Oles Against Inequality (OAI) have already made big strides at St. Olaf college in the 3 semesters since they were formed. This semester, OAI has been running a weekly barbershop after OAI members Aidan Llyod ‘24, and Gio Green ‘23 saw a need for it due to the lack of options in Northfield. Through OAI, Director of Athletics Ryan Bowles provided funding so that they could buy the necessary equipment for the barbershop. Llyod and Green also brought in barbers from Trendz, which is a barbershop located in Apple Valley. The Trendz barbers were chosen because they have more experience cutting different textures of hair, which students previously had to travel for.
OAI member Grace Maxwell ‘22 explained one of the biggest issues in getting the barbershop running was lack of space. While this year they only had a temporary space near the Taylor Center, she said they hope to expand to having a more permanent space and more working hours. Maxwell also noted that OAI hopes to expand to Carleton students and Northfield residents in the future.
Another hurdle OAI had to jump was COVID-19, especially during 2020-2021 because of the necessary pandemic restrictions.
The barbershop is also a great option for women, especially with short hair. Maxwell noted how multiple women, including herself, did come in and use the shop.
Overall, the barbershop was a big success and made big news in publications such as MPR News. Hopefully it will be back in action next year with some new expansions!