State of the U address reflects on past year’s accomplishments, kicks off new term

Senior student government president Brianna Hathaway speaks to the student body during her "State of the U" address Wednesday afternoon at the Rock. Hallee Meltzer // Photo Editor
Senior student government president Brianna Hathaway speaks to the student body during her “State of the U” address Wednesday afternoon at the Rock. Hallee Meltzer // Photo Editor

Student Government (SG) President Brianna Hathaway commended the University of Miami on a great year in the annual State of the U address, citing improvements in athletics with the hiring of football Head Coach Mark Richt, enriching educational experiences such as the university hosting the Republican Presidential Primary debate and an exemplary six months of the recently inaugurated President Julio Frenk.

“Creating a sense of belonging by working with students and faculty to increase racial, ethnic and sexual inclusivity, our university is continuously evolving to capture the needs of the community,” Hathaway said.

Speaking on the Rock during Student Government Awareness Week, Hathaway addressed more than 50 students and faculty members, highlighting the moments of excitement the university has seen and the initiatives that SG has completed in the interest of the students.

Some SG initiatives include adding pedestrian safety measures by implementing crosswalks and speedometers, introducing phone applications such as on-campus delivery app Favor, and initiating discounts for veterans. SG also plans on organizing events to give seniors a send-off before they graduate, for example, the senior walk at a baseball game and the president’s picnic.

“We remember to celebrate you for all your successes and contributions to this university,” Hathaway said.

SG has completed 47 initiatives and has 42 other projects in progress, all of which senators believe will benefit the campus community.

Hathaway also praised the students for their initiatives, some of which were to address issues of mental health, sexual violence and race.

“Students hosted a mental health forum, joined together to tackle sexual violence through the It’s On Us campaign and programming through the President’s Coalition for Sexual Violence Prevention and Education,” Hathaway said. “Solidarity was also shown among students who stood together to support other institutions, such as Missouri and Yale against racial injustice.”

Hathaway reflected on her time as president working with Vice President Ishpreet Singh and Treasurer Robert Renfro, saying that the three of them dedicated themselves to the student body when they took office.

“Reflecting on the positive progress when Ish, Robert and I began our term nearly a year ago, we made a promise to each and every one of you. Our commitment to listen and work with you, to make impactful steps for all of you,” Hathaway said about the students.

Her term officially ends on April 7, when President-elect Vikesh Patel will take over office.

Student Government Awareness Week was created to discuss the progress of SG initiatives and show the representatives’ loyalty to the opinions, desires and rights of the student body, especially after SG  faced much criticism from students about a lack of communication.

“People are always talking about a lack of transparency and I feel that at times it is true, not because we don’t want to but because we don’t have the opportunity,” said Aalekhya Reddam, the Student Government executive at large-internal. “So this week, I hope people will see what we are doing and know that we are there for them and we are listening.”

From noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, SG will be at the Rock with the Energy and Conservation Organization (ECO) Agency to discuss efforts to help keep the campus free from cigarette butts.

During the same hours on Friday, SG will host a new event, where old and new executive board members will be introduced. This event aims to familiarize students with the new faces that will represent them the following year.