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Message from Student Body President Lamar Richards

December 17, 2021

Message from Student Body President Lamar Richards

Friday, December 17, 2021

In my tenure as Student Body President since April, I have been continuously inspired by how our community comes together — how our students rally together — how this next generation of change-makers understands what we must do to ensure our collective success, and is not afraid to put forth its efforts in ensuring our vision becomes reality.

To this end, I feel it pertinent at this moment to address ongoing discussion and sentiments regarding the future of student self-governance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

I will not be running for re-election. My term ends in April 2022 with the swearing in of the next Student Body President. Although I will not be running for re-election, I want to acknowledge the revolutionary and groundbreaking impact our team has made over these past eight months. How we have been able to make the role of Student Body President and student governance at UNC more accessible — how we have been able to change the course of student self-governance at our country’s first public university. This is the momentum my team and I plan to carry into these last four months of my term, with the launch of The Commitment to Carolina: Celebrating 100 years of Student Self-Governance in January 2022. The Commitment to Carolina campaign aims to raise $100,000 for student-led initiatives of the Carolina Community. We are excited to launch this impactful initiative.

I take pride in the work of our team. But as we head towards tomorrow — towards our collective tomorrow — I would like to underscore the importance and necessity of continuing to support student leaders from historically marginalized backgrounds — in leadership roles across our campus, including that of Student Body President. This role is crucial to our campus and is the true foundation of self-governance for our student body. This individual serves as a voting member of the Board of Trustees and is often involved in some of the most complex and important decisions made across our University. To this end, while it is rare for a student from a historically marginalized identity to assume this role, it must not be years before we bolster the voices of our underrepresented friends and peers — it must be now.

It is my hope that we continue to make the role of Student Body President accessible to all, and continue to support student leaders from historically marginalized backgrounds to fill these roles. I have come to realize that the change I envisioned and continue to envision for Carolina is not within the reach of one single student body president, but rather the revolutionary, bold work that must be continued for many years to come. 

I am honored and humbled by the trust our student body has placed in me and my team to lead our community through many complex issues and crises. The reality, though, is that true leadership is not the occupation of a position of “power,” but rather the willingness to propel others to become change agents and stewards of good will.

Wishing you and yours a warm and joyous holiday season.

Yours for Carolina — today, tomorrow, and always,


Lamar Richards

100th Student Body President

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Student Body President Richards’s Heartfelt Message to the Carolina Community on University Day – October 12, 2021

October 13, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

Student Body President Richards’s Heartfelt Message on University Day

Tuesday, October 12, 2021


(Video, courtesy of University Communications)

Good afternoon — President Hans, Chair Boliek, Chancellor Guskiewicz, and all those in attendance. 

I greet you today on behalf of the 30,000 students of this great University — undergraduate, graduate, and professional alike. I’d like to start by first acknowledging my team — fellow leaders within UNC Student Government, for their tireless efforts in advocating for and representing the most central constituency of our University — its students. 

I stand before you, saddened, somber, and disheartened. Saddened because those I represent are hurting. Somber, because the loss of one student is one too many. Disheartened because I am an extension of my community, the Carolina community, and we are not well. 

On this day of supposed celebration, Carolina is grieving. Our community is aching. Today — October the 12th, 2021 — University Day — is a sad day. It is a day that cements the necessity of the fundamental and institutional change necessary to protect the sanctity, the peace, and the wellbeing of us all — regardless of age, sex, gender, socioeconomic status, discipline, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. 

We acknowledge that the loss of life of even one Carolina student is devastating for us all. We acknowledge that mental health and wellbeing is not retroactive, and that offering support is not a worthy reimbursement for trauma. We acknowledge that the tragedy experienced by our campus community must not be normalized by the absence of adequate time and resources for grieving and reflection. 

In a 1981 dissent, the first Black United States Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, wrote: “The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.” He further wrote, “There exists no manual in the world to tell me how to be compassionate… Compassion, love, empathy — they are flames from within that cannot be put out.” 

I believe the first step in displaying the compassion Justice Marshall so eloquently described 40 years ago, is honesty. It would be a dereliction of my duties if I did not acknowledge the rocky relationship the words of Justice Marshall have had with this University — a place where compassion and, by extension, justice, has been historically selective in its practice. For a long time — too long, the only way into an event like this for someone like me would have been silently — dressed in white, khaki shorts and holding a silver tray stocked with food and drink and ready to serve. Instead, I stand boldly before you today as UNC’s 100th Student Body President to declare that I am grateful UNC is not the institution it was 228 years ago.

However, UNC has a long way to go still. As an openly queer Black person, for most of Carolina’s history, I was not intended to be a student. I was never meant to be a scholar, a researcher, a campus leader. I sure wasn’t supposed to be its Student Body President. Compassion, love, empathy? Those weren’t for me. The truth is, I take classes, attend events, and represent a student body inside buildings and within an institution that was built not for people that look like me, but by people that look like me.

That is why I am quick to question any notion of celebrating this University’s founding amidst such a ceremony of remembrance and hope — I’m quick to challenge the embellishing of this University’s conception here on University Day. If we sincerely aim to reflect, reckon, and reset with our eyes toward the future, we must acknowledge that it was 1789 when our University was founded. 1865 when slavery was abolished in our country. 1870 when the Fifteenth Amendment prevented American states from denying the right to vote on grounds of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteed mainly white women the right to vote. 1951 — and only after a court order — when the first Black students were able to enroll and attend this University. And it was in 1972, a date near to my heart, when UNC elected Richard Epps its first Black student body president. 

So when I ask what we are truly glorifying today, I ask because University Day’s contradictions overwhelm me. The constant uplifting of Carolina’s founding confuses me. Today, however, I do not call only for reflection, reckoning, and a resetting, but a rebirth of the values we call our own. Let us build upon the foundations of equity, inclusion, and resilience. Let us value the perspectives of each faculty member, staff member, and student. Let us embrace head-on the conversations that cause our discomfort.

I say often that I am proud to be a Tar Heel. I am proud not because of who we are currently, or what we have done in our past, but because of what we can be and who we aspire to be. But what I, alongside 30,000 of my peers, have come to realize is that we cannot be that to which we aspire without prioritizing our wellness as an institution. Without keeping ourselves safe. Because the safety of the Carolina community is invaluable. The safety of our community is non-negotiable.

Carolina has always been governed by a grounding curiosity to lead, to be better, to shine light and liberty into the communities we touch. But our light can shine brighter still. 

We have hurdles to keep vaulting, inequities to continue destroying, wrongs to right and commitments to fulfill. And I say to you gathered here today: There is no way to do that — to sustain the flames of curiosity and determination — without compassion, love, and empathy. Without being gracious as we seek to unify and understand our differences. Without being empathetic as we celebrate our cultural diversity, recognizing that we are operating on stolen indigenous land. We must show compassion as we work to support each person in the Carolina Family.

