From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Category: Student housing (page 1 of 3)

Ohio State prepares for World War I

This blog post is part of a World War I series.  Throughout the month of April we will be posting student blogs relating to Ohio State and its involvement in the war.

The Ohio State University had a large impact upon the war effort for the Great War, (otherwise known as World War I), that is unknown by most.

OSU men in uniform, 1919

In the summer of 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed The National Defense Act into law, which included the Pomerene-Gard Bill.  The Pomerene-Gard Bill was legislation that created a national training program for students called the “Reserve Officer’s Training Corps”, or the ROTC Program.  The collegiate aspects of this bill can largely be attributed to Ohio State, as administrators and faculty recognized that during emergencies, the government would need to call on colleges for military officers.

SMA Bunk Room in Hayes Hall, 1917-1918

The ROTC program progressed in universities around the country, including Ohio State, where the military training greatly expanded. By the spring of 1917, the ROTC program began working with theU.S. War Department to build schools of military training and aeronautics at six universities across the US: The Ohio State University, Cornell, MIT, University of Illinois, University of California and the University of Texas. These programs thrived with thousands of men wanting to enter into the service. Here at Ohio State, the School of Aeronautics opened in 1917, and began with 16 cadets. They received intense military training for just over three-week’s time.  After that, up to eight weeks of supplemental technical and theoretical instruction was required.

Ohio Union, 1919

For the ROTC cadets and other students within the military, campus became both their home and training grounds during these years. Many of these students lived in Hayes Hall, which was turned into a bunkroom. The original Ohio Union, (Enarson Hall), became a dining hall to feed most of the troops.  The Ohio Union was also an area for recreation and social enjoyment for many young men in uniform.

As the men dove into military training, the women on campus also wanted to support the war. Many of them held meetings at the Ohio Union, worked with YMCA & YWCA, spent time making cloth surgical bandages and mended clothing for the Student Army Training Corps.

Red Cross Bandage Rolling, 1918

Women on campus also took first aide classes to help men recover from their wounds and injuries as they came home from war.  These were sponsored by the American Red Cross and held at Oxley Hall. They also worked with the Red Cross mending and sewing clothing that would come from Camp Sherman, in Chillicothe, Ohio, where troops were training. Many OSU students worked on mending these for the soldiers in Campbell Hall, the Home Economics building. The women also sewed a large memorial service flag, which contained over 2,640 gold stars. Each star represented a man or woman from the University who contributed to the war effort. The dedication for the flag took place in May 1918.  As part of the ceremony, the flag was hung over Thompson Library.

The University became a place of mobilization for war, specifically in military training and preparedness. The creation and growth of the ROTC program was a large change for many universities and OSU had a large role in encouraging this legislation to make it happen.

Service Flag at Main Library, 1918

Written by Sarah Hammond.

2nd Time Around for 2nd year students: Dorm Rule in the 60s

Novice Fawcett

Novice Fawcett

The requirement for sophomores to live in dorms went into effect this semester, but it’s not the first time second-year students have been told they have to live on campus.  In early 1965 President
Novice Fawcett enforced a rule stating that “unmarried freshman and sophomores under twenty-one years of age who do not live with their parents or close relatives are required to reside in University-owned residence halls.”  The rule was set to take effect in 1967.

This rule had originally come about in April 1958 when large amounts of money was raised by issuing bonds to pay for a large number of new residence halls.  The sophomore dorm rule was a way to maintain full occupancy in the new residence halls and ensure bond holders their money would be paid back.  Until the recommendation in 1965, the rule had never been enforced, likely due to high rates of occupancy in the residence halls.

Although the number dorm rooms in the mid-’60s met the demands of the current student body, the residence hall capacity was expected to increase.  Vice President Gordon B. Carson stated with these new openings, “it would be wise and prudent to reaffirm the Board of Trustees’ resolution.”

Construction of Towers, 1966

Construction of Towers, 1966

Students and politicians alike opposed the 1965 rule. Adversaries pointed out that there is a greater cost to living in dormitories.  They, including Robert Shaw, a Republican state senator of Ohio, believed that forcing students to remain in dorms for two years would prevent those with insufficient funds from attending the university and was therefore discriminatory.

Students, alumni and community members thought that it was not the job of the university to decide on living quarters; there should be freedom of choice.  Furthermore, students believed the reason for the enactment was a money-making scheme.

Regardless, the rule was enforced in the autumn of 1968 and remained in effect until 1976.  Throughout this period, sophomores could have a waiver signed by their parents allowing them to live off-campus.  The accessibility of the waivers fluctuated throughout

Lantern Headline, 1972

Lantern Headline, 1972

the eight-year period, with the most liberal period toward the end of dorm rule.  Waivers were given out so frequently that sophomores were able to choose if they wanted to live on or off campus and thus made the dorm rule obsolete.

The fight against dorm rule was part of a larger movement on campus led by students to have their voices heard by the administration.  You can learn more about the student movements on our Spring of Dissent exhibit  and Bill Shkurti’s new book The Ohio State University in the Sixties: The Unraveling of the Old Order.

Buckeye Village has always had family atmosphere, international flair

Buckeye Village residents, 1940s

Buckeye Village residents, 1940s

The Buckeye Village’s first permanent housing was built in 1948 as World War II veterans returned to campus under the GI Bill to complete their education – often with a family in tow. (You can find one war veteran’s story of living there here.( 

Soon enough a club sprang up called the Buckeye Village Wives, which – among other activities – held fund-raising bazaars for a child-care center, organized lectures by University professors, and published a mimeographed newspaper called The Villager. (Apparently, a Mrs. Betty Gremillion won a basket of groceries for coming up with the name, according to a 1948 Lantern article.)

Also from the very beginning, Buckeye Village was international in nature: in 1948 the 152 wives living there represented four nations and three continents.


Buckeye Village, no date

As early as 1955 Village residents were banding together to make their opinions known to the University: According to a July 27 Lantern article, an “urgent cry’ by residents to paint both the inside and outside of the Village apartments led OSU officials to decide to skip the bidding process for outside vendors and have the University’s service department employees do the job.

Two years later residents were protesting a proposed 21-percent rent hike, even though the year before a Lantern editorial chastised the University for its lack of upkeep on the buildings, calling the Village OSU’s “biggest eyesore.” (It would not be the last time residents united to protest rent hikes.)

Buckeye Village residents, 1993

Buckeye Village residents, 1993

Less than five years later, though, the University had built forty new apartment units, which opened in 1961; the total number of units rose to 400. And in fact, a 1962 Lantern article said residents were content to live in apartments whose rents ranged from $79.50 to $89.50 per month ($4.00 extra for air conditioning), and who could take advantage of a community hall that housed a study library, a pool, ping-pong tables and a nursery school for children. There also was a community garden.

In the mid-1950s the University had dropped the rule that residents must be veterans, but students who lived there still had to be married. By 1986, the majority of residents (80 percent) were international students who were married; the rest were domestic students who were married or single parents. Today, any student can apply to live in Buckeye Village; however, priority still goes to married students and those with children.

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