“OUr Atlanta” Trips Open the City to Oglethorpe Students

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of Oglethorpe’s greatest attributes is our small campus and intimate feel; we have an impressive faculty to student ratio, walk-ability, and students are part of the Oglethorpe family, not just a name on a list. But, we also have something many small liberal arts colleges do not: Atlanta!

Oglethorpe offers the best of both worlds: a quiet enclosed campus with the benefits of one of the major business and social hubs of the southeast right outside our gates. Oglethorpe takes advantage of its location by extending classroom learning out into the “real world.” One way that’s done is through OUr Atlanta program, funded and facilitated by the Center for Civic Engagement in the A_LAB. Students take trips throughout the city to places like the CDC, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Coca-Cola headquarters, CNN, Atlanta History Center, and the High Museum of Art.

Students are guided by an Atlanta Botanical Garden volunteer.

Students are guided by an Atlanta Botanical Garden volunteer.

The program is primarily designed for the First Year Seminars (FYS) at Oglethorpe, which are one credit-hour classes that combine academic and curricular interests of students such as “Live Theater” and “Biology, Medicine and You”. Each class completes a field study during the seminar that ties in with the classroom material, such as BODIES: The Exhibition or a Center for Puppetry Arts exhibit.

Through these trips students are able to see new parts of their community, meet classmates from different disciplines, learn more about a topic or organization serving community needs, explore future volunteer or internship opportunities, and when accessible, learn more about Atlanta’s public transportation system.

This link between a small school and a big city has created unique opportunities for Oglethorpe students that many other liberal arts schools could not provide. And in the end, the juxtaposition of the intimate learning environment of Oglethorpe and the scores of educational exhibits and businesses of Atlanta creates a more well-rounded student.