What are the benefits of joining OACS?
Companionship - OACS has a history of being a group of students who have established friendships that extend beyond the university’s boundaries. Because the majority of our members live with each other in the same community, they are not only acquaintances, but also friends, roommates, and study partners.
Leadership & Teamwork Skills - Participation in OACS helps develop a student’s leadership and teamwork skills. OACS members are often placed in challenging situations that demand trust and mutual support of one another. In addition, OACS members are asked to “take charge” by developing project ideas and taking the lead in the planning different events.
Participation in Challenging Activities - The Outdoor Adventure component in OACS provides a meaningful way for students to engage in challenging, risk-taking activities in a socially acceptable way. Although the perceived risk in many of these activities is high, the actual risk and danger is low.
Community Involvement - OACS members get involved not only on campus, but also in the local community. They participate in projects to benefit the less fortunate. Through various service project, OACS members are provided the opportunity to make the community in which they live a better place to be.
"I joined OACS as a freshman, and it was the best way to help with my high school to college transition. The other OACS members have become my family away from home." -Nina Carrillo, OACS member, 2006-2008
OACS was founded as a residential living community in the fall of 2004 by former director of housing & residence life Bryan Valentine, who had hoped to attract students who, among other things, were involved with the Boy & Girl Scouts during high school.
During the initial year, a group of 11 first-year students lived in the community, which was then located in the University Court. They took part in a variety of activities, ranging from camping and hiking trips to highway cleanups. This was also the year that Pitt-Greensburg’s OACS began participating in the annual Habitat for Humanity “Collegiate Challenge” spring break trip to Florida. Habitat for Humanity is now a separate student organization at Pitt-Greensburg.
In the fall of 2006, the OACS community was moved to the first floor of Marshall House in the Academic Villages. Around this same time, OACS director Bryan Valentine left Pitt-Greensburg to pursue another position, and Brian Root, a newly-hired resident director at the time, took over the OACS director role.
The group was once again moved a year later in the fall of 2007 to Westmoreland Hall, where it is now located. Current accommodations allow for the group to house 16 residents (4 people to an apartment). During the 2006-07 school year, the members of OACS began allowing “non-residents” to apply for membership. This move allowed the group to expand to 20+ members in the fall of 2007 for the first time in its short history. Now, OACS is not only a residential living community, but also a certified student organization on campus.
From August 2010 to the summer of 2012, Resident Director Sarah Young served as the director of OACS. Currently, Brian Root serves in this role, with the assistance of a Graduate Resident Director.
The group’s funding comes from three sources – the Office of Housing & Residence Life, Student Government, and the members themselves, who each pay an annual $100 membership fee.