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J.P. Benedict's family has long UA tradition

FILE PHOTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
ASUA president J.P. Benedict looks on during his election last year. Benedict comes from a family that has a history of service at UA.
By Dana Crudo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday September 3, 2003

The Benedicts have made sure to pass one piece of life-altering advice on to future generations, "friends don't let friends go to ASU."

As the fourth generation in his family to attend the UA, J.P. Benedict, ASUA president, has been bombarded with Wildcat pride from relatives who bleed red and blue.

"There's just something about the school, it has a strong tradition, very loyal alumni, and I just love the school and UA sports," Benedict said.

It is this love that Benedict wishes to share with the student body by boosting school spirit and involvement as the leader of the student body.

Members of Benedict's family, as long as 50 years ago, have gotten involved in everything from honoraries to administrative positions. They've played in a whole range of sports, including cross-country, track, volleyball and basketball.

A distant cousin served as the dean of students three generations ago.

Benedict's uncle is Scott Eller, whose endowment for the business college led to the building being named in his honor.

With a history of service to the university in his bloodline, Benedict has seen the benefits of becoming involved in campus activities and it has pushed him to try everything he can.

"Getting involved gives you a reason to come to school, have a greater appreciation for the school, and have long lasting relationship with people," said Benedict. "It also benefits people who are having a hard time finding their place (on campus)."

Benedict points to the new Zona Zoo pass, three new class councils, and an expanded spirit club as evidence of his attempts to give students even more opportunities than his relatives had, to participate in campus activities and show their spirit.

The new student councils, which consist of sophomore, junior, and senior councils, will help the different classes become better represented in ASUA and allow an opportunity for students to become more involved within their classes, Benedict said.

The spirit club sets up events, mostly athletic related, in an attempt to increase student pride in their teams and campus. Benedict hopes to increase its manpower so more events can be planned and implemented.

He also urges all students to participate in as many activities as they can.

"College is a time to nerd out, everyone does their own things, if it will make you happy then give it a try," said Benedict. "Even when things don't pan out they help you figure out what you really want to do."

Benedict plans to be readily available for students who have problems or suggestions.

"I am very approachable, my door is always open, and I don't like it when I know I could have done something to make things easier [for students]," said Benedict, who is known by his peers as a very laid back president.

Melanie Rainer, executive vice president of ASUA, believes this is what makes it easier for students to get to know him.

"J.P. is laid back and is always open to suggestions and getting to know students," said Rainer. "He treats students just as he would the president of UA, he doesn't change, he's what you always get."

Students are already becoming aware of his presence on campus and his desire to have students participate in campus events.

"He was out in the mall endorsing the concert at Centennial Hall last week," said Nicole Lebon, communication senior.

Besides working on student involvement and spirit, Benedict also wants to strengthen ties between ASUA and UA alumni.

Growing up with a family full of UA alumni has allowed Benedict to realize the important role alumni play in a university.

Loyal alumni donate money or buildings to the school. They have a long term effect even when they are gone, Benedict said.

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