‘I’m a pretty lucky guy’: Wittmer shares a day in his life as student body president

Adrian Rodriguez, associate vice president for student life of diversity and multicultural student affairs, leads a tour of the Multicultural Student Center on Nov. 18, 2020. This tour was part of the Student Body President For A Day initiative where current student body president Tel Wittmer took sophomore Levi Johnson along with him for the day to show him what a day in the life is like while holding the office. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

What is it like in a day of the life of Kansas State’s student body president? Levi Johnson, sophomore in architectural engineering, saw first-hand what a typical Tuesday with Tel Wittmer, student body president and senior in secondary education, looks like.

Johnson decided to apply for “Student Body President for a Day,” after seeing the K-State Today Student Edition newsletter back on Oct. 30.

“I just thought it looked fun and interesting, so I thought I’d check it out, apply and see if I got selected,” Johnson said.

With Tuesday’s one of Wittmer’s busier days, he and Johnson followed a tentative schedule for the busy day ahead.

8:00 a.m. – Radina’s coffee shop in the K-State Union
8:30 a.m. – President’s Cabinet Meeting
10:00 a.m. – Multicultural Student Center Tour
11:00 a.m. – Lunch at Union Station by JP’s
12:00 p.m. – Chamber of Commerce Meeting
2:30 p.m. – Break
6:00 p.m. – Dinner at So Long Saloon
7:00 p.m. – Senate Executive Meeting
8:30 p.m. – Blue Key Meeting

The duo began that morning at Radina’s Coffeehouse & Roastery in the K-State Union for a little energy boost to carry them through morning meetings.

By the time their drinks had cooled, they sat in on the President’s Cabinet meeting, which included updates about the pandemic.

Next, they got a sneak-peek tour of the new Morris Family Multicultural Student Center ahead of the virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. The tour was guided by Adrian Rodriguez, associate vice president for student life of diversity and multicultural student affairs.

SGA recently donated $20,000 to help finish construction of the new building, which is now the largest stand-alone multicultural student center in the Big 12 Conference.

Following the tour, other members of Student Governing Association joined the two for lunch at Union Station by JP’s. The group included Lane Lundeen, student body vice president and senior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation; Maggie Billman, speaker pro tempore and sophomore in secondary education; and Stacia Mendoza, director of student services and engagement and sophomore in business administration.

Among topics discussed by the group, like Minecraft, family pets and Dungeons and Dragons, plans for the future was one topic Johnson shared with the group. His goal after college is to work for Burns & McDonnell in Kansas City.

“That’s their world center,” Johnson said. “[From there] they can just send you anywhere, so I want that because I really want to travel.”

After lunch, the duo traveled back to the “Wildcat West Wing” to sit in on another Zoom meeting in Wittmer’s office, this time with the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We updated them on current SGA initiatives, and I introduced them to [Johnson] and what all we have done so far today.”

Wittmer’s term began last April after the university made the transition to all online courses to finish the spring semester, so he quickly adapted to the life of Zoom.

“Zoom fatigue is real,” Wittmer said. “It’s Zoom meetings all day, but I’m a pretty lucky guy because I get to advocate on the behalf of the people I care about.”

The two enjoyed their midday break separately. Wittmer spends most days at the Recreation Complex to work out during his break while Johnson finished some Calculus homework.

With the next couple of scheduled meetings canceled, that gave them more time to meet up for dinner at So Long Saloon, better preparing for the Senate Executive meeting and ending the day with the Blue Key meeting.

Updates on the different events were posted throughout the day on the university’s Instagram story.

Applications next semester will give another freshman or sophomore a chance to hang out with Wittmer and be SBP for the day.

My name is Sean Schaper, and I'm the news editor for the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism with a secondary focus in film studies. I grew up right outside of Kansas City in Leawood, Kansas. As a first-generation K-Stater, I look forward to leaving behind accurate coverage for the current and future Wildcat community.