By Robert Lucke
Although he may not say it outright, it is apparent from talking to him that MSU-Northerns student body President Brian Kelley is bent on making Northern a better place than when he found it.
Like many others, he came from Kalispell and liked the school and stayed on until now he is a graduating senior.
I am from Kalispell and I had been going to Flathead Valley Community College, related Kelley. My wife came over here for a two-year nursing program and I got to looking at business classes, took some and fell in love with the place. There are small classes and lots of one-on-one contact.
All of a sudden politics reared its head in Kelleys Havre life.
I got started in politics through the business club here on campus, just to have some fun. I joined Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) and ended up their Central Board Representative, said Kelley. I was encouraged to run for Business Manager. I won and it gave me some good experience. From that, I ran for student body president and at the same time vice president of MAS (Montana Associated Students). I won both.
As the leader of MSU-Northern students, Kelley sees very definite goals for the coming year.
I see my job as a decision maker, confided Kelley. It is not a power job, but the Senate is a team and decisions that are made will not necessarily all be mine.
Kelley has two goals: to build communications on campus and to improve morale at the same time.
In the past, we really havent had building representation. I am going to have one or two representatives in each building to keep in contact with what is going on in each building, said Kelley. In the Senate, we are always asking what do students think. This will be better.
Kelley will be working with students on campus closely. He admits that last year was a rough year what with a new chancellor and a budget crisis. It was hard on students. That is what he needs to improve on that and apathy.
There is lots of apathy on campus. A lot of that is caused by the fact that we have been pushing quantity rather than quality. Instead of one event a week, why not have one better event every other week, asked Kelley. An active football team will help with morale and we need to learn what problems there are and morale will pick up the same way.
And there is a new university governance committee which acts as a board of directory and picks up ideas from other places on the campus. On it students have equal votes with faculty and administrators in everything but labor and union questions. In its second year, Kelley thinks it should really help.
And having John Potter in charge of recruiting new students is good. He has great ideas and last summer was a first time that we could get out and market. Before that they had budget cuts and marketing was where they cut, said Kelley.
Not to dwell on problems though, Kelley finds programs the great MSU-Northern drawing card.
Our number-one attraction is our programs! absolutely, emphasized Kelley. Look at the great diesel program and the two-year nursing program and you can go on for a bachelors degree in the third year of that program. And coming from a community college, it is nice to have small classes where there is one-to-one interaction.
Another innovation Kelley noted is MSU-Northern involvement in community affairs. They are tied to the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, Bear Paw Development, work on lawn raking activities and even adopt a needy Havre family each year.
And Kelley is aware that a campus of around 2,600 people is a great asset to the entire Havre and Hi-Line community.
When home in Kalispell, Brian Kelley sails on Flathead Lake, but when in Havre, not only does he not miss Kalispell, he enjoys the diversity of Montana.
If I miss things, I take a trip to the Bear Paws, but you know it is all Montana. There are more trees where I come from but that blue sky here! There is lots of it and there is nothing wrong with that, said Kelley.
What about the year? Any predictions?
Biggest thing, we have is a great team as Associated Students of MSU-Northern, added Kelley. It will be a great year!