When new freshmen and transfer students arrive on campus to begin their careers at Grove City College, chances are smiling face in a white shirt with OB on it is the first thing they see.
Within a few minutes – or seconds – of pulling up to a residence hall, members of the Orientation Board – or OB – swarm the new students’ vehicles, unload all their worldly possessions, haul them into their residence halls and help them get set up in what’s likely to be their home away from home for the next four years. In the next few days, there’s little the new freshman will be doing without someone from the OB standing with them.
OB exists to bring new students up to speed: showing them the ins and outs of College life, welcoming them into the campus community and helping them get to know one and another. They serve as tour guides and role models for new students as they navigate their first days on campus and get acquainted with, and acclimated to, the unique culture of Grove City College.
They try to make the whole process easy and they aren’t afraid to have fun. As well as herding a few hundred new students from one presentation to another, they organize and host a get-to-know each other dance, movie night, talent show and the always silly OB Olympics. These recreational events help ease new students’ stress and provide opportunities to bond.
Scott Gordon is the group’s staff advisor. He says the motivation for about 100 upperclassmen to return to school early each year and help strangers (but not for long) feel comfortable in a new environment is three-fold: “First, the fun Christian fellowship of being on OB and serving together for a purpose bigger than any individual member. Second, they were impacted by an OB member that preceded them. And finally, the desire to be Christian leaders as peers for peers,” Gordon said.
That sounds about right to current OB members Jackson Fyfe ’20, Camille Yamamoto ’20 and Ethan Raynaud ’22, who were working an information booth in the courtyard of the Hall of Arts and Letters on Friday. Basically, they said, they joined the Orientation Board because they wanted to do for others what had been done for them.
“I got so much from the upperclassmen when I was a freshman,” Fyfe said. “I joined OB because that was such a great experience and I wanted to give back by providing the same thing to new freshmen.”