October 28, 2009 - 10:45 AM
Given that Eugene is a rather small, college dominated town, hearing its name on national television is a rare occurrence. However, given that the Ducks football team has been able to achieve great deals of success during the last few weeks, Eugene, The U of O, Autzen Stadium, and our number 10 ranked football team will be broadcasted all across the country on Saturday morning.
College Gameday, a renowned broadcast on Saturday mornings, chooses, week to week, a different university to visit, based on which game is considered to have the highest stakes riding on it. If College Gameday comes to your town, that essentially means that all of the college football experts feel that the game taking place in your stadium is the biggest game in the country that day. Many schools go years and years before College Gameday comes back, or makes its first visit. Ironically, this production made its way to Eugene twice in 2007, as the high powered Ducks, led by Dennis Dixon, were marching their way through the polls. I was one of the lucky few who was able to be there live for the broadcast that begins in the early hours of the morning.
After the Ducks beat the Huskies this last Saturday, and the Trojans were able to hold off the Beavers of Oregon State, it was announced that College Gameday would be coming to Eugene for the matchup between the number 4 USC Trojans, and the number 10 Oregon Ducks. Hearing this confirmation brought back memories of our brief run at the national title in 2007. College Gameday's presence in Eugene this weekend reinforces that idea that Oregon is in fact still a contender to do some damage in the BCS in the remaining weeks of the season. After Oregon's week one disaster in Boise, few would have thought that only weeks later, arguably the biggest game of the week would be taking place in Eugene, on national television for the entire nation to see.
No one knows when the next time College Gameday will return to Eugene, so its presence this weekend presents a potential once in a lifetime opportunity for U of O students. As it occurred in 2007, I suspect that the Saturday morning agenda will be rather similar. Many of the die hard Duck fans, including my room mates and myself, will be waking up at about 2 o clock in the morning to get some food, and walk over to the broadcast site to reserve our place in the crowd. Some might consider that to be crazy, but is isn't every weekend that students have a chance to be on national television, cheering for their team. Whenever I see a production of College Gameday on television, I always mutter to myself, "That looks like the most fun I have ever had." Well this weekend, I have the chance to be a part of the loud, boisterous group that I always see on T.V.
One of the great things about Oregon is that our football team has been successful for quite some time. Because of this, University of Oregon students are presented with opportunities such as being on national television, when the team's success has made it worthy of receiving national attention. The buzz around campus is incredible as students with tickets prepare for the big game. I have no doubt that Autzen will be on fire this Saturday, and on Halloween no less!
October 25, 2009 - 4:24 PM
During past Oregon football games I had wondered what it was like being the fan of the opposing team in a large division one football stadium. I had never had such an experience, but I was very curious because I always see this group of people being playfully taunted by the faithful home crowd. I wanted to see what a game was like on the other end, so this last weekend I decided it was time for me to attend a game as a visiting Duck fan, and I went up to Seattle, WA to watch the Ducks trounce the Huskies in their own stadium. I left on Friday night to drive up to Bellevue, WA, where I stayed for the duration of the weekend. On Saturday morning I piled into the a car with four others to begin tailgating over at Husky Stadium. As we got closer we could slowly start to see the stadium grand stands. What began looking like nothing more than a high school football stadium emerged in to one of the University of Washington's most respected structures. Husky Stadium holds the right to be seen as big brother to Autzen, as it has a greater capacity for more boisterous fans. Being that I had never had the experience of being one of the minority at a college football game, I really didn't know what to expect as far as harassment from Washington fans. Some stuck with the traditional booing, while others felt that food tossing and a stronger verbal assault was more appropriate. It was all in good fun for the most part. With the high population of Duck fans present, never were we in any sort of real harm, and the majority of the home fans just enjoy being playfully competitive. Although we received constant heckling, I loved being able to experience what opposing fans always have to sit through in Autzen. As game time neared, some of the jeering escalated to beer pouring, and a majority of Oregon fans participated in the "U-Scrub" chant.
Tensions were high within the stadium, but it was fun to be able to represent Oregon pride in another team's stadium, and it only got better as Oregon established a commanding lead. The offense unleashed a brutal onslaught that seemed it might not ever end, as the defense was able to contain the versatile Washington quarterback Jake Locker. Bragging rights were established for another year, and Husky fans were forced to take the "walk of shame" across their own campus.
