Taylor discusses plans for first term as president

Adrienne Burch

Last week, Jimmy Taylor began his term as Student Government Association president for the 2013-2014 school year.

Taylor ran unopposed for this year’s SGA president position, but said this did not change his outlook at all.

“I told my staff that no matter what happens we are going to talk to as many student organizations as we can, as if we had three opponents,” he said.

Though the student population at The University of Alabama reached a record high of 33,602 students last fall, participation in the 2013 SGA elections saw a 41.94 percent decrease from the 2012 election turnout. This election was also the first time in at least a decade that the presidential race was uncontested.

Taylor said despite the low voter turnout in this year’s SGA election and the lack of students choosing to run for positions, he still feels the SGA is valued on campus.

“I don’t think the significance of SGA has diminished at all,” he said.

He said he believes the reason there was not a big turnout of people running for SGA this year was because of the expansion of campus.

“There are so many new groups … on campus,” Taylor said. “People have found that they can be leaders across campus and find something that maybe specifically fits them more appropriately.”

This growing number of student organizations is at the center of Taylor’s plans for his term in office.

“As more organizations have formed across campus, the SGA has shifted more to a focus of helping these groups accomplish their goals and being there for student groups,” Taylor said. “We aren’t just doing projects on our own anymore.”

Taylor said these projects include a program where the SGA brought in a younger and older member of the organization and asked how the SGA could help them. He also mentioned the Campus Connect program where an SGA member goes and speaks to organizations about things that the SGA is doing and how they can benefit their groups.

“I owed it to the students. I want you to see my face, I want you to know who I am and I want you to feel comfortable walking into my office and telling me about your problems,” Taylor said.

Taylor said his administration is already looking into several projects that could have an immediate impact on students. For example, The University of Arizona has an external scholarship program where students enter their information on a website that will tell them about relevant external scholarships that they otherwise would not be matched up with.

“We want to try to partner with them and bring that program here,” Taylor said.

He said vice president of student affairs, Hamilton Bloom, is also working on a project involving parking issues on campus. Bloom is looking into a smartphone application used at Clemson University that tells students when parking is available across campus.

Will Pylant, SGA executive vice president, said he has a lot of high hopes for what the SGA will be able to do for the study body this next year.

“There are some challenging issues SGA must address over the course of next year, but we have the right man for the job leading us in President Taylor,” Pylant said.

He said Taylor is a terrific manager.

“Jimmy keeps things efficient around the office while also making sure that SGA provides a fun experience for everyone involved,” he said. “It is truly a pleasure to serve alongside him.”

Taylor has appointed Leela Foley to serve as the SGA Director of Media Relations for his term. Foley said she thinks Taylor is a leader that both knows how to get work done and be compassionate to the people he serves with.

“I know he will serve the student body as a leader they can relate to and depend on,” Foley said.