Week 6: Student Leadership and Involvement

Ready, Set, Oberlin! A week-by-week guide to prepare for your arrival

Welcome Letter from Associate Dean of Students, Thom Julian

Associate Dean of Students, Thom JulianWelcome to Oberlin! As you learned through the admissions process, the Oberlin community is welcoming, vibrant, and vast. I cannot wait to have you join us! As you prepare for your arrival in August, I encourage you to ask yourself two questions:

  1. What do you hope to gain from the Oberlin community?

Oberlin’s community, both inside and outside the classroom, offers a tight-knit social environment that is bursting at the seams with opportunities to engage. This includes our 175+  student organizations, an abundance of on-campus events, and our mission as a residential campus. It can be overwhelming to know where to focus your engagement. Think about the skills you want to learn and the experiences that you want to have at Oberlin, then make a plan for achieving those goals.

      2. What do you hope to contribute to the Oberlin community?

A community is a sum of its parts. Oberlin is excited by the unique skills and talents you will bring to campus. We hope that you’ll strive to become an engaged member of our community, keeping in mind Oberlin’s values of integrity and inclusiveness.

Throughout the summer, Ready, Set, Oberlin! will show you some of the people, resources, and traditions that are integral to our community. I hope it helps you find your place at Oberlin! We also invite you to attend virtual events this spring with current students and faculty. You’ll find a list and links at the end of this issue.

If you have questions, please contact me at tjulian@oberlin.edu. Enjoy your summer, and I will see you in August!


Thom Julian

Student Organizations at Oberlin

Oberlin is home to over 175 student organizations! Funded by your student activity fee, "student orgs" offer more than 300 events each year, provide amazing leadership development opportunities, and will help you meet classmates with similar interests.

Here are some highlights:

  • ‌Solarity sponsors music, dance, and multimedia productions on campus, such as concerts and arts festivals. Recent acts include a concert by Lizzo and a production by the Oberlin College Aerialists.

    Picture from Solarity

  • ‌Our faith-based organizations hold daily prayer meetings and weekly services for Hillel, Chabad, Catholic mass, and Muslim prayer services.
  • Since 2001, the Big Parade organization has sponsored an annual town/gown parade inviting students to build creative floats and connect with the City of Oberlin.

Picture from Big Parade

  • OCTaiko, Oberlin’s Taiko student organization, and OSteel, our student-led steel pan ensemble, offer EXCO classes and several yearly performances. 
  • ABUSUA, Oberlin's Black Student Union, draws large crowds at its annual Black History Month celebration, including a popular "BHM Fashion Show", while also providing a welcoming community for students.

Picture from the BHM Fashion Show

  • Club sports are an essential part of campus life. Fencing, tennis, and rugby are just a few. Oberlin’s women and trans-Ultimate Frisbee team, “the Preying Manti,” won two consecutive national titles in 2018 and 2019.

We are confident there is a student organization that is perfect for you, but you are welcome to create any organization that we don’t yet have! Please contact Tina Zwegat, Director of Student Involvement and Orientation, at tzwegat@oberlin.edu with any questions. ‌

Leadership Development

Here at Oberlin, we believe that anyone can be a leader. Our student leadership programs help students to make the most of their leadership experiences. Whether you’re looking to learn more about leadership as a whole or you’re involved with an organization and want some leadership support, we have something for you. Here are some ways to get involved with Student Leadership at Oberlin.  

  • Obie Leaders: Obie Leaders is our cohort-based leadership development program. Join a group of fellow Oberlin students for a series of five interactive workshops exploring leadership from the individual to the community level. Obie Leaders is offered at least once a semester to a cohort of students. 
  • The National Society of Leadership and Success: The NSLS is a leadership honor society that offers students access to scholarships, job boards, and leadership development. Students become eligible for nomination in the fall of their second year.  
  • LEAD 220: Students looking to get academic credit for their leadership learning can enroll in LEAD 220, a second module course based on Barry Posner and Jim Kouzes’ Student Leadership Challenge. Learn about the five practices of exemplary leadership and gain practical skills for leadership in and beyond Oberlin!  
  • Leadership Workshops: Interested in something specific in leadership? Want some additional support for your student organization? Student Leadership offers workshops throughout the semester on a variety of leadership topics. If your student organization or student group wants to work on a specific leadership area, you can also request a workshop from the Student Leadership team.  

We are excited to welcome you to Oberlin! Learn more about leadership programming on our website.