Catherine Haines ‘12 still finds herself in disbelief that she has been elected to serve as SGA student body president during her senior year. “Before I was even involved in SGA, I watched Taylor Brorby give his Opening Convocation speech my freshman year,” said Haines. “I knew then that I wanted to be a part of SGA, and thought briefly about one day pursuing the presidency, but it seemed far too out of reach for me.”
Haines’ experience on Day One pushed her to apply to be a first year member of SAC, and she ended up becoming the SAC representative on the Lutefest committee. This lead to Haines becoming chair of the Homecoming committee during her sophomore year.
This year, Haines became the coordinator of the whole of the Students Activities Committee, coordinating Homecoming again, but also tackling other projects like this year’s President’s Ball, scheduled to be held April 14th in the Ballrooms of Buntrock.
Because of this leadership role, Haines became a part of the SGA Senate, where she developed a strong passion for the overall mission of the Student Government Association. This is also where she met her running mate, now Vice President-elect Matt Alveshere, an economics and political science major, who was also interested in higher leadership in SGA.
“Our experience fit together so well, and in the positions we were going for, that we became an obvious pair,” said Haines. She also is quick to share a small fun fact about Alveshere: he’s one of the founding members of STOCRO, the St. Olaf croquet club.
The two worked tirelessly, going door to door and table to table the days before elections, making sure that they were able to personally connect with most of the St. Olaf community. Both Haines and Alveshere were drawn to Olaf because of this sense of community, and they feel this community permeates into SGA. They plan on extending this community to SGA even more, by making SGA more transparent and available to the average St. Olaf student.
Haines, who is currently a chemistry major with hopes of becoming licensed in high school and middle school chemistry and science, is especially excited to see if another passion of hers, higher education administration, would be a more suitable career option.
“Being president of SGA is as close as I can get to experiencing what that would be like,” she explains. “Working alongside Kris Vatter and Geoff Swanson in a more detailed way, along with other college staff, will give me an idea if this is the direction I should be going.”
On a lighter note, Haines is an avid art lover, and, at one point, considered a major in art history. She spent this past J-term in Florence soaking up art and culture with other Oles. She also grew up in a tight community of inland lake competitive sailors, and is also afraid of sloths.