UWF's New Student Body President: Jake Hebert

Name: Jake Hebert

Major: Cyber security

Year: Senior

Instagram: @jakeisabear

Elections for UWF Student Government took place April 4-6. Jake Hebert ran for UWF’s student body president along with Kishane Patel, his running mate, for the 2016-17 Student Government Association. They were sworn in Friday, April 8.

Jake decided to run for president because of his past experience in SGA. Though he didn’t join hoping to one day be president, his experience as senator Spring of his sophomore year, senate president his junior year, and as vice president with Daniel McBurney this past year all crystalized his desire to become the UWF student body president.

“I actually thought about running for president last year, but I got to know McBurney a lot better last year, and I ran with him. As soon as I ran with him, I knew I wanted to be president the next year,” Jake said.

Choosing a running mate is essential, but it wasn’t a hard choice for Jake. Kishane Patel joined SGA as a freshmen and Jake has seen him exceed expectations in whatever he’s done while showing himself to be a competent leader. Kishane has served as the freshmen committee chair and McBurney chose him as chief of staff for the past administration.

“[Kishane was] always the person to come into the office and make sure everyone was focused on the goals and that no one was getting down on whatever was happening or anything…For me it was just common sense that he was the best leader in SGA I could’ve run with.,” Jake noted.

Photo courtesy Hebert/Patel 2016 Facebook page

The Hebert/Patel ticket was uncontested this election. But the lack of competition didn’t seem to change much of their campaign strategy. Jake said that as of February, they still didn’t know if anyone else would be running against them. They made the decision early-on to campaign no matter who was or wasn’t running. Jake didn’t want to be blindsided, but he also wanted to use campaign season and elections to reach out to the student body.

“We still made sure that people knew our message and that we had a good platform that people could hold us accountable to throughout the year,” Jake said.

Their campaign slogan, “innovative leadership, endless possibilities,” came from the goal of distinguishing themselves from the past administration. McBurney and Hebert ran last year under a common sense mantra that would hold SGA leaders fiscally responsible. Now, they are comfortable in that role, and though Jake plans on continuing with common sense, that’s not the highlight of his future administration.

“We sat down and said, we need to be prepared to go into a hard year of hard work and make sure we can really come up with some innovative ideas that students care about and will really affect each student.”

Jake wants to see several changes to the UWF campus. Some of these changes include working with Chartwells to create an environment where students choose to eat at the Nautilus Market because they want to and not out of necessity or budgetary restrictions.

Jake also wants to provide a safer campus by bettering cell phone coverage for students. He says right now, Verizon is the only provider who somewhat consistently has decent coverage across campus and students need to know their cell phone is going to work in case of an emergency.

He also wants to improve lighting on campus.

“Everyone sees that the campus is dark, and sometimes you feel unsafe at night. That’s something important we need to address as soon as possible. It can’t just be addressed once, it has to be addressed over and over throughout the year.”

Photo courtesy Jake Hebert

The leadership Jakes has goes back before SGA. He helped found the Rotaract club on campus and served as its first president. He cites it as a huge leadership learning experience.

“[Learning] how to use officers and how to use committees was a huge task. After my first semester in college, the next year and a half was surrounding that up until I joined SGA.”

Staying involved on campus keeps Jake busy, but it’s a balancing act, one that he says doesn’t always include balance.

“Sometimes I don’t balance. Sometimes things fall through, and the best I can do is pick up where I was at… I have a tendency to take on too much,” Jake said.

To combat this, he uses Google Calendar to stay organized to the minute. If an event or meeting isn’t on there, he won’t remember to go.

Whenever Jake does have free time he loves to go camping in his hammock. He traces his love for nature to his training as a boy scout.

“I have a hammock I like to use, but I don’t get to use it on campus very often just because I don’t always have it with me or a lot of times I’m in a suit.”

Jake also visits the beach occasionally with his skim board when he can.

Though he says it might be more work than play, Jake loves his fraternity, Sigma Chi, and says he always has a lot of fun hanging out with his brothers.

When asked about one thing most people don’t know about him, Jake said he participated in competitive drumline in both high school and his first year in college. Jake describes it as a theatrical indoor marching show or something like a marching band without the wind instruments.

“It was a huge part of my life for a long time,” he says.

Immediately following graduation, Jake hopes to work for some local computer science companies like App River, if he doesn’t decide to take a semester to do the Disney College Program.

He wants to get experience in his field working at a desk job to get a complete idea of what he will be doing in his career. Once he has good firm roots in cyber security in a local company over the next five years, he wants to step back and decide where to go from there. He’s considered getting involved with local government or even the FBI in a cyber security job.

For now, he’s focused on making UWF a btter place for its students. His advice is to Argos is for them to recognize that our campus is special compared to other universities.

“The small campus we have here allows students to make an impact in whatever they want to be involved in. If you go and join an organization, I guarantee you can have a leadership position in six months. I think it’s extremely important for students to get involved in whatever it is they want to do,” Jake advises.

Jake asks students to remember that their office is always open anytime 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and they love it when students come in and let them know what’s going on in the campus community.