If you just look at Cody Westphal’s long list of organizations, you might think he is one of the people who get hyper-involved to boost his or her resume. But he’s not.
Westphal joins organizations if their ideals match with his own, he said.
“You only have so much time and so much energy in the day,” Westphal said, “I just kind of let what I care about guide me.”
Westphal said he is passionate about a lot of things, and the number of organizations he is in reflects that.
During his first year at the university, Westphal joined the Chancellor’s Leadership Program, the Chancellor’s Scholar Program, Students for Asian Indian Cultural Awareness, Beta Theta Pi fraternity, the SGA House of Representatives, Frog Aides, and was a John V. Roach Honors Blogger.
This year he took on leadership roles by becoming the Beta Theta Pi pledge class president, a retreat coordinator for the Chancellor’s Scholar Program and an SGA representative on the finance committee.
“It was less of trying to get involved,” Westphal said. “It was kind of just being drawn towards things, and feeling what I am passionate about, and seeing if there was an avenue for that.”
Westphal said he stays involved because he loves people and learning from them.
“It changes your view on the world,” he said.
He said he has probably learned the most about other cultures through his friends in Students for Asian Indian Cultural Awareness, or SAICA.
He said when you get to know people, you discover that they want to make a difference in the world.
“People are out to do just a little bit of good and have a little bit of fun,” he said.
Austin Marple, Beta Theta Pi’s President, said Westphal looks at situations critically to improve them. He also strives to go beyond normal standards to see if change could make a positive difference.
Marple, an executive team member for Frog Aides last year, saw Westphal grow through the program.
As a friend, Marple said Westphal gets others to help him in his efforts to make changes, yet stays humble anytime he steps up to be a leader.
Becoming a leader on campus teaches lessons like time management, people skills, sending emails and working to accomplish goals, Westphal said.
Westphal said he hopes that his future career will incorporate skills he learned because of his involvement at the university.
If nothing else, he said he knows his interactions with others through organizations have made him a better person.
“I think that is one of the most undervalued things—time that you just get to work with others,” Westphal said.
Marple said Westphal really does get to know those around him and make the best of a relationship.
Ann Louden, the chancellor’s associate for external relations, said Westphal has a confidence and enthusiasm that gets others excited.
Louden said she worked with Westphal to improve the Chancellor’s Scholar Program after he presented her with ideas.
Westphal’s idea for a retreat to better connect the chancellor’s scholars was planned by the university’s administration 24 hours after the initial conversation, she said.
Westphal said he was especially amazed at how Chancellor Victor Boschini responded to his idea.
“He emailed me and had me in his office,” he said. “I was a freshman. I was 18 years old, and he cared enough to give me the time of day.”
After working with the university’s administration and other students, Westphal saw his idea become a reality on Aug. 25. The Class of 2016 Chancellor’s Scholars went on the retreat, which Louden said was a success.
Westphal said that after the event, he realized how the university equips its students to succeed.
“On every single level, TCU makes it happen,” he said. “I pointed something out, and people cared.”
Getting involved and reaching goals outside of the classroom are exceptional things, but Westphal said he knows that academics come first.
Sophomore year presented some problems for Westphal because he said the difficulty of his classes increased.
But every year he sets academic expectations for himself to help him succeed in his business and economics double majors.
He said people need to be selfish when it comes to succeeding in classes. And, when limits are pushed, they need to be honest about how they are spending their time.
“I can’t be superman,” he said. “One of the realities of growing up is prioritizing, and grades are the top priority.”
Outside of school, Westphal writes and performs his own music. He said he brings his guitar to Stay Wired and Potbelly to showcase his music when he finds time.
Westphal says he stays true to who he is and what he is passionate about, even with a super-involved schedule.
And through it all, he does not even need a planner.