Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government presidential and vice presidential candidates Ryan Hedrick and Nicole Spaetzel are seeking to renew USG’s relationship with students.
Hedrick, a third-year in linguistics and political science, said he was inspired to run for president while interning with the Canadian Parliament during summer 2013.
Hedrick met other OSU students during his internship, some of whom told him about USG, he said.
“I didn’t know much about USG, and the more I (learned) about it, I didn’t see how students wouldn’t be intimidated by it,” Hedrick said.
Hedrick and Spaetzel’s campaign slogan, RenewOSU, was inspired by the first initials of their first names, R and N, and their goal of making USG more approachable for OSU students, Hedrick said.
“It’s really the culture. USG acts very exclusive when it should be an inclusive organization. People don’t feel comfortable going to USG,” Hedrick said.
Campaign manager Tori Mahoney, a third-year in political science who interned with the Canadian Parliament with Spaetzel and Hedrick, said she thinks the campaign can change USG’s current course.
“It’s about serving the students and the more open and accessible that can be, I think we can turn around the impression and get some good work done,” Mahoney said.
Along with wanting to be an approachable candidate, Hedrick said he would also like to change the campaigning process.
“The campaign spending limit is $4,000, which is absolutely incredible because you have to raise that on your own and spend it on your own, and the average student doesn’t have that kind of money lying around to spend on this. They can barely afford tuition,” Hedrick said.
Hedrick said the campaign would also like to shorten the campaigning time from two weeks to a one-week process.
“Students don’t want to talk to you, especially two weeks before, so if you shorten the time, you might actually be able to engage with students,” Hedrick said.
Based on Martin Luther’s 95 theses which led to the Protestant reformation in 1517, Hedrick and Spaetzel’s campaign features 95 issues they want to address if elected.
One of the main issues Hedrick and Spaetzel said they would want to focus on is mental health awareness.
“Personally, it is very important to me because I have watched a lot of friends suffer different mental health issues in the short amount of time I have been (at) Ohio State,” said Spaetzel, a third-year in political science.
Spaetzel said if elected, the team plans to initiate depression and suicide prevention training for new students so they could recognize the symptoms.
“I think someone would be more confident in going to a roommate or a friend before getting help from a professional or a (resident adviser),” Spaetzel said.
Spaetzel said she also wants to open a puppy room at OSU.
“We got inspired because every year Ohio State brings puppies to campus during finals week, and research shows that playing with dogs and playing with puppies decreases your stress levels, but students are stressed all year, not just during finals week,” Spaetzel said.
Spaetzel said the establishment of a puppy room could also be an effective way to help combat mental health issues students might face.
“It’s a way of stopping the trail of mental health at stress because after stress comes depression, then anxiety and then suicidal thoughts,” Spaetzel said.
Spaetzel said she and Hedrick want to listen to students’ other ideas, too.
“Ryan and I know where students are coming from. We are average students. We are not already involved in the politics of USG, and maybe USG is ready for a breath of fresh air,” Spaetzel said.
There are six campaign teams running: Josh Ahart and Jen Tripi; Vytas Aukstuolis and Nick Macek; Hedrick and Spaetzel; Mohamad Mohamad and Sean Crowe; Andrew Warnecke and Logan Recker; and Celia Wright and Leah Lacure.
Voting is open online Monday through Wednesday.
Editor’s note: The campaigns were listed in alphabetical order by presidential candidates’ last names.