The Office for Student Engagement ends the year with reflecting on past events and plans for next year

BY GHADEER ALARADI, Student Life Editor

Students participating in the annual Global Fest held by the Office for Student Engagement on April 2 in Kochoff Hall.
Students participating in the annual Global Fest held by the Office for Student Engagement on April 2 in Kochoff Hall.

The Office for Student Engagement (OSE) Director, Reetha Raveendran, sat down with the Michigan Journal and discussed the past year at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Some of their most memorable events for the year were the Student Leadership Awards, Global Fest, Greek Week, Conversation on Race, Burq Off, MLK Day of Service, amongst many more.

Most of the programs that are available to students in the winter semesters are the traditional signature programs that occur during holidays.

March and April are the months where the OSE celebrates achievements throughout the year.

“Global Fest is an annual event that takes place as one of our signature programs,” said Raveendran. “It is an opportunity for the cultural student organizations to showcase themselves, and their own culture.”

According to Raveendran, the Global Fest is the only opportunity to combine these cultural organizations in one room to celebrate their culture, food, and music.

One of the last events to end the year is the Student Leadership Awards.

“The Student Leadership Awards are a combination of the entire year, recognizing the accomplishments and achievements,” said Raveendran. “It is only right, with our commitment to the students that we celebrate their successes.”

The Office for Student Engagement is also active in the summer semesters, mostly for the residents in the Union. They also have the “Wolverines in the 313,” which are the trips to the Detroit Institute of Arts or the Eastern Market. These are to engage the residents, and they are open to all UM-Dearborn students, faculty, and staff.

Raveendran explained the importance of student activities on campus. “They are important on any campus. Students are engaging in extracurricular activities where this is something they do outside of the academic obligation. This is what makes campus life.”

Cubicles were cleared out early this year, because they want to align with the annual registration of new organizations for next year. According to Raveendran, there will be enough cubicles for interested organizations.

The Student Organization Center will be remodeled for the fall semester. “We spent the whole year looking at usage and how many student organizations used the cubicles and the locker spaces, we found out people like to hang out there more than they actually do work,” said Raveendran.

The OSE is looking at how to best utilize the space for students to study and have meetings.

“The entire year has been a year of learning and understanding from student organizations to the existing policies,” she said.

For next semester, Raveendran said that student organizations should be more aware that there are certain rules and regulations that must be followed when they register and become recognized as a student organization.

“We are making sure that we don’t have organizations that are dead, and we want them to be alive,” said Raveendran.

There were around 30 organizations that did not exist, because there was not any new leadership. The OSE wants to make sure those organizations are not dying out, and that there are current, active organizations on campus.

“Every organization has a time and a place,” said Raveendran. According to her, each organization has a role to play on campus life.

“You just need to make sure you are working hard and keeping your organization true to its mission,” she said. At the same time, these organizations should make sure they are known to incoming students.

“Organizations are here so that students can find a place, or a home, for themselves,” said Raveendran.

Raveendran’s advice for students taking finals is to prioritize, in order to successfully get through the semester.

For students graduating, Raveendran said that they should reflect back and see their legacy they’re leaving behind. For incoming students, she said to understand there is an opportunity for them to make a mark on this campus.