Archive for Campus News

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.

Dr. Friesen’s trip to Italy

Dr. Melissa Friesen spent two weeks of the holiday break in Italy participating in the directors’ symposium, “Theatre-makers: Theatre for Social Change and Community Engagement,” put on by La MaMa Umbria.

In the beautifully scenic hills of rural Umbria, near the small city of Spoleto, Dr. Friesen and 14 others immersed themselves in the culture while expanding their theater teaching techniques.

Dr. Friesen said the most enriching part of the symposium was the hands-on exercises she was able to take back home. The new warm-up rituals and focus games she performed were important for her she said because of the awareness she now has concerning their actual effectiveness. Psychodrama as drama therapy opened her mind to the personal change that can occur when fully engaging in these practices.

Though she’s had fun and found usefulness in all the workshops she’s attended over the years (including trips to California and Broadway), it sounded as though her adventure in Italy was her favorite. The relevance to the Theatre for Social Change course that she’s developed and is now teaching for the second time is no doubt a big reason why she enjoyed the experience so much.

After an intense two weeks of mentally exhausting work and play, Dr. Friesen said she’s inspired and ready to apply what she’s learned in all the different aspects within her job.

If you’re curious to know more about Dr. Friesen’s trip ask her about it yourself. She’s always friendly and willing to talk to students during her office hours or when you spot her around campus.

College athletes: rate your coach

Locker Room Talk® (www.lockerroomtalk.com) is a rating and review website for college coaches which compiles information in an easy-to-search format so that high school athletes undergoing the varsity recruiting process can make educated decisions.

Through a short, anonymous online survey, Locker Room Talk gives college players the unique ability to easily rate and review their coaches.  The website is a positive platform for college student-athletes to express their views so that high school athletes can better evaluate the programs they are considering.

“We need current and recently graduated college athletes to fill out our simple, fast, anonymous online survey to provide information about your experiences with your coach. By sharing your honest opinions, you will be helping high school athletes make the best choices for their futures,” said Oliver Loutsenko, co-founder of Locker Room Talk.

Created by former varsity college athletes as a “force for good,” Locker Room Talk® is an invaluable resource for high school athletes and their families as they prepare to make one of the most important choices of their lives.  It covers both men’s and women’s teams in sports such as football, baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, skiing, swimming and more.

For more information, call 203-556-5839, visit www.lockerroomtalk.com, Facebook, Instagram (@lockerroomtalk) or Twitter (@LRTsports).

Click here to take the quick survey!

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.

ringing-clipart-di85pjgdT

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.

Show hosts and DJ’s wanted

Bluffton University students,

If any of you are interested in hosting a radio show of any kind shoot me an e-mail: moodsa@bluffton.edu.

Possible show types:

  • advice
  • music
  • literary
  • poetic
  • political
  • short shows
  • talk
  • weather updates

Suggestions are welcome. Come and try out your radio skills with 96.1 WBWH FM.

Looking forward to your e-mails,

Daila Moore

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.

Guns near Bluffton Schools

by: Lucas Augustine

On April 20 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walked into their high school in Columbine, Colorado and shot twelve students and one teacher. Since then, school shootings have become a great concern for many Americans.

In the village of Bluffton, Ohio many of the university students are unaware that there is a gun store not too far from campus. Riley Creek Mercantile is a store that is one mile from the university’s campus, half a mile from the Bluffton high school and on the same street as the Bluffton elementary school.

Mercantile’s inventory has an assortment of firearms, from pistols to rifles and shotguns. The highest caliber ammo that is sold there is a “thirty ot six”. The “thirty ot six,” which is designed for rifles, hits targets up to one thousand yards away.

The price range of the firearms at The Riley Creek Mercantile ranges from $150 to $2000. In order to purchase a shotgun the customer needs to be at least eighteen years of age. While the age requirement to buy a pistol is twenty-two, as long as the person is able to pass a background check, eighteen is an acceptable age.

According to the sales associate at the store, a background check only takes about five minutes to complete. After the background check is complete and the customer is deemed “clean,” the customer is able to buy whatever gun they desire and in this case, walk outside and be standing on the same road as an elementary school, half a mile from a high school and only a mile from a college campus.

Owning a firearm is a right granted to us by the constitution, but should a store be able to sell firearms so close to schools? What about our “Mennonite” school and the Mennonite beliefs of nonviolence? These questions are for you to think about.

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.

aa4c25b7-1573-4c90-a395-4db065483410

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.

e2ef0be9-da70-498f-84fc-7bf21e652a07

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.