In its efforts to make improvements on the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program, Undergraduate Student Government is pushing for better marketing to make the program more accessible to students, including those on regional campuses.
The resolution was put forward, in part, because of the low growth seen in the program this year after the implementation of the second-year on-campus living requirement.
“The second-year (living) requirement made us expect that the numbers enrolled in STEP would go up significantly, and it did increase. It’s around 2,500, but it didn’t increase to the level we thought it would,” said Shamina Merchant, USG director of student affairs and a second-year in information systems. “We realized there is still student perception (about STEP) and unfamiliarity with the program on campus, so part of the goal of the resolution is to market it better.”
To spread the word, USG hopes to improve the methods of communication used by the program. This means increasing the number of informational sessions in different areas on campus for more students to easily take part in.
Current first-year students, including those who choose to live in a fraternity or sorority house during their sophomore year, are automatically signed up for STEP when they participate in housing selection for their second academic year.
However, regional campus students, transfer students and commuters are not signed up. OSU does accept these students into the program, however.
Kimmy Sullivan, the USG senator sponsoring the resolution and a second-year in political science and international studies, said there’s no box for regional campus and transfer students to check when filling out the online housing forms.
Manu Khosla, a third-year in biology, spent his first year on the Newark regional campus. He said that while there, he heard nothing about the STEP program.
“It’s definitely something I would have liked to be aware of,” Khosla said. “I think they could at least mention the program when you apply to main campus.”
Khosla said that he thinks that STEP needs to increase its advertising during orientation at regional campuses, especially.
She included that implementing informational meetings at regional campuses regarding STEP might be difficult at first since USG doesn’t have members at those campuses, which is why USG is currently seeking two students to act as representatives on behalf of all involved.
Merchant said that these student representatives will be members of USG who are well-versed in STEP issues and practices. She said having student voice is important in reminding administrators who and what the program should be about.
“Adding a student voice makes sure we are keeping the goal on track, which is making this experience transformational for sophomores,” Merchant said.