OSU alum comes full circle
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 01:02
After graduating from Oregon State University and holding an initial job for three years with University Housing and Dining Services, Associated Students of Oregon State University’s student organizing advocate Drew Desilet has returned to the environment he loves.
Desilet said two-and-a-half years away from the campus and Corvallis has helped him gain experience. Returning to the OSU community for his new position is a plus, Desilet said.
The student organizing advocate plays an advising role between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of ASOSU. The normal top-down advising approach is not what Desilet wants to do.
“I am here to help students project their own voices and their own motives,” Desilet said. “I may have strong relationships with [University Housing and Dining Services], for example, but I am behind the students 100 percent.”
Desilet’s road back to OSU was inspired by his experiences here as a student. Desilet participated in ASOSU for one year, establishing the MealBux program from what was essentially a sheet of paper, to what it has grown to be today. The desire to stay in higher education was always there.
After graduation the same position he now occupies was vacant, but due to the requirement of a master’s degree Desilet was unable to apply. He did stay on campus, however, working for housing and dining services for three years.
After leaving Corvallis to work on his master’s degree, he has come full circle to where he was hoping to start.
According to Desilet, his role as a student and also working with a great adviser while he was here motivated him to apply. The relationship between having been down similar roads as this year’s administration but facilitating a completely student-fueled experience for its members is challenging, but always the goal.
“Every situation is different,” Desilet said. “I’m constantly faced with the question of how much do I say or how much do I stay silent.”
While attending OSU Desilet did not take the usual four or five year in-and-out college approach. According to Desilet it was a seven-year process, two of which were spent on academic probation. Those struggles now provide him an opportunity to speak from experience.
“All students are faced with a variety of challenges but not equipped with all the resources,” Desilet said. “Now it’s about how [the university] can assist or remove those challenges for students.”
Desilet also looks beyond the scope of campus as well, seeing the higher education system as a whole and pointing out changes that have occurred since he took classes here.
Looking up facts on his computer, he shows that in 2001 he spent about $75 per credit hour on tuition. And he spoke of how the day-to-day lives of students are changing as well. Desilet’s unique approach to college has helped him see this in students.
“[Higher education] has become more of a transaction and higher education needs to be a right,” Desilet said. “Just because someone cannot participate in the transaction shouldn’t mean that they cannot participate in the learning.
“I had very good advisors who made me feel anything was possible. That’s what I want to do for students today.”
Whether it is direct work with ASOSU members or with students who have no relationship to ASOSU and just drop by his office, the focus is on the students and their control over their educational experience. Between constant meetings and a continuous game of catch up since starting at the end of fall term (right in the middle of this year’s ASOSU administration), this continues to remain Desilet’s goal.
Ricky Zipp, news reporter