I urge all of you to consider, at heart, the purpose of University Day. Do not solely seek to celebrate our school’s beginning, but acknowledge the student-led, student-focused, and student-driven vision of a University of all people, by all people, and for all people. I impress upon you to vigilantly pursue a more just and equitable world, recognizing the potential in each student and the role each of us play in breaking down Carolina’s historic barriers. 

​​It is my solemn hope that our students, faculty, and staff together soon find the well-needed time they deserve to prioritize and protect their wellness, their peace, and their safety, outside of this one Tuesday, October the 12th, 2021. 

And while we reflect on our institution’s history, let us also examine the present needs of our community — of students, faculty, and staff.

It has become evident — time and time again — that it is up to us, leaders of the now and future, to speak when others are silent, fight when others retreat, and to lead, when others cower. Students have always led the charge for change and have too often borne the burden of supporting each other when those with power, titles, and resources fail in their responsibility and mandate to support us. 

So today, my message to the Carolina Community — our passionate students, dedicated faculty, and hardworking staff alike — is that it is up to us to work together for good. It is up to us to lift each other up, even as challenge upon challenge attempts to force us down. 

It is up to us to ensure we lead towards a brighter tomorrow. We did not choose this world — it chose us — to protect it, to nurture it, yes — to save it. It chose us to tell its truths, to defend its oppressed, and shine like beacons for its hopeless. 

That is why we must lead — and we will do so together. Our community is depending on us. 

Thank you.

Undergraduate and Graduate Leaders Call for a Pause in Instruction – October 10, 2021

October 13, 2021

Office of the Student Body President and Undergraduate President

Suite 3109 Frank Porter Graham Student Union

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Leaders of UNC Undergraduate Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Government Call for a Pause to Instruction

October 10, 2021

Dear Chancellor Guskiewicz, Provost Blouin, and Vice Chancellor Johnson,

The leaders of the Undergraduate and Graduate and Professional Student Governments are mourning the tragic loss of life that occurred on Carolina’s campus this weekend. We share the pain of our peers who are now navigating both the grief of losing a friend and simultaneously completing a rigorous curriculum during an already stressful semester. We request that the university provide a break from instruction from Monday, Oct. 11 through the end of day Tuesday, Oct. 12 to allow the Carolina community time to grieve and seek out essential mental health resources. Students require this immediate action from the university to ensure that their mental health needs are being considered and met. Furthermore, we request that all planned University Day celebrations be postponed to allow students to reflect, grieve, and seek services uninterrupted. All university actions should be guided by the expertise of Carolina’s mental health professionals and we request transparency from the university as to the implementation of this guidance. 

A loss of even one Tar Heel is one too many. We encourage all students who are struggling to contact the Dean of Students team, Counseling and Psychological Services or Student Wellness for assistance. CAPS support is available by calling 919-966-3658 (24 hours a day) or by walk-in at the CAPS offices (3rd Floor of Campus Health) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  On-campus residents are encouraged to contact their Resident Advisor or a Community Director by visiting the Community Office/Front Desk or by calling the on-call staff at (919) 843-5621.  Additionally, confidential and free services are provided 24/7 by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.


Graduate and Professional Student Government Executive Board 

Undergraduate Student Government Executive Board 

Student Body President Richards’s Remarks to the UNC Board of Trustees – September 23, 2021

October 13, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

Board of Trustees Meeting, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thursday, September 23, 2021


Thank you, Chair Boliek. I am continuously grateful to be leading a student body of over 30,000 talented, curious, and passion-driven students – undergraduate, graduate, and professional alike. As we continue to navigate an ongoing global pandemic, I remain constantly invested in ensuring our students have equitable advocacy and fair representation in all spaces critical to the quality function of our University. As we sat and discussed Delegated Authorities yesterday and heard from University Counsel, Finance and Operations, Academics, I could not help but think about the authorities delegated to the self-governing students of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

We have a student conduct system that is completely student-run, a Student Fee Audit Committee that oversees student fee raises, decreases, and implementation, over 145 different governing committees and groups with student representation, and two legislative bodies that appropriate over five hundred thousand dollars to hundreds of student groups on campus each year — all overseen by a Student Body President that is a full-voting member of the Board of Trustees. This is the true idea of self-governing students who, in the face of adversity, continue to persevere and remain resilient.

Both the Undergraduate and Graduate & Professional Student Governments have been hard at work with ensuring students have quality, effective advocacy through new exciting and innovative ideas. I’ll briefly speak on a few today, the Richard Epps Emerging Leaders Program, named after the first Black Student Body President of UNC, is a new emerging leaders program dedicated to providing first-year and transfer students from historically marginalized communities with leadership development, professional development, career counseling, access to service-learning projects across the state of North Carolina, and a paid Summer internship experience. 

Through support of the Office of the Provost and Chancellor’s Office, the Student Government will be, for the first time, sponsoring the Distinguished Lectureship on Racial Equity and Belonging — inviting a talented, renown scholar to Carolina each year to help us in confronting and grappling with our colorful past and racial history. And most importantly, offering the Carolina community bold and exciting ideas about how to these pressing issues. 

The Graduate and Professional Student Government, hosted a successful Town Hall on COVID-19 policies with Dr’s Amir Barzin and Audrey Pettifor last week and their gracious President, Neel, led a dedicated team of students from across campus in presenting a proposal to Vice Chancellor Knuffman and Chancellor Guskiewicz on the Campus Safety and Security Student Fee increase handed down by the BOG.

And finally, I’d like to mention and acknowledge that for the first time in recent history UNC’s Student Government was asked to host the 2021 ACC Advocacy Days in Washington, DC, featuring the best student leaders from across the ACC’s schools. This is something we are excited to do alongside NC State.

With all of this, one thing is for sure — the 300+ students in all of the student government, much like all of our campus, are hard at work, each day, on behalf of the students of Carolina. But, I want to be clear, in that our mandate, as student leaders, while often complex, is clear — we serve and protect the interests of the students of the university and by extension, the University at-large. We are vital and crucial members of the shared governance system at UNC, as are faculty, staff, community members and this very body.

I want to take my final moments to speak about me and the Chancellor’s relationship. As I mentioned earlier, things are often very complex and this is one of those very things. While our mission is in alignment, we often have different constituencies and governing bodies to which we are responsible. This is not atypical for a Student Body President and the Chancellor of a University. While he and I may not always agree, I think I speak for the both of us when I say we do our best to work in tandem on behalf of all of the students of this University and navigate complex situations together. And when we cannot, there is a respect for the process of which we must take to move forward productively. 

It is in this spirit of productivity, inclusion, belonging, and forging new, dynamic relationships that I commit for the remainder of my term and time at Carolina. And I hope that this body will join me in uplifting and empowering this very important and timely work.

Thank you.

