Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

How SGA officers have delivered on campaign promises

CW / Shelby West

The Crimson White spoke with SGA President Collier Dobbs and members of the executive council to discuss their progress toward campaign promises made in the spring. Dobbs will address all initiatives the SGA has worked on in the annual State of the School address Jan. 30.

During last year’s campaign, the candidates expressed their goals in a series of Q&A interviews with The Crimson White. Although some of these goals have yielded tangible results so far, others have not.

President Collier Dobbs

In last year’s Q&A, Dobbs said one of his goals was creating a student leadership summit.

“I believe a lot of student organizations look at a problem from a narrow perspective,” Dobbs said.  

Dobbs worked with other SGA members and The Source to plan the summit, which is scheduled to be held in late February. 

Dobbs also mentioned adding more student resources in the interview, and now says the SGA has implemented Togetherall, a free resource that offers mental health support for students, on Blackboard.

Previously, Dobbs said he wanted to increase the SGA’s transparency by including an SGA newsletter within UA President Stuart Bell’s monthly newsletter to make students aware of SGA events. 

Currently, the SGA has a newsletter that is sent out once a semester, but is not included in Bell’s newsletter. 

In an interview with the UA News Center last August, Dobbs mentioned wanting to instate a Good Neighbor Walk in which SGA members would travel through Tuscaloosa neighborhoods to distribute the Good Neighbor Guide, an SGA-created resource for Tuscaloosa renters.

Dobbs said the Good Neighbor Guide has been created but not yet distributed, and the walk will likely take place after Spring Break.

Dobbs also mentioned holding a fashion show that would benefit the Denise and Chandler Root Crimson Career Closet, which allows students to borrow professional clothing at no cost. 

Dobbs recently said the SGA has been working on a clothing drive, and the date of the fashion show has not been finalized. 

Executive Vice President Josie Schmitt

In her Q&A, Josie Schmitt, the SGA’s executive vice president, discussed increasing the SGA’s transparency through a year-end review on its website that would allow students to view what each position and branch has accomplished. 

Recently, she said the SGA is working to finalize the review that will highlight the accomplishments of the Executive Council, Cabinet, Senate and Judiciary.

Schmitt said in her candidate statement that she planned to implement initiatives in campus connection, student experience, internal engagement and student safety. 

She said recently that she has worked with Student’s Tide Against Suicide for Suicide Prevention Week and co-hosted Puppy Break to help relieve student stress. 

Vice President for Student Affairs Andrew Fairburn

In his Q&A, SGA Vice President for Student Affairs Andrew Fairburn said he wanted to implement a Bama Asks director to his cabinet who would interview students on campus on topics relating to athletics, academics and transportation. 

Recently, he said he’s working with Vice President for Student Life Steven Hood to make the Bama Asks platform more accessible to students, although he did not provide details.  

Fairburn said in his candidate statement that he wanted to make the block seating selection process for football games more transparent.

He said recently that he had met with the Student Judicial Board in the fall to explain the block seating allocation process in the case of an appeal, but no appeals were made. 

Vice President for Academic Affairs Johnny Foster

Johnny Foster, the SGA vice president for academic affairs, discussed finding ways to alleviate academic pressure that students may feel in his Q&A

One of these was potentially making the student schedule page, Week at a Glance, into a clickable widget for easier access. Foster said the idea was presented to Office of Information Technology representatives and is currently being worked on by the office’s software engineers. It remains to be seen what the final result of this idea will be. 

Additionally, Foster spoke on making examination booklets available in all classes. 

Foster said that while he advocated for the placement of the booklets, it proved to be “logistically impossible,” although Foster did not specify further.

“In response to this, the SGA has doubled down on our promise to have free examination booklets always readily available on the front desk of the SGA office,” Foster said. 

Foster also discussed wanting an open-door policy to allow students to approach him with concerns. Currently, Foster said that through the implementation of the policy, he’s been exposed to issues for a wide variety of groups.

Foster said members of the SGA had spoken with representatives from Xfinity, the UA residential internet service provider, and engineers to advocate on behalf of the students experiencing issues with internet connectivity. He said there has been “significant maintenance” on the connectivity, although he didn’t provide specific details on this maintenance.

“Altogether, the open-door policy that my office holds has been extremely beneficial for myself and all students across our campus,” Foster said. 

Vice President for Financial Affairs Eric Doh

In his campaign Q&A, Doh said one of his goals was to modernize Financial Affairs Committee funding and reward organizations that used funds responsibly.

He said recently that the SGA has been able to allot a variety of student organizations additional funding for their programming, and that there have been discussions concerning improving the committee’s funding system, although nothing concrete has happened yet.

In his candidate statement, Doh mentioned improving financial literacy on campus and increasing the transparency of fund allocations from student bills.

Doh said the SGA has hosted Wealth Management Wednesdays, a speaker series that allowed students to hear from experts on topics related to financial literacy.

He also said a full-transparency week is being planned for the spring that will allow a breakdown on the transparency of student funds, but no dates have been finalized.

Vice President for External Affairs Samad Gillani

Samad Gillani, the SGA’s vice president for external affairs, said in his Q&A that his main goal was to make students feel welcome and reconnect them to the campus and city.

Gillani said recently that he has worked to collaborate with Bama Dining to increase the Dining Dollars locations to four new restaurants in Tuscaloosa: World of Beer, UPerk Coffee, The Standard Pizza, and WeDat’s. 

He also said that in November, students had the opportunity to receive a pass for a free week at 9Round, a local kickboxing gym.

“Giving students opportunities to be active participants in the city they call home during their time at the Capstone is an ongoing effort,” Gillani said.

During his campaign, Gillani stated his intention to collaborate with Lyft to offer students discounted late-night rides and the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter to raise money with a pickleball tournament. Gillani recently wrote in an email that despite his efforts, these partnerships were “halted due to university or other restrictions.”

Gillani also previously mentioned making the SGA more transparent with the student body and gathering their input.

Gillani said recently that “significant strides” have been made to foster open communication, citing the fact that details for External Affairs programming have been made available in the SGA’s newsletter, website and Instagram account. 

Gillani said he’s had the opportunity to speak with many students during his open office hours about involvement opportunities as well.

Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bella Loia

In her Q&A, Bella Loia, the SGA’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, mentioned the goal of listening to the student body on what changes need to be made to the University. 

Loia has launched the SGA DEI Passport Instagram Page, which allows students to discover and participate in diversity, equity and inclusion events. 

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive, reflecting the effectiveness of this approach in fostering a more inclusive campus community,” Loia said. 

Loia also previously stated that she would like to increase the SGA’s transparency by expanding its committees and getting more students involved. 

Loia said recently that over 100 members have been added to the SGA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, with additional assistant director roles. 

She also said the SGA Black Student Leadership Council has been reinstated.

More to Discover