Illustration by Olivia Juenger | For The Post

College is a movie, and you’re the main character

August 26, 2021

Students can be the main character in their ‘college movie’ through these organizations

By Riley Runnells | Culture Editor

L et’s set the scene: a student is walking through the Ohio University Involvement Fair, trying their best to take in as many groups as possible and find the one they want to join. The crowd is massive; the organizations’ tables are decked out, trying their best to welcome students and draw them in.

Just when the student thinks they won’t find the organization they’ve been looking for, there it is. The student’s main character moment has arrived: the spotlight hits them, they walk toward the organization’s table and just like that, they’ve found the group they want to join.

As a first year college student, finding what organizations to join can be incredibly overwhelming. Even as a second, third, fourth year and so on, it can be stress-inducing to see the slew of organizations OU has to offer and choose which one(s) will enhance the college experience.

However, with the large number of organizations comes a greater chance of finding the place a student has been searching for to live out their college movie moment and be the main character.

Most organizations allow students to join at any point throughout any time in their college experience, so here’s a guide to finding the ultimate college movie moment experience through some of the organizations OU has to offer.

Pitch Perfect – Music Groups

Anyone who has seen Pitch Perfect knows a cappella and music groups in general can be a blast – just ask the Barden Bellas or the Treblemakers.

At OU, there are a plethora of music groups ranging from organizations like the OU Trombone Society or the a cappella group The Tempo Tantrums to organizations designed for appreciating music, like the swing dance group the Jitterbug Club or the Music Teachers National Association.

“Obviously, like anyone who breathes, I have seen Pitch Perfect and it was definitely one of my and my family's favorite movies,” Emily Ewen, a junior studying theater, said in an email. “I also participated in a cappella in high school, where we went to the high school version of that competition, ICHSA's. I already had a love for a cappella and making music with a group of people, so I was excited to see that there were competitive a cappella groups here at OU. I was even more excited when I joined the group and found that everybody wanted to do well, but the main priority was making exciting music, having fun, and bonding as a group of friends.”

The group in question is New Chords on the Block, a co-ed a cappella ensemble where Ewen is a member at large and secretary who sings alto one and soprano two. She joined the group her freshman year at OU and has made some of her best friends because of it.

“My mother's favorite boy band is New Kids on the Block, so I made an impulsive decision to audition for this group and only this group,” Ewen said in an email. “I was accepted and found a group that would force me to socialize with upperclassmen and other people my age. I was voted into the position by my fellow group members, and I have been loving every second of it.”

New Chords on the Block gave Ewen a musical outlet she didn’t know she needed. Although she had done a cappella in high school and music has always been a part of her life, she wasn’t planning on pursuing it in college. Her impulsive decision to join New Chords on the Block changed her entire college experience.

“This group has enhanced my college experience more than I ever thought it would,” Ewen said in an email. “It gave me friends who were both my age and older than me, who could give me advice about things around campus and paths for my college career. It also forced me to get out of my dorm room. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for a very long time, so hiding in my dorm room between classes and on weekends was the easiest thing to do. But having rehearsals, group parties, get-togethers and travelling to other colleges made me come out of my shell and make memories and friends for life that I never would have made if I were not in this group. As an executive member I cannot wait to give that experience to future "chords"!”

Because of her great experience, Ewen highly encourages students to join music groups and live out their own Pitch Perfect moment through the passion and soul-healing that comes with making music.

“These groups are fun, exciting, and just filled with really great people who are funny, welcoming, and want to meet you,” Ewen said in an email. “I promise, it is worth a shot!”

“These groups are fun, exciting and just filled with really great people who are funny, welcoming and want to meet you. I promise, it is worth a shot!"—Emily Ewen, a junior studying theater

The House Bunny / Monsters University – Greek Life

Two of the most popular groups featured in films about college are sororities and fraternities. Films like The House Bunny, Monsters University, Neighbors and more have embodied the Greek Life experience – with much exaggeration, of course – and have encouraged kids to get involved at the college of their choice.

OU is home to more than 30 chapters in Sorority and Fraternity Life. Students joining can have social and academic experiences, but across the board of options are all meant to foster strong relationships.

Courtney Ramey, a junior studying exercise physiology, joined Alpha Xi Delta because she didn’t know many people going into college and wanted an opportunity to make friends.

“I would have to say the main reason I decided to go through recruitment was for all of the new friends and opportunities I would have access to,” Ramey said in an email. “I’m very grateful for the best friends Greek Life has brought me in and out of my chapter.”

Growing up, Ramey was a huge fan of Legally Blonde. In the film, the main character Elle Woods was in Delta Nu sorority and Ramey saw how much fun she had. That encouraged her to want to join a sorority when she got to college.

Though Ramey was unsurprised by the connections and friendships she made through Greek Life, she was surprised by how focused Greek Life made her on academics. Between weekly chapter, Women’s Panhellenic Association meetings, philanthropy events and any other requirements, she found her motivation for academics skyrocketed to be able to participate in everything possible.

