'Own Oxford' gives freshmen a head start

By Cathy Wooten | Oxford College | Aug. 15, 2012

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During their three days at Oxford, students got familiar with the Oxford campus and explored the local community.

The inaugural session of Own Oxford in July welcomed 55 incoming freshmen to the Oxford College campus. The three-day, two-night experience is an opportunity for entering students to experience the campus prior to the official orientation, which begins on August 24.  Participants came literally from coast to coast, from Washington and California to Georgia and the Carolinas. 

"We designed Own Oxford to allow students not only to meet other students and form new bonds, but also to identify ways they want to leave their own legacy in their time at Oxford-to choose what they want their own Oxford to be," says Honi Migdol, Oxford College director of student involvement and leadership, who designed and led Own Oxford. Assisting in the execution of Own Oxford were Daphne Everhart, assistant directory of student activities; Kim David, assistant director of student development; Amanda Yu, health and wellness educator; Maura Klein, admissions advisor; Stacey Towler, associate dean of marketing and enrollment; and Pete Sherrard, assistant athletic director.

During their three days at Oxford, students got familiar with the Oxford campus, explored the Covington/Newton community and were hosted by Dean Stephen Bowen at a meal in the President's Home.  They also gave back to the community through a service project at Covington's Nelson Heights Community Center, where they conducted activities for children and compiled and distributed back-to-school supplies and backpacks.  All activities were designed for fun, but also as introductions to themes that are central to life at Oxford College:  leadership and community, diversity and identity and health and wellness. 

Student leaders, known as Own Oxford Welcome Leaders or OWLs, were selected from among outstanding members of the rising sophomore class.  They included Josephine Akinwumiju, Acworth, Ga.; Ryan Bigg, Lilburn, Ga.; Sofia Hirani, Stone Mountain, Ga.; Krysten Johnson, Newnan, Ga.; Tevin Leufroy, Lithonia, Ga.; Zach Martin, Rome, Ga.; Ash Nakkana, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; and Esther Yang, Nashville, Tenn. 

In the capstone event, Own Oxford participants went through a series of leadership and teamwork challenges and bid each other good-bye with a shaving-cream fight.  Six weeks later they will come together again for freshman orientation, where they will meet new friends, but, thanks to Own Oxford, they will also greet 54 established friends-and they will be well on their way to knowing how they want to make Oxford their own.