Based on her own experience as an Asian-American student, Taylor RuiPing Shennett decided to make it her mission to promote and create a student government association (SGA) that will truly be the voice of every group that makes up the student body.
With the help of other like-minded students at the University of Memphis’s political party and the lessons she learned from her adoption journey, this communication major has exceeded her ambitions and has without a doubt imprinted the Shennett name into the school’s history through her impact.
Ana Greening: Out of all schools, why did you chose University of Memphis?
Taylor RuiPing Shennett: I chose Memphis because the minute I stepped onto campus during a tour I knew it was the school for me. I loved the atmosphere, I loved the students and saw how much they loved their school.
AG: What made you want to join your school’s SGA?
TS: I wanted to join SGA because I wanted to give minority students, such as Asians, a voice.
AG: How do you think being involved in the SGA will help in your future?
TS: SGA has taught me a lot of lessons such as always making sure others are being heard regardless of who they are. It has taught me to be more intentional with recognizing problems and how anyone can make a change.
AG: What is the Echo Party and why did you chose to start it?
TS: The Echo Party was my political platform that my Vice Presidential Candidate, Matthew Moore, and I created. I saw so many groups on campus being underrepresented and I wanted to bring them the representation they needed.
AG: As someone who has had experience in student government, what advice would you give to someone who is thinking of joining?
TS: I would encourage them to give it a try and not be shy!
AG: How we grow up shapes us to view life in certain ways, so how do you think your adoption journey impacted how you approach life and SGA?
TS: Being adopted has molded so much of my life. It has shown me that if I want a change or want others to know what adoption is truly like; I need to use my voice.
For example, I started my blog taylorshennett.wordpress.com which has since grown to be internationally known to spread awareness about adoption from an adoptee’s perspective. I have used that lesson when I created my TigerLIFE bill which allows the special need program at Memphis entrance into school sporting events.
AG: As someone who seems to be always looking to the future, what are your after graduation plans?
TS: After graduation, I plan on getting a job in any communications field. Ideally, I want to help small businesses grow on social media. It is such an important part in today’s society and many businesses are having a difficult time making the switch.
AG: Since you have put so much work into the University of Memphis’s SGA, what do you want it to look like in the future?
TS: Ideally, I would love SGA to be more open and welcoming. So many students view SGA as a distant entity rather than seeing the organization as their voice. I think everyone should experience at least one term in SGA, whether as a senator, cabinet member or on the executive branch.