Equity and Inclusion’s Black Lives Matter 30 Day Challenge – Weeks 1 and 2

Thank you for joining the Black Lives Matter 30 Day Challenge! We plan to post two weeks at a time, so please feel free to catch up on previous weeks’ challenges.


  1. Sign a letter of commitment to:  https://osu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_egoPiLhYZgYx8Z7 
  2. Watch “When They See Us”. Or, if you have already watched “When They See US” you could also check out the following list: https://filmschoolrejects.com/free-movies-to-support-black-lives-matter/ 
  3. If you see, it (and we all see ignorance at some point) call it out! 
  4. Research “Juneteenth” and its significance 
  5. Participate in the celebration of Juneteenth: have a cookout/ dinner to celebrate and/or research and participate: https://sixnineteen.com/  
  6. Pick a day to talk to a loved one (could be an aunt, uncle, child parent, spouse etc.) openly and honestly about the movement, racism and why differences are beautiful  
  7. Watch https://www.facebook.com/iammiketodd/videos/2576768509263393/  



  1. View the Highline College document about Black Lives Matter in Advising: https://osu.box.com/s/esawj74rkwwcanh6s2cti5me1jgj2k5i  
  2. Register to vote! https://olvr.ohiosos.gov/ If you are already registered to vote, take action to promote voting:
    1. Join Congress-Person’s Joyce Beatty’s “Voting Rightrs and Equal Justice Forum” on 6/23 6-7pm (RSVP https://bit.ly/37EWZh6); you can dial (866) 757-0608 during the event to participate and/or view the Forum on Facebook Live. 
    2. Contact your State Senators https://www.ohiosenate.gov/senators to express support of SB 191.
      Possible Script:
      Hi, this is [NAME], a constituent, calling from [TOWN]. I urge you to take action to strengthen and streamline Ohio’s absentee and early voting systems to make sure we’re prepared for the November election, even if there is another health crisis. Please support Senate Bill 191 so Ohioans can apply for an absentee ballot online, and support prepaid postage on applications and ballots, multiple drop boxes and Early Vote centers per county, and other improvements to make voting safe and secure.
  3. Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrHIQIO_bdQ  
  4. Purchase or make your own T-shirt in support of black lives (https://store.blacklivesmatter.com/store/).  We will also provide a list of local black-owned t-shirt printing businesses later in the week. 
    1. If you want, send a pic of you sporting your support to ratleff-horton.1@osu.edu to enter into a drawing and be featured on the Equity and Inclusion page. Winner will be announced at our first on campus event (COVID permitting) 
  5. Pick a black-owned store or restaurant to support AT LEAST once this month. Consider opening an account with One United Bank. 
    1. The Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce’s list: https://www.coaacc.org/thelist.html 
    2. Ohio.org’s statewide list: https://ohio.org/100-black-owned-ohio-businesses-to-check-out/  
  6. Make a short list of things you can do better as an individual – goal list  
  7. Watch “13th” on Netflix or “2 Black Men a Week” on Amazon Prime 

May 2020 Advisor of the Month

Check out some of the wonderful things our advising colleagues have done this past month! Thank you to each of you for all of your hard work and dedication to the students in your areas and OSU!

Renee Benham Nomination 1: Renee has gone SO far above and beyond what an advisor is required to do; she has learned (and taught our team!) numerous media-editing apps, from Adobe Spark Post to video software, etc. Even while adjusting to working from home, she learned how to shoot, edit, and produce multiple videos for our summer and fall orientation programs, often churning out multiple videos a day because we were on a timeline. She brings a smile to everything she does and brightens our zoom meetings when the rest of us start to let the stress overtake us. Our new Buckeyes will have an educational and fun New Student Orientation program, much of which is due to Renee’s video production and Carmen-course building skills, all in addition to her regular advising and increased advisee load with Beth’s departure. Four of us other advisors have temporarily taken on some of those majors to assist Renee, but being new to the majors, we ask her lots of questions, and she’s always super helpful and quick about getting back to us, thus empowering us to help more and more students.
For someone who has only been advising for a few years, Renee has really expanded the concept of what ‘advisor’ means to her, now encompassing creating videos and building Carmen courses to prepare students for college. She has also been a tremendous resource in the survey course planning (which yes, has started already!). Her previous experience in teaching has been such a valuable resource—we lean on her expertise for designing activities and classroom management strategies and maintaining a theme of “Buckeye success” throughout the entire course, and “gamify-ing” the assignments to make them more fun and interactive. Thanks SO much Renee for all you do! Our Newark Buckeyes will have an amazing first year because of you!
Renee Benham Nomination 2: Renee has been a really critical part of the advising team since she started a couple of years ago. In the last few months, she has done fantastic work in the transition to online advising and the online orientation, both in terms of supporting the team during a difficult period and in her advising work with students. She jumped into the Zoom advising challenge with both feet and has worked on multiple additional projects, such as working on lessons to make the online survey course in the Autumn as dynamic and fruitful an experience for students as possible. We’re really lucky to have Renee as part of the Newark Advising Team!
Renee Benham Nomination 3: Renee has gone above and beyond her normal advising role. She has created many videos for our New Student Orientation and also taught other staff members how to best record/edit videos as well all while adjusting to working from home. Renee also was assigned a larger caseload during this time due to an advisor taking another position. On top of all of this, she also made the time to train 5 other advisors on major curriculum. Renee always brings positivity and light to our staff meetings and to every student she interacts with!
Brenda Dinan Brenda has tirelessly worked to ensure that orientations are running smoothly for advisors in her advising clusters. She always makes sure to touch base with us to make sure things are going okay and wants to make sure that orientation is the best possible experience for both our students and us as advisors. She also put together an amazing Carmen site that we are using to help our students learn everything they need to know about planning their degree at OSU in their first semester. She has been a rockstar!
Brandon Hines Brandon is a fantastic advisor, colleague, and friend. He goes above and beyond the necessary outreach and advocacy for his students. Brandon is strong-willed, passionate, and enthusiastic about student success.
Mohamad Saab Mohamad is a fine example of volunteerism and selflessness. A recent example of his volunteerism and selflessness was during the Pass/Non-pass time period of Spring 20, Mohamad not only completed all of the Pass/Non-pass transactions for his students but also completed several hundreds more transactions for the department. Always a team member that we can count on!
Leah Schuh Leah has gone above and beyond during this time of transition, particularly as it relates to Virtual Orientation. Leah serves as our Orientation Coordinator among other roles. She has absolutely exceeded expectations and duties within this role. Switching everything from in-person to online is no easy task and Leah made it look easy.

