In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Lincoln University of Missouri and did an interview with Jordan Smith 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. Smith, who is majoring in Marketing, is a current senior.
We interviewed Smith, 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?
The biggest lesson I learned while as SGA President was the importance of listening. To be able to speak up for what you believe in is a skill few have, but to be able to listen intentionally for what others believe in is a blessing; the combination of both is the formula for a change agent. As my mother always says, “Listen more than you speak, because what you hear may be the blueprint from God for how to respond.”
What made you decide to attend Lincoln University of Missouri for undergrad?
As cliché as it may sound, I didn’t chose Lincoln, Lincoln chose me. In 2016, when trying to decide where to go for college, I had no clue. My brother and I were applying to the same schools but we couldn’t find one that accepted us both. Finally, we decided we would go to Lincoln because we both got accepted and it wasn’t too far from home. Arriving for our first semester, we were blown away. There were so many people that immediately took us under their wing and guided us through our first few months; they treated us like family. We felt like we were at home.
How has Lincoln University of Missouri molded you into the person you are today?
The immense amount of opportunity Lincoln has provided for me is what molded me into the person I am today. I’ve heard that in life you learn from experience and exposure, and Lincoln has definitely exposed me to things unimaginable. I’ve been able to travel and see various parts of the country and even some places outside of the country. These traveling experiences have widen my perspective and gratitude for life. Throughout my collegiate experience, I have spent a large portion of my time in the library which has greatly impacted my intellectual development. At Lincoln, we are so fortunate because we have an endless reach of books with no limitations of genre or year.
What specific initiatives have you headed up this year and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?
My administration and I have revised our SGA Constitution with additions of positions to the Executive Board, higher GPA requirements, and clearer communication for roles and responsibilities. Our main initiative was to create a better infrastructure for SGA so that we can fully prepare the next administration in the elevation of the University.
How is your school currently responding to the coronavirus and what is your SGA administration doing to help students?
My school has taken careful consideration of the student’s needs as the University Administration has had to make several tough decisions. A COVID-19 Task Force was created to monitor the situation and meet daily to respond progressively. Communication has frequently been sent out to students to keep them informed and updated with adjustments and safety precautions.
Despite the transition to remote learning, my SGA Administration has remained determined in working closely with the University Administration. We successfully proposed two new policies to be temporarily implemented during the COVID-19 Pandemic for the 2020 Spring semester: 1) Adjusted Grading Policy and 2) Pro-Rated Refund Policy. In the Adjusted Grading Policy, we advocated for a Pass/Fail grading system with the option for students to request a P or F on their transcript. The University Administration responded with a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory system that will allow students the option to request an S or U on their transcript. In the Pro-Rated Refund Policy, we advocated that students receive a minimum of 40-45% refund on room and board. The University Administration responded with a 44% refund on room and board.
We are continuously checking in on our students through various social media outlets and providing tips for how to maneuver through our new remote learning courses. Our goal as the SGA Administration is to keep students informed and encouraged.
How is the coronavirus affecting SGA elections for next year?
The Coronavirus has had a huge impact on SGA elections for next year, my administration and I are currently in the process for creating an opportunity for aspiring student leaders to compete in a fair and safe environment.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me is only about service, that alone is far greater than any position title. When a person’s leadership style is based around the principle of service, the magnitude of impact is enormous. My mother has instilled in me all my life the importance of humility and caring for humanity. I live by these words, “Tomorrow is not promised, nor is anything that you have been given in life. So, today make sure you reach your hand down to help someone in need because tomorrow you may need to reach your hand up for help.” As leaders it is prudent for us to resonate with the underlying fact that our success can only be measured by the amount of people we have willing helped. I am a leader, which in part means I am indebted to service for humanity.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2020?
Schools need to make it a priority that they occupy spaces on every social media platform. Once completed, they need to be inclusive of students in the creation of their marketing schemes. This is important because the student’s input will be of value for the fact that they are the experts in the use of technology. Students are the target market, so that is why they need to be in the conversation of marketing to their peers. With the assistance of students, schools will be able to successfully represent themselves online in 2020.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
I think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and College culture as a whole because it is a positive platform that highlights the successes of people who look like us. We live in a society that only desires to portray the negative information about young black men and women. Having a powerful voice like Watch The Yard showcase our achievements is exactly what our young black men and women need. It is so inspiring for me personally to look on Watch The Yard Instagram page and see my peers making positive impacts at their respective University.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I plan to go to Graduate school and major in Finance. Upon receiving my Masters in Finance, I will begin my entrepreneurship journey. Although these are my goals and plans for my life, I continuously pray that they are in alignment with God’s plan for my life.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Jordan Smith for his work as the SGA president of Lincoln University of Missouri.
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