At the beginning of the spring semester, our Associated Student Body (ASB) was assigned a new sponsor, alumnus Drew Mekelburg. Mekelburg graduated May 2016 with a bachelors degree in physical science, and is now working as Union’s student involvement coordinator, a part time position.
I asked ASB president and theology senior major David Kabanje, why ASB felt the need for a new sponsor.
Last semester Kim Canine and Dean Braithwaite sponsored ASB, but as Kabanje explained, “He’s not really replacing Kim [and Dean B]; he’s taking on responsibilities that pertain [specifically] to ASB and the clubs.”
Kabanje seemed pleased with the addition. “Drew brings a lot of leadership qualities, skills and experience we need. Not to say that Kim and Dean B don’t have that, but they have a lot on their plates,” he said.
The search for a full-time ASB sponsor began last semester. “Kim talked in the past about this position being open, and then it came to my attention over Thanksgiving break,” said Mekelburg. “It sounded like they were looking for someone to add to the team, looking for someone new with ASB experience.”
After thinking it over for a couple weeks, he accepted the position after Christmas break began.
Having served as ASB President his senior year, Mekelburg had the experience requested. However, he wasn’t part of ASB before becoming president. “I had been sort of interested, but never had the motivation to do it. Then my senior year I thought, ‘You know what, I should do it.’ I love Union so much; I wanted to make some sort of an impact before I left.”
As sponsor, some of Mekelburg’s responsibilities include attending all ASB meetings, being present for all ASB events and providing any additional aid to ASB. “But what I see him doing most is being a mentor,” added Kabanje. “He’s not here to babysit us; he’s here to encourage, uplift, and move ASB in a smooth transition from this year to next year, and the years to follow.”
ASB executive vice-president and business administration major Anthony Gann had only praise for Mekelburg. “He’s going to be a huge help to David, a huge help to me. He knows what should be going down in Senate, he knows what should be going down at events, because he’s done this all before. I think it’s a great position and it creates a good opportunity for everybody.”
During the interview, Mekelburg mentioned how excited he was to continue working with ASB. Since most ASB presidents only serve one year, a lot of their time is spent figuring out exactly what their position entails. By the end of the year they look back and wish they had done things differently.
Mekelburg definitely experienced that feeling. “After last year I knew there were things I wanted to do differently with ASB, and while it’s still totally the students’ thing—I’m here to guide basically—I knew I was going to be able to give good ideas, good opinions and good advice to these students.”
When asked if he had any ideas for the future, he smiled. “I’m looking to get clubs more involved. I would like to see ASB involved more during the week and create opportunities for clubs to showcase what they have available for students on Saturday nights,” he concluded. “Right now ASB kinda dominates the Saturday night scene. I would love to see clubs, co-sponsored by ASB, run events throughout the year. I think clubs are great at pulling in their own students and ASB don’t necessarily have quite that same pull.”
Autumn Mott is a sophomore studying communication.