by Angela Fortuna
He is the president of the Student Government Association at Central Connecticut State University.
He is a senior finance and economics double major from East Lyme, Connecticut.
He is the often humble, hard-working and conscientious Brendan Kruh.
“Naturally, my first impression of Brendan was that he was well-rounded but intimidating. Later, after getting elected to [the] SGA, I realized he was very easy to talk to and we became great friends,” said Kassandra Fruin, Kruh’s girlfriend and fellow member of the SGA.
Many people see Kruh as an incredibly hardworking and serious person, but those who know him personally see him differently.
“He is extremely friendly and approachable; he isn’t always a workaholic,” said Stephen Dew, fellow member of the SGA and long-time friend of Kruh.
Kruh had a different lifestyle growing up than most people would expect.
“I come from a divorced household, I’m an only child, my parents got divorced when I was two and a half,” Kruh said. “It was challenging growing up a lot of times. I was put in a lot of drama and fights [with my parents].”
Growing up in East Lyme really defined how Kruh saw the world around him.
East Lyme was a “socioeconomically stable town” and not many people came to Central, like Kruh. It is not a diverse community, and it was “predominately white,” Kruh explained.
“East Lyme wasn’t as diverse as I would have liked it to be, and I found that out when I came to college,” Kruh said.
Growing up, Kruh was not really popular at school.
“I just had my group of friends and I was a hardcore gamer,” Kruh explained.
Kruh decided he wanted to change his lifestyle coming into CCSU.
“When I first came to Central, I wanted to be a part of the Student Government but I also wanted to be a part of a fraternity.”
Kruh pledged to a fraternity when he first came to Central and realized it was not for him, and devoted most of his time to the student government.
“Brendan and I were elected to Senate together as freshmen senators about three years ago. When I first met him, he really intimidated me,” said Amanda Gorman, SGA Senator and friend of Kruh. “I had shown up to my table for the candidate gallery with candies and a nervous smile. He showed up with a suit, a campaign manager and the drive to win.”
Growing up, Kruh’s grandfather was very opinionated about politics, wars and things of that nature.
At a younger age, Kruh held democratic views, and over time started to understand the conservative side of politics; Kruh is now registered as a Republican.
“I knew I wanted to be a finance major right from the get-go. My dad always taught me about stocks growing up,” Kruh said. “After about 2008 and 2009, I was mesmerized by the financial crisis and how this big bubble burst.”
Kruh was heavily involved in the finance committee his freshman year, and still is actively involved in the financial aspect of the SGA today.
Originally, Kruh’s dream was to become treasurer and stay treasurer of the SGA for his junior and senior years at CCSU. But when elections came around at the end of his freshman year, Kruh saw an opportunity and took it.
“No one else was interested in running [for treasurer] so I ran for treasurer at the end of my freshman year,” Kruh said. “People didn’t have a lot of faith in me doing anything.”
Having the opportunity to meet and know people from different organizations and walks of life is important to Kruh.
“I think he has always been passionate about making sure clubs get their money and that there is a sense of transparency in the student government,” Dew said. “He is just passionate about students in general.”
“Brendan is passionate about CCSU. He’s always on top of student issues. He puts an incredible amount of time and effort into his work in the senate,” Gorman said.
At the end of Kruh’s junior year at Central, he decided he did not want to run for treasurer for three consecutive years, so he said to himself, “screw it, I’m gonna run for president. I’m gonna put it all on the line and whatever happens, happens.”
Now, as president, Kruh says he is now starting to understand what others have to go through on a daily basis, whether it be because of their race or the privileges they are exposed to.
“I was pretty uncomfortable with the idea of privilege. I didn’t think that I was privileged until I started participating in different diversity events,” Kruh said. “I learned a lot, especially about my own privilege… I don’t have to walk down the street and be concerned that the police are going to target me because of my skin color.”
“It takes members of the white community to recognize what others are doing and say ‘that is not okay,’” Kruh said. “I wanted to be a white man embracing their culture… The reason I am doing it is because I feel like I need to do it. I’ve been very thankful for the conversations I have been able to have within the black community.”
Kruh often does not recognize his impact on others.
“Brendan is passionate about helping people. Brendan has countless times put me before himself,” Fruin said. “When my mom passed away unexpectedly in January, I struggled with a ton of mental health issues. Brendan was there every step of the way and took care of me. There were days that Brendan had truly saved my life. I know I am not the only person he’s gone above and beyond for, and therefore can validate his passion for helping others.”
“He tells it like it is. He is the first to offer honest advice and to admit his own mistakes,” Gorman said. “Any time with Brendan is time well spent.”
“A lot of people see two sides of me. Outside of student government, I can be pretty goofy and silly at times when I let my guard down and am around people I am comfortable with,” Kruh said. “Everyone has different layers, we are all onions. You just have to peel back different layers at different times and see things from a different light.”