With the recent retirement of SVSU Ombudsman Dick Thompson, there were many voids to be filled throughout campus.
Thompson served various roles throughout the university, including Student Association (SA) advisor. The replacement for this position is Daniel Strasz, the director of the Academic Advisement Center, who has already assumed the advisory position.
“He has the institutional background necessary to help Student Association members connect with the right people,” Thompson said.
Strasz earned both a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in educational leadership at SVSU. University President Don Bachand reached out to Strasz to see if he would be interested in the position, which he immediately was.
Not only has Strasz been a part of academic advising for years, but also while working on his undergraduate degree at SVSU, he was a member of Student Association (then called Student Government and advised by Thompson). Strasz went on to serve as president of the association in 1985-1986.
During his professional career at SVSU, Strasz has served various roles including assistant director of admissions, coordinator of career services, and coordinator of Freshman Programs.
Although Strasz hopes to be hands-off with SA, he will be able to advise based on his vast experience with the student body. Strasz reiterated this was indeed the student body government, and he will not be there to push any sort of an agenda.
“I will be there to advise and assist, but in terms of the agenda itself, the student body and their representatives will decide it,” he said.
Not only will the transition be new for Strasz, but SA has also become accustomed to working with Thompson, who served as advisor for the vast majority of SA’s existence. Although the two sides will take time to get adjusted, there are still high expectations. As an advisor, mentoring on leadership and the inner workings of Student Association play a pivotal role. Cody McKay, former Student Association president and current executive assistant, is looking forward to the new perspective and advice that Strasz will be able to bring to the table.
“I think anytime a group receives a new advisor, it allows the group to see things from a new perspective,” McKay said. “We are very excited to work with Dan and look forward to continuing to grow as an organization.”
Frequent communication with Thompson led to Strasz being well informed on current Student Association affairs, an added benefit created by Strasz’s office being located next to Thompson’s and the longstanding relationship the two have. Although he has been well-informed leading up to his appointment, he is still learning the role of SA advisor, especially with the large magnitude of change that has occurred in the association charter since he was in office.
“At this point I don’t have any specific goals for SA until I start to understand the inner workings a little better, but once I become accustomed as to how they function, I will be able to make recommendations,” Strasz said.
The large amount of experience both Strasz and Thompson have working together has only improved Thompson’s outlook on the future of Student Association.
“The reason that I think he’s going to do a great job is that he’s just a great listener,” Thompson said. “He will stay on top of issues and matters. He’s a quiet leader, but trust me, he leads.”