A Day At Ohio State
On Thursday, December 4, 2014, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male (BNRC) and Community Outreach and Engagement hosted a group of Black males from South High School for “A Day at OSU.” The event, organized by Daniel Thomas and Dr. Robert Bennett III, exposed students to The Ohio State University campus. Upon their arrival, Thomas and Bennett led a discussion with the students on the expectations of collegiate life, which included the steps needed to put together a strong application for entrance into any institution of higher education. There was also dialogue on the numerous opportunities provided to students once they have graduated from high school.
Jonathan Rodriguez, a third year pre-communications major, and Yonatan Tsige, a second year neuroscience major, took the students on a tour of campus that included visits to the Recreation Physical Activity Center (RPAC), Thompson Library, Mirror Lake, and the Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO). At SASSO students had an opportunity to talk with director Dr. David Graham, who discussed the experiences of student-athletes and highlighted the importance of academics
Tsige stated, “The students asked questions and expressed how much they loved the campus. During the tour, different types of conversation were sparked from sports to life goals. Engaging with these students in this manner really opened their eyes to what can lie in their near future.” While walking around campus, students also met Eli Apple and Vonn Bell, two members of the Ohio State football team. After conversations with these two men, one South High student said, “This can really be me. I can attend the school of my dreams and do what I love to do. Thank you guys for this.”
After the tour, the South High School students attended a student panel session in the MLK Lounge of the Frank W. Hale, Jr. Black Cultural Center where they were provided the opportunity to meet current Ohio State students, a few who were also BNRC students. Guest speakers included Rodriguez, Tsige, KayMesha Knox, who is a South High alum and integrated language arts major at Ohio State, and Chellie Colbert, a communications major. They talked about their experiences as Buckeyes, highlighting the trials and tribulations as well as the positives of their academic journeys. Rodriguez noted, “I remember how impacted I was as a youngster to have people talk to me about college. For these guys, playing at the next level is something they want to do. Just like at one point, I did as well. The only problem is that most kids do not realize the hard work that it takes to play in college. Discouraging [them] was not the goal. We wanted to prepare them for the realities ahead of them.”
William K. Ragland II, an administrator at South High and a PhD student at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, remarked, “The boys really enjoyed their experience on campus. They left with a lot of great information. When we got back, they had already began talking about college in a serious manner.” Such reflections illustrate why it is so important to have students visit university campuses and give them exposure to a college campus. Just one visit can be the difference if a student decides to goes to college or not.