Forrest, if elected, wants to expand financial educationBy Arielle Lipan | 03/01/2016 3:48pm
Q: What’s a quick rundown of your life story?
A: So I’m a junior here at The University of Alabama. I’m actually from Columbia, Missouri, so out-of-stater and all that fun stuff. My sister is a freshman, and she also goes to UA, and she’s also running for business Senate, so that’s awesome that like my experience here – and I’ve had such a great experience with SGA – has really inspired her to do SGA as well. I guess with my experience with SGA, I started out as secretary for First Year Council, then I was a senator for the College of Engineering, and I’m currently serving as executive director of programming advancement for SGA. Over my time here, I’ve raised over $20,000 through programs that I’ve put on. I have a very large passion for scholarships and raising money for the students in need, and I think that’s really what makes me one of the best candidates for financial. But really relating to my life before that, like in high school, I always really loved working one-on-one with people and doing everything I could for anyone that was around me. That’s one of my biggest passions, sitting down with anyone that I possibly can and asking them how I can help them and what problems are you having today and how can I help you with that, just kind of listen to their life story as well. I want for students to know about me, but I want to know even more about them, which is something I find really great about myself in general.
Q: Why did you want to run for this office?
A: I want to run for this office because, one, I have the experience to back each one of these things up, and because I really want to help each student on this campus. There’s 540 organizations on this campus, and they’re constantly growing for $270,000 budget. If the clubs keep growing at the rate they do, and the money doesn’t, we have a serious problem, and we need to combat that any way we can. Just with my experience on exec and on Senate and everything that I’ve done with SGA, I’ve seen the problems one-on-one with students and I find one of the best things I’ve done this year is building even more relationships with all of these clubs and organizations on campus and, with that, I’ve been able to hear their concerns with FAC funding and hear their concerns with scholarships. Just sitting with administrators and working one-on-one with them – I know I sat down with Beth like a few weeks ago, she’s Beth Howard, she’s the Title IX director, and she said, “I mean, Jordan, one of the biggest problems that like I can see just on campus is – when I work one-on-one with students – is the housing scholarship.” Even international students, who can’t go home on the holidays, we need to make sure dorms are open and we can pay for that kind of thing, so these students can have what they need during those times. But really working one-on-one with each organization on campus through each program that I’ve done – I mean, I’ve done over nine to 11 events just this year that I’ve worked, from the Diwali event to sexual assault. And then just working with our campus veterans and working with veterans around the state of Alabama through Honor Flight. What makes me qualified for this position, what makes me want to do this position is because I’ve made those relationships with the students, and I want to grow even more relationships with those students and help them in any way I possibly can with their financial concerns and just with scholarships and educating them more about what we can do for them as SGA. We’re students serving students, and we should be there for students in any way possible. With my relationships I’ve built with so many students, it’s helped me to hear those concerns, and that’s the main thing that’s really come up a lot, and that’s one of the main passions that’s made me want to run for this position because of hearing all the students I’ve talked to and hearing their financial concerns, and, with the track record I have of raising money, that has really helped me to get inspired for this position and want to run even more for it because I know I can help students the best way I can, and I want to help them in that way.
Q: You already touched on this, but what makes you the best choice for the office?
A: As I already had kind of hit on, I do have exec experience, I have worked this year on the executive council and that has really helped me to understand everything that goes into exec and all of SGA. With that, I’ve worked one-on-one with the budgeting system with the programs I’ve had to implement, and with all those programs – nine to 11 events – that requires funding and working with the budget, making sure I’m reaching out to students in the best way that suits them. And I think with the positive feedback that we got, and also just having so many students interact with what we’ve done this year, and see the positive change, and getting the word out on some of these problems and stuff like that, and just the fun events, it has really encouraged me and I think that makes me even more qualified for this position because I’ve worked one-on-one with these students, and I’ve raised the money through Honor Flight and created a military dependent scholarship this year and will continue to raise the funds that I’ve done which makes me even more qualified because I have the proven track record to raise that money for these students, so when I say, “Oh, I want this money for the FAC and this is the way I want to do it,” well I have a proven track record to raise that kind of money. I do have those relationships with the administration and with the community, so that when I get voted into office, if I get voted into office, I can continue building those relationships, and I will continue building those relationships. I think that’s one of the main things, besides my passion for these students, that has been shown through so many different events and things that I have put on through my three years here at the Capstone with SGA.
Q: Ok. What’s your biggest goal for the position?
