A Message from Jake Taylor: Fall 2021 TSG Presidential Candidate

Jake Taylor

Jake Taylor

Candidate for Thunderbird Student Government President

All candidates for Thunderbird Student Government were provided the opportunity to speak directly to voters through op-ed articles like this one. This article does not represent the views of Das Tor or its staff and should not be interpreted as an official endorsement of any candidate(s).

I am deeply humbled by this opportunity Das Tor has provided us to write, and I hope with sincerity that each candidate utilizes this to spring their ideas forward into the world. Personally, it is with great conviction that I write this. The evolution of this campaign has been astonishing by any metric, but to me as an individual journey, it has caused me to stop and pontificate almost daily. Life itself holds so many facets and complexities while university, in its own way, is its only little microcosm of the universe. All the politics, coming of age, conflicts and opportunities exist in miniature while here. Yet we do not utilize it a proving ground… while we were meant to dance and fly with the knowledge that failure is growth, we instead tread ever so carefully. Thunderbird will in many ways continue to be our family long after we leave its walls – we will always have a seat at its table.

I began this journey after starting at Thunderbird. A student approached me and asked for help with a class. The curiosity in me gave me the impulse to ask why. I did not know this individual – we had never spoken, but she felt comfortable enough to come to me with no prior connection. One turned into many, and it slowly transformed from helping with class to speaking for those who did not feel heard. This prompted me to pursue student government, but even now as the campaign rages on, my reasons continue to adapt and evolve. It was important for me to speak with those on all ends of the proverbial aisle. The short truth is that we are not alone on this journey as students. Thunderbird is composed of many, MANY moving parts, each with its own vested interest in our success. I have had the opportunity to not only speak with but truly get to know so many of you. I am intimately aware of the troubles we collectively face, the grievances we may as a student body hold but what may even individually weigh heavily on your mind. As I have sat in meetings with various faculty and staff, a great spotlight has begun to shine illuminating the difficulties in Thunderbird. The time has come to put down our weapons and take a seat at the table. 

The truth is, as a microcosm of the greater world, the same problems we are experiencing truly exist, perhaps even in greater magnitude, outside our walls as well. Will we manage them as we do outside as well? Are we Thunderbirds, with glorious mystique, globally and entrepreneurially minded? Or will we sit and use the same petty tactics we see outside? Will we go out into the world and solve the world’s greatest problem while simply sidestepping our own? We must embrace this chance for change – we wish to craft a sustainable future with equity for all, yet we do not attempt it now. Or perhaps we do, but our efforts fall short. Rise up! Use your talent now, make your mark on this institution, create goodness, uplift, and inspire. But what are the challenges we face that we so eagerly seek to fix? It seems almost petty now to look back and blame a pandemic, but it is true. Like any tumultuous rupture, the wake ripples long after the event has passed. It takes time and sometimes work, for the waters to calm again. We are still experiencing the broken trust, the strained relationships. We remain surrounded by setbacks from global labor and material shortages. The walls of defense are up, while the pitch forks and torches remain sharpened and lit. It is time we sat at the table. 

The need for diplomacy is real: where prior we may have been influenced by a power discrepancy this, graduate school, is the last barrier between us and reality. We will. over the course of a long career, negotiate deals, raises, projects, initiatives and so much more. They will require work, CHALLENGING work, but we will rise to occasion. For many of us, our first experience at Thunderbird was learning strategy and leadership as well as communicating and negotiating. We learn accounting and finance as well as marketing. This is because the battles we will fight and most assuredly win as Thunderbirds will never simply be about finances–they will be about people. The struggles will never just be about regulatory barriers or intangible unknowns – they will be about people. We have that opportunity now. We can come together and express our wants and most intimate needs, our concerns for the future. The doors have been reopened; I have secured that already. Allow me to lead you through that door; allow me to show you the horizon. The table is set. 

This has become my mission; this has become my cause. I am a powerful negotiator, a proven strategist, and a force for extreme good, but I will not do this alone. I open doors, and I tear down barriers, but together we will march across the threshold. Together we will build upon the Thunderbird legacy to create a better today and a fantastic tomorrow. 

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