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<p>This picture, taken on Nov. 10, 2022, shows students at a General Assembly meeting.</p>
This picture, taken on Nov. 10, 2022, shows students at a General Assembly meeting.

Disconnect between OUSG and student organizations leave leaders confused

Students have found that OUSG does not interact with their organizations.

One of the first pieces of advice college students hear when they step onto campus is that joining student organizations is a great way to make friends and contribute to the overall wellness of campus. Otterbein has more than 83 such organizations where students can find a sense of community. Still, though, students involved in these groups find how little the Otterbein University Student Government interacts with them to be confusing. 

Ben Hoover, the elected representative for all musical theater majors in Cap and Dagger says, “I personally don’t know what they do, so I don’t know what they could help with.”  

Hoover, along with prominent members of many other Otterbein student organizations, find it difficult to describe what they want to see OUSG do to better campus life for students simply because it is not clear what OUSG even does on Otterbein’s campus. Many students, even student leaders, do not understand what OUSG can and cannot do in regard to representing the student body. 

Nimco Awil, a member of both the Black Student Union and OUSG, says it would be helpful if OUSG took a public stance on certain controversial topics on campus. She cited the example of some people on campus using the term “blacks” to describe people of color.

“I think if it’s like student government and BSU collab on certain things then making like, let’s say, just like a statement, that’s the sort of thing that the university can’t do, because they can't tell people what to say and what not to say,” Awil said.

The BSU's push to change its name from the African American Student Union to the Black Student Union highlights the student organization's struggles to be represented accurately by the university.

Mary Walls, a member of the BSU doesn’t see a lot of communication between OUSG and the BSU. She thinks there should be more engagement between the two groups and that OUSG could be doing more to see the student organizations firsthand. “Be more involved, you know, act like you care about us,” Walls said.

Hope Beverick, president of the Panhellenic Council representing sorority life at Otterbein, also doesn’t see much interaction between OUSG and Greek life. “Honestly I have not heard a lot from them personally,” Beverick said.

When asked what these organization leaders want to personally see from OUSG, their answers differed.

Many members of student groups believe that it is very important for OUSG members to build partnerships and relationships with leaders of these student groups. “I would say definitely establish a relationship with the members of the [Panhellenic Council’s] executive board, especially the president and vice president,” Beverick said. She also expressed her desire for OUSG to “have an open line of communication as well.”

“I think that if there is one thing across the board that everyone hates here is the parking,” said Ben Hoover. “Again, I personally don’t know what they do, so like, I don’t know what they could help with.”

Hope Beverick said she’d like to see promotion of Greek involvement from OUSG. “I’m going to say encouraging Greek involvement and encouraging, like whether it’s freshman or people already involved on campus to join the Greek community.”

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