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Presidents’ Day

The most “enlightening” thing about becoming Widener’s President for a Day, according to Rachel Yenko-Martinka, was “meeting people in positions of power in the school, and seeing such big names on paper, and when I actually met them, they were so supportive of the cause and trying to make a genuine positive change at Widener.”

That cause is her platform as President for a Day: depression awareness and prevention.

“That was very, very encouraging as a student, and for the future of the university,” Yenko-Martinka said of the reception she received from administrative leaders on campus.

"I wanted to work on an education program around campus both for students and faculty, and reaching out to those students in need," she said.

During what was Widener’s 12th annual President for a Day, Widener President Dr. James T. Harris III took on the duties of a student. His day included a voice lesson, classes, lunch with a group of Yenko-Martinka’s friends, and making liquid nitrogen ice cream with the Alpha Chi Sigma Professional Chemistry Fraternity.

Yenko-Martinka met with Chester Mayor John Linder, gave a presentation to Widener's Executive Team, and met with groups from We're All Widener, crisis management and counseling, and other groups. 

The day ended with a reception, featuring sushi, in the University Center Atrium.

President for a Day is always a fun time, and 2014 featured a unique twist: since Yenko-Martinka has blue-tinted hair at the tips, President Harris agreed to give blue-tinted hair coloring a try -- for the day, at least.

"He was willing to spray the side" of his hair, Yenko-Martinka said with a laugh, "and it was great. Then people knew who he was pretending to be."

Students apply each year for the privilege of serving as President for a Day. President Harris praised Yenko-Martinka, a senior biology major from Hopkins, Minn., for her commitment to her platform.

“I think all universities around the country are interested in this topic. I'm so pleased with the people she met. Her focus on this particular issue, I think, will have a lasting impact on the institution,” Harris said.