‘Education is important’: Geser Bat-Erdene reflects on the last four years of college

As the semester comes to an end, so does the college journey of many students, including USUAA president, finance major and commencement speaker, Geser Bat-Erdene.

Bat-Erdene will be giving a speech to his fellow graduates at the 2019 spring commencement, held at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Finance major Geser Bat-Erdene will be delivering the 2019 Spring Commencement speech. Photo courtesy of James Evans.

Bat-Erdene hails from Erdenet, Mongolia, a sister city to Fairbanks. Some friends he knew from middle school were talking about a college out in the States and were attending UAA. Bat-Erdene looked into it when getting ready to go to college and thought it would be the perfect fit for him. Some adjectives he used to describe his time at UAA were enlightening, rewarding and extraordinary.

Being a sister city of Fairbanks allows students from Mongolia to attend a UA school for in-state tuition. Although UAA’s affordable tuition was enticing, it was not the sole reason Bat-Erdene attended UAA to pursue a bachelor of business administration in finance with a minor in French. He said cost alone wasn’t the reason he “fell in love” with UAA.

Bat-Erdene has been involved in many student organizations during his time at UAA, including serving as a senator, then vice president and then as president of the Union of Students of UAA.

“It has been an incredible honor to earn the trust and serve for the sake of others,” he said about his time serving in student government. “There’s no greater reward than earning people’s trust.”

Being so inspired by previous commencement speakers and student leaders made Bat-Erdene want to apply to be the speaker this semester. He sees the opportunity as a way to share his story, experiences and the overarching idea of the need of education.

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“Things that may seem different in different countries would have the universal idea that education is important, no matter the political or any other beliefs that societies can have,” he said.

If he could go back in time to his freshman-year self, Bat-Erdene would tell himself to stop underestimating his capabilities.

“You are the only one who can both lift you up or pull you back,” he said. “So don’t let the doubts take the best out of you.”

Bat-Erdene’s goals are plentiful. After graduation, he will move to Washington D.C. this summer for internship opportunities. His academic goal is to work towards a master’s degree in public administration. His long term goal is to go back to Mongolia and become a “beneficial addition to the community.”

“[Bat-Erdene] has worked diligently to ensure the success of the organization by initiating ideas, working with administration and always serving the needs of the student body. Geser [Bat-Erdene] has been a great leader and role model for USUAA and is leaving behind a legacy as he prepares to graduate from UAA,” Kim Morton, director of Student Life and Leadership, wrote in an email.

Bat-Erdene’s advice for his fellow graduating classmates is this: “The university is not only a great platform to not only realize your personal passion but to be something, to do something for the great benefit of others … Be open to possibilities.”

Spring commencement starts at 1 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center. Seating for the public opens at 12:50 p.m.