Going the distance

Track runners are always going places, but Billy Bludgus, a graduating senior and the recipient of the Student Organization Leader of the Year SOAR Award and the Edward T. Foote II Award for Excellence in Student Leadership, has come a long way since he first arrived to UM after he was recruited to the men’s track team.

Bludgus spent his last four years as a distance runner in the UM track team, a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and a student majoring in mathematics, secondary education, and German. Somewhere along the way, he managed to become an active member of the UM community through his volunteer work and efforts in the Student Government.

“My heart always lies in the Volunteer Services Center, but then again I live in the Student Government office,” Bludgus said.

The fondest memories of his time at school include Homecoming, Funday, the hurricanes during the fall of 2004, and the events following September 11th.

“Anytime I’ve been able to witness our campus coming together as a united community, that’s what I remember,” Bludgus said. “It’s just the comradery and Hurricane spirit during those times.”

Bludgus came to Miami from a humble New Jersey lifestyle after being recruited as a runner on the track team. He recalls where he came from and cherishes the place he is today, attributing any successes to hard work, determination, and the support, encouragement, and inspiration of many people along the way.

“I’m just lucky to be here, to have escaped and be able to get a full college experience. If you look at the kids I grew up with, I’m the only one that’s made it to college and is going to graduate,” Bludgus said.

Bludgus’ optimistic outlook on life and willingness to serve are what have made him stand out to the student body. Bludgus lost the 2004-2005 Student Government President elections, but only laughs and says, “Things happen the way they’re supposed to happen. I don’t see it as a negative at all.”

Following graduation, Bludgus will spend two years in Tanzania, Africa as part of a Jesuit Volunteer Corp where he will be teaching math and English as well as recreational activities.

When asked what he will miss most about Miami, Bludgus said, “Everything.”

Stacey Arnold can be contacted at s.arnold@umiami.edu.