“If we are not practicing that now, why would we think that we’re going to start once we graduate?” Student Body President Elisabeth Nieshalla said.
Since before Nieshalla began her role as student body president, she has been thinking about her responsibility as a follower of Christ while studying here at Taylor University. She envisions a year where students are putting into practice the love, truth and grace of Christ to serve both Taylor’s community and the surrounding community of Upland.
Both Enoch Eicher and Nieshalla came to their positions of service after taking their ideas to the Lord in prayer.
One day after chapel, Eicher approached Nieshalla to talk about running together for the upcoming year.
They both connected quickly and commenced to bathe their desires and visions in prayer.
“Yeah, we prayed a lot, bro,” Eicher said.
From there, the two ran unopposed for the second time since last year, where the previous student body president and vice president, Kenley Blake and Josue Villalobos, ran unopposed as well.
Nieshalla is a senior majoring in political science, philosophy and economics, or as everyone around here calls it, PPE. She is from Zionsville, Indiana, and was homeschooled all the way until college.
Nieshalla expressed her gratitude for her Christ-centered educational upbringing.
“I grew up in a really solid home church that has really shaped me a lot,” Nieshalla said. “And (my family) enjoys traveling together. We enjoy going on bike rides, playing games; it was a really rich and fun home.”
Nieshalla also credits her parents with instilling in her a framework for how to do everything with excellence, goodwill and humility.
As she reflected on her time here at Taylor, she expressed her thankfulness for the educational experience she has had here.
Serving alongside Nieshalla as student body vice president is Enoch Eicher, a junior and fourth-generation Taylor student.
As many students know, Eicher is not the average junior on campus. He grew up in Mumbai, India, and is now living in a small, midwestern university town where he seeks to bring his culture.
Unlike Nieshalla, Eicher went to boarding school during his high school years.
They both share a history of student government experience. While going to her homeschool co-op, Nieshalla proposed to the board the idea of a student government. Her efforts were successful.
“They appointed me as president so that I could get it off the ground running,” Nieshalla said. “We held elections, we had class representatives…We got microwave privileges for lunch, so people could warm up their lunches — that was huge.”
Eicher had a similar experience in the past where he served as a leader for his boarding school, then on student senate his freshman year here at Taylor and last year on a subcommittee chair for diversity and social issues.
Coming into this year, a uniting thread for both Nieshalla and Eicher is their shared passion for the community at Taylor and a desire to serve and represent the students well.
Eicher remembers that his father encouraged him to go out of his way to meet and interact with people with whom he might not normally hang out.
Eicher thinks of this advice from his father as being extremely influential on him. He strove to do it well.
“Talking with people, listening to their experiences, I can get maybe 1% of their lens and I’m able to see the world maybe 1% how they see it,” Eicher said.
As it turns out, this is one of their goals for this year. Both Nieshalla and Eicher seek to be accessible for the student body.
Not only this, but Nieshalla also wants to be intentional in engaging the community around Taylor.
“It’s always been heavy on my heart, even as I came initially as a prospective student visiting and seeing the area, and then arriving as a student,” she said.
This is especially relevant as the contrast with the Taylor community to the surrounding communities is evident. Grant County, the county encompassing Taylor and Upland, is one of the poorest counties in Indiana.
Nieshalla and Eicher’s passions and desires to serve the Taylor and the Upland communities flow from a desire to honor Christ and be a part of the work he is doing here at Taylor.
Nieshalla and Eicher are using the slogan “Reimagine” to capture the theme they envision for this year.
“We were created to be creative and to bring what we have to create good, more good, even if good already exists, in fresh ways, in new ways, in unique ways,” Nieshalla said.
Nieshalla spoke of this idea as continuing the traditions of those who founded Taylor, those who were bold in taking a new, biblical approach, to higher education.
Nevertheless, both Eicher and Nieshalla hope to continue being a bridge between the student body and the administration for the upcoming year. They look forward to seeking new ways in which Taylor can be effective for renewal in the community of Upland and the surrounding areas.