Glen, Games and Gratitude!
Dear A.S. Family,
Happy holidays! I cannot believe 2023 is already almost over!
As you know, our executive officers’ theme for this year has been Together as One…Get Stuff Done. And wow, have we gotten stuff done! I am so proud of all that we have accomplished this past year and whether you are a full-time A.S. staff member or our part-time student staff, your efforts through working together have positively impacted students and campus. Thank you so much for making our mission a reality.
I wish you all a restful and joyful holiday season spent with your loved ones!
With cheer and much gratitude,
Glen Brandenburg Retires
A Reflection on 52 Years
By Olivia Li, A.S. Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Glen Brandenburg still remembers his first day working at Associated Students as a student employee in February of 1971. He stood at the site of the current Mission Bay Aquatic Center, dilapidated SDSU sailing team boats floating in the distance.
It was at that site that Glen met Brad Smith, classmates who would eventually become co-founders of the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. Each of them had a passion for boating; Glen grew up around boats and even constructed seven boats from piles of wood as a child. Through Glen and Brad’s vision, the battered sailing team boats and an old World War II building were given new life to establish the Mission Bay Aquatic Center.
In June of 1973, Glen was promoted to a full-time A.S. employee, serving as the Director of the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. For almost 40 years, Glen oversaw the facility before transitioning to SDSU’s main campus in October of 2012 as the A.S. Director of Facilities and Sustainability.
While Glen’s role has changed throughout the decades, one remains constant throughout his 52 year career with Associated Students: mentoring hundreds of students to advance SDSU’s sustainability efforts.
“The ability to mentor people, train people and teach people — I’ve always enjoyed that part of my job,” Glen said. “I’m a teacher at heart and enjoy teaching people but also seeing the fruit of my labor, when somebody does something and does a great job.”
Through Glen’s tireless dedication and the efforts of many students and employees he has mentored, Glen has played a pivotal role in SDSU becoming one of the most “green” campuses in the country.
As Glen reflects upon his accomplishments from the past 52 years, his top two coincide with A.S.’ top accomplishments as well: opening the Mission Bay Aquatic Center and ensuring all A.S. facilities became LEED certified, globally recognized for their sustainable design and operation. But Glen’s third accomplishment comes in the form of an art piece located on the 3rd floor of the Student Union: a giant sycamore tree mosaic.
After the current Student Union opened in 2014, A.S. Executive Director Christina Brown asked Glen to pay homage to the original Student Union built in 1968. In the courtyard stood a giant sycamore tree but because it was partly diseased, the tree was unsalvageable. However, the wood was always kept with the hopes of eventually creating a special piece to remember the original building.
After buying books to research Aztec art, Glen partnered with a mosaic artist from Mexico, collaboratively working with her to create the 3D art piece with hundreds of intricate handmade leaves that stood against the sycamore wood.
The giant sycamore tree mosaic in Council Chambers to pay homage to the original Student Union.
“The project was so different than anything I’d ever done but I’m so proud of it just because I started from scratch and came out with something quite beautiful,” Glen said.
Upon retirement, Glen is looking forward to traveling to all his favorite places — his yearly trip to Hawaii for a month and visiting the northern coast of Spain, a place Glen and his wife Elsa have been wanting to go back to since 2017. Although different from most tourists’ trips to Spain, the beautiful beaches, clouds and rain that remind Glen of Northern California remain at the top of his travel bucket list.
In addition, Glen will be remodeling his home, a project he has long neglected since he has been busy working on projects around SDSU. Of course, he will make sure that all the remodeling projects are “super sustainable.”
And though Glen considers the past 52 years as “fast,” he has appreciated every day as an A.S. employee.
“Something that I feel the most fortunate about is that I was able to work 52 years at a job I enjoy. A lot of people work and all they think about is retiring because they don’t like their work. I’m going to work until the last day because I love what I’m doing.”
A.S. Sustainability Tip
By Charlotte Roberts, A.S. Sustainability Coordinator
Do you have random ingredients in your kitchen you want to use up? Do you like to save money while preventing food waste?
