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Page Title: Watching students grow is the reward for Phil Fuehrer, interim director of student programming
Summary/Description: Interim director of student programming Phil Fuehrer draws on experience to guide students
With more than two decades of involvement in Minnesota's Independence Party and three runs for local elected office under his belt, Phil Fuehrer is a natural resource for students seeking advice about student activities, event planning or university life.
An someone who's taken an unconventional path in life and who focuses on ideas and solutions, Fuehrer is loath to tell students what they should do.
"I try to develop students as critical thinkers and independent minds that think through their options and make decisions accordingly," said Fuehrer.
Similarly, when dealing with the Student Senate, he often tries to zero in on the desired result before giving a range of alternatives before putting the decision back into their hands.
"I don't see my job as one to mandate the end result," Fuehrer said.
Fuehrer stood witness to historic change in November 1989 as a soldier on leave in Prague, Czechoslovakia, during the height of the Velvet Revolution, the demonstrations that resulted in a peaceful transition from a Communist regime to a parliamentary form of government.
"It was just an electric atmosphere," said Fuehrer.
Fuehrer has seen plenty of change on campuses in Minnesota. As a 23-year-old freshman seeking a degree in European Area Studies at the University of Minnesota after four years of military service, he stood out as a nontraditional student-in 1992.
Fuehrer got involved with the fledgling Independence Party, becoming platform committee chair in 1995.
The totality of his local and international experiences have been helpful in his Metropolitan State career, which began as office manager for student life in 2001.
His favorite part of the job is counseling students and watching them grow. The advice isn't always the same, as some students just need more confidence, other need to decide on a direction, and so forth.
In the end, Fuehrer views his role as "making sure students are ready for the next journey."
As for his next steps, using the new Student Center as a focal point to increase student involvement is a priority. Programming to help students bond has consisted mostly of off campus event that could be done as a group, such as tickets for "Star Wars" or Timberwolves games.
The center could be a place for students to relax, recreate and eat.
"I really want to make the student center a living room for the University," Fuehrer said.
Keywords: Metropolitan State University, Metropolitan State, Phil Fuehrer, Prague, student life, student activities, University of Minnesota, Velvet Revolution, student programming, counseling, Independence Party