By MATT AUST, ’17
For ASPLU President Sarah Smith, the PLU experience is all about leadership through service. She works tirelessly to make PLU a better place for all students.
At 22, Smith is a politcal science and global studies double major from Woodinville, Wash. She first got involved with student government in high school when a friend suggested she join the Associated Student Body. Back then her favorite aspect of student leadership was event planning, especially assemblies.
When Smith first came to PLU in 2010 she did not plan on joining ASPLU, but in her second semester when a senator left a seat vacant she could not resist. “I really missed it,” Smith said, “I really like talking to people and engaging people in different conversations.” So the Senate interviewed and appointed her to the position.
Student government in college proved to be much different than high school. At PLU she no longer focused so much on school programming. “In college it’s a lot more about student voice,” Smith Said. For her the change reflected how she grew as a person.
In her second year with ASPLU Smith served as Diversity Director where she and others fought for gender neutral housing. While the students won gender neutral housing, she still wants to see an expansion of gender neutral into the University Center and other parts of campus. “We want to move past that gender binary,” Smith said.
In her final year at PLU, Smith decided to tackle the role of president. She wanted to bring her previous Senate project of outreach to a larger scale as president. “It was a natural move as the flow goes when you’re entering your last year here,” Smith said. It isn’t always smooth sailing though, according to Smith the hardest part is managing all the parts of the complex machine that is ASPLU.
By all accounts it appears that Smith’s term has, so far, been a success. “She’s a pretty nice person,” said ASPLU Senator Charlie Mogen. ASPLU has already begun a joint venture with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to increase school spirit at athletic events. Also they have looked into bringing together other student governments from around western Washington.
Smith uses her talents outside of student government too. When she isn’t assisting the senate she leads the women’s lacrosse team. Lacrosse is a good way to build activity into her busy schedule. She is also a self described dog whisperer. “I love dogs. I can spot a dog at any point,” said Smith.
As Sarah looks forward to her life after PLU she is uncertain but has some ideas. She is actively exploring taking the Foreign Service Exams. Most important for her is a career that allows her to travel and continue to lead. One thing is certain: Sarah will be missed at PLU. “Sarah Smith is an awesome leader!” junior Henry Smith said, “She’s really receptive to students’ ideas.”