As Student Body President and Vice President, Blake Birno ’23 and Marissa Cutlan ’23 lead Bethel Student Government (BSG), a student-run organization comprised of seven departments that all exist to enhance the student experience. from Bethel. Here they reflect on their decision to run for office, their work at G.S.O., and their advice to new Bethel students.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and what are you involved in at Bethel?

Blake Birno: I’m from Minnetonka, Minnesota, and major in Business Marketing with a double minor in Leadership and Communications, and an Honors in Healthcare. At Bethel I am involved with the Royals Investment Fund, work in the admissions office as a tour guide and drummer for the 5:40 Jazz Orchestra and United Worship.

Marissa Cutlan: I’m a double major in biochemistry and chemistry with a minor in psychology from Green Bay, Wisconsin (yes, I’m a Packers fan). On campus, I run on the cross-country and track teams and work as a chemistry teacher’s assistant and primary tutor in science help sessions.

Can you explain what Bethel student government is and its impact on Bethel students?

Cutlan: Bethel Student Government (BSG) is a student-led organization working to develop, inspire and connect all students at Bethel. We organize events, collaborate with students and create spaces for all our students on campus. Our goal is to be united in everything we do and to serve all Bethel students.

What made you decide to stand for election?

Birno: Bethel is an amazing community. Being part of a community like Bethel is truly a gift, and I believe in giving back to this community. Through the opportunities and experiences I have had, I have found it important to continue to find ways to give back.

Cutlan: On the Saturday before Christmas vacation in December 2020, Blake and I, along with a few other G.S.O. members, decorated the Brushaber Commons for Christmas. We spent hours decorating the university. Around 2 am, we had finally finished our decorations, and I was overjoyed. It was then that I realized that I wanted to run for office. I love giving up my Saturday nights to decorate for Christmas. I enjoy serving our community and brightening up our students’ days, even if it comes in the form of a Christmas tree.

What do you hope to accomplish this year in your roles?

Birno: Our primary goal is to serve and represent every student. We’ve done things like the “Dear BSG” campaign, which gives students a direct line to our office to offer feedback or ideas in any area of ​​campus they feel needs improvement. We have also created a student working group with the aim of creating a proposal for a student activity space that students can use in the evenings and on weekends. While these are just some of the steps we have taken, in everything we do, we work to ensure that all students will benefit.

What’s your favorite thing about the Bethel community?

Birno: For me, the answer is in the question. It is the community itself. I have never seen a place with such a loving and dedicated, faith-based community. It’s special and what keeps me falling in love with Bethel again and again.

Cutlan: The people! I love being around passionate, engaging and grounded people who support and challenge me in all aspects of my life.

What advice do you have for students who are new to the Bethel community?

Cutlan: Be comfortable being uncomfortable. Allow yourself to be supported by those around you and lean into the uncomfortable situations around you. This is where the real growth happens.

Birno: To be involved! You hear it everywhere, but honestly, it’s the best thing you can do. One of the best things about Bethel is the ability to get involved in so many different aspects of campus. You can play sports, and be in a band, and be in student government, and be an RA, and be in clubs. You don’t have to do one or the other, but you can do as many as you want, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in Bethel.