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SBP candidate Jaleah Taylor aims to address food insecurity, inclusion

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Student Body President candidate Jaleah Taylor stands on the steps of Wilson Library.
Photo Courtesy of Jaleah Taylor.

For Jaleah Taylor, running for 2024-2025 UNC student body president is more than just a title — it’s creating a Carolina that includes student voices and campus organizations throughout the process.

Taylor, a junior political science and media and journalism double major, currently serves as student body secretary. The beginning of her journey at UNC, however, had its challenges.

“Our first year, we were dealing with a mental health crisis, attacks on diversity, food insecurity, COVID-19 and several accessibility issues,” she said.

Taylor said knowing that all of these issues occur in a place that she and many others call home inspired her to make a difference by running for student body president.

Jakob Williams, a sophomore majoring in political science and dramatic art, is the executive manager of the office of the current Student Body President Christopher Everett. He currently works as the chief strategist for Taylor’s campaign.

Williams said there are four pillars to the campaign’s platform: accessibility; transparency; diversity, inclusion and belonging; and collaboration and community service. 

“Not to sound cliche, but [we’re aiming to] create a better Carolina, a more of a home,” he said.

One of the main issues Taylor said she is hoping to combat is food insecurity on campus.

“There’s student-led programs like Carolina Cupboard that really do strive to make sure that every student has a meal,” Taylor said. “But, in my opinion, it should be something that’s on the University.”

Taylor’s plan to combat food insecurity includes allowing students to donate their leftover meal swipes to students in need of extra resources at the end of the semester. 

As student body president, Taylor said she also plans to advocate for more transparent leadership at the University. 

Zoë Bennett, a junior majoring in neuroscience, currently serves as the DEI policy chair of Taylor's campaign. Bennett has been Taylor’s roommate since their freshman year but said she endorses her even outside of their friendship. Taylor is a leader and a student simultaneously, she said.

“She’s an extremely, extremely hard worker,” Bennett said. “She will not go to sleep until things are solved.” 

Bennett also mentioned the lengths Taylor has gone to make sure student voices are heard — including meeting with over 40 student organizations and running 4 miles while answering questions about herself and her platform.

“I think a lot of times it's easy for us to look to one leader when it comes to deciding who we're going to voice our concerns to, but sometimes it's different people that are in charge of different issues,” Taylor said. “I want to make sure that the student body has the power to advocate for themselves effectively.”

Bennett said the campaign group plans to meet regularly with Leah Cox, vice provost of equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at UNC. These meetings will serve as check-ins to ensure all aspects of DEI are being met by the Taylor administration.

Williams said he joined the campaign because Taylor approached him, not as a political science major or because he is in student government, but because he was a student who wanted to feel like he could be heard and understood.

He also said that, like most students, he originally was unaware of the importance of the Board of Trustees. The student body president, an ex officio member of the BOT, is a voice to advocate for other students, he said.

“At the end of the day, when I step into Board of Trustees meetings or meetings with the chancellor, I'm representing all the students that I met with or just all students on this campus and so yes, it is a position that I hold, but it's a position for the student body,” Taylor said.

@dailytarheel | university@dailytarheel.com

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