Episode 62 - Student Government

Jeff Carr, SUU student body president, and Chris Westwood, SUUSA student director, join us on this week's podcast to discuss how they found SUU and why they decided to get involved with student government.

Full Transcript

Steve Meredith: Hi again, everyone, and welcome to Solutions for Higher Education, a podcast featuring Scott L Wyatt, the president of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. I’m your host, Steve Meredith, and I’m joined in-studio today, as he’s working on his microphone, as I always am, by President Wyatt. Hi, Scott. How are you? 

Scott Wyatt: Hello, Steve. Terrific, it’s a great day today. 

Meredith: So, we sometimes do these out of time a little bit, but this one happens to be right in time. We are in the week right before school begins and we decided that we’d like to start a new tradition and invite members of our student government to come and--the incoming, new student government--to come in and talk about the upcoming school year. 

Wyatt: Yeah. 

Meredith: So, why don’t you introduce our guests?

Wyatt: Well, we’re delighted to be joined today. We’ve got two of our student body officers, Jeff Carr, who is the student body president, and then Chris Westwood, who is one of the directors in student government. Both of them from out of state, so…

Meredith: Really?

Wyatt: Jeff is from Dallas, Texas, and Chris, you’re from Burbank, California. But you’ve got connections in Utah, so it’s not like you discovered this place just barely. 

Jeff Carr: No, but we wish we had. [Laughs]

Wyatt: Well, welcome to our podcast today. We’re talking today about, with school starting on Monday, with all of the freshmen on campus, what is it that students are really looking for? Why come? 

Carr: You know, I think that there’s a combination. I think that a lot of the new freshman students are really looking to kind of find themselves as people, as adults, and I think the students who are coming back as sophomores and juniors and seniors are trying to solidify that, and they’re looking to be kind of swept away in the college life and kind of, as they lose themselves, to find themselves. And I think that can take different avenues for what that would mean, whether it’s finding themselves spiritually or finding themselves intellectually or finding who they really feel like they are as people and where they want to go with their life, and I think that the university offers a really wonderful opportunity for them to kind of be on their own in Cedar City in a kind of safe environment for them to experiment and figure out what they like and what they believe and what they want and really be around like-minded people who are looking for the same thing. 

Wyatt: Yeah. Chris, why did you come?

Chris Westwood: You know, a lot of what Jeff said, I’d have to agree with that. Getting out and kind of finding oneself. You know, some people, they just want to get away from parents, others, they just want to kind of prove themselves. And I think that’s a big part. And one other thing that, for me, that brought me here is just I feel like in Cedar City, it’s just this wonderful place that people can really develop and find their potential. There are so many things to do around here just with the natural environment, the National Parks, it’s just a great area to come out. And something for me, it’s just been an area that I’ve always passed through and it’s just somewhere that I always loved to visit and it really just does feel like home for me. 

Wyatt: Yeah. It’s kind of like a place...what I’m hearing you both say is that it’s kind of like a place of coming to yourself. Fully immersing yourself in a life away from home for the first time. Well, not necessarily for the first time, but for some, it’s the first time, some it isn’t. But, immersing yourself into life and discovering a little bit about who you are. 

Carr: Absolutely. 

Westwood: Definitely.

Wyatt: By the time you get done, what is it that you really hope happens to you, Jeff? What are you hoping?

Carr: When I get done…

Wyatt: That’s in two years from now, right? 

Carr: I...yeah, just about two years from now. When I get done, let’s see…

Wyatt: Graduate. 

