MUSG president reflects on term

  • Former Marquette Student Government President Ray Redlingshafer's term ended yesterday.
  • Redlingshafer said highlights of his term were the Wells Street median, MUSG efforts to increase diversity awareness and his participation in the search for a vice president of Student Affairs.
  • Platform issues he was not able to deliver on were the creation of a community service commissioner position in MUSG, the addition of more computers in the AMU and the creation of electric LIMOs.

Although he grants that there "are always going to be critics," former Marquette Student Government President Ray Redlingshafer said he is pleased with much of what he and the rest of MUSG accomplished during his presidency.

Redlingshafer's term ended yesterday, and MUSG transitioned to the leadership of recently elected President Henry Thomas, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences.

For Redlingshafer, the duties of an MUSG president were more complex and demanding than he anticipated, he said.

"Coming into the role of president, you expect something completely different than what it actually is," said Redlingshafer, a senior in the College of Business Administration.

Working with the Senate is "only a portion of what you do in MUSG," he said, citing the various student and administrative meetings he attended as examples of the expansive duties of the job.

Redlingshafer acknowledged that he and former Executive Vice President Kathleen Blaney, a senior in the College of Nursing, were not able to achieve all of their campaign goals. But he said they attempted to deliver on every promise.

"It's not like we just gave up on the issues," he said.

When campaigning for office last spring, Redlingshafer and Blaney said they would try to create a position in MUSG for a community service commissioner, to add more computers to the Alumni Memorial Union and develop electric LIMOs, which would be more environmentally friendly.

Redlingshafer said he and Blaney ran into difficulties with the community service commissioner position because there was concern it might "infringe" upon the duties of the university's community service program assistant.

MUSG is still working to add more computers to the AMU, Redlingshafer said. They are expected to take the form of kiosks placed throughout the building. The university has determined final pricing for the individual kiosks, he said.

"It's not done, by any means, but it's very far along," he said.

Completion of the task will now be up to Thomas and the Senate.

The electric LIMOs project was proposed by engineering students and was going to be funded mostly by corporations in the Milwaukee area, Redlingshafer said. But many businesses withdrew their funding when the economy started to deteriorate, effectively ending the project.

Redlingshafer said he was most proud of MUSG's efforts to increase diversity awareness and the implementation of the Wells Street median project, which is set to begin construction April 15.

He said perhaps his most significant project as president, however, was one most students probably never knew about: the selection process for a new vice president of student affairs.

Redlingshafer said the position, now occupied by Chris Miller, is important because it oversees so many aspects of campus life.

"That position has an unbelievable effect on how (students) live their lives at Marquette," he said.

This past week, Redlingshafer has been helping Thomas transition into his presidency.

Redlingshafer said he and Thomas went through Thomas' campaign platform together, and Redlingshafer listed people in the university who would be best to address specific issues.

He said he shared with Thomas a list of several key pieces of advice that had been given to him by the previous MUSG president. The list included recommendations such as: "share responsibility as well as credit," "address platform issues right away" and "have a thick skin."

Rana Altenburg, vice president in the Office of Public Affairs, spoke highly of Redlingshafer, whom she had worked with on the Wells Street median project.

"He is someone who is very easy to work with," Altenburg said. "He really takes his job seriously."

She said Redlingshafer had impressed Alderman Bob Bauman and members from the city Department of Public Works, who are all involved in the median's construction.

"He has been very determined to represent student opinion well and to make sure MUSG was effective in articulating student opinion," said MUSG adviser Jon Dooley, the senior associate dean of Student Development.

Dooley said he felt Redlingshafer "served with a very high level of character and integrity."

Upon graduation, Redlingshafer said he would spend several months at home for health reasons, but that law school is a potential goal for the future.

"It's been an unbelievable experience, something I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else at my age," he said.