Student Senate goes ‘Army Strong’ with veteran representative
Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate intends to represent the entire student body — traditional and non-traditional students alike —a nd nine-year U.S. Army veteran Doug Krusell is helping to do just that.
With his experience serving in Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and several bases in the U.S., Krusell will bring a different perspective to the table and help give representation to students other than undergraduates.
“The average student doesn’t understand what a veteran goes through,” said Steven Brown, president of the Student Veterans Organization. “Most of us joined when we were young. This gives us a little bit of a voice to help veterans out for Grand Valley.”
Krusell serves on the senate educational affairs committee because he said he wants to try to help students get the most out of their college education.
“It’s easy to forget with all the parties and other social events around our campus that college is really about getting an education,” Krusell said. “I see the educational affairs committee and senate as a vehicle for me to try and make everyone’s educational experience better.”
Kathleen Carlson, vice president of the educational affairs committee, said having Krusell as a part of her committee will help broaden its view of campus issues and provide a new and different opinion.
“As Student Senate as a whole, we do our best to try and see things from every type of student’s perspective, but sometimes it’s just not your natural instinct to think of things that way,” Carlson said. “I think just having him as a member of our committee is really going to help us realize what we have the potential to change and have the potential to do to make this a more veteran-friendly organization on campus.”
Brown agreed that all students on campus should have their opinions heard. “I believe the senate should be broad,” Brown said. “Everybody should have a voice on campus to be represented.”
But fair representation isn’t Krusell’s only goal. The veteran said he also wants to work with the university to address inconsistencies between course work difficulty and the student’s knowledge of the subject among different sections of the same class. The educational experience among all sections of classes should be very similar, he said.
“Having been an instructor in the army, I also look at problems we face from the perspective of an instructor and a student to try and find a balance and appropriate solution for everyone,” said Krusell, who was an instructor at the Army Intelligence School at Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., for three years.
He said he has over 1,000 student contact hours after having taught an advanced course that certifies students to perform specific sensitive operations overseas.
Now that Krusell is playing the role of student, finding time to get involved on campus is difficult. He is taking a full class load with 16 credits and trying to keep his 4.0 GPA. His wife is also a full-time student at GVSU working on her second bachelor’s degree, and they have a 3-year-old daughter to look after.
“Neither of us have time for a social life outside of our family,” Krusell said. He encouraged other non-traditional students to make time to get involved and get their voices heard.
“I am really amazed at how much the traditional students on the senate really care about the issues we face and want to hear our opinions and perspective,” Krusell said. “I would urge you to get involved. Together we can make a difference. If you have an idea, or an opinion about anything related to GVSU, come to the Student Senate meetings, or send me an email.”
This year, Student Senate is working to get a wider range of senators than in years past in an effort to have more inclusive representation across the board. The senators are planning to soon add international students and graduate students among their ranks.
“Diversifying our body as a whole makes sense,” Carlson said. “We are representative of the entire campus, so that should be transferred over to our body.”