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To the Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Students of Ohio Wesleyan University:
The Journalism program has a long, storied history and rich legacy on campus. The department’s newspaper, The Transcript, prides itself on being the oldest independent student newspaper in the nation, with its first publication dating back to 1867. As Journalism students, we have had the pleasure of studying and exploring the best practices for upholding our nation’s precious ideals of freedom of speech and expression.
In Ohio Wesleyan’s recent program review, however, it was decided that the Journalism major should be discontinued. While the Transcript editorial team understands the reasons for this decision, it is a devastating loss for our fellow students, alumni, and faculty. Yet these circumstances have only underscored to us the importance of finding a way to continue the Transcript’s rich heritage.
As Transcript editors, we would like to assure our community that we have been working hard on a plan for keeping this journalistic tradition alive. With the support of Professors Phokeng Dailey, Kyle McDaniel, and Zackariah Long, we have decided to reimagine The Transcript as an online student magazine that will publish a special themed issue at the end of each semester. While The Transcript will continue to post regular campus news to its site, this new model will support a greater variety of written and multimedia content from students with interests in Journalism, Communication, and other disciplines across campus. We will also continue our long-standing practice of editorial independence while still receiving support from Communication Department faculty.
The inaugural theme for the new Transcript in Spring 2021 will be “Social Justice at Ohio Wesleyan.” Our goal is to center historically marginalized voices on our campus and to feature perspectives on Social Justice from a diverse range of students, organizations, and academic programs. In light of this year’s momentous events, we feel this theme will be a fitting opening to this new chapter in The Transcript’s history.
We would like to thank our advisors for their guidance and support, alumni for their care and concern, and our fellow students for their flexibility and input. We hope that everyone finds the news that our student publication will not be going away reassuring. Lastly, we look forward to continuing to serve and work alongside each of you in the OWU community.
Claire Yetzer ’21 and Caitlin Jefferson ’22
Looking back on the past couple of months, it’s all kind of surreal, isn’t it? And now we’ve finished spring semester in ways none of us could have ever contemplated.
Ohio Wesleyan University students from all over Ohio, the U.S. and around the world had roughly two months on campus before the novel coronavirus shut us down and forced students and faculty to head into the uncharted territory of remote learning.
Living through a pandemic has been life-changing and it has uprooted us in unexpected ways. No longer did we have the normal daily regime – waking up, getting to class on time, attending extracurriculars, working, like it or not, for extra cash, or heading to a favorite study spot to start assignments left untouched until the 11th hour.
We were stripped of the options to run downtown for hot java from Delaware’s coffee shops, grab a smoothie from Pulp, complete workouts at Simpson Querrey Gym, or satisfy cravings for Asian cuisine at Typhoon, Amato’s pizza or a taste of Greece at Opa’s.
It was demanding to adjust to remote learning. Getting into a focused study groove from the comfort of home, struggling with internet access or making it to class on time while living in different time zones across the world was not easy. The inability to visit professors during office hours while struggling to grasp course content or just to chat was the strangest new normal.
But we adjusted to these unanticipated changes and so I say to faculty, staff and students, I am proud of us all for making it work, as challenging as it was.
Professors across departments, thank you for your flexibility with students. Thank you for being patient and understanding throughout this overwhelming experience and most importantly, thank you also for going through the stress of learning how to remotely teach.
Special recognition should go to faculty who lead students through complex projects or lab or art assignments without having access to OWU’s distinctive classroom equipment.
Fellow Bishops, I am proud to call you peers. Through unprecedented circumstances, you displayed great strength in handling these stressful situations. If you can manage your responsibilities through a pandemic, you know you can do anything.
Being abruptly evicted from dorms, attending classes from home and the uncertainty of, well, pretty much everything, is a lot to handle. But you hung in and made the most of a mind-boggling situation. My hope is this pandemic will make us all stronger. You must be grateful this odd semester is coming to an end. I know I am.
Seniors, please take a moment to reflect on your four years at OWU and be grateful. Recall the all-nighters, the questionable food at Smith Dining Hall, the dorm roommate you loved, hated or peacefully coexisted with, studying in peaceful and aesthetic Slocum reading room, the hands-on experience of a liberal arts education and the fun and craziness of it all. Recall the close friends and new friends from diverse backgrounds that you may not have met elsewhere.
To the Class of 2020, you deserve a better goodbye. I have faith you will get it one day.
