Iconic Students : An active voice
Monday, May 9, 2011
Student Government president spreads wings In fewer than three years, Amanda Bardonner has gone from planning high school dances to helping determine the fate of a major university program.
The Wausau, Wis., junior is double majoring in international business and marketing, working a part-time job at a department store and serving as Student Government president at St. Cloud State where she represents 18,318 students.
As president, Bardonner was at the center of a recent campus-community discussion about a budget-balancing proposal to cut Husky athletic programs such as football.
Throughout the fall semester, Bardonner was an active voice at public meetings and in discussions with the university's leaders. Ultimately, she helped manage a student fee-increase referendum that resulted in three years of additional funding for Husky Athletics.
"It was an experience," said Bardonner. "It was intimidating to stand up in front of 300 angry community members saying "Save our football program" and help them settle down and rationalize the situation."
The position description for Student Government president calls for 20 hours of service a week. But, as former student president Michael Jamnick '10 knows, the rigors of student government often leads to 60-plus hour work weeks.
"Amanda handled the situation very well," said Jamnick, legislative assistant for the Minnesota House of Representatives. "It was certainly taxing with a lot of exposure and media coverage."
"Dealing with the negative aspects of the position, it is sometimes difficult to remain positive, but she remained fair," Jamnick said. "It is a credit to her by remaining open and honest with community engagement."
Said Bardonner: "I don't really enjoy the dramatic side of the position, but I do like the public service and helping with the results of students' needs."
Students turned out for the Nov. 15-17 referendum in record numbers, approving an additional $601,344 a year for Husky Athletics, for fiscal years 2010 through 2014.
"The student turnout was fantastic; it speaks to the increased student engagement on campus this year," Bardonner said. "Our student body understands the issues and has a vested interest in the future of this university."
Matt Trombley, director of the Center for Student Organizations and Leadership Development, said Bardonner has worked hard for her fellow students.
"I have appreciated Amanda's commitment to the position. Whether it is an early morning meeting or a weekend event, Amanda has represented Student Government and St. Cloud State University whenever and wherever she has been needed. I've been impressed by her ability to handle her full-time course work while serving in this role."
Bardonner was the student government president and class president at Wausau West High School and used that experience to dive into student life, running for student government at St. Cloud State her freshman year.
"That was a little intimidating," said Bardonner, the lone freshman running for office. "I remember giving my speech and shaking, I was so nervous."
She was elected senator at large and hasn't looked back.
"I knew she would do a good job before I was done with my first semester as president," Jamnick said. "You kind of look around and ask, "Who would be a good fit to take the reins?" I immediately thought of Amanda."