Her Twitter profile picture shows her smiling with her hands raised above her head, posing with dusty red rocks in the distance that match her sweater. Her pinned tweet is a Martin Luther King Jr. quote. She is a junior in industrial engineering, she is the newest Kansas State student body president and her name is Jordan Kiehl.
The road to K-State
“When it came to applying to colleges, I was absolutely determined to go anywhere but K-State,” Kiehl said. “I did not want to be in Kansas. I was reluctant to stay anywhere within three hours of Kansas City.”
The decision came down to an assignment from her English teacher during her junior year. The assignment asked her to compare three colleges. Kiehl compared 15 schools.
“As I started looking, I was not finding a school that I loved,” Kiehl said. “I reached this point of not really loving anything, and I finally came down to it that, every place I was looking at, I was looking at things that I wanted at K-State.”
For Kiehl, the selling points were K-State’s size, community, variety of programs and distance from home. In the end, K-State was the only university Kiehl visited and applied to.
Getting her foot in SGA’s door
Then, at orientation and enrollment, former student body vice president Joe Tinker shared a presentation on getting involved in student organizations and activities, including the Student Governing Association.
Kiehl recalls that Tinker said don’t wait until you’re a junior or senior to get involved. K-State has something here for everyone. Start now, start today.
It’s a piece of advice that Kiehl said she took to heart. During her time at K-State, Kiehl has worked at New Student Services, participated in orientation and enrollment for two summers, joined the ambassadors program for the College of Engineering and joined SGA.
Kiehl started off as an at-large member of an allocations committee before applying to the intern program. Olivia Baalman, senior in computer science and former student body vice president, was her mentor during her time in the program.
“As an intern, Jordan always had a really strong work ethic, and she’s definitely always been passionate and always wants to do more,” Baalman said. “That’s something that was really inspiring to me as a sophomore — a freshman coming in with bright eyes, ready to go. I don’t think she’s ever lost that tenacity throughout her three years here at K-State.”
Kiehl said she considered putting an end to her involvement in SGA once she reached the end of the intern program, but Baalman pushed her to run for a senate position. After serving as a senator for the College of Engineering during her sophomore year, Kiehl applied to — and received — the position of SGA’s chief of staff.
Pushing for the presidency
As her past positions in SGA have been more focused on behind-the-scenes work, deciding to campaign for student body president was a big decision, one she said she “did not come to lightly.”
Kiehl said she originally began considering running in May last year. Over the summer, Kiehl had many discussions with Lacy Pitts, junior in agricultural economics and her future campaign partner, in which the pair fleshed our the pros and cons.
“She’d ask me really thought-provoking questions about why I wanted to run, what I wanted my K-State legacy to be and the different problems I saw at K-State, and we’d just start trying to find solutions to them,” Kiehl said. “Through all of those conversations, looking at our strengths and thinking about our different experiences both in and outside of SGA, I really started to think, ‘Wow, we’d make a pretty good pair.'”
Kiehl said she didn’t make the firm decision to try for student body president until mid-October or early November, after she and Pitts had already started the process of platform formulation and campaigning.
Once the decision was made, Kiehl and Pitts embarked on the campaign trail together.
“Campaigning was interesting and a rollercoaster ride, to say the least,” Kiehl said. “While it was probably the most stressful and emotionally taxing months of my college career, it is and will always be some of my favorite memories.”
Coming up next: ‘Lots of transitioning’
Over the course of the next few weeks, Kiehl and Pitts will be jumping into their new roles on campus. The first step: transitioning.
“Jack and I have been attending meetings alongside for the last couple of weeks and will continue to do so for a few more meetings,” Kiehl said. “It’s like a slow motion passing of the torch, but when I look back at the end of the week it feels like a whirlwind.”
At the same time, Kiehl and Pitts will be working on putting together their cabinet, wrapping up transition reports and breaking ground on their platform goals.
Kiehl said she looks forward to the next year. She plans to continue a few elements of Jack Ayres’ and Baalman’s projects, namely working on technology to integrate ATA bus tracking into the K-State app and clarifying advising and DARS reports, all while pushing SGA down a new path.
“I think I am most excited about being able to create our own path in SGA,” Kiehl said. “It’s a new year with new people and new goals, and while it’s important to still continue what’s been started in past administrations, it’s also our chance set a new tone for SGA, and I think we have a group of dedicated and passionate individuals who are ready to do that.”