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Opinion: Hannah Hardin makes case why she, Yaseen Shurbaji should be elected SGA leaders

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Hardin and Shurbaji

Hannah Hardin and Yaseen Shurbaji are running for SGA vice president and president.

Serving with Vision is a concept that has been implemented in every aspect of our lives. For us, having a vision means creating tangible ideas backed by a realistic proposal. Furthermore, service embodies the idea of sacrifice and hard work to make progress a reality within all areas of campus. By not polarizing our ticket, we are best representing the largest population of students to adequately work on behalf of many communities. Ultimately, our end goal is to pair servant leadership with innovative ideas and equity to improve the student body’s well-being.

The wheels are already in motion to implement many ideas from the platform. Our platform consists of six issue areas: student health, environmental sustainability, diversity & inclusion, transparency, parking and campus safety. Located within each area are practical initiatives that either have proven results at other universities or have been discussed with campus faculty and staff to develop and realistically implement. In accordance to the initiatives we are pursuing, we have interviewed and stayed in contact with expert students, faculty and staff to ensure our plans are feasible. 

On student health, students’ financial well-being and physical health are tested every day with rising costs, limited access to quality care and overall personal health awareness. Our initiatives have included many of OU’s health professionals in the conversation in order to effectively improve overall student wellness. We also plan on increasing funding to the student pantry with a multifaceted approach.

Next, OU has room for improvement in the area of waste elimination. We will convert the wasted appliances on move-out day into revenue by reselling them back to students during orientation weekend. We will also reduce the size of the plates in campus buffets from 24 to 21 centimeters, which will reduce food waste. Moreover, we will designate a cabinet member whose sole job is to work with environmental groups. 

Moving forward, there are effective steps we can take to improve our campus climate and student experience, like directly communicating with our representatives. We were fortunate to work for Rep. Tom Cole and Sen. James Lankford this summer, and we will keep a direct line of communication with their offices. We will also aid in existing efforts to change DeBarr Avenue to Henderson Avenue, advocate for students with disabilities and more ADA compliance and improve the Campus Climate Board of Advisers.

For parking, we will ensure the wait time on the 40 LNC shuttle route never exceeds 7 to 10 minutes. If it does, we will add an extra shuttle to the route to reduce the wait-time. Furthermore, we will improve communication between the student body and Parking Services by designating a cabinet member to relay parking-related concerns between both parties.

As for transparency, we recognize that humility, accessibility and accountability are key to a productive working relationship between the SGA leadership and the student body. Our plan details a long list of ways to fix this gap, and that can be found on our website. There is also open frustration about the mystery of why students’ fees are increasing, and we plan on working directly with the Enrollment and Student Financial Services to publicize a more holistic breakdown of these costs.

Finally, in the midst of tragic school shootings across the country, we believe directly addressing the issue at OU is vital. Students at OU have asked for an improved SafeRIDE. Our SafeWALK program has low demand, and the Guardian app lacks key features that other safety apps champion.

Yaseen Shurbaji, SGA presidential candidate, and Lucas Karinshak founded Swipe to Share, a student organization that converts the waste associated with meal plans into care packages to stock the student pantry. In its pilot year, it collected more than $20,000 worth of non-perishables for the OU Food Pantry. He is also an OU tour guide, a Henderson Scholar, a member of OU's Muslim Student Assosiation and Crimson Club, as well as an alumnus of OU's President's Community Scholars. Hardin, SGA vice presidential candidate, is a member of Chi Omega sorority, as well as an alumnus of OU's President's Leadership Class and SGA’s Sooner Freshman Council. She also served on CAC High School Leadership Conference Exec’s Operations Committee last year. For more information on their vision, please visit their website.

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