About Ohio Student Association

Formed in 2012, Ohio Student Association (OSA) is a statewide organization led by young people. OSA engages in values-based issue & electoral organizing, nonviolent direct action, advocacy for progressive public policy, and leadership development. On campuses and communities across Ohio, we organize young people to build independent political power.

We are young people breaking cultural, economic and political chains by collectively swinging back against systems of oppression. We do this through grassroots organizing, direct action, and leadership development. We are a vehicle for people who believe another world is possible.

  • Latest from the blog

    Hiring a "Research & Organizing" Fellow

    OSA Research and Organizing Fellow

    An Internship with Ohio Student Association

    Ohio Student Association (OSA) and the UC Chapter of the AAUP are co-sponsoring a summer internship for a UC graduate student.  This internship involves working with OSA from June 1st to August 15th, 2017, and will entail on-the-ground community organizing combined with research for our upcoming student debt campaign.

     

    BACKGROUND

    Ohio Student Association works to help unleash the power of young people through grassroots campaigns and leadership development. We have fought for racial, economic, and environmental justice and trained hundreds of young people as community organizers since 2012. In 2016, we registered 25,000 voters and created ways for people to build political power beyond elections. For more on our past initiatives and victories, check out our annual report here

    This summer, we are laying the foundation for a campaign to win student debt relief in Ohio. The Debt Liberation campaign will not only put pressure on elected officials to combat outrageous debt; it will also provide immediate relief for low-income graduates by enrolling them in the under-utilized federal Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan, which President Obama expanded in 2014. OSA will launch a drive to enroll students in Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans, part of a federal program to make it easier for college graduates to repay their loans based on their financial situations. Though 22 million people qualify for IDR plans, only 2 million have enrolled nationwide, and hundreds of thousands of students in Ohio qualify for enrollment. We believe the higher education debt crisis is also an economic crisis, and we plan to strike back against it by developing a state-based model that enrolls people in IDR plans and trains those enrollees to organize their fellow students for Debt Liberation. The goal to to create a model similar to the Enroll America program that encouraged people to sign up for health insurance. This initiative intends to increase enrollment in IDR plans and empower people to take on the issue of student debt and poverty by getting involved in a public pressure campaign. The Debt Liberation initiative will be a gateway toward deeper civic engagement among young people in Ohio.

    DESCRIPTION OF WORK  

    A summer intern will help OSA do the vital work of laying the foundation for this Debt Liberation campaign by recruiting volunteers for the leadership team and doing policy research to develop the campaign.

    This person would have five main responsibilities:

    1. Research student debt relief policies and state-based models for Income Driven Repayment (IDR) plans.

    2. Work the local and national partners to identify the impact of state-based interventions for student debt relief in Ohio

    3. Draft a policy paper and campaign plan on how to address student debt problem with state-based debt relief programs

    4. Recruit volunteers leaders to implement the campaign plan

    5. Lead “Get Out The Debt” events where we educate people on their options around student debt relief

    The intern would be working under the direct supervision of the Organizing Director at OSA. Work priorities in these areas may be shifted in consultation with OSA staff. This internship will run from June 1st to August 15th, for a workload of 15-20 hours/week. The intern will be paid a stipend of $4,000.

     

    SKILLS & EXPECTATIONS

    The successful candidate will have the following skills:

    • Interest in or history in activism, specifically activism in minority communities

    • History in building teams and working on campaigns

    • Ability to conduct interviews with constituents

    • Ability to recruit potential leaders for the Debt Liberation core team

    • Strong written and oral abilities

    • Ability to work independently and self-directed

    Apart of their training, the intern will also attend the Ohio Organizing Collaborative’s Weeklong Organizing Intensive, which will give them the skills they need to organize and mobilize around the issue of student debt.

    This intern will be part of our weekly staff support calls where we check in on each other’s projects and get help where needed. They will have weekly check-ins with the campaign leadership team, which will include OSA’s Organizing Director. The intern and the Organizing Director will come up with a plan for the intern’s experience together at the beginning at the internship and will set expectations of support and accountability.

     

    How to Apply:

    To apply, please email your resume and cover letter to Mr. Prentiss Haney at  prentiss@ohorganizing.org and Dr. James Canfield at canfiejs@ucmail.uc.edu. The deadline for application is April 30th, 2017.

     

    Continue reading →

    Wright State OSA release report; demands Board of Trustees divest from Hedge Funds

    Divest Now from Hedge Funds

    OSA members at Wright State announce the release a report on the dangers of university endowment investments in hedge funds.

    On Friday, February 17, Education First Coalition —students from College Dems, NAACP, and the Ohio Student Association at Wright State University—protested the university’s board of trustees meeting to demand that the institution divest all endowment funds currently invested in hedge funds. The students then held a brief press conference during which they announced the release of a report detailing Ohio universities’ investments in hedge funds and the dangers of these investments.

    Wright State is currently facing a budget crisis. Students contend that the university’s endowment investments in hedge funds may be exacerbating the problem. Hedge funds are notoriously opaque in terms of their operations and investments. They also charge high fees and typically underperform compared to other funds.

    "In the midst of a budget crisis, why would the university continue to make risky investments?” asks Tyler Willis, a student at Wright State University. “I know students who are struggling to make tuition bills, yet our university is hemorrhaging money."

    Ohio Student Association (OSA) worked together with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Ohio chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and Ohio Hedge Clippers to produce the report, “How Hedge Funds Rip Off Ohio University Endowments and How Ohio Students, Taxpayers & Communities Suffer.” 

    View report here.

     

    Continue reading →

    OSA announces new executive director

    Ohio Student Association is thrilled to announce our next Executive Director: Prentiss Haney!

    Prentiss is a member of the OSA family - he started his organizing career as a field organizer for Organizing for America registering students and building campus organizing teams. After the 2012 election, he joined OSA to continue building student power. Since then, Prentiss has played many roles in the organization ranging from training coordinator to regional team lead. He has developed campus teams in two cities, trained hundreds of leaders and has led racial justice and higher education campaigns. In 2016, he joined the staff full time as our Communication Director building up a social media presence and strengthening our internal communication structures.

    Prentiss has a deep commitment to Ohio and building the strongest vehicle for young people to learn the skills of resistance and community organizing. Our membership believes in his leadership and is ready to continue to fight for the communities and dignity we deserve especially in the current political moment.

    - Stuart, former executive director

    Statement from Prentiss

    “I remember how it felt the first time I confronted power and won. It was 2013 and a group of us at Wright State had been planning a campaign to end police brutality at black social events on campus. The police had been harassing black student events and using excessive force to end them. Additionally, the university was charging black student thousands of dollars in security cost because black social events were deemed “high-risk” by a racist point-system the university developed.  

    OSA was there from the beginning. They helped us craft our strategy and mobilize around the issue. However, what I remember most was how OSA rooted our struggle in dignity. When the university and other students couldn't see why it was important to end this type of state violence, OSA did. Ohio Student Association knew that the most marginalized communities deserve respect and power. So when we won, I saw what power looked like. I knew then OSA was the vehicle for me. Now four years later, I am still committed to this fight and I know OSA is the vehicle to unleash powerful youth leaders like me in 2013.  

    My vision is to make Ohio Student Association the premier youth movement-training and organizing vehicle in Ohio. Young people must shift the political landscape and reimage what is possible. The 2016 election showed us that what we imagined as impossible is, in fact, possible. So let’s not hold back. It’s time for us as young people to reimagine our path to power. Youth engagement in the political process is key to determining our future and not only online but at local governments and universities across Ohio.

    OSA is a movement-building organization teaching and practicing the craft of organizing, civic engagement, and creating movement moments. Our strategic method along with traditional organizing styles allows us to have a hybrid experience where youth are creating relational culture, fighting for progressive policies on universities & local governments while launching movement moments that create a collective identity and collective resistance.

    I know the power of young people is unlimited. I see it every day in this organization. OSA has transformed my life. I owe it to OSA to continue building the premier youth movement-building organization in Ohio.”

    - Prentiss Haney, Executive Director

     

    Continue reading → See all posts or Add your voice