In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Shaw University and did an interview with Jechel Briggs 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. Briggs, who is majoring in Liberal Studies, is a current senior and a Fall 2017 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha.
We interviewed Briggs, and talked to her about her 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?
The biggest thing that being SGA President has taught me is to be passionate about what you do. Anyone can get a position or a job but only someone who is truly passionate about what they do can get it done the right way.
What made you decide to attend Shaw University for undergrad?
I chose to attend Shaw University because I love and respect the rich history the university has to offer. It makes me feel connected to influential leaders that have came before me.
How has Shaw University molded you into the person you are today?
Shaw University has helped mold me into the person I am today by providing me with numerous opportunities and experiences that have positively impacted my life. From being connected with administrators and alumni to going to conferences and representing Shaw, I have so many things to thank my university for.
What specific initiatives have you headed up this year and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?
The initiative that I am most proud of this is reforming the Student Government Association constitution. The Shaw University SGA 2019-2020 Administration has been working extremely hard on reforming the 2014 Constitution for a number of reasons. From grammar errors to more serious things like validating student rights, are some of the many issues with are trying to improve on with reforming our constitution. We are very proud with the final product and I am very excited to see how the next group of student leaders can grow from the improvements we’ve made this year.
How is your school currently responding to the coronavirus and what is your SGA administration doing to help students?
Shaw University like most Universities has closed campus and moved to online learning for the remainder of the academic school year. In addition, Shaw University has started an emergency relief fund for students that are having financial aid issues due to COVID-19. At this time our students leaders main priority has been directing communication between Administrators and students as effectively as possible. Helping clarify questions of our temporary grading policy is the next priority for us.
How is the coronavirus affecting SGA elections for next year?
We had just begun our election process for the 2020-2021 elections our university decided to close campus while finalizing our constitution at the same time. Both are being delayed by COVID-19 but we are hopeful constitution will be approved by the end of the semester. Which is why our Election Committee decided to postpone elections until the Fall 2020 semester.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me means able to see the strengths and weaknesses of each individual, including yourself and then putting everyone in the proper environment to flourish. I strongly believe that a leader is responsible for the development of each member of their team. I want everyone on my administration to be able to grow as much they can professionally and personally because I know it means growth for our team.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2020?
COVID-19 has shown me exactly how important it is for schools to be represented online on many different platforms and with as much communication as possible. If a school can not communicate accurate information to the students in a timely manner than confusion can easily set in. Online communication is an essential skill for everyone in 2020 needs to have.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
Watch The Yard is important to black students because we love to connect and network. It allows us to connect in a personal level while highlighting black excellence in a dope way. Young African Americans are claiming our culture as the Motherland of culture through social media everyday. The energy that you get when you put young black students together is so amazing and versatile; we are the leaders, the tastemakers, the trendsetters, the trend-starters and therefore the culture creators on any college campus. The Watch The Yard platform is a positive manifestation and representation of that energy.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation I plan to teach Middle School history and then eventually go to Graduate school to earn my Masters degree before teaching on the college level.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Jechel Briggs for her work as the SGA president of Shaw University.