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“Need a ride?” Oklahoma State University students, faculty and guests are hearing the shout from an unexpected source: an orange golf cart named Clementine driven by university First Lady Ann Hargis.
Clementine is eye-catching in her OSU orange and dressed in the accoutrements of an old-fashioned taxi. Ms. Hargis first began offering students a ride on their first day of classes and quickly discovered the little orange cart is a great conversation starter and relationship builder.
“Clementine is part of the family and lives in our garage. She was a gift from Burns (OSU President Burns Hargis) the first year we came to Stillwater to give me easier access to the campus,” said Ms. Hargis. “She has since become so much more than transportation and opened a dialogue with the students, faculty and guests in ways I never would have expected. People love the open-air feel of the ride and you can’t help but smile as you zip across campus.”
If Clementine could talk she would be filled with stories. Stories like the elderly couple who hitched a ride on OSU game day to the football stadium and didn’t realize the driver was the First Lady. They asked if she would pick them up after the game? She of course said she would try and handed them her phone number.
There are also countless stories of lost freshmen students who have gotten a ride in Clementine and a long talk with the First Lady. She gets them to the right classroom and off to the right start in their university career. There are also stories of dignitaries and potential donors who ride in Clementine and see the OSU campus in a whole new light.
“The view from Clementine is unique; you can’t see the campus this way from a car or even on foot,” continued Ms. Hargis. “Moving through the narrow sidewalks you get a panoramic view of the beauty of the campus. You feel the tradition and time-honored architecture of the bricked structures, and marvel at the colors of the OSU gardens in every season. Moving through the sea of OSU students on their way to class and seeing their smiles and waves is invigorating.”
Students are catching on that Clementine is an easy ride to class and a fun chat with the First Lady, an opportunity most students at most major universities rarely have.
The rules for getting a ride on Clementine are simple: no invitation required. Just shout “taxi!” hop on and be ready for smiles and a heart-to-heart with Ann Hargis.