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New student trustee helps to shape University's future

Oct. 7, 2004

By Breana Krotz

Described by peers as dynamic, passionate and generous Aslyne Rodriguez is not your average Ohio University junior. In addition to a full course-load, involvement with multiple student organizations, club softball and working with graduate student services, she adds student issues and campus improvement to the top of her priorities as a new student trustee.

Aslyne Rodriguez, photo by Rick Fatica"Ohio University is a great place to learn, grow and shape your future. I want to make the biggest impact I can on the university and being a student trustee is the key to making that impact," says Rodriguez, a political science student.

Rodriguez, who was appointed by Ohio Gov. Bob Taft to serve a two-year term on the university's board of trustees, has already focused her attention on some of the most pressing issues on campus - freshman retention, off campus housing and campus diversity. Even more important, she has already begun working toward correcting or improving these issues.

"We're only a few weeks into fall quarter and already she's listening to the voices of students and she's taking their concerns to the right people," says Natalie Pariano, University Program Council president. "She's a forward-thinking person and she always gives more than 100 percent of herself."

With fall quarter in full swing, Rodriguez has begun to settle into her new role as not only a student representative, but a prominent voice on campus. Rodriguez sits on the board's academic quality committee, has attended other various committee meetings and has had her first experience at a board meeting.

"It was an incredible environment with many prestigious individuals in attendance, yet they each value what you have to say. It was a nerve-racking, yet enlightening experience," says Rodriguez. "I wasn't expecting to even speak during the first meeting, but I offered an idea addressing freshman retention by creating a mentoring program and received a lot of positive feedback."

Rodriguez brainstormed the idea from her own freshman experience when she was enrolled in Ohio University's LINKS program. LINKS is a mentoring program designed specifically for minority students to help them adjust to college life.

"It's an amazing program that really made me feel at home here more quickly. My mentor helped me with scheduling, homework and answered a lot of general questions that freshman have. I would really like to see Ohio University expand on the LINKS program."

In addition to freshman retention, Rodriguez feels diversity and off campus housing are important issues for Ohio University's future.

"It's going to take some time and energy to create diversity on campus, but it's nothing we can't accomplish. The Urban Scholars Program is only the beginning and I know a lot of students from areas like Youngstown, where I'm from, could benefit greatly from this program," Rodriguez says.

As for off-campus housing, Rodriguez would like to see some housing regulations created, in addition to upgraded housing conditions.

As most students are aware, the off-campus housing search begins exceptionally early. Many times landlords are signing tenants for the following year without even asking what their current tenants housing plans are, says Rodriguez. Many times students would not choose to live with the same people the following year if housing contracts were signed later.

With an open-mind and the patience to listen to student concerns, Rodriguez has already begun to make her mark as a student leader.

"She's made a huge impression already on 50 student leaders who attended LeaderShape this past summer," Pariano says. "Every student at LeaderShape walked away with something from Aslyne. Everyone knows her name and wants to know her better."

Breana Krotz is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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