As Andrew Finlinson took on his first week as Mr. SUU, he was shocked by the friendly hellos and his 80 plus new followers on Instagram.
“I’m not one to normally have a lot of attention on me, so it has been a little different,” Finlinson said. “I like being able to see people, and say ‘hi’ to people I’ve never really met before.”
Finlinson, a sophomore biology major from Smithfield, came to SUU his freshman year from a small town in Cache County. He wanted to change himself for the better. As a typically quiet person during high school, he thought going to school in southern Utah would be a great way to grow on his own and start fresh.
“At home I’ve always been a louder person, but at school, I’ve always been that quiet person who never really talks to anyone or kind of blended into the side,” Finlinson said about his time in high school.
Finlinson said his introverted tendencies were the biggest things he wanted to change. He decided to run for Mr. SUU to jump away from his sheltered comfort zone.
During the pageant Finlinson performed a group routine, did a lip-sync of “Bet On It” from “High School Musical” and Zac Efron, walked on stage without a shirt during the swimsuit competition and answered a formal wear question. He said all of that was worth it because he was able to do something he never thought he could.
“When you hear the screams and people chanting your name … it’s a different feeling,” Finlinson said. “All my nervous(ness) just left after a few seconds and I could actually be myself without a care about what others would say or think.”
Finlinson said those content with being introverted should be happy, but if a person does have a desire to be more outgoing and carefree then it is there for the taking.
“You can be whoever you want to be,” he said. “I was trying to prove by doing Mr. SUU, that I and others can be whoever (they) want to be.”
During the pageant, former Mr. SUU Parker Hess, a senior theatre arts major from Rocky Mount, Missouri, said Mr. SUU is an important tradition at the college because having a male role model is excellent for the university.
“Mr. SUU exemplifies all the best values and qualities of the university, while sharing (SUU’s) love and spirit,” Hess said. “Those coming in can see (him) as an example, and they can be inspired by that example.”
Finlinson wants part of his time spent as Mr. SUU to help introverted people who want to do more on campus, like himself. He said he wants to reach out to those shy people or those who are lonely, and walk up and have a conversation.
“I think it’s more effective for my personality type to help someone one-on-one,” Finlinson said. “If you make one person’s day each day, you will make a lot of people’s day.”
Finlinson hopes that his time as Mr. SUU will bring diversity to the position, and he will bring hope to those who want to make a positive change in their life.