Five Questions with SGA President Armita Tajadod
By Evelyn Garcia
Civic responsibility and a commitment to campus pride are priorities for University of Houston-Downtown Student Government Association President (SGA) Armita Tajadod.
The senior political science major is gearing up for “Gator Day of Action” on Oct. 24. On this day, SGA will host a meet-and-greet event with candidates running for local, state and U.S. offices. Following the interactions with candidates, Tajadod and her fellow SGA officers will lead students to the downtown polls during the traditional “Walk to Vote” event.
Last week, Tajadod and other UHD students got a headstart on welcoming candidates to campus during the Congressional Debates for Districts 2 and 29. And she represented SGA at UHD President, Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz's Report to the University Community.
Tajadod is serving her first few months as SGA president alongside her vice president, Ignasio Hernandez. In addition to her duties as an advocate for UHD students, Tajadod is a member of UHD’s Honors Program, Model United Nations Association, and Kappa Delta Chi, a national sorority fostering professional development, academics and lifelong learning.
Tajadod plans to attend law school after graduating from UHD and recently attended the University of Houston Law Center’s Pre-Law Pipeline Program.
UHD News recently interviewed Tajadod to discuss SGA, advice for fellow gators, and her experiences at UHD.
What encouraged you to run for SGA president last spring?
I was SGA vice president for the 2017-18 administration, and I really wanted to continue helping students on campus by working with the administration at the school to make big changes. So, I thought what better way to continue that service than by going to the next level and running as SGA President.
What are your priorities for your administration?
My vice president, Ignasio Hernandez, and I ran on the platform of making the university more ADA compliant. We are trying to work on newer areas like Admissions and Advising, or areas that have a high amount of traffic but don’t have the automatic door openers. We know that we can’t change the whole university, but we really hope to set the standard and create pathways for future SGA administrations to keep doing this as well.
Other than that, we want to cut down water and paper waste in the university. We think that it’s really important to do things as small as changing the placement of the recycling bins or the type of recycling bins we use. We also want to explore possibly installing automatic air dryers and automatic sink faucets in the bathrooms to cut down on that waste.
How can students help with these initiatives?
We are going to send out surveys, so their feed feedback would be helpful to begin with. Another thing we have been focusing on is Gator Pride. We are really trying to increase the amount of Gator Pride we have on campus. We are a commuter university and people go home after classes or to work, so they don’t have time to spend on campus. Campus life and student activities usually foster a sense of pride. Just wearing UHD T-shirts or our school colors is helpful in fostering that sense of pride on campus. Running for SGA leadership, Ignasio and I agreed to make sure our platforms became a reality, but students can help too … just by doing the simplest things, and that’s honestly all we ask of them.
Do you have any advice for students who have aspirations like you did?
I would say that getting involved is very important. You can come here and take your classes and you can do a good job and just leave, but you’re not going to have a sense of attachment to the university. If you have the time, and your lifestyle permits it, then try to get involved on campus because you meet a lot of people that have the same interests as you, who are like minded, and you form a support group. It really helps with your success on campus and your success as a student as a whole.
Since this is your senior year on campus, how will you remember UHD after you graduate?
UHD’s campus is very inviting. It’s its own little community, because we are not too large of a school. Every university has their own identity and I think that really sets us apart from different universities nearby. This is the first university that I’ve ever attended, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I will always consider it a special institution because I’ve been so involved; it’s something that I’m never going to forget. I’ve had a lot of opportunities here, and I don’t think I could have gotten that at any other university. It has been an amazing and unique experience and that’s what will cause me to remember this school forever.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) – the second-largest university in Houston – has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.
As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 61,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).
For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.