Brett Farmer’s path to the vice presidency

Meet UWEC’s newly appointed Student Senate vice president

Maddie Kasper

More stories from Maddie Kasper

Student Senate
November 22, 2022
New+Student+Senate+vice+president%2C+Brett+Farmer

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New Student Senate vice president, Brett Farmer

Third-year UW-Eau Claire student Brett Farmer was recently appointed student body vice president at the Student Senate meeting on Nov. 14, after former vice president Nick Johnson resigned to pursue other academic and professional goals.

Farmer served as the University Activities commission director for the beginning of the current 66th senate session and served for the entirety of the previous 65th session.

Farmer’s involvement with the UAC began during his first year when he said he happened to see a job posting for a public relations committee co-chair position. 

As an integrated strategic communications student with a public relations emphasis, Farmer said he saw this position as an opportunity to gain relevant experience and make money as a student.

“I interviewed with the director and advisor at the time and they hired me,” Farmer said. “It was great, I loved it. I was just running the social media for UAC and doing all the regular things that chairs do.”

During the spring of 2021, Farmer said the UAC director at the time suggested he get involved with the senate. Farmer took that suggestion to heart, ran on the Jaden Mikoulinskii-Justin Schilling ticket and was elected as an on-campus senator. 

After the senate election, Farmer said he was approached by President Mikoulinskii about being the UAC director because of his past involvement within the commission.

“I had just got involved in the senate, I didn’t even know what was going on,” Farmer said. “She persisted, as well as the UAC advisor, and I was like ‘what the heck, why not?’ because I figured I had more knowledge in the UAC realm than senate, so it was just familiar to me.”

Farmer said he applied for the UAC directorship, was chosen as Mikoulsinkii and Schilling’s nominee and then appointed unanimously by the senate at the start of the 65th session.

He held both a senate seat and director seat during the first semester of the 65th session before the bylaws were amended to give voting rights to directors and allow more people to get involved and become senators.

“I resigned my senator seat at the end of the first semester, just because I wanted to allow more people to get involved,” Farmer said. “There were a lot of applicants for vacancies and I felt like I wasn’t doing enough in my senator position.”

As UAC director, Farmer oversaw and helped plan events with the chairs from the concerts, festivals, film and late-night activities committees. Farmer said his favorite UAC events include the Tai Verdes and Bryce Vine concerts and the 2022 homecoming.

“All the concerts were great –– I think Tai Verdes and Bryce Vine were definitely core memories,” Farmer said. “On all three of those events, homecoming included, we just worked so hard together as a whole leading up to it because it’s such a big event and they all went great.”

Farmer said he also helped plan SpringFest, an event that holds sentimental value to him. The Spring Dash and Bash were ideated by Farmer’s former roommate and UAC chair, Alex Noyes, before his death.

“It had been the idea of a UAC chair we lost the year before and it was just a personal passion project of mine that I needed to make happen,” Farmer said.

When the time came for director applications at the start of the 66th session, Farmer said he considered other commissions but could not yet let go of UAC and was reappointed as the UAC director. 

But he ultimately did let go of the UAC directorship when Johnson resigned and Farmer was Student Body President Rossellin Gaitán and Senate Personnel Director Anakah Denison’s nominee for vice president. Farmer was then unanimously appointed to the position.

“My experience working with Brett has been nothing but positive. Brett is very energetic and I can already tell just when being in the office, people are excited to be here, they want to interact, they want to go speak with him,” Gaitán said. “I have nothing but good things to say about Brett.”

In addition to his commitments within the senate and UAC, Farmer is also an Honors 100 mentor, the swim and dive team captain, a campus ambassador –– he loves giving campus tours –– a student in the honors program, a Blugold research fellow, member of the Public Relations Student Society of America and admissions orientation assistant.

Farmer is succeeded by Zach Jacobson in the UAC directorship. Jacobson joined the UAC commission and became a late-night activities commission co-chair after Farmer was his mentor in an Honors 100 class.

“Working with Brett in UAC has been an absolute blast,” Jacobson said. “He’s an absolute fearless leader and he’s always putting our needs before his own, making sure that UAC is a priority to him, making sure we all have the help that we need during our events and making sure we all feel heard.”

While growing up, Farmer said he always dreamed of becoming a collegiate swimmer, even idolizing the few collegiate swimmers from his hometown.

“It played a big part in my college search process, probably bigger than it should have,” Farmer said. “But I’m obviously happy it panned out the way it did.”

Farmer said he fits in well within the swim and dive team and made friends right away by joining the team during his first year. He was elected team captain at the end of last season by his teammates.

“It’s been great, I didn’t really expect it or work for it, but it’s been so fun getting to know all the freshmen and bringing them in,” Farmer said. “I enjoy being in a leadership role, so it’s really fun for me.”

One of those swim and dive teammates and friends, Sydney McGuine, said Farmer is a natural leader and convinced her to join the senate, where she is now the Student Office of Sustainability senate director.

“I met Brett through swimming and he got me involved in Student Senate because he is very out there –– in a good way, as in outgoing –– he found Student Senate and then convinced me to do it and here we are,” McGuine said. “I’m very happy he was able to do that.”

Over the summer, Farmer studied abroad in Valencia, Spain as part of the University Study Abroad Consortium program.

“It gave me a whole new appreciation for everything –– life, culture, obviously just the Spanish language in general –– being immersed like that,” Farmer said. “It has made me consider careers in Spanish, so I don’t lose that speaking ability, but yeah it was absolutely life-changing.”

Farmer said these academic and professional opportunities are what makes UW-Eau Claire so special as an institution.

“I think opportunities are the No. 1 reason why I love Eau Claire,” Farmer said. “Like I said, I’ve done research, I’ve studied abroad, I’m on a sports team, I’m student body vice president. I’m a little biased to think this, but I think I probably couldn’t do this at most other universities.”

Through his leadership roles, Farmer said his organizational, communication, problem-solving and conflict-management skills have grown immensely, and he has been able to meet so many new people.

“Brett is a really hard worker. He doesn’t do things to be noticed –– he does it because he genuinely wants to, because he cares and because he always wants to just strive for better,” Gaitán said. “I’m glad he’s getting the credit he deserves.”

Kasper can be reached at [email protected]