By Jorge Castorena, Managing Editor
We know how April is – the hectic time to close out the year, between Legacy Games, Highbridge and finals. But it’s also a time of new beginnings, particularly for the seven individuals who will make up the Executive Cabinet (EC) next year.
The top vision-caster of the team is Meredith Anderson, who, being the Student Body President, is the top student leader on campus. “I never really saw myself in this position,” she said. “I feel really blessed to have it…I know God is going to bless me and equip me for it.”
When asked to share one thing students should know about their new student body president, she smiled nervously and paused to think. “I’m really bad at talking about myself,” she half-joked. Her answer did not come easily, but she finally settled on sharing that she sees herself as a hard worker.
What did come out easily was her heart for fellow Asbury students and for people. “I’m here for them,” she said. “And I want to get to know more people on campus and learn about them.”
In her time away from all things EC, Meredith is a student ambassador for the admissions office and, in addition, she volunteers four hours every Monday at Baptist Health Hospital in Lexington. “I am certified in hand massage,” she revealed. She massages the hands of patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, explaining, “I really like helping people, and hand massages are really good for relieving stress.”
Her heart for helping others and making changes in the lives of those around her is a quality she believes she brings to the new EC. Anderson is now leading the team of seven leaders, and they held their first official meeting Apr. 9. The results?
“Dream team! Awesome!” said Vice President of Spiritual Life Mindi Wafford, as the rest of the group nodded in agreement and erupted in laughter.
“It’s fun to be working with such amazing leaders,” said Claire Van Der Eems, Executive Publicist. “I feel privileged just to be in their presence.”
Already, one thing is evident about the new EC: They are all very different people. Each member of the cabinet comes from different places, classes, friend groups and majors – and they each offer a different personality and view point. “We all have different ideas and different experiences and we’re not afraid to voice them,” said Executive Secretary Stephanie Chen. “But we integrate them without creating conflict and instead make them stronger and put them all together to become a unified idea,” she explained.
What is EC’s overarching, united idea? Just that – unity, for campus and for the Body of Christ.
“I don’t think it’s a mistake or coincidence that we do have the same vision of unity,” said Vice President of Student Governance Matthew Jackson. The group has found that they collectively have a heart to see campus come together in fellowship and community, to foster unity at Asbury and even beyond. “I really think God is going to use that vision in awesome ways,” added Jackson.
The team suspects, though, that there will be challenges to face in the planning and implementation of vision and projects for the coming school year.
“I am definitely a people pleaser. I want to make people happy,” Anderson said. She discussed that the negative feedback of changes and projects EC may undertake for next year will ultimately be directed toward her, and her challenge will be not internalizing it.
Executive Treasurer Kayleen Bengston highlighted that they are all strong, passionate leaders, also adding that sifting through negative feedback will be a challenge. “I fear really wanting something to happen, all of us really putting our hearts in a vision, and it’s just not received,” Bengston said.
The group is also beginning to feel the responsibility of representing campus well, and they hope to do so objectively so long as the student body is involved in the conversations. EC invites students to get involved and to have conversations with all members of the Asbury Student Congress about changes they want to see next year. “We can’t represent a student body without hearing the student body,” said Chen.
Despite the challenges that might come, and the extensive planning the team has ahead, the members of the new EC are excited about what is in store for them and for Asbury. “It’s exciting to think about merging our seven different agendas to create one beautiful product in the end,” said Van Der Eems. Thus far, the glue that holds these seven agendas and viewpoints together is their shared focus on God. “It’s not about us,” said Wafford. “We are Kingdom-minded and it’s about Christ.”
Ultimately, the new EC hopes to unite all branches and aspects of ASC for greater worship and fellowship at Asbury. “It’s about communal and united worship to God,” said Anderson of the Asbury community. “That doesn’t just mean through Spiritual Life, but in all aspects – in student activities and proposals, we want to create and show greater fellowship and unity, and to honor God.”
Photos by Madison Wathen
Ben Garverick, Vice President of Student Activities currently studying abroad in Spain, is not pictured.
He’s most excited about having an event every weekend, something students can look forward to.