Heart of (Black and) Gold: OU Student Reaches Out to Freshmen

by Oona Goodin-Smith

When Jesse Spaine graduates next year, he wants to pursue business marketing. For now, though, he’s marketing a thousand-watt smile.

The 20-year-old Oakland University junior has made his mark as a friendly face on campus, working as a night-watch desk worker and with admissions as an Orientation Assistant (OA) to welcome and ease the nerves of incoming freshmen to the university. Passionate about keeping new students on track and involved, Spaine also helps to coordinate many first-year events such as the 28 Campaign, a program that helps to ensure that all freshmen ascend to sophomore status on time.

“[Going from high school to college] is such a big transition. It’s really special to be there to help new students become more comfortable on campus,” he said.

For the Holly, Michigan native, helping new students is “simply a way of giving back.”

“I used to drive to class and back home,” the self-proclaimed people person said. “I felt disconnected.”

It wasn’t until Spaine chose to reach out and ask for help from an upperclassman that he began to feel a true part of the OU community.

“A lot of people are afraid to take the step to get involved. I think involvement allows you to not only get the most out of your college experience, but also to grow as a person,” he said.

As for his personal growth, the Honors College student finds time to volunteer monthly at Freedom Work Opportunities in Milford, a center for people with disabilities, practice his guitar, and play volleyball with his friends on a campus intramural team, all while maintaining a full class-load and working both of his on-campus jobs,

“There’s no community like Oakland’s,” he said. “Not only will someone open a door for you, but also strike up a conversation. It’s truly a special place and I urge everyone to make the best out of their time here.”