After briefly relinquishing the title in 2005, Ohio State University is now once again the largest university in the United States (based on enrollment), with an appropriately huge $2.2 billion endowment. It is also frequently ranked as the #1 public school in Ohio, one of the top twenty public schools in the country, and one of the top hundred universities worldwide. It has been around since 1870 and has held its current name since eight years after that.
The OSU campus stretches over 1,700 acres and features a kinetic mix of newer, modern buildings, like the Wexler Center for the Arts, and older, traditional, and well-known ones, four of which are listed on the National Register of Historical Places (Enarson Hall, Hayes Hall, Ohio Stadium, and Orton Hall). The placement of the Oval, one of the most popular hangout spots, was supervised by the Olmstead brothers, famous for designing New York’s Central Park. There are several libraries, as well as a second smaller South Oval near the Ohio Union.
Columbus is a vibrant, inviting city, the largest as well as one of the most liberal and pleasant in Ohio, with 19th-century architecture offsetting its modern energy and sensibility. It offers a diverse array of options for both daytime and night, including theaters, clubs, and a Brewery District popular among the undergrads.
OSU sits just north of downtown. A few minutes’ walk leads students to the Short North, an artsy district where galleries, restaurants, and shops line the streets, festivals are plentiful, and students can sometimes get their work displayed. When families visit, Buckeyes can take them to visit COSI, the interactive science museum, and a life-size replica of the Santa Maria on the Scioto River.
Mirror Lake jump: every fall, on the day before the first game against Michigan, OSU students take the “polar plunge.”
The start of sunbathing on the Oval during spring quarter. Technically, there is no official day this tradition begins, but once one person does every one of the other 50,000+ students start, too. Other kids show up to throw Frisbees, baseballs, and footballs around, and by 3:00 in the afternoon, there is not a square inch of grass left in the place.
Jaywalking. It might not sound like a tradition to outsiders, but the motto among students is, “Pedestrians have the right of way, even if they’re being stupid.” Freshmen usually take a while to learn this rule and will faithfully stop at every crosswalk and look both ways twice before crossing. By the end of their first year, however, they don’t even bother looking up from their iPods before stepping into the street.
“O-H-I-O!” For Buckeyes, the only proper response to even a stranger’s “O-H!” is “I-O!”
Chitfest, an annual block party on Chittenden, brings out the rowdiest crowds and a matching set of cops.
Hempfest, during the spring, draws hippies and stoners to the Oval.
Mark Goldston (1977) is the CEO of NetZero.
Archie Griffin (1975) is the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner
A.J. Hawk (attended) is a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.
Patricia Heaton (1980) won two Emmys for her role on “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Richard Lewis (1969) is a comedian and actor.
Jack Nicklaus (attended) is a legendary golf pro.
Cynthia Ozick (1950) is a novelist.
Troy Smith (1906) is a Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens.
R.L. Stine (1965) is a children’s author and creator of the Goosebumps series of books.
Bruce Vilanch (1970) is a comedian.
Athletics powerhouse OSU is Division I all around and part of the Big Ten. Only two other schools besides OSU have won national championships in baseball, men's basketball, and football, and during the 2005-2006 school year OSU won conference championships in Football, Men's Basketball and Women's Basketball, making it the first Big Ten school to do so. Swimming & diving, synchronized swimming, fencing, track & field, golf, and gymnastics have all also netted the school national championships.
Buckeyes go especially crazy for football. The competition for tickets in the fall can be intense and cheering continues on and off the field as students wearing buckeye necklaces burst into spontaneous renditions of “Carmen Ohio.” Even the marching band, known as The Best Damn Band in the Land, is famous. Heisman Awards have been given to OSU players seven times, including twice to Archie Griffin.
The school also offers lots of lower-key intramural and club sports, of which ice hockey is one popular choice.
Brutus Buckeye has been the school mascot since 1965 and has appeared in several different guises. For much of his life, he was one forty-pound fiberglass ball with a smiley face on it. The current incarnation is less literal but far more mobile: Brutus now has arms and a much smaller, lighter head.
The Gold Pants Club awards a small, personalized charm in the shape of a pair of pants to the member of any Buckeye football team that defeats rival Michigan.
The traditional football field “Script Ohio,” performed by the The Best Damn Band in the Land, actually originated with the Michigan marching band. The Buckeyes appropriated—and then perfected—the idea.
There are over 30 co-ed dorms on campus in three main clusters: North, South, and West. There are also Living/Learning Communities (LLCs), diversity-themed housing options, and a couple choice scholarship dorms for students who qualify.
South Campus dorms are the less polished and rowdy option, and are closer to Greek life.
North Campus dorms are good for more studious or quiet students; they are air conditioned and have private bathrooms.
The Towers are air conditioned and have private bathrooms but are away from campus.
Security is one of OSU’s main focuses and dorm security is taken very seriously. All residence halls are locked 24/7 and can only be opened with a student ID . Even still, students who live off-campus cannot enter any residence hall even with their ID, but must call the front desk or have the person they are visiting come down and let them in. While there are no curfew hours, a student cannot enter a residence hall other than their own during the hours of 9pm and 9am without being guided by an RA. Residence halls are also kept very clean: every public bathroom is cleaned every weekday and maintenance can be contacted 24/7. Students are responsible for keeping their own rooms and (in certain dorms) their private bathrooms clean.