OUSC discusses plans for textbook alternatives and possible new hydration station

By Jake Thielen

At Monday’s Oakland University Student Congress meeting, members discussed several topics, including providing textbooks to students who cannot afford them, a budget issue and new Scholarship Committee programs.

Textbook alternatives

Student Body Vice President Amy Ring spoke with Krista Malley, director of the Academic Skills Center, regarding initiatives designed to provide cheaper textbooks for students.

“(Malley) has been noticing a pattern of a lot of students putting off buying books, and that obviously hurts their grades and their GPAs,” Ring said. “She’s noticed that a lot of students, even at this point in the semester still don’t have books. It comes down to the fact that they don’t have money for it, and that’s a concern.”

Ring said she talked with Malley about doing more marketing of OU’s book swap website (http://www.oaklandbookswap.org/), and that the site would be promoted by the Academic Skills Center and in COM 101 classes in the future.

“We’re hoping that because we’re an organization and we have the ability to market it that it will be used,” Ring said.

Ring said other measures to help students who cannot afford to buy books are being discussed as well. She said some professors have been making textbooks available for rental in the library, but some textbook companies are not allowing professors to have a book for themselves and another book for donation to the library.

Ring said she plans to meet with professors to discuss what they can do to help students who are having difficulty affording books.

OUSC discusses what to do with remaining budget

Ring said OUSC has $1,800 remaining in discretionary funds for the fall semester. During Monday’s meeting, OUSC members discussed what the best use of the $1,800 would be.

Some of the ideas suggested were a hydration station in Kresge Library, an event promoting the extended hours at the library, and additional suggestion boxes that students could use to submit questions or statements of concern.

Ring said legislators could introduce bills at future meetings if they have ideas on how to use the money.

Scholarship Committee giveaways planned

Scholarship Committee Chair James Kaminski said he is planning several different events to give away the $1,000 allotted in the Scholarship Committee budget.

Kaminski’s ideas include a flag design contest, an OU Jeopardy! event and a stock market challenge.

The flag contest deadline is tentatively scheduled for January 21, 2011.

The Jeopardy! event will have eight different teams of four competing. The winners would get either a $50 voucher or a prize pack filled with OU gear.

Kaminski said he would discuss the events more at next Monday’s OUSC meeting.

New members

Alexis Halsell replaced Stephanie Love, who resigned as Residence Hall Association Representative.

Halsell, a freshman at OU, said she joined OUSC as a liaison for RHA because she is interested in seeing change.

“The one that I like about Oakland is the fact that it’s very diverse, and I’d like to see more programs where multicultural events happen more frequently,” Halsell said.

Louie Alkasmikha was approved as a student legislator. Alkasmikha, a sophomore biochemistry major, said his communication skills will help him be an effective member of OUSC.

Research and Review Committee Chair Hawra Abogilal spoke on Alkasmikha’s behalf.

“We had an interview and (Louie) stressed to me how much he wants to improve the campus and how he is committed to not just being at the meetings and discussing things at the meetings, but working after the meetings to make changes,” Abogilal said.

Legislator John Ajlouny was approved as a member of the Legislative Affairs Committee.

Ajlouny said one of his goals as a committee member is to get people to actively participate in the political community.