Jeff Elrod

Melissa Brown

SGA vice president for External Affairs candidate Jeff Elrod said he wants to reconnect off-campus students with the University.

“Off-campus students feel like they’re not connected to University life when they move out of the dorm,” Elrod, who currently serves as the president pro tempore of the SGA Senate, said when speaking about his campaign platform. “I want to reach out to them.”

Elrod’s plans include creating an off-campus ambassador position to be a coordinator for off-campus residents.

Elrod also hopes to extend the use of Bama Cash, continue the Crimson Watch program with UAPD and encourage political involvement among students in the upcoming presidential election.

Elrod, a junior majoring in political science and minoring in journalism, has served in the Senate as a representative of the College of Arts and Sciences since April 2010. He was elected president pro tempore during his second term.

Within the SGA, Elrod has served on the External Affairs Committee, working on projects like Higher Education Day and Better Relations Day – projects he hopes to continue and create better student involvement in.

“The biggest issue [on campus] is the interest in what is going on around campus,” Elrod said.  “Students feel, especially with what happened last semester, that the SGA is meaningless, corrupt – that its members are out of touch with what is really going on around campus.”

Elrod said the SGA needs to do a better job of reaching out to students and gauging what is on their minds, in addition to creating a positive image for the SGA.

“We don’t need to do something that is symbolic or short-lived,” he said. “We need to do something that will have a long-term impact on student life. Don’t be visible just during election time; be out there all the time.

In addition to his work in the SGA, Elrod serves as vice chairman of College Republicans and worked on state Rep. John Merrill’s campaign. He credits those experiences with helping him to build relationships with city and state government officials.

Elrod said working with local officials would be a vital part of the position.

“As students, we’re here nine months out of the year for four years. What goes on in the city has a direct effect on us, and there are 30,000 of us and growing. Whatever is on our minds needs to be reflected on the decisions that are being made in the city,” he said. “I want to work with the city constantly.”

Elrod, who is running against Jimmy Taylor and Kyle Zimmerman, said his experience gives him a leg up on the competition.

“I think, just by looking at our three websites, mine is the most detailed in terms of what I have done and what I want to do,” Elrod said. “Instead of just giving bullet points, I’ve tried to elaborate on what I want to do. Plus, I’m a junior – I have that extra year of experience.”