Student Government Association President Tim Hussey might not be the first voice you hear in a crowd; he’s kind of a quiet guy. But ask him about his plans for UNC Asheville, and he’s got plenty to say.
“I would love to have a good organization, a good administration, but more importantly I want to leave something behind that will not only impact the students of my graduating class, but all the graduating classes to come,” Hussey said.
Hussey, who served as SGA vice president last year, has three major areas he wants his administration to focus on during the 2017-18 academic year: innovation, community engagement, and diversity and inclusion—the three pillars of UNC Asheville’s strategic plan.
For Hussey, an innovative SGA is one that works with various student organizations across campus, including ones they may not have partnered with before, such as the Veterans Alliance, the Student Environmental Center and College Republicans.
“Each of those organizations play an important role on our campus,” Hussey said. “Whether or not they impact huge populations on campus, I still feel like students find those organizations to be important, and it would be hard to say that I’m serving students without looking at all the students perspectives.”
Hussey says the best way to serve students is to lead by example. That’s why he’s going to lead his administration in community engagement projects, like working with the Boys and Girls Club or Manna Food Bank.
“I want to model the way for other students, and I feel like I can’t encourage students to do things that I’m not doing myself,” Hussey said. “I want to try to incorporate a wide range of partners, so working with organizations that focus on diversity and social justice, but also food insecurity and environmental sustainability.”
Another important goal for Hussey is to continue the work that began under 2015-16 SGA President Maya Newlin, with the Student Diversity Decree.
“I’m also looking to expand our scope of diversity, looking at what diversity really means, who we’re actually talking about,” Hussey explained. “We definitely want to think about who is included in our ‘we.’ I definitely want to look at some of those populations that we don’t normally associate with diversity.”
Hussey particularly wants to focus on neurodiversity and ableism, and collaborate with the new Disability Cultural Center on campus.
“Diversity doesn’t just mean race and ethnicity,” Hussey said. “I’m also trying to explore diversity within disciplines. So how does computer science relate to diversity? How does chemistry relate to diversity? Diversity can’t just be found within the social sciences and the humanities. It has a big role in all of our lives, and across many disciplines.”
Hussey has big plans for his administration this year, and his journey as SGA president is just getting started—though the road to the SGA presidency wasn’t one he expected.
“I didn’t get involved with student government here until the end of sophomore year,” Hussey said. “Actually, it was Maya [Newlin] who told me that I should consider applying to be vice president…. It was kind of one of those situations where people see something in you that you don’t necessarily see in yourself.”
Newlin’s vision for Hussey was fulfilled last year when he was elected as vice president under 2016-17 SGA President Charlie White. Now, in his new role as SGA president, it’s Hussey’s turn to make his vision for the university a reality.
Find out more about the SGA on their website.