Despite his late arrival in Aggieland, Senior Class President Gunnar Smith quickly became involved in the campus community and now strives to keep class traditions alive during the pandemic.
Smith transferred from Blinn College to Texas A&M his sophomore year because he wanted to be a part of A&M’s renowned political science department. He quickly became involved in student government and served as a student senator in 2020, sparking his interest in the class president position. Smith said his friends persuaded him to run and ultimately decided to campaign for the position because he wanted to serve at a larger capacity as a representative of his class.
In this role, Smith said his priorities include uniting the Class of 2021 through tradition and shared experiences.
“When I ran, I decided to make unity and inclusion my two main goals,” Smith said. “I want people to feel connected as a part of the Texas A&M community until graduation.”
Due to COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in the Brazos Valley, Smith said he is unsure if senior traditions will go on as usual this year. However, he hopes with the implementation of increased regulations, they may still be able to occur.
“A lot of challenges due to [COVID-19] have arisen regarding the senior traditions that are really important to so many people,” Smith said. “We hope that seniors will still be able to attend milestone traditions like Elephant Walk and Ring Dance in their final year with regulations like masks and social distancing in place.”
Though the pandemic has added many challenges to his position, Smith said the experience has been incredibly positive.
“One of the highlights of this position has been the opportunity to interact with so many different students and faculty members that I likely would not have gotten to interact with before,” Smith said. “I’ve formed new friendships and have truly enjoyed serving the student body.”
Smith said participating in student government has greatly influenced him as a person.
“By serving the student body through various positions, I have been able to grow my skills as a leader,” Smith said. “These experiences have given me a drive to help others in the community.”
In addition to class president, Smith said there are many positions in student government that are beneficial to students both academically and personally.
“I would like to encourage people to get involved in student government,” Smith said. “Whether it’s by serving in the student senate, becoming a class council member, helping out on the Student Government Association Committee or running for class president or student body president, these opportunities to serve are unbeatable.”
Smith said the more people that apply, the better chance there is of having a diverse representation of the student body, which he said is incredibly important.
“The diversity of backgrounds, ideologies and experience benefit an individual’s leadership skills and add to the excellence of the student body,” Smith said.