Meanwhile, plan an awesome-as-possible graduation ceremony with loved ones. You earned it. Get as wild and extravagant as virtual ceremonies can with your family and friends without blowing social distancing boundaries. You earned your bachelor’s degree; you deserve the festivities.
For the rest of us, this may not be the farewell we had in mind, but I hope this year at OWU was memorable. I hope you’ll look back on OWU as a place of opportunity, support and growth wherever you go from here. I wish you nothing but luck, success and happiness and I hope to see you again this fall.
This virtual goodbye does not seem enough, does it? It feels like we said farewell in March without really saying the actual words. Nonetheless, on behalf of The Transcript and its staff, goodbye to all of our strong, hardworking faculty, staff and students. We’re all family you know.
Stay safe, Bishops. And don’t forget – wash your hands.
For Ohio Wesleyan’s Class of 2020, closure may be the most difficult of all achievements.
Lost for seniors was the last Day on the Jay, planned send offs from teammates, the final late-night snack with friends at Smith Dining Hall, memorable goodbyes from sorority and fraternity sisters and brothers, a final round of toasts at The Backstretch and just hanging out with close pals one last time.
These and other significant final traditions simply evaporated on March 13 when Ohio Wesleyan closed the campus for the rest of the semester to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
The most important lost tradition of all? No May 9 commencement with family and friends to celebrate completion of all the years of hard work, culminating in a well-deserved college degree.
Below some members of the senior class reflect on their final days on campus and plans to celebrate that big day, or not, at home.
Senior Mahnoor Ansari, from Lahore, Pakistan who is still in Ohio, said she has no special ideas for marking graduation, at least for now. But she will earn a double major in pre-law and psychology.
“I don’t have any plans for celebrating,” she said. “I am sad that I’m not getting closure.”
Ansari said she misses the Treehouse, the environmentally-themed Small Living Unit, and its annual paint party, a tradition of glow paint and black lights, and the OWU women’s rowing team.
For Annabella Miller, from Wellington, Ohio, commencement day has lost its celebratory aura. She will graduate early after two years with a degree in pre-theology and minors in women’s and gender studies and psychology.
“Right now, I don’t have plans to celebrate my graduation,” Miller said. “May 9 will probably be like any other day for me and I will most likely work all day.”
To counter disappointment, at least a little, OWU is celebrating the Class of 2020 – for now – with a video and has urged all seniors to send in their photos for it. A real ceremony will be scheduled for later, when it is safe.
|“I think the best decision OWU made is making sure that us seniors still get an actual graduation ceremony. I’ve been looking forward to that day for four years and can’t wait to walk across that stage.” – Erica VanHoose ’20|
“The video will be shown first on May 9, but please know this in no way is a substitute for your commencement ceremony,” the Office of President and University Communications wrote. “We are committed to not only an on-campus commencement, but also to a full weekend of celebration for the Class of 2020 at a time when we can do that in a safe manner.”
Some, like Amarii Johnson, an exercise science and Spanish double major, don’t plan to wait for the big party and will mark the day with their own festivities.
“I’m going to get lit with my family and my mom and sister just to celebrate being done,” Johnson said.
Johnson, home in Chicago, said like most seniors she is sad about the abrupt end to the school year.
“We didn’t have that time to really mentally prepare ourselves to end this chapter of our lives,” Johnson said. “I think OWU did the best that they can. They could’ve easily just canceled graduation but Rock (Jones) is trying his hardest to get us something even if it’s in the summer or closer to the fall and I really appreciate those efforts.”
Keionna Badie, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said she also thinks OWU has done the best it can for seniors under tough circumstances. Badie is a pre-law and philosophy double major and history and politics and government double minor.
“I think OWU has been one of the most understanding colleges for seniors during this pandemic,” Badie said. “I definitely miss my friends. We made plans to do things together to celebrate the end of senior year and I’m sad that we weren’t able to spend our last week’s together.”
Hope Poolos, a health and human kinetics major and psychology minor, said she too has struggled with the way school ended. She has also been challenged working alone from home in Sylvania, Ohio.
“Not being with everyone from OWU in these final weeks before graduation has been really hard on me,” Poolos said. “This was supposed to be our final time with friends and classmates and it is so hard to stay motivated.”
Poolos said she intends to don her cap and gown and have a cookout with her family, boyfriend and other friends on graduation day.
|“… I had a lot of pain and hurt just knowing that all of it went away so fast with the blink of an eye.” – Andrew McFarland ’20|
McKenzee Martin, from Urbana, Ohio, said she too misses friends, classmates, walks on the JAYwalk and face-to-face connections with professors.
