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Leadership Highlight: Clark Atlanta University’s SGA President Lamin Secka

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Clark Atlanta University and did an interview with Lamin Secka the 2023-2024 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. Secka, who is majoring in Fashion Design & Merchandising, is from Atlanta. He is a proud Fall 2022 initiate of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

We interviewed Lamin Secka, and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in 2023-2024.

Read the full interview below.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned as an SGA president so far?

As SGA President, the biggest thing I’ve learned so far is clear communication. In order to ensure accurate representation of student concerns, promote transparency and trust on my campus , increase student engagement and participation in campus activities, facilitate feedback channels for continuous improvement, enable collaboration among administration and the board of trustees, and to empower advocacy efforts to address student needs and promote positive change within the campus community, is very important for me to have proper communication channels within every area of interest to properly advocate for what’s important.

What made you decide to attend Clark Atlanta University for undergrad?

What made me decide to attend Clark Atlanta University was the rich culture and tradition of the institution within the AUC I was introduced to in high school. Many of my coaches and teachers went to Clark Atlanta which inspired me to tour my school. After the tour, I felt that panther pride within me. My biggest reason is my University’s fashion department. The love, support, and opportunities I saw and felt through my professors are what led me to the top design program out of all the HBCUs.

How has Clark Atlanta University molded you into the person you are today?

My character was shaped and my potential was awakened at Clark Atlanta University, which helped me become the resilient person I am today. The wide range of options it brought strengthened my commitment and sharpened my abilities, equipping me for the challenges of the real world. Our motto, “Find a way or make one,” embodies a principle that has become my beacon of direction, driving me forward in the face of adversity and giving me the willpower to conquer any challenge. It’s challenging to navigate the complexity of college life when on the verge of adulthood, but this phrase was a constant source of motivation when giving up looked intriguing. Not only has Clark Atlanta University given me the information and abilities I need to succeed in a world that is always changing, but it has also given me the perseverance and fortitude I need.

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?

One initiative I had for this year is the enhancement of tutoring and study hall not only for our students but specifically for our student-athletes. With the help of the Provost and the Project Director of student success, we were able to expand on the tutoring days and times for students in their specific areas. For our student-athletes, we were able to expand on the space we had currently to fit all of our athletes in addition to bringing in more tutors.

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

My university places a high priority on mental health and treats it with great seriousness. Apart from our disability services and counseling, my institution is actively seeking additional outside resources to enhance mental health care on campus, providing students with more options for comfort. Every year, with the help of many sponsors, the Student Government Association organizes a mental health summit that is a huge success every time. My university is dedicated to creating a supportive, understanding, and filled with resources atmosphere where students feel empowered to put first their mental health through these unified efforts.

What does leadership mean to you?

To me, leadership means the ability to inspire, motivate, and persuade others toward a shared objective or vision. It shows leading by example, choosing actions that will best serve the group, creating a cooperative and encouraging atmosphere, and inspiring people to realize their greatest potential. Empathy, communication prowess, flexibility, and the capacity to empower others and assign duties sensibly are other qualities of what I think leadership is.

We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2023/2024?

Universities should invest in the overall digital infrastructure and technology to support online learning, research, and administrative functions, ensuring accessibility and usability for all students and faculty.

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

Watch The Yard is an important venue within collegiate culture for our community, providing visibility, representation, and empowerment. Positive narratives, accomplishments, and cultural expressions are highlighted in order to neutralize negative stereotypes and honor the diversity and uniqueness of the Black student body. It also gives Black students a sense of pride and belonging by showcasing their accomplishments and empowering them. Watch The Yard provides networking, mentoring, and teamwork by building community and connections. This provides a supportive environment where Black children may succeed academically, socially, and individually. Everything else considered, Watch The Yard is essential in elevating Black perspectives and experiences in college society, making it a more welcoming and encouraging place for all students.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on interning in New York for 2 seasons in Fashion Merchandising which will lead me into graduate school to get a masters in Fashion Marketing.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Lamin Secka for his work as the SGA president of Clark Atlanta University.

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