OxyEngage Explores SoCal

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Author: Hillary Holmes

Before Oxy students began packing or thinking about coming back to school, many first-year students were already on campus ready to participate in OxyEngage.

The OxyEngage program, in its second year, is designed for first-year students to form connections with others who share similar interests while participating in unique trips.

OxyEngage is made up of three “branches” that compose the entire program: OxyConnects, OxyEncounters and OxyExplores. OxyConnects is focused on reaching out to the community. This year, first-years traveled to San Diego to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. While on the trip students worked on houses for low-income families in the area. Their responsibilities included framing doors, painting, and siding the houses.

Lee Rosch (first-year) signed up for the San Diego Habitat trip. He wanted to experience community service through the Habitat for Humanity organization, meet new people with the same interests and reach out to the community. “The OxyEngage program was a good way to meet people and a great mechanism for the smooth transition into college life,” Rosch said.

OxyEncounters is designed to help students experience the vibe of Los Angeles. Trips within OxyEncounters included the L.A. Fashion Experience with trips to showrooms, the fashion district and television studios, as well as L.A. Arts and Culture with excursions to the Getty Center and Little Tokyo.

In addition to the perks of arriving on campus early, Charlotte Krovoza (first-year) joined the arts and culture trip to familiarize herself with the greater Los Angeles area. Although she did see some interesting sights on the journey– identifying the trip to MacArthur park to make tamales as the highlight– she would have liked to experience “underground L.A.”

“It was a really fun trip but I wish that we hadn’t done so much of the touristy Los Angeles activities like Hollywood Boulevard,” said Krovoza.

This year of the program produced a brand new trip: The Hip Hop Experience.

This trip focused on underground hip hop in L.A. and included trips to the Debbie Reynolds studio, visits to meet guest artists (including Oxy student Aimee Winston [sophomore] and a showing of the co-ed dance group Groovaloo.)

The final branch, OxyExplores, took students on outdoor trips. This year, students went to Santa Barbara, Sespe, and Malibu beach for hiking and kayaking at the beach.

“It was a great chance to meet new people,” Sophie Pawlowski (first-year) said.

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