Block Party continues OUS outreach

Published 11:05 pm Saturday, August 22, 2009

IRONTON — Smiles were abundant Friday night at Ohio University Southern.

With the aroma of barbeque and the sounds of local musical talent floating across Shafer Courtyard, Ohio University Southern continued its tradition of giving back to the Lawrence County community with its annual campus block party.

It allowed those in attendance to mingle with new OUS Dean, Dr. Bill Willan, who had interim removed from his title last month. It also let the university showcase its wide range of academia.

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“What an excellent night,” Willan said while perusing around one of the three historic Chevrolet Bel Air’s that were on show at the Block Party.

“Everyone seems to be having a good time.”

Held under a vibrant sunset with just the right amount of shade and sun equally dividing the grassy landscape, attendees were treated to a wide range of activities and vendors.

From the large Velcro-laden inflatable that allowed kids to jump and stick to a 20-foot high wall to the snow cone machine that produced dozens of “blue” tongues at evening’s end to the gathering of vintage cars in the front parking lot, those who decided to spend their Friday night on the Liberty Avenue campus were not disappointed.

Green helium balloons emblazed with “Discover Your Promise” dotted all points of the courtyard.

“My favorite part of tonight was the cotton candy and the free Mountain Dew because it makes me hyper and lets me have a good time,” said a laughing Jade Crow, a seventh-grader at Ironton Middle School who was hanging out with her friends at the party.

“I came here for the music because the bands are cool,” said Erica Collingsworth, a sixth-grader at Ironton Middle School. “I like country music.”

A highlight of the night was the musical acts that took to the stage that included 4-Mile, Bridget Reynolds and the country sounds of Katie Owens and the Leatherwood Band.

A 2009 Coal Grove graduate who performed several of her own songs Friday, Owens will soon be starting her college career at OUS this fall majoring in middle childhood education with a concentration in English.

Asked why she decided on attending OUS, Owens was quick to answer.

“I picked OUS because everybody accepts me here and you are someone to everybody here as well,” Owens said. “This campus allows people to have their own individuality.”

Rick’s BBQ provided food while WKEE 100.5 F.M. broadcasted live from the event. The Ironton Fire Department and Patriot Ambulance also were on hand. Volunteers took turns painting faces and cutting an OUS Bobcat cake.

For Kathy Malone, early awareness advisor for OUS, the event continues the campus’ mission of reaching out to Lawrence County.

“This was such a good turnout for tonight with outstanding weather,” said Malone, who will spend the upcoming school year talking to students in grades kindergarten through eight about the benefits of education after high school. “Events like the Block Party allow us to continue our outreach into the community.”