This article and interview is sponsored by ETS and the GRE® General Test and done in collaboration with Watch The Yard. Click here to learn more about the benefits of taking the GRE® General Test.
In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard teamed up with the ETS and the GRE® General Test and reached out to Ashley Robinson the Student Government Association president of Bennett College for an interview about campus leadership.
The position of SGA president of an HBCU is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Robinson, who is majoring in social work and minoring in entrepreneurship, is a current senior and a Spring 2019 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
We interviewed Robinson, and talked to her about her tenure as SGA president, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in 2021.
Read the full interview below.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned as an SGA president so far?
Being SGA President, you are always learning meaningful things. Serving in this role has elevated my leadership skills and taught me the importance of listening with a purpose. The biggest thing I’ve learned, however, would be to utilize what you have. Often we search for answers without deeply examining what is in front of us, causing us to miss what we are looking for.
What made you decide to attend Bennett College for undergrad?
After graduating from high school, I knew I wanted to attend an HBCU. I also knew there were no HBCUs in New Jersey, so this meant relocating. That thought made me nervous but excited nevertheless. The lasting impression from a college tour of the campus and the eagerness from the admissions team to get to know me was what made Bennett College my choice college!
How has Bennett College molded you into the person you are today?
I always say attending Bennett College for undergrad was HER (the college) choosing me. Bennett College is truly the place where the girl meets the woman she will be. The rich history and traditions that fill the campus are unmatched. The college has made me brave, confident, fearless, graceful, and resilient. Because of my experiences at Bennett College, I am always unapologetically me and feel prepared for any challenge.
What specific initiatives have you headed up this year and how do you think they will improve the school and surrounding community?
As SGA President, I am grateful to have an e-board that is so dedicated. During election season, we had events that stressed the importance of voting and had a successful social media voting campaign. We also have had virtual luncheons and even parties through various social media platforms. Perseverance was one of the main things I wanted to portray during these unprecedented times, and I believe we have been successful in doing that. These initiatives will improve the college and surrounding community by setting the foundation of a complete virtual academic year.
How is your school currently responding to the coronavirus and what is your SGA administration doing to help students?
Bennett College always puts its students first, and when making decisions in response to Covid-19, I believe that was very evident. The college was the first among similar institutions to make decisions about keeping or bringing the student body back to campus. The decision to keep distance learning for the 2020-2021 academic year was difficult, however, the health and wellbeing of the college community was the priority. The SGA administration has also made it a priority to meet students where they are. We work diligently to address student concerns and keep morale.
What does leadership mean to you?
If I could describe leadership, I would say it’s the ability to be comfortable, doing what’s uncomfortable, for the greater good of others. A leader must be willing to act even if it is alone at first in the name of making a difference. I believe great leaders are always evolving and have a particular passion that drives what they do.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2021?
For schools to represent themselves online in 2021, they should use a variety of platforms to present their respective school in different ways. The digital world is more advanced than ever and used for almost everything. By utilizing these platforms and presenting information in different ways, schools will reach every type of person in a way that is best for that particular person.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black students and college culture?
Watch The Yard is important to Black Students and college culture because it celebrates and brings attention to everything surrounding the culture. It also uses the platform to better the lives of students. Having to move off-campus in the beginning stages of the current pandemic was hard for many college students, including me. When Watch The Yard had Yard Con, it was not only a breath of fresh air, but it also attested to the dedication of Watch The Yard to its audience.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school and obtain my Master’s of Social Work. I also plan to keep expanding my business, A Breathe of Fresh AIR, while also completing the book I’m writing. Throughout my endeavors, my goal of bettering life for all will stay my primary goal.
Why do you think it is important to take the GRE® General Test?
The GRE is important to take because it assesses your knowledge before going to the next level of studies after undergrad. As a professional or individual, I always like to be the best that I can be. Taking this exam will not only let one challenge themselves by making sure they are as prepared as possible, it will also challenge them to constantly improve themselves after taking the exam.
Taking the GRE can also help you when seeking funding from institutions as well as help you if you have a less competitive component to a section of your next level studies application. The GRE as a whole benefits the scholar and the institution. The exam has an opportunity to shed light on strengths, weaknesses, readiness, and guidance to the testee!
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Ashley Robinson for her work as the SGA president of Bennett College.