Each year NSU-OCO SVOSH takes a week-long trip to Roatan, Honduras to provide eye exams to that beautiful island community.


Each year NSU-OCO SVOSH takes a week-long trip to Roatan, Honduras to provide eye exams to that beautiful island community.

Service Learning and Volunteerism

Opening Eyes is a comprehensive vision and eye health program put on by Special Olympics in conjunction with the AOA and supported by Lions Clubs International. Past SOLCIOE volunteers have reported Opening Eyes to be one of the most rewarding experiences of their careers.




Optometric Student Association (OSA)

The Optometric Student Association (OSA) is the governing body for optometry students at NSUOCO. The leadership team is composed of the president, vice president, treasurer, treasurer-elect, and secretary. This team joins with the class presidents, AOSA Trustee, and AOSA Trustee-Elect to form the Executive Council (EC). OSA serves as the students’ voice to the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP) and to administration. OSA is the local organization specific to NSUOCO, whereas AOSA (American Optometric Student Association) is the national organization for optometry students. OSA and AOSA work closely together to provide a line of communication between the local and national organizations. OSA is responsible for many events throughout the year, as well as student travel grants to Optometry’s Meeting, OAOP Spring and Fall Conferences, and other conferences. All NSUOCO students are members of OSA, and dues are required to maintain that membership. They are paid in the fall semester (usually September) after loans come in. Students are able to use points to pay for these as well (see point system below for more details about this). Dues cover membership for both OSA and AOSA—allowing benefits locally and nationally.

Positions Held in OSA

  • President: The president’s term begins in his/her 2ndyear and ends December of 3rd year. The application for president is the same for vice president (see Vice President for more details). The president is required to attend all OAOP board meetings and serves as the student liaison, attend all OAOP conferences, AOAO on Capitol Hill, Optometry’s Meeting, and Academy, as well as coordinate student travel grants for these conferences. He/She presides over the Executive Council meetings, as well as the two all school meetings each semester. The president coordinates with other student leaders for events throughout the year, attends Welcome Day and Orientation, all OSA events, coordinates the transition and retreat for new leadership, presents at Eye Ball, and is responsible for amenities provided in the student lounge. The largest responsibility for the role is the 5-State Symposium, the students’ largest fundraiser. The president plans the continuing education portion of 5-State, including securing lecturers, monitors, communicating with doctors to encourage attendance, registration, and other duties.
  • Vice President: The OSA Vice President is responsible for assisting the president with duties as needed, as well as attending all OAOP meetings, OAOP spring and fall conferences, Optometry’s Meeting, Executive Council meetings, and OSA events. The VP is also responsible for coordinating t-shirts and communication for those attending Optometry’s Meeting. In the fall of his/her second year, the VP will release applications and coordinate interviews for OSA positions (as well as interviews for the AOSA Trustee-Elect). The VP will begin planning the 5-State Symposium during his/her term. Applications for the VP position are available in the fall semester (usually October) for first year students. The application process simply consists of a paper application with an updated resume and an interview. It is truly a two-year position, as the VP becomes the president, with the VP term from January of 1styear to December of 2nd year (taking over as president January of 2nd year).
  • Secretary:The OSA Secretary is responsible for recording detailed minutes of all Executive Council meetings. The Secretary should work closely with the President. The Secretary is also responsible for planning and organizing all Executive Council lunch meetings and the all-school meetings. The Secretary should attend all OSA events and attend OAOP Conference in either the fall or the spring.
    • This position is held by an OSI-OSII student with the term starting in the spring semester (OSI) to the beginning of the following spring semester (OSII). Applications for this position are available for all OSI’s. Interviews for this position will be conducted by the Executive Council.
  • Treasurer:Candidates for the office of the Treasurer must be a member of the AOSO and OSA. The term begins during the spring semester of OSI as Treasurer-Elect and transition to Treasurer in the spring semester of OSII. Each term is one year in length. Applications are available to first-year students only. Interviews for this position will be conducted by the Executive Council.
    • Duties of the Treasurer include assessing and recording all financial matters of the OSA, including check writing, depositing checks, balancing account monthly; collection of dues from members; appropriating money for all activities and committees of the OSA; report financial status at all Executive Council meetings; filing tax documents (if applicable); assist Secretary in planning all-school meetings and arrange door prizes; attend either fall or spring conference of the OAOP.
  • Treasurer-Elect: The Treasurer-Elect is responsible for managing the OSA points system (see section “Explanation of Points System” for information) and assisting the Treasurer. This position is available for first-year students, held from the spring semester to the spring semester of OSII. He/she will then transition to the Treasurer position for the next year, from spring of OSII to spring of OSIII.
  • Social Chair:The Social chair is responsible for planning at least two social events each semester, in addition to the annual Float Trip in August. This position is held by an OSII (spring semester) going into OSIII (fall semester): January of OSII-December of OSIII. Applications are open to all second year students. The application is a 2-page questionnaire asking about involvement in clubs, interest in the position, and social event ideas during the term.
  • T-Shirt Chair: The T-Shirt Chair is responsible for designing and ordering float trip shirts, hosting the t-shirt design contest for new NSUOCO gear, completing the annual school apparel order, collecting payments for all orders and giving them to the OSA treasurer, and setting up a booth to sell gear at multiple school events. This position is held by a third-year student, and applications are available sometime during the spring semester for second-year students. The position begins during summer of OSIII and held through summer of OSIV.

