The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Parks forges new path

Photo by William Nye
Natalie Parks

After being elected on Feb. 26, Natalie Parks will serve as Texas A&M’s student body president for the 74th session of the Student Government Association, or SGA, and is the sixth woman to fill the role.
Parks has been involved in university and student life since she first stepped foot in College Station. From class councils, to Greek Life responsibilities, to numerous roles in student government, Parks said she has learned valuable skills that will guide her in her new position.
After serving as the youngest member of former Student Body President Mikey Jaillet’s cabinet as vice president of communication and president of the Class of 2022, Parks said she has a better understanding of the inner workings of student government, as well as the ability to articulate her initiatives in person and on social media.
“I think all of those different experiences and the people that I met and the connections that I made have very much helped me to get to where I am today,” Parks said. “I will always be thankful for all of those things.”
Parks’s campaign was based on wellness, inclusion and tradition, with a focus on outreach and visibility. She said she wants SGA to be a resource for people to voice their concerns to help the organization better understand any issues that they are unaware of. Through this, Parks said she can help publicize and make popular issues more known.
“I think it’s very special through this role to be able to interact very heavily with those different entities that are doing incredible things through the college councils and the Corps [of Cadets] and Greek life and the cultural councils,” Parks said.
Peyton Liebler, Parks’s campaign communications director, said he found her campaign platform very personal, and that her honesty never faltered in any situation. He also said Parks is one of the best people to handle the major transition of returning to in-person classes in the fall.
“I’m really excited just to see her process of how Aggieland can return back to what we originally know it and love it for,” Liebler said.
Parks said she has spoken with past student body presidents about the job, including women formerly in the role such as Amy Sharp and Hannah Wimberly. Outgoing President Eric Mendoza has been a large influence, Parks said.
“I’m so thankful for his leadership and watching him grow and excel in this role,” Parks said. “So many people have told me, ‘You have very deep shoes to fill this year.’ I’m very much looking forward to continuing to [lean] on those people.”
Mendoza said he is most impressed by the energy Parks puts into every task and her willingness to listen to others, especially those outside of student government.
“We have such a large campus with so many perspectives who [are] willing to share those perspectives,” Mendoza said. “Really, the job of student body president is to be a facilitator of all of that, and Natalie gets that.”
Parks said she anticipated many challenges when deciding to run for student body president, one of which was being the only woman in the running.
“I’ve very much taken a lot of time to self-reflect on that season and all of the hard work and preparation that went into it, and just seeing it pay off and standing at the statue that night at 7 p.m. and then saying my name,” Parks said.
As the sixth woman to serve as student body president in the university’s history, Parks said she feels honored to be in the position at this time with so many female leaders coming into office after this semester.
“The weight that [the] title holds is something that I’ve also been reflecting on, being the sixth woman to have worked hard to get to [the] position,” Parks said. “I think it puts a lot of things into perspective. We are actually about to enter a very exciting era of having our next female university president, and sixth female SBP and [female] speaker of the [Student] Senate as well. That is a combo that hasn’t been seen.”
Parks said she wants to encourage people to pursue their goals, no matter what they are, and that people should not let history discourage them.
“I think that at the end of the day, history has been made in multiple senses, and I think that’s more encouraging for the overall community to see, especially people who feel like they didn’t have a shot because of this aspect of themselves or that aspect of themselves,” Parks said. “I think that anything is possible, you just have to really look into yourself and realize that you can do anything, honestly.”
Parks said one of her favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou, which reads, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” She said the sentiment shared in this quote was one of the main reasons behind her running for student body president.
“I very much want people to remember a student body president who cared about them, who cared about their goals and their initiatives, and the things that they wanted to do to make campus better,” Parks said. “A student body president who made sure that their voices were heard.”

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