By Rachel Moreno
Photos by Jon Merryman
ARKADELPHIA, Ark.—Ouachita Baptist University’s Ouachita Student Foundation (OSF) was named one of three Outstanding Student Advancement Organizations in the nation by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Affiliated Student Advancement Programs (ASAP) at its national conference and competition, held Aug. 1-3 in Baltimore. The award was presented to Ouachita, Ohio University and University of Missouri out of 700 CASE ASAP member schools.
OSF’s national recognition follows its District 4 Outstanding Student Advancement Organization win this spring. District 4 includes member schools in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The district win qualified OSF for the national CASE ASAP conference and competition, pitting OSF against district winners in the other seven districts nationally. Jon Merryman, director of the Ouachita Student Foundation, and OSF leadership members Selby Tucker, Mason Woolbright and Addy Goodman were present to accept the 2019 award.
This is the second consecutive year that OSF has earned a national CASE ASAP recognition. Ouachita’s Tiger Tunes competition, an annual campus-wide event coordinated by OSF in which students raise money for student scholarships, was named the CASE ASAP 2018 Outstanding Student Advancement Program in the nation.
“Receiving two awards in two years is an incredibly high honor for OSF and Ouachita,” said Selby Tucker, a senior accounting and political science double major from Hamburg, Ark. Tucker, OSF president for the 2019-2020 school year, also was recognized this spring as Outstanding Student Leader in District 4.
“Having seen the schools and organizations we have been up against for the past two years, we are overjoyed that our small organization and small campus have had such a huge impact,” she added. “This is a testament to our members’ hard work, our incredible legacy and our leadership past and present.”
CASE is an international association that serves educational institutions in the areas of communications, marketing, alumni relations and development. ASAP is an organization within CASE that helps organizations such as OSF elevate their programs and learn best practices. The annual national conference encourages participants to collaborate and share how they conduct their organizations and events.
OSF became a member of ASAP in 2017 and was asked to lead breakout sessions at the 2019 CASE ASAP conference. Tucker, Goodman, a senior communications & media/communications studies and political science double major from Arkadelphia, Ark., and Woolbright, a junior business administration/management and entrepreneur double major from Benton, Ark., led breakout sessions about Tiger Tunes and peer-funded scholarship programs.
“Being so new to this organization, it was really fun to get a glimpse of what it was all about, win [in 2018] and then be asked to come back this year and present what the Ouachita Student Foundation does,” Merryman said. “You go to these breakouts with big schools who have great presentations and are doing great things, and they have been attending CASE for years. We are at that level with OSF.”
“It was great to be able to represent Ouachita and OSF at CASE this year in Baltimore,” said Woolbright, OSF vice president for the 2019-2020 school year. “While we’re here on campus, we know how great OSF is, but it’s awesome to see that others around the country also think so. Going up against big name schools and winning was great!”
For Goodman, who is director of OSF’s special events Tiger Tunes and Tiger Traks, leading breakouts at the CASE ASAP conference was an opportunity to “share what we are passionate about in OSF – Tiger Tunes and peer-funded scholarships in general.”
“We even talked about OSF being the hands and feet of Jesus,” Goodman said. “It was neat to see how people wanted to talk with us. The difference OSF makes on-campus at Ouachita – people could see it.”
In 2019, OSF is celebrating its 45th year of “students helping students.” The primary way OSF helps students is by raising funds for scholarships to help selected juniors and seniors stay and finish their education at Ouachita. In addition to raising funds for students through flagship events like Tiger Tunes and Tiger Traks, members serve as ambassadors for the university president, lead campus tours and serve concessions at home football games, receiving a portion of the proceeds for scholarships.
Since 1974, more than 1,000 Ouachita students have served as members of OSF, and more than $1.6 million has been raised and awarded to students as part of the scholarship process. OSF currently is comprised of a steering committee of 14 students and a total membership of 126 students.