Our best days lie ahead

Our+best+days+lie+ahead

CW / Kylie Cowden

Lillian Roth

My promise to you is the same promise I made to you last year: our best days are ahead of us.

Last year, I committed to you to be a voice for all and work to represent every student on campus. During my time as SGA president, I have listened to each of you. I heard your call to end the political bickering. I understood your urgency to tear down the divisions on this campus. I empathized with your focus on a positive vision for creating a better future for all students, based on constructive, realistic ideas instead of divisive rhetoric.

After I stood on the balcony of the Gorgas House last year and took the oath of office, I gave my inaugural address. In it, I referred to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and this famous line: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

In order to truly serve the 37,665 students at the Capstone, it is imperative to create a campus where every student feels safe, welcome, valued and respected. As SGA president, I have had the distinct honor to meet hundreds, if not thousands, of the inspiring students at The University of Alabama. I quickly learned that our student body is passionate, diverse and multifaceted. I saw our peers pursue knowledge in new ways and develop their leadership skills. Together, we recognized achievements and inspired each other towards greatness.

Our student body requires a dedicated leader to spark the intentional conversations that lead to tangible change. Throughout my term as SGA president I have been faced with pressing issues to address, challenges to overcome and barriers to eliminate. But, as I stated in my State of the School Address, we are all called upon not to shrink from this struggle, but to band together and strive to overcome.

This past year, I am proud to say that I did not take the easy way out. I tackled problems head-on, with sustainable solutions in mind. And I fulfilled my campaign promises to every student on this campus.

I promised to help bring Uber to campus. And I did.

I promised to advocate for a SNAM forgiveness program. And I did.

I promised to bring campus leaders closer together to have tough conversations and work towards meaningful improvements by creating the Presidents’ Council. And I did.

The position of SGA president is not one I take lightly. I have found myself in a role that impacts the lives of students beyond what I ever imagined.

I fulfilled my promises from last year. And I have grown throughout my tenure, gaining experience, cultivating connections, and testing out ideas, both big and small. My platform for this next year is built upon all of this, my failures and successes alike.

I will work to bring discounted Uber rates for students to campus, just as fellow SEC schools, like the University of Florida, have done.

We will add sexual assault and mental health statements to all syllabi and ACT cards, and we will expand Bama Bound programming to include educational components on these key issues, in addition to prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion education.

ACT cards will be modernized into a digital format through the nation’s first-ever collegiate partnership with Apple Pay, so students can use their phones to get into dorms and athletic events, use Bama Cash and Dining Dollars and access parking decks.

I will work with UA Parking Services and the Center for Service and Leadership to institute a “Work-It-Off” program, wherein students can complete service hours instead of paying a fine for one parking ticket per year.

We will continue to expand dining options on campus, adding more food trucks and enhancing meal plan options for students with dietary, ethical and religious restrictions.

My “Crimson Caravan” program will allow more students to travel to away football games and create organized tailgating opportunities for students at these games so we can better support the Tide away from Bryant-Denny. And I will work with Coach Avery Johnson to move the student section to directly behind the visitor’s bench in Coleman Coliseum, so our basketball team has the best competitive advantage possible and our students get the most out of attending games.

My administration is finalizing the unveiling of a new ticketing system for football games, which will include rewarding students who attend non-football athletic events throughout the year. Stay tuned for more on what will be a major improvement to our current ticket allocation system.

I have much more on my Facebook page that I pledge to accomplish if re-elected for another term. But I want to be clear. This is not about me. It is about a vision for the future. A vision that I had last year and now enters its second phase.

The student body has three very different candidates this year, each with our own perspective and experiences to bring to the position. I think highly of both young men running against me. One has been a friend of mine for years and serves on my cabinet. I believe our leadership styles are complementary, and had a conversation with him at the beginning of this semester to discuss a position for him in my cabinet during the upcoming term. The other candidate has always been kind and gracious to me, and has been a joy to work with as a senator.

The Capstone is a community. And we are at our strongest when we work together. I have realized that when there are groups that seek to promote their own agenda across campus, there must a be a determined leader who stands for every student and every organization. SGA’s motto of “Students Serving Students” is not for just one corner of campus. It is for all, just as your SGA president must be.

Lillian Roth is a junior majoring in public relations. She is the current president of the Student Government Association and is seeking re-election.