May 082005
 
Authors: Jen Utter

Working on problems and issues in middle school student government, Courtney Stephens knew she had an interest in political science. She would go to class, quoting political leaders to her classmates.

Stephens, 21, the newly elected president for the Associated Students of CSU, felt strongly encouraged to run for the position by her husband Erik Healey.

"After my shock at the idea of running for president, I realized that it was a great idea because I would be able to continue working for the students," Stephens said. "I was especially flattered that Erik thought of it because, despite being married to me, he would not recommend it if he didn't feel I could do it; so that was very encouraging!"

This summer Stephens will be changing her last name to Healey, her married name.

"I am finally changing my name at the university to my married name because the school-year break is the least confusing time for me to change it," Stephens wrote in an e-mail interview.

With her political science experience dating back to her elementary days, many of her fellow ASCSU peers felt that Stephen's knowledge and personality made her fit for the job as president.

"Courtney is a highly motivated individual who works hard to accomplish her goals," said Brian Hardouin, director of RamRide Operations. "This motivation causes the people around her to be driven with the same commitment and passion as she."

Once Courtney finally decided to run for president, she picked Jon Muller to be her running mate.

"You pick someone you think you would work well with," Stephens said. "I think Jon and I are similar enough to get along but still bring different sides to the table."

Muller, ASCSU vice-president for the 2005-2006 school year, feels they will make a good team as well.

"Courtney is one of the hardest working, motivated, dedicated, responsible people I know," Muller said. "I was honored when she asked me to be her running mate."

However, Muller knows not to mess with Stephens on certain issues.

"Just a little advice," Muller said. "Don't ever take a french fry from Courtney without asking first. You will get hurt."

After spending a year at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Stephens transferred to CSU.

With her roots deep in the political science garden, Stephens became an associate senator for the College of Liberal Arts. She later took a position as a senator for the College.

Stephens spent the past year as the Director of Community Affairs for ASCSU.

"I'm the lobbyist for the students," Stephens said.

Not only did Stephens have to manage her job as director and attend classes, she had to spend many hours working on campaigning for her presidency.

Stephens assembled a 40-person campaign team, including her parents, who would make the trip from their home in Colorado Springs to help bake cookies and campaign with her. As campaign manager and husband, Healey helped Stephens every step of the way.

"She is very humble," Healey said. "It is hard for her to realize that so many people were willing to put their heart and soul into her winning. I just happened to be the person leading that charge."

After weeks of campaigning and getting their names out, Muller and Stephens waited through ASCSU's April 6 meeting to hear the results of the elections.

"Waiting for the results was both intense and relaxing," Stephens said. "We had no control; it was out of our hands. We had done everything that we could do."

Beating opponents Chris Hutchins, junior marketing major, and his running-mate Nicholette Andrews, junior speech communications major, by 128 votes, Stephens and Muller won the right to represent the student body.

All the hard work, long nights and missed classes paid off for Stephens. However, Stephens says she never could have done it without Healey by her side.

"I would hold it together for the campaign team," Stephens said. "But once I got home, I let it all out on the husband."

Although Stephens and Healey met in middle school, they didn't start dating until their junior year of high school.

At the end of their senior year, the couple got engaged.

After trying to do the long-distance relationship, with Stephens in California and Healey in Colorado, they decided it was not working for them and she transferred to CSU after her freshman year of college.

The couple married on May 24, 2003.

"I think being married and being a college student has given me a different perspective, more well-rounded," Stephens said. "Sometimes I'm just your typical 21-year-old and want to go to a movie, but we have to do our own finances. Most college kids rely on their parents to pay for college and we have to pay for it ourselves."

Stephens will make $7,640 as president next year, working about 50-hour weeks.

Double majoring in political science and sociology, Stephens had enough credits to graduate this spring, completing her requirements in three years. However, she is sticking around another year to be president.

"I'm such a dork," Stephens said. "I like going to classes and learning."

Stephens has already been attending meetings with current president, Katie Clausen and performing presidential duties, even though her presidency does not officially take effect until June 1.

"The Saturday and Sunday after the election, I had to work on a $1.l million budget," Stephens said. "That's a lot of money!"

Stephens hopes to accomplish three main goals during her presidency.

She hopes to resolve the issues surrounding higher education laws and educate students about Tax Payer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) and the changes to the TABOR amendment that will appear on the November ballot. Colorado is ranked 48th in the nation in terms of state monies given per student for higher education and Courtney would like to see significant changes to that figure.

"The problem with the law is that it creates a ratcheting down affect that hamstrings the state and causes higher education to suffer financially," Stephens said.

She would also like to get the three unrelated issue off the books. She worked tirelessly on the issue as the director of community affairs, this year, and would like to see her efforts followed through on.

"We need to stop the economic, class-based discrimination that students are facing," Stephens said.

Lastly, Stephens really wants to focus on improving student outreach. She wants to see more people get involved on campus and for people to voice their opinions about what they like and dislike.

"I'm looking forward to having the influence to make a difference at the university," Stephens said.

After her presidency, Stephens plans to go to law school at Stanford. Even though she has not taken the Law School Admission Test yet, she has high hopes for herself.

"Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you'll land among the stars," said Stephens.

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