Jacob Simpson: Advancing Undergraduate Student Success

The IOWA Challenge expresses important principles that help students succeed in the classroom and beyond. Five expectations: Excel, Stretch, Engage, Choose, and Serve make up the Challenge. The Iowa Challenge series highlights students that exemplify these five values in their daily lives at the University of Iowa.

How do you Excel at Iowa?

As President of the University of Iowa Student Government, my goal is to represent, serve, and empower all undergraduate students at the University of Iowa. I have the opportunity to do this, along with my great team, because we were elected last year by the student body. We focus on developing initiatives that advance student success; for example, we worked with Parking & Transportation over the summer to expand the Cambus Interdorm to operate on weekend mornings during the academic year, providing residents from Mayflower to Slater easier access to dining halls and facilities on the opposite sides of campus.

How has this improved your experience at Iowa?

My experience in UISG has allowed me to serve the student community in a meaningful capacity. To listen to the community, identifying its needs, and to remedy any problems, not only offers me the opportunity to develop skills, but also the opportunity to act out my values, and the University of Iowa’s values, of community, inclusion, and responsibility.

What advice would you give to new students on how to excel at Iowa?

I encourage new students not to get caught up in checking off the requirements that we are taught to believe lead to success. Yes, you need a major before you graduate, yes you should engage in experiential learning-- perhaps an internship?-- yes you should strive for good grades. But before all that, and during it, think critically about how you wish to be, how you wish to live. Develop self-awareness, as much as you can, know that things will change and that it will be okay, and define your goals accordingly. You will excel here, no matter the path, as long as it is yours.

What impact do you hope UISG has on student or the campus?

I hope UISG helps to develop a student culture committed to change-making. Our generation is brilliant, and it is powerful. We have the opportunity to use our values and our voices to create change that improves society. UISG is all about recognizing our own agency in this world and our responsibility to use it for the benefit of others.

Where do you want to end up after college?

After I graduate, I plan to take a gap year or two before I attend law school. Eventually, I would like to do advocacy justice and equity in our public education system.


About the series

The Iowa Challenge encourages students to get the most out of their college experience. We encourage all students to Excel, Stretch, Choose, Engage, and Serve during their time here at Iowa. Learn more about the Iowa Challenge here

The Division of Student Life is creating profiles of students who have shown their work in relation to the Iowa Challenge in some way. If you know a student we should feature, contact studentlife-marketing@uiowa.edu.