You see hundreds of advertisements a day, but how many do you really absorb?

It was the spring semester of my senior year in high school and a poster caught my eye. Not because of the beautiful gothic architecture pictured on it, nor because of the quote from Aristotle, or even that for once there was a poster that wasn’t featuring a gator, knight, or Seminole. It was because the tear-off postcard said reply by November 1997 and it was 1998. I asked if it could be recycled and the counselor laughed and told me I might like a small liberal arts school in Atlanta. I had a roommate and a full tuition scholarship to a state school, but I completed the application to Oglethorpe anyway. My mom drove me to an info session two hours from my house and drilled the VP of Admission. I spoke to a current student for hours on the phone. I received a phone call from alumna Barb Henry inviting me to the infamous Spring Fest during which I stayed with three of the smartest and most involved women I have ever met.

Enter the personal OU touch. My admissions counselor came to Tampa, drove five of us Florida girls eight hours to visit the campus, and four years later three of those girls cheered me on as I gave the graduation speech to my fellow Class of 2002 Petrels. I never thought an expired poster would bring me to study communications and business, to meet my best friends, to work in foster care or hospice, or to lead students to serve everywhere from New Orleans to San Juan, Guatemala. Now, I leave expired posters up one more day hoping that someone reads it and changes their path for the better.

–Heather Staniszewski ’02, associate director, Center for Civic Engagement, Oglethorpe University