Composed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News @ OU website presents a new interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.
“Take 5 with Chris Jensen”
Chris Jensen is the assistant director of Leadership and Service Learning in the Center for Student Activities. In his role, Chris oversees a wide variety of leadership, volunteer and service programs, and collaborates with a number of organizations such as the United Way and Americorps. Since joining the Oakland University community four years ago, Chris has also begun work on a doctorate in Education Leadership, which will add to the bachelor’s and two master’s degrees that he already holds. Currently, Chris also teaches two courses at Oakland, a health sciences senior capstone course and an introductory communication course. A Michigan native, Chris is originally from the Grand Rapids area, and currently lives in Hazel Park.
1) What are your biggest events and busiest time of year?
For this office, the first month of September is definitely our busiest time of year. We have new organizations getting started and new students coming in and getting connected and involved. There are a lot of Welcome Week and back to school events going on, which makes for a busy and exciting atmosphere. At the same time, we have some really interesting programs going on that I enjoy, such as Grizz Tracks, Service in Detroit, and a leadership camp for new students. We are also offering a JumpStart program to get transfer students involved on campus and a Leadership Bootcamp with the Marines and the Student Veterans Association. I enjoy the Service in Detroit program, where I take a group of students to stay the night in the Detroit hostel and host a service day in the city. It is amazing how many students have never made it to the Motor City. So many get involved and excited about working downtown and giving back to an area in need. This type of program is important because it gives students an opportunity to get involved in their communities and to learn how to lead their lives after graduation.
2) Primarily, you are a staff member, but are also a member of the OU faculty and a student. How does it feel to belong to all three groups?
There is certainly an advantage to every category! Oakland University supports continuing education, and I like learning. I enjoy the opportunity to enrich my own life with education. There is a balance to be achieved between work, life and school that is not always easy. I continually have to make choices and sacrifices to succeed. Oakland is a major institution with a small college feel, and I am happy to be a part of it all around. It is great to be on staff at OU, I am able to make connections and assist students that come here. As a faculty member, I am able to teach and give back to the university. The three components form a continuous circle of effort to provide the best experience for students. And the student discount is great too!
3) Do you have any hobbies or pastimes?
I am an avid golfer, and have been for years. I’m no professional, and I still golf with my dad every Father’s Day. I’m also on the OU Golf League in the summer. I enjoy all sports and like to play softball and racquetball at the OU Rec Center. I love sports and the friendly competition that comes with it. At this point, my other hobby is schooling. Continuing to learn and increase my education is a hobby and pastime for me. I tend to fill my free time with sports and reading for school.
4) If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring just three movies, what would they be?
Hoosiers, Braveheart and Caddyshack
5) Why should students be involved in campus life, outside of academics?
Campus life is a significant part of the college experience. Academics are clearly important and necessary to be successful. Students will need to determine their majors, connect to faculty, and succeed in their course work. But the other part of the college experience is the social integration in the community. It is important for students to build connections with friends who can support them in the classroom and in their lives. Campus life is essentially a microcosm of what students will find outside of OU. In college, students can learn how to deal with conflict and how to build camaraderie. They have the opportunity to express themselves, and to be themselves in an authentic way. The things students experience at a university play a strong role in crystallizing what they want to do with the rest of their lives.