One of the great things about being at the University of Oregon is that fact that it is part of a renowned division that is respected across the nation. Because of this Oregon students have the opportunity to travel to different cities along the west coast to cheer on their Ducks against many different teams, in many locations, that make for a fantastic game experience. From USC in Los Angeles to the Huskies in Seattle, Duck fans can represent the U of O and cheer on the team as they fight for control of the Pacific 10. My experience at Husky Stadium was incredible, and hopefully I can make a few more, to the Rose Bowl perhaps?
October 19, 2009 - 8:00 PM
For the first few weeks of school, everything seems to go as planned for most students. They become familiar with their new classes, and find a sense of comfortability as most classes seem to follow a similar trend from day to day. This sense of comfort and the general cruising through those first few weeks comes to an end right around week four, when most students experience their first round of midterms. Midterms are no fun for anyone. Studying for tests is stressful enough, especially when they count for a great majority of the overall grade as they do in most classes.
There are a few different things that students can do to increase their chances for success on these exams. The first is to start early. Some students will tell you they like to cram, but in my personal opinion, cramming is the most useful when it is used to reinforce facts and knowledge that have already been learned and reviewed, not new material. Starting to study a few days before the exam grants a student the luxury of being able to study a little bit each day, instead of trying to retain it all in one day and overwhelming the brain the night before the test. When the night before the test finally arrives, cramming will be much easier because the ideas and concepts that the student is trying to learn will be familiar from reviewing them in advance, as opposed to trying to remember all the various tidbits of information that may not have been seen or looked at for a few weeks.
Another thing I like to do before tests is to study in a group. I have done this for a few different classes while I have been at the U of O and I have found it to be extremely helpful for a few reasons. For one, it is highly unlikely that a student won't have any questions before a test. When studying with others who are focusing on the same topic, a student can ask the question at hand to his or her peers, and the chances are that someone will be able to answer it. In addition, every person has a different mind. People understand ideas and concepts in different ways. When discussing a certain topic in a study group, someone may bring up an entirely different view point about a certain topic. Hearing this alternate view will make any student even more knowledgeable about the topic at hand than they were already.
One of the things I have noticed while being at the U of O is that the teachers and faculty want nothing more than their students to succeed. There are all kinds of resources available to students who seek them. When experiencing confusion about certain topics brought up in a class, a stop by the teacher's office hours will always help. Professors wouldn't teach unless they were passionate about the subjects that they teach. They love what they do, and love to make sure their students feel confident and knowledgeable in their classes. In addition, there are always gtfs, labs , and tutors available to provide further assistance. For math classes, students can head to the PLC math lab, or meet with a University tutor to clear up any last minute questions. Anyone writing an essay can also take it got the PLC, and have it proof read by a peer. Midterm time can be stressful, but hopefully this advice can lead you down the path to success.
October 18, 2009 - 2:17 PM
One common stereotype about greek life, specifically fraternities, is that they only exist to provide people with a location to binge drink and party. Movies likes Animal House, which was filmed at the University of Oregon, don't exactly help to eliminate this stereotype. There are a few films such as this one that have been created recently that have to be considered a main cause for the "frat" stereotype that exists around college campuses. People seem to know all about the typical life of a fraternity brother, as consisting of little more than weekend partying. However, one term these people may have never heard associated with a fraternity is something called philanthropy, or community service. The reason for this is very simple. The makers of Animal House and American Pie Beta House didn't want to make a movie about either of these two things, because it wouldn't be humorous. Movie-goers laugh at "ragers" and drunkenness, not at active community involvement.
Each term, anyone who is a member of a fraternity or a sorority is required to complete three hours of community service. Chapters who don't meet these hours face a punishment from the greater greek life organization. The importance of upholding this obligation is significant enough that most, if not all chapters at the University of Oregon, have a Community Service Chair in their houses. It is the responsibility of this person to find and inform the fellow members of his or her house about community service events, and when and where they are. In my house, Delta Tau Delta, there is a board on the main landing of our house that is devoted entirely to community service events. On of our favorite locations for the fulfillment of hours is Page Elementary. This school is located in Springfield, OR, and they constantly ask us to help them run the various activities that take place at their school. During their Fall Carnival, we usually have about 30 members from our house who head over to the school to offer assistance. Some people stay in the cafeteria and help serve food to everyone who attends, while others are stationed in various rooms throughout the school for the activities, such as the cake walk or the doughnut eating contest.
