Student body president Kyle Straub has been involved in the IU Student Association for more than half of his college career.
“It truly has become a part of my life,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do next year when I graduate. This has been my college experience.”
In January of his sophomore year, Straub got a call from former IUSA President Justin Kingsolver. Kingsolver had heard recommendations from several people in the business school who said that Straub might be a good representative for Kingsolver’s executive ticket.
“After meeting the rest of the ticket, learning more about what student government does, I kind of took a leap of faith and said I’m gonna give this a try,” Straub said.
In that election, Kingsolver, Straub and the rest of the Big Six ticket ran against two other tickets, including the incumbent iUnity team. Big Six won, and Straub was elected to the position of treasurer.
“It was a high-stakes election,” Straub said. “I did not sleep. I was living and breathing IUSA. I was so disappointed last year when we didn’t have opposition, just because it’s a fantastic opportunity to unify your own ticket and have experience working as a team towards a collective goal. It’s fantastic exposure for IUSA to the rest of the students on campus.”
However, he warned that student body president is not a job potential candidates should take lightly.
“This is not a position you can do just to put it on your resume,” he said. “It is far too demanding.”
Vice President of Congress Stephanie Kohls, who has worked with Straub for the past two administrations, agreed. She said the executives sometimes work weekends, and that the job may require 40 hours or more per week.
“It’s important to manage your time well,” Kohls said. “You may have to sacrifice some things personally, but in the end it’s worth it.”
Straub said candidates should have good speaking and organizational skills, as well as leadership experience. He said that in his experience, teamwork abilities are important as well, as he relies on his senior staff to assist him or to delegate work as they see fit.
However, a background in political science is not necessary for the position, Straub said, citing himself as one example. As a finance major, he had no prior experience with student government, except some involvement in high school.
“The position has had people from all different majors, all different backgrounds,” Straub said.
IUSA executives meet with administrators, faculty and student groups to achieve the goals of IUSA and to understand the needs of the undergraduate constituency.
“It’s important to have good interpersonal skills, to make sure that you’re managing your relationships with students, administrators and other schools that you may work with,” Kohls said.
On Feb. 6, there will be a call out meeting for any undergraduate students interested in running for office. The meeting will be from 7 to 8 p.m. in Ballantine Hall 013. There will be a make-up meeting Feb. 12 at the same time in Jordan Hall 124.