“I did not realize how much I would miss school until it was taken away from me so soon and I also, surprisingly, miss my dorm room,” said Martin, a psychology major and English minor. “Trying to stay focused and motivated during this time has been difficult for me and it has been discouraging not having my usual academic environment as well.”
Martin is not sure how she will celebrate commencement, but it will include family and friends and a dinner.
Andrew McFarland, a fine arts major from Mount Gilead, Ohio, said the suddenness of the semester shut-down was difficult.
“I know when I first heard the word about the classes being postponed and closed and everything else, I had a lot of pain and hurt just knowing that all of it went away so fast with the blink of an eye,” he said. “I’ve heard from many faculty and others that they had learned the information about an hour or so before we even did as students, and it just seemed jarring that way.”
McFarland said OWU has done a good job with room and board refunds and working to return items to students who left things back on campus. Graduation celebration plans are up in the air for him, he said.
“I haven’t put much thought into it actually,” McFarland said. “Right now, I have been stuck inside for the last few weeks with my girlfriend and it’s almost blanked on me that I’m actually graduating.”
Mickey Rice, a neuroscience and psychology major from Louisville, Kentucky, said she misses the daily activity of being on campus.
“I find myself getting antsy and stir crazy at home, which makes it especially difficult to do my school work,” Rice said. “I miss my roommate, my housemates, going to Smith late at night with friends, getting breakfast and walking to class together.”
Rice said she could probably “list off hundreds” of things she misses about OWU, but the senior celebrations would be at the top.
“I’m really sad to be missing out on the celebratory moments that I thought I was going to have,” Rice said. “My sorority and the Frisbee team do a number of special things to honor the seniors that I was really looking forward too. I’m so sad that we did not have that time together and that we could not celebrate each other in person.”
Erica VanHoose, an exercise science major and zoology minor from Marysville, Ohio, said she will never forget her time at OWU and all the friends she made.
“I miss not being able to experience the senior activities and the feeling of enjoying all the lasts of senior year before they are gone,” VanHoose said. “I think the best decision OWU made is making sure that us seniors still get an actual graduation ceremony. I’ve been looking forward to that day for four years and can’t wait to walk across that stage.”
Meg Edwards and Hailey de la Vara
Ohio Wesleyan’s construction and renovation plans continue to go forward despite the coronavirus pandemic, but no one, including OWU President Rock Jones, knows if students will return in the fall.
“I don’t know if we will be back on campus in the fall,” Jones said in an interview. “No one knows if we will be back on campus in the fall.”
At a time when uncertainty is a constant for everyone, Jones said he is working 12 hours a day just to keep up with the flood of emails and questions from people.
One concern is OWU’s international students and their ability to come back to campus. About 100 were enrolled this semester and close to 35 students remain on campus. But with travel restrictions, it is highly likely they may have to continue to work remotely. The university will ensure that option is available, Jones said.
“We hope they will continue to be Ohio Wesleyan students,” Jones said.
Meanwhile, the university will press ahead with projects. Construction of the senior village apartments will start at the end of the month.
“The Board of Trustees believes it is critical to move forward with this work to enhance our ability to attract and retain students in an even more competitive recruiting environment,” Jones wrote in an April 6 administrative report to faculty.
The renovation of Smith Hall will continue, too, but the university is delaying for a year the planned $11 million project to renovate 122-year old Slocum Hall.
At the end of March, OWU finished raising over $4 million to completely renovate Branch Rickey Arena, the space where men and women’s basketball teams and volleyball and wrestling teams compete.
The refurbished facility will be air conditioned and include new flooring, bleachers, scoreboards with statistics panels, lights, and a sound system. The main lobby will be redone to create an entryway that highlights current Bishops, past champions and the legacy of the building’s name sake.
The money for the work came entirely from donations from alumni, parents of students and friends of OWU. Work is scheduled to begin in May and be completed in October 2020, but construction workers are already removing bleachers, Jones said.
Renovating the arena is important not just for student athletes, but for the whole community of Delaware, which uses it for summer camps and large events, especially when air conditioning will be in place, Jones said.
Cole Hatcher, OWU’s director of Media and Community Relations, said improving a campus facility benefits all students, including prospective students.
“I think everyone will appreciate seeing the new entryway that honors current and former Bishop athletes as well as Branch Rickey himself,” Hatcher said. “The All-American Lounge will be a wonderful addition as well.”
