In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Johnson & Wales University Charlotte and did an interview with Ge’Kovie Jackson 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. Jackson, who is majoring in International Business, is a current sophomore and a Spring 2020 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha.
We interviewed Jackson, and talked to him about his 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?
As SGA President I have learned how to truly be an outlet for others success. It is one thing to lead and listen to others problems and opinions, but it is another to provide guidance and tools to accomplish goals no matter what they are.
What made you decide to attend Johnson & Wales University Charlotte for undergrad?
Johnson & Wales is a beautiful campus located right inside of Uptown Charlotte. The school business program consists of professors who all have many years not only in the field of business but owning and running their own as well. Also, the location allows for good jobs and internships in the city that you can walk to! It also just so happened that I received the most academic scholarships from this school as well, so the option to go was a no brainer.
How has Johnson & Wales University Charlotte molded you into the person you are today?
Johnson & Wales has helped me a lot when it comes to time management, and how serious I take my studies pertaining to maintaining grades in order to keep leadership roles on campus. I feel that these all are great qualities that every leader should possess to be more successful in the future. Also, I love being held to a high standard which gives me no time or opportunities for slacking.
What specific initiatives have you headed up this year and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?
One of the first initiatives that we put in place was the Lyft and Uber drop off poles and lights under bridges. With Johnson & Wales campus being inside of the city limits there are a lot of homeless and strangers walking around our campus. So it was very important that we partnered with these 2 driving companies to ensure students were picked up and dropped off at a safe location. Also, there are a lot of students who walk from work in uptown Charlotte to our dorms and apartment buildings and to ensure there that they have a safe commute we worked with the city and implemented lights in dark or shady areas (mainly bridges).
Secondly, we saw a need for business attire, among students who were pursuing job opportunities and internships. We decided to take money out of our budget to go thrifting and shopping for those individuals who needed it. After the mission was complete we partnered with our school’s fashion society and made a business closet where students who were in need could pick out a suit or formal outfit of there choice and keep it.
How is your school currently responding to the coronavirus and what is your SGA administration doing to help students?
Our SGA has responded to the coronavirus outbreak by truly doing our job, acting as a bridge between the students and administration. There was a lot of confusion among the student body when it came to the virus. So to help we gathered the most frequent questions from our student body and sent them to the administration for answers. Once we received them we sent a very detailed email to our student body answering all the questions we received and just in case there was more we set up a google document for any questions and concerns and posted it on the school website.
Also because of the amount of confusion and lack of understanding concerning online classes we created a petition that proposed a Pass/Fail option for all classes, this was accpeted by our administration and is now put in place for those who wish to partake.
How is the coronavirus affecting SGA elections for next year?
The COVID-19 has affected my SGA and has to move all elections online. We usually hold elections for the next academic year in our spring semester. This is an unfortunate circumstance because it was already difficult to get student involvement. But I believe this is a good opportunity for the students who would like to run for next year to advertise and market themselves, and step out of there comfort zone.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means a couple of different things. Firstly, I think it means you’re uplifting those around you. Great leaders have the means to support and make others more competitive and successful. Secondly, I think leadership means that you’re putting people in the right place at the right point in time. It’s tough in the beginning but when they excel when you can see you helped someone find their “groove” and you let them linger there. Thirdly, leadership means you have faith in and admiration for those you deal with. There’s no chance they can be a good member of the team if you don’t like them (or at least give them a shot).
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2020?
I believe that schools need to be very hyperactive online to gain and keep the interest of students. I think it is very important for a school to keep the engagement of its students to get out important information and to expand further in the future. Social media is in fact the true way to reach students as my SGA has found emails barely reach the student body.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
I believe that Watch The Yard is a amazing platform for black students and college culture. I think that it is important for African Americans to uplift and support one another.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on pursuing a career in Global operations or Supply chain management. After working for that company for a few years I either want to work my way up to CEO, or begin to open my own franchises and bushiness ventures. Once I’ve achieved all my business goals I plan on going to teach high school.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Ge’Kovie Jackson for his work as the SGA president of Johnson & Wales University Charlotte.