Andrew (AJ) Baron ASLCSC President makes the most of every opportunity

It’s not as if Andrew J.D. Baron needed a second chance as much as just a place where he could thrive. He’s found such a place at Lewis-Clark State College.

The president of the Associated Students of LCSC continues to make the most of his time at the college and is on schedule to graduate in May 2019 with degrees in social science: political science emphasis, and communication arts, and minors in history and Spanish.

If that’s not enough, Andrew is the president of the speech and debate club and participates in competitions, hosts a talk radio show on the college radio station KLCZ, writes a column for The Pathfinder, the school’s newspaper, serves as a mentor in the college’s First Year Experience program, and serves on a number of campus committees.

“My favorite thing about attending LCSC is the campus’s ability to offer students in the smaller disciplines with top-level opportunities,” Andrew said. “To prospective students who worry that opportunities like these aren’t available, know that they are if you seek them out.”

Andrew said because of the support he has received from faculty, staff and students on campus, he has been able to compete against top 10 nationally ranked speech and debate teams, present research findings at the Pacific Northwest Political Science Association’s annual conference, and participate in the West Coast Model European Union competition where students play the role of representatives of the union during a mock legislative session.

“I have been able to practice and develop such a wide range of skills through classes and co-curriculars that I feel blessed,” Andrew said. “I think the professors really care and that this combined with small class sizes allows professors to really help students reach their greatest potential.”

Andrew, 22, said he will continue to push hard after graduation as well. He would like to go on to law school and eventually practice corporate, maritime, or international trade law.

Andrew was born in Canada but moved to the United States when he was 3 months old. He moved quite a bit during his youth and eventually wound up in Meridian, Idaho, a second time where he graduated in 2013 from Renaissance High School, a prestigious academic school in the Boise area.

He said he went to another Idaho college but didn’t do well because of a variety of reasons. He eventually dropped out but decided he needed to try again. He heard about LC from a neighbor and a sister of a friend, and decided that LC made sense, especially financially because of its low tuition.

His parents helped him acquire a loan to pay for college, but his hard work and perseverance has helped him almost fully fund his education now himself. Being on the speech and debate team, he earned the Bob Olson Endowed Scholarship, and then he earned work-study money at the college radio station. Last year, he received a half-tuition scholarship for debate as part of the Humanities Division’s Activity Scholarships, and this year he earned another half-scholarship for assisting with LCSC’s television production class, also through the Humanities Division.

He said that although it will take him five years to complete the double major and double minor degrees, it has been worth it. He credits communications professor Sean Cassidy and political science professor Leif Hoffman for helping inspire him in those fields of study.

“He (Hoffman) has been a better mentor and advisor to me than I could have ever asked for or ever would have expected,” Andrew said. “If it weren’t for Dr. Hoffmann, I would never have ended up as involved as I am and the faith he has had in me is part of why I didn’t drop out again. The first campus club I joined outside of speech and debate was the Political Science Club and from there I just kept reaching for more.”

Being the student body president has had its challenges, but Andrew and the LCSC student government have been hard at work this fall rewriting the organization’s constitutional bylaws after a new constitution was ratified last spring. He said it’s important to leave behind a document that can be relied upon for years to come.

Andrew also said he helped student government draft a policy and project platform/agenda that list the goals for student government during the school year. The goals for this year are to give students a voice, completely follow through on projects started by previous councils that are unfinished, having more recycling contained on campus, and helping with the college’s 125th birthday celebration during the spring.

“It is an incredible honor,’’ Andrew said about being the student body president. “I feel like people feel like they can’t talk to me or something because of it but in the end I know I’m just another student. Sometimes you have to juggle priorities and delegate, but in the end I would say it is a lot of fun and leaves you with a sense of having done the best you could.”

Andrew lives off campus with two senators from student government who are also friends. He said it is an easy walk to campus, and what he enjoys the most is what he calls “the sleepiness most Lewiston neighborhoods have.” He said it makes staying focused and on task easier. When he has free time, he said he enjoys writing poetry, as well as hiking and fishing in the area.

He said LCSC has been a great place for him and he’s thankful for the opportunity. As for advice he would give someone thinking about attending LCSC, he said making contact with someone at the college, such as a club advisor or a student, is a great first step.

“Talking with students who go here is the best way to get a feel of why there really is no place like LC,” Andrew said.