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USG president and vp sworn in, begin duties

Shamina Merchant and Shawn Semmler were elected as president and vice president of Undergraduate Student Government for the 2018-19 school year. Credit: Kaylin Hynes | Senior Lantern Reporter

Shamina Merchant and Shawn Semmler took their first step as newly sworn-in president and vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government by announcing at their inauguration Tuesday night that USG’s slogan will return to the original motto “Students Serving Students.”       

“But In order to [change the slogan], we must work together as one USG community to engage with our constituents and to empower students and student organizations with the tools they need to succeed,” said Merchant, a third-year in information systems.

“Make Your Mark” was USG’s previous slogan.

Many of the USG members in attendance reflected on the previous administration and looked forward to the next,  

Sophie Chang, USG’s outgoing vice president, said she was proud of the progress USG has made and is excited to see the work Merchant and Semmler will do.

“Looking forward, I am very excited to pass the torch to two qualified, passionate individuals,” Chang said. “I have watched Shamina and Shawn grow in their leadership and advocacy and they have the potential to make so much positive change on this campus.”

Chang ended her speech by giving advice to the new administration.

“At the end of the day, it’s about the students you are serving; it’s about the students in this organization; it’s about the work you are doing; it’s not about you,” Chang said.

Throughout their campaign, Merchant and Semmler focused on reaching out to all student voices to shape their policy to make it about the students, and they are both adamant about pushing this policy as the newly sworn-in USG leaders.

“I would also like to thank everyone outside of this room — across campus — who shared their story, contributed to the dialogue, or posed a question that helped create an incredible policy document authored by and for the students,” Semmler, a third-year in finance, said.

The evening’s speeches also encouraged the incoming, outgoing and returning USG members to build a strong foundation for the future of Ohio State, even if they might not see tangible results of their efforts.

Andrew Jackson, outgoing USG president, spoke to Merchant and Semmler about how their upcoming year will shape them as leaders.

“USG changes you, no matter what position you hold,” Jackson said. “You are able to make a difference for students every day and that is something very few organizations can say here at Ohio State. Your leadership styles are going to change, your friendship will change, and you will change for the better.”

Merchant and Semmler said they are ready to get started with their work in USG with the values of engagement, empowerment and community to become one university and one USG.

“Shawn and I are here because we believe in the power of USG, and we want to see these values guide our organization’s path to driving change on campus,” Merchant said.

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