ASUM President and Vice President Both College of Business Students
The University of Montana College of Business strives to cultivate leadership traits in each student. For two UM students, these traits come naturally.
The Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) enhances the student experience through providing services, advocating for the rights of all University of Montana students as a diverse, unified body, and models trust and transparency among students, faculty, and staff.
Leading the ASUM during the 2019-20 school year as President and Vice President are two College of Business (COB) students. Abbigail Belcher, a marketing major, was elected President. Ethan Hanley, an accounting major, was elected as Vice President.
The two COB students represent the interests of the the entire UM student-body in conversations with administration on campus, as well as the Montana state legislature.
Along with representing students, the ASUM recognizes almost 200 campus clubs and organizations, of which approximately three-fourths receive direct funding from ASUM.
Q: What made you want to be part of ASUM?
Abbigail (A): My interest in advocacy and public service originally drew me to ASUM as a freshman, but I stayed involved in the organization because of the strong sense of community. It has been a wonderful experience to see the inner workings of campus and to have the opportunity to meet such a wide range of people over the last three years.
Ethan (E): I wanted to be a part of ASUM because of the influence it had on making change at UM. Before I came to UM, I had this naïve view of the role of student governments and what they do, but ASUM has disproven all of those preconceived thoughts. As student leaders, we’re involved with and have influence in conversations about curriculum changes, fee proposals, and other issues affecting students at the University of Montana.
How do you think this leadership role correlates with your business degree?
(A): Being ASUM President has given me many opportunities to refine skills associated with my marketing degree. Representing the student body, a very diverse group of people, incentivizes me to think strategically every day. I also have learned so many lessons about outreach and engagement that I hope will help me in my future career. Although finances are not my primary responsibility, I think that having experience with large scale budgeting will prove to be an asset.
(E): Being ASUM Vice President has allowed me to tackle many complex issues that require a lot of coordination and good time management skills. Additionally, I have to collaborate with senators and my fellow executives on a daily basis and it helps in working with people whether that’s working in a group project or small group activities.
How do you balance all the work with ASUM and stay on top of your studies?
(A): I would thank my flexible professors and my outlook calendar for my ability to work at ASUM and stay on top of my studies. The most important things I can do to stay organized are to plan ahead and communicate.
(E): I think it’s no secret that being an ASUM executive is a lot of work as I’ve come to find out this summer and through the first couple weeks of school. One thing that I’ve done to help balance the workload is taking some time for myself which allows me to clear my head and come back to work recharged.
What are your plans, or what would you like to be doing once you graduate?
(A): My goal is to work at a political consulting firm.
(E): After I graduate, I plan on continuing school and completing the MAcct program. I would then like to go on and work in public accounting. I’m not sure as of now where I would like to go in public accounting but at the moment, I am leaning towards auditing because of the collaborative nature and team effort it requires. As mentioned earlier, working in a collaborative environment like ASUM has been a great experience for me and it is an environment I would like to continue working down the road.
What is the best part about attending the University of Montana?
(A): The best part about attending the University of Montana is the community. I’ve made some of the best friends of my life on this campus and met the coolest leaders and mentors.
(E): The best part about the University of Montana has been the student groups I’ve been in along with the people I’ve met. I’ve gained a lot of new friends during my time here.