Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government started spring semester with a State of the University Address, bringing together its members with faculty to reflect on the past, as well as what is to come in the spring semester.
USG President Kate Greer, Vice President Julia Dennen and Chief of Staff Maggie Ash took time to thank members and provided a look ahead to this semester, which Greer said includes creating partnerships to benefit students today and in the future.
“In just one month, we look forward to opening a new wellness space in Thompson Library with the Office of Administration and Planning and University Libraries,” Greer, a fourth-year in European history and German, said.
Greer said this semester will include a collaboration between the three student governments — USG, the Council of Graduate Students and the Inter-Professional Council — for the first time ever on a single project. The project, called “A Champion for All,” will work to support those who are underrepresented at the university.
“All three student governments meet formally and informally several times per month to find unity in our long-term goals and jointly advocate for all students when it comes to issues like resources for parenting and pregnant students, diverse enrollment across programs and removing financial barriers,” Greer said.
Greer and Dennen, a fourth-year in public affairs, also said they look forward to adding a unified scholarship registry — a full directory of all university financial aid opportunities in one place — for the upcoming fall semester and providing student stories to donors who are thinking about giving back to various university organizations and funds.
A medical leave-of-absence policy — which would create universitywide guidelines for withdrawal and re-enrollment for medical reasons including mental health — coming to the University Senate floor is something Greer said she is excited to see come to fruition as well.
As far as the fall semester’s accomplishments, $20,000 more than any previous year have been allocated to the 2019-20 school year’s budget to help USG in its endeavors, Dennen said.
Dennen said that the Allocations Committee distributed $51,000 to student organizations over the first two fiscal quarters of the year. For the upcoming quarter, it set aside $35,000 for student organizations.
Reflecting on the fall semester, Dennen said she was proud to highlight what was accomplished, such as 52-R-17, a resolution to support the implementation of religious accommodations for final exams.
“This issue has gone through our University Senate process and has resulted in accommodation for students observing Ramadan and future religious holidays that fall during exam periods,” Dennen said.
She also highlighted Carmen Common Sense, a collaboration between USG and faculty and staff to help students better understand and take advantage of CarmenCanvas.
Ash, a fourth-year in English, touched on the unknown future surrounding her life and the university, viewing change as a positive force.
“When I think about graduating in May, it is easy for me to be uncertain about the future — both Ohio State’s and my own,” Ash said. “At Ohio State, we should never stop growing, changing and adapting. Just like a torn-up Mirror Lake can lead to a more beautiful and sustainable future — creative, ambitious and, yes, sometimes disruptive policy goals can lead us to a better and a stronger university.”