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Tyler Oberly visits Bluffton

w9IJlUFyOn the afternoon of Thursday, January 22 Bluffton University hosted a mathematics seminar unlike any you’ve ever been to. Tyler Oberly, Manager of Analytics for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, addressed an eager audience with a speech titled “Sports Analytics: Diving into the math behind athletics.”

The seminar, which was open to all, focused on the emerging industry of sports analytics, and Oberly’s journey to his current position.

Analytics, without going into much detail, is the process of collecting and analyzing data, the ultimate goal being recognition of trends to improve performance. With so many teams searching for a more reliable way to measure and predict player performance, the sports analytics industry is rapidly expanding across all the major professional and collegiate leagues.

Oberly is a graduate of Bluffton High School (2006) and the University of Toledo where he majored in electrical engineering. He is married to Erin (Neal) Oberly, the daughter of Guy and Diane Neal.

He said that while he was happy creating business and risk analysis reports in the industrial world, he knew it wasn’t what he really wanted to be doing. Growing up playing football, basketball and running track, Oberly has always had a passion for sports, and knew he could turn that into a career. He just didn’t know how yet.

“I could not fall asleep after watching that movie,” said Oberly about Moneyball. “It was my eureka moment when I realized I could do this. I was already doing it, just not in a sports context.”

In his time at Toledo Oberly had begun to develop his own model for evaluating National Football League rosters and salary caps, called the Elitics PER (Player Efficiency Rating) Model. The Elitics PER Model is designed to provide one metric in reviewing all players from all positions throughout the NFL.

As one of seven finalists in the 2014 MIT Sloan Business School’s Evolution of Sport conference, Oberly was able to present his work to an audience of sports professionals looking for the next big thing that could change the face of sport.

Obviously Oberly impressed at least one person in that crowd because he was shortly thereafter hired by the Buccaneers to head up their new analytics department. He now works closely with Head Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht, as well as other front office personnel.

For more on Oberly and his innovative work follow him on Twitter: @tyleroberly, or check out some of his writing from his time at The Sideline View.

Make some extra cash right here on campus

If you are looking to make a little extra money, I propose short term telemarketing.

You have probably received a flier in your mail box or have seen advertisements posted around campus: Phonathon is here again.

Speaking from personal experience, this job is not hard. You call people, you read from a script and maybe have some side conversation. Some of the people that I have talked to gave me some great information about my future as a social worker. That’s right, you might even be calling alumni who are currently in your future profession.

If the $8.20 or $8.45 an hour for just talking to people doesn’t spark your interest, do it for the experience. You can put telemarketing on your resume. Bluffton University is a liberal arts college, you are here to become well rounded, this is another opportunity.

It is only for two weeks, January 31st-February 11th. Monday-Friday evenings 5:45pm-9pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm and 2:30pm-4:30pm, Sundays 1:30pm-4:30pm and 6pm-9pm

 

Apply at www.phonathon.com

You need this code: BU15S

 

My opinion: Try it, your student loans aren’t going to pay themselves.

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We’re back!

The holiday season is officially behind us and all the students have returned to campus for the spring semester.  The Bluffton Connection staff is hard at work producing new content for the site.  Please bear with us this first week or so as we get back into the swing of things.

See you in the spring semester!

Bluffton student body, faculty/ staff, community members and anyone else who might be reading this:

On behalf of the Bluffton Connection staff I would like to thank you all for your support in what has been an interesting rebuilding period for us. Due to final exams the week of Dec. 8-12 and Christmas break after that, there will be no new content posted until we return to school in the new year. Please check back with us on Jan. 5, 2015 when we will begin our spring semester.

Facing our fears for Spiritual Life Week

The overall winners of the Fear Factor event: Josh Burkholder, Alicia Rodriguez, Aimee Lugibihl, Katey Ebaugh, and Tobin Eicher

The winning team of the Fear Factor event: Josh Burkholder, Alicia Rodriguez, Aimee Lugibihl, Katey Ebaugh, and Tobin Eicher

Sometimes, being a follower of Christ means doing stuff we really don’t want to do. Sometimes, we have to take a leap of faith and pray that everything will be ok in the end. And sometimes, we have to transfer wet dog food from one bowl to another using only our mouth to carry it.

