OU Campus REC Alumni Panel

On April 2nd, we hosted the 2015 Rec Center Alumni Panel. Current Oakland University students were able to network, ask questions, and receive tips from the panel of OU Campus Rec alumni. Our group of professionals included: Chelsea Kachaterian, Senior Associate of Digital Advertising Technology and Activation Group; Katie Hoenle Lonczynski, registered nurse for labor and delivery; Meghan Jackson, Supervisor and Senior Physical Therapist at OMPT Specialists; Jackie Lyons Taylor, kindergarten teacher; Stacey Bruwer, Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotions; and Travis Lyons, Senior IT Server Engineer.
Panel Questions and Answers:
Q: If you could go back, what would you change about your experience at OU?
Stacey: I would join more student organizations! Just be more involved and active on campus.
Meghan: I would live on campus. I was a commuter and I feel like I missed out on a huge portion of the college experience.
Travis: I would have not rushed as fast as I did to get through college. I took summer classes every year and I graduated in three years. So really, don’t be in a rush to be done so quickly.
Q: What is the best kept secret at Oakland University that you discovered?
Stacey: The Career Services Office. I never used the career services around here, I thought my resume was the bomb, but actually I just went there two weeks ago to have my resume looked at. So definitely look into that.
Megan: The history here is so fascinating. People everywhere are actually really fascinated by our school when they learn more about our background. So find out about our history.
Katie: Absolutely, look at our history and definitely go and tour the mansion as well.
Q: How did you feel that your experience working in Aquatics (or the Rec) applies to your new position? Any transferrable skills that you learned here?
Travis: The biggest thing you’re going to get out of working in your job here is that you’re working with people. In any position that you have, you have patrons coming in wanting to do things their way and learning how to deal with that in a positive way is the biggest thing you will get out of this job.
Chelsea: I think that communication is a big part of working here as well as adaptability. You have to be ready for anything and being able to do that speaks volumes in terms of job responsibility.
Megan: How to interact with my staff and how to talk to them is something that I really learned from being a building manager. I really took away those skills of interacting with someone.
Katie: I would say teamwork too. In any job, you have to know that you got each other’s back. You have to know the people on your team. Who you can rely on? Who might slack? You have to know your team.
Stacey: Customer service. There will always be people that you like and some people that you may not like. So having a job where you interact with those different types of people is a good thing.
The Alumni Panel was a great networking opportunity for current OU Campus Rec students. They were able to see the progress that Oakland University Alumni made after graduation. Additionally, students got to see how working at the Rec changed each member of the panel and how impacted their current careers. The group of professionals were able to expand on topics such as their current jobs, career advice, and past Rec anecdotes. Overall, the panel was a great opportunity for current students to hear about life after graduating Oakland University.

Winter Guard Creates Upset with Continuous Wins


Winter Guard didn’t shoot to the top of their division easily. They had to fight through multiple competitions and climb their way from rookie status to the very top in Michigan.

The climb began in early March where the Winter Guard club had three Michigan Color Guard Circuit (MCGC) competitions: Novi Winter Programs, Troy Athens & Alias, and Chippewa Valley Boosters. After winning the first place trophy in the first two competitions, the club pushed themselves up into 2nd place out of the seven in their division. The team in first? University of Michigan.

After back to back wins, the club made a three-peat first place win and then is bumped to the first place standing, beating out University of Michigan by less than a point. They made it to the state championships in the first year of their program.

As Winter Guard President, Laura Coan, explains, ” it was really anyone’s game as the top 3 were rather close in score”.

Coan describes for us what it was like going through state championships as the rookie team from Oakland:

On the day of state finals we gave it our all, and being on that floor as the crowd went crazy for our show was an amazing feeling.

At the end of the evening we lined up for awards, as they started calling out our class the excitement was building as we got closer and closer to the top without hearing our name, my goal and what I would been pleased with was placing 3rd or better. As they called third and it still wasn’t us, I knew we made it, I mean second place is amazing.

