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Leadership Highlight: Livingstone College’s SGA President Michael Gilyard

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Livingstone College and did an interview with Michael Gilyard 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. Gilyard, who is majoring in Computer Information Systems, is from Owingsmills, Md. He is a proud Fall 2021 initiate of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

We interviewed Michael Gilyard, and talked to him about his 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?

Since serving as the Student Government Association president, I recognize the intricate role students play as official representatives of the institution. Whether its advocating for campus programs and/or activities, or serving the community; student behavior, perspectives, engagement, and leadership are essential to the overall health of the college and experience of many.

What made you decide to attend Livingstone College for undergrad?

Livingstone College is undergirded by the firm support of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. As a member of this church, I was familiar with the unique education Livingstone College provides for its students. I was and still am excited about the Holistic College modules framed with a faith-based foundation, that I feel is a necessary component to overall success. Livingstone prides itself in educating the head, heart, and hands – an unique trait of the institution since its foundation and still prevalent today.

How has Livingstone College molded you into the person you are today?

Livingstone College has afforded me the opportunity to grow, serve, and lead. As the institution extends a Bridge Program specifically designed for students who have been defined as underachievers during their high school years, but who may still have the capabilities and drive to excel academically, socially, and spiritually if given the proper guidance and support; I am happy to share, this program gave me the opportunity I needed. I entered Bridge in 2019 as a student unsure of his abilities and uncertain of his future. Through this program, I not only gained the skillset I needed such as study, test-taking, and time management skills, but I also built confidence in myself and developed interpersonal skills that have allowed me to build a rapport with faculty, staff, students, community officials, and much more.

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?

There are three platforms the Gilyard-McDouglad Administration is targeting. They include, Health and Wellness to include a focus on Covid-19 protocols and emotional health, voting, and career readiness.

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

Excellent question! Our campus has a full court press operation as it relates to mental health. Every entity of the campus is working towards this initiative. Our nurse and counseling centers have weekly programming regarding mental health awareness and practices. In Student Affairs, the radio station, and student activities have collaborated for programming regarding mental health programs. Events included health and wellness expo, radio commercials and talk back, prayer at the Bear, and mental health check-ins with student leaders.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership is collectivism. It is recognizing the strengths and even weaknesses in all and coming together to maximize the best results for a common goal. Leadership is doing the doing the right things for the right reasons and encouraging others to do the same. Leadership isn’t all about titles but bringing out the best in others. Leadership is service.

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

Institutions need pages on popular social media platforms to include Facebook, IG, Twitter, snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Handshake. Moreover, institutions need YouTube Channels, promotional reels, comprehensive yet concise recruitment videos, and a user friendly and visually attractive website. Moreover, institutions can benefit from student ambassadors simply sharing videos on their dorm rooms, weekly activities, and videos of why they chose their institution.

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

Watch The Yard is a platform for HBCUs and the Divine 9, two things at the crux of black culture. Consider, the election of Kamala Harris showed the power of the Divine 9 as a professional network, and now that Black colleges have name /title (HBCU – 30 years about this was not a common term) it seems there is more power to the push of our culture and our pride. Watch The Yard is important because it brings this awareness to our fingertips using the platform of younger generations. This effort will enable us to review our culture in a positively influential light and help to inspire and shape our future through motivational stories and news.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

Upon successful completion of my baccalaureate program, I aspire a career in the field computer science as a software engineer or data analyst.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Michael Gilyard for his work as the SGA president of Livingstone College.

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