Spillers platform to focus on 6 tenetsBy Rachel Brown | 03/09/2015 11:01pm
Junior Elliot Spillers is one of two candidates running for 2015-2016 Student Government President. CW | Pete Pajor
“People always ask me, ‘where are you from?’ and I say ‘everywhere but nowhere,’” he said.
After his parents left the Air Force, Spillers and his family moved to Birmingham, Alabama, the place he called home for the past eight years.
Spillers chose to attend The University of Alabama, in part, because he wanted to stay in the same place after moving around so often. He applied, was accepted and ultimately decided to attend because he loved Alabama, he said.
“For me, I’m a chameleon,” Spillers said. “I can literally blend into any surrounding, any place, and I think going to school that is very multicultural, very diverse, would be very easy for me, and I wanted a bit of a challenge, and so that’s why I came to Alabama. I love this campus, love Alabama football and I wanted to make a difference here.”
Spillers is a junior majoring in business with a minor in the Blount Undergraduate Initiative program. He is also a member of the Honors College. Throughout his tenure at the University, Spillers has worked with First Year Experience, the Center for Sustainable Service and Volunteerism, the A-Book editorial board and the Sustained Dialogue program.
Chisolm Allenlundy, a member of Spillers’ campaign team, said he believes it is Spillers’ connections across campus that make him the most qualified candidate to serve as president.
“I think his strongest quality is his ability, not only through his connections and his personality but also through his experience on campus, to represent the widest array of students on campus possible,” Allenlundy said. “I think that should always be the primary consideration after competence is judged, and I think both candidates are very competent. I think you have to consider which candidate is going to represent the widest swath of student interests, and without a doubt I think that’s Elliot.”
While Spillers has never served in an elected SGA position, he has been involved with the organization throughout his three years at the University. During his freshman year, Spillers was appointed to a senate assistant position. He ran for Senate, but was defeated and served as deputy director of engagement his sophomore year. At the end of his sophomore year, Spillers ran against Stephen Keller for vice president of student affairs, but ultimately lost the election.
“I ran for vice president of student affairs and it was probably one of the most challenging experiences I’ve gone through at the University, but it was also one where I’ve grown so much,” Spillers said.
After the election last year, Spillers said he sought out Keller to offer his congratulations and to tell him he still wanted to work together to work for the student body. Keller then appointed Spillers to serve as the assistant vice president of student affairs.
“It’s ironic I don’t have executive experience, but I have SGA experience,” Spillers said. “Last year I was awarded outstanding director of the year by the SGA, and I have the award to prove it. No, I haven’t held an executive title, but what’s an executive title without knowing the issues of students, without knowing what they need and what they want?”
Mark Hammontree, Spillers’ campaign manager, said he met Spillers the summer they studied abroad together in Oxford.
“When you meet Elliot, right away you know that he’s a guy that had a lot of passion for this campus, and more than that, he has a really great vision,” Hammontree said. “He has the people skills, and he just has this sort of amazing charm and personality to bring people together and have them be willing to work with him to achieve a common goal.”
Spillers is running with the intent to “change the way SGA is perceived.” His campaign is focused around six central dimensions of well-being: spiritual, social, environmental, emotional, financial and physical.
“I want to base my administration on a campus-wide initiative that will increase transparency, provide wellness resources to all students and cultivate a sustainable change in our student government,” Spillers said.
Spillers’ initiatives include working with student groups on campus to increase awareness and education for mental illness and working with the Women’s Resource Center about ways to create a peer-to-peer mentoring session for people affected by sexual assault, and creating a campus wellness week.
“For three years now I’ve seen executives claim to revolutionize the SGA, bring diversity back to our campus, bring integrity back to it, but what all these executives lack is that selflessness,” Spillers said. “That selflessness to truly care about students and the needs that they have. They lack relationships. I have built relationships, and that’s what I have going for me as an executive.”