It’s a busy time for college students; finals will be passed, rooms will be cleared and packed, and “see-you-laters” will be said before the three-month summer break.
For the Otterbein University Student Government (OUSG), an added responsibility is the election for positions for the next semester.
Mary Liddle, who won the OUSG presidency for the 2023-2024 year, is excited about her upcoming responsibilities. She said that her past experience as OUSG treasurer has prepared her for her new position.
“I am most excited to continue to keep up the momentum from this past year. We made so many amazing strides and knowing that much can be done in one year makes me incredibly hopeful for the future progress we will make,” Liddle said in an email interview.
One primary focus for the newest executive members of OUSG is increasing student involvement across campus.
“Our campus has a plethora of student organizations but awareness and attendance of events is subpar. They aim to work closely with OUSG’s advisor Kelly Murphy, who runs President's Leadership Council, and the Student Organization Development Committee to ensure that organizations are being trained and informed about the ways they can make their organization as accessible and transparent as possible via platforms like CampusGroups,” said the platform campaign of newly elected OUSG President Mary Liddle and OUSG Vice President Claire Sauer.
The platform campaign also overviews Liddle and Sauer’s plans to continue the push for more sustainability on campus.
“They are striving to get our University’s recycling program up to par and ensure sustainability is well accounted for in the University's Strategic Plan,” Liddle and Sauer’s platform campaign said.
Data from the election results show that there is widespread interest in becoming a member of OUSG, but not a lot of interest from students not involved in OUSG to vote for members.
“We had over 160 submissions and now we have about 42 people that we are inaugurating tomorrow,” current OUSG Vice President Matthew Lanning said. “It’s ten more than what we had at this time last year,” he said. Still, though, with about 2,300 students enrolled in Otterbein’s undergraduate degree program, 160 returned ballots only makeup only 0.07% of all Otterbein undergraduate students.
In an email sent on Wednesday, March 22, OUSG asked students to fill out their ballots over a CampusGroups forum by Friday, March 24. Many students said they weren't aware of these elections due to the lack of information and encouragement to vote.
“I honestly didn’t hear about it,” nursing major Riley Brown said. “I also just don’t know anybody in the government, so I don’t really care."
Students who did participate in the election tried their best to vote based on ideas and accomplishments instead of making it a popularity contest.
Amber Parker, a double major in math and actuarial sciences, tried to vote for all positions. “I tried to stay unbiased as possible, basically I just voted for anybody that I could vote for,” she said.
Students who are interested in the complete list of new OUSG members can go to OUSG’s Instagram page. While students prepare for finals and summer break, these new leaders are left with the task of figuring out how to get their student body more involved and interested in their own representation.