Student Body President Richards’s Remarks about “To Drink from the Well” – September 21, 2021

October 13, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

“To Drink from the Well”

September 21, 2021


Good Afternoon Everyone,

I am happy to be with you all today, as we gather to discuss the revitalizing and crucial scholarship that is To Drink From The Well – an exhaustive, in-depth analysis of the racially-charged past of this university. 

At the 1993 bicentennial celebration of the university’s founding, famed journalist and UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus Charles Kuralt stood on a stage full of white men, gazing into a crowd filled with mostly white people and uttered words that still ring through the halls of Carolina even today. “What is it that binds us to this place, like no other?” he asked. “It is not the well or the bell or stone walls… No, our love for this place is based on the fact that it is, as it was meant to be, the University of the people.”

Yet, since then not a single leader of the university has met the burden of those very words. The truth is, as student body president, I have been asking myself that very question while navigating the most recent racially-charged failures of leadership at UNC. To what, if anything, binds my people to this place? This summer, my statements encouraging other Black students not to attend UNC made national headlines. Yet I stayed and I’m sure many of you wondered why? Why would this person that told others to leave choose to stay?

The reality is that the forces binding me to UNC are the same ones that kept my people on the Underground Railroad, even when they couldn’t see daylight. It’s the same force that kept Black families going from bank to bank, applying for mortgages even after they received a “no” at each turn. And it’s the same force that led Professor Nikole Hannah-Jones to fight for tenure at a university that only gave her disrespect in return. The Nikole Hannah-Jones situation was so complex, yet very simple.

Unsurprisingly, the very faculty at UNC that wrote letters supporting her case for tenure oppose the very flexibility in the classroom that supports marginalized students like flexible attendance policies, holistic admissions, and direct student support. This proves that this was simply about the concept of tenure for them, but it was not for us. For us, it was about reckoning with our history, grappling with our colorful past, demanding recognition, restitution, and reformation. The days of being silent are no longer among us, no longer a luxury that we can afford.

So I asked myself again, “Lamar, what binds you to this place?” And I found that the very things that bind me to this place are the ideals that were absent in the founding of this University. What binds me is Richard Epps, elected UNC’s first Black Student Body President in 1972, Karen Parker, the first Black woman (undergraduate) to graduate from the country’s oldest public university in 1965, and the countless others that came before me upon whose shoulders I stand. What binds me to this place is the pain and perseverance of my people as they forged together the foundation of public education in America — building the very buildings we now learn in at Carolina, brick by brick. It is the same pleading force that allowed my uneducated great-grandmother to raise children that became doctors and lawyers.

It is the love of our people, the aspiration of something greater, the need to be bigger, to be better — to survive. 

May this wonderful work of literature set a blaze to every hiding crevice of oppression, racism, and hatred at this University and dawn upon us a new day to live, breath, and work for a University that we all know and love. 

Student Body President Richards’s Remarks at the Executive Branch Orientation – September 18, 2021

October 13, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

Executive Branch Orientation

September 18, 2021


Good Morning Everyone:

I wanted to quickly welcome everyone to our Fall 2021 Orientation and acknowledge the hard work of the Chief of Staff’s Office and Event Services that went into planning and coordinating today’s activities. 

As you all continue to navigate your roles, classes, internships and jobs, and any other extra-curricular and passion-driven activities, I encourage you to remember these words: real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determinations. John Garns said these exact words at the Annual Meeting of the Minds many years ago and I can’t help but to think these words are perfect for the events you will embrace today.

People often think when we inherit these large and public-facing roles that something about our DNA, our genetic-makeup, has predestined us to be a leader. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our ability to lead is not based upon who we are but rather who we aspire to be, collectively. 

Being a leader at this University comes with its own set of challenges. Complex issues everyday, in the classroom, on the job, and in simple interactions. These complex issues were not created by us, but it has become our duty to address them as best we know how. And there will be times where we fail, but understand that with everything, even failure, there is a lesson to be learned, plans to be amended, and a vision to be maintained.

As you all dedicate yourselves to doing the very important and timely work of this branch, understand that you each play a very crucial role in who we are as an organization. We move coherently together, to support each other, lift each other up, or simply to just be there for each other. It can seem intimidating to approach someone in a (“higher role”) than you, but trust me no such dynamic exists nor should it ever. 

I try my best to be approachable and I think the entire Executive Board will tell you that I am just as comical and goofy as the next guy. So, in saying this, I want to stress that while my obligation is to the 30,000 students of this University, my commitment to sound, principled leadership is to all of you. Please let me know if there is anything I can ever do to support you, professionally or personally. 

Finally, today is about forging a dynamic community and resilient network of like-minded, passion-driven, and equitable-leaders much like yourself, to aid and support each other in the large visions and dreams of this branch. There is not much we can do alone, and I’d have to argue that even if I could do it alone, its less fun. You are the living, breathing vision of this University and every day all of you inspire me to be and do better. Looking out at all of you one thing is very clear — You are the vision, you are the dream, and you are Carolina! 

Good morning and, again, welcome to Orientation! 

“Enough is Enough” – A Message from the Executive Board Officers In Response to University COVID-19 Policies – September 2, 2021

September 2, 2021

“Enough is Enough”

A Message from the Executive Board Officers In Response to University COVID-19 Policies

Thursday, September 2, 2021

NOTE: To undersign this statement, please add your name to the linked document.

To the Carolina Community,

The sanctity of our University’s foremost priority continues to be desecrated, discounted, and disregarded: that of ensuring the safety, security, and wellbeing of all Tar Heels — students, faculty, and staff alike.

The safety of our students — looking for an enriching, empowering, and emboldening academic experience at one of the most densely populated Universities in the state — is at risk.

The security of our faculty — charged with providing world-class thought, perspective, and knowledge on a campus that threatens the livelihood of their families, loved ones, and colleagues — is at risk.

The wellbeing of our employees and staff — those that propel this University forward — marred by understaffing and inequitable pay — is at risk.

In response to the continued onslaught of COVID-19 cases and community spread on and off-campus, the value of the safety of the Carolina community — our Carolina — has been used as a prop — as a negotiable — for the self-serving purpose of heightening public-facing institutional “reputation” and “integrity.”

What becomes clear, however, is that our community is not safe. It is not secure. And it is not well.

What will it take, we ask? What will it take for our University — the flagship institution of the UNC System — to finally place people over profits? Courage over controversy?

What will it take for our University to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all community members?

What will it take for our University to mandate that every student, faculty, and staff member, regardless of vaccination status, get tested at minimum one time per week? To mandate testing at greater frequencies for those unvaccinated or failing to share vaccination status?

What will it take for our University to recognize the alarming impact of its premature scaledown of COVID-19 testing infrastructure, closing the Carolina Square ArtSpace and Rams Head Recreation Building testing centers?

What will it take for our University to institute an outdoor mask mandate, ensuring that large outdoor gatherings, athletic events, Old Well sips, and University-sponsored events are not breeding grounds for illness and infection?