American Optometric Student Association (AOSA)

The American Optometric Association (AOSA) is made up of optometry students from all 25 schools in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Every optometry student at NSUOCO is automatically a member of the AOSA, and a portion of each student’s school dues goes toward that membership. The AOSA is different from the Optometric Student Association (OSA), which is NSUOCO’s governing body. The AOSA Trustee and Trustee-Elect facilitate communication between our school and the national AOSA chapter. The AOSA is an affiliate of the American Optometric Association (AOA). The AOA is the national association graduates join after becoming doctors, and the AOSA is the association for optometry students.

Positions Held in AOSA:

  • Trustee: The Trustee-Elect transitions to Trustee in January of 2nd year after holding the Trustee-Elect position for a year prior. See below for a list of all responsibilities that the Trustee and Trustee-Elect have.
  • Trustee-Elect: The position of AOSA Trustee-Elect/Trustee is a two-year position. It is open to all first-year students. The application becomes available during the fall semester. All applicants submit an application and interview with the NSUOCO Executive Council. The Trustee-Elect serves from January of 1st year to January of 2nd year and then transitions to become the Trustee (from January of 2nd year to January of 3rd year).

The AOSA Board of Trustees consists of a Trustee and Trustee-Elect from all 25 optometry schools, an Executive Council, and the AOSA Executive Director. The Board is a voting member of the AOA House of Delegates. Trustees and Elects do not receive OSA points; however, travel expenses to national meetings, dues, Eye Ball tickets, and other appropriations are granted. Trustees may consider representing NSUOCO at the national level during their terms.

Trustee and Trustee-Elect duties include:

  • Serve as voting member of the NSUOCO Executive Council
  • Attend and represent NSUOCO at all national AOSA meetings and serve as one of the leaders of the student body
  • Facilitate communication between the NSUOCO Executive Council, AOSA Board of Trustees, and NSUOCO Student Body
  • Coordinate vendor/exhibit hall at the 5-State Symposium
  • Attend Student Bowl, Preston Smith 5K Memorial Run, Welcome Day, Orientation, AOSA Info Night, Eye Ball, Optometry’s Meeting, and Optic Cup
  • Attend all Board of Trustees meetings and social events at Optometry’s Meeting
  • Attend all Executive Council Meetings and All School Meetings at NSUOCO
  • Optional events to attend: Student Day at the Capitol, All-School Scavenger Hunt, Float Trip, OAOP Legislative Boot Camp
  • Submit two articles to Foresight Magazine (written by you or a fellow NSUOCO student)
  • Attend Fall and Spring OAOP Conferences 

Explanation of Points System

All students can earn points through volunteering their time in many ways to advance the OSA. There will be several emails and other reminders sent out about different opportunities to volunteer. Sign-up sheets can be found in the student lounge on a first come, first serve basis. Points can be used to pay for dues, Eye Ball tickets (our formal awards and scholarships banquet at the end of the spring semester), or to pay toward travel to approved optometric meetings. 1 point is equivalent to $25. All points will start accumulating at the beginning of the fall semester and will expire at the end of the summer semester (one year). If there are any points leftover at the end of the summer semester, they will automatically be applied toward dues for the following fall semester.

All School Meetings

Each semester, two all school meetings are held, one toward the beginning of the semester and one toward the end. Important announcements will be made, and all clubs will check in with updates and important upcoming events and dates. While attendance is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended. A catered meal will be provided at each meeting and a variety of door prizes will be given away. Drawings for travel grants to upcoming major meetings will also happen. It is likely you will miss important information if you do not attend these meetings.

