Like other politicians who campaign on one platform only to have unexpected circumstances demand attention once in office, the University of Texas at Austin student body president finds herself pivoting.
“COVID is now the forefront of everything,” said Anagha Kikkeri, who’s in the Liberal Arts Honors program studying government and minoring in business.
Committees she serves on are working to address what student life could be like this fall when classes resume on campus but finish up online after Thanksgiving break.
“I really hope that we can return to normal as much as possible, but it cannot be at the risk of anyone’s health,” she said.
However as much as she addresses pandemic issues, Kikkeri doesn’t expect to abandon her platform issues: Inclusion and Equity, Engagement, Health, Longhorn Pride, Safety, and Sustainability.
She’s been advocating for inclusion and equity since her senior year at Highland Park High School, where she and three of her four other siblings have graduated. The fourth is a senior.
As first vice president of diversity and inclusion for UT’s University Panhellenic Council in 2019, she sought to build cultural understanding, increase diversity, and support women of color in sororities.
“That year was my blood, sweat, and tears, and I’m so proud of the strides that we made to make sororities a more inclusive and welcoming space for all.”Anagha Kikkeri
Away from campus, she’s interned twice with the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
“Those were two extremely transformative experiences in my life and, contrary to popular belief, made me believe in the power of people’s voices and the potential the government has to serve and truly help people,” Kikkeri said. “I love politics and really hope to get involved in the political field after I graduate.”
Q: What in your experiences at HPHS prepared you to seek office and serve in this way at UT?
Anagha: The experience my senior year (working to make Highland Park schools more inclusive and welcoming for students of all racial backgrounds) was intense. But, I am grateful that I stood up for what I believed in and worked hard to bring racial issues to the forefront to our school and the administration. I received a myriad of feedback from the community, evoking the ranging responses of “racism doesn’t exist” to a lot of community members being extremely supportive of me and my efforts to make HP schools more inclusive. It was tough, but it was worth it to move the needle forward in Highland Park.
Q: Anything else you want to share?
Anagha: At UT, I feel as though I’ve had a lot of support from HPHS graduates throughout the various campaigns I have run, and I really am grateful for that. Additionally, I am so incredibly grateful for the sacrifices my parents made to move to the Park Cities. . . We are proud Indian-Americans, Texans, and Park Cities residents. I am who I am because of all these factors.”
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