In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Columbus State University and did an interview with Jordan Allen 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. Allen, who is majoring in Finance and Professional Writing, is from Dacula, GA. He is a proud Fall 2021 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
We interviewed Jordan Allen, and talked to him about his 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?
The biggest thing I learned as an SGA President is to be comfortable and levelheaded in your mistakes. No of us wake up and become the next Martin Luther King Jr, or John Lewis. It takes many failures and mistakes to reach those realizations. What has been the biggest lesson and tool of humility is to maintain a level of coolness to not only encourage my team to remain steady in the face of adversity, but to also practice patience when things go awry. Too often, individuals within leadership positions make a hasty decision when the situation has turned sour, without considering the possible repercussions. Patience allows you to make the right decision at the right time.
What made you decide to attend Columbus State University for undergrad?
I decided to attend Columbus State University for the tremendous amount of opportunity and growth. During high school, I was a subpar student and did not see a way in which I could realize my future. Going to CSU changed that mindset for me, allowing me to access the plethora of resources and opportunity the university has to offer. Now, I am not only pursuing one degree, but I am on track to obtain 2 bachelor degrees this upcoming May.
How has Columbus State University molded you into the person you are today?
Columbus State has molded me into the person I am today by providing me with a clear line of what I can become. By having access to many alumni within the surrounding area and soaking up the knowledge of their experiences, I can see exactly where I want to be and how I can get there. It has provided me with conviction, passion, and most importantly, a purpose.
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 administration, the 64th Administration, has been a trailblazing force on campus. We have currently started 3 major initiatives that will help our student body in the present and help future students long after we have graduated.
We are working with many groups, Registered Student Organizations, and departments in order to get Menstruation Stations in the restrooms near high traffic areas. These stations will provide students with access to free menstrual hygiene products.
We are also working with our campuses General Counsel to draft and sponsor a policy of Religious Exception for our student body. Our students at Columbus State University come from many different backgrounds and walks of life. Having a policy in which they can be excused from class during days in which a specific religious day is observed.
Lastly, our administration is working to bring Bird Scooters to our campus. Our campus is quite hilly and can benefit from fast travel across campus. Other campuses within our University System have already adopted such an initiative, and now it is time for us to as well.
How is your SGA administration/school currently working on attending to the mental health of students?
My administration had the pleasure of having the groundwork of our mental health initiative laid before us by the previous Walker Administration. We have been working on two fronts in terms of addressing and attending to the mental health of the student body. On one front, we have worked with our University Police Department to provide all of our officers with QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training and Mental Health First Aid Training to prepare them to address situations with students involving their mental health. These two trainings ultimately help to make our student body feel more comfortable and safe when it comes to interacting with law enforcement. On another front, we have been working with our university’s counseling center to attend to our students mental health by hosting events in which they can learn more about maintaining their mental health and providing them with the resources to ultimately empower themselves.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me is strongly rooted in the concept of Servant Leadership. Going through these 5 years at Columbus State, the community has been instilled with the idea of Servant Leadership, and it permeates through the culture of the university. When I was sworn into the office of SGA President, I realized how applicable these qualities of leadership were to leading an administration. These qualities of service, advocacy, growth, empowerment, and empathy, I feel are paramount to be a good leader.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2022/2023?
I think for universities across the country to stay current and to not lose sight of the concept of diversity and inclusion, we must truly understand the importance of visibility. Often the medium in which things are communicated becomes a problem and things get lost in translation. Often, as a business, DEI is thought of as a pretty bow after things have been planned out, however, DEI needs to be at the forefront of these conversations and projects, even as the world becomes more digitally connected. As our universities succumb more to a business model based on KPI’s and major objectives, they need to realize and understand how important Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is to the foundation of the student body.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
Watch The Yard is so vitally important to the Black youth, as it provides a true rhetorical situation and accurate depiction of the experiences of Black college students. It places emphasize on things we cherish most and provides a platform in which we can share in a communal rejoice of black culture. For those of us attending HBCU’s, it puts the achievements of our people on the world stage, for those of us attending PWI’s it helps us to continue to feel an attachment to our community despite our environment. As a student who attends a PWI, it means so much to feel a part of the conversation, and Watch The Yard helps to bridge that gap.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
My plans after graduation is to find a job in private equity or venture capitalism. These are both highly competitive areas of finance, but will instill skills within me that will ultimately help me run and finance my own business. I plan to eventually own an investment firm whose primary objective is to invest in the arts, TV & film.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Jordan Allen for his work as the SGA president of Columbus State University.