On March 8th, 2023, Ohio Northern University’s Student Senate underwent a leadership change with the election of a new President and Vice President, Shannon Carnes and Justin Hall. The Student Senate is the official representative body of ONU’s undergraduate and graduate students, providing a platform for student voices to be heard and advocating for their interests and welfare.
As the newly-elected president, Carnes brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role. She is a sophomore majoring in psychology on the 3+3 year track and has been an active member of the Student Senate since her freshman year. Prior to her election, Carnes served as the Housing Representative of Park Hall and Secretary of Academic Affairs, where she played a pivotal role in shaping the organization’s policies and initiatives.
The ONU Student Senate is composed of roughly 40 elected student representatives from each of the university’s colleges and dorms, as well as appointed members who connect multiple departments and various student organizations. The Senate’s main objective is to represent the student body by working closely with university administrators and faculty to address student concerns and improve campus life. The Senate meets weekly for public General Assembly in McIntosh Activities Room at 5:30pm on Wednesdays.
Under Carnes’ leadership, the Student Senate aims to continue its mission of empowering students and amplifying their voices. Carnes notes her mission for this upcoming administration:
“We wish to see a change in the communication between the administration and student body regarding King Horn. If they are making decisions that will affect students’ lives they should be consulting the student body. We look forward to bridging the gap between administration and student body in order to assist in more open communication of decision processes. Regarding King Horn and other leisure activities, we would like to make it our effort to bring back classes that students can sign up for and participate in such as yoga, pilates, zumba, and others. We want these classes to be student-led by our own students. Finally, we would like to continue updating the workout spaces inside and outside of King Horn by continuing to fight for new equipment and even bringing it there ourselves through student senate funds.
We also want to expand students’ dining experience to the Ada community. We are willing to upfront the cost that it would take to install the dining dollar card swipe mechanics at various businesses in the Ada community such as El Campo, Jalapenos, Dollar General, and potentially others in order to allow students more freedom with their money. We believe that this would be a good step in the right direction to improve the relationship between the Ada community and Ohio Northern University.
We also intend to fund several student projects that will improve students’ ability to study, cook, and just enjoy their everyday life here at ONU. We believe in updating student common spaces as well as study areas to ensure that every student has access to a space that feels inviting and conducive to studying. It is our belief that every student at Ohio Northern University should love where they live and learn and we are dedicated to making that our reality.”Shannon Carnes, 2023.
The Student Senate also plans to collaborate with various campus organizations to promote belonging, inclusion, and diversity initiatives and create a more inclusive campus community. In addition, the Carnes-Hall administration created a new position on their appointed cabinet, the Secretary of Health and Wellness. This position will help advocate for students’ mental health and health services, possibly partnering with University committees, the Counseling Center, and the Health Center.
Carnes is passionate about promoting student leadership and advocacy on campus. She believes that the Student Senate can serve as a powerful platform for students to make a positive impact and affect meaningful change at ONU. She is committed to listening to her peers, amplifying their concerns and ideas, and working collaboratively to create a more equitable and supportive campus environment for all students.
The election of Carnes as the new president and Hall as the new Vice President of Ohio Northern University’s Student Senate marks an exciting new chapter in the organization’s history. With their leadership and the support of the Senate, ONU students can look forward to a strong and active Student Senate that advocates for their interests and represents their voices on campus.