The results of the 2019-20 Student Government Association elections are in.
Jasper Noble, a junior who is double majoring in political science and history, is the new SGA president. Kayla Payne has been elected executive vice president, Sabrina Collins is academic vice president and Lydia Burns is the new services vice president.
Noble spoke with UofLNews about his plans for the future of SGA, and the role SGA plays in advocating for students as the university develops a new strategic plan.
UofLNews: How long have you been involved in SGA and what has that role entailed?
Noble: I got involved in SGA as soon as I possibly could. I was involved with Task Force Freshman as a freshman. I was the mentee of the chief of staff at that point. My sophomore year I ran for senate and served on the Arts and Sciences Appropriations Committee. That was a really interesting process just to see how the legislative process works here. During my sophomore and into my junior year I ran for academic vice president and did not win. Then I was appointed the deputy chief of staff where I am currently working under President [Jonathan] Fuller.
UofLNews: What made you pursue this leadership role in the organization?
Noble: Well, I’ve been a part of it for so long – over three years – and I have come up with things that I want to do. I have a vision for what SGA could be, a vision that I think a lot of people share. I think that it’s something I have kind of always wanted to have in SGA as a leadership role but I wasn’t sure what that would be back then. This year, I felt I was ready for this – to do a good job and be a good leader for students on campus.
UofLNews: What are your biggest goals as SGA president?
Noble: I want to open up more channels of communication. I know that a lot of people feel like SGA isn’t listening to them and even more people don’t even know what SGA does. So why would you reach out to them if you don’t know what they’re doing? So, awareness is important to what we’re doing. With that, comes transparency. I will sit on the Board of Trustees. I think that it’s important as students that we understand what this highest governing body is. I want to be that voice saying “Here’s what’s going on at the very highest level.” I want to look at things like affordability, safety and mental health awareness. I want to do everything I can to make sure that we address student needs.
UofLNews: What do you think will be your biggest challenges serving in this role?
Noble: I just know that it’s difficult. I worked with Jonathan and I was [former SGA President] Vishnu’s roommate before that, so I’ve been close to this role for some time. I know that it’s tough to balance things that students want and what is beneficial for the university as a whole. I’m absolutely committed to making sure that when students have needs, and when things aren’t being paid attention to, we start paying attention. On the other side of that coin, there is an entire university to maintain. We’re coming out of this transitional period where things haven’t been so good on a national stage and now they’re getting better. So I also want to make sure we are focusing on where our priorities are and continuing that until we reach a point where we can address all of these individual issues.
UofLNews: You will be serving during the university’s strategic planning initiative, do you have any thoughts or goals for what you will seek to accomplish?
Noble: I’ve been lucky enough to serve on the teaching and enrollment strategic planning committee. I think we’re coming up with some really good plans on how to bring more people to UofL to add to the size of this community. With more people comes more success. There’s more breadth of experience for students to draw from. We’re looking at new markets to engage with and new ways to bring students in the local area who aren’t necessarily looking at UofL. We can show them all of the incredible opportunities that UofL has to offer.
UofLNews: How would you describe your leadership style?
Noble: I like to describe it as an open-door style. I’m confident in my ability to make decisions, but I’m only confident in my ability to make decisions if the people around me are there to offer criticism. I don’t think there’s any use in surrounding yourself with those who only agree with you. So I think the more people that critique the decision that I want to make and the more people that provide me with anecdotes and their experiences to contradict my understanding of something, that’s what going to shape better policy and better decision making.
UofLNews: When your time as president comes to an end, what do you hope your legacy will be?
Noble: I hope that there is a much larger increase of students who are aware of what SGA can do for them. I think that, at its core, student government is a tool and the fact that not enough students are utilizing that tool makes it that much more important that we make ourselves present and make ourselves known.
UofLNews: Why did you choose to attend the University of Louisville?
Noble: In high school I was always thinking, “I’ll never go to a state school because I want to see places outside of Kentucky.” But then I applied to UofL for the crazy good scholarship bonuses we have. I was lucky enough to become a McConnell Scholar, so the level of opportunity that I was able to get here was something that I didn’t see anywhere else in the country. I also would get to be close to home to see my family every single month. It just worked out that the opportunities aligned perfectly with what I wanted to do.
UofLNews: What’s your favorite thing about UofL?
Noble: The people that I’ve met here. A lot of them have similar upbringings as me and then so many more of them are so different. I didn’t know there was this microcosm community at UofL. I grew up in Cincinnati, and it’s just totally a different urban and suburban culture. I just love the people I’ve met here, not only on campus but in the city, too. I think it’s a fun, vibrant place to be and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Joining Noble on the Executive Cabinet are:
Kayla Payne – executive vice president: A sophomore political science major, Payne will focus on forming a student diversity coalition and continuing the effort to create an atmosphere of inclusivity for minority groups on campus.
Sabrina Collins – academic vice president: Collins is a sophomore political science major with a double minor in mathematics and women and gender studies. Collins’ period in office will include a focus on improving academic equity among all student groups and ensuring that every student will have the opportunity to succeed.
Lydia Burns – services vice president: A junior political science and mathematics double major, Burns will work to create a greener campus that is affordable and accessible to all students.