Forty-six seventh and eighth grade Crowder GEAR UP students recently toured ORU (Oral Roberts University) in Tulsa. Student Ambassadors Rosa Beitia (a Medical Molecular Biology senior from San Antonio, TX) and Marc Swanner (a Ministry and Leadership/Business Management freshman from Greenville, NC) welcomed Crowder students to the Global Learning Center before starting the tour.
Student Ambassadors gave visitors an overview of the campus and life as a student at ORU. While college students each choose a specific major, ORU offers a holistic education, which focuses on the mind, body and spirit. Classes serve as mind growth but there are other opportunities on campus to take care of one’s body and spiritual well-being. Crowder students were surprised to learn that every ORU student wears a Fitbit to track movement. The data from the Fitbit is used to assign students a physical education grade each semester. ORU students must have at least 10,000 steps each day. There is also Christ’s Chapel where students can go to worship throughout the week as well as meeting in smaller groups for devotionals in the Prayer Garden or Prayer Tower on campus.
Student ambassadors briefly spoke about the GLC (Global Learning Center) where most of the technology classes are held. There is a special VR (virtual reality) lab inside this building that students from all majors can take advantage of to help them in their fields of study. The tour then ventured over to the GC (Graduate Center). Nursing and Business majors have classes in the GC. Business majors even have a special “Shark Tank” to present ideas to area business professionals and possibly start an internship that could lead to future employment. The “Hall of Mirrors” connects the GC and the LRC (Learning Resource Center). As students walked through the hall guides explained how the mirrors are a reminder to live in the image of God. The LRC houses resources for college students such as the campus bookstore, campus library, Student Success Center, campus info desk and various dining options.
Next, students wandered to the Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center. Sometimes referred to as the “recreation center,” Hammer offers ORU students a place to decompress and socialize. There are ping-pong tables, billiards, video gaming consoles, air hockey, charging stations, huge flat screen televisions, dining options, and comfortable spaces to just hang out or work on assignments. Behind Hammer, students saw the athletic facilities including the newly-built track. Guides highlighted the Division One sports that ORU is involved in including basketball and soccer. Students travel from around the globe to attend ORU and join athletics.
The last stop on campus was to the Hamill Center. This building houses offices such as Campus Security and the Post Office on the bottom floor. The top floor features the student cafeteria where Crowder students dined with the ORU students. Students left the tour full of college knowledge and a hearty lunch.
“I love to see GEAR UP student connect and begin to see their future on a college campus,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo. “ORU is a beautiful campus and the education offered here is excellent.”
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 received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and serves over 3,000 students in 39 area schools.