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h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Andrew Huse.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (56 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 expanded summary (digital, PDF file)
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Interview conducted April 1, 2004.
Jarrod Ali discusses his involvement with the USF Student Government, as well as issues the University faced in the late 1990's.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
University of South Florida.
College student government.
Huse, Andrew T.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DIGITAL AUDIO AND EXPANDED SUMMARY
COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 200 8 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. T his oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.
1 USF Florida Studies Center Oral History Project USF 50 th History Anniversary Project Narrator: Jarrod Ali Interviewer: Danielle Riley Current Position: USF Alumnus Location of Interview: Tampa Date of Interview: April 1, 2004 Campus Library Editor: Danielle E. Riley Abstractor: Jared G. Toney Date of Edit: April 13, 2004 Final Editor: Jared G. Toney TOPICS OF DISCUSSION Introduction to USF After high school he visited the USF campus and determined that it was "a very good place to b e." The university's location within a large metropolitan area was appealing to Ali, as well as the variety of academic programs. First impressions of USF He remembers that the students were especially friendly and knowledgeable, particularly those he me t from student government. The look of the campus, Ali recalls, was "intriguing" in comparison to other campuses he had visited. "It's very organized, and I think that's very important I didn't want something too confusing." His parents were very surpri sed by the size of the campus, and really only had time to see the half of the campus that housed the academic colleges for undergraduates. Because he had only returned from vacation in time to enroll for classes, Ali felt it was most convenient for him to attend USF. He began taking classes in the fall of 1997. Living arrangements At the time he began taking classes, Ali was living with his family in Wesley Chapel, having recently moved to the area from Plantation, Florida. Commuting, he recalls, "was ver y interesting." "I remember timing myself, sometimes to the minute, from the time I left my house to the university." Something he did not plan for ahead of time, however, were the parking difficulties on campus, which added time to his commute. Because he was a commuter student like many others, Ali "did not get that feeling of belonging to the university." Involvement in student government He became involved in student government first by helping Mike Griffin with his campaign for student body preside nt. "I found time for it because I thought it was very important." Government had always been something of particular interest to Ali, who was himself a political science major at the university. He believes it is important for students to become involved in the daily activities and events on the university campus,
2 "because it grounds you for what you want to do later on and gives you leadership abilities that you would take with you." Issues in student government The first campaign he worked on at US F consisted of getting to know what the students wanted. As a volunteer for the Griffin campaign, he helped organize town hall meetings and presidential debates. "You really got to find out what students think, and how they react to some of the policies." Some of the big issues were tuition increases, parking problems, distribution of state funds, and student involvement to name a few. Ali felt that by giving his time to student government, he was giving back to the student population and affecting change a t the university. "Students tend to be very apathetic about a lot of issues, and it is the responsibility of those charged with defending those rights and responsibilities to protect the interests of the students." Because of his connections around the uni versity, he thought it was "pertinent" that he became involved in student government. Ali cites his involvement in "Wake up Wednesday," a program designed to encourage students to register to vote and go to the polls on election days. He believes the rig ht to vote and express one's opinion is taken for granted in this country, particularly among university students who become involved only when issues effect them directly. Positions in student government Following his tenure as a volunteer in student gov ernment, he began his current position in the cabinet as attorney general. He has also held interim positions in the cabinet such as chief of staff and various directorships. His current position is the attorney general of student government, though he is also involved in his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, where he served as the Vice President of Finance for two years. He founded Theta Alpha Kappa, which is the national honors society for students of religious studies. Ali has also assisted students in f orming organizations of their own. His first priority was with student government, because that is where his actions affected the entire student population at USF; "That is very important." Academics A political science major, he added a second major in r eligious studies in the 1999 2000 academic year, after taking a course, "The History of Christianity," with Professor Dell DeChant. "It really opened my eyes to see how politics and religion were intertwined." It is something he is tremendously proud of, because he believes his studies have enabled him to better understand different cultures. He hopes to pursue international studies and law in the future. Daily schedule A typical day, according to Ali, requires a schedule planned sometimes two or three weeks in advance. His first priority is reviewing matters and concerns at his desk in the student government office, followed by committee meetings and other engagements. He
3 presides over honors society meetings, all the while attending classes at various times throughout the day. "It really gives you a true understanding of the value and importance of your time here." Involvement with students His involvement with the honor's society and his fraternity give Ali the opportunity to interact with students in a more socialized setting. "It really personalizes what students view as the big issues that effect them and directly give them a chance to hear from us." September 11, 2001 He particularly remembers how the events of September 11, 2001 were perso nalized among students who wrestled with explanations for the disastrous developments. "It certainly would be something that I would never forget how much we in student government were able to help with their suffering." The events also served to facilit ate within him a stronger conviction to act on behalf of others, as well as a greater understanding of other cultures. Diversity at USF "It is always a good thing when you have diverse groups of students." He believes in disagreement as a means of faci litating an important dialogue and discussion among eclectic groups of students and interests. "Student Government is very much a melting pot of students here at the university and of very good representation." Future plans After graduation, Ali hopes to go on to graduate school. His number one choice is the University of Oxford because of their program in International Human Rights Law. Not only would he like to work as an attorney, he also hopes to one day teach at the university level. "I think you live day to day, and you need to appreciate that you can't rush into things." His best experiences at USF always came during Homecoming Week, because, "The best experiences are those experiences that you have a hand in. Really." He believes that the con temporary student population is more enthusiastic than ever, in part a result of increased efforts by Student Government to engage students. "USF can compete amongst the very best schools in the country." Ali hopes to maintain connections to USF through the Alumni Association, helping to establish new traditions at the university. End of Interview