Karissa Lam / Design editor
Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government elections are filled with proposed platforms and seemingly endless to-do lists for candidates. Last year was no exception, as the current presidency was elected with a platform containing more than 150 initiatives planned for its one-year term.
As the current presidency comes to an end, The Lantern is looking back at where it exceeded expectations—and where it fell short.
While Micah Kamrass and Brad Pyle, current USG president and vice president, respectively, were successful in extending library hours and lessening underaged-drinking penalties, the duo fell short in attaining free printing and extending bus services. Regardless, both saw their expansive platform as an assertion of their promised inclusiveness.
“Since our ideas came from students, they were popular,” said Kamrass, a fourth-year in political science and economics. “Chances are if one person has an issue, there’s 100 other people at the university that have that issue.”
This inclusiveness continued after the platform creation, as “Listening to You” is listed as the first of six top components published on the “Micah and Brad” website, weareallbuckeyes.com.
“One of the major pieces of our platform was how we said, ‘We’re going to stand on the Oval once a week, rain or shine, snow, whatever it is, to listen to you,’ and we started there,” Kamrass said. “I think people really appreciated hearing from student government candidates that they wanted to listen rather than just tell everyone what’s best.”
Kamrass said he and Pyle held office hours on the Oval every week this year except for exam weeks.
Some students, however, didn’t notice this effort for inclusion.
“I haven’t seen them,” said Jen Marchese, a second-year in psychology. “I don’t notice everything, but I walk through the Oval every day.”
Steve Allen, a fourth-year in materials science and engineering, said USG should do a better job making students aware of their undertakings, as he has heard little about their activity. He said their changes on campus might be recognized, but students aren’t aware that they were USG projects.
One such change is the extension of William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library hours. This was the second pillar of the “Micah and Brad” platform, and it came to fruition when the library closing time was pushed from midnight to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday for Spring Quarter.
Averyanna Evans, a fourth-year in communications, said she could see the value of those two extra library hours because she often studies between midnight and 2 a.m. and has had to walk from Thompson Library to the Science and Engineering Library to continue her studies in the 24-hour facilities.
Kamrass and Pyle promised to push for 24-hour access at Thompson library as well, but came to a compromise because the cost of the two-hour extension, about $50,000 per quarter.
The third prominent initiative of Kamrass and Pyle’s platform was to create an online ordering system for students to order their meals from select dining halls. This has not been accomplished, but Kamrass remains optimistic.
“It’s something they’re working on, and it’s going to be here,” he said. “I don’t know how quickly it will be here, but it’s something they do want to have in place at least at a few locations. I think that before the freshmen here graduate, we will have the ability to order online.”
Kamrass said USG has formed a positive relationship with the dining hall administration, which has been student-friendly and supportive of its mission to create this online ordering system.
Kamrass and Pyle’s platform also approached the semester switch and how to make the transition as painless as possible for the student body. Kamrass and Pyle’s complete platform ensures their dedication to timely graduation, an affordable May term and trained advisers for the switch. But in true Buckeye spirit, the issue that made their front page concerned football tickets.
“There will be more students at the first couple of games of the year because school will actually be in session then,” Kamrass said. “With football tickets, there’s a lot of competing groups … but we’re very pleased that there will be more students that will be here for the games, and I think those first couple of games when you get back to campus can be the most exciting even though the opponents may not always be.”
USG has worked with the athletic council to increase the number of student football game tickets for the 2012 season, and Kamrass said this increase has been achieved.
Another core initiative that might impact some students’ 2012 football season is USG’s efforts to “Fix STOP.” The STOP (Stop Teenage Opportunity to Purchase) program gained notoriety in Autumn Quarter 2009 as students were arrested and taken to jail by undercover law enforcement for underage drinking.
Kamrass and Pyle pledged to change the way STOP operated by having students held on campus instead of in jail. Although students are still not held on campus, USG was successful in changing the policy from mandatory arrests in favor of citations for underage consumption.
“It’s no longer that if a student gets caught drinking underage on a football Saturday that they get taken down to the jail, that they get strip searched, just horrible inconveniences for what I think is a minor violation,” Kamrass said. “So now they are issued citations.”
Better housing was the last pillar of Kamrass and Pyle’s campaign. Their strategy was to ensure quality off-campus housing by developing a “Rate my Landlord” website similar to ratemyprofessors.com. However Kamrass and Pyle have joined discussions involving a new requirement for undergraduate students to live in residence halls for two years.
“It’s been a major initiative to ensure that if these sophomores are pulled onto campus, that we’re doing everything we can to keep the (off-campus) community nice, safe and that landlords uphold the needs of students,” Kamrass said.
Kamrass said instead of a landlord rating website, the board of trustees is considering an affiliation or certification program, in which the university would approve off-campus landlords who are “doing the right things to keep students safe.”
Some prominent efforts of the current USG leaders weren’t a part of the initial campaign platform. Such efforts include lobbying Congress in Washington, D.C., for financial aid, specifically maintaining the basis of the Pell Grant program.
The 150 issues on Kamrass and Pyle’s platform included smaller initiatives which were not accomplished. Some of these items included: bus service increase for weekends and exam week, university-wide free printing and the installation of digital microfridges in all residence hall units.
“We were realistic about the fact that not every single thing on that list would be finished by the end of our year,” Kamrass said. “But we’re very proud about how many of them are finished by the end of our year.”