Learning to Lead: Communication Arts’ Student Government President


Liane Sippin has been having a life-changing year.  Last Spring, she was a Senator-at-large in Student Government with no ambition for higher office.  She was planning a public relations career and a future behind the scenes.  A few days before the candidate filing deadline, she was asked to fill the vice president slot on a ticket for the Student Government elections. Although she had not contemplated running, she thought the VP slot would not put her too much in the limelight.  Two weeks before the elections however, her running mate was disqualified.  With only one other ticket on the ballot, she was encouraged to move into the Presidential slot and find someone to fill out the ticket. She recruited Diwaldo Rabre for the VP slot but she had little expectation of winning.  Fate intervened though and four days before the elections, the other candidates were disqualified leaving Sippin and Rabre running uncontested.  The next thing she knew, Liane was the President of the Student Government Association for the Modesto Maidique campus, representing and responsible to tens of thousands of students.

As president, Liane is responsible for a multi-million dollar budget. She regularly presides over committee and board meetings, hosts events and addresses diverse audiences, including state legislators.  She is on her way to becoming a confident speaker and is now majoring in communication arts. She loves her classes and learning things like the role of conflict in communication and how people use social media. She wants to pursue a career that involves communication and logistics, and says her dream job would be either White House Social Secretary or Chief of Protocol for the Department of State.

Looking back at the past year and the many lessons learned, Liane says she is much more comfortable being in the spotlight now.  “Every day I learn something new. I have learned to ask my mentors for what I need from them and they have helped me grow,” she says. “I have learned to articulate my vision and show others how to pursue their own objectives while working toward a common goal.”  From reluctant candidate to confident leader, Liane looks forward to whatever comes next.

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