While seeing a group of high school students touring the campus is a common sight, A Day in the Life of a Buckeye offers a different experience than traditional tours.
The annual event, which took place Wednesday, is intended to give sophomores and juniors from inner-city and Appalachian area high schools the opportunity to see what college is really about, guided by student hosts to show them campus firsthand.
DaVonti’ Haynes, an organizer for the event and a graduate student in the College of Education and Human Ecology and the College of Social Work, said he saw a need to reach out to more low-income and rural high schools when he first came to OSU. As an undergraduate, Haynes worked with Undergraduate Student Government to help make A Day in the Life of a Buckeye possible.
What was started from a program that consisted of about 60 high schoolers from just two Columbus schools has grown to encompass 11 schools across the state, with 400 students attending the fifth-annual Day in the Life.
Haynes said he is surprised that the event has become what it is now.He said the event’s success over the years is due to support from the Office of Student Life, which took on the running of the event after its first year. He also attributed the growth to the nine colleges at OSU that sponsor the event.
“The point of this program is not to recruit kids to Ohio State,” Haynes said. “This is a real and authentic look at what college life is. We aren’t shy about all the different aspects of college life.”
Both Haynes and his co-organizer, LeRoy Ricksy, a third-year in criminology, said the event is special because it pairs high-school students with their hosts based on a variety of factors, such as gender, major and interests.
“Whatever the OSU student is doing that day, then that is what the kid will do,” Ricksy said. “If the student lives in a dorm, then the high schooler will see the dorm life. If the student lives in a Greek house, the high schooler will see that too.”
Vic Young, a third-year in international studies, was a junior in high school when he first came to OSU as part of A Day in the Life, and ultimately decided to attend OSU based on that experience.
On Wednesday, Young served as a student host for the second time, and said it was a no-brainer to host a high school student’s visit.
“The coolest part is seeing him, seeing myself in him,” Young said. “When I was in 10th grade, I know what I was thinking, and it wasn’t college. But it’s still something that needs thinking about. It’s far, but closer than you think.”
Tyric Drane, a sophomore at East Tech, a high school in Cleveland, said this was special to him because he someday wants to not only come to OSU, but also play football as a Buckeye.
When asked what the best part of his day was, Drane said it was the food, and Young agreed with a laugh.
“I showed him all the best food spots on campus, so he knows when he makes it here,” Young said.
Drane said he probably wouldn’t have toured OSU if not for the event.
As student guides and high schoolers met in the Ohio Union for a handful of speakers for the event, Alesia Gillison, chief academic officer for Columbus City Schools, touched on what she believes it takes to become a Buckeye.
“Everyone in this room has heard about the achievement gap,” she said. “But I’m tired of that. Let’s talk about the belief gap. You all need to believe that you can make the dream of a college degree possible.”