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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Student Government

Man with a plan stands in presidency

"There are so many things I am excited about getting done," said Student Government Association President Cedric Bandoh about his new term. "I really look forward to involving even more students in the decision-making process and empowering them to get involved in developing innovative solutions.  |  Natalie Harms/The Daily Cougar

“There are so many things I am excited about getting done,” said Student Government Association President Cedric Bandoh about his new term. “I really look forward to involving even more students in the decision-making process and empowering them to get involved in developing innovative solutions. | Natalie Harms/The Daily Cougar

At the Student Government Association’s inauguration banquet for the 50th administration on Friday, SGA President Cedric Bandoh was sworn into office for a second time — something that has happened only a handful of times at UH.

Bandoh is also the youngest student body president to be elected at UH. More notable is not his fact sheet, but his undeniable dedication for the university he serves.

“I live, breathe and eat the University of Houston,” Bandoh said. “I have a unique passion for the University, and it is a honor to serve my fellow students and be the chief advocate for the students.”

Bandoh has the unique opportunity to continue his administration, continuing his work on some of his efforts.

“I want to provide some continuity for SGA and see the full implementation of some of our major ongoing initiatives. This administration saw some major changes within SGA, and another year would allow me to work with my colleagues to put us on a smooth course for the future,” Bandoh said.

In the ending 49th administration, Bandoh held his presidency with Former Vice President Turner Harris working alongside him.

The duo took office in an unusual way. The president-elect and vice president-elect were disqualified after a court hearing determined they were involved in election fraud. Rather than conducting a new election, the Election Commission allowed the party with the second-most amount of votes: the Bandoh-Harris ticket.

For the two students, there was no better time to come in and make a difference in UH’s chapter of SGA.

“Adversity often times yields better outcomes, and the election scandal forced the organization to clean house to better serve our fellow students,” Bandoh said. “And as a result, we have a better system of governance today.”

“It was chaotic for us at the beginning. However, it truly re-energized us for the journey ahead. This caused no hesitation for me to run for re-election. If anything, it motivated me to continue to challenge the status quo and direct our efforts at developing innovative solutions for our challenges and opportunities.”

Bandoh and Harris have spent the last year working to improve the campus. The two have had a successful run together, seeing resolutions on concealed handguns and immigration reform pass, among many other things. Bandoh made it his personal goal to see that changes were made.

“It has been such a joy to watch Cedric grow and lead the Student Government Association,” said UH President Renu Khator. “Cedric is a strong and impactful leader because of his convictions that give him his inner strength.”

“His stand on issues is always what’s in the best interest of the students and once he is convinced, he does not give up. To top it off, he does it with a charming smile. I have no doubt that Cedric will be a strong leader in his life’s journey as well,” Khator said.

Although Harris made the decision to not seek re-election, he has announced that he plans to continue working with SGA under a new role until his graduation because he says he is eager to continue his work with Bandoh as well as the rest of the new administration.

“When I first joined SGA during the last administration, I naturally gravitated toward Cedric because I thought he was a senior,” Harris said. “He, at least in my opinion, was the most intelligent and level-headed person in SGA. I was honestly floored when I learned that he was a freshman at the time and didn’t believe the person who told me until I asked Cedric myself. I then learned about his track record and accomplishments in high school — it’s incredible how much large-scale leadership experience he’s had.”

While Harris isn’t Bandoh’s right-hand man for the next administration, he said he will have a position in some capacity as well as always being his biggest supporter.

“In my opinion, leaders can generally be broken into two groups: the visionary group that always has the best idea and the ‘clear sighted’ group, who can take any idea and break it down into realistic, actionable steps,” Harris said. “It’s uncommon to find somebody who caries both of those traits and Cedric definitely has both.”

The 50th administration will assemble today, and Bandoh and the newly elected SGA vice president, Rani Ramchandani, say they plan to make great strides with the new senate for the campus they have a great deal of love for.

“University of Houston students are one of a kind,” Bandoh said. “Cougars are diverse, motivated, driven and entrepreneurial. Nothing has been given to us, and we excel if given the challenge — no matter our backgrounds. Many of us are the first in our families to go college, many of us our non-traditional students and many come from humble beginnings.

“As the student body president, it is a rare and rewarding opportunity to represent and serve as the chief student advocate for a university that embodies all of these characteristics.”

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