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Student Senate distributed $10,000 at its first meeting

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Ohio U President Duane Nellis attends his first Student Senate meeting as university president.

Updated campus safety features, a bikeshare program and the ability to use Bobcat Cash uptown are just a few of the items on Student Senate President Landen Lama’s list.

Student Senate President Landen Lama hit the ground running at Wednesday’s first meeting, with several initiatives underway and one resolution already passed.

The resolution allocated $10,000 of the Senate’s budget to the Senate Appropriations Commission and to two Senate-mandated activities — Take Back the Night and Pride Week. The money will be split with $5000 going to SAC, which grants money to student organizations that apply, and $2500 each to TBTN and Pride Week, which each previously had $1300 allocated.

Looking forward

In an interview with The New Political, Lama said one of his main goals is to develop programs that would address campus safety. Lama said he is currently trying to organize a “safety walk,” where Ohio U administrators and OUPD would walk the campus with Student Senate representatives at night in order to inspect what safety features need to be updated on campus.

“They’d be right there with us, able to put in the work orders, able to see from the ground what’s the problem instead of them being told by us over the phone,” Lama said.

Ohio U’s existing safety features include emergency ‘blue light’ telephone stations around campus that call OUPD when activated.

Lama named several other initiatives that Student Senate has begun researching, including one that would allow students to use Bobcat Cash at restaurants uptown.

The Senate administration is also looking to start a bikeshare program on campus by partnering with the Dept. of Transportation and Parking and the Sustainability Office.

Lama also hopes to break down the university budget for students so that they better understand how tuition money is spent.

“We’re looking at where students’ money is actually going, so that when they deposit money into their account, they know what the fee breakdown is and where that money is going and how that is impacting them,” Lama said.

Lama is hoping that by increasing Student Senate’s communication and collaboration with administrators, his plans for Ohio U will be made easier.

“We’re trying to work with all administrators,” Lama said. “I feel that as Student Senate or as a student, that anything that [happens] on this campus is a student issue, so even if we’re working with the director of HR, that could be to talk about student employment. Every administrator on campus has something to do with impacting a student’s life on campus.”

He also said that he has a “bottom-up” approach and wants to utilize the deans at the university, as well as anyone who reports to a Vice-President, rather than simply focusing on top administrators like Nellis and Interim Provost David Descutner.

“We won’t just work with one person,” Lama said. “We’ll work with everyone.”

New Ohio University President Duane Nellis attended the meeting and expressed a shared priority with Lama: being as involved in the Ohio U community as possible. Nellis has stressed this commitment throughout his first months at the school, and he again mentioned his desire for “an administration that is focused on shared governance” at the meeting.

Nellis has already been involved with Student Senate — Lama said they met several times over the summer and that Nellis affirmed his interest in working with student government.

Nellis also noted that earlier Wednesday morning he was in a meeting with university leaders, including student representatives, where they started a conversation about important issues on campus, specifically the prevention of sexual misconduct. He said the university is starting training at every level and thanked Lama and other students for offering their perspective.

“My main job as president is just to be as [visible] as possible to show that the student voice will always be heard,” Lama said.

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