Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government has set two goals for this year: making OSU more affordable and making USG more diverse
In order to make things like courses and textbooks cost less for students, USG President Gerard Basalla wants to investigate the issues behind those costs.
“This summer, we’ve been working a lot with trying to start an affordability task force,” said Basalla, a fourth-year in political science and strategic communication. “This task force will try to come up with data sets that give (USG) the ability to look at and pinpoint policy decisions.”
USG vice president, Danielle Di Scala, a fourth-year in political science, said the task force will include members from each of USG’s subcommittees in order to best represent all areas of the OSU community.
“Affordability relates to every committee because it affects aspects in every issue,” Di Scala said. “Our first cabinet meeting is this upcoming Tuesday, and we plan to begin forming the committee immediately.”
USG also has a new recruitment plan in hopes of increasing diversity among members.
Basalla and Di Scala said they plan to attend events held by diverse student organizations throughout the year to increase USG’s racial and cultural makeup.
“It’s not a complex strategy,” Di Scala said. “We’re putting more effort (into recruiting members) than just showing up at the involvement fair; we’re putting in the effort and reaching out and not expecting students to come to us.”
According to the 2015- 2016 USG Demographics report — which had a 95 percent response rate from the governing body — nearly 80 percent of its members are white, compared to a 70 percent white population on campus.
“Diversity is something that USG has struggled with for a long time,” said Tony Buss, a fourth-year in English and director of diversity and inclusion for USG. “The feedback received from (student) organizations—particularly those representing diverse cultures—showed that they don’t think USG cares about them, which is not the case.”
Di Scala said that although the goals set by the pair may seem far-fetched, they are certainly attainable with student and faculty support.
“Because of the changes we’re making this year, USG has never been in a better position to make real, positive changes on campus,” Buss said.
Ariana Bernard contributed to this article.