ODI Homecoming Court students lift their voices to raise money for MSP

OHio State oval in fall

ODI Homecoming Court students lift their voices to raise money for MSP

By Aaron Marshall

A trio of Morrill Scholarship Program (MSP) students are using their platform as members of the Homecoming Court to raise money for the diversity/merit scholarship program that landed them on campus.

Homecoming Court members Jayson Velazquez, Emmanuel Latio and Roaya Higazi have all chosen MSP as the funding beneficiary as they pay forward by pitching friends, relatives, and fellow Buckeyes for contributions as part of a new initiative among members of Buckeye royalty.

In his fundraising essay, Latio calls MSP “a bridge” that's allowed him to unlock his full potential. “Whether it's connecting me to impactful staff, inspiring peers or unique community experiences, I wouldn't be half the Buckeye I am without such crucial funding and work from a distinguished staff,” said the senior studying Public Health from Canal Winchester (Emmanuel Latio Buckeye Funder).

Velazquez, a fourth-year from Paterson, N.J., talked about championing the creation of an alumni network and spreading the word about the social justice advocacy of his fellow students as highlights of his time in MSP. “Looking back it seemed like I was destined to become a Buckeye, and it was in the cards for me to be awarded this scholarship that I wouldn't have been able to afford tuition without,” he said in his essay. Velazquez is slated to graduate next year with a degree in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (Jayson Velazquez Buckeye Funder).

The first Black woman ever elected as student body president, Higazi credits her MSP program coordinators and peers with giving her the support and encouragement she needed to win the university's highest student government post. “MSP is an incubator for some of the most invigorating activists and advocates on Ohio State's campus,” wrote the fourth-year student studying City and Regional Planning from Pickerington. “This community has served as a safe and brave space for many marginalized students and those interested in social justice and has provided them with the tools to change our university for the better.” (Roaya Higazi Buckeye Funder).

A fourth MSP student—Christina Allen—as well as Young Scholars Program student Sly Worthy Jr. also were selected to the Homecoming Court and are soliciting funds for their favorite causes. Allen, a Human Nutrition and International Studies double major, has chosen the Best Food Forward program that brings greater access and affordability to healthy produce to the student community. (Christina Allen Buckeye Funder). And Worthy, a double major in Social Work and African American and African Studies from Lorain, has chosen to support Buckeyes First Student Organization, a student group that he founded supporting those who are the first in their families to attend college (Sly Worthy Jr. Buckeye Funder).