My name is A.J. Pruitt, and I’m running to be your student body president in this year’s SGA election. My motivation for running is the fundamental belief that students at our university are not being provided full access to the resources they need to be successful. In my time as a member of the Student Government Association, and the campus community, I’ve come to believe that in order to bring about meaningful changes and improve the quality of life for each student on this campus, we need to work together.
For the past year, it has been my absolute privilege to serve as your vice president of student affairs. My goal coming into this year was to do everything
I could to improve the lives of students. The SGA is not perfect, but I’m proud of the efforts we made this year. In the fall, alongside other student leaders, the SGA successfully advocated for the additional allocation of resources to the Title IX office to reduce investigation times in cases relating to sexual violence and civil rights violations.
As the year has gone on, I’ve been on the front lines in advocating for free menstrual health products, so no student has to choose between buying food or buying a box of tampons. I’ve fought to have the campus minimum wage equal to that of Prince George’s County so student workers on campus can be fairly compensated for their work. My latest initiative has been the TerraPin project — we want to help you, the students, access the College Park economy through expanding the existing Terrapin Express project. While we’ve made extraordinary progress on these issues over the past year, hard work remains.
I would be remiss to ignore the criticism that has been directed toward me, and the SGA as a whole, over the course of the past week. What I can say is this: Our doors are always, and have always been, open to you. We serve the students. We have no interest in exclusivity or secrecy. We want to see you at our Wednesday meetings, in committee meetings and in our inboxes. Our website, umdsga.com, lists accurate meeting times and provides contact info for your representatives. We livestream our meetings on Facebook weekly and respond to messages promptly. Even beyond this voting period, please reach out to us. We truly, genuinely care about every single one of you, and we want your voices to be heard.
If you give me the great honor of being your student body president, you can expect fundamental changes to the way our university operates. I want students to have a health center that’s open more — because your body does not operate on a 9-to-5 schedule and your wellness is paramount to your ability to succeed as a student. I want students to have a Wi-Fi network that can handle the demands of a top-10 public research university — because your life is easier when the technology you use works. Finally, I want you to help me and the rest of my ticket transform the SGA into a proactive organization, ready to lead in student advocacy. I can only do that with your vote.