Author: UCO University Communications

A Letter to Central’s Recent Graduates

As UCO grads settle into life post-graduation, Nathan Box, a Central alumnus (Broadcast Communications, ’07) penned a letter* to these new alumni on his own blog, offering sage advice for the future:

According to social media, another 1,000+ graduates turned their tassels at the University of Central Oklahoma. 10 years ago, I sat where they sat. As I listened to the names of my fellow graduates being read and watched as each accepted their degree, my mind was elsewhere. As soon as I walked off that basketball court, everything would be different. What was expected of me would change. My contributions would need to change. Responsibilities would shift fully in my direction. This life would become fully mine for the taking. The direction I had to choose was mine and mine alone. Happiness, success, contentment, and joy would be up to me. It all felt overwhelming. It was enough to make me want to get up walk out and pretend it never happened. Unfortunately, that simple act wouldn’t change facts. Turning my tassel and walking away from UCO would change everything. 

As many of my fellow graduates can attest, life came fast and it was nothing like what I expected. Your university experience and the experience shared by college students all around the country is really good at cementing confidence within you. The world is really good at putting you in your place. For some, jobs will come easily. For others, the road may be tiresome and disappointing. You may discover your degree prepared you perfectly or you want nothing to do with your chosen field. A few of you will find your dream job straight out of college. Most of you will spend your remaining years searching for something that may never come. It is my simple hope that our choice of institution prepared us for the paradoxes of life. I know it did for me. 

10 years later, I am not where I thought I would be. Perhaps, I suffered from delusions of grandeur. Maybe, I haven’t planned adequately. Maybe, I have missed opportunities. Or, maybe I am right where I am supposed to be. Only the test of time can judge such things. I, like many of you who graduated, live a life filled with fear of unmet potential. I don’t want my life to be wasted or lived in vain. I am of the belief that I only get one shot at this thing, therefore I should make the most of it. I know wholeheartedly that my education prepared me to squash my fear. In my mind, that preparation was worth the price of admission. If UCO is worth anything, you will be saying the same thing 10 years from now. 

Be good to each other, 

-Nathan 

* This letter was edited for minor grammatical errors. View the original post by Nathan.

#FlockGoals: The UCO Geese Story

UCO’s resident geese are no strangers to the spotlight. They’ve been entertaining students for years, first on campus, and now on Twitter, as @UCOGeese.

The UCO Geese Twitter account is an extremely popular student-run account, with more than 800 followers. Inside Central got an exclusive interview with the anonymous student who runs the @UCOGeese account, and he/she wants to inform students that the geese are royalty and demand to be treated as such.

This is their story.

The word on the street is that they come from a very prestigious Canadian goose family. According to our anonymous source, the UCO geese are “of a higher deity than anyone else around them,” which means that we have some seriously special geese waddling around. Sources tell us that their favorite place to hang out on campus is on top of tall buildings, so they can maintain the higher ground and establish dominance over the students – because, after all, they are better than everyone else.

It has been said that the geese establish their high-glam nests on Central’s campus, because it’s a great place to raise their royal goslings. The first order of business when they arrived on campus was to take over Broncho Lake, another flock favorite, and they’ve been slowly expanding ever since.

Did you know that every female goose can lay between 2-9 eggs? This means that we could be expecting upwards of 30 royal goslings this spring! We know that students love to interact with the geese, but @UCOGeese has warned us to please proceed with caution and give them space. They will be protecting their nests at all costs, even if it means nibbling on someone’s toe.

Though not a surprise, our source says that the UCO geese love to be fed, but they mentioned that they are on a strict no-bread diet. To stay on their good side, feed them cooked rice, birdseed or halved grapes. Please do not feed the geese bread, because it makes them sick and goes straight to their hips. They are really trying to maintain their goosley figures.

@UCOGeese says that the geese are all for making friends, as long as students are aware that they are always going to be better than them. They will be kind to those who are kind to them, unless they just feel like trolling people that day – then, you’re out of luck.

At the end of our chat, we asked about the gaggle’s goals and aspirations; we were told that their ultimate goal is to eventually take over the world. So, respect the geese, because let’s be honest. They’re definitely #SquadGoals.

New Program Celebrates Success

The first cohort of UCO Customized Education’s Workforce Advantage program received their Certificates January 13 at UCO Downtown.

The course teaches soft skills such as adaptability, integrity and effective communication methods to employees and managers seeking to improve their professional image and learn strategies for career advancement.

