Leaders hope differences equal progress
When worlds collide, good things can happen – at least that’s what Student Body President-elect Barclay Harless and Vice President-elect Garin Flowers are hoping for.
Harless and Flowers, who will take office on the first day of the summer session, are certainly two different types of student leaders: one with extensive experience in Student Government and the other with plenty of campus-life experience.
Harless comes into the position after being a member of the SG senate for three years. The culmination of his tenure in the senate was his rise to the position of senate president.
Flowers, on the other hand, has experience working for WBUL, served as director of public relations for Homecoming 2006 and is a member of the Campus Activities Board.The pair feels that their different experiences will give them a more rounded view of campus life.
“I think we both have two different personas,” Flowers said. “I think Barclay comes off as more of the business type person and I come off more as a social person – to connect with people – but I think we’re both the same way. I think the different tasks that we’re going to take are going to (make) the difference. He’s going to be of a state level business aspect of SG and I think I’m going to be more of the student life social aspect.”
Harless said that he feels Flowers’ lack of experience with SG can only help make him a better leader.
“Because he hasn’t been in SG, he comes in here with a fresh perspective,” Harless said. “He’s also very, very willing to learn and that’s an important aspect of being a leader, I think, because if you have your mind set on what’s going on and you think you know everythin,g it can lead to defeat. So I think we’ve got a very good combination. We’re both equally interested in everything. We just have different skill sets that we’re going to apply to different areas.”
For the two, learning is key. They have spent the last week working with current student body President Frank Harrison and Vice President Faran Abbasi learning the daily operations and meeting with administrators to begin building relationships.
And although they admit preparing for their new leadership roles is hard work, they said not a lot has changed in their lives.
“We already had a hard list of tasks we had to accomplish, so it really hasn’t changed anything,” Flowers said. “The way people view us now – they view us as the new leadership now – it’s official. The way people hold us accountable now is probably the biggest change.”
Even though they haven’t officially taken office yet, Harless said they have already begun working on some of their initiatives.
“We’ve already been attending a lot of events and making speeches here and there,” he said. “So, the No. 1 thing that we are taking action on right now – and I think our leadership is going to develop throughout the entire year to be – is to sympathize and act upon student concern. And that’s the way our leadership is going to be. It’s going to be responding to concerns and taking action, as well as leading on a platform of what we promised.”
Both Harless and Flowers said they would never have imagined being in this position a few years ago. Harless said in high school he was a quiet student that kept to himself. And Flowers said he regularly watched anime cartoons and played video games.
“When I came to college I wanted to go to college for computer engineering so I could get a job at Nintendo,” Flowers said. “It’s not a job I would want to do now, but I still play video games now and then.”
Like their leadership styles, they both hope to gain something different from their term in office. While Flowers said he will enjoy meeting new people and making more contacts, Harless said he wants to learn to be a better leader.
“The best thing that you gain is that you develop as a person,” Harless said. “Being in this position tells you where you’re strong – here’s what you need to work on, here’s the environment you’re good working in. The best thing I’m going to gain from it is being a better person – learning how to deal.”