Meet Maggie Billman, K-State’s new student senate speaker pro tempore

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(Courtesy photo by Maggie Billman)

Maggie Billman, freshman in secondary education, was elected speaker pro tempore for Kansas State’s Student Governing Association on April 16 during the student senate’s Zoom meeting.

“It was really competitive,” Billman said. “It took almost five hours for the whole thing to happen.”

It was unconventional to be elected over Zoom, Billman said, but SGA is handling the transition well.

“I think everyone in SGA is doing a really good job of transitioning,” Billman said. “We’ll just finish up the transition of me learning all of the ends and outs of my role.”

Billman said her decision to pursue leadership roles and go into secondary education can be traced back to her high school teachers in Altamont, Kansas.

“I would not be the person I am without my high school teachers,” Billman said. “They pushed me to be my best and pushed me to be involved.”

Hannah Heatherman, previous speaker of student senate and senior in finance and organizational management, said Billman’s education major will be a huge benefit that she will bring to her role as speaker pro tempore.

“She will get so much joy out of learning by teaching the senate body,” Heatherman said. “She will grow so much in this role.”

Billman said the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership seminar she attended this past summer at K-State has previously helped her develop leadership skills.

“This was the first time I was around people who didn’t think like me,” Billman said. “They didn’t see the world like I saw the world and I loved that about it.”

Even though all the HOBY participants were from Kansas, Billman said it was an eye-opening experience.

“Being on junior staff the last two summers has just put me in contact with so many people who have different lives than me,” Billman said. “They have different family structures and different cultural traditions than me. I just really fell in love with the idea that people so different can bond over one thing, which is making the world a better place.”

Josh Diazdeleon, freshman in elementary education, has known Billman since their sophomore year of high school and said Billman is determined to get any job done.

“She is a huge advocate for those who don’t have adequate representation,” Diazdeleon said. “You’re going to give her something and she’s not going to be afraid to take it and run with it.”

One of the biggest qualities she has is her sense of humility, Diazdeleon said.

“She is not afraid to tell you when she doesn’t have the right answer, Diazdeleon said. “She is not afraid to tell you when she doesn’t know. She wants to be able to give you an answer that’s not only necessarily adequate, but enough.”

Next on Billman’s agenda is to work with the six standing committees and help them select members.

“Each committee has a chair,” Billman said. “Nathan [Bothwell] — the speaker — and I are working with each one to select members. That will be our last big ‘hoo-rah.’ Over the summer I plan on putting together some materials and getting organized [for the next academic school year].

Billman said one thing she loves about K-State is how welcoming and loving its campus is.

“I just think it is a great community,” Billman said. “There is a reason we’re the No. 1 college town in the nation.”

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