If you answered yes, I have a great tip for you!
Well actually, this tip came from Dawn DiNardo during a lively convo at A.S. Book Club, who heard it from Tyler Rolling (Health Educator with SDSU Well-Being & Health Promotion) at a recent Recreation & Wellness Commission meeting. A.S. spaces never fail to serve as vibrant environments for cross-pollination of ideas!
Here is the life-changing sustainability, nutrition and budget hack:
A.S. December Sustainability Tip:
Give ChatGPT a list of random ingredients that you find in your pantry, freezer or fridge and ask your new personal AI chef to create a recipe using those inputs.
I tried this tip after taking a look at my kitchen inventory on a Thursday night and feeling very uninspired. Well friends, after this free consultation with Chef Chat, my frown was quickly turned upside down!
Check out the recipes I generated below, which are all vegetarian but you can go wild with any meat ingredients your heart desires! The third and fourth recipes weren’t quite what I was going for, so I asked ChatGPT to make slight modifications, which you can read within these threads.
And of course, something sweet: Persimmon Upside-Down Cake
Thank you for this tasty tip, Dawn and Tyler!
If you would like additional information or have questions about anything listed above, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Winter Break Games
Looking for something fun to do during Winter Break? Cold weather keeping you inside? Try playing one of the games below with your family or friends during Winter Break!
Kurt Kroeber, Student Media Coordinator
So, this game is easy because it doesn't require anything but pens and paper. It's called Preferences and my friends either made it up or they lied about making it up. Cut paper into thin strips, have everyone write down a word or a phrase (anything really — fur coats, a lightsaber that doesn't work, questions that make you uncomfortable) on each piece of paper and throw them into a hat. Person #1 grabs 5 pieces of paper and silently figures out the order they prefer those items. They get handed to the next person whose job is to read them out loud and conduct the group to determine their order. It's then everyone else's job to work together to figure out Person # 1's correct order. If you get it, everybody wins. If you don't, it's okay; it's difficult and also who cares. Lots of fun, lots of laughs.
Kevin Dieschbourg, Technical Services Supervisor
One of my favorite board games from growing up was "Sorry!" It's 2-4 players, easy to learn and can take an unexpected turn at any point of who's in the lead. My friends and I would play it over and over again when we would have game nights.
Sam Ramtin, Government Affairs Coordinator
I love Dune because it combines strategy, intrigue and action — all against the backdrop of the Dune universe. You do not have to be a fan of the Dune series or movie to enjoy this game — I wasn't when I started! I do recommend folks watch the 2021 movie if they want some context in visualizing the game's various factions. It's 2-6 players (the more players, the more chaos, the more fun) trying to survive the harsh planet, while advancing their faction forward! It's epic.
Amanda Gonzalez, Member Services Coordinator
My family is incredibly competitive and my mother would make up so many of the games we played over the holidays. Many different games and competitions have come and gone as our family has aged, but Pictionary still remains. Some versions have a board and other bells and whistles, but my family just utilizes the deck of cards. The best thing about it is as long as you have the deck of cards, you can play in whatever manner you want. Too tired to lug out an easel? Now it's charades! Only have 15 minutes before dinner? Change the minutes you allow for the rounds. People getting too good? Change the rules so that you have to get a certain amount of words per card in order to get a point. We really appreciate and lean into the versatility of playing by your own rules to fit the moment and the laughter that ensues is the cherry on top!
A.S. Book Club
At the A.S. Book Club’s October meeting, the Club had an interesting discussion about the literary classic “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The book received an A.S. Book Club Rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Here is what the Club is reading next…
December 13 (this month only on Wednesday): “Readers Become Writers” by A.S. Book Club Members
Discussing stories, poems, songs, fairy tales, etc. that were written by A.S. Book Club Members.
January 11: “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, she would be the first to point out there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.
Learn more about the A.S. Book Club at as.sdsu.edu/bookclub.
