Tuesday, September 15, 2009

OU Athletics

When the OU Athletic Department announced earlier this year that the football team was going to play at Cowboys Stadium against Brigham Young, they weren’t just thinking about the exposure it would receive for the university.

“They have the community’s interest in mind when a putting a schedule together,” Stephen Koranda said executive director for the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The media value is amazing, phenomenal.”

The highly televised game will be treated as home game for the Sooner s so the revenue figures look to be very beneficial to the university.

“We’re still able to get the appreciation of 6 home football games like last year, so the impact is still there” Koranda said having dealt with the athletic department during his nine months at the position.

Koranda said there was so much opportunity for tourism dollars due to OU Athletics.

“There is so much more outside of OU Football,” Koranda said. “Our baseball team hosted a NCAA regional along with the softball team.”

In addition to success of OU Athletics, the city of Norman received notoriety in 2008 as the sixth “Best Place to Live” in the United States by CNN Money.

“We have developed a marketing strategy for that because there are a segment of people out there that like to visit the place that is similar to the place they currently live in,” Koranda said. “We feel that is the way we depict Norman.”

According to Norman tax reports for the months during the football season, despite the recession, there was an increase in sales tax revenue for 2008 as compared to 2007.

In the month of September 2008, the sales tax went up 11.6 percent. The month of October was the peak with 13.2 percent followed by November with 12.29 percent.

In actual numbers, the sales tax revenue for the aforementioned months was $3,590,084, $3,620,418, and $4,264,540, respectively.

Anthony Fransisco, finance director for the city of Norman, said that a great portion of the sale tax figures include room rates for hotels, the building and the luxury sectors.

“There are many things that are receptive to the economy such as buying jewelry, buying refrigerators and going out to McDonalds rather than Olive Garden,” Fransisco said. “Football is pretty much recession proof. Football fans will show up.”

With the season tickets having a 99 percent renewal rate, it could mean great opportunities to Norman especially with the success of last year.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Defense Dominates OU Spring Game

Although Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford will return this fall as OU’s prominent star, the defense stole the show at OU's spring football game on Saturday, April 10 at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Defense forced two turnovers and scored two touchdowns on head coach Bob Stoops' unique scoring system that allowed defense to score points. Defense beat offense 63-36.

I think [the defense] did pretty good,” sophomore linebacker Travis Lewis said. “There were a lot of players flying around and [offense] only scored twice. Pretty good day.”

The Sooners will make their first appearance of the regular season Labor Day weekend against Brigham Young University at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It will be the first college football game at the new stadium.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Students eating a free meal  at the Cultural Food Fair hosted by the Muslim Student Association. The purpose was to celebrate the third pillar of Islam, Ramadan.

Islamic Awareness Week at OU
The Muslim Student Association are hosting Islam Awareness Week displaying the Five Pillars of Islam. On Wednesday night, Muslim Student Association with others celebrated the third pillar which is Ramadan. 

Ramadan involves fasting from sunup to sundown for a higher cause."It's supposed to teach you self-discipline and patience and bring you closer to god," Anum Syed said president of the Muslim Student Association.

On Monday, MSA engaged in a discussion about their faith to Islam (Shahadah). On Tuesday, they watched a PBS documentary detailing Hajj which is the pilgrimage to Mecca. 

Throughout the semester, MSA has held their Islamic faith by raising money for Pennies for Peace. 

"Helping those that are less fortunate is very universal. It a simple part of humanity and we wanted to show that Islam puts it emphasis on charity,"  Syed said.

Islam Awareness Week will continue today with a guess speaker on the importance of Zakat (charity) 7:30p.m. Dale Hall Rm. 218.  Tea will be served.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Volunteers helping to build a castle for the fair. The fair brought in over 250,000 people last year.

Volunteers preparing for one the biggest events in Norman
Vendors along with volunteers set up tent for the 33rd Annual Medieval Fair of Norman Wednesday afternoon. The Medieval Fair has become a staple for the city of Norman.

"It brings in a lot of tax revenue into the city of Norman and as well as you can't get a hotel if you wanted to right now," Ann Marie Eckhart said assistant coordinator of the Medieval Fair.

Eckhart also said the Medieval Fair last year brought in over 250,000 people during the three-day event. 

According to their website, the fair relives the Middle Ages with arts and crafts, food, games, and jousting tournaments just to name off a few.

The fun and entertainment starts this Friday 10 a.m. at Reeves Park. Admission is free.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Connie Byers of American Red Cross demonstrating how to do proper CPR. 
Sigma Lambda Beta hosted the event.