Carr: When I graduate. I’d like to have my direction in place for the rest of my life. And I’m still in the process of kind of finding myself and what I like and what I want to do, and I think that I have a lot of ideas in that and being involved with student government has helped and becoming involved with school and academic life and really getting to know the professors has helped me. I’ve seen a lot of mentors in people like Doug Bennet and people like Rick Bairett that have helped me see kind of where I want my life to go, but I guess what I want for when I graduate is, I guess it’s two fold. The first one would be I don’t want to have any regrets for things that I didn’t do, things that I didn’t try. Because I feel like this is a really almost unique environment to try new things and to see what you like in an environment where it’s not like you’re going to get...you’re not fired, you’re going to school. It’s not a job, it’s academic life and there’s lots of opportunities and clubs on campus for you to pursue the things that you’re interested in. And then I think also, I’d like to have prepared adequately for whatever my future is going to hold. I’m planning on attending law school and I’d like to have taken the LSAT by that point at least and figured out a little bit more of where I want to go with me and my future family. 

Wyatt: Chris, what’s your hope? Number one hope? 

Westwood: Yeah, a lot of what Jeff said, I kind of feel the same way. College is just kind of this area to find what you like, to find out who you are, what you kind of want to do in life. And I also feel that just the professors at SUU, all of them in the Political Science Department, History Department, whatever department you’re in, they really do help you to find what you want to do in life, what direction you want to take. And for me, I’m also kind of on the law track along here with Jeff, maybe going to law school and getting a master’s and things like that, and so, those are the things that I hope to be able to achieve. And so, SUU is going to be a really great point to jump off from. To know what I like, to have experienced different things, to have tried different academic focuses and just kind of moving on from that. And so, that’s what I really hope to get from just kind of going on from SUU and graduating. 

Meredith: Three lawyers. 

Wyatt: Yeah, Steve…[All laugh]

Meredith: There’s got to be a joke about “Three lawyers and a musician walk into a bar…” Right? I mean, there has to be some kind of…

Westwood: Yeah, probably. 

Wyatt: There’s got to be one, because we all walk into a bar, Steve, it’s just a different bar. 

Meredith: That’s right. Now, that is excellent legal humor...

Carr: Four people walk into a bar…

Meredith: And should remain in court. [Laughter]

Wyatt: Well, I think we’re hearing a theme, and the theme is...what’s so interesting to me about what we’ve been talking about so far is kind of discovery. And Steve, as we’re working here at the university, a lot of times we find ourselves wishing that when students came, they knew what they wanted to do so that the first semester we could get them in the right classes. 

Meredith: Right. 

Wyatt: So that they could graduate early or on time and…

Meredith: And some do. 

Wyatt: And some do. 

Meredith: And many don’t. 

Wyatt: And many...yeah. And so, part of what we’re hearing from you, Jeff and Chris, is that one of the reasons to come to a university is to figure out what you want to do. Not that you know what you want to do so you’re coming here to get it and take care of it, but you’re coming to figure out what you want to do. 

Westwood: Well, and sometimes you know what you want, you think you know what you want to do and you figure out that you were dead wrong. [All laugh] And that’s something to be grateful for because if you just went straight into the job field for that kind of a thing, you’d realize that you made a mistake. And I think that the university offers a wonderful environment where you can fail forward instead of just failing, I guess. 

Wyatt: It’s a great time to practice failing. 

Westwood: Absolutely. 

Carr: Definitely. 

Wyatt: I talk to a lot of students and my own kids that this is the time to figure out, to practice, to take some risks, to learn how to…

Meredith: I still practice. 

Wyatt: Yeah. [Laughs] 

Meredith: At least once or twice a week. Just to keep in practice, I’ll have a huge, embarrassing failure. So…

Wyatt: Yeah. Well, it’s kind of...it’s a great time to learn how to take criticism. 

Meredith: Mhmm. 

Wyatt: Because it’s going to be part of the work environment forever, and a lot of people don’t ever figure out how to take criticism well. And it’s a great time to learn how to have critical conversations with people that when you’re...when you’ve got roommates or girlfriends or boyfriends and you think, “Ah, I don’t want to bring this up.” And the reality is that’s a great time to bring it up, because the stakes are lower. 

Westwood: Definitely. 

Carr: Yeah. 

Wyatt: Once you get a real job and you get real clients or whatever, then all of the sudden, the stakes are higher. This is the best time. 

