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Members of Triota, the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Honor Society, create a 2024 vision board together, Feb. 1, 2024, in Schoonover Center.

Students start new organizations, bring opportunities

At OU, there is an abundance of student organizations and clubs for students to attend. OU recognizes nearly 600 student organizations, but there are ways to start a new one. New organizations are always popping up on campus, and students commonly start new clubs. 

The Ohio University Student Organization Handbook begins by explaining how to double-check Bobcat Connect, the OU student organization website, for similar organizations. If no organization outlines a similar idea, students are encouraged to proceed.

The handbook offers a series of questions to consider before coming to the Campus Involvement Center with a fresh idea. The questions discuss a student organization's impact and what makes it unique. They also ask that an organization's advisor be considered.

An organization must have at least five people to ensure participation will remain consistent. The group must hold an election to create an executive board, which must then create a constitution and bylaws. Once that is completed, the organization can register on "Bobcat Connect."

Many organizations have been either reinstated or started on campus just this year. Three organizations shared their experiences about their catalyst at OU. 

"Iota Iota Iota," or Triota, is the women's, gender and sexuality honor society. Triota was previously an organization on campus but was forced to close its doors because of COVID-19. 

When Nivi Chawda, a junior studying women, gender and sexuality studies, arrived on campus, she believed there needed to be a group focused on feminism and women's empowerment. She then discovered Triota and decided to work to get the organization up and running again. 

"It's supposed to encourage community and the leadership qualities amongst students studying women, gender and sexuality studies on campus, so they promote egalitarian values of justice and equality," Chawda said.

Chawda described the process as fairly simple. With the guidance of her advisor, she was able to reinstate the organization. The organization now has 25 members and they are looking forward to growing even more.

One organization on campus started from a LINKS group. Sullivan Potter, a sophomore studying fine arts and art education, was a LINK Crew leader to four Appalachian Scholars. After meeting with the other half of the Appalachian Scholars LINK Crew, they started a new organization: The Appalachian Student Union, or ASU.

"The only cultural group not recognized by a student union on campus was the Appalachians," said Potter. "(Which is) something that feels so integral to me as my identity as an Appalachian." 

Potter did not realize how much went into creating a student organization. He was shocked that he and his executive board had to come up with a constitution and bylaws before forming the organization. Though Potter was in charge of getting the organization recognized by the university, he made sure the other members had input.

"I wanted to create an organization that wasn't founded entirely by me, and that's something that I wanna continue to perpetuate is that this isn't my organization," said Potter. "This is an organization for Appalachian people."

Cayla Otto, a freshman studying environmental studies, wanted to join many student organizations so she searched on social media for OU clubs. That was when she came across an old Instagram account called Bridge OU. 

As it turns out, the organization was a chapter of a national group called Bridge USA. The group fights against political division and unites young adults to build a better democracy. 

"Bridge OU works to fight for the nation by encouraging civil and constructive discussions across party lines," said Otto. "I think it is very relevant stuff considering our current political environment." 

Otto's process took a lot of waiting and patience since she was speaking to both the university and Bridge USA. However, she persisted, and now, the chapter is officially recognized by OU. 

"I think it'll be good for people to know that it's not that complicated," said Otto. "All you need is a common interest and a couple of people who are excited about what you're doing, and you can get the university to support that, which I think is exciting."


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