Former SGA director focuses on reform
Student Government Association elections are almost at a close, and former Director of External Affairs Mariam Zakaria hopes her campaign for president will be a success.
Zakaria, an accounting and finance junior, said she and vice presidential candidate Muhammad Sharif hope to focus on what the students want: affordable education, a safer campus and to formulate UH into a flagship institution.
“(All the candidates) want the same things on campus; it’s just a matter of who is sincere and who will listen to the students,” Zakaria said. “We are going to go out there, meet the students and talk to student organizations. Students want to know that you are there for them and you are going to hear their thoughts.”
Even though many of the candidates are focusing on several of the same issues, Zakaria and Sharif have formed ideas that they believe will improve upon student affairs, especially those that deal with tuition.
“We really need to look at textbook policy and reform it,” Zakaria said. “A lot of other schools have rental programs, and there is no reason why we can’t propose that idea to the administration and work with them.”
Students can already rent some textbooks at the UH bookstore.
Besides textbooks, Zakaria and Sharif expressed concerns about the rising costs of tuition and the lack of available scholarships and financial aid.
The candidates also hope to work with the UH Police Department to improve safety and security on campus. One of Zakaria’s ideas is to implement kiosks across campus.
“Having an extra pair of eyes to watch over us would be really beneficial,” she said.
Zakaria has been in SGA since she was a freshman, which has allotted her two years to establish a good relationship with the UH administration. She said this experience would allow her administration to do more to help students than previous administrations.
Zakaria served as a business senator and the director of external affairs before she resigned due to personal reasons in January.
Sharif and Zakaria are members in a number of organizations throughout campus and said this activity has helped them develop a broader understanding of what students want.
“Because we know so many people on campus and appeal to several different crowds, we can benefit the majority and find out what students want,” said Sharif, a business senior.
Zakaria and Sharif’s main goals for this week are to get to know as many people as possible.
They said they want to focus on listening to the students and assuring them that they know that this potential executive pair will always be open to their needs and concerns.
No matter what happens in this election, Zakaria said she is dedicated to students and will stay involved all over the campus.
“You’re not going to get rid of me,” she said. “I want to stay involved and see through all the things I worked on and started this year.”