Behind The Scenes With The Student Body President
May 15, 2018
Branden Yates, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire from Rochester, Minnesota is most known on campus for his Student Senate involvement, and most recently his run for Student Senate president. People may know him by his campaign slogan “bridging the gap between
administration and students,” but there is more to Yates than his public persona.
Yates is well-known around campus because of his active involvement in not only Student Senate but also the College Republicans. He has also become close with his professors because of his outgoing personality and drive to do well academically.
As a business administration major and political science minor, Yates is familiar with giving well-crafted answers in interviews. He spent the summer of 2017 in Washington D.C, interning for Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy. And he hopes to one day be the governor of Minnesota where, he says, one of his main concerns would be making sure taxpayer dollars go towards not just metropolitan areas like the cities, but to more rural cities as well. Yates spoke candidly about his close ties with his family, the difficulties he faced being away from them during school, and spending a summer gaining experience in D.C.
A self described homebody, Yates says while growing up he was very close with his family. Although his parents have been married 31 years, his father worked in South Carolina, so he was essentially raised by his mother until sixth grade. In 2015, during his freshman year of college his mother was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, that was successfully removed. Yates admits to struggling with anxiety during this period. He relied on UW-Eau Claires student counseling services to help him move past the anxiety to become a prominent figure on campus.
Yates says he was not involved much in student government at Rochester Century High School, instead he stuck to playing sports, such as varsity tennis and football, and hanging out with friends. When he is home in Rochester, Yates is a member of the Pax Christi Catholic parish. But in Eau Claire he regularly attends mass at St. James church. His decision to become more involved in the UW-Eau Claire community stems from feeling like students who do not participate actively in student government should still have a voice in the community, Yates said.
When he isn’t trying to make a political impact, Yates and his family spend their time exploring national parks and going boating as much as possible. “Grand Teton is my favorite national park because I believe it is one of the prettiest,” Yates says, “but it’s underrated so you get more of it to yourself.” Being so involved in UW Eau Claire’s campus affairs has taught him to enjoy solitude and whatever time away with his family he can get.
Although his participation in sports stopped in high school, watching the Minnesota Vikings play is one of his favorite hobbies. Ryan Ring, a junior business major at UW- Eau Claire, met Yates through student government freshman year. He described Yates as a hard worker when he puts his mind to things, but with an easy going personality.
“As far as his difference outside of the realm of student government, his loyalty to his friends and peers makes him what some would consider a great friend,” Ring Says.