Class presidents: Like sis, like bro

Some say political ambition runs in the family. Mark Stern, Class of 2007 president, and his sister EJ, Class of 2004 president, are no exception to this rule. After working together in student government organizations in their hometown in Alabama, the two once again share the common bond of leadership here at AU.

"I am thrilled to be able to share an experience with Mark again," EJ said. "He is a fantastic leader and has a lot to offer."

The siblings' up-front and good-natured personalities are readily apparent, as is their mutually zealous drive to serve the AU community. EJ, who has led the 2004 class council since her freshman year, has worked to bring the class together through different service activities, class projects and events. As freshmen, the class raised over $1,000 for the United Way Earthquake Relief in El Salvador and India. Through the years, the class has also been involved in raising awareness for student activities and school spirit.

"We are the first class to start getting involved with Homecoming and Homecoming activities that go along with it," EJ said. "We are one of the first classes, as far as I know, to ever to win the Homecoming Spirit Cup."

While the Class of 2004 looks toward graduation, Mark eagerly works with his class council to bring the Class of 2007 together by giving it a voice on campus.

In the weeks since elections, the freshman class president has already been working diligently to put his campaign ideas into action, namely setting up a forum for all members of the Class of 2007.

"I would like to represent the Class of 2007, to have the opportunity to take their needs and concerns and do something about it," Mark said. "I'm the type of person that, in addition to talking about an issue, I actually want to say 'Hey, we talked about it, now lets do something about it.' I like the hands-on feel of putting programs together and seeing things get done."

Although Mark said his sister is a useful resource for advice and support, the siblings assert that Mark's presidential accomplishments are due entirely to his and his class's efforts. Mark said he is not solely interested in following in the political footsteps of his older sister.

"I was really surprised when he decided to come to AU, because he was really about making his own path: being Mark, not EJ's little brother," EJ said. "When he decided to run, it was his decision, and he wanted to do it totally on his own. When I met his friends, they had no idea I even went here. This is about his way to make a difference."

Until EJ's graduation in May, the two are enjoying the strength of their new relationship. Although they were close growing up, Mark said they have drifted apart since his sister left for college three years ago. Together again, EJ is helping Mark settle into life in D.C. Despite the fact she lives off campus and Mark lives in a residence hall, the two find time to eat lunch or dinner together every week and talk nearly every day. While Mark said his decision to attend AU had nothing to do with his sister's enrollment, he said he has realized how lucky he is to have her here.

EJ will graduate in May with a double major in Communications and Philosophy, and is deferring enrollment in law school for a year to work and travel. She hopes to go into public relations or marketing, taking her experience from the Class of 2004 to a broader level. Mark is planning on a double major in the School of Communication and School of Public Affairs. He said he is looking forward to the time he has left with his sister.

"I'm sure as the year goes on we will be working together on some projects for both our classes," Mark said. "I'm glad we have this year to improve our relationship, because after college, friends come and go, but your siblings are always there for you"

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