A Spirited Leader
SGA President Leigh Whittaker Details her Game Plan
(August 9, 2013)
If college were a competitive sport, Leigh Whittaker would be the team captain. The junior political science major from Raleigh was elected SGA president in April, and she’s already planning ways to apply her environmental studies minor and change campus habits so it becomes more green.
“It’s an extension of our mission statement, and there are experts on campus already,” she said.
She’s met some of those experts in her classes, from the students who sit next to her to the professors leading discussions.
“I always say that my professors are like my coaches,” Whittaker said. “Life is the game, and this is the political arena. They’ll say ‘This is all the stuff that is messed up and you are going to fix it.’ They prepare us by making us write and think critically. It’s changed my perspective on learning, making me like it a lot more, making me love it really.”
I feel prepared for whatever – getting a job, going to grad school, or building a boat to go sailing…. I’m so sure that I will be doing things that could change the world.”—SGA President Leigh Whittaker
In addition to focusing on the quality and value of education, Whittaker’s goals for the executive cabinet and committees also include keeping track of state legislation, helping UNC Asheville get noticed, increasing exposure, interaction, and involvement in diversity issues, and making the university community more aware of low-income communities.
“We are really fortunate to be in public higher education, but our generation can feel entitled. We should value the education that we are getting, and it’s only right to give back in any way we can.”
While she’s giving back, she’ll also be looking forward.
“I’m actually working toward a degree here, instead of the experience in high school where I just got a diploma. I feel prepared for whatever – getting a job, going to grad school, or building a boat to go sailing…. I’m so sure that I will be doing things that could change the world.”
She’ll start by leading the UNC Asheville student body, serving as a student voice on the Board of Trustees, and keeping track of the many meetings and policies from Faculty Senate and the University Planning Council to the UNC General Administration and the state legislation. It’s a time-commitment marathon she’s ready for.
“I’m not good at sports, so this is like my sport,” she said.
To meet the 2013-14 SGA executives and learn about their work, visit sga.unca.edu.