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Leadership Highlight: UNC Charlotte’s SGA President Tife Olusesi

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to UNC Charlotte and did an interview with Tife Olusesi 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. Olusesi, who is majoring in Political Science, is from Raleigh. He is a proud Spring 2023 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

We interviewed Tife Olusesi, and talked to him about his 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?

Leadership is about putting yourself at the bottom of the priority list, and finding ways to elevate your peers and your team to be their best self. Getting the credit doesn’t matter as much as the relationships you build and the value that you create for people.

What made you decide to attend UNC Charlotte for undergrad?

I felt like Charlotte was the heart of North Carolina, and so much innovation and culture happens here I wanted to be at the center of it all, and do my part to expand the vision of what it can be into something greater.

How has UNC Charlotte molded you into the person you are today?

It’s made me more aware of the responsibility I have to serve my community and become the most productive version of myself that I can be. Confidence and belief in my own abilities is something I’ve always had, but having the responsibility placed on me to help build that in others is something Charlotte helped me learn.

Photo Credit: @drew_garver

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?

We rebranded November as a month of giving, where we donate, give out, and support students by providing free food, merchandise, mental health and academic resources as well as opportunities to engage with us and discuss their experiences with leaders across campus.

We also launched the Presidential Advisory Board, which is aimed at providing presidents of organizations on campus with a platform to speak with me directly about their experiences at the university, and how we as members of SGA can do our part to support them in addition to what we already do. We also began a trend of co sponsoring initiatives, such as “Black Table Talk” which I founded in my role as VP of the NAACP on campus to bring African & Black students together to discuss their issues and concerns in their personal life and on campus.

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

We started a semesterly mental health extra credit seminar where students can attend a mental health workshop hosted by our counseling and psychological services professionals, in exchange for us contacting their professors- who agreed to grant them extra credit in their courses if they attended our seminar. This program has helped over 2500 students and counting.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me means perspective taking, and being able to meet people where they are from a place of love, understanding, relatability, and respect.

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

They need to allow their students to be the face of their social media. TikTok and reels are dominant right now, and people always want to see themselves go viral ! So schools need to provide students with the platform to freely express themselves and have fun, and the rest will follow.

Photo Credit: @drew_garver

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

Because it connects cultures and identities from across the nation (and world) into one space of love and support. It’s a safe space for Black students, Black greeks and everyone who wants to appreciate all that African American culture and talent has contributed to the youth and our communities.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

Pursue law school, and build my art collective @blxckportrait into something expressive of Black art for my community.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Tife Olusesi for his work as the SGA president of UNC Charlotte.

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