Renovations obviously will affect athletes and Jones in an April 3 email to faculty said he was “grateful to Coach (Krista) Cobb and the student athletes who will be impacted by this removal.”
But as volleyball team members said, they don’t play for the gym, they play for the team.
That was the decision that senior Molly Jewett came to with her teammates after learning their upcoming season games will be held in the field house, while Branch Rickey Arena is undergoing renovations.
“Wherever we are, we will still be OWUVB,” she said.
Freshman Chloe Merritt said she is not worried about the renovation interrupting the season,
“Rock Jones and (athletic director) Doug Zip and others have been super helpful and have done a very great job communicating with us on a personal level about the renovation and the process with it,” Merritt said.
Columbus-based Marker, Inc. is working on much of the construction on campus, but no contract has been finalized for the arena’s renovations. Marker built the Small Living Units on Rowland Avenue and has done LEED-certified environmentally friendly projects in the past.
Parking will not be affected by the arena’s renovations, Jones said. The only visible exterior change will be the entryway honoring the story of Rickey.
Jones also said no plans exist for a reopening celebration, but the campus will come together to celebrate when the work is done, Jones said.
“Campus is a ghost town,” Jones said. “I hate no one is here. We want to bring it back to life.”
By Azmeh Talha
Hailey de la Vera and Katie Cantrell
As most Ohio Wesleyan students cleared out belongings from dorms and tried to grasp their new reality, they also coped with sadness over leaving campus and close friends and wondered how they might carry on in this new world, both academically and socially.
Meanwhile, faculty accustomed and trained to teach in a classroom, struggled with the new reality of teaching students remotely.
Professor of fine arts Kristina Bogdanov teaches several drawing and ceramic classes, a three-dimensional art form using clay. She is wrestling with how that will look remotely.
“Classes like these are going to require a little more creativity and investment on my part,” she said. “I never thought even in my wildest nightmare dreams something like this could happen.”
But happen it has.
OWU announced in recent days the rapid spread of COVID-19 was forcing the school to:
- Suspend all in-class meetings and events for the remainder of the semester
- Order all students to move back home
- Move to a remote teaching system
- Postpone senior commencement ceremonies
On Thursday, OWU President Rock Jones announced that after reviewing public health information and government mandates, all staff, except those deemed essential to support the remaining on-campus students and to maintain urgent campus operations, were to begin working from home by 5 p.m. Friday.
Somewhere between 60-70 students, mostly international, are expected to remain living on campus.
Sophomore Astrid Koek, from the Netherlands, would like to go home but cannot. She said she understands OWU is trying to do its best for her and other students in her situation.
“It’s a difficult time because we want to go home since everything around us is so uncertain,” Koek said. “We created a family here but now everyone is home and we’re left alone. The feeling of homesickness has gotten worse and we can’t go home, so we’re completely relying on other people’s kindness.”
The remaining students will not be abandoned, Jones promised.
“Work already has begun to ensure these on-campus students feel cared for and supported,” Jones said. “Take-out meals will be served three times a day. The T-store will be open for limited hours. Other services will be available on a limited basis.”
Jones also reiterated senior graduation would eventually be held on campus at a later date and anyone unable to attend could still participate.
“We will make it a virtual experience for those who are not able to return to campus,” Jones said. “It will be creative, fun and a great celebration of the accomplishments of the Class of 2020.”
Jones said he also understands remote learning and teaching will be a profound challenge for both students and faculty.
“Faculty are working hard to make this the best possible experience, even though it is not the way they have spent their lives preparing to teach,” he said. “The flexibility of students and faculty alike is a wonderful reflection of other aspects of OWU, including the determination to do whatever is necessary to provide the best possible educational experience, regardless of the challenges presented.”
And many challenges exist.
Economics professor Robert Gitter said he has had too little time to prepare for a method of teaching he has never used. He said he uses Blackboard mainly to post grades, readings and assignments.
“We’re just making the best of a bad situation,” he said. “I will hold office hours and respond by email and I’ll be glad to talk with people via Google Hangouts, Skype and phone calls. But I imagine that some people will just fall behind and all I can do is reach out to them and we’ll do the best we can.”
Junior Kelli Bertoia is concerned about this new learning vehicle.
“I feel that there are many disadvantages that come with remote learning, including difficulty interacting with peers, getting immediate feedback from professors, and difficulty staying connected at all times if you don’t have constant reliable technology,” Bertoia said.
