Student leaders prep for business world

Student senators talked with former congressmen about government and involvement.
(Source: WSU student senate) Student senators talked with former congressmen about government and involvement.

In the executive branch of the Weber State University Student Association, the range of majors is as wide as the range of jobs the members have to help the student body. The WSUSA vice presidents and president all said being involved has brought them experiences and opportunities that are useful in not only the workplace, but in their personal lives.

Mandie Barnes, a senior in public relations and advertising, said her major has been the perfect preparation for her role as the vice president for leadership in the WSUSA.

Barnes said being involved in campus leadership has also helped to build her portfolio. Being the leadership vice president, Barnes said she was able to get a lot of experience that she’ll be able to use in a professional setting.

“I feel like I have a portfolio based on being involved in the student association, because a lot of the things I’m doing there, I’ll be doing in the real world, like planning events and advertising, whereas a lot of kids don’t get that hands-on experience unless you get involved outside the community,” she said.

Barnes said she would suggest getting involved to any college student.

“I love the quote that says, ‘Don’t let your classwork get in the way of your education,’” she said. “I feel like you learn so much more outside of the classroom. Sometimes you learn different skills outside of the classroom that are really valuable.”

Michael Diamond, the vice president for programming, said that, for him, integrity is what makes not only a good business person, but a good leader.

“If you don’t have a character that is attractive, then you’re not a leader; you’re just behind the scenes,” Diamond said. “As soon as you can change who you are, that’s when you start to influence people, and that allows you to be a leader. In being a leader, who you are is much more important than what you do.”

Being a communications major, Diamond said he has had the opportunity to work in many groups as part of his classwork, as well as part of his role in the WSUSA. He said creating synergy is crucial to making any group or team productive.

“Getting synergy in a group is vital,” Diamond said. “If you don’t have that, then your creativity is pretty much shot.”

Abelardo Saucedo, vice president for Clubs and Organizations, and Andrew Gardiner, president, said being accounting majors has helped them be more effective leaders.  Saucedo said being able to plan ahead and budget expenses are skills he learned as part of his major that have helped him in his role. Gardiner agreed, noting how those skills are important in any role.

Gardiner, like Barnes, said he learned “90 percent more of what I know outside of the classroom than inside of the classroom. I’m a better leader, I will be a better friend, a better employee because of the positions I’ve had all through my college experience.”

Gardiner said that, no matter a student’s interests or previous experiences, he would suggest getting involved.

“I encourage every student that wants to get involved to look into either a club or a sport or Student Involvement and Leadership position, something to tie their experience here at Weber State to other than academics, and they will be so much more prepared when they leave,” he said.

Julia Saxton, vice president for service, said another leadership skill that is useful in any situation is service. Service, according to Saxton, is something anyone in any profession can take advantage of.

“That way, they can be more passionate about what they’re doing,” she said. “And service is more applicable in the work force, or education or wherever you may be — it’s always applicable.”

Saxton likened leadership to service, noting that both traits are important and desirable to employers.

“Leadership is applicable no matter what you’re doing,” she said. “Whether you’re working as an individual or working in a group project, it’s always there, and it’s an important trait to have.”

According to several WSUSA representatives, being involved in some sort of extracurricular activity can help build many aspects of college life; it can help build portfolios and give real-world experiences, create skills and traits that are desirable to employers, and gain unique opportunities that can add spice to resumes.

Appointed positions for WSUSA are available now. Packets of information and positions are available in the Student Involvement and Leadership Office on the second floor of the Shepard Union Building.