Politics in college

For many students, politics is a line of work that is outside of and after the university experience that involves long hours, campaigns and controversy.

Caleb Finck

Caleb Finck

However, for a small group of individuals, this aspect of their college experience is what they have found most rewarding. Students’ Association, the student government of South Dakota State University, is predominantly run by the students, for the students, with supervision by a group of faculty advisers.

Caleb Finck, a senior from Tripp majoring in music education and agricultural education, communication and leadership, served as the 2014-2015 SA president and benefited from being a part of this organization in ways some may not anticipate. He will return as the SA president for the 2015-2016 academic year.

He plans to use what he has learned to further his dream of working in public service for both agronomy and education. His goal entering college was to be a music teacher. Although he is still extremely active in the music department, Finck’s career plans changed. He felt being an advocate for education through politics was still a great ambition and an opportunity to give back.

“Getting to know how public policy is shaped and learning how national and state teaching standards are shaped are just examples of how my coursework has complemented itself.”

Finck’s experiences in the College of Arts and Sciences, combined with his participation outside of the classroom, shaped the direction he wants to move in after school, which is the ultimate goal of attending college.

Finck represents a large majority of those serving on Students’ Association who are not involved in just student politics. He is also a member of Delta Chi, College Republicans, SDSU Concert Choir and the SDSU Statesmen.

Joe Schartz, another SA member, also falls into the multitasking category with Finck. A journalism major from Humboldt, Schartz is minoring in agricultural business, economics, political science and German. In addition, he is a member of Concert Choir, the theater program, Fellowship of Catholic University Students Bible Study and the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College.

Joe Schartz received the Carol Peterson Leadership Scholarship from the South Dakota State University Honorary Society of Phi Kappa Phi during its recent initiation session. Schartz received a certificate from Kay Cutler, the chapter’s past president.

Joe Schartz received the Carol Peterson Leadership Scholarship from the South Dakota State University Honorary Society of Phi Kappa Phi during its recent initiation session. Schartz received a certificate from Kay Cutler, the chapter’s past president.

Schartz has a broad range of interests and passions, so the College of Arts and Sciences was a good fit. It allowed him to study many subjects, and it will prepare him to work in a variety of fields. He said his education and political experience are skills attractive to employers. These include communication, persuasiveness, teamwork, critical thinking, commitment and problem-solving.

Schartz is a student regent on the South Dakota Board of Regents. The governor of South Dakota appoints this leadership position.

Being a student regent comes with full-voting status, so Schartz uses this position to stand up for the issues college students continuously face such as higher education affordability.

“We all have a passion for promoting higher education as a way to better the quality of life for students and the people they impact,” Schartz said.

He is also the chair of the South Dakota College Republicans, and said the SDSU chapter’s main goal is to politically motivate students and remind them their voice is crucial.

“Being active in politics only requires a servant’s heart and a genuine interest in improving your community, state and country,” Schartz said. “Anyone can learn more about their government and work to improve it.”

These student representatives are leaders on campus in many ways. Both Finck and Schartz say their extracurricular activities led them to their elected positions. No matter their path following graduation, the skills they have acquired through SA will carry over into their careers and communities.

Megan Jordre

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