New Year, Same Ben

New Year, Same Ben

Sup team! My name is Benjamin Solak, and I’ll be your Publications Student Leader for OCF 2017-2018!

Wait…didn’t you do this job last year?


And they gave it to you again?!

I’m as surprised as you are, dear reader.

Okay, so what’s the plan for the blog this year?

A lot of super cool stuff. After our Blog Contributor program went super well last year, we look to be reviving that this year, starting in October, with a couple familiar faces, and some new ones too. If you’re interested in being a Blog Contributor, or if you’re unfamiliar with the program, you should email me at

We’ll be looking to engage the community in an even bigger way this year. The loveliest part of the OCF Blog is that it is an ongoing, national effort of OCF. It allows OCFers from Nebraska and New York to connect with those in Nevada and North Carolina. Anytime there is a College Conference, Real Break trip, Regional Retreat, District Retreat, Day of Prayer activity, Day of Light activity, OAM challenge–anything–I want to hear about it! If your chapter has done something cool and you think the blog should know, you should email me at

Are you just thirsty for emails because they make you feel important?

Oh, most definitely.

Do you have anything else in the works for us to know about?


Okay, what else CAN you tell us?

I’m a third-year student at the University of Chicago (which is in Chicago. Sometimes people ask me that.) studying Comparative Human Development. I’m an unhealthy football fan, and I cover the Philadelphia Eagles for a site called Bleeding Green Nation, and college football and the NFL Draft with NDT Scouting. I run when my knee doesn’t hurt and complain when it does. Sometimes I pace myself, and eat the entire package of Chips Ahoy Chewy in two sittings.

I can also tell you that the mission of this blog is to magnify exposure. Whether it’s something done in the OCF that merits the eyes of the national body, or if it’s you, and how the OCF blog can assist your spiritual growth and enrich your college life. The four pillars of OCF are fellowship, education, worship, and service–and all four of those will be highlighted throughout the year, that the multiple and international efforts of OCF may always present to you a full body of the church.

I run the blog, but the blog isn’t about me, it’s about you–and, not unlike Horton the elephant, I mean what I say and say what I mean. As your OCF year enters full swing, I’m excited to be right there with you.

What a guy.

Oh stop, you.

Read on for a post about chapter meeting and activity ideas that incorporate the four pillars of OCF!


Blog Contributor Introduction – Claire Pearson!

Blog Contributor Introduction – Claire Pearson!

claire-postGreetings friends! (Berkeley greeting)

My name is Claire and I am one of your Blog Contributors this year! Yay online writing!

So…could you tell us a little more about yourself?

Well, I am a sophomore at UC Berkeley, studying Theater and Performance Studies and English. I L-O-V-E theater and its ability to create communities, just like what Orthodoxy does! If I am not in church, I am in the theater, and if I am not in the theater, I am in church.

Ooo! What’s Berkeley like? Do all the hippies hang out there?

Yes? But also….Berkeley is quite a hip-hoppin’ place. Since there are so many students from all over the world who attend the school, we have a pretty diverse group of people. Last year our OCF had two exchange students from Greece! It was ah-mazing to hear their international perspective on Orthodoxy, being an American group of students.

Nice, what makes you want to blog for OCF?

Overall, I think it is extremely important for Orthodox college students to see each other sending out their thoughts about their faith into the blog-o-sphere. More often than not, we think we are alone in the struggles we are dealing with at school: questioning our faith, explaining it to others, knowing how to defend it, etc. However, my posts this year will be focusing mainly on how we, as a student community, can work together to address these challenges we face in the secular world.

Why are you excited about OCF this year?

After serving as a counselor  at my Metropolis Camp this summer, Saint Nicholas Ranch in Dunlap, CA (Picture above taken at said place), I really felt called to dive into young adult ministry. The Bay Area Young Adult Ministry is thriving and I feel called to bring that same energy to all the OCFs I am able to affect and  you who is currently reading this blog post!

What now?

I will be contributing monthly to the OCF blog so look out for my articles as well as as ones from my fellows Contributors!

Have a great fall!

Peace out homeslice! (Typical Berkeley goodbye)

Claire is a sophomore at UC Berkeley studying Theater and Performance Studies and English. She currently attends Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco. Her favorite Saint is Saint Pelagia the actress and when not in church or the theater, she likes to spend her time exploring San Francisco, reading plays, and eating sushi.

Introducing Your Publications Student Leader!

Introducing Your Publications Student Leader!

Hey everyone! My name is Ben, and I’ll be your Publications Student Leader this year.


This was my Staff photo this year for the Antiochian Village! People always make fun of that tie. I think it’s pretty dope.

Okay…what does that mean?

Right, so I’ll be responsible for running the OCF blog and the website this year. It should be pretty rad.

Well, what are you going to do?

Oh, awesome question! For the blog, we plan on posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of the school year, starting today. We’ll be posting a ton of reflections and testimonials–basically other OCF members like you telling their stories from various OCF things they did, like regional and district retreats, College Conference, Real Break, Day of Light, Day of Prayer, and other chapter events. If you want to write something for the blog, like a reflection or a testimonial, I’d love to help you out. You should email me at

What experience do I need to have?

None! I’ll walk you through it. If you want to post regularly, you can contact me about becoming a Blog Contributor, which is a new position this year. It allows you to work more directly with me and our other Blog Contributors, post on a scheduled basis, and gain experience while sharing your love for OCF with your fellow OCF members across the globe!

Wow, that sounds like a sweet deal.

I know!

So that’s the blog. What about the website?

Can’t tell you everything just now, I’m afraid–we’ve got a lot of stuff in the works. Stay posted for me.

Ooh, sounds mysterious and exciting. Why don’t you tell me a little more about yourself, Ben?

For sure, totally non-fictitious person. I’m Benjamin Solak, a second-year student at the University of Chicago–no major just yet, but that’s okay (right?). I attend Christ the Savior, an OCA parish in Chicago, but I’m from my father’s parish, Holy Trinity, in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Big football fan (Go Eagles!), marathon runner…LOVE chocolate chip cookies.


This is us at The Cloud Gate in Chicago. Emma thought it was absolutely incredible. I thought Emma was wrong.

Wait, Benjamin Solak…didn’t your sister do this job last year?

Yep–my greatest claim to fame is being Emma Solak’s younger brother. She was Publications last year, did a swell job–she’s the Chairwoman of the OCF Student Leadership Board this year. I want to be her when I grow up.

Are you gonna do as good a job as she did?


Well, at least you’re honest. I respect that in a man.

Thanks. Be sure to follow the OCF on Facebook, Twitter (@OCFMinistry), YouTube, and Instagram (@ocfministry) so you never miss a thing. Study hard this school year, go to that first OCF meeting even if you don’t know anybody, and I’ll see you back here soon! Let’s have a good year.