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Student Senate to support upcoming student groups and events

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Student Senate heard presentations from Brian Heilmeier from the Campus Involvement Center, LGBT Affairs Commissioner Taylor Hufford and Bethany Logan from Post-It last night to plan future events for students and raise awareness.

Heilmeier made an encompassing overview of the spring concert, which will be in the Convocation Center and the date is set for April 11, 2014.  There is an expected 5,200-5,400 people in attendance.

Post-It’s executives made a pitch to get the word out about the groups main goals.  Post-It hopes to raise awareness of the necessity to recognize suicide as a serious issue and to support those who are struggling with the issue.  Hufford made a compelling argument to urge everyone to stand up against the fact that an employee can be fired based on their gender identity and sexual orientation.

Heilmeier is working to get all of the details organized for this years spring concert.  No headline act has been set yet but ideas are constantly flowing.  Within about a month, the student body will receive a survey for who they want to see at the spring concert.  The headline act should be decided around February.  The concert will most likely cost between $100,000-150,000.  Although these numbers seem alarming, the concert will mostly pay for itself in ticket sales and the remaining costs will be covered by donations from various organizations.

Post-It is a student run group that hope to attack the stigma of depression and mental illness by making suicide a talked about subject.  The group is working to collaborate with other groups to raise awareness.  They hope to be a source of support and a safe place to go for those who are suffering from dark thoughts.  Through post-its the group has the goal of making it commonplace for people to post positive messages all over campus.  They focus on three groups of posts; for them, which is for people who have been lost to suicide, for healing, which are posts to help those suffering, with ways to develop a brighter future, and to post for hope, which is positive messages in general to brighten an individual’s day.

Hufford rose awareness of the Senate about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which says a person can either be denied employment or fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  She is working closely with Equality Ohio which is an organization established in 2005 to bring this issue to the forefront.  Equality Ohio has offered funding to do a rally in Athens.  Hufford along with Equality Ohio are supporting the letter writing campaign.  The campaign is sending letters to Sen. Rob Portman to urge him to vote yes on the act to allow equal opportunity in the workplace.  Upwards of up to 500 of these letters have been sent his way already.

Student Senate as a whole seemed excited for these campaigns and events that are in the works.  Along with these movements, there was mention of the Take Back the Night March that will return again this year.  With all of these things being scheduled, Student Senate has a lot that they are trying to bring to the student body this year.

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