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Behind the shiny silver name tag

Student body president receives 2017 Student Leader of the Year

Senior Nicole Arpin received 2017 Student Leader of the Year during honors chapel on Monday. (Photograph by Becca Robb)

Senior Nicole Arpin received 2017 Student Leader of the Year during honors chapel on Monday. (Photograph by Becca Robb)

By Laura Koenig | Echo

Many recognize senior Nicole Arpin by one of her many past and present Taylor leadership titles: student body president, Second Breu PA or The Echo Life & Times editor. On Monday, May 8, Taylor University honored Arpin’s outstanding leadership by awarding her the 2017 Student Leader of the Year Award.

As Arpin received her award during the honors chapel, many faculty and students saw more than the fulfilled responsibilities of each title. They saw an intentional, generous and genuine leader and friend.

“One characteristic of Nicole that I admire most is her tenacity in the pursuit of asking good questions,” senior and friend Bekah Estes said. “Throughout our time here, I have watched Nicole wholly engage in topics that she entered with little knowledge or context, and I have watched her do so with profound openness, humility and hunger to learn.”

Arpin said God taught her humility through her many roles. She said she’s learned how to compare herself to God instead of others to gain an accurate perception of herself and to better relate to people around her. Her time at Taylor has shaped her as a leader as she learned to acknowledge her place, people and purpose.

With Arpin’s gained wisdom and perspectives, she hopes she stewarded her positions well and left them in a better place for future leaders.

“I really do think Jesus encourages us to not pursue positions of influence, power and recognition,” Arpin said. “I would encourage future student leaders to really hold positions of power at arm’s length and consider certainly the good that can be done through those positions and the ways they could leverage their privilege for the good of others, but also to consider the spiritual implications of those roles for their own (relationships) with God and their own health of their (hearts).”

While Arpin sets an example for future leaders, faculty and students expressed their respect and love for their friend and fellow leader. From deep conversations over tea and shared love for literature to bungee jumping and learning Spanish in Ecuador, each conveyed their admiration and appreciation for Arpin in and out of the classroom.

Senior Student Body Vice President Adam Wright has served alongside Arpin this year and has seen her flourish as a student leader.

“She has begun to outline for me what it looks like to work my hardest but to also balance priorities well at the same time,” Wright said. “I will be looking toward her work ethic as a standard for the rest of my life, and working with Nicole has been an absolute privilege.”

The 2017 Student Leader of the Year Award honored Arpin’s hard work. Beginning in 1984, departments across campus are asked to submit names of junior or senior student leaders. These nominees must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, an evident Christian commitment and potential for a future in leadership. This year, 321 students were nominated. After 305 juniors, seniors and faculty members cast their votes this spring, Arpin received the annual honor.

As Arpin wraps up her senior year, she hopes to take the leadership skills and lessons she’s learned at Taylor into her next community in San Bernardino, California, working as a marketing automation intern, as she continues to rely on God to help her see needs and act on them through the Holy Spirit.

Arpin also reflected on her legacy at Taylor:

“I just really hope people felt like I wanted to know them and that I cared about them,” Arpin said. “And that they felt listened to and understood and well-represented.”

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