Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards
Board of Visitors Meeting, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Friday, April 9, 2021
Hello everyone. My name is Lamar Richards, and I am honored to have been elected to serve Carolina as its Student Body President for the coming year.
You know, I like to say I’m simply not a simple guy. Born in Winnsboro, South Carolina, a few miles north of Columbia, I grew up holding dear the ideals of respect, of trust, of integrity, of something greater than one person. Understanding the importance of community. Of fellowship. Of togetherness.
But — if you know me, you also know that when I stepped foot on campus for the very first time, as an out-of-state, gay, black student here at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I felt overwhelmed. Unequipped. Unworthy.
But through the past couple of years, I have channeled who I am into what I do, and what I do into who I serve.
From serving as the Vice Chair of the Finance Committee and Chair of the Ethics Committee of the Undergraduate Senate, to being appointed as a member of the Campus and Community Advisory Council, to leading the Commission on Campus Equality and Student Equity as Chair, I am so very proud to be a student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Not because of what we are or what we have been, but because of what and who we aspire to be.
It is as such that I am proud to be here before you all, and to have the opportunity to share with you all some of what we hope to accomplish this coming year.
Moving into this next chapter of Student Government, our core values are those of collective belonging, effective governance, public good, expanding resources, and institutional advancement, encapsulating what it is we hope to achieve.
We are committed to ensuring effective governance that is student-centered, student-focused, and student-driven, ultimately providing for the public good within and outside of the wider Carolina community.
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 forward towards a more perfect Carolina for each and every one of those individuals that make our University what it is.
Throughout this year, we plan to address a multitude of content areas with the support of a diverse team of leaders, tackling academic affairs and professional development, basic needs and financial support, civic engagement and democracy, disability and accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion, graduate and professional student life, mental health, student wellness, and sexual assault prevention, and uplifting marginalized communities on our campus.
Over a year ago, one of the biggest threats against modern civilization commenced — in the form a global pandemic. Ever since, we have been fighting and grappling with a way to push forward, unyieldingly, against all odds to a better and brighter future.
As we face the immediate challenges of an ongoing pandemic, we are both hopeful and optimistic that the days, weeks, and months ahead will overwhelmingly demonstrate the resilience and strength of the Carolina community as we attempt to return to some of the traditions that are ingrained in Carolina’s culture.
Our University has held strong to its charge of providing renowned scholarship and quality education to students across the world, but we have also had our fair share of challenges. As we continue to forge through these systemic hurdles, shining light on the crevices of injustice and inequity — I’ve challenged my peers to dream of what a new version of Carolina can be — what Carolina should be.
And with those dreams, Student Government will forge forward carrying the torch of our democracy containing the flame that is the heart of Carolina — a flame that was lit by and has been maintained by the students that love and care for the place we call home.
Thank you all so very much for your time today. I look forward to working with you in this coming year!