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Scott Phillips, from Budd Lake, NJ, is currently the VP of the student government association, but you might catch him playing soccer or showing visitors all that Rider has to offer because he is also a member of the soccer club and a tour guide. We were fascinated with all the work he does and by the incredible influence he has on campus and thought you all would love to know more about him, where his drive comes from, his future goals and how he defines success.

HC: You are the vice president of the student government association, what does that mean to you? 
SP: That’s a tough question. I hadn’t always wanted to be vice president. I wasn’t even active in anything outside of drama club and soccer in high school. Vice president didn’t really figure into the equation until a month before the spring elections two years ago. It was brought to my attention by Dave and Danielle and a lot of people had faith in me. To me, being vice president means looking back on the past two years and knowing that I made a difference. Knowing that I either changed Rider physically or I changed SGA as an organization would mean a lot to me. I’m thankful every day that I’m in SGA because I would have just drifted through college, performed well in class, just hung out, and let the experience pass me by.

HC: VP is an eminent role, what would you say to someone who aspires to have that position in the future?  SP: I would say to future vice presidents have confidence in your abilities and listen to the students. The students are the people you represent and they are the people who will help you most. It’s collaborative effort so never think you were meant to do everything on your own. Your mentors will guide you along the way. Take into account how things have been organized in the past but don’t be afraid to make changes. Be your own person and blaze your own trail!!  

HC: What is the most rewarding part of being involved on campus?
SP: The most rewarding part for me is being that “go-to” person. I like that students feel they can come to me if they have problems or questions. Being reliable is the best part about being involved on campus. I decided to take that next step towards becoming a leader when Dave Keenan called me into his office and told me about the potential he saw in me. Dave as well as my older sister, Danielle, encouraged me to become more active on campus and become a leader. I’m motivated by others and the SGA organization. I work with some of the best people on campus and I would never do anything to let them down.

HC: With that said, what has been the most rewarding moment for you at Rider?
SP: The most rewarding moment for me so far has been working with SGA the past two years on Relay for Life. Two years ago the event didn’t exist. One of our members had a vision and had the will to follow through no matter what. We have had the most successful college Relay in the state of NJ two years in a row.  It’s the biggest event on campus besides MAACness….in only two years!! It’s incredible to be able to look at the event and everyone that’s brought together and say “I was part of something great”.  Also, I worked for Study Tours in California two summers ago and it was the greatest experience of my life. The people I worked with and the students I met were unforgettable. I never expected to be a part of these two things but it showed me that I can succeed in a variety of different settings.

HC: We hear you have a thing for soccer, is that what you do to unwind after such a grueling schedule and heavy load of responsibilities?
SP: Absolutely!!! I student taught this past fall and it was stressful at times. I constantly thought about how I could improve my teaching and how I can motivate my students.  I needed something to take my mind off of school and SGA for once in my day. I joined the soccer club and when I step onto the field, I leave everything behind and focus only on soccer. I also go to several professional soccer matches a year and read about my favorite teams online. I hope to be a coach one day for the high school I work at.
 
HC: You see yourself one day being a high school history teacher, why?
SP: Sometimes I think I was born to teach. Teaching is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.  Knowing I’ve made a difference in a young person’s life is an incredible feeling. I chose history because I felt it had the biggest day-to-day impact. We can look back on history and learn lessons from those before us and apply it to our every day lives. I enjoy teaching high school because the students are at a unique point in their lives. I can have an intelligent conversation with them but also joke around in a mature way. I can identify well with what the students are dealing with at that age. I had an incredible high school experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I evolved (literally, you should see pictures between my freshman and senior years!) into the person I am because of the things I was involved with and the people I surrounded myself with.

HC: What qualities do you possess that you think will make you a good teacher? 
SP: I am passionate about teaching. This is something I see myself doing for the rest of my life and never wanting to miss a day of it. I am enthusiastic and outgoing so I can have fun in the classroom.  I also hold students accountable for their work and their actions.  Above all, I care. A teacher cannot be successful unless they care about their students.  Teddy Roosevelt once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This has been my teaching philosophy for the past two years.

HC: How or when did you know you wanted to do what you want to do?
SP: In high school I had a history teacher for three years in a row. He taught me a lot about history but also about finding happiness within. He taught a lot of life and I just knew I wanted to have the same influence he had on me. For years I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but halfway through high school I just knew teaching would be perfect for me. My experience in college strengthened that feeling and now I’m on my way to becoming a teacher. I almost decided to major in education and math but I thought history would suit me better. If I wasn’t a teacher, I would have liked to write sketch comedy for Saturday Night Live. My friends and I had the opportunity in high school to write a lot of sketch comedy bits and I loved it!

HC: What does success mean to you?
SP: Success to me is simply being happy. I’m content with where I am right now and if I stop feeling happy then I’ll have to change something. I think success, like true happiness, is measured differently for everyone. I’m successful when I’m helping others and making connections with people. I try not to collect material things or have expensive things because I know that doesn’t measure success.

You can connect with Scott on Facebook.
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