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‘Make the most of your experience and I promise it won’t disappoint you’

April VanMilligan is now making her mark as the new SGA president

Friday Aug 29, 2014

April VanMilligan admits that when she first came to Indiana University Northwest, she didn’t make much of an effort to create a student life.

“I would go to my classes and go straight home,” said the 21-year-old from Dyer, “I didn’t even really know anyone on campus.”

But toward the end of her freshman year, she read an email about running for the Student Government Association (SGA) and saw it as an opportunity to make the most of her college experience.

“Making that impulsive decision to run for a position was the best decision I ever made,” she said.

Now a junior, VanMilligan also works in the Office of Student Activities and last year, she served as co-chair for the Student Activities Board. She recently joined the Student Nurses Association and is considering also joining the Student Alumni Association. She has served on many committees that have made positive contributions on campus.

In working to create the best college experience for herself, VanMilligan now finds herself working towards that goal for the entire student body as the newest president of the SGA.

“My position covers such a broad range of things,” she said. “One day I may be serving on the Homecoming Committee, while the next day I’m meeting with the Chancellor and/or the Vice Chancellors to discuss serious student issues That’s the beauty of it though, because SGA is able to serve the student body in so many ways, no matter if the students immediately see what we are doing, or if it’s all behind the scenes work. Regardless, our main mission is to create the best college experience for our whole student body.”

Looking back on her former approach to college, VanMilligan urges fellow students to “make the most out of your experience, and I promise that it won’t disappoint you.”

She talked about the value of making connections with people on campus.

“Beth Tyler (Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs) is my greatest role-model/mentor and I hope that one day I can inspire a student as much as she has inspired me,” she said. “Just as I have Beth Tyler, you should find a mentor on campus as well. No matter if it is a student, professor, Supplemental Instruction leader, or dean, you will learn something from them and they will probably learn something from you.”

VanMilligan is glad she decided to attend college close to home rather than a large, residential campus.

“This is a campus where you get to know all the students in your class and create a great relationship with all your professors,” she explained. “This isn’t a campus that is so small to the point that you don’t have many class options, but it isn’t so big to where you’re just considered a number to your professor. I am receiving a world-class education in a more personable environment for an affordable price, and in the end I receive a prestigious degree from Indiana University. It’s really the perfect all-in-one package deal.”

VanMilligan looks toward a May 2017 graduation and intends to pursue a career as a pediatric oncology nurse or a pediatric neurology nurse. Eventually, she hopes to secure a position as a director of nurses.

She is happy to be in a degree program that gives her the best possible experience.

“The nursing school here provides us with the best preparation possible to become an efficient nurse in this demanding field,” she said. “Just memorizing vocabulary terms in a textbook isn’t going to make you a good nurse; application of your skills through practice and observation is going to make you a great nurse, and I’m happy to say that our program provides us with that type of hands-on experience.”

VanMilligan has come a long way from the days when she first came to class and immediately went back home. While simply making friends might be enough for some, VanMilligan didn’t stop there. She truly wants to make the campus a better place for students. In doing so, she has learned that she is a true philanthropist, a term she once thought was reserved for those who donate money to a cause.

“I believe that it is especially important for me to donate my time and talent because of the scholarship I received to come here,” she said. “In a way, IU Northwest is donating their treasure to me, so I should reciprocate the action and donate my time and talent to IU Northwest. If students think about philanthropy through that state of mind instead of only thinking of dollar signs, we could really advance as a campus community.”

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