Ask Mackenzie Buhr about her favorite movie and she’ll look pensive, giving you an answer almost apprehensively: “I’d say Father of the Bride…. but if you really asked me, I would pick a new one every time.”
Most people would say she is indecisive, but she would say she just loves movies. This is how she feels about being student body president, but with a lot more enthusiasm.
When asked about what it’s like being student body president, Buhr’s eyes light up as she begins to talk about what she enjoys most about the position.
Buhr decided to run for president because of her heart for the students—she wanted to serve them, and becoming their president would give her the opportunity to do that.
“I had seen many areas on campus that could use improvement, and I also just really wanted to be someone the student body could come to openly,” Buhr explains.
When Buhr decided to run for student body president, she chose ‘legacy’ as her campaign slogan. The word is meaningful to her because both of her parents went to ORU and she sees herself as their legacy. She also decided ‘legacy’ represents what she wanted her presidency to look like—she wanted to leave a lasting impression, a legacy, on the student body.
“When I designed my campaign, I had no idea that COVID-19 would change our world, but now I am seeing that everything that is happening this year is leaving a legacy, and we are making history together.”
Being the Student Body President is not a job for the easily exhausted, Buhr explains. She spends many hours in her office throughout the week helping students who come to her door with a suggestion or a complaint. Part of her job is to take those comments to the dean, or directly to President Wilson.
“I am always being called on for a lot of random things. I am on call 24/7 and have to be ready for whatever is needed at any time.”
Another part of being student body president is also acting as the head of the Student Association. Through SA, Buhr runs her MEIR campaign—multi-ethnic intercultural relations—a committee designed to celebrate diversity and cultivate unity for students.
While she expected a normal year with a lot of fun event planning, the year took an unexpected turn due to COVID-19 and the new restrictions. All of the previously made ideas had to be re-examined or scrapped.
But the set-back didn’t stop Buhr from making the most of the year. She, along with SA, have many goals they hope to accomplish, and are planning many more events and fun things for the student body.
For next semester, Buhr and SA are planning for Black History Month and ORU Together.
“ORU Together. ORU Together is a prayer night I put together because we are never going to be able to tackle anything without prayer. No matter who you are or where you come from, the only way we are going to be able to get through hard times is through prayer being there for one another.”
SA also wants to host more self-defense classes next semester and establish mobile IDs. Buhr also expressed hope for a homecoming dance, as long as safety regulations are followed.
Even though the job of the student body president is tiring, Buhr finds joy in all areas of her job, such as being able to talk to a variety of students and advocate for their needs on campus. Thus far she is really proud of the things she has gotten passed, like ORU together, self-defense classes, denim days and the humans of ORU Instagram.
“I have grown more in this position than I ever expected. I have already learned so much from Dean Baker, Dr. Boyd and Dr. Wilson about leadership. Something I have learned and want to continue to learn is, as a leader, it is not about me. I ran for SBP because I care about the student body, and I am here for the student body and I want to talk to them and be there for them. I want people to know I am a real person who goes through real things too, and can relate to them.”
Buhr is also learning how to go with the flow of the job. From COVID-19 to the title of “Student Body President” changing to “Student Association President” in the middle of her campaign. Buhr and Vice President Jordan Rollinson, a senior political science major, had unprecedented times on their hands during the quarantine. They had to learn how to campaign from home and separate from one another and still run a successful campaign.
“That period of time definitely made me stretch. Not even campaigning looked like I thought it would, but we did our best and we won,” Buhr explained with excitement.
There is a lot of background work as well to make the school the best it can be.
“As student body president, I have seen this and all of the behind the scenes work that everyone at ORU does to make our school great. As a leader, I want people to view me as a student and feel like they can approach me. I am here to serve the student body.”
Buhr also has come to learn that a title doesn’t complete you, and it is easy to look at a leader and put them on a pedestal, but they are people, too. People always make mistakes, but Buhr emphasizes that making mistakes is part of life, and you keep doing your best to serve.
Trusting God and relying on Him during this time is how Makenzie has been getting through this tumultuous season.
“I am not perfect, and I am still learning to trust God and grow in His grace more and more every day.”
Being the student body president is not, as surprising as it sounds, the biggest part of Buhr’s life. As much as she enjoys serving the student body through her position as their president, she says graduating with a nursing degree takes precedence.
In high school, Buhr heard of how highly rated the nursing program at ORU is and decided to apply. She knew ORU could give her the opportunity to grow into a well trained nurse, while also receiving a christian education.
“The praying hands are incredibly symbolic to me because one-half of the hands stand for the healing hands of Jesus, and the other half stands for the healing power of medicine—and that’s how I want to live my life.”
Buhr states that the best part of nursing school is the challenge and having to push herself past her comfort zones.
Between student body president and life as a senior nursing major, Buhr spends her days packed full with meetings and clinicals. For her, an average day starts at 7 am with a french pressed coffee and ends at 2 am with a run and studying for any exams.
“I love to push myself, and I love the clinical experience and getting hands on experience with the patients where I even get to pray and care for them. Nursing school has taught me so much. I have taken Taskforce classes in nursing school and classes about the law. There is a wide assortment of classes we are taught and get to grow and learn in.”
During any free time she does have, Buhr enjoys reading and watching netflix. Her favorite books are the Hunger Games series, and Grey’s Anatomy and Friends are her favorite shows to binge watch.
Between COVID-19 disrupting many of Buhr’s plans, and nursing clinicals occupying her time, Buhr expressed that this year has been nothing short of busy. But despite it all, she has been able to do something she is passionate about—serve the student body.
“There is no outline or rulebook on how to lead during these times. It really is all about leaning on the Lord and maintaining joy.”