Presidential tips for success: university and student body president share insights on leadership

The UVU Review had time to sit down with both UVU President Astrid Tuminez and Student Body President Lexi Soto, where they shared insights about their position and tips they had for students.

Photo by Crystal Pugina

University President Astrid Tuminez and Student Body President Lexi Soto shared insights for students and faculty in interviews they gave to the UVU Review.

Serving as Utah Valley University’s president since 2018, President Tuminez has had a long history of leadership within her life. As outlined in her university bio, she has earned several degrees of education, including a Ph.D. in political science from MIT. During her tenure, she has led the campus through the unprecedented events of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the long lasting impact those events will have on the world.

Student Body President Lexi Soto came to power during last year’s student government elections. Before that she served as the senator of the School of Business and had been a pagenter in the United States of America Teen Utah.

Both had much insight in the interviews they gave to the UVU Review, and stressed much-needed wisdom among students that find themselves in unprecedented times of stress and world tension.

President Astrid Tuminez

“I remember … thinking that I had taken on a job that I was not qualified for,” Tuminez states in recalling the events that led up to the COVID-19 shutdown. “It was really the one single time that I felt like ‘are you kidding yourself, you are not qualified to lead a university at the time of a pandemic.’”

In her sit-down interview with the UVU Review, Tuminez talked about her experiences leading the university through the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing experiences and thoughts for students about what it had taught her.

“We had to move 6,000 sections online within a matter of days,” Tuminez says. “So what did it teach me? Number one, agility, number two, to be calm in times of trouble, and number three, put the students at the heart of it because you will do the right thing if you do that.”

As the pandemic has transitioned to an endemic virus, meaning that COVID-19 is within the ecosystem of viral infections that are being passed around. President Biden had stated in a 60 Minutes interview that, “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it, but the pandemic is over.”

As the university transitions to a post-pandemic environment, Tuminez and the university have scaled back pandemic programs like vaccines and testing while on campus; however the campus is still updating students on information about COVID through their website

Through her experiences in life, Tuminez has had much to offer students in the realm of life advice, particularly in the realm of caring for yourself.

“When I was [younger] I wasn’t very good at that, what it was about was powering through everything. In some ways I think I was abusive of myself as a young person,” Tuminez expressed. “But it also helped me to achieve things that many people didn’t achieve. So it is kinda a double-edged sword.”

Making sure to sleep and to eat, to know yourself is her expression for students to make sure to do. Expressing her faith in Buddhism, she expresses living in the moment and connecting to your mind and body. Making sure that students take things one step at a time is important, as well as looking at the positives in the situations that may seem dim.

“Celebrate what you are accomplishing,” Tuminez states. “We are programmed to focus on our problems.”

To listen to the full interview and hear more life advice from the president, listen to the Wolverine Buzz podcast.

Student Body President Lexi Soto

“I will live and die by paper planners,” Soto states while sitting down with the UVU Review. “That helps me out so much. I am like ‘okay as long as things get done by this day then I will have all this open time.’”

Assuming the role of Student Body President in 2022, Soto has been leading the student government of UVU out of a pandemic and has shared insights in what helps her keep with her studies, as well as her advice for students going through college.

“A degree is so much more than a piece of paper,” Soto states. “I really feel like that you learn so much in a year. But you also learn a lot about yourself. Notice your study habits, notice your work ethic when you’re in school… you got to know how you work.”

“Being involved was the best decision I made on campus… get involved,” Soto said.

To listen in on the full interview, check out the Wolverine Buzz Podcast!

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