Q&A - October 8, 2016

In response to my recent column about what it takes to become a college town, many of you had questions about the type of activities or businesses OSUIT students would enjoy and frequent. I believe there is a real market for certain entertainment venues that would cater to college students in Okmulgee. So this week, I would like to discuss this topic further.

Q: What are college students looking for in Okmulgee?

If I have learned anything about college students in my thirty years of working with them, I’ve learned that they like to keep late hours. Young adults have a stamina for late nights that people my age can hardly remember. I guess we were just like them when we were their age, but all I know is that when I’m struggling to keep my eyes open around 10:00 or 11:00 at night, they are just getting started. Typically, college students are most alert at night or in the wee hours of the morning. I like to believe the majority of our students are reading their textbooks and working on assignments during these nocturnal hours, but in reality most of them are just looking for ways to entertain themselves. No, they are not looking for ways to get into trouble, just for ways to have fun. They play video games, watch movies, and socialize with their friends. They like to laugh and have a good time. Being a student in college can be highly stressful, and it is healthy for them to have activities to help them take their minds off of their college work from time to time.

It is perfectly understandable why so many of our students at OSUIT drive all the way to Tulsa in pursuit of nightlife. But I know for a fact that many of them would prefer to stay here in town if they had options. When they complain “there is nothing to do in Okmulgee,” they really mean there is nothing to do in Okmulgee “at night.” From their perspective, because they like to eat late at night and have fun late at night, Okmulgee needs more restaurants and entertainment venues with late night hours, and these evening offerings need to be safe and affordable.

Then there are also the OSUIT students who are avid sportsmen and women, who like to hunt and fish and enjoy camping, hiking, or water sports. These outdoorsy types are looking for recreational opportunities that might be away from town but still convenient to campus. Many of our students are sports enthusiasts who like to watch sporting events and want to participate in sports themselves. These students desire places where they can hang out and watch the big game or sports related facilities designed for organized play. Today’s students also enjoy music of all kinds. They maintain a surprisingly eclectic playlist on their smartphones and look for concerts to attend or small music venues with live performances.

With a little creativity and effort, Okmulgee could easily become a thriving college town.

If you have additional questions or comments about OSUIT students, please send them to me at osuit-president@okstate.edu.