Today's Update: Thursday, May 18, 2023

May 18, 2023

Dear Student Life team, 

A few months ago, I did an Update about how we are working now to meet the needs of future students. It focused on the importance of constantly being nimble and adapting to their evolving needs. I also made those thoughts the centerpiece of a presentation I made to the university Board of Trustees back in February.  

The Board has been meeting this week, and yesterday I returned to the Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee to expand on some of those ideas.  

I often talk about the iconic residential experiences we offer students here at Ohio State to support them as they Engage, Learn and Thrive. One of the cornerstones of that support is student engagement. 

As I told the Board members, engaging on campus is not just fun or filling time – it is purposeful, evidence-based and has long-term effects on students’ success. Student engagement provides a wealth of opportunities to connect with the campus and broader community in which they live. This includes spaces, both physically and figuratively, that allow students to find community, learn from their peers and give back or pay it forward to others in meaningful ways. 

You can read more about the importance of involvement, engagement and a sense of belonging of students at Ohio State in a recent report from the Center for the Study of Student Life.  

As I pointed out in the February Update I mentioned earlier, we must constantly evaluate what we do and how we do it to stay ahead of changing student needs.  

As their engagement needs evolve, we need to think about the future of our facilities to match those changes, including making them as multi-functioning as possible for appointments, interviews and even virtual internships.  

I gave the Board members a powerful example of how we are innovating in our spaces by sharing about the Rec Sports Esports Arena. I talked a bit about the space and the program, then I was joined by one of our amazing Student Life student employees, Noah Striker, who shared what he has learned by working in the arena and how he plans on applying that to his future career. To me, this is a fantastic example of how we are fostering engagement and learning on campus through both our spaces, programs and the Student Employment Experience.  

We are Scarlet and Great today and are always working to be Scarlet and Great tomorrow.  

One final note today: I want to acknowledge Tanner Hunt for his role as the undergraduate student trustee on the board and congratulate him on his graduation from Ohio State. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Tanner and wish him all the best as he heads into what I’m sure will be a very bright future.  


Melissa S. Shivers, PhD

Senior Vice President for Student Life
The Ohio State University