Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wow, Seems OU is Finally Doing Some Things Right

Oglethorpe University: it's the school I got my college degree from. You can probably tell I have a mixed relationship there. My history was not so great in some major aspects. As I mentioned in that last post, I went to an alumni event I was invited to on Monday.

My expectations weren't very high & I wasn't sure I'd have a good time. I was concerned, for one thing, about having to deal with the bitchy attorney who pretty much told me I had no chance in Hell of ever getting to live out my dream of being in New York City (at the time, I didn't know there was such a thing as being an entertainment lawyer).

I was also concerned it was going to be a big "give me money" fest. That was a huge thing when I was in undergrad; every time you turned around, you were being begged at for money. Even in my senior year, I remember being accosted to contribute to the Senior Gift (which I did not contribute to due to the total lack of support I got in terms of financial matters & feeling like the institution was sabotaging me). I remember them asking me to give money mere months after I graduated.

You know, maybe we should institute some rule that says schools you graduate from can't ask for money until you've been out for at least 5 years. For law schools & professional programs, let's make it 10 years.

Turned out it was a good thing I went because of a great many things:

1. People were nice to me. In fact, one girl I knew recognized me instantly & gave me a hug. She told me I looked great. So did she. She was a member of Chi Omega, which had a HUGE chapter at my school; in fact, their chapter was the oldest one there. I told her about being mistaken for a member of Chi Omega (this was when I was a freshman & we were doing Greek Week) & she said "That's because you're cute." I had to tell her what Psycho Boy told me about how I was the prettiest of our founding members, though it was not my intention to diss them in that story. I was simply sharing an anecdote. The first thing she does is tell her husband about how I founded a sorority chapter. Chi Omega was definitely known for having hot girls; I had kind of hoped Psycho Boy would just meet one of them & not bother me anymore when he was getting too carried away w/me but sadly, that didn't work even though he'd not been a fan of redheads before me.

That made me feel really good considering it felt like us against the world when I was there. It also gave further validation of my no longer being an ugly girl.

I also no longer get to diss Chi Omega though believe me, there was dissing going on & probably among all 3 sororities. I don't think I really have a personal beef with them; maybe it was more akin to sorority rivalries.

At this time, I learned about a website called "Chi Omega Secrets" where this former member who'd had a very bad experience in her chapter decided to create a website revealing all of Chi Omega's secrets. To my knowledge, that site's long gone but if you saw it, you would believe that Chi Omega is akin to the Wall Street bankers or the Freemasons in their evil doings & that all the members have hearts as black as Satan himself. Heck, you'd probably hate all sororities if you'd seen that one. The book Pledged probably also killed us though none of that happened in my sorority experience. Don't know if that's because of the circumstances in which I came into my sorority or not but it is the truth.

After all, could you imagine someone like me putting up with hazing? You can't haze people who hold lifelong grudges. They'd eventually kill you or not save you if you were in trouble.

I just felt sorry for the members having to live up to this lofty standard to belong & likely not getting to just relax and be themselves. Many of the founders in my own chapter were not friendly with folks in Chi Omega & preferred the girls in the other sorority on my campus (at that time, Sigma Sigma Sigma).

Oh, and if you question people remembering me I had someone who graduated the year I came in who knew who I was. I didn't recall him & he wasn't a friend of mine or anything but he'd worked at the Admissions Office and said he remembered my coming in. If that guy could remember who I was after not seeing me in a good 10 years, that tells you something & gives me credibility to get pissed if you forget who I am.

2. The President of the university came up & spoke to me directly. I didn't know who he was when he approached me since I'd be talking to someone else before that & he just came up. We started talking and then I was like "I don't believe I caught your name," then learned who he was. He said to me "I think I got there after you left." I said "Yeah" and mentioned I'd been there when Larry Large was President (if you think that sounds like a porn actor's name, you're not the only one since my classmates certainly joked about it on a regular basis including some of my sorority sisters; I wonder if there are any real porn actors named Larry Large).

He then went to speak at our event & basically, I got a very good impression of the guy. He struck me as being the opposite of Larry Large since he mentioned the school making in roads in the community and asking for money from people who could well afford to give it & were their "best friends." He also told me about how they did allow productions to film there (since I think I told him about having my entertainment company) & I mentioned how when I was there, I always heard about the school rejecting those offers.

Plus, having met & spoken to Larry Large as an undergrad I don't recall him being the sort of guy who'd just come up and talk to you at random like that. He also gave me more of a pretentious & unfriendly vibe.

From what I heard, it was like "I wish that had happened when I was there." For instance, now they've got a scholarship for kids who are the first in their families to go to college (totally would have helped me if it had been an option). There's no more racist frat. I hope the business community had some sway in that one since I know that as a business owner, I would be wary of helping a college that had the incidents this school did; I know my company would have said "no way" to helping the OU I graduated from in 2003 & I think many wouldn't want their name associated with such things, even in the South. You are talking about Atlanta, after all & that's a major city.

3. Other people felt the same way I did about the presence of that racist frat & other crap I saw. I told some folks about it since they were close in time to my graduation year & I did mention that I'd not been to any alumni events or given a dime to the school b/c I couldn't in good conscience. After all, I explained, my company was at one time minority owned & is woman owned (majority ownerships, you understand).

It seems a lot of other people hadn't been to alumni events either so glad it wasn't just me who'd been a long ago graduate who'd not bothered. A girl who'd graduated a few years after me told me it got worse & apparently one frat whose house my chapter got was also involved in some racially discriminatory stuff (though they'd not done that when I was at Oglethorpe & had always been nice to us; at that time, they were more known for their legendary parties).

4. It was kind of weird going to this one after having gone to so many lawyer & creative industry networking events. This one was definitely better than most lawyer networking events I've gone to. Now we'll just see if anyone writes back or reaches out to me. I gave out business cards (since they're the lawyer's MasterCard; you never leave home without them) & just had to put more in my bag for the start of NY Comic Con tomorrow.

So, even though I got into the LinkedIn alumni group of another school entirely at random (you could say they "adopted" me I guess though no one ever contacted me or asked me things from there) I feel I can claim Oglethorpe again. I still don't know exactly when the racist frat left but I do know it was probably after 2009 if Wikipedia can be trusted.

All in all, it was a pleasant surprise & we'll see how this whole thing plays out.

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