BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State University senior Alicia Bowstring hopes to bring a student-centered approach to her new position as the President of the Council for Indian Students.

“I am going into BSU with the same mentality that I had at Leech Lake Tribal College,” Bowstring said.

Bowstring is majoring in indigenous studies with a minor in Ojibwe at BSU. Her secondary education began at Leech Lake Tribal College, where she graduated in 2018 with a dual degree in liberal education with an emphasis in STEM and indigenous leadership. She was heavily involved in Student Senate and Tutoring Services at LLTC.

She has high hopes of bringing her knowledge back to the Leech Lake community to make a positive impact. Her main responsibility for the year is arranging BSU’s annual Powwow, but there are new ideas that she hopes to make a reality while she holds her position.

“I would like to bring more activities to students this year. Things like late night study sessions with food, free lunch during midterm weeks. Things like that really help out and help take the strain off of students,” Bowstring said in a BSU release.

Bowstring has many ideas of her own that will support students and their needs on campus. She hopes for a productive year of planning for student centered activities. Bowstring said she wants to be a good role model for students of all walks of life.

“I hope to gain experience of being in this positive leadership role, especially for indigenous students I hope I am a good role model for them,” Bowstring said. “It's just preparing for the future.”

Executive Director of the American Indian Resource Center, Bill Blackwell Jr. said that past presidents of the CIS have increased their leadership skills, won awards for their work and went on to do big things on campus and off.

“We have no doubt that she will certainly follow in the footsteps of those that came before her,” Blackwell said. “She is just a really all around great young woman, this is another step in what she is doing to build her leadership and make a positive impact on the college campus.”

Bowstring will be working on events closely with her husband, Bill Bowstring, who was elected as the vice president of the CIS. The council is comprised of students who were elected by the BSU student body.

The purpose of the Council of Indian Students is to bring together Indian students at BSU, to inform others on the culture of Indian groups, help students find resources for bettering themselves, to find solutions to solve problems Indian students face within the campus community and to promote better relations between Indian and non-Indian students, the release said.

There is much behind-the-scenes work in putting on BSU’s powwow and Blackwell is confident in Bowstring’s ability to make the right decisions for the event. Last year's powwow was held Oct. 27.

“Anytime you get the opportunity to put on such a large scale event it only builds your leadership capacity,” Blackwell said. “ I don't know how someone would not benefit by putting on something like this.”