Paige Atchley enjoys traveling to Myrtle Beach with her family, Smokey the dog and ice cream. She once aspired to be an actress, but now holds the position of SGA vice president and studies marketing with a concentration in international business and a minor in communication studies. Atchley agreed to an email interview with The Daily Beacon to discuss her plans for SGA this upcoming year, as well as to give us insight into her personal life.
The Daily Beacon: Why did you run for office?
Paige Atchley: I ran for office because I am passionate about the Student Government Association and all that it has done for students. Additionally, I wanted to play a part in "shaking up" the election process. I thought our whole campaign showed students that even if they started late and had a small budget, working hard and having good ideas could be the cornerstone of doing well in SGA elections and, ultimately, doing well in office. I also felt like our policy was very different from what students had seen in the past and could generate new ideas about what SGA could do.
DB: What was it like to lead the campaign? What was difficult or rewarding about it?
PA: It was tiring and stressful at times, but leading a campaign was by far one of the best experiences I have ever had. Uniting growing and established leaders from all over campus with one goal was surreal. Every day I experienced endless support and selfless love from everyone on our campaign, and it truly was inspirational. Even though Jake and I could not promise anyone anything in return, they never stopped working hard. There is nothing more rewarding that having the opportunity to be a part of something like that.
DB: What was the most memorable moment from the campaign?
PA: The most memorable part of the campaign was standing outside on a very cold, very rainy Pedestrian Walkway with an umbrella and push-cards trying to make a last attempt to get voters to the polls. What made this so memorable? My mom and my dad were standing right beside me doing the very same thing. They drove up from Chattanooga that morning to help spread the word about the Baker-Atchley campaign. It's hard to forget your mom handing out Capri Suns, all while promising every student that walked by that you would do a great job. It is also impossible not to remember your dad buying you lunch and encouraging you to sit for ten minutes before heading back outside, assuring that he would take care of anything that needed to be taken care of. These were the same wonderful parents that spent the last full three days of Spring Break helping me make every cupcake, muffin, candy-bag, and cookie that our campaign handed out. My parents' support and dedication to our success was absolutely the most memorable part of the campaign.
DB: What are your immediate long-term goals, and special project or plans you are excited about?
PA: As a SGA, we are looking to work with UT Dining to create more dining contract flexibility, and we are going to begin the steps to create a walk-in 'Minute Clinic' concept in the Student Health Center. I'm particularly passionate about the walk-in clinic concept because it is something I have seen that many students, including myself, could have benefited from in the past and will appreciate in the future.
DB: What is your favorite childhood memory?
PA: Every year my family went to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to camp when I was younger, and those times probably hold some of my favorite memories. There was always a lot of ice cream involved, and I got to boogie-board with my dad and granddad. I'm not sure it gets better than that.
DB: What are your top two favorite things about UT?
PA: Smokey is one of my favorite things about UT. I love dogs, and every time I see that Bluetick Coonhound, he steals my heart! My other favorite thing about UT is Ayres Hall. I have always been passionate about older builders because they hold so much history, and Ayres is absolutely beautiful.
DB: What was the very first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?
PA: I wanted to be an actress. However, I quickly realized that I have no theatrical talent, and I can't sing... so that dream died pretty quickly.
DB: If you could travel to any country, where would you go and why?
PA: I would love to go to Honduras to do mission work. My dad has traveled there multiple times to work in an off-the-grid orphanage, and I have always wanted to go with him. I am hoping to make that dream come true after I graduate in May.
DB: Is there anything you want to say to our readers?
PA: I hope every student with an idea, a concern, or an issue feels comfortable bringing it to SGA. Also, all Senate meetings now have a Town Hall component at the very beginning. All students are welcome to come and speak their minds. Senate meetings are every other Tuesday at 5:15; you can see the calendar with the specific dates at www.sga.utk.edu.