The Talon staff sat down with Katie Martinez, Oklahoma Christian University’s new student leadership coordinator, to discuss what brought her to Oklahoma Christian and how students can get involved in on-campus activities.
Did you have any experience with Oklahoma Christian before taking this job?
“I did. I went to school here a long time ago. Immediately after school ended, I started interning at the Tealridge retirement community. I was there for many, many years prior to coming here. I have lots of background with OC, the staff and that type of stuff.”
Why did you decide to take this job?
“Tealridge was sold, so it was a natural transition time. I made sure that all of the students were able to get out of Tealridge in an OK manner, and this job came open. I decided to go ahead and take it. I was really excited about working with the student life office. I’ve always been interested in that. Working with students is something I’ve come to know over the last couple of years because of students living at Tealridge. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know this age group. This dynamic is a little different from a retirement community, so that’s been fun, and I’ve really enjoyed it. That’s where my love for students came from.”
What are the responsibilities of the student leadership coordinator?
“I’m glad you asked. The student leadership coordinator is a newer title that’s come about. A lot of people call me the club coordinator, which is fine. I’m happy to answer to anything. The student leadership coordinator helps student leaders. I’m basically the advocate for student leaders across campus. That includes social clubs, SGA, and homecoming falls under that too. Those are the big points; there are a few other things in there. There are lots of student organizations that I try and keep afloat. I also teach a leadership class.”
Is there anything specific you’re looking to change as you come into this role?
“Since I have a little experience in the world outside of OC, I’ve seen a lot of different management styles. Throughout my years, I’ve learned that the best way to come into a new situation is for the first year, see how it goes, see the routine and keep going. I’ve worked around senior citizens, who are not big on change, so I like that tradition of keeping it going. The next year I really focus on what I can do to improve the situation.”
What advice do you have for someone who doesn’t know where to start when it comes to getting involved in student activities?
“Most of the time when it comes to leadership and stepping up to do something, it’s about taking that first step. Make the decision that you want to do something, even if it’s something as small as joining a club. You still have to make that initial decision to make it happen. I want to encourage people to do that, but just know, going into it is going to be your biggest decision. Once you jump past that, you can do anything. The world is your oyster.”
What do you think are the most common issues that students face on campus?
“That’s been something I’ve only been aware of the past couple of years. My background is senior citizens and elderly folks, so they obviously face different circumstances from a typical student viewpoint, but in actuality, you all face a lot of the same issues. Social changes are a big deal. To me, a 20-year-old person is making so many major life decisions in a very short amount of time. Being on the other side of that in my 30s, encouraging that and understanding you’re under a lot of pressure, I know things will be better. Just give it a chance. I would say issues that the whole student body is facing right now are those major life changes you’re going through.”
What advice do you have for sophomores who are trying to choose a club to rush?
“Last night, we had club night, which was enjoyable. I really loved it. It was fun, and everyone was hyped up and excited. I made a point of encouraging everyone to try multiple clubs and not just being set on one that maybe your mom was a part of or your friends are going to join. Really try them all. Make that step. That’s going to be the hardest part, deciding to join a club, even if you don’t know which one. You’ve got to make that decision and go with it. Be strong and courageous.”
Are there any rush events you’ve approved that you would want to attend yourself?
“Yes. Lots of them, actually. When I graduated, my first job at Tealridge was planning events. That’s a big thing I love to see. I love to see the idea and the brainstorming behind it. I don’t feel like I should give any of it away, but I noticed that there were several that had a fiesta theme, which I was most excited about. I always enjoy a good piñata.”