BY JENNA MCASSEY ‘19
Nichols College junior Emily Barden had the pleasure of switching places with President Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D., for the day on April 4. This was the first year a female received the opportunity. Emily did not only humbly accept this position, but she also used this day to her full advantage and was a fantastic role model to the student body. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend meetings and classes that both President Engelkemeyer and President for A Day Barden participated in.
The day started with Emily in the President’s Office preparing for her meeting with the President’s Council. Emily was able to conduct a meeting of the President’s Council (a group of vice presidents and deans) and present her proposals. Her presentation was professional and informative. She explained that she believes the College should work more on networking for students who live farther away, donations from alumni, and health as a whole around campus. Later, Emily answered many questions that the council members had for her. Following her presentation, she held office hours during which students, faculty, or staff could attend and ask questions. She also had the opportunity to have meetings throughout the day with other Nichols faculty and staff, as well as have lunch in the President’s Conference Room with a few of her close friends.
While Emily was President For a Day, President Engelkemeyer was a student for the day. She stayed up the night before until 1 a.m. to study the information that she had to present. The morning of, she put on some jeans, a sweatshirt, and a backpack and headed off to class. I was able to sit in on one of her classes where she presented about car recalls and the concerns with certain parts being recalled. Following her classes, President Engelkemeyer ate lunch with a few of Emily’s friends and attended a workout with Emily’s women’s ice hockey teammates.
The following day, Emily and President Engelkemeyer were able to meet and discuss what went on during their respective days. I was able to sit down with them and ask a few questions. Emily explained that being able to have this experience was extremely humbling and rewarding. The President also enjoyed her day and found it nice to be able to walk in a student’s shoes. One topic that also arose was how special it was that the President and President For a Day are both women. This shows such a positive shift in our society and is such a great representation of our college.
“I definitely could see myself in this type of leadership role and position one day,” said Emily, a human resource management major from upstate New York. She added, “I went into this field because the most rewarding part of the job is seeing people succeed. I find it amazing that I will get to put people to work and help them succeed.”
Do you think you would make a great president for a day? Stay tuned, and maybe next year you could be President For a Day!