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Ricketts, Ruelas reflect on time in office

first_imgEditor’s note: A version of this story appeared online April 1.When their time in office ended April 1, outgoing student body president and vice president Bryan Ricketts and Nidia Ruelas said they were proud of the work they did and excited for the work left to do. “It’s very bittersweet. I’m excited for Corey and Becca to get a start, for the cabinet to take on some issues that affect our students. I’m excited to get some time back to myself, but it’s also, as we’re getting ready and giving them all these transition materials and prepping … it’s bittersweet,” Ricketts said. Ricketts said the inability to continue working on the many initiatives set forth by their administration is frustrating; however, he said he is excited to see how the next administration steps up. “We’re putting together these materials on issues that are going on — I keep saying ‘Oh, I could do this,’ but no, I can’t anymore and that’s hard,” he said.Olivia Mikkelsen | The Observer Ruelas said it has been a privilege to serve as vice president for the past academic year. “I feel very proud of everything we’ve accomplished this year. We’ve had so many successes and failures. I think that in all of those, though, we’ve learned so much — about ourselves, about the people we work with — and I’d like to say that we’ve all grown, as individuals and as a group,” she said. In a high-pressure and result-driven environment, growth is something that is hard to quantify, Ruelas said.“It’s something you can’t put a timeline on, you can’t put any kind of measure or value on, but I feel very proud that we’ve come this far and been able to accomplish so much,” she said. Ricketts said he was happy with the execution of their campaign promise to promote sexual assault awareness.“With the ‘It’s on Us’ campaign out in the dorms and getting people talking about that and helping funnel them into the Green Dot program, I think we were very successful,” he said. “I’m happy with the work we did on our board report, researching and walking with survivors of sexual violence, in particular with the conduct process and the Title IX process and what we needed to improve with that.”The University has promised to release the campus climate survey results from last year, which Ricketts said was a major success for his administration. “I’m pretty happy on the transparency front as well,” he said. “Getting the promise of releasing the survey was huge. I think that was one of, if not our biggest goal. That’s all stuff to be proud of, I think.”Ruelas said the administration also made progress improving the climate at the University as it pertains to sexual assault. “From the prayer services, and getting students to attend those, to asking people to think about being active bystanders and understanding that it’s all on us as individuals to really make sure that we identify situations and step in … we’ve created a culture of caring, all the time — even when it’s the hardest thing to do,” she said. Ricketts said he has learned a lot about himself and grown as a leader during the past year.“I understand a lot more about who I am and what I want to accomplish, but also how to do all that through relationships — with the administrators, with the cabinet, with the people that aren’t in student government at all. You go back to at the end of the day and ask for help, and all those relationships were key,” Ricketts said. Ruelas said she also learned about the importance of relationships, particularly hers with the student body. “I’ve learned about how resilient we are as a student body, and how important that is to accomplishing our goals, and it really is that we hold each other accountable to a higher standard of character,” she said. “I think that that’s been super important, as we’ve had to learn for ourselves, and we’ve had to tap into that desire to always be better and that desire to always be the best people we can be.”As they leave office and the incoming Robinson-Blais administration takes over, Ricketts said he hopes that they have left a strong foundation, particularly in regards to the relationship between the University and South Bend. “I know [that relationship] is a major focus of so many people, Corey and Becca included, but also so many people across the community, and we’ve tried to get the word out there about South Bend,” Ricketts said. “… The future of Notre Dame is with the future of South Bend, and that’s become evidently clear. I hope we’ve left a good foundation for that to grow on.”Tags: Bryan Ricketts, Nidia Ruelas, Ricketts-Ruelas, Student government, student government turnoverlast_img read more

