Sam Robinson described getting his UNC acceptance letter as a dream come true.
Now a sophomore at the University, the Monroe, N.C. native is a candidate for student body president, running with a platform that focuses on student voices and the student experience.
Robinson said he values the student experience, as well as making UNC and its student government accessible, equitable and transparent. He has been involved with Undergraduate Senate as a rules and judiciary chairperson.
Robinson said his campaign slogan, “leading clear and true,” reflects his past leadership experience on campus.
Robinson's platform for student body president centers on two questions: "What will we do?" and "How will we do it?"
He said talking to students in organizations and individually encourages him to make sure they are in places where they can advocate for themselves.
Robinson said he brings experience to the student body president position by being in the legislative branch and talking to community members and student organizations. He cited conversations he has had with Tar Heels at the Table about accessibility and the UNC Muslim Students Association about calling on the University to recognize Ramadan.
Anna Fiore, speaker pro tempore of the Undergraduate Senate and Robinson's campaign manager, highlighted the Robinson administration's focus on representation.
"I think it's important to emphasize just how much we want government to be representative of everyone on campus, not just whoever the Listservs happened to reach," Fiore said.
Robinson said his administration will value transparency. His “open door policy” will include his published schedule, he said, and at least one member of the executive board will be present every weekday in the student government suite of the Student Union.
Robinson said in terms of representation and hearing voices from across campus, any community member who requests a meeting with him will have it within one week. He also said he wants to formalize a path to the chancellor’s desk initiative, where any student or student organization can write a letter to Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and stop by the student government suite to drop it off.
Robinson said he will bring a folder of these letters to weekly meetings with the chancellor.
“Our administrators are out of touch too often with the regular students on our campus who aren’t in these positions of leadership, and it’s important to hear those voices,” he said.
This initiative goes along with another proposed program called “Hoofin' with the Heels,” where Robinson and his team will reach out to UNC administration to plan walks around campus, creating an opportunity for UNC leaders to connect with students in organic settings.
Andrew Richards, undergraduate senator, finance chairperson and executive director for Robinson’s campaign, said that the student government has the unique ability to progress and call attention to problems that would otherwise be ignored.
Robinson also said there will be challenges to properly addressing COVID-19 and mental health on campus, but that those challenges can be overcome. UNC students have stepped up and advocated for solutions before, he said.
“These aren't just abstract ideas that a political science major like myself might think sound good on paper — these are real plans we want to accomplish,” he said. “I'm excited for the opportunity to serve, I am nervous about it, but the excitement of the possibilities outweigh that.”
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