SGA President McGiffert starts on initiatives shortly after inauguration

SGA+President+McGiffert+starts+on+initiatives+shortly+after+inauguration

Jackson Fuentes

Recently-inaugurated SGA President Price McGiffert, a junior majoring in civil engineering, is hitting the ground running, initiating programs such as Turn Tuscaloosa Teal as early as April 15. 

McGiffert’s long-term goals include implementing ride sharing discounts for students, improving on-campus safety and recruiting in-stadium vendors. 

After winning the SGA election with 68 percent of the vote in March, McGiffert officially began his term as SGA President Tuesday, April 3, following the inauguration of the Executive Council, and started putting programs into place shortly thereafter.

“I’m working with Not On My Campus, Ross D’Entremont, who is Vice President for Academic Affairs, and then also the SAFE Center,” McGiffert said. “We have a big SAFE event on April 15, and that’s going to kick off the Turn Tuscaloosa Teal.”

The event is a banquet which will take place at the Bryant Conference Center. All proceeds from selling tables and other merchandise, like bows and bracelets, will go to the SAFE Center. McGiffert said they would also color the lights of on-campus buildings like Greek houses and Coleman Coliseum for people who sign up in order to get into the spirit of the event. 

Stephanie Gaytan, a senior majoring in Spanish and public relations and one of two campaign managers for McGiffert and, said as the campaign process went on, they were able to construct a detailed platform for McGiffert’s term in order to get started as soon as possible. Gaytan, former Executive Secretary to SGA Presidents Jared Hunter and Casey Nelson, said after discussion the platform was narrowed down to getting ride discounts for students and on-campus safety.

“We talked about a lot of different things and really kind of narrowed it down to a handful of main platform points,” Gaytan said. “[McGiffert] had already been working on a ride discount as [Vice President of] External Affairs, so that was definitely something that he wanted to continue to see all the way through.”

Darious Davis, a junior majoring in public health, also served on McGiffert’s campaign. 

Davis also spoke about McGiffert’s commitment to student safety via programs such as ride-sharing, lighting and Turn Tuscaloosa Teal before talking about McGiffert’s desire to expand the power of director of Multicultural Affairs by adding it to the Executive Council.

“One thing Price wanted to create if elected SGA President was the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion role, putting that position on the Executive Council so that whoever that person may be will have more say in making decisions for the students,” Davis said. 

McGiffert said he’s making plans to continue planning with the new Executive Council through the summer to keep up momentum. 

“That’s, in my opinion, the biggest time and the best time to get together,” McGiffert said. “I worked a lot of last summer in Tuscaloosa, and so a lot of the projects you start in the summer will roll over.”

One of the problems SGA has to face is voter apathy. In the most recent election, less than 30 percent of the student population voted. 

McGiffert hopes to fight voter apathy through administrative transparency. He hopes to create a Cross Council Ethics Committee similar to one established in the bill passed by SGA Senator Robert Pendley to increase efficiency, accountability and oversight of all student government association projects, entities and actions. McGiffert also emphasized his office hours would be posted every week starting as early as this Sunday and all students were welcome to contact him both personally and via email. 

“If there’s any way I can help, I’d love to help,” McGiffert said. “I want to be as accessible as I possibly can to every student.”

McGiffert also said he feels confident about operating as one of the leading voices on campus. 

“I ran exactly the way I wanted to,” McGiffert said. “In my opinion, I might be the voice, but the students are the power.”