Office of Student Life

OWL Program

Are you interested in being part of the excitement of Move-In, August 2024?  If so, you may want to consider becoming an OWL. Every year we recruit students to serve their fellow Buckeyes and build community. The OWL program is a great way for you to become part of the Ohio State family and get a jump start into autumn semester.

Apply here to be an Ohio State Welcome Leader for August 2024

Applicant Requirements

* Must live on-campus for 2024-2025 academic year to be eligible to be an OWL *

If you will be attending international student orientation, please be sure to sign up for the orientation dates that do not conflict with the OWL program.

OWL Program Description/Purpose 

The Ohio State Welcome Leader program strives to provide a developmental and enriching early engagement experience through student connection and service to others.  At this time, the OWL program is planned to be in-person with some materials sent to participants before they arrive on campus. More details and updates will be shared on this website if that changes.

Benefits of OWL Program 

  • Cultivate your understanding of everyday leadership, including connecting and collaborating with others in a team environment.  
  • Familiarize yourself with campus resources and involvement opportunities.
  • Engage in an early experiences with fellow Buckeyes. 
  • Help welcome Buckeyes to campus during Move-In!

Dates of Program (dates may be subject to change slightly)

OWL Move-In: Wednesday, August 14, 2024

All OWL students will need to schedule a day and time for their arrival through the housing portal here: . OWLs will not need to pay an early arrival fee starting 8/14, but they will be responsible for their own meals between Wed - Fri and meal plans activate Saturday morning.

Housing specific questions can be answered here: 614-292-8266 or email

Required OWL Program Activities: Wednesday, August 14 - Saturday, August 17, 2024

Ohio State Welcome Leader responsibilities will be announced at a later date, but ultimately students aid in the Move-In process by attending mandatory training, signing up for a certain amount of volunteer shifts, and are asked to attend a few of the OWL social events. 

  • Wednesday, August 14 = Mandatory OWL Training and Flock Meet-ups from 6 - 9 p.m. (Independence Hall 100)
  • Thursday, August 15 - Saturday, August 17 = Assigned Move-In Shifts 
  • Thursday, August 15 7-9 p.m. (tentative) = OWL Hoot Fest 7-9 p.m. @ RPAC Tom W Davis Gym - This is a large social event that will include inflatables, food trucks, music, an appearance from our favorite mascots and more!

What OWLs will be doing: 

The programs helps OWLs build a sense of community, familiarize themselves with campus and prepare for the excitement of Move-In while welcoming Buckeyes to campus. 

OWLs will be required to sign-up for a certain amount of shifts (Details shared later this summer. Morning and afternoon shifts will be available. Links will be sent via email)

How is the OWL Program organized?

The OWL Leadership and Planning team is led by the Leadership & Involvement Specialist for Residence Life, Leah Wheeler. The team is made up of 2 Graduate Coordinators and 2 undergraduate student coordinators. They are responsible for the recruitment, planning, and implementation of the OWL Program.  

The OWL Student Coordinators oversee a group of 8-10 student Area Coordinators. The Area Coordinator student leaders are responsible for areas of campus and help train and support the OWL-Coordinators. OWL-Coordinators serve as mentors to OWLs and are each assigned a “flock” (small group) of OWLs. The OWL Coordinators go through training on leadership development and how to do their job once OWLs arrive. This training includes learning about problem solving skills, how to communicate effectively, meaningful facilitation and guidance for meeting with their flocks.

There are approximately 1,500 OWLs that arrive toward the beginning of Move-In. OWLs participate in team building activities with their flocks and go through training that prepares them to serve as a volunteer during Move-In, as well as learn more about leadership and how to get involved on campus. 

Throughout Move-In, the entire OWL Program reports to their assigned Move-In volunteer locations on campus for their assigned shift(s). OWLs are selected to serve all of campus and will be assigned to help on campus where needed.

Apply here to be an Ohio State Welcome Leader for August 2024

For more information, please contact Leah Wheeler, Leadership & Involvement Specialist - Housing and Residence Education at