Campus / News / April 24, 2013

Bearing the Brunt of working in campus life

Cason Brunt, the second of three applicants for the assistant director of student activities and engagement, came to speak to students on April 19 concerning what he will bring to the “Master of Fun” position.

Cason Brunt, candidate for the position of assistant director of student activities and engagement, visited campus Friday, April 19 for an informal discussion with students. Formerly employed at Rosemont College, Brunt looks forward to working on small campuses such as Knox. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

Cason Brunt, candidate for the position of assistant director of student activities and engagement, visited campus Friday, April 19 for an informal discussion with students. Formerly employed at Rosemont College, Brunt looks forward to working on small campuses such as Knox. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

Brunt received his master’s degree in 2011 from La Salle University in arts and communication management. For the last few years, he has worked with several higher education institutions in positions associated with residential and multicultural life.

In an informal question and answer session in Post Lobby, Brunt explained his interest in the job.  Though formatted in a way that would have Brunt doing most of the talking, he emphasized wanting to have a discussion and to hear as much as possible from the students in attendance. His primary focus is on creating one-on-one relationships with students.

“I’m very much all about individualized personal relationships with students. I think that’s very important,” Brunt said.

Having received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Brunt, 26, considers it one of his reasons for wanting to work at a smaller school.

“Going to school at U of I is actually what propelled me to want to work in the field,” Brunt said. “The experience of being able to connect with people, or the lack thereof because it was so big, caused me to decide ‘Okay, what is it I want to do with my life?’ and one of those things was I wanted to help people.”

Although his undergraduate degree is in communications, Brunt felt drawn to put his efforts towards students and their lives on campus.

“Specifically, I wanted to help work with students. I wanted to make students’ experiences fuller and easier in terms of making it through their freshman year all the way to graduation,” Brunt said.

Though he attended a large school, Brunt is no stranger to working with small schools, having been previously employed at St. Joseph’s University and Rosemont College, with enrollments of 4,600 and 903 respectively. He views smaller schools as more personable.

“Working at a semi-large institution, I found that larger institutions have a lot more bureaucracy, a lot more red tape. There’s just a whole lot more going on than at a small school,” Brunt said.

Hailing originally from Chicago but currently residing in Philadelphia, Brunt considers Knox a good fit for him because of its proximity to home and his family. The historical background of Knox and the emphasis on diversity were also drawing points for Brunt when considering Knox.

The forum covered a variety of topics, from the atmosphere of the Campus Life Office to Greek life to program initiatives pioneered by Brunt at other schools he worked with.

When asked about Flunk Day, Brunt had little knowledge on the subject, but offered several suggestions when prompted on ways to improve the day.

“What I’ve had experience with that people really liked is a glow-in-the-dark party,” Brunt said.

The third and final candidate will be hosting a similar forum sometime this term before the final decision is made on who will be Knox’s “Master of Fun.”

Lizzy Rodgers

Tags:  assistant director of student activities campus life cason brunt flunk day jill gates la salle university master of fun office of student development university of illinois

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