State of the Student Body Address looks forward, backward


Grace Turner

Student body president Zack Thomas speaks at the State of the Student Body and reflects on the accomplishments.

Everything from parking to social justice was addressed by Student Body President Zack Thomas at his State of the Student Body Address on March 6.

The first part of the speech focused on Oakland University Student Congress’ accomplishments from this academic year.

Thomas and Student Body Vice President Anders Engnell worked with the administration to come up with a parking plan that will add 660 parking spaces by fall 2017. Thomas also cited petitions OUSC put together that protested controversial administrative, operational and board actions; the minimum wage increase; increased accessibility; the preferred name policy; actions taken to get students registered to vote; and efforts to reinvent OUSC internal functioning, among other topics.

Thomas said Engnell, who he called “bae,” spearheaded about half of the projects the two of them undertook. He also acknowledged the accomplishments of other OUSC leaders.

Thomas discussed about what he and Engnell could have done better, including increasing professional growth and team-building opportunities for OUSC staff, and better marketing this year’s OUSC campaign, so more than one ticket might have run in the election. He also warned that prioritizing OUSC initiatives is challenging.

Finally, Thomas discussed Oakland’s direction. He thinks it would be beneficial for Oakland to enter public-private partnerships, in which companies could rent land from Oakland to open business like an on-campus bar or movie theater. He also would like to see OU increase the number of tailgates, sell alcohol at sporting events, look into an NCAA football team and relax on-campus alcohol restrictions. He is against unrestrained enrollment growth and said accessibility must continue to improve. Finally, Thomas emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong student voice.