Brimming with energy, 17-year-old Elyse Flury has her sights set on the future, while clearly enjoying her present-day experience at Pierce College.
A second year Running Start student and senior at Puyallup High School, Flury will head to Boise State University this fall, with her associate’s degree from Pierce. She plans to major in communications.
Since Aug, 2018, Flury has served as President of the Associated Students of Pierce College Puyallup, a paid annual position she applied for last year, encouraged by one of her professors. She says the skills and experience she’s gaining in this role will help her in college and beyond.
“This job is the best thing that’s happened to me,” she says. “I love it. I love being a leader.”
The schedule is flexible and entails 60-plus hours a month of work. “What surprised me is the amount of work it takes,” she says. “This job is my life and every day is different.”
So what exactly does a student president do? Flury leads the Office of Student Life, located in the College Center Building, on behalf of all Pierce College Puyallup students, reporting to Sean Cooke, director of Student Life. She oversees 19 other students who represent the Clubs Board, Activities Board and Student Government.
“I’m proud of how we’ve all come together as a team,” Flury says. “All of us were new to our roles back in August.”
Together, they determine how to spend the Service and Activities fees budget to support student clubs, events and other activities.
For example, they are funding buses for students who want to attend the Women’s March in Seattle on Jan. 19. “We always encourage everyone with an idea to apply for funding,” she says.
Each month, Flury also represents the Office of Student Life and the Puyallup student body at the Pierce College Board of Trustees meeting. “I give a five-minute summary of what we’ve has been working on for the past month,” she says. “It can be kind of stressful,” she adds with a smile. Yet she appreciates how this responsibility is helping to hone her presentation skills.
Overall, Flury says the most important aspect of her role is serving as an advocate for students.
“We’re here for the betterment of students,” she says. “Engaged students are successful students. Studies have shown that when students are engaged in college activities besides class work, their performance improves.”
Her goal is to continue getting the word out to students about all the support and activities available to them.
“It’s fair to say a lot of students walk by the Student Life Office and don’t know what we do. We surveyed students about their needs and it turns out the college already has the resources in place they are asking for. They just don’t know about it.
“We’re here to improve their Pierce College experience and help them in any way we can. We want students to stop by the office, find out what’s available to them, bring up any complaints or concerns.”
Next August, as Flury heads to Boise State, the student president role will be filled by someone else. How would she advise other students thinking of applying for this job?
“I would say absolutely do it,” she says. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. The skills are great and it will help build your resume.”
Reprinted, with permission, from the Pierce College website.