St. Vincent student government head aims higher
A Connellsville Area High School graduate who will lead St. Vincent College's student government in 2014 has his sights set on a much higher political office once he graduates.
Justin Teets, 20, of Vanderbilt, a junior politics major with a minor in economics, was re-elected in November as president of the college's Student Government Association Executive Board. Teets, who was unopposed in his re-election bid, is the first student in the history of the college to be re-elected president of the Student Government Association for a second one-year term.
Teets, who was named Student Government Association member of the year in 2011-2012, was president of his freshman and sophomore classes. Only class officers and members of the student senate are eligible to run for the SGA executive board, he said.
While he is busy now leading St. Vincent College's student government, he does not plan to rest on his laurels once he leaves St. Vincent College.
“I want to be at least the governor ... maybe more. I've set my expectations high in that regard. I'll go wherever God intends me to go,” said Teets, the son of Bill and Theresa Teets.
“Politics always has been a love of mine. I'm the only Republican in a family of Democrats,” said Teets, who is a member of the College Republicans.
During his first term as president, Teets said he worked on reducing the budget for student government by eliminating a concert that has lost “a lot of money” for the Student Government Association.
This year, Teets said student government wants to work with the administration to make a “smoke-free” campus, beginning this fall. Smoking is permitted in certain areas, 25 feet from a building, but Teets said that prohibiting smoking would promote St. Vincent as a healthy campus.
“It's a work in progress,” said Teets, who is considering attending law school after graduation or pursuing a master's of business administration.
Teets remains active on campus in other areas, serving as director of tours and events for the admission office, a student assistant for the office of Institutional Advancement, a resident advisor and a photographer for the office of public relations. Closer to home, he is an active member and supporter of the Lions Club in Dunbar Township.
Carly Meholic of Latrobe, a junior who is vice president of the executive board, called Teets one of the most hardworking and dedicated students she knows.
“He is always open to others' ideas and truly makes the students and this campus the focus of his job,” said Meholic, a 2011 graduate of Greater Latrobe High School.
Robert Tokarski II of Pittsburgh, treasurer of the executive board, is serving his second term with Teets on the executive board.
As a sophomore, Teets was viewed as a leader by those two years older than him, Tokarski said.
It was a task that “anyone would be intimidated by, but he answered the call incredibly and willingly,” said Tokarski, a junior biochemistry major.
“I regard Justin as a simultaneous best friend, role model, and peer leader, as he has pushed me to do my best in my treasurer role and demands that I reciprocate the same for him,” Tokarski said.
Rabia Uddin of Unity Township, secretary of the SGA executive board, described Teets as an ambitious individual who “truly achieves a great balance between friendliness and professionalism, which is an essential quality to possess when running a student government.”
“He is very goal-driven and had superb ideas that he makes into a reality,” said Uddin, a sophomore who is a 2012 graduate of Greater Latrobe High School.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.