Student body presidents Judah Smith and Ali Zimmer both value the leadership opportunities and experiences BJU has provided them as they near the end of their senior year.
Smith and Zimmer assumed their current leadership roles through experience from previous positions and ultimately the majority vote of the student body. Smith said he received mentorship from older student leaders early in his college experience that paved the way to his becoming involved in various organizations. As a junior, he was assistant director of the Community Service Council, which allowed him to get to know the Student Leadership Council members at the time. With encouragement from SLC members, he accepted his nomination to run for president and was then voted into the position.
As president, Smith said he enjoys working alongside the other SLC members. “I do not think I have ever worked with a more competent group of people before,” he said. Smith said he appreciates that all the SLC members work as a team and are committed to fulfilling their various roles.
Prior to becoming president, Zimmer held leadership roles through her position as society president of the Theta Sigma Chi Colts and through her job as resident assistant. When asked if willing to run for student body president, Zimmer was not sure that she wanted to say yes. Her parents encouraged her to seriously pray about it and accept.
Zimmer is thankful she decided to be open to the position and said being president has become a highlight of her college experience. “[My position] has been a huge platform just to be able to really advocate for the needs and the feelings of the students,” Zimmer said. In addition, Zimmer is grateful for the opportunity to work under faculty leadership. “It has been really neat to work under such strong godly leaders and have them so directly touch and influence [Judah’s and my] lives and challenge us in our leadership,” she said. She particularly appreciates SLC supervisor Dr. Matthew Weathers for his help and insight into their role.
Weathers said he values Smith and Zimmer’s “joyful flexibility.” Even their election processes occurred differently since elections had to take place online due to COVID-19. Throughout the summer, Weathers communicated with Smith and Zimmer over Zoom to plan for the upcoming school year. “[There is] a lot going on, but they are still able to accomplish their roles,” Weathers said.
Regarding their futures, both Smith and Zimmer hope to further their education. Smith plans to take a gap year and then attend medical school. His end goal is to become an emergency room doctor and potentially a surgeon. Zimmer has applied to graduate school for a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language and hopes to use her degree as a means for ministry and Gospel advancement in closed countries.
Both are driven to follow the paths God has called them to and encourage current students to invest in and take full advantage of their time here. Smith recognizes the fruit of putting himself out there from when he started at BJU. “Because I did things that were hard for me as a freshman, I think I am reaping the benefits of that now through the relationships I have and the experiences I get to do now,” he said.
Both Smith and Zimmer will graduate in May with bachelor’s degrees and are eager to see what God has for them next.