Inside USD asked the 2013-14 USD Associated Students Executive Board — President Alex Hermann ’14 (Communication Studies), Vice President Coral Anderson ‘14 (Business Finance), Speaker of the Senate Trent Mendenhall ‘14 (Behavioral Neuroscience), Finance Chair Mallory Collins ‘14 (Marketing) and Communications Chair Colby Edson ‘15 (Business Finance) — about their student leadership roles, USD experiences and the importance of representing USD’s undergraduate students.
Q. What’s your definition of a Torero student?
Hermann: I think it’s impossible to precisely define a Torero student. Students come to USD from all across the globe with different gifts, talents and curiosities that influence their choice of studies and student involvement. This outlook on the student body helps me realize that everybody has a story, and I’m honored to play a role in their USD chapter.
Anderson: A Torero is involved, intelligent, social, kind, and promising. It helps me in my role because I have so much faith in our students and I’m inspired by Toreros every day.
Collins: A Torero is not an identity that can be revealed through a specific appearance, but instead one that’s lived out through values of integrity, respect, creativity and so much more. It cannot be simply seen, but must be felt. Torero students don’t just occupy this campus; we’re the life of this campus. We bring our many talents, backgrounds, our successes and failures, and our perspectives to form this unique community each day.
Edson: It’s really difficult to pinpoint an exact definition of what a Torero is since the USD community is made up of people from all around the world with interests in anything and everything under the sun. But I think that’s exactly what being a Torero is all about — being part of a diverse community and actively pursuing what you’re passionate in. Toreros are adventurous, risk-takers, overachievers, and constantly striving to create positive change in the world around us.
Q: Transparency is a stated goal for the AS Executive Board. How do you address it through your specific role?
Hermann: Yes, transparency is something our organization has deemed very important to our success this year. Through outlets like the president’s blog and “Real Talk” open forums, I hope to illuminate our organization and the processes we go through to make decisions.
Collins: Finance holds a huge opportunity for transparency. The entire AS budget, which funds not just Torero Program Board programming and AS team initiatives, but also a number of centers and undergraduate student organizations on campus, is comprised of the student activity fee. It’s the responsibility of AS to not only be transparent with students about initiatives and events that come from their tuition dollars, but also responsible. Stewardship is a priority for the entire AS team. I’d love to showcase the creativity and dedication, especially the student organizations, in planning events using the student activity fee.
Mendenhall: I plan to address transparency by opening up Senate meetings to the whole USD community. I want all students to know they’re welcome to attend Senate meetings to not only learn what AS is working on, but also to voice their opinions or suggestions to AS.
Edson: In my role as communication chair, it’s vital to make sure that not only are students aware of what’s happening within their student government and what the AS initiatives are, but also to ensure that students know their voices are heard. Transparency isn’t a one-way communication. When AS communicates its desire to be open and transparent with the student body, we invite students to respond and open a running dialogue.
Q: Outside of AS what activities do you participate in and how does it help you better relate to fellow Toreros?
Hermann: Throughout my time at USD I’ve been fortunate to be involved in many clubs and organizations across campus. Some of my involvement, such as being a Resident Assistant, Greek Life member, and tour guide, allow me to be more knowledgeable about our school, which in turn helps me understand many of our constituents’ points of view.
Anderson: In addition to AS, I’m also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and a women’s club soccer team. These three activities help me connect with different students across various parts of campus and help expand my perspective of the USD experience.
Mendenhall: I’m a member of Beta Theta Pi. Being a member of this fraternity allows me to better relate to Toreros because it sets up opportunities to develop relationships with other individuals outside of the classroom.
Edson: I’m heavily involved in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and the Alcalá Club. I’ve met many of my best friends through Intervarsity and have met some of the most passionate people on campus there. Through Alcalá Club I’ve had the opportunity to interact with Torero alumni and donors, which gives me a totally different perspective. I consider myself incredibly blessed to see both the perspectives of current students and alumni.
Q: What’s a big concern/issue that students have expressed to AS? Is it fixable?
Hermann: The campus community came off a really rough spring semester last year. I think one of our biggest efforts will be to assist in the community building that happens on campus. All across campus groups and organizations do great work to instill hope and community into our school and AS has that same goal.
Q: What’s an area you feel USD is underrated or people here just don’t realize?
Hermann: The balcony associated with La Gran Terraza is a great space with a spectacular view. It’s a great place to hang out with friends or even host an event. Our team is working with Auxiliary Services to highlight this space for student use.
Anderson: How strong and talented our athletic programs are.
Collins: I’m the worst offender of this, but I think that, as a whole, our campus gets so focused on the business of our lives, and we forget to stop and take a moment to be simply grateful. We are so incredibly blessed … just take a look around at the beauty that surrounds us. What I loved so much about last year’s “USD, I Love You” campaign was seeing USD come together in community and gratitude. I’m excited to continue this initiative this year.
