Blaine King reflects on time as leader with USG, U-View

Photo by Chloe Jakiela
Blaine King, President of USG, prepares for his next chapter in life outside of USG and graduation at the end of April.

Written By Alex Grubbs, USG Beat Writer

Four years ago when he arrived at Point Park, Blaine King stumbled across a recruiting table for the school’s student government and decided to sign up.

That not only catapulted him into the fast world of school politics, including serving two years as the United Student Government (USG) president, but also as a leader in his major, serving a year as campus television station manager for U-View.

With graduation only days away, the broadcast reporting major with minors in broadcast production and public relations/advertising believes the university is headed into a great direction.

Despite being a Philadelphia native, King made the decision to come to Pittsburgh during his senior year of high school in 2013. Initially, he looked at local schools such as Temple University, and even Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y.

“I was just looking for schools, and Point Park popped on my screen,” King said. “The fact that it was Downtown was a positive fact as well.”

During his first week as a freshman, he stumbled across the USG table at the Student Activities Fair, an annual showcase of clubs and organizations on campus.

At that moment, King decided to put in an application to become a freshman senator and after getting 10 signatures and being elected into the position, he started his path in student government.

“I had no clue what my time in USG would become,” King said.

Beginning his sophomore year, he was appointed into former President Julian Singleton’s cabinet as parliamentarian, in which he oversaw the rules committee and the USG constitution.

During his stint as parliamentarian, King pushed for a dress code to create a more formal environment within USG.

“There was confusion on how a senator or how USG should dress in the meetings itself,” King said. “That dress code bill was the main bill I worked on as parliamentarian.”

This required all members of USG to wear a business casual attire during all student body meetings.

During that same school year, King was on USG for the 2014 Shanah Hupp scandal when the former recording secretary shared a Facebook post equating sexual assault to a woman’s attire.

USG Vice President-Elect Davion Heron, who currently serves as King’s recording secretary, recalled King’s dedication to his position when Heron first joined USG in 2015.

Graduating senator Shayna Mendez also recalled the fond times with King over the years. Mendez met him in 2015 when she first became USG senator.

“It doesn’t matter what is going on, he’s going to stop, he’s going to pause and he’s going to ask you how you are doing,” Mendez said as she described her interactions with King since then.

At the end of that school year, King decided to run for the highest position within USG. He attributed a low membership to why he decided to run.

“I had a feeling I would become president,” King said. “I wanted to be president my junior or senior year.”

During King’s first year as president, he oversaw the 2016 Brennen Burke scandal, in which the then-freshman  senator was nearly impeached for racial comments at an off-campus party, but later resigned.

King also kept USG together as it entered a budget crisis towards the end of his first term.

“Handling crises that pop up are always hard to deal with,” King said.

King ultimately decided to run for the presidency again, where he was unopposed for a second time.

“By me running a second time, I decided, ‘Okay, this is another way I can build upon what I wanted to start my junior year – to continue to build USG,’” King said.

King’s second term met some challenges as seven senators resigned while another senator transferred. His appointed treasurer Amedea Baldoni also resigned a week before the last funding period, and Amber Mole was appointed in her place.

“It’s always a tough position to be in,” King said. “You want to get away from the reason why they left, but you also want to build on keeping the current and incoming members that want to stay.”

King is content with how USG has gained more presence on campus with more communication and one of the largest voter turnouts in recent history for this year’s election.

“An election with multiple people running helps out,” King said.

He also feels that his time as president allowed people to recognize USG and build trust with the organization.

“They have that trust with me,” King said.

Describing King as an outgoing leader, USG President-Elect Bobby Bertha, who currently serves as vice president, knew King was a great person from their initial interaction.

“Right from the first email, I knew Blaine was a kind-hearted, genuine person,” Bertha said.

As King ends his term, his successor Bertha, who is also King’s roommate, is thankful for King’s leadership and mentorship.

“He is the best of the best when it comes to leadership,” Bertha said. “He has an idea of what he wants to do, but he sees other people’s viewpoints first.”

Student government was not his only endeavor during his time at the university. King quickly became involved with U-View his first week of freshman year as well.

“I went on air…my first week, helped out behind-the-scenes, and it progressed from there,” King said.

Since then, he has interchanged between reporting and production over his last four years as he appeared on several shows as well as crewing them.

King also previously hosted the morning show “Daybreak” and now hosts and produces the sports show “Pioneer Sideline.”

Don Ranasinghe, U-View’s programming director, has known King since he transferred to the school his sophomore year. King also hosted the morning show while Ranasinghe was a former co-producer.

“I remember a short person walking in the room, and said, ‘Hi, I’m Blaine,’” Ranasinghe joked about them meeting.

Being friends for years, Ranasinghe recalled interning together in video production for the Washington Wild Things and the Broadcast Education Association trip with King to Las Vegas in 2016.

“We won second place or were being recognized for something,” Ranasinghe said. “I remember he and I talking about everything we’ve done for U-View.”

Starting in 2016, King became the U-View station manager after a year of being the news/sports director, who is the assistant to the manager.

“Being station manager had a great benefit of seeing people grow and develop even more,” King said.

Working under King, current News/Sports Director Sara Mackulin, who will be station manager next school year, appreciates his leadership and communication skills.

During Mackulin’s freshman year last year, she met King and believes he has helped her tremendously.

“He’s great with people,” Mackulin said. “You rarely see him get stressed out. If there is a problem, he will go talk to someone about it. That’s what I learned from him… be a people’s person.”

As King’s days as a college student wind down, he is satisfied with his experience with USG and U-View and hopes for the organizations to continue to grow.

“My experience at Point Park was amazing,” King said. “I never knew I was going to be the leader of two campus organizations.”

Saying he cannot believe how fast the time flew by, King advises current and future students to take in every moment they can get while being a Point Park student.

“Get involved from day one,” King said. “You want to get that hands-on experience from day one.”

“The number two thing is to have fun,” he continued. “You want to make sure it is the best four years [of your life].”

King plans to move back to his hometown of Philadelphia in May in hopes to find a job behind-the-scenes.