First female BYUSA presidency leaves legacy

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BYUSA 2016-2017 Executive Vice President Addie Hulme, left, and President Avery Harding, represent their slogan, “Remember ‘Y.'” (Natalie Bothwell)

BYUSA President Avery Harding and Executive Vice President Addie Hulme are excited to pass on their leadership positions to 2017-2018 election winners Dillon Ostlund and Katelyn Strobel.

Harding and Hulme formed the first female BYUSA presidency in history and created the slogan “Remember ‘Y'” to remind students of the reasons why they came to BYU.

Harding and Hulme met in Fall 2015 while Harding was president of the BYUSA Involvement committee and Hulme was her secretary. They became close friends and soon talked about running for election.

Harding said she was touched by the spirit over General Conference weekend in 2015 and knew she and Hulme should run, even if they didn’t win. Hulme and Harding both discussed the idea after General Conference weekend.

A quote by President Russell M. Nelson from that conference touched Harding’s heart and motivated her to run.

“So today, I plead with my sisters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to step forward,” President Nelson said. “Take your rightful and needful place in your home, in your community and in the kingdom of God — more than you ever have before.”

Harding and Hulme said their hearts were set upon sharing a message of endurance and legacy for BYU education during the election process.

“The experiences we provide to students all have a pattern of service,” Harding said. “I would feel so unaccomplished if I didn’t serve the rest of my life.”

Harding and Hulme said there has been a 60 to 70 percent increase in volunteers who have joined BYUSA since their election.

“We really love serving,” Hulme said. “We even set a record for BYU having a historical voting record turnout.”

The women also set a record for participation at events.

“(Harding and Hulme) have helped each student remember what they appreciate about BYU and why they chose to attend BYU,” Student Leadership Director Nathan Ward said.

Harding said the Faith and Value conference in Washington, D.C shaped her during her time as president. It was an eye-opening experience for her to hear from other leaders and peers at Christian universities testifying of Christ and teaching how to implement His way of leading. She said she learned about building communities and bringing Jesus Christ into the workplace.

Hulme said the Welcome Week at the beginning of each semester shaped her perspective during her time as executive vice president. She said this was one of her favorite events because it was the first time the event was held at BYU.

BYUSA created signs and printed them so volunteers could help lost freshmen around campus their first week of school. The week also included a series of service projects with over 60 volunteers helping to hand out juice boxes and muffins every morning.

Together, the team created new activities and campaigns to reach out to BYU students.

The Mental Health Campaign

The Mental Health Campaign involved BYUSA and other student organizations across the state of Utah working together to bring the first statewide Mental Health Campaign this April.

The purpose of the Mental Health Campaign is to reduce the stigma of being perfect and provide help for people who are struggling with mental health issues. Activities will include guest speakers from BYU psychological services, D-stress Recess, National Alliance for Mental Illness speakers and a social media campaign.

New committees

AIM committee, Y committee and the service squad were established in 2016. These committees have reached out to serve new demographics, such as film and art students. Some of the new activities held were BYU Idol, film festivals and a concert by James The Mormon, the first rapper to perform at BYU.

Updated BYUSA Charter

The updated version of the BYUSA Charter includes the new AIM committee with a new vice president. Every other committee also revised their section of the charter and the new updated version was released on Feb. 6.

Reflection room

BYUSA is currently working on building a reflection room in the Wilkinson Student Center where students can stop and slow down to remember the purpose of gaining their education and becoming more like Christ. The room will include pictures of Christ, and be a place where students can ponder, meditate and reflect.

“BYUSA is students serving students,” Hulme said. “It’s the umbrella. We wanted to create a place for people who needed help emotionally.”

To find out more information about what Harding and Hulme have been involved with throughout the year, visit their Instagram page.

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