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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: Alanna Gaskin the SGA President of Prairie View A&M University

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In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to Prairie View A&M University and did an interview with Alanna Gaskin the 2020-2021 Student Government Association president.

The position of SGA president is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Gaskin is majoring in Political Science.

We interviewed Gaskin, and talked to her about her position, 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?

Student Government Association President is far beyond a title, it is an opportunity to impact and lead my fellow students. The biggest thing that I have learned while serving as the Student Government Association’s President is that leadership requires much resilience. Especially during these unprecedented times we are in, resilience must be at the forefront. The importance of this position is that it is an agent of change and a service to the campus community.

What made you decide to attend Prairie View A&M University for undergrad?

Attending Prairie View A&M University as an undergrad was the best choice I could have made. My HBCU is rich in history, culture, tradition, exemplifies academic merit, and presents opportunities. I decided to attend Prairie View A&M University because I wanted to attend an institution that celebrates my blackness and not tolerate my blackness, with classmates who looked like me. I knew HBCU’s played and is still playing an integral role in the black community by preparing students to be successful professionals, agents of change, and creatives. So I ignored the snotty comments about HBCU’s lacking prestige and credibility. I aimed to be immersed in a liberating space of intellectuality.

How has Prairie View A&M University molded you into the person you are today?

Prairie View A&M University has helped mold me into the intellectual, resilient, creative, and God fearing Black woman I am today. My HBCU has given me a greater sense of pride within myself, a deeper understanding of my culture, and the ability to love my skin. I have found my purpose.

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

This academic year (2020-2021) has been challenging in the midst of the pandemic. However, that did not stop PVAMU Student Government Association or me. The initiatives that I have headed up this year were as follows;

1. Voter Engagement Initiatives which include voter registration drives, voting 101 workshops, panel discussions, and much more. This has and will help establish a campus-wide commitment to voter education and engagement, giving students an opportunity to become civically engaged.

2. Student Organizational Support by presenting the “You Plan We Promote” initiatives that will allow collaboration and unity amongst different organizations on campus to ensure we are working together to enhance each student’s campus experience.

3. SGA Target Areas, which will be implemented within SGA to ensure that our programs and events reflect our mission and purpose and suit the needs of the student body.

4. Implemented SGA Pop-Ups which will allow students to voice their concerns, ideas, and or problems consistently to SGA.

There are many initiatives and programs we as a Student Government Association have done and will be doing this semester for our brilliant student body.

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

Prairie View A&M University administrators are diligently working to monitor and ensure the safety and well-being of our campus community. We are taking appropriates actions and steps to maintain a safe campus environment. Many accommodations for our students are present and success grants/CARES Act are given to help ensure students receive that financial assistance needed to academically succeed.

Student Government Association is helping students throughout this time by advocating on their behalf by speaking with university administration presenting issues and solutions. Hosting events, programs, and implementing initiatives. As well as encouraging students to enjoy their college experience under the university parameters by remaining safe and masking up.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me means service and advocacy. It is empowering and encouraging my peers. Leadership requires grace, faith, patience, accountability and resilience.

We now live in a digital world, what do you think schools need to do to represent themselves online in 2021?

During this time schools need to put the students as a priority. The well-being, safety and retention must be the main focus during online learning and distant socializing.

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

Watch The Yard is an important platform for Black students and the college culture as it promotes a safe space to highlight HBCU students that exemplifying excellence professionally, academically, socially and civically. The Watch The Yard mission is uplifting and well needed in the black community as it empowers next generation leaders, builders and doers by digitizing the Black college culture, legacies and contributions.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduating I plan to attend graduate school at Prairie View A&M University to receive my masters in community development, entering into local politics and the nonprofit field. Aspiring to receive my PhD in political science.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Alanna Gaskin for her work as the SGA president of Prairie View A&M University.

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