Haley Ariyibi: A voice for inclusivity and authenticity
Haley Ariyibi embodies what it means to be authentically herself, all while serving as the Speaker of the Senate as the University of Texas at Arlington. Haley was born in Irving, Texas, but moved to Grand Prairie, Texas, around the age of twelve. Haley expressed that through her experiences living in both cities, she was exposed to people from different backgrounds, opinions, and perspectives. Haley became more aware of politics during her senior year of high school when the country was gearing up for the 2016 Presidential Election. Haley reflected on how this election exposed her to the injustices that our world faces. From this experience, Haley found her passion for women’s rights, social activism, and the Black Lives Matters Movement.
After being at the University of Texas at Arlington for two years, Haley began to think about running for student government to get involved on her campus. After attending the New Leadership Texas Conference, Haley felt inspired to share her voice. She ran for student government as a Senator. She enjoyed her position and was inspired by the then Speaker of the Senate to run for that position herself. The next year Haley did just that and won her race for Speaker of the Senate, making her the first African American to hold this title. Haley shared that this position was where she felt like her heart wanted her to be to make positive changes on her campus. As Speaker of the Senate, Haley works on legislative documents used to implement change on campus and does this by identifying areas that need improvement by talking to administration and students. She also works with the senators to ensure that their voices are heard and that they are active within student government. Haley shared that one of the issues she is most passionate about on University of Texas at Arlington’s campus is inclusivity. One of the qualities she loved most about her campus was the amount of diversity she sees on campus but believes in making sure the school provides an environment that is inclusive of all people. Haley believes that the way to tackle this issue is by reaching out to others to ensure that they feel needed and important at the University of Texas at Arlington. Haley believes her most significant accomplishment thus far is the confidence she has gained in herself and her abilities. She has found that she has a voice that needs to be heard and hopes that this is something she can share with others to encourage them that they can also accomplish great things. Haley contributes her political motivation to organizations like New Leadership Texas, Ignite, as well as her friends and the staff at UTA, but Haley contributes her strong will to her mom. Haley described her mom as kind-hearted and persistent. She recalled nights while growing up where her mom was studying to become a nurse practitioner with a full family. Her mom, now a nurse practitioner, is one of the many heroes working during the COVID-19 Pandemic. As for her future plan, Haley will be graduating in the Falls and hopes to pursue opportunities in Washington, D.C. She shared that whatever it is, she wants her voice to be heard, wants to support and encourage other women, and wants to remain unapologetically herself.