My name is Anusha Datar - I'm from Burlington, Massachusetts, which is about half an hour away from Olin. I'm a member of the class of 2021, and I’m interested in majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering. I’m involved with several groups on campus including the Robotics lab, Formula Electric Vehicles, the hackathon club, and the sandwich discourse club.
Olin is an awesome place, but it is really important to leave the bubble. Living and working with the same 350 people in the same five or six buildings can get claustrophobic. Luckily, Olin is part of the BOW Collaboration: a three-college consortium between Babson College, Olin College, and Wellesley College. This formal agreement connects us directly to these colleges, and it means that Oliners don't have to spend any money or invest significant amounts of time or effort to meet new people and have unique experiences outside of Olin.
At the base level, Babson and Wellesley are two other colleges: we can take classes there, and their students can take classes here at Olin. Babson is a well-respected business school with a focus on entrepreneurship which is right next door to us, and Wellesley is a prestigious liberal arts college with a strong science program that's only a few miles away. We have a shuttle that runs every half hour for most of the day six days a week for no cost, so getting to each campus usually is not a problem, especially since Babson is within walking distance. While it is certainly valuable to meet students from these schools through classes and experience other college environments through cross-registering (even if it means having lectures, recitations, and exams…the horror!), there is a lot more value to the BOW collaboration.
One of the best things about the three-school alliance is the huge amount of on-campus events Oliners have access to. While Olin has its share of exciting things to do, the limitations of a small school can make it hard to find enough people to hold large but niche events. For example, a group of my classmates and I enjoy Indian culture, so we attend Babson and Wellesley events that relate to this. We recently went to a huge Diwali celebration at Wellesley, and we talked to the Hindu chaplain who excitedly invited us to join their Indian cultural group's Sunday morning sessions. Many Oliners have similar stories: people play sports like rugby and water polo, participate in musical ensembles, and do community service through the other colleges.
One thing I've taken on since coming to Olin has been encouraging my classmates to get involved at the other campuses as well: I meticulously keep track of events at both Babson and Wellesley (and in the greater Boston area) and send out lists of different opportunities, give tours and directions, and I try to be as active as possible on all three campuses.
Beyond structured activities, having more places to go and people to meet is incredibly useful. Olin is an amazing place, but there is not always a lot to discover physically (beyond the small patch of woods Olin owns, Parcel B). Babson has some interesting buildings and resources, and it also has basics that Olin students have full access to like health services, a large gym, a traditional library, and a Dunkin' Donuts (I'm from Massachusetts, so that one's really important). Wellesley has a large variety of things to do as well: among other awesome finds, it has an observatory (which holds open nights every month), a beautiful lake with kayaks and a trail, and plenty of interesting buildings to explore (and try to access the roofs and tunnels from!). In addition, each college has shuttles that go to Boston and to local places like the mall and the movie theater. Both campuses are also full of driven, interesting students who tend to think differently than most Oliners do, as they tend to focus on business or the arts and sciences. Learning from their perspectives and spending time with them is both refreshing and enjoyable. Some of my favorite college memories so far have involved connecting with friends I have made at these other colleges and going on adventures together.
The same seems to be the case for students from Babson and Wellesley: students from both colleges cross-register here to gain technical and design skills and to enjoy our unique classroom experience. They also come to campus for social events and for groups like the robotics lab and Baja off-road vehicles. Many of my friends who go to Babson or Wellesley say they really enjoy spending time at Olin because of the special community and spirit we have.
Having schools like Babson and Wellesley nearby, especially with the support of the BOW network, allows for a rich and varied experience which just one college cannot replicate.