From Your Student Senate President


Student Senate president welcomes incoming students to campus

Liz Backo

Laila Riaz | FILE

Hello and welcome to Ohio University. Your time in college isn’t only centered around the classes you take, but it’s also centered around the friends and experiences you make. I did not attend OU my freshman year, and it was one of the biggest regrets of my life. I wasn’t able to get that holistic college feel of being in a residence hall, never knowing where the central classroom building was or even attending the convocation ceremony. However, even though I didn’t get to experience those typical “firsts,” I was lucky enough to still get involved in some amazing organizations. One that stood out to me the most was Student Senate.

Academics isn’t the only thing that defines you as a student. You must also take the time to realize the kind of person you want to be. Doing well in school is important, but what getting involved teaches you is incomparable. You learn so much about the world outside your own, you find your strengths and weaknesses and you begin to realize who you are.

Student Senate has changed my life in ways that I never thought it would. I’ve had the pleasure to testify to the Ohio Statehouse about the importance of textbook affordability and student trustee voting rights, I’ve lobbied at the statehouse with former OU President Roderick McDavis and interim President David Descutner, rewrote the Senate Constitution, added Regional Campus Senators and of the many other things, I’ve made lifelong friends.

We have over 500 student organizations on campus, from the Peace Corps Ambassadors to College Republicans. Here at OU we have almost every student organization you can think of, with members who have a similar life experience to you.

What I’m really here to do is to get you all interested in a student organization that speaks for the entire campus on matters such as the need to update our policies for gender neutral housing, requesting an increase in our budget for the Senate Appropriations Commission so we can give student organizations more programming money, advocating for lowering the cost of college and so much more. Student Senate is that organization that really can do it all. We are the direct line of formal communication to the university administration from the students, and we use that to make this campus the best it can be for everyone.

Senate has big goals this year and in order for us to get them accomplished we need your help, and the ways you can do that are endless. Vote on important campus issues, come to senate meetings and speak about what you feel needs to be heard, join the internship program and discover what senate can do for the students, etc. Whether you take an active role in the senate body or not, you and your needs matter. Student Senate is here to listen to each student and advocate for their needs.

This year at OU is not only going to change your life, but it’s also going to change mine. I have the privilege to serve as the president of Student Senate in my final year of college. I’m faced with a time of great opportunity for change. We live in a time where the political spectrum is extremely fragmented, polarizing rhetoric is being thrown from every side, all while nothing is getting accomplished to make life better for ALL. I look at OU and Athens as the center point for change and influence. By utilizing our principles of shared governance I know all that we want to achieve can be done by working with the administration. Not only am I a new president, so is Duane Nellis, who will serve as OU’s 21st president. I look forward to great cooperation and collaboration with President Nellis, who has a true passion for taking the opinions and experiences of students into his decision making.
Regardless of whether or not you’re interested in getting involved, senate will always be a resource for you during your time at OU. We take student concerns and do our best to find solutions. Our office is located in Baker 305 and our doors are always open. Every voice matters, so please stop by and share yours with us. Enjoy these next four years here, and welcome to the Bobcat family.

— Landen Lama is Student Senate president at Ohio University and is a senior studying political science. Want to reach out to Landen? Head over to Baker 305 or email him at ll086313@ohio.edu.

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