Reddy has done just about everything around here. He’s helped with the presidential transition, overseen Willamette’s student government, researched in India on a Carson Grant, doublemajored in politics and economics, and participated in the Take a Break (TaB) spring break service program. The Scene interrupted his productivity for a chat at The Bistro.
What’s on Willamette students’ minds these days? Any patterns?
A lot of seniors are thinking about life after school — for many it’s GRE, LSAT or GMAT tests. It’s our last year, and we want to figure out what we’re doing next. There’s a lot of pressure to try and answer that question.
How has your role as a campus leader influenced your view of Willamette and how it works administratively?
We’re well taken care of at Willamette, which makes my job pretty easy. With any leadership position it’s about creating relationships with people, and that’s really how you get things done. What I like about Willamette is that everyone is open, from the president on down. You can ask pretty much any person to meet with you and they’ll do it; you don’t have to have a title. For our student government, meetings with the president are already arranged; some schools’ governments have a really hard time with that sort of thing.
What is it like working with President Thorsett?
It’s a good relationship. President Thorsett was joking that he can’t get rid of me and I can’t get rid of him. He’s got the university view and can make things happen, and I’ve got the students’ perspective he wants to tap into, so it’s mutually beneficial. It’s a partnership, really.
How about your academic experiences here? What, or who, blew your mind?
Every class I’ve ever taken with Joe Bowersox [of politics/environmental science] has been fantastic. He always finds an excuse to take us out to Zena Farm; it’s great to do something with your hands. Learning from him has been a rich part of my education here. He was my advisor for my Carson Grant and senior politics thesis.
What is Willamette good at, either from a student or administrative point of view? Things it needs to work on?
It’s kind of a paradox, really. It’s really easy to connect with people at Willamette — they’re easy to meet, easygoing and we can make friends easily — but I also feel that there’s a lack of connectivity and lack of spaces where students and administrators can come together. Finding avenues to create more of those spaces is an opportunity. One thing I’m working on as ASWU president is to bring back the yearbook to create that sense of togetherness.
I also just met with the presidents of WU Wire, our online radio show, and I’d like to expand that to reach more people. It could even include a five-minute segment from President Thorsett. He could have a weekly radio address that students could listen to.
What’s the silliest — printable — thing you’ve done while at Willamette?
[Laughs.] Actually, in my residence hall, a friend of mine and I are falling into a habit of making videos about campus. We made a parody of the movie 300 that takes place in Baxter, and we’re going to do another parody of the old Saturday Night Live skit about that song, “What is Love?” The head-bobbing and everything. We’re trying to convince campus safety to let us borrow one of its golf carts so we can take pictures of us doing that around campus.
What’s something you’ll always remember about WU?
One thing that has shaped my experience and helped me branch out is my fraternity. As a member of Beta Theta Pi, I’ve met several key people like Douglas Houser ’57 and Congressman Denny Smith ’60, who have been great connections. It’s made me fall in love with Willamette, and I’m getting excited for the future.
Reddy and fellow student Hannah Moser ‘11 meet with CLA Dean Marlene Moore.
Tej Reddy ’12
President, Associated Students of Willamette University (ASWU)