Meredith: I agree. You obviously both are driven and successful young men. What took you to be part of student government? Was it that? Has this been a part of your lives through junior high and high school? Or did you just come to this since you got at the university? What brought you to student government? 

Carr: Umm...I think...is it OK if I answer first? 

Westwood: Yeah, you’re good. 

Carr: OK. For me, it wasn’t always a part of my life. I grew up very much involved with the arts and with theater and I danced and I sang and I was in show choir and that kind of thing, and I didn’t have a lot of interest in government or student government, or really, academic life, until about my senior year of high school. And although I’d always liked school, I took a government class and it got me kind of interested in politics and the political science of things, and then...but that was it at that point. And then when I got to the university, I took a political science class, and I was an acting major at the time, and it was just fascinating to me and it was something that really just kind of drew me in. And so, I switched my major and I started kind of thinking more along those lines, and so, when the opportunity came to get involved in student government, it seemed like a really cool way to practice a lot of the principles that I had been learning. And I really, in my first few semesters here, came to love the university. And really, I think that’s what drove me into being as involved as I am in student government is I saw a few things that I wanted to fix or that I wanted to do a little bit better or that I wanted to do a little bit differently and that led me to run for office and enough people, I guess, agreed with me that they voted me in and then we’ve just been going from there. But it was...I kind of happily stumbled into it and it’s been really nice. And I think that that’s the biggest thing that I’ve found with the successful students on campus is they find what they are passionate about and they use that passion. It’s that fire that kind of helps them to want to go into the office every day or want to go and study for that extra test or want to go apply for that internship. And it’s the people who care who make what they care about matter. 

Meredith: This will sound like a snarky comment, I don’t mean it to be, but there’s actually quite a lot in common between theater and politics. [All laugh] Seriously, a lot of the things that you learn in theater, persuasive speaking in front of an audience, all of those things are actually pretty good training as an actor to be a politician. Certainly Mr. Reagan thought so. 

Wyatt: Yeah, so, when we interview...not when I interview, but when researchers in Utah, and I think nationally it’s the same, interview businesses about, “What are you looking for in hiring new graduates?” They always say four things. At least, four things become a theme, which include critical thinking skills, oral and written communication skills, and problem solving skills. Two of those are communications. 

Meredith: Right. 

Wyatt: And it doesn't matter what line of work somebody is in, whether it’s law or management or arts...I mean, it’s a long list…

Meredith: It is. 

Wyatt: Everybody has got to be able to communicate well. The more successfully someone communicates, the better they are. That is a big part of this experience. 

Meredith: It is, absolutely. Chris, what brought you to student government? 

Westwood: Well, through high school and middle school, just kind of growing up, I never was really involved with any SPB or any type of management thing, but I was in in Boy Scout and that’s...that was kind of where I learned that I liked to serve people. I liked to put events together, make things work, plan out things. And so, that kind of...it wasn’t really student government though, but I did like to serve other people. And kind of a similar experience with Jeff is I took an AP government class my senior year of high school, and I really liked it. There was a lot of things that came up that were just really interesting to me, and so, I was like, “OK, that kind of seems kind of cool.” When I first came to SUU, I was actually, I think I was an engineering major at the time, and I took some engineering classes and I was like, “You know, this is fun, but I like my poli sci classes better.” And I just liked learning how things come together, how politics is just kind of the heart of the possible. And that student government position is, “What can we do? How can we as a school get to be better?” And my initial joining SUUSA was actually kind of a funny story with Jeff. We were in Professor Bairett’s class and I was sitting right behind him and we would always talk about things that were in class, and he turned around and was like, “Hey Chris, you should apply for SUUSA.” And I was like, “OK.” And so, then I did and now here I am. So, that’s kind of what wanted me to help out SUU and make it better and be a part of it. 

Wyatt: So, and Chris, some of the listeners won’t know what SUUSA is. 

Westwood: Oh, right. SUUSA is just the student government, the student association. And so, that’s just what the SUUSA means is student government and you might see it around quite a bit. 

