Before graduating in May, senior student leader Amy Halpern will leave her final mark on the University of Miami.
A business law and marketing major, Halpern is currently the only student on UM’s Board of Trustees, a member of Order of the Iron Arrow and president of the Panhellenic Association, the umbrella organization for UM’s eight sororities.
Most recently, Halpern was appointed to the Presidential Search Committee and will play an important role in representing student interests during the search for a replacement for current president, Donna E. Shalala.
This role is another one of Halpern’s significant responsibilities on campus. Yet, four years ago, she was a freshman eager to get involved. Hailing from St. Louis, Halpern was miles from home when she arrived in Coral Gables.
“I really wanted a university that was small [to]medium sized, academically driven, but still had excitement for their division one sports teams and a strong sense of institutional pride,” said Halpern on her decision to attend UM. “It also didn’t hurt that I toured the campus on a perfect sunny day in October.”
As a child, Halpern was always active and involved. She competed in gymnastics and played on her high school’s varsity soccer and tennis teams. She also served on the student council and chaired her school’s annual Special Olympics Soccer tournament.
Halpern continued this passion for leadership when she arrived at UM, becoming involved with organizations like Student Government, IMPACT (Individuals Maximizing Potential and Creating Tomorrow) and Greek life. She became a sister of Alpha Delta Pi during the spring of her freshman year and was elected president of the Panhellenic Association in November 2013.
“Joining Greek life helped provide me a community of support and friendship,” she said. “Serving as the president of 1,200 students … has been a fun challenge.”
Last year, Halpern also applied for the student trustee position on the Board of Trustees, the governing body of the university. The board is composed of community and business leaders who meet throughout the year to make decisions on university policies.
“I did some research by talking to last year’s student trustee,” Halpern said. “I felt like I was a diverse candidate in terms of my experience. Yes, I applied as the Panhellenic President, but I have also been involved in different branches of student government as well as several organizations in the Butler Center, so I felt I had more of a 360 view of student life, not just Greek life.”
Halpern has served as secretary and vice chair of Category Five, on the spirit programming board, as well as the project coordinator for the Freshman Leadership Council. She also recently served her last year as a facilitator with the Butler Center’s IMPACT Leadership Retreat, a program that fosters rising student leaders.
“Working with Amy is honestly a lot of fun,” said senior Nicole Garcia, a fellow IMPACT facilitator. “She has no problems saying it like it is, which is so refreshing, and you know that if she says she’ll do something, she’ll do that and more.”
Halpern emphasized that participating in activities that she was passionate about made her commitments inherently enjoyable.
“I just hope that when I leave in May, I fulfilled my duty to make UM a little better, for at least someone,” she said
Beyond her many accomplishments, friends describe her as humble and supportive.
“Amy is such an incredible person, friend, and leader,” said Garcia. “She is the kind of person who lifts people up around her and empowers them to do great things.”