USG President Kate Greer and Vice President Julia Dennen are inaugurated at the Drake Performance Center April 2. Credit: Joe Matts | Lantern TV Director

Kate Greer and Julia Dennen were sworn in as Undergraduate Student Government president and vice president, respectively, Tuesday night at the Drake Performance and Event Center, promising to empower students to use their voices.

Greer and Dennen succeed outgoing USG President Shamina Merchant and Vice President
Shawn Semmler as student body leaders, who reflected on their year-long administration at the event while Greer and Dennen outlined their vision for the future.

Greer said that she believes Ohio State allows students the opportunity to be heard, and her administration seeks to encourage students to speak up to the university.

“We believe that the fundamental aim of the Undergraduate Student government is to empower each student, advocate for policies that better their Ohio State experiences and amplify the voices of the student body as a whole,” Greer said.

Greer emphasized the collaborative roles that students and the university play in decision-making, and said she believes Ohio State wants students to use their power to shape their college experience.

“If you combine your truth with a little bit of that good old evidence-based research and a whole lot of resilience, patience and hard work, you will find that Ohio State wholeheartedly responds,” Greer said.

Dennen said the administration aims to use USG as a vessel to be an ally that advocates for students.

“We promise to always try to do the right thing the right way for the right reasons,” Dennen said.

Greer and Dennen centered their campaign on the slogan, “Make it happen,” and the pair made it their goal to listen to every students’ unique experience in order to best inspire them to be their own best advocate, Dennen said.

While Greer and Dennen laid out their plans for the future, Semmler and Merchant took the time to reflect on their administration and offered advice to their successors.

Semmler said that although he has been part of USG for four years, the past year had been different due to a new tone within the organization.

Semmler also said he thought it was “odd” that people don’t take the time to reflect on moments until the time is almost over.

“It’s too bad that it takes an ending for us to recall, reflect or enjoy the entire journey,” Semmler said.

With that, he advised the new administration to take a different approach.

“Take a moment to enjoy the moment,” Semmler said.

Merchant said that her year as president flew by faster than any year before it, and she said she is proud that the organization exemplified its slogan, “Students serving students.”

“This organization, the work that we do, is so much bigger than any one of us,” Merchant said.

Although Merchant said they accomplished much during their administration, she also said that they are no strangers to shortcomings.

“There’s still so much work left to do,” Merchant said.