Clifford Young III: Resting in God’s Grace

Clifford Young III ’23, Azusa Pacific University’s incoming Student Government Association president, knows a lot about multitasking. Growing up as a pastor’s son in Carson, California, he attended the California Academy of Mathematics and Science while balancing leadership roles in the Boy Scouts of America. When he entered college at APU, Young adopted a familiar rhythm of business, skillfully spinning many plates. He chose to pursue degrees in kinesiology with an emphasis in health professions and honors humanities, with a minor in psychology while also participating in student government, holding a part-time job on campus, and keeping up an active social life. “My calendar is booked with events, on-campus meetings, and trying to figure out classes for next semester."

While the bustle is something he enjoys and serving others motivates him, Young admits that balancing multiple responsibilities can be difficult. Being seen as a model student by many, along with the expectations that entails, Young realizes the importance of resting in God’s grace. He’s leaning into his faith and building trusted relationships at APU where he can be vulnerable. This often looks like intentional prayer time with APU friends and colleagues and making space in his schedule for meetings over coffee with those who give him permission to share and even to rant. “Finding friends on campus that feed my soul and boost my mental strength has been so helpful,” he said.

Young said he no longer feels the need to give off the impression that his life is perfect or that he always knows what he is doing. “You can’t break down walls yourself. You’ve got to let God do it, and you’ve got to let God do it through people. To sit down with somebody who still values me when I feel like I have nothing together makes me feel accepted.”

As the incoming SGA president, Young will serve as a liaison between the students and APU’s administration. He hopes to use his student government platform to ensure that students thrive and are aware of the many opportunities to get involved and make connections. “I want people to feel safe. I want people to feel recognized. I want them to feel like they can talk openly about things. I also want to broaden my understanding of APU’s internal structure and cultivate a bridge between the students, faculty, and administration. I’m interested in helping students understand that the staff and faculty are resources for them.”

After graduation, Young has his sights set on a career in physical therapy or marriage and family therapy, and is even considering the PsyD program at APU. “People give me energy,” he said, “so working in a helping profession is a natural fit.” While his calendar may be full, Young looks to his future with openness. “I want to see what God does.”