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Leadership Highlight: Kennesaw State University’s SGA President Bethany Fortson

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Kennesaw State University and did an interview with Bethany Fortson the 2022-2023 Student Government Association president.

The position of SGA president is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes in being elected by their peers to lead. Fortson, who is majoring in Exercise Science, is from Hull, Ga. She is a proud Spring 2022 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

We interviewed Bethany Fortson, and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in 2022-2023.

Read the full interview below.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned as an SGA president so far?

Being SGA president comes with a lot of responsibilities and duties. On top of that, there is always some type of adversity that you will be met with, whether it’s an issue with a student, administrators needing you to hop into meetings, or a pop quiz from your professor. This past year has taught me that the only thing to be expected is the unexpected and that is okay. Being able to handle adversity, discerning what needs your attention versus what may not be so urgent and learning that it’s okay to take a step back and out you first are the biggest lessons I’ve learned as SGA president.

What made you decide to attend Kennesaw State University for undergrad?

I decided to choose Kennesaw State because I wanted a university that I could grow with. With KSU being a fairly young institution, I was really attracted to the growth and liveliness of KSU. Not to mention the extremely diverse student population, growing athletics, and the perfect Metro Atlanta campus.

How has Kennesaw State University molded you into the person you are today?

The opportunities offered at Kennesaw State grew and shaped me into a person I probably wouldn’t have even recognized my Freshman year. Attending KSU gave me the courage and confidence I needed to push myself to grow personally and professionally.

What specific initiatives have you headed up this year (or are planning) and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?

My top 3 initiatives for SGA this year were to diversify food options, prioritize students mental health and well-being, and to grow and cultivate traditions and campus culture.

How is your SGA administration/school currently working on attending to the mental health of students?

My SGA has pushed for more mental health trainings for our faculty and staff members, added suicide preventions and other mental crisis help line information on our student identification cards, and even trained my whole SGA team on Question Persuade and Refer (QPR) suicide prevention trainings.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership isn’t about being in charge but its about taking care of the people who are in our charge. To me – leadership means being willing to put others needs before you and b of service to them. Its answering the call to action.

We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2022/2023?

Universities need to meet students where they are at. A great deal of students use social media platforms to search for important updates, events and resources. If universities can master using these networks to keep students informed, updated and involved, there is an amazing opportunity for growth.

Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?

Watch The Yard is so important to black students and college culture because it highlights the positivity and influence that we have not only on each other but the world. A lot of the great things that Black people have done have been overlooked for so long. Our people have only been publicized in negative manner. Watch The Yard is helping to change that narrative.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to attend Georgia State University to earn a master’s degree in Sports Administration. I am excited to attend a university that has successfully awarded the most degrees to Black students in the country. The leadership and innovation going on at GSU is something that I’m excited to bask in and be apart of.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Bethany Fortson for her work as the SGA president of Kennesaw State University.

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