Communication graduating senior Haley Anderson (BA ’17) of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, is president of the Student Association, an organization that drives her passion for life and one that has significantly contributed to her leadership development.
“SA is the heart and soul of student life on TU’s campus”
“SA is the heart and soul of student life on TU’s campus,” she said.
In addition to participating in SA events the past four years, Anderson is a member of Mortar Board, Orientation Leaders, University Ambassadors and Greek Life. In the summer of 2016, she conducted an independent study abroad project that involved collecting books at Tulsa-area schools and delivering them to two rural schools in Ghana. However, when she arrived in Ghana, she discovered the children were in need of more basic items.
“My trip abroad drastically changed my worldview,” Anderson said. “The schools had no walls, a dirt floor and no proper ceiling. I learned that in order to really help a community, you need to understand its culture.”
She gathered interviews, photos and video footage from her Ghana trip to create a public relations campaign. A year later, TU’s Department of Communication plans to send another student in Anderson’s footsteps to continue the book campaign and collect funds that can help build a permanent school.
“The realization that so much more needed to be done before we could truly make a difference in the lives of those students really shook me,” she said.
Anderson’s eye-opening experience taught her not all lessons are learned in the classroom, and that’s where she finds her desire to lead.
“I have never felt more prepared to go out into the real world,” she said. “Ninety percent of that has nothing to do with my coursework and everything to do with practical knowledge gained through my leadership roles.”
Anderson plans to attend Central Michigan University this fall and earn a graduate degree in adult and higher education administration. Professionally, she hopes to work in student affairs, focusing on new student programs and leadership development.
“Leadership doesn’t mean you have to be the president of the Student Association,” she said. “That may have been my path, but there are so many different avenues of leadership at TU. You just have to pick one and get started.”
Biochemistry senior Aiken Sujana is president of the university’s Association of International Students. A native of Jakarta, Indonesia, he applied to TU to pursue interests in medicine and chemistry. Four years later, he is preparing to graduate and reflecting on how the campus community has influenced his life.
“TU is a place where you are welcome and encouraged to express yourself, share your ideas and be whoever you want to be,” Sujana said. “I’ve had the chance to make positive changes in student life, organize unifying multicultural events and advocate for things I believe in like sustainability and equality.”
Sujana’s leadership journey began his freshman year in the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity. As a junior, he was elected president of the Indonesian Student Association and vice president of AIS.
“I was an ambassador of the Indonesian culture and people to the rest of the university,” he said. “Instead of growing inward, we grew outward. Our effort in bringing the best of Indonesia to TU was a success.”
Sujana often helps with marketing and graphics in AIS and the TU Student Association. His latest role as AIS president presents opportunities to connect with people from many cultural backgrounds, collaborate with TU’s best and brightest students and support the community through initiatives in sustainability and philanthropy.
“In AIS, we constantly try to be different, to be the best and most creative at everything we do,” Sujana said. “This leadership experience is a platform for me and my team to address international issues such as global climate change, politics, diversity and marriage equality.”
His effective leadership style involves focusing on the organizations’ top goals for the year and ensuring that all members feel like they belong. TU’s hospitable environment, academic programs and dynamic student organizations encouraged him to become a campus leader. The community gave him the confidence to inspire others and step out of his comfort zone.
“I’ve been blessed to work with amazing and talented people in AIS,” Sujana said. “My biggest accomplishment as a leader is to see people on my team using AIS — as I do — as a platform to express their talent and advocate for things they are passionate about.”