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“City Shout Outs” at OSU union help students feel at home

Packed with events and celebrations, the new Ohio Union devoted its first week to Ohio’s third-largest city: Cincinnati.

Each week, the Union staff will be acknowledging cities through
“City Shout Outs,” said Kurt Foriska, an associate director of the Ohio Union.

“The ‘Shout Outs’ act as a tip-of-the-hat to the cities across the state and country that our students call home,” Foriska said.

In its first week, the Union featured Cincinnati-style chili in the Union Market, Cincinnati trivia in Woody’s Tavern and even an autograph signing by Cincinnati-native Archie Griffin.

“There were a ton of people there, but we got Archie to sign pictures for us because we got there so early,” said Bethany Shepelak, a first-year in human development and family science.

Shepelak, from Anderson Township, a suburb only 15 minutes outside of downtown Cincinnati, said the shout-out to her city was a great way to get students involved at the Union.

With 114 of her high school classmates attending Ohio State, Shepelak said she feels the comfort of a large community of Cincinnatians on the Columbus campus. This made moving here in the fall easier, she said.

However, two quarters later, it was nice to reconnect with people from her area through trivia games, she said.

“It was pretty cool to bond with other Cincinnati kids,” Shepelak said. “It was a nice reminder of where I’m from.”

These throwbacks to the comforts of home are exactly what the staff at the Ohio Union is aiming for, Foriska said.

“What we’re doing is picking the places that most of our students come from,” he said. “We used to do events through the president’s office, but we wanted to do something on a more regular basis.”

Cincinnati was the first of many cities to come. Other cities chosen include Pittsburgh, Cleveland and the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, Foriska said.

“We chose Cincinnati because we wanted to keep it in-state for the first week,” he said. “We’re not trying to start any rivalries … we love all our cities.”

By showcasing different cuisines, trivia games, athletes and celebrities from the same hometowns as OSU students, the Union is able to foster hometown pride among the student body, he said.

The “City Shout Outs” also expose students to different tastes from around the country, all without leaving campus, he said.

Foriska added, “You don’t need to be from Cincinnati to enjoy a bowl of chili.” 

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