The Underrepresented Constituency Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government is doing something never done before in diversity.
“We’re proud of the UCC,” said Melissa Koch, and junior in finance and the vice president of USG. “The faculty is using the UCC’s structure as a role model.”
The UCC is made of 16 subcommittees, each having its own representative, said Patty Cunningham, co-leader of the UCC and senior in sociology and women’s studies. She takes care of the projects focused on minorities born in the United States.
German Trejo, a transfer student majoring in architecture and minoring in political science, is the other co-leader. He leads projects focused on international students.
A reporter from the University of Wisconsin’s Daily Cardinal who conducted diversity research at many different universities concluded that USG’s plan was the most ambitious. Research was conducted at Big Ten Universities as well as other colleges across the country.
One of the projects that the UCC is undertaking is a student-run business. The the profits will go to student organizations and student funds.
The committee found a Guatemalan coffee producer to inexpensively sell his coffee beans to the students, Trejo said. In turn students will sell the coffee here in Columbus through a coffee shop.
“The project is still in its beginning stages,” Trejo said. “We’re using this quarter to plan out everything. Next quarter we hope to present the project to the university. By the end of the year, we want to finish it.”
A location near OSU, such as High St., would be the optimal place for such a coffee shop, Trejo said. However, they’re still looking at other options.
The UCC also has an Ambassadors’ committee, Cunningham said.
“It connects OSU abroad with different universities,” she said. “We can have communications with so many different countries.”
The committee is asking students who study abroad to act as representatives of OSU and USG. They would teach other international students about OSU and encourage them to come over to the university to study.
The UCC is also working on a governmental affairs project with the embassies in Washington D.C., Cunningham said. Members are asking the embassies to create scholarships for international students attending OSU from their countries. The embassies would supply students with information about immigration or potential internships and jobs.
Corporations in the United States, especially those that are in Ohio, that trade with other countries are being contacted to help setup these scholarship funds, Trejo said. These three international projects were Trejo’s ideas.
“It’s a way to link the students back to their countries,” Cunningham said.
A more local project, the Community Enhancement Fund, is in its third year, she said. Any student organization can apply for money for this fund to support any project that involves diversity.
“It’s a fund issued by students for students,” she said.
The subcommittees of UCC are Middle Eastern, South East Asian, North Asian, disabled, athletic, progressive, African American, Latino, Jewish, American Indian, Women, Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transvestite and Intersex, military and the underprivileged class.