What will it take for our University to ensure an academic experience that works for all, not some? What will it take to ensure every class has a virtual and/or hybrid option, ensuring students who do not or cannot attend class are not penalized, can receive all course material, and can experience an equally rigorous and inclusive virtual education?

What will it take, we ask, for our University to act?

Will it take leaving Carolina parents childless? The spouses of our faculty widowed? The families of our staff members shattered?

The value of the safety of our community is not open for negotiation. It requires a commitment — unconditionally and unrelentingly — to the pursuit of intentional safety measures that effectively, accurately, and transparently support the health and wellbeing of our community — of our students, of our faculty, and of our staff — not that of our institution’s public image.

The audacity of the incapacity of our University’s COVID-19 response and management is shameful and a disgrace to what Carolina ought to stand for. 

We are tired of wishing and hoping. Decisions await — enough is enough.

Yours for Carolina—today, tomorrow, and always, 

The Executive Board Officers of the 2021-2022 Undergraduate Student Government Executive Branch

Lamar G. Richards

Student Body President

Undergraduate Student Government President

Collyn Smith

Undergraduate Vice President

Keisha Solanki

Undergraduate Chief of Staff

Kartik Tyagi

Undergraduate Secretary

Chief Communications Officer

Aashna Shukla

Undergraduate Treasurer

Nina Dakoriya

Director of State and External Affairs

Chaz Crosby, Isha Padhye, Ananya Tadikonda, and Greear Webb

Senior Advisors

NOTE: To undersign this statement, please add your name to the linked document

On Friday, September 3, 2021, the above statement was endorsed and undersigned unanimously by the Campus Presidents’ Council. The Campus Presidents’ Council is a collective group of student leaders from across the Carolina community, representing a diverse collective of student groups.



The Campus Presidents’ Council

The Campus Y Executive Board

Ethan Phillips Director of Student Wellness and Safety, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Molly Dorgan Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Anu Joy Director of the Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Kenza Slaoui Assistant Director of International Students and Immigrant Support – Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Elizabeth Morton President of UNC Chapter of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Phoebe Pak Director of Academic Affairs and Professional Development, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Katelynn Gilbert Chair of North Carolina Public Interest Research Group
Erin Schlachter Deputy Communications Officer, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Hanna Azizi Messaging & Communications Specialist, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch 
Ryan Crowell Messaging & Communications Specialist, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Lauryn Lovett Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch 
Jessica Walker Lead Content Creation Specialist, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Sooyeon Oh Executive Assistant to the Treasurer, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch 
Abigail Adams Assistant Director of Interfaith and Religion – Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Sneha Pasupula Oversight and Advocacy Chair, UNC Undergraduate Senate
Zoe Helms Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Salena Braye-Bulls Assistant Director of Basic Needs and Affordability – Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Victoria Bryant  Assistant Director of Research & Innovation- Department of Academic Affairs & Professional Development, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Esther Eikins Assistant Director of Out-of-State and Transfer Life- Department of Campus Life and Student Experiences, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Ritushree Dutta  Senator, District 1: School of Biological and Health Sciences, Undergraduate Senate, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Esha Parikh Assistant Director of State and External Affairs, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Shamar Wilson Deputy Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Elliana Alexander President, Residence Hall Association
Nikalus Ward Assistant Director of Sexuality and Gender Inclusion – Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Britney Burns President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council
Alexis Jamison Vice President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council
Derrick Davis Treasurer of the National Pan-Hellenic Council; Junior Vice Polemarch of the Middle Eastern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. 
Mykel Yancey Polemarch (President) of the Theta Omicron Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. 
Jarrah Faye President of the  Collegiate Chapter of the NAACP at UNC Chapel Hill.
Tanja Butler President of the Lambda Psi Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. 
Sharon P. Holland Chair and Townsend Ludington Distinguished Professor of American Studies.
John Pickles Phillips Distinguished Professor of International Studies in the Department of Geography
Christian C. Lentz Associate Professor of Geography
Leena A. Nylander-French Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health and Director of the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center
Chloe Benjamin Assistant Director for University Career Services
Katie Musgrove Chair, UNC Chapel Hill Employee Forum

Business Officer, School of Law Clinical Programs

David Baker Dept. of English and Comparative Lit.
Valerie Lambert Dept. of Anthropology
Christina Burch Professor, Department of Biology, Expert in Viral Evolution
Samantha Thies Vice President of Finance, Communication Studies Graduate Student Association, Dept. of Communication 
Michael Lambert African, African American, and Diaspora Studies
Eugenia Eng Professor of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Laurie Selz Campbell Clinical Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Claire Bunschoten Graduate Teaching Assistant, American Studies
Jocelyn Chua Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology
Kita Douglas Teaching Assistant Professor, American Studies
Gabrielle Loppe President of the Caribbean Student Association
Richard Wolfenden Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry
Jillian Kern Graduate Teaching Fellow, Dept. of English and Comparative Literature
Danielle Purifoy Assistant Professor, Dept of Geography
Patricia Rosenmeyer Professor, Dept. of Classics
Andrea Hussong Professor, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Elena Vidrascu PhD Candidate, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Allison Volmer Research Specialist, Marsico Lung Institute
Janae Shaheed PhD Student and Instructional Assistant, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Jennifer Potter Senior Program Coordinator for Clinical Outreach, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Sherryl Kleinman Emerita Professor of Sociology
Jim Herrington Professor (retired), Gillings School of Global Public Health 
Michael Palm Associate Professor, Dept. of Communication, CAS
Alice Marwick Associate Professor, Department of Communication; Principal Researcher, Center for Information, Technology, & Public Life
Megan Foster PhD Student & Teaching Assistant, Dept. of Communication 
Taliajah Vann 54th President, Black Student Movement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
Aaron Shapiro Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, CAS
Jay Smith Professor of History
Megan Winget Teaching Assistant Professor, School of Information and Library Science
Matthew Gibson PhD student, History Department
Antonia Randolph  Assistant Professor,  American Studies 
Jaylen Harrell Outreach Coordinator, Black Student Movement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Barbara Fedders Assistant Professor, UNC School of Law
Renée Alexander Craft Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Curriculum in Global Studies
Mya Parks Secretary, Black Student Movement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gabrielle Berlinger Assistant Professor, American Studies and Folklore
Suad Jabr PhD student, Geography
Daniel Russo Graduate teaching assistant, Department of Communication
Tony Perucci Associate Professor, Department of Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill
Shannon McGregor Assistant professor, Hussman School of Journalism  & Media
Erin Siegal McIntyre Assistant professor, Hussman School of Journalism  & Media
Melody Kramer Director of Comms, Carolina Population Center and Carolina Demography
Hassan Melehy Professor, Dept. of Romance Studies
Abigail Haydon Training Manager, Carolina Population Center;

Alumna Gillings School of Global Public Health (Maternal and Child Health), PhD & MPH

