Brian Tague (email@example.com)
College is an extremely formative time for young people across the country as they look to come into their own as young adults. For Michael Green, a junior here at Ursinus College, that meant thrusting himself into a leadership role on campus. Green, alongside serving as President of Sigma Pi Fraternity and a Gold Ambassador, has been heavily involved in student government, serving as the President of the Class of 2023 his freshman and sophomore years, before moving up to become the student body Vice President this year. I sat down with Mike to discuss his leadership role here at Ursinus, both within student government and as a minority student at a PWI (Predominantly White Institution).
BT: Hello Mike, how are you doing this afternoon?
MG: I’m good, thank you for asking.
BT: So, I know that you are from the Harrisburg area, nearly two hours away. I have to ask, what made you choose Ursinus?
MG: I chose Ursinus because I actually grew up right down the street, and when I started applying to schools I wanted to apply to as many schools as possible. My parents had remembered visiting the school with my sister and really liked it. I saw the application was free and so I decided to apply and then fell in love with it when I visited.
BT: I also fell in love with it when I visited, now when you first came to campus, did you initially want to join student government, or was that something that you decided to do later?
MG: It was something that I had thought about before. When I looked back at high school, I had always been super busy with football so there were a lot of things that I never participated in, student government being one of those. Once I realized that it was obtainable, I knew that it was definitely something that I had to dip my feet into.
BT: So, what advice would you give to students, freshman in particular, who are looking to get into student government?
MG: I would definitely say to start putting yourself out there and meet people. You need to get elected so it is important that you start making those connections from very early on. Once you get elected, it is much easier to get re-elected as people are already familiar with you. It’s very similar to actual government elections in that regard.
BT: So, is working within the government, or politics, something that you would like to get into after you graduate? If so, do you think that your experiences in student government have helped prepare you for that?
MG: I definitely want to work in government, whether that is in an elected role or in any sort of politics, or elsewhere. I know I’m an economics major so it might be something as simple as doing economic analysis or working somewhere in the Department of State. But I definitely think that it has helped me in very profound ways.
BT: Did you always intend to take a leadership role on campus, or was it more of something that you just go into by happenstance?
MG: I knew that I wanted to get involved, in whatever sort of capacity. I just naturally ended up in the leadership position and it fit.
BT: As a minority student at a PWI, did you feel as though you had some sort of responsibility to run for student government?
MG: I would say I felt some responsibility because I’m under the mindset that if there is something that I wanted to complain about, but if I’m not willing to do it then my complaints don’t really hold any weight. So, if I was going to just sit there and complain that there aren’t minority students in positions of leadership on campus, then if I’m not the one attempting to change that then I shouldn’t be the one complaining about it. So, yeah, I would say that representation is one of the main reasons that I felt I should take up a leadership role.
BT: Do you feel that more students should try to take up leadership roles on campus, in particular those that belong to minority groups?
MG: Yes because it’s something that kind of crosses over to any sort of job that you may want, and it helps out with different majors. It looks good when you are coming out of school, and it provides good skills to learn. One of them being just how to deal with and work with other people, as well helping to show that you had responsibilities while in school. Of course, jobs want to see that you had a good GPA and did well in your classes, but employers want to see other things as well.