Farouk Aregbe looks back on 10 years of MSA advising

Aregbe’s interim replacement is Bryan Goers, who will hold the position until May 31
Farouk Aregbe, Nathan Stephens and Donnell Young talk at the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center on Thursday at the Legion of Black Collegians’ annual Welcome Black Barbecue on Aug. 25, 2006. Aregbe stepped down from his position on March 4, after being the MSA advisor for 10 years. Maneater File Photo

When Farouk Aregbe started his position as a coordinator for Student Government Services, he thought he would only be working there for two to three years. Now, starting his new job as a manager for Academic Retention Services after 10 years in his old position, he reflected on his experience fondly.

He said one of his fondest memories comes from working with former MUTV General Manager Sarah Schultz. He watched her “flip the organization overnight” through successful advertising campaigns and eventually build a studio in the new Student Center. He was touched by the impact she had on the student body. He said it was the most important lesson he learned as a coordinator for Student Government Services.

“The impact of leadership on any organization could be the most significant turning point for the human experience,” Aregbe said. “I learned that lesson with Sarah Schultz, and I’ve been a believer in that ever since.”

Aregbe graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2006 with his MBA after finishing his undergraduate degree at Missouri Western State University. He said his mentor, Karl Bell, worked in Academic Retention at Missouri Western and piqued his interest in working in student affairs.

When he took his job in 2006, he began supervising the Missouri Students Association as well as their associated departments and auxiliaries.

Aregbe also oversaw the growth of Tiger Pantry and Truman’s Closet. Tiger Pantry is about to reach a total of 100,000 pounds of food donated and distributed since 2012, and Aregbe believes that number will continue to increase. He said he would also like to see free business attire rental service Truman’s Closet be moved on campus into the Student Success Center so it can be better coordinated with the Career Center.

Bryan Goers will replace Aregbe as MSA adviser on an interim basis, but he will not have the same responsibilities. He will advise only MSA, Associated Students of the University of Missouri and the Board of Elections Commissioners.

Graduate assistant Elise Wehrman, who worked under Aregbe, will continue to advise STRIPES, Truman’s Closet and Tiger Pantry. Graduate assistant Chelsea Fricker, who also worked with Aregbe, will continue to advise the Department of Student Services and the Department of Student Communications.

Next year, Aregbe said, the student government advising department hopes to have two full-time employees. One will cover MSA, ASUM, BEC, DSS and DSC. The other will oversee the volunteer-based organizations.

Goers will be serving as adviser until May 31. The department has yet to make any concrete decisions beyond that. Goers earned an undergraduate history degree from UM-St. Louis and a master’s degree in public affairs from MU. While he attended UMSL he served as a senator, chief justice and president of his student government. He’s been on campus for the past seven years, spending two as a graduate student and working full-time for the next five years with Venture Out and Mizzou Alternative Breaks.

Goers is not put off by the recent difficulties MSA has faced. He’s more focused on being a good replacement for Aregbe.

“Farouk’s been doing this for 10 years,” Goers said. “Any time you get somebody with that type of stability, it’s hard to follow up, and he was so good at his job. The next person to come into that — it’s a challenge. So I wouldn’t say anything about this past year. I’d say it was just that they’ve had this consistency (from Farouk) for 10 years. Now I’m obviously going to have to come in and learn the ropes.”

Goers hopes to help MSA see all sides of the issue in his time as interim adviser.

“My goal as an adviser is to basically give them the best information I can and support the initiatives that they’re coming up with,” Goers said. “We have this saying in student affairs of ‘challenge and support,’ and so I’m going to support them in any way I possibly can by putting things in front of them that need to be put in front of them and making sure they’re following their own bylaws and rules.”

Aregbe said he hopes to see MSA continue and improve on being a voice for students going forward. He is fond of the memories that he’s shared with them.

“My time with MSA was full of the greatest memories,” Aregbe said. “I worked with some of the very very best students that have ever walked this campus. It was truly an honor to mentor those students and to walk with those students.”

Edited by Emily Gallion | egallion@themaneater.com

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