Q&A with Harrison Adams, presidential candidate


Jeffrey Kelly, Contributing Writer

Q: Year, major, and hometown:

A: I am Harrison Adams. I am a junior from Selma, Alabama, and I study economics and finance.

Q: How did you originally get involved with SGA? Or if you’re not currently involved, what made you want to get involved?

A: So, I’ve been in SGA for three years. I started off as a First Year Councillor. I was on the External Affairs Committee. Then the next year, I ran for senate in the business school, and I was chair of the External Affairs Committee again in the business school. And this past year, I served as vice president for external affairs. So I’ve been an external affairs captain for three years, and I’ve really enjoyed it.

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

A: I will say I’ve been really blessed to have the opportunity to serve students in two capacities since I’ve been on campus. I get to serve them before they attend the University – I’m a Capstone Man. So I give tours and get to show off the University and put our best foot forward, try to recruit them to come to a place that I love so much. And then I’ve got to serve them while they’re students here by being involved in SGA. And it has been such a worthwhile opportunity for me to see my peers and my friends, people I’ve gotten to meet, grow and achieve their full potential and make UA feel like home for everyone. So that’s, that’s what’s really kind of my driving force and why I love SGA so much. So it’s been a really cool and beneficial experience.

Q: What makes you the best choice for the office?

A: I think my experience, like I’ve said I’ve been doing this for three years, I know the ends and outs of SGA. I know from the First Year Council perspective, from being a senator, I was vice president this past year. I had to work with all my directors, so I’ve seen SGA in every level. The relationships I’ve built through initiatives that I’ve done have been really beneficial, and I think next year I can make a really positive impact on campus to continue to make UA the best it can be to affect all of our students, to make it feel like home and make sure their, their experience here at the University is worthwhile, that they’re really enjoying themselves.

Q: What’s the biggest problem you see on campus?

A: I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s like a huge problem. I would say there’s always things that we can do to make sure our student experience is the best it could possibly be. The biggest thing I want to tackle immediately would be a couple of changes to the academic calendar, as we’ve moved to be a university that’s predominantly out-of-state students. I think it’s important for our academic calendar to reflect that, too. A lot of students don’t have the opportunity to spend time with their family over the course of the semester, so I think incorporating a full Thanksgiving break, that whole week off, would be really beneficial to them, be able to spend more time with their family.

The second thing I would like to do that would affect all students is extend the date that students can drop a class without receiving a W. I think we’ve all had a class that, you know, maybe the expectations we had for it right when classes start were different, when we had our first assignment we kind of get a little antsy, so sometimes a student might, unfortunately, have to drop a class, and they will receive a W. I want to extend that date, so students can get a better idea of what their expectations are. I would have to work with Kevin Whitaker, he’s the provost here at the University, to look at those changes, as well as Dr. Grady and Dr. Perez in Student Life.

Q: What do you hope to change?

A: Sure, I have a lot of things on my platform. My platform is basically focused on two things: your student experience and your health and well-being. On the student experience side, first off is some change in Bryant-Denny. I want our students to be able to use their Dining Dollars when they go into the stadium. I want there to be more amenities as far as charging stations, if you want to be able to charge your phone in there, change the concession stand modifications, that I’ve already talked to our athletic director about, so students can get their food and drinks twice as fast, so they can watch the game instead of spend so much time in line.

Other things that I want to do is I’ve been working really hard with Chris D’Esposito, who is in charge of our Transportation Services on campus, to bring an electric bike and scooter sharing program to campus. I remember when the Birds got dropped on, everybody loved those, but it wasn’t done the right way with the University or the city. So, we want to do it the right way. We already have three RFPs out and a lot of negotiations going on right now.

Other things as far as experience, sexual assault is very unfortunate any time there is a victim of sexual assault on our campus. I think it’s importance for us to promote it on a weekly. If we can take it back to when Vice President Biden originally had it when it was really ramped up. Another thing I would like to do is work with the relationships I’ve had with the University Police Department chief and the Tuscaloosa Police Department chief to implement a sexual assault hotline similar to the hazing hotline we have on campus. A lot of times, a victim of sexual assault knows their attacker. A lot of times, the friends can see it before it happens but don’t feel comfortable reporting it. So, that way they can anonymously call a hotline and that can be taken care of before any event happens or at least alleviate some of the problems.