Wyatt: Very good. Well, so when you’re talking to freshman, you’ve seen a lot of freshmen today. 

Carr: Indeed, yes. 

Westwood: Oh, yeah. 

Wyatt: What do you think is going through their minds?

Carr: You know, it’s fun to watch because you see different things. You see some of them that just look like they’re in a complete panic. Some of them look like they absolutely know what they’re doing, but they look a little bit like they don't know absolutely everything, they just think that they do. And I think it’s a lot of just mixture of nervous excitement. It’s a lot of...they’re going into the unknown and that’s something that’s always a little exciting and a little frightening. And a lot of them are leaving home for the first time, and that’s also something that can be exciting and can be frightening. And I think that they’re really looking for what is going to, I guess, define them in their university experience, and they don’t know what that is yet. And so, it’s a lot of...you see a lot of eyes that are looking around for what could be their next thing. And I saw them walking around the Student Center today and everyone had booths up, the different organizations did for the different things that we have on campus, and you could see them going around and they looked like they were all little Sherlock Holmes’ trying to find where would be the best place for them and what would be the solution to their puzzle. And it’s cool to see. And this will be a place where a lot of them will be able to find “their thing” whatever that may be. 

Wyatt: What can the university be doing to help? We know that we need to teach well and help students get credentials, and we think we know a lot of other things, but when you’re describing this kind of journey of coming to college so that you can discover yourself, I think, Jeff, you said everything from spiritual to purpose to careers and just all of these things about everything that’s going on in your life afterwards, what should we be thinking about? In addition to teaching?

Carr: Umm, I think availability is a big one and ease of access to these different organizations. And i think that Cedar City offers a lot of that already. 

Wyatt: What do you mean, “organizations?”

Carr: Umm, like...kind of like the event that we had on campus today where we have lots of different...it looks almost like a career fair where you have just lots of different options for people to go through and choose just almost like ice cream flavors or something. And I think that we do a good job of putting stuff like that into the Student Center, but I think that if we really facilitate and encourage students to be looking for some way that they can get involved, something that they can build themselves and that we’re helping them with that, I think that that will do a lot of good for them. 

Wyatt: One-on-one relationships, students, faculty and staff, opportunities to be involved in things...

Carr: Mhmm. 

Westwood: Mhmm.

Wyatt: Expanding possibilities, perhaps. 

Carr: Yeah. 

Westwood: Exactly. 

Wyatt: Gaining self confidence...Steve, do you remember this day?

Meredith: Yeah, I do. 

Wyatt: Steve and I are about the same age…

Meredith: Waiting in the bottom of the Park Building up at University of Utah in a great, big, long line to register by hand, by paper, for class. They had just recently left stone tablets, I think. [All laugh] That’s how old you and I are. I whole-heartedly respond positively to what Jeff was just saying. And as a long time teacher of music, one of my most compelling arguments for coming to join the choir, you know, I’ve been a choir guy for 30 years, was, “Look, you don’t have to be a music major. I mean, some of you are going to be music majors and some of you are going to do this for a living, but most of you are not. But come and join this activity, this thing where you have a group of friends all of a sudden because otherwise, when you moved away from home and you’re kind of feeling lost, some of the things that Jeff was describing, finding something to do, whether it’s going to be in choir or joining some sort of a club or finding like-minded individuals or going to a church group or whatever it is, can really be a lifeline. Particularly as you’re just starting out. I know it was for me in my college experience. How about you, President? Do you remember day one? 

Wyatt: Yeah, no, I actually don’t remember day one, but I do remember when I registered, and they discovered I hadn’t taken the ACT test. [Laughter] It wasn’t really something I was thinking about. I had a scholarship to participate on a team. If I just leave it like that, you’ll think that maybe it was the basketball team…

Meredith: It was athletics…

Wyatt: It wasn’t. [All laugh] 

Meredith: Well, now we need to dig just a little bit. 

Wyatt: It was the debate team. 

Meredith: OK. 

Carr: Oh.

Westwood: Well, that’s still a team. 

