In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to University of North Carolina at Greensboro and did an interview with Hunter Martin the Student Government Association president.
The position of SGA president of a is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Martin, who is majoring in Communication Studies, is a current senior and a Fall 2019 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha.
We interviewed Martin, and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in 2020.
Read the full interview below.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned as an SGA president so far?
The biggest thing I’ve learned as an SGA President is your position is not guaranteed. As SGA President, you serve at the pleasure of the student body and you’re trying to make the University a better place for them to prosper. This position receives a lot of criticism and learning how to compromise and negotiate is essential.
What made you decide to attend University of North Carolina at Greensboro for undergrad?
I decided to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro because I wanted a diverse institution with a wide range of opportunities. In the past, it was a Predominantly White Institution, but recently gained the title of a Minority Serving Institution. The faculty and staff are very hands-on and advocate for the student’s needs.
How has University of North Carolina at Greensboro molded you into the person you are today?
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has taught me to never back down for a challenge. There a lot of opportunities to get involved on campus and the community environment pushes students to step out of their comfort zone. I’ve grown immensely by engaging with a wide variety of individuals in different settings throughout my undergrad experience.
What specific initiatives have you headed up this year and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?
An initiative that has been really important to SGA is creating a more inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. UNCG is such a diverse institution, but we’ve lacked in incorporating inclusion into our community. SGA has changed our governing documents to use more inclusive language and has encouraged other organizations and clubs to do the same. Building off of that, SGA hosted a “Better Together” dinner to invite student leaders across campus to allow for more networking and collaboration across the campus. With it being an election year, there has been a constant promotion of our on-campus polling site. I’m very grateful that UNCG was able to provide a polling site because it’s a way for the institution to promote and encourage each student’s civic duty.
How is your school currently responding to the coronavirus and what is your SGA administration doing to help students?
UNCG has administered an academic relief policy allowing students to choose whether they’d like to opt-in to change their grade to satisfactory or unsatisfactory at the end of the semester. They’ve also issued refunds for housing and dining. The SGA administration and Graduate Student Association has worked to gather questions, comments and concerns from students to present to Faculty Senate, the Provost, and the Chancellor. We’ve also worked with administrators to get the May 2020 Commencement rescheduled to a later date.
How is the coronavirus affecting SGA elections for next year?
COVID-19 impacted the SGA elections only in regard to voting. Before UNCG closed, our Elections Committee conducted interest meetings, applications were submitted and campaigning commenced. The voting period was pushed back a week to allow students to adjust to online classes and their new environment. Our President and Vice President-elect have been announced and are preparing for the next session.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is about being authentic, humble and willing to learn. Being a leader is someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s about sacrifice and having the courage to stand in the face of a challenge. My hope as a leader is to create an environment and community where we can all create a common sense of purpose.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2020?
Marketing and having a public presence online is very important. The digital world is one of the major avenues for schools to connect with future and currents students, as well as alumni. Showing what the university can provide in a genuine way can be crucial to the type of reputation and stature of students they’ll recieve.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
I believe Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture because it provides a sense of community. Students are able to connect and celebrate other students who are doing incredible things on a national level. It’s a platform to upload and love black excellence in many forms.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on attending Georgetown University to pursue my Master’s degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. My hope is to become an active community member within the Washington, D.C. area. I’ve always had an interest in public policy and the effect that policy has on marginalized groups in our society. My goal is to work for a company or organization that promotes a healthy and educated society that has a passion for enhancing equal opportunity.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Hunter Martin for her work as the SGA president of University of North Carolina at Greensboro.