Other things I want to do focus on: diversity, equity and inclusion. Passing a bill, hopefully it’ll get passed tonight [Feb. 28], that is going to advocate moving the Intercultural Diversity Center from Riverside into the Student Services Center. Which to me, is a more prominent building, so more students know about what it is. Currently, the Undergraduate Admissions Office is right up there, but they’re moving into the Ferg. So, there is going to be a vacant space, and I think it will be a good spot to put it there. If we can’t get that done, we can include more signage over towards Riverside, so more students know what the Intercultural Diversity Center is as well as where it is because I think it is really important.

Another thing I want to do is something for veterans. I’m going to incorporate a Veterans Week here on campus during the time period of Veterans Day that veterans can share their stories. We can write notes to our veterans. We have a very large veteran population on campus, and I think it’s important that we honor them and the service that they’ve made to our country.

Other things I want to work with, kind of thing – I want to work with students who have disabilities. So if a student might be deaf and they live in a residence on campus, they can’t hear when a fire alarm is going, so our student has a hearing impairment, they can request to have a fire alarm in their room that releases like a scent, so the scent will wake them up so they’ll know when there’s an emergency. I want to implement an emergency preparedness program that I work with Chief Hooks on and pass a bill through Senate that would have two seminars per semester in case there was an active shooter on campus so students would be able to do that incorporates more emergency preparedness program that I want to implement on campus that deals with emergency weather so if a tornado came on campus we’ve had that happen before I think students should know what they need to do. So, inclement weather, active shooter prevention things like that for just an emergency preparedness curriculum course that students could possibly take when they take alcohol EDU course as well as the other courses that we have to take prior to enrolling as a freshman.

I want to work with students, who are will potentially be transfer students. I have kind of a heart for people who’re coming to the University. Considering I was Capstone man trying to recruit them to come here, we get a lot of questions from transfer students about what classes transfer and what do not. I think it’d be important. Like when you’re a freshman, and you take AP classes in high school, for example, you can see what classes transfer and how ahead you will be in school. I want to do the same thing for transfer students, so they see which classes that they have taken at their previous institution work and how far in the progression they will be to graduating from the University. So, I think that’s another really cool thing that we could do.

I know I have one more thing. Oh, another thing with diversity, equity and inclusion. I think it is really important in our Greek system that we have diversity officers stationed for all councils, we have it currently for Panhellenic. I think it would be really beneficial for our IFC as well as our EPAC to have diversity officers, too, just to kind of promote a more inclusive campus from different spheres from whatever organization you’re in, come together, talk, have good dialogue, so we can make UA feel like home for everybody.

So those are just a few things, last thing I’ll mention is mental health. I want to offer online counseling services, work with Dr. Perez and Dr. Grady and Student Life. Currently UCLA has something pretty similar, they partner with live health. So, the Counseling Center is awesome, but sometimes it can take a little while for students to be seen by a counselor, so I want to offer these online counseling services, so if a student really needs to meet with someone, they’re able to do so at the click of a button. Like I said, UCLA does it right now, it’s twenty-four seven, operates on holidays. There is training, You have a video with a medical doctor and calls vary depending on your health insurance, things like that. But I think it could be really beneficial. So if a student needed it at two o’clock in the morning, or they couldn’t make it to the Counseling Center on campus, they will be able to do it at the click of a button.

Q: What’s one last thing you want the voters to know about you?

A: I’m a really personable guy. I’ve so much enjoyed my experience here at the Capstone. It’s supported me so many opportunities, like I’ve mentioned, getting to meet people from all across the country, all across the state, all across the world with our international students. So I’m a really personal guy that’s here to serve you. I have a service leadership heart, ever want to meet with me to discuss an idea that you may have a way we could make campus better for everyone, I’d be happy to do it. Like I said, I believe that I’m the best person that can bring our students together and advocate for programs that we can implement. That’ll make every single student’s experience better here at the University.