Two Seniors to Rule Them All: An Interview with Our Senior Class Presidents
Senior year can be an especially hectic and worrying time for Mudd students. With the end of our Mudd careers on the horizon, most of us aren’t thinking about what extra responsibilities we can undertake as we journey through our final year of undergrad. Seniors Lee Norgaard and Owen Morrison, however, decided to help us end our Mudd careers with a bang by planning our amazing senior events for us as our Class Presidents. We sat down with them to hear what they had to say about their decision to become Class Presidents, what the role has been like, and whether they’d recommend the job to future seniors.
Muddraker: Why did you run for Class President our senior year of Mudd?
Owen Morrison: I wasn’t considering running for class president, and then I got a message from Lee saying, “Hey, want to run for Class President with me?” I was taken aback but then decided that it would be fun. Having a positive impact on the school was something that interested me.
Lee Norgaard: I’m interested in planning events, and the senior events all interested me. I don’t know why I asked Owen.
Owen Morrison: We had to split the votes between the friend groups.
M: There’s a lot of logistical stuff related to graduation, Senior Week, Senior 101 that you had to deal with this year. What are some of these logistics that have proved to be the biggest pain for you?
LN: For me, from the start it was having a $600 budget for 200 people.
OM: So we had to do several fundraising events to get more money, like the shot glass sales and the finals week food.
LN: Senior 101 cost $700 out of $600 budget.
M: Wow. So then how are you paying for Senior Week?
LN: The Senior Class Presidents typically do another [ASHMC] budget request just for Senior Week. We had to come up with events first and then propose the budget.
M: Have any of the typical senior year events been especially rewarding for you both to organize?
OM: I thought Senior 101 was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun to plan and to just see everyone there having a good time. It was rewarding seeing all of our efforts pay off because we were struggling to make trips to BevMo!, inflate the keg–
LN: My poor car. Turns out kegs are round.
OM: So when you put them on the side in a trunk, it rolls around and smashes things.
LN: I think planning San Diego [Senior Week] has also been really fun for me, knowing that over 100 people out of 180 are going together. Also, the senior kickbacks are really fun for me because someone else is planning them and we get to see everyone gather together and just hang out for fun.
OM: It’s good seeing other people excited about planning class events.
M: Aside from the obligatory senior year logistics, you’ve put on several other events to benefit seniors. One of those is the career gathering. Can you tell us more about what sparked that and how the event has been going?
LN: I actually had someone come up to me and say that we should have an event for career-related stuff because they were having trouble finding the motivation to keep applying to places. So I ended up meeting with Judy Fisher [from the Office of Career Services] after the survey [about senior employment] went out. Apparently at that point, which was already second semester, less than 50% of [seniors] had gotten a job and were still searching. We realized it was more people than we thought were still searching.
M: How did the event end up going?
LN: Not as many people showed up as expected, but the people who did go got to talk to Career Services almost one-on-one, and we had a list of alums who were willing to give referrals.
M: Are there other events you’d like to see happen for the senior class or other events you’re working on?
OM: One thing that I’ve been working on is the Facebook groups by cities for seniors. That was initially an idea from the CMC Class Presidents who wanted a 5C-wide [network of Facebook groups]. But through feedback, some Mudders have expressed interest in just connecting with Mudders, which is fine. But it’s been cool creating those group, seeing where everyone is going, seeing the interaction amongst everyone in the groups. Every once in a while we’ll get another response, and that always makes me feel happy because it means another person got a job or a grad school offer.
M: Has being Class President changed your perspective of Mudd and/or the senior class?
OM: I guess the big one for me has been going to the senior kickbacks. Seeing each dorm putting on their own event spearheaded by someone in that dorm is pretty awesome. Seeing people take initiative to connect with others in the class but also put their own spin on it has been rewarding and a cool experience to watch happen. Those things do happen on their own, but they stay pretty isolated. These are advertised to the whole senior class, and I’m not sure how much overlap [between friend groups] there is at the kickbacks, but just the fact that the offer is out there.
LN: It’s nice knowing what other people are thinking because people actually come up to us and tell us what should be changed. I’m constantly sending out surveys, so it’s really fun to see the results from those, and what proportion of people think this versus that always surprises me.
OM: I love reading the survey results too.
M: Is being Class President everything you thought it would be? What surprised you?
LN: Is it weird that I’m not surprised?
OM: In regards to senior-specific stuff, it’s as expected. Dealing with Senate can sometimes be a little much, but I knew when I signed up that it would be part of the job.
M: Would you recommend being Senior Class President to rising juniors?
LN: I would definitely recommend it if you’re the type of person to spend all of your free time or procrastination time planning things. I think everything you put into it is really rewarding, but it depends on if you have time for it.
OM: Yeah, having time is important. I never saw myself as a Class President kind of person, but it’s been fun. It’s rewarding to connect with everybody and talk to people you don’t necessarily talk with, even if it’s just to reply to an email. It gets you out there and gets you more connected with the class.