Through an anonymous post-course survey, one trainee said the program “will help me be a better manager to my co-workers and team member to my fellow managers,” while another person commented that it was a “fantastic class, and I would definitely recommend it to others.”

The new certificate is a direct result of Governor Mary Fallin’s “Oklahoma Works” initiative and is offered in partnership with the State Chamber of Oklahoma.

“The workforce must be developed,” said Karen Youngblood, executive director of Customized Education. “Simply taking the chance to hire another employee is no longer a viable solution. Rather than spending up to 150 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace them, business leaders can transform their personnel into polished professionals who are valuable assets to their organization.”

WAC_Cert1_Group2

The Workforce Advantage Certificate is comprised of three modules: Personal Branding, Relationship Building and Reputation Management. Each one is designed to teach soft skills through learning activities that emphasize practical application, and the initial results demonstrate the viability of this structure.

A new cohort of the Workforce Advantage Certificate begins with Module 1, February 9-10. The training is held at UCO Downtown, located in the Carnegie Center at 131 Dean A. McGee Ave.

To register or learn more about the program, visit ce.uco.edu and click on the “certificates” icon, or call Customized Education at 405-974-3030.

UCO Alumna Starts ‘Beer Yoga’ Movement

Should you challenge your body with a yoga class, or blow it off for a beer with friends? Thanks to Brooke Larson, you don’t have to choose.

The University of Central Oklahoma alumna and former adjunct instructor at the university is the founder of Beer Yoga, a movement growing in popularity. The idea started to brew in February 2014. Larson began posting silly pictures of herself doing yoga poses with a beer in her hand on Instagram. Before she knew it, she reached 10,000 followers. Breweries then began sending her beer to pose with and her following grew to 20,000. She became a certified yoga instructor in July 2015 and Beer Yoga, LLC was born. Today she heads a thriving business with more than 30,000 Instagram followers.

The Beer Yoga experience begins with a yoga class that typically takes place in a brewery. After the class, participants have a beer and may tour the brewery.

“Beer Yoga is all about balance. Those who come to my yoga classes love that they can get a great workout in for their body and mind and afterwards they are rewarded with a tasty beverage. Even better that this takes place in a fun location that they typically have never visited in their city,” Larson said.

The classes are fun for beginner and experienced yogis alike. Larson said participants often say they are intimidated by yoga studios, so the more casual setting of a brewery puts them at ease and allows them to enjoy the class. The goal is to experience yoga in a relaxed, low pressure environment, meet people from all walks of life and discover new kinds of beer.

Larson showing off her skills via InstagramLarson is aware that some people may be a little wary of Beer Yoga but she offers these words of advice, “Just come to one class and see how they feel. Classes are geared towards all levels of physical fitness, and there is no pressure to do all the poses or drink beer. Also, beer is for after class and we will not be drinking or balancing bottles on our heads during class!”

Larson recently relocated to Denver, but says she will be back in Oklahoma to do a few classes this spring at either COOP Ale Works or The Root. If you take her class locally each participant pays $15 for an hour of yoga and one beer, but her out of state classes cost $20.

For more information, or to purchase tickets visit: www.eventbrite.com/o/brooke-larson-8363158161

A Stellar Program: UCO STLR Crosses Borders

Central’s Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR) continues to make waves in the higher education community. Institutions across both state and national borders are adopting and adapting STLR on their own campuses.

UCO’s STLR acts as a second transcript for students, recording their growth and tangible transformative learning experiences across five of Central’s six tenets: Global and Cultural Competencies, Health and Wellness, Leadership, Research, Creative and Scholarly Activities, and Service Learning and Civic Engagement.

Across the nation, Western Carolina University, in North Carolina, has begun the planning and assessment phases of their adaptation of the STLR program, which they’ve titled DegreePlus. Additionally, a team of seven from Eastern Washington University, in Washington state, will travel to UCO at the end of this month to get a firsthand look at the inner workings of the STLR program.

Internationally, Collège La Cité, in Ottawa, Canada, launched the STLR program on their campus, during the Fall 2016 semester, becoming the first institution, outside of UCO, to do so. Massey University, in New Zealand, held a webinar meeting this month for a deep dive into STLR and will send one of their deans to UCO in February, in preparation to bring a version of STLR to their campuses.

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The success of STLR has been made possible by the hard work of the many faculty, staff, students and administrators that created, contributed and collaborated on the program. Because of their dedication, STLR’s goals and processes are now being valued and emulated by other organizations.

Stay connected to Inside Central for more inside looks at the STLR program and its impact on the national and international higher education communities, including  a preview into the creation of Massey University’s own set of STLR tenets.