Thirty GEAR UP students from Stringtown recently traveled to Ada to tour East Central University (ECU). The seventh and eighth grade students began the day in the Regents Room located in the Student Union with a brief introduction to ECU and collegiate life given by Admissions Recruiter Alyson Chapman. Chapman explained the admissions process and encouraged the students to begin preparing now by working on grades, having good behavior, and monitoring their social media accounts.
Chapman was joined by Student Guide Brianna Gilley, and the two representatives led the GEAR UP students on a walking tour of the campus. During the tour, students visited the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center which houses the Art Gallery that features the work of nationally renowned and locally known artists as well as student and faculty shows. The hallways outside of the art gallery display ECU’s permanent collection of art including art from Salvador Dali. The Fine Arts Center is one of the tallest buildings in Ada and is home to the Ataloa Theater where most of East Central’s musical productions are performed.
The tour continued with a stop at the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business where the students learned about the programs offered in business and law. Here the college students have access to a stock market lab, a virtual classroom and a mock courtroom. The building also contains the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center which serves as meeting facility but is also equipped to serve as an emergency shelter and command center.
Next, the students explored the Science Hall, Horace Mann Building, Linscheid Library, and the Bill S. Cole University Center. At the University Center, Gilley informed the students that ECU provides a variety of activities for their college students in an effort to engage them socially as well as academically. The students were allowed to see the workout center, the cinema, the game room and even watched a practice basketball game.
The tour concluded with lunch in ECU’s Taff Cafeteria where the middle school students enjoyed lunch with the university students and reviewed some of the highlights of the tour which included a 250,000,000-year-old petrified tree stump located at the entrance to the college and the legend of Diamond, a circus elephant that is buried somewhere on campus.
“For many of these students, this is their first time to tour a college campus,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Denise Lovell. “With the information they gained today, the students realize that attending college is a real possibility for them.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program. 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.