Junior Aimee Duckworth, a member of OWU’s women’s softball team, is also struggling with this new reality.
“It’s taken a toll on me mentally having to wrap my head around the fact that I won’t play for another year,” she said. “It’s also hard for the seniors and how they got their season taken away.”
Senior Meg Dalton would agree with the toll this takes on seniors – for everything.
“I’m very sad my senior year had to end liked this,” she said. “Having to leave my friends was the hardest part.”
Senior Emily VanDermark said as difficult as OWU’s closure is, it’s the right thing to do.
“I think that the steps taken were necessary and I support the administration’s decisions regarding the whole situation,” she said. “All we can do is be smart and safe and there for each other through all of this.”
Meg Edwards and Hailey de la Vara
Ohio Wesleyan University announced Tuesday it is postponing commencement ceremonies – for now.
In another stunning blow to students already reeling from cancelation of all class meetings for the remainder of the semester due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, OWU President Rock Jones sent a campus-wide email just before 3 p.m., sharing the message he gave to the senior class about graduation earlier in the day.
“ … my heart aches knowing that you can’t be on campus to complete your senior year,” the email said. “(But) will we have a Class of 2020 ceremony? The answer is a resounding YES!”
The date for that, however, is yet to be determined.
With a nod to the current reality, Jones wrote: “I can’t wait to hand you your diploma and shake your hand (or maybe bump your elbow) as you walk across the graduation stage in front of cheering family members and friends.”
Jones promised additional “festivities” would be planned for graduating seniors so they could properly celebrate with classmates and families.
Nonetheless, for seniors like Mahnoor Ansari, it was a bitter pill to swallow. She groaned when she saw the email on her phone.
“I don’t want to read it,” she said.
Senior Emily VanDermark, who is on OWU’s women’s softball team, said she is having a difficult time wrapping her head around the entire situation.
“For me the whole situation is just really sad. Mostly because it isn’t directly anyone’s fault,” she said. “In a span of one week I’ve lost my final season and my last times on campus with my classmates, sorority sisters, teammates and friends.”
Meanwhile, across campus students were hauling refrigerators and boxes of clothes out of their dorms, with many parents trailing close behind.
Sophomore Jacquelyn Keslar said the campus was turning into a ghost town.
Although new guidelines require the Bishop Cafe to close its seated dining area, students gathered Tuesday with their carry-out food in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center atrium to share a meal with friends before leaving campus.
Jones acknowledged this new darker reality in his email, but also offered encouragement.
“The spirit of the campus, while saddened by the departure of students and the need for most of us to isolate and work remotely, is strong and good,” he wrote. “We are fortunate to be a part of the Bishop family, and we are grateful for the support that has been shared by so many.”
The area encompassing the Red Sea can be defined as a “puddle muddle” because of how the region’s economics and religion are intertwined.
That label was applied by Blake Michael, a Swan-Collins-Allen professor of religion at Ohio Wesleyan, who enlightened 77 Delaware residents about the geo-political disputes of the region Friday at the latest Great Decision lecture at Williams Street United Methodist Church.
The Red Sea is a part of the world not often acknowledged by Americans due to lack of involvement by the United States, Michael said.
Meanwhile, the region is responsible for nine percent of global trade and it is the second largest oil reserve in the world.
“My main point is (to see) the complexity of any geo-political situation, specifically an area such as the Red Sea that is complicated through elements I talked about, like for ethnicity and religion,” Michael said.
In terms of religious complexity, different cultural groups practice different forms of the Muslim faith. Those groups are settled in the countries that border the Red Sea, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti.
Economically, Japan, China, and countries from Europe depend on the Red Sea region for natural resources and materials. The most sought after resource is oil, which provides global economic stability, Michael said.
“It is an enlightening part of the world, but people are not aware of all that goes on politically,” he said.
Attendee and Delaware resident Wayne Moore said he enjoyed the presentation.
“It’s an area we don’t have much place in so it was fascinating to learn,” he said.
Another local resident, Roger Koch, said, “It added clarity to an obtuse part of the world.”
Claymore mines and booby traps blanketed South Vietnam during the war and wreaked havoc on U.S. soldiers.
Many of those young men who suffered horrifying wounds were treated in emergency setups by some of the nearly 10,000 women, a majority of them nurses, who also served in uniform. It was traumatizing for the wounded soldiers and those who treated them, said former Army nurse Mary Powell.
Powell, a Vietnam veteran, shared her storiesTuesday in the Bayley Room at a lecture titled “Our War in Vietnam,” sponsored by Ohio Wesleyan’s College of Republicans and Young Democratic Socialists of America.
