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WATCH: Student Body President Welcomes Students Back to Campus

Drew Smith followed a family tradition when he chose UC, but says getting involved on campus made the experience his very own.

Date: 9/20/2010
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
As a third-generation Bearcat, Student Body President Drew Smith says he feels like he grew up on campus. “My family had season tickets to the basketball and football games,” he explains, “but I had never seen the rest of campus or any of the buildings until I was interviewing for the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program. That’s when I decided I was going to Cincinnati. I just loved it, and it felt like home.”

The generations of Smith Bearcat alums include Drew’s father, Larry (chemical engineering); uncle, Robert (pre-pharmacy); and grandfather, Joseph (business administration).

Drew is a 22-year-old from Columbus – a graduate of Gahanna Lincoln High School – who is majoring in operations management and international business. His scholarship through the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program in the College of Business recognizes students who have demonstrated excellence in academics and leadership. He is also a student in the University Honors Program for academically talented students.

He adds that it was the advice of Lindner Honors-PLUS Program Director Jeri Ricketts that motivated him to make campus connections outside the classroom. “She always says, ‘Don’t just go to class, go to college.’ That’s when I started getting involved in my fraternity and with resident life on campus.”

Smith was a resident advisor (RA) in Siddall Hall his sophomore year and served as president of UC’s Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity last year. He says a Lindner Honors-PLUS and Alpha Epsilon Pi upperclassman – UC’s 2008-09 Student Body President Ryan Rosensweig – encouraged him to become involved in Greek life as well as with Student Government. Rosensweig earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing, sustainable urban engineering and design intelligence in 2009 and is currently a graduate student in UC’s design program.

Drew Smith
UC Student Body President Drew Smith

“He put me on his campaign team and then I was appointed to a cabinet position as director of Campus Services,” Smith says. “The next year, I held another cabinet position as director of Greek Affairs, and then I ran for the position of Student Body President.”

Smith and Student Body Vice President Mark Rooney, an accounting major and  Lindner Honors-PLUS scholar, are at work on their campaign strategy to emphasize stronger connections to build a stronger future for UC’s students. Two big Student Government-related initiatives for fall quarter include an open house to meet all of the teams representing UC Athletics and a bus trip to Paul Brown Stadium for the UC/Oklahoma game on Sept. 25.

As part of Student Government’s role in connecting with the community, student leaders are promoting October as Sustainability Month. “Our goal is to get 2,500 students to sign a pledge that they’re committing to living a sustainable lifestyle,” Smith says. “We’re also going to be selling green-themed T-shirts made out of recyclable materials.”

Smith says the student pledge involves a commitment to reuse and recycle. Students will be encouraged to recycle plastic and glass bottles, use energy-saver lightbulbs and cut back on water usage by taking shorter showers.

Smith adds that Student Government is also at work on connecting with Cincinnati businesses as part of their “UC First,” strategy, an effort to encourage Cincinnati employers to recruit UC students as top prospects for co-ops and jobs after graduation.

Drew Smith

He says his six-term co-op experiences with General Electric have secured a job for him in GE’s elite two-year operations management leadership program (OMLP) after he graduates in the spring. Smith says he also gained valuable insight from his Lindner Honors-PLUS study abroad experience, which took students to London, Finland, Brussels, Geneva and Munich in the summer of 2009. Students met with top company executives such as Unilever CEO Paul Polman, a UC alum and UC’s 2009 Spring Commencement speaker. “It was amazing,” Smith recalls. “I got to see him at Commencement and then two months later, we were eating lunch with him. We also met with other top executives including representatives of Procter & Gamble.

“At the end of the trip, we could take personal travel days, so I got to see 10 different countries over six weeks,” says Smith.

Looking back on his UC experience, Smith says he never imagined he would accomplish so much. His advice for new and returning students is to build their networks to be the best that they can be. “Before you know it, you’re not only doing great things for the university and community, but you’re also helping to change people’s lives. There are so many opportunities. Make sure you take advantage of them and get involved.”

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