OU hosts Big 12 Student Government Conference, goal to gain ideas for future programs
Kingsley Burns, The Oklahoma Daily
The annual Big 12 Student Government Conference started Thursday at the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus when delegates from each of the nine of the ten of the Big 12 schools converged upon the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.
Because the conference is hosted by a different Big 12 school each year, this is the first time OU is hosting the student government conference in 12 years, according to UOSA president Joe Sangirardi.
According to the conference’s brochure, the delegates arrived at the Embassy Suites starting at 4:00 pm today, and the conference will continue until 11:00 am on Sunday, during which time delegates will listen to speakers, attend workshops, and participate in a service project at the Oklahoma City Regional Food Bank.
“The idea is to build relationships and have an open discussion so we can exchange ideas,” said Sangirardi. By learning about what other student governments do better or worse, UOSA aims to improve its own governing.”
Student governments also gain ideas for initiatives and programs that they can replicate on their campuses, said Sangirardi, letters senior.
For example, the Sooner Freshman Council, which aims to give freshmen closer access to UOSA and intern with various student government leaders, was an idea that came out of a previous student government conference, said Sangirardi. Oklahoma State University, University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech all had a similar initiative, which OU then adopted.
Among the speakers scheduled for the weekend are George Ahmadi, OU student government advisor, Clark Stroud, university vice president for student affairs and dean of students, Steven Lee, assistant director of summer programs, Jabar Shumate, former OU student body president and education committee vice-chair and Kristen Partridge, assistant dean of students and director of student life.
A particular highlight is Lee’s presentation, entitled “Brand U,” wherein the delegates will be taught about the importance of students presenting a good “brand image” through social media.
The presentation, which Lee also has presented before the National Pan-Hellenic Council and OU’s Campus Activities Council, shows students how the things they post on social media sites, ranging from profile pictures to statuses and comments, can affect their chances at jobs, scholarships and student leadership positions, Lee said.
Lee sums up his lesson with a succinct “think before you post:” everyone can see your posts, and thus you are judged by them.
UOSA Vice President Rainey Sewell added that the delegates will also be starting to plan for Big 12 on the Hill, which will be taking place in the spring. Since it will be hosted by University of Kansas, those delegates will be taking the lead in organizing that.