Hetali Lodaya is a Chemistry and Public Policy double major and she is one of five candidates running for Student Body President. CRDaily recently sat down with Hetali to learn more about her, her campaign, and her favorite things about UNC.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity
1) Why are you running SBP?
I am running for Student Body President because one of the biggest skills that I have developed here at UNC is the ability to communicate, and help different groups of people like students, faculty, and administration that are not coming from the same place relate to one another. With many transitions occurring, right now that is going to be important. I want to make sure that everyone can become integrated into the Carolina community, and how they can work best together. I also believe that effect communication is important, because it allows Carolina students to have a more positive experience and being able to use their surrounding resources to their fullest potential. Communication is what drives a majority of the ideas that I have and I feel like it is a great way to give back to the University.
2) What are the three things you want done while in office?
One of the first things that I want done is training workshops for student organization’s treasurers, this way, each organization will be able to apply more successfully to the Finance Committee in student congress. This way they will be better able to understand how to apply, what they can and cannot ask for, and get the maximum amount of money possible towards their organization.
The next thing would be publicizing programs that student government has the structure for in place, but students might not know about. For example Fix my Campus and Student Enrichment Fund are two programs that students, when you explain to them the concept and idea behind them agree that they are good programs, but the same students might not know that they exist. I want to make sure they get out there.
My third goal is to conduct student round table, some with specific topics like multi-cultural organizations or green energy. These would be held mostly for student leaders in order for them to get to know each other, and hopefully be able to collaborate or just get know other leaders on campus who are working on differing topics.
3) What do you bring to the office of Student Body President that others do not?
I bring a diverse background. I have been involved in student government in many different ways. In addition, I understand how the student government is structured, for instance how student government works, how the executive branch and student government work together, and who the important player are in the administration. I have also had a very active role in other student organizations across campus. I have been a part of many diverse communities, which gives me not only many contacts but also a unique perspective on what Carolina is for many different students. The meaning of Carolina is unique to each student, and I believe that having a holistic understanding of what that is valuable to serving UNC students.
4) What are the strengths and weakness of your opponents?
I believe that entering this race for Student Body President is a strength for each of us as candidates. When someone decides that they care enough for the student body and they believe that their ideas can improve the student experience at Carolina, I believe that entering this race with those beliefs should be commended, no matter where you are coming from. We have each put a lot of work and research into our campaign and platforms, and we truly believe that each of our ideas will have positive impacts on the student body. I do not believe that I am qualified to give a weakness. I still believe that I would bring the right balance of experience and knowledge of student government given my unique background.
5) The new Chancellor search is starting, and as a new SBP, if elected, you would have a lot more influence over the search. What do you see in a new Chancellor?
The most important factor in choosing our new chancellor would be to select one that shares the vision of how we approach our mandate here at Carolina as a university. They should want to make Carolina provide an affordable and accessible public higher education for students. They most also want to take on their role as a leader for the state, and our other universities in the system. I believe that it is a priority of the new chancellor to understand that vision and identify with it. I hope that the person selected has some experience that they have the ability to take an institution with that mandate and elevate it and help better it.
5) UNC has magically turned into Hogwarts. What house are you sorted into and why?
Hahaha! As much as I would love to say Gryffindor, because I am sure that most people would, I think that it would probably end up being Ravenclaw. I am a big nerd, and that is all I will say about that.
6) It is they day after you lose the SBP election. How do you plan to continue to serve Carolina?
I would reach out to whichever individual was elected and offer my help. I would do so, because like the other candidates, I put a lot of effort into these ideas. I would ask them to look over my ideas and see if there was anything that they could identify with, and would be interested in working on. Other than reaching out, I have thought about other ways to continue serving, but I have not really decided on one way yet. Whatever I end up doing, I believe that the strong relationships that I have built in several different organizations on campus would strengthen as I continue to add my voice to those organizations. I would like to help those organizations continue by leaving them better than I found them, and help develop the bright students who are already involved into the amazing leaders that they will be until I graduate.
7) Rank in order of awesomeness: Reagan, Lincoln, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Coolidge.
Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan, Coolidge, and Nixon. I am really ambivalent towards Coolidge, I kind of just stuck him in there. Nixon is ranked low because I am really into science and technology policy, and he emphasized it less than all the others. Lincoln was a boss. Reagan and Eisenhower are placed there, because they did well at what they did and were passionate in what they believed in and their visions of the country.
8) What is your favorite story about your time at UNC?
How the things I have lost tend to make it back to me, for example my cell phone. I have lost it several times and complete strangers return it to me. One story sticks out, though. One time I was walking down the sidewalk with my chemistry textbook in hand. I stopped for a moment and set my book down on the sidewalk to check my phone and forgot that I set my textbook down. I walked away with my chemistry book, you know, the big expensive ones you do not want to replace, sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. I came back fifteen minutes later, thinking that there was no way, someone must have picked it up, and it is going to be gone. One that square of sidewalk, right where I left the book there is a piece of paper that has been taped there. The note said to email the listed address. Some grad student just so happen to have tape in his backpack and left the not for me. I got the book back from him unbelievably. The fact that people in this community take so much effort to do the right thing is amazing because that does not happen everywhere in the world.
9) What is your favorite joke?
Ketchup and let me tell you
10) Is there anything else you want our readership to know about you or your campaign?
Ask me questions. I love talking to people and I will be around campus a lot especially in the pit. Please come ask me questions, whether you are sure of me as a candidate or not, I would really like for you ask questions. I really like to start conversations. We do not necessarily agree, but we can respect where we are coming from and appreciate each other contributions on campus.
Ok well thank you so much for coming by and we appreciate your time, knowing how busy you are.
Sure, it was fun! Anytime!