Home Education Activism takes center stage in Campus Involvement Fair

Activism takes center stage in Campus Involvement Fair

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As freshmen pour into College Green and yet another academic year at Ohio University begins, some students are working to inspire an activist spirit in the university’s newest students. This year, at the annual Campus Involvement Fair, some new students were handed booklets entitled “Ohio University Student Union Disorientation Guide.”

The pamphlets, organized and distributed by the Ohio University Student Union, showcase information on student activism, highlighting flaws within Ohio University’s tuition model and broader problem with the cost of higher education as whole.

Hand-written and illustrated by Megan Marzec, a member of the Student Union, the guide uses broad language to describe the organization’s message, stating, “We believe that public higher education must be equally and readily accessible to all current and aspiring students, regardless of race, Gender, Economic, immigration status or any other categories that are sued to exclude us from our universities.”

“We’re interested in fostering a positive community on campus, or a public network of students who are interested in student power and student voice,” Marzec said. “We’re trying to get incoming student interested not in the information that we’re fed by the university, but toward what we have learned and love about our community.”

Often used to showcase student activism or wrongdoings by the administration, Disorientation Guides are common publications for large universities. This guide was meant to foster some activist community on campus.

“The whole point is to show the negative aspects of the administration and higher education as a whole. It doesn’t point fingers at individual people but it explores the state of higher education and what’s buried in that,” Marzec said.

The guide isn’t purely political, with sections designed to expose new students to Athens’ community-minded attitude. This entails sections on eating locally and supporting establishments that add to Athens as a community, as well as guides for nearby parks where students can spend time with nature.

Marzec said one of her priorities is getting new students off campus and into the areas outside Ohio University like Strouds Run Park. She said that we’re lucky to have so many natural wonders and state parks so close to a huge university.

Student Union does not anticipate resistance from the administration to the pamphlet campaign, and Marzec doesn’t even feel the University has any need to be concerned by it. She said she’s trying to help the Ohio University community grow and become more educated.

Despite turning off some students, the group said it managed to garner a good amount of attention from the events large crowd.

“We were able to hand out most of the flyers. Almost everyone we talked to seemed really interested in our message. New students come here and are really receptive to the ideas that we’re discussing,” said Jacob Chaffin, Student Union President.

Student Union included one advertisement for their meetings on the back page intentionally, choosing to prioritize their message over potential new membership.

“We want people to come to the [student] union after reading this, but it’s more about putting out the idea that it’s possible for student to come together and change things we don’t agree with. We want them to know there are students who worry about other students,” Marzec said.

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