Thursday, May 7, 2009

A banner on the South Oval congratulates upcoming graduates. Commencement will be held Friday May 15. (Photo by Adam Greenlee)
Effects of the Job Market Hit Some Graduating Sooners.

As graduation nears, University of Oklahoma students are beginning to feel the impact of the vicious job market.

For the past year, seniors have focused their sights on graduation, but the looming job market continues to be on the side of their vision. While many students keep a sense of optimism, others show signs of worry.

The job market forced students like Letters Senior Stephen Rasbold to attend law school in order to wait out bad economic times. Rasbold graduates this year and says he understands how scary the market can be, especially for students in his major.

"There are jobs out there; however, they are going to be difficult to find for some students," Rasbold said. "Part of the reason I chose to go to law school is to wait out the market and hope it's stable in a few years."

The bad job market has even had an effect on internships for some majors.

Petroleum Engineer Major Ronald Tong said it has become more difficult to obtain an internship. Tong said that businesses now have much higher expectations in whom they give internships to.

"They're basically looking for round students with ridiculous grades," Tong said. "It's pretty much impossible for normal students to get these positions."

Tong said he believes he has one of the more competitive majors due to the fact it has the largest average salary offer than other disciplines. Tong said he applied for multiple internships, but instead chose to wait and take summer classes.

Some industries, however, have witnessed a growth in employment. Industries like marketing and accounting are experiencing positive employment forecasts
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that education and health care industries are relatively immune to the current job market, and can be considered recession-proof.

Whitley Graham is an associate director at career services and helps students on campus with post-graduation opportunities. Graham says that internships and hiring are slightly down; however, students can still obtain jobs, regardless of their degree.

"Regardless of what your major is, there are job opportunities in whatever industry you want to get into," Graham said. "I wouldn't let students get discouraged about what their major is because in reality they can do anything they want with it."

Graham said that most students do not go into the exact field they major in, unless they are majoring in a technical degree.

One example Graham gave was a business major working in the health care industry.

Graham said that employers are looking for well-rounded students with vast amounts of experience in their field. Graham said that in this competitive job market a student must differentiate his or herself to employers by obtaining internships and becoming heavily involved on campus.

Architecture major Bryce McCarthy said the competitive market is nothing new for his major, but said he feels this year is much more difficult than previous years.

"It's very competitive to get into the architecture industry," McCarthy said. "I need a job after all of this hard work, but it sucks when I can't even get an internship to just get my foot in the door."

Even with the bad job market, some students like Rasbold still possess a sense of optimism.

"It's a hard market to get into for some students," Rasbold said. "But if a student is determined and works hard they can get what they want."

Career services is located on the third floor of the Oklahoma Memorial Union. Graham said that those who are looking for more information about career services or future job fairs may visit the official University of Oklahoma Career Services' Web site.

Commencement will be May 15 at the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Click here to listen to McCarthy discuss his attempt at obtaining an internship as an architecture major...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Students Plan to Stay to Work on Campus This Summer

Although some students are anticipating going home this summer, others plan to stay to work on campus.

Students like Maria Engles, international business senior, said she chose to stay to make extra money. Engles is not alone, other students, especially those in IT, have chose to stay over the summer to work on campus. 

Engles said she likes her job due to the faculties understand student life. Campus employers work leniently with student schedules. 

"On dead week it's optional for me to come in," Engels said. "But not all jobs are like that"

Engels said she plans to work the same position next semester and that anybody who wishes to work this summer or next semester may apply at the jobs Web site.

Watch Engels explain what it's like to work on campus. Please excuse the long load time...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Students from the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship stand by a large earth ball. The group held an earth ball tournament as part of their campaign against human trafficking. (Photo by Adam Greenlee)
Student Organization Helps Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking.

The student organization InterVarsity Christian Fellowship held an earth ball tournament Thursday to help raise awareness about human trafficking.

The tournament was held Thursday on a little field just north of Adam's Towers despite ferocious winds. Earth ball is a game similar to both soccer and ultimate frisbee where teams try to get a single ball down the field to score a point. The difference lies in the fact that an earth ball is about the same height as a human being. The tournament started at 4 p.m. 