That’s what participants in Spiritual Life Week’s Fear Factor event last Monday did. Founders Gym turned into a game arena as teams of four or five were pushed to their limits in food-related challenges. One student from each group competed at a time, attempting to beat the clock and the other groups.

Pig’s feet, dog food, spam, and sardines were among the foods consumed during the various challenges. While a few got sick, most contestants kept the food down and walked away from challenges smiling and laughing.

After each fear factor challenge, members of the spiritual life week planning committee asked students to come up with an analogy pertaining to the previous food item consumed and relate it to the theme for the week, No Fear in Love. It’s based off of 1 John 4:18, as were the rest of the week’s activities.

The highlight of the week was a free concert by Christian rapper “KJ-52” (pronounced kay jay five two), and Florida native Jonah Sorrentino on November 20th.

Busy weekend for Beavers athletics

This past weekend was a busy one for Bluffton athletics as the fall sports concluded and the winter sports began. The cross country, volleyball, and football teams finished their 2014 campaigns in championship competitions while both basketball squads started their push toward championship runs of their own.

Cross country runners competed in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship which was hosted by Wilmington College. Though none of the Beavers qualified for a spot in the NCAA Championship you have to like the fact that a team with no seniors on the roster is gaining valuable experience which will certainly help them going forward.

The volleyball team fell in straight sets to the seventh-ranked Washington University Bears in the First Round of the 2014 NCAA Division III St. Louis Regional (which was on the Bears’ home court). With just one senior graduating the volleyball team’s future is also quite bright as they add much-needed experience to the obviously talented roster.

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2014 HCAC MVP Mackenzie McFarlin

Sophomore Mackenzie McFarlin was named the 2014 HCAC MVP complimenting her HCAC Tournament MVP award quite nicely. Juniors Jenny Brown, Sara Roth and Kendra Parmenter received First Team HCAC honors for their efforts during the campaign. Head coach Steve Yarnell also took home some hardware this season as he was elected HCAC Coach of the Year by the other coaches in the conference.

The women’s basketball team was also in St. Louis. They played two games in the Webster Tip-off Classic, losing the opener to Spalding University on Saturday night, and then winning the second game against the host Webster University on Sunday. They’ll play their first home game of the season this Saturday as Wooster comes to the Sommer Center.

The men’s basketball team welcomed Kalamazoo on Saturday evening, grabbing an exciting first victory. An onslaught of three-pointers and sound free-throw shooting propelled the Beavers to their impressive win. They’ll travel to Naperville, Ill. this weekend for two games in the North Central Tip-Off Tourney.

Not to diminish any of the aforementioned accomplishments, but the biggest news from the past weekend came from Dwight Salzman Stadium where the Beavers stomped the Defiance Yellow Jackets to keep The Hammer in Bluffton for the fifth consecutive season. The 44-23 final score doesn’t accurately reflect the type of game this was. The Beavers dominated their arch-rivals from the first drive of the game until the clock hit zero.

Senior quarterback Nick Sheehan set a school-record with five touchdown passes.  Four of the five were caught by senior receiver Jack Tomlinson, who, by doing so, also set a school-record.

Congratulations to the twenty seniors who ended their collegiate football careers in grand fashion and have no idea what it’s like to lose to Defiance.

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Jack Tomlinson became the only receiver in Bluffton history to catch four touchdown passes in a single game.

Last weekend officially flipped the sporting calendar from fall to winter and four inches of snow were dumped on us to drive home that fact.

So, get out your cold weather clothing, and when you see them around campus, be sure to congratulate fall athletes on their accomplishments and wish winter athletes luck in their upcoming competitions.

Fire alarm interrupts Keeney Peace Lecture

As Dr. Stanley Haurwas gave the annual Keeney Peace Lecture in Yoder Recital Hall to a crowd of around 100 on Monday evening (Nov. 10), something out-of-the-ordinary occurred. The noted Episcopalian theologian had finished his presentation of an hour and a half and was beginning to answer questions from the audience when the fire alarm began to sound.

The presentation, which started at 7 p.m. in Yoder Recital Hall and was free to the public, focused on discipleship and caring for the poor. He explained the criticisms Christians often receive whilst doing such, and proclaimed charity still essential to Christian living. After the alarm was pulled and lecture-goers exited the hall, students left despite an interest by older folks to reconvene.

