Student Assembly President

2015 Student Assembly Board of Directors: Fred Gilbert Fred Gilbert, SPT

The following candidate statement was written prior to Fred's election as president of the Student Assembly Board of Directors.

As students we often look at ourselves in terms of what we lack. We focus on what we cannot do and have not done rather than what we have the potential to accomplish. I found myself wandering down this path before working for Lakeshore Foundation in 2012. Lakeshore Foundation is a non-profit organization in Birmingham, AL that provides opportunities for people with physical disabilities to participate in fitness, recreation, and sport activities. There I met Mary Allison Cook, a Lakeshore Foundation employee and former member of the US Women's Paralympic basketball team. I can recall an interview she completed prior to the 2012 Summer Games where she was asked about her disability. She looked at the reporter and communicated that "I have been this way as long as I can remember. I don't think I have a disability; it's who I am. It's all about perspective." My encounter with Mary Allison magnified the importance of utilizing my unique perspective to recognize the potential in those around me and help others seize opportunities.

Previous SABoDs have been successful in moving our interests towards initiatives that increase collaboration, participation, funding, and transparency. Programs have included promoting collaboration with other healthcare professionals, increasing access to conferences, classroom initiatives to provide resources for Class Presidents and APTA liaisons, and the Student Assembly X-Change to increase SABoD transparency. The next step in promoting and improving student involvement is effectively utilizing ‘The Loop' communication network to promote outreach initiatives such as I Can Do It, You Can Do It! (ICDI). ICDI is designed to encourage physical activity and nutrition in all Americans regardless of ability level. ICDI is one of many easily accessible initiatives waiting to be utilized by students. These initiatives will increase the value of student assembly involvement and boost participation in student assembly activities, providing a meaningful experience necessary for best practice.

John Quincy Adams once said "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." Leaders are approachable, positive, conscientious, respectful, and encouraging to those around them.  I have consistently demonstrated these characteristics through various leadership positions and involvement opportunities.  I have promoted the APTA as SPTO New Student liaison, developed an inter-school competition to promote student involvement, and taken my first step toward interdisciplinary care with my selection to the UAB Transdisciplinary Team. As a member of the Lakeshore Foundation research team I participate in projects to promote inclusion such as adapting active video games for youth with disabilities, as well as developing an Activity Inclusion Mapping System (AIMS), which maps inclusive fitness opportunities in our area.

For Mary Allison, the difference between sedentary and Paralympic gold medalist was a matter of perspective. For the Student Assembly, overcoming student involvement hurdles and maximizing our potential as professionals requires a unique perspective.  My unique background and perspective will allow me to magnify my impact, help others recognize their potential, and transform the Student Assembly by optimizing Involvement to improve the Student experience.

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