the course throughout the region.
Thrift-store fashion took to the dance floor at the first annual Art Prom sponsored by the visual arts department last Saturday at ArtStreet. The event was a fundraiser to benefit Stivers School for the Arts, a Dayton city public school that enrolls students in grades 7-12. UD faculty and students raised $500 to donate to Stivers’ Seedling Foundation.
“We would love to see more kids come to UD from Stivers,” said UD instructor Kate Anderson, adding that several recent UD visual arts graduates “who have gone on to do terrific work in the real world were Stivers students.”
Among those dressing up in bad taste for a good cause was ArtStreet Director Susan Byrnes, who was “unrecognizable as the punk queen of ‘the Street.’” Also playing dress-up were Alex Karas, Brittany Yantos and Lauren Esposito (pictured left).
The visual arts faculty-student development committee sponsored the Art Prom.
“Sit on your front porch and watch UD go by — one last time.”
I was left with these words as I walked out of the PR office on Friday, tears filling up in my eyes as the words hit me.
They made me think. They made me cry. And they made me act. On Saturday, I took to the porch to see what would unfold.
Lawn chairs, Frisbee, cornhole, conversations and laughter were all around us. Friends came and went. Some stayed all night, some stopped by to say hi.
We had passers-by tell us a joke or something fun about themselves. We watched the house down the road try and light fireworks. We saw some people stumble home and commented on the latest weekend fashions. We yelled when people drove the wrong way up Stonemill. We got rained on, but we maintained our posts.
We talked about life; we talked about leaving, starting over, beginning again. We talked about our fear, our sadness, our excitement and our joy.
We lived life; we spent time with one another.
We were invited to go to the bar, but declined — we were sitting on our front porch, living UD, and there was nowhere else we would rather be.
It’s funny, when people ask me what I will miss the most about this place, it’s nights like Saturday that come to mind. I won’t miss the classes, the books, the housing lottery, the meal plans or the homework, but I will miss my roommates, my neighbors, my friends.
If a front porch could talk, it would have a touching tale to tell. It would be one of love, laughter, tears, joy, sorrow, friendship and community.
Now that’s what I’m really going to miss.