Van Ranken and peers reflect on student body presidency

Jessica Van Ranken, senior in political science and student body president, sits on her desk, loaded with paperwork and pictures, in the Student Governing Association office in the K-State Student Union on Sept. 7, 2016. (Mason Swenson | The Collegian)

Although Jack Ayres was elected president earlier this month, current student body president Jessica Van Ranken still has about a month left in office.

Van Ranken, senior in political science, will swear in Ayres, junior in chemical engineering and current speaker of the Student Governing Association senate, in April, one month before graduation and the next step forward in her education.

Van Ranken said she has gained much from her time at K-State.

“My experience at K-State has been nothing short of exemplary,” Van Ranken said. “I could not have anticipated the broad and meaningful life skills I would have obtained at K-State, and (I’m) eternally grateful to this institution for providing me with the experience, education and relationships.”

Trenton Kennedy, junior in entrepreneurship and student body vice president, said he worked hard with Van Ranken during the past year and built a strong bond through passion.

“Jessica and I were brought together because of our love for student government,” Kennedy said. “She saw identical unifying qualities in those traits, and it is those traits that brought us together.”

In her tenure as student body president, Van Ranken said she met many people, around K-State and beyond.

During her time at K-State, Van Ranken served as an inspiration for others, her peers said.

“I think her presence in my life has been an impact on itself,” Lexi Zavala, senior in kinesiology, said. “I think just knowing that I can consider her as one of my best friends has impacted me so much, and seeing what a strong woman she is inspires me everyday.”

Heather Reed, assistant vice president for student life and an SGA adviser, said Van Ranken has served as a model leader.

“Jessica is a responsible and dedicated member of many campus student organizations,” Reed said. “She is an excellent leader who is supportive and inspiring through her involvement. (She) makes the organizations better.”

Kennedy said he was inspired by Van Ranken’s dedication and preparation, as well as the results she has obtained from her work.

“Jessica has inspired me to take risks and chase what I want unapologetically,” Kennedy said. “I hope that one day her talent and dedication lead her to pursuing a public office as one of the strongest, most cunning woman leaders I know.”

After graduation in May, Van Ranken plans to attend law school to pursue a legal profession and aspire to work hard in and out of K-State.

“Even after I graduate in May, I will remain interested in the success of K-State students and will eagerly be watching the great work Jack Ayers and his team will complete,” Van Ranken said. “I plan on still being involved in my community wherever I go and will try to make positive changes and serve others throughout the rest of my life.”

Van Ranken said her experience at K-State has given her the confidence to pursue her goals and dreams, and the only thing she would change about her experience would be to remind herself to not take her calendar so seriously and to know it is OK to relax.

“I would tell incoming freshmen to ask themselves what they want to accomplish and get out of their time at this university,” Van Ranken said. “I cannot control how lucky I am, but I can control how hard I work.

“If I continue to work hard and work well throughout my life, then I will either be successful or be able to know I had great work ethic, which to me is successful unto itself,” Van Ranken continued. “Behind most great successes, there’s a unique story that combines a certain measure of luck and hard work.”

I'm DeAundra Allen, co-editor-in-chief and sports editor at the Collegian. I'm a junior in broadcast journalism and pre-law, with a minor in philosophy. I was born in Brighton, Colorado, home of La Placita and the Bulldogs. I moved to Kansas in 2010, and fell in love with press boxes at a young age. In my spare time, I talk about my pets, sports, and work towards going to law school.