Familiar Faces: Ashley Sukhu and Colton Ashley
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Student body president and vice president discuss their hobbies, aspirations and favorite parts about student leadership
During last year’s student body president election, Ashley Sukhu, an organizational communication major, and Colton Ashley, a political science major, didn’t anticipate winning. For them it was more about getting students involved in student governance, Sukhu said.
However, in the end it was the Sukhu and Ashley who received the most votes.
Now approaching the end of their term, Sukhu and Ashley shared their childhood aspirations and favorite parts about student leadership.
Both admitted to the difficulties of being in student governance, such as “butting heads” with those who think differently, but these trials are also what makes the experience so great, Ashley said.
“In politics, there is no such thing as a perfect solution because everything has flaws, but it’s about coming up with a solution that benefits the most amount of people,” Ashley said. “And to me, working in that is the biggest takeaway and the biggest positive experience that I’ve gotten.”
Despite the challenges of working with different voices, Sukhu said she is grateful for the opportunity to work with her peers and the faculty and staff to create a better campus.
Lars Nelson, the Campus Affairs Director for Student Senate, described the passion and commitment Sukhu and Ashley have for students.
“I think that’s their strength is them two together,” said Nelson. “Separately, they’re both powerful individuals but as a team, I think they’ve accomplished so much.”
Contrasting their more professional roles in leading the student body, Sukhu and Ashley’s hobbies reveal that they too are like any of the students they represent.
As a way to relax, Ashley said he enjoys playing the video game Overwatch, an activity he sometimes participates in with other senators after Senate meetings. He is also an avid fan of WWE and Elvis Presley.
When she was young, Sukhu used to collect things from “The Peanuts,” something she said she has recently taken up again. She also likes collecting Hallmark greetings cards because of the positive messages they contain. Due to her passion for music, she also plays the french horn and is learning to play the violin.
As for who they aspired to be as children, Sukhu was the first to answer by expressing her admiration for Oprah Winfrey.
“I wanted to be Oprah Winfrey so freaking bad,” Sukhu said. “She was so great. I watched her show every single day at 4 o’clock.”
Before coming to college Sukhu thought she was going to become a 4-H leader, due to having a mentor during her time in the program who resembled a mother figure. 4-H is an organization that educates children around the globe, providing them with hands-on experience in agriculture, science and more, according to their website.
However, Sukhu chose to go to college and her mentor pushed her to do more with her life, she said.
“She’d always tell me I was made for bigger things and that I was going to do big things in the world,” Sukhu said. “So I definitely think she had a very large impact on me.”
For Ashley, one man whom he aspired to be as a child and someone he continues to idolize is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
He even has a WWE Championship belt in his office, which he said is a symbol of greatness that reminds him why he is involved in student government.
“As a champion, regardless for what you do, you want to be the absolute best,” Ashley said. “You want to give as great a performance, 100 percent effort into everything that you do to make sure that when you walk away, you don’t have any regrets.”
Ashley said one of his other idols is his grandmother, who raised him. He talked about her ability to forgive others despite how poorly they had treated her. Making sure he has a “soft spot” as she did, Ashley said, is one of the most important things he learned from her.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her, I can tell you that for sure,” Ashley said. “I could be off somewhere in Florida or Iowa or anywhere else in the country, except here.”
Sukhu will be graduating at the end of this semester. She said it will be hard to leave Eau Claire, but she is reassured by the idea that she can always return if she desires. For now, she said, she will “make somewhere else home, at least for a little while.”
Ashley said that though he has enjoyed his time with Senate, he will not be returning to student government in the fall.