Wyatt: But I wasn’t really concerned. I wasn’t concerned. Somebody said, this nice lady at the desk, “You can’t register until you’ve taken the ACT test.” And so, I said, “Well, how do I do that?” And she said, “Well, if you just go down the hall,” this was Old Main at Utah State, “You can just take the test there.” So, I walked down, took the test, came back and signed up for my classes. I still don’t, to this day, know what my score is. [All laugh] And I obviously didn't study for it. 

Meredith: It didn’t hold you back. 

Wyatt: No, it was...but I remember so many moments that what you’re talking about, Jeff and Chris, come back to my memory, and one of them, one of many, was that when I had your job on campus, Jeff, the president of the Black Student Union came to me and said, “Why don’t you join our choir?” I think, Steve, what you were talking about is what brought that memory back. So, all of a sudden, I’m a member of the Voices of Praise Gospel Choir. In my wildest imagination, I would have never seen myself singing gospel music with a black student union. 

Meredith: You know that at some point we’re going to release an album called, “Scott Wyatt Sings Your Favorite Gospel Hits.” [All laugh]

Westwood: Oh, wow. 

Meredith: Yeah, and I am totally in for that. Or just a short solo of some kind. Some sort of faculty gathering. 

Wyatt: I’ve got a tape. 

Meredith: Excellent.

Wyatt: I’ve got the tape. 

Meredith: I need to hear that. 

Wyatt: Yeah, this was...the choir was mostly the football team and me and then...the women obviously were not on the football team, but we had some guys that could sing. And we started singing a song that I’d never heard of before and it was a culture that I had never been involved in before. I came from a very un-diverse town, small town, but it opened my mind, opened my eyes, gave me an appreciation for people that I didn’t know and…

Meredith: All of a sudden, you had a new group of friends.

Wyatt: I had a new group of friends. 

Westwood: Yeah, absolutely. 

Wyatt: My life is more rich, which is an experience I wouldn't have had. 

Westwood: Wow, yeah. Well, I think that’s kind of important with just the getting involved and doing something on campus, being part of a community, is making new friends, trying new things. I mean, with that experience, you didn’t expect to be there but you gained a lot from it. I think that’s something that students can really gain if they just get out there and get part of an organization or a club or something. 

Wyatt: I’m speaking to the freshman class Saturday. What’s one thing that I should tell them? I could actually divide that question up into two and make it harder. What in the world would a brand new freshman want to hear from a university president? And secondly, what should I tell them. 

Carr: Hmm. 

Wyatt: It might be the same thing but it might be very different. 

Carr: Well, I think that they’d want to hear that everything is going to be fine. I think they’d want to hear that no matter what they do, they’re going to succeed.

Meredith: “Remain calm.”

Wyatt: Steve, I don’t think the world has changed because that’s what we want to hear every day too. “Everything is going to be fine.” 

Carr: And I think that what they, perhaps what they should hear, and I think what can be a really...a lesson that’s at least helped me in my life is, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Or, if you are afraid to fail, accept that you’re going to fail and that that’s not going to define you. That your perseverance is going to lead to success eventually and that you are going to figure it out.” And so, I guess what they want to hear is just that everything is going to work out, and I think that, for the most part, everything is going to work out. But there’s going to be a journey to get there and that one failure doesn’t define you. That a few failures don’t define you. You’re going to fail a lot along the way, but if you learn from it and if you...if it's something that you can use to find, if you were on the wrong avenue, the right avenue or if you just didn’t quite get all of the fine tuning right for your idea that you can fine tune it next time and that you’ll get there. It’s kind of like everybody wants the sausage but nobody cares how it’s made. I mean, that’s probably not the best analogy, but just…

Wyatt: No, it’s not a bad one and it reminds me of another analogy which is we’re all like a picture. 

Carr: Mhmm. 

Wyatt: But we’re motion pictures, not single shots. And if you take a snapshot of any one moment, it might be a good or bad moment and if we define ourselves by that moment either direction, it’s not a good thing. 

