President | Joseph B. Graham

joseph

President, Joseph B. Graham 

Student Body President’s State of the Campus Address

 

The State of the campus is greater today than it has ever been.

UNCG comes from a long history of change, growth, and academic excellence and today, our students embrace its many changes, its exponential growth, and take on the challenge of rigorous curriculum.

Together, in these past three years alone, we’ve altered the face of UNCG and have witnessed history by doing so.

From welcoming our first African-American Chancellor to be our university’s chief advocate, to the groundbreaking, state-of-the-art Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness, to the removal of the Aycock name from our beloved auditorium…Today is the brightest day in our university’s existence.

     Why?

Because these changes and additions to our campus are just glimpses of what is to come and add to the qualities that make our campus unique.

Our faculty are using cutting edge technology to be more accessible to Spartans on and off campus. They’re pushing beyond the outdated “talk and chalk” lectures and instead are engaging students of all kinds to get in touch with creative learning styles.

We have staff all over campus establishing meaningful working relationships with our students so that they might have a specialized, increased learning experience beyond the classroom.

Our administrators are always looking for the BEST way to maintain transparency, to be role models for the rest of us, and are finally getting closer and closer to cracking the code to creative student engagement.

Even UNCG Police are making positive adjustments within their department to bridge the gap between officers and the students they’re sworn to protect.

Our university is excellent, and if you can’t appreciate its excellence now, what is it all for? This university doesn’t operate on a one-way street. We must meet them where they are and help them help us.

My platform this year is “Vision Impacts Legacy” and every time I explain my platform to anyone who is willing to listen to it, I find new meanings in the phrase and am convinced that this mission is relevant to every Spartan who believes that they have the ability to make a difference in their classroom, on our campus, and in the world.

We, as Spartans, must spend more time on our own strategic vision.

How do we want to be remembered?

How can you match the level of achievement our university reflects?

How do you want to be remembered?

What can you do to propel your soon to be alma mater forward and upward while you’re still a student?

And where do you need to be to set the best foundation for not only yourself but for the Spartans that’ll come after you?

After you’ve answered those questions, before you know it, you’ll have made an impact. Impact is that stepping stone between something uncertain or out of reach and something clear or tangible.

And it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are.

Whether you’re one of the hundreds of Spartans who work closely with their professors to do pioneering research, or one of the select few Spartans who will be brave enough to confront our university’s commitment to global engagement by studying abroad, or a Spartan going beyond academics to challenge our society’s stigmas and prejudice against people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

YOU are making an impact with your skills and your ambition.

 

What happens after doing the work and making that impact is out of our control. Our legacy is something we might never see. We may never know how valuable our work is until its done. And even after it is, it may never be acknowledged. But the work HAS to be done.

We’re calling this year the legacy year because that’s what we’re striving toward. Everyone in this room has a different mission but our goals are more alike than they are unalike. Our students are more alike than they are unalike.

We have to have more impactful events like yesterday’s protest, but we can’t wait for something tragic to happen to come together and unite as a student body. The only way we can be successful is if we stand in solidarity and unity EVERY WEEK, not just on the tough ones.

Why refer to this university as “diverse” if we, as student leaders refuse to be inclusive with one another and remain in comfort zones that are bound to our race or organization and use our university’s diversity as not just a selling point, but as a resource for understanding and cultural consciousness.

For, what value is being diverse if we are not constantly, consistently reaching out to those outside of our circles to strengthen the pride we have as Spartans? We will be a much stronger community if we can learn to broaden our scope and collaborate with all Spartans, not just a select few. With this unity, we must strive to support our fellow students by attending other organization’s forums, their general body meetings, athletic events, and especially our extremely gifted students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

We are much more than just diverse. We’re critical thinkers. We’re ground breakers. By the end of this school year, we’ll be visionaries.

And however you want to describe our student body, we have to leave this campus and spread the word about who we are and what UNCG offers the world. If we’re not spreading our legacy of excellence, of growth, of innovation, of student success, of affordability with quality education…who will?

That’s what vision creates. That’s what impact does. That’s what legacy is.

     The only thing keeping us from being the school we want UNCG to be is ourselves. Students are the heart of higher education and we have to believe that this university and the things you do here will set you up for your desired future. But we have to do the work.

Together, we will challenge the existing, we will create events and initiatives that highlight and reflect who we are today so we can be better tomorrow.

Join me and SGA this year as we work to redefine our image, advocate on behalf of all students, and work toward a new legacy for ourselves, for the future and the advancement of our excellent university.

Thank you.

With the mind of Minerva and the strength of all Spartans,
Joseph B. Graham
Student Body President