President Taylor Eighmy talks with a student about university issues and resolutions. Photo Courtesy of Taylor Zamora, The Paisano

UTSA President Eighmy met with hundreds of students Sept. 24 when he hosted “Pizza with the Prez” in the UC Ski Lodge, the first of several “meet and greet” events planned for the semester.

“If I don’t remain connected to the students, I’m missing the whole opportunity of why I’m here and what we’re going to do,” Eighmy said. 

Students lined up for pizza while Eighmy approached them individually, asking their names, majors and concerns with UTSA.

“It’s part of measuring the pulse of things and staying connected, so I’m happy to do it,” he said.

Cuauhtémoc Toren, junior marketing major, saw the event as a show of UTSA’s commitment to its students.

“College can be a ‘make it or break it’ commitment to many students, so it’s important that leadership listens to those that the school ultimately serves first.

“It’s important to keep quality and commitment to students, especially with UTSA’s rapid growth.”

Ad interim President Pedro Reyes held similar “meet and greet” events earlier in the year, such as “Coffee with the President.” Reyes met with students and used the event to address general concerns of the university, such as UTSA’s graduation rate.

Eighmy plans to continue the student-to-administration connection with these events.

“I’d like to create a clear expectation that I’m available to hear things,” he said. “Whether it’s from SGA, or individual students, I want to reach out and listen.”

Along with more “Pizza with the Prez” and “Tacos with Taylor” events, Eighmy is soon announcing college-specific addresses that are open to students. The university president is also expecting an investiture this semester, where he plans to give a State of the University address. He is also arranging multiple task forces with heavy student involvement to address the issues.

Troye Kelly, senior philosophy and English major, appreciates the new president’s accessibility.

“It’s necessary in order to build trust, which in turn generates support and encourages the continuous movement towards improvement,” he said. “Given the lack of transparency during the last 18 years (under President Romo), our university still made positive strides; so, breaking down the barrier between the President’s office and the constituent groups of the university can only be another step in the right direction.

“It will be interesting to see President Eighmy’s words translate into action that benefits the university.”

Since starting the position, Eighmy has acclimated to the UTSA and San Antonio community.

“I think I’ve met about a thousand students here, and they’ve all been engaged and happy to be here and enjoying their experiences,” he said.

“We love this city, even before we moved here. The community has been very welcoming. People are very enthused about our being here and the future of this institution and the city.”

The next “Pizza with the Prez” event will be at the downtown campus in the Food Court Commons Area of the Frio Street Building, Friday, Oct. 6, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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