As most readers know, Miami University elected its next Associated Student Government leaders on March 29th, 2012. Our newest student body vice president is Lizzie Litzow, a junior Kappa Alpha Theta. Her running-mate, and our next ASG president, is John Stefanski. I had a chance to speak with John, a Public Administration major (shocking!) about the elections. John, who prefers Wills Pizza and enjoys a night uptown at The Woods, filled us in on what began his interest in politics:
HC: Congratulations on your recent election! How did you receive the good news and what was the first thing you did upon hearing it?
JS: Nick Huber, the current Student Body President, came in and said that we had won. The room got a bit hectic because Lizzie was screaming and crying because she was so happy. I went and shook Nick's hand and gave Brianna Piccuto (VP of Campus Activities) a hug. We were all so excited and happy that we had won. After that, we went out to MIA to celebrate with Lizzie's mom who came into town for Theta's Mom's Weekend.
HC: When and how did you began preparing for the ASG elections?
JS: Lizzie and I started talking last spring, still contemplating whether or not we would run. We didn't start doing the heavy work (i.e. designing platform, public relations, getting endorsements, logistical stuff) until January. We've been at this for a really long time, and it's awesome to see our hard work pay off.
HC: Tell us a little about your hometown and family.
JS: I grew up in a small suburb of Youngstown called Canfield. It's very quiet, but I had a great childhood there. My father is an attorney who specializes in Industrial/Commercial Development. My mother was a stay-at-home mom when my sister and I were growing up, and she now works in my Dad's office. My Sister, Jen, is 24 and will be receiving her Masters in Computer Animation from the School of Visual Arts this May. She does 2D and 3D Computer Animation. It's really cool, especially when I get animated cartoons for my birthday. We just got a miniature goldendoodle, Toffee. She is my Mom's dog for sure. I always joke that Toffee is the replacement for my sister and I.
HC: What began your interest in politics?
JS: I've always been interested in it. I remember questioning how schools were funded when I was younger. I've always had a thing for government.
HC: Did you participate in student government activities in high school?
JS: No, our student government back in high school was kind of pointless. I had friends who were in it, but they predominately just planned dances (something I had no interest in whatsoever).
HC: Do you have a political role model?
JS: My grandmother used to talk to me about politics and the issues, as did my father. I credit them for helping cultivate my values and views toward government, as well as my passion for good government.
HC: What is your favorite part about participating in student government?
JS: My favorite part is interacting with administrators and expressing the concerns of my fellow students. We are very lucky to have an administration at Miami that is very interested with the concerns of the student body.
HC: What are a few of your major plans for Miami University?
JS: I want to make sure that a medical amnesty rule is put in place. It is gaining support, and I would love to see it be in place for next year. We also want to start a dialogue with the administration to begin looking at ways to overhaul the way academic advising is done. There are also some changes that need to happen with regard to night-time door to door. Those are some of the things I want to address first.
HC: What do you think will be the most difficult part about being president?
JS: I think the most difficult part of being ASG President will be making sure that all I want to do gets accomplished. We have a very ambitious plan, but I am confident that Lizzie and I, along with ASG, will get most of it done.
HC: What other activities are you involved in on campus?
JS: Besides ASG, I'm a member of the fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. I've hosted over 50 episodes of the John Stefanski Show on RedhawkRadio.com, and I'm the President of the Miami Association for Public Administration. I'm also an Undergraduate Research Associate with the Center for Public Management and Regional Affairs, where I help with the projects and surveys they provide.