Then they called second place, Michigan Winter Ensemble. I almost fainted. Literally. We came in first! Against a team I had always looked up to! A team that I thought was amazing! I could barely catch my breath, as they called “And in 1st place with a score of 80.26…Oakland University Winter guard!”

I was beside myself, quite literally sobbing as we accepted the award. It was a moment that I feel words don’t do it justice! Afterwards I had people I did not even know congratulating me and saying my reaction was priceless, this must mean a lot to me, they thought I was going to faint right on the floor! All I can say is that truly is how much it means to me. It is everything to me, having built it up from nothing to where we are now!

I am surprised in a sense of I would never imagined we would be here this soon after starting it! We had an amazing team pulled together and amazing instructors that helped pull this off! It took a lot of hard work and the title of state champions is definitely deserved.

First place trophy for the MCGC

First place trophy for the MCGC

Oakland’s Winter Guard club shook things up for the other Michigan Winter Guard teams. As a first time team starting from nothing and making it to first place in the state championship really shows how much dedication this club sport has to its sport. “I am sure those against us will be out next year to beat us” says Coan,  “But at the same time we will be working to maintain the state champion title, so I suppose it is anyone’s game”.

Now that their season is over, they are taking time off for now until gearing back up in the summer in preparation for the fall. Coan tells us the plan for the team, “next year we plan to compete in MCGC again and looking forward to it!” Coan continues, “we are looking into attending the WGI (Winter Guard International) finals in Dayton OH as well”.

For those that do not know, with Winter Guard there are two levels for the competitions. The more regional, Michigan Color Guard Circuit, and the Winter Guard Internationals. Oakland’s Winter Guard team placed 3rd in the only WGI competition they went to this past season, an accomplishment for a league that competes on the international scale.

Even though the Winter Guard Club is competing in regional and working to compete internationally again, they’re still an active club on campus. As Coan exclaims” WE LOVE OU” and goes on to say “we love attending events around campus, and look forward to the fall and performing and some footballs games again as well as any other events we can do”!

For those wanting to see the Winter Guard Club in action, check out the captains of the team on May 7th as they participate in Vitality Dance’s Annual Showcase. You can also like their Facebook page here. 

Ballroom Dance Brings the Heat to Oakland as a Social and Competitive Club Sport


Ballroom Dance club at Oakland University is one of the few club sports that is recreational and one of fewer to have two teams supporting the club. “We have both social and competitive classes” says Ria Perez, Ballroom’s President.

The recreational or “social” class is for participants who simply want to learn the various dances that they learn and perform, while the competitive class practices and travels to showcases to compete.

The team as a whole is highly active in Oakland University’s community. Perez explains, “so far this school year, we’ve taught lessons at the Yule Ball (held by the Quidditch Team) and the Meadow Brook Ball “, Perez continues, “we also performed at a showcase called Dancing Across Borders (held by the Jewish Students Association)”.

The competitive team does more than stay active on campus, they travel to compete throughout Michigan. Recently they went to Michigan State for the Green and White Gala which “was the first ballroom dance competition held by MSU”, Perez explains, “teams from colleges throughout the Midwest were in attendance”.

Soon they’ll be in Ann Arbor for the Michcomp, “one of the biggest collegiate ballroom competitions in the country, held annually since 2000″, Parez tells us, “teams from across the nation will be battling each other on the dance floor”.

Perez goes on to explain for us how to join the Ballroom Dance Club:

  • We currently practice at 9:15 pm on Mondays at the Rec Center and 9:15 pm on Wednesdays at Elegance in Motion Studio.
  • Only requirement is dues (currently $70 for the semester), which go towards paying our instructors.
  • A member of the ballroom dance club gets a taste of many beautiful cultures/eras and get a light workout while at it.

I have quite a few girls who are in need of dance partners, so guys, don’t be shy about joining us.  But more importantly, we are passionate about what we do, have a ton of fun, and welcome anyone interested to be part of our dance family!

Employee Spotlight

Jenna VanderHaar


Job Title: Welcome Center Attendant

Major: Nursing

Why did you want to work at the Rec?

