Posted on Mar 31, 2015
By Amanda Helt
Photo by Colton Brown
Mark Olsen, a commuter student, ran unopposed for the office of Northwest University Student Government (NUSG) president for 2015-2016. One lingering question is if Olsen’s lack of experience living in the on-campus community will negatively impact his ability to lead NUSG.
Andy Hall, supervisor of the Election Task Force, is confident in the decision to make Olsen NUSG president. Hall acknowledged there will be a learning curve for Olsen and said, “I couldn’t say he’s the most well connected commuter student, but he does pour a lot of his time and energy into his being here.”
Olsen, currently a junior, has been a commuter for the past three years and is undecided on his living arrangements for the coming year. He said that he has been very intentional about getting to know the NU community despite living off campus.
“Today I got here about 6:45[am] and I wasn’t leaving campus until around 12:45 at night,” Olsen said.
During his extended hours at NU, Olsen has spent his time serving the community.
“I was an orientation leader,” Olsen said. “I did senate this year and it’s a good way to make good things happen and it was a great, fun experience. But then I started thinking okay, I want to do something more,” Olsen said.
Olsen said that he has spent this year being extremely intentional about meeting people. Olsen said, despite living off campus, he doesn’t distance himself from campus life.
“I think it’s very easy to divide the students into those who are on campus and those who are off campus,” Olsen said. “The best case scenario for the entire student body [is] if the leaders work together to serve as a collective.”
Olsen said he believes being a commuter has allowed him to be more actively aware of the needs of that student population.
“I want to make sure that [commuters] know that they can be involved,” Olsen said. “Their absence from different events only hurts the entire community.”
Many students said they are confident that Olsen’s experience as a commuter will be beneficial to the position of NUSG president.
“I think it will keep the position from being basically just like another RA position,” said sophomore Isaiah Lockett.
Sophomore Victoria Geck said, “I also feel like the role of NUSG is more than just the dorms and Res-life sort of stuff, and yes it does involve interacting in the dorms. I think he will still be able to do his job well.”