Students write and win money, OU gear

Next semester when professors hand out syllabi complete with lists of required texts, it won’t be as expensive as usual for two Oakland University students. 

Sai Myint and Thomas Butler wrote essays that won them book scholarships from OUSC’s scholarship committee. 

The awards were presented at Monday’s student congress meeting. 

In his essay, Myint, a sophomore majoring in health sciences, detailed how he would spend OUSC’s annual $80,000 budget. His response won him $150 for textbooks and other educational expenses. 

Myint said that many students line the walls and sit on the floor of the Oakland Center due to a lack of seating. 

Myint suggested expanding the food court or perhaps having a “satellite OC” in another building like Pawley Hall.  

“We really liked the (idea of) expanding the cafeteria because it’s becoming a really big problem,” said Hawra Abogilal, scholarship committee chair. 

As a tennis player, Myint wrote he’d also like to see tennis courts on campus. And like many of the other applicants, he said OUSC should give out more scholarships. 

The other essay contest asked: “How would you change the cultural climate of Oakland?” 

Butler, a senior psychology major, said OU should plan events that capitalize on the diverse cultures in the nearby area. 

Citing metro Detroit’s large Arabic and Jewish populations, as well as its growing art scene, Butler wrote, “It is my suggestion that these already existing cultures be tapped into to provide a unique and enriching cultural experience for Oakland University students.” 

His essay outlined ways to study which events OU students currently attend and then research ways to successfully advertise future events, both on paper and electronically. 

Butler’s essay earned him $200 in scholarship money. 

In addition to a scholarship, each student received a gift bag stocked with items from the OU bookstore. The black string backpacks contained various gifts decorated with the OU insignia. 

Financial affairs and the multicultural affairs committee helped the scholarship committee come up with the questions and judge the responses. 

There were 14 total applicants.  

 Each essay had a length requirement of 750 words or less, but legislator James Kaminski said ideas were more important than word count. 

“It was not so much about the grammar,” Kaminski said. “(It was) more about content.” 

He also said OUSC takes the ideas generated in the essays into serious consideration for legislation. 

For instance, one student suggested building a track, something OU does not have aside from the small indoor track at the Recreation Center. It is too small for the track and field team to compete on.

“We’re a university and we don’t have a track,” Kaminski said. “Our track team goes to a high school to run our competitions.” 

Abogilal said OUSC gives out two such scholarships every semester.

For more information, visit the OUSC website at