Student becomes Southwest president his freshman year

Franklin freshman Jacob Holt, who has osteogenesis imperfecta (also known as brittle bone disease) was recently elected president of Southwest Hall. Of his condition, Holt said that “every president has their flaw: Obama had big ears, Bush had the accent. I’m the president, and I’m addicted to Starbucks.”

Monta Reinfelde

Using a wheelchair since he was born, Franklin freshman Jacob Holt said it’s very easy for him to sit around and do nothing all day.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes down to what he actually does.

Holt, a computers and IT major, dived right into campus life by becoming president of the Southwest Hall Council earlier this month.

He said he decided to run for the job to stay busy, and there was nobody to run against him.

“We will come up with some really cool things this year,” Holt said. “Not just for us, but for the entire campus to enjoy that brings community to Southwest.”

Southwest is one of the dorms on campus that doesn’t have elevators.

Since Holt can’t go up stairs in his chair, he said he hasn’t had an opportunity yet to meet a lot of people.

However, he said he is looking forward to branch out and meet more people who live on his floor.

“I’m kind of trapped on the south side of the first floor,” he said. “It is nice that I have got my own room and a private bathroom. It is not the biggest and it is not the best, but I enjoy it. It is my slice of heaven.”

Despite elevator problems, Holt said his disability wouldn’t prevent him from being a good president and participant in other campus activities.

Lately, he’s been volunteering with News Channel 12.

“Last night, I got to run a teleprompter, which is very cool,” Holt said. “I put in an application to work at computers and IT department as well as SGA. I haven’t stopped!”

Scottsville junior Sara Calvert is an RA at Southwest.

She said Holt has a very friendly personality, and nothing has hindered him from interacting or relating to people on campus.

“As a president, Jacob is personal as well as hard-working within the hall council,” Calvert said. “He knows how to relate to residents’ needs in promoting active programs for relating to academics and community involvement.

“When you are around Jacob, you don’t really notice his wheelchair. It is his personality that you go off of.”

Holt said that people on campus are treating him well, which was one of the reasons he decided to study at WKU.

It is very important for him because he said even though he would like to think everything is “roses,” help from others sometimes is necessary.

“The other day it rained really hard, and I was at the Cherry (Hall),” Holt said. “I thought, my chair is water-proof, I will just get soaking wet and get down back to Southwest a lot quicker.”

Not knowing how long it would rain, Holt took off down the Hill, but about half-way down his wheelchair died and he was stuck sitting in the rain.

“A girl gave me her umbrella,” he said. “So, I’m sitting in pouring rain holding this umbrella on the phone when some students were kind enough to push me down the Hill to my dorm.”

Since his parents moved to Alabama during his senior year of high school, Holt has taken care of himself.

“I go to Wal-Mart by myself,” he said. “I wash my own clothes, which I hate, but welcome to the world! I’m quite self-sufficient.”

Owenton junior Derek Ellis is another RA in Southwest who lives on the same floor as Holt. Ellis said he thinks Holt is great at balancing his time and being very involved with the campus community as well as the Southwest staff and residents.

“I have noticed, he is very good at delegating his time wisely,” Ellis said. “He spends numerous amounts of time with hall and school related things.”

Being the president at Southwest, Holt said is just the beginning. He is planning to do more and bigger things to find the right path in his future career and be a well-rounded personality.

“The sky is the limit,” he said.