By Joseph Lyell —
SGA President Jonathan Fuller might be the busiest student at U of L. He’s a full-time student in the U of L School of Nursing, and after class he clocks in at the admissions office.
Over summer, he was a mentor for incoming students as part of the Student Orientation Staff, and some students have even spotted him cheering on Cardinal football at pregame tailgates.
Between shifts, meetings, classes and games, Fuller somehow finds time to head the SGA and represent the student body on the board of trustees. He said his schedule is booked because he’s committed to improving the lives of U of L students.
“It’s definitely a challenge, but I prioritize things well. I may not have a life outside of the things I do, but I’m making it work and I love it,” Fuller said.
So far, Fuller has used his board of trustees clout to push for more U of L-managed properties for students.
“Students have shown a preference for living in university-managed housing over affiliated, and affiliated housing over third-parties,” Fuller said in the academic and student affairs committee meeting Sept. 19.
“Housing is just more helpful when managed by U of L.”
At the meeting, trustee Raymond Burse told Fuller and Dean of Students Michael Mardis that the primary concern with affiliated housing is safety.
“We’d like to see a consistent agreement between the university and these [affiliated] properties,” Mardis said. He said there are different standards from one property to another because of the unique timing and conditions of each contract.
Mardis and Fuller said ULPD should be able to say affiliated housing is safer than other options in the area. They said the university may soon adjust some of its housing agreements to fit students’ preferences.
So far in his term, Fuller has followed through on his work as academic vice president last year. In his first trustees meeting August 3, the board passed a resolution reaffirming the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Trustees and Provost Beth Boehm also agreed to formalize a process to require midterm grade progress checks.
As academic vice president, Fuller worked closely with Boehm, recently appointed permanent provost. He said Boehm is committed to U of L and understands the needs of students.
“Dr. Boehm is amazing. She’s really good at balancing faculty and students’ priorities and making sure everyone’s voices are heard,” Fuller said.
Fuller and the SGA also launched “Card Cab” this year alongside new ULPD Chief Gary Lewis. The updated campus escort system was initially pitched last year as the “Cardinal LOUP” by then-services vice president Chris Bird.
Fuller said SGA’s new services vice president Wyatt Harris hit the ground running with the idea. They consulted with a third-party company and found the final map was too spread out to be considered a loop, resulting in the name change.
Fuller’s problem-solving approach seems distinct from the politically-oriented personalities of the past. In February, while campaigning for the presidency, Fuller said he’d be more outspoken than last year’s president Vishnu Tirumala.
Fuller said he learned from past experience with the board that he can mention something in a trustees meeting if it’s not gaining traction otherwise.
“I’m not afraid to bring up issues there to gain attention for students,” Fuller said.
Photo by Joseph Lyell / The Louisville Cardinal