Towers has had seven presidents in two years

Jill Pearson

After the fall of the gavel at tonight’s Inter-Residence Hall Association meeting, Matt Heerema will officially resign as Towers Residence Association president. TRA at-large representative Tony Luken will fulfill Heerema’s position and will be the 7th TRA president within the past two years.Luken said the reasons so many TRA presidents have resigned during the past few years varies with each individual, from either academic, personal or disciplinary reasons. In his case, Heerema said it is a mixture of personal and academic reasons.”There is no real generalization as to why there have been so many resignations,” he said. “It is a pretty large time commitment, with at least four meetings a week in addition to having to be constantly aware of what is going on with the [executive] council as well as IRHA.”After Heerema picked up where former TRA President Jonathon Weaver left off when he resigned last November, Heerema said he saw his grades take a nosedive. “I have no time to devote to anything else at this point in time, I am involved in so many things that I cannot focus on any of them,” he said.Both Heerema and Luken said there is not a specific pattern with the resignations over the course of the past two years. Luken said it’s a time-consuming job, and many may not understand just how much work is put into the position.”People who run for TRA already tend to have a lot on their plate, and so time is always an issue,” he said. “[The resignations are] not necessarily a good thing or something TRA is proud of, but it is not a bad thing either.”Andy Walling, Richardson Court Association president, said part of the reason for the dramatic difference in numbers of presidents in TRA, Union Drive Association and RCA is the way Towers’ government is run compared to the other two associations.”TRA doesn’t seem to have the same organization as the other two associations — it isn’t anyone’s fault, TRA is just more diversified,” Walling said. “TRA presidents go through a lot of stress, it must demand something that the other two don’t deal with or just deal with differently. Matt is very capable, but it is a shame we are losing him.”Heerema said he will most miss the people in IRHA whom he has known throughout his one-and-a-half years in student government. “The people I work with in IRHA are the best part, the teamwork there is what makes IRHA enjoyable,” he said. “I also enjoyed the opportunity to have a large influence on campus life for students.”While Heerema said he has full confidence in Luken to fulfill the TRA president duties, Luken said he is sorry to see Heerema step down. “I would kind of prefer that he stay, because he does a great job, but I understand that he has a lot of commitments,” Luken said. “If he has to lose one [position] and it’s got to be IRHA, then that’s the way it’s got to be.”Due to Luken’s promotion, the TRA at-large position is now open. Luken said applications will be available at TRA Hall Desks and are due 10 p.m. Sunday in 10252 Knapp Hall.