The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

A Campus of Opportunity: Remarks at Tidewater Community College’s SGA Day, April 26, 2011

A little over a month ago, I was elected by my fellow students to be the Student Government Association president for 2011-2012 at TCC’s Norfolk campus (proof that a black Republican Tea Partier can get elected in Norfolk). What follows is my inauguration speech (with apologies to Gov. McDonnell for the somewhat obvious influence):

Here at the Norfolk Campus, we are exceptional. We’re an urban campus, located in an area that’s going through many changes. We’re the first community college in Virginia to have a student center. And we’re the only campus in the TCC system where minority students make up a majority of our enrollment.

The stories of our arrival here vary greatly. Some are single parents, hoping to provide more for their children than they had. Others are veterans returning from multiple overseas deployments. We have students taking classes after being incarcerated, working to become productive members of civil society., as well as high school students for whom our college is the first step in this journey called life.

We can take pride in the stories that unite us as students, and be proud of the changes taking place around us.  But there are other things that compel us to action.

Our student center, four months into the year, remains unfinished and unopened. Uncertainty within our federal government places the dream of a college degree in jeopardy for those who receive financial aid. Many of the restaurants that we used to eat at while we’re here have closed. Many of us will soon enter a job market that has no jobs. For those of us who remain and rely on public transportation to get here, changes to the buses and the oft-delayed light rail system will affect us as well.

However, in the midst of these changes and our individual circumstances, opportunity surrounds us.  As campus leaders, it is my responsibility, as well as that of the other SGA officers and senators, to make sure that these opportunities are harnessed.

Being students, it is important that our academics come first; after all, that’s why we’re here. Your SGA is a resource to help you succeed. If you need help with a class, please let us know so we can do everything in our power to assist. Your academic success is directly tied to ours as leaders, as well as to the success of all students. When one of us excels, we all do.

Your SGA is your voice to the faculty and college staff. When you have complaints, of any kind, please bring them to us so that we can resolve them. Also, come to our meetings and get involved in our business-because it’s your money that we’re spending.  We are your opportunity to determine the future of our campus. We’re challenging you to take a proactive role in determining that future.  As you begin to communicate more with us, you’ll see us communicating more with you as well.

As campus leaders, it’s not enough for us to only meet and make decisions; it’s incumbent on us to bring opportunities to you as well. From events serving the community to preparing you for life and employment after you graduate, your SGA will take a role in helping improve your station in life. We’ll provide the tools, but it’s up to you to take advantage of them.

And as we enjoy these new opportunities, we’re going to enjoy ourselves as well. Most of us are here for anywhere between four to six hours a day. While you’re here, take advantage of the events planned by both SGA and Student Activities. They’re a good way to briefly escape from the stresses of academic life.

Today we, your Student Government Association, ask you to join us as we create a campus of opportunity for all students. As we celebrate our exceptionalism and perseverance, we must also remember that timeless principle found in scripture; that those things we do for our brothers and sisters here are done not only in service to them, but to our Creator above.

We will help our fellow students, because it is right to do so.

We will work together to get results and solve problems, because it is our responsibility to do so.

And we will work to provide opportunities for all, because it is our desire to do so.


Written by Coby Dillard

April 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Speeches

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