Gutierrez aims to enact change after a promotion at the campus radio station.
When applying to colleges, Danny Gutierrez ‘24 had one non-negotiable: a student-run radio station. A Burlington resident, Gutierrez started listening to WSOE 89.3 on their car radio prior to attending Elon University.
Gutierrez, a communication design major and Communications Fellow, jumped at the opportunity to join WSOE, a student organization with a wide range of music, passionate talk shows, local news and sports coverage.
“I tried to establish myself by talking to a lot of Communications Fellows that were a part of the station so they knew who I was going in,” Gutierrez said. “I know that I can be a little bit intense, but I think that my intensity and passion were really appreciated in the end.”
Gutierrez applied for personnel director as a first-year student, a role that included training other DJs, sending emails, communicating with the other executives and working generally at the station.
Less than a year later, they applied for the position of general manager when the opportunity suddenly presented itself.
Gutierrez credits introspection to their decision to apply for the role, saying that following their passions and making choices to better themself and the station led to more opportunities and a fulfilling student life.
Gutierrez worked beyond their initial role at the station prior to applying and expressed a passion for WSOE and the team.
Still, the promotion came as a shock since Gutierrez was a fresh face at WSOE.
But it didn’t surprise Abby Igoe, assistant director of multimedia projects in the School of Communications, who also serves as staff advisor to WSOE.
“Since I first met Danny, I’ve been impressed by their creativity, integrity and willingness to give and receive feedback,” Igoe said. “These qualities, and many more, make me confident that Danny will be a great leader.”
Because of how close Gutierrez lives to campus, they were able to DJ over the summer. They also focused efforts on the Lowdown Zine, a fairly new independent music magazine, along with writing and producing graphics for a blog and social media.
“I wanted the station to be better because I know that WSOE is kind of an underdog,” Gutierrez said. “Elon students often don’t know about it, but it’s a really big part of my life.”
Open, direct communication and maximizing resources are important aspects of Gutierrez’s leadership style. Coming from many different identities that often lead to marginalization has caused them to be extremely understanding of others who are struggling, even though it might impact work, they said.
“We want to have people who love music, talking, reporting news and sports,” Gutierrez said. “I want it to be known that WSOE is an open space for all students to join.”
They aim to promote diversity in WSOE, recognizing the challenge of disseminating information to Black, Indigenous and people of color on a predominantly white campus.
Gutierrez acknowledges the necessity of making WSOE a more diverse environment and wants to pursue solutions on a deeper level as general manager.
These solutions include growing the presence of WSOE on campus and making technical training accessible and less intimidating to the typical student. Gutierrez wants to engage the diverse community already a part of WSOE and focus primarily on the prospective members.
“With Danny as general manager, I hope WSOE will become a more welcoming place that serves not only Elon’s campus but also the surrounding communities,” Igoe said. “They bring a fresh perspective and a ton of new ideas to the role, and I’m excited to see how the station transforms under their leadership.”