Mount Olive College students find big city experiences in small town atmosphere

August 27, 2013

MOUNT OLIVE — The town of Mount Olive is considered small by most accounts. After all, it only boasts a population of 4,624, and that number fluctuates every fall and spring with the ebb and flow of the 925 plus traditional students at Mount Olive College. The town only has three stoplights, no shopping mall, and no movie theatre. But what the town lacks in amenities for students, the College makes up for with a variety of creative events and activities to give students a “big city” experience in a warm and welcoming, small town environment.

“The physical geography of a college has very little impact on who students become,” said Dan Sullivan, vice president for Student Affairs. “Yes, other colleges may beckon students with oceans and mountains or tempt them with endless retail opportunities for gourmet coffee and the like. However, the social and cultural landscape of the college students choose to attend will play a much more significant and lasting role in their development.”

To that end, Mount Olive College has a team of employees dedicated to providing opportunities and experiences to keep students engaged and involved. Throughout any given semester Mount Olive College plans more than 50 activities and events for students. Some of the fall 2013 events include: sea kayaking; a foam dance party; trivia night; Fall Fest with Grammy-winning alternative-rock band Switchfoot; movie nights; beach camping; intermural events; and the list goes on and on. Justin Roe, assistant director of Campus Life-coordinator of programs, said “For a residential population of more than 500 students, the opportunity to meet nationally acclaimed, famous musicians, comedians, and speakers is great. Mount Olive may be a small town, but we are constantly bringing in top notch events for our students.”

Roe spearheads a student group dubbed CAB, which is short for Campus Activities Board. CAB is made up of 45 MOC students who help determine which events interest students and what events are ultimately planned throughout the year. CAB events are paid for by the activity fee that every traditional student pays.

“Getting involved is the key to having a good college experience,” Roe said. “Research shows that the more involved a student gets during their early college career, the more likely they are to stay at that college. To me, getting involved helps create relationships with other students, faculty/staff members, and with the local community. That leads to being happy with where you are and who you are.”

Michael Garrett, director of Pope Wellness Center agrees, “Mount Olive College offers its students the chance to grow inside and outside the classroom,” said Garrett. “Our students grow into leaders and community members that are able to take the academic background and apply it to real world settings. We offer many programs to develop students’ physical well-being as well. We provide students with outdoor, indoor, team, and individual events that allow them to excel in physical activity. All of this is tied together by the spiritual growth and community we have here at Mount Olive College. Our staff and faculty allow students to experience a wholesome, energetic, and friendly environment.”

Mount Olive College is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The college, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit