Union Programming Board volunteers find a home away from home

Emily Nichols

By Emily Nichols

Student volunteers from the University of Oklahoma’s Union Programming Board have found a second family through their involvement in the student led event-planning organization.

Senior petroleum engineering major Khoi Trinh joined the programming board his freshman year when his dorm resident assistant introduced him to the group. For Trihn, it was a culture shock coming from Vietnam to the University of Oklahoma. As an international student, Trihn’s involvement with the programming board has helped him find friendships and a sense of community away from home.

“I’m really far away from home so UPB just helps me keep my mind off of homesickness and stuff like that,” Trihn said. “And obviously being in engineering, course work is pretty heavy so UPB is just something I can do at the end of the week and not think about school for a couple hours.”

Criminology Sophomore Ozzie Willis joined the programming board his freshman year after one of his classmates invited him to a new member meeting. Willis, who is from Mississippi, came to the university only knowing one person. After leaving a group of friends back home, the transition to find friendships and a support system was difficult for him.

“It was during a time where I was completely homesick,” Willis said.

“When I went there I felt like I had found another family because I felt connected in more ways than one with everybody there. And just the fact that I was able to be involved as much as I wanted to be kind of sealed the deal in me joining.”

CUTLINE: Union Programming Board members pose for a picture. Photo courtesy of Union Programming Board.