The students who will fill the leadership positions on the Intersociety Council and the Student Leadership Council next year have already held a variety of leadership roles throughout their years at BJU.
The process for filling these positions began with Matthew Weathers, BJU’s Student Leadership Coordinator. Weathers said the election process began with society presidents, vice presidents and chaplains nominating fellow students who have demonstrated superior leadership skills. The nominees showed their leadership skills through work on society officer crews and positions in other University organizations.
Those with the most nominations were asked if they wanted to be placed on the ballot. The SLC men and women’s presidents were then voted on by the entire student body. During last year’s elections, the whole student body voted on other positions such as event coordinator and communications director, but those positions were filled this year through appointment by the SLC men and women’s presidents because many students were nominated for multiple positions this year.
The men and women’s senior class representatives were nominated and voted on by this year’s junior class only. Weathers said the election process works itself out with little help from him. “It’s a very objective process,” Weathers said. “That’s on purpose. I don’t want to interject myself into the election process.”
Throughout the year, Weathers works with each of the student leaders as a mentor and adviser. “My job is to make them successful,” Weathers said. Weathers works with the student leaders to reserve venues, grant approval for various activities and communicate with other decision-makers.
Jeriel Ontoy, a senior communication major, was elected as next year’s SLC men’s student body president. Ontoy served as secretary for the Epsilon Zeta Chi Tornados both semesters his sophomore year, which gave him the opportunity to see firsthand the responsibilities that come with leadership. Ontoy served as vice president of the Tornadoes this year and as part of Natalie Larsen’s event coordinator team.
Being part of Larsen’s team gave Ontoy opportunities to make announcements in chapel and send emails to both students and administrators.
Ontoy said all these positions have strengthened his skills in communication, event planning, delegation and working out details. He is excited to bring the details into the bigger picture of campus life and analyze how he can make the greatest positive impact on the student body. Ontoy said he is looking forward to bonding with the support team on the SLC because they are great leaders with a passionate vision to invest in the student body. “I think we have a great variety of people on there,” he said.
Katarina Shafer, a junior health sciences major, will serve as next year’s SLC women’s student body president. She said serving as a student ambassador since her second semester freshman year has provided her with the ability to converse comfortably with people she has never met before. Shafer said being nominated for this position was humbling and overwhelming at first, but she is looking forward to working off strong, already-existing relationships to lead and serve the student body.
Serving as the assistant women’s director on the Community Service Council gave Shafer an inside look at how student leaders think, so she will know how to better serve them next year. Shafer said she is excited to be the voice for such a passionate student body, empowering them through different events and initiatives like BEYOND and representing their desires before the University’s administration. “It’s exciting to be in a place where I get to use what I’m hearing from the student body to actually make a tangible effort in bringing those things to pass,” Shafer said.
Daniel Smitley, a junior cross-cultural service major who will be serving as next year’s ISC Men’s Director, served as the Epsilon Zeta Chi Tornado’s chaplain for one semester his sophomore year and assisted their CSC representative the next semester in planning society outreaches and events. This year, Smitley served on the officer crew for the School of Religion. Smitley said he is looking forward to building personal relationships with society leaders next year, encouraging them and helping them succeed and improve.
“Society has been such a big part for me through the years,” Smitley said. “It’s probably been the most influential aspect of school. Now, the opportunity to be involved in these different societies and help societies succeed is exciting.”
Because of the society changes going into effect next year, Smitley said it will be even more challenging to adjust to the new role. ISC directors from previous years can’t give him detailed advice, because things won’t be the same as in the past. “It will be growing and stretching,” Smitley said. “But I’m excited.”
Anna DeMott, a junior communication major, will serve as the ISC Women’s Director next year. Previously, she’s served as the Tau Delta Chi Kanga’s chaplain both semesters this year, served as a discipleship group leader in the Nell Sunday Residence Hall and will be a resident assistant next year. DeMott said she is looking forward to developing personal relationships with society leaders and impacting them for eternity with her words and her daily life.
She is excited to be a voice for student leaders to the University’s administration. DeMott said she is not good at working out the details for planning events, so she is thankful to have such a great council supporting her, balancing their strengths to create a strong, successful team.