One anonymous student said “The content was interesting. The mode of presentation was what sort-of put me to sleep. While the event definitely brought in a lot of community members, it seemed that the majority of the crowd were members of the AARP. Only about 20 students attended. When the alarm was pulled, I assumed it was another student. ”

Haurwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law at Duke University Divinity School. He has written over 40 books, and holds four degrees from Yale University. He was even included in Time magazine as “America’s Best Theologian” in 2001.

According to Bluffton’s website, “Bluffton’s Keeney Peace Lectureship was established in 1978 by the family of William Sr. and Kathryn Keeney to express appreciation for Bluffton’s influence and to strengthen the continuing peace witness among the community.”

To our knowledge, nothing quite like this has happened at a Bluffton lecture in the recent past. Our sources tell us that it was a child and not a University student who pulled the alarm, although nothing has been confirmed.

Renowned theologian speaks at Bluffton University Kenney Peace Lecture

Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, world renowned theologian and Time magazine’s 2001 “America’s best theologian”, was this year’s Keeney Peace Lecture key note speaker.  The event was held Monday, Nov. 10 in Yoder Recital Hall on the Bluffton University Campus.

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During the speech, titled “How to Remember the Poor”, Dr. Hauerwas discussed ways in which one should care for the poor and how caring for the poor should be an ongoing act of Christianity. A key tagline he shared was, “charity is the heart of living”. Hauerwas discussed his criticism of the word poor and how it is used. During the speech, it was discussed how the system of charity seems to be corrupt and broken because the money that is given is not always used in an appropriate manner. Dr. Hauerwas emphasized the concept that being poor is not about money but about not knowing what to do or knowing the resources to do it. He touched on the example of how many times during mission trips, the recipients do not benefit from the resources they are given because they are uneducated and unable to use the technology and resources once the missionaries leave.

Dr. Hauerwas is currently Chair of the Theological Ethics Department at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.  Before his job at the University of Aberdeen Dr. Hauerwas was a long-time professor at the University of Notre Dame. He was the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law and a senior research fellow at Duke University Divinity School.  Dr. Hauerwas earned his Ph.D. from Yale University and a Doctor of Divinity degree from the University Of Edinburgh, Scotland. He also received honorary doctorates from DePaul University, the University of Edinburgh, Virginia Theological Seminary, and the University of Geneva.

Dr. Hauerwas has also written over 40 books and numerous articles as a theologian including most recently: “Working with Words: Learning to Speak Christian” (2011) and “Approaching the End” (2013).

The “Haunting of Lincoln” party

by: Ryan Laidlaw

On October 30th, Marbeck Center Board, Theme Housing, and the Residential Life Department held a haunted house party in the former residential hall, Lincoln Hall. Nathaniel Haas was the coordinator for the event; he is who requested the approval of Dr. Julie DeGraw to host the party in Lincoln. “Lincoln is creepy even during the daytime as well as night time and people’s reactions changed when I told them about moving [the party] from Neufeld to Lincoln,” Hass said.

Since the building’s closing in 2011, many students believed that Lincoln was considered to be condemned. ‘The Haunting of Lincoln’ concept was created last year by students in Neufeld when they held an event called ‘The Haunting of Neufeld.’

The usage of Lincoln for the party was approved by the Dean of Students, Dr. DeGraw. Nate affirms, “Julie was really excited and wanted to do it, so she said she would talk to a few people and see if it was possible.”  Nate stated that Julie spoke with members from the Buildings and Grounds Department. Buildings and Grounds workers are in charge of the residential halls and making sure they are fully functional. They went through Lincoln to see where the event could take place and what places were off limits. Hass stated that Buildings and Grounds workers told him that he had to have two exits, including a main entrance. The workers told him that he had to keep the bathrooms locked off due to the bad plumbing. “Hopefully it holds upright, so that next year we can come back and use it a lot more,” said Haas.
Lincoln

According to Ravi Knutson, the Hall Director of Ropp and one of the people who assisted with the event, Lincoln might not be used for the haunting party next year because of the plans that the university has for it. Lincoln will likely be torn down to make space for the new science building, but there are a lot of conflicts about this idea because alumni want to keep it as Lincoln, while the university wants to do other things with it.