Beth West couldn’t decide between Winthrop University and another school. A friend told her to flip a coin.
“She said, ‘As soon as the coin’s in the air, you’ll know,’” West explained. “Sure enough, I said, ‘OK, I know: Winthrop!’”
The rising junior political science major from Hartsville appreciates many aspects of Winthrop, from its small class sizes to its campus beauty to the community feeling. In her two years here, West has added her own spin to that community feeling with numerous extracurriculars.
Her newest activity: president of the Council of Student Leaders (CSL) for the 2016-17 school year.
“Patricia Riley [assistant director for student organizations and leadership] has given me a lot of insight into what it means to be a student leader,” West said.
She added that she and vice president Tadean Page feel a great responsibility for their fellow students. They hope to increase the communication between CSL and students, with a focus on better training CSL members on leadership, space request systems, allocations, etc. With this training, they can better help their fellow students.
“The CSL members are the soldiers of CSL,” West said. “One of my jobs is to help guide the soldiers as best as I can.…I’m always ready to listen. People are already coming up to talk to me about things they’d like to see happen.”
Other goals include increasing student attendance at athletics events and pushing students to learn more about the diversity on campus.
In addition to her CSL duties, West has served in active leadership roles for her sorority, Chi Omega; The Johnsonian newspaper; the Academic Success Center; Athletics and the Leadership Institute for First-Timers Conference (LIFT). She also completed summer internships through the National Institutes of Health in its Freedom of Information Act office.
This summer, West will participate in college Debate 2016, a technology and social media initiative to catalyze discussions among young voters across the country about issues that matter the most to them. She is one of only three students selected to represent South Carolina.
After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and perhaps find a job in higher education.
When it was pointed out that she doesn’t seem to take any breaks, West joked, “That’s my life.”
It all goes back to some good advice from her mom.
“I try to simply start something,” she said. “My mom always said, ‘Dip your toes in the water. You don’t have to stay in the water, but you should try it.’ I never feel like my work is finished here.”
West encourages her fellow students to get involved.
“You have to try that potato chip to know if you like it!”
Last updated 5/6/2016