A: There’s so many amazing things I want to do here for so many amazing, great students, but I think the number one thing I can do to help them, as I hit on earlier, is raise the money these students really need on this campus. Also, not only just raise the money for scholarships and FAC programs, but also educate them on finances, so that, even if you’re not a finance major you can understand anything from balancing your checkbook all the way to stocks, as I’ve hit on before. But, like, so, what I’m telling multiple students this week when I go to clubs, you don’t have to be a finance major to understand finance because we’re going to teach you through financial literacy programs, and, with that, we can teach students what to do with their finances and stuff like that.
Q: What’s the first thing you would do if you were elected?
A: One, I would thank my incredibly amazing staff. I would not, wouldn’t be able to do half the stuff I’ve done this week without them, and they’re absolutely amazing. But not only that, I mean, I’m still on exec, and I’m still in my position until the next positions are sworn in. I still have to finish my job, and I’m going to continue to do that. I mean, we’re going to continue working with It’s On Us and the sexual assault task force, and we’re going to continue to do those things. Right now I’ve sat with a few people and am working on trying to get the Green Dot program to come in to campus and really just continuing what we’re doing that I’ve already established this year and making sure that it’s – making sure that it’s a concrete plan, so when I leave office those people can pick those up. But not only that, I want to continue to work on telling these students what I’m saying right now. If I’m elected as vice president of Financial Affairs I’m going to start with the ground running. I’m going to start starting March 2 to get these things implement and to get these things working because you can’t just start, “Oh well I just got sworn in. Now I’ll start my job.” No you have to do the research even further now, and you have to start contacting those people. Talk more with administration and talk more with these students because as I said earlier, you need to sit down with these students that had these concerns outside of what I’ve already sat down with. So that’s one of the main things I’m going to do outside of the position that I’m in right now, is finish that up, but also hit the ground running on March 2 and do what I need to do to make sure that what I’m saying for these students will be implemented and can be implemented, which is what is so great about my platform. It already has been cleared with the administration and the advisors required for each one of those things, so you know that as soon as that does happen I can and will do it, and I’m going to.
Q: Why should indifferent students care about this election?
A: They should care about this election, not only as a whole – because, I mean, what’s so great about our university is we allow these students to have the ability to vote for all these positions – but what’s so important about my position to vote for is financial covers everyone. There’s so many different clubs on this campus, and there’s so many different students that financial covers. Getting these – getting more money for these students through scholarships that we can implement, I mean, just alone with the military dependent scholarship I did this year, that helps that amount of students, but we can help even more and raise more money for these students outside of what an emergency loan program can do and outside of what needs-based scholarship can do. We’re going to do even more programs and stuff like that to help these students because financial covers everyone. I mean, we pay to come to this university, and we’re going to try to work one-on-one with these students to make sure that we can meet their financial needs, and we can educate them more on what FAC can do for them and even just expand more than what the vice president of financial affairs is doing now. When you’re voting on these students on March 1, know it’s because these are truly passionate and truly care about these positions and have the experience to back it up. We aren’t running for these positions just for personal gain or personal whatever it could be. We’re running for these positions because we truly care about these students and want to be in SGA and what to do what we possibly can for every single student on this campus or in the community in general. As I said earlier, financial affairs is one of those components that works with all of these clubs for FAC funding and all the students on this campus that need these scholarships and need this money. So, I mean, we want to help with all that.
Q: So how do you see the campus changing and/or staying the same by the end of your possible term?
A: Well by the end of my possible term, obviously I’m going to – because I have a proven track record of, when I put my mind to something, I’m going to make sure I see it completely through. When I get voted in on March 1, I’m just hopeful when I do that I’m going to do exactly that. By the end of my term I’m going to execute everything I possibly can on my platform. By the end of my term I’d like to expand what FAC has to offer for these students and also expand the education on what the FAC can really do for them and how do you apply stuff like that. But also I just want to expand what scholarships we can offer through SGA and to help educate the students more on what the SGA can do for them, and how I can help them. So hopefully by the end of my term i’ll be able to help each and every one of the students on this campus to the best of my ability.
Q: What’s a fun fact about yourself?
A: So, obviously, if I don’t make it in the political world or in DC or just in any kind of sphere I’m wanting to go into, a fun fact about me is I swear Disney should hire me. They really should because I love doing voices and being animated with people. It’s one of my favorite things. It’s so funny, and I love making people laugh, especially when they’re in distressed situations or when they just need a smile on their face. I know I was meeting with a student last month, and they were just talking to me about how they had a rough week and a rough test day, and I just pulled out one of my funny voices and really made them laugh and made them smile. That’s one of the funny facts about me. I love to do that and speak in funny character voices, which are always super fun.