The tournament was part of the groups campaign for the International Justice Mission to help free modern day slaves around the world. Early this week the group set up a table on the south oval. Journalism Senior Stephen Carradini is part of the group and helped referee for the event.

"Last week we raised over $500 in donations just from people giving their spare change," Carradini said. "We called it 'Loose Change to Loosen Chains'."

Carradini said he expects the tournament to be larger next year when it comes back. 

During the interview, Carradini explained where the idea of earth ball came from, when a wind,unexpectedly,  picked up and took the ball rogue. Click here to hear what happened. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Courtney Gatlin (right), Housing Fair coordinator, and Whitney Cox (left), vice chair of Parents' Weekend, hand out pamphlets to students as they pass the housing fair in the Oklahoma Memorial Union. Parents' Weekend allowed students to meet up with their families. (Photo by Adam Greenlee)

Families Rush to Norman to Take Part in Parents' Weekend

Friday April 3 marked the first day of CAC's Parents' Weekend, where students and their families were welcomed with an array of activities and events on campus.

Lindsey and other major streets around the University of Oklahoma's campus witnessed a plethora of cars packing the narrow roads Friday as parents traveled in to see students. The weekend of events were officially kicked off at 8 a.m. on the south oval where a tent was located. The weekend involved sporting events, free movies, Sooner Scandals and much more. 

This was the third annual Parents' weekend. Besides witnessing a successful weekend, CAC also witnessed a newly elected chair. Tyler Nunley received the majority of votes last week in the election for CAC chair and will take the place of Megan Bebb. Courtney Gatlin, international business and accounting major, said that much effort has been put into making Parents' Weekend possible. Gatlin said they started the committee in early November but the chairs have been working since last August. Gatlin also expressed how Parents' Weekend has something for everyone. 

"The great thing about Parents' Weekend is that Exec Committee makes sure that there is an event for everyone," Gatlin said. "I does not matter if your parents were here or not, every student can find a free event to enjoy."

For more information on Sooner Scandals, Parents' Weekend or any other CAC event, visit their official website.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Contestants wait to hear which one of them will be crowned Miss Hispanic OU. The pageant was just one of  many multicultural events held this week. (Photo by Adam Greenlee)
OU Celebrates Diversity

The University of Oklahoma experienced many multicultural events this week's celebrations.

Students walking to class noticed a large tipi on the south oval. This was to mark the beginning of Native American Heritage Month. This celebration was just one of many on campus. Throughout the week, OU hosted many different events celebrating different cultures.On Tuesday, for example, Vietnite was hosted on the third floor of the Oklahoma Memorial Union. The night was filled with performances, education and food.    

On the second floor around the same time, The Miss Hispanic OU was being held. Five female students competed for the scholarship and title of Miss Hispanic OU where they performed and were judged based on their knowledge of the country they represent. Chinese/International Business Sophomore Bevon Rogers attended Miss Hispanic OU to cheer on his girlfriend Katherine Schober. He said that although he himself is not Hispanic, he enjoys events like these on campus. 

"It was pretty interesting to see each culture represented," Rogers said. "I'm not Hispanic, but I found it enlightening."

Native American Heritage month will continue throughout April. India Nite Live will be held Sunday April 5. 

Click here to hear Rogers opinion about Multicultural events on campus and the benefits they possess....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Marketing Sophomore Travis Shepard watches two news pundits discuss the stimulus package while doing his Spanish homework. Although the legislation was crafted in Washington D.C., it's impact may soon affect him and others in Norman. In the audio below, Senior Economist Keith Leggett discusses the purpose behind including education in the stimulus package.

Stimulus Package Coming to Sooner Country

Oklahoma schools may receive a piece of the stimulus package goodness, which may stop tuition and fee increases for higher education.

Pres. Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Feb 17, in hopes of stimulating and stabilizing the current condition of the economy, according to the bill's text. Part of the package designates a large amount of money for k-12 education to upper education.