Student Group Seeks to help peers before Spring Break

Connie Byers of the American Red Cross visited the University of Oklahoma for Victor Correa CPR Awareness Day Thursday evening at the HTCC. Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity hosted the event.

"It seemed to be a pretty good turnout," Luis Vargas said, vice president of Sigma Lambda Beta. "Hopefully the people here will be using this knowledge for spring break."

Victor Correa was member of Sigma Lambda Beta who passed away. " As we can see from today it's fairly simple to administer CPR and we hope we can keep that in that in mind and nothing like that would happen again," Vargas said.

Byers gave a demonstration on how to do CPR properly. "You can't believe the large percentage of people are there in the hospital because they got hurt trying help somebody," Byers said. "It great to help somebody, but what good are you if you are gonna get injured too."

The American Red Cross offers CPR training online at redcrossonlinetraining.org. "You will be certified for three years," Byers said.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

OU Gospel Choir performs at Fifth Street Baptist Church. It was for the Black Church Week of 
Prayer for the Healing of AIDS.

Deadly virus disproportionate to African Americans

The OU Gospel Choir performed at Fifth Street Baptist Church earlier this month for The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS. They called it the Soul Healing Musical. 

"The churches have agreed to do at least one sermon related to HIV throughout the year 2009," Terrainia Harris of Oklahoma State Department of Health. "So we are realizing this disease in our community. We are trying to do something about it."

Mark Knight, an outreach health educator for Guiding Right Inc., read a letter to the audience from a person who contracted by the HIV virus.

"Once I was diagnosed the feeling of hopelessness was overwhelming and destructive," Knight reads. "I wanted to die."

The person was happy that the community is coming together to aid people with HIV/AIDS. She also thinks it's a wonderful plan to involve the community in the plight of infected people with no hope left. 

Kai Dameron of RAIN Oklahoma read another letter which gave a different account on how the Oklahoma City dealt with people who contracted the HIV virus.  

"I was saddened by the horrible way my church treated my daughter after we told them that she was HIV positive, Dameron reads. "Many of the church members refused even sit near her. For my daughter it was like her second family had turned their back on her."

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the HIV/AIDS epidemic affects African Americans at an alarming rate. 

"In Oklahoma, African-Americans make up 7.6 percent of population, but make up 34 percent of new HIV cases," Amani Smiley of Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Additionally, as of December 2007, the 20-29 age group leads in HIV cases with over 35 percent in the state of Oklahoma. Knight argues that it is happening at a fast pace in Oklahoma. 

"We will be seeing an increase," Knight said. "In the last couple of years,  I think the majority of people that we have tested were under 30 that test positive. So we are actually on regular basis younger and younger people coming into our offices or getting referred to us for services that tested positive."

HIV/AIDS virus has been disproportionate to African American women. According to Black AIDS Institute, black women now account for 67 percent of all AIDS cases among African Americans. 

The rate is about the same with black women among all women.

"64 percent of all women infected with HIV are African American women," Knight said. "Why is that?" 

Avert, an HIV and AIDS charity group,  stated that HIV/AIDS virus is so severe to African Americans due to poverty, the lack of access to healthcare, racism and stigma, and prisoners infecting their female partners upon release. 

"If you do test HIV positive, your life is definitely not over," Knight said. "We have come such a long way in HIV treatment from back in the day til now."

Knight said that people with HIV had to take a lot of pills a day when the disease was discovered. Now the amount has gone do to one in most cases. 

The outreach teacher suggested that couples should go together to get tested because 90 percent of the time when a couple both tested positive, the man is the one who had HIV for the longest. 

"In any situation the only person that is going to look out and take care of you first is you," Knight said. "You can't be totally dependent, especially when you are talking about a sexually transmitted disease, that other person to be 100 percent with you."

There are a lot of solutions such as condoms and involvement from the government that would prevent the spreading of HIV/AIDS. Just today, Tennessee state representative Brenda Gilmore proposed a bill that would required HIV test for prisoners upon their release.

Bekah Stone speaking at Sooner for Peace in Palestine meeting. They are selling 
keffiyeh this Thursday from 11 t0 2p.m.

Student Group at OU reacts to a Senator's proposal 
Republican Senator John Kyl proposed an amendment Monday that would forbid federal money to Palestinian refugees to resettle from Gaza to the United States. Senator Kyl's  purpose for the amendment is out of fear that some refugees would ties to Hamas, a supposed terrorist group.

"It is discriminatory, it's outrageous," said Bekah Stone on Tuesday, president of Sooner for Peace in Palestine. "It honestly a disgust that some of our senators would be doing that."

Stone said that she sent messages through Facebook and email urging people to call their senators to ask them to shoot down the amendment. 