Eye Ball

Each year in April, an awards and scholarship banquet is held (usually off campus). This is a fun, formal event with dinner and dancing after the awards ceremony. A committee of 2-3 fourth-year students plan this event alongside Sandy Patrick. Be watching for more information about this event as the school year progresses. Attendance is not mandatory, but it is encouraged.

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Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH) is a student organization devoted to the prevention and treatment of vision care needs in impoverished areas. The primary mission of SVOSH International is to facilitate the provision of vision care worldwide to people who can neither afford nor obtain such care.

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Optometry's Meeting

Optometry’s Meeting is an opportunity for doctors of optometry, paraoptometrics, and students to make a positive impact on their career and profession. There are specific events and activities planned for students who travel to the meeting, including Student Bowl. Each school sends a representative to compete in the Student Bowl. We will host our own Student Bowl in the spring to select the NSUOCO representative. Travel grants are usually available to help cover the cost of attending this meeting. The location changes each year and is typically held in the middle of June. 

American Academy of Optometry (Academy)

The American Academy of Optometry is committed to promoting the art and science of vision care through lifelong learning. The Academy provides continuing education to optometrists and vision scientists at its annual meeting. An optometrist can distinguish himself/herself by becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). Students can also complete fellowships at Academy as well as network with other students and optometrists. Travel grants may be available to help cover costs of attending Academy. This meeting is typically held in October or November each year.

Heart of America Eye Care Congress

Over the past 57 years, the Heart of America Eye Care Congress has been the Midwest’s premier optometric meeting delivering high quality continuing education from nationally renowned speakers. Many students attend this conference to network with doctors in the Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, sometimes Oklahoma areas. Some fourth year students and residents also present their research projects at this event. It is held every year around Valentine’s Day in Kansas City. While there are specific student events, students also attend CE lectures and browse the Exhibit Hall. Students may also be asked to serve as monitors at this event, which can help cover travel and room and board expenses.


The Southern Council of Optometry (SECO) consists of 13 member states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Virginia, West Virginia, and new this year, Oklahoma. SECO, held in the spring, is the regional optometric conference hosted by the council. This conference offers a national boards review for students, travel grants, free registration, and an opportunity to win scholarships, as well as other great networking and learning opportunities.

Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP) Fall and Spring Conferences

While the previous meetings are all national meetings, these conferences are specifically for Oklahoma and are hosted by the OAOP. The Fall conference is held in Tulsa in September and the Spring conference in Norman in March or April. This is a continuing education conference, and often students are asked to be monitors for these meetings.


American Society of Optometric Surgeons (Surgery Club or ASOS)

The purpose of this club is to:

  1. Provide a forum where students may stay abreast of changes to optometric scope of practice laws and legislative advances across the country
  2. Advocate for legislative advances concerning scope of practice for optometrists nationwide
  3. Provide an opportunity for students to interact with professors, ODs, and ophthalmologists who currently teach/perform advanced surgical procedures
  4. Augment curriculum by providing opportunities for students to participate in learning experiences designed to further students’ surgical education
  5. Provide opportunities for students to hear from lecturers about surgical procedures, co-management, and the OD’s role in procedures beyond the OD scope of practice
  6. Provide networking opportunities with ODs and ophthalmologists interested in improving collaborative care between the two inter-related professions
  7. Encourage students to consider a career focus in advanced optometric procedures and/or incorporating surgical procedures into their private practice
  8. Encourage students to consider pursuing residencies to ensure the future of our profession, and to promote our profession as knowledgeable about procedures within and beyond our scope of practice

Meetings are held 3-4 times a semester and dues are $25/year and due by the second meeting of each new school year. Highlights of the club include shooting lasers at model eyes, learning suturing skills, learning logistics of laser and benefits for the practice, and learning about cosmetics in optometry, such as Botox injections.

Dr. Richard Castillo is the faculty mentor for this club. Leadership positions for the club include President, Vice President, Treasurer/Secretary, Communications Officer, and an OD-1 Intern position. Second year students will hold all positions except the intern position.

Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society (BSK)

The mission of BSK is to stimulate scientific attainment, academic excellence, and the ethical practice of optometry; and to promote and provide financial support for worthy research projects relating to vision and the eyes. Benefits of membership include a certificate suitable for framing, a graduation cord, the opportunity to apply for grants, and the opportunity to win the BSK Silver Medal Award (given to graduating member(s) with the highest GPA). BSK membership is also a great resume builder.

