The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Schmidt names Brellenthin Chief Executive Assistant

Liz O'Donnell | Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Student body president Grant Schmidt selected Ryan Brellenthin as Chief Executive Assistant (CEA) for the 2009-2010 school year.

The CEA is the third highest-ranking member of student government, behind Schmidt and vice president Cynthia Weber.

Brellenthin will be able to balance out the president and vice president, according to Schmidt.

“You need someone to tell you when you’re wrong and to be honest with you,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt and Weber also cited Brellenthin’s prior experience in student government as a reason for their choice.

“Ryan did amazing work as the commissioner of the Academic Affairs Committee,” Schmidt said. “He worked on majors night for two years, excused absences for interviews and knows all the deans of all the colleges.”

Schmidt and Weber both said they believe Brellenthin’s connection with the administration is one of his strongest skills.

Schmidt and Weber have each worked with Brellenthin before. Weber sat on the Academic Affairs committee when Brellenthin was the chair. Schmidt oversaw the Academic Affairs committee during his term as vice president from 2008-2009.

“Grant and I met several times a week,” Brellenthin said. “It was a good opportunity for me. Grant let me help him out on certain issues.”

Brellenthin is also a strong leader. “Ryan can be frank and is highly practical,” Weber said. “His qualities work well with Grant and I. He will keep us on track.”

As CEA, Brellenthin will attend Executive Policy Board meetings and will sit on the Council of Representatives (COR), Campus Life Council (CLC) and Student Senate.

According to the student constitution, the CEA also will chair the Executive Programming Board meeting, a task that Weber highlighted as extremely important.

“The Executive Programming Board is extremely important because it is comprised of the heads of all the University programming,” Weber said.

Brellenthin will also preside over several ideas that were on their campaign platform.

“Several of our ideas from our platform came from Ryan,” Schmidt said. “These ideas include hot Grab ‘n’ Go options as well as Catholics in America.”

While in office, Brellenthin said that he had a number of goals he hoped to accomplish.

“Grant and Cynthia had a detailed platform that I helped them out with,” Brellenthin said. “I feel that I have partial ownership in the ideas.”

In addition to his membership on the Academic Affairs Committee, Brellenthin cited other experience that he has had.

“At the end of my freshman year I became the Stanford senator. I decided from there to join the Academic Affairs Committee as well as the Community Relations committee,” Brellenthin said.

Brellenthin also said that his first year on the Academic Affairs Committee pushed him to become even more involved and apply to chair the committee his junior year.

“As the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee I got a good taste of policy and programming,” he said. “I also became interested in how technology affects student life and pushed for the creation of the Campus Technology Committee.”

Brellenthin said that he believes he will be highly involved in the Schmidt-Weber administration.

“Grant and Cynthia have allowed me to be in the room to make important decisions,” Brellenthin said. “While I am not nearly on the same level as them, I hope to help them out whenever they need input in the decision making process.”

Brellenthin said that the biggest challenge he faces in the transition to his new position is letting go of the Academic Affairs Committee.

“I will always be connected to the Academic Affairs Committee,” he said. “It is now going to be someone else’s responsibility and I hope to give my successor advice.” 

Brellenthin said that he wants members of the community to know that he plans to be accessible to all students.

Schmidt, Weber and Brellenthin are looking forward to success in the upcoming year.

“All three of us have established the contacts that we wanted, and we are all highly experienced,” Schmidt said. “We are ready to implement things that the student body as a whole will care about.”