This archived article was written by: Katrina Wood
Close to finishing his first term as student body president, Benjamin Bjarnson prepares for another year of hard work as his second term approaches in the 2015-’16 school year.
When Bjarson realized that former student body president, Jacob Pedigo, ran unopposed, he ran for student body president again. When he was elected, he began a long process of change and improvement he felt was best for the school. Throughout his first year as president he crossed many pleasant aspects, as well as a handful of harsh realities.
Bjarson enjoyed being around the students. “I have so much fun getting to know my peers; however, I hate when people see me as the president, so I will be shy and not bring attention to it,” Bjarson said. “If you want to talk about student government, that is fine, but if you want to sit down and shoot the breeze, I would be more than happy to comply as long as I have a few minutes to kill. Besides, I can grow a beard, and everyone knows beards are cool.”
Despite his satisfaction in interacting with the students and confidence in facial hair, Bjarson has faced unpleasant realties when working with others. “I wish I could give absolute ideas about what I see, but there are a lot of ideas that affect students, and yet the students don’t have a say. That is not cool at all, and that has to stop.” Bjarson stated, “I hate being the bad guy and calling people out, but you better believe I am losing sleep over you.
“I literally use up all of my energy thinking about new ideas, meeting with people, trying to do my class work, and juggling work around all of that. I want you my peers to have the best possible college experience I know we, the student government, can provide. Right now, the hang up is all about a few people that need a good preverbial punch in the pants.”
Bjarson has learned much from the good and bad experiences while serving as student body president, but through it all, the lesson he took the most from was that, “Power hungry people don’t care about students, and hidden agendas screw the students.”
In his next year as president, Bjarson hopes to enact an abundance of changes. “I would like students to have more involvement with important decisions on campus. Most students think the campus is slowly becoming an RCDE campus, and given the current information I have, my opinion is the same. I also hope the student government as a whole will push more vigorously to have a bigger student space in the student center. I mean, it just makes sense when you think about it.
“Students should also feel comfortable coming to a student government meeting anytime and observe what we are doing and what is on our agenda. There is no issue with that. Please come and attend and quietly observe our meetings, and we will try to open the floor for you to comment on what you hear during the meeting. If you do not get an opportunity to share, you can talk to a member of student government and lobby for your opinion to be heard at our next meeting. We want to hear the student voice, and it starts with willing students.”
Bjarson is open to ideas and looking to the future. He’s working hard to implement the ideas of members of student government and students alike, and is doing his best to make USU Eastern the best experience it can be.