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This year’s Student Government elections have become an international issue.
I am writing about them, and I am in Ireland. Now, I could just as easily be chasing leprechauns through the Guinness factory right now (both are real, although the Guinness factory is pretty unbelievable); however, I am writing about college politics 4,000 miles away.
Why? Because it is absolutely essential, for the future of UK, that Roshan Palli and Jake Ingram be elected president and vice president of SGA.
While I may be studying abroad this semester, I have spent the rest of my college career deeply rooted in a number of organizations and institutions at UK.
I am a part of my fraternity’s executive board and the Honors Program, as well as Gatton’s Global Scholars Program and Econ Society.
My experiences in these groups, in addition to my job giving tours to prospective freshmen, have left me with an understanding of the issues that interest students at UK.
These experiences have also given me the chance to interact with Roshan and Jake in a variety of situations and environments.
Without fail, whether it is at work at the Visitor Center, in class, or in interactions within the Greek community, they demonstrate an unparalleled level of professionalism and excellence.
They recruit the top-end students. They do the hard part of the assignment. They take on the burdens of others in order to ensure a favorable result. It’s because they possess those intangible qualities that inspire trust and loyalty. These are the qualities we need in our elected leaders. Of course, they have more than the intangibles.
Palli and Ingram both hold tremendous records of service to Student Government that make them more than qualified to hold these positions.
This experience will allow them to hit the ground running once they take office. Palli began his career with SGA early on freshman year. His very first position was president — of his class of the Leadership Development Program. He was subsequently elected one of four freshman senators.
This past year, his second in the Senate, Palli was elected to one of the most important positions in SGA, the appropriations and revenue chair.
He, along with his committee, is directly responsible for allocating the Senate’s $130,000 budget. This has also brought him in contact with the hundreds of student organizations that petition for money each year.
Outside the Senate, he has participated in valuable events for SGA leadership, including the recent SEC Exchange at Texas A&M.
I’m sure he has gained valuable insight on how to solve our current problems through his discussions with other students from across the country. Ingram shares a similarly impressive SGA background.
Beginning with LDP, he was also a part of Roshan’s impressive freshman Senate ticket, which along with Claci Ayers and Joe Papp, set a new standard for freshman leadership. He has experience on the A&R committee, and now serves on the Committee on Committees in the Student Senate.
This governing oversight committee is responsible for delegating tasks and enforcing regulations to other committees.
It is essential for the VP to keep Student Government running smoothly, and Ingram is well qualified to do so.
Most importantly, Palli and Ingram have a strong handle on the problems that face this campus and have agonized over potential solutions for months, even years now. Of course, not all issues can be directly affected by SGA, at least not right now.
Palli-Ingram’s platform statement includes multiple programs to build relationships — with administration, with the city and with other student organizations — in order to increase the reach of Student Government’s voice. The most intriguing and revolutionary of these is the Presidential Advisory Board.
The PAB would put SGA in direct contact with President Eli Capilouto’s office in order to discuss and solve the big issues facing the campus as a whole.
The end of the dry campus, parking expansion, the ticket lottery and the elusive fall break are now suddenly within the grasp of Student Government. Not only do the students get a voice, but it also lends credibility to administrative decisions.
Like their opposition, Palli and Ingram recognize that the coming re-evaluation of UK’s alcohol policy is a major issue that affects many students. However, this ticket refuses to bludgeon the issue with a baseball bat.
Trust me, I know a thing or two about wet campuses; I am on one right now. In fact, the Student Government here actually owns and operates a pub on campus!
However, the Republic of Ireland and the United States are quite different. The climate of litigation in the U.S. is considerably more stringent than it is here.
The idea of “risk management” also seems to be stuck in the Atlantic somewhere.
Finally, the Irish attitude toward alcohol is unlike anything I have ever seen in the States. Palli-Ingram plans to take a trademark methodical and pragmatic approach to dealing with the issue.
They believe that a moist campus is the best way to reintegrate alcohol into the university. Yes, moist may be an incredibly annoying word, but the idea will likely lead to the safest and most beneficial solution for a campus that is, for the most part, full of students under the age of 21.
Palli and Ingram plan to work hand in hand with the administration to ensure a smooth transition.
They believe this will breed a far more effective solution and relationship with officials than simply screaming a single point of view over and over again. There is so much more that this administration wants to do.
They want to incorporate the largest organizations at UK to be more proactive together.
They want to repair the relationship with the city of Lexington. They want to review costly SGA programs and bring all students closer to the process through Legacy. I have not even had the chance to discuss their phenomenal Senate ticket, one of the best this campus has ever seen. In short, it is absolutely essential that Palli-Ingram be elected, because they can actually do all of these things, and with a little luck of the Irish, even more.
Clayton Bailey is a Gatton Global Scholar. Email opinions@ kykernel.com.