SGA President Martin delivers first State of the School address since pandemic

Alex Gravlee, Contributing Writer

SGA President Madeline Martin gave her State of the School Address on Nov. 8, 2022, where she placed an emphasis on equity while touting her progress on campaign promises. 

This is the first State of the School Address since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SGA Constitution mandates that the SGA president deliver the address on the second Tuesday of November each year.  

“Equity really sits at the forefront of every initiative we do,” Martin said. 

The new DEI Passport Certification program requires members of student organizations to attend at least three events relating to “social enrichment, cultural exploration and educational engagement” in order to be “DEI certified.” The original certification program won Social Change of the Year in the 2022 SEC SGA Exchange. 

Furthermore, Martin said the SGA is working to create a more involved partnership with the Faculty Senate to “keep … (an) open mind of conversation available from faculty to student.”  

Martin added that a “Better Relations Day” with Stillman College, a private historically Black college in Tuscaloosa, is in the works, with goals to inspire “positive change” for the city.  

Martin said she hopes a better relationship with Stillman would encourage more collaboration and events between the two universities. The event is set to take place in early 2023.  

Martin also covered her contributions to her other three campaign platforms: student connection, outreach, and professional and academic development. She said student engagement has increased, citing the record-breaking number of applications for the First Year Council. The council saw around 1600 applications for 65 seats.  

“I started off in First Year Council and it’s such a great foundation to be a voice for one of the largest freshman classes we have seen,” Martin said.

She said other initiatives such as Meet SGA Week and Lunch with the President also put SGA in touch with students and student leaders.

Meet SGA Week is a semester kickoff event in which new and returning students can meet with SGA members to share campus experiences and voice their hopes for SGA in the coming year. Lunch with the President allows students to sign up to eat lunch with Martin at Lakeside Dining Hall, where participants can learn about the SGA and how to get involved on campus.  

Martin also said there was success in student outreach with the UA Arboretum. 

The UA Arboretum allows students to grow food to fill the University’s food pantry. This food will then be given to students experiencing food insecurity. The SGA is responsible for weeding, delivery and upkeep of the arboretum, among other duties.

While Martin said she is grateful for the work the SGA put into the project, she warned against stagnating and emphasized the need to keep providing food for students that need it.  

Martin said she is proudest of her work with the UA Arboretum out of everything she has done, as she said it was the first thing she did as vice president for external affairs.

“I’ve always had such a great passion about the food insecurity that not only the state of Alabama faces but our nation and making sure here on campus we can alleviate any problems,” Martin said.