As Otterbein's 2023 spring semester reaches full swing, the Otterbein University Student Government is preparing for a semester of duty for the student body. The members of OUSG plan to hit the ground running from last semester, in their efforts to represent their peers.
Last semester, the student government prioritized timely payment methods for student employees, more accessible organizations for students with disabilities, and filling positions for student leadership. Vice President Matthew Lanning says, “We had our largest fall election in OUSG history.”
Secretary Claire Sauer explains the importance of having all OUSG positions filled to represent the student body accurately. More positions were created last fall to accommodate the growing interest in student leadership.
Sauer says, “we filled in all of our spots, and we actually had like a great issue where it was like, oh our [turnout] is huge, so we made our committees bigger.”
This spike in active roles in student leadership is a major turnaround from the COVID-19 pandemic when student organizations were facing difficulty gaining new members.
Otterbein’s system of shared governance between students, faculty, staff, and Otterbein trustees is unique.
According to Otterbein’s website, “A cornerstone of our shared governance is an equal representation ration of faculty to students. In this governance model, all Otterbein students are members of the Student Assembly. The Student Assembly is represented by the Otterbein University Student Government.”
Treasurer Mary Liddle explains that all groups are dedicated to allowing students to reach agreements within student leadership.
“I feel like overall the system of shared governance really helps us because there’s not only us advocating for things, there’s two other governing bodies,” said Liddle. “We have a lot of the same ideas.”
In one of OUSG's first meetings of the semester, members discussed their plans for the coming months. One notable discussion is the continuation of the Textbook Task Force.
Academic Senator Tatum Poulton says, “At the end of our last meeting we voted to send a request to reinstate the Textbook Task Force. Textbook Task Force will basically go in and look at the textbooks that professors are requiring students to buy, and they are just going to evaluate what students are getting out of it, is [buying the textbook] worth it?”
Members of OUSG understand the importance of having dedicated student leadership in place on campus. Executive leaders and senators talk to the student body as representatives for student organizations, and it is their job to provide necessary information or assistance in reaching an agreement.
“I think that like the thing we have an issue with is people will bring us issues and have no follow through," Sauer said. "That’s why we need these leaders, that are like, I will take it through, and I will want this to be solved.”
As the semester continues, students are eager to see the progress of the Otterbein University Student Government. All students are welcome to attend OUSG meetings, listed in the campus events calendar to learn more about student leadership, ask questions, and fulfill INST credits.
[Editor's Note: The title was changed to include the word "to" for clarity. A quote from Tatum Poulton also had a typo that was fixed for clarity.]