Q&A: VP for diversity, equity and inclusion candidate Bella Loia

CW News Staff

Bella Loia is a junior majoring in operations management who currently serves as a member of the Financial Affairs Committee. 


Q: How did you get involved with SGA? 

A: “I’ve had a lot of involvement in the Division of Student Life. I currently serve as the director of inclusion and outreach for The SOURCE. With that I get to connect with our amazing, wonderful 600-plus organizations we have on campus and with that role, I also get to sit on Financial Affairs Committee through SGA, which is really exciting, especially because I work so closely with our [organizations] and being able to sit on that and act as a liaison to advocate for them, as well as help them learn how to better navigate the FAC process through SGA. As well as that, I’ve sat on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee before too, so I’m really excited to especially because I [haven’t had] an extensive background in SGA. I really feel like it’s going to be an opportunity for me to bring new perspective to SGA, especially that experience working with so many of our wonderful [organizations].” 

Q: What made you want to run for this position? 

A: “Throughout my college career, I’ve done so many DEI-based roles, so I almost feel it’s kind of natural for me to kind of step into this role. I’ve learned so much about our campus as a whole, as well as listening to other people’s needs, helping identify what we need to make sustainable changes on campus. I really feel like I have a lot to bring to the table.” 

Q: What is your number one goal with this position? 

A: “I think in the past, especially with DEI, for the most part our student body generally understands why it’s important. I would say most of our student body [talks] about issues and we have had different experiences with things. I think the one thing that I really want is to take all those concerns and all those feelings and have result. I touched on before, [I’m] someone that makes things happen. So, to take all that stuff that we’ve talked about, we acknowledge and make action out of it. I think action is so important, especially with the DEI position, being a little bit newer, I think it’s kind of hard to navigate and solidify the role. So that’s going to be a big priority of mine is just to sit down and figure out what the student body needs the most. Listen, of course. Then from listening, and not just stopping at listening, but carrying that listening on and making sure we’re following up on things and we’re seeing sustainable changes on campus.” 

Q: How do you foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion on campus? 

A: “That question makes me so happy. I think at the core of DEI, especially on this campus, needs to be empathy. I think to understand someone else’s perspective, you need to be able to have empathy. I think kindness and respect is so vital. Throughout all my work, I’ve really prioritized listening. First off, I think listening is so important, especially with DEI. Being able to listen and understand that someone has a different perspective from you and being able to respect that and use that to create a more inclusive environment. I really think that throughout my work, I’ve really fostered it. Just by meeting with so many different orgs this past year. I’ve gotten the pleasure to meet with Bama Indigenous Student Organization Network and I’ve just loved hearing so many different perspectives. I think bringing more voices to the table is vital for DEI.” 

Q: How do you plan on increasing SGA transparency?  

A: “I think this is really important. I think with SGA transparency, it really comes to who’s in your organization. If elected, I really want to branch that out and really expand upon SGA committees. I really want to get as many people [involved] and make the committee members active roles of SGA. I think if you want to help with SGA, we will find you a place. If you want to help with DEI, if you have something you want to say, you have something you want to contribute — I really want students to feel their voices are valued their opinions, their opinions are important to us. We need to understand them in order to best represent our students. Transparency, I think, one branching out our network so that way more students are aware of what’s going on in SGA. Obviously, when you’re in something, you’re more likely to go tell your friends “SGA is doing this great thing,” as well as even just increasing relations with The Crimson White I think is so vital. They report on everything on campus, so working with them and making sure we’re having an active seat because they’re hearing different perspectives and we’re hearing perspective [from students and administration], so bringing everyone together and connecting people and including everyone in the conversation.” 

Q: What is one last thing you want voters to know about you? 

A: “I think the last thing I want voters to know about me is I’m fully prepared for this role. I’ve said this a million times, I’ve been in DEI roles my entire college time, starting from freshman year. I think I’m really prepared and I’m ready to represent students. I really do deeply believe in SGA’s motto of “students serving students.” I’m really excited to be here and to be talking with you and I hope students belong with Bella next Tuesday.”