By Jordan Unger
Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost met with five Youngstown State University students in Tod Hall on Tuesday to discuss their concerns and praises of higher education and life after college.
YSU President Jim Tressel attended the meeting, accompanied by Neal McNally, vice president of finance and business, and YSU Internal Auditor Sarah Gampo.
The purpose of the meeting was to better understand what they, as students at a publicly-funded state university, are thinking about regularly and in regards to the future, Yost said.
The students who attended were members of the Presidential Mentors Program, a group which meets with Tressel every month to provide student feedback on campus issues.
To open, the mentors compared YSU from when they first came to campus to now. Ashley Labatte, a biology student at YSU, said the construction of new apartment complexes has made campus a much livelier, welcoming place.
“When I originally started coming here in 2015 it was primarily a commuter school. Living on campus was kind of rare to hear from someone,” Labatte said. “Our dynamic has kind of changed … That’s what has been on my mind lately, watching us grow here and turn into a more campus feel.”
At the same time, Labatte said campus has done a nice job reaching out to residents and also commuter students for its activities.
“It’s opened up more, it’s advertised more and people feel more involved,” Labatte said.
Yost asked the students whether they thought it was right to yell down a speaker they did not agree with. Emma Hetson, chemical engineering student at YSU, noticed people do this at college graduations last year and said this is the wrong approach.
“I think it is important that you say your own opinion, even if it is different to someone else who is broadcasting, but I don’t think it is ever acceptable to shout down someone,” Hetson said.
The students were asked where they realistically expect to see the world 20 years from now. Dylan Anders, finance student at YSU, said he hopes to see more acceptance of other cultures, particularly in the Youngstown area.
“I’ve had the opportunity to travel a few times this year. Just to [Washington] D.C. and New York, but even in those experiences, just realizing the difference in culture … you see a lot more acceptance,” Anders said. “I think it’s something that this area struggles with.”
Approached with the same question, Hetson said she believes obtaining a master’s degree will become more significant with reference to marketability in industry, particularly engineering.
“A lot of people nowadays are getting their master’s degree,” Hetson said. “I think it’s going to be kind of necessary to get further and further up with your education.”
Tressel said the university measures enrollment and education, but also needs to look ahead.
“The next thing we are going to need to own up to … is what are [the students] doing when they leave,” Tressel said. “Was it a good investment?”
The meeting lasted an hour, concluding with Yost thanking the attendees for providing their insight.
Yost has been the auditor of Ohio since 2011. He will be running for the Ohio attorney general’s office in 2018.