Carr: Exactly. 

Wyatt: We’re movies. We’re moving pictures. 

Carr: And I think that, too often, our generation is looking at social media and looking at the best moments which are online and thinking, “I’m not measuring up to this person’s idyllic Instagram life” and it turns out that that person is having just as hard of a time as they are, but it doesn’t look like that. And I think that people would do well to, especially new students, to know that everybody’s got problems, everybody’s failing, and everybody’s at the same time succeeding. Everybody has victories and failures every day, and that as long as we’re learning from them and we’re moving forward that we’re all becoming better people. 

Meredith: I think that’s terrific advice. 

Wyatt: It is. 

Meredith: Put the phone down and look up. Because you’re here in a beautiful, beautiful place, one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the world, surrounded by people who want to help you and want to be your friend with your hand up in front of your face with a phone in the way because you’re checking social media. It’s a group of friends but they’re not the friends that are present around you and I actually think that that’s great advice. 

Wyatt: It’s probably one of the...well, if it’s not the prettiest campuses that’s out there, but aside from the campus, seven national parks within a four hour drive…

Meredith: Yeah. 

Wyatt: Closest one is 20 minutes away. This is epic. 

Westwood: Definitely. I mean, I went to Zion’s National Park just last weekend and I try and do a hike or tennis every week as much as I possibly can, and you would really miss that if you were just looking down at a screen. You’d kind of get a fake reality, I guess. Something that’s not really there. And students need to put down the phone sometimes and just look at what’s in front of them. And then just going on to maybe what should and what actually is done might be a little different. Just letting students know that it’s going to be hard. There are going to be some days where they just don’t understand topics, that they don’t understand the teachers but that, even though if they don’t understand, they can get through it. Just kind of persevere through it and try as hard as they can to ask their teachers. Teachers are available, they want to talk to students, to go up and, “I didn’t understand this topic during class, can you maybe explain that to me?” And teachers are happy to do that and I’ve done that to teachers where I just didn’t understand something in class and teachers are totally available and want to help. And so, I think that’s one thing. And just letting students know that yeah, it’s going to be hard, but you’ll get through it, just like Jeff was saying. That you will fail. There are going to be classes that are going to hard. But that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to learn. Sometimes I think that we might learn more from our failures than our successes because then we know what to do or what to not do and we know how to overcome the next time. Maybe retaking a class, maybe that's something that we have to do, but maybe we can gain more from it that second time we take it or maybe that third or fourth time that we try and do something that we can keep on learning from it. So, even though we might fail, it doesn’t mean that we don’t learn. And I think that it really depends on, students are going to fail, but what do they do with that failure? Do they stop? Do they give up? Or do they learn from it and move on, apply what they’ve learned from that failure so that they can succeed another time? And I think that’s something that students that are new and coming in should definitely know. 

Wyatt: I tell this story almost too much, but my dad took college algebra three times and became a Ph.D. electrical engineer and the most prolific writer in his department. Yet so many people after struggling with the first math class say, “I guess I’m not going to be an engineer” or struggle with chemistry classes say, “Well, I guess I’m not going to be a physician.” What they’re forgetting is exactly what you’ve talked about, Chris, which is the way to become a great engineer is not to have everything easy because being an engineer is a hard job. It’s learning how to push through and just keep at it until you figure it out. Like my dad said, he thought that his struggle with math was probably one of the things that helped him more than anything else because engineering is projects that take years to work through and he had developed in college an ability to just keep working and not stop. I think that’s really a cool story. 

Meredith: Yeah. 

Wyatt: It’s my favorite story about a college student. Three times. But he knew what he wanted to do, so he just kept at it. Fail. There’s a difference between failing at an event and failing as a person. 

Meredith: Mhmm. 

Westwood: Right. 

Wyatt: And failing at an event…

Carr: Is human. 

