Senior Kyle Johnson’s story at Harding began in the fall of 2012. With a strong faith and family background, his self-confidence was firm, but nevertheless, the question of acceptance in a new town among new people lingered in the back of his mind as he began an uncharted chapter of his life.
Three years later, Johnson looks back on the acceptance he’s received since day one and looks forward to using it to lead the Student Association (SA) as president.
“I’ve been given confidence in the way I’ve been accepted, and now I plan to lead in the way I’ve been affirmed over the years,” Johnson said.
The SA theme for the 2015-2016 school year is “Story.” Johnson said the inspiration for the theme came from the book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller. The novel describes Miller’s journey of having his life made into a movie after the success of an earlier memoir, “Blue Like Jazz.” Miller comes to the realization that he did not live a very interesting story.
“When I started thinking of my life as a story like Miller did, it changed my perspective on things,” Johnson said.
The theme, crafted by Johnson and implemented by the SA, includes three levels: personal story, Harding’s story and God’s story. Johnson said the aim is for the three levels to work together to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship.
“It takes the idea of a story and makes it bigger than just being able to share cool adventures,” Johnson said. “But rather, unpacks it to ask ‘How do you live a story that glorifies God and furthers the story of Harding?'”
One of the tangible goals of the SA is to put pressure on the advising program to make adjustments.
“A majority of the students and faculty see flaws in the advising system, so obviously something needs to change,” Johnson said.
Another goal is to continue past ideas and events like town hall meetings. According to Johnson, the meetings have proven to be a successful channel for students to express their frustrations, but also “to see that the faculty has reasons for the way things are.”
Johnson said the representation of the students cannot happen without students reaching out to those representing them. With that in mind, the SA hopes to increase communication between members and students. Johnson said the SA can be reached by email, office visits or stopping members when seen on campus.
“I’d like the students to know that we utilized our strengths to do what we could, while keeping realistic expectations and ideas,” Johnson said. “We were comfortable with leading where we think we were able to lead.”
As the school year begins, Johnson said the ultimate goal of the SA is for students to create their own story — a story that impacts Harding and works in harmony with God’s mission.