After recently being elected president and vice president of the Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government, Gerard Basalla and Danielle Di Scala were formally sworn into their new positions along with the newly elected General Assembly on Tuesday.
The ceremony took place at 6 p.m. in the Great Hall Meeting Rooms 1 and 2 on the first floor of the Ohio Union and was made up of a series of speeches headlined by both Basalla, a third-year in political science and strategic communication, and Di Scala, a third-year in political science, in which both spoke about their excitement to begin their new positions and their plans for the 2016-17 academic year.
“One year from today, Danielle and I want to tell the story of an administration that worked tirelessly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year, to better the lives of all students. We will do this by working with our incredible team, who are present tonight, to accomplish the goals set out by our 77-page policy platform,” Basalla said during his speech. “For the first time in many years, we have the ability to utilize our entire platform and challenge ourselves to complete our many initiatives to make Ohio State a better place for all.”
Basalla and Di Scala will succeed Abby Grossman and Abby Waidelich, a fourth-year in biological engineering, as the USG president and vice president.
Grossman, 2015-16 president and a fourth-year in math education, also spoke during the ceremony, giving her blessing to Basalla and Di Scala as they move into their new positions.
“After working with the both of you guys over the last few years, I have seen your work ethic and I have seen your passion for this organization and Ohio State,” she said. “I know that the combination of the two of you will bring this organization to new heights.”
During her speech, Di Scala outlined what she and Basalla hope to accomplish in their new positions in USG.
“Our fellow Buckeyes deserve a student government that represents them to the best of its abilities,” Di Scala said. “I have dedicated my college career to this organization for no other reason than this: I want to make Ohio State a more affordable, inclusive and safe place for students.”
Basalla said he and Di Scala have a mission to make it easier for OSU students to pay tuition.
“To me, our mission is simple. Danielle and I want to make college more affordable for students, not by reinventing the wheel, but rather by looking at basic elements of what creates some possible unnecessary financial burdens for students,” he said.
Basalla also mentioned that they want to help get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental health and that they are looking to ensure the importance of diversity in USG and OSU as a whole.
“We must create an inclusive atmosphere, where we emphasize a culture that boasts incredible strength in cultural competency and reinforces the idea that every person has a place in Buckeye Nation,” he said.
Basalla said that he and Di Scala will take this opportunity to change USG’s direction for the coming years and use new outreach initiatives and strategic communication to improve how the organization connects with students, noting that USG is the students’ government and that every student can play a big part in it.
He also called on his fellow USG members to come together, to represent OSU students and to not let any student get left behind.
“Over the next year, never give up on our relentless pursuit of unity. Never give up on the call to action that is Buckeye excellence,” he said.
Di Scala said that she and Basalla are aware that they will face plenty of challenges, and they will need to continue to improve and do more.
“USG, without a doubt, works tirelessly for all of our students, but there is always more work to be done and structural changes to be made,” she said. “Starting today, Gerard and I will challenge ourselves as well as our members to always be striving for progress.”
Additionally, Di Scala said that it won’t be easy for her and Basalla to accomplish all of their goals, but that they will do their best to make every student feel at home at OSU.
“While I cannot promise you that we will accomplish all we set out to do, I can promise this: Gerard and I will spend every day of our administration working to ensure that every Buckeye feels this same sense of belonging,” she said.
Taylor Marsilio, USG’s chief justice and a third-year in engineering, said he believes that Basalla and Di Scala are a good fit to lead USG.
“USG is in good hands, and I know that they are going to continue the success of the previous administration,” he said. “The main goal is to make college more affordable for the common student, and I definitely believe in their work ethic and I think that they are more than capable to do so.”
Mario Belfiglio, a senator in the USG General Assembly and a second-year in biology, said he thinks that Basalla and Di Scala will put in the work and will accomplish a lot in their new positions.
“Gerard and Danielle are truly amazing people and are extremely motivated,” he said. “Matt Couch (the director of student activities and orientation) just gave a speech saying to (not) make USG a job. But I can guarantee you one thing — that Danielle and Gerard will make USG their job, and that they will make it their everything.”
Basalla said they hope to create change during their time as USG president and vice president.
“Our alma mater states, ‘Time and change will surely show, how firm thy friendship, O-HI-O.’ Let’s take our time and seize it. Let’s create a lasting, meaningful change,” Basalla said. “As always, it’s great to be a Buckeye. USG, let’s get to work.”