Joseph Richards Graduate Teaching Fellow/Doctoral Student, Department of Communication
Kumarini Silva Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Jordynn Jack Chi Omega Term Distinguished Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Elyse Crystall Teaching Associate Professor, English & Comparative Literature 
Sarah Dempsey Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Michele Meyer PhD Candidate, Media & Communication
Phil Edwards Instructional Consultant (EHRA Non-Faculty), Center for Faculty Excellence
Alexnadra Domrongchai American Studies Student Association President
Anna Brady Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Paul Wynkoop Project Coordinator at the Peer Relations Lab at UNC-CH
Kena Lemu Executive Social Justice Advocate, Residence Hall Association 
Yulianna Aparicio Student Services Specialist, Department of Art and Art History
Don Nonini Emeritus Professor of Anthropology
Steve May Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Linda Beeber Emeritus Professor of Nursing
Megan Wood PhD Candidate, Department of Communication
Julia Haslett Assistant Professor, Dept of Communication
Mayra Perez Secretary, The Phi Chapter of Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad / Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. 
Kevin Pabst Doctoral Student, Department of Communication
Rachel Ciampoli Doctoral Student & Teaching Assistant, Department of Art and Art History
Annika Hugosson Doctoral Student & Teaching Assistant, Department of Anthropology
Margaret Wiener Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Anthropology
Molly Dashney Videography Lead, UNC Student Government Executive Branch
Julia Clark Vice President of Black Student Movement, Chair of the James Cates Memorial Committee of the Carolina Union Board of Directors
Alice Whiteside Head, Sloane Art Library, University Libraries
Rachel Briggs Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Julio Gutierrez PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology
Chase Debnam Department Manager, Psychology & Neuroscience, College of Arts & Sciences
Florence Babb Professor, Department of Anthropology
Sophie Bendrath Graduate student, Psychology and Neuroscience
Angela Stuesse Associate Professor of Anthropology and Global Studies
Emily Spangenberg Bilingual Program Assistant, UNC School of Law
Katherine Tumlinson Assistant Professor, UNC Gillings
Stephanie Willen Brown Librarian, Hussman School of Journalism & Media
Ariana Avila PhD student, Department of Anthropology
Dan Hockstein MSIS Student, UNC SILS; A/V Digitization Research Assistant, University Libraries; Teaching Assistant, American Studies
Catherine Zimmer Adjunct Professor of Sociology
Bryan Stiles Doctoral Student, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Arthi Annadurai District 1 Undergraduate Senator and Oversight and Advocacy Vice Chair, UNC Undergraduate Government
Lucía Stavig Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology 
Michele Hayslett Data Services Librarian, University Libraries
Rhema Bland Director, Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting
Andrea Lorenz PhD Student, School of Journalism and Media
Kirill Tolpygo Slavic & East European Studies Librarian, Davis Library
Aunchalee Palmquist Assistant Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health
Philip Vandermeer Head of the Music Library; Adj. Assoc. Prof. of Music
Tyra Rubin Mental Health Awareness and Stigma Reduction Coordinator, Student Wellness and Safety, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Lucía I. Mock Muñoz de Luna PhD student, School of Education
KA Medlin Ph.D. student, Department of Mathematics
John E. French Ph.D., Professor, Nutrition, Gilling School of Global Public Health,  UNC-CH
Brittany Price Alumna, Gillings School of Global Public Health (MPH 2021, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights)
Anne Wells Audiovisual Archivist, University Libraries
Anna S. Agbe-Davies Associate Professor of Anthropology
Kristan Shawgo Social Sciences Librarian, University Libraries
Annie Rose O’Brien Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Religious Studies
Patricia Parker Professor, Department of Communication
Dhara Patel MPH Student and TA, Health Behavior Department, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights Concentration 
Miles Perry MPH Global Health student
Aaron Pattillo-Lunt Graduate History Society President, PhD Student  and Teaching Assistant, History Department
Eric Hastie Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
Austin Geer Director of Programs and Policy, Undergraduate Student Government 
Lindsay Savelli MPH student in Health  Equity,, Social Justice & Human Rights, TA for MPH core course
Deborah M. Weissman Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law
Daniela Sostaita MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights; Research Assistant, UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Karis Price Co-President of the Carolina Association of Black Journalists
Gabriel Rosner MBA Graduate, Kenan-Flagler Business School 
Nico Gleason Member, UNC Board of Elections
Ariana Davis Project Coordinator, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Rosemary Gay Teaching Assistant & PhD Student, Department of Anthropology
Sam Ehrenstein Ph.D. Student and Teaching Assistant, Department of Computer Science
Taya Westfield Master of Public Health Candidate, Department of Health Behavior
Emily Baragwanath Associate Professor, Department of Classics
Zofia Knorek PhD Candidate & Royster Fellow, Environment, Ecology, and Energy Program; Workers Union UNC (UE150) Chapter President
Pamela Lothspeich Associate Professor, DAMES
Khalil Dalton Teaching Assistant and PhD student, American Studieshmm 
Kaitlin Hiciano MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights
Jade Squires Research & Instruction Associate, University Libraries
Victoria Petermann PhD Candidate, School of Nursing
Lee McGuigan Assistant Professor, Hussman School of Journalism and Media
Jessica Neupane MPH Candidate, Health Behavior 
Gabriela Valdivia Professor, Geography
Micah Wilkins MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights
Sharon L. James Professor, Classics
Preeyanka Rao MPH Candidate in Health Policy, and 2020-2021 Undergraduate Student Body Vice President & Co-Chair of the Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor
Melanie Meents Audiovisual Archives Assistant, University Libraries
Stefani N Baca-Atlas Doctoral student, School of Social Work
Daniel Bowen Alumnus and 2020-2021 Undergraduate Chief of Staff, Undergraduate Executive Branch of Student Government
Purva Trivedi MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights
Samantha Luu Associate Director, UNC Peer Support Core

