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New student government president wants to help students feel at home

Tiarah Figueroa of San Antonio has been a leader on campus since she started the FASHION student organization her freshman year at the University of Houston-Victoria, and now she’s taking that leadership to the next level.

Tiarah Figueroa

Figueroa is preparing to step into the position of president of the UHV Student Government Association for the 2020-2021 school year. She was elected by the UHV student body through an online vote, and she will start her term on June 1.

“After working with this year’s student government administration, I developed a passion for helping UHV grow,” Figueroa said. “I’m ready to lead, and I want to give back to the university that has given so much to me.”

Figueroa is a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in political science with a minor in humanities. During her time at UHV, she’s been involved around campus through the Green Club and volunteering at different Student Life events, as well as working in the Student Success Center as a political science tutor and in Admissions & Student Recruitment as a student ambassador.

The Student Government Association serves as the liaison between students and the university’s administration. It also enhances student life by sponsoring and promoting participation in student activities. Figueroa will serve as the student representative on the UHV President’s Cabinet.

One of Figueroa’s goals is to have more campus social events to encourage students to get involved at UHV and in the community. In particular, she would like to have events that include faculty and staff from the university and more events geared toward specific majors and fields of study. She also plans to continue the university’s Paw Points program that rewards students for attending different events on campus.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to serve and know that I was chosen for this role by my fellow students,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but my administration and I are ready for it.”

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented UHV students from spending time on campus this spring, Figueroa wants to help students feel safe and comfortable when they return.

Christopher McDonald

“I want the students to feel like they’re coming back home,” she said. “I want them to know that they are welcome here, and we are here for them, no matter if they are on campus, in Katy or studying online from home.”

UHV graduate student Christopher McDonald, the 2019-2020 student government president, is expecting great things when Figueroa takes the reins.

“Tiarah has worked hard in my administration, and I am looking forward to watching her grow with the university throughout the year,” McDonald said. “The initiatives, programs and committees established this year have positive implications for future Student Government Association administrations and UHV as a whole. I am excited to see Tiarah work on putting them into action and helping us move forward as an institution.”

Michael Wilkinson

For Michael Wilkinson, senior director of Student Services & Judicial Affairs and the association’s advisor, seeing Figueroa step into the president’s role is an exciting step in her leadership and growth. He’s worked with her as a member of the Student Government Association since she first served as a freshman senator, then as speaker of the senate. She’s been involved in creating programs such as Paw Points, the association’s sponsored student reward program, and she has a love for UHV.

“Tiarah is always eager to learn and try new things, and her personality is infectious,” Wilkinson said. “She has the ability to connect with and bring together students, faculty and staff. She truly does love UHV, and that is evident through her wide breadth of experience across the institution. All of these characteristics will help her administration continue to make positive changes for the university. I have no doubt that she will serve the student body well as the next SGA president.”

Other students elected to the 2020-2021 Student Government Association are:

  • Sarah Stanaland of Jarrell, vice president
  • Sharon Winn of Victoria, School of Business Administration senator
  • Aisha Raji of Katy, Katy senator
  • Tanjim Jubair of Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, graduate senator
  • Alexis Arcneaux of Houston, sophomore senator

Applications for unfilled offices will be opened in the summer. For more information about SGA, visit www.uhv.edu/student-government-association or email uhv.sga@gmail.com.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.