Q&A: vice president of external affairs candidate Harrison AdamsBy Camille Studebaker | 03/05/2018 10:28am
Harrison Adams, a sophomore majoring in economics and finance from Selma, Alabama is running for vice president of external affairs.
Q: How did you originally get involved with SGA?
A: My first experience with SGA, I did a lot in high school, but my first experience with SGA here was First Year Council, so I feel like that was a good first step, especially considering I was a senator last year, so it got me to kind of adapt to what legislation is like and write legislation. So, that was my first experience here as far as SGA goes.
What made you want to run for this position?
Well, within First year Council and with Senate this year, I served as the chairman on the external affairs committee, and I just really like how with external it involves the University, but at the same time it incorporates so much more as far as the City of Tuscaloosa, we get to work with them as well as working within the University of Alabama system, so University of Alabama Huntsville, UAB, as well as it works with state legislation, so I just feel like it encompasses a lot and that’s something I really like, and something I hopefully get to continue to do.
What makes you the best choice for the office?
Well, I feel like my experience in my first two years as far as being involved in external, I really know the ropes as far as what it involves, the amount of work it entails, I’ve had a good relationship with both of the last two vice presidents of external affairs – Alli Selman and Price McGiffert last year – and they showed me exactly what the job entails and how hard you have to work to really better The University of Alabama’s campus because often times they’re working with people who aren’t on campus all the time.
So, I feel like that prep as far as working with them and at the same time being involved with that committee during First Year Council and Senate last year has really helped me know what I’m supposed to do and how hard I’m supposed to work to do a good job at this position.
What do you hope to change?
I feel like we made a lot of strides in the last two years, I just really want to build upon a lot of programs that have already been established, but I have some new ideas myself. The first would be to use ticketed funds to purchase medical overdose kits in all Greek houses and all residence halls on campus in case a student were to overdose. We passed legislation, I believe it was Senator Pendley did, earlier this year in SGA to be able to want to purchase those kits, I just feel like it’d be a great way.
Senate doesn’t always have a lot of funds, and those kits can be pretty expensive, so it would be a good way for the executive funds, considering there are more, and it’d be a great way to help our student body. As well as I actually wrote a bill this year that establishes a rolling alumni database in SGA.
Currently, the University Office of Advancement, there’s a database for all of our alumni that has kind of like an asterisk that shows your characteristic when you’re an alumnus of the University about what you were involved in and different organizations, but there’s not one for SGA, so we don’t really get to communicate with our alumni, and I feel like that’s a great way that we can communicate and connect with our alumni. We can actually receive more funds, and those funds can go toward a scholarship endowment, so we can give it back out to worthy students, and I feel like that’s another great incorporation.
And like I said, working with other programs that have already been established like increasing funds for the SAFE program, working with the City of Tuscaloosa, they actually passed a bill last week and want to revamp completing the Entertainment District downtown. That involves external, so I’d love to get to work with them on that. As well as, this is a big one, purchasing better off-campus lighting, so I have to work with the City of Tuscaloosa on that.
There have been a lot of robberies lately in people’s cars as well as people’s houses off campus, so a better lighting system could prevent future robberies and help with sexual assault as well. So, I feel like those are ac couple good things I can really get started on as soon as I get into Office if I were to get elected. I feel like those are a couple good ideas that could really make an impact on and around campus.
What's one last thing you want the voters to know about you?
I would like voters to know about me that I’m a really approachable guy. I feel like a lot of times in SGA, a lot of students don’t feel comfortable coming and talking to their people who represent them, and a lot of the students here at the University are doing a lot of great things, they’re involved in so many different programs, they’re being the best student they can be, but at the same time, they have so many good ideas too and a lot of times those ideas go unnoticed because a lot of times people keep them to themselves because they don’t feel like they can make a difference.
So I feel like being approachable is a big thing for me because I feel like I have good ideas but at the same time the student body here at the University has great ideas too, and I don’t want them to go unnoticed because I want to make the biggest impact I can on campus.
What’s the biggest problem you see on campus?
That’s a tough question, but I think I can go back to just being approachable. Sometimes I feel like SGA’s exclusive like within Senate we had a couple times this year when students never voiced concerns, and maybe that’s a good thing if students don’t have concerns, but at the same time I feel like being in SGA, you’re representing everyone, and when everyone’s voices aren’t heard all the time, whether that’s because they choose not to or just keep their ideas to themselves, I feel like that’s a problem if we can’t keep moving forward.
I just think that’s a big issue, and if we can be approachable and other people can keep us accountable and give us new ideas and ways to improve campus, I think that’s a great first step to keep this University moving more forward.