It was before I arrived at the University of Pittsburgh my freshman year that I learned about our OCF chapter. My friend Cassandra from CrossRoad just happened to meet Pitt’s OCF president Niko when he was visiting her home parish in St. Louis.
“You gotta come out to OCF man,” said Niko when he called me on the phone, “it’s a great time!”
Well unfortunately I scheduled a class Thursday nights at the same time as our chapter meetings. But I was able to meet for most of the group activities on weekends and at church. I couldn’t wait for spring semester so that I could start going regularly.
As the spring semester rolled around we lost well over half of our OCF to graduation, study abroad, co-ops, and internships. Before I knew it, that big group of kids that met every week was down to a handful–myself and a few other freshman. To make things more difficult, we didn’t have a clergy advisor.
“Now what do we do?” we asked ourselves.
We got creative. We started volunteering with FOCUS Pittsburgh. We met up with Duquesne OCF located just ten minutes away. We grabbed dinner all together. And we eventually found a priest to lead our meetings. Throughout the course of the semester and by the time we got into the new school year, we had grown in size and were back up to about ten students. It was a trying experience–a growing experience–but it was one that has allowed me to better serve as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Student Leader for the OCF Student Leadership Board (SLB).
As a regional student leader, I work with struggling chapters to help them get their footing; with new chapters get them chartered, and with existing chapters to give them programs and tools to better serve their students and larger college community.
As I now head into my third year serving on the SLB, I find that it is my experience struggling with OCF that has best helped me serve in this position. Every chapter faces its own problems–whether it’s not having enough members or having difficulties with your local advisors. It is the way we have worked through these trials that enables us as student leaders.
This year, I’m excited to serve as the leader of the SLB, and we’re looking for new team members. Please consider applying for the Student Leadership Board today. The board is a group of students from all over North America with varied experiences and interests. Working together, we are able to help the OCF North American Office reach out to all of its students through our network of chapters and through our programs such as College Conference and Real Break. I look forward to hearing your ideas and working alongside you this year!
About The Author
Andrew is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh where he is majoring in Biological Sciences and Religious Studies with minors in Chemistry & Russian and Eastern European Studies. He is involved in his local OCF chapter, has been to two College Conferences, and has served on three Real Break teams. Andrew has also served as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Student Leader for two years and will be heading up the Student Leadership Board for the 2014-2015 school year.