Gus Burkett Ready To Learn BC’s Culture
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
This fall, Boston College welcomed Gus Burkett, new director of the Student Programs Office (SPO), to continue the campus traditions and foster more student involvement. Burkett, with a passion for encouraging student involvement and a busy career in student affairs, intends to use the upcoming months as a learning period for absorbing BC’s unique culture and student body.
Burkett, who was born and raised in Santa Fe, Argentina, received his first introduction to BC as a 16-year-old exchange student studying in Maine.
“I was hosted by a host family, and my host father is an alumnus of BC,” Burkett said. “He used to take us to the hockey games and football games, and the first coat I ever bought in the United States was a BC coat. So this is fate.”
Burkett returned to the U.S. after his first year of college in Argentina because there were no opportunities for him to get involved in extracurricular activities.
“All the ideas of extracurricular activities and co-curricular activities and clubs don’t exist, and I was missing that after tasting it here in high school,” Burkett said. After transferring to the University of Maine, Burkett immersed himself in student organizations that are very similar to those at BC, including student government, a Latino organization on campus, and a fraternity. “I was the student that you pretty much saw around campus who was involved with everything.”
Despite being a business major with a concentration in human resources, Burkett became interested in the idea of working for student affairs at the university level after his experiences in college. Taking a year off and working as a consultant for his fraternity, Burkett visited 30 different campuses and became familiar with how universities work and what he liked and did not like about them. Burkett went on to receive a Masters degree from the University of Maine, focusing on alcohol and drug education as well as hazing prevention.
Burkett’s professional career continued after his Master’s at the University of Maine as the systems director of Greek Life, and he eventually directed their student activities and events office until 2010. He accepted an offer at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2010, where he worked as the associate director of student activities. Coordinating and overseeing more than 480 student organizations, Burkett also managed major events like homecoming and concerts, as well as nightly entertainment for students and tailgates for sporting events.
“Coming to BC, in a way, is bringing me full circle,” Burkett said.
Burkett’s main focus as director of SPO is to learn more about and preserve the traditions of BC. “The culture of college campuses is different from campus to campus, so it would be wrong of me to come with a cookie-cutter type of program and say we are going to make it fit to BC,” Burkett said. “Right now, I’m in learning mode. I’m trying to learn as much as possible to make sure I know what the BC culture is like. There are a lot of very unique things to the BC culture that I’m loving. I have some ideas, but right now I want to learn.”
Burkett hopes most importantly to bring to BC the experiences he had as a college student, where he felt welcomed and encouraged to get involved.
“I think my passion is to work on traditions,” Burkett said. “I want that feeling where you walk into a campus, and you can feel the spirit hitting you.”
Burkett intends to keep alive the uniqueness of BC’s culture, as well as leave a lasting impression on students of the importance and value of being active in organizations and movements on campus. Citing how the Ignatian tradition adds “its own special flavor,” Burkett hopes to keep alive the goal of creating well-rounded men and women.