“One great thing about my chapter I love is how we earn a minimum of academic study hours every week as well as uphold a certain GPA in order to participate in the fun stuff,” Ramey said in an email. “I believe this makes me a better student and a better member of the OU Greek community.”

Ramey believes if people are on the fence about joining Greek Life, they should just go for it. They could end up having the same positive experience Ramey is so proud to have.

“You’ll never know if it will be something that you're into unless you test the waters yourself,” Ramey said in an email.

Mona Lisa Smile – Activist Groups

Though many groups on campus provide opportunities for professional development, fostering friendships and having fun outside of academics, there’s a large array of groups that focus on activism and social justice.

The LGBT Center, Women’s Center and Multicultural Center all provide great opportunities to get involved in social justice, but students also take the initiative to create organizations that work hard to promote inclusivity and equity while educating students on the life experiences of people different from them. Many groups focus on ethnic and racial activism, queer and LGBTQ+ activism and women’s activism.

One women’s activist group is the American Association of University Women, which works to promote opportunities and equality for women.

Hannah Moore, a sophomore studying translational health – applied nutrition, is serving as secretary in the AAUW. She joined the AAUW because she wanted to be a part of a group that advocated for women in STEM.

“It was a great way to adjust to campus life, I was able to advocate about something important to me early in my college career, and I was able to be surrounded by strong women,” Moore said in an email.

Growing up, films like Pitch Perfect always made Moore want to find her “girl gang” in college. She also took inspiration from Elle Woods in Legally Blonde to not let her “girliness” stop her from dreaming big in terms of her education. To Moore, the AAUW was the perfect organization to stay true to herself while empowering other women.

“AAUW works to raise awareness about inequalities in STEM fields, advocates for equal rights for women in academia, and works to support women’s education in the community,” Moore said in an email. “All of these efforts work to enhance the lives of women on OU’s campus as they work towards getting the education they deserve, by giving them the support they need. We give women a sense of belonging on campus by helping bring each other up and supporting each other when things get tough and people get in their way.”

At the end of the day, Moore believes every student at OU deserves equal opportunities while working toward an education. Especially with women being disproportionately represented in 6 of the 10 lowest-paying majors and 9 out of 10 of the highest paying majors – all STEM, Moore might add – she would encourage anyone to join the AAUW.

“We want all students to join AAUW to help raise awareness, advocate for equality, and find an empowering and supportive group of women on campus,” Moore said in an email.

Rudy – Sports Groups

For the sports fans out there, Rudy is most likely a well-known name because of the film’s titular character. Though not everyone can fight their way onto OU’s football team the way Rudy did with the University of Notre Dame, there are a lot of ways for sports lovers to get involved on campus.

For those interested in playing sports, OU’s official sports teams are certainly one route. However, another, more accessible route are the OU club sports teams. There are the more common and familiar teams like tennis, water polo or soccer, but there are also ones people may not have heard of like men and women’s ultimate frisbee, archery and even cornhole.

But sports organizations don’t just exist for those who want to play; there are also many organizations for sports professionals interested in the business, ranging from media coverage and logistics with Ohio Athletics Sports Media and the Ohio University Sports Business Association to representation with Women in Sports and the Association of Multicultural Sports Professionals.

Micaylah Nash, a senior studying sports management and marketing, is the president of the Association of Multicultural Sports Professionals and was looking forward to getting involved in something like this when she got to college.

“I grew up playing volleyball, basketball, soccer, and lacrosse so I've always had a love for sports,” Nash said in an email. “My family would watch The Blind Side a lot, but we spent most of our time attending and watching games together.”

Nash decided to join the organization her freshman year because she wanted to be a part of a group that promotes diversity in the sports workforce, which is primarily a white, male dominated field.

“After attending a general body meeting freshman year, I felt so supported by all of the members and decided to go with them on a networking trip to Chicago,” Nash said in an email. “My sophomore year, I became the Public Relations chair, junior year I was the Vice President, and now as a senior I'm the President. These leadership positions have helped me grow tremendously throughout my college experience.”

Nash is proud of the work the organization does. More than anything, she feels it can provide a safe environment for minority students with an interest in working in the sports world with a space to grow professionally through workshops, trips, networking and building friendships.

“We can also play a part in educating others on how to support their minority classmates and coworkers and ways in which they can promote diversity in their careers,” Nash said in an email.

Legally Blonde / The Social Network – Countless opportunities

Though these four areas encompass many organizations on campus, they only scratch the surface of what OU has to offer. Additionally, students can join professional development groups and have their Legally Blonde movie moment. Or, if none of the organizations seem appealing, students are more than welcome to have a The Social Network movie moment and create their own group centered around whatever they want.

The opportunities with OU organizations are relatively limitless, and getting involved is a key way to become more connected with OU and others who attend the university. For more information on OU’s organizations, visit BobcatConnect.

AUTHOR: Riley Runnells
EDITOR: Kayla Bennett
COPY EDITOR: Isabel Nissley
ILLUSTRATION: Olivia Juenger