The package targets multiple investments on the state level including $288 billion towards tax relief and $58 billion towards education and training.

Obama's Federal Stimulus Package will provide $287 million to education in Oklahoma, some of which may end up in the hands of the University of Oklahoma.

Keith Leggett, senior economist for the American Bankers Association, said the purpose behind giving the states part of the package is due to state budgetary problems causing a cut back in their funding of higher education.

"The view was this was going to be a drag on the economy in the short run," Leggett said. "This would also harm long term economic growth because by cutting resources in education we are really reducing our investment in the American people making us less productive going forward."

Leggett said the package will give $40.6 billion, $17.6 billion to increase student aid and $200 billion to work study programs. This bill also contained $14 billion in educational tax credits. Leggett said work study programs are part of it because many students depend on it.

Prior to spring break, the presidents of all publicly funded colleges in the state, including University of Oklahoma Pres. David Boren, met with Gov. Brad Henry. Henry asked the group of presidents that tuition not be increased next year at public universities.

Leggett, however, said he believes tuition and fees will be unaffected due to the fact tuition is driven by other factors and basic supply and demand forces. Leggett said he doesn't see this as a factor that will cut the rate of growth in tuition and fees.

Keri Dennis, congressional staffer for Tom Cole, said after Congress passed a bill with total figures, the education portion was handed over to the Federal Secretary of Education. The numbers and rules are still being worked out by the Federal Secretary of Education.

"From visiting with my contacts at the State level, they know what the total amount will be, however are just in a waiting game until March 31st," Dennis said. "I have also been told that schools are being advised to treat these dollars as "one-time funding" to possibly put in geo-thermal air units, or put on a new roof, or something of that nature."

Most of the money, however, will go towards lower education, but higher education, such as the Univerisity of Oklahoma, may apply for the money.

Higher education may end up receiving roughly $31 billion, according to Leggett. The states will allocate the money to state universities allowing them to maintain faculty and staff and continue to provide resources to meet student body needs.

Higher education can also apply for funding from different portions of the package. Universities, such as OU, may be able to receive money from the energy and environmental portions. Pres. David Boren's $260 million initiative with OG&E to mold OU into a university ran entirely by wind-energy, may be valid for for the energy and environmental sections of the stimulus package.

Leggett said parts of the package allocates resources to alternative energy making grants available that OU may be able to tap into.

The bill also gives $98 million in Pell Grants for Oklahoma. This will increase the average grant by $500.

Nationally, the Pell Grant Program will receive $17 billion from the package. The Pell Grant Program gives low income students the ability to receive need-based grants. Grants are available to both undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students.

Leggett said that the point of the stimulus package is to provide long term commitment to the economy.

"Without this commitment you would see Universities scale back programs. You would also see some students not be able to afford," Leggett said. "Therefore, this would reduce their productivity and in the long run may reduce the standard of living for these individuals."

Dennis said that nobody in education, at the moment, knows exactly how the package will impact education because they do not know the guidelines of implementation. Dennis said it will become clearer March 31.

Those wanting information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 may visit the official Web site.

Listen to what OU Sophomore Monica Woods says when asked where she thinks the money should go if she were in charge....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

University of Oklahoma Sophomore Adam Engel waits to pick up a friend from class in the cold rain. Engel, like many other students, was planning on participating in the Big Event Saturday before hearing its postponement. (Photo by Adam Greenlee)

Weather Forces Big Event to be Postponed

On Thursday The University of Oklahoma's large joint community service event was postponed to April to 18th due to the chance of bad weather causing student organizations to reschedule.

The Big Event is OU's official day of service and happens around the same time every year. Big Event Chair Amanda Holloway said that close to 5,000 students have signed up to participate in The Big Event. Holloway said that a lot of work has gone into making the event possible.

"I think that when people think of the Big Event, they only think of the day of," Holloway said. "We started planing and getting everything together in early spring. It's a lot of work."

The Big Event was scheduled to kick off Saturday March 28; however, fear of bad weather forced the event to a later time.

The Big Event is now scheduled for April 18.