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May 3, 2016

By Megan Towle '16 for the CSB/SJU Magazine

Alex Wald '16 is a familiar face around the CSB/SJU community.

Alex WaldThe current president of the Saint John's Senate can be found cheering in the stands at most Blazer athletic events, cracking open his textbook in the basement of Alcuin Library, or at the head of the Saint John's Student Senate table. Despite his casual and laid-back demeanor (closely resembling a young Mark Zuckerberg, and usually found in his familiar uniform of khakis and a witty T-shirt), Wald has become an effective change maker both through our campus policies and culture.

Wald, a senior economics major, has embodied what it means to be a leader on the Saint John's and Saint Ben's campuses. He has spent the last four years taking advantage of every opportunity the school has offered him, and ensuring that those opportunities will be around long after he graduates.

"There's so much history on these campuses. As a student, you're always aware that you're standing on the shoulders of giants who came before you. If you trace it back, there is always someone who said 'This Johnnie or Bennie changed my life,' " comments Wald. "There have been so many people from SJU that have helped me realize how I want to live my life and have been true role models."

In his four years as a student, Wald has not wasted much time.

He studied abroad as a sophomore in Guatemala, completed a short-term study abroad in Cuba and held an internship in Washington, D.C., with a nongovernment organization, working to promote economic development.

His best advice for incoming students? "Jump into stuff. Jump into stuff that makes you uncomfortable. That's where growth happens, right? When you're uncomfortable. That's when you find out who you are. And it turns out it's really awesome to find out who you are, even when you figure out not so nice things about yourself, it's still awesome."

Wald's own path to the presidency certainly included some jumps - starting with his choice to run for senate in the first place. He ran for Academic Affairs Chairman his sophomore year and squeaked his way into office with the fewest votes of any elected senator. While he might not have won the hearts of all the student body by that point, his journey was only beginning. Wald's passion for Saint Ben's and Saint John's and the people who make up our institutions motivated him to continue his involvement in senate and eventually run for president. As president, his subtle leadership style has allowed him to listen to the students' needs, advocate for the issues being felt on all corners of campus, and demonstrate his ability to be a voice of the people.

Wald has spent his senate career addressing tough issues on campus, such as promoting a respectful drinking culture at CSB/SJU through policy reform and working with on-campus groups to ignite steady cultural shifts. He has also played a leading role in the "It's on Us" campaign that works to promote a safe and supportive environment regarding sexual assault on our campuses. _rough these campaigns, Wald has noticed a definite change in our community. "I am proud of SJU for being receptive to the message and for answering the call to take action."

Wald isn't sure what is in store, post-graduation, but the doors are wide open. "First, I want to learn a new language. Second, I want to learn about how businesses run. Third, I want to solve world hunger. And then maybe attend Hogwarts," he smiles. Wherever he lands, four years at CSB/SJU have certainly given him a solid place to jump off from.