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!