By Karim Mikhail
Ritika Samant is a neuroscience major and fast-track MPH candidate and draws on her experience to share her visions for UAB if she is elected USGA president.
“The main changes that I’m hoping to make in this position are the only changes that I believe can be done in this position. Within the role of president, I want to facilitate creative ability through solid internal restructuring,” said Samant.
For Samant, the role of the president is not that of a one-man team. Rather, her years in USGA have accustomed her to multi-disciplinary approach that defines the organization. For her, the first step toward is laying a refined bedrock for USGA. And in Samant’s eyes, this begins with senate.
“Certain senators have come up to me and expressed their discomfort writing a bill. If we’re not providing the correct mechanisms to train senators, then that’s an internal problem that we should address,” Samant said.
Channeling her own experience as a senator, Samant hopes to initiate a “bill writing bootcamp” for senate training.
In addition to bill writing, Samant said she would like to restructure the training timeline for the senate.
“Senate really gets to work in fall, but there’s a lot of downtime in summer that both cabinet and judicial work through. By starting to train the senators early, we can actually get that initial brainstorming of ideas to start in summer.”
Beyond senate, Samant plans to raise the limitations of USGA’s current communication strategies: an area in which she envisions great improvement through her platform.
“We rely too much on social media, but not every student has social media. Our USGA website should be the main hub for information. If checking the website is too much, the most feasible solution is to work with IT to add an applet within the current UAB app for notifications,” Samant said.
Samant said she possesses the experience to bolster her claims. Her USGA career spans from Freshman Forum to vice president of Student Services.
“As one of the co-coordinators for civic engagement I was responsible for distribution of voting information, increasing voter accessibility, and addressing student need during a pandemic,” said Samant. “Ultimately, that work was very impactful, and I even had students from Vanderbilt and UGA messaging me with gratitude.”
The project impacted more than 2,000 students and won Samant the title of “USGA member of the year.”
Samant said she views USGA as more than a simple resume-booster. She said it is an opportunity to learn about servant leadership. This is the direction toward which she hopes to steer USGA – and her future career as a physician.
“I love what I do; I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. I’ve seen USGA’s highs and lows. And I’m fighting for a better USGA,” Samant said.
Voting opens on February 22, 2022 at 8 AM, and the polls will remain open for 24 hours. You can vote on BlazerNet. For more information presidential candidate Hannah Syed click here.