Alumna – BA ‘14, MPH ‘19

Juliane Hammer Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Frantasia Hill MPH Candidate, Health Behavior
Hannah Preston MPH Candidate, Health Policy
Torin Monahan Professor, Department of Communication, CAS
Brianna Ramgeet Co-Vice President of the Caribbean Students Association
Hannah Skjellum PhD candidate, English and Comparative Literature
Angel Boyd PhD student, Dept. of Romance Studies
Vanessa Amankwaa Minority Student Caucus Co-President & MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights 
Miranda Elston PhD Candidate, Art History 
Hồng-Ân Trương Prof, Dept of Art & Art History
Everett Lang PhD student, English and Comparative Literature 
Kelly Dalton UNC Alum BA ‘07, Former UNC staff of 13 years
Mackenzie Mitchell Doctoral  student, Dept. Psychology & Neuroscience
Katelyn M. Campbell PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow, Department of American Studies
Lien Truong Associate Professor, Dept. of Art and Art History
Julianne Key Doctoral student, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Rachel Sweeney MA Student, Dept. of Art and Art History
Sophie Tô Minority Student Caucus Co-President, PhD Student in Health Behavior, & Teaching Fellow
Phuong Duyen Nguyen MFA Candidate, Morrison Studio Fellow, Dept. of Art and Art History
Kayla Rodrigues Undergraduate student, Environmental Science
Jeanne Moskal Professor, Dept of English & Comparative Literature
Lindsay Ayling PhD Candidate, History
Cotie San MPH candidate, EQUITY
Hugo Ljungbäck MFA Candidate and Teaching Fellow, Department of Art and Art History
Andy Liu Vice President, Asian American Students Association
Carrie Monette Music  Library, retired
Sophie Kelmenson PhD Candidate, City + Regional Planning
Austin Tyner USG DEI Assistant Director of Campus Accessibility and Disability Services, Co-Chair Disability Advocates Committee
A. Danielle Dulken  Teaching Fellow/ Doctoral Candidate , Dept. of American Studies 
Courtney Coley President, Queen In You; Co-President, Carolina Closet
Marc Rudolph PhD Candidate; Psychology & Neuroscience
Alexandra Wojda Teaching Fellow & Doctoral Student, Dept of Psychology & Neuroscience 
Lizzie Wilson Research Assistant in Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience; former undergraduate at UNC
Aitza Burgess Alumna, BA’17
Joungwon Kwon PhD student, Dept. of City and Regional Planning
Thomas Costello Public Communications Specialist, UNC School of Nursing
Husein Syed Undergraduate Senator, District 1
Charlotte Boettiger Professor, Psychology & Neuroscience
Trevy A. McDonald Director of ABIDE and Julian W. Scheer Term Associate Professor, Hussman School of Journalism and Media
Zelal Kilic Project Coordinator at the Peer Relations and DSN Labs at UNC-CH
Maria Sobrino Project Coordinator at the DSN and CASL Labs at UNC-CH
Eesha Desai Undergraduate Senator, Joint Governance Council Member at Large, District 3
Barbara Sostaita Alumna; PhD ‘21
Courtney Medina Project Coordinator at the DSN and CASL Labs at UNC-CH
Altha Cravey Associate professor of geography, retired. 
Anna Bauer Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Alumna – PhD ‘17, MPH ‘11

Samah Choudhury Alumna; PhD ‘20
Alyssa Brown Graduate Assistant, School of Information and Library Science
Lou Pérez History
Tim Poe Director of Telehealth with the UNC Lineberger Cancer Network at  the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center 
Emil’ Keme  Romance Studies 
Paul Bonnici Carolina Public Humanities
Gisella Lie MPH Candidate ’23
Jon Powell, PhD Continuing Education Specialist with Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Tikiyah Davis Staff for Department of Campus Life and Student Experience, Undergraduate Executive Branch of Student Government 
Mary Pardo Emerita, History of Art, Chapel Hill resident
Mason Simmons MPH Candidate, Department of Health Behavior, ℅ 2023
Abigail Armstrong Circulation Supervisor, R.B. House Undergraduate Library
Benjamin Levy PhD Candidate, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Ryan Smith Assistant Director of Academic Advising and Registration, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Alicia Carter Adjunct Professor, School of Journalism and Media 
Varad Gurude Undergraduate Student, Biomedical Engineering
Drew Benzaia Solicitor General, Undergraduate Judicial Branch of Student Government
Joy Drury Cox Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Art History
Crystal Casparis Cataloging/Reserves Supervisor, Media & Design Center
Elias Horowitz Co-Director of Communications of the Campus Y, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow
Sandy Smith-Nonini Adjunct asst. Professor of Anthropology
Sydney Corn Research Associate, Center for Urban and Regional Studies
Imani Rankins  Co-Director of Outreach of the Campus Y, Management and Society, Philosophy Student
Veronica Correa Alumna – BS. 2020
Jasmine Kaur  Co-Director of Development of the Campus Y, Business and Information Systems Student
Jing Murray MPH Candidate, Global Health
Van Rynald Liceralde PhD Candidate, Psychology and Neuroscience
Hannah Morgan Graduate Student, Psychology and Neuroscience
Micah Hughes  Alumnus,  PhD ‘21
Candace Mixon Alumna, PhD ‘19
Aurora Charlow Undergraduate Student, Journalism & Political Science
Melissa Plooster PhD Candidate, Cell Biology & Physiology
Valerie Tu Uyen Nguyen President: Order of the Golden Fleece, President: CPALS, Class of 2022
Camilla Dohlman MPH candidate,  Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights; Research Assistant, Carolina Population Center 
Margaret Maurer PhD Candidate, English and Comparative Literature
Zach Metzger PhD Student , English and Comparative Literature
Isabella Salazar President of the UNC Chapter of PorColombia 
Jessica Blanks M.D. Student, UNC School of Medicine
Allison Ruvidich MSIS Student, School of Information and Library Science
Annabel Gereau Graduate student, Psychology and Neuroscience
De’Ivyion Drew Former Campus Safety Commission Member
Savannah Foreman PhD Student , English and Comparative Literature
Manav Shah Undergraduate Class of 2022
Banu Gokariksel Professor, Department of Geography, Curriculum in Global Studies
Hanna Dingel MPH student, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights 
Lisa Servia Villamil Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Media
Raj Bunnag Graduate Student, Art and Art History
Rachel O’Reilly MSIS Student, School of Information and Library Science
Jameela F. Dallis Alumna, PhD, 2016, English and Comparative Literature
Austin Paschall President of Minority Business Alliance, President of Psi Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
Aiqi Sun Undergraduate Student ‘23
Katie Regittko Co-Director of Cabinet of the Campus Y, Undergraduate Sociology Student
Taft Stevens Campus Life and Student Experience Staff; Men-tality Founder 
S. Elizabeth Needham PhD Student, Classics
Anusha Dubey Executive Administrative Coordinator, Residence Hall Association
Laura Van Leuven Circulation Supervisor, R.B. House Undergraduate Library
Katie Crisp poli sci and environmental justice undergrad
Britney Hong Undergraduate Student Class of 2024, American Studies and HDFS Department 
Stone Watson Deputy Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Harley Kranock MPH Candidate, Health Equity, ‘22
John D. Martin III PhD Candidate, SILS; Instructor, Computer Science
Julie R Green Computing Support Specialist, Davis library
Tia Francis Digital Research Support Specialist, University Libraries
Parker Bach PhD Student, School of Media and Journalism
Joanna Burke Project Coordinator – CITAP,  School of Information and Library Science
Rachel Corr PhD Candidate, Neuroscience; Instructional Assistant, Psychology & Neuroscience
Karen Booth Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
Glenn Hinson Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology
Carole Crumley Professor Emerita, Dept. of Anthropology
Anthony Brent Eason Research Technician, M.S. Microbiology & Immunology,  Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; Alumnus ‘13, ‘19
Sydney Newbegin Undergrad Student, Psychology
Arrianna Marie Planey Assistant Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Jack Wilson Undergraduate Student Class of 2025, Undecided
Ronik Grewal Undergraduate Class of 2024, Information Science
Jiarui Cui Undergraduate Student Class of 2024, Sociology
Zachary R. Boyce 2021 Candidate for Mayor of Chapel Hill, Senator of the Law Constituency, GPSG, J.D./M.S.I.S. Candidate 
Enzo Codella Student, UNC Law Class of 2023
Caroline Hitesman J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023
Rachel Holtzman J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023. BSPH alumni at Gillings School of Public Health, Class of 2014.
Chyanne Flores J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023.
Katie DeAngelis J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023
Allysan Scatterday J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023
Kate Shurtleff J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023
Hannah Marion J.D./M.S.W. Candidate at UNC, Class of 2023
Hannah Neukrug MSW Student at UNC, Class of 2023


