The Weber State University Student Association executives and senators were inaugurated Friday evening next to the duck pond. Beginning with remarks from WSU President Charles Wight and Jan Winniford, the WSU vice president for Student Affairs, the inauguration served as a time for outgoing members of WSU’s student leadership to reflect on the past year, as well as to give advice to the newly appointed leaders.
“What a great opportunity and honor to be able to serve in a position of leadership at Weber State,” said Andrew Gardiner, who served as WSUSA president for the 2012-13 school year. “I’m proud of us. . . . it’s been an honor for me to be able to work with all my heart . . .”
As each of the past year’s executives stood up to speak, most spoke about how grateful they were.
“I think I’ve been given more than I gave . . . the things I’ve learned I will keep with me forever,” said Julia Saxton, outgoing service vice president.
Mandie Barnes, former leadership vice president, spoke in part to the incoming executives.
“I promise it will change your life forever,” she said.
Abelardo Saucedo, clubs and organizations vice president, talked about how close the presidency had become.
“We came in together as friends — as co-workers, you could say — and I feel like I’m leaving my family,” he said. “I love every single one of them.”
Alexis Marquez, Davis and off-campus centers vice president, will returning for next year in the same position.
“When you finish strong, you begin strong,” she said.
Winnford said she also believed the past year has been a success.
“Andrew and his team have just done outstanding work . . .,” she said. “Next year’s group — you have quite the shoes to fill.”
Accompanying each WSUSA leadership speech was the presentation of a “Purple Belt,” or award of excellence, to an individual who worked under each of the respective leaders. The recipients of the Purple Belts were Isaac Thomas, Courtnie Moore, Yousef Alawadhi, Niccole Mumford, Brittney Phillips, Megan Gour and Jeffrey Henry.
Senate President Brady Harris awarded the Senator of the Year (Kimberly Tribe, senator for the College of Education) and Most Influential Senator of the Year (Kelsey Spaulding, senator for the College of Applied Science and Technology) awards, as voted on by the 2012-13 student senate.
The ceremony also featured the presentation of the Lisa Ellis Award, named after a former WSU student who overcame physical illness to fulfill her duties as an elected leader and student at WSU. Ellis’ brother presented the award to Harris and activities director Thomas Judd for demonstrating exemplary student leadership.
Harris, returning as president of the senate for the 2013-14 school year, spoke of the impact last year’s student senate has had.
“We did all we could to ensure that every student on campus knew that we cared about them,” Harris said. “. . . We’ve done all we could to serve, care for and make the lives of the students around us better each day. . . . The legacy of the senate that you’ve continued to build will live on . . .”
WSU Chief Justice Christina Bills officiated the inauguration and Oaths of Office of student body president David Wilson, programming vice president Courtney Ellis, service vice president Trevor Annis, leadership vice president Tessa Diamond, clubs and organizations vice president Alex Grimes, Davis and off-campus centers vice president Marquez, and diversity vice president Aulola Moli, followed by the inauguration of the WSUSA senators.
India Neilson, College of Arts and Humanities senator for the 2013-14 year, said she wants students to understand that all of the leadership is there to help.
“I just want students to know their resources on campus,” Neilson said, “whether that’s their dean or a favorite professor, but especially resources within WSUSA. Student leaders, especially senators, exist to help other students. We want everyone to do well and succeed, and we will help however possible!”
Annis, newly inaugurated service vice president, said getting involved is a good idea for every WSU student.
“If there is one thing that I want students to know . . . (it’s) that there are so many opportunities to get involved on campus,” Annis said. “Weber State gets better when we collectively contribute our ideas and efforts through student involvement and leadership. Every individual counts and can make a difference.”