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Women of Vision Select Outdoor Classroom as Annual Project

October 14, 2022

The OBU Women of Vision held their annual meeting and dinner Oct. 13 at the Cargill Advancement and Alumni Center on the OBU campus in Shawnee. With nearly 100 women in attendance, the event was held to generate support and contributions towards projects that greatly impact students and the OBU campus. The event set the stage for a host of festivities taking place during The Weekend Oct.13-15.

Women of Vision is a giving circle dedicated to empowering women through promoting philanthropic endeavors that support OBU’s mission. Membership is open to all alumni and friends of the university with activities that foster networking and connection with one another and the OBU community. A key component of Women of Vision is its mission to provide financial resources needed to make lasting improvements and impacts on Bison Hill. OBU First Lady Jill Thomas serves as director of the program.

The featured speaker for the evening was 1995 OBU alumnus Amy Petersen. Currently, Petersen serves as the ministry wives ministry partner for Oklahoma Baptists. Her topic for the gathering was “Home”. She emphasized the impact alumni and friends of OBU can have on helping to make OBU’s campus atmosphere one that creates a healthy home for students. She is the wife of Brandon Petersen, OBU vice president of campus life and dean of students. Outdoor decorations and furnishings were coordinated through Jennifer Griffin, an OBU alumnus and originator of the Dimples and Tangles website and popular social platforms.

Three OBU students were awarded $1,000 Women of Vision scholarships. Those students were: Casey Yi Chan Mills, a global marketplace engagement major with an emphasis in missions; Gabrielly Abuleac Bujan Lamas de Lima, majoring in business management, and Alexis Ruiz, pursuing a degree in political science.

The Women of Vision scholarship fund was created in 2018 through an endowed gift and is presented annually to a female OBU student(s) in their junior year. Students apply and a personal interview is conducted as part of the selection process. A goal of the Women of Vision advisory board is to increase the scholarship fund to offer additional assistance to students in the future.

Each year, typically three project proposals are presented to the Women of Vision at the annual event. Members then vote on which project will be selected and funded by the giving circle. This year, the Women of Vision voted to fund an outdoor classroom and social space that would provide meeting opportunities for classes, clubs and performances. This particular proposal was created by current students representing the strong interest of their peers to have an outdoor place.  They stated that contextual learning has been shown to add to the educational experience. The proposal mentioned the functionality of the space to allow student groups to meet in an area that engages all the senses as well as enhance the beauty of the university by the design of the outdoor space. The project would include seating for a typical class of students and a covered structure for protection of climatic elements.

Past projects include street lighting around designated areas of campus to promote safety, the installation of keyless card access among buildings to enhance security, and the placement of multiple blue safety phones around campus that connect to emergency services.

Other enhancements funded by Women of Vision include significant remodeling, new furnishings and updates to key buildings on campus including the interior lobby of the admissions office and the student life office. Projects have also provided exterior updates on campus featuring outdoor seating, picnic tables, umbrellas, benches and common gathering spaces. The goal of each of the Women of Vision projects is to enhance the overall campus experience for students, employees, alumni and guests.

Beginning in January 2023, the Women of Vision membership structure will be adapted in order to allow women to join at various giving levels instead of just one level.  “Women of Vision values the support and participation of women in all seasons of life,” Thomas said. “Our desire is to create opportunities for more women to participate and connect with the mission of OBU and to give back in whatever ways they can to benefit our students and the University as a whole. We feel honored to join collectively and build a legacy on Bison Hill.”

Learn more about the Women of Vision.