Her Campus Miami had the great honor of sitting down with two outstanding and incredibly involved juniors, Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, Kyle Hees and Colleen Ryan, post-debate on Miami’s Student Radio Station, WMSR. In our detailed interview below, get to know qualities about these two campus go-getters, more about their campaign platform, and moreover why this duo would make a great fit as the faces of Miami University, marketing the slogan, “Students First. Miami Forever”. Do yourself a favor and seriously consider voting on the HUB for Kyle Hees & Colleen Ryan right now!
HC: First, I just want to kick-off the interivew getting to know a little bit more about you two and your passions.
KH: I’m a cadet in the airforce ROTC program. I’m also a tour guide; I give a lot of tours in the summertime. I did mock trial freshman year as well. I’m also Vice President of Student Organizations; so I work with students and budgets.
CR: Well, I’m a political science major and I have completely dedicated my time to ASG. I, freshman year of course, as everybody does, experimented with everything. I was on the club swimming team, I swam in high school and am still really great friends with them and support all club sports. Once I found ASG (it helped me find my major and what I want to do after graduation), I completely dedicated myself to it and I do something for ASG every single day, whether it’s finding student concerns and talking to the appropriate cabinate members about it or how to write legislation to fix certain things; I have had experience in different areas of campus, but my time is mostly devoted to ASG.
HC: For both of you as a senior in high school, what was it that initially drew you to Miami? Was it the community, was it campus organizations that your foresaw yourselves becoming involved in? Esentially, what initally sparked your desire to attend school here?
KH: That’s a really great question; I haven’t been asked that since I’ve been on a tour. I’m from Ohio, and I only applied to all in-state schools, and visited almost every one. When I visited here, I was like there’s a Miami that’s not down in Florida, what? But, when I came here, the campus was just beautiful. And it’s really shocking when you drive to Miami and it’s just cornfield, cornfield, cornfield…school, and it’s kind of cool because it’s a college town and when students are here it’s just so lively and full of people your own age. It’s going to be kind of a culture shock when I leave here, because you’re not going to have that same sense of everyone being within 2-3 years of your age. Jut walking around campus and seeing the students; the buildings are just beautiful. It was this whole sense of the community aspect, the buildings on campus, the layout–the close-knit feel of it. It’s a small school, yet, a big school–it’s 15,000 students, but you can make it feel like 2,000-3,000 students if you really wanted to.
CR: My older sister came here, and I grew up always wanting to be just like her and then I got to my teenage years and didn’t want to be anything like her. Of course, I applied to all Ohio schools because I’m also from Ohio. I drove to Miami with my mom and as soon as our tour began, there was no question, I had to come here. And ever since Day 1, I have been so excited to be here. I’ve felt like I fit in perfectly, but I’ve also challenged myself to reach outside my boundaries, and find other areas I may not fit in, but test it out anyways. That’s something I love so much about Miami, is that there’s so many different areas to become involved in. It’s funny because I ended up being just like my sister.
HC: For both of you in your three years at Miami, what have been some of the greatest joys or moments that you’ve been proudest to be a RedHawk?
KH: That’s a really good question. You know, I think the thing that makes me most proud to be a RedHawk, is the care and the passion that the university puts on the students. I think many of the adminstrators have been like, “if you have an idea, go ahead and do it”—they want you to do as much as you can. And that’s the thing that I want to make known to the students, that you can be involved on your own without being in ASG. The thing I’m most proud of is that through the organizations that I’ve been a part of, I’ve seen all of those opportunities that students can be a part of, but the lack of communication between the students and those opportunities is kind of frustrating to me, so I want to bridge that gap and make communication more well known because I am so proud of all of the opportunities that you can take advantage of here, and all of the organizations that you can become a part of, and all of the initiative that you can take, and all of the things that you can do to leave here and put on your resume and say: “Hey, look at all of the things I did in my organizations, apart from just getting a degree”.
CR: I have just been really taken aback that I go here. And I think being able to even have that experience to be taken aback that you’re a Miami student and a RedHawk, is unique itself. I got to study abroad in Luxembourg and that was one of my proudest moments. I don’t know of many other schools that have their own campus in a castle and it was so cool, and I just loved that. And it’s Miami University; it’s not just a place to go study through your school. We had MUWireless sitting at the school in the library, and at the same time you feel like you’re back at Miami while you’re on the other side of the world, and I love that; I think that’s just something so cool and unique about Miami.
I was lucky to live in McCracken my sophomore year and to me that was an awesome experience. I would walk home from the library late at night, and would find those quite moments by myself surrounded by all of these other buildings lit up and by all of these traditions of rubbing the turtles on their head on the way home, so that I can do well on my test the next day and avoiding the seal—I love those kind of traditions, and it’s different traditions from most schools. I mean, we don’t have a football-heavy school, which of course, we want to change, and improve, and make it our own football sports culture, but at the same time we have our own traditions set up here at Miami that separates us, and makes us Miami students.
HC: What areas do you see on campus where there could be the most improvement going forward and with your platform? What areas are you looking to affect the most change in if you are elected as President and Vice President?
KH: To preface that, we’ve gotten a lot of slack for the ideas that we have, for them not being sexy or attractive enough for students. It’s kind of frustrating because some of the other ideas that the candidates are saying; yes, I would love to have those happen, but in reality those things aren’t possible. So, Colleen and I sat down, we’ve been planning since December, and we thought of a platform and thought about what we could offer the students given our interests and passions. And we came up with a plan that we knew Day 1 that we could go in and change, and do everything that we set out to do and there’s no uncertainty as to whether we can or cannot do it. And what we’re trying to do is build a foundation, so that we can start communicating with other organizations and other leaders on campus to create a more cohesive Miami community. We want to create more tailgating events that are huge that we can finally do—it’s long overdue that you couldn’t do that in the past; kind of like a mini Mega Fair for each night there’s a football game. And just to get organizations to have that I’m proud to be a RedHawk mentality, rather than I’m proud to wear my letters and go to school here. We want to bring more of a sense of tradition and pride to the school. There’s a lot to that. There are things we would change in the Armstrong Student Center, like putting more content in there and the tailgating policy and all that stuff.
CR: I think Kyle said it best, and we made a personal video and shared it on our social media and Kyle said, “You’re not electing one student’s ideas to have those specific ideas implemented, and that’s all we’re going to work on, and this is what I want, and this is what you’re going to do to make it happen.” That’s not how it should work, and that’s not how he and I are. We’re normal students; we are not looking for title and popularity—absolutely not. We are looking for change and improvement. And we know that we are confident in our leadership abilities, that we’re the ones that want to step forward and make it happen. We’re not doing this for personal gain, we’re doing it because we want to serve the student body. And of course we have ideas and students want to hear them, but we want to hear your ideas and that’s what we’re really adamant about because we are students like every other person on this campus. But, we are students with leadership abilities and passion, and we want to hear what other people have to say and we’ll listen to it, and look into it to see how we can make it happen. And it may not happen during our time in office, but that’s not what matters. What matters is that we’re trying and we can leave it on the table for the next Student Body President to pick up. It doesn’t matter what giant big idea that we’re going to bring because we have lots of ideas that we’re going to work on, but we want to hear how you want to see them done. And that’s what it’s all about—how are we going to help you to help us.
To brief yourself further on the ideas pertinent to the Hees/Ryan ticket, pay a visit to their website.