Her attention to detail and big picture mindset has allowed virtual orientation as it pertains to our advising staff, be as seamless as possible. I am blown away at all of the minute details she thought of during the transition and how diligently she worked with our advising team to ensure collaboration took place. Her hard work, positive attitude, and attention to detail have certainly not gone unnoticed. Leah is a great team player who has the best interest of students and the student experience on the forefront of her mind, always. Leah – you are appreciated! <3

Peggy Strow Peggy has been amazing during AU20 Orientation. She divides up the transfer students among the advisors. As various situations have happened in the lives of the advisors (family emergencies, illnesses), she has been offering to reassign students to help out. Not only that, Peggy has been checking in with the other advisors to see how they are doing. She demonstrates true leadership during this difficult time that is now coinciding with the high-stress AU orientation season. I’m incredibly glad to have Peggy as a mentor during this challenging time.
Louise Vasher Louise clearly demonstrates that she cares about students. I recently Zoomed with a rising sophomore who told me Louise has gone above and beyond to make her feel welcomed and supported over the last year. Louise helped this student build her academic confidence by providing solid advice and encouragement. This student went from academic probation in her first semester, to earning a 4.0 GPA in her second semester. The student told me that Louise’s support was a big reason she felt like she could be successful and turn things around. Great work, Louise!
Ashley Sweaney, Laura Whitaker, Liz McGinnis These three amazing Ladies of Psychology have been awesome during this new world of remote work, endless zoom sessions, and the start of virtual orientations. They were of course brilliant before, but each has stepped up in unique ways to support the students and the team. They have tackled each new wave of concerns quickly and with professionalism and smiles. Thank you, you all rock!

COVID-19 Advisor Stories

Given that advisors are, by their very nature, social people. Even those of us who tend toward introversion appreciate connections with our students and our colleagues. We understand the importance of the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 quarantine, but we need to maintain contact with other humans.

This event is unprecedented. There hasn’t been a physical separation of individuals on this scale for almost a hundred years. What is going on around us, to our jobs and to our students, hasn’t ever happened, and will hopefully never happen again. And we have the technology to make it work well – and the knowledge to know that technology won’t fix every problem.

Our students are sometimes hysterical, and sometimes inspirational. We do our jobs because we want to help them be as successful as they can be, even when the world around them looks very different from how they expected it to be.

So let’s share some stories. Perhaps you’re struggling with the work/life balance, because it was easier to work from a location completely separated from the rest of your life, and now your children are climbing on your lap and trying to join your staff meetings. Perhaps you have a student whose story is worth sharing – either because others need to know some of the pitfalls, or because it is just an outstanding example of their personal fortitude. Perhaps you’re learning all of the good things that technology can bring, and all of the ways that it is truly better to communicate in person.

During the Plague in Italy, a group of individuals who were stuck together chose to tell each other stories. Their world was very small because of the limitations of their space, but these stories helped expand it through the images they were able to bring in from their prior experiences. Our own worlds are small right now – lets expand them by sharing our own tales with others. That way, we can both entertain each other, and remind ourselves that there is a world ready for us to rejoin it, once we can all do so safely.

Therefore, I propose that we, the members of ACADAOS, start our own COVID-19 virus tales blog. You can provide your story in whatever form you want (written, video, drawing), but please share. You can post as a comment attached to this message, or send me an email, and I will happily post it for you.

My hope is that we can continue to build community, even when we are separated, and have a little fun doing it.

If you have any questions, let me know! My email is spanos.4@osu.edu, and I’m also available virtually for conversation. 


April 2020 Advisor of the Month

Check out some of the wonderful things one of our advising colleagues has done this past month! Thank you to Audrey Van Ostran for all of your hard work and dedication to the students in the Fisher College of Business and to OSU!

Audrey Van Ostran Audrey has gone out of her way to support colleagues in Fisher during the last few weeks of the Spring 2020 semester. Although we’ve faced several challenges, Audrey did not hesitate to take the lead on several projects created to continue positive student experiences while working remotely as a result of COVID-19. Her flexible and creative contributions has validated her skills and ability to lead and impact the way we implement innovative strategies to adjust to online services. Audrey has definitely proven herself to be an extremely supportive, knowledgeable, and encouraging colleague. Her character is inspiring and it is such a joy to work alongside her.


Ways to Stay Engaged from the Equity and Inclusion Committee

Hello advising community! We hope you are staying safe as we continue to provide support and resources virtually to students. The Equity and Inclusion Committee wanted to share some resources and ways to stay engaged in inclusive work over the summer. Please feel free to check out some of the sources for engagement and comment on this post if there are others we didn’t mention! Otherwise, be on the lookout for Equity and Inclusion events to pick up in the Autumn semester. 

How are you staying engaged? Let us know in the comments below!