To change UVU, become a presidential intern

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In February 2018, UVU’s Student Association (UVUSA) will begin to make the push for student government elections. Candidates from all across campus will vie for the four electable positions and other offices.

If one asks any of the candidates why they want to be in student government, they will probably say something about wanting to help affect change at UVU. But many students are not aware that being a member of the student government isn’t the only way to change things on campus. If one wants to make an impact on the lives of individual students, there are numerous mentorship and volunteer clubs on campus to join. However, if a student’s goal is to influence UVU policy, procedures and practices, the student should consider UVU’s premier internship experience: the Presidential Internship.

In 2013, President Holland and his team created the Presidential Internship program to give UVU students executive-level mentorship experiences. Every year, nine students are chosen to work individually with President Holland, his Chief of Staff or one of the seven Vice Presidents of the university. For the duration of a year, Presidential Interns work intimately with their mentors on projects that have lasting and meaningful effects on UVU.

The nine members of this year’s cohort have worked on major projects. One intern helped design and create UVU’s future Sustainability Wall, which will be an interactive wall showing UVU’s efforts to make campus environmentally friendly. It is scheduled to be built in 2018.

Another intern developed information and executive plans to ensure a smooth transition for the new university president and will serve on the Presidential Transition Committee.

Other interns produced reports to increase the number of women in leadership positions on campus, researched and presented to university leaders the effects of raising tuition on attendance and worked with university donors to maintain and build UVU scholarships.

Past presidential interns reported that they felt they were able to influence university policies in remarkable ways. Several noteworthy contributions past interns have made include creating the African-American Mentorship Program, establishing a student peer-reviewed journal called the Journal of Student Leadership, revamping Student Affairs marketing, working on university committees (sometimes being the only students on such committees), coordinating with the legislature, influencing the creation of university policy, contributing to President Holland’s speeches and much more.

So, as February gets closer and students consider how they might make a difference at UVU, it would be helpful for one to remember that student government isn’t the only option. If one wants to make lasting changes at UVU, they should look into becoming a presidential intern.

James McGraw is a presidential intern for Kyle Reyes, vice president of Student Affairs.