While much of the Oakland University community prepares for a transition period, President George Hynd and his wife, Alison, continue to work with students this semester.
The Hynds invited student representatives from at least nine on-campus programs, including student organizations and Greek life, to have dinner with them at Sunset Terrace, their on-campus home.
Guests are also treated to self-guided tours and an explanation of the history of the house where OU’s founder, Matilda Dodge Wilson and her husband Alfred Wilson lived during some of their later years. In return, students give short presentations about the work their programs do.
The Hynds have hosted the event once so far this semester, inviting students from Global Brigades – Medical and Alternative Spring Break. Alison declared it a success.
“They represent OU well,” she said.
Cassie Stoutenburg, president of Alternative Spring Break and a senior studying biomedical sciences, enjoyed the event and the opportunity to share her organization’s work.
“Just having the president recognize us was such a great feeling,” she said.
During her presentation, Stoutenburg stressed the financial and personal sacrifices students make to go on service trips like the ones that Alternative Spring Break plan.
“I think they [the Hynds] definitely understood how difficult it can be, but how rewarding it is,” she said.
Stoutenburg also liked that she got to interact with President Hynd for the first time.
“It humanizes the president and his family,” said Jean Ann Miller, director of the Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development.
Miller helped organize the dinners and worked with Glenn McIntosh, vice president for Student Affairs, and Omar Brown-El, director of the Center for Multicultural Initiatives, to select the participating organizations. Miller said most of the selected programs were chosen because they are service-based.
Five more dates are scheduled for dinners with other student groups, and the Hynds said they are looking forward to them.
“We’ve always enjoyed interacting with students,” Alison said.
She added that George was previously an elementary school teacher and has mentored doctorate students.
“He liked opening up people’s worlds,” she said.