Learning to Lead

Student Body President Kennadie Anderson ’20 reflects on the impact of her years at Bethel as she enters her second and final term before graduation.

By Claire Swenson '19

October 16, 2019 | 1:40 p.m.

Kennadie Anderson ’20, student body president

Kennadie Anderson ’20, student body president

Kennadie Anderson ’20 of Mora, Minnesota is a biology major with a chemistry minor, but she is better known for being the face of the student population, coming into her second year as student body president

As a legacy student, Anderson has always known about Bethel. Her father, the first of the family to go to college, paved the way by attending Bethel and was followed by Anderson’s brother and sister. As she prepared for college, Anderson imagined her Bethel experience looking very different than it has. 

Anderson was set on playing for the women’s tennis team, but soon realized she would have to choose between sports and Bethel Student Government. As she contemplated joining BSG, Anderson was warned that it often becomes a huge commitment for students in higher-up positions. Certain that would not happen to her, Anderson decided to join Student Activities during fall of her freshman year.

Over the years, her involvement grew. She became a director for SA, and then was elected as student body president for her junior and senior years. Anderson has also been involved in GlobeMed and worked in several areas across campus, including dining services, the Bethel University Library, and as a teacher’s assistant. Now, she spends 40 hours a week on BSG, but she doesn’t regret a thing, “It has completely, 100% enriched my Bethel experience and made it better. It’s the first thing that I think of when someone asks me what I like about being at Bethel.”

With her position as president shaping her Bethel experience, Anderson faces a unique set of challenges. “Leadership can be really lonely. When figuring out the right thing to do, I think that the most challenging part has been figuring out the next step or navigating hard circumstances,” she says. “You can feel really alone. But that's also the cool part of it, being able to navigate it through prayer.” 

As William Washington, vice president for Student Life and one of Anderson’s supervisors, says, “All leaders grow when there is adversity.”

And that’s just what Anderson has done: “I’ve seen myself grow in my faith, I’ve seen myself grow in understanding what my priorities are and what’s important to me…” she says. “I think overall, this overarching theme of how I’ve grown is in balance—balancing the good and the bad, the easy and the hard, the personal life and the work life.”

"There’s something to be said for working with people that are so passionate and excited about the same things that you are. It has brought me some of my greatest challenges and some of my greatest growth, but also some of my greatest friends and memories, too.” 

— Kennadie Anderson '20

Though, as Anderson can attest, being in a position of leadership can feel lonely, she has had an impactful group of supporters. She points to many of the Bethel staff, including Washington; Sara Wanous, former director of student activities and campus engagement; and President Jay Barnes as people who have shown her how to be a good leader.

“I think my experiences at Bethel have prepared me really well,” Anderson says, in considering her future as a pharmacist. “I’ve gotten to experience things, but also having a relationship with people that I see as really good leaders, people that I see as great contributors to the Kingdom and the world. I think having exposure to people who really do show up for what they say they will is the most influential part of my leadership experience at Bethel.”

Washington in turn praises Anderson’s work at Bethel. “I have witnessed Kennadie display courage, resilience, and tenacity. She has always sought to build people up,” he says. “She treats people with dignity and respect, is a great listener, and desires to enhance the Bethel student experience.” 

For Anderson, the growth she has experienced as student body president has been huge, but the true highlight of her time with BSG has been the people she has worked with. “I absolutely adore the executive team that I got to have the first year and the executive team that I get to have the second year. There’s something to be said for working with people that are so passionate and excited about the same things that you are,” she says. “It has brought me some of my greatest challenges and some of my greatest growth, but also some of my greatest friends and memories, too.” 

True to Bethel’s love of community, Anderson says one of the most important parts of BSG is surrounding yourself with the right people. She advises the next student body president to invest in the BSG community and build up those people that they will work with. “Hire people for your executive team that make you really excited about what you do, whether that means they’re the same as you or different from you. Hire people that will make student government better as a whole,” she says. “I think that the goal of student government is to be as broad and deep as possible, so I think that’s the most important choice you make.”

Join Bethel Student Government.

BSG is a huge part of the Bethel community. Our group of committed students and staff work in departments such as Clubs & Organizations, Student Activities, United Cultures of Bethel, Student Senate, and Student Ministries. Each of these pieces of BSG play an integral part in ensuring students have opportunities to engage with one another outside the classroom. With seven department and over 100 active members, BSG provides event planning, resources and funding to student-led organizations, and a student voice for administration.

Learn more


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