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Leadership Highlight: Morgan State University’s SGA President Brooke Foyles

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Morgan State University and did an interview with Brooke Foyles 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. Foyles, who is majoring in nursing, is from Ellicott City, MD. She is a proud Fall 2021 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

We interviewed Brooke Foyles, 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?

A pivotal lesson gleaned from my tenure as SGA President is the understanding that this position epitomizes the apex of leadership, yet necessitates a steadfast connection to practicality and humility. Balancing the desire for understanding with the limitations of perspective can be a significant challenge. This position highlights the symbiotic relationship between leadership and the student body, emphasizing the need for active listening, collaboration, and adaptable problem-solving. This can become a challenge as juggling and managing situations can get tricky because you want others to grasp your perspective, but sometimes even you don’t have a clear view. That’s why I stress that being President grounds you the most; you simply can’t lead without being in tune with your fellow students. The essence of the Student Government Association President’s role lies in being a representative of the people, always ready to engage, collaborate, and find practical solutions. In addition, balancing the presidency with academics and other activities requires being realistic about what you can achieve and accepting that you won’t always have all the answers or be able to help everyone in times of crisis. My time as SGA President has been a deeply enriching journey, emphasizing the significance of humility, staying rooted, and being true to oneself.

Photo Credit: @_.shotzbyj4lO

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

After considerable deliberation regarding my college priorities, I ultimately decided to enroll at Morgan State University. Factors such as proximity to family, affordability, and the opportunity to remain engaged in activism weighed heavily in my decision-making process. Following discussions with my father, a proud alumnus of Morgan’s Class of 1992, we embarked on a campus tour together for me to gain knowledge of what Morgan truly is about. Witnessing the campus’s beauty and experiencing the strong sense of community solidified my conviction that Morgan was the ideal choice for me. I felt a deep connection akin to that of my great uncle John Sykes, a distinguished member of the Morgan Hall of Fame in 1976, and my uncle Victor Foyles, a founding member of Alpha Nu Omega Fraternity Inc. It was at that moment that I decided to attend Morgan State University, ready to forge my own path and contribute to its esteemed legacy.

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

Morgan State University has played a pivotal role in shaping my character, instilling in me the importance of advocating for myself and standing up for what I believe is right. Engaging in various campus organizations and interacting with fellow students has provided me with invaluable insights into the diverse paths that have converged to bring us to this collective moment. Through these experiences, I have expanded my perspective on a multitude of subjects, deepened my knowledge base, and honed my critical thinking skills. I am convinced that Morgan has empowered me to embrace my potential fully, surrounded by individuals who share a common aspiration: to effect positive change in the world according to their vision. Despite encountering challenges along the way, it is through overcoming these obstacles and fostering a supportive community that I have grown into the confident and resilient individual that defines the essence of a Morgan woman today.

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?

Throughout this academic school year, my administration has been dedicated to our C.A.R.E platform, which stands for Conversation, Application, Rejuvenation, and Education. Our primary focus has been on advocating for students, student organizations, and the future student body. We successfully passed legislation to establish a council of student organizations, providing a platform for collaborative problem-solving and innovative solutions. Additionally, we championed the reallocation of student fees to enhance the overall student experience for years to come. We have been at the forefront of establishing student control over our University Student Center and determining its future occupants. Moreover, in the aftermath of the October incident at our university, we have diligently advocated for increased security measures and safety awareness. We have tirelessly pursued each of these initiatives and are committed to continuing our collaboration with various departments to revive Morgan traditions and ensure that student voices remain at the forefront of university decisions.

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

Under our Rejuvenation platform within the C.A.R.E acronym, my administration has prioritized the mental well-being of students. Over the past year, we have actively advocated for wellness days, dedicated to allowing students a break from classes, coursework, and other activities to focus on rest and self-care. Additionally, we recently organized a Sound bath event aimed at promoting relaxation and meditation, which was open to the entire student body. Looking ahead, we are committed to developing more wellness-focused events and organizing immersive self-care spa days, with the aim of establishing them as recurring annual events. We firmly believe that fostering good mental health and providing a strong support system are essential for the well-being of every student, the vitality of our university, and the strength of our community.

What does leadership mean to you?

To me, leadership embodies diversity and adaptability, even in challenging circumstances. It signifies actively engaging as both a learner and a contributor within any community or organization. Leadership is about inspiring others and pursuing a mission so compelling that it motivates individuals to make a difference in their own spheres.

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

I believe that institutions must authentically demonstrate and uphold their core values to effectively represent themselves. It’s one thing for a school to claim certain principles, but it’s crucial to ensure that these values are actively reflected and supported in their actions. This entails faculty actively engaging with students, the institution listening to student concerns on critical matters such as housing, and proactively aligning with the founding principles and reasons why students chose the institution. Additionally, it’s essential for schools to ensure that their branding accurately reflects their identity. While it may be tempting to follow trends or adhere strictly to analytic plans, what truly sets an institution apart is its ability to establish a unique identity and brand that resonates with prospective students.

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

I strongly believe in the significance of representation and success within the Black community. Witnessing individuals from our community achieve success can be profoundly inspiring and can fuel aspirations for greater achievements. I vividly recall the impact of observing successful students on the page during my senior year of high school, which instilled in me a desire to emulate their accomplishments and strive for greater heights. Additionally, as we move forward, we must preserve spaces and forums that offer solace from the challenges and adversities we face. These spaces are essential for fostering a sense of belonging and community, and it’s vital that we safeguard them as we progress into the future.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

Upon graduating from thee illustrious Morgan State University, my ambition is to pursue a career as a labor and delivery nurse, with a specialization in advocating for Black maternal health. Following this, I intend to transition into advocacy for sickle cell patients, shedding light on other health disparities prevalent within our communities. My goal is to leverage my expertise and passion to contribute meaningfully to addressing these critical healthcare challenges and striving for equity and improved outcomes for all.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Brooke Foyles for her work as the SGA president of Morgan State University.

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