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Monday, November 19, 2018

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Candidate profile: Fields prizes experience, service for his term


john fields

SGA presidential candidate John Fields wants to focus on affordability, lowering student fees and improving the academic advising experience. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

Student Government Association presidential candidate John Fields’ campaign and term focuses on reviving SGA’s motto “Service Above Self,” while aiming to entice student advocacy.

“I think over the last two years (service above self) has been lost,” Fields said. “One thing I want to work toward is making that the motto of my administration every single day: service for students, service for the community comes over ourselves and over any personal gain we have. I want SGA to be synonymous with service.”

Fields feels his experience and established professional connections with UH administration set himself apart from his fellow competitors.

He joined SGA his freshman year, winning all the votes for a senate seat in the College of Business. This past year, Fields served as Speaker of the Senate for the fall semester, overseeing several committees, including Student Life, Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance and Internal Affairs.

It was in this executive branch position that Fields gained perspective of the intricacies that happen behind the scenes.

“You have to have a good standing relationship with a lot of the key players at the University if you want to get the things you want completed,” Fields said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to do in previous years — make sure people who make the influential decisions know who I am and have a working relationship, so we can start advocating for students day one and in the best possible way I can.”

His focus for his term targets three things, the first being improving and embracing the University’s affordability.

“UH has a lot of students who are on financial aid, and I want to fight for every single day to make sure the University of Houston is an affordable place to go to school,” Fields said. “When we were founded, one of the things they wanted was for this school to be ‘a working man’s college.’ They didn’t want it to be another ‘rich man’s school,’ and I want to keep that mindset as we grow as an institution.”

Fields’ second target is to avoid tuition raises and a reduction of student fees. During current SGA President Shaun Theriot-Smith’s term, Fields supported and advocated a reduction is student fees from the Student Fees Advisory Committee to help make college less of a burden on a student’s wallet.

“I want to make sure they keep in mind the affordability factor,” Fields said. “I really want to be conscious about that and want to make sure the University being is conscious about (affordability), because it’s an investment of time and money. I want to make sure you’re getting the most of your college experience for the dollar.”

His third target is improving academic advising experience for all students. He has heard several complaints regarding a poor academic adviser to student ratio, causing some students to take classes they did not need, delaying their graduation.

Learning from previous terms’ shortcomings, Fields wants to build a relationship with administration that lasts beyond his term. If elected, he want to leave office knowing students and faculty can respect SGA’s opinion, so the next president can come in and continue the success.

“I want to make sure we are doing everything we can to be of service to students,” Fields said. “At the end of the day, we’re here for students, and we want to make sure everyone knows and feel they have a voice in SGA.”

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