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Leadership Highlight: Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s SGA President Bailey Willis

Photo Credit: @abbythroughgrace

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Northwestern State University of Louisiana and did an interview with Bailey Willis 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. Willis, who is majoring in Secondary Education, is from Opelousas, Louisiana.

Photo Credit: @janessaspina

We interviewed Bailey Willis, 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?\

The biggest thing I have learned as an SGA president so far is that I have to be impartial in every decision that I make, because I represent my entire student body. I have to have a perspective of what will benefit the students as a whole instead of just the populations I am a part of.

What made you decide to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana for undergrad?

I decided to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana, because it is like a home away from home. As soon as I stepped on campus, the faculty, staff, and students were eager to tell me about their love for NSU. The University president even asked my tour group’s names, and later in the day, he managed to remember all of our names. That showed me that NSU believes that students are more than just a number, but a part of a constantly growing family.

How has Northwestern State University of Louisiana molded you into the person you are today?

Northwestern State University of Louisiana has molded me into the person I am today, because every goal that I have had, there are members of my school that help me achieve it. I have become more driven and organized through the various roles I take on campus. I realize that the students trust me, and acknowledge that I can help be the change we wish to see on our campus.

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?

Specific Initiative that we have headed this year was campus-wide road improvement, dress codes, and mental health awareness. We have successfully completed all three of these, and I will continue to use my various platforms to promote decreasing the negative stigma around mental health. These initiatives have and will continue to improve the school, by showing students that the university cares and it is SGA’s prerogative to increase the student experience in any way possible. As far as improving the surrounding community, our initiatives will encourage those to look at mental health in a different light and seek help if needed. Mental health should be on the exact same level as physical health.

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

Currently, my SGA administration is working on attending to students’ mental health by partnering with our school’s counseling services. We hosted a Suicide Vigil and 5K Awareness Run in September 2022. We host tabling events outside of the main academic halls with resources and hotlines and pass out mental health awareness buttons at least once a month. My presidential initiative is to create a wellness check system that sends out a weekly checkup on students’ well-being and also sends out mental health resources and hotlines. In this upcoming legislative session in Louisiana, I plan on drafting a bill with a Louisiana representative to make it mandatory for Universities’ syllabi to have a mental health and wellness statement as well as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on the back of all student Identification Cards.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me means leading by example. It is also lifting and encouraging those around me to step up and lead as well. I have to be able to set people up for success by allowing them to shadow me.

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

Schools need to create more outreach strategies to represent themselves online, and have a more personable presence that will draw students in.

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, because it gives black students a sense of community. We are represented all over the world, and we are able to connect through WTY by uplifting each other up with every post.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation, I intend on getting my masters in Educational Administration and achieving a certification in ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching. I intend to work with an educational agency and teach English abroad as a second language.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Bailey Willis for her work as the SGA president of Northwestern State University of Louisiana.

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