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USG sets sights on sustainability, scholarship initiatives and free speech to begin year

Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

 

A few weeks into Fall Semester, Undergraduate Student Government has set its sights on student sustainability initiatives, a scholarship registry and a Wednesday vote on a resolution opposing the window art ban.

$50,000 sustainability donation

On Aug. 29, USG announced it had received a $50,000 grant from Ohio State Energy Partners, a promised academic investment part of the energy contract. This contribution will provide funding to student sustainability projects, said Vikas Munjal, USG’s director of sustainability and a fourth-year in public health.

The donation is given with few limitations, as long as the project incorporates elements of sustainability or energy.

“If we relate it back to that goal of reducing energy on campus one way or another, it’s a match made in heaven,” Munjal said.

USG intends to open the funding to the sustainability council — a collaboration of various student organizations focused on sustainability.

“The reason we’re getting a grant is because we represent all students,” Munjal said. He added that Energy Partners wanted to give money to students and saw that USG could divide the sum of money to multiple organizations.

”[USG] can converse with a bunch of other sustainability groups to see what can we do with this $50,000,” Munjal said on Energy Partner’s thought process during the initial grant development.

Scholarship registry

In USG’s second general assembly meeting of the semester Aug. 28, president Andrew Jackson proposed an initiative to create a scholarship registry, which will list all Ohio State-related scholarships in one online database.

This central location will allow students to search across all colleges and departments to see which scholarships are available to them before and during their time at Ohio State, said Jackson, a fourth-year in political science and Spanish.

Jackson said he looked at other Big Ten institutions and saw that there weren’t any that listed non-academic scholarships in one database. At Purdue, for instance, Jackson said the database is sorted by college and doesn’t include scholarship offerings from student life or the Multicultural Center. His proposal, however, would have them all together.

“So what we’re doing is kind of unprecedented,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he and USG vice president Sophie Chang hope to have this completed by the time they graduate in May.

Window art ban

Six USG senators proposed to vote for a resolution in opposition to the window art ban on Wednesday.

USG North Campus Senator Maria Humayun, a second-year in international studies and public affairs, said Ohio State’s decision to prevent students from placing things on dorm-room windows is an infringement on students’ rights to free speech, and she hopes the proposed resolution will force administration to reconsider the policy.

“I just think that’s wrong because we as first-years and second-years, we’re basically forced to live in the dorms, and we want to make those as homey as possible to make them represent us and express our creativity, and I don’t think it’s right that they were kind of limiting that,” Humayun said.

Jackson said it will be hard for administrators to switch the policy in the housing contract and that it would’ve been difficult to allow a more relaxed position on window art.

“I think if they would’ve allowed the Post-it Notes to continue but only told certain people to take their stuff down, I think that would’ve been a pretty big issue; but since they are not allowing anyone to put anything up, I really think that it’s not infringing upon that whatsoever,” said Jackson.

The proposed resolution, which USG is set to vote on Wednesday, would oppose the ban and support simple guidelines on what is allowed.

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