Play Unified Brings People Together at ATU

No score was kept. No post-game reports were filed.

And yet, it was obvious to anyone watching that everyone participating in the kickball, flag football and other games on the Hindsman Tower lawn at Arkansas Tech University on Thursday, Oct. 19, was a winner.

The annual Play Unified event at ATU has become a Homecoming tradition that provides Tech students with an opportunity to volunteer their time to play alongside athletes from Special Olympics Arkansas.

“Coming out to Tech means a lot to our Special Olympians,” said Darla Jones of Russellville, Special Olympics of Arkansas Area 17 Director. “Just being on the campus makes them feel important. I love the way Tech students come out and support it…it’s just an awesome feeling. These Tech students could be anywhere else, but they want to come out here. Apparently they like it because it just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year. To be a part of the Homecoming week…that is what makes it so great for us.”

According to Special Olympics, the Play Unified movement is “dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences.” Individuals with and without intellectual disabilities play together on the same team in an effort to build friendship and understanding.

Baggo and bocce were among the other activities that took place during the 2017 Play Unified event at ATU. This marked the fourth consecutive year in which Play Unified was part of the Homecoming week schedule at Arkansas Tech.

Graycen Russell, a junior rehabilitation science major from Lonoke, was among the ATU students who helped plan the 2017 event.

“I hope (the Special Olympians) have fun and learn that college students really do care about them and their community,” said Russell. “We want to make a diffference in the community and an impact. It gives me hope for our future that my fellow Tech students care about these Olympians who are here today.”

Megan Bryant is an ATU senior from Rogers. She is active in registered student organization Delta Sigma Omicron, which serves as an advocate for people with disabilities on and off campus.

“We want to make people aware that (Special Olympians) are just like us,” said Bryant, who is majoring in rehabilitation science and psychology. “They have interests, and they have hobbies, so why not support them just like everyone else? The athletes we have interacted with have been awesome, and they’ve helped us learn bocce. I’ve never played that before, so it was great to learn a new game and hang out with them.”

For Russell, the pay off for all the hard work and planning was simple.

“Joy would be the biggest thing for me,” said Russell. “Seeing their faces light up and watching them have fun…they’re really just like anyone else is.”

KATV Reporter Speaks to ATU SPJ

Society of Professional Journalists at Arkansas Tech University recently hosted Kimberly Rusley, general assignment reporter for KATV Channel 7 in Little Rock, for a program on the Russellville campus.

A member of the KATV staff since 2016, Rusley spoke about her education and career. She also offered advice to the aspiring journalists.

Learn more about the ATU Department of Communication and Journalism.

Noted Meteorologist to Speak at ATU

The Arkansas Tech University Department of Emergency Management will host a lecture by Dr. Kevin Kloesel, campus meteorologist for the University of Oklahoma, on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Kloesel will speak at 6:30 p.m. in room 300 of Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center, which is located at 305 West Q Street in Russellville. Admission will be free and open to the public.

In his role as campus meteorologist, Kloesel is responsible for providing weather forecast and weather safety information to the OU Office of Emergency Preparedness before, during and after weather threats of all types.

He also provides support to the OU executive policy group in severe and winter weather situations in order to facilitate campus protection and closure decisions. He develops and leads weather safety training on the OU campus for its over 30,000 students, faculty and staff, and for the over 40,000 pre-collegiate students that call OU home during summer sports and academic camps.

Kloesel concurrently serves as director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey and associate professor in the OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering science from the University of Texas at Austin as well as Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Pennsylvania State University.

A frequent guest on local, state and national radio and television programs, he has appeared on the National Academies of Science Distinctive Voices, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, the Tavis Smiley Show, WeatherBrains, ABC Nightly News, The Discovery Channel, The Weather Channel, WxGeeks, the BBC and dozens of local radio and TV shows across the United States.

Kloesel’s remarks at ATU will focus on the importance of organizational preparedness as it relates to severe weather and large-scale public events such as sporting events, festivals and fairs.

Learn more about the ATU Department of Emergency Management.

Lombardo to Speak on WWI Thursday Night

Dr. Stanley Lombardo, professor of English at Arkansas Tech University, will offer a presentation entitled “World War I Influence on American Literature, Painting, Photography and Film.” on Thursday, Oct. 19, as part of a continuing series at ATU commemorating World War I.

Lombardo’s lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in room 300 south of Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center, which is located at 305 West Q Street in Russellville.

Attendees will hear a short reading from Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” and view film clips from the 1925 movie “The Big Parade.”

There will be a discussion on some of the embedded artists of World War I and other American artists of the time. In addition, Lombardo will explore the post-war trend toward horror films using James Whale’s “Frankenstein” as an example of how the war shaped filmmakers conception of horror.

Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center is one of 120 organizations in the United States selected to receive grant funding from the Library of America in support of educational programming about World War I.

The public programming coincides with the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into World War I. Through the first two rounds of grant announcements, ATU is the only entity in Arkansas selected to receive the Library of America grant funding for the program.

The series will conclude on Thursday, Nov. 9, with an all veterans appreciation event and discussion panel on veterans’ issues. It will begin at 7 p.m. in Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center room 300 south.

All programs as part of the World War I commemoration are free and open to the public. For more information, call (479) 964-0569, send e-mail to or visit

Guest Chefs to Prepare Thursday Night Dinner

Altus Buttry, Dan Darrah and Patrick Herron from the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock will serve as guest chefs for the Thursday, Oct. 19, edition of the Arkansas Tech University Department of Parks, Recreation and Hospitality Administration fall dinner series.

Reserved seating times at Williamson Hall Dining Room are available from 6-7 p.m. Members of the Arkansas Tech campus community and residents of the surrounding area are invited to attend.

Cost for the Oct. 19 meal will be $19.95 per person (plus tax). All gratuities are invested in the Walters-Williams Scholarship.

Reservations may be made by calling (479) 968-0378 or by sending e-mail to

Below is the menu for the Thursday, Oct. 19, dinner at Williamson Hall:

Beef Carpaccio Fumo with Goat Cheese Crema, Arugula, Truffle Oil and Grilled Cheese Bread

Minestra Pomodoro with Acini de Pepe and Shaved Parmesan

Seared Salmon with Crispy Leeks, Asparagus Puree and Grilled Vegetable Quinoa
Crawfish Stuffed Pork Roulade with House Made Bacon Gravy, Baby Bok Choy and Polenta Cake Gruyère

Mascarpone Crepes with Strawberry Compote