Nemmer say Nemmer
SA President hopes to rebuild a shattered reputation
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
While other 16-year-olds were applying for their learner’s permits, Travis Nemmer was applying for college.
When the Student Association president skipped his junior year at Clarence High School to graduate at 17, he had no intention of becoming the future SA President or even getting involved in student government.
After doubling up on classes and taking AP classes in high school, Nemmer entered UB as a history, political science and Russian major, averaging 20-plus hours a semester.
He never did get that driver’s license, and now students may catch the lanky 20-year-old walking around campus, sporting his signature Ray-Ban frames and SA polo.
Joseph Nemmer, Travis’ father, described his son as someone who puts all of himself into everything he does. Whether it was the rifle team in high school or the Model United Nations, Nemmer puts a lot of time into whatever he gets involved in. That same sentiment carries through in his dedication to SA.
“He’s been involved in the Student Association all along, and just seeing what the folks before him have done, he’s learned a lot from that,” Joseph said. “The organizational skill structure from all the clubs that he’s been a part of, and the functions that he’s been involved in organizing is what he brings to his position as president.”
The self-described “weird dude” in high school and former captain of the rifle team spends his free time reading, writing and shooting rifles. Sam McMahon, a senior aerospace and mechanical engineering major and one of Nemmer’s close friends, pointed out Travis’ sense of humor as one of his best qualities.
“Travis is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met,” McMahon said. “If anyone ever wants a perfectly timed sarcastic declaration, they should look Travis’ way.”
With his quick wit and vast knowledge of current and past events, friends often consider him “one of the smartest people they know,” according to senior art history major Victoria Feliz.
“Seriously, ask him who the ruler of China was in 1493 and he could probably tell you,” Feliz wrote in an email.
Nemmer hopes to graduate from UB and go to law school to study election law or criminal prosecution. He spent the summer studying for the LSATs, and he has yet to decide where he’ll be applying.
Even while balancing a massive amount of homework and switching one of his three majors from Russian to classics, Nemmer still found time to get involved in multiple clubs and organizations on campus, including Mock Trial, Model UN, Sub-Board board of directors, the College Republicans and the Elections and Credentials committee.
Nemmer decided to run for SA President after seeing the lack of communication and progress last year’s executive board made. He recognizes the previous e-board had little to no communication throughout its tenure.
“We [the students] deserved better, and that’s pretty much it,” Nemmer said. “I didn’t see anyone else running who could restore the autonomy and confidence that students need in the SA. We had whole departments that did nothing, and we had an e-board that was more concerned with beating each other than they were serving the students. Finding bad things to say about last year’s e-board is like finding a needle in a needle store.”
Nemmer came into office after Joanna Datz and the previous e-board, where then-SA Treasurer Sikander Khan and Vice President Megan McMonagle signed off on a counterfeit SA app worth $300,000.
Nemmer decided to change the culture of the SA office by communicating with the new e-board and reducing the staff size from last year. Nemmer cut event planners completely, and streamlined the office to four bookkeepers and two assistant treasurers.
“There were a lot of people who showed up, did nothing and received a paycheck, or didn’t show up and received a paycheck,” Nemmer said. “[This year we have] smaller, more efficient government, and that’s the inner Republican in me.”
Feliz credits Nemmer’s organization and communication skills for helping him work well with people.
“The College Democrats and College Republicans are very close,” Feliz said. “I would often see him in the office fixing any mistakes the e-board made. He was also very good at communicating with his e-board on exactly what they needed to do.”
Nemmer says the new e-board is generally in the office at the same time.
“If we ever need anything we just yell across the office, it’s great,” Nemmer said.