CUSO: How Students Are Supporting Students On CampusBy Bailey Linton on March 27, 2019
The Cornerstone University Student Offices (CUSO) began as a dream.
There was a time on campus when the student body and organizations had very little chain of command. This meant that people were usually unable to take advantage of all of Cornerstone's resources, and the unification of the student body suffered because of it.
Luckily, in 2018, Cornerstone's student body recognized this issue and decided to innovate with the creation of CUSO. Its founders focused on the improvement of three things: enriching students' quality of life, creating bigger and better events and improving campus communication and involvement with student organizations.
Enriching Students' Lives
CUSO's mission is to "enrich the quality of life in our campus community by representing and cultivating the CU experience," as stated by Student Body Vice President Jordan Leaman. This means that in addition to bringing the campus community together, the group also tries to improve upon the quality of life provided here at CU.
Jordan believes firmly in the organization's mission. In fact, it's the reason why he decided to help lead the charge with CUSO to begin with.
"I ran for the vice president position so that I could play a small part in improving the CU student experience," Leaman said. "Student investment in other students is what drives a healthy and positive campus culture, and I was eager to continue to build on the work of past classes."
The group has had success in many areas, such as getting clarified parking information from Campus Safety for students who were confused by expectations. There was also no single place for students to find information about all of the events on campus until CUSO began its weekly events email.
In addition to helping students in their day-to-day living, CUSO has also been a part of creating several large-scale events to give back to the students they strive to serve.
"Internally, we have really begun to find our groove and have given CUSO structure," Elizabeth Boock, an events team member, said. "In my opinion, CUSO's events have been amazing this past year. We have been experiencing record numbers of student engagement and attendance at events. In addition, we have even created some new events like CU Think You Can Sing (a major American Idol-like singing event which was a major success), as well as the Men's and Women's Conference that will be held March 30."
In the past, much of the stress of planning events was placed on the back of Cornerstone's Student Development Office, but with the renaissance of CUSO's unique blend of branding and marketing, much of the pressure has been lifted from several staff members and has given students more opportunities for involvement both in event planning and community building.
Engagement has been the name of the game when it comes to CUSO's events, and the group has experienced great success with events such as the Superbowl Party and Mario Kart Night. This past winter, CUSO even orchestrated Thriftmas, a huge ugly-sweater themed Christmas party complete with a DJ.
Partnering With Other Student Organizations
Before CUSO, student organizations didn't have much of a floor to reach the larger CU campus. They made do with Facebook events and word of mouth but have been able to use some of CUSO's resources as of late. These resources include a texting service and weekly events email. Communication between organizations has also improved through the hub of CUSO and improvements are still being made.
CUSO has also given its student member the chance to experience financial responsibilities by helping handle some of the finance distribution to student organizations, with David Dodds heading up this effort as the team's financial director.
"We support student organizations with funding and leadership help," Dodds said. "We are their greatest resource aside from a staff or faculty adviser. Many student organizations run themselves, so there are occasionally times where we have minimal contact because of their great efforts."
As student organizations at Cornerstone continue to improve, CUSO will as well in the hopes of better providing students with new and unique opportunities.
An Office for the Students
Even after just one year of operation, it has become clear how necessary CUSO is to the community of Cornerstone.
Advances in areas such as community building, events and student organizations constitute the longevity of the great work CUSO has done and will continue to do. As CUSO looks to the future, I can truly say that there's never been a better time to be a represented Cornerstone student!
For more information on student organizations, visit our Student Organizations web page.