Think of Block O and a bouncing sea of scarlet and gray comes to mind, choreographed activity and a chorus of cheers to spark an Ohio Stadium crowd on game day.
Only there’s considerably more to Ohio State’s student section.
In fact, the organization is a thriving part of the campus experience for thousands of Ohio State students who support 11 sports teams and philanthropic efforts such as BuckeyeThon.
And while COVID-19 has changed athletic events and community gatherings, Block O has adjusted to provide support for student-athletes and its members.
The spirit and tradition of Ohio State is being a loving, giving community who supports each other no matter what,” said Catie Cleveland, a junior public health major and vice president of Block O. “That’s what our campus and the Ohio State community need right now, someone to foster community and maintain a sense of normalcy.”
One of Block O’s in-person efforts for interaction have been mentorship groups, which pair executive board members with a small group of freshmen. These groups meet and discuss what it’s like to be in Block O while brainstorming ideas for the organization to do new events.
“It’s a way to create those social connections,” said Nick Wead, a junior economics major and president of Block O. “We’re following all the protocols and guidelines while helping new members get ingrained with Block O and get that social connection they may be missing.”
Other engagements the group is considering include social media takeovers with coaches or former athletes, such as last spring’s with men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann. Block O also has made good use of its social media to support the team and promote engagement with students.
“We’ve had to think of different ways we can make sure safety is the number one priority and still be able to maintain that social engagement people, especially freshmen, are hoping to get this year,” Wead said. “We’re brainstorming constantly to make sure we can keep that hype and spirit up around campus.”
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