In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Prairie View A&M University and did an interview with Princess Ojuolape 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. Ojuolape, who is majoring in Biology, is a current senior.
We interviewed Ojuolape, and talked to her about her 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 thing I’ve learned in this position is that you will have naysayers. I’ve learned that the higher you go, the more heat you’ll receive. Individuals will undermine your work and passion to distract you from your goals and entire success. You can not allow them to stop you from putting your ambition on 1000. Stay true to your heart and go hard every day, regardless of what the people are screaming.
What made you decide to attend Prairie View A&M University for undergrad?
I decided to attend Prairie View A&M University because the moment I walked on the campus I just knew that I needed to be there. God truly opened my eyes to see the greatness and rich culture. Plus, my teachers vouched for it heavily. It gave me a sense of being at home away from my actual home. I knew that I would be an amazing addition to the university and turns out that I was right.
How has Prairie View A&M University molded you into the person you are today?
PV has molded me into the woman that will bring her seat to the table, unapologetically. However, the three points that sticks with me through the whole experience is change, adapt and soar. To make change, you must be different, think different. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. To adapt you must roll with the punches and everything that comes forth to you. To soar you must rise above the circumstances. You must rise above and be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Prairie View A&M University has enhanced the tools and skill bank that I have possess to be able to take over this world.
What specific initiatives have you headed up this year and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?
The list is plenty but to highlight a few initiatives that my administration has developed are Financial Literacy with the Comptroller, Townhalls, SGA Late Night Breakfast, Marching to the Polls, Open Hours in the Oval Office and State of the Union.
I had the opportunity of developing the Laptop Loner Project, which grants students the opportunity to rent a laptop for a semester/year. The Legendary Endowment Fund created along with Kendric Jones which enables past and current SGA Presidents to build funding for students in need. SGA Strategic Plan which is similar to a University plan to execute all projects in a four-year timeline.
I am a firm believer that those initiatives will improve the quality of the University and the concerns of the students. It will enhance our motto of Prairie View Produces Productive People.
How is your school currently responding to the coronavirus and what is your SGA administration doing to help students?
Our University has transitioned over to online courses. It was bumpy in the beginning, but it has improved with feedback from the students and faculty/staff. Multiple discussions have and are taking place to ensure that the student’s success is the #1 priority such as: grading system, on-campus housing, University services and the list continues. During this transition, SGA members made sure that the students understood the changes taken place and received concerns so that it could be addressed on the University level.
How is the coronavirus affecting SGA elections for next year?
For the first time, we had a strictly virtual election which was different for both the elections committee and candidates. We have concluded our campaign season and elected our new officers. However, our Mister & Miss Prairie View A&M University candidates can not be selected until the Fall semester due to the pageant. This pageant holds 90% to the selection of the reigning King & Queen. It is a bit distasteful that the 2020-2021 administration will not be completed until the Fall semester.
What does leadership mean to you?
My define of leadership is inspired by Former First Lady, Michelle Obama. She stated that leadership is about being confident and making the best decisions. It is about voicing opinions of everyone, but also doing the important work behind the scene. A great leader will inspire and motivate people to bring hope and faith while in my opinion displaying grace.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2020?
Schools have to be on the front line of taking risks and being open to change. The rapid transition to online has made creativity possible on this level. Schools will also have too be more comprehensive with online experiences for all of their students, such as student engagement.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
This platform is important to our culture because it broadcasts the experience at our respective universities. Displaying how our students contribute to their communities, soar in their endeavors, and how much true culture we have. It shows anyone curious that this experience will prepare you for life after that degree. The last point is it brings a sense of attention to the issues we experience that are not seen directly for the public eye.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I plan on furthering my education by receiving my masters degree. I also plan to create a reach back program at my university that was inspired by Courtney L. Turner. The program will entail of gifting the students of my choice of the needed necessities as a college student.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Princess Ojuolape for her work as the SGA president of Prairie View A&M University.