Dues for this club include a new member, one-time fee of $40 and $10/year for current members, typically due in October of each year. Meetings occur 2-3 times a semester, and additional events include Boards Prep Sessions and Mock Proficiency Pizza Parties with first and second year students.

The mentor for this club is Sandy Patrick. The Treasurer/President Elect position is the only leadership position available with this club, elected as a third-year student. Third year student acts as Treasurer the first year and then transitions to President once entering fourth year. Applications for this position are sent out in September.

Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO)

FCO was created to share the good news about how Jesus has changed our lives for the better and provide a club opportunity to foster sharing, discussion, and growth for those who are desiring a community of believers who can help support them. We offer fellowship with other believers; connection with the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA); and a network of other medical doctors, dentists, and health professionals. There are also opportunities for 40-50 different medical mission trips through Global Health Outreach each year, as well as legislative action resources to help enact Christian principles at a national level.

This club typically meets around 3 times a semester and charges no dues. There are also weekly/biweekly men and women’s Bible studies offered. In addition to the three meetings a semester, we host a night of bonfire praise and worship at least once semester off campus.

National Optometric Student Association (NOSA)

NOSA is an international service organization of over 1,000 optometry students who are dedicated to increasing access to eye care for minority and under-served communities. NOSA also provides opportunities to serve the Tahlequah community and to network with other optometry students and optometrists nation-wide. We have two meetings per semester – once at the start of the semester and once again near the end of the semester. NOSA members can attend the National Optometric Association convention where they can network with other optometry students and optometrists around the country. There are scholarship opportunities for NOSA presidents, and everyone can participate in a boards prep course.

We hold vision screenings for the community, host fundraisers to help send members to the convention, and hold mock proficiencies for first and second year students. It’s a great way to serve the community and connect with fellow students!

Dues are $25 and are due in September. Dr. David Simpson is the faculty mentor for this club.

There are also several leadership positions available with this club, including President (OSII – 1 year position), Vice President (OS1 – 2 year position, one as VP and the next as President), Treasurer (OSII – 1 year position), Community Outreach Chair (OSII – 1 year position), Secretary (OSII – 1 year position), and Historian (2 positions, OSI and OSII, each 1 year).

NSUOCO Practice Management Club (NSUOCO PMC)

The Practice Management Club was established to help NSUOCO optometry students become more knowledgeable about basic practice management and pertinent business information so they can become the most prepared and well-rounded optometrist/business men and women.

This club brings in many speakers from a background of specialties, all with great information regarding running a successful practice/business. The presenters are usually available after meetings to answer questions or meet personally with students. If dues are paid, dinner is also provided at all meetings.

Dues are $15 each year. The club usually meets between 4-6 times a semester, with fall semesters being busier than the spring semesters. There are two leadership positions available each year: President and Vice President. A third year student fills the president position and a second year student fills the vice president position. The leadership transition happens during the summer semester, as the outgoing and incoming leaders will attend a practice management/leadership conference together, usually in late June.

Sports Vision Club

The Sports Vision Club meets to discuss how Vision Therapy is used in sports and how these techniques can be incorporated in future practices. This club usually meets about three times a semester, and there are no due charges. Some work with NSU undergraduate athletes does take place. Dr. April Parker is the faculty mentor. All leadership positions will be available in the fall semester and any year of student can fill them.

Women in Optometry (WIO)

Women in Optometry is an organization devoted to helping female optometrists become successful in practice management, patient care, and balancing work/home life. As a part of our mission, WIO chooses a philanthropic event each semester in the hopes of bettering the Tahlequah community. On average, WIO meets three times per semester. One of the meetings is usually an “informational” meeting where speakers help students learn necessary skills and give advice on bettering themselves as successful businesswomen. A second meeting involves a philanthropic event of the club’s choosing. Lastly, there is a “fun” meeting meant to bring the members closer together and help them remember to enjoy life.

WIO not only has meetings but also hosts a voluntary “Secret Sis” program where each member (if she chooses) is assigned a secret sis to send uplifting notes and gifts to throughout the year. As well as hoping to enrich the lives of students on a day-to-day basis through support and guidance, WIO sponsors a scholarship once a year to an individual who has made it her mission to uplift her peers and community. Dues are only $20 and are collected around October 1st. WIO is led by faculty advisor Jari Frazier alongside three second years elected to the positions of President, Vice President, and Treasurer.