‘Wild and crazy’: A look back at the Gustafson/Ring administration
By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 9:16 pm
Photo – Jason Willis/The Oakland Post
Following the record turnout in the 2010 Oakland University Student Congress election, Student Body president Brandon Gustafson and vice president Amy Ring were faced with the task of overseeing OUSC’s growth as an organization.
After being elected with a record 1,429 votes in the 2010 election, roughly 51 percent of the 2,796 votes cast, Gustafson and Ring came into office with a plan already in place.
“When we first got elected, we had a lot of goals and a lot of things that we wanted to accomplish,” Gustafson said. “I think right from the gate, you realize that things were going to be harder than we anticipated, but by us having goals and a plan already set up, it made some of our things easier.”
Ring said the new administration was able to get most of its platform initiatives accomplished within the first few months of its term.
“We spent a lot of the summer in the office so that when school started we really could concentrate on specific issues that students had,” Ring said. “By the end of the summer last year, we had already implemented our spirit packages in all the different local businesses and built relationships with that. When school started, we luckily had our hammocks outside, and I think that was a really great tangible thing that people remembered from our platform that they were able to actually utilize right when school started.”
Ring said one of the first things she and Gustafson did was try to meet with university President Dr. Gary Russi to discuss their platform and goals, and Gustafson said building a good relationship with the university administration was key to their success.
“We were able to gain respect (from the administration) because our first meeting with Dr. Russi, we came in with solid plans and ideas and we just presented them to him,” Gustafson said. “One of the biggest things that I’ve learned in this position is that the administration is here to help us, and they want our help and our input. They don’t want Student Congress to fail because then that means that students aren’t taking an active role in their education.”
Throughout their administration, Ring and Gustafson have focused on working for the students and holding events that students would be interested in attending.
”We’ve really tried to create programs and events where the average student would want to go to,” Ring said. “Maybe they don’t want to go to a luncheon and get educated by a forum, but maybe they want to go to a tailgate, so we were able to make different events and programs that the average student would hopefully want to go to. Hopefully, that will lay the groundwork for future administrations.”
Gustafson said he also focused on growing OUSC’s profile within the student community. In addition to the tailgate, OUSC sponsored several events this year including a bonfire for the soccer team and a bus trip to Tulsa, Okla., for the NCAA Tournament.
“I think our underlying theme was to show people what Student Congress can do. I think we did a really good job of just doing wild and crazy stuff just to kind of show that ‘hey, we’re able to do this,’” Gustafson said.
OUSC adviser Meghan Walters said Gustafson and Ring have done a great job increasing student involvement within the organization.
“This is the first time we’ve had a full legislature, and I’m very impressed with that,” Walters said. “I think they really did try to get the message out there that they’re here for the students and they wanted to bring programming here that’s applicable to them and interesting to them.”
Ring said she and Gustafson will help ease the transition for the new administration and offer them advice.
“I think the most important thing that we’ll be sharing with the new administration is to be proactive,” Ring said. “To show that initiative really shows the (university) that the new administration is going to want what’s best for the students also.”
Ring and Gustafson will both be graduating on April 30. Ring said she plans to attend graduate school at Kent State University for higher education, while Gustafson plans to pursue internships and a master’s degree in business administration.