For more than two years, the O’Neill Student Council has served as the voice of O’Neill students. This semester, they’re looking for new members to take the reins for the 2022–23 academic year and beyond.
“We are truly trying to reflect what the O’Neill School looks like and what its students want,” says Cassie Barnhill, OSC’s vice president and marketing and social media coordinator.
Barnhill will earn a Media and Public Affairs degree in May. In fact, the entire OSC leadership team will all graduate this semester, leaving all 10 executive positions vacant. OSC is O’Neill IUPUI’s only undergraduate student organization.
“We know that not everyone has the time to advocate for themselves, so we try to represent them in the best way that we can,” Barnhill emphasizes.
The group advocates for O’Neill students and provides opportunities for social networking, community service and engagement, and professional development.
“OSC wants the best for O’Neill students,” explains OSC Professional Development Chair Mariam Elassal. “We work toward improving experiences for students and try to create a sense of community and backbone for them as they navigate college.”
Many of the current leadership team members have served since the beginning, including Elizabeth Cornejo, a Civic Leadership major and president of OSC.
“I joined OSC in 2019 when it was first created by our advisor at the time, Debbie Koliba,” she says. “Debbie constantly advocates for students and really inspired us to take this opportunity to do the same. We have the power to change a lot of things in our school by advocating for students’ needs.”
And the team has been busy in the past two years.
They’ve developed a speaker series on policy issues, hosted town halls and social events for students, and brought in alumni to discuss career paths for O’Neill majors. They also worked with local nonprofits around Indianapolis on donation drives for everything from winter coats to youth sporting equipment.
Andrew Lawson, an O’Neill Management major who serves as OSC’s risk manager and community engagement coordinator, organized those donation drives. He credits his work in OSC with helping him create community connections, build his resume, and develop leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and public speaking skills.
But he says the benefits of OSC extend beyond learning opportunities. It also gave him a sense of belonging after transferring to IUPUI from IU Bloomington.
“I didn’t know anyone at IUPUI,” Lawson says. “OSC was a great opportunity for me to develop skills while meeting new people. Since transferring, I have felt at home at IUPUI because of the awesome people I met in OSC.”
Elassal was in a similar situation. She had changed majors and was looking to get more involved with O’Neill, network with her peers, and grow professionally and academically.
“OSC seemed like a community rather than just a university club,” she says. “Everyone in OSC works together and wants to see each other succeed in our careers. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough for other students who want to get involved.”
That combination of building your skill set, gaining hands-on experience for your career, and forming positive relationships is why OSC’s leaders say now is the perfect moment for other students to step up.
“Push yourself to try something new,” Cornejo says. “Being involved in your school opens so many different opportunities, you will not regret it. I am so grateful for the O’Neill Student Council.”