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From the student body president and vice president: Your leaders want to say ‘hi’

Nyah Smith and Jules Jefferson, student body president and vice president, were elected in March, making Miami history as the first elected all-Black ticket.
Nyah Smith and Jules Jefferson, student body president and vice president, were elected in March, making Miami history as the first elected all-Black ticket.

Nyah Smith and Jules Jefferson may be Miami University’s student body president and vice president, but they want you to know they’re also students, just like you.

“If people see us in Armstrong or walking around campus, please just say hi,” Smith, a senior social work and public health double major, said. “Don’t let our titles make us feel far away because without everyone and without our student body, our titles mean nothing.”

Smith and Jefferson — a senior biochemistry and nutrition double major — were elected in March’s student body election. Their campaign included emphases on sustainability and infrastructure, unity and student empowerment.

With their new roles, the duo also hopes to bring students awareness of the Associated Student Government’s (ASG) function, which they will do by being down-to-Earth and open with students.

“We’re hoping to create more transparency within Associated Student Government,” Smith said. “Be on the lookout for us physically, but also the work that we’re doing in ASG and how we’re hopefully going to communicate that.”

More than just leaders

Like other students, Smith and Jefferson have their own unique personalities outside their presidential roles. They have favorite parts of campus and student life, and they’ve had their own struggles as well.

Smith enjoys Miami because it’s set in the small, college town of Oxford. Jefferson loves getting to take classes like soil ecology and the history of South Africa as well as connecting with RedHawk alumni.

Smith and Jefferson also love Armstrong’s Pulley Diner. Smith, who doesn’t eat meat, likes to get the new vegan burger there. Jefferson likes to celebrate milestones with a traditional toasted roll.

Through their experiences at Miami, Smith and Jefferson have also accrued advice that they hope to pass on to first-years.

Jefferson says students should be open to new possibilities and saying yes to opportunities — within reason.

Jefferson also warns first-years not to become too caught up in their work and to use time management skills (she recommends Google Calendar and other planners). Make the most of college, she says.

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“Not every time you should study for the 15th hour for organic chemistry,” Jefferson said. “Maybe that one extra hour could have been so much more useful hanging out with friends, getting to know them. Because five years out from now, you won't be standing and thinking about that organic homework that you're struggling with. You'll be thinking about that friend, catching up with them.”

Smith shared a similar sentiment, telling students not to be afraid of failure as they try new experiences.

Other students have taken to the pair’s personalities as well. Jack Isphording, their chief of staff and a sophomore organizational leadership and entrepreneurship major, appreciated their persistence and how open they are.

“They’re just not afraid to connect with students, and they’re not afraid to make that connection even though it might be with someone that is different from them or different from their experiences,” Isphording said.

Smith and Jefferson share exciting plans

If Smith and Jefferson had to describe their work in the upcoming year in two words, it would be “building tables.”

“Building tables” was Smith and Jefferson’s campaign slogan, and it goes along with their plan to bring transparency to ASG.

“There is a lot of opportunity, a lot of space for us to invite more people in and to really make ASG more known and open to people,” Smith said.

Smith and Jefferson want students to know that ASG wants to hear from them. The pair encourages their constituents to reach out.

Even though school is just starting, Smith and Jefferson have already planned events to kick off the year. ASG will host an open forum at the start of the year and all students are invited. In late September, they’ll host a campus-wide day of service.

But most importantly, Smith and Jefferson just want to be visible this semester. They want to meet you. If you see them, make sure to say hi.