Amelia Carpenter and Sylvie Turner, For The Miami Student

(HANNAH MILLER | The Miami Student)

So, who is she?

Mama Miami is a good friend of Miami University according to Carole Johnson, assistant director of communications in the Department of News and Information.

The Mama Miami website was created by the Department of News and Information in January 2003 to act as a resource for  students, parents, alumni and faculty who had random or offbeat questions, according to the former director of the Department of News and Information Holly Wissing.

“Mama Miami started to provide accurate information,  to dispel rumors and to have a little fun,” Wissing said.

Mama prefers to stay anonymous; she’s just a sassy mother with lots of connections, according to Johnson.

“Mama Miami is very humble,” Johnson said. “She just likes to answer questions.

Mama Miami can be accessed through Blackboard Quick Links. Users are able to search for previously answered questions and ask Mama new questions.

Johnson said Mama doesn’t come up with her own information, but waits for curiosity.

“Pretty much Mama waits to see for questions to come in,” Johnson said.

With connections to university communications and Miami history, Mama is able to find the answers.

“Mama knew a lot of people and it was easy to connect with the right people,” Wissing said. “Staff and faculty were always willing to help Mama.

Wissing said back when Mama Miami first started, it was a novelty.

“Some of the questions are a lot of fun,” Wissing said. “There was a group of students who enjoyed reading it.”

Mama’s fingers could barely keep up from 2004 to 2006, answering many questions and even multiple questions in a day.

Wissing’s personal favorite was:

Q: How much would my friend be charged if he took his desk and chair home with him from his dorm room? He really likes them.

A: Your friend would be charged with theft. Mama recommends he not walk off with university property.

The plethora of questions coming in was becoming overwhelming during Mama’s prime, but many were things that people could research on their own and find the answer.

Mama came back with a note on her homepage: “Let’s face it, some of you got used to asking Mama things you could easily find on your own. No more.”

A Facebook group called “Friends of Mama Miami” was created and has 17 members, all of whom are in the Miami University network and most are alumni.

Wissing noticed Mama has slowed down, but thinks Mama’s hiatus may be for the best.

Since the influx from 2004 to 2006, questions have been less common. The last question answered was in October 2009.

But Mama doesn’t answer just any question.

“She’s kind of particular with the questions she decides to answer if she has answered them several times before,” Johnson said. “(Mama) really wants students to learn how to research — learn how to find out the questions by themselves. That might be why she hasn’t answered questions in a while.”

In a recent poll conducted by The Miami Student, 41 percent of those surveyed said they had never heard of Mama Miami. But one first-year was intrigued.

First-year Lindsay Moss said she would use the cyber resource.

“If I had a question, I’d ask Mama,” Moss said.

Senior Evan Allen thought Mama Miami sounded like a good idea although he hadn’t heard of it before.

“If I really need to know something (I might use it), but I feel like I know everything –— it’s my fifth year,” Allen said.

Senior Hauna Biox agreed.

“It would definitely find out random answers for things that you can’t find out easily,” Biox said.

Because Mama has had a break from questions, she now has a search bar that will halt duplicate question-askers in their tracks, according to Johnson.

The site is organized by categories: academics, actual rumors, athletics, best of Mama, buildings, construction, grounds, employees, frequently asked questions, housing and dining, history, parking and metro, technology and a tab for everything.

Although a variety of topics have been covered, there are always new ones waiting to be discovered, perhaps by a curious first-year or a senior yearning for answers before graduation.

Mama’s only stipulation? Don’t ask the obvious.

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