Block “O” at a Glance

They sit in the north end of Ohio Stadium. They also sit in the south end. Inside of the Schott, they’re behind both teams’ benches. They’re also behind the basket. They’re in Bill Davis Stadium. They’re in the Ohio Union and all around campus. They even do work outside of campus. One of them is probably in your house right now.

They’re members of Block “O”, and together they form the largest of almost 1000 student organizations at The Ohio State University. In 1938 Block “O” was created by then head cheerleader Clancy Isaac Jr. With a humble beginning as a group of students using plastic cards to form pictures and words, Block “O” has grown into a complex organization. Members range from any student who buys football tickets assigned to the Block “O” sections, to executive positions like Communications Director and President. While the untitled “Blockie”, the name given to members of Block “O”, is certainly appreciated and plays a crucial role in Buckeye psyche, it takes hours of preparation by the executive board to make Block “O” what it is today.

At the head of Block “O” is president Jeff Pejsa. A senior studying Communication Technology, Pejsa first heard about Block “O” when buying football tickets his freshman year. He liked what he had read about the organization and says “the first general meeting confirmed my thought that Block ‘O’ was the organization I wanted to be part of.” By attending Block “O” events, becoming close with former Block “O” board members, and simply doing his duties passionately, Jeff became Football Committee Chair during his sophomore year. That position put Jeff in charge of the Football Committee, which is in charge of organizing and executing the game day operations for Block “O”.

After more hard work, Jeff obtained the position of Football Director. In that position, Jeff was in charge of planning the Buckeye Kickoff Event, one of the organization’s biggest events. He also had the responsibility of obtaining sponsors to get promotional items, as well as designing and leading card stunts. Jeff’s strong commitment to Block “O” was noticed, as the following year he was voted the organization’s President. Now Jeff has a hand in all of the organization’s efforts and helps other officers with their events. “If I’m not in class or at work” he says, “chances are I’m thinking about or working on something Block ‘O’ related.”

He doesn’t do it all on his own though. Block “O” has an Executive Board consisting of 17 members, each having certain events for which they are responsible. The events are complex and take much planning, often involving other OSU student organizations. For this year’s Buckeye Kickoff Event, Block “O” will be partnering with First Year Experience, Student Life, and the Athletic Department to put on what Pejsa calls a “high energy event for all students.” NutHouse Tipoff and Volleypalooza are similar events that Block “O” use to kick off the men’s basketball and women’s volleyball seasons respectively. The organization promotes their events through social media, their website, and by posting fliers and other visuals around campus.

Christian Huntley is the Communications Director for Block “O”. Christian is a senior studying Speech and Hearing Studies. Like Jeff, she worked her way up through Block “O”, starting as a general member, then making it onto the NutHouse Committee (the Nuthouse is the basketball student section), until finally earning her current spot as Communications Director. To get the position, Christian had to create a presentation that displayed her Block “O” ideas. The former executive board chose her presentation as the winner. As Communications Director, Christian creates a weekly newsletter that is sent out to all 2,000+ members of the organization. I asked her how much time she puts into Block “O”. “A better question” she said, “would be how much time do I not spend on Block ‘O’?”

Block “O” holds general meetings every Thursday. By going to the meetings and events members can earn Blockie Points, of which Christian keeps track. Attending each event and meeting allows a member to earn a certain amount of points depending on its importance. Get enough Blockie Points and you earn yourself a trip to a Buckeye away game. Last year’s trips were to Michigan and Purdue.

Also at the general meetings, Blockies go over previous events by viewing photos and videos, discuss future events, and have sign-ups for the Setup Crew, who will go into the Horseshoe early before a game and set up the Block “O” section. Student-athletes and other guest speakers sometimes make appearances at the meetings. Following the standard meeting is the After Meeting Activity, which is all about fun. The after meeting usually consists of a game, like kickball or ultimate frisbee, sometimes even a trip to Magic Mountain. The idea is to keep things fresh and exciting.

Block “O” has made itself known outside of Columbus. In 2009 at the Ohio State vs. Michigan game in Ann Arbor, Wolverine fans heard something they never heard in the Big House before. It went a little something like “O!—H!—I!—O!” That was Blockie Points paying off. Members of Block “O” had begun to chant O-H-I-O on Michigan’s own turf. “I was part of that group” Jeff says. “[It’s] now a popular YouTube video.” For any fan that is unaware, Block “O” is responsible for beginning the O-H-I-O chant each Saturday in the Horseshoe. I asked Jeff what he knew about other school’s cheering sections. “Wisconsin’s and Penn State’s football sections are revered nationwide,” he says. “Illini Pride at Illinois is structured very similarly to ours; we often call each other ‘sister’ organizations.”

Change at Ohio State means change for Block “O”. “The semester switch is affecting everything on campus, including Block ‘O’,” says Jeff. “This year, we have purchased membership cards and will be including those in the membership package for students.” The cards will allow students to earn Blockie Points and get discounts from on-campus sponsors.

Block “O” is a social group, a way for Buckeyes to come together and support their school. “It’s a fabulous way to meet people,” says Christian. She went on to say that she was passionate about sports in high school and needed something to replace sports in college– and Block “O” did just that. Jeff and Christian insist Block “O” is for anyone who is a Buckeye. “We would love to have anyone and everyone come hang out with us,” Christian says. As Jeff put it: “There is always something for students to be a part of in Block ‘O’, whether you want to join a committee and become an integral part of the organization, or if you just want to cheer as loud as you can for our Buckeyes!”

Block “O” even gives students the chance to interact with some well-known people. Christian made gingerbread houses with Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft and video coordinator and former Duke Blue Devil Greg Paulus. She also carved pumpkins with legendary Ohio State men’s basketball benchwarmer Mark Titus. The organization allowed Jeff to meet President Gordon Gee and two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin. However, both agree their best memories come from spending time with their peers. “My closest friends are actually the other executive board members,” Christian says. The two differ when it comes to favorite OSU tradition: Christian’s is singing Carmen Ohio after every game, Jeff’s is seeing Script Ohio. That doesn’t matter though. What matters is that Block “O” gives them the chance to experience those traditions with each other. That part of Block “O” will always remain the same, not matter how big it becomes.

 

About: Josh Selway

I am a senior English major at Ohio State with a minor in media production and analysis. I played football, basketball, and baseball in high school, and remain a huge sports fan today. Ohio State’s teams are the only teams I follow passionately, but I will root for Cleveland teams! If I knew what exactly I was going to do after graduation, I’d put that here. Can’t wait to find out though… Go bucks!