Lindsey barrett / Copy chief
After a jam-packed day spent with President E. Gordon Gee, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, a former Ohio State football player and a current basketball star, this year’s freshmen have their first full day on Ohio State’s campus under their belts.
Welcome Week kicked off with Convocation Monday morning, where a crowd of more than 7,000 first-year students sat through speeches encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunities on and off campus.
Gee challenged students to not only get involved in the more than 1,000 student organizations on campus – and as quickly as possible – but to aim even broader than that.
“Explore the world, get real-world experience such as an internship (and) make this campus, and this city, your world,” Gee said.
Former Ohio State football linebacker Chris Spielman wrapped up the morning by saying that while OSU gives students the opportunities and the resources to make a difference in the world, students must seek them out; nothing will be handed to them.
“It’s a privilege for you to be here at Ohio State. It’s not a privilege for Ohio State to have you here,” Spielman said. “This is your time, this is your opportunity. Make a difference, make a change.”
Other speakers included Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president of Student Life at OSU, Taylor Stepp, Undergraduate Student Government president, Joseph Alutto, OSU provost and Brenda Jo Brueggemann, an English professor.
Students then waited in St. John Arena to be dismissed to Ohio Stadium. For Alec Sunyecz, a first-year in engineering, and his twin brother Ian Sunyecz, a first-year in biological medicine, the wait to get into the Stadium was 45 minutes of “standing around.”
After walking through the Stadium, Alec and Ian Sunyecz, and the rest of the class of 2016, rode buses downtown to Nationwide Arena. One hundred Columbus City School school buses made two trips to transport students to the Arena District.
The high-energy afternoon program downtown was a hybrid pep-rally and televised awards show with two students playing the role of host and hostess, strobe lighting, music, videos and featured appearances from local celebrities.
Guest appearances included OSU basketball coach Thad Matta and junior guard Aaron Craft, Gee, Robert Schottenstein, chairman of OSU’s Board of Trustees, and Coleman.
The event also gave students more information on the discount tickets offered through the Ohio Union and how to navigate the city by foot, bus and bike.
Sarah Nerswick, a first-year in pre-nursing, said she had fun at the event and also found it helpful.
“Convocation was more about the academic side of things, and this was what you can do when you’re not studying,” Nerswick said. “I liked hearing what Columbus has to offer … and in a way where I was entertained and constantly stimulated.”
Lindsay Seibel, a first-year in biomedical engineering, also enjoyed learning about Columbus.
“My favorite part was when they broke down the different (Greater Columbus) neighborhoods and said what you could do in each one,” she said.
But the program wasn’t all fun and games for some freshmen.
“I thought it was really informative, but I feel like it kind of dragged on toward the end,” Ian Sunycez said.