Your voice. Heard. (Period)

By John Doe

Last summer, while brainstorming the Oakland University Student Congress’ marketing approach, our membership decided that it wanted students to recognize OUSC as a dependable, available, and straightforward organization.

We shortened the previous administration’s tag line from “Let your voice be heard” to “Your Voice. Heard.” An emphasis was added by the periods after each statement.

However, to turn this tag line into reality, Congress did (and still does) much more than just “hear” you.

We represent your ideas, suggestions and concerns in University Senate Committees, meetings with administrators and Board of Trustees and by directly organizing efforts for the benefit of all students.

Since last week’s Oakland Post editorial, there have been questions raised about the operations and focus of Student Congress. I would like to take some time to highlight some of our answers.

OU Student Congress has confidence in saying that it effectively represents the Student Body by spending student money responsibly and living up to “Your Voice. Heard.”

However it’s understood that this is an opinion, and so I would like to elaborate upon some reasoning.

One concern mentioned spending OUSC funds (and thus student tuition money) on giveaways and other event promotional material.

The intended result of this investment is to increase student participation in events and programs on campus.

Congress believes that its expenses are justified by the overwhelmingly large turnout at events this year.

This includes approximately 1000 students at Arabian Nights, 400 at the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf speaking engagement, 600 at Post Secret Live and many other standing-room-only events.

This addresses the No. 1 concern brought to our administration during our campaign: “There’s nothing to do at OU.”

We would also like to hear from students about what their favorite giveaways are, so that we can better promote events and engage students.

In addition, we believe that our other campus efforts such as the 24 hour Kresge Library and reduced Chartwells prices for student organizations, in combination with our educational and diversity focused events have come together to contribute to an overall, enhanced college experience — a central aim of OUSC.

For the other concerns, including safety on campus and parking issues, OUSC has been actively engaged in administrative meetings to address these concerns.

Congress representatives have directed OU administrators on how to improve parking by placing signage throughout campus to notify students of the many non-P1 parking lots.

Just because many people ignore the fact that P1 is not the only lot on campus, it does not justify building a parking structure there.

However, sustained pressure from Congress does pay-off when the need is present and resources available.

For instance, Congress’ efforts and pressure led to expanded parking by SEB some years ago and increased signage at the beginning of this year.

Currently, studies have shown that OU has enough parking for all students on the busiest day of the year, and our largest issue has been termed a “walking problem” rather than a “parking problem.”

One comment on The Oakland Post’s website suggested that student organizations should work together to tackle these issues.

This has been an objective of the OU Student Congress since day one, with the aim of representing students in a transparent and effective manner throughout all organizations.

We hope to be an agent of cooperation and accountability for all organizations.

It’s our job and passion to serve the students in this manner.

Please come into the Congress office or attend General Body Meetings on Mondays at 4 p.m. in the Oakland Room of the Oakland Center to voice concerns, questions and ideas.

To get involved in OUSC, visit us on our website  www.oakland.edu/ousc

You can also learn about all of the events and programs from Student Congress by signing up for our email blast: www.oakland.edu/getinvolved

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Ben Eveslage is the student body president at Oakland University. Email him at [email protected]