Name: Blake Viena
Major: Ethnic Studies: Emphasis in Asian American Studies
Blake Viena ventured to Oregon after he and a group of friends decided it was time for a new experience. After being a freshman for a year Blake knew he wanted to get involved and to become connected the university. He first joined the Polynesian Cultural Club where he and its members organized luaus and celebrated the culture.
But Blake didn’t stop there. He and his close friend decided to make a promise to each other that going into their sophomore year they would get involved with at least three organizations on campus. With his perseverance, courage, and curiosity Blake pulled through, “three more years, that’s all we have after freshmen year, so lets make the most of them!”
Sophomore year was the when Blake became apart of the Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) as an intern. He recognizes that this opportunity opened many doors for him. Blake’s mission at this point was to find ways to give back to students and the community. He also became of apart of the student government.
In Blake’s internship class he learned about leadership skills, lobbying to legislators, proposing drafts to go to administrators, and how to get others to become engaged. Blake went on to join task forces in multicultural affairs where he attended meetings, events and services. He worked closely with students listening to their voices and concerns. Blake felt amazed about all the different communities that Oregon State was made up of and was motivated to join even more organizations.
Blake became social chair of the Polynesian Club. His junior year he also became apart of the Black Student Union, Filipino Club and the Cambodian Student Association. He joined the Multicultural Greek Council, and then became president of his fraternity. Blake also enjoyed partaking in Volleyball Club. In ASOSU Blake moved up from being the Director of Multicultural Affairs to the Executive Director of Diversity Programs.
Blake gained an internship position at Dixon Recreation Center through the Summer Promise Program. After being hired on, he helped develop the Recreation Sports Center into a zone where all students could utilize it. Blake was passionate about making Recreation Sports a place of inclusivity and where all people could feel welcome. This meant helping those from under deserved communities feel more welcome, making sure there was proper equipment for disabled persons, and helping provide spaces where women can feel safe. Blake wants to “help Oregon State achieve a broader cultural understanding of the amazing diversity we have on campus.” He also mentions that working at Dixon, “was a very fulfilling experience because people actually appreciate the work that you are doing and they support you no matter what”.
Blake believes the biggest challenge facing leaders today is, “finding inner balance in leading others”. He notes that, “you can go and be the head of your fraternity or sorority but at home you can also be a role model to your brother or sister, finding a balance means being able to be a well-rounded leader, which can make a big impact”. Blake realized it was important to work hard, but you have to take care of your health and wellness in the process, otherwise it becomes difficult to perform to the best of your ability. This also comes in handy when you’re under stress and pressure.
“We are student leaders, but the student part comes first, if you’re not taking care of the student part of life then how can you be a leader?"