Welcome from new President
My name is Ovi Kabir and I am going to be serving as the University Tennessee Student Body President for 2018-2019 year. I am currently a junior studying Political Science with a minor in Leadership Studies. I have a focus in pre-law and intend to go to law school after graduating from next year, because, to be honest, there’s really not much you can do with just a Political Science degree. East Tennessee has always had a special place in my heart, because it’s where I’m from. I grew up in a small city called Jellico, Tennessee, in Campbell County. In Jellico, we always city call it a “two stop light city”, meaning, there’s a stop light before the McDonalds and another one before the church. So if I said I was from a small town, I’d be exaggerating.
Later, I moved to Oak Ridge, TN with my family and got involved in the Oak Ridge community. I started competing in crew, better known as rowing, which, believe it or not, is a pretty big deal in Oak Ridge. Of course, not as big as football, but what ever is?
My passion for rowing continued when I enrolled at UT, and I competed for the Tennessee Crew Club, becoming its President my sophomore year. This passion, combined with my belief in giving back to the community, led me to serve as a youth rowing coach in Oak Ridge as a part-time job.
I have also involved myself in other parts of campus such as Greek Life and campus housing. Just recently, I founded my own fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, in the hopes of changing the negative connotations and stereotypes that many unfortunately associate with Fraternity men. Additionally, I served as the President of Clement Hall, my Resident Hall, ultimately winning the award “Hall of the Year.”
But my biggest passion is found in creating a better university. I believe I can do this by serving students and making sure their voices are heard. I also believe that Alumni involvement is integral in bettering this university and I look forward to seeing the student and alumni relationship strengthened. As Student Body President, I hope to connect and bridge the gaps between students, administration, and alumni. Because at the end of the day, we all share the same love for this university and bleed the same shades of orange. I look forward to serving this position, as well as getting to know each of you to create a better UT.
’18-’19 Student Body President
Save the date for the Homecoming Bonfire!
As we continue to engage with you, our alumni, we are proud to offer a time for all of us, past and present SGA, to gather at this year’s Homecoming celebrations. We will have our classic events like the Homecoming Parade and Homecoming Bonfire for you to enjoy, and we also look forward to providing you with opportunities to tailgate and dine with your fellow SGA alumni. We will have more definitive details coming to you soon, but for now, save the date for the weekend of Friday, November 2nd, through Saturday, November 3rd to be back on Rocky Top! We can’t wait to welcome all of you back to campus!
Our Newest Alums
As Orientation season for our new VOLS is now in full swing, SGA is having a great time connecting with our incoming freshman class to find our newest members of SGA. At each orientation session, incoming freshman have the opportunity to attend the Student Engagement Fair, where many student organizations from across campus gather, set up tables, and tell freshmen about all of the great ways they can get connected to campus. We will continue our efforts when classes begin in the fall to engage with returning students, as well! If you know an incoming freshman who is interested in SGA, have them check out our website and fill out our interest form! If they have any questions, always feel free to email our President or Vice President at SGA1 and SGA2, respectively, @vols.utk.edu! We can’t wait to hear from you!
Hi, my name is Noah Dunlap, and this year I had the opportunity to become the Smokey’s Closet Committee Chair! If you are not familiar with Smokey’s Closet, that may be because 2017-2018 was our first full year of serving the UTK community. Our goal is to provide professional clothing to students for free in preparation for job interviews, career fairs, or any other event that might require business professional attire. Read more about Noah’s story »
Former SGA Vice President
Meghan became active in SGA her Sophomore year as a member of our Undergraduate Academic Counsel and then later on the Government Affairs committee and Student Senator. Then, the spring of her Junior year, she was elected to be SGA Vice President. Read more about Meghan’s UT experience and how it shaped her success.
Initiative Spotlight: Student Org Travel
For several years, SGA leadership has played an integral role in influencing the Student Programs and Services Fee that is a part of each student’s tuition. An important part of this fee has been the use of funds for student organizations to host programming opportunities for the student body, but over the course of this academic year, SGA leadership has received compelling requests to re-evaluate how these funding allocations have been used. Specifically, there are many student organizations, out of over 500 student organizations at the University of Tennessee, who do not directly program for the student body, but they represent the student body in a variety of other ways. Whether it be regional and national competitions, development conferences, or a variety of other opportunities, many student organizations felt that support was lacking for them.
Under the guidance of SGA President Morgan Hartgrove and other SGA leaders, a recommendation was made to University of Tennessee campus administrators to reallocate a portion of the funds–most of which are already in excess of the amounts being allocated to student organizations for programming. This reallocation is being used to establish a Student Travel Fund, where student organizations would have the ability to apply for funding to support their organization’s endeavors outside of the University of Tennessee campus. The hope is that the use of this travel fund will promote a wider recognition of the capabilities of University of Tennessee students as well as encourage these students to come back to campus with ways of better their respective organizations and the student body as a whole.
Initiative Spotlight: Legal Services
In attempt to make sure all students on campus have open resources to properly navigate the justice system of the United States, the University of Tennessee and the Student Government Association are working together establish student legal services on campus. This program would be created with a reallocation of the student fee from the student life division of the university. These legal services will be provided to students for a wide range of circumstances that may occur during a students time at the University. A few examples of the types of cases that students could use this program for are housing disputes, defense assistance with traffic offenses, small claims court cases, and other civil claims. This system will be based off of similar programs like the SLS program at the University of Michigan. The program at the University of Michigan works as a fully functioning law office and is made up of five full time attorneys. These services are readily available, students set up appointments by phone or online and then they are seen as soon as possible. As a student led organization, we are very excited to afford students this resource.