Roaya Higazi and Caleb Hineman were sworn into the president and vice president positions in Undergraduate Student Government. Credit: Courtesy of Jacob Chang

Roaya Higazi and Caleb Hineman were sworn in as president and vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government, respectively, with the power of students being the focal point of their administration.  

The virtual inauguration on a Zoom video conference took place Tuesday evening when Higazi, a third-year in city and regional planning, and Hineman, a third-year in natural resource management, took over for former USG President Kate Greer and Vice President Julia Dennen as USG’s newest leaders. Greer and Dennen welcomed them and offered advice while the new administration highlighted what they will look to accomplish in the coming year.

Higazi said students should be able to trust USG and the organization creates an opportunity for students to spark change on campus.

“We made a commitment to the student body not just because we care about students and their experiences, but because we believe USG is a powerful avenue to create change on campus and that every student at Ohio State deserves to feel a part of it and should believe USG has their best interest at heart,” Higazi said.

 Higazi also highlighted the goals the administration has set for the upcoming year and how they plan to achieve them.

“We committed ourselves to creating a more accessible and affordable campus, to prioritizing justice and equity for marginalized students in all of the work that we do and to ensuring that Ohio State students feel empowered to advocate for themselves and to create positive change within their own avenues,” Higazi said.

Higazi specified some of the plans the administration has to enact these goals in the coming year. 

“We’re excited to bring these changes in tangible ways such as assuring a grace period for first-generation and low-income students selected for FAFSA verification, through streamlining support services for sexual assault survivors and implementing a universitywide strategic plan for diversity and inclusion and so much more,” Higazi said.

 Hineman said the administration will work to empower students to make the change they would like to see within the university, especially those who historically have been underrepresented in USG.

 “Part of this includes involving those who may have not always had a chance to sit at the table,” Hineman said. “One aspect of this will include the implementation of the Black Caucus and another aspect of this will include implementing a collaborative council involving campus leaders outside of USG in order to have a mode of frequent communication to work together in efforts to make us all stronger as one.”

Before parting with USG as president and vice president, Greer and Dennen looked back at their time in office and within the organization.

Dennen, a fourth-year in public affairs, left USG members with a few final requests as she gave her final speech.

“I ask that you grant yourself a little grace everyday as we move forward. I ask that you remember that you are a part of something bigger than yourself, but that you are an indispensable part of it. I ask that you give yourself the same gifts that you gave Kate and I — trust, support and the respect of letting us know when we can do more,” Dennen said. “I ask that you love those around you and that you lift them up with every chance that you get and every turn that you can and finally, I ask that you honor the work that you have done, but more importantly equally honor the work that you didn’t get to finish.”

 Greer, a fourth-year in German and European history, left the new administration with what she said was her biggest piece of advice —  to depend on their peers and colleagues.

“Lean on your people — both on the team you have appointed to serve alongside you and on your community of buckeyes that you have committed to serving,” she said.