In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Jackson State University and did an interview with Jordan M. Jefferson 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. Jefferson, who is majoring in Political Science, is a current senior and a Spring 2018 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha.
We interviewed Jefferson, 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?
I have learned so many lessons this year, but the biggest thing I have learned is to take full advantage of the position. You are the number one voice at your institution you have a say so on what goes on at your University which carries weight. You also get amazing opportunities that other students do not get. It is really amazing and beautiful, because a lot of us are not happy with what our institutions do sometimes, but you get an opportunity to be the change you want to see. Becoming SGA President can change your life for the better and I feel that is what I did at president. Lastly, being SGA President really opened doors for me I could not have imagined and I really appreciate my student body and institution for giving me this opportunity.
What made you decide to attend Jackson State University for undergrad?
My father used to coach football at the university I attend. With that experience, Jackson State University was instilled in me at a young age. I grew up in the city where my institution is. So in the back of my head I knew I always wanted to go there. At first I was hesitant on picking a university and I thought going out of state was best but my mother said otherwise I quote “I called Jackson State University today and they gave you a full ride so that is where we are going. Or, you can take out a 100,000 dollars of loans and I won’t be helping you.” From that statement that is why I chose my Dear Ole College Home.
How has Jackson State University molded you into the person you are today?
Jackson State University accepted me for me and taught me the simplest lesson that I needed and that was to be selfless. I came in my University selfish as ever. I was always about Jordan, Jordan, Jordan. But, My University and God told me, “no sir I have a bigger purpose for you to fulfill” so I did just that. I am blessed to have so much exposure and experiences through Football, SGA, Academics, Alpha Phi Alpha, and Study Abroad. These diverse experiences have been so beneficial to me that I want to help others achieve what I have done, but in a higher light. Jackson State University has been so good to me so now it is my purpose to be good to it. I came in to college selfish but I am leaving out selfless.
What specific initiatives have you headed up this year and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?
Under THEE Legendary 74th administration, we created a student hall of fame to increase student morale and excitement at the University. Increasing voting turnout was a big thing for us and my administration we had various of voting drives and increased voting turnout 156% this November. We Created programming initiatives in residence halls for students centered around sexual assault, domestic violence and dating violence, and assisted students with test prep for the GRE, MCAT, LSAT to prepare students for the transition from undergraduate to graduate school. We also did a Wellness Wednesday once a month in the Walter Payton Center to increase wellness in our students. The whole month of February we had a black history program the entire month.
How is your school currently responding to the coronavirus and what is your SGA administration doing to help students?
My university put together a task force team to help every student at our university. All faculty and staff are working at home now. Our university gave students the option to stay on campus the remainder of the semester which was very beneficial. My SGA and I have been responding to students concerns as well. I recently had a meeting with the university adminstration about changing the grading scale like many other universities around the country are doing. We are still waiting on the verdict on that.
How is the coronavirus affecting SGA elections for next year?
Candidates at our school have been getting very creative on social media on how to campaign for themselves. It has also caused many problems as well. I did not realize how much not being face to face really affects elections. It really has been hard on our candidates not to be able to hang with our student body.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me is the ability to lead and guide a team, motivating and inspiring individuals to get them to where they need to be.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2020?
In my honest opinion, universities specifically HBCUs need to work on branding and public relations. Kids and young adults these days are so into their phones so really showcasing your university and its lime light will bring future students to your school. HBCUs are so full of life and culture it wouldn’t be a hard task to fulfill.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
Everybody wants to make the Watch The Yard page. It is the cool thing to make in school it is the popping page. I feel the page brings a moral that everybody is trying to showcase their A game which is awesome.
It is nice to see Black people trying to showcase there best selves, the media doesn’t show that too often, but Watch The Yard does. When black people are on their A game we are unstoppable.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I plan to attend Harvard or Brown University to do a Joint MPP/JD program.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Jordan Jefferson for his work as the SGA president of Jackson State University.