Since his arrival on campus, however, Currie has taken advantage of many opportunities. In addition to pursuing a quadruple major—in history, philosophy, political science, and ethics and public policy—the senior has been involved with MayCo, Mayflower’s residence hall government; College Republicans; University Lecture Committee; Student Publications, Inc., which oversees the Daily Iowan; 10,000 Hours Show; Dance Marathon; UI Sailing Club; and Students Today, Leaders Forever, a volunteer-based organization that travels the country over spring break doing service projects. He also has held part-time jobs in University Housing, at a law firm, and at Wal-Mart.
He recently spoke with Parent Times about his involvement in UI Student Government.
How did you get started in student government, and why?
I thought it would be a fun experience, so I ran for senate in the spring semester of my first year and won. What piqued my interest was learning that about $60 of my tuition went to the student government and that the student government decided where and how that money was spent. I wanted to have input into how my money was being spent. I became entrenched with student government, and last year I chaired the finance committee. It seemed like a natural progression to run for president my senior year and I thought I could do a good job, so I gave it a shot.
What do students work on in UISG?
We have a $1.7 million budget and some of that money goes to the Collegiate Readership Program, which offers free newspapers to students and has been really successful here. This year we organized the first annual Hawkapalooza, a big concert at the beginning of the year to get students excited about sports and excited to be here. We provide a sounding board for the University administration and attend the Regents meetings to give our opinion on issues and make recommendations.
We also give scholarships, appoint students to UI charter committees, and run a parking and appeals review committee. We have a city council liaison who attends city council meetings and offers a student perspective. We lobby state legislators in the spring on behalf of the student body, and also take an annual trip to Washington, D.C.
And we’re the face of the students. Whenever President Mason or the administration needs someone to represent the student body, they usually come to student government and we appoint someone. We also have our own list of popular issues that we hope to accomplish.
Tell us about some of your accomplishments so far this year.
A trial program we’re funding is the new eastside Cambus loop. It’s a safe-ride bus route that runs from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights around the Pentacrest and out to the neighborhoods immediately east of campus. Another thing we worked on that came out of the Partnership for Alcohol Safety is a program with the Coralville transit system: after 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, students with a University ID card can ride on any Coralville bus for free. Many first- and second-year students don’t have vehicles, so now they have the means to get to the Coral Ridge Mall—and they have an alternative to going to the bars downtown.
We’re also working on revamping the second-grade option policy. Right now students can only retake a class for a second grade if they get a C- or below in that class. We want students to be able to retake any class for which they received any grade.
How would you describe your overall experience at Iowa?
It’s been great. I can’t conceive of having more fun—I get to spend every day with my best friends. I’ve had great opportunities that I don’t know if I’ll be privileged to have again—like sitting in the president’s box during home football games, and getting to eat with Karl Rove—just me and him—because of my involvement in the Lecture Committee. Stuff like that is so surreal.
I think I’m the luckiest person in the world. I’m so glad I picked Iowa. If you have any ambition, there are a million different opportunities here for you to get involved in one thing or another—maybe a student organization, an interest group, any type of volunteer organization, anything like that. You have opportunities to get experience and be successful, literally thousands of opportunities; you just have to look for them.
by Sara Epstein Moninger