Lantern file photo
In past years, freshmen have spent their first full day at Ohio State at St. John Arena for Convocation, followed by a walk through Ohio Stadium. But for the first time, the students are scheduled to take a field trip downtown for a welcome into the city.
Monday morning, 100 Columbus City School buses are scheduled to make two trips to transport more than 7,000 first-year students to Nationwide Arena. The class of 2016 will hear from Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and other prominent community leaders about the opportunities that exist off campus.
Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president of Student Life at OSU, said the university’s first year on semesters was the right time to add the trip downtown to the Welcome Week event schedule.
“We had brainstormed with President (E. Gordon) Gee and Alex Fischer of the Columbus Partnership and just thought this would be a great year. With the semester conversion, with all the things that are going on, with all the transformations, this would be a great year to start that transition,” Adams-Gaston said.
Adams-Gaston said the trip to the Arena District is meant to be an annual event for freshman students, and that it is only the beginning of a continued collaboration with the city to keep students engaged in the community.
OSU is partnering with more than 37 organizations to make the trip possible, including the City of Columbus and the Columbus Partnership.
Neither the cost of busing, nor whether OSU will be paying for it, is known at this time, said Amy Murray, spokeswoman for the university.
Busing will begin at 11:45 a.m. following Convocation at St. John Arena and Ohio Stadium. The program downtown will begin at 2:15 p.m., and students will return to campus by 3:30 p.m. for the Student Involvement Fair.
Students remain divided on the value of the trip downtown.
Leah Psellas, a second-year in biology, remembers going with her survey class to Convocation and feeling overwhelmed – both by the number of people in St. John Arena and the fact that she knew so few of them. She said the trip downtown might add too much to an already full day.
“I just think it’s going to be a long day … and people will lose interest,” Psellas said. “And I can see people getting really impatient in the Stadium waiting for the buses.”
While Joan Spicer, a first-year in international studies, admitted that students might have to wait around for the buses in the Stadium, she said it would give students a chance to socialize.
“I think it’s a good way to start getting everyone together. As a freshman, you don’t really know what’s going on. At least this way you can not know what’s going on together,” Spicer said.
Students like Jon Stevens, a first-year pharmacy student, are concerned about the number of students being bused downtown for the event.
“I think it’s going to be utter chaos. It’s a hectic enough day without adding a bus trip downtown,” Stevens said. “I don’t see it working out well.”
Piyush Sinha, a graduate student in business, said he believes the task of busing the entire freshman class downtown will go smoothly and that the trip itself will be beneficial for students.
“Busing shouldn’t be a problem … If the university can figure out the logistics and security for football games every Saturday, I trust that it can figure out how to bus the freshmen downtown,” Sinha said. “And when you’re just starting out as a freshman, you have the time to sit and listen to speeches of successful people like the mayor and be inspired to be like one of them.”
For Haleigh Hopkins, a second-year in political science and black studies, the idea of students hearing from Coleman and other leaders is good, but the timing of the event is not.
“I don’t think it’s such a good idea to bus students downtown when they don’t even know the OSU campus,” Hopkins said. “It’s too soon to get students off campus when they just got on it. They need to get familiar with campus more than anything else.”