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Leadership Highlight: University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s SGA President Kennedy Marks

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate universities  across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and did an interview with Kennedy Marks 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. Marks, who is majoring in Multimedia Communications, is a current senior.

We interviewed Marks, 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? 

I’ve learned that the best way to fight is with your head bowed before God. If “the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s” was a person, it’d be me! Before, I advocated for my student body with force and without compromising. Now, I’ve learned to watch, pray, and wait before retaliation.

What made you decide to attend University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for undergrad? 

I believe God chose UAPB for me. I never considered it before attending. Financially, I received multiple scholarships. Ultimately, because of scholarships and after attending Lion Fever Day and the LIONS PROGRAM, I was sold. It felt natural!

How has University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff molded you into the person you are today?

UAPB has challenged me in my studies and my personal growth and development. Throughout my tenure at the university as a student, leader, advocate, and friend I have grown substantially. It can be rough in the bluff and my experience hasn’t been one of the easiest. Today, I am the most meek, resilient, loving, and understanding that I’ve ever been and I’m okay to credit that to what UAPB has contributed to me.

What specific initiatives have you headed up this year and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?

I believe that this year went exactly how God planned it. To answer the question, none, I wasn’t able to host and display wonderful initiatives to my yard and community as I planned. Instead, I believe I disrupted a spirit that was binding our university’s progression. Throughout this year I experienced great resistance from university faculty, which effected the way my student body supported and trusted me. I hope in the future student leaders continue to challenge the truth. Meaning that when things aren’t right, my hope is that they don’t sacrifice the best interest of the body, rather they stand firm in the belief that students have the power and right to be heard.

How is your school currently responding to the coronavirus and what is your SGA administration doing to help students?

As of now, our school has taken safety precautions by closing the campus and converting all courses to an online format. Most recently, the department of Academic Affairs released a modified grading scale in hopes to soothe students’ concerns about their GPAs. At this time they are working with the U of Arkansas system to determine the possibility of refunds or credit for students. As ambassadors, we are doing our best to show continued support and keep the students informed with updates as we receive them!

How is the coronavirus affecting SGA elections for next year? 

Thankfully, we dodged the corona bullet as it relates to elections. Our elections were completed prior to the threat of the coronavirus.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership is love. I wanted to lead because I loved my university and fellow Golden Lions. I’ve learned that it takes love to be a great leader because leadership takes compassion and mercy. It’s hard to continuously fight for anything, if you don’t love it.

We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2020?

Although many schools are doing well, I believe they can improve their representation by staying on top of trends and being relatable. Less fancy, more fellowship. Meaning it’s okay to put on a good show for social media, but a major downfall is when schools don’t uphold the hype! Once students arrive, they must be provided with an experience or they will make it their business to tell social media what it’s really like.

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

Watch the Yard is important because it’s one of the only platforms that isn’t a catalyst for black stereotypes. It highlights black excellence, educated black men and women, black leaders, black history, and black culture. In a world where we are appropriated daily and made to feel less than for who we are, it’s refreshing to have Watch the Yard as an accurate, relatable representation of us.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation I plan to have things figured out. Right now I am considering graduate school options and exploring my newfound interests a few other things.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Kennedy Marks for her work as the SGA president of University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

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