AS restructures after president resigns
AS president resigns
For the first time in the 85 years of Associated Students, the president has resigned. On Friday, Nov. 11 senior John Drebinger III formally stepped down from his position after fulfilling almost half his term in office. After a weekend without a figurehead, vice president Janine Marderian prayerfully agreed to serve as Biola’s AS president for the remaining academic year.
“I think once things settle in this will be a really positive change for AS,” Marderian said on her first day as president.
A vivacious green-eyed junior political science major, Marderian is optimistic.
“We have leaders here who have a lot of character and believe in what we do and want to rally together and make the best out of this situation,” she said.
Drebinger’s resignation was unexpected. Since his freshman year in 2009, Drebinger has served as a Stewart senator, Stewart resident assistant, AS senior vice president and AS president.
Drebinger informed the director of student programming and Associated Students adviser Laura Igram-Edwards of his resignation Wednesday, Nov.9. On Nov. 10, he sent a formal letter to university president Barry Corey. The entire AS staff was notified at various times over the course of last Thursday and Friday.
“It’s not easy making that decision because this is really something I love,” Drebinger said Friday. “I feel like I am missing out on an opportunity somewhat by doing this, but also I feel like I am letting some people down who put their faith in me.”
As a Torrey Honors student carrying 17 units and with a projected May graduation, Drebinger felt he could not adequately perform the 25-hour a week job.
New vice president and director of MarCom appointed
As a result of Marderian moving up, a new vice president was needed. Marderian strongly recommended her former campaign manager senior Ryan Freudenburg to the executive board. Formerly the director of marketing and communication, Freudenburg served as a senator last year and played a large role in forming the Biola Rise platform, according to Marderian.
“It is really fortuitous now that Ryan and I are the ones who will be executing that vision together,” Marderian said.
Freudenburg explained that by nature things will look a little different because of the new leadership.
“But I think it’s just important to highlight that the vision is the same, the goals are the same,” Freudenburg said, “so you won’t see any difference in that, just maybe how things are done.”
A business management major, Freudenburg displays calm leadership skills and appears excited to implement what he has learned in his classes in order to help foster the unity of the senate.
Replacing Freudenburg as director of MarCom is three-year AS veteran senior Jessica Wagenbach. As a freshman, Wagenbach was a volunteer coordinator for Spirit Board, she went on as a sophomore to work as Social Board chair and then Spirit Board chair as a junior.
“She’s just really result-oriented, she gets stuff done really well; she’s perfect for the job, “ Freudenburg said.
AS adviser is confident of new leadership
Igram-Edwards said that in her nine years of working with student leaders at various universities, she has never seen another team display such humility and confidence. She hopes to assure the student body that they can trust the new team, who is going to take the needs and interests of students very seriously as they represent them to administration.
Students can expect to see a change not in the vision or representation they receive, but in the style of leadership. As a business major, Drebinger often referred to his work as being similar to that of customer satisfaction. He focused on the big picture; the overarching direction that he envisioned Biola moving.
Marderian says that one of the first things she will be working on as president is this big picture mentality.
“Predominately, before I was really focused in on the senate I had a general awareness of what our other departments were doing,” Marderian said, “but it’s definitely a big part of the president’s responsibility to be engaged in everything, all the different things that are going on in AS.”
Lizzie Neely, recent graduate, former Bluff senator and 2010-2011 AS president, still frequents the campus for her position as executive assistant to Irene Neller, vice president for University Communications and Marketing. Graciously taking time away from her finance and new position, Neely has offered to bring her old AS president binder and invest time in Marderian.
“The position of the AS president is something that changes on a weekly or even daily basis,” Neely said. “Your main job is to recognize the needs of the students and give attention to that and make sure that the faculty and staff are aware of those needs.”
On top of that, the AS president must manage a 36-person team, oversee the student budget and meet with vice presidents and the director of MarCom to ensure the overall vision is being cast and fulfilled.
“Everything you can think of that happens at a university, the president is almost always called upon to weigh in on what the students are thinking,” Igram-Edwards said.
Neely stated that one of the hardest parts of the job is to balance all of the roles you must try to play — as a president, student, friend, roommate.
Despite the fact that Maderian is carrying the weight of 18 credit hours (which include Torrey classes) and working as a teacher’s assistant, Igram-Edwards is confident Marderian can gracefully carry the load, having already seen her strength as a leader.
“She’s already done a great job in terms of setting boundaries for herself and for the senators that she oversees,” Igram-Edwards said. “Sometimes it’s hard to say ‘no,’ but she has learned how to say ‘no’ already.”
Igram-Edwards said that the recognizing the need to prioritize self-care is really important in an individuals development.
“What’s most important is being a student first,” Igram-Edwards said. “And just being a human in general and having relationships, friendships, family and relationship with God is the most important thing.”