I like the atmosphere and I was here all the time anyway so it was just really convenient to work here as well!

What is your favorite part about working at the Rec?

Interacting with the people that come in and my co-workers.

What skills have you acquired while working at the Rec that will help you in the future?

Teamwork, problem solving, costumer service, and leadership.

Fun Fact: 

I went skydiving last summer.

D1 Hockey Reflects on Season


ACHA Division 1 hockey had an eventful season this year. From sending their own Bill Balent to Spain to play for Team USA in the World University Games, to making it to the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL)’s playoffs, they’ve accomplished a lot this year. We had the chance to speak with DI hockey’s president, Ian Jacobs, about this year and the club’s plan for coming years.

The GLCHL Playoffs, as Jacobs explains, “are more of bragging rights and holding the title for a year than anything else”. Jabobs goes on to say, “there is a plan to turn winning our league playoffs into a bid to the national tournament like other leagues in the ACHA do”.

This playoff transformation can turn the GLCHL playoffs away from a bragging rights trophy and into a highly competitive tournament that results in the winning team moving onto the national tournament. At the moment, only the top winning teams from the GLCHL regular season are allowed to move on.

The team unfortunately didn’t make the national championships this year. Jacobs tells us this is a “first in the program’s history”.

For DI Hockey, the season is over, but they have some great stories to share from the past season. As Jacobs tells us:

Some of the biggest highlights for us would be beating Adrian College [Oakland’s Rival], they are one of the best teams in the country and until now, we haven’t beat them since 2012.

Going down to Liberty University and beating them 5-2 was also big for us, they are another powerhouse in the ACHA and it is tough to beat them at their own rink (2500 fans who love hockey, but not our hockey team).

Last, sending our captain Bill Balent to Spain to play for Team USA in the World University Games, was big for our program.

As for the future, Jacobs looks to bring the team back to being in the top ten in the country, a spot it has been before.

Excited for next season? Like the D1 Hockey team on Facebook or follow on Twitter for updates.

Check out the highlights video below from your own Golden Grizzlies this past season:


Employee Spotlight

Kayla Andreski


Job Title: Welcome Center Attendant

Major: Nursing

Why did you want to work at the Rec?

I wanted to find a good on campus job and the Rec center looked like a really fun place to work.

What is your favorite part about working at the Rec?

The people and fun events that we have.

What skills have you acquired while working at the Rec that will help you in the future?

Teamwork and costumer service.

Fun Fact: 

I am on the Meadowbrook Ball Committee.

Winter Guard Competes and Places Third


The Winter Guard Club of Oakland University competed in it’s first Winter Guard International (WGI) Regional competition and placed third. This is a major accomplishment for a club celebrating it’s first year anniversary.

Winter Guard’s President, Laura Coen, tells us, “We will be competing in several competitions over [the course of] the season around the state”.

Coen continues “We had competed in one so far where we placed 4th, at that time we only had half of our performance so in the ones to come we feel pretty confident that we can bring our score up”.

The Michigan Color Guard Circuit (MCGC) has competitions throughout the state for teams based in Michigan leading up to the MCGC state championships. Alongside the MCGC competitions, WGI holds regional competitions throughout the United States and one in the Netherlands; all leading up to their championship competition.

Winter Guard Club performing at the WGI Regional Competition in Walled Lake

Winter Guard Club performing at the WGI Regional Competition in Walled Lake

Performances/competitions are judged in the areas of talent, precision, creativity, and horizontal orchestration (how all the elements create the larger picture/effect). Teams are scored on a point system which is what dictates 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and so on.

Coen explains their win,  “We place[d] 2nd out of 10 in the prelim[inary] round and got to advance with the top 5 to finals where we placed 3rd out of 5″.

For the Winter Guard Club, this is huge because “this our first step into taking part in WGI competitions, in future years we hope to be able to attend WGI championships”.

Follow the Winter Guard club on their journey through Facebook and if you’re interested in joining the club, contact Laura Coen at lecoan@oakland.edu . Some experience required to join.