Marquette Wire

Q&A with new MUSG President Adam Kouhel

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

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Marquette University Student Government welcomed a new president, Adam Kouhel, the former Executive Vice President, during last Monday’s meeting. Kouhel was immediately sworn in as president after the resignation of former MUSG President Abe Ortiz-Tapia.

“The way our constitution is written and how our bylaws are written is that if the president were to resign that EVP would assume the role of the president,” Kouhel said.

Yesterday, Kouhel nominated vice president of finance Cameron Vrana for EVP, a move that was unanimously approved by the MUSG Senate. Kouhel served as EVP for MUSG since April 2016. He sat down with the Marquette Wire to discuss his new role as president, his thoughts about the transition and what to expect in the remainder of his term.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.

What ran through your mind when you found out Abe was going to step down?

My first concern that I wanted to address was how was Abe doing. When Abe decided to announce his resignation, I wanted to make sure it was a decision that he was comfortable with and one that was really best for him as he goes into his last semester of senior year. Immediately following that, my executive board, Abe, my adviser and I had to come together and talk about how we will be announcing the news to the Marquette Community.

Your first priority was picking your new EVP. What’s next on the list?

Within the next two weeks, I will be putting together what I call a “vision map” of what I want to see the rest of my term. In there we’ll talk about some of the campaign promises Abe and I had made; I still want to fulfill them the remainder of my term. That will be a public document that will hopefully be available in the next two weeks or so. It will lay the vision of our organization, some of the changes to help improve the community within MUSG internally and the greater Marquette externally as well.

How were your roles as EVP different than your roles now?

Internally my main responsibility was managing the student organization funding process. I worked with almost 300 student organizations on campus training them, going through the application process and the allocation and reimbursements of funding to student organizations. It’s one of the largest things that we do within MUSG the service that we offer students. Working around campus, like meeting with administrators, putting together focus groups, I served on a few different university committees where they are seeking student feedback. It was really just making sure I was engaged and connected with everything that was happening on campus.

How that transitions now to my role as president is I now manage our other vice presidents, like our financial VP, communications, etc. I oversee the staff and all the things they’re doing in their individual departments. I manage MUSG as an organization as a whole. I serve on the budget committee working closely with our financial VP. But then also I have the utmost opportunity and privilege to be the voice of the students and advocate on all student needs. And that’s what I love most: being able to find out what the student needs and concerns are, then trying to be able to address them.

Are you scared about anything with this transition?

I wouldn’t say I’m scared because I have a very strong support system of my executive board, friends, family and my advisers. Even (University President Michael) Lovell, I had a meeting with him yesterday and we had a great conversation about what this transition was going to look like. I’m definitely a little nervous, but not scared because I know I’ll have people to lean on and to be able to support me throughout the entire process.

What makes you the most nervous?

I love public speaking, but I get super nervous before I go in front of big crowds. In this role I’ll have a lot of opportunities to be able to do that. I will be emceeing the National Marquette Day pep rally, so that one I’m a little nervous about.

How do you feel to be on this journey without the person you started it with?

When Abe and I decided to run and we did the campaigning, it was very nice to have him with me, and in these nine months we had the utmost honor to serve the students. Privilege of a lifetime really. This has actually made my Marquette experience working with Abe. But I have comfort knowing that he made the decision that was best for him and that makes me feel OK. Now as I look forward to this new journey and role, I am eager and excited to have new people alongside me. I had it before and I have it now. That’s not going anywhere, thankfully.

Do you have any final thoughts?

I would say that I want to reaffirm — whether it was Abe or I or other people that are in the vice president positions and on our executive board — that we are committed to the students 100 percent. I love being able to serve the students and being able to work with students everyday, that’s what I’m passionate about. I hope to have a future where I’m able to give back like I do now. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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