Groy set to step in for injured Konz

first_imgCenter Peter Konz (66) has been constantly peppering Ryan Groy, a utility man of sorts for the Badger offense, with questions regarding the Illini’s defense all week in preparation.[/media-credit]The first time Ryan Groy stepped into a starting role on Wisconsin’s starting offensive line, he might have had an excuse for a mistake.This time, with starting center Peter Konz sidelined two to four weeks with a dislocated ankle? There’s little margin for error.Wisconsin, now ranked No. 17 in the BCS, controls its postseason destiny after the losses by Ohio State and Penn State this past weekend. Should the Badgers win out, they’ll represent the Big Ten Leaders division in the conference’s inaugural championship game Dec. 3. After that, a BCS bowl berth is beyond feasible.Konz suffered his injury in Saturday’s 42-13 win at Minnesota when running back Montee Ball was tackled into Konz’ left leg as the 6-foot-5, 315-pound junior center was making a block on the edge. Konz immediately crumpled to the ground, and after several minutes without much movement, was carted off the field. Fortunately for the Badgers, x-rays found no surgical damage anywhere in Konz’ ankle.So with a road game at Illinois looming Saturday and the season finale at home against Penn State the week after, Groy slides into a role he’s well accustomed to. Earlier this season, Groy filled in for left guard Travis Frederick when he sprained his MCL in Wisconsin’s season-opener against Nevada-Las Vegas. That was after spending the majority of last season as a fullback where he started two games, with some spot duty along the offensive line mixed in.“It’s hard, but it’s also very, very beneficial,” Frederick said, who’s bounced between guard and center himself. “When you have a position like that where you know three [different] positions, that’s just more that you know about the game in general. You see a look, you can see it from a center standpoint and you can see it from a guard standpoint. Even from [Groy’s] standpoint, you can see it from a fullback standpoint. You know where people are going and the way the things move better as a whole.”At 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, Groy’s figure bellows “center.” But as evidenced by his experience as a fullback, the Middleton native boasts stunning mobility for one of the biggest linemen on one of the nation’s biggest offensive lines.When he was thrust into the forefront of the offense following Frederick’s injury, both Konz and left tackle Ricky Wagner, unprovoked, labeled him the team’s quickest offensive lineman.“I’ve seen a huge change between last year and this year in just his ability to understand the defenses,” Konz said of Groy, with clear emphasis on “huge.” “It’s one thing to memorize plays, but it’s another to change those plays in the middle of the game or practice. That’s something he’s going to be able to do.”Indeed, when Groy suited up for his first start along the offensive line in Week 2 against Oregon State, the Badgers missed nary a step in a 35-0 shutout that saw UW gain 397 yards of total offense, 208 of which came on the ground. The offensive line cleared gaping holes for Wisconsin’s running backs, who together averaged 5.1 yards per carry.Saturday against the Illini, however, Groy will be charged with proving he’s more than an athletically gifted big man – he’ll need to set Wisconsin’s offense against Illinois’ 12th-ranked scoring defense.“Right now, I’ve been a center for the last couple of weeks,” Groy said. “I’ve been in this position; instead of going in and having to know three positions, I’m going in knowing I’m just center. I’m just preparing for that.”Lying behind Konz on Wisconsin’s depth chart for most of the season, Groy has witnessed a lineman widely perceived to be one of the nation’s best centers. Konz is on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top center, and he very well could be a high NFL draft pick if he chooses to leave UW after this season.“He’s just very aware of the game and the defense he’s going against,” Groy said of Konz. “He’s a really athletic guy, and his knowledge of the game is really something that I admire and I’d like to follow.”The first step in doing so comes in this week’s preparation, as Groy said that Konz, Frederick and several other linemen have put in extra film sessions to prepare for Illinois. Konz admitted to peppering Groy relentlessly over how to handle whatever Illinois might throw at him, from run blocking to zone schemes and safety blitzes. When Groy didn’t hesitate on any answers, Konz knew he had found the key to prepping his substitute.“The biggest thing was comfort. At this point, for me, there’s telling him every single in and out of what I’ve learned. It’s not going to sink in, and I know that. You’ve really got to go through some experiences, you’ve go to go through some losses and personal hard times in the game, on the field, to be able to pick up some of these,” he said. “But as far as him feeling comfortable – because I know he can play as good as anybody in the Big Ten if he’s feeling comfortable – just him knowing it in his own mind is the key to this week.”last_img read more