Every other week, the Talon invites a member of the Oklahoma Christian University community, a “Newsmaker,” to answer questions about their role on campus.
On Sept. 21, the Talon interviewed Katie Martinez, the student leadership coordinator at Oklahoma Christian, about her work and role at Student Life.
What are your busiest seasons during the fall semester?
“Rush is my busiest season for sure. It is about a month to five weeks long and goes between approving dates to planning events and finalizing them. And then probably my second busiest season is Homecoming.
I primarily help out with the student leadership side of Homecoming, which means anything the student groups are doing. There is a whole other facet to Homecoming where alumni, the faculty and the staff are involved. A big part of my job is empowering students by being a resource and not the one in charge.”
How do you oversee and interact with SGA, clubs and organizations on campus?
“I am not necessarily in charge of anybody: I love to empower students to do what they do best. My favorite part of this job is a resource to students, connecting them to the right people or sponsors. I am here to empower students to lead the student body. I primarily work with the social club presidents and treasurers because they have the most responsibility.”
What does your average day look like?
“My days constantly change. The busier seasons take up a lot of my time. Throughout the semesters, I answer questions about resources or different opportunities and approve events. My day takes me in a lot of different directions.
For instance, this morning, I was meeting with the advancement office to talk about all the fundraising happening on campus for Homecoming philanthropy, and now I am talking to The Talon. Immediately after this, I have two appointments. One is about Homecoming and the other is about something else. I get pulled in so many directions.”
What are some of your personal goals or initiatives you can do for the student body?
“I will start by saying I talked to The Talon when I first arrived here in 2019. This is the start of my fourth year. The first question they asked was, “What are some of the things you are going to change?”
My biggest object in life is finding out what is good and bad in a situation. In my first year, I did the traditional acts defined by my predecessor. When 2020 and 2021 hit, as you all know, stuff got tossed into the air due to COVID-19 and we were not sure we were able to continue. This brought about some new traditions and got rid of other traditions we needed to be rid of.
When I first came in, I started talking about change. I love the sporadic part of my job where there is constantly something new and things changing. But that is one of my biggest things this year: finding what traditions need to stick and what traditions need to go.”
Why is it important for you to work with Student Life?
“The best way of saying it would be, I have more passion for people than I do for structure. I like to hear people and their ideas. I like to empower them to be leaders. I am learning, within a university setting, more politics go on behind the scenes, and I am figuring that out while still empowering students to do what they want to do.”
Are there any changes to Homecoming this year?
“During my three-years’ experience, we have been forced to make changes, and now we have a bigger and broader picture of what that looks like. This is the best time to make changes. If they stick, great. If they do not, we go back to what we know. This year, we considered what Homecoming means. Its core is alumni coming back on campus to celebrate.
This is the first year I have felt pressure for the social clubs to be involved. Social clubs are a giant part of campus, and I do not know why I have never thought of it before, but Homecoming, Spring Sing and intramurals are the three biggest activities on campus, and they all revolve around social clubs. We have made a lot of changes so the focus is on alumni coming back to campus through social club interaction.”
What is your favorite season between Homecoming and Spring Sing?
“I will be honest; I get in so much trouble because I fall in love with every season. This is hard, but I enjoyed Rush, I love Rush, and it is enjoyable. Homecoming is a blast, I love it. My undergrad is in Family Science with an emphasis on nonprofits. I have always had a passion for philanthropy and Spring Sing has always given me a venue to do so. I do not know if I can choose a favorite one. I think it depends on what time of year it is. But I am going to go with Homecoming.”
Anything else you want the readers of The Talon to know?
“One thing I would love to talk about is spirit shirts. A big part of the Freshman Experience is Earn Your Wings and everyone’s favorite night is when they get to share a meal at the faculty and staff’s homes. One of our sister schools gave us the idea of having a fund to reimburse faculty and staff for hosting students in their homes.
We decided to use the fundraising strategy of selling spirit shirts. Our shirts this year have an eagle on the front and the Oklahoma Christian fight song on the back. The shirts go for a price of $15; the target is to sell 1200 shirts. We are almost halfway to our goal. We are going to sell the shirts throughout the school year and then next year, we are hoping to make a new shirt.”