Name: Jonathan Constantine
Class Standing: Junior
Position: Student Activities Co-Coordinator
Interviewed by: Harold Milliner, Jr.
What is something unique about yourself that not many people know?
I am a diversely athletic person. I have been skiing since I was two and I also rode horses for about five years, among other sports. I have other interests such as ice skating, scuba diving and gymnastics; pretty much a little bit of everything.
Before you became part of the leadership team of Student Activities, what were some of the things that you weren't involved in here at Andrews University?
I was involved with many Student Life events, but I was more involved with Campus Ministries, helping out with music as well as being a reader for the Dr. (Stephanie) Carpenter, Chair of the History & Political Science Department, and helping teach gymnastics to some of the younger kids in the community through the Infinite Gymnastics Program sponsored by Andrews University.
Tell me a little bit about what happened these past couple of months in terms of your department and the changes in leadership?
I work for Student Activities and events. I work on a student team made of about eight students who help plan, coordinate and run events here on campus. We also work in tandem with AUSA.
Towards the end of the past semester, Dave Ferguson, Director of Undergraduate Leadership, was offered a different position; so he took the position and left, leaving the Leadership Department without a director. However, he had requested that someone he had mentored, Emily Carlson, take over the department as she knows the ins and out and has worked for him in the past. So at the end of the semester, about a week and a half after school ended, Emily transferred over to the position of Director of the Leadership Department, leaving the position of Director of Student Activities and Involvement vacant.
In order to remedy this, she appointed myself and three other student workers to essentially take over her job and continue what she had been doing. Now I am part of a team of four students who plan and oversee events on campus with the help of Dean (Deborah) Weithers, Jashira Fernandez and the Student Life office.
What does it feel like taking charge of the department in light of Emily's departure?
It's a lot of work as you can probably tell. It takes four of us to do one person's job; but thankfully the four people that Emily chose to help out with this task are all very suited for the diverse tasks which all come together. Plus, we can work as a pretty cohesive unit to make the events run successfully.
What is the team doing to move forward and keep things together?
One thing we're trying to do is have a more unorthodox approach to either public relations with the students or just hearing with the students have to say, and since we're students too, this allows us a bit more freedom to do just that. Overall, we're trying to find other ways to connect with the students and find out what they want and how we can make our school events more attractive to the student body and hopefully get more participants and people to show up.
What are the struggles and/or benefits of your new environment?
The struggle of the new environment is basically all the work we now have to cover. It's a lot busier than I would have anticipated; it's a lot of hours and a lot of our weekends are taken up by these events that we are helping run. Furthermore, because we work in tandem with AUSA, there's also a lot of events that aren't necessarily under our jurisdiction, but because Emily used to be their sponsor, we are now one of their first lines of defense. If they need something they come to us, and we help them with whatever we can. Moreover, one benefit for me is that in the long-run, I will be developing leadership, organization and management skills I can utilize for future endeavors, and in the end, for a group of students to plan, coordinate and execute student events really takes the title of Student Life and Involvement to a different level.
Now are there any sneak peeks as to what Student Activities is currently working on with the student body?
We are definitely looking for ways to bring the student body together and perhaps amp up our school spirit, but that's about all I can really say right now.