Press Release: UNC Student Body President Lamar G. Richards Selected as Presidential Fellow – August 30, 2021

August 30, 2021

Office of the Secretary and Department of Communications

Suite 3109 Frank Porter Graham Student Union

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

For Immediate Release

Monday, August 30, 2021

UNC Student Body President Lamar G. Richards Selected as Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC)

CHAPEL HILL, NC, August 30, 2021 – The Undergraduate Executive Branch of Student Government is proud to announce that Lamar Gregory Richards Jr., Student Body President, Undergraduate Student Government President, and Trustee of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been selected as a Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC).

Established in 1970, the Presidential Fellows Program provides the opportunity to “study the U.S. Presidency, the public policymaking process, and our President’s relationships with Congress, allies, the media, and the American public.” Further information can be found at

Since the commencement of the Richards Administration in April 2021, the Undergraduate Executive Branch has solidified its presence in and outside of the Carolina Community, aiming to secure a more equitable Carolina — for all Carolina students — in a manner that is student-centered, student-focused, and student-driven.

The magnitude of this impact continues to be exemplified by the Undergraduate Executive Branch through the intentional work of Senior Staff and Cabinet Departments in developing and executing initiatives such as the Campus Presidents’ Council, the Inaugural Distinguished Lectureship on Racial Equity and Belonging, the Richard Epps Emerging Leaders Program, and more.

It is in promoting and amplifying the voices of students here at Carolina that the Undergraduate Executive Branch remains committed to building an inclusive community that empowers Carolina’s diverse student body—unconditionally. Student Body President Lamar Richards’s recent selection as a Presidential Fellow is a testament to this commitment.

About the Undergraduate Executive Branch of Student Government at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The UNC Student Government Executive Branch is one of the three branches of UNC Undergraduate Student Government. The Branch seeks to advocate for the Carolina student body, serving as the voice of the student body in connecting with administrators, community partners, and any other relevant stakeholders at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and across the state.

The Richards Administration is committed to ensuring effective governance that is student-centered, student-focused, and student-driven. We understand the critical importance of accountability and stewardship, be it for our very own student leaders, our administration, or our external stakeholders. We are dedicated to expanding resources and basic needs for all of our students, especially those of marginalized communities in our wider Carolina fabric. It is in centering on these efforts that we are able to ensure institutional advancement, in hopes of moving towards a more perfect Carolina – for all Carolina students.


For Further Information Contact:

Kartik Tyagi

Student Body President Richards’s Remarks at SOLR – August 21, 2021

August 30, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

Student Organizations Leadership Retreat (SOLR), The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

August 21, 2021


Good Morning Everyone!

I recognize that I am likely not the first voice many of you would like to hear on a Saturday morning, but hopefully my message will enlighten us all as we engage in a meaningful and impactful retreat for student leaders across our campus. When I spoke to incoming first-year students at New Student Convocation earlier this week, I said to them words that you will hear me say throughout the year. I said “get here, go anywhere; make it here, make it anywhere.” So, being the inquisitive leaders that I’m sure all of you are, you probably wonder what I mean when I say “get here, go anywhere. Make it here, make it anywhere?” It references the inherently complex and challenging nature of the roles we have and are about to step into, to charge this University with becoming and being better each and every day. It further means that as a student here at Carolina we each underwent the grilling admissions process to prove our academic aptitude and to demonstrate our ability to be critical thinkers and problem-solvers. Yet, this phrase also attests to the fact that while at Carolina we will encounter instances where we do not always have the ‘answer’ or the ‘solution.’ My first tidbit of advice this morning is to not characterize these moments as points of ‘failure’ but rather call them what they are – integral parts of your story, parts of who you are and who you aim to be. 

So, I encourage you to think: where is your anywhere? I know we’re often asked as college students “where do you see yourself in X amount of years” or “what’s your plans after graduation?” — but my question to you is different, today I’m asking you to explore your ‘anywhere’, to find the place where the bounds of creativity and service collides with your life-long experiences, the place you aspire for your leadership to take you. 

Now, think about how you can reach this destination and what pathways you might take? Is it a straight path? Curved? Finally, think about what roadblocks you might encounter on this path? What issues might arise? Maybe you don’t get a high enough score on the LSAT the first go-round, maybe you take an unexpected gap year? Who knows, maybe there will be a global pandemic in the middle of your college career? I ask you to think about these things today because more than likely many of your responses included someone along the way helping you, assisting you, mentoring you, or even just listening to you and your ideas. This is important because my next tidbit of advice is something that took me a while to learn (and Bobby, our advisor, would argue I am still learning) and that is: leadership is not about you, it is about the community. The communities we foster through our service, our academic scholarship, and our selflessness. So, I ask you again where is YOUR anywhere? The answer to this question is that your anywhere is everywhere and everywhere is your anywhere, because effective leadership opens doors that cannot otherwise be opened. So as leaders this year of various organizations across campus, I encourage you to ask your core teams, your members, and whoever else will listen: “where is your anywhere? And most importantly, how can I help you reach this place?”

Taking this into account, so far I have given you two pieces of advice:

  1. Points of failure are just as important to your story as those of success, they should be chronicled as such.
  2. Leadership is not about you, it is about community

These are important because one of the most common questions I get as student body president is: “how did you do it?” As if I woke up one morning and just became student body president. My journey, very similar to others before me, includes just as many failures as they do successes, just as many nights crying feeling alone as they do celebrations and galas. But some of my most embarrassing moments of leadership failure could have been avoided if someone would have said “Lamar, you can’t seek larger fish with the same size pan.” You’re probably asking yourself again, what does that mean? See, 

About some odd hundred years ago, an old fisherman was out at sea. He had been fishing for years and regularly went fishing to provide for his wife and children. That being said, this day was not unlike any other, except for one small exception: there was a child sitting on the docks watching the fisherman at work. 

The fisherman was good at fishing, he could catch as many fish as the sea could hold. But the young boy quickly realized something odd about the fisherman’s tactics: every time the fisherman would catch a larger fish, he would throw it back to sea and every time he would catch a smaller fish, he would throw it in his cooler. 