Wyatt: Is human. It is the human experience, yeah. You’re both thinking that you’re headed to law school. In my...when I was running a public law firm, it was a prosecutor’s office, we intentionally made a decision to not track win/loss records. And the reason for that was I did not want anybody to shy away from hard cases because they didn’t want their win/loss record to look bad. And the win/loss record was never part of employee evaluations and it wasn’t discussed at all. And we knew that some people would automatically lose more because they were doing harder cases. 

Meredith: Right. 

Wyatt: So, it was the idea that losing is a good thing if it means that you have taken on something hard. 

Carr: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a…Teddy Roosevelt actually spoke on that in terms of boxing. 

Wyatt: We should get him to come and speak on campus. 

Carr: We should get him to come and speak. 

Westwood: He would be amazing. 

Westwood: He’d be so good, he’d whack everybody with the stick. But he talked about success and failure in terms of a boxing match. That you’re going to take hits and you're going to give hits and there’s going to be a lot of people spectating. But at the end of the day, nobody matters unless they’re in the arena and they’re actually getting it done. 

Meredith: The person in the arena. 

Carr: Mhmm. And I think that there’s something to just take out of that. That yeah, there’s always going to be people watching you, there are always people who are going to make judgments, but nobody matters except the people that are in the arena sweating it out, throwing the punches, taking the punches and learning from the fight, whether they win it or lose it, and if they lose it, they’ll win it next time. It’s like Rocky lost the first time and then he came back the second time and got him. 

Wyatt: Yeah. Oh, to be one of those unfortunate timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. 

Westwood: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 

Wyatt: Yeah. 

Meredith: My other favorite boxing quote comes from the great philosopher, Mike Tyson, and it also has to do with this same thing which is that we all plan, we all make plans, right? Everybody’s got a plan and it holds up until the first time somebody hits you in the face. 

Westwood: Yeah. 

Meredith: And college is actually quite a lot like that. You may have plans on day one and then something, math, I don’t know, whatever it is might hit you in the face, and the question is, do you get up off the mat?

Carr: Yeah. Yeah, kind of going off of that, there’s a...one of my favorite stories is about Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas, and Mike Tyson had been undefeated. He was the reigning champion and Buster Douglas came out and he said, “I’m going to beat Mike Tyson” and everyone said, “You’re crazy, you could never beat Mike Tyson. And so, they get in the ring and the first few rounds, Buster just keeps getting smacked down. They think that it's all over and then in the second to the last round, Buster Douglas just comes right back and he smacks Tyson so hard that it knocks him out. It’s the only time, the first time that Mike Tyson had ever been knocked out. And after the fight, they came to Buster and they said, “Look, what happened? What changed?” And Buster Douglas said, “Look, my mom used to tell everybody...or told everybody that I was going to beat Mike Tyson. She told everybody she knew that her son was going to beat Mike Tyson and a few days before the fight, my mother passed. And so, I had a choice. I could either make my mom a liar or I could get out there and I could fight harder and I could win for mom. And I think that...and the lesson, I think, to be taken from that is it’s not the specific instances but it’s the “why.” And that your “why” has to be greater than your fear of defeat or than your enemy and that if you want something enough then you’re going to find the strength in the last...inside you to do what people consider impossible and to go further and to fight harder and to come up with that new idea. But it has to come from within. Nobody can make you do it, but if your “why” is greater than your punch, so to speak, then you can do the impossible. 

Wyatt: And that’s one of the things I heard you said, Jeff, and Chris both, is that one of the reasons why you’re here is to discover your “why.”

Carr: Absolutely. 

Wyatt: What is it that I want to do and what is my purpose in life? OK. 

Meredith: Excellent. 

Wyatt: Let’s get on it.  

Meredith: You’ve been listening to Solutions for Higher Education, a podcast by Scott L Wyatt, the president of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. We’ve had as our in-studio guests today two members of our student government, Jeff Carr and Chris Westwood and we’ve been privileged to have a nice conversation with them and I think this is a great new tradition we’ve begun. And obviously, we are back to once a week podcasts now, so make sure you join us every Monday when we release a new version of Solutions for Higher Education. Thanks for listening, bye bye.