"I read an article that one call represents not just one person it represents 500 people," Stone said. "They actually voted on it last night and it was rejected. I'm sure he gonna try it again and try to sneak some other things in there."

Sooner for Peace in Palestine will be selling keffiyeh Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the OMU. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Charity Basketball Tournament at a local YMCA
Air Mafia wins the 2nd annual "Who Got Game?" 3-on-3 Charity Basketball Tournament Friday afternoon at the Cleveland County YMCA. Their prizes were $200 and t-shirts. The charity was given to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

"We had fewer teams come out this year than last year, but still a good turnout, Sharup Karim said, service chair of Delta Epsilon Psi. Delta Epsilon Psi hosted the tournament along with the sponsors of Coca Cola and Cleveland County YMCA.

This year the tournament introduced the 3-point shoot out contest. The winner was Sunil Patel. "He and his team actually flew out all the way from Fort Smith, Arkansas to play," Karim said. Patel's team made it to the finals where they placed second.

Karim said the tournament was highly competitive last year and looks to make changes for next year's tournament.

"There will definitely be more referees next year," Sananda Som said, president of Delta Epsilon Psi.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Benjamin Brooks of Young Ballaz performing at Open Mic Night on Tuesday. The purpose 
of the event was to express his feelings in a hip-hop fashion.

P.E.A.C.E hosts Open Mic Night on Campus Corner

Tuesday night was open mic night "The I Love Hip-Hop Edition" at Justin's Bistro on Campus Corner. The purpose of the event to express their feelings in a hip-hop fashion. The event is hosted by P.E.A.C.E, a student organization at OU.

It is "a poets entertainers artists creative thinkers' expressive community," Jaren Colins said president of P.E.A.C.E. "We cater to all specters. It's not just for minorities."

The Young Ballazz performed along with other poets. At the end of the performances, students and other spoke on why they love hip-hop.

"Any problem I have in my life, there's a song I can find to solve my problem," said Nathan Gwathney OU sophmore.

P.E.A.C.E. was started last semester and trying to expand their branches. "We are doing a mentoring program with local middle schools so they can have their abilities to express their minds," Collins said.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sananda Som (middle) of Delta Epsilon Psi passing napkin to Landon Collins. Delta Epsilon Psi handed out free snow cones to the 
OU student body to commemorate the philanthropy of juvenile diabetes.

Delta Epsilon Psi hosted Juvenile Diabetes Awareness Week in honor of one of their members

Delta Epsilon Psi Fraternity Inc. wrapped up Juvenile Diabetes Awareness Week Thursday by handing out free snow cones to the OU student body on the South Oval. Their purpose of the event was to commemorate their philanthropy.

"One of our deceased brothers, he actually diagnosed with the disease. It was actually his dream to make this a general cause and to promote it as much as we can," Sharup Karim said, service chair for the fraternity. "So nationally that is what we do."

Karim said the events were used mainly to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

"Well we've done ever since were create here at OU back in 2003 and nationally it been almost ten years," Karim said.

Delta Epsilon Psi will be hosting the 2nd Annual "Who's Got Game?" Tournament Friday, March 6 4 p.m. Registration ends March 1st.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

OU students reacting to the lecture by Guiding Right Inc. Kappa Alpha Psi hosted the event.

HIV/AIDS increasing among African Americans 

Earlier today, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. brought in Guiding Right Inc for OU students to discuss HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African-American communities in Oklahoma at the Scholars Room, third floor of the OMU.

"The state of Oklahoma is ranked 6th in the country for STD," Mark Knight said, outreach health educator for Guiding Right. "This is race we want to lose."

The epidemic has been disproportionate to African Americans. "Forty percent of men newly infected with HIV were black, Knight said. In 2006, black women were newly infected with HIV at a rate of 55.7 per 100,000 populations. "This compared to 3.8 for whites and 14.4 for Hispanics."

Knight also said it has also been more disproportionate to women. "It is easier for a man to infect a woman with HIV than woman to infect a man," Knight said.

Guiding Right Inc. offers free HIV testing at7901 N.E. 10th Street, Suite A-111 Midwest City, Oklahoma 73110.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bekah Stone speaks to Sooner Peace in Palestine members Thursday night. The members discussed upcoming events and finding a way to get controversial speaker Norman Finkelstein to OU. 

Student group Reacts to Kerry's visit in Gaza

Senator John Kerry along with other U.S. congressmen visited Gaza. It is the first time in 8 years that U.S. lawmakers have entered the Palestinian territory that which is controlled by the Hamas group. 

