Q&A - August 9, 2015

Students come to OSUIT because they value the quality education and vocational training we provide, but many are also looking for something more—they want the overall experience that often accompanies college life. By creating a fashionable downtown urban environment, we hope to be able to provide an experience beyond what we have offered in the past and give potential students another reason to choose OSUIT as their college of first choice.

We envision our downtown loft apartments will soon become the premier and most popular housing offering at OSUIT. We thus intend this housing option to be a privilege reserved for select upperclassmen or more mature students.

Now, let me attempt to tackle some concerns about students receiving a lesser education if they live away from campus.

Q: How will downtown students access food service, bookstore, infirmary, library, etc?

Students living downtown will have the option of eating at current and future restaurants within easy walking distance. They will also be able to enjoy other entertainment venues and retail stores in the downtown area. At the same time, they will always have the option of the various meal plans that OSUIT provides on-campus, but we believe that most non-traditional students are interested in apartment living that offers a kitchen with options for them to prepare their own food.

The vast majority of OSUIT students commute to campus from their homes in surrounding communities. Students living downtown, like all other commuter students, will be able to access any on-campus services of their choosing including bookstore, library, health clinic, etc.

We are also having conversations with a network service provider that wants to supply our downtown buildings with the fastest broadband internet speed in Okmulgee—even to exceed what is available on-campus. With improvements in technology, physical proximity to services such as libraries and bookstores become less critical. It is still, however, our desire to offer a branch of the OSUIT Bookstore in one of our downtown facilities. And if downtown students choose not to use the on-campus health clinic, they can choose other options, as they can now.

Q: Traditional students who live off campus typically have a lower GPA than students who live on campus. Will this downtown project harm your students academically?

I am not sure that I am familiar with any documented study that can conclusively say that the grade point average of college students are lower simply because of living off campus. If that were the case, most of our students at OSUIT would already be at a disadvantage. Technically speaking, the buildings that will be operated by OSUIT downtown are part of the campus. They will have the same rules and expectations for residents as existing student housing facilities and they will offer similar academic support services.

It is worth restating, however, that the OSUIT downtown housing facilities will be intended for non-traditional students rather than traditional students. And a downtown student housing option for non-traditional students should make more rooms available on the main campus for traditional students.

If you would like to share your comments or ask a question, please direct them to osuit-president@okstate.edu.