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Leadership Highlight: Elizabeth City State University’s SGA President Cheniec McCullough

Photo Credit: @joelonaisphotography

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Elizabeth City State University and did an interview with Cheniec McCullough 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. McCullough, who is majoring in Business Administration-Entrepreneurship, is from Garner, North Carolina.

Photo Credit: @joelonaisphotography

We interviewed Cheniec McCullough, and talked to her about her 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?

That I am not alone. This position has allowed me to embrace communicating, collaborating, and delegating. I am representing the student body and myself.

What made you decide to attend Elizabeth City State University for undergrad?

During my senior year of high school, my family was impacted by the pandemic. But it did not stop me from making a decision to pursue my education as a first-generation college student. “My Dad said to me while moving my senior year, ask God to give you a dream of where you should go to college.” I was given a dream that ECSU would be my home away from home. Even with the impact of the pandemic, I started my freshman year as an online student. “Thank you, ECSU, for accommodating me no matter the obstacle that came my way.”

How has Elizabeth City State University molded you into the person you are today?

I’ve learned how to have confidence in myself and the people around me. I am no longer afraid to ask questions because I can trust that my questions will be answered. I learned that it is okay to not know and to take a leap of faith. Now I am able to pivot and take everything in stride.

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?

On our SGA Vision Board, we have Mentorship. During homecoming, we are going to be meeting with alumni to network, because I believe their advice and experiences are relevant and valuable to us. Secondly, we have Mental health. SGA has teamed up with the counseling service on campus to spread awareness of availability of services. As a team, we implement Mental Mondays for ourselves to ensure we bring our best to the students. Next, we are focusing on Marketing. As you know, today we live in a world that is digital. We must be alert of what’s going on in our generation and use it wisely to market ourselves and benefit our future. Finally, we have mystery. Mystery means preparing our students for the unknown. We are teaming up with the Career Development Center to help students prepare for internships, careers, and life skills. To achieve these goals, we stand by “teamwork makes the dream work”.

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

Firstly, if you want to advocate for mental health, you have to practice what you preach. For instance, as the SGA team, we do not work on Mondays. I believe we as student leaders have to set the standard for caring for our mental health, so we dedicate Mondays to our own needs. For our student body, we sent out surveys at the beginning of the year titled, “Don’t Suffer In Silence” in order to gain an understanding of their issues and connect with the Administration about initiatives to get results for our fellow Vikings. For myself, I carry the counseling services faculty business card in my wallet for my own purposes as well as to refer others in need. I realize that as a family, we look after each other. God is my source, but He has placed resources on this campus.

What does leadership mean to you?

Every time I think of leadership, I think of team. TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieving More. Leadership is bringing others up with you. Another of my favorite sayings is, “Vikings will be better than ever, let’s make a promise that we can do it together.”

We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2022/2023?

In the words of my Chancellor Dixon. Number One, Protect Your Brand. I will encourage the school to voice that to their students. In order for the school to represent themselves online, the students play important part role in the digital world. To make sure their sharing a positive message about their schools. Secondly, Promote Your Brand. They should also encourage the schools to showcase the students partaking the resources in school digitally. We live in a society that is constantly on social media. For example, On Friday you can encourage your student to wear paraphernalia gear to represent their school pride. Lastly, Protect Your Peace. Inspire students to pay attention to the world around them because everything is so digital now. Sometimes the solution is right in front of us; it’s just a matter of whether we use it positively!

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

When I look at the Watch The Yard website the one word that comes to my mind is U.N.I.T.Y.

It allows our work to be share and showcase across the globe. When we accomplish great things, I believe we should recognize and reward for our talent and perseverance.

Photo Credit: @joelonaisphotography

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

I will graduate with a Business Degree in May 2024, and after that I plan to go to graduate school to earn an MBA. This will help me launch my fashion business, S.O.G. (Seed of Greatness). I have an entrepreneurial spirit and have been working toward this since my senior year of high school. Seed of Greatness is a mobile business that will provide first class fashion consulting and mentorship.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Cheniec McCullough for her work as the SGA president of Elizabeth City State University.

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