UI Senior Balances College Life, Politics
In many respects, Jeremy Schreiber is a typical college student enjoying the summer before his senior year.
He cruises around in his convertible by day and bartends by night. He plays basketball, goes mountain biking and hangs out with friends.
But beyond the average appearance of a University of Iowa student, Schreiber is charged with the responsibility of being student liaison to the Iowa City Council.
The 21-year-old Illinois native made history this spring when he was chosen by a 15-student nomination committee and confirmed by the council to serve as the first-ever student liaison.
With a month of council experience under his belt, Schreiber said his leadership roles at UI have helped prepare him for this duty.
Schreiber has served various roles in the political sphere: He is a leader for Hawkeyes for Israel, he has served on student government campaigns, he worked with the Democratic party during the presidential election and he has lobbied every Iowa congressional member on various issues.
"I go to these congressmen and I see that I know way more on an issue than they ever will," he said. "It's kind of that way with the council. They're not going to learn every single thing there is to know about every single issue, but you have to listen to the people that do know."
Mark Kresowik, UI student government president, said a student liaison to the council is a great step in getting students involved on local issues.
"It gives students the ability to communicate, through the liaison, with a lot of different people in the community and an opportunity to get involved politically," he said.
Kresowik said the student nomination committee picked Schreiber because he works hard and has a good understanding of city government structure.
"The committee picked him because of his willingness to put in the time and his prior knowledge on the issues," he said.
Claudia Weaver, a recent UI graduate, worked with Schreiber when he was political director of Hawkeyes for Israel.
"Jeremy is probably one of the most fantastic leaders I've ever worked with," Weaver said. "He is very talented at coming up with new ideas and executing them."
Weaver said he is a team player in every sense of the word and his ability to convey ideas makes him an ideal fit with the council.
The City Council, which voted 4-3 in March for a non-voting student liaison, has welcomed Schreiber with no indication it was a split vote, he said.
"Everybody on the council has been so welcoming and so helpful, it's unbelievable," he said.Councilor Regenia Bailey, who originally voted against adding a student liaison, said Schreiber is doing well in the position.
"I was never against the concept of a student liaison, I was just concerned about the way we are doing it," Bailey said. "So far it seems to be working, we are getting a different perspective."
She said both Schreiber, and Austin Baeth, alternate liaison, are always prepared and take their roles seriously.
Schreiber said he's always been interested in how UI and the council work together.
"The alcohol issue brought it to the forefront to the minds of students. But there are lots of issues ... pertinent to students," he said.
Now more involved with the underage and excessive drinking issue, one thing is clear: The topic doesn't lack conversation, he said.
While admittedly against the 21-drinking ordinance, Schreiber said it was a good move by the council to give the Alcohol Advisory Board another six months to work on the issue.
"They're doing a great job, looking at innovative new ideas to help the problem," he said.
A recent forum hosted by UI students was encouraging because it gave students a chance to pitch their ideas to involved parties, he said.
"If you put as many of these alternative solutions on the table as possible, eventually you're going to find something that will help," Schreiber said.
As he continues work on the drinking debate, he said it comes natural for someone who always has been interested in politics and debating.
"I'm such an opinionated person, it's a natural fit for me," he said. "I enjoy a heated debate."
In the next few months, he said he and UI student government would like to set up an agenda of issues to bring to the table.
Schreiber's personal mission will be to drive up the numbers of student voters in the next election.
"I'll be focusing a lot of time on ensuring that students understand that if they want to be represented, the only way they can do that is come out and vote," he said.
He'd like to get candidates to reach out to the students as much as possible by being available on campus, he said.
While wrapping up a light load of senior year classes this fall, Schreiber has set his eyes on law school. In the meantime, he's simply enjoying being a student in Iowa City.