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Students' Experiences with the OWU Connection Conference (Opinion)

Photo courtesy of OWU Career Connection's Instagram.

Hooray! A day of no classes, that’s the magic word students love to hear. Why is it that we don’t have classes on this day? That’s because it’s the OWU Connection Conference.

On September 28th, 2023, OWU hosted its annual fall connection conference. This conference is filled with lots of activities to do from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. A whole day off for students to experience a conference like no other. To explore the campus buildings where different activities, lectures, and connections from on and off campus came to share with the students of OWU.

As a junior, I’ve been to the connection conference for the past two years. And I’ve always wondered what are students' opinions on this conference? So I asked

a few students about the conference to understand their perspectives on the event.

My first question to them was, “How does the Connection Conference help students?” Wondering what purpose do they believe this conference serves to students. Is it helpful for students to find connections and to see these many events they can go to?

Those interviewed said the conference is helpful. Junior Kara Cannon said, “I think the connection conference helps students reach out, find communities, and really take the time to see the bigger picture of what college can be all about.”

The conference is a great day to explore with friends and peers around the OWU campus, finding things that they might have known were there. This led to my next question, “Do you enjoy this conference? What do you like?”

I was able to get an interview with a student who was personally a part of the connection conference. She was running her own stand at the Black Wall Street event.

“Yes, I really do enjoy this conference. Last year I actually gave a talk for the Delaware Entrepreneurship Center then I did Wall Street. So I’ve been in this conference for two years now, and it’s been a lot of fun. I enjoy getting to see all of my peers in a more casual sense. They get to see me business wise instead of like another student or peer, and I really enjoy talking to them about what I’m excited to learn about myself and my tea business with everything else.” said Kennedy Watkins, junior who sells her own tea brand called, Gilded Teas.

And though the majority said yes like Kennedy, there were a few students who said no, and their reasoning was understandable.

Sophomore Maisie Dugger said, “It’s a little stressful because I’m trying to figure out where everything is, and also my teachers also make me go so I probably would not go if my teachers didn’t make me. I have homework, so do I do that or go to the career conference, and I would choose to do my homework.”

It’s fair to say that not everyone will enjoy this event. Not all the events will click for some students. Which leads to my final question, What would you change or like to see at this conference that hasn't been done yet? While all my interviews said something different, the one thing that stayed consistent was we need more variety.

Junior Heather Shoffner said, “For myself there wasn’t much offered, so it was hard for me to come here and actually go and do the things I wanna learn. Because this year is more of business and science and all the other topics that are out there and not just much of communication or nothing of dance or theater and stuff. Just for this year they need to have a little bit more because compared to last year, they had a lot more options and I went to a lot more the first year. This year is kind of like a step back a little bit, they need to have a bit more.”

The OWU Connection Conference is an event that students enjoy, whether it be a free day off, or a day to connect with activities that students never knew about. A day of learning for all students. As we build the connection conference, the hope is to see more and more being added for students of all majors, so that everyone feels included.

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