Social Wellness

Table of Contents

Improve Roommate-Matching System for Marginalized Students

The Problem

The student random roommate matching does not do a thorough and adequate job in executing a crucial component of a student’s campus experience: their residence life. Though survey questions are provided in order to “best match” students based on qualities such as cleanliness, interests, and sleeping patterns, it omits discussions and questions in regards to the different intersectionalities of students that could affect how individuals behave around one another. As a large university with people representing various communities, Ohio State needs to ensure students are comfortable with one another in living spaces and have the capability to build relationships and strive for a healthy on-campus experience. Marginalized communities such as LGBTQ+ and international students are not always placed in housing assignments with other students who have the same important basic principles or influences in their life, which can make living accommodations difficult and uncomfortable if a student feels their roommate does not value and respect their different identities. Problems here can extend to how a student is able to socialize, accomplish work, and feel comfortable in their space on-campus.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will restructure the random roommate matching process to promote student comfortability and self identities on campus. They will work with the Department of Residence Life and University Housing to:

The Impact

Improving student roommate matching process helps ensure that students are comfortable in their living spaces and paired with a roommate that they can successfully live with.

Create a Safer and More Comfortable Process for Transgender Students in University Housing

The Problem

Before transgender students even come to Ohio State, they must reach out to the Director of Housing Administration in order to request housing accommodations, but even when these accommodations are put in place, they are often uncomfortable and problematic. There is no official policy for when a trans student can have a cisgender (non-transgender) roommate of their gender, but students have been told a variety of different things about hormone and surgery requirements. This is despite the fact that, in recent surveys of OSU students, the majority reported that they would be comfortable rooming with a trans student of their gender regardless of medical transition status. Typically, most trans students end up in singles or with a trans roommate. In the 2020-2021 academic year, an entire floor of a residence hall on South Campus was made up entirely of trans students without their knowledge or permission beforehand to be housed in such a way. While some students liked the arrangement, others felt uncomfortable and ostracized. Arrangements like this are common every year, and students often do not know in advance. This can easily result in social isolation for trans students in singles or social ostracization or safety concerns for those segregated into separate floors from cisgender students. Beyond that, many students have reported being misgendered or not called their preferred name by University Housing while trying to receive accommodations.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will work with University Housing and transgender students to:

The Impact

Improving the housing process for transgender students will signficant reduce their stress and create a safer and more comfortable living environment for them regardless of where they are in their transition.

Hold Administrators Accountable to Limit Performative Activism

The Problem

The Ohio State University has had a history and ongoing pattern of acknowledging social injustices and problems to systematically disadvantaged minorities at OSU, Columbus, and our country. However, there is little effort in the continuing strides towards protecting minority and marginalized communities protected, validated, and supported, after an initial discussion of it first strikes the university. This leaves many students not feeling and not being valued and prioritized, causing actions by the university to be more performative than productive towards long term change. Department heads, faculty, and the university itself fails to meet student needs past addressing that there is a problem that needs to be discussed.

Our Plan

In order to ensure tangible action from the university in regards to school cultural change, Maddie and Sri will work to:

The Impact

Diminishing performative activism in the university will encourage the promotion and enforcement of structural long term change for minority student communities on campus.

Enforcing Action Plans and Improved Support for Black Students

The Problem

The university has failed to adequately support Black students on campus throughout its past, especially in recent years with the progression of the Black Lives Matter movement. Their communication with Black students has not exceeded emails and media posts acknowledging social turmoil, with little to no tangible action plans or transparency for students to collaborate with faculty. Because of the lack of support felt by the Black community on campus, the university’s actions have been performative instead of structural and restorative.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will work with the Black community on campus to:

The Impact

Black students on campus will be better supported by the community around them and have access to equity as addressed by the university.

Provide Structural Support for Parenting and Pregnant Students

The Problem

Many individuals on campus are playing the role of both student and parent, but they are not being supported by the university to ensure that there are accommodations for them to succeed in their classes while being a caregiver. Many instructors do not provide clear guidelines for accommodations for students who may have a child or be expecting one, nor are there clear spaces on campus promoted to be used by students in said position. This leaves a community on campus left unsupported, not allowing for full academic potential and success.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will work with the university to:

The Impact

Better supporting parenting and pregnant students will allow them better opportunities to do well in their parenting, studious, and other roles in their life.

Improve the Transfer and Campus Change Student Experience

The Problem

Transfer students are not currently invited to participate in the First Year Success Series, so they are unable to access the same resources as first-year students during their transition to campus. As such, they may face barriers and challenges on campus that other students do not. Due to the lack of resources, these students face significant barriers to success.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will improve the Campus Change and transfer student process by working with the university to:

The Impact

Adopting these policies will help to ensure that transfer students have access to the same support and resources as first-year students to make their transition to Ohio State as smooth and successful as possible.

Increase Social Resources for Disabled Students

The Problem

Going through college, and life in general, with a disability presents a unique set of challenges way beyond academics. Common challenges for disabled students include trying to get accommodations, receiving poor treatment from others, and experiencing mental health challenges. Getting into college is also typically more of a challenge for disabled students than able-bodied students. While disability isn’t often included in diversity and inclusion programs, the disabled community is an important part of the lives of many disabled people. Disability is, in reality, more of a culture today than a group of medical conditions, but resources at Ohio State do not currently reflect that. There are no Counseling and Consultation Services groups, Multicultural Center resources, or non-academic spaces specifically for disabled students on campus. Besides a student-run organization called Buckeyes for Accessibility, there are no social resources for disabled students to meet other disabled students or talk about disability. Student Life Disability Services (SLDS) only provides academic accommodations and career resources, which is not enough for many students. Disabled students can also struggle to participate in any student organizations because resources are not always available or known to provide sign language interpreters, live captioning, or accessible meeting spaces.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will work towards creating more resources for disabled students by:

The Impact

Providing social resources for disabled students will help actively include disabled students in OSU communities and decrease the ableism currently present in OSU and the world. Disabled students will also be better able to advocate for themselves and their needs through the support of the disabled community.

Continue Advocacy Efforts Regarding the Creation of an LGBTQ+ Center

The Problem

Ohio State remains the only Big 10 institution to not have a dedicated LGBTQ+ center on-campus. This leaves many LGBTQ+ students feeling isolated and without the support they need. The current USG administration has made notable inroads in advocating for the creation of an LGBTQ+ center and the 53rd General Assembly passed a resolution reaffirming these demands. However, OSU has still not committed to building such a center and has not laid out concrete plans for how the center would operate.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will continue to make advocating for a LGBTQ+ center a top priority. As Student Body President and Vice President, they will work with key administrators to:

The Impact

With an LGBTQ+ center on campus, LGBTQ+ identifying students will be better supported and empowered by the university.

Increase Transparency and Outreach Between USG and Student Organizations

The Problem

The Undergraduate Student Government has been given the responsibility to represent and speak on behalf of the student population in order to make our student experience at Ohio State as best as it can be. Much of that can be accomplished through open communication with student organizations on campus to often specialize in a group’s interest or passion here on campus. In the past, USG leaders, including those in the position of President and Vice President,  did not take enough time to meet with and support small student organizations on campus to give them the opportunity to voice their group’s concerns and needs on campus. This has led to student’s feeling unsupported as well as led to a depletion in USG’s responsibility to increase outreach and work to not only hear but find solutions in giving student organizations platforms to voice their interests and concerns.

Our Plan

With years of experience in the organization, Maddie and Sri know the changes that must be made USG to better serve the OSU community. As Student Body President and Vice President, they will:

The Impact

USG and other student organizations on-campus will work more closely together to support and uplift undergraduate students.

Make USG More Accessible to All Students

The Problem

Undergraduate Student Government historically and currently struggles to connect with and market resources to the student body, especially those not involved with major student organizations. The USG website and social media are not always updated with all upcoming events and current leadership, which makes engaging with USG difficult. USG is also not currently providing an external newsletter or even a contact form on their website for students to use. Even USG’s monetary resources that are available to any student organization are not well known or marketed. In order to represent and adequately provide for OSU’s undergraduate student body, USG must make themselves more readily accessible to all students.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will ensure that their administration is more accessible to students by enacting changes that:

The Impact

Making USG more accessible to the undergraduate student body will ensure that USG fulfills its mission to serve all students and uplift students’ voices in USG’s decision-making process.

Increase Visibility and Communication Between Department Chairs

The Problem

Students are advised to work with department chairs for problems that are keeping them from academic success and wellness. Department chairs are not held accountable in their roles of actively communicating with students and providing the support that is expected of them within the position. Information regarding the explicit description of the expectations and responsibilities of department chairs are not easily accessed by students.  Furthermore, if the department chairs fail to fulfill their position’s duties, there is no accountability for students to continue to find a solution to what they initially seeked help for.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will communicate with departments and colleges across the university to:

The Impact

Students will be better equipped to handle barriers regarding academic wellness due to improved communication, and will go on to make informed decisions about their education.

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