Harold Crawford, Staff Writer
Harper Wieldt, freshman, chemistry and pre-medical, is a student government senator growing into her position this semester. She went to Villa Duchesne High school and was a leader in the school Academic Club. It was there she honed the necessary problem solving skills that helped prep her for the positions of University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Student Government Association senator and sergeant-at-arms.
Wieldt joined SGA after attending the Fall Expo. She said, “I was just strolling through the tables and the SGA booth caught my eye.” Harper told SGA representatives in the booth that she was interested in getting a weekly or monthly update on what was going on on the campus. She joined the SGA mailing list. Later, an SGA senator explained more about what the position does via email.
She said, “She started explaining more about what SGA does, and I was just really entertained that each week the SGA met to debate issues and interacted with the community.” Sean Burkett, senior, criminology and criminal justice, the SGA president, requested a resume from Wieldt. Shortly after, she was interviewed.
Harper had a combination of attributes that made her a great fit for the open spot on the senate, such as her availability and her desire to interact with the community. Wieldt also faced a challenge accepting the position. She said, “The major challenge I faced was that my high school was [an] all female school, so coming to a university and interacting with people from all walks of life. It was really an eye opener.”
Harper overcame her obstacle by taking advice from Burkett and going out to simply talk to new people on campus. She said, “I started to ask students about their opinions about issues on campus. I was so used to interacting with people my own age.”
Harper serves on a number of committees in her position. She serves on the physical facilities committee, SGA restructure, and student affairs committees. This semester she also serves on the 2018 Trailblazers planning committee for women’s history month. She said, “Being appointed to committees and [meeting] different organizations really opened my eyes to different aspects.”
Along with her increase of diversity, she felt somewhat overwhelmed. Some people assume that SGA members know about everything that goes on at UMSL. Students and faculty alike ask questions Wieldt did not have the answers for. She acknowledged the fact she is not omnipotent. She said, “No, I don’t. And I’m ok with not knowing everything, because that means that I have room to grow.”
Harper definitely displays resilience and adaptability. She said, “I came to SGA, because I had the time commitment and I was really interested in learning about the community. However, it broadened my horizons so much beyond that, because I wasn’t prepared. Although I had the time commitment on Friday, I was constantly learning throughout Monday and Friday with the people I was interacting with. The entire week is my office hours, because I am always trying to improve.”
Wieldt believes this job has helped her develop as a person. She said, “Although I am an introvert, I am not productive without other people. I draw a lot from other people. I feel that I am a more political being now, because I draw off of other people’s energy and their thought process. Listening to other people’s opinions had me develop my own.”
Harper values the views of colleagues and is a team player, who enjoys hearing both sides of the story. Embracing politics has for sure been a great endeavor for Wieldt, but she has no interest in a political career outside of UMSL.