Q&A - April 1, 2016

It takes more than sharing a zip code to create a sense of community. It requires cooperation and trust as well. At OSUIT, we are proud to share 74447 with the residents of Okmulgee, and we are continually looking for ways to become more closely connected with this community.

In recent years, leaders at OSUIT and in Okmulgee have made a concerted effort to renew and strengthen areas of cooperation between campus and community and to build a partnership of trust. The fruits of those labors are beginning to blossom, and one of the most colorful examples is the annual event called OrangeFest.

Q: What is OrangeFest, and how is OSUIT involved?

The name “OrangeFest” was coined last year when Okmulgee Main Street and OSUIT decided to combine their talent and resources to host a joint festival for the general public. Both organizations have hosted festival type events in the past and both saw the value in working together. The result of the collaboration was OrangeFest, and it was a rousing success, especially for the reviving downtown Okmulgee district.

Now in its second year, organizers are planning for OrangeFest to be even bigger and better. On Friday, April 8, the free event will include plenty to see and do, and I guarantee there will be something of interest for everyone (e.g. live music, shopping, food trucks, downtown eateries, art displays, a chalk walk, the 5K “Glo Run” and much more.)

OSUIT will have a big presence at OrangeFest with several orange and black cars on display that have been restored by our Collision Repair students, as well as booths manned by students and faculty from our Orthotics & Prosthetics program, School of Culinary Arts, and School of Arts & Sciences.

Across from the Bell Building, one of two downtown properties OSUIT has purchased, we will have the most recent renderings on display of the Old Post Office Complex at the corner of 5th Street and Grand Avenue, which is the other property purchased by OSUIT. These building purchases are some of the best examples of how OSUIT is committed to seeing Okmulgee once again have a thriving downtown and become a growing community. OSUIT is invested, literally, in the #OkmulgeeRising downtown revitalization initiative, and we want our students to be a major factor in that effort.

Another aspect of OrangeFest this year is that it will serve as a type of homecoming weekend for OSUIT, and we will hold our annual Alumni Homecoming Reception on Saturday, April 9, on the university campus. During this reception, we will induct 11 people into our Alumni Hall of Fame. We hope those who come back to visit campus for the reception will also take advantage of OrangeFest and visit downtown Okmulgee to see the exciting revitalization happening in their former college town.

Over the next few day you will be seeing more OrangeFest promotions. Please come out and enjoy all the festivities this year, and I hope you will consider making it an annual tradition for your family.

You are likewise invited to send more questions for my response to osuit-president@okstate.edu.