When junior mathematics major Denzel Evans-Bell evaluated his time at the University of Alabama earlier this year, he decided he wanted to make the transition into a new arena: the Student Government Association.
Though he doesn’t have any prior SGA experience, Evans-Bell is running for vice president for Academic Affairs. He said his decision to run was just his “next step.”
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, trying to figure out what position and how I want to make this next step,” Evans-Bell said. “This past year, I felt that I’ve experienced enough of the University that this is the thing I want to do.”
Evans-Bell, a Blackburn Institute fellow, vice president for the Collegiate 100 and Coca-Cola Scholar, said he believes his personality and genuine interest in all aspects of campus will break down any barriers his lack of SGA experience might cause.
“I’m prepared to represent, to serve and to unite the University community through sincere interactions and selfless dedications,” he said. “I consider myself a very genuine person. I like to interact with people. I’d rather pass out my own flyers than let a team of people do it.”
Evans-Bell said his primary concern as vice president of Academic Affairs would be the advising process, an issue many students have brought to him and something he experienced firsthand.
Originally an electrical engineering major, he found the transition to mathematics difficult and confusing – something he wants to fix for other students.
“When I wanted to change my major, it took two weeks to get in touch with my advisor,” he said. “With engineering, there was a flow chart your freshman year, and you could pretty much stick with that when choosing classes.”
Evans-Bell said he would like to see the class schedule flow chart implemented in colleges across campus so students would have something concrete to refer to.
“I want there to be something more strict that people can follow without having to wait to see a person who tells them what to take, like in elementary school,” he said.
Evans-Bell has recently garnered buzz as being the first known black candidate endorsed by the Machine, a fact he said he’s accepted despite some negative publicity.
“I guess an endorsement is an endorsement,” he said. “I guess I’ve accepted it simply for the fact that there is no way for me to go and say ‘Do not endorse me.’ There’s no Machine newspaper, so it’s not like they are specifically telling people. It’s all coming from word of mouth and social media.”
Evans-Bell said he hopes to use the endorsement as an opportunity to show people that he isn’t a spineless candidate who someone else has authority over.
“I don’t want to be known as the person who gave in to the Machine because they used to be a racist organization – but if that’s the case, I shouldn’t have given in to the University because they used to be a racist university,” he said. “I know that I’m a great candidate, and if it takes that light to get people to talk to me and find that out, I’m fine with that.”