By Jesse Rice
On April 28, I sat down for an exit interview with Student Body President Caleb Bogia-Curles.
Let’s start with your name, year, and major.
Caleb Bogia-Curles. I’m a graduating senior and a pre-seminary major.
Why did you enter into student government?
Initially I wanted to freshman year but wasn’t able to; I just wasn’t elected. And sophomore year, I had the opportunity to be class vice president. I did it because I really just wanted to serve the student body in that capacity. It seemed like something right up my alley. And, like, hey, if God provides the opportunity I’ll do it. And I did it, I really liked it, and when the opportunity for student body president opened up, I’m like… all the better. I’ll get even more done for the people here.
What is the role of Student Government?
Student Government’s role is to ensure the students’ needs are being met across campus and also [to] act as a liaison between the faculty and the students.
What experience have you had in Student Government before this year, or just leadership in general?
Let’s see… High school, the big one was I was the regimental public affairs officer for my school… [it] was a military school. I was in charge of public relations for students there, at least, and for the school too. So whenever we would have big guests come, like the National Guard commander, senators, we had a lot of big dignitaries to try and show off the school all the time, they’d always have me talk to them and bring them around, write them letters, and that sort of thing. Then I’d do the announcements every day, and I had six people working under me. I’d do all that.
I was an intern in my youth group too. So the assistant youth leader, basically… the assistant youth pastor.
What caused you to run for office last year?
I’d always wanted to do something like that, for just the service opportunity that it is, and for the experience of it. I thought it could be like [a] tremendous time of growth, getting stretched and still be able to serve people with the gifts that God’s given me. Whereas [in] some other capacities I might not be able to as well. So the opportunity came up, and I’d always wanted it for that reason, and I’m like, “Hey, why not? Let me try to serve in this way. I don’t want to just sit around and twiddle my thumbs and be bored here on campus. I might as well try to do something that matters to more people than just me. So let me do this.”
What do you feel you have accomplished this year as SGA president?
I hope that as president I laid a groundwork for it in that… in two ways.
One: externally, outside of the organization, allowing people, even with little things like [the] logo change, to see the SGA as a bridge between the students and the faculty, rather than just [as] an extension of the faculty. The answer is SGA is both. It is, indeed, a part of Student Life, but it’s also a bridge between students and the school. I think before my time it was very much just another extension of the school. That’s one of the things I tried to accomplish; how well I did, I don’t know. I hope I did pretty well with that; it seems to be.
The other way is internal; [we] made a lot of changes over time. We slimmed down the roles in there; we slimmed down the budget. I forget the percentage… basically we cut the SGA from 40 people down to 30, and we cut our budget by 25 percent. That was mostly the urging of our advisors: Scott Boyer and Sarah Dillon. They were instrumental in helping us get that change through, and we wanted to have them help with it.
Were there any things which you wished you could have accomplished and just couldn’t get done?
Yeah, there’s plenty of that. I had too high of a drive going in and treated it like a full time job quite often. So I would just burn myself out a couple different times on it. It’s especially difficult because it’s a small stipend and not a paying job, so all the time I still had to work public safety just for any kind of income. And the levels of work I was putting into that…. Last semester… I was only taking 12 credits both semesters, but last semester I did all my schoolwork for the semester after it ended; I had really merciful professors. This semester, I’m doing it all in the last month in addition to five classes on Straighter Line just so I can graduate. There’s still a ton of SGA stuff I wish I could have gotten done, but I’ve put my schoolwork on the back-burner enough already.
Specifically, I wish we could have started to build more bridges between the different cliques on campus, unifying all of them. Jocks, nerds, spiritual people, business people, you name it… I’m not trying to draw dichotomies here, just different cliques. Other than that, big manageable tasks…. More just smaller things along the way. Everything big besides the charger bucks that we wanted to get done got done.
What specifically would you say those big things were?
Big things… just increasing the reputation of the SGA outside, and the internal efficiency of it. And getting water in the dorms; that was a huge win when that happened.
Getting the office actually up and running for the student organizations. Another one: we created what’s now going to be renamed to Student Organization Council, what used to be Auctoritas, and all that that is is a convention of every student organization on campus. When that started, we had twelve. Now, I think we have sixteen. So we inducted a lot of them this year; that’s a big win to me too. That we were able to put extra money in our budget to student organizations so that they can do the work. The SGA should not be “God” on this campus, and doing all the work and all the ministry. We’re supposed to be the governing body. It’s up to the local churches, shall we say… it’s up to us to empower the local churches, if you will, to go out and do the ministry.
I wish I could have gotten to do a lot more direct discipleship. I got to enjoy that in some capacities in the senate, but… direct discipleship one-on-one with different senate members, I wanted to do a lot better, but didn’t have time for any of us, especially the second half of the year.
How do you feel about the upcoming cabinet?
The upcoming cabinet? Molly and Josh? I think they’re great. I’ve served with them both over this last year, and I know they’re hearts. I think that they’re taking the SGA in a very positive direction. It might not be exactly what I would have done myself, as I know it’s not going to be with any transition, but I think they know what they’re doing and they try to do the right thing in everything. That being said, all I can do at this point, and have been doing over the last month, is just steadily getting out of their way and empowering them to do what they’re going to do better. Some of their internal things with the SGA, I’m kind of surprised that everyone was on board with it at first, like our advisors, but it’s like awesome stuff. We’re slimming down the senate and making the senate more intentional. I like that. Revising the constitution, making it wonderful. So they’re internal changes are already great. As for what they do on campus, I think it’s going to be really cool.
What have you learned over your time as student body president?
So… learned how to be on the clock 24/7. Like my typical sleep schedule was about 1:30 to 8 for a long time. I would get texts and FB messages and everything all throughout those hours. And emails, emails galore! There were some days I got like fifty emails some days. And people at like full time jobs get that, and that’s normal, but I’m still a student and it’s a little ridiculous, especially because I’m only getting a small stipend for it all. It’s kind of taxing. But I had passion for it so I threw myself into it.
I learned a couple things: how to guard myself and my own health, that being spiritual, mental and physical. Just how to guard myself from my job, because I am a workaholic by nature. I learned how to not be. I learned how to guard my family, in a sense; as close as family as I have up here. So like my church back home that I’m interning at, I learned how to guard time with them, how to guard time for my fiancé, how to guard time with my closest friends here. That is going to be extremely useful in pastoral ministry. Knowing how to set up healthy boundaries between work and family. So that is something that’s truly a blessing from the SGA.
Also, I just learned how to do a lot of administrative tasks more efficiently. How to always be good about getting back at emails right away or responding to stuff all the time without having to be answering everything as it comes. There are different techniques that are useful for it, just the more you do it the better you get. Also how to communicate effectively in meetings. I love meetings, personally, so we always had a ton of them, so that can get really exhausting sometimes. But we were always on pretty good page with things because of that, despite the massive amount of stuff we were doing. So learned how to send agendas before the meeting, have us walk in there and all be on the same page, walk out of there with the right resolutions. How to run them efficiently. They just weren’t always fun.
Anything else you want to add as you are leaving college?
LBC is a special place. It’s always going to hold a good place in my heart. They do a lot of things well here, and in my position, it’s easy just to hear everything that’s done poorly. People will come to you just to complain. But even after some of our big wins, wins for like the 95 percent of the population who wouldn’t come and say thank you, and the five percent would come and say, “Hey, why didn’t we win too?”
So it’s easy to hear that from where I am, but still LBC is a place that does a lot of things right, and it is really cool to be a part of that and to help bring everybody along in one community here. It’s just a really Christ-honoring place.
Thank you very much.
Photo Credit: KK Schultz