You can read a printed book, listen to the audio version or read the eBook on your phone or tablet, and then join the Club for lively discussions. The A.S. Book Club meets every second Thursday of the month, (except for this month) at 4:30 p.m. in the Presidential Suite in the Student Union. The Book Club is open to all A.S. full- and part-time employees. If you have any questions or would like to join the club, please contact Quentin at 42303 or email email@example.com.
The San Diego Public Library offers print books as well as eBooks and/or audiobooks, for most titles. You just need a library card, which is free, the books are available through an app: Libby App: From your library by OverDrive.
- What is your name and title?
My name is Durand Smiley and I am the Building Services Coordinator for Aztec Recreation. I am also an avid reader of 15 questions and very excited to be participating.
- Which A.S. department do you work in?
I work in Aztec Recreation. My role helps maintain our properties. It takes an amazing team to keep all of our buildings up to the standard our students deserve.
- How long have you worked for A.S.?
That depends on what counts! Like many of us, I actually started with A.S. as a student while I was attending SDSU. I worked part time for the facilities team at the Student Union from 2016-2019 and when I graduated, I came over to the Aztec Recreation full-time team. So, 3 years part time 4 four years full time.
- What do you like most about working for A.S.?
The thing I like most about working with Associated Students is our shared mission to serve our students. You can really feel it in every role and at every level of A.S. that we exist because of and for the students. That mission is a really powerful motivator for me personally, but I also feel like it strengthens our teams and collaboration in a really unique way.
- What was the last movie you saw? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
The last movie I saw was “Asteroid City” by Wes Anderson. Definitely a thumbs up from me. It has all of the Wes Anderson charm, is very funny and I am certain there is a deeper meaning in there somewhere.
- Do you collect anything? What do you collect and why?
I would say that I collect multi-tools but am not very good at it because I keep giving them away. I love multi-tools, but fundamentally I feel like they should be used as tools and not just kept on a shelf. So, my collection is not very large, but not for lack of buying them.
- If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
My wife and I took a trip to Scotland in August this year and were joking about retiring in Oban, so I guess Scotland. My wife has some family there and the country is beautiful.
- Do you prefer pens or pencils?
Can I cheat and say typing? I am a terrible speller and don’t think I could get through one day without spell check. When I am handwriting things, I tend to use a pen but avoid it whenever I can.
- There is a free, round-trip shuttle to Mars. The catch: it will take one year of your life to go, visit, and come back. Are you in?
This is one I was excited to answer. As soon as space travel is safe enough for ordinary people I’m in. The opportunity to see Mars is not something I could pass up, assuming I actually get to come back to my family and talk to them along the way and all that. The microgravity means the tallest mountain is something like 2.5 times the height of Everest. There is literally nowhere like it on Earth.
- What is your favorite breakfast food?
I love a skillet hash or a fried rice. Basically starch, meat and veggies tossed together with too much salt. Mostly I just have coffee in the mornings but those will always get me to the table.
- When you visit the Zoo, which animal do you make sure you see, and why?
I absolutely love the zoo, so my must-see animal is the polar bears, because they are in the farthest back corner and you have to walk past every other exhibit to get to them.
- What does your perfect burger have on it?
My perfect burger is the bone marrow burger at Eureka. If you eat meat, I highly recommend that burger if you’ve never tried it. That was actually my celebration meal when I learned I had gotten a full-time position with A.S.
- If you had to sing karaoke right now, which song would you pick?
Recently I’ve been going with “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, but specifically the version from the movie “Step Brothers.”
- Would you rather speak all languages or be able to talk with animals?
I am on “team speak all languages” on this one. To be honest, I’m a little afraid of what the animals might have to say.
- What is one of your favorite things to do on the SDSU campus?
As part of the facilities team, I end up spending a decent amount of time on roofs. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend the west views from the Student Union. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mission Bay. I also love the east facing views from the ARC, which has a great view of what I think is Cowels Mountain. It’s beautiful either way.