Michael Harding's Student Government Association (SGA) Presidency Speech

Michael Harding

Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guest and my fellow cougars, I am honored by your presence and look forward to our future. Being elected as the President of the Student Government Association has been an exciting yet humbling experience, and I look forward to making the most of this prestigious opportunity.

I could never have imagined that I would be at this point in my career as a freshman from Los Angeles. I started off with no school spirit, and I was a little intimidated by the new atmosphere I found myself in. During my freshmen year at the University of Houston, I was trying to find where I would fit in. My passion was helping others and making people smile, but I had no idea that I would be able to enjoy my passion by getting involved with different student organizations on campus. My sophomore year I was approached by Prince and Kenneth to join the Student Government Association, and at first I looked at them like they were crazy. I thought how could I possibly have an effect on this campus, and would anyone even listen to me? After some long conversations with Prince, I was convinced that I should be senator and try my best to help my fellow students, starting with representing the College of Education. After a few months I became the Chairman of the Student Life Committee and found a place in SGA that directly correlated with my passion, and the rest is history.

Throughout my time here at UH I have experienced the highs and the lows of this campus and despite my record number of parking tickets, I realized the beauty of the University. This is truly a realistic representation of the united nation. The unity amongst diversity on this campus has made me feel at home and is a great example of how no matter where you are from or what you believe in, we can all live and work together. Over the course of my time here at UH I have had the opportunity to become a student leader and work alongside a variety of administrators, faculty members, and students. I have learned a lot about the university and the student experience by getting more and more involved. Along the way I feel that I have grown as a person, and I cannot wait to learn and work with all of you on the different ways we can help the student body.

I would like to thank all of the administrators and distinguished guests for attending tonight’s banquet. I believe this is the first step in creating a positive relationship between administrators and the student body.  This banquet used to be just SGA members and affiliates, by attending this wonderful event, you have strengthened your relationship with the student body and a started the 48th SGA administration off on the right foot. I would also like to recognize one of the superstars the room, President Renu Khator. I have gotten the chance to hear her speak at several events and each time her speeches are truly inspirational. Even after leading our University to the Tier One status that we now hold, she continues to fight for the student body. She is truly a leader who is for the students and I look forward to working with her but more importantly learning from her in our future endeavors.

We are about to face a critical time, and how we respond to the looming budget cuts will reshape this university. Although this may seem daunting, I believe that with the leadership of President Khator, our Tier One administrators and dedicated state representatives, we will get through this turbulent time with the resilience that defines cougars, the University of Houston cougars.

Last but certainly not least, I would like to address the 48th Student Government Association Administration. As I have said in the past, we face a great challenge with the looming budget crisis ahead, but the challenges students face from year to year still remain. The cost of Higher education, parking and transportation, safety and security, and the overall quality of student life are all issues that we are now called upon to address. Now is the time for us to meet these challenges with actions and not words. I have absolute confidence that with the combined leadership experience within this room, we will be able to create a Tier One experience for every one of our fellow students.

Now here is what a Tier One experience looks like: The cost of education is equal to the value of your degree and not a barrier to a student’s access to higher education. A Tier One experience is a parking and transportation system with numerous options for students to get to our campus while decreasing the demand and increasing our parking capacity. A Tier One experience is a campus that is safe and inviting and where security is a both a collective and individual responsibility.  It is an experience where everyone has a place and student life is defined as community amongst diversity. Lastly it is an experience where every student has good time while they enjoy some of the most memorable days of their lives. Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow Cougars, join me in creating the Tier One experience for every student at the university of Houston. Thank you and God bless.

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