Seventeen GEAR UP students from Lane recently traveled to Durant to tour SOSU (Southeastern Oklahoma State University). The eighth grade students were met by Transfer Student Recruiter Charles Jackson who works in the University’s Admissions Office. After a brief introduction, Jackson led the students on a tour of the campus.
The day began with a tour of SOSU’s athletic facilities including the newly-remodeled baseball venue which has been renamed Mike Metheny Field in honor of SE Hall of Famer, coach, and NCAA Division II All-Time wins leader, Mike Metheny. The next stop was the Paul Laird Field where Jackson explained to students that SOSU offers a variety of free student events such as football games that builds school spirit and encourages students to become active in campus life. The tour continued at the Bloomer Sullivan Arena. Jackson reminded the Lane students that SOSU basketball greats such as WNBA star Crystal Robinson and Hall of Fame coach Nick Keith were also Atoka county graduates.
After touring the athletic facilities, Jackson gave the students a behind the scenes look at the Theatre Building which accommodates the Department of Art, Theater, and Communication. The building houses a small performance theater, a green screen, a costume room, and a set design station. The Department offers opportunities for both majors and non-majors to be involved productions and students can also earn scholarships by participating in the Sparks Dance Team and the Chorvettes Stageworks Company. As a student, Jackson had been the recipient of numerous awards from the Theater Department and showed students posters highlighting some of his performances.
The tour continued with a visit to the main campus which is built in the shape of an oval. At the center of the campus is the oldest building, Morrison Hall, which houses the education department and the University’s largest performing venue, Montgomery Auditorium. The students walked around the oval observing the educational facilities while Jackson explained the programs offered in each area. Although the original purpose of Southeastern was the education of teachers, the University has expanded its curriculum, and there are now four academic schools: Arts and Sciences, John Massey School of Business, and Education and Behavioral Sciences. Southeastern also offer Graduate and University Studies.
The tour concluded at the Glen D. Johnson Student Union which serves as the hub of student activities. Jackson explained there are over 70 activities available to college students including student government, Greek life, and intramural sports. He described the process for forming new organizations. SOSU has a large international enrollment and the Office of International Student Services housed in the Student Union provides resources and involvement opportunities for International students. Before leaving the group, Jackson encouraged students to start preparing for college immediately and to not wait until their senior year to make life changing decisions.
“Realizing that people from their own community are successful SOSU graduates is an encouragement to these eighth grade students,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Denise Lovell. “Post-secondary education can be a reality not just a dream.”
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, EOSC received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and serves over 3,000 students in 39 area schools.