Mendenhall: The Student Leadership and Involvement Center (SLIC) is such an underutilized space. We have study spaces, computers, and so much information for students. Once they visit the space I’m sure they’ll want to use it more in the future.
Edson: I think the strength and prowess of our athletic teams often gets overlooked and I think that’s a shame. Our athletics teams, both men and women, are regularly ranked among the best teams in the country. I definitely encourage students to get out there, wear blue, paint up, and support our student-athletes!
Q: What’s your background in student government?
Hermann: I was heavily involved in student government in high school and enjoyed the community of like-minded student leaders. I found a home in AS at USD since my sophomore year because the people involved in it are as equally passionate about creating change, engaging with students, and bettering USD as I am.
Anderson: My student government experienced started in first grade when I was elected student council representative for my class. It’s something I’ve always had a passion for! Here at USD, I immediately joined AS my freshman year and I’ve been involved ever since.
Collins: I learned about the Student Leadership and Involvement Center at the Alcala Bazaar and the rest is history. I was involved with Residential Hall Association, where I first learned about the role of the Senate, and I was encouraged and inspired by Marc Gonzales, now Torero Program Board Chair, to apply for a position on the AS leadership team. I recognized some aspects of AS that I’d found while working on my high school yearbook staff: a sense of community, common purpose, and a feeling of home.
Mendenhall: I’ve been involved in student government throughout my upbringing. I was my high school class president for two years and knew I wanted to continue my involvement in college. I was a senator for the Alcala Vista apartments my sophomore year and knew I wanted to continue my AS involvement.
Edson: I’ve been involved in student government since high school. I got involved with AS at USD last year as its director of public affairs. Student government is something I’ve always been passionate about because I see it as one of the most effective ways to actively serve a community of students. USD and our wonderful community of Toreros have given me so much, so I see student government as a way to give back to my school and my community.
Q: Do you have a role model among the USD campus community?
Hermann: I’ve found many mentors and role models throughout my time at USD for which I am very blessed. One of my great friends and USD administrators, Liberty Hebron, has been a role model for me since the beginning. She embodies servant leadership and what it means to be student focused. Her laugh and smile truly brings warmth into our workspace and whomever she encounters. I hope to emulate her leadership style this year.
Mendenhall: My role model at USD is Mark Peters from University Ministry. I’ve been fortunate enough to study abroad with Mark twice while at USD. He has not only been there for me as someone to look up to and receive advice, but also as a friend who I know I could go to with any problems I’m facing.
Q: You’re active in AS, other organizations and college students. Your time is valuable. What’s your best advice for other Toreros regarding time management?
Hermann: Get a planner! I’m trying to go eco-friendly this year and utilize the calendar feature on my phone. So far it has kept my hectic schedule super organized, but I have to schedule in fun time with my friends too!
Anderson: Schedule in everything. If you know you’re going to need a break after a hard test, or want to make sure you get your workout in, put it in your calendar! It’s important to have time for yourself, so make sure you include time to unwind, and have fun!
Collins: Find what you love, and pursue it. Do what makes you happy. Yes, homework can be overwhelming, meetings can be lengthy and one class period can seem like a lifetime. Whenever I’m overwhelmed, I find what I love about the task, and I feel instant motivation.
Mendenhall: Make a schedule and try to stick to it. Things do come up but if you have a plan of what you want to accomplish it’s much easier to complete if you have an established timeline.
Edson: Plan ahead and schedule everything. My Google calendar looks pretty intimidating, but it is my lifeline when it comes to keeping myself on track. The more organized I am, the less stressed out I am.
Q: Favorite place on campus to spend quality time?
Hermann: Aromas. I lived in Maher for my first and second year at USD, so I spent a majority of my time — and dining dollars — there. I really appreciate the space and coffee shop vibe to get work done and to hang out with my friends.
Anderson: The SLIC on the third floor of the SLP! I love how light the space is, and it offers the perfect balance between a quiet productive space and an area to be social.
Mendenhall: My favorite place to spend time on campus is in Aromas. I don’t really do homework or study there but it’s my favorite location to sit with my friends and just hang out.
Edson: I love hanging out in the SLIC. It’s a wonderful space to study, get work done, or just hang out with close friends and even meet new people!
Q: Describe the AS Executive Board in the length of a tweet (140 characters):
Hermann: Passionate servant leaders with a hunger for change and desire to exceed the status quo. Spirited. Empathetic. Changemakers. #usdAS
Connect with Associated Students:
LinkedIn (current, AS alumni)
MySanDiego Mobile App (free download for USD community)