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“The most rewarding part of being the president was watching individuals rise to the occasion and become the senator, student, director and leader that they may have never believed they could be.” – Katherynne Padilla

Katherynne Padilla will complete her term as the 2014-2015 student body president at the last Associated Students of Eastern New Mexico University (ASENMU) meeting of the semester on May 5. Her successor is Halle Pittman, who was voted into office by the student body on April 9.

Ms. Padilla wanted to be president to “take the leadership skills that I had learned as a student senator, as well as being an active member of FFA, and applying them to the next level. I really wanted to make an impact within our student government as well as our university; a large part of this was continuing to carry the torch that 2013-2014 student body president Justin Aguilar had lit with allowing alcohol during tailgating.”

The president’s responsibilities include presiding over monthly President’s Student Advisory Council luncheons and present leadership tips to the different student organizations that attend, overseeing all ASENMU directors and their events (providing guidance when needed), and serving on university committees, like University Council, Budget Planning and Analysis, and Administrator Evaluation, as appointed. Other duties include planning and running the bi-annual ASENMU retreats and coordinating lobbying efforts in conjunction with the University for issues that involve students.

Ms. Padilla, who is expected to graduate with a bachelor’s in agricultural business with a minor in accounting in May 2016, began her term on April 22, 2014.

“The most rewarding part of being the president was watching individuals rise to the occasion and become the senator, student, director and leader that they may have never believed they could be,” said the senior. “By the same token, probably the most challenging aspect is seeing potential in others they do not see in themselves. It’s frustrating when they allow wonderful opportunities to pass them by because they don’t believe in themselves.”

The 2014 winner of the “Outstanding Agriculture Business Student” award said a typical day as president “started out as getting dressed, going to class and then waiting for whatever that day threw at me. Although you can try to plan your day, impromptu meetings always change the course of events for a particular day depending on what is going on at the university.

“These meetings can be anything from discussing with Dr. Gamble about potential issues that may come up during the legislative session, meeting with a group of students who have an issue on campus, or meeting with directors to finalize plans for their event.”

The Phi Kappa Phi honor society member played an important role in getting tailgating passed by “working with a wonderful team of students to research guidelines that we wanted to model our proposal after. I worked with Carla Anaya, ASENMU’s vice president, to plan arguments and presentations that would be presented to individual university committees, senates and the Board of Regents.

“The biggest and most important role that I played in getting it passed though was just being the voice of the majority of the student body,” she continued. “This was something that they wanted and so my job was to do what I could to make that happen.”

She said the ASENMU president “plays more of an advisory role in the regular Senate meetings, so allocation bills and resolutions that are passed through a democratic process facilitated by the vice president and decided upon by the senate body. As president, I often presented resolutions to the Senate but ultimately their decision is based upon discussions conducted after the presentation.”

The Los Lunas-native’s advice for the next president is to “learn the art of delegation. First lean on your vice president…not everything has to be taken on by one individual. Use the opportunity to share tasks and duties with your counterpart.

“Lean on the individual senators and give them opportunities to rise to the occasion as leaders by delegating duties and committee appointments, if possible,” she explained. “These senators are elected officials who signed up for the job, so be sure to give them one.”

The Delta Mu Delta honor society member said being president has “impacted me in so many very different ways. It has provided me times of excitement, happiness, frustration, and sadness, but, most importantly, humbleness.

“I was able to work with so many wonderful people from administrators, faculty, staff, and students who all have a deep love and appreciation for our university. I feel I was impacted by the ‘real life’ job experience that I received.
“My one year as president really allowed me to step back from being just a student at ENMU and see it from a whole different perspective, which is the everyday operation of how things work,” she continued. “For me, being a business major, this opportunity truly is priceless. I got to experience all of the enjoyable and not-so-enjoyable aspects of how a large business operates.

“I also was able to experience first-hand how the policy making process occurs. I believe that what I have learned and experienced will help me excel in any future career path that I take on,” said Ms. Padilla, whose career goals are to start a successful cattle growing operation and become a chief financial officer or chief executive officer. When asked about her favorite hobbies, she jokingly asked, “Are Netflix and homework hobbies?”

Ms. Padilla, whose role model is her father, chose to attend ENMU because of the “one-on-one attention they advertised. I didn’t buy into all of the hype and excitement of NMSU or UNM being ‘big’ schools.

“My philosophy on college has always been the student makes the degree, not the degree makes the student, kind of similar to, ‘you get what you put into it.’ For this reason, I couldn’t justify paying two to three times as much in tuition to attend the ‘it’ schools in New Mexico.”

The president’s favorite quote is from Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”