“What was it about the larger fish that makes this fisherman want to throw them back?” – the young boy wondered. Once the fisherman came back to the docks, the young boy politely approached him and asked, “excuse me, mister! Can I impose a question upon you? I sat for a while and watched you fish, what a fantastic fisherman you are! But, do you mind telling me what made you throw the bigger fish back to sea?” 

The old fisherman laughed and said, “Young man, I wish I could keep those big fish more than anything else in the world. They have more protein, feed more mouths, cook better, and last longer; but, I have only a small cooking pan at home that will only allow me to cook the smaller fish.” In awe, the young man nodded and headed off to think about what he had just heard…

I often think about this old adage that I heard as a child because it holds so much wisdom and it relates so much to the model of leadership that I aspire to keep close to my heart. There will be so many wonderful opportunities for you, your organizations, and your core teams as you continue to program, plan, and advocate. Some of these opportunities will come in the form of professional opportunities, grants and funding, or opening your organization to an even broader base — and this is all wonderful, trust me. But, in order to succeed at this you must have the tools or, in this case, you must have the right size pan. You have to be committed to being a life-long learner, finding the best ways to communicate with your organization, as each person on your team evolves into someone new, so will the need for your leadership approach. You must be willing to go to the drawing board, work out a plan, make over a dozen revisions to that plan, and then be willing to throw that whole plan out the window because things rarely ever go as planned. Your goal isn’t to search for bigger fish, its to always have a big enough pan for the fish that are sure to come. 

Life can be hard, and as I am sure many of you have already found out: college is no exception. Every day brings with it a new challenge to be addressed, without fail. And, as leaders, we must meet the challenge every single time. Not because it sounds good or looks good on your resume, even though it does, but because if not us, then who? There are hundreds of theories to what is required for effective leadership, by hundreds of different scholars and PhDs (some even right here at Carolina), but I have found that the most impressive research in this have all concluded one thing: leadership is a circle, not a pyramid, not a square or anything else. Its a circle, where everyone, from the person in charge down to the smallest titles, play an equitable role in decisions being made and every person’s thoughts and perspectives are included in the ongoing dialogue of the organization. Its hard to implement this and maintain it because its rarely ever done, but the first step you can take as a leader is listening to understand instead of listening to respond. Always be that open ear for anyone in your organization (or even external) to come to you and share their feelings.

As I leave you, I ask you the very question that I started with: where is your anywhere? How will this dynamic community, of over 800 organizations, 30,000 students, and billion-dollar-enterprise, factor into your leadership? Go forward, today and everyday, and be bold. Be courageous. Be you. Nothing or no one can hinder who you are or who you aspire to be as a leader. And when times get rough or you’re burning the midnight oil, remember you made it here. And, you make it here, you make it anywhere. 

Thank you!

Student Body President Richards’s Remarks at New Student Convocation – August 16, 2021

August 17, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

New Student Convocation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

August 16, 2021


Good evening, everyone. Today, as each of you sits in your seat and begins to position yourself within the Carolina Community, your mind may be filled with thoughts, questions, and most of all, expectations. Each day, as individuals, we grapple with expectations- those others set for us, those we set for ourselves, and those we set for the people and spaces around us. Standing before everyone this morning, I know that you hold different expectations of who I am as a person, student, and leader- and of what I am here to share with you all today. 

For some, you may be gripping the arms of your seat in anticipation of inspirational words- words that will uplift you, igniting a fire in your bellies as eager first-year and second-year students as you embark on a new chapter- exploring the physical spaces of Carolina for the first time. Others may expect me to set a different kind of blaze to the University today, one sustained by examining an exhaustive list of our University’s critical issues and necessity for a future facing, student-centered and student-driven Carolina.  

While I cannot guarantee I will share what each of you expects today, I will tell you this — Carolina is a complicated place. This complication comes naturally at a University the size of Carolina with its immense, global footprint- issues arising are simply unavoidable. Nevertheless, here, as the country’s oldest public University, we inherit an obligation to face the most pressing global issues head-on. We are charged with this responsibility, and each day we strive to create, innovate, and problem-solve to uncomplicate the things that make Carolina complicated. 

Similarly, as students exploring various fields at Carolina, we are charged with unique challenges. Each day you will strive for excellence- in the classroom, in your extracurriculars, in public service- gaining valuable experience, which will set you on the course for working or pursuing additional education upon the end of your undergraduate experience. However, your experience as a Carolina student is much more than just your academic commitments or extracurriculars or your public service — Carolina is you. Part of your responsibility, immersing yourself in this robust and diverse campus, is to challenge us- your peers, your TAs, your professors, to do and be better each day.  Never be afraid to use your voice and share your perspective- your voice matters. 

As you visualize and craft your expectations for the year ahead and your time at Carolina, remember: there is no perfect picture of success. There is only you and your best. So every day that you wake up, a Carolina student does not challenge yourself to out-do and outmaneuver your peers or strive to meet someone else’s expectations of you – give your best every day. Remember, there will be days when your best looks different or less than it did the day before, and no matter how significant the difference, be proud of your efforts. 

As you acclimate to Carolina, I offer you the words of French Philosopher Michael D. Montaigne, who said, ​​”He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears.” It is easy to categorize individual events as “success” and “failure,” but I challenge each of you to look beyond those labels- your job as a student is not to prevent failure, to look at rejection as an endpoint, but rather your task each day is to give your best at each thing you do. Moments will come when you will not achieve the outcome you desire. In these moments, holding faith in yourself to trust in your process is crucial to achieving the success you envision for yourself in the future.

We have established that Carolina is a complicated community, but most importantly, Carolina is your home– and you should never change who you are in an attempt to fit in here. Today and all around you on campus is a vibrant community of students, as excited as exuberant as each of you, and among these people, like a home, you will find places and spaces you feel most comfortable. Lean into these people and allow them to support you and celebrate you as your authentic self. On a campus with 900 student groups amid the buzz of 30,000 students – it is easy to get swept away in the enormity of it all, but the more connections you attempt to build, the more faces become familiar, the easier it will be to find your place, and you will thrive.  

In the months ahead, you will face a significant adjustment. Some of you will have a go at using a laundry machine for the first time, learn how to use the bus system, and many of you will expand and modify the ways that you learn and study. Nevertheless, no matter the difficulty you face in the coming weeks, remember, you have already completed the most challenging part — you made it here. You soared through the grilling and extensive admissions process and proved your academic aptitude, commitment to lifelong service, and showed off your large aspirations to change the world. You made it here; you can make it anywhere. 

As your student body president, I want each of you to remember that you will always have a friend in me. No matter the issue, I will be a relentless, fearless advocate for you every day. Never be afraid to reach out to me if there is anything you need at any point along the coming year. I hope they start your academic year is everything you need and deserve it to be. Welcome to Carolina and Go Heels!