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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: American University’s SGA President Chyna Brodie

Photo Credit: @cr.photostudio

In an effort to highlight the people who are leading colleges and universities across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to American University and did an interview with Chyna Brodie 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. Chyna Brodie, who is majoring in Political Science with a minor in African American Studies, is from West Orange, NJ.

Photo Credit: @diamondzb

We interviewed Chyna Brodie, 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 biggest thing I’ve learned as SGA president is that the only thing you can depend on is change. As a leader and someone that people look up to, you have to be able to move through change with grace. Through becoming not only the first two-term Black Student Body President but the first woman to serve two terms, I’ve come to understand that leadership is incredibly multidimensional. You can’t define leadership solely by the advocacy you’ve achieved or the money you’ve raised. You also have to consider how you’ve made people feel. I’ve always said in each campaign I’ve run that I am the People’s President, so when I step on campus, I strive to exemplify that. For me, wanting to serve as President stems from the need to elevate students’ voices and concerns which begins with making every student feel like an indispensable part of our campus.

Photo Credit: @cr.photostudio

What made you decide to attend American University for undergrad?

I decided to attend American University because I genuinely felt it was the best match for my social and academic trajectory. Regarding my major, the legal studies program at AU is fantastic and has consistently challenged me to create multifaceted solutions. Before committing to AU, I had the opportunity to meet with some outstanding professors, one of whom is now my mentor and is a huge reason my minor is now African American Studies. I will always be indefinitely grateful for her guidance and support. Lastly, DC offers a vast number of networking opportunities as well as the ability to experience my college years within “Chocolate City.”

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

American University has molded me into the person I am today because it has taught me the importance of resilience. Nothing within my college career has been handed to me, making me appreciate my success even more. Through American University’s commitment to public service, I have gained a more profound appreciation for the people in front and those putting in the work behind the scenes.

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?

For my second term as President, I want to focus on creating more community on campus. COV-19 had a tremendous effect on us as students, and I want to rebuild the campus social infrastructure that allows students to build lifelong friendships and connections. Additionally, food insecurity is an issue close to my heart, and over 20% of students on our campus suffer from it. I plan on creating more programming to educate students on resources the university has, such as the Pantry and meal swipes program, so that more students can utilize it. Lastly, I plan on continuing to support and uplift affinity student organizations by attending their events and encouraging other students to support them as well.

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

The first step in confronting mental health issues on campus is ensuring that university resources are accessible and known. AU has a wide variety of resources on campus, such as You at American, that SGA is currently working on elevating so that students can have a starting point in confronting their mental health. Right now, we are about to partner with the Center for Well-Being on campus to provide workshops to educate and raise awareness on these resources.

What does leadership mean to you?

To me, leadership is the ability to inspire, passion to conduct change, willingness to put in the work, and the commitment towards making everyone feel seen and included.

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

I agree that we live in an exceptionally digitalized world. Regarding what schools need to do to represent themselves best, it really starts with producing content that is both authentic and accessible. On social media, I feel that the creators that gain the most traction tend to be relatable. To maximize their audience and the number of people actually listening to their message, schools need to focus on relatability and speaking to students instead of at students.

Photo Credit: @cr.photostudio

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 reinforces how Black students are making their dreams a reality on their college campuses. It sets an important example for Black students and provides critical representation of Black excellence.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

Upon graduating AU with honors, I plan on gaining some more legal experience and then attending law school.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Chyna Brodie for her work as the SGA president of American University.

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