Opinion Staff Editorial

Qualities of a good student body president


Photo by Pablo Milanese/The Cougar

With Student Government Association elections coming up, The Cougar Editorial got together and decided to write about what qualities make a good president. With three candidates in the running — John Fields, Edwin Mascorro and Shane Smith — there’s going to be a lot of different points of contentions. Here are the absolute qualities an SGA president needs to have.


Obviously, the SGA president has to be friendly. They are, after all, representing all 40,000 students in their position. But, they also have to be approachable enough that one of those 40,000 students can go up to them and say “Hey, I have a problem. Can you help me?”

Understand limits of power

You’re going to hear a lot of rhetoric from the candidates saying they can fix certain issues, including passionate topics like parking. Many candidates in the past have promised to fix certain issues, but the reality is that all they can do is vouch for the students on their behalf. They need to understand what they can do so they can more effectively make positive changes for students.

School awareness

It’s really bad when the representative of your entire student body doesn’t know what’s happening on their campus. They need to have a keen awareness of problems that need to be fixed so they can actually tackle issues that students care about. There are a lot of issues that need tackling at this University, and the candidates need to have a good idea of what they need to address.

Open to criticism

The ideal candidate needs to be open to criticism coming at them from all angles. Being front and center is a huge part of the president’s job, so they need to be ready for whatever comes at them, including potential problems that may arise throughout their term. They need to be poised with the way the handle criticism, regardless of whether they agree with it.

Lead by example

As SGA president, students at UH are going to look up to you, and the candidates have to be completely ready for that. Don’t let them down by putting your own self interests before those of the University.  Leading by example, whether in a class or while doing student government duties, will reflect on the president, their administration and the students that they represent.

— The Cougar Editorial Board


  • You left out integrity. A leader rhetorically is not enough on a diverse campus; a true leader is principled enough to understand he can never shirk his ethical duty to put genuine need above popularity. Once elected, a president is no longer his own man; he belongs to the students as their servant-in-trust as surly as a U.S. President is the citizens’ servant.

    • You make an excellent point! The job of the President is, in my opinion, to put service to students above any other aspirations or goals. The motto of SGA is “Service Above Self,” but, unfortunately, that is not always the case. That is something I will constantly strive for.

      • Since you are, like senator Mascarro, a member of Students For Concealed Carry, one hopes you will live by your word, and not use SCC or their Leadership Institute “activism” training, to guide your actions. The students, including myself, will be closely watching you as you proceed in your campaign. A man is known by the company he keeps, not just by his campaign stumping.

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