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Leadership Highlight: Howard University’s SGA President Jordyn Allen

Photo Credit: Chandler Searcy

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Howard University and did an interview with Jordyn Allen 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. Allen, who is majoring in Marketing, is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She a proud Spring 2022 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

We interviewed Jordyn Allen, 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 most useful lesson I have learned as SGA President thus far is that in leadership, relationships are the biggest key to success. This does not just apply to administration, at which it is the president’s responsibility to work with on behalf of students, but also making relationships with your cabinet, staff and interns that work to make your vision a reality. Creating personal relationships with your superiors and subordinates is a determinant of how many goals your administration is able to accomplish.

Photo Credit: Chandler Searcy

What made you decide to attend Howard University for undergrad?

I chose to attend Howard University because I knew I wanted an undergraduate experience that nurtured, developed and prepared me as a black professional in the District of Columbia. As an aspiring attorney, both of my parents are graduates of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) and when deciding which college or university to attend, they constantly reminded me that when corporations are looking to hire Black talent, they recruit at HBCUs. And being at Howard University has been nothing short of that described experience. While at Howard, I have interned at Google, JPMorgan Chase & Company, Emerson Collective, National Crittenton and The Honorable Former U.S. Senator and Present Vice- President Kamala Harris.

How has Howard University molded you into the person you are today?

Howard University has molded me into a person that does not strive to outperform my peers, but to learn and study from their individual strengths in order to make me a better person academically, spiritually and personally. This institution has surrounded me with people who look like me who all have the same drive to make a difference in the world and there is something magical and motivating about such an environment because it is centered on collectively moving our community forward, which simultaneously does the same for our personal pursuits.

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 we are heading this year is the “A Year in The Life of Howard” Documentary headed by our Community and External Affairs Director, Rashad Oliver, School of Communications Council President, Alana Smith and lead producer and director, Quincy Chester. The project seeks to document the experience of being a student at Howard University in and outside of the classroom. Although documentaries already exist that depict the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), our sga administration believes it is also important to depict the real life experience received at an HBCU so prospective students understand the benefit of attending an HBCU during a time like this.

Photo Credit: Janiya Allen

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

Given the recent uptick in bomb threats targeting HBCU’s, it is important now more than ever that our institutions prioritize the mental health of its students. Howard University currently offers virtual individual counseling for all students attending the university. In addition, we will soon be opening our newly built counseling center which includes new individual and group therapy rooms for students and newly brought on counselors to the University. Beyond the new resources offered by the university, our student government association hosts “HUSA on the Yard” to meet students where they are and to gauge their current experience at Howard University and how we can enhance it. We also host events like “Wall of Hope” which seek to provide motivation to students while also creating a space for students to express how they are feeling. In addition, it is the belief of myself, and my Vice-President Eryka Anabell Clarke, that the ability to make relationships and friendships on campus in an environment that is fun and engaging contributes to the mental state of students. This is why we have created more engaging and thoughtful programming on campus to allow Bison the opportunity to meet more of their peers and spread Bison spirit while doing so. Some of these events have included spirit buses to athletic games, pop up shops, food truck tasting events and demographic mixers.

What does leadership mean to you?

To me, leadership means not always being the leader, but inspiring others to want to take the lead.

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

In order for schools to represent themselves online in 2022/2023 they must seek to connect with students to hold a presence on social media. Over the last couple of months, Howard University has seen an increase in engagement on their platforms and I attribute it to their realigned goal of meeting students where they are. The Office of Communications created a Student Council to provide recommendations to the Office of the Communications on how they can meet students. In my opinion, the best way for schools to represent themselves online in 2022/2023 is to listen to the ones at which the institution serves, its students, about how to reach and represent them.

Photo Credit: Madison Harris

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

Watch the Yard is so important to Black students and college culture because it creates a space for members of Greek organizations to celebrate our community and find common ground regardless of the institution they attend. In a time where the PWI v. HBCU and “Best Sorority/Fraternity” debates frequently circulate, it is so important to have a platform like Watch the Yard that serves as a constant reminder that we are all in the same pursuit of progress for our community, and to have a good time while doing so.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on taking a gap year before attending law school to become a corporate litigator with an end goal of becoming General Counsel for a Fortune 500 Company.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Jordyn Allen for her work as the SGA president of Howard University.

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