With the growing importance of student representation on college campuses, students at Ohio Atheltic Conference (OAC) schools are making their voices heard for inclusivity and change.
According to Inside Higher Ed, “as issues such as free speech, mental health and race relations have shaken campuses more in the last several years, students have started demanding more access to high-ranking administrators, particularly presidents.” Students are pushing for more influence on their campuses and this trend is not exclusive to Otterbein.
Many schools across the OAC spent this year focusing on campus inclusivity. John Carroll University’s student government is taking a passionate stand against interpersonal violence on its campus.
On Jan. 23, John Carroll’s student government hosted a discussion for students and faculty following recent Title IX issues on campus. “Student Government president Jacob Kozlowski ‘24 opened the event by reiterating his initiative to raise awareness and, ultimately, stop sexual violence on John Carroll’s campus,” a recent article by The Carroll News said.
Many schools in the OAC are dedicating resources to providing menstruation products in campus bathrooms. John Carroll is connecting with the Aunt Flow non-profit organization to make this happen.
John Carroll’s student body president, Jacob Kozlowski, said, “I’ve been meeting with our director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, our vice president of student affairs, people from facilities, a bunch of different people to bring free period products to campus.”
Capital University’s student government is also working towards its goal of providing free menstruation products for its student body.
"We have a bill for the addition of menstrual products dispensers in campus restrooms. We had a bill like that last year that I actually co-wrote and this was just to get more on campus which is super awesome.” Capital student body president Aubrianna Jones said.
Otterbein University has been working with Aunt Flow since 2018, but not without its fair share of challenges.
Along with the push for better access to personal hygiene products, many student government organizations are advocating for less work from professors in the week before finals.
Ohio Northern University’s student government president Shannon Carnes talked about what the previous student government members have accomplished this year and recognized that she is newly elected for her position. “One of the things that they were really working on was the dead week policy, to sort of, look at the way professors are giving us workload during that week before finals, so kind of looking at that, seeing what we can do to maybe lighten the load of students the week before finals,” Carnes said.
Throughout the past year, OUSG has been creating student advisory boards to represent the students, while also changing the student employee payment schedule from monthly to biweekly.
“I think a big thing that we’ve like, been able to see the changes in is establishing our dining advisory committee so that implemented new changes in Parkhurst which is our contracted food service,” Timmy Wotring, Otterbein’s student government president, said.
Wotring explained that the Dining Advisory Board has pushed for more sustainable practices and adding kitchen appliances like microwaves to the Nest for student use.
As many student government organizations wrap up their final goals for the year, they begin to welcome new members of their organizations through elections. Final votes are being counted and new members of OUSG are expected to be announced before the end of the academic year.