Porum GEAR UP seventh graders tour Oral Roberts University

Thirty-six Porum GEAR UP students recently traveled to Tulsa to tour Oral Roberts University (ORU). Students began the morning by participating in a guided tour at ORU led by Student Ambassadors Jordan Rollinson, a sophomore from Fort Worth, TX majoring in Business Administration and Joseph Thomas, a freshman from Montgomery, AL majoring in International Business and Management. Porum students saw numerous buildings and learned about various programs on campus.

Founded to educate the whole person—spirit, mind and body—Oral Roberts University promises a thorough education in the context of a vibrant Christ-centered community. Students began the tour at ORU’s Global Learning Center. Ambassadors led students to the Graduate Center, which is a hub of activity. This building houses the campus library, bookstore, various dining establishments and classrooms. Business and Entrepreneur students can innovate ideas and present them in the ONEOK Executive Boardroom (aka the ONEOK Shark Tank). There is also a “Hall of Mirrors” students routinely walk through in this building. This hall is a symbol to remind students they are created in God’s image and to reflect God daily in themselves.

Next, students ventured to Chapel, which is large and shaped like a tent. It is shaped like a tent because Oral Roberts started his ministry conducting tent revivals. They also went up inside the Prayer Tower, which provides an aerial view of campus and the Tulsa area. This tower also includes four private prayer rooms upstairs and four downstairs. The walls are lined with various scriptures and letters from previous presidents, congressional representatives and celebrities. Both groups saw inside the Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center. This is known as a recreational space for ORU students. The main room features four huge, flat screen televisions with a lounge area. This is a great space for the televised athletic events or movie nights they host on campus. It also houses air hockey tables, billiard, gaming console stations and computers. Upstairs is the Alumni Book Center where individuals can find numerous publications by ORU Alum.

Students viewed inside campus housing and all the amenities they offer if one lives on campus. The dorms house two students per room and include Wi-Fi, cable, a microwave, a mini fridge, free laundry and access to a Fitness Center in the building. There is also a campus gymnasium with an indoor track, weights and swimming pool for student athletes to use. ORU takes student health very seriously. As a Health/Physical Education course grade, all students are required to wear a Fitbit and walk at least 10,000 steps each day. They also must pass a swim test before they can graduate.

The tour ended at the Hammill Center where Porum students ate lunch in the Cafeteria with ORU students. Joseph explained “Eagle Bucks” and the ORU student “Eagle Cards.” Students can load the cards and spend them like a gift card around campus. This prevents college students from having to carry cash and deters them from feeling obligated to get a credit card and accumulate debt. The Cafeteria had numerous, all you can eat, meal options for Porum students. They left informed and satisfied.

“It was neat for students to see another college option near home. ORU is a beautiful campus with such diversity and so many program options,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo. “I’m glad we were able to expose students to another possibility and opportunity.”

The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern recently received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.

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