Five miles from I-30 AR-7 exit, past the local Waffle House, over the Caddo River and across the Ravine is a place generations of Ouachitonians have grown to call home. Deep in the heart of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, stands a place quite unlike anywhere else. It is a place of learning, a place of growth and a place of community. Here we earn our stripes at Ambush and become Tigers for Life at Tigers and Torches Here we race around the Village on trikes and carry torches through campus for the oldest rivalry game in D-II football. Here memories are made, lifelong bonds are formed and roots are planted. What is this place so many of us call home? It is the campus of Ouachita Baptist University, or we like to call it, The Bubble.
People often ask where the nickname The Bubble originates. Some say it’s because of the circular shape of campus, but most agree it is because Ouachita is unlike any other place in the world. Here is a community that makes us cherish every moment – the moment we move into our freshman door room, the moment we storm JPAC at Tiger Tunes, the moment we help a community member during Tiger Serve Day and even the moment we turn our tassels at graduation. All of these moments come together to create what we all know and love as The Bubble.
Student Life Divider
Students in The Bubble had a knack for bringing campus to life. With activities and events scheduled for almost every day of the year it was hard to find time to be bored in The Bubble. Campus was full of new faces as freshman earned their strips at the newly updated Ambush and alumni came home to celebrate Tiger Tunes and Homecoming. The Tiger was guarded and bragging rights were claimed at the 88th Battle of Ravine. Rain storms caused a change in plans for spring commencement and we said goodbye to Ouachita president and friend, Dr. Rex Horne.
Few things bonded campus together like cheering our Tigers on to victory. Spirits were high as sports in The Bubble had yet another history making year. The Tiger soccer program took unprecedented steps forward with the new Gene and Kathy Whisenhunt Soccer Field House, the newly named Wesley and Debbie Kluck Field and the Lady Tiger Soccer team winning the GAC championship for the first time. Fan were thrilled to cheer the Tiger football team on to victory from the new Cliff Harris Stadium in one of the most exciting football seasons ever. The team went 10-0 for the first time in history, claiming its second GAC championship and making its first appearance in the Div. II Playoffs. The men’s Tiger tennis team continued its streak of excellence by winning its fourth consecutive GAC championship, a first for any team of any sport in the conference.
While The Bubble consisted of many facets, academics was at its core. Students were taught the importance of learning not just inside the classroom but the value of real world experience as well. From a budding coffee business to media internships, students experienced life outside The Bubble. An updated CORE curriculum was introduced that allowed students to gain a liberal arts education which combined with their major prepared them for life after Ouachita.
What made The Bubble such a special place were the people who lived here. One freshman not only had to find her way through the ups and downs of college, but also had to guide the girls she served as an RA. Doing more than his part, a senior football player helped saved a stranger’s life. A junior fulfilled every girl’s dream of becoming a Disney princess when she spent a semester in the happiest place on earth. Mentoring students in the community, a sophomore stepped up as a Young Life leader. Concluding more than four decades of service to our campus, a professor who once dug the basement of Verser Theatre said goodbye.
One of the things that makes The Bubble so unique is the the variety of passions and interests that can be found here. The assortment of clubs and organizations on campus offers a fit for every passion. The oldest social club on campus celebrated 90 years of sisterhood with a kickoff for an unprecedented fundraising campaign for the university. Receiving national recognition, three Alpha Chi students won first place for research at the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society Convention. OBU Enactus students finished in the top 12 teams in the nation at the Enactus United States National Exposition and were given the chance to share not only their project presentations but the love and service of Christ as well.
Community is a word often used to describe The Bubble. When people use this word however, they are not just referring to the community on campus, but the community of Arkadelphia as well. Local business networked with students during the first week of classes at Spotlight on Arkadelphia. Deploying all over the city, Ouachita students, faculty and staff offered assistance to community residents through Tiger Serve Day. Local church members opened their homes to college students for weekly community groups.
Home, The Bubble, Ouachita Baptist University, a place that serves as so much more than a four year university. Here we grow in our faith and are shaped into the leaders the Lord desires us to be. Here we work together to raise money for student scholarships so our peers can continue their education. Here we develop professional relationships with faculty that extended past a hour long class. Here, in The Bubble, we are family. While our time on campus may only last a short four years, the way we are impacted by this place stays with us forever.
Published in the 2015 Ouachitonian