Undergraduates get Presidential

Ever wish that you could take charge of the University for just a day? Here, six students seize the opportunity to voice their dreams for Gonzaga.


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Josh Barnes (’14) English, Honors Program

If I were president for a day, I would create more on-campus employment for students, instead of employing so many people from outside the University. I would also offer more scholarships; I know people who had to drop the education program because they couldn’t afford the extra semester to student teach.


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Edwin Torres (’13) International Studies & Spanish

It would be really cool to have more small businesses on campus. That would help the Spokane economy and provide students with jobs – adding to student involvement. If the small businesses were encouraged to use local produce and resources, that would help the University’s new promise to move toward sustainability. And it would be nice to get dishwashers in Corkery. With today’s technology, they would probably save the University some water.


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Cat Truong (’14) Electrical Engineering

If I were president of Gonzaga for a day, I would recommend that each student explore the advantages of an urban plunge in downtown Spokane. Reality Camp is one of three freshman pre-orientation programs that seeks to raise awareness of community service. The first night, the 40 participating freshmen go on an urban plunge in downtown Spokane. On this excursion, students interact and speak with members of Spokane’s homeless population. They listen to heartbreaking and miraculous stories of life on the street – stories that are too often overlooked. This personal interaction with someone who has had firsthand experience in the darkest part of the city humbles students. It teaches the importance of recognizing others who are less fortunate, and developing a kind heart and passion for service. So many times I have noticed that we – myself included – get so wrapped up in the Gonzaga/college bubble, that we become almost insensitive to the real issues in the greater Spokane community.


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Emily Slater (’13) International Relations, French, Honors Program

If I were president for a day, I would take a closer look at the way we structure the grading system on campus. In my experience, an A doesn’t really mean much anymore; it is the default to say that you checked all of the boxes prescribed for a class. You don’t need to go above and beyond, and frequently you don’t even need to do the required reading to obtain this mark. I believe that deflating our grading scale would force students to work harder and really engage in their studies if they wanted to get that A. In France, where I studied for a year, grades are done on a 20-point system. In this system, 14 is considered a great mark, and they say that 20 is reserved for God. I think that there is value in the difficulty of high marks. If a B was the standard for checking all the boxes, an A would become a meaningful distinction.


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Meg Gardner (’13) Theatre Arts

While I loved every single aspect of my Gonzaga experience, what formed me the most was my involvement in the arts. Participating in dance and theatre at GU opened my life to new ways of thinking, friendships, and aspects of myself that I would otherwise never have been exposed to. I have also noticed that these departments and areas in our school are sometimes forgotten. Athletics are a huge part of Gonzaga, and I do not deny the importance they have to our school. But other students in the arts and I often feel overlooked. Therefore, I think a fantastic addition to our school would be an organization of GU students in the arts. It could be called something like G.U.S.A. – Gonzaga University Students in the Arts. This would allow students involved in dance, drama, music and visual arts a chance to gather and communicate on how to have a larger voice in the GU community, to plan arts events, to share ideas, and to have an outlet and a place where creativity can flourish.


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Connor Cahill (’13) Biochemistry, University Ignatian Award 2013

I would recommend a mentoring organization that partners juniors with freshmen. I believe there is not enough formal mentoring between older and younger students at Gonzaga, so an organization matching those groups together would be ideal. I fondly remember times, as an underclassman, when upperclassmen took me under their wing and showed me the bountiful opportunities Gonzaga has to offer. Also, I can honestly say I witnessed a few friends not get that kind of guidance and mentorship. So, any organization that guided upperclassmen to reflectively mentor underclassmen would make a great contribution to campus.