The makings of a student president

Pat Gareau, Creative Editor

Grace Harrison and Jesse Tilley have a lot in common. First and foremost, they have both been elected Student President at Hudson Valley. Harrison, elected last week, will be replacing current president Tilley for next year and will also serve as Student Trustee.

This will make two consecutive Student Presidents that do not come from large high schools.

Harrison attended the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in Ghent, which has a non-traditional curriculum including a “zero test” environment and art based learning.

“It gave me an interesting perspective on education in general,” she said. “I wish more students could have a non-traditional education. It gave me a love for school.”

Harrison also spent three years being home schooled, as well as spending her sophomore year in Geneva, Switzerland at an alternative education Steiner School. She entered Hudson Valley this year and is completing her junior and senior years while enrolled in college.

Tilley comes from a more traditional public school background, but his graduating class at Heatley School in Green Island had only 25 students.

For both of them, becoming Student Senate President continued their previously established involvement in extracurricular activities.

When financial stress caused clubs to go unfunded at Heatly while Tilley was there, he was able to successfully restart the Key Club, drama club, newspaper and debate clubs. He was president of each of these clubs while also serving as vice president of the student council.

He believes in the value of extracurricular activities, and as it relates to Hudson Valley, he said that if students don’t participate they are missing out.

 “You will only receive half of what this college has to offer,” he said. “By doing the extracurriculars it really makes you feel at home on campus.”

Harrison also has had an active off campus life. She plays multiple instruments, sports and has written for The Hudsonian this year. In addition to that, she helps manage her family farm, Cowberry Crossing, where she runs their farmers markets in Westchester and New York City.

Like Tilley, Harrison believes extracurriculars are important and student involvement is one of her top priorities upon taking office.

“It’s extremely important. Since it’s a two year school, everyone comes for their classes, does some work in the library, then leaves,” Harrison said.

 Harrison hopes that she can help create an environment where more students are active on campus outside of their classes. In order to do so, she wants to hear from students on what they want.

“I’m coming into office without any preconceived agenda. I would like to see what [students] like,” she said. “One of my goals is to find a way to reach everyone.”

Tilley will be moving on to UAlbany, where he is majoring in philosophy and considering history or sociology as a minor. He plans to go to law school afterward to become an attorney.

His advice to the Harrison and the other newly elected officers, “I’d tell the administration to prepare over the summer. The most important thing to be successful in any of these offices is to hit the ground running.”

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