Knowing Covid-19 era disruptions are still on the minds of impacted students, members of the 2022-2023 Student Government Association are looking forward to reshaping and restoring the full University of Louisville student experience this academic year.
The Top 4 SGA leaders, elected in March for the 2022-23 academic year, are made up of the student body president, executive vice president and two vice presidents (one for academics and one for service). Together, they lead the university’s student government network across eight schools and colleges.
Here’s what they had to say about the upcoming school year.
Dorian Brown, student body president
Brown, a junior majoring in communications in the College of Arts & Sciences, is a member of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity that has three ideals at its core: leading, learning and serving. He is also passionate about puppies.
“My favorite SGA activity is when we have puppies in the library during finals,” Brown said. “I feel as if that is a good way for students to decompress in the midst of finals stress and just get a chance to hang out with some puppies.”
Brown said he hopes this year’s SGA can “rebuild the Cardinal community, which has been trying to recover from the repercussions of Covid-19 for the past two years.”
The Covid-19 lockdowns that forced the university community into remote learning struck in the spring semester of his freshman year. “So I was able to enjoy most of my freshman year without the restrictions of Covid-19, but every year after that my college experience has been minimized due to the restrictions that Covid-19 has caused,” he said.
He is also going to focus efforts in improving campus safety.
Brown chose UofL early in his college search — “UofL was the second university that I toured and following my tour, something immediately clicked here and I just knew this is where I belonged.”
Katie Hayden, executive vice president
Junior Katie Hayden, who is part of the ULEAD program that guarantees admittance to the UofL School of Dentistry if academic conditions are met, also emphasized the Top 4’s commitment to rebuilding “our campus’ sense of community. We are extremely excited to welcome all Cards back to campus with a full Cardinal experience.”
Hayden, who is looking forward to SGA’s Homecoming activities Oct. 17-22, is enthusiastic about SGA and what it can do for students.
“SGA is designed to be a vehicle for every student’s voice on campus, so it is so important that students get involved to ensure they are using their voice to create the change they want to see,” she said. “Not only is it a great way to stay involved with change on campus but also a way to make new friends, find new opportunities, learn how to work on a team, and make a true difference!”
She chose UofL after careful consideration that included opportunities for student involvement. “Ultimately, I wanted to attend a school I knew would provide me with the best set of skills to succeed in my future endeavors.”
Alex Reynolds, services vice president
Reynolds, a junior majoring in political science in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he is focused on improving campus safety. He plans to advocate for investments in lighting and security cameras as well as for the expansion of the Cardinal Cruiser service that provides free night transportation for students on Belknap Campus.
Another subject of his efforts will be to expand on-campus student dining options. “I plan on advocating for longer hours, greater meal plan packages, and both quality and healthy dining venues on campus,” he said.
Reynolds also said he hopes the UofL community can start to recover from the years of Covid-19 isolation and lockdowns.
“This year, I hope we can all move past this, start rebuilding our campus culture, and welcome the incoming class,” he said.
Among the SGA-sponsored activities he is looking forward to are the free late-night breakfast events during finals and new plans to host SGA-sponsored tailgates for some home football games this season.
Reynolds, who plans to go to law school, encouraged his fellow Cardinals to play a role in student government.
“Even if a student is unable to directly be involved in SGA, all students have the opportunity to vote in SGA elections and express their ideas and concerns,” he said. “It’s important to recognize that SGA has an important seat at the table for many discussions regarding the direction of the university.”
Bryson Sebastian, academic vice president
Sebastian, a McConnell Scholar and Sigma Chi Fraternity member, is a junior majoring in political science in the College of Arts & Sciences.
As the 2022-2023 academic vice president, his main goal is to “re-engage the student body on campus.”
He hopes to do that by increasing student interactions with the many academic services at UofL, such as the career centers, REACH and Student Success centers, Ekstrom Library’s Writing Center and Digital Media Suite, the new Center for Engaged Learning and the Digital Transformation Center.
“Overall, I just want our students to be informed about the support system they have on campus and have our students take full advantage of them,” he said.
Sebastian said the Covid-19 pandemic took away some of the “greatest parts of college,” but this year’s Top 4 wants to get past what was taken away and focus on rebuilding.
“We are hopeful that we will have a full year of full-capacity events where our students are once again able to cultivate lifelong friendships and connections to both their peers and the Louisville community,” he said.
Sebastian, a native of Louisville, describes himself as “a huge Cards fan from the womb.” His favorite SGA-sponsored event is also the finals week breakfasts in the libraries. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in policy or law.
He encouraged students to visit the SGA office on the 3rd floor of the SAC. “We will always have someone in the office, snacks, drinks, etc., and we are really looking forward to students popping in to talk with us, share their stories, and keep us well informed.”