"I think it's good that the situation is getting attention," Bekah Stone said, president of Sooner Peace in Palestine. "Although I don't expect any changes in U.S. policy towards the situation to occur."

Stone said they have  gathered around 300 signatures from the OU campus asking the U.S. senators to represent their opinion in Washington which is to have a more even-handed approach to the foreign policy. 

Sooner for Peace in Palestine are also looking to assemble committees here on campus. "We are trying to get Norman Finkelstein to come," Stone said.  "He's very controversial." 

Sooner for Peace will be discussing upcoming events such as the Occupation 101 documentary and "Israeli Apartheid Week" 9p.m. tonight at the Regents Room, third floor of the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Construction science students meeting job with recruiters on Thursday. Businesses usually use the spring semester to hire interns.

Construction jobs still progressing despite Recession

Construction Science will be hosting their spring Career Fair on Thursday. The fair will be expecting about 25 heavy-civil and commercial industries, which will be less from last fall. 

"The Career Fair will give you the idea on which business have a niche during this recession, Ken Robson said, director of construction science. Robson said that there will always be jobs for construction despite the status of the economy.

"60% of estimated seniors already have jobs before they graduate," Robson said. "The stimulus package is dumping a lot of money in construction."

Robson said businesses usually use the spring semester for hiring interns. The department has approximately 150 students.

The Career Fair will start at 4 p.m. at the Molly Shi Boren ballroom, third-floor of the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

    SAAB prays  holding hands before every meeting. SAAB's purpose is looking have more African American men presence in events and organizations. 

Men looking to change their communities

Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) in conjunction with the Black Student Association hosted "I Am My Brother's Keeper" on Wednesday at the HTCC. SAAB looks to have more African American male presence in events and organizations, something that is lacking at the University of Oklahoma.

"The saying, I am my brother's keeper, means that we are accountable for one another as brothers," Brandon Oldham said, current SAAB president.

Oldham said that SAAB was found on this campus three years ago after inspiration from a conference."It (SAAB) shows that we are all in this together, everybody has the same aspirations," Oldham said.

SAAB looks to strengthen their communities so that they can branch out to others.

SAAB will be holding elections for positions next Wednesday 8 p.m. at the HTCC. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Students raising awareness about the plight of Homelessness

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. will be hosting "Sleep Out for The Homeless" 7:00 p.m. tonight at the Oklahoma Memorial Union and the South Oval. The purpose is to spread awareness about the plight of homelessness in the Norman and Oklahoma City area.

"Anyone who has a family, lost their job, or in college we can provide a more eating and living expenses, Vince Winston said UOSA Vice President and Phi Beta Sigma member. As a component, we are actually raising food and clothing to the local shelter."

"Sleep Out for the Homeless" will be a 12-hour event expected to have a guest speaker, movie based on homelessness, and the "Can Good Hunt." According to Winston, the program will then move from the OMU to the South Oval where students and other volunteers build their house.

Last year, Winston said the event raised over 300 canned goods, about 150 articles of clothing along with donations of nearly $200.00. 

"Homelessness is not just that bum on the street, they now look like us," Winston said.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Students urge Reps for support in Gaza

Monday, Sooners for Peace in Palestine looked to spread awareness about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on South Oval. They called it "Justice for Gaza."

"Justice for Gaza is a demonstration to highlight the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," Bekah Stone said, president of Sooners for Peace in Palestine. "We are picking up letters and signatures to our senators asking them to represent our opinion in Washington and urging Congress to have a more even-handed approach to the foreign policy."

Since late December, more than 1300 Palestinians were killed, 5,500 injured, and 4,000 buildings destroyed, according to BBC News. "400 of those were children," Stone said. "The killing is highly disproportionate."

Stone explained how this conflict has become personal. "We are all humans and this a humanitarian situation," she said. "If people are suffering anywhere, no matter what their ethnic background or religion is, they should care.

Stone confirmed that there will be a panel discussion on the Israel-Palestian conflict 4 p.m. Tuesday in Meacham Auditorium.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Christian program joins students together

Paradigm was held on Thursday 8 p.m. at the Meachum Auditorium, second floor of the Oklahoma Memorial Union. This week's topic was on relationships.

"Paradigm is a weekly large group, worship service that is put on to learn about Jesus and the Christian faith," Baptist Student Union (BSU) president Jacob Long said. This event is fully funded by BSU

Long hopes that Paradigm impacts students and the Norman community in a positive way. "Hopefully, it gets more students to look at their life, evaluate it, and how they interact with other people."

Students have told Long that they are glad that there is an event like Paradigm on campus.

Paradigm will continue it's series on relationships next Thursday at the Meachum Auditorium and plans to finish mid-February.