Join the OU Family Sooner
What do dance parties, boat races, and volleyball matches all have in common?
Each summer, incoming students gather at the camp for their first taste of life at the University of Oklahoma. This year, a record of nearly 2,500 future Sooners attended one of five camp sessions. Campers received an introduction to many aspects of the university during the three-day camp, including academics, history and traditions, and campus involvement.
Bridgitte Castorino, assistant director for orientation and transfer programs at OU, attended camp as an incoming freshman in 2008. Even though some aspects have changed since she was a camper, one has stayed the same: it’s all about OU family.
"It just gives you all these items, this knowledge, this information, these people to lean on and rely on, and these friends and this family before you come to the University of Oklahoma.”
“Camp Crimson is about making sure that you know that OU’s your home and that you have people who are there to support you and want you to succeed,” Castorino shared. “I felt like I was already part of a team when I came in because I had gone to Camp Crimson, and so we are basically just saying, ‘Join the OU family earlier.’ We’re giving you this opportunity to do so, and it’s so powerful and so welcoming.”
Castorino said she thrived in the spirited atmosphere of camp, but she also loves that there are chances to build one-on-one relationships with people in a setting that offers activities and sessions for all personality types.
Matthew Martin, a senior advertising major from Alva, Oklahoma, echoed Castorino’s thoughts, saying relationships built at camp stand out most to him from the whole experience. This year, Martin took on a different role working with graphic design and social media on the orientation staff after being a small group leader the last two camps.
“You can be 100 percent yourself, and we ask nothing else of you,” Martin said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re quiet, if you’re loud, what you like, we have someone who is a small group leader at every session who is probably going to have the same interests as you.
“It gives you connections before you get to OU so you have people that are there to help you if you need anything at all,” Martin continued. “But also, it can give you some of your best friends that maybe sometimes weren’t expecting it to.”
Castorino compared the benefits of attending Camp Crimson to making a trip to the store before baking a cake.
“You feel so much more prepared if you have all of the items at your disposal and you know that you get to make this cake,” Castorino explained. “The same thing with Camp Crimson. It just gives you all these items, this knowledge, this information, these people to lean on and rely on, and these friends and this family before you come to the University of Oklahoma.”
Click here for more information about Camp Crimson.