Many students at Kean University boast a high level of involvement. However, for sophomore Christian Gleim, the term “involved” takes on a whole new level of meaning.
Gleim is involved in the Lambda Sigma Upsilon fraternity, Cougar Radio (WKNJ 90.3 FM), Cougar Volunteers, the Leadership Institute, the Latin American Student Organization and Threads, an organization dedicated to teaching its members about various aspects of the fashion industry. Additionally, he works as a customer service representative for the Office of Residential Student Services and became a Residential Assistant (RA) in the Cougar Hall residence hall on campus for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Gleim said that he originally chose to attend Kean because of the possibilities he saw in the school’s compassionate students and unique opportunities available on campus.
“I chose to attend Kean University because this university has a hidden potential that many people are not aware of. The college students who attend Kean are beyond friendly and welcoming in the classroom and on campus,” Gleim said.
He was also intrigued by the plethora of ways in which Kean allows its students to get involved and experience college as more than just academics. As a business management major, another large pull came from the possibility of spending part of his college education in the Wenzhou campus in China, which is primarily attended by business-related majors.
One of Gleim’s largest responsibilities is his membership in Lambda Sigma Upsilon, where he serves on the executive board as the secretary. He joined in his freshman year after seeing the strong relationships the fraternity built and the standards it upheld.
“When looking into Greek life, I was instantly welcomed by the brothers of this organization. It is amazing to see the bond that the brothers have and what they do for one another,” Gleim said. “I am attracted to this organization because they prioritize academic excellence, brotherhood, being role models to the community, cultural awareness and diversity.”
As secretary, Gleim plays a larger role this year behind the scenes of Lambda Sigma Upsilon, specifically in the aspects of organization and record-keeping.
“I perform a variety of tasks throughout the week. Some of these tasks may include scheduling meetings or appointments, maintaining files, taking meeting minutes, sending emails, answering phones or preparing for events,” Gleim said.
Another one of Gleim’s prominent commitments is his current role as a first-year RA in Cougar Hall. He aims to perform his responsibilities to the fullest extent by planning helpful and enjoyable events, becoming a friendly face students can turn to in times of stress and positively impacting each student in general with his support and guidance.
“Being an RA is an opportunity to help and give back to the community. Making a difference with people and within myself is one of my life goals,” Gleim said. “I hope to bring my energy to the position, and help not only the floor that I am assigned to, but the whole building. I would provide residents with an uplifting environment where even in their most dire times of need they can come to me for help and guidance.”
One of Gleim’s greatest sources of pride in terms of involvement is his role in the Leadership Institute.
“As an incoming freshman, one thing that was enforced in every open house or meeting was to get involved. When I saw the leadership institute I was very eager to apply and join because it sounded like a great organization to be apart of,” Gleim said. “I am really honored and humbled that a program like the Leadership Institute can appreciate and acknowledge my work ethic and that as a student I can make a difference on this campus.”
He feels that the program has been invaluable in helping him develop leadership skills that will overlap into many aspects of his life in the future.
“Before starting college, I was glad that this was a way to be involved and make connections. As a business major, learning how to become a leader, having trust in your peers and doing team building activities opened my eyes and made me realize what a true leader actually is. I learned that being a leader is one who leads by example but also takes initiative when needed.”
Despite his passion for his extracurriculars, Gleim still finds that it can be hard to keep up with all the facets of his schedule. In response, he's developed strategies to make the balancing act more manageable.
“With all of these demanding commitments, I balance my time by staying organized. With so much on my plate, I do not have all the time to do everything," Gleim said. "Therefore, [I'm] deciding on my priorities and accepting that some things will have to change. Making time to socialize and exercise is important, but you will always have time for that when you are finished with any other obligations."
He also noted that there are many people at Kean who are more than willing to help students dealing with any type of difficulty, whether it be with academics or time management.
"Never be afraid to ask someone for help. There are tons of resources on campus that help, whether it’s with an assignment or trying to balance your life.”
When he graduates, Gleim wants to have left this school in an even better position than he found it and hopes to continue positively impacting the institution.
“I want to leave a mark here at Kean University," Gleim said. "As an alumni, I want to be known for the great things that I have done or implemented at the University. There is so much I can do as an undergraduate, such as being involved or being a leader [and] role model to other students. But as an alumni I plan on giving back to the university as much as it has given to me.”
In the meantime, Gleim will continue to represent Kean in his many sectors of student involvement with his dedication to leadership and making a difference in the lives of others.