Familiar Faces: Katy McGarry and Nick Webber

Newly elected student body president and vice president discuss their inspirations, the election process and goals for their term

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Photo by Amanda Thao

Katy McGarry and Nick Webber won in a contested election against junior Nathan Altmann and sophomore Justin Vue.

When the smoke cleared after a hard-fought student body president election that filled the campus with material attempting to garner votes, president-elect Katy McGarry and vice president-elect Nick Webber emerged victorious.

Having built a relationship over the years, along with their shared passion for the students, provided more than enough inspiration to run for the presidency, Webber said.

Meeting at orientation their freshman year, McGarry and Webber have known each other since “day one,” McGarry said.

Webber said the two were inspired to run as they saw an opportunity to connect the university with the community, which they felt they were capable of.

“By being able to incorporate the university in the community, that adds a whole bunch of new resources for our students,” Webber said. “Having good relationships with the city-council, county board and state legislature is the type of representation that’s going to give students the best experience, the most
opportunities and have an overall good experience here.”

The election process, with all the campaigning, debating and planning, can affect people differently. McGarry and Webber said they are no exception.

McGarry described the election process as “long and tiring, but worth it.” She said getting up early every day to be on campus at 7:30 a.m. and not having the most outgoing personality were challenges throughout the campaign.

However, Webber loves to meet new people and in a sense balances the duo.

“I live for this kind of stuff,” Webber said. “My take on the election process is that it was exciting, a great opportunity to meet hundreds of new people. I think the most important thing that we did through the election cycle was setting the precedent that this student government is approachable.”

Webber also enjoys fishing in his free time, a staple of his hometown of Rice Lake. McGarry, a two-sport athlete in high school, said she loves participating in sports as a way to clear her mind. A hockey player all her life, she wishes she had the time to get involved in intramurals she said.

The top priority for the newly elected president is a new off-campus housing ordinance, which has been in the works all semester and is important to them, McGarry said.  

“That will create a registration process that landlords will have to go through, anti-retaliation measures so landlords can’t retaliate against students that report them and proactive inspections,” McGarry said. “Things that make it safer for these students living in these houses, because we know the rental properties these students are living in are not safe.”

McGarry and Webber will be busy this summer as they will travel to Madison for the state budget. During their visit, they will make sure the university’s segregated fees are safe, programs are supported and the campus is adequately afforded, McGarry said.

The student body president is only in office for one year, so McGarry is not expecting to “change it all or do it all,” but she wants her term to be known for accessibility and being there for the students.

“I just want to maintain the approachability and really just set Eau Claire up the best for the future,” McGarry said. “I want to make sure that when I leave here next year that we’re still going in a great direction and we continue to help the most students possible.”

Jefferson Hall, a newly elected student senator under the McGarry and Webber ticket, highlighted some of the strengths of the leaders of the 61st session of Student Senate.

“I believe they’ve worked particularly hard in creating a group of senators that pick up where they lack,” Hall said. “They realize that their perspectives aren’t the only ones that matter. Their ability to reach out and speak to all groups of people stands in a lane of its own.”

Hall said he believes McGarry and Webber have what it takes to succeed.

“They’re the one-two punch that will potentially lead this campus to excellence,” Hall said.