Presidential Profile: Michael Scott Peters, Utah State University

What issues did you run on last year? Are there any projects that you plan on spending your time on during the summer in preparation for the start of the academic year?

As President, I promised to advance student health, advocate equality, increase idea sharing, promote events, and enrich the cultural experience. Together, we will help Everyone Belong in the Aggie Family.

The aforementioned campaign platform will be accomplished, in part, through the implementation of UMatter at USU. UMatter is a university-wide prevention initiative to promote the physical, emotional and mental well-being of students. It will pull together existing campus programs and services into a comprehensive, branded structure to ensure consistent prevention strategies and messaging to the USU community.

Though CAPS, SAAVI, Student Health and Wellness, and programs such as Access and Diversity all offer outreach and programming to help students in crisis, many students are not sure where to access services and help at USU. There is an opportunity to use campus resources more efficiently in order to better serve our student population, ultimately ensuring they graduate and become productive citizens.

UMatter would provide a central online location and messaging for all USU’s efforts aimed at students dealing with sexual violence and partner violence, alcohol and drug abuse, mental health concerns and suicide, and bias/harassment and online bullying.

What do you think makes your student body unique?

With over 80 nationalities represented on campus, our student body benefits from a variety of cultures and thoughts. Some of my closest college friends are from Saudi Arabia, China, Germany and the Dominican Republic. I believe this diversity of opinion enhances the overall learning experience for students, regardless of their nationality. It also develops empathy for individuals from other countries.

Despite the benefits, challenges arise when majority interests take precedence over minority rights. For this reason, I decided to run for USUSA President to advocate for the minority groups while still serving the majority. This next year, I will strive to help Everyone Belong at Utah State University.

What has surprised you the most about serving in this leadership role thus far?

University administration is surprisingly supportive of the actions taken by student body officers. This is true as long as these actions are based on student needs and the proposed solutions are well developed. Unfortunately, there are times when the role of student body president will feel like the loneliest job in the world. Other students may not understand the hard work and late nights you dedicate on their behalf. For this reason, it is essential you work now to develop genuine relationships with your university administration. Develop a support network. This will allow you to serve effectively as president.

How would you describe your leadership style? Do you have a person you look up to?

My leadership style is diplomatic. Interpersonal harmony allows team members a greater chance at group success and personal satisfaction. It is also a practical leadership style for group success. As a leader, I emphasize community, conflict resolution, and continuous improvement. I accomplish this by creating a fun and social environment that is value driven.

Tyler Tolson, former student body president at USU, is my role model because of his charisma and passion for people. I admire his magnetic personality and ability to tell stories. Through his stories, Tyler connects people and creates learning opportunities. What is most impressive about my role model is his ability to give back to the Utah State University. Even as CEO of Denik, Tyler chooses to share his time with students by returning to campus to help us succeed.

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring student body presidents?

Remember these four words: Fortune Favors the Bold.

As student body president, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. It is essential you represent the students’ voice and involve them in every step of the process. The students are the reason our position exists. Remember that a title means nothing. The people you serve will make the greatest. Above all, have fun this year!

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing your student body and higher education generally?

One of the biggest challenges facing institutions of higher education in Utah is unity before the state legislature. The challenges and opportunities at each state institution are unique. Therefore, it is often difficult to rally behind a common goal if it does not satisfy the needs of all constituents. If the Utah Student Association can develop a unified message before the next legislative session, it will have a greater chance at obtaining funding for the chosen goal.


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