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OCT: A Complete College Experience

Hosted at the University of North Florida (UNF), On Campus Transition (OCT) is a program that provides students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to have a full college experience while also learning to live independently.

Through the program, students audit classes, join campus organizations and participate in various recreational and leisure activities enjoyed by all UNF students. OCT students are also mentored by their peers in both academic and social activities.

Through practical hands-on-experience, students learn various skills such as time management, socialization, determination and self-discipline. Students also learn how to access resources at the university and in the community that are geared toward their specific interest areas.  Students are encouraged to take part in community events and activities, whether it be attending an athletic game or attending an off-campus event.

While a big part of OCT focuses on the academic and social life of students, another component of the program is ensuring that students learn and maintain healthy lifestyles.

As part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, students were recently given a tour of the produce section of the Publix at The St. John’s Town Center.

Led by Assistant Produce Manager, Nick Gettino, the tour taught the students about different produce types, their origin and cultivation methods.  The students were also shown how to pick out the best produce and how to tell when certain fruits, like melon and cantaloupe, are ready for eating.  Gettino also informed the students on the importance of eating healthy and making sure to include the proper amount of fruits and vegetables in their diets.

Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about buying the right foods, it is also about proper preparation. OCT students participate in a cooking class twice a month. In the class students decide which food items will be prepared and cooked. Students work with members of AmeriCorps to learn different skills in preparing and handling food because a healthy lifestyle is more than eating the right foods. Students also take part in a daily fitness regime which can include things such as tennis, swimming or yoga.

OCT looks to provide students with a complete experience of college life through an array of opportunities that allow students to grow and learn independently while experiencing the socialization and community life of the average college student.

Written by Alex McClain, AmeriCorp VISTA