Powell said she became an Army nurse when she was 23. As a native New Yorker, Powell attended Columbia University School of Nursing and graduated in 1969. During her senior year, she was unable to pay tuition. At that time, the Army needed nurses and offered to provide financial assistance with a two-year commitment to serve after graduation.
Powell became an internal medicine nurse and was stationed at the 24th Evacuation Hospital at Long Binh for a year beginning in November 1970.
Powell said she can speak about her experiences today only because she worked in internal medicine, not in emergency medicine.
“Every nurse I knew in Vietnam who worked in surgery … is on 100% disability for PTSD,” Powell said, “One of the nurses who is on 100% PTSD, my friend Nancy, was in the room next to me. The first day she was assigned to neurosurgery, she took care of a 19-year-old without a face.”
Only two percent of the soldiers admitted to emergency treatment died, but the rest were in horrifying conditions, Powell said. It was routine for nurses to avoid admitting feelings toward the soldiers and about the war.
“When we say goodbye to the guys we would say goodbye, good luck, and we’d shut down on feelings,” Powell said.
About 15 students and staff members attended the lecture. Powell avoided speaking to the audience with a traditional mic and podium and instead herded everyone into a circle to engage in a more personal conversation.
Sophomore Jacob Delight said, “I came to this event because I was interested in joining YDSA. I hadn’t heard about Vietnam on a personal level. So it was interesting to be able to put a face to it.”
Senior Amanda Hays, played a big role in planning the event.
“It was great, she was a wonderful speaker. It’s important to hear these people’s stories while they’re still around,” Hays said.
YDSA meets at 7 p.m. Saturday in Stuyvesant Hall’s Fishbowl; College Republicans meet at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Welch Hall.
Sociology and anthropology students needn’t fear a lack of meaningful work after they leave Ohio Wesleyan, the non-profit field offers many opportunities.
That message was delivered Wednesday in Elliott Hall by the Department of Sociology-Anthropology (SOAN), which hosted a lunch for students interested in nonprofit work.
The event featured guest panelists Mel Corroto, executive director of Andrew’s House and Kerri Robe, the assistant program manager for OWU’s Service Learning office. The panel was moderated by Sally Leber, the director of OWU Service Learning.
Andrew’s House, 39 West Winter St., is the former home of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. After the fraternity left in 1993, the neighboring St. Peter’s Episcopal church purchased the property.
Now, Andrew’s House is “COhatch before COhatch was COhatch” for nonprofits, in the words of Leber, describing a network of community workspaces. The community center is home to seven nonprofits and also hosts its own programs, such as legal clinics and cooking classes, and features a large mural that depicts Paul Dean, OWU’s associate professor of sociology.
Corroto and Robe each described their very different paths to working at nonprofits. Corroto graduated with a degree in English literature, but found her way into the business world working for Borders Books.
Running a small nonprofit is a lot like running a business, Corroto said.
“I have to wear many hats,” she said, adding the most important part is “fundraising, fundraising, fundraising.”
Robe said she planned on becoming a nurse from an early age, but she struggled with science courses in college and realized that “really, I just wanted to help people.”
She said she worked in direct service for several years before moving into prevention and now helps coordinate programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters and other mentorships between OWU students and Delaware schools.
Her advice for students looking to get into nonprofit work: “relationships, relationships, relationships.”
Many nonprofits are within walking distance or a short drive from campus that are constantly looking for volunteers, Robe said. Making connections in the community and building those relationships early can help students find work after graduation.
Leber drew attention to the high rate of burnout among nonprofit workers, and the stress of constant fundraising.Robe said that self-care was important.
“It’s really important to have these reflection times … so I can be the best person for these people [in need].”
Leber said it is important for anyone doing service to see it as a mutual exchange, rather than a one-way act of charity.
“I haven’t done any act of service where I haven’t learned more from the other person than I’ve given,” she said.
Senior Makaila Weir, who is on the SOAN student board, said the board decided to organize the event to educate students on opportunities after college, as many students had expressed an interest in nonprofit work.
She said she enjoyed hearing about the different tracks Robe and Corotto took to arrive in nonprofits.
“You hear about the burnout,” Weir said, and added that she is glad to hear that they are still passionate about their work so far into their careers.
The event was catered by an Ohio Wesleyan SOAN student, junior Courtney Owens, who recently started her own catering company, The O’s Catering.