Let's celebrate creativity not bash it.

In Defense of Odyssey

Let me put it this way. If you want your news, look to CNN, NBC or Fox, not the Odyssey. This is a place for people to express their creativity and to have fun writing, not necessarily a spot for someone that is launching their prime time journalism career.


I know a lot of people that get annoyed with Odyssey articles appearing on their Facebook feeds and I recently read an article entitled "Please, for the Love of God Stop Sharing Odyssey Articles," written by a college student criticizing the type of articles written and published by Odyssey Online creators. I thought I'd take a minute to address the some of the claims made because while the author claimed to be writing about the Odyssey's purpose, I think they missed it completely.

*I also just want to note that I completely respect the author's view on the Odyssey as everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I am in no means trying to be mean in any of my responses.

"But all joking aside, if The Odyssey is any indication of my generation's potential, we should be seriously concerned."

I think the opposite. Being a member of the Odyssey requires a weekly submission for a post to be published. That is a totally new idea and concept to think of every week, on top of all of the work students have in college. This gets incredibly difficult when you are at a loss for ideas. To shoot down the articles that illustrate a situation or event from the view of a famous person or character is being ignorant to the creativity and thought that had to go into the writing of the article from that person's perspective. It requires a great sense of creativity to come up with something to submit. While a lot of the articles can be repetitive at times, the creativity and thought that the writer put into that article should be celebrated.

"The result is that nothing of significance ever arises out of these articles besides a quick hit of instant gratification. No lasting discussion, no reflection, no critical thought."

Let me put it this way. If you want your news, look to CNN, NBC or Fox, not the Odyssey. This is a place for people to express their creativity and to have fun writing, not necessarily a spot for someone that is launching their prime time journalism career. Maybe instant gratification is the problem here, but in the opposite sense. We are so used to having the latest information at the tips of our fingers that if its not news on social media then what is the point? I personally enjoy seeing something other than the constant flow political news on my Facebook feed. Why does everything to have to be informative, political or argumentative?


The article also went on to bash the Odyssey's use of Listicles as a viable publishing option for each week. I personally have fun coming up with ideas for listicles. Just because it is a list doesn't mean that it is any less of an article. For example, I used the listicle format to write about changes that you can make at the beginning of the new year that you might actually be able to keep. If I wrote a bunch of paragraphs for all 30 resolutions, wouldn't you fall asleep reading that? I know I would. But setting it up nicely with just a sentence or two with a resolution changes that.

"It is the publication for readers whose only other sources of information are Snapchat's Discover stories and Instagram's Popular page."

While the whole article rubbed me the wrong way, this quote bothered me the most. Because I as an Odyssey Creator, don't publish articles that cover the top actions of Donald Trump day to day, I don't know what is going on in the world? I am that self indulgent and absorbed that my only news source is Snapchat and Instagram? I didn't chose to write for the Odyssey to cover the trending stories. I'll be the first to admit I am not at all the type of person to get into political discussion or to respond political statements. That being said, I am not shut in a box ignorant to the problems and issues in the world, especially our country. If someone wants to write about the latest movie or any element of pop culture, let them. But don't assume they are any less up to date on news from other sources than Snapchat and Instagram...

Again, like I said in the beginning, I am not trying to be mean or ignorant in my defense/response to the article. But I do feel like I need to address the claims the author made. I enjoy writing for the Odyssey and am proud of a lot of the ideas I have come up with, NONE of which gained its content or information from a Snapchat news story. The time, creativity and thought it takes to fully create an article should be celebrated not shot down. And if you are tired of seeing the articles, then don't follow the Odyssey! It's as simple as that!


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The ABCs Of Greek Life

Greek Life From A to Z

When you enter into Greek life, it's like having to learn a whole new language, but it's a language that everyone comes to love. So here's the Greek alphabet, from Alpha Chi to Zeta.

A is for Alum

The members of our chapter who have graduated. These members are a range of ages and can participate in all kinds of alumna events.

B is for Bid Day

The best day of the year when our chapters get to accept a new pledge class of members.

C is for Chapter

Our weekly meetings where we learn about sisterhood and philanthropy events, date parties, etc., as well as take care of any sort of chapter business.

D is for Date Parties

Some of the best nights of the year are getting dressed up with your friends and your dates and attending date parties.

E is for Executive Board

The people that make the chapter run smoothly. The chapter wouldn't function without your president, VP, finance, standards, etc.

F is for Fried Friday

The best day of the week at the house. When the chefs cook up chicken, mozzarella sticks, fried pickles, french fries, corn dogs, fried mac n cheese, fried corn, fried green tomatoes and whatever else your heart desires.

G is for Greek Week

One of the most competitive and most fun weeks of the year. Spent playing dodgeball, whiffle ball, doing dance-offs, and more!

H is for Hand Sign

No matter what sign it is, we love to throw what we know!

I is for Initiation

The day that we get to cross from new member to active member of our chapter.

J is for Just Here So I Don't Get Fined

As much as we love to hang out with our sisters, sometimes life gets in the way and we wish we had more free time. Sometimes we're only attending an event so that we don't get fined.

K is for Kick-Off

Of course, all college students love football but game day is something special when you're Greek. From getting ready with your sisters to eating at the house to tailgating with the fraternities, it's all a part of the game day experience when you're Greek.

L is for Letters

Our identity within the Greek community.

M is for Mom

Our house mom can never take the place of our real mom but she is great for lending an ear and helping solve any issues that come up within the sorority.

N is for Norts

Part of the "sorority girl uniform." We can't get enough of our Nike shorts

O is for Organized

With constantly running between classes, chapter meetings, and other events, you become extremely organized when you join a Greek organization.

P is for Philanthropy

One of the biggest reasons many people choose to go Greek. We love to spend our time, money and energy towards a cause that's close to our heart such as Ronald McDonald House, Make a Wish Foundation and CASA.

Q is for Queso

Okay, maybe a bit of a stretch but it's true! Ordering Fuzzy's to the sorority house or going out to eat at Moe's or Chuy's are not uncommon activities. We love chips and queso!

R is for Recruitment

The craziest week of the year where the chapter decides which PNM's would be the best fit for the chapter and new members run home to your chapter at the end of the week!

S is for Sisterhood

What a sorority is really all about. The friends you make in your sorority are some of the most interesting and genuine girls you'll meet!

T is for T-Shirt Tuesday

The one weeknight that tons of people go out. Whether you're at Harry's bar or Rounders, T-shirt Tuesday is sure to be a blast.

U is for Unique Experience

No two people have the same experience with Greek life. Whether you're the most involved person, just in it for the sisterhood, or you're fairly uninvolved, your experience will be different than everyone else's. You get out what you put in, as the saying goes.

V is for Vineyard Vines

One of many popular brands among sorority women and fraternity men alike.

W is for Wine Wednesday

Another fan favorite of the week is Wine Wednesday. Whether you're celebrating at Gallette's or from the comfort of your own dorm or apartment, Wine Wednesday is awesome.

X is for XL T-Shirts

Another part of the "sorority girl uniform". The bigger the T-shirt, the comfier and more confident you'll be. It's science.

Y is for Youth

Many philanthropies work with children, which is great because we love to spend time with the youth in and around Tuscaloosa!

Z is for Zero Sleep

When you're taking 14-18 credits, working, in a Greek organization and you're involved with several other organizations it's easy to see why we never get our full 8 hours of sleep. We're always going and we're fueled by coffee and a passion for whatever it is we're doing on and around campus.

Cover Image Credit: UA Panhellenic

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This One’s For Africa


Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.


It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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