Recently, HerCampus got the chance to sit down and talk with Olivia Regnier ’19, who is the president of Alpha Phi Omega for the Gamma Pi Chapter, a coed community service frat at U of M, and a quadruple major—yes, you’re reading that correctly. Even though Regnier’s life is packed with daily leadership and academic responsibilities, she was able to carve out some time to share her perspective on balancing a busy lifestyle.
HerCampus: When/why did you join APO?
Olivia Regnier: I joined the first semester of my freshman year, so [it’s been] like six semesters now. [I liked that] There were just these opportunities laid out and I could figure out what [area of service] I liked to do without committing to a specific organization.
HC: What is special about APO?
OR: APO is definitely an org that everyone can find a corner or a little piece of that really speaks to their interests […] In APO, you can be on the dance marathon team and you can participate in blood battle and you can be on make a wish and those are all independent organizations on campus. I get a slice of all of them without having to be a part of thirty-seven organizations and you can make it as broad or as narrow as you want.
HC: When you first joined did you ever see yourself being this high up in the organization?
OR: I wouldn’t say [during] my first semester, but definitely pretty early on […] I was like I’m not going to [become president], but I’m just going to run, like there is no harm in running! And then I got it. So, here I am!
HC: How does it feel to be a female leader in an organization that used to only allow male members?
OR: It’s primarily women now. So, for most of our members, it’s very hard to imagine that at one point women weren’t allowed. We’re definitely over fifty percent [women] now. I would wager to say we are at seventy five percent. [APO’s] previous president was also a female president. So, obviously it didn’t seem insurmountable. [In 2006,] Maggie Katz, our advisor, was the first female national president. The fact that she’s our advisor [makes] you kind of know up front that our chapter is very welcoming to women. She was also one of the most loved APO national presidents and the first to do it from [U of M] and now she has stuck around to help us for years, so I think she’s definitely part of setting that culture that we have so many women in our organization that want to be in leadership roles.
HC: How has your time with APO impacted other areas of your life?
OR: [My previous position as Nature Chair] definitely encouraged me to look at my interests from a more professional standpoint [and] to not just see my hobbies as hobbies, but to turn them into work. [In addition,] APO volunteers with an organization called Crafty Cat [Rescue]. A lot of my roommates are in APO as well […] we volunteered there are we were like I think we need to get a cat. So, we went and we picked her up and she’s perfect and kind of mean, but that’s okay. She won’t bite you, but she definitely has her own space. She likes to call her own shots, which I guess is kind of like how we all are.
HC: How did you decide to commit to four majors?
OR: As with APO and everything else, I like to over commit myself and get in over my head very quickly. [My majors] just kind of kept accumulating. I declared political science at the end of my freshman year and was like yeah this is a good base and then I met with an advisor and they were like ‘yeah political science goes really well with international studies. There’s a lot of overlap and they really complement each other.’ So, I was like yeah, okay I’ll do that. That sounds cool. Then, I started taking Russian as my LSA requirement for language and got really far up in the program and I met with another advisor and they were like ‘you’re really so close, you should just do the major’ and I was like okay I can do that. I’m also a PitE major. So, I went to Camp Davis through U of M. It’s like a geological field station where they gave classes. I went one summer to take classes mostly to fulfill natural science requirements and was like yeah, I really like that. Okay, I’ll add that too. So that’s how they all came to be! I will [graduate in] four and a half years.
HC: What advice would you give to other students who are balancing a lot in their life?
OR: Let some stuff go—I’ve been working on that this semester a lot. Just don’t take the weight of the world on your shoulders. You can only control what you can control, which is sometimes a lot more than you would think [but] find what you like and make that work without feeling like you have to do everything. [Let] go of the feeling that everything is insurmountable.
Photo Caption: Olivia Regnier ’19 poses with her cat Blu, who she adopted from Crafty Cat Rescue after volunteering at the organization through APO.
Image curtesy of Olivia Regnier.