Student Activities at Olin

There’s much more to college than just academics! Here at Olin, we have a number of ways for students to get involved and become fully immersed in the student life experience. Olin is home to a number of clubs and organizations on campus, all of which are student-run. There is something for just about everyone, from performance groups to special interest groups to cultural organizations to engineering project teams! If there is something you are interested in that we don’t have, all you need to start a club is two other people with the same interest!

But wait, can you be more specific? What is a performance or special interest group? I’m glad you asked! Performance groups are just that – groups that perform! This includes PowerChords, which is the a capella group on campus, OPIUM (Olin Performance Improv Und Magick), The Olin Conductorless Orchestra, an orchestra without a conductor (we’re very creative on names here), Olin Rock Orchestra, and there is even a Fire Arts Club! Fire Arts? Fire Arts! Like, with actual fire, like what you’d see at a carnival?  Yes, just like that, if not better!

Olin Fire Arts Club

The Olin Fire Arts Club performs outdoors.


The Franklin W. Olin Players (FWOP) theatre troupe performing in the Norden Auditorium.

Those all sound great, but what if I’m not really interested in performing anything? Well friend, then special interest groups are for you! As the name suggests, they are groups of students who meet and share a collective interest. Some of these include the Pokemon Club, Swim Club, Olin Disc Golf, Midnight Riders (unicyclists), and the BOW Climbing Organization. BOW groups are those that have students from across the three colleges of Babson, Olin, and Wellesley. Through our three-college collaboration, Olin students are also able to join clubs at Babson and Wellesley and participate in major events such as Babson’s annual spring concert.

Students recruiting for BOW Tennis

Olin students Sophia '20, Emily '19, and Evan '20 recruit more Oliners for BOW Tennis.

Babson's Spring Concert

Babson's Spring Concert is a well-attended event!

Alright that sounds cool. But what if I just want to connect with my fellow engineers, or what if I’m interested in learning more about a particular culture or connecting with a group of people? If that’s the case than there’s a number of cultural groups on campus you can join! These include the Korean Student Association, Taiwanese Association at Olin (TAO), Olin Indian Club, Jewish Organization at Olin (JOO), Olin Christian Fellowship (OCF), and OPEN, the LGBTQ+ community organization. Remember, you don’t have to belong to a certain group to be a part of the club!

Liz gives out Free Hugs

Liz '20 giving out Free Hugs and chatting with Emily '20 at the annual Club Fair.

Want to know more?

Click here for a full list of clubs and student groups!

(Like, a lot of energy went in to making that webpage and the pretty diagram, so please, take a look at it!)


Join All the Clubs

 Okay, maybe not all of them, but at least one or two.

Wasn’t there another category? Project Teams? Yes you are correct!

Olin Electric Motorsports is Olin College’s Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and Formula Hybrid competition team. Every year, more than 30 electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering students work together to design, build, and test a formula style prototype race-car.

Olin Electric Motorsports

Olin Electric Motorsports Team

Another group, the Olin Human Powered Vehicle Team (HPV), designs, builds, and races a vehicle at ASME's Human Powered Vehicle Challenge, all powered by – you guessed it – humans! (Via pedals and kinetic energy, not via human batteries like in The Matrix). 

Human-Powered Vehicles Team

Olin's Human-Powered Vehicle Team.

If off-road vehicles are more your thing, then Olin BAJA is for you! Vehicles designed by the BAJA group are made to withstand the rugged terrain and difficult obstacles in a variety of environments at the annual SAE BAJA competition. Warning: One of the dirtier project teams.

BAJA on Dirt Road Race

Olin BAJA races at an off-road vehicles competition.

Maybe you don’t like land at all and you’re a sea and sky type of person? If so, we got you covered with Olin Aquatic Robotic Systems (OARS) and AERO. ORS designs electrical systems and robotic software architecture to compete in a yearly global robotic sailing competition. AERO focuses on all kinds of planes and drones, with interest this year being in quadcopters and the development of a visual navigation system.


Zack '20 tells new recruits about OARS.

Oh my gosh, there sure are an awful lot of things happening at Olin! Right you are! We have a ton of clubs and organizations and project teams to get involved with. But what about events or off-campus adventures? We got you covered there too! Needham is near both train and subway stops that take you into the great city of Boston! During orientation, students will have the opportunity to participate in a Boston Scavenger Hunt where they will learn how to navigate the subway while also stopping at some high points along the way such as Boston Commons, Fenway Park, the Museum of Science, and more! There are also a number of events that take place off-campus during the year hosted by SAC, the Student Activities Committee. These include a snow tubing trip, Faculty/Staff Dinner Kick-Out, and an annual spring formal. SAC also hosts a number of events on-campus as well, including a Casino Night, First-Year Frostie Extravaganza, and Expresso, the bi-annual talent show.

Olin students at Casino Night!

For those interested in community service, SERV is the place for you! Student leaders from the Olin community work with a number of local organizations to provide service opportunities for students. Some past projects include work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Daily Table, The Food Project, Newton Food Pantry, Robo Natick, and the Charles River Adult Care Center. Students who don’t have a car are able to reserve a van to travel to and from service locations. This van can also be used during the school year for other student adventures and off-campus activities.

Also, there’s athletics – we have those too! The intramural kind. Frisbee is big, as is soccer. We even had an archery team start this year! These groups are open to anyone to join year-round. No experience required! (Side Note: Our Residence Hall Director is the coach of the Ultimate Frisbee team. Recruitment begins during orientation and, well, never stops really. He’s a great guy though…just very passionate about Frisbee, so much so that he decorates his living room with them).

Olin Soccer

Ultimate Frisbee

So who helps to manage all of these extracurricular activities? Great question! That would be your fabulous StAR team! The Office of Student Affairs and Resources is here to support your full student life experience, from helping to register clubs to coordinating athletic competitions to providing you with a study break event here and there. Some past StAR events include Flash Donuts, a Hot Cocoa Bar, the Duck Hunt, Airbrush Winter Hats, Curious Creatures, Faculty Story Time, and more! There is typically one event per month, with a full week of events happening right before finals each semester.

Cider and Donuts

Cider and donuts served up by the StAR Team in the Oval!

Nick with Snake

Nick '20 and Lydia '19 play with a snake during a study break!

Dining Hall Event

An evening event in the Dining Hall.

Lauren and ice cream truck

Lauren '19 poses in front of an ice cream truck on campus. 

Oh gosh that was an awful lot of information. You’re right, and that’s because we have a lot happening here at Olin! From performance groups to special interest groups to cultural organizations to engineering project teams to athletics to community service...there’s something for everyone. If your something isn’t here yet, we are happy to help you make it happen.

Have more questions about student life and extra-curriculars? Send an email to

Students in dining hall

Brought to you by Ashlee Talbot, Program Coordinator & Assistant Hall Director, unofficially known as the Commissioner of Fun, Finance Master, & Residential Cat Owner. 

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