Athletic coaches like to use the term “senior leader” when referring to an experienced player on their roster who leads not only verbally but by example for the overall benefit of the team. Gustavus Adolphus College senior Jenny Marquette ’15 doesn’t play any varsity sports, but the “senior leader” term describes her perfectly.
Marquette’s story begins in the small town of Foley—population 2,600—just Northeast of St. Cloud. As a high school senior, she had no idea where she wanted to attend college, but had heard about Gustavus from a couple of her friends on the speech team.
“My dad, two of my friends, and I took advantage of Minnesota Private Colleges Week and decided to make Gustavus one of our stops,” Marquette said. “I ended up touring Gustavus three different times and fell in love with the campus a little bit more each time.”
That love for the campus has only grown over the last three years as Marquette has immersed herself in a lengthy list of student organizations. On the top of that list is the Gustavus Campus Activities Board—known by most Gusties as CAB. The mission of CAB is to enrich the campus life experience for Gusties by encouraging the involvement of all students in entertainment that is engaging and enjoyable.
“At the fall involvement fair during my freshman year I stopped at the CAB booth and I just knew that it was what I wanted to do,” Marquette said.
She signed up for two committees and became highly involved with CAB’s Special Events committee. By spring semester of her freshman year she was already accompanying senior executives to the Landmark Center in St. Paul to help plan for the College’s annual President’s Ball.
During her sophomore year, Marquette served as a special events executive and began planning events and activities for the College’s student body. She and several other students helped develop the event D.A.N.C.E. (Dance All Night Challenge for Everyone) which has become a popular event on campus.
“Completely creating a new event and seeing it be so successful was definitely one of the highlights of my sophomore year,” Marquette said. “Serving as an executive on CAB helped me with my communication skills as well presenting myself professionally. Because I would love to be an event coordinator one day, there are some obvious parallels to how this will help me in the future.”
Last year Marquette served as the Co-President of CAB and will do so again this year along with Andrew Paul ’16. This experience has helped Marquette develop her leadership and team development skills.
“Anyone can see within the first minutes of meeting Jenny that her enthusiasm and dedication to CAB is through the roof,” said 2013-14 Co-President Grace Balfanz ’14. “Her passion and hard work has made CAB what it is today. This year’s CAB Executive Board is lucky to have such an experienced and devoted leader by its side.”
Due to her experience and success working with CAB, Marquette has seized an opportunity to gain additional experience by working with the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA).
Last year she was one of seven nationally selected board members who regularly participated in meetings to provide input to the NACA Board of Directors regarding issues and concerns from the student perspective. She also had an opportunity to travel to Boston to give a presentation about the Gustavus CAB training retreat at NACA’s national conference. This past summer, Marquette was selected to serve as a National Student Advisory Group Facilitator for NACA. She was the only student in the nation who had the privilege to attend NACA’s Board of Directors meetings to provide input from the student perspective.
In addition to her work with CAB and NACA, Marquette has been involved with G.O.L.D. (Gusties in Ongoing Leadership Development), the Gustavus Mentoring Program, Gustavus Women in Business Leadership, the Crossroads Program, Gustie Guides, the Gustavus Tobacco Free Initiative, the Cultural Reclamation Program, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and the Inter-Greek Senate. She was inducted into the College’s Guild of St. Lucia during the spring of 2014 and the Order of Omega in the winter of 2013.
“Jenny is the epitome of a well-rounded, liberal arts college student,” said Gustavus Director of Campus Activities Andrea Junso. “She is deeply respected by her peers, is wildly passionate about the organizations she represents, and is a known leader among her peers.”
Extra-curricular involvement is of course only one half of the experience at Gustavus. Marquette is on track to graduate this spring with a double major in communication studies and business management. Marquette says that classes taught by professors such as Sarah Wolter from the Communication Studies Department and Kathi Tunheim, Kristian Braekkan and Sheng Ping-Yang from the Economics and Management Department have been particularly valuable to her.
“I really loved Sarah Wolter’s Media and Society and Communication and Gender courses. Taking Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management with Kathi Tunheim has been amazing,” Marquette said. “Having Sheng Ping-Yang as my advisor has been incredibly helpful. As a first-year in his Micro- and Macro-economics classes, he really helped me not only with those classes, but helped me decide to declare a management major. Whenever I need help with anything I know that I can go to him for advice. I highly recommend that underclassmen take at least one class with Sheng.”
When Marquette starts to apply for jobs this winter and spring in the event planning field, she will have several advantages on her side. Along with her double major and proven leadership experience, Marquette spent the past five months working as a Summer Events Intern with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund in Edina and as the Marketing and Client Development Intern for Good Leadership Enterprises.
“Preparing for my last CAB retreat and my last year at Gustavus has given me a lot of time to think back on and remember all of the amazing experiences that Gustavus has given me. From each and every CAB event I’ve worked on, to helping students discover their leadership abilities with GOLD, to traveling to Peru, South Carolina, Boston and Florida, I know I have been very lucky to be a part of so many amazing programs at such a great school,” Marquette said. “Gustavus has given me so much these past four years and I could not be more thankful. I know everything I have learned and worked on out of the classroom will help me out down the road, and that’s what you come to a school like Gustavus for: an education that stretches outside of the classroom and shapes your life. It’s weird when I think about it that I once wasn’t sure if Gustavus was the right place for me, but as Sheng would say, ‘It’s so obvious.'”
Media Contact: Vice President for Marketing and Communication Tim Kennedy