Pole vaulting 10 feet into the air can be worrying, as is leading one’s first student assembly as Student Government Association president.
Craig Fisher knows both of these fears.
“That very first assembly, I was pretty nervous,” said Fisher, Butler University Student Government Association president. “They give you this gavel. It looks really precious, and it has your name on it. It’s pretty striking actually, getting to use it for the first time.”
Fisher’s journey to SGA presidency began when he entered Butler as a triple legacy student. Both of his parents and one of his older brothers attended Butler and studied pharmacy.
Fisher is a fourth-year pharmacy student in the second year of his professional phase.
But he didn’t jump right into on-campus involvement..
“I wasn’t terribly involved freshman year,” Fisher said, “other than joining Greek life as a Sigma Nu.”
This changed sophomore year.
Andrew Johannes met Fisher on move-in day of thier freshman year. The two would be fellow pharmacy students, brothers in Sigma Nu and roommates.
“Sophomore year, when we both moved into Sigma Nu, he had his heart set on being the housing manager,” Johannes said. “He saw that as a position that needed to be filled.”
One of the older fraternity brothers approached Fisher with the idea to run for vice president of Sigma Nu.
“His response to that was to go around to everyone and talk to them and get their opinions on it,” Johannes said. “To me, that’s a big part of his personality and leadership. When he’s part of an organization, he sees a need that needs to be met and he can fill it.”
Fisher ran for vice president and won, serving during 2012.
He then became a student ambassador for the Office of Admission his sophomore year.
“Giving campus tours, to this day, is still one of the things I most enjoy,” Fisher said. “Interacting with prospective Butler students is a blast.”
Erin Cochard, associate director of admission, said Fisher would put families on tours at ease. She said he is very knowledgeable about campus.
“I love having him on tours or mingling,” Cochard said. “He has always done a great job here.”
Fisher also started the Pre-Pharmacy Club as a sophomore.
“I became the representative for that club,” Fisher said. “That’s how I was exposed to SGA.”
The experience led Fisher to his campaign for SGA president.
“I decided to run for president because Student Government and its influence and service to other students became a passion of mine between my sophomore and junior years,” Fisher said.
Fisher describes his role as representing the entire student body.
“I don’t carry a lot of my opinions into SGA Assembly and to meetings,” Fisher said. “My goal is to adopt the goals of students and to represent them.”
An SGA president needs a certain skillset, which includes public speaking, accessibility, organization and listening, Fisher said.
“He is very organized; his meetings are back-to-back to back pretty much all day long,” Johannes said. “The way he can balance pharmacy school, fraternity life, and one of the highest positions at school has really impressed me.”
As president, Fisher started “Coffee with Craig” office hours to be more accessible to students. He said they have been the most rewarding part of the job.
“Our entire board said, ‘If we are going to be student leaders, then we need to be in touch with students’,” Fisher said. “We wanted to do office hours in a place that is visible and accessible to more students.”
The hours vary and are scheduled in Starbucks, where students can voice concerns or chat.
The most important skill he uses during these is listening, Fisher said.
“Sometimes my role is overshadowed as a voice,” Fisher said. “But I can’t be a mouth without ears. I don’t know what to say without hearing the students and their concerns and new ideas.”
Fisher said he judges SGA’s success by the success of the six operational boards.
Johannes said she recognizes the collaborative efforts.
“I’ve noticed he takes the opinions of people and makes those things happen,” Johannes said. “He’s not the type of leader that is going to impose what he wants on people. He’s the type that fulfills what the people want.”
Fisher said his involvement is a valuable part of a college education.
“School is only a part of your education,” Fisher said. “I like to think I’ve learned just as much from the other things I’ve done as I have in the classroom.”
Fisher said he enjoys being SGA president, and he is still excited about the role even as his tenure winds down.
“I think that if you’re not having fun while you’re doing this role, then you’re doing it wrong,” Fisher said.
Fisher’s term is almost over.
“I’m almost a lame duck,” Fisher said. “I am just as committed to this role as I was in June. I’m excited to finish out my term the best way that I can.”
After being involved so heavily at Butler, Fisher said he does not know if he is going to be involved next year.
“My friends always joke that I am going to find something else to spend all my time on,” Fisher said.
Fisher said. “Who knows? Maybe I’ll be a slacker next year.”
Johannes is not so sure.
“I don’t think Craig will ever not be involved in Butler his entire life,” Johannes said. “The only way he would step back is if he thought he needed more attention on school. Still, in the realm of things, he is going to be involved.”