Drew Harrahill lives by a certain motto: make the world better, today.
Elected as the next internal vice president of the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska, Harrahill has a different background than some students who may enter student government. Instead of pursuing politics, he wants to become a doctor and work on clinical research. Overall, he plans to continue helping people in any way he can.
Although he doesn’t want to be a professional politician, Harrahill said he loves working on ASUN and being involved in the close, tight-knit political sphere of Nebraska.
Next year, Harrahill said he hopes to finish in-progress projects, such as those related to textbook price transparency, divestment, digital access for the Newspaper Readership Program and the Husker Pantry and increase ASUN access to the student body.
“I really want to improve the world and improve the groups around me,” Harrahill said.
As he transitions from the current ASUN speaker of the senate to the internal vice president, he will work to ensure the senate is ready to serve students. Harrahill is currently adapting to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s decision to move classes online for the rest of the semester because of COVID-19. He said the virus has the potential to put the senate behind schedule.
“The largest issue I see with ASUN operations is how we will spread the word,” Harrahill said. “We want to hit the ground running next year, and that requires a full crew of ASUN senators and committee members.”
Harrahill, a junior biochemistry major, wants to continue a project he said he is most proud of: his work with the Husker Pantry and University Dining Services to offer free, hot and healthy meals to students, which he intends to continue next year.
Sen. Jaden Roe said Harrahill took initiative at an Association of Big Ten Students conference last summer when he worked with the student government from the University of Maryland to understand how they offer meal plans and donations to their students. From what he learned, Harrahill asked Roe to partner with him to make the Husker Pantry a greater priority for ASUN.
Even though his background is not in politics, Harrahill said he enjoys it and knows it will be a part of his life in the future, whether serving on the City Council or working with City Council members and elected officials.
“Of course, I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t love politics and enjoy that realm,” Harrahill said. “I hope to stay involved, but I know in the future my focus will shift heavily toward science and medicine.”
Harrahill has also served on the Freshman Campus Leadership Associates and was the co-director of FCLA his sophomore year before serving as a senator for the College of Arts and Sciences this year. Harrahill said he developed confidence and an understanding of himself through FCLA.
“If I didn’t understand how I operate and what works best for me, I wouldn’t be able to fully give back to other resources like ASUN and the other projects that we’re doing,” Harrahill said.
Jared Long, outgoing internal vice president of ASUN, said Harrahill’s service as speaker of the senate has prepared him to take on similar roles as the internal vice president next year.
“[Harrahill] was constantly supporting [members of ASUN], and I know that he’ll continue to do that … and really challenge everyone to strive for their best and put their best foot forward,” Long said. “I think that he’s a leader who can inspire people to do that.”
Long, a good friend of Harrahill’s, said Harrahill was one of the first people he met at UNL his freshman year. While the internal vice president runs and chairs each ASUN meeting, Long said he worked with Harrahill in their two roles as resources for ASUN.
Long said executive members have to be flexible as problems appear out of nowhere, but he has faith Harrahill can navigate any and all challenges to find good solutions for the student body.
“Drew is the manifestation of what it means to be a calm, cool and collected leader,” Long said. “He’s a very hard working individual, he’s incredibly smart, and I think that these are all the qualities that are really going to serve him well in the role of [internal vice president].”
Harrahill worked with Roni Miller and Saisha Adhikari in FCLA, who will join him respectively as the president and external vice president next term, and said they will use that experience as a basis for collaboration and serving students.
“Me and the rest of the executive team and the rest of ASUN will always be fighting for student rights and to benefit the experience, but we don’t always have the perfect mechanism to do so,” Harrahill said. “I want students to know that we are an open resource for them.”