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Leadership Highlight: New Jersey City University’s SGA President Ruth Diegue

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to New Jersey City University and did an interview with Ruth Diegue the 2023-2024 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. Diegue, who is majoring in Biology, is from Orange, NJ. She is a proud Fall 2021 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

We interviewed Ruth Diegue, and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in 2023-2024.

Read the full interview below.

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

As SGA president, I have learned that no matter what someone has done in the past, it is what they do in the present that makes them a good person. In the small university that I attend, with people from diverse backgrounds, I have learned to be open-minded and take everyone’s point of view into consideration. Also, I have learned that the title doesn’t matter, but how you change the community with it does.

What made you decide to attend New Jersey City University for undergrad?

The reason why I chose to attend NJCU is because I was blessed with the opportunity to have a full-ride scholarship and was admitted into the honors program. I am a graduate of the 2020 high school class, so I knew that this was the right school for me to continue my future while still being close to my loved ones coming from COVID-19.

How has New Jersey City University molded you into the person you are today?

Through my many ups and downs, I was faced with many mentors who did not judge me for my actions but gave me a place to learn from them and become a better person. NJCU has so many platforms for students to become prominent leaders in the community, and I was always given a chance to become a great leader. As a senior, I can now look back on my experience at this university and say that I was molded by great inspirations and grasped every chance given to me. NJCU has taught me that, no matter the size of the school or your community, your potential is greater than your surroundings. 

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?

Some of the initiatives that I have had and plan to have under my term are the Ivy Scholarship, Social Space Revamp, and a Food Insecticides Program. The Ivy Scholarship was in collaboration with the Tau Sigma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., of which I am also the chapter president. We decided to come together and give two students the opportunity of financial liberty on their pending bills for the school. The social space revamp is an initiative to take a student center on campus and give it a new twist. This is imperative because students deserve a space dedicated to them in which they are comfortable and have the opportunity to be proud of the space they are in. My pending initiative is the food insecurity program. This is a big concern amongst college campuses, and I just want to tackle it, making sure my student body has one less thing to worry about. My initiatives are the changes that will leave an impact not in my name but in the work that I have done. 

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

In an urban community with a university that serves as a Hispanic-serving institution, mental health takes a toll on our students. We don’t have enough counselors to combat the student ratio, but every advisor and faculty member works their hardest to make sure the mental health of the students is their priority. We also have many student organizations on campus that plan events, making sure that we have a safe space on campus to talk about our feelings. 

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me is not about the title, the clout, or the accolades that come with it. Every person has the potential to become a leader because it is about the lasting impression that you leave with a person, which changes their lives for the better. Leadership is about taking the initiative to make a change in the areas that are underrepresented and making sure that you leave a lasting legacy behind. Leadership is making sure that no matter where you go in this world, a piece of you is left behind for the benefit of all mankind. 

We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2023/2024?

Schools need to hand the platform to the students to vocalize how they feel about the institution and take the lead in their community. It is time to stop talking so much about what is being done in the political realm and instead show the true spirit of what keeps the university alive: the students. 

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

Watch The Yard is a platform that shows more than BGLO strolling on campus and doing what the “typical” students do. Watch The Yard broadcasts the future generations of Black students from both PWI and HBCUs. It is a platform that shows excellence beyond the realm of what students think of. It keeps the culture of Black students alive, in which we are able to connect with students from different campuses, share our experiences, and do what our ancestors could only dream of. 

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on entering my field of being a pharmaceutical sales representative and pursuing my education by getting my Masters in Business Administration. I also plan on staying involved in food insecurity opportunities in my community and helping out as much as I can in my free time.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Ruth Diegue for her work as the SGA president of New Jersey City University.

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