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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Shelton advises student leaders to ‘put people first’

    President Robert Shelton talks with senior Bobcat member Katy Graham, top left, senior Bobcat president Matt Haberman and University Activities Board members junior Lydia McCune and senior Tim Lin yesterday afternoon when meeting with student organizations to talk about campus issues. The event was hosted by Benihana.
    President Robert Shelton talks with senior Bobcat member Katy Graham, top left, senior Bobcat president Matt Haberman and University Activities Board members junior Lydia McCune and senior Tim Lin yesterday afternoon when meeting with student organizations to talk about campus issues. The event was hosted by Benihana.

    Sushi buffets and the glow of a Tucson sunset were the backdrop as President Robert Shelton and student leaders met, mingled and addressed campus issues at a northside Japanese restaurant last night.

    More than 50 representatives from a variety of UA groups – including Residence Life, multicultural organizations and Greek Life – showed up for the opportunity to grab the president’s ear while dining out at Benihana’s, 6091 N. Oracle Road.

    Shelton addressed the assembled student leadership halfway through the dinner from a set of notes he scribbled on the back of MapQuest directions during a string of red lights he caught during his drive.

    “”You can decide whether that’s good or bad,”” Shelton joked.

    The president outlined several points that he said were vital to the qualities of developing leaders, like setting priorities, time management and the importance of individuals over organizations.

    “”The most important thing in your positions is to put people first,”” Shelton said. “”They are what makes any institution great.””

    Shelton also used an example of a student job he held as a dishwasher to illustrate the value of making one’s immediate tasks the most important.

    “”Don’t be focused on what can be,”” Shelton said. “”Focus on what is.””

    The event was set up as an opportunity for Shelton to hear the issues that are affecting students, said Erin Hertzog, Associated Students of the University of Arizona president.

    “”Any time you can get face-to-face time is obviously the best,”” Hertzog said. “”It’s important for the president to know some of the issues (student leaders) are working on.””

    One of those concerns was finding ways for the Disability Resource Center’s adaptive athletics program to be more self-sufficient financially, said Gabe Nyrkkanen, a special education and rehabilitation graduate student.

    “”President Likins was very supportive in areas related to disabilities, and I’m hoping President Shelton is along the same lines,”” Nyrkkanen said.

    Meeting the financial needs of minority students through increased scholarship and financial aid opportunities was the priority they planned to address with Shelton, said undeclared sophomore David Machado and computer engineering senior Julian Billy.

    “”We want to let him see firsthand the diversity we have going on this campus,”” said Billy, who serves with Native American Student Affairs.

    While everyone took turns lining up for the sushi rolls, tempura and wasabe that Benihana’s staff used two meetings to plan, the restaurant’s general manager, Tess Wang, stepped outside the front doors for a breather with her staff.

    Shelton had been to China on numerous occasions, something that she appreciated and felt gave them a common interest, said Wang, whose hometown is Shanghai.

    “”I really like him,”” Wang said.

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