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ONU Parent Advisory Council meets

The spring semester meeting of the ONU Parent Advisory Council (Polar Parents) was held at The Inn at Ohio Northern University on May 3. There were 16 parent members present along with several University staff. Special presentations were heard and discussed throughout the day.

ONU President Dan DiBiasio addressed the group after initial introductions and student updates were shared. DiBiasio discussed the University’s strategic plan, the campus master plan, and enrollment goals and plans, including academic initiatives and the strengthening of programs. He also listened and responded to parent questions and comments. The opportunity for such an exchange helps to keep communication lines open, as these parent representatives are reflective of the larger audience supporting ONU through their students.

The University’s branding initiative and the support from a Philadelphia-based marketing partner were reviewed by Amy Prigge, ONU’s executive director of communications and marketing. The marketing partner has interviewed numerous on- and off-campus individuals in a diverse and professional effort to help define and shape ONU’s thematic elements and core messages. The progressive timeline was reviewed, and the distinctive features were highlighted. This Important plan moves toward the creative stages during the summer months. This entire focus toward consistent branding will be a cornerstone for the marketing/communications area in a very competitive higher education world.

Justin Courtney, director of residence life and interim director of Polar Careers, provided insights about job-placement opportunities and asked parents to encourage their students to utilize their services. He also discussed community outreach, new businesses in the village and the importance of a strong residential environment.

The unprecedented growth of social media in recent years was reviewed in a presentation by Dr. Alisa Agozzino, assistant professor of communication arts. It is important for parents to be aware of the e-communication tools being used and how they can both positively and negatively impact college students. Agozzino provided examples of how such networking can build healthy and productive relationships as well as the pitfalls of 24/7 access, real-time posting and viral messaging. Being well-versed as to the public engagement occurring daily can help both students and parents achieve the proper balance needed to harness these capabilities in the most advantageous ways.

Betsi Werling, ONU’s assistant director of financial aid, and Karen Condeni, special assistant to the president, also engaged with the Parent Advisory Council. Plans to continue to build parent and University connections through continuous follow-up, implementation of next steps, and other ways to generate even greater and broader volunteer interest were reviewed.

Parent Advisory Council membership is available as well as the regularly published online Northern Parent newsletter (including previous issues) and other updates to the web presence for families.

ONU parents are encouraged to get to know the council members, as email addresses are provided. If you have interest in becoming involved with the ONU Parent Advisory Council in the future, please let us know by emailing We maintain a listing of interested parents for any future opportunities.