Civic engagement is at the heart of Ramlo's OHIO experience
Maxeen Ramlo is a senior studying mechanical engineering in the Russ College of Engineering who puts in just as much time to her education as she does to engaging in our community. Since she started as a freshman at Ohio University, she has been very politically involved. Maxeen worked to register voters through the Ohio University College Democrats, as well as through the Athens County Democrats office, which both communicate a lot to connect campus involvement to community involvement.
Last year, Maxeen’s involvement with the Athens County Democrats declined as she became the Governmental Affairs Commissioner for Student Senate. In this position, she served as a liaison with local government. She regularly attended City Council meetings and collaborated with the City of Athens and Student Senate Public Relations team to promote messaging to students focused on public health and local business support over the course of the pandemic. Additionally, Maxeen worked with other students, the Ohio University Director of Government Relations, elected officials, and other public officials to prepare to lobby the Ohio Legislature to increase the State Share of Instruction funding during the spring 2021 budget season.
Maxeen also continued to register voters and get voters engaged with politics in the community regardless of whether or not they were going to vote for the candidates she was advocating for.
She says, “It’s important for [students] to get involved in the politics here and they can register, even if they live a dorm.”
During Covid-19, Maxeen also worked through Power the Polls and Campus Compact to help recruit students to be poll workers throughout the state of Ohio. The pandemic caused a shortage of poll workers during the 2020 election, so recruitment was critical to preserving the election process and ensuring polling stations were properly staffed.
After being so involved during her time at OU, Maxeen feels that she has gotten to learn a lot about the Athens community and how politics are viewed here.
“It’s different wherever you go,” she says. “I feel like when I first got here I didn’t understand or respect how much local businesses mean to the Athens community. Now that it’s my senior year, you know, I love Larry’s Dawg House and O’Betty’s and all these cool places.”
As a student and a Learning Community Leader, she learned that these places mean a lot to the local community.
“And now we’re getting close to Honey for the Heart and I’m having [students] help out with that. It’s always interesting to try to explain to students who are still within their first month or two on campus, they’re like, ‘What are we doing?’ And I’m like, ‘We’re gonna go paper maché puppets and it’s gonna be a ton of fun,” she says, referring to the fantastical puppets made in partnership with Passion Works Studio for the family-friendly parade that occurs in the afternoon before the block party every Halloween.
Maxeen and many of the community members see and benefit from the work she has done during her time here in Athens. She encourages students to embrace every moment of their college life and branch out into the community because a lot happens in it.
She says, “Without [community engagement], we’re all just kind of, you know, we’re not connecting with each other as much and learning all that we can. There’s always great and wonderful things to learn about every persona and community that you meet and come across.”