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Culture within a culture: Fellowship — not frat

Photo by Julianne Gonzalez
Photo by Julianne Gonzalez

With its distinct culture, ORU is one-of-a-kind to this or any parallel universe.

Among many of its traditions, there is one deeply rooted in the student body social structure: what goes on beyond the entrances of the dorms.

Floor culture largely determines your friends, secrets, campus involvement, intramural activities and where you sit in chapel and Saga.

If you’re a freshman, the second question anyone will ask upon meeting you is probably, “What floor do you live on?”

If you’re wondering why your dwelling location is so important, allow me to explain.

Photos by Chandler Branzell
Photos by Chandler Branzell

Towers are known for being more of a studious environment, where you can crack open your books  without the temptation to throw a party. Claudius and EMR are known as the more social, boisterous dorms, where vocal messages easily carry down the long, thinly walled hallways. Gabrielle, also known as Gabby, is more of a private place to live with the nice option of having your own room.

Without Greek-life on campus, many floors have adopted similarities like those of sororities and fraternities. Some traditions go back for decades, such as “Polyester Power Hour” put on by the brother and sister wing, Men of God (EMR) and Moriah (Claudius), where everyone dresses up in 70’s attire for chapel.

Many floors have hand signs, colors, relics, creeds, mottos, shirts, awards and welcoming ceremonies.

“Alumni come to visit us often,” said Mary Earls, senior and Gucci (Claudius) resident. “This is the closest thing to a sorority on campus. It is a sisterhood.”

Although floors may have reputations, the main focus of many is fellowship.

“Our floor was founded by mission leaders,” said Austin Whitaker, junior Men of God resident. “We have MOG fathers that come every year from around the world to help train missionaries.”

Cultural traditions are bound to develop when about 3,000 students live within a half-mile radius of each other for a majority of the year.

Senior Jason Proffitt has lived on Republic (EMR) since his freshman year.

“I honestly don’t know if I’d still be at ORU if not for my floor,” Proffitt said. “We are what a  brotherhood looks like, keeping each other accountable and being there for each other.”

If you see students walking around campus in one solid color, hear tribal chants outside your window after hall meeting or notice an unidentified object hanging in an oak tree, don’t feel confused.

While living on a campus celebrated for strong fellowship, you can attribute such things to ORU floor culture.

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