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Oppman, Lorenc elected SMC student body president, VP

| Sunday, February 26, 2017

During her time at Saint Mary’s, newly-elected student body president Bailey Oppman worked as a nursing assistant for a 94-year-old alumna of the College. Now, she hopes to take care of the Saint Mary’s community, working with vice president Lydia Lorenc to tend to the needs of the very people who put them in office: students.

Oppman said she and Lorenc, both juniors, look forward to giving back to the College through their leadership roles.

“I think this is our way of contributing, of leaving our footprint behind in some small way,” Oppman said. “We’re so passionate about this school.”

According to Lorenc, the sisterhood at Saint Mary’s makes the College feel like home, so she and Oppman will strive to ensure that everyone feels welcome and appreciated on campus.

“I think it all comes back to inclusivity,” Lorenc said. “We’re excited to really try to bring this community together, even more than it already is.”

Lorenc said she hopes students embrace her as a leader and feel comfortable approaching her with any concerns or suggestions. She said she and Oppman will uphold the Saint Mary’s mission — to help students grow in self-discovery — to the best of their ability.

“We’re looking to be role models,” Lorenc said. “Everything the school stands for as far as values … is a lot of stuff that we can identify with as well.”

Oppman said she eagerly awaits setting an example for younger students, since she fondly remembers admiring the student body leaders who preceded her.

“I think it’s really neat that you have these girls entering at a crucial time in their lives, and you can be someone they look up to,” Oppman said. “You can be someone they want to try to aspire to be.”

According to Oppman, the added recognition from students and faculty has been difficult to grow accustomed to but added she and Lorenc feel prepared to assume their new positions with optimism and confidence.

“We realize that there are people that are going to be watching us now, young and old,” Oppman said. “I think we can use that to our advantage and make the best of it by setting a good example. By embodying what Saint Mary’s stands for, we can make an impact on the girls around campus.”

Lorenc said she and Oppman primarily aim to foster the enduring bond between Saint Mary’s women.

“It’s always so fun when you’re out and about in the community and you run into another Belle,” Lorenc said. “You instantly feel a connection. It’s all part of the tradition here at Saint Mary’s.”

According to Lorenc, Saint Mary’s produces principled graduates who recognize their own worth and prioritize the needs of others, as she and Oppman plan to do during their term.

“I think being a Belle is extremely humbling,” Lorenc said. “A Saint Mary’s woman is unique in many ways.”

Oppman said she feels compelled to preserve the value of sisterhood, since it unites students with different backgrounds and viewpoints, reminding them of their common humanity.

“Empowering one another, standing behind one another gives me a lot of passion and drive to … stand behind the women I am so passionate about and love,” Oppman said. “Knowing you’re a part of that is really important, and it’s just a great feeling.”

The opportunity to collaborate with and receive guidance from the student governments of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College will not be wasted, according to Oppman.

“There’s only so many schools in the country I can think of that even have the same set-up we do, where it’s a consortium of colleges,” Oppman said. “It’s really unique, and it also gives us an advantage because there’s more we can do. We have allies.”

Oppman said she feels honored to serve an institution so rooted in tradition because her Saint Mary’s education broadens her worldview and provides her with fulfilling opportunities, such as leading the College’s student body.

“We are part of the women we’re here on campus with, but we also have a connection with women we’ve never met before, women who went here 40 years ago,” Oppman said. “I feel like I’m part of something bigger.”

About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

Contact Martha