Op-Ed: A message from your current SGA president

Op-Ed: A message from your current SGA president

Op-Ed: A message from your current SGA president
April 06
00:00 2018

By Barrett Cole

The role as president of the Student Government Association is a commitment. It is a commitment to yourself to maintain a strong level of ethics, a commitment to all 30,000 members of the student body, and a commitment to the campus community to leave it better than you found it.

For the student body, this is your time to listen, learn and compare. I recommend that you treat the election period as an interview process. As members of the more than 30,000 student body, you have a say in who you would like to see in this position — this is not an opportunity you often get, so educate yourself and make your selection wisely. Ask the people running what their morals and ethics are, as that is what matters more than their previous titles. Someone can be trained how to do the managerial tasks, the email management and the attendance at meetings that come with the position, but someone cannot be taught how to make fair and equitable decisions, regardless if the audience is a roomful of peers or the president of the university.

It is my hope that the next person to fill my shoes advocates for students beyond social media, and by that I mean someone who will speak up for students respectfully and professionally. This position is about building relationships and advocating for students in a respectful manner. It is appropriate to disagree, if done so politely.

I hope UNT students will elect someone who they trust to advocate for them, even when that person is not in the public view.

A significant portion of this position relies on being a confident decision-maker who considers all viewpoints. As president, you are advocating for all 30,000 students — not just for yourself or the students who agree with you. For me, this position is so much more than a title — it is an honor, and it is one that should be given serious thought by you, the voter.

The reality of this position is that you spend many hours a week, sometimes more than 40 hours, answering emails, attending meetings and performing managerial tasks that come with being a member of a team, all while going to classes and being a member of the student body.

As someone who has had the true honor of being an SGA senator, SGA vice president and SGA president, I would encourage every voter to base their vote on their gut feeling, not the most recognizable name on the ballot. This position is the most rewarding but also the most challenging endeavor I have taken on, and the decision as to who should lead should not be taken lightly as a voter.

With that said, please do not look past the role of your senators as they are the ones that represent you to your college dean. The SGA vice president runs the Student Senate and coordinates all legislative efforts, and your president serves as your spokesperson and is the face of the organization in the numerous meetings with Transportation, the Student Service Fee committee, Distinguished Lecture Series, Fine Arts Series, a Student Code of Conduct working group or various campus departments. Each office has an integral role to play, and each needs the other to be effective so the entire unit runs cohesively. If your values do not align with both the vice president and the president, then cast your vote elsewhere.

If you have questions about the roles within SGA, please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally at barrettcole@my.unt.edu. I care deeply about the future success of this organization, and we need every student on this campus to engage in the voting process to ensure the future success of not only the Student Government Association, but the University of North Texas.

I have served my roles to the best of my ability, and I have put blood, sweat and tears into each of my positions on this campus. I want to personally thank every person who has helped me, trusted me and encouraged me to be the best I can be. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing opportunity.

Featured Image: Courtesy Barrett Cole

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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