Similarly, once a year, each fraternity and sorority is required to hold a philanthropy. A philanthropy is an event that raises money that is then sent to a deserving organization. For example, some greek houses will send their money to medical research organizations who seek to find cures to many kinds of illnesses and diseases. Last year our philanthropy was called Bleep Purple, and all of the proceeds were given to the organization we chose to give it to. Our philanthropy consisted of an all day volleyball tournament held in Autzen Stadium. We had a DJ who played music, and a large grill for all kinds of food. Each team paid a certain fee to play, and that is the money that we granted to our organization. Each house does something different. One house has a volleyball tournament, while another conducts a film contest. Being a part of greek life requires giving back. Just like every other college student, we enjoy having fun, but we also enjoy strengthening the greater community we are involved in. Anyone who thinks that real greek life, specifically fraternities, is what is portrayed in the movies, they are sorely mistaken.
October 13, 2009 - 9:51 PM
"Bid Day" is the culmination of all of the hard work that the sororities and fraternities put into the recruitment period at the beginning of the fall term. Fraternities and sororities recruit new members in two very different ways.
When all of the guys arrive at the U of O for the fall term, many of them are encouraged to attend recruitment events that are put on by all of the different fraternities. This is the time when the current members of the fraternities are looking for new men who might potentially be good additions to their houses. Recruitment events commonly consist of things like barbecues at the house, football on the turf fields, bowling, movies, or basketball. As a freshman, I remember the overwhelming feeling of going through the recruitment process. I was pretty sure when I arrived that I wanted to join a fraternity, so the struggle for me was trying to see every house so that I could make a decision. The stress set in for a few reasons. First, I got calls from many different fraternities requesting that I come to their next event. I had to figure out some way to make it to these events, while still having enough time to do my homework. Secondly, I found a few houses that I liked from the very get go. When I received phone calls from the houses that I was relatively unfamiliar with, I was torn because I had to decide whether to go check out a new house, or whether I should go to another event being held by one of the houses that I already liked, in hopes of increasing my chances to receive a bid. For those who are unfamiliar, if a fraternity likes a certain guy, they will give him a bid which he can accept or decline. If he accepts, that means that he is going to begin his pledge process. As a pledge, one must learn important facts about the fraternity, and complete certain tasks, such as achieving a good GPA, in order to be eligible to become a full member during initiation week. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a house, which can also be very stressful for some. I was stuck on two fraternities, both of which had given me a bid, for over a week, because I liked them both so much.
Sororities on the other hand are much different. While the fraternal recruitment period lasts about a month, the sorority recruitment period lasts about five consecutive days. Any sorority member will tell you that the recruitment period is one of the most stressful times of the year. From Thursday to Tuesday, sorority members spend hours on end talking to all of the girls who are going through rush. This year, there were nearly 650 girls who went through the sorority rush process. On Saturday, from ten in the morning to nearly five at night, the sororities are talking to those rushing, trying to determine which girls would be good for the house, and which ones might not fit in. As the fraternal recruitment process is rather relaxed, due to the extended period of time, the sorority recruitment is very tense and stressful, as the members only have a few days to decide who should be in their house.
"Bid Day" is the day when all of the stress finally turns in to joy, as each fraternity and sorority finally knows who their new pledges will be for the new year. All of the fraternities meet on the lawn outside of the PLC building. The new pledges from each fraternity go inside to have a quick meeting while all of the members wait outside. At the end of the meeting, the pledges run outside and join the others from their house. At this point each fraternity partakes in a ritualistic chant relative to their house. After which, the pledges are told to sprint to their houses. Similarly, the new sorority pledges meet by the recreation center. This is where they discover what house they are in. Once they know, they are also instructed to sprint to their houses. After all of the girls are back to their sororities many of the fraternities will pile into cars and trucks, and drive around to all of the sororities, whose members are outside, yelling and chanting in support of the new pledge classes. After which most houses have some activity planned to congratulate their new pledges. "Bid Day" is only a glimpse at some of the fun that greeks have at the University of Oregon.