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Best Campus Character: Bagpipe Guy

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Joshua Whitson, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System data analyst for the OSU Office of International Affairs| Muyao Shen | Assistant Photo Editor

Joshua Whitson, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System data analyst for the OSU Office of International Affairs, plays his bagpipe on the Oval. Credit: Muyao Shen | Assistant Photo Editor

With spring here and the weather beginning to warm up, Ohio State students can expect to see the well-known Bagpipe Guy playing music on the Oval.

Joshua Whitson, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System data analyst for the OSU Office of International Affairs, was not only given the nickname Bagpipe Guy by OSU students, but he was also voted as the Best Campus Character by the students in the Best of OSU online poll.

“I’m certainly happy that I was voted as the Best Campus Character and that people enjoy me playing in the Oval,” Whitson said. “I’m happy that I have become a part of campus culture.”

Whitson said that more people know him and acknowledge him on campus when he is playing his bagpipes than when he isn’t playing them.

“It’s funny because I’m just me, Josh Whitson; I’m just like a Clark Kent type of guy. He takes off his glasses and puts on his cape, and I take out the bagpipes and suddenly people know who we are,” he said. “The second the bagpipes are out, everyone knows who I am.”

Whitson was hired to work with the OSU Office of International Affairs in March 2014, and began playing his bagpipes on the Oval the following summer semester.

“I did this all summer with nobody commenting on it, but once the start of the fall semester of 2014 rolled around, I did the same thing and there were suddenly thousands of people commenting on it,” Whitson said.

As a competitive bagpiper who travels and plays in competitions both in the U.S. and abroad, Whitson said he needs to practice a lot, and he said that the Oval is the best place on campus to do so.

“The Oval is the closest place to my office, and there is enough distance between the Oval and the buildings for me to practice and not disturb classes going on,” Whitson said. “No one has yelled at me so far.”

The students at OSU have taken a liking to Whitson, as many of them said they enjoy hearing Whitson playing his bagpipes while they walk to class.

“I think it’s awesome that he plays his bagpipes on campus just because a lot of the students seem to love him and support him, and it spreads a lot of spirit as students walk across the Oval,” said Kelley Sadosky, a second-year in zoology. “He is very deserving to be the Best Campus Character.”

Another student, Chris Pietrow, a second-year in mechanical engineering, said he thinks that the Bagpipe Guy helps bring something different to the average day of an OSU student.

“Whenever I see him playing in the Oval, it always brightens my day because it is something different from the monotony of going to class on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

As the end of the semester approaches, Whitson said that students can expect to see him once the weather gets nicer.

“I’m just waiting for weather to warm up, and then I’ll be out there practicing again,” Whitson said.

2 comments

  1. Did you know OSU had its own bagpipe band at one time? The Army ROTC Buckeye Scottish Pipes and Drums were active from the mid-1960s until the mid-1970s. The band played for military ceremonies, in local parades and even during halftime at an OSU men’s basketball game.

  2. Love walking thru the oval and hearing the pipes – thanks Joshua

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