Today's Update: Thursday, April 16

April 16, 2020

Dear Student Life Team:

First a news update-- Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein yesterday announced that he is taking action to stop house parties and requesting that Columbus Police issue citations to anyone defying the state's order prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people. Today have sent a message (you can read it to all students making sure they know about this and requesting that they obey the orders and rules no matter where they may be living. 

Turning to other matters, one of the biggest disappointments of our COVID reality is that we aren’t able to send our graduates on to their next adventure in the usual way. We can’t gather to celebrate their accomplishments as a group, but that doesn’t mean we can’t honor them in other, innovative ways.  

Before all this happened, we would have gathered in the Ohio Union this afternoon for the Student Life Leadership Awards. We would have handed out awards for outstanding first-year, senior and graduate students, and honored achievements by student organizations in a number of categories, among many other recognitions. So instead of all getting together in one room, we gathered virtually, through social media, to celebrate these outstanding achievements. COVID can limit our movements, but not our Buckeye Spirit. You can see the list of winners or see the Instagram story highlight at @StudentLifeOSU or I encourage you to send a note of congratulations to the winners you may know.   

Commencement is another milestone that will be different. The ceremony will be done virtually this year. I know this is disappointing to students but also to many of you. Student Life turns out in force every year to help out in the ‘Shoe, and I’ve heard from a number of people that this volunteer activity is one of their favorites of the year. Unfortunately, there won’t be much need to help grads and their families find their seats with a virtual Commencement, but our time will come again and I encourage everyone to tune into the ceremony. Details for how to do that will be shared in a couple of weeks. 

To our grads, I want them to take heart because there will be some kind of gathering in their honor when it is safe to come back together. I recently sent a note to all grads-to-be and included a call for ideas on what that event should look like. I’m pleased that dozens of ideas have come in already. 

The Student Life Multicultural Center hosts end-of-year events for those about to graduate such as the Rainbow Celebration and Afrikan American Farewell Celebration. This year, for each constituency group, they’re going to create a digital viewbook with pictures, information about the grads and a note of thanks and congratulations.  

In my email to those about to graduate, I asked that they not let the disruption of this pandemic overshadow the significant accomplishments and achievements of their time at Ohio State. The same is true for all our students, whether they are getting a degree or coming back for another academic year. It’s up to us to remind them that they are appreciated, and that they are Scarlet and Great.