Norman, if elected, plans to promote diverse opinionsBy Will Jones | 02/26/2016 1:18pm
Q: Can you give me a quick run down of your life story?
A: Well, okay. I will start with my name. My name is Shelby Delana Norman. I am a junior. I am majoring in Political Science and I am on the prelaw track and I'm also having a Liberal Arts minor in the Blount Undergraduate Initiative. I'm from right outside of Atlanta, Georgia; not the actual city itself, but I am from Loganville, and I've lived a little bit all over. My father was in the Navy, so when I was real young... we moved around a lot, but I've spent most of my life in Georgia, and I would say I'm a Georgia Peach, so I'm very comfortable there. I have my parents, my younger brother, and they are still at home, and I came to Alabama a little bit accidentally. I really didn't expect to come here. It was never, you know, my first place I wanted to go, it wasn't really on my radar because the high school I went to was very a small liberal arts private school, and it wasn't really a filter for SEC, you know, large universities, and so I really didn't understand that that was something I could do. And so I found out about Alabama and I found out about the Blount program, I knew that I had to, you know, find out more about it, and I took a tour. I took my Capstone tour, and I immediately fell in love with the campus. Everything about Alabama – I knew it was home immediately. Even though it sounds a little cheesy and cliché, but it really was one of those situations where I knew as soon as I got home I would apply because this is where I had to be, you know, spend the rest of my four years.
Q: So, why do you want to run for this office?
A: I want to run for vice president of Student Affairs because I am a student, just like all of the students here, but I am also very passionate about students and about the well-being of my peers, my colleagues, my classmates, and it is very important to me that they not only thrive academically but socially and emotionally as well, and I think it is a total package for students, and you can't just focus on one aspect of their collegiate life. I understand everyone comes to college to learn, and to, you know, grow interpersonally, but you also have to make sure that students have the ability and opportunities to interact with each other, especially people that they would not necessarily interact with on a daily basis, and I think, you know, the diversity of opinion is so important when you are growing as a person, and I think, you know, if I were to have this position, I could help foster that. I can help students interact with one another in ways that they have never even thought of before, you know, with whatever programs and implementation that there is. I can help students, you know, understand: Hey, there's more to The University of Alabama than just going to class, but there are so many types of people that I can meet. There are so many types of ways I can think and, you know, making that holistic person a much more well-rounded individual, and I think that I would be able to help students see that full potential and really expand upon that and uplift them.
Q: Sure. So, what makes you the best choice for this office?
A: I believe that I'm the best choice because I am extremely personable and I have a lot of experience when it comes to lots of different types of students. I've had a lot of different leadership positions in the 3 years that I've been here across campus. I've worked on the summer orientation team. I was a Parent Ambassador. I've been a peer leader. I'm the president of my sorority. So I have a lot of different interactions with a lot of different types of people, and I'm not a monolith; I'm a very well-rounded person, and I think with my experiences I can bring that to the table, and I can be able to interact with all different types of people who come from all different backgrounds, who have all different types of world views and lifestyles, and I think that makes me the best candidate for this office.
Q: Sure. So, what is your biggest goal for this position?
A: My biggest goal more broadly I would say would be to show students to their full holistic potentials, and specifically one thing that I would really like to do that I think The University of Alabama can always improve on is the well-being of students with disabilities, whether those are physical or mental or learning disabilities or things of that sort. That is something that I am very passionate about and something that is very close to home to me, and I think that, you know, there is a lot of programming and experiences that students can, you know, grow with whether they do have a disability or they know someone that does or even if they don't, you know, and everyone can always learn and grow more, so that's one thing I would really like to work on.
Q: So, what is the first thing you would do if elected?
A: Probably cry. I would probably – I'm a very emotional person, and I've always been very in touch with my emotions, and, honestly, that probably would be the first thing. But in terms of actual work being done, I think that I would really like to sit down with all of the elected executive officials and make a strategic plan about the best way to implement programs for students. We're made up of 37,000+ students here at The University of Alabama, undergraduate and graduate, and everybody needs to make sure that their voices are heard, and so that's the first thing that I would do, be, to make sure, OK, if you have an idea, if you have a thought, if you have a plan, that can be implemented, and we can make that happen.
Q: So, why should indifferent students care about this election?
A: I think that students who might not necessarily vote or understand the importance of voting in the student government election should understand that, you know, everybody's voice matters, and I understand that it can be very difficult to grasp that, especially with so many thousands of people here, you can feel like you are just a number, or just a little fish in a big pond, but, honestly, you're not because my freshman year I felt that way. Coming in I didn't know anyone, I was here by myself, and I did a lot of thing on my own trying to get to the leadership positions that I'm current in, and meet all types of people that I've met, and really that starts with political participation. And, honestly, it helps foster you to be a good, you know, universal citizen. You're going to have to vote in real elections, you know, so to speak, and so I think that kind of helps foster that growth, but students that are, I guess you would say indifferent, they should care about this because if they are going to be here for three years, four years, five years, however long, you know, this is their home, and you want your home to be a safe space, you want your home to be a place where you can thrive and where you can learn and where you can grow, and if they vote they can help cultivate that space for them, and that's why it's important.
Q: How do you see the campus changing and/or staying the same by the end of your possible term?
A: I think that The University of Alabama is always in flux and there's always growth and I think by the end of my potential term I could see more social growth and aptitude, more – not even tolerance, but understanding for the needs for diversity of any sort, the needs for being able to reach out to someone that isn't necessarily like you or might have a different thought process than you do and say, we might not necessarily agree, but that doesn't mean we can't be friends, that's doesn't mean we can't, you know, be together, get to know each other, and go and have a pizza, or whatever it might be, and I think that would be much more abundant by the end of my potential term.
Q: So, can you give a fun fact about you for the students?
A: OK. A fun fact – something that a lot of people don't necessarily know is I was a dancer for 15 years. I’m classically trained in ballet, even though I'm 4-foot-5.