STORY BY COLE NORUM
Above Joey Gale’s computer hangs a bulletin board, on which are tacked a colorful painting and a slogan from the campaign that got him elected as Vice President of Student Life in the Spring of 2013. But it is the piece of white paper with a small portrait of Theodore Roosevelt that Gale is most fond of. A streak of neon yellow is traced over the words, “Who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Gale sums exactly what Roosevelt’s words mean to him as he begins his final year of serving his peers, now as Student Body President.
“Don’t do it at all, or do it big,” Gale said.
A senior working towards a degree in marketing with concentrations in information systems and leadership, Gale has been involved in student leadership since arriving at Drake four years ago. Working closely with upperclassmen as a freshman has helped shape Gale’s leadership approach.
“When I was a first-year, there were a lot of seniors who really spent time with me, working with me, almost, in a sense, developing me,” Gale said.
Now it is his turn to demonstrate to others the leadership skills he has honed over his time at Drake, and, as a representative elected by his peers, Gale understands the demands of his role.
“I always like to say I’m not the student senate president, but the student body president,” Gale said. “When I look at my position, I really think of ‘The Drake Experience.’”
Contributing to a “Drake Experience” that is more dynamic and inclusive than when he began his presidency is one of Gale’s highest aspirations. It also has him seeking every piece of input available to him in order to better understand the student body and its collective experience at Drake.
At the beginning of August, Gale, Vice President of Student Life, Josh Duden, and Student Senate distributed a survey to better assess the similar needs of a diverse student population. The questions ranged from students’ thoughts on the cost of student activity fees to what two things they would change about the Drake Experience.
The result is The Senate 60, a comprehensive list of 60 goals, initiatives and projects passed unanimously on Sept. 18 that Gale and his fellow representatives wish to accomplish by the end of May 2015. The democratic approach taken this term was in stark contrast to past years’ efforts.
“Last year we had something called ‘The Senate 50.’ The Senators just sat down in a room one day and were like, ‘Here’s 50 goals.” Gale said. “Obviously, the most important people here are the students, so we wanted to build goals off of what they wanted.”
But it is also Gale’s experiences outside of Drake that have influenced him and his approach to his position of leadership. Gale attended a seven-day, intensive leadership training at the LeaderShape Institute, a program that Dean of Students Sentwali Bakari has facilitated sessions for in the past.
“It’s a very well developed program that actively makes you think about how you are perceived as a leader,” Gale said.
But what else guides the man determined to see 60 goals realized by the end of his term less than nine months away?
It comes from a quote, but it doesn’t hang on the bulletin board above his computer. It comes from the program he attended.
“A healthy disregard for the impossible.”