By Caitlin Hoffman
SC Staff Writer
On Monday, August 25, Drew Johnson sat down for an interview to express his thoughts on being ESU’s Student Senate President.
Drew began taking on leadership positions in high school. He had a drive to connect interpersonally with others. When he saw that few wanted to lead, he decided to step up and lead his peers.
“I wanted to be a figure to bridge and create environments where people could open up and speak up,” said Johnson.
Johnson served as his high school’s class president for three years.
He became involved in college leadership during the second semester of his freshman year when he accepted a position in Academic Affairs.
Drew ran for Student Senate President during the spring semester against incumbent Justin Amann. The election resulted in a victory by Amann. After faults appeared in the process, both candidates agreed to a revote that eventually led to Johnson’s victory.
Drew shared some personal goals for himself. He wants to have more accountability for all he does that is university-related, such as being more accountable for classwork and showing up to class on time.
He also wants to develop better time management skills and a better ability to juggle multiple responsibilities. By working as an orientation leader, he strives for a more professional impression.
“I want to make other people realize that they don’t have to be the smartest or the brightest to make a difference,” said Johnson. “being vocal is the most important thing.”
Drew recounted the communication challenges he has encountered so far during his early presidency, saying, “Communication is difficult—over the summer it was hard to get people to read an email.”
He also told us that he has a lot of planning to do. He has asked himself, “How do you get information out? How do you get people to get involved on campus so early in the school year when their main focus is school?”
Since becoming president, Drew has expressed more respect for the past presidents.
He said, “There’s a big difference from seeing the expectation and actually filling the shoes. Seeing them work and then actually sitting behind the desk are two different things. You work a whole lot more as president. You are pulled into so many different relations. You are the voice of 6,000 students. As president you work a lot more than what members see.”
Drew hopes for more investment from his fellow Senate members as he looks into the Senate’s future. He said, “Senate won’t change as an organization. The mission and purpose has been tweaked a bit so that members are being more invested, having more of a say—for senators to see themselves in their work that is done—to see their handprint in their works.”
Drew continued, “Being a part of the Student Senate is not just a resume builder. Once you make it more intriguing for them personally, all the work they do is bound to be more fruitful. How do you find their personal interests to get them invested in the organization?”
“You gotta play people’s passions, you gotta play people’s pride,” he said. “If I could find that foothold for each Senator, there’s no doubt in my mind that in the work done in senate, that senators will find a sense of soul.”
Despite the position he holds, Johnson still wants his colleagues to be able to identify with him.
Johnson said, “I am Drew Johnson first, Senate President second. I am still the guy you see playing the piano at the cafeteria. I’m ridiculously tall, but I don’t participate in athletic activities. Don’t expect me to be office president—don’t expect me to be the guy who sits behind the desk. I am a big advocate of meeting people where they are at.”
“I can’t say I’m a member of the student body if I’m not actively engaging with where they’re at or what they are at. If it’s a football game, carnival, or picnic, I’m there. I am Drew Johnson. I am an ESU student who happens to hold the position of Student Senate President.”
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