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Leadership Highlight: Alabama State University’s SGA President Dylan Stallworth

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Alabama State University and did an interview with Dylan Hill Stallworth 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. Stallworth, who is majoring in accounting, is from Mobile, AL. He is a proud Spring 2022 initiate of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

We interviewed Stallworth, and talked to him about his 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 biggest thing I’ve learned since becoming SGA President is that the 5-Wells of Leadership are so important. Being Well-Read, Well-Spoken, Well-Traveled, Well-Dressed, and Well-Balanced are characteristics that I must use effectively and in conjunction with each other for me to be at the top of my game. I’ve also learned that literal teamwork, makes the dream work.

What made you decide to attend Alabama State University for undergrad?

My family was a huge factor in my matriculation at Alabama State University. I have an older brother, Demitri Stallworth, and a cousin, Tyler Rice, who at the time was the SGA Vice-President at Alabama State. I saw the plethora of opportunities afforded to them by the College of Business Administration and their experiences as a student at the university. These two individuals gave me a warm introduction to campus before I was even a student. Additionally, I’m from Mobile, Alabama, which is not too far, but not too close so it was a comfortable distance away from home. Ultimately, the academic scholarship I received gave me all the rationale I needed to attend Alabama State University.

How has Alabama State University molded you into the person you are today?

My university has a mogul in the making, that’s for sure. Alabama State University is a factory for creating high-quality students. The University’s investments in students’ academic, personal, and professional development are displayed in all aspects. My HBCU was founded by The Marion Nine, which was nine freed slaves. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to be able to go to a school that was founded by slaves and is located in the heart of the historical civil rights movements. It gives me a sense of pride, belonging, and understanding to attend my HBCU.

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?

My administration and I have been actively working to ensure that this semester (Fall 2022) is very eventful. Along with ensuring that this semester is eventful, we’ve created a strategic plan to target specific areas to help improve the student experience. Through collaboration with the administration, we are truly making powerful progress in making this year memorable.

Student Government Association has spearheaded a list of initiatives. One is the “Power Shuttle Bus” initiative. The SGA finances a shuttle vehicle for students to purchase groceries, hygiene products, etc. from the local Walmart and Target monthly. The purpose is to allow students without consistent transportation to have an opportunity to shop at the local supermarket for their necessities. We’ve hosted a university-wide “Professional Headshot” event in partnership with the Department of Career Services to provide students with professional representation for all their endeavors. We were able to successfully provide over 150+ students with quality pictures. Next, we partnered with the Department of Campus Safety to sponsor 10 students with free parking decals, this was the “Parking Decal Assistance” initiative. Additionally, we brought forth an elected official, a “Freshman Representative” to the ballot, to bring freshmen a voice and advocate for our government. This specific ambition was so rewarding, considering it is the first time our SGA has included a position like this on the ballot. We’ve also done some community outreach through partnerships, we had the opportunity to host a “Back To School Drive” at the beginning of the year. The Student Government Association was able to provide over 150+ book bags full of school supplies for K-12 students in need in the Montgomery area. Now, we are planning and assisting with a Water Drive to donate to Jackson, Mississippi. The Jackson area is currently experiencing a water crisis and wants to be able to have a positive contribution in some way. The Student Government Association has been able to complete all of these initiatives, in addition to planning a 7-Day week of student events for Labor Day Classic & Homecoming Week.

Currently, we are looking to invest in the governing aspect of our Student Government Association. This is through making sure legislation that is passed by our Student Senate in the Legislative Branch is honored and carried through by the university, our Executive Committees in the Executive Branch are operating and functioning effectively and efficiently and performing meaningful work, and our Justices in the Judicial Branch, are properly carrying out hearings and making just decisions.

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

Alabama State University has been doing a phenomenal job of addressing the mental health of its students. The University Counseling Center has done great with making resources, information, and counselors accessible to students. The University has implemented “Oli”, an automated robot that sends resources and positivity centered around mental health. Additionally, the Student Government Association has been strategically planning events concerning mental health such as a Spa Day and Campus Health Week, which is a week devoted to mental, physical, and sexual health.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership can be conceptualized into various definitions. The ultimate goal of leadership is to make sure you are developing others to be leaders. In other words, you have to leave a legacy or train somebody to come and take your place. The key is to take a genuine interest in the people you lead. If you build relationships with them, you can learn about their hopes and dreams, and focus on helping them to reach their potential. This is what leadership means to me.

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

Society is digitally connected more than ever and as a result, schools should emphasize their brand in all aspects. To have proper representation there is a need for a Student-Body first mentality with school leaders & administrations because we now live in a world where anything negative will be exposed and publicized. On the other hand, the time is ripe to showcase to the world all the things that a prospective school might be accomplishing. A double edge sword for sure, but schools have to be very particular with the brand/image they portray.

Photo Credit: David Cambell

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

Watch The Yard is essential to the Black students and to the college culture because it creates a platform to empower today’s generation of leaders, builders, and doers. The positivity and mission statement of Watch The Yard are not only encouraging, but it showcases the world-class talent our community has.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

I’ve accepted a position as a Risk & Financial Advisory Analyst, which I will start after graduation. I will eventually go to graduate school to purse a Master’s of Business Administration.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Dylan Stallworth for his work as the SGA president of Alabama State University.

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