Antioch, Tennessee native, Antonio Butler, is running as an independent to serve as the student body president for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Butler said he decided to run as an independent because students he asked were either running with another campaign or were not interested in running for student government.
“Once I feel passionately about doing something, I just decided, you know, well, I had my platform and all my pieces and I’m not going to let it go to waste,” Butler said. “So, I just decided to run independently.”
Butler has been involved in multiple organizations across campus including the Multicultural Mentoring Program , Student Alumni Association and the Brothers United for Excellence. He believes that he can bring all of these experiences to the presidency seat, in hopes of ensuring all campus populations are represented and not just a select few.
“I feel like I’m a big connector and I connect to different parts of campus,” Butler said. “I [can] bring everybody together and create that one UT, not only inside of Neyland Stadium, but outside of Neyland Stadium.”
Butler’s vision is to make campus more dynamic, diverse and inclusive. He wants all students to feel like they are welcome on campus and their voices are heard.
Instead of policy points, Butler is adamant about milestones because he wants to be held accountable for his actions and promises.
“They are things I plan to hit, things I plan to achieve,” Butler said.
One milestone Butler wants to achieve is enhancing the minority population on campus in terms of professors and lecturers.
“If we say we’re going to become a Top 25 school, we’re going to give our students the best professors to teach them, to lecture them and also to give them cultural background experience,” Butler said.
Another milestone is continuing the first-year council by helping it grow, while focusing on programming and legislation.
“[I want them] to be impactful in whatever they do and making sure they’re impacting first-year experiences,” Butler said. “…I would like to see more first-year council members move from first-year council to being senators and being on a committee.”
Butler wants to see first-year students staying with SGA rather than leaving so SGA can grow and become a better organization.
Aside from his milestones and campus involvement, many students may not know that Butler has a fraternal twin that attends Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).
“We’re completely opposite,” Butler said. “We have some of the same similarities, like we both like video games and stuff like that, but we’re totally different. I’m super extroverted nowadays, and he’s more of an introvert.”
If students only remember one aspect of his campaign, Butler hopes students that his heart is in it and he is not running for the title.
“I’m giving it my all,” Butler said. “No matter what, I plan to impact The University of Tennessee inside of SGA and outside of SGA if I’m elected or not. “
For more information on Butler’s campaign, visit his website. Voting begins Monday, April 10 at 9 a.m. and continues through April 13 at 5 p.m.
Featured image courtesy of Butler’s website
Edited by McKenzie Manning