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‘Supporting students in a new way‘: Office of Student Involvement rebrands with new focus on advocacy

| Thursday, February 3, 2022

Saint Mary’s Office of Student Involvement has announced its name change to the Office of Student Involvement and Advocacy (OSIA). With the rebranding also came a new director, expanding the office’s focus and allowing for more collaboration with campus clubs, offices and organizations.

Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) coordinator Liz Coulston was appointed the new director of OSIA earlier this semester, taking over for the previous director while also expanding the office’s mission and capability to facilitate programming on a wide range of issues. 

In an email, Coulston discussed the process of combining her experience with advocacy through BAVO and increasing engagement with students through offices such as OSIA. 

“As we began brainstorming ways to move BAVO out of [the Health and Counseling Center] and into a more central, open location to better support our students, Student Involvement seemed like a natural fit,” Coulston said. “It then grew into a vision to evolve the Office to include more programming and educational opportunities for students based on a variety of topics and needs.”

When asked about the decision-making process, Coulston noted that it began with a brainstorming process between vice president of student affairs Gloria Jenkins, associate dean of students Shay Schneider and herself.

“We had previously discussed potential growth opportunities for BAVO in order to support more students,” Coulston said. “As the conversation continued, we started to bring in other key players including the [vice president] for strategy & finance [Dana Strait] and [College] President Katie Conboy. This change was being developed for about three months.”

Coulston also noted her excitement in taking up this new role and her hopes for the future.

“I am really eager to create programming and educational opportunities to meet the needs of our students. I’m also looking forward to supporting students in a new way,” she wrote in the email. “My passion for supporting survivors and advocating for violence prevention will persist, but I look forward to advocating for additional causes and initiatives.”

Schneider echoed the words of Coulston, saying she is excited to see how programming and event planning will look now that the office has a new focus on advocacy.

“I’m excited to see how we can shape and grow this office. As it now is a direct report to me as the associate dean of students, I have a lot of opportunities to collaborate, develop and grow with the office and staff,” Schneider said. “We have seen a surge in support needs and specific opportunities to help our community advocate for ourselves and each other, and are looking forward to more chances to work with campus partners to develop workshops, training and programs that will help aid in the growth and support of that need.”

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