The Ohio Student Government Association (OSGA) Conference was held on Dec. 1 at Wright State University.
Nine member universities attended including Wright State University. Cleveland State University, The University of Akron, Bowling Green State University, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Ohio University, Kent State University and Central State University were all in attendance.
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“What the summit consisted of was progressing the organization. [We want to] make OSGA an official recognized body within the state. When we host elections, we represent 500,000 students across the entire state. We want legislatures, university officials and students to know what the OSGA is and let them know that OSGA has legitimate power. Every decision that is made through student government is discussed in front of and through the OSGA. I think it will be a very valuable and powerful piece to higher education in the state of Ohio. That is one main goal of the team that we have this year,” said Kevin Jones, Chief Policy Officer for Wright State’s student government.
Out of the several resolutions that were suggested and worked on, three were passed. The first being the Resolution to Support Student Trustee Voting Rights.
“Ohio State is the only institution in Ohio where student trustees have voting rights for their board. [With them] being the leading university in the state, a lot of different universities within the OSGA want that same privilege. Student leaders who are our student trustees sitting on the board should have a say-so when it comes to student decisions and decisions that affect the university,” said Jones.
The second resolution to pass was the Resolution to Support the Tax Exemption of College Textbooks.
“A resolution that reflected the work that we started here at Wright State. We started the resolution and began lobbying for that last year. With that, legislators had adopted different testimonies from our President and Vice President here to implement that further into Ohio law. We were able to save hundreds of thousands for that project,” said Jones.
The last resolution to pass was the Resolution Endorsing House Bill 603. House Bill 603 waives a one-year residency requirement to receive in-state tuition for members of the military and their dependents.
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“We had open discussion where we discussed different issues that our universities wanted to address, and we could help each other out and get answers from each other,” Jones added.
In planning for the summit, Jones wanted to help establish an admirable reputation for the OSGA.
“When I became Chief Policy Officer, I began looking into the OSGA organization to see how we can improve the organization state wide,” said Jones. “I became the lead contact for OSGA and began speaking with other schools and talking about planning a summit. We started planning in November.”.
Although the date of the next summit is still to be determined, the next location will be at Central State University.
To end the summit, elections were held for new members of the OSGA Executive Council.
Student Body Vice President Adrian Williams was elected as Executive Director, replacing Student Body President Daniel Palmer, and Wright State Chief Policy Officer Kevin Jones was elected as the Director of Legislative Affairs, replacing Wright State Chief of Staff Ivan Mallett.