Meet John Claybrook: John Claybrook, a finance major from Dallas, was elected student body president for Texas A&M University and took office in April 2012 for a one-year term in leading his nearly 50,000 Aggie classmates. He has served as co-chair for Fish Aides in the Student Government Association; on the Parents’ Weekend committee; a host for the Conference on Student Government Associations; and a delegate on the Gilbert Leadership Conference. He also attended the MSC Spencer Leadership Conference as a delegate in 2010 and is a member of the Aggie Men’s Club and Maroon Coats.
Editor’s note: This originally appeared in Spirit magazine, a publication of the Texas A&M Foundation.
A Lesson in Timeless Values
Howdy! Since being elected Texas A&M’s 2012-2013 student body president in March, I’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous students and administrators in a united effort to find solutions to issues that don’t always have clear-cut answers — from Kyle Field seating to the outsourcing of campus services. I’m honored to be the voice representing students as we determine what is best for our university.
The route to becoming student body president was extraordinary in many ways, but my involvement in student organizations, including my time as a student worker and Maroon Coat at the Texas A&M Foundation, was critical in attaining this position. My experience at the Foundation helped prepare me for being a successful servant leader.
Texas A&M is unique because it places value on involvement in student organizations. Not only do we receive a world-class education in the classroom, but we also learn balance, commitment and service, among many other intangible traits that make Aggies leaders who others want to follow.
The student elections process at Texas A&M is exhilarating. With a student body so focused on service, it is to be expected that thousands of students will go out of their way to help their friends get elected. Students will spend hours each day holding signs, speaking to organizations and creating buzz through social media to help their candidate win. As a result, we saw nearly 15,000 Aggies vote in elections this year; an astounding number compared to other schools of similar size.
Since elections are highly publicized and marketed on campus, rules and regulations have been put in place to ensure fair and unbiased contests. For instance, candidates cannot spend more than $1,800, are limited to certain days and times for public campaigning, and are guided on how to expense items typically used in a campaign. These regulations are necessary to give each candidate an equal opportunity to win.
After winning decisively in the runoffs, I was told that I had been disqualified due to a number of complaints filed by an anonymous individual about my expense report. All of these claims were eventually cleared through an appeals process, and on March 6, I was declared student body president around midnight after an understandably long and painfully slow decision from the Student Government Association Judicial Court.
This election experience challenged my resolve and caused me to question my basic perceptions of human nature and campus politics. Looking back now, I realize that what appeared then as dirty politics was simply a valuable part of my education.
In the end, I prevailed because I embrace the timeless values that are the cornerstone of Texas A&M: excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service. Without them, we may achieve temporary success, but with them we can move mountains. These values distinguish Texas Aggies, and I intend to utilize them in my every pursuit as student body president.