As Swen Vandermeer steps into his new position as Briercrest College and Seminary’s student body president for the 2014-2015 school year, he is glad he chose faith not fear.
“Last semester I had a bunch of people approach me and ask me to consider it and that started the process of me praying about whether I should run or not,” he said.
“At first I didn’t want to. Then I started to check my motives and thought ‘well, why don’t I want to run?’ It was actually just fear. Fear of the position because it felt kind of intimidating, but something that I have learned in my life, especially spiritually, is not to be mastered by fear. So I decided to run in faith and through confirmation.”
Vandermeer, who was voted into his new position on February 6, said he is no longer afraid of his new position, but excited to see how God is going to work.
“I am really excited to pray with the team and pray for people. To really press into God’s heart and surrender to the Lord and say, ‘Lord what do you want, what do you want for the school,’ the biblical studies student explained.
“It is exciting because God is good and He cares for individuals here and He cares for the community, so it’s exciting just to see His heart and understand how He wants to bless us.”
Having been voted in, Vandermeer still has a lot of preparation to do before officially stepping into his new role next year.
“Now I have to find a team. I have to find two vice presidents and also be working on putting a team of coordinators together for next year,” he said. “And I will also be sitting on meetings for the president right now and his team and really learning the role.”
Vandermeer said his vision for his time as student body president is to help others learn about who God is and about His glory.
“I think it is part of being human to have hope in things and to pursue significance or glory in whatever you do. Especially as college students, generally between 18 to 30 years old, it is a critical time because we are laying the foundation for our lives,” he explained.
“So I am seeing this as a time to really work together as a team and serve and spur one another along in Christ so our hope would not be disappointed and so that we would pursue His glory instead of glory of other things. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, ‘whatever you do, do for the glory of God,’ so helping people to find our significance and really glorying in who Jesus is and what he has done and God’s promise. ”
Looking forward, Vandermeer hopes that under his leadership he will see the student body community really flourish in their walk with the Lord.
“I hope while I am president that it is a time that people focus on the Lord. The dynamic is different at Briercrest then in other places because we are such a heavy academic focus and academics is very good, but it is easy to really get caught up in that,” he explained.
“I think it is good to enter into that dialogue and that it is really good to be stretched and to search out the scriptures diligently. It is important to see what the church has been saying about different issues, theology or philosophy, as well. Whatever it is, I think it’s good to really dive into that, but at the same time I want to help people guard against that being the focus.”
Vandermeer, who has been a student since 2010, said his time at Briercrest has really helped him to be prepared for his new position.
“Briercrest